1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron- France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (5/20/2010)
Oh sheesh, wow, I mean just WOW. It’s funny, sometimes I flip over Bordeaux, and sometimes I find it a little boring. I guess it’s a seasonal thing. This week Eric Asimov wrote a blog talking about the demise of Bordeaux among younger wine lovers. I was worried. Is my taste shifting away? Was he writing about me?
Time to open a fun bottle as a test. Well as it turns out, no fear, I love the stuff. The 1990 Pichon Baron is a crazy, sexy, beast of a wine. Coffee, smoke, tobacco and a bare whiff of banryard just explode from the glass. The palate is equally exotic, fabulously vibrant, quite rich in the spirit of 1990, but screaming of tobacco, soil, minerals and rocks with sweet fruit oozing between. Man oh man, how is this wine so good? I mean this is is just really, really, REALLY good Bordeaux.
I didn’t exactly hit it with a textbook food match either: seared rare Ahi, sauteed Copper River Sockeye, truffled mashed Yukon gold, and sauteed fiddleheads and morels. This wine was happiest with the mash and Ahi, but it easily had enough acid and vibrancy to still work with the other components. (96 pts.)
Maybe you’re not young enough to be part of the group E.A. is talking about? All joking aside, it sounds like it was a fantastic wine. My feeling is that the average young wine “enthusiast” just doesn’t have the financial means to explore bordeaux anymore.
Eric, you are the man. I would never think to drink a 90 PB on a Thursday night but you do. It must be in a real sweet spot right now, the one I had with Brian and Dan a couple months back was that good.
JMunro, I’m only 40. That’s young, right??? I am certainly sad that the First Growths are now out of reach of pretty much all mere mortals. As recently as 2003 I bought whole cases of several firsts. I am not sure if I will ever open them. Thank goodness for some of the 2nd’s and 3rd’s and overperformers like Sociando MAllet and Reignac. There is a lot of great Bordeaux, but it does scream for food.
Steve, we had at bottle of this (from the same batch) with French to at Ed’s – the night you drew on my head you SOB. This one was a notch above that one but quite similar. BTW, I just finished two days of really successful usability testing on GrapeStories Mobile and was feeling a little celebratory.
Thanks for the note Eric - you certainly have been drinking well!
Pichon Baron has really catapulted to near the top of my Bordeaux list at the moment - the consistency is quite incredible, and when aged, they can be so spectacular. Some of the recent bottles that I have had - 1961, 2000 and 2001 - have really captured the imagination. And that is saying a lot for a Burgundy drinker who normally likes the softer stylings of Ducru-Beaucaillou, Margaux and Pichon-Lalande!
Eric, Yes. We did 10 1990 Left Bank wines. Biggest surprise was that both the Gruaud and Montrose were clean bottles. The Montrose was great. I think the lack of funk took away from the Gruaud. Haut Brion and LLC were also up there but for my palate I really loved the Pichon Baron and Lynch.
Nice showing on the 1990 Lynch. I love that wine but have always preferred the 89 to the 90 – more complexity. The 1990 is a bit of a monolithic wall. Sounds like your bottle had started to come into its own. Yum, I am a huge fan of the 1990 Bordeaux in general, just a really sweet spot (no pun intended) of ripeness yet without going too far. Since I am relatively recent to this, I always wonder what the 1990’s were like in their youth and how they compared to 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2009.
I also get into those ‘funks’ about wine, i.e. boredom…and interestingly it was the 2000 PB that re-ignited me in Bordeaux couple months ago.
For me, I just keep rotating wine regions and it keeps me generally excited about wine.
Pichon Baron is probably my favorite Bordeaux, and the 1990 is a killer. It’s still young and on the upward side of life, even after 20 years. I think I still have 6 bottles in the cellar, which I’m parceling out slowly.
BTW, the 1959 Pichon Baron is still alive and tasty. It requires a slow oxygenation (about 5 hours before service) and it comes together really well.