2005 La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #1047257 99 points James Suckling

 This shows a beautiful balance between concentration and ripeness. The wine is full-bodied, showing fine and rich tannins with tons going on. This is long and beautiful. I remember this being more muscular, but nevertheless this has taken on a wonderful finesse and richness. Pull the cork after 2020.  (5/ 2012)

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Another massive effort, the inky/purple-colored 2005 La Mission-Haut-Brion is broodingly backward and foreboding. The aromatic profile offers hints of charcoal, freshly laid hot tar, truffles, graphite and black fruits. Full-bodied, powerful, tannic and almost painfully extracted and concentrated with tremendous structure, good acidity and a massive finish, this infant wine is largely unchanged since I first tasted it from bottle. If everything comes together in 10-15 years, this brilliant 2005 should merit a triple digit score. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050+.  (8/ 2012)

97 points Wine & Spirits

 A glorious vintage of La Mission, this young wine buzzes with energy in the mouth. All of the flavors, whether herbal, earthy or vinous, seem to refer back to the tiny pebbles of this terroir. The texture is silken, the finish exclamatory and grand. It has a racy beauty, the kind of effortless strength Nureyev's choreography projects in Le Corsaire. One of the wines of the vintage, this has a high proportion of Merlot in the blend (69 percent). It's more accessible than Haut-Brion, but still has the stamina for long-term aging.  (10/ 2008)

97 points Wine Enthusiast

 Dark and dense, but with such opulent fruit, this is a year when La Mission shows its softer, richer side by comparison with neighbor Haut-Brion. There is spice and exotic and generous red fruits to give with the concentration. It has great power, but it also has a velvet structure.  (6/ 2008)

97 points Wine Spectator

 The Indian spices and blackberry on the nose are so enticing and inspiring, leading to a full-bodied palate, with very polished tannins that caress. Goes on and on as this builds on the palate, with a mineral and berry aftertaste. For long-term aging. Best after 2015.  (3/ 2008)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby-red. Black raspberry and licorice on the nose. Dense and sweet but youthfully tight; a serious young wine with terrific verve and the acid/tannin backbone to support a long and glorious evolution in bottle. Very long on the back end, with mouth-saturating fruit and tannins. Like La Chapelle-and in direct contrast to Bahans and Haut-Brion-this is quite backward today, and almost certain to merit a higher rating in the future.  (6/ 2008)

Decanter

 A classic La Mission, broad-shouldered and powerful with a greater percentage of Merlot than usual. Intense, brooding nose, huge volume of fruit and big, firm tannic frame. Monolithic but balanced. Drink 2015-2035. (18.5 points)  (4/ 2006)

Jancis Robinson

 Very dark. Thick and almost inky. Still introvert. Tannins in evidence. Floral noted. High toned. Dry end. Very much in reserve for the future. Cool finish. 18/20 points.  (11/ 2013)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Pessac-Leognan/Graves

- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.