Favorite 1990 Bordeaux?

Hey everyone, this is my first post on this forum, so here goes…

My birthday is coming up and I want to buy a bottle to celebrate and share with my friend who got me interested in wine a few years ago. I’m a big Bordeaux fan, it was how I entered the world of wine, and as luck would have it I was born in a good year for Bordeaux - 1990.

This forum has been a great resource as I’ve read through different folks’ tasting notes on various 1990 bottles they’ve tried. I’ve read very positive things about 1990 Haut Brion, LMHB, Margaux, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Leoville las Cases, Montrose, Cos, Sociano Mallet, and a few more. I have a mild preference for left bank over right and finesse over power, but it’s tough to emphasize how mild that preference is when it comes down to it…delicious wine comes in all stripes. Going back through my notes, I’ve tasted more than 200 bottles of Bordeaux over the past few years but I’ve only had a 1990 only once(!), a Chateau Rouget, and I’m excited to add to the list.

So…if you had to pick one (or two), what’s your favorite 1990 Bordeaux? I’m hoping to buy a bottle to drink within the next month or two, and maybe even buy another bottle (or more) to store for future birthdays. Any and all insight and advice is much appreciated! [cheers.gif]

If it is in your budget range go for Margaux. Your other mentions are also great alternatives with the exception of PLL.


1990 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac - SKU 950410 299.00

1990 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac - SKU 950532 199.00

Best wishes!

I’ve been fortunate to drink a fair amount of 1990 Montrose, Pichon Baron, and Lynch Bages. All are outstanding. My favorites would be in that same order.

The Lynch Bages is awesome, I agree! On the down side, it seems to have suffered more price inflation.

Lynch Bages: 1990 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac - SKU 950528

Montrose: 1990 Montrose, St-Estèphe - SKU 950283

Latour, Pichon Baron

I would second Lynch Bages as a great choice. Added advantage that it’s more “ready” than Latour and LLC.

Haut Brion
Las Cases

You’ve no doubt realized that this isn’t a once-and-done event. Your birth-year Bordeaux options will be with you for many years. When you find good provenance and the opportunity to lay down four, eight, twelve bottles, take it. You’ll never regret it.

Unless money is no object, not every birthday demands a birth-year First Growth. There are some nice '90s out there at less than ridiculous money.

One nice option that hasn’t been mentioned yet is La Conseillante, which might be a good fit with the style you say you prefer. Another would be Angelus, but I haven’t paid attention to any pricing on that lately.

Usually I have to wish a belated birthday, but in this case, I can get in early…Happy Birthday, in advance. Report back, please.

(Maybe this goes without saying, but 1990 didn’t suck in Sauternes, either…)

cracked a Leoville Barton about a month ago, based on your stated preferences it is in your wheelhouse, needs a couple of hours in a decanter

Cheval Blanc

Cheval Blanc by a lot.
Angelus is also really excellent & not quite as dear ($)

Unlike the better left banks, both are completely resolved & ready

If you are thinking First Growth (or equivalent) then go for it. Margaux may be my favorite. Many amazing wines there.

Outside of that price range I’d point you to Leoville Poyferre. I’d take that over Lynch, Pichon Baron or other similarly priced wines (although both of those are wonderful).

But it’s a hard vintage to go wrong with (I’m looking at you Lalande).

I third Chevalier Blanc. Awesome wine.

Have drunk it seven times, an incredible value, with substantial future longevity.

Also, a real value, don’t miss it!


St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
Ownership-16.8 acres, 2,500 cases produced
Average age of vines, forty five years
70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

Beausejour is situated just outside the old ramparts of St. Emilion. The vineyard is located on the western edge of the limestone plateau of St. Emilion. This is a microscopic estate of 16.8 acres. Much of their wine is sold direct to private customers. With the small production this means that little is seen of this wine in the world market, making it today the least known of the premiers grands crus.

Beausejour is managed by Jean-Michel Dubos. The vineyard, adjacent to the tiny church of St. Martin, has been owned by the same family since the original vineyard was divided in 1869. It is planted in a mixture of calcareous clay and limestone soil. Dubos’ decision to harvest later and make a stricter selection have undoubtedly contributed to the wine’s greater richness and stature over recent years.

