Justin's contribution in this comparison of the LMHB and HB in the same year. The wine is popped and decanted for two years before drinking. The wine pours a very inky purple with a very dark ruby core and very long legs. On the nose, the wine is robust and concentrated, yielding bouquets of roast goose, game, quince, truffles, tobacco and leather. The concentration is incredible. On the palate, the wine is unctuous with copious amounts of fruit and minerality. Earth, stewed cherries, tobacco and mulch dominate the core with notes of smoke and roasted meats singing in the background. Acidity is moderate but the finish is incredibly long. This wine is incredible in all fronts, from entry to development to finish. Most remarkable, the balance. Wow. When compared against the LMHB, this wine demonstrates more power, masculinity and class. This certainly wrestles with the relentless ferocity of heavyweight Napa cabs but keeps the poise and balance in check. Simply incredible.
Tasted along with '79 Lafite-Rothschild, '83 Margaux, '93 Ridge Monte Bello, '89 Latour and '94 Petrus.
Clear, medium intensity ruby color.
Youthful nose with a medium(+) aroma intensity. Initially tight on the nose but opens up after 45 minutes or so. Aromas of the purest black currant juice, plums, dark cherries, fresh black berries, new oak, cedar wood, lead pencil, pine tree, spice box, gravel dust, violets and hyacinth. Having this wine next to '94 Pétrus really high-lighted this wine's elegance. This is deep as hell, polished, complex, subtile and classy. This just smells expensive.
Dry on the palate with a medium acidity, medium(+) body and medium(+) polished tannins. The flavor intensity is pronounced with flavors of pure cassis, dark cherries, new oak, cedar, gravel, new leather and violets. The finish is loooong, velvety and complex.
This wine also has a lot of power and focus but manages to give a mouthfeel which is light as a feather. Elegant, polished, expensive, pure and refreshing. Till this day, this is the most perfect wine I've ever tasted. It has everything. Outstanding. Lovely. Still young and will only get better. If you have some bottles left I'm ridiculously jealous of you.
At 17 years of age, there is still plenty of youth and power and I had I tasted this blind I would probably never have put this as older then 10.
Medium+ intense nose with aromas of exquisite oak, a little perfume, herbs, black fruit, blackcurrants, blackberries, plums, a trace of green, butter, violettes, ceder, dirt and a little barnyard. Complex, deep and elegant!
Medium+ acidity, perfectly balanced with tight fruit, plenty of tannins. High intensity and a composed, ever lasting finish. Elegant, refined, graceful.
I wouldn't hesitate (not that I have another bottle, or will ever buy one at today's prices) to keep this in the cellar for 10 more years. Drinks really well right now though.
Voici le roi. Such a winning bouquet as this comes out of its adolescence. Delivers all of the pessac hallmarks but with such an aristocratic flair. Black cherries, pipe tobacco, terra cotta - you know how it goes. Complex, suave, complete, and very, very long on the palate.
We had this by the glass at Le Taillevent (coravin from fresh bottle) and the sommelier was, let's say, amicable. Ah, Monsieur enjoys Haut Brion? (Pour gets larger) and Monsieur has visited the chateau (pour gets larger). The 1989 is one of your favorites (very large glass of haut brion now) - well, enjoy the 1998. And I did.
From a set ies of 750's generously shared by our host, and slo'oxed for about 6 hours. Given a bit of bottle variation and the benefits (or lack thereof) of well chosen food to accompany this wine, my impressions yo-yo'd up and down a bit. At all points along that spectrum the wine exhibited the classic Haut Brion characteristics: mushrooms, soy and tobacco being the most prominent. There were times when the wine seemed lean, almost austere. When the fruit emerged, however, this was sublime. Plum, dark cherries, roasted nuts and some faint menthol. All in all an authentic and rewarding showing, not without its challenges, and perhaps more time in the cellar and more time in a decanter will be of help.
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(Haut-Brion) This had a classic nose right out of the gates. Fresh tobacco, weedy earth, raspberry, cassis, kirsch and cigar box. Sweeter on the palate than the previous wine with more weight but a wonderfully delicate balance. After a while the oak was going back and forth on the nose but it still had that wonderful balance and weightlessness in the mouth that is one of the trademarks of Haut-Brion. Young but great.
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