Once a rival of the adjacent Château Haut-Brion, La Mission has actually shared ownership with its neighbor since 1983. While just a narrow suburban street divides the two properties -- both are located within the city limits of Bordeaux -- La Mission's wines maintain their distinctive wilder identity: more powerful and more tannic, often displaying a meaty, truffley character with extended time in bottle. It may be that the wine has absorbed some of the estate's own unique history: La Mission was bequeathed to the Roman Catholic Church in 1664, seized by the Republic during the French Revolution, and wound up in the hands of an American from New Orleans some 30 years later.
Today, the Dillon family owns Château La Mission Haut-Brion. Its vineyard covers 30 hectares in Pessac Leognan, 27 of which are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and 3 with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The newly constructed tasting room and cellars here, which opened in 2007, are quite impressive. There's a high-quality second wine too, La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion.