1982 La Mission Haut Brion

100
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Product ID
1982-la-mission-haut-brion

Wine Critic Reviews for 1982 La Mission Haut Brion

A monumental wine, this historic La Mission-Haut-Brion was the last vintage made by the descendants of the Woltner family, who had owned this estate for decades prior to selling it to their neighbors, the Dillon family (the American owners of cross-street rival, Chateau Haut-Brion). The 1982 admirably demonstrates the magnificence of La Mission as well as the singularity of this amazing terroir. I had the good fortune of tasting it from barrel (where it was an enormous Graves fruit bomb) and watching it develop more nuances in bottle. At age 30, it remains a majestic, multidimensional, profound Bordeaux with another 20-30+ years of life ahead of it. It’s no secret that the great vintages of Bordeaux have levels of fruit extract and depth that go beyond other years. It is this fruit, often referred to as “fat” or “concentration,” that takes decades to dissipate and fade. As it does so, the extraordinary aromatic expression of the terroir asserts itself. Remarkably, the 1982 is still in late adolescence and has not yet reached its peak. Early in my career, much of my reputation was established on calling this vintage correctly, but I never in my wildest dreams thought the 1982s would mature as slowly and last as long as some seem capable of doing. One of the handful of perfect wines of the vintage, the La Mission still possesses a remarkably dense ruby/purple color with only a slight garnet and lightening at the edge. The fruit-dominated aromatics reveal lots of cassis, blueberry, scorched earth, black truffle, incense, graphite and high-class, unsmoked cigar tobacco-like notes. Still exhibiting remarkable concentration, enormous body, silky sweet tannin, and no perceptible acidity, the 1982 remains fresh, delineated and super-compelling. A massive La Mission made by the Dewravin family and their winemakers, all of whom were dismissed the following year when the estate was acquired by Haut-Brion, this modern day legend shows no signs of decline. In fact, it may not have yet reached its peak. Anticipated maturity: now-2060+.

Robert Parker | 100 RP
La Mission really does have its own character. Full body with velvety tannins with hints of berry, gravel and iodine. Some may not like the later but it tells you it’s La Mission. What a wine. Drink now.

James Suckling | 97 JS
The register of notes changes as we head to Pessac-Léognan. This is one of the most open on display, with a warmth to the fruit that showcases cloves and spices full of tertiary end-of-summer-fruit goodness. A beautiful wine, but just a tiny bit brittle on the finish, this is not quite living up to the pedigree that it has shown on other tastings. We in fact opened a second bottle, served in a decanter (the rest were all in bottle), but it still remained just a nudge behind the others.

Decanter | 94 DEC
The 1982 La Mission Haut-Brion is a vintage that I have tasted several times. This bottle has a gorgeous, eucalyptus-tinged bouquet of black fruit plus hints of clove and bay leaf; a light marine scent emerges with aeration. The palate has a ripe pastille-like quality, dark cherries commingling with blackberry and cranberry. A lovely saline undertow lends sapidity on the harmonious finish. This does not equal the 1982 Haut-Brion and may have reached its peak in the late 1990s, but it remains the best La Mission Haut-Brion since the 1978. Tasted at the La Mission Haut Brion dinner at Amuse Bouche in Hong Kong.

Vinous Media | 94 VM
Slightly rustic, but firm and youthful. Dark ruby color. Beautiful aromas of berries and stones, with a hint of black truffles. Medium- to full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, spicy-stony finish.--1982 Bordeaux horizontal. Best from 2000 through 2010.

Wine Spectator | 94 WS

Wine Details on 1982 La Mission Haut Brion

More Information
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!
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
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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