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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 RPLa 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 JSThe 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 DECThe 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 VMSlightly 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
The 1989 Haut-Bailly is drinking beautifully, offering up aromas of dark berry fruit mingled with burning embers, spices and cedar box. Medium to full-bodied, velvety and sumptuous, with a rich core of fruit, melting tannins and a long, penetrating finish, it’s a broad, supple wine of immense charm and character.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPGorgeous wine, so well crafted. Good dark-ruby color. Aromas of cherry, spice and cocoa. Full-bodied, firmly tannic and a long finish of fruit and tannins. Needs time to mellow.--1989 Bordeaux horizontal.Wine Spectator | 92 WSThe 1989 Haut Bailly is a vintage that I have tasted several times, and one of my picks from the pre-Wilmers era despite some bottle variation. This is a good example, displaying quite a muted nose initially, but unfolding to reveal lovely sandalwood and sage aromas. It is much more rustic compared to the same wine nowadays, yet seductive. The palate of blackberry, black olives and cracked black pepper is quite harmonious, with satisfying depth, and after three decades, it continues to show commendable energy. While it lacks a little length, this remains a delightful Haut Bailly. Tasted at a private dinner in London.Vinous Media | 91 VM
The 2018 Des Fougères Clos Montesquieu is terrific. Black cherry, espresso, licorice, dried flowers, mocha, blood orange, gravel and baking spices open gradually in the glass. More than anything else, I admire the wine’s persistence and overall balance. Clos Montesquieu is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.Antonio Galloni | 91 AGClove and chili to the dark-berry and pine-needle undertones. It’s medium-bodied with a solid core of ripe, fine tannins and dark fruit. Drinkable now, but better in 2022.James Suckling | 91 JSA blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in 20% new oak, the 2018 Château Des Fougères Clos Montesquieu has a pretty, incredibly floral perfume of blue fruits, mulberries, leafy herbs, cedar, and rose petals. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium-bodied, has a lively thread of acidity, light tannins, and solid length. It’s one of those wines that grows on you with time in the glass and shines more for its finesse and elegance than power. It’s going to benefit from 2-4 years in the cellar and should keep for a decade. (Drink between 2023-2033)Jeb Dunnuck | 90 JD
This is delicious, a serious step up from the Reynon within the same stable, and speaks to the influence that terroir has on a wine - this is slate and crushed granite showing grip through the palate, and the citrus has plenty of zest to give it focus and lift. Juicy finish also, excellent wine from Jean-Jacques Dubourdieu. 25% new oak. Drinking Window 2020 - 2030.Decanter | 93 DECThe late founder Denis Dubourdieu was the master of white wine in Bordeaux. So it is pleasing that this wine should be so fine. Subtly rich, with generous white fruits, ripeness and concentration, the wine is developing well. Drink from 2022.Wine Enthusiast | 92 WEThe 2019 Clos Floridene Blanc has an almost identical bouquet to the one I encountered from barrel sample, featuring attractive pear and apple blossom scents and hints of yellow plum with lovely definition. The palate is well balanced and supported by a fine spine of acidity, if maybe less tangy than I recall. Nectarine and white peach emerge toward a finish that delivers all the length you need. Excellent.Vinous Media | 91 AGSliced apples, pears, white peaches and lemons on the nose. It’s medium-bodied with tangy, lemony acidity and a supple, fruity palate. 55% semillon and 45% sauvignon blanc. Drink now.James Suckling | 90 JSThe 2019 Blanc reveals an enticing nose of fresh lime juice, yuzu zest and pink grapefruit with wafts of coriander seed and shaved almonds. The medium-bodied palate has a seriously racy line of freshness cutting through the intense citrus layers, finishing on a chalky note.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 88-90 RP
The second wine of Domaine de Chevalier, the 2019 L’Esprit De Chevalier shows the fresher, more lively, complex style of this cool terroir and reveals a deep ruby/purple color, notes of tobacco, damp earth, violets, black cherries, and dark currants, medium-bodied richness and depth, and outstanding length on the finish. It has a lively spice of acidity as well as ample ripe fruit and is ideal for drinking any time over the coming 15 years or more.Jeb Dunnuck | 91-93 JDPlums and fresh flowers, such as roses on the nose with some stems and parsley. Full-bodied with round, polished tannins that are medium in stature but long and caressing, giving nice tension to the wine on the palate. 55% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot and 5% petit verdot. Try after 2025.James Suckling | 93 JSFrom the younger vines of the estate, this second wine at Domaine de Chevalier is wood aged for 14 months. It has spice and also bursts with black fruits and acidity. Set to develop well, the wine should be ready from 2025.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WEDark chocolate and mint on the nose, some sweet blackcurrant. I love the upfront juiciness here, it’s well textured with fine tannins that gently support the fruit letting it shine brightly on the palate. There’s a creaminess to this too which is so satisfying. Really a beautiful, gentle, delicate but nuanced wine. Good freshness and drinking appeal with fruit and energy. Easy enjoyment, well made. well structured. Good winemaking on show. Drinking Window 2022 - 2033.Decanter | 92 DECThe 2019 Esprit de Chevalier is a gorgeous second wine. Bright, plump and juicy, the Esprit will keep the domaine’s fans happy right out of the gate. A rush of sweet red cherry, red plum, mint, spice and licorice builds as this exuberant, radiant red shows off its fun-loving personality.Antonio Galloni | 89-91 AGPresents a mix of bramble, mulling spice and savory notes, with steeped plum and red currant fruit flavors and a tarry tug on the finish. Shows good energy throughout. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2031. 8,333 cases made.Wine Spectator | 91 WSAromas of smoky blackberries, cherries, loamy soil and smoke preface the 2019 L’Esprit de Chevalier, a medium to full-bodied, ample and charming wine that’s rich but elegant, with its fleshy core of fruit framed by velvety tannins and succulent acids.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 90 RP
Aromas of sliced apples and lime zest with citrus blossom and crushed stones. Polished and round-textured on the palate with a full body and tangy acidity. Creamy finish. 60% sauvignon blanc and 40% semillon. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 93 JSThe 2020 Cuvee Caroline leaps from the glass with notes of lemon drops, fresh grapefruit and lime cordial, plus wafts of yuzu and honeysuckle. Medium-bodied, the palate has a seriously racy backbone cutting through the intense citrus and savory layers, finishing with great length and a skip in its step.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 90-92 RPWood aged, this balanced wine is poised between ripe citrus and spice. It offers a hint of pineapple along with lively acidity.Wine Enthusiast | 92 WEZesty and creamy and softly mouthwatering, a combination of lemon juice and orange rind giving a touch of bitterness with clear fragrance and oaky tones adding to the density on the palate but just detracting from some of the bright energy. Feels a touch heavy, though will be nice with food. I do like the weighty creaminess and this delivers a lot of flavour.Decanter | 92 DECThe 2020 Chantegrive Cuvée Caroline has a perfumed nose with pressed white flowers, jasmine, chai and light pear scents, quite complex and full of vigor. The palate has a citric edge on the entry, taut and fresh, not a powerful dry white Graves yet with energy and tension. The sliced pear notes come through nicely on the finish. Very fine.Vinous Media | 90 VM
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