TN: 1989 Chateau Olivier, Pessac Leognan

Popped for my Pops on this Father’s Day, a wine connecting us back to the early '90s when I started experimenting with Bordeaux. I warmly remember a Thanksgiving Day dinner with my family with a range of California Cabs, and to mix things up, I brought a 1990 La Louviere and this '89 Chateau Olivier. The Bordeaux, young as they were, carried the day. The '89 Olivier thereafter became my first case purchase ever, of anything, a 6-bottle case of mags. The last mag was consumed about 10 years ago. This wine has always shown well, even young. So when my local store uncovered some cases of Olivier and La Louviere in their cold storage, I jumped, the coincidence too powerful. Neal and Jay recently buying some La Louv as well stirred me up more.

The Olivier is just a perfect, elegant, mature, classic claret. Beautifully understated, impeccably balanced. Lovely muskiness, classic Bordeaux perfume, with some earth, dry barn and ripe red fruits. Soft red fruits on the palate, with dry underbrush, smoke and ripe tobacco. Silky, tannins resolved, soft warm finish. At its apogee. I wonder whether we will see the likes of these classic clarets with 12.5% alcohol in the future.
(91 pts.)

Indeed. Cheers and happy fathers day.


Popped another one last night, and damn this wine is drinking even better in its second night. Such a throw-back to classic, medium weight Bordeaux. Love the archetype Graves perfume of earth, smoke and red fruits. Silky palate. Love it.

So a question, how are current releases of this wine drinking? This wine in my beloved 2014 vintage is cheap, sub-$35. Leve scored it an 88 so I should love it! :slight_smile:. Inflation adjusted, and 2014 is cheaper than what I paid for the 1989 when I bought a bunch of it and 1990 La Louviere in late 1992 after I passed the Bar and had a real job. Olivier was $20 and La Louviere was $25. One remembers these things. These two wines being part of the core of my budding wine passion at that time, along with 1989 Pichon Baron, 1990 Lynch Bages, and hold on to your horses, 1991 Caymus.

Robert: Would you believe it was also an 89 Olivier that helped take my infatuation with wine to another level? Many years ago a very thoughtful guest brought it to a party I was hosting. Though a wine newbie at the time, I did know that 89 was supposed to be a great bdx year. I still remember him handing me the bottle and telling me he got it from Chambers Street Wines (NYC). Needless to say, it was terrific. My recollection was much as you described. I haven’t seen it much subsequently, though I do have 1/2 case of 05 in storage.


FWIW, the wines are much better today. The 16 is a beauty, getting a nice upgrade in score from me. I’ll probably have the in-bottle notes up later this week.

I saw your note on the 2015, sounds solid as well. I found some in 375. Yay.

Oops, typo


16 is better and it is a wine you will like, even though it’s a very nice wine neener

WS gave the 89 Olivier 95 points I think. The greatest QPR in Bordeaux around that time. I drank mine within a year. Oops. IMO WS liked Davis School wines, leaner, higher acid, perfectly balanced. Parker did not, found them high toned and rarely above 91 points, favoring richer, sexier, lower acid wines, with more explosion on the nose… Starting maybe 5 years ago I found the Davis School style of wine has aged very very well, like a good red Burgundy. Your Olivier note to me describes that perfectly. The Parker wines? I very recently opened up a bunch of 1998 high Parker score Australian shirazes and they had toned down but the lower acidity ones seemed indistinct and unexciting in flavor and structure, the excitement had come from that youthful explosiveness which was gone. Still good to drink. The real risk with those older Parker wines is whether they have imbalanced alcohol.

I ended up with maybe six bottles – super inexpensive at the time (under $25). Liked it when I’ve tried it and I think I have one or two bottles left.

Thanks so much for this note! Time to dig out a bottle.