Château La Mission Haut Brion
Classification: Grand Cru (Graves Classification 1959)
Château La Mission Haut Brion is located in Pessac-Leognan in the wine region of Graves. It is one of the greatest of the Graves wines, alongside Château Haut Brion. The wines of La Mission have attained the highest possible scores from acclaimed wine critics and this consistent standard of excellence should justify the classification of Château La Mission Haut Brion to a Premier Cru as was done to Château Mouton Rothschild in 1973.
The two châteaux of Haut Brion are neighbours and lie in the commune of Talence. However there the similarity ends as Château La Mission Haut Brion shares no common ancestry with its neighbour. The château dates back beyond the 15th century but it owes its ancient reputation and name to the priests of the Mission of Saint Vincent de Paul who occupied the estate in 1654.
The château was willed to the Mission by Madame de Lestonnac whose family had run the château since the 1540s. The Lestonnacs already had a Saint in their ancestry and this seemed a fitting gift to the Pères Lazarists. Father Simon, head of the Bordeaux chapter had a passion for La Mission which, thanks to his efforts, became well-known and sought after. The wines of La Mission graced the tables of such eminent personalities as the Archbishop of Bordeaux and the Maréchal de Richelieu, also Governor of Guyenne.
Today La Mission is owned by Domaine Clarence Dillon S.A., who already own Château Haut Brion. The château is run by Prince Robert of Luxembourg and his mother the Duchesse de Mouchy, daughter of the Hon. Douglas Dillon, former Ambassador to France and Secretary of the Treasury under President Kennedy.
Château La Mission Haut Brion's vineyards cover 52 acres on gravely soil with a sub-soil of chalky sand which is up to 18 metres deep in some places. The grapes grown are 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc.
The wines of Château La Mission Haut Brion are rich, oaky and powerful with ripe, succulent fruit and good acidity. They are impressive wines with the flavour of preserved fruit and cherries, toast and wood. The wines age well but need at least 10 years in the cellar before drinking.
Owner: Domaine Clarence Dillon (also owns Châteaux Haut Brion and Laville Haut Brion)
Château Website: www.haut-brion.com
Oenologist: J-P Masclef