Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 1990 Bordeaux

The April Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 1990 Bordeaux. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published early next week.

1990 was one of the top vintages for Bordeaux in the 20th century. It was a hot vintage with rain at the optimal times. For my money 89 and 90 remain the best back to back vintages in Bordeaux since I started drinking wine. The top wines of the vintages are mostly ready to drink but will undoubtedly continue to age gracefully for years to come. With that in mind it is always prudent to check in on wines in your cellar if you were fortunate enough to buy more than just a couple bottles.

The Contenders:

  • 1990 Léoville-Barton – Believe it or not, the 1990 Leoville Barton can actually be drunk – something that cannot be said about the broodingly backward, still excruciatingly tannic 1982. The exceptionally concentrated 1990 reveals more polished, sweeter tannins along with a big, sweet kiss of black currant, forest floor, cedar, and spice box notes. While it still has some tannins to shed, this full-bodied, powerful, long wine is approachable. It should continue to evolve for another two decades. 93 points from The Wine Advocate. (6/2009)
  • 1990 Lynch-Bages – This magnificent Lynch Bages has been drinking well since the day it was released and it continues to go from strength to strength. The biggest, richest, fullest-bodied Lynch Bages until the 2000, the fully mature 1990 exhibits an unbelievably explosive nose of black currants, cedarwood, herbs and spice. The majestic, classically Bordeaux aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, voluptuously textured, rich, intense wine with superb purity as well as thrilling levels of fruit, glycerin and sweetness. This beauty should continue to provide immense pleasure over the next 15+ years. 99 points from The Wine Advocate. (8/2011)
  • 1990 Pichon-Baron – The 1990 Pichon-Longueville Baron has always been one of my benchmark wines, one that never ceases to perform. Now at 27 years of age, it is clearly at its peak, and what a wondrous thing it is. Now showing some bricking on the rim, the bouquet is utterly sublime, with red berries, cedar, touches of graphite, crushed rose petals and incense. You just want to become enveloped by these aromas. The palate is perfectly balanced, perhaps not as structured as it once showed since the tannins have mellowed, but what you get is a Pauillac relishing its secondary phase, which is almost Burgundy-like in terms of mouthfeel. Suffused with tension, it gains weight in the mouth toward the slightly tart finish. It is a Pichon Baron that only knows how to give sophisticated drinking pleasure. I once wrote that Pichon Baron is better than many 1990 First Growth, and that is a statement I have no reason to change. 98 points from The Wine Advocate. (6/2017)

Which 1990 Bordeaux Should I Open?

  • 1990 Lynch-Bages (48%, 15 Votes)
  • 1990 Pichon Baron (32%, 10 Votes)
  • 1990 Léