TN: 1989 Château Haut-Brion (France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan)

  • 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.

Thanks for the note, I left with a single bottle of this, will wait for a while.

This one may take good 50 years to match the '45 vintage, if at all.

I love this wine but every time that we taste it next to the 1990 version we like the 90 better. Both of them will last for ages and luckily we are holding 3 pairs to hopefully sip together every 10 years.

Rough choice, eh? Both such gorgeous wines, I give the nod to '89.

Both 1990 Haut Brion and LMHB are better wines today as their 89 counterparts IMO. The 89 version will last longer but if they are truly better remains to be seen. But I have to say that I had a bottle of 1989 LMHB when the wine was 10 years old that blew me away. This particular bottle was completely open and I stopped eating while being in a Michelin starred Restaurant because the wine was so overwhelmingly good.

I will forever regret not buying this wine, twice, when offered 6-12 bottles in the past.

A great wine, the ’89 HB, and currently one of my lifetime tops. The ’89 LMHB is very, very good, but the HB wins, imho. Also, for my taste, both HB and LMHB ‘89s win over their respective 1990 versions.

When I was ready to buy my first “real” bottle of wine, I struggled between the '89 Lafite and this wine. I ended up with the Lafite, I still have it.

The Bahans Haut Brion 89 is no slouch either. It is ridiculously good for the tariff. We’ve had it blind in the same flight with LMHB 89 and HB 89 and the wines are really close in quality.