The 1989 La Mission Haut-Brion has arguably lain in the shadow of the lionized 1989 Haut-Brion for a number of years, so let me put this out there: The 1989 La Mission has improved over the last decade and is now equal to Haut-Brion; at its best, it may ultimately even surpass it. This note comes from a bottle compared directly with Haut-Brion, and it easily holds its own. The heavenly, live-wire bouquet displays more minerality and tension than the Haut-Brion, offering black olive and crushed stone – penetrating and thrilling. The palate is perfectly balanced with filigreed tannin, incredible intensity and perhaps just a little more backbone compared to the Haut-Brion. The freshness knocks you sideways, and the length and precision are faultless. This is easily one of the best La Mission Haut-Brion ever crafted and, in this instance, just a perfect bottle of wine. Tasted from an ex-château bottle at the estate.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2070
Robert Parker 100
Both La Mission-Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion hit home runs in this vintage, which did not produce as many profound wines as the Bordeaux publicity machine suggested. 1989, the 200th anniversary of the French revolution, was an incredibly hot year (surpassed only by 1990 and 2003). Even from barrel the seamless 1989 La Mission revealed a special elixir aspect, tasting like it had been designed by Chanel. It still possesses a blue/purple color with only a hint of garnet creeping in, and the explosive aromatics offer up notes of licorice, creme de cassis, blueberry liqueur, smoky barbecue meats, truffles and graphite. If that’s not enough to get one salivating, the palate has never disappointed either. Full-bodied with extraordinary opulence as well as sweet, well-integrated, velvety tannins, this fresh, lively, blockbuster La Mission appears to be one of those rare wines that never goes through a closed, unfriendly stage. It has been a compelling, multidimensional effort from barrel, in its infancy, and as it heads into late adolescence. A remarkable tour de force in winemaking, it is one of the all-time profound La Mission-Haut-Brions. Anticipated maturity: now-2050.
Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050
Lively and rich. Dense blackcurrant and savoury. Much livelier than the 1990. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh and sinewy.
Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030