This is undisputably the wine of the vintage, a year that was clearly over-exposed and over-rated, largely because it was better than the four vintages that preceded it. However, it was not terribly exciting in the final analysis. The 1975 La Mission-Haut-Brion, which consistently received perfect scores in its first thirty years of life, remains a vibrant, vital wine. While there are some still gorgeous 1975s (i.e., Petrus, l’Evangile, Trotanoy, Lafleur, and Haut-Brion) that came on much later in life, La Mission possesses enough evidence of greatness to stand alone as the finest 1975. From a cool year with a tiny crop, most 1975s are tannic, dense and out of balance. La Mission’s extraordinary terroir, with its well-drained, gravelly soils fared unbelievably well, and the 1975 was a blockbuster for its first 20-30 years of life. While much of the fat has faded away, the wine still possesses a vitality and vigor that belies its 37 years of age. The color is a dark garnet with just a touch of lightening at the rim. Notes of camphor, wood charcoal, black fruits, plums, cedar, damp earth, truffles, asphalt and smoke result in a fabulous set of aromatics that are nothing short of compelling. Based on the aromatics alone, this offering would merit a perfect score, but some of the nasty tannins in this vintage are beginning to make their presence known on the palate. Nevertheless, this is a freak for the year – very concentrated, dense and remarkably youthful. It will undoubtedly provide extraordinary drinking for another 30-50 years. Nothing about this wine indicates it can’t keep going, although its one-time perfection has faded ever so slightly. This amazing effort is a truly profound wine in another disastrous vintage in Bordeaux!
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