Mission Haut-Brion, Château La

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Mission Haut-Brion, Château La, important graves wine estate now under the same ownership as its long-standing rival Ch haut-brion.

Four wines are now produced here: Ch La Mission Haut-Brion red and white (the latter known as Ch Laville Haut-Brion until 2009), the red second wine La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion, and a second white produced in common with Ch haut-brion over the road, under the same ownership.

La Mission’s winemaking history is as old as its neighbour’s. In the 16th century, Arnaud de Lestonnac, brother-in-law of Jean de Pontac (founding father of Ch Haut-Brion) was already producing wine at la Mission. Then, all through the 18th century, the Pères Lazaristes worked to restore the property to its rightful worth. The property became well known in part thanks to the patronage of the Maréchal de Richelieu. The property was revitalized by the Woltner family, who acquired it in 1919 and in many subsequent vintages managed to make even more concentrated, long-lived wines than their first growth neighbour, typically fermented at much lower temperatures than Ch Haut-Brion. In 1983, however, La Mission was sold to the Dillons, so that both these famous estates, the flagships of the newer pessac-léognan appellation (although much of La Mission is in fact in the Bordeaux suburb of Talence rather than Pessac), are run, retaining their quite distinct premises and characters, by the same team. La Mission’s red wine vines are planted on 26 ha/64 acres of vineyard and produce about 5,500 cases of the red grand vin. White wine grapes are planted on 3.6 ha/8 acres, planted with slightly more Sémillon grapes than Sauvignon to produce approximately 600 cases.