1990 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac

SKU #950410 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1990 Pichon-Longueville Baron has always been one of my benchmark wines, one that never ceases to perform. Now at 27 years of age, it is clearly at its peak, and what a wondrous thing it is. Now showing some bricking on the rim, the bouquet is utterly sublime, with red berries, cedar, touches of graphite, crushed rose petals and incense. You just want to become enveloped by these aromas. The palate is perfectly balanced, perhaps not as structured as it once showed since the tannins have mellowed, but what you get is a Pauillac relishing its secondary phase, which is almost Burgundy-like in terms of mouthfeel. Suffused with tension, it gains weight in the mouth toward the slightly tart finish. It is a Pichon Baron that only knows how to give sophisticated drinking pleasure. I once wrote that Pichon Baron is better than many 1990 First Growth, and that is a statement I have no reason to change. (NM)  (6/2017)

94 points Wine Spectator

 More tobacco and cedar character on the nose, with hints of ripe fruit. Full-bodied, yet fine and sophisticated, with elegant tannins and a long finish. This is always a top-quality red. (JS)  (2/2005)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Full medium ruby. Nose at once subtle and flamboyant, with slightly roasted aromas of currant, cedar, lead pencil and minerals. Large-scaled, sweet and rich, with utterly primary fruit suggesting a long future ahead of it. Tasted next to the '89, this was a much more massive and somewhat softer wine. Very long on the finish, with big but smooth tannins. Of more recent vintages, only the 2000 has a chance to be in the same quality class as the '90 and '89. Drink 2004 to 2025. (ST) 93+  (8/2002)

Jancis Robinson

 This is a wine that has shown extremely well in blind tastings, even next to the first growths, but to judge from this perfectly stored bottle, it may just be starting to lose its gorgeous fruit. Very deep, vibrant crimson. Rich, vivacious nose. Thick sweet and glorious. It clearly was absolutely great and I may be being mean to deprive it of a score of 18. 17.5/20 points (JR)  (8/2018)

K&L Notes

95 points, Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted at Roberson’s Pichon Lalande/Pichon Baron vertical. Always a treat, the gap between the quality of the 1990 and the 1986 is more like a chasm. The 1990 embraces the exoticism of the vintage and offers a quite ravishing bouquet, not a million miles away from Lynch Bages ’90, with intense blackberry, cedar and dried herbs that blossom with aeration. There is outstanding delineation and lift. The palate has become more refined in recent years, perhaps less voluptuous than I remember it a few years ago. Yet it is still underpinned fine tannins and a superb structure. Towards the finish: cedar, leather and a touch of game that lingers in the mouth so you can savour every drop. Tasted September 2010." (03/2012)


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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

Specific Appellation:

Pauillac

- Pauillac is probably the most famous village in Bordeaux. Located between St. Julien and St. Estephe, it has more of the top ranked chateau than the other four appellations of the Haut Medoc. This area has three of the five premier cru classe wineries: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Mouton Rothschild. There are two of the top second-growths (Pichon Lalande and Pichon Baron) as well as several outstanding fourth and fifth-growth chateaux including Lynch Bages. Because of the gravely soils and great drainage, Pauillac has the ideal conditions to grow great Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines from this village are some of the longest-lived in Bordeaux.