Beautiful nose of sweet vanilla and lovely fresh buttered toast. On the palate is an irresistible feel and taste of Tarte au Citron - creamy soft lemon juice and crisp biscuit pastry - delicious, polished wine made from a whopping 72% Semillon which is succulent and so moreish. Rating: 96 L&S (Apr 2015)
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The 2014 La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc does not quite possess the same clinical delineation of some of the best dry whites in the flight. But it seems to address that with aeration and offers some lovely lemon rind, grapefruit and chalk scents. The palate is well balanced, underpinned by a fine line of acidity, quite brisk and taut with a persistent finish. Excellent. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2020 - 2040 Rating: 93 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Mar 2018)
The Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc 2014 is a blend of 28% Sauvignon Blanc and 72% Sémillon. It has a well-defined bouquet with lime flower and fresh pear scents that gain intensity in the glass, though never quite achieves the ethereal heights of the "gaff across the road". The palate is fresh with again a keen, fresh line of acidity than Jean-Philippe Delmas remarked is broadly in line with 2011. This is very tense at the moment, sharp and edgy, you could almost say “electric” on the finish that will stand it in good stead by the time of bottling. Drinking range: 2018 - 2035 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2015)
Gorgeous and savoury. A complex array of citrus and stone fruits, with fresh lemon then lemon curd richness; the 72% Semillon (higher than normal) really shows. Beautiful minerality with savoury herbs, lifting stone fruits; firm and elegant. Impressive, clever winemaking, showing great acidity and length. (Outstanding Pessac-Léognan.) Drinking range: 2019 - 2030 Rating: 95+ Steven Spurrier (Apr 2015)
Château la Mission Haut Brion
Surrounded by the urban sprawl of Bordeaux, facing each other across the street are Châteaus Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion. In the 16th Century Arnaut de Roustaing, who had bought what is today La Mission, married Marie de Pontac, sister of Haut Brion owner Jean de Pontac, but, despite being immediate neighbours, this is as close as the two estates got to common history until the modern era. The "Haut Brion" portion of the name appears to, simply, to be a little commercial plagiarisation of the sort that Haut Brion has suffered more than most. Arnaut's grand-daughter left the estate to the Congregation of the Mission in 1654, who built a small chapel in the vineyards called Notre Dame de la Mission. Church ownership seems to have been good for La Mission Haut Brion and the fame of the wines grew. Cardinal Richelieu appears to have been a fan. But Chuch ownership could not survive the French Revolution and the various private owners that followed oversaw a fall in quality and reputation. The modern history, and revival of La Mission Haut Brion, dates from 1919 when Frédéric Woltner bought the estate. Together with his sons, he revitalised La Mission, installing the, then, cutting edge technology of temperature-controlled fermentation and restructuring the vineyards. The next generation of Woltners, however, fell into discord and sold La Mission Haut Brion to Domaine Clarence Dillon SA, owners of Château Haut Brion in 1983, bringing the two neighbours under the same ownership. Since then, La Mission Haut Brion has grown considerably in reputation and ranks among the best château, not only in Pessac-Léognan, but in Bordeaux as a whole. There are 21ha of vines, planted to 45% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with the balance being Cabernet Franc. Red wines are aged in 100% new oak for just under 2 years. If remembering the differences between Haut Brion proper and La Mission Haut Brion wasn't enough, the two estates are also responsible for a confusing array of other "Haut Brions". The Woltner family were bequeathed Château La Tour Haut Brion in 1933 and this was produced as seperate wine by La Mission until the 2005 vintage, since when the grapes from La Tour Haut Brion have been used in the blend for La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion, La Mission's second wine. The Woltners also purchased the near-by property of Château Laville Haut Brion and produced a very successful white wine there. This has now been re-named Château la Mission Haut Brion Blanc. Châteaus Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion also produce a joint white second wine called La Clarté de Haut Brion.
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