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1990 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #951089 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 In terms of the brilliant complexity and nobility of the aromatics, scorched earth, black currants, plums, charcoal, cedar, and spices, the 1990 offers an aromatic explosion that is unparalleled. It is always fascinating to taste this wine next to the 1989, which is a monumental effort, but much more backward and denser, without the aromatic complexity of the 1990. The 1990 put on weight after bottling, and is currently rich, full-bodied, opulent, even flamboyant by Haut Brion’s standards. It is an incredible expression of a noble terroir in a top vintage. While it has been fully mature for a number of years, it does not reveal any bricking at the edge, and I suspect it will stay at this level for another 10-15 years ... but why wait? It is irresistible now. (RP)  (6/2009)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Racy and refined, with firm, silky tannins and a long finish. Full-bodied. Mushrooms and ripe fruit on the palate. Needs some bottle age to open. (JS)  (2/2005)

93 points Vinous

 Good medium color. Fabulous aromas of spicy cherries, minerals, tobacco and smoky oak. Saline entry, then intense, spicy fruit and excellent extract. Very firm and subtle, with outstanding clarity of flavor. Lovely ripe acids and a long, subtle aftertaste. Will no doubt live in the shadows of the larger-scaled, more dramatic '89, but this very impressive wine should age beautifully. The Graves of the vintage in 1990! (ST)  (11/1993)

Jancis Robinson

 Gorgeous, lifted, nervy - just right for current drinking, though I'm sure it will last beautifully too. Absolutely unmistakably Haut-Brion with warm bricks in abundance. Not heavy. Tannins well melded. Quite a contrast to the youthful Latour 1990 served alongside. 18.5/20 points (JR)  (6/2012)

K&L Notes

Jeannie Cho Lee, MW: "This gorgeous, voluptuous 1990 Haut-Brion was tasted alongside 1989 and the flavour profile of the 2 wines were very different. While the 1989 is more layered with exotic spices, the 1990 is rounder, with riper flavours and velvety tannins. For those who prefer a sweeter, rounder style, the 1990 may be their preferred vintage over the 1989. I appreciate both, however the 1989 has more complexity and depth. The 1990 is just reaching its peak and has a long life ahead." (2/2013)

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Price: $749.99
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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.


- 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.


Specific Appellation:


- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.