Wines of Château La Mission Haut-Brion
The history of Château La Mission Haut-Brion
Château La Mission Haut-Brion in Pessac-Léognan is one of the Grands Crus Classé. Château La Mission Haut-Brion is linked to Château Haut-Brion. Its history began in 1540, when a Bordeaux merchant, Arnaud de Lestonnac, decided to buy a parcel of land that would become the starting point for Château La Mission Haut-Brion. In 1540, he married the sister of Jean de Pontac, the true creator of Château Haut-Brion. Seeing the potential that Château Haut-Brion had, he decided to devote all his energy to creating a vineyard dedicated to exceptional wines.
After passing on the estate to his son Pierre, he passed it on to his daughter Olive, who played an important role in the history of Château La Mission Haut-Brion. She devoted her life and fortune to various religious activities.
Thus, in 1682, Château La Mission Haut-Brion came into the hands of the Lazaristes de Bordeaux, otherwise known as the Prêtres de la Mission. Château La Mission Haut-Brion thus belongs to the Catholic Church. They work to develop Château La Mission Haut-Brion by converting unused plots into vineyards. They also improve vine cultivation, the reputation of the wine produced and its quality.
In 1755, wine from Château La Mission Haut-Brion was served at the table of the Governor of Guyenne, who had previously preferred Burgundy wines. His successor, Maréchal Philippe de Noailles, will continue to offer his guests wine from Château La Mission Haut-Brion.
After several sales of Château La Mission Haut-Brion and several changes of ownership, in 1821 the property came into the hands of Célestin Coudrin-Chiapella. He was the first American to fall under the spell of Château La Mission Haut-Brion. His goal is to retire in the Bordeaux region, where he is already a wine merchant and manager of several châteaux, including Château Cos d’Estournel. Thanks to his origins, Célestin seized the opportunity to develop the wine trade between Bordeaux and New Orleans.
In 1862, at the Universal Exhibition in London, Château La Mission Haut-Brion won the gold medal. At the time, Château La Mission Haut-Brion was already well known in France, England and the United States.
In 1919, Château La Mission Haut-Brion came into the hands of the Woltner family. Frédéric Woltner and his sons aim to bring Château La Mission Haut-Brion into a modern era. To this end, they were the first to install enamelled steel tanks with a vitrified inner lining.
At the time, this installation enabled better temperature control during the fermentation process.
1927 was the first vintage of Château La Mission Haut-Brion in white.
Frédéric Woltner, will invest a great deal of his time and energy in this château. Indeed, he even went so far as to modify the interior and exterior decor of Château La Mission Haut-Brion. The tradition of inscribing in gold letters the finest vintages produced by Château La Mission Haut-Brion in the Chapel, will be led by Frédéric Woltner.
On his death, his sons took over the reins of the château, and one of his children even had the opportunity to witness the birth of 50 vintages of Château La Mission Haut-Brion.
In 1983, after being put up for sale, Château La Mission Haut-Brion was bought by Domaine Clarence Dillon. The Dillon family immediately decided to improve the estate, installing a new vat room and renovating the vineyards, chapel and cellars.
A few years later, in 1996, a new tasting room was created and a new bottling line installed.
Gardens and gates are restored, roads and paths are widened.
In 2007, new cellars and a tasting room were built. These pieces will be made of Italian carved wood.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion’s wine had already won a gold medal, but in 2009 it was included in the Premier Cru classification.
To celebrate 25 years of reign at Château La Mission Haut-Brion, the Dillon family had a vertical from 1953 to 2005 sent to a London restaurant.
Robert Parker is even quoted as saying that he had more bottles of Château La Mission Haut-Brion in his personal cellar than any other wine in the world.
Today, Château La Mission Haut-Brion is owned by the Delmas family.
The vineyards of Château la Mission Haut-Brion
The wines of Château La Mission Haut-Brion benefit from a gravelly terroir, which is a little richer than that of Château Haut-Brion.
The Château La Mission Haut-Brion vineyard covers 29 hectares, 25 of which are planted with red grape varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The remaining 4 hectares are dedicated to white wines with Sémillon and Sauvignon as grape varieties.
The gravelly soils rest on a subsoil of clay, sand, limestone and falun.
These gravels provide excellent natural drainage, complemented by small streams.
The grapes are harvested by hand, according to their ripeness, then sorted and destemmed. Fermentation of this Pessac-Léognan wine lasts an average of two weeks. Once the colors, tannins and main aromatics have been created, the vats are emptied.
Then comes one of the most important moments for Château La Mission Haut-Brion: blending.
Thirty to forty blends are studied and some twenty vats are tasted.
The best selected wines are kept and aged in barrels for 18 to 20 months, with racking every three months or so.
These tastings are carried out by the cellar master, the vineyard manager, the technical director and the general manager. To avoid being influenced by the different plots, the first tasting is done blind.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion’s annual bottle production is around 60-70,000 bottles, with an ageing capacity of up to 40 years depending on the vintage.
Wine pairing and structure of Mission Haut-brion wines
When tasting Château La Mission Haut-Brion wines, the color is very dark, with great depth and density.
The nose is precise, with aromas of red fruit, smoke, earth and liquorice. On the finish, the intensity of the tannins is matched by an astonishing freshness.
The grape varieties used for Château La Mission Haut-Brion red wines are 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.
For Château La Mission Haut-Brion white wine, 54.7% Sauvignon Blanc and 45.3% Semillon.
To match this wine, we recommend a rack of lamb with herbs, beef fillet, game or stuffed beef roulades. You can also pair it with shad and truffles.
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