1989 and 1990 Bordeaux

Commanderie de Bordeaux tasting dinner of the 1989 and 1990 vintage at
Gavroche in Vancouver. We brought our own wines and also passed a glass
from other tables, so we had the opportunity to taste quite a few
different wines from these vintages.
The menu is worthy of mention so I'll get that over with first.
With an NV J. Lasalle Brut that obviously had some age - showing
colour, nice toast and mature notes in nose, complex with sweet
elements in the mouth, lots of acidity, great mousse, flirts with old
age but quite interesting.
With tuna tartare with wasabi tobbiko, smoked sturgeon with seaweed
caviar, and large scallops with mango salsa.
Then the food courses:
foie gras and truffle flan with roasted pear chutney (apparently a real
bear to cook and keep together)
1997 Ch. La Tour Blanche - great match - sweet botrytis nose but then
drier than anticipated in the mouth, which suited the food very well.
rabbit tenderloin with black olive sauce on sweet potato gallette
duck breast with wild mushroom flan and bing cherry sauce
venison chop with port reduction
cheese plate
espresso terrine with hazelnut praline.
Here is how we arranged our wines. Brief notes on other wines we tasted
are also appended.
1989 Canon La Gaffeliere (St. Emilion) - showing a bit lighter colour
than most of the later wines, with a hint of fading at the edges.
Decent nose of pure fruit and vanilla, excellent acidity that mated
very well with the food, and a pleasant smoothness on palate.
1990 Pichon Baron - wow, the nose on this one is great - dark wine,
big lush nose of cedary fruit and spice, sweet entry, smooth and long,
but will continue improving for many years. Oh my, why didn't I buy
more of this wine?
1990 Mouton Rothschild - huge nose of leather, dark fruit, but that
was the best aspect of this wine, as it was leaner than expected in the
mouth, though no longer as tannic as it was, and with a nice sweetness
in the finish. Bit disappointing for a Mouton.
1990 Leoville Barton - big sweet fruit driven nose, and similarly big
and sweet in the mouth - it handily bettered the Mouton and while it
drinks very well, it also has years to go yet.
1989 Margaux - goodness - the sweet fruit in this nose was so
attractive I just wanted to go on sniffing it, and there was
considerable complexity - much enhanced since the last time I tried
this wine. When I tasted the wine it showed excellent flavour
integration, with everything in place and presenting as an harmonious
whole - no one element sticking out or still gawky. That isn't to
suggest that it was at peak, though it would be hard to stay away from
this delicious wine - I think it has a good few years left in it yet,
and a few of those before it tops out.
1989 Lafite Rothschild - a spicy almost Rhone-like element in this
nose, but also more sweet fruit, and now showing the elegance of the
house (it was uncharacteristically tannic when I tasted it 10 years
ago), but not really up to the Margaux. Again, no rush on this very
good wine.
Others tasted:
1990 Cheval Blanc - this was amazingly ready now - big mocha nose
with immense flavour concentration and excellent length - I can't
see this getting any better, but it is veeeerrry tasty now!
1983 Pichon Lalande - served blind and a good showing it made, too.
Showing as youthful with a sweet nose and rounder at the end than the
Pichon Baron is now. I thought it might have been a 1985.
1990 Montrose - nose on this wine was absolutely huge, full of jammy
fruit and like the Mouton, a bit of leather. On palate, exceptional
concentration and length and no rusticity It needs considerably more
time before it should be drunk. This may change my mind about how good
it is in relation to my personal fave, the 1970.
1989 Lynch Bages - the nose was spirity almost porty and the wine is
still tannic. Patience is called for.
1990 Leoville Las Cases - lovely spiciness in nose, weighty and
smooth in the middle, soft tannins dominate the lengthy finish. Why
doesn't this rate first growth status when it is so consistent and
out-performs Mouton so many times......
And finally
1978 Quinta do Noval - starting to get pale in colour, not much heat
in the nose, though a little hot in the mouth, pleasant, middling sweet
and a nice end to a very interesting event.
Reply to
Bill S.
Thanks for notes Bill. I still have quite a bit of the Margaux 1989. I prefer it over the 1990 acclaimed vintage.
I have not tried in 2-3 years and marked last bottle to try in 2007. We shall see.
Reply to
dick neidich

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