The color is very deep and the nose is intense, with plenty of character. This rich and utterly delicious wine spreads out beautifully on the palate. The tannin is smooth and sweet.
WA100 Drink 2010-2110 The 2009 was not part of this vertical tasting, so I am repeating the tasting note published in issue #199 of The Wine Advocate from a tasting done in January, 2012. A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2009 La Mission-Haut-Brion stood out as one of the most exceptional young wines I had ever tasted from barrel, and its greatness has been confirmed in the bottle. A remarkable effort from the Dillon family, this is another large-scaled La Mission that tips the scales at 15% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (47% of each) and the rest Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a magnificent bouquet of truffles, scorched earth, blackberry and blueberry liqueur, subtle smoke and spring flowers. The wine’s remarkable concentration offers up an unctuous/viscous texture, a skyscraper-like mouthfeel, sweet, sumptuous, nearly over-the-top flavors and massive density. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime La Mission-Haut-Brion, the 2009 will take its place alongside the many great wines made here since the early 1920s. The good news is that there are nearly 6,000 cases of the 2009. It should last for 50-75+ years. Given the wine’s unctuosity and sweetness of the tannin, I would have no problem drinking it in about 5-6 years. The final blend was 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc.
International Wine Cellar(2006 Vintage) Red-ruby. Classic aromas of plum, raspberry, tobacco, smoke and warm stones. Sweet, lush and generous but with the brightness of the vintage. In an essentially easygoing style. Finishes broad and soft, with plenty of ripe, mouthcoating tannins and noteworthy persistence.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(1975 Vintage) I have a thing about well aged La Mission. I love the combination of dark fruit with flavors of cedar and tobacco. But on the night, this wine had more aromatics and showed aged fruit dominated by the expected notes of earth, cedar, leather and tobacco. It is well-balanced and ends in a medium to long finish, but it is also more mature than other bottles I have had. And to make matters worse, the Gemello stole its limelight, by being more Graves than the Graves itself. 93 points.
International Wine Cellar(1975 Vintage) Very good medium red. Redcurrant, plum and tobacco aromas show a somewhat cool, primary quality. Dense and still rather youthfully tight in the mouth; offers a supple texture but comes across as distinctly less sweet than these other vintages of La Mission. Tannins are lively and harmonious, but the finish shows the dry edge that characterizes the 1975 vintage. Still developing. Drink now through 2030.
International Wine Cellar(1995 Vintage) Rating: 91(+?) - As reviewed by International Wine Cellar in Issue 78, May/June 1998. Good full red. Pungent redcurrant, mineral, plum, coffee and smoke aromas. Penetrating, firm, and tightly wound, with excellent intensity and delineation of flavor; hiding its density today. Very long and firm on the back end; tannins coat the entire mouth. A strong showing for this wine.
International Wine Cellar(2004 Vintage) Bright medium ruby. Inky aromas of black fruits and licorice. Densely packed but a bit reduced, with flavors of crushed dark berries. Finishes with rather substantial tannins for this wine. As promising a vintage for this second wine as I recall tasting in recent years.