Medium deep colour. Intense dark berry liquorice praline aromas. Lovely concentrated blackcurrant cedar, praline flavours, dense chocolaty textures and touch al dente graphite notes. Beautiful rich fruit density and flavour length. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion.
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.
'The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion is flat out gorgeous. Today, La Mission is incredibly primary, with stunning purity in its red/purplish berry fruit. Readers will have to cellar the 2016 for the better part of a decade at a minimum before the telltale aromatics of this fabled château start to blossom in bottle. I adore the 2016 for its gracious personality, fine tannin and remarkable freshness, not to mention that it is absolutely delicious and the kind of wine that is so suggestive of a very bright future. 2026-2066'
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.
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.
"The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion was stunning from barrel, and now in bottle. It has a sublime bouquet of blackberries, briar and hints of dark chocolate and rose petals that gain intensity with aeration while maintaining ethereal delineation. It never steps on the accelerator too hard. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. There is still a veneer of new oak that will need to be assimilated over the coming years. This is a deep La Mission that caresses the mouth. Touches of graphite lingering on a finish that fans out gloriously. Is the 2016 up there with the 1955 or 1989? Nearly. 2026-2066"
99 Points, Vinous
"Although this has great freshness, candied-lemon and complex dried herb character, it also has a rich and waxy side, plus a touch of vanilla. Rich and powerful with a lot more structure than most Pessac-Léognan whites. It also has wonderful tension and drive that’s rooted in the vibrant acidity, but supported by the mineral and lemon-zest notes. A blend of 62.7 per cent sauvignon blanc and 37.3 per cent semillon. Better from 2021."
96 Points, JamesSuckling.com
"Regal wine, showing alluringly ripe and dark plums, that carries a wealth of complexity in its DNA - fine spices, leaves, graphite, violets and more. The palate has very precise drive and super focused style and delivers authoritative tannins that are arranged in linear fashion. Power with elegance. Try from 2024."
97 Points, JamesSuckling.com