The 2002 La Mission Haut-Brion has never endeared itself to this writer. It has a conservative, earthy bouquet displaying touches of autumn bonfire and sous-bois; there is a gap where the fruit should be. The palate is medium-bodied with a dry entry, then starts to improve, tobacco and tea leaves infusing the slightly rustic black fruit on the somewhat austere finish. It’s not a terrible wine at all, but it pales against other vintages.
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2028
Robert Parker 89
This angularly-styled La Mission possesses hard tannin that may or may not dissipate over time. It exhibits a dark ruby color in addition to a sweet perfume of dusty, loamy soil notes interwoven with notions of white flowers, blueberries, black currants, and hints of toasty oak in the background. Medium-bodied and austere, it requires 2-4 years of bottle age, and should keep for 12-15.
Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020