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La Mission Haut Brion 2012

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc

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Tasting Notes

As for the 2012 La Mission Haut Brion, this wine (41% of the total production) continues to perform as it has for nearly a century. At first-growth levels of quality, this is a stunning wine that is full-bodied and very concentrated with notes of graphite, subtle charcoal embers, crème de cassis, blackberry and underlying subtle earthiness. The wine is full and powerful, rich and concentrated. And sure enough, the alcohol level tips the scales at 15% from a blend 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc. This is a big, blockbuster La Mission Haut Brion that should age effortlessly for 30-40+ years. However, the tannins suggest that this wine should not be touched for another 5-6 years, as its one of the more backward of the 2012 Pessac-Léognans. Bravo! Drink 2020-2060.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (218), April 2015

Tasted blind at the Southwold 2012 tasting, the 2012 La Mission Haut-Brion showed brilliantly. It has an intense, floral bouquet with rose petals and strawberry preserve, hints of sous-bois and tobacco gently unfolding in the glass, gaining more earthiness as it aerates in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, broad and spicy with hints of bell pepper suggesting high quality Cabernet Franc. It fans out gloriously with a sustained tertiary finish that completes what is a wondrous La Mission Haut-Brion from Jean-Philippe Delmas and his team. Tasted January 2012.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com (227), October 2016

Gorgeous aromas of stones, currants and blueberries. Very aromatic. Mesmerizing. Full body, silky tannins and a long finish. Dense and rich. Layered. Earth and bark character. Lots of structure for the vintage. Better in 2019

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2015

Softly brushed tannins, gourmet and enticing grilled fruit flavours and waves of peony and violet aromatics. Enjoyable, with character, this is an excellent wine and one of the true pleasures of the vintage.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, March 2022

62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic and a little lean but very sophisticated. Lots of energy here. Extremely ramrod straight with lots of fine tannin. A very long-term wine. Super demanding with its heavy charge of tannins. Still quite inky and ambitious in the extreme. One of the more youthful wines of the vintage. At the moment just a little stringy. Neat and certainly no blockbuster. 14.95% Drink 2023-2040

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2013

Frequently the qualitative equal of sister-Chateau Haut Brion and in some years even better. The historic La Tour Haut Brion vineyard has been incorporated into La Mission now but none of the fruit produced from it is used in the grand vin - it is relegated to the 2nd label - La Chapelle de la Mission. La Mission's production levels are now smaller than ever and more than ever it can be seen as an "honorary" First Growth. There are only around 5000 cases produced annually. The 2012 is made from 62% Merlot and only 38% Cabernet Sauvignon. At 15% alcohol this is one of the most intense wines of the vintage. Rich and tarry, this voluptuous wine is atypical of the vintage. Dense black fruit on the palate with touches of toast, smoky bacon, graphite and allspice. Thick, sweet, warm in alcohol, generous in body, succulent and plump yet beautifully balanced and harmonious. Very long.

Farr Vintners, March 2013

There are a lot of concentrated flavours on the nose and a mix of mainly black fruits on the palate. The tannins feel ripe firm but not holding back the fruit and towards the back it is lighter with a stylish long fragrant finish. 2020-35.

Derek Smedley MW, April 2013

La Mission is even more impressive than its neighbour and stable mate, Haut-Brion, in
2012. The wine has the second highest proportion of Merlot ever (after 2005) reflecting the
vintage conditions. You don't notice the high alcohol here because of the underlying acidity.
Leafy, perfumed and complex with structured tannins, cassis, plum and blackberry fruit and
remarkable freshness and length. One of the two best Left Bank reds in 2012.
Drink: 2020-45

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2013
Read more tasting notes...

The 2012 La Mission Haut-Brion, which represents 41% of the total production, is a blend of 62% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of tobacco leaf, forest floor, underbrush and red as well as black fruit aromas jump from this aromatic, seductive, open-knit La Mission. Medium to full-bodied, round, generous, lush and flattering to taste, even at this young age, it is built along the stylistic lines of the 2001 or 1999. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.

Like its bigger sibling, the second wine, the 2012 La Chapelle de la Mission, was the result of a harvest that occurred between September 17 and October 9. (Keep in mind that the micro-climate of Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion is essentially within a highly developed suburb of Bordeaux.)

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (206), April 2013

The Grand Vin was picked between 19th September until 9th October and it is a blend of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon raised in 75% new oak. There is no Cabernet Franc this year since it did not achieve full ripeness. This blend is actually the inverse of the 2010. It has an alluring bouquet which given the blend, has a Right Bank personality as La Mission. Hints of cedar and bay leaf emerge with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and good structure. This is a very focused, very harmonious La Mission, very controlled with a sense of confidence on the finish that will need a couple of years to absorb the wood. It disguises the 14.9% alcohol well, perhaps more than recent vintages. This is a great success. Tasted April 2013.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, May 2013

This is delicate for La Mission with bright and pretty fruit with blueberries and minerals on the nose and palate. Full body, with velvety tannins and a very pretty finish. Earth and bark undertones.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2013

A wine that vibrates with life, generous, juicy, full of momentrum and pulsing minerality, ripe red and black fruits, with orange peel, saffron, clove, sage, complex and studded with succulent appeal. Interesting to note the high alcohols, showing even as far back as 2012 its location in the thermal corridor of urban Bordeaux was having an impact, but they are well balanced, adding flesh to the texture rather than heat. 75% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, March 2022
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.