1989 Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac
I have never been a huge fan of this Lafite but it seems to be coming into its own now. It's a wine with a character of cloves and berries with hints plums. It shows loads of potpourri. Roses too. Full and so balanced. Tight and youthful. The winemaker at Lafite says that when he wants to show someone a perfect example of Pauillac this is the Lafite he pours. Maybe he is right?
Subtle, yet rich and decadent, offering meat, sweet berry and fresh leather on the nose. Full and very soft, with velvety tannins and a long, fruity finish. This has so much ripe fruit. Reserved and firm, this is turning to a very fine and shy Lafite. This is fresh and structured, but still holding back. I wouldn't wait, though.—'89/'99 Bordeaux blind retrospective (2009). Drink now. (Web-2010)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
As I suspected, the 1989 and 1990 vintages of Lafite-Rothschild have gone dormant. Both wines were among the more closed, backward examples in my blind tasting. The 1989 Lafite is also outstanding, but closed, with the tannin more elevated, and the wine so stubbornly reticent as to make evaluation almost impossible. Lafite's 1989 was far more easy to taste and understand several years ago. It appears to have gone completely to sleep. This medium ruby-colored, medium-bodied wine reveals new oak in the nose, and a spicy finish. It is a quintessentially elegant, restrained, understated style of Lafite. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025. (RP)
On being poured there was real tension in the glass, I felt, between Lafite's delicate style and the big, ripe character of this vintage, warmed as it was by a particularly hot summer, the summer of the bicentenary of the French revolution. There was a slightly burnt note and quite a bit of tannin on the finish. But then it really mellowed in the glass and became super voluptuous. And fragrant. But edgier than the 1997. Unusually spicy for Lafite and wonderfully persistent. These bottles had been bought in 1996 for just £55 each (which probably seemed iniquitous at the time). The 1989 Lafite is now trading at £800 a bottle, a surprisingly low premium on the 1997.
Château Lafite Rothschild is one of the five First Growth Bordeaux, and one of the most famous and collected wines in the world. The vineyard covers 112 hectares and is well-drained and well-exposed, with soil made up of fine deep gravel, mixed with aeolian sand on a subsoil of tertiary limestone. The estate dates back to at least the 13th century and has had an amazing and prestigious history to look back upon.