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1989 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (1.5L)

SKU #950342 100 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark 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. Inner quote mark (7/2012)

100 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark 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. Inner quote mark (6/2016)

100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark 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. Last tasted, 1/03. (RP) Inner quote mark (1/2003)

100 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 1989 Haut-Brion commenced one of the most spectacular dinners that I ever attended, this representing one of the best bottles of a dozen tasted over the years. Deep in color with thin bricking on the rim, the haunting bouquet has heart-rending delineation – as profound as it has ever been. Scents of black olives intermingle with graphite, clove and cherry liqueur, underneath subtle gravel scents becoming more vocal with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied and maybe not as powerful as it was a few years ago. Yet it is ineffably complex with layers of pure dark berry fruit, black olive, cloves and crushed violets. This particular example was one of the most youthful that I have encountered. The finish is so effortless and yet it changes constantly in the glass, revealing new facets, some attendees noticing a touch of greenness after 30 minutes although I could not detect that myself. It is an awe-inspiring Haut-Brion that is only just beginning to demonstrate the ethereal heights it can achieve. (NM) Inner quote mark (6/2018)

100 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark 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, Web-2010) Inner quote mark

97 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Outer quote mark 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. (ST) Inner quote mark (7/2002)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark Impressively racy and lively. Great balance with rather sumptuous fruit but overall delicate and very pretty now (late 2014). 19/20 points. (JR) Inner quote mark (11/2014)

K&L Notes

98 points Josh Raynolds in Vinous: "I’ve been following this wine since I first tasted it from barrel in the summer of 1990, and it has always been an amazing wine and one of the best examples of this remarkable vintage. This particular bottle, which I helped to drink alongside a superb, dry-aged prime porterhouse at one of the New York City area’s best steakhouses, Rothmann’s on Long Island, might have been the best I’ve ever had. The textbook iron, tobacco and cigar box Haut-Brion character was there in abundance, but this time there was also an almost Burgundian laciness and buoyancy to the wine that I’ve not experienced before. Even at almost 30 years old, it still has a long life ahead of it, but based on this bottle I wouldn’t begrudge anyone opting to drink it right now." (1/2019)


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