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Château-La-Mission-Haut-Brion Pessac Léognan 1985

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This wine has good-looking deep color where the ruby disappears into nuances of more gold. The nose is violent, combining liquorice and wild game. In the mouth this tannic complexity is even more noticeable though unable to overcome the lively presence of the pulp of fresh fruit. There is a wonderful concentration of tannin in the mouth. It all seems to be long, complex, unctuous and even silky in the finale with a stretched out note of acidity to give even more zing to the whole. It is a splendid bottle.
Category Red Wine
Country France
Region Bordeaux
Appellation Pessac-Leognan
Brand Château-La-Mission-Haut-Brion
  • ws99

Wine SpectatorIn amazingly good condition, with superb, elegant fruit and plenty of flavor. Medium garnet, brick red in color; crème de cassis and raspberry aromas; light-bodied, with raspberry flavors, silky tannins and a long finish.--La Mission-Haut-Brion vertical.

James Suckling
  • wa92

Wine AdvocateAs this wine sat in the glass aerating, I began having some doubts about whether it merited a low-90s point score. I think it does, but the fact that it deteriorated more quickly than some of its siblings (even those from more challenging vintages) gave me pause. Nevertheless, I have to assume that most people will decant all of these wines (as I did) and consume them within an hour of opening. On that basis, this 1985 is clearly a low-90 point wine. The problem is that for the most part, 1985 does not have that extra level of concentration possessed by the great vintages. However, it offers a softness to go along with the fragility of the wines as most 1985s, including this La Mission-Haut-Brion, are fully mature. A dark plum/garnet color reveals a pinkish lightening at the edge, and the bouquet reveals plenty of smoke, camphor, charcoal, graphite, sweet kirsch and blacker fruit aromas intermixed with meaty, sauteed mushroom, cedar and spicy notes. The lovely aromatics are followed by flavors that do not quite match the intensity of the bouquet, a sign of a fully mature wine. This medium-bodied effort has plenty of glycerin, low acidity and not a trace of tannin. While not terribly generous, it is a soft, round, charming, delicious, very good La Mission, but not a great one. Drink it over the next decade.

Robert Parker, August 30, 2012