Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
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The vineyards of Château La Mission Haut-Brion have a long history dating back at least 500 years. Its earliest known history was as the Arregedhuys parcel owned by the Roustaing family. It was sold to Amaud de Lestonnac in 1540. Related by marriage to the prominent Jean de Pontac, Lestonanac was the first person to truly recognize the potential the land had for making superlative Graves wines, and dedicated the entire land to vineyards.
The land remained a hereditary possession of the Lestonnac family for over a century before it was handed over a religious order called the Lazarites in 1682. It was during this period that the land first became known as La Mission Haut-Brion, and it was under the care of the Lazarites that their Burgundy wines began to attract the attention of important people. Maréchal Louis Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu, governor of the Province of Guyenne famously preferred the wine of La Mission Haut-Brion, as did his successor, maréchal Philippe de Noailles, duc de Mouchy.
When the French Revolution overthrew the government and confiscated the property of the Church, La Mission Haut-Brion was sold at auction to Martial-Victor Vaillant for the impressive sum of 302,000 livres – a clear indication of the quality of wine produced. After being neglected by a disinterested owner, it was sold again in 1821 to Célestin Chiapella, who worked to restore the property and make further improvements. The Chiapella family sold it in 1884, and it changed hands several times before being purchased by Frédéric Otto Woltner in 1919 as one of the most respected wines in the region.
Today, Château La Mission Haut-Brion has over 50 acres of vineyard. The grape distribution is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. They produce three wines. Their grand vin legacy wine La Mission Haut-Brion produces 6,000 cases or more a year. Since 1991, they have produced a second wine from their younger vines, La Chapelle de la Mission, and they also produce the dry white Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc.
A wine as distinct and historically important as Château La Mission Haut-Brion naturally has a number of superior vintages. There are few wines that manage to earn 100 points, but La Mission Haut-Brion has succeeded no less than seven times, with superlative vintages in 1955, 1959, 1982, 1989, 2000, 2005 and 2009 rivaling even Haut-Brion in quality.
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