TN: 1989 / 1990 Bordeaux, including all 3x 1990 Leoville wines

1989 / 1990 BORDEAUX DINNER - Jade Palace, Forum Galleria, Singapore (17/7/2020)

First wine dinner post COVID lockdown - wines were drinking really nicely

  • 2009 Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
    Very nice. This was drinking fairly well for a youngish Criots-Batard. The nose had a slightly sweet, ripe 2009 character to it, with notes of red apples rimmed with tropical character, and then light notes of butter and cream, and then a little trace of minerality at the sides. Really attractive. The palate was quite surprisingly ready for Grand Cru Burg barely past its first decade, with a soft creamy openness showing in its lovely flavours of red apples and tropical fruit, these infused with a nice bit of spice, and then a lovely spine of mineral and some sweet lemon acidity that pulled the wine into a nice full finish. A bit on the sweet, ripe side given the vintage, but this was really yummy, with all the depth and balance you would want in a good Grand Cru. Good stuff. (93 pts.)
  • 2004 Veuve Fourny & Fils Champagne Premier Cru Cuvée du Clos Notre Dame - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
    Unusual, but quite yummy. The nose had treacle and caramel apples and brioche. There was a sweetness on the palate to, with cider flavours along with a hint of roasted gingko nuts. It had a nice and creamy mousse along with a decent bit of acidity. All in, simple and a touch on the sweet side, but quite yummy. (91 pts.)


  • 1982 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    What a lovely, gentle, mature wine. Pure Ducru in its understated finesse. The nose had lovely drifts of smoked tea, loamy earth, and gentle notes of sweet cassis and herb. Such a gentle, lovely nose. The palate was just absolutely lovely too. Juicy, bright, succulent, with gentle yet delicious flavours of sweet cassis and blackberries, and then notes of earth, spice and tobacco herbs, all curling away into a quiet, yet insistent finish. So beautifully integrated, so wonderfully balanced, and such purity and transparency to it - this was elegance in a bottle. A wonderful example of Ducru, drinking at absolute peak. (94 pts.)


  • 1990 Château Léoville Las Cases - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Absolutely superb. More open than the last bottle we had, maybe a touch less depth, but boy this was good. What a lovely nose it had, with deep notes of cassis, loamy earth, tobacco spice, a touch minerality. Almost a Pauillac nose I thought. It was on the palate where this really shone though. Such power, and yet such grace - this was the epitome of a great Las Cases for me, with deep, deep draws of juicy cassis, plums and black cherries all beautifully integrated and perfectly balanced, and with a lovely seasoning of earth, spice and tobacco smoke. A wine of strength. Yet it was also such a pure, transparent showing - its great depth and power was cloaked with a beautifully elegance, so filigreed tannins and wonderfully judged acidity wrapped the whole mouthful in a wonderful, noble structure. Great long finish too, with little blush of fragrant spice ringing around a core of dark fruit. So good, but with its best years decades ahead of it yet. (96 pts.)
  • 1990 Château Léoville Poyferré - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    How lovely. Maybe a bit tighter than the 1990 Leoville Barton and Leoville Las Cases in the same flight, but this was lovely in its own right. The nose was so nice - with lovely wafts of cassis, dark cherries and lovely fragrant spices - like cardamom, fennel and cloves - and then gentle notes of tobacco and tea leaves. So nice. The palate was a treat too, with velvet tannins and subtle acidity forming an elegant frame for deep flavours of sweet cassis, black cherries and plums, these again seasoned with lovely dashes of dried herb and sweet fragrant spice drifting away into a long, succulent finish. Absolutely delicious, especially with a roasted lamb shoulder. Wow. (95 pts.)
  • 1990 Château Léoville Barton - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Delicious. This had a lovely nose of cassis, loamy earth and savoury tobacco spice, maybe even a drift of florals. A really deep and lovely bouquet. The palate was perhaps a couple of steps behind, but still delicious in its own right, with juicy orangey acidity and fine tannins forming a lovely backdrop for pure transparent flavours of cassis and black plums. So juicy and succulent, and absolutely perfectly balanced. Good finish too, with a lovely trail of gentle fruit and tobacco spice. Such a good wine - balanced, pure, yummy, yet understated. This was a classic Barton, drinking beautifully now, but this was another wine still with its best years still ahead of it. (94 pts.)


  • 1989 Château Palmer - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Gorgeous. The nose was wonderful, with a beautiful curl of cigar smoke, gentle earth notes, and then sweet cassis, red berries and just a hint of florals. Wow. This smelt incredible. The palate was absolutely beautiful too, with silky tannins and fine acidity draped over a wonderfully crystalline core of dark berries, cherries and juicy plums, these infused with gentle little drifts of spice and tobacco herb. Soft, gentle, velvety, just wrapping the palate in a beautifully elegant swath of Margaux goodness. So very delicious. This was such a wonderful charmer - Palmer at its best, and quite at peak. (95 pts.)
  • 1989 Château La Fleur-Pétrus - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    So attractive. This was a nicely mature Pomerol, drinking at a charming peak. It had a quietly lovely nose, with gentle notes of plums, earth, dark chocolate sprinkled with a bit of Christmas spice. The palate was soft and gentle, with velvety tannins and gentle acidity wrapped around a gentle core of black cherries and plums, these touched with a lovely bit of spice and dried flowers. There was again some dark chocolate accents as the wine rounded the corner into a nicely lengthy finish, with just a hint of truffle at the end. Not quite as complete as the other wines on show tonight, but this was very good indeed. (93 pts.)


  • 1989 Château Climens - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
    Absolutely lovely. The nose was classic Climens, with little wafts of honey, almonds, and then dried apricots and candied apples, all these edged with a touch of ferrous mineral. The palate was lovely. Warm, honeyed and delicious, with reams of dried apricot and sweet red apples seasoned with a gentle infusion of spice. This was beautifully balanced and integrated, with a lovely roundness and deliciousness to it, yet it was still always lithe and focused. Great stuff. The warm botrytis influenced 1989 vintage really spoke through this, as did the freshness of the Barsac terroir - a delicious wine, drinking so well now. (94 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Triple Leoville is always a fun theme. That Las Cases is a beauty indeed.

Great notes, thanks for sharing! The ‘90 LLC is one of my absolute favorites for current consumption!

It’s a rare LLC, like 1985, that has drunk well for a long time. I like 1990 Barton as well but it has been outclassed by the LLC the couple of times I’ve had them together. I most recently had 1990 LB against younger vintages of LB (I think 96, 98, 99, and 03) and it was a winner.

How wonderful to get to try all '90 Leoville at the same time! So glad they showed so well.

Epic evening.

First time in awhile we had a Bordeaux dominated dinner, and this was really nice indeed

The 1990 LLC.

Is that the best LLC in that decade or what?

Thanks Paul for the in depth insight on these. I’m trying to pick out which chateau to try (and lay down) in Bordeaux and detailed side-by-sides like this are great.

You must have a perfect cellar, had the 1982 Ducru now at least 5 years ago and it was already past peak…

Hey Paul, thanks for the great notes. The 1990 LLC sounds lovely, we will be having it at a wine dinner soon (Covid permitting). What do you recommend for prep / decant time?

cheers Brodie

Friend brought an ex-Chateau bottle. Pristine and drinking really well.

The gentleman who brought the LLC opened it at noon and poured a tiny bit out to taste before sticking the cork back in and letting it stand / slow-o until dinner service at 7pm. Seemed to work well.

Ummmm, Keith…u do not like Las Cases.