Chateau Haut Brion   Haut Brion

1990 Haut Brion

By Chateau Haut Brion

1990 Haut Brion from Chateau Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

The 1990 vintage from the venerable Chateau Haut Brion has, over the decades, established itself as an emblem of viticultural magnificence. My association with this hallowed bottle has grown deep and intimate, as I have had the privilege to witness its evolution from a robust youth to the regal maturity it now commands.


An Exemplary Year: The Vintage of a Lifetime

The year 1990 bestowed upon Pessac-Leognan a growing season that was near-ideal, marked by a kindly spring followed by a summer punctuated with equal parts warmth and coolness—a serenade of climatic conditions that sang harmoniously into the very grapes that composed this masterpiece. The resulting harvest was profuse not merely in quantity, but in the extraordinary quality that defines this particular incarnation of Haut Brion.


Tasting Notes: A Symphony of Complexity

Upon sampling the 1990 Haut Brion, one is greeted by an olfactory banquet: a rich collage of black truffle, hints of tobacco leaf, and the subtle sweetness of overripe fig. Layers unfold on the palate with a stately procession; fine tannins woven tightly into a tapestry fringed with the dark opulence of plum and the bright zing of raspberry undertones. The finish, resplendent with whispers of smoke and spice, lingers long, inviting contemplation.

Thirty-three years on, this vintage retains a vivacity which is testimony to its remarkable ageing capacity. The 1990 Haut Brion has reached a plateau where investment interest peaks—its performance in the bottle is an evocation of Bordeaux's inherent potential for transcendence.


A Tentpole for Investment-Grade Cellars

As it stands, the 1990 Haut Brion is not merely a wine but an artifact—a testament to a year when nature favoured Chateau Haut Brion with a generous hand. Balancing stature and elegance seamlessly, this beacon among Bordeaux remains poised to enhance portfolios while promising further pleasures for those who choose to uncork its time-honoured secret. An exemplary vintage such as this is one that certainly merits consideration for diversifying fine wine investments—a keystone for any serious collector's vault.

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Scores and tasting notes


1990: In terms of the brilliant complexity and nobility of the aromatics, scorched earth, black currants, plums, charcoal, cedar, and spices, the 1990 offers an aromatic explosion that is unparalleled. It is always fascinating to taste this wine next to the 1989, which is a monumental effort, but much more backward and denser, without the aromatic complexity of the 1990. The 1990 put on weight after bottling, and is currently rich, full-bodied, opulent, even flamboyant by Haut Brion’s standards. It is an incredible expression of a noble terroir in a top vintage. While it has been fully mature for a number of years, it does not reveal any bricking at the edge, and I suspect it will stay at this level for another 10-15 years ... but why wait? It is irresistible now. Release price: ($1200.00/case)

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 29 June 2009


Tasted alongside the almighty La Mission ’89, the Haut-Brion ’90 is not to be outdone. It has a scintillating bouquet of blackberry, dark plum, warm gravel verging on terracotta aromas that are wonderfully defined. There is immense concentration on the palate that is controlled and supremely well focused with brambly black fruit, graphite, a cheeky saline notes towards the finish that fans out in inhibited fashion. This is utterly sublime and drinking perfectly now. Tasted November 2012.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal Mar 2013

Vintage performance