1975 La Mission Haut Brion

97
RP
Only %1 left
Product ID
1975-la-mission-haut-brion

Wine Critic Reviews for 1975 La Mission Haut Brion

This is undisputably the wine of the vintage, a year that was clearly over-exposed and over-rated, largely because it was better than the four vintages that preceded it. However, it was not terribly exciting in the final analysis. The 1975 La Mission-Haut-Brion, which consistently received perfect scores in its first thirty years of life, remains a vibrant, vital wine. While there are some still gorgeous 1975s (i.e., Petrus, l’Evangile, Trotanoy, Lafleur, and Haut-Brion) that came on much later in life, La Mission possesses enough evidence of greatness to stand alone as the finest 1975. From a cool year with a tiny crop, most 1975s are tannic, dense and out of balance. La Mission’s extraordinary terroir, with its well-drained, gravelly soils fared unbelievably well, and the 1975 was a blockbuster for its first 20-30 years of life. While much of the fat has faded away, the wine still possesses a vitality and vigor that belies its 37 years of age. The color is a dark garnet with just a touch of lightening at the rim. Notes of camphor, wood charcoal, black fruits, plums, cedar, damp earth, truffles, asphalt and smoke result in a fabulous set of aromatics that are nothing short of compelling. Based on the aromatics alone, this offering would merit a perfect score, but some of the nasty tannins in this vintage are beginning to make their presence known on the palate. Nevertheless, this is a freak for the year – very concentrated, dense and remarkably youthful. It will undoubtedly provide extraordinary drinking for another 30-50 years. Nothing about this wine indicates it can’t keep going, although its one-time perfection has faded ever so slightly. This amazing effort is a truly profound wine in another disastrous vintage in Bordeaux!

Robert Parker | 97 RP
(Château La Mission Haut-Brion) I have had the pleasure to taste the powerful 1975 La Mission on several occasions, and while I have always been impressed with the quality of the wine, I am not quite as smitten with this vintage as several other commentators. The deep and classic La Mission bouquet soars from the glass in a slightly horsey blend of cassis, dark berries, saddle leather, plenty of chipotle pepper, tobacco, herbs, plenty of dark soil tones and a topnote of cigar box. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very complex, with a rock solid core of fruit, plenty of tannins still waiting to be resolved and outstanding length and grip on the very powerful finish. While this wine is already drinkable, it seems to me that it remains a bit primary on both the nose and palate and will continue to improve if allowed to stay in the cellar another five to ten years. There is certainly no rush to drink it, as it is a very structured, old-fashioned style of La Mission that should last for decades to come. (Drink between 2015-2065)

John Gilman | 94+ JG
This is a legend in the market, but I have never thought it was perfection. The nose is impressive with dried stones, sweet tobacco and dried dark fruits. It is full-bodied with loads of ripe fruit, iodine, and sea salt flavors. It is full, powerful, and chewy. Turns dry from the tannins on the finish.

James Suckling | 94 JS
The 1975 La Mission Haut-Brion has been hailed in some quarters as a high point for the estate in the Seventies. My own experience has been one of inconsistency, especially compared to the reliable and, in my mind, superior 1978. According to a half-dozen or so tasting notes from 2000 onward, the 1975 was always robust, dense and nearly impenetrable. One bottle at the vertical in 2008 finally lived up to high expectations, but a follow-up two years later felt charmless. This bottle is conspicuously deep in hue. The nose is backward at first, eventually revealing blackberry, iodine and light licorice scents; later, a touch of gaminess creeps in. The palate is full-bodied and full of sinew, with thick tannins framing the multilayered, ferrous black fruit. This is huge in terms of grip, and almost brutish toward the finish. It’s impressive in stature, but the 1978 possesses greater nuance and more panache. Tasted at a private dinner in Hong Kong.

Vinous Media | 93 VM
This has been heralded as one of the greatest La Missions ever, but I have my doubts. Will it ever come around? Deep, dark aromas; full-bodied, with superb concentration of fruit, but extremely tough and tannic, with high alcohol. Lacks a bit of balance. Could become like the '37?--La Mission-Haut-Brion vertical. Best from 1995 through 1997.

Wine Spectator | 90 WS

Wine Details on 1975 La Mission Haut Brion

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Producer Chateau La Mission Haut Brion: When wine connoisseurs consider the different vintages of Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, they recognize them as some of the greatest wines in the world. Many collectors and enthusiasts consider the estate the sixth, First Growth of Bordeaux. La Mission Haut-Brion is one of the jewels of the Domaine Clarence Dillon, as well as Pessac-Leognan.

The history of La Mission Haut-Brion is one that has been linked to neighboring Chateau Haut-Brion throughout its existence. The estate came into being after it was purchased by Jean de Pontac in 1533. Pontac was also the owner of what later became Chateau Haut-Brion. Pontac was responsible for the birth of several of the best estates and vineyards in Bordeaux.

La Mission Haut-Brion earned its fame and moniker, when Arnaut de Lestonnac and the sister of Jean de Pontac were married. The estate was inherited by Olive Lestonnac who bequeathed it to the Congregation of the Mission, which was finalized in 1664. The 10 hectare estate became the property of the Roman Catholic Church and was named Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion.

Interestingly, the wine produced was not reserved for the Clergy but was sold, which helped to cement the vineyard’s reputation among consumers in those early days of its existence. In 1698, a small chapel was built in the vineyards, known as Notre Dame de La Mission. The official chateau was constructed some years later in 1713. The estate remained in possession of the church until it was seized by the state, during the French Revolution.

In 1815, La Mission would become the property of American owner, the Chiapelle family, who were already quite involved in the Bordeaux wine trade, owning and managing multiple estates including Chateau Cos d’Estournel in the Saint Estephe appellation. The family is famous for constructing the gates that guard the historic property today. The estate would continue to change hands until 1919 when it fell into possession of another American owner, the Woltner family. The Woltners completed major renovations to the property, including the removal of old fermentation vats, replacing them with more modern stainless steel tanks. They are also credited for the creation of La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc which debuted in 1927.

Once again, La Mission would come full circle and become under the ownership of neighboring estate, Chateau Haut-Brion. Clarence Dillon rapidly re-modernized the chateau and winemaking facilities. His efforts to improve the property and winemaking were ever-continuing, leading to a new bottling line and extensive renovations in the Grand Chai (barrel storeroom).

Today the vineyard spans 30.7 hectares which has 27 hectares planted for red wine grapes and 3.7 hectares designated to white wine grape varieties. The 27 hectares are planted to 45.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43.8% Merlot and 10.4% Cabernet Franc, while the 3.7 hectares of vines for whites are planted to 61.7% Semillon and 38.3% Sauvignon Blanc. The varietals thrive in a terroir of deep gravel over clay, sand and chalk, with a subsoil of deep gravel, clay and sand. The vineyard is well placed on 2 ridges of gravel hills reaching up to 25 meters in elevation and have wonderful drainage. It is flanked by two streams, Ars and Peugue which help provide moisture in hot, dry vintages. Despite its proximity to Chateau Haut-Brion (across the road) the terroir is dissimilar, giving them distinctly different character and style.

La Mission Haut-Brion produces between 6,000 and 7,000 cases annually and another 1,000 cases of La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc. The wine needs at least 15-25 years for it to reveal its true potential and will reach peak maturity between 15-60 years after the vintage. The property produces an outstanding second wine, La Chapelle La Mission Haut-Brion, which debuted in 1991 and has proved to be of incredible quality, with a smaller price tag.
Region Bordeaux: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Pessac-Leognan
Country France: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

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