Like several other 1988s, this wine's rather hard, unyielding, early style has given way to a classically structured Bordeaux with a very youthful color (younger than the 1989), deep, earthy, cassis fruit intermixed with wood, smoke, mineral, and a hint of roasted herbs. The wine has excellent depth, medium to full body, moderate tannin, and a very youthful, vigorous feel. It is approachable, but seems destined to outlive the more renowned and expensive 1989. Somewhat of a sleeper of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2018. Last tasted, 9/01.
The bouquet does not quite have the vivacity, the chutzpah of the 1990 Barton, a little more introverted with notes of cigar box, earth, wet sand and chestnut. The palate is medium-bodied, quite elegant, refined and harmonious with a firm mid-palate. Cedar, sandalwood and dried herbs. Unlike the 1990, the 1989 has a crescendo of flavours towards the finish that demonstrates great structure and persistency. Austere, conservative but classy, there is a chance that the '89 may outlast the '90. Drink 2009 -2025.