2013 La Mission Haut-Brion Rouge, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Barrel Sample. This is a powerful wine, with firm tannins that are well embedded in the ripe blackberry fruits. There is freshness, but the wine also has density and richness. It is a wine for medium-term aging.
This unfolds on your palate with a oyster, raspberry and stone character. It slowly opens and builds. Chewy yet polished. Reserved LMHB.
Taut, with a tangy edge to the red currant, damson plum and blackberry notes, framed with plum skin and blood orange accents and backed by a solid roasted apple wood edge on the finish. This has a rather obvious tannic spine but is not woody in feel. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Tasted non-blind.
The 2013 La Mission Haut-Brion is intriguing. At first relatively immediate, the 2013 turns darker and more intensely mineral as it sits in the glass. Plum, black cherry, smoke and licorice wrap around the palate with serious density for the year. Bright, floral notes finesse on the finish. The 2013 captures an attractive combination of power tempered by the understated personality of the year. There is a lot to like here. It will be interesting to see if the 2013 gains depth in elevage. The 2013 is 65% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(65% merlot, 32% cabernet sauvignon and 3% cabernet franc): Bright ruby-red. Perfumed aromas of floral red berries and spearmint. Refined on the palate, with red berry, mint and mineral elements carrying through to the long, vibrant, but somewhat austere finish. A leaner style of La Mission than usual, but also very refined. If this puts on more flesh it will turn out to be outstanding, but right now it's a little tough, offering no easy sweetness. As with its stablemate Haut-Brion, the percentage of new oak will be cut from the usual 75% to 65% in an attempt to preserve the wine's fruit.