The wines of Château La Mission Haut-Brion owe their success to the singularity of their terroir, but also to the savoir-faire of the dedicated professionals who achieved such exceptional results.

The Harvest, the culmination of a whole year’s work

To produce great wines, we need beautiful and good grapes. The grapes are harvested by hand according to their ripeness, then sorted and de-stalked (the stalk is separated from the fruit) leaving only the quintessence, which will determine the greatness of the vintage. The fruit is placed in vats where the temperature will gradually increase and fermentation can begin.

“The greatness of a vintage depends on the optimal
quality of each harvested grape.”

From grapes to wine, a moment of truth in the winery

The grapes harvested and the berries placed in vats, the temperature rises… Now it is time for fermentation to begin. Thanks to technology and precise temperature control, the fermentation is fully controlled. Two weeks later, when the colours, tannins and main aromas have contributed their full potential, it’s time to drain the vats. This is the moment of truth, each vat containing a wine with its own unique personality. 

The blending, a fundamental step

At Domaine Clarence Dillon, parent company of Château La Mission Haut-Brion, we have developed a centuries-old blending culture, a true expertise and signature. The blending tastings are done as a team, with the Cellar Master, the Vineyard Manager, the Technical Director and the General Manager. They bring together samples from the properties; each person tasting the same wines and all comparing their opinions. The first session is always a blind tasting, so as not to be influenced by the origins of the parcels and thereby give full rein to the senses. Twenty or so vats are tasted and thirty or forty blends are tested before the puzzle eventually falls into place. 


Shaping exceptional and unforgettable wines

The best wines are selected for the blend of Château La Mission Haut-Brion red and are matured in barrels for 18 to 20 months. Maturation contributes to wine’s development, gently oxygenates it and smoothens it. The period of maturation is the art of incorporating the barrels’ woodiness into the wine, to ensure that the wood of new barrels never dominates the wine. Every year, the percentage of new barrels is reviewed, according to the vintage’s characteristics and the wine’s profile. The first racking is done three months after the wine has been placed in barrels and is then done every three months or so, using a method called à l’esquive.  It is lengthy and challenging, but a traditional task we perpetuate at the estate, because it is the one that handles the wine with the utmost care. During this procedure, an appraisal of the wine’s quality and the decision to stop racking depends solely upon the person who scrutinizes the wine in the glass, assisted simply by the light of a candle, throughout the racking process. Racking ends as soon as the wine appears cloudy.

A truly passionate team of experts

Jean-Philippe Delmas

Deputy Managing Director – Wines and Estates

Behind this slightly austere title lies a man devoted to his art. Jean-Philippe Delmas, the third generation of his family in charge of producing Domaine Clarence Dillon’s wines, tells a new story every year. A true wine artist, he skillfully utilises the subject matter provided by nature and the work of men and women throughout the seasons, to create all the wines that today have earned Domaine Clarence Dillon its reputation worldwide.

Jean-Philippe Masclef

Technical Director

Two roles, two complementary passions. A scientist and oenologist, he works in tandem with the Cellar Master, like a composer and a librettist, creating the great wine that is coveted by wine lovers all over the world. For Jean-Philippe Masclef, a great wine is one you remember. He and his team focus on a work of perfection, like creating a new opera year after year.


Florence Forgas

Cellar Master 

Born in Talence, Florence Forgas has lived in Bordeaux since she was born. She began her technical studies with a degree in viticulture and oenology, followed by an internship and an early career working in various Bordeaux appellations, from the Entre-deux-Mers to Saint-Emilion. She joined Domaine Clarence Dillon in 2014 and became Cellar Master, working alongside our Technical Director, Jean-Philippe Masclef. In 2021, she furthered her expertise by obtaining the Master’s level National Oenology Diploma.


Pascal Baratié

Vineyard Manager

The gallery of artists would not be complete without this man and his team, taking care of the vines. A true gardener, his job is to enhance the quality of the terroir. His role is to produce the very best grapes, working persistently all year long. Like a luthier, he creates the magnificent instruments that will be used to their full advantage by those mentioned hereabove. A former rugby player, he knows how to bring out the best in his teams.