The 1990 La Mission Haut Brion is a wine that just gives so much pleasure that it seems almost immoral to criticize. For sure, it is not in the same league as the awe-inspiring 1989, yet it has such an engaging, quintessential La Mission bouquet full of warm gravel, chestnut, morels and bay leaf scents that you just fall instantly under its charms. It seems to just grow in the glass. The palate is beautifully balanced with great depth but is still a little grainy in texture, and I noticed how it evolved almost a Musigny-like personality with time in the glass. I suggested back in 2014 that it might improve with continued bottle age. Perhaps now I believe that it has reached the top of its plateau, yet the substance and the persistence—the energy—of this Pessac-Leognan suggests that it will give 20 years of drinking pleasure. No, it's not as good as the 1989 La Mission Haut Brion, then again, few wines are. Tasted May 2017.
Much more linear and firm than the 1989. Full- to medium-bodied, with firm tannins and a racy finish. A fine wine. '89/'90 Bordeaux non-blind horizontal. Drink now.
La Mission Haut Brion is from the Pessac-Leognan appellation. In 1664, the estate was acquired by the Congregation of the Mission; the fathers in this group fancied themselves viticultural specialists, committed to finding and planting according to the land. A devotee to the wines, Marshal de Richelieu, once said "If God forbade drinking, would he have made such good wine?" The critics are also fans, evidenced by Robert Parker awarding the Bordeaux red blend with 100 points on the 2000, 2009 and 2010 vintages. Stylistically, these wines are rich, oaky and powerful with ripe, succulent fruit and good acidity. The wines age well, but need at least 10 years in the cellar before drinking. Vintages to look out for: 1990, 1982, 1961 and 1945 1929, 1947, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2009.
As the #1 back-vintage retailer in the US, Benchmark Wine Group prides itself on being a trusted source for the greatest wines in the world. Their unparalleled market knowledge and exceptional service have come together to provide the most accessible cellar of rare and sought-after wines with a guarantee.