1981 La Mission Haut-Brion, Graves
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1981 exhibits a more youthful purple hue to its dark plum color than any vintage back to 1970. Somewhat narrowly constructed for a La Mission-Haut-Brion, it reveals plenty of incense, blueberry, black currant and crushed rock notes intertwined with a restrained, smoky character. The wine is medium-bodied, fresh and crisp with good concentration as well as a surprising youthfulness. However, the vintage’s deficiencies – a lack of heat and maturity – show up in the wine’s modest power and concentration. The 1981 does not possess the great richness, depth and intensity of the finest vintages, but it is still an outstanding effort that has aged extremely well. It could hold up for another two decades, but there is no point in deferring gratification. (RP)
Seems soft and slightly closed now, but has good fruit. Medium ruby-red in color, with aromas of milk chocolate and spice. Medium-bodied, with medium-full tannins and plenty of earthy vanilla and chocolate flavors.--La Mission-Haut-Brion vertical.