Ranking the 90's Bordeaux Vintages

Forgive Me if this topic was done recently.
-What is Your favorite red Bordeaux vintage from the Nineties ?
-And the most avoided years ?

Mine goes :

Best. 1996. Longevity, good tannins, just my kind of ripeness. Left Bank starting to shine so bright, some problems with Right Banks, but still very strong overall.
2. 1990. Overall probably the best, but some are a bit too sweet for My taste, and many are at peak, or past, now.
3. 1998. Great right banks, Graves, and Pauillacs. No wines here I wouldn’t cellar.
4. 1999. The clever ‘modern’ tech, and consulting, yielded many fine wines, only a few messed up with too much extraction, sugar and hot alc.
5. 1995. Mixed bag, many great, many dry.
6. 1994. Strong structure, long lived, not overtly charming, but Poms are pretty fine, and still improving.
7. 1997. Many thin disappointing top wines, and just before the ‘modern’ style/techniques took off.
8. 1993. I never had a memorable Bord. from this ‘sour’ year. -Neither young or old. Even the Petrus was poor.
9. 1992. Not much nice at all. A Petrus 10y ago, was actually better than the '93, not saying much though.
Worst. 1991. No comments.

Regards, Søren.

Pretty weak decade

I agree with 1996 and 1990. You have had better luck with 1999, and I have been luckier with 1995. I went through a case of 1993 Troplong Mondot which I got at auction and enjoyed every one.

For me: 1990, 1996, 1995, 1998… then i guess 1999, and I haven’t consistently had enough of the remaining vintages to judge, but most have seemed weak.



Then who cares.

1 Like
  1. 1990
  2. 1998 Libournais/Graves only
  3. 1996 Medocs only
  4. 1995
  5. 1999
  6. 1994
  7. 1997
  8. 1993
  9. 1992
  10. 1991 (I’ve tasted very few of these though)

Other than few random 99’s, the first 4 years on the list are the only ones I’m continuing to cellar for my taste preferences. 1995 Medocs have been more on the disappointing side for me, as time goes on. Now at age 20+, they seem to be in the same spot as when I was first tasting 75’s in the 90s.

1996LB heavy
1995RB heavy
1998RB heavy
1999Margaux Heavy

Avoid the rest

I haven’t tried a similar amount of wines from these ten vintages. And surely not far enough at all, to be a judge of the total qualities.
A personal ranking will therefore be heavily biased from even a few bad bottles drunk from a non attractive year.

Henry, I haven’t tried enough '93s to find the gems, and after several back to back disappointing bottles, You simply loose trust, and stop getting more.
The good years, will certainly get more attention, as more and more are enjoyed, when successful.


It´s not possible without distinguishing between left and right bank - and Graves is also a seperate matter …

For instance 1996 is only great on the left bank, but NOT on right bank - here 1995 is usually superior.
Other way round in 1998 … !!!

This is why 1990 is the best vintage of the 90’s :slight_smile:

True, Gerhard and Craig. -And I’m a Left-banker. Biased with too much good 1996 Pauillac poured.

Btw. One of the true great Pauillacs is the 1990 Pichon Baron. Beautiful as young, teen, and mature. Just perfect…
So, now I’m considering a split first, between '90 and '96. -The flawless '90 Cheval B also plays a leading role in the decision.


All I know is…95 pauillac’s are of phenomenal quality

And I actually like '97

No argument with '96 and '90 as top two. I’ve had consistently good experiences with 1995 though. I also had a mag of 1993 La Miss HB which way outperformed expectations based on the vintage. It was lovely.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad 1990, can’t say the same for 96. Of course 1990 is also the most expensive of the '90s vintages so I haven’t had too many 1990s. The market certainly judges 1990 best.

Yeah, but we’re all spoiled by the 2000s. 2007 might have been the only really weak year in the entire decade. Has there ever been a better Bordeaux decade than the 2000s?

If you consider prices, all of them.

I repeat: 1995 and 1998 are definitely superior to 1996 on RIGHT BANK,
the ´96s (right) can be a bit dry and short …

(that leaves 1990 as the overall best …)

1990 was NOT that expensive en primeur! It was cheaper than 1989, and 1996 (and 1997, which was almost the same price first tranche) were more expensive …
Sure now it´s different …

I think that is the problem when you start ranking vintages. Only a fraction of the time Right and Left Bank are of similar quality, and therefore it makes absolutely no sense to try and rank Bordeaux vintages as a whole. I think most vintage charts I have seen have divided the ranking into 2, and some even grade by village. Trying to rank them together is like asking which are the best vintages for Burgundy AND the Rhone.

absolutely agree, that´s why I didn´t contribute a ranking of myself here …

I even think that 1991 - although a complete disaster on the right bank - is slightly better than 1992 on left bank …
1998 is great on right bank, but uneven in the Medoc …