1985 La Mission Haut Brion

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Average critic rating : 91.0 points



As this wine sat in the glass aerating, I began having some doubts about whether it merited a low-90s point score. I think it does, but the fact that it deteriorated more quickly than some of its siblings (even those from more challenging vintages) gave me pause. Nevertheless, I have to assume that most people will decant all of these wines (as I did) and consume them within an hour of opening. On that basis, this 1985 is clearly a low-90 point wine. The problem is that for the most part, 1985 does not have that extra level of concentration possessed by the great vintages. However, it offers a softness to go along with the fragility of the wines as most 1985s, including this La Mission-Haut-Brion, are fully mature. A dark plum/garnet color reveals a pinkish lightening at the edge, and the bouquet reveals plenty of smoke, camphor, charcoal, graphite, sweet kirsch and blacker fruit aromas intermixed with meaty, sauteed mushroom, cedar and spicy notes. The lovely aromatics are followed by flavors that do not quite match the intensity of the bouquet, a sign of a fully mature wine. This medium-bodied effort has plenty of glycerin, low acidity and not a trace of tannin. While not terribly generous, it is a soft, round, charming, delicious, very good La Mission, but not a great one. Drink it over the next decade. Wine Advocate.August, 2012



Perhaps not as powerful as expected but the pure flavors are impressive. Wonderful berry, raspberry and cherry character, full body and silky tannins. Drink now.--The Bordeaux 50. James Suckling, Wine Spectator 1994

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Chart showing (to 30/08/2016) market price for 12x75cl standard case:

La Mission Haut Brion 1985
+£1,766.00     (+196.44%) Latest price:  £2,665.00
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Just south of the city centre of Bordeaux opposite sister property Ch. Haut-Brion lies Château La Mission Haut-Brion. La Mission Haut-Brion is one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux and, whilst not classified as a first growth like neighbour Haut-Brion, is considered to be the superior of the two in some vintages. The estate has produced no less than six vintages awarded 100 points by Robert Parker: the 2009, 2000, 1989, 1982, 1959 and 1955.

As with most Graves estates, a considerable proportion of Merlot is incorporated into the red wine (45%) with the balance of the vineyard planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (48%) and Cabernet Franc (7%). A white wine, one of the finest white wines of Bordeaux, is also made: La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc is made up of 85% Semillon, 14% Savignon Blanc and a dash of Muscadelle. As with much of the Haut-Brion stable, the nomenclature of the wines can be a little confusing: La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc was known as Laville-Haut-Brion prior to 2009. A second white wine, La Clarté de Haut-Brion, has been made since 2009; this is essentially the second wine of both Haut-Brion Blanc and La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc. This wine was previously labelled as Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion.

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