1989 Château Haut-Brion - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (1/24/2016)
Translucent crimson. Super-powerful nose that kicks off with pure, rich cassis and a light floral touch. After some aeration, it started to show cigar and graphite and–only after a decent wait–the classic Graves smoky-barbecue character. At its peak it complemented all of this with a tarry, bitter-herb note. The wine was also exceptional in the mouth, simultaneously lightweight and mouth-filling, with extremely well-integrated tannins that provided structure without creating any astringency. It meticulously hit every spot on the palate and delivered an almost unreal length–you couldn’t get the taste out of your mouth even if you tried.
This is drinking absolutely great right now–it’s wide-open, intense, and accessible. But I still think it’s showing only a fraction of the complexity it’s capable of: I’ve had plenty of older vintages of HB and LMHB that I’ve liked nearly as much as this one despite their lesser pedigree and stuffing, probably just because I seem to prefer my Pessac further along in its evolution. As hard as it is to resist drinking this now, I expect those who manage to be patient will be amply rewarded. My score reflects exclusively current-drinking pleasure–I presume this will reach towards the top of the scale after another 10-15 years in the cellar, but I’ll need to taste it in 2030 or so to be sure. The wine did start to deteriorate after around 2.5 hours of air–I don’t know how much of a cause for concern that should be. (94 pts.)
Posted from CellarTracker
Like my ill-fated serving of 1964 Monfortino, whose preparation and treatment was roundly (and probably rightly) criticized by fellow board members, this was a 75-ml pour served by Coravin at 67 Pall Mall in London for $170 (plus an automatically included 12.5% service charge, so almost $200 all-in). In this case, however, it came out fresh as a whistle and absolutely delicious. I think it was the first pour from this bottle.