Comprehensive Bordeaux Tasting: 1989/1990

Comprehensive tasting of 1989 and 1990 Bordeaux

Comprehensive tasting of 1989 and 1990 Bordeaux

Every year, in preparation for their annual Bordeaux auction, Hart Davis Hart hosts a comprehensive Bordeaux tasting that offers an opportunity to taste two different vintages of nearly all the first and second growth Bordeaux, side by side.

This year’s vintages were particularly interesting, being of the same era but from very different years. 1989 produced tannic somewhat off balance wines for many wineries, while it was easy to make good wine in 1990. But in a couple of cases the 1989 turned out better than the 1990.

As in past years, among the first growths Cheval Blanc was at the top of my ratings, and Margaux at the bottom. Pamer, right next to Margaux, was significantly better than Margaux, especially in 1989, even though it is a second growth.

Here are my ratings of the forty wines:

89 Montrose 94 (remarkable balance for an 89)
90 Montrose 95

89 Cos d’Estournel 85 (bitter chocolate)
90 Cos d’Estournel 86

89 Lafite Rothschild 94
90 Lafite Rothschild 96

89 Mouton Rothschild 97
90 Mouton Rothschild 99

89 Latour 89
90 Latour 91

89 Lynch Bages 84 (pruny, overripe)
90 Lynch Bages 92

89 Grand-Puy-Lacoste 88
90 Grand-Puy-Lacoste 89

89 Pichon-Longueville, Baron 93
90 Pichon-Longueville, Baron 93-

89 Pichon-Longueville, Lalande 90
90 Pichon-Longueville, Lalande 91

89 Ducru-Beaucaillou 89
90 Ducru-Beaucaillou 90

89 Gruaud Larose 87
90 Gruaud Larose 83 (burnt rubber, truly awful)

89 Leoville Poyferre 85
90 Leoville Poyferre 86

89 Leoville Las Cases 88
90 Leoville Las Cases 89

89 Margaux 87
90 Margaux 89

89 Palmer 93+
90 Palmer 90

89 Haut-Brion 93
90 Haut-Brion 95

89 La Mission Haut-Brion 90
90 La Mission Haut-Brion 91

89 Angelus 91
90 Angelus 91 (these two were nearly identical)

89 Cheval Blanc 97
90 Cheval Blanc 99+

89 Troplong-Mondot 89
90 Troplong-Mondot 90

Only about half the wines are available at retail:

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