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!
La Mission Haut Brion is from the Pessac-Leognan appellation. In 1664, the estate was acquired by the Congregation of the Mission; the fathers in this group fancied themselves viticultural specialists, committed to finding and planting according to the land. A devotee to the wines, Marshal de Richelieu, once said "If God forbade drinking, would he have made such good wine?" The critics are also fans, evidenced by Robert Parker awarding the Bordeaux red blend with 100 points on the 2000, 2009 and 2010 vintages. Stylistically, these wines are rich, oaky and powerful with ripe, succulent fruit and good acidity. The wines age well, but need at least 10 years in the cellar before drinking. Vintages to look out for: 1990, 1982, 1961 and 1945 1929, 1947, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2009.
As the #1 back-vintage retailer in the US, Benchmark Wine Group prides itself on being a trusted source for the greatest wines in the world. Their unparalleled market knowledge and exceptional service have come together to provide the most accessible cellar of rare and sought-after wines with a guarantee.