The 2016 La Mission Haut Brion is a blend of 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 19 September and 14 October, one of the longest ever. "We had to be patient and wait for each plot," Jean-Philippe Delmas told me. "It took longer than usual." As is customary, I allowed my sample, and likewise all the wines poured at this tasting, around 40-45 minutes to open since they always transform in the glass. It has a clean and precise, quite understated bouquet with fine mineralité, cold stone aromas infusing the black fruit. This has incredible precision, perhaps even more pixelated than the "gaff over the road" Haut-Brion. The palate is medium-bodied with supple and lithe tannin. I appreciate the line of acidity here, the smoothness and harmony that takes your breath away. Every atom is infused with life-affirming freshness. It is a wine bridled with incredible focus and delineation. I thought that the 2015 La Mission Haut-Brion flirted with perfection. The 2016 has that extra edge, a "je ne sais quoi" that leaves you reaching for the thesaurus looking for superlatives. Drink 2026-2070.
|Score: 98/100||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017|
The texture to this is very beautiful with chewy yet very polished tannins. Full-bodied, tight and mouth-filling. Starts very slowly and then takes off. Love the energy in this.
|Score: 96/97||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017|
The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion is a total knockout. Vertical and powerful, but not at all austere, it exudes class. Fine-grained tannins support the fruit, but they are barely felt, as the wine's balance is so extraordinary. Lifted floral notes and a host of red fruits give the 2016 energy and verve. I can't wait to see how it ages.
|Score: 94/97||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2017|
Glowing deep crimson. Very intense and ripe. Snazzy and spicy. Polished and racy. Very firm and lots of ripe tannins – very much à La Mission. Super-sophisticated. Inky and fresh and so ripe and confident. A dry style but great. Racy but tannic.
|Score: 18.5+||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017|
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 most of the fruit 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 normally around 5000 cases produced annually. The vineyard is planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. 57.5% Merlot, 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and picked over nearly a full month - between 19th September and 14th October. Deep colour. Exotic on the nose with all spice, creamy damson and black cherry, nutmeg and cinnamon. Chalky, ripe and juicy on the palate, the layers of fruit are complemented by sweet notes of caramel, chocholate and exotic spices. Supple, rounded and soft, there is a lift of high-toned cherry blossom and violet on the long and complex finish that completes the wine superbly. Very high quality this year which reaches, and even surpasses, some of the First Growths.
|Score: 18.5||Farr Vintners, February 2017|
Concentrated black fruits the nose has depth the palate a rich mix of cassis and black cherry mid richness the sweet fruit backed by fine tannins. Rich and ripe at the back supple and fleshy but there is balance an underlying freshness the finish has elegance and length. 2025-43
|Score: 95/98||Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2017|
Tight, focused and even a little backward, as it’s entitled to be at this young age, this is a very intellectual claret, rather than an exuberant fruit bomb. Fine oak, granular tannins, taut acidity and savoury red and dark berry fruit flavours. 2026-36
|Score: 95||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017|
Wonderful La Mission this year, graceful but with an unmistakable sense of controlled power. The wine just expands outwards and upwards in your mouth - insistent but terribly polite about it. It is deep and silky, shot through with coffee grounds, damson and soft cassis on a creamy mid-palate, utterly beautiful. There is a real energy and vitality here, with a caressing texture to the tannins and huge persistency on the finish. Dense, and yet so finessed that you could almost drink it today. Wow. The blend is 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon with a pH of 3.66, harvested between 19th September and 14th October.
|Score: 98||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017|