The 2004 La Mission Haut-Brion is the first vintage in a while that transcends the growing season. It shows a deep garnet core with faint bricking at the rim. The very pleasant tertiary nose displays touches of pitted black olives and bell peppers; you can immediately tell that it does not derive from a warm growing season. The medium-bodied palate delivers fine-grained tannins, well-judged acidity and black fruit tinged with a light marine/seaweed influence toward the no-frills finish. It does its job, does it well, then leaves. This is drinking well now, and though I cannot foresee any advantages in long-term cellaring, it should hold up well for the next 12-15 years. Tasted at a private dinner in Bordeaux.

Neal Martin - Vinous Media (93)