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Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2010

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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15.1% ABV
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15.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The striking, deep-purple color of this wine is reminiscent of a ripe aubergine. It has an intense, complex bouquet, blending hints of oak with blackcurrant, licorice, and chocolate. The nose reveals a seemingly endless range of aromas. On the palate, the breadth and expressivity of this wine is immediately impressive. The tannins are flavorful and its structure is poised, buoyed up by incredible freshness. To take an architectural metaphor, 2010 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. Its structure is immediately perceptible but, although it is obviously a substantial construction, it gives an impression of lightness and elegance. These contrasts make it easier to understand the challenge that faced the architects in both cases: to achieve perfect balance.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 100
James Suckling
This is crazy. The nose is so unique with the iodine, stones and currant aromas with wet earth and mushroom. Aromas like this don't usually come out until 10 years or so in the bottle. Classic nose for this estate. Full-bodied, with an amazing palate of firm yet polished tannins and a solid palate. So dense and gorgeous. It is really stunning. Try in 2020.
RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A strong candidate for a perfect score in about 15 years, the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion could well turn out to be a modern-day version of their 1955. Sadly (or maybe fortunately) for me, I’m not old enough to have tasted the 1955 in 1958 from bottle, but this wine could also be an update on the more modern 2000 which, of course, I know well and actually own. This full-bodied, colossal giant of a wine is one of the goliaths of the vintage. It may well have the highest level of natural alcohol for any wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux (15.1%) and has the definite potential to be a 50- to 75-year wine. Dense purple, it offers up notes of lead pencil shavings, charcoal embers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur along with massive concentration, a multi-dimensional mouthfeel and a monumental finish that goes well past a minute, which I think might be a record for a young Bordeaux. Keep in mind that the 2009, which I gave three digits, came in at 14.7%, but the pH of the 2010 is lower, giving the wine a freshness and precision that is remarkable. The final blend was 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, and – unlike the Chapelle de la Mission, which has 26% Cabernet Franc – there's only 1% Cabernet Franc in the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion. This is a wine for those of you with youth on your side as well as patience. It will need a good decade of cellaring. An amazing wine. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2075+.
Rating: 98+
WS 97
Wine Spectator
Intense and engaging. Despite showing lots of heft and tarry grip, the singed apple wood and alder notes are well-defined in this red, accentuating a core of roasted fig, blackberry coulis and macerated red and black currant fruit. The long, bramble-edged finish sports showy ganache and Lapsang souchong tea notes, while the structure refuses to yield until everything has finally played out. Muscular and vivacious. Best from 2019 through 2040.
WE 97
Wine Enthusiast
A beautifully dense, ripe wine, its intense acidity balanced by an opulent structure and gorgeous fruits. The texture is smooth and velvety, while never losing sight of the powerful structure. This elegant and powerful wine will age for many years.
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Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

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Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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In 1664, Madame de Lestonnac bequeathed the domaine of La Mission Haut-Brion to the Peres Lazaristes, a congregation founded by Saint Vincent de Paul. The "good fathers" worked to restore their property to its rightful worth. After them, the Chiapella family (owners in the 19th century) and Woltner family (owners between 1919 and 1983) never stopped improving the vineyard and modernizing the cellars. Since 1983, the Dillon family, already owner of Chateau Haut-Brion, continues the same policy under the presidency of H.R.H. Prince Robert of Luxembourg.

Pessac-Leognan

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

LOA122448_2010 Item# 122448