The 1990 La Mission Haut-Brion was always going to lie in the shadow of the previous vintage, but let’s be clear: this is a magnificent, audacious follow-up. The nose might not be blessed with the Swiss-watch precision of the 1989, yet how can you possibly resist the heart-warming scents of roasted chestnuts and morels that suffuse the red berry fruit? The palate sports a slight gaminess and, as I noted in previous tasting notes, there is a Musigny-like personality toward the rounded, slightly earthy finish. Few La Missions have delivered such untrammeled drinkability. Tasted at the La Mission Haut Brion dinner at Amuse Bouche in Hong Kong.
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2045
Very dark. A little dark. Slightly animal. Bit too ripe? Thick and very sweet. Fades a little fast. Blackberry crumble. Mainly Merlot.
Anticipated maturity: 2005-2015
Robert Parker 96
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-Léognan 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.
Anticipated maturity: 2017-2037