2003 La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #1023039 95 points James Suckling

 This is a giant wine with lots of muscular tannins and rich fruit. Full and beautiful, very ‘Cabernet’ with currants and spices in the forefront. Broad shouldered, with notes of fresh mushrooms, pure fruit, souis bois, and a very long, long finish. This shows incredible class for the vintage. Robert de Luxembourg says it reminds him of the 1975 vintage with the powerful tannins. Pull the cork after 2015.  (5/2012)

93-95 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Barrel Sample* Every year, this estate turns in a wine which closely rivals the neighboring Haut-Brion. This year, the rivalry is just as intense. This has sweet, ripe, beautiful fruit, delicious acidity already. But wait for the tannins to kick in.  (6/2004)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Aromas of blackberry, tobacco and hints of oak. Full-bodied, with lots of silky and round tannins and a long finish. Lots going on here. Layered and powerful. Best after 2010. (JS)  (3/2006)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2003 La Mission Haut-Brion shows more creme de cassis, plenty of cedar wood, melted licorice and charcoal in a medium to full-bodied wine. It is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. Rustic tannins in the back knock down the ultimate pleasure, and the point score, ever so slightly, but there’s no doubting the complex, perfumey, noble aromatics this wine has managed to attain despite the staggering heat and drought in June, July and August. This has reached full maturity, but should hold nicely for another 7-10 years. (RP)  (8/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium red-ruby. Raspberry, smoked meat and truffle on the nose, with a slightly liqueur-like ripeness. Dense, fat and seamless; unusually soft and lush for a young La Mission, with compelling sweetness. But there are also huge, ripe tannins underneath. Finishes very sweet, suave and long. (ST)  (6/2006)

Jancis Robinson

 Rich and sweet initially and then overlaid by tarry Haut-Brion minerals. Great sweetness, almost a burnt quality, and then some dustiness. Lots of pleasure even if far from the purest, most backward expression of La Mission. (JR)  (7/2015)

K&L Notes

La Mission-Haut-Brion has a long and illustrious history in Graves, and in some eyes is the greatest estate in Bordeaux. The estate has an excellent record of great wines stretching back over the past century, and today has a reputation for pure excellence. Robert Parker has said the quality is that of a First Growth. The vines are planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Since 1983 the Clarence Dillon family, owners of Chateau Haut-Brion, have owned and managed La Mission now under the expert guidance of Jean-Philippe Delmas, the third generation in his family to manage the properties of the Dillon Family.

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Price: $244.99

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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.


- 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.


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Specific Appellation:


- 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.