Chateau La Mission Haut Brion   La Mission Haut Brion

1996 La Mission Haut Brion

By Chateau La Mission Haut Brion

1996 La Mission Haut Brion from Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

In the lexicon of esteemed Bordeaux vintages, the iconic 1996 La Mission Haut Brion from Chateau La Mission Haut Brion stakes its own claim as a connoisseur's treasure. A testament to the resilience and masterful winemaking of Pessac-Leognan, this vintage illustriously survived a capricious year in Bordeaux that teetered on the edge of greatness.


The Perfect Imperfection of '96

There's an intriguing discrepancy in the '96 vintage - a tussle between the elements and the vine which ultimately birthed a dazzling expression of terroir. Grapes harvested possessed exceptional phenolic maturity, yielding an intricate layering in every glass. Indeed, as investors peruse opportunities within realms vinous, a wine with such individualistic character as this has immense allure.


A Palate Painted With Bordeaux Excellence

The sensory profile of the 1996 La Mission Haut Brion intrigues with smoky whispers dancing amidst cassis and leather-bound tomes. Autumn leaves on gravel contribute to a tapestry woven with time's diligence—its structure an architect's dream of fine-grained tannin scaffolding buttressing the opulent fruit core. An ideal climatic interlude before harvest perpetuated fruit ripeness without forsaking the essential acidity that gives this wine both presence and longevity.

Indeed, financiers often speak of 'portfolios with personality' – consider then that such is embodied within this singular bottle. To possess it is to embrace a vintage where not all was calm, yet all was bright within these storied château walls.


The Verdict: An Acquirer's Marque

To partake in Chateau La Mission Haut Brion's command of elegance is ever the aspiration of those well-versed in investment-grade wines. For collectors and enthusiasts alike, the 1996 La Mission Haut Brion, its enigmatic provenance nesting within Pessac-Leognan’s lush terrain, endures as one of the most engaging narratives to grace our palates—and portfolios.

In essence, this wine transcends; it quietly commands attention not only for what it endured but for what it became: a regal vestige of Bordeaux history. Positioned among top vintages, it offers an exquisite chronicle for discerning clientele seeking both pleasure and financial merit.

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Scores and tasting notes


The first bottle is corked. The second displays a very fine, cedar and tobacco infused nose: quintessentially ’96 claret. Does not quite have the precision of the ’05 or ’00 but more vigour than the ’95. The palate is medium- to full-bodied, becoming quite sinewy in the glass, assertive and “big-boned” but always keeping one eye on elegance and natural harmony. Just builds beautifully on the palate with a superb persistency on the leafy, slightly peppery finish. Lovely wine but could do with a couple more years in bottle. A completely different animal to the bottle I met a couple of years ago, this 1996 has just take ages to settle. Drink 2012-2040. Tasted May 2008.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal Jul 2008


Fully mature, with a big, fragrant bouquet of damp earth, weedy underbrush, asphalt, Asian soy, and ripe plums and cherries, this medium-bodied 1996 appears to be on a fast evolutionary track. It reveals plenty of delicious fruit, soft tannins and enough acidity to provide definition. I was surprised by how open-knit and mature this wine has become. Anticipated maturity: now-2020.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #122

Vintage performance