67% Sémillon, 33% Sauvignon. Unctuousness, very rich sweet flavours of dried fruit more than fresh, very long and subtle, its the richness which carries the day. Rating: 92-93 L&S (Apr 2016)
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This is so powerful with incredibly subtle fruit character of pineapple, peaches and apples. Some lees and cream. Full-bodied yet remains agile and tensioned. Wonderful finish. Hard not to drink now. For now or ageing. Rating: 98 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Feb 2018)
If you’re looking for a top white to cellar in 2015, this would be a great candidate, combining freshness and focus with understated power. It’s not quite as good as the 2014, but it’s still a remarkable white with toasty, waxy complexity underpinned by acidity and vanilla spice. Drinking range: 2017 - 2030 Rating: 95 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (May 2016)
33% Sauvignon Blanc, 67% Sémillon, picked 28 August to 8 September. Floral, honeyed nose. Big but with sufficient acidity and race. Clearly lots of alcohol (more than 14.5%). Heat on the end. Big AND crisp! A bit harsher than La Clarté de Haut-Brion. Drinking range: 2022 - 2032 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2016)
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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