La Mission-Haut-Brion's vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 48%, Merlot 45%, Cabernet Franc 7%) lie on a large (up to 18 metres deep in places) gravel bank interspersed with clay. The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats and then matured in oak barriques (100% new) for 18 months. The wines of La Mission Haut Brion are rich, oaky and powerful and need at least 10 years of bottle ageing before they should be broached.
The 1955 was A happy year. Vineyards were particularly beautiful throughout the region. Ideal harvest conditions and the wines were a success everywhere.
The land that makes up the Château La Mission Haut-Brion estate was donated in 1664 to the congregation of the Lazarites or Prêcheurs de la Mission, established by Saint Vincent de Paul. Appropriated by the government during the Revolution, it was sold in 1792. There were many changes in ownership, until the Woltner family bought the estate in 1919. That family, especially Henri Woltner, built the reputation upon which the wine still stands. The family retained ownership until 1983, when the estate was purchased by its famous neighbour, Château Haut-Brion.
La Mission Haut-Brion had been Haut-Brion’s only serious competitor for the title of the best wine in Graves. Many wine-lovers around the world feared that the characteristic differences between these two neighbouring wines would fade once they were produced by the same winemaker, the brilliant Jean-Bernard Delmas. Luckily they need not have feared, as both wines still number among the best in the world, but are separate and individual.