The tasting note: Haut-Brion vs La-Mission-Haut-Brion 2001


By Aymeric de Clouet

Originally written in French

A quick lunch with my father: Hare à la Royale with Haut-Brion and Mission-Haut-Brion 2001.

Unfortunately, I had a 2.30pm appointment which forced me to stay only one hour and a half at this delicious lunch, but still the wines were very interesting to taste together. Actually it was my third Mission 2001 and my first Haut-Brion in this particular vintage.

The story of Mission vs Haut-Brion is certainly one of the most interesting rivalry between two estates in the post-war era. Everyone has an opinion on them, in fact I sincerely believe that both Châteaux had the highest standards in Bordeaux for 40 years.

Unfortunately, Haut-Brion took over Mission-Haut-Brion in 1983, and since then it may be correct to assume that Mission-Haut-Brion has been neglected on purpose. Some great vintages like 1986 cannot hide that it has become substandard in comparison. It is only with the new management (in the years 2000s) that Mission has been brought back to its highest! I would exclude the white version from this analysis, I have always preferred Laville-Haut-Brion to Haut-Brion, due to the grape varieties.

Anyway, 2001 is not the first vintage of this new era. Haut-Brion is fantastic, a real great wine on the nose and the palate, while Mission is a bit like an averaged wine, surprisingly. It is better in the mouth, but nothing fancy. Haut-Brion can be drunk now, but will be better in 5 to 10 years. Mission, frankly, I wonder. What a sad story. I will soon have the opportunity to try a real jewel : Les Carmes-Haut-Brion 2001, a very small château in the same area, not in the same price range, and last time I checked, excellent. I will tell you more on 2001 Pessacs!