1989 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
It had been more than a decade since I last tasted a bottle of the 1989 Haut-Brion (having absolutely zero interest in opening any bottles out of my cellar before this wine has fully apogee), so I was very happy to see it on display at the Hart-Davis-Hart tasting. This is a brilliant wine that has not lost an iota of its luster as it has aged, soaring from the glass in a brilliantly pure and bottomless bouquet of cassis, dark berries, cigar smoke, a very complex base of dark soil tones, Cuban cigars, fresh herbs and a refined base of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and stunningly plush on the attack, with a sappy core of pure fruit, stunning soil signature, ripe, firm tannins and simply brilliant length and grip on the still very young, seamless and boundless finish. This wine has often been compared to the 1959 Haut-Brion, but I have to believe that the 1989 will be even better when it reaches its peak of maturity! This is still a very young wine (far less evolved than the superb 1990) and I would not touch a bottle for at least another dozen years or more. It should last close to a century. (Drink between 2025-2100)
This continues to be a perfect wine with a beautiful, dense character of tobacco and sweet fruits. Chocolate, toasted walnuts and flowers here too. It's full-bodied with velvety tannins. Lasts for minutes on the palate.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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 color, 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. (RP)
What a gorgeous, seductive and beautiful wine, as always. I can't get over the perfumed aromas of subtle milk chocolate, cedar and sweet tobacco. Full-bodied, yet so refined and silky, lasting for minutes on the palate. Everything is in just the right proportion. This is a wine that will go on forever. I love it. One of my great loves in the wine world. (JS)
A modern-day version of the epic 1959, the 1989 Haut-Brion is all about harmony. Fine, silky tannins and expressive aromatics are two of the signatures. Tobacco, cedar and anise add layers of nuance to the dark, mineral-inflected fruit. The 1989 has long been one of my favorite Haut-Brions. It is once again magnificent in this tasting. The linkage with 1959 is quite evident. Readers who are fortunate enough to own the 1989 will be thrilled to follow its evolution over the next few decades. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium red. Highly nuanced, roasted aroma dominated by tobacco, grilled nuts, smoke and vanillin oak. Densely packed, but also juicy and penetrating, with great thrust and superb vinosity. A very powerful wine with a robust tannic structure. Finishes very long and strong. This and La Mission really transcend the vintage. Drink 2005 through 2030.
Chateau Haut Brion is one of the five First Growth wines of Bordeaux, and the only one from Graves. Located on two hillocks of gravel over clay and sand in Pessac, classic Graves terroir, it consists of 51 hectares of mostly red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot). Haut-Brion is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux; it was served to Charles II of England in the 1600s! The estate is now owned and lovingly managed by the Dillon family, the royal family of Luxembourg. 100 points Neal Martin: "...Suffice to say that it was one of the vinous peaks of the 20th century and everyone should try and taste it just once in their life. Tasted November 2011." (Wine Journal, 1/2012)