Although it emerges from a similar terroir and the same winemaking team, the 2018 Château La Mission Haut-Brion is a dramatically different wine than the Haut-Brion and has a more concentrated, dense, powerful style that is all potential at this point. Dense purple-hued, with lots of crème de cassis, black cherries, smoked meats, lead pencil, graphite, and crushed stone aromatics, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a concentrated mid-palate, masses of ripe tannins, integrated acidity, and one hell of a finish. This blockbuster, backward, monster of a La Mission Haut-Brion needs to be forgotten for a good decade (or more) but is going to be just about immortal.
The 2018 La Mission Haut-Brion is a blend of 53.5% Merlot, 42.9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.6% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple colored, it emerges from the glass with a first wave of stewed black and red plums, mulberries and black raspberries scents, followed by pronounced notions of warm cassis, clove oil, violets and chocolate box, with hints of cast-iron pan, pencil lead and forest floor coming through after a few minutes. The medium to full-bodied palate shimmers with energy, delivering layers of red and black fruits with earthy and mineral sparks and a texture so satiny you need to remember to look for it, finishing with amazing vibrancy. This is so wonderfully evocative and singular, and yet it feels like its holding something back. It makes for an impressive glass right now, but give it a good 5 years in bottle to allow further nuances to emerge and expect it to seriously reward those who can wait a good 12-15 years, when it should really hit its stride. (LPB)
Enticing aromas of currant, crushed stone, blueberry, lead pencil, iodine and graphite follow through to a full body with round, chewy tannins that are polished and powerful, yet balanced and beautiful. In the end, the tannins are compact and tight at the finish. But you want to drink it. Try after 2027, when it will open.
Well-structured and shot through with a savoury black fruit and charcoal character alongside fine tannins that slowly but surely build through the palate. Needs time to settle; no need to approach for another decade as these are big shoulders with liquorice root and olive paste. A yield of 43.5hl/ha, 53.1% grand vin. Harvested 10 September to 2 October. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. IPT 75.8. The 3.76pH is the highest since 1989. (JA)
The 2018 La Mission Haut-Brion was double decanted and assessed after two hours, and the over the following 24 hours compared directly with – what else? – Haut-Brion. They were initially poured blind. This has retained a very perfumed and hedonistic bouquet of black fruit and pressed violets, and less of the graphite that I picked up out of barrel; touches of ash/fireside hearth develop with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-boned tannins, and quite structured, more so than the Haut-Brion. There is a brightness here that I really like. Vivid, animated and brimming with energy and still incredibly persistent on the finish. A fabulous La Mission Haut-Brion that deserves several years in bottle, and though I would not rank it alongside, say, the 1955 or 1989, it is a magnificent Pessac-Léognan. (NM)
While the wine is certainly structured, it has all the finesse and elegance that is associated with this estate. Beautiful berry flavors are packed with acidity but supported by generous tannins. This is impressive and obviously will age well. (RV)
Tightly packed, with its core of steeped blackberry, black currant preserve and plum paste notes bristling to emerge fully but held in check for now by a swath of tar, warmed licorice and sweet tobacco. There's a great tug of earth through the finish but the fruit keeps the upper hand, even while closed, thanks to its finishing kick. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. (JM)
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