|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan|
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A spectacular wine that only goes from strength to strength, and which ranks among the pinnacles of my birth year vintage, the 1989 Haut-Brion wafts from the glass with a rich bouquet of blackberries, blackcurrants, cigar wrapper, loamy soil, black truffle, burning embers and vine smoke. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it's sumptuous and dramatic, with huge reserves of fruit that are complemented by carnal, savory nuances and framed by melting tannins and ripe acids. Concluding with a long, resonant finish, the only criticism one can make is that a 750-milliliter bottle simply isn't enough. 2009 - 2059
A legendary wine, and one that I have only tried twice in my life (and this time thanks to a generous friend in London). It's always a bit nerve-racking to uncork bottles that have so much history resting on their shoulders, but it more than lived up to billing. I hesitate to give a 'drink to' date, as this particular bottle has proved stubbornly long-living, despite 1989 being such a hot and dry year, and a number of them now on their final innings. It is very clearly in its tertiary phase, with saffron, tobacco and roasted earth notes, but there is still fruit here, and an explosion of cigar box, rose petal and liqourice aromatics. I'm not suggesting that this is easy to get hold of, but if you are able to, take your time with it, and share it with friends who will enjoy it as much as you will do.
Undeniably one of the greatest wines made in Bordeaux in the last 25 years is the 1989 Haut Brion. Jean Delmas gave a touching speech about how, in his lifetime, he had never produced such a wine, and it was literally off the charts. He made the point of saying that all the greatest vintages of Bordeaux drink well young, yet have such remarkable balance/equilibrium that they can age for decades. The 1989 is beginning to reveal hints of secondary nuances, but it is so sensuous, rich, opulent, and super-concentrated as to be almost unimaginable.
This continues to be one of the immortal wines and one of the greatest young Bordeaux wines of the last half century. Consistently prodigious and almost a sure bet to top the scoring card of any blind tasting of this vintage as well as other years, the 1989 Haut-Brion is a seamless, majestic classic and a tribute to this phenomenal terroir and its singular characteristics. The wine still has a very thick, viscous-looking ruby/purple colour, a spectacular, young but awesome smorgasbord of aromas ranging from scorched earth, liquid minerals, graphite, blackberry and black currant jam to toast licorice and spice box. The levels of fruit, extract and glycerin in this viscous, full-bodied, low-acid wine are awe-inspiring. The brilliant symmetry of the wine, extraordinary purity, and seamlessness are the hallmarks of a modern-day legend. It is still in its pre-adolescent stage of development, and I would not expect it to hit its full plateau of maturity for another 3-5 years, but this should be an Haut-Brion that rivals the greatest ever made at this estate. Life is too short not to drink this wine as many times as possible! A modern-day clone of the 1959? Anticipated maturity :2005-2030
There is no question that the 1989 is one of Bordeaux's great modern day classic and deserving a perfect score, which should not surprise anyone who has tasted the wine.
Haut-Brion has been the most consistent first-growth over the last decade, producing top-notch wines, even in such tough years as 1987, 1993, and 1994. The 1989 is one of a handful of truly profound wines from a vintage that tends to be overrated, save for the Pomerols, a few St.-Emilions, and some overachievers in the Medoc. However, 1989 was an extraordinary success for Jean Delmas, the administrator of Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion. The prodigious 1989 Haut-Brion is one of the greatest first-growths I have ever tasted. It has always reminded me of what the 1959 must have tasted like in its youth, but it is even richer and more compelling aromatically. The wine exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color, as well as a sweet nose of jammy fruit, tobacco, spicy oak, minerals, and smoke. Fabulously concentrated, with huge levels of fruit, extract, and glycerin, this wine is nearly viscous because of its thickness and richness. Low acidity gives the wine even more appeal and adds to its precociousness. The wine has not budged in development since it was first bottled, although it has always provided thrilling drinking because of its voluptuous texture. It needs another 5-6 years of bottle age before it will begin to develop Haut-Brion's fabulous fragrance. Expect it to hit its plateau of maturity around 2003-2005 and drink well for 15-25 years.
Tasted at the La Mission/Haut-Brion dinner at The Ledbury. One of the best bottles of Chateau Haut-Brion that I have encountered, this is magnificent fermented grape juice. Extraordinarily deep in colour, it has amazing intensity on the nose with similar aromas as the bottle in July with black fruits, black olive, hot gravel and here a very faint tincture of menthol. The palate is medium- rather than full-bodied with exquisite balance and poise with a similar sense of symmetry expressed by the Mission ’78. There is a firm backbone to this wine matched by a fruit intensity that is not so much powerful, but perfectly focused. Blackberry, black plum, tobacco and crushed stone, expanding across the back-palate and lingering for ages after the wine is swallowed. Immense. Drink now-2040+ Tasted September 2010.