Chateau La Mission Haut Brion   La Mission Haut Brion

2003 La Mission Haut Brion

By Chateau La Mission Haut Brion

2003 La Mission Haut Brion by Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

The 2003 vintage in Bordeaux was marked by an anomalously warm summer, which offered both challenges and rewards for local vintners. The resulting wines, such as the esteemed La Mission Haut Brion from Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, stand as testimony to the skill and adaptability of the region's winemaking fraternity. My exploration of these intensely characterised vintages has led me to appreciate how extraordinary weather conditions can shape a wine's destiny.


A Vintage Sculpted by Heat

The 2003 La Mission Haut Brion is a compelling study in the potency of terroir married with extreme climatic phenomena. In this year, the estate's deep-rooted vines delved into the gravelly soils of Pessac-Leognan to extract every nuance of minerality available, despite encroaching dryness. These conditions concentrated the berries, culminating in robust and opulent wines.

Tasting this particular vintage reveals a bounteous bouquet—hedonistic notes of blackcurrant compote fused with hints of smoked leather and roasted coffee beans dominate the nose. On the palate, one can savour the layered complexity: densely woven tannins frame plush dark fruit interspersed with silken threads of spice and an earthy truffle undertone, indicative of superb ripening under ardent skies.


Fine Wine Investment Elegance

As a bridge between fine wine connoisseurs and explorative investors, it's essential to discern the layers beyond ephemeral pleasures—namely longevity and potential for maturation. In this regard, the 2003 vintage from Chateau La Mission Haut Brion demonstrates remarkable structure, suggesting a trajectory of graceful ageing that will undoubtedly captivate aficionados for years to come. Its resilience is also evident in a market perspective where Bordeaux remains one of the star performers in fine wine investment portfolios.

In sum, the 2003 La Mission Haut Brion reflects both its vintage challenges and triumphs—a stalwart example of Bordelais tenacity and flair. As it continues its slow dance in cellars across the globe, each reveal unveils a new facet to enthusiasts eager to chart its evolution. An exemplar vintage wherein art meets ardour on the vinous stage.

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Scores and tasting notes


This is a giant wine with lots of muscular tannins and rich fruit. Full and beautiful, very ‘Cabernet’ with currants and spices in the forefront. Broad shouldered, with notes of fresh mushrooms, pure fruit, souis bois, and a very long, long finish. This shows incredible class for the vintage. Robert de Luxembourg says it reminds him of the 1975 vintage with the powerful tannins. Pull the cork after 2015.

James Suckling -, May 1st 2012


The 2003 La Mission Haut-Brion shows more creme de cassis, plenty of cedar wood, melted licorice and charcoal in a medium to full-bodied wine. It is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. Rustic tannins in the back knock down the ultimate pleasure, and the point score, ever so slightly, but there’s no doubting the complex, perfumey, noble aromatics this wine has managed to attain despite the staggering heat and drought in June, July and August. This has reached full maturity, but should hold nicely for another 7-10 years. Here’s a case where the second wine comes very close in quality to its bigger sibling, possibly because it is showing great complexity and is even more evolved than the Mission Haut-Brion. 2003 was tough in the Pessac-Leognan because of the lighter soils and the enormous heat and drought. Hence, the harvest here started in mid-August, which was historic.

Robert Parker Jr - Wine Advocate #214


Tasted at Bordeaux Index’s “10-Year On” tasting in London. The La Mission ‘03 has a delicate bouquet that takes time to muster energy – eventually offering wild hedgerow and briary notes, a touch of leather and a hint of orange blossom. The palate is medium-bodied with furry tannins. There is certainly good weight and control here with an attractive tertiary finish laced with fennel and white pepper. Perhaps this just has the edge over the Haut-Brion at the moment? Fine. Tasted March 2013.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal May 2013

Vintage performance