1990-The red wines were all decanted about three to four hours in advance. All showed well, although the wine that put the 1990s in perspective was the perfect 1982 Lafleur. It has another gear, a level of concentration and complexity that transcends almost any wine I could possibly think of, with perhaps the one exception being the 1990 Beauséjour-Duffau. That great one hit wonder was still the youngest wine in the tasting, but showed incredible raspberry and blueberry notes along with crushed rock and spring flowers. To reiterate, the 1990 Beauséjour-Duffau continues to live up to its monumental status and is certainly one of the wines I treasure the most in my cellar, even though I will probably end up consuming most of it before it ever hits full maturity. This wine seems to need at least another five to ten years, although why wait (particularly when you’re in your sixties, because who knows what fate holds for you)? Drink: 2020 to 2040. Last tasted, 10/11. Rating, 100.

1990 Cheval Blanc St.-Emilion 96
1990 Beauséjour-Duffau St.-Emilion 100
1990 Angélus St.-Emilion 95+
1990 Lafleur Pomerol 94+
1982 Lafleur Pomerol 98


The 1990 Beauséjour-Duffau was denser as well as more concentrated and tannic, revealing a liqueur of minerality along with blue and black fruits and massive concentration. It appears to be 5 to 8 years away from prime time drinking.


The youngest tasting wine of this flight was the 1990 Beauséjour-Duffau. This infamous one hit wonder is a monumental titan that has not been equaled since, although the 2009 may come close. The extraordinary 1990 reveals lots of crushed rock notes (no doubt from the pure limestone soils) as well as unbelievably dark black raspberry and blackberry fruit interwoven with a hint of violets, but no noticeable oak. This full bodied St.-Emilion tastes like an eight to ten year old rather than a twenty year old wine. A brilliant effort, it is one of the greatest young Bordeaux I have ever tasted, with the emphasis on the word “young.” Drink: 2020 to 2040. Last tasted, 5/10. Rating 100.

One of the most singular Bordeaux I have ever tasted, it verges on being port like, but it pulls back because of the extraordinary minerality and laser like focus. The wine is massively concentrated, still black purple hued to the rim, and offers a nose of incense, blackberries, blueberry liqueur, acacia flowers and forest floor. It reveals low acidity and high tannins, which are largely concealed by the sheer concentration and lavish glycerin the wine possesses. Aging at a glacial pace, it is approachable, but it will not hit its peak until 2020; it should last for twenty years thereafter. Release price: ($1200.00/case) Drink: 2020 to 2040. Last tasted, 6/09. Rating 100.

I have had the 1990 Beausejour two dozen times since bottling. I believe this wine may, in 15 to 20 years, be considered to be one of the greatest wines made this century. It is in a league with such legends as the 1961 Latour a Pomerol. Beausejour’s 1990 has always been the most concentrated wine of the 1990 Vintage. The color remains an opaque murky purple. The nose offers up fabulously intense aromas of black fruits (plums, cherries and currants), along with smoke, a roasted herb, nut component and a compelling minerality. The wine is fabulously concentrated, with outstanding purity, and a nearly unprecedented combination of richness, complexity, and overall balance and harmony. What makes this effort so intriguing is that as good as Beausejour-Duffau can be, I know of no vintage of this estate’s wine that has come remotely close to this level of quality. In several blind tastings, I have mistaken this wine for either the 1989 or 1990 Petrus! However, the 1990 Beausejour is even more concentrated than those two prodigious efforts. It should be at its best between 2000 to 2030+. Last tasted, 1/03. Rating 100.

Cheval Blanc

Many great choices mentioned, but the two that have blown me away are 1990 Latour and Margaux. Both are benchmarks for me.

Montrose is one of the best values,Petrus is the best wine, Beausejour Duffau is great,but think I like the silkiness of the Montrose better. Lafleur,Latour, Troplong, Le Pin,Margaux ,Haut Brion,Lynch ,La Miss,Baron,Barton are all worth drinking.
and Yquem

The good news is that you have lots to consider, so I’m going to list a number of options:

Margaux would probably be my top pick, but you can’t go wrong with Latour, Haut-Brion, La Mission, Beauséjour, Lafleur, and Cheval Blanc. Slightly less costly are Lynch-Bages, Palmer (underrated, in my opinion), Montrose, Pichon Baron, Las Cases, Angélus, Clinet, and l’Eglise Clinet. A couple of interesting options would be Rauzan-Ségla, Gruaud Larose, Léoville Barton, Canon-la-Gaffelière, Figeac, and Gazin.

Hope I didn’t confuse you with so many choices! But all things being equal, I’d go for the Margaux.