Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion have produced reasonably composed wines in 2013. Haut-Brion feels the more backward, almost a fraction austere on the palate. Stylistically they are somewhere between 2007 and 2008 in style and quality but with more marked acidity than either of those vintages. 2012 [especially] and 2011 were more impressive here at both properties. Still the whites are certainly very good in 2013. If they don’t have the weight and fat of the warm years, there is real race and Burgundian bite. They will age superbly. Haut-Brion Blanc is already delicious.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion’
There’s so much to sink your teeth into in Pessac-Léognan in 2009. The wines have plenty of structure, weight and tannin, all disguised by the sheer gloss and abundance of sweet fruit in this vintage. There seems to be a bit more chew to the tannin here though than in the left bank appellations further north. Opulent wines have been made at Domaine de Chevalier, Château Malartic-Lagravière and Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Château Haut-Brion is a giant and will require considerable time. Château La Mission Haut-Brion has surprising freshness alongside the weight and alcohol while Chateau Bouscaut, Chateau de Fieuzal and Chateau Carbonnieux have made some of the best reds I’ve yet tasted from these properties.
Several wonderful red wines have been made in Pessac-Léognan this year but the real successes are amongst the whites, not just up at the highest echelons but further down there are many refreshing, fruity white wines to be had too. The very best are rich, weighty, almost fat, with a fraction less zip than 2011, but very attractive nevertheless. The reds? I found them a little bit of a mixed bunch. There is no doubt that the wet weather caused problems for the Cabernets as it did elsewhere. Some of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, while certainly ‘fresh’, were often angular in tannin, and many are a bit ‘grippy’ and ‘chewy’, even despite the fat, ripe Merlot on offer. My overall feeling with these is that you need to tread carefully. That said, it’s clear that great effort was put in by proprietors to try and make the very best reds they could in a challenging year, one that got increasingly so as the harvest progressed.
Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion were extolling the virtues of their Merlot in 2012 shortly after the harvest. There is no doubt that the sixty-odd percent that this variety constitutes in these blends this year reflects the quality of that fruit and its overall superiority to the Cabernets. This high percentage of Merlot gives both wines a wonderfully plush, seductive quality, and, in their different ways, Haut-Brion and La Mission display the very best qualities of this vintage. Nevertheless there is density here too, especially in Haut-Brion. For me it is probably the pick of the first growths this year with Mouton and Margaux close behind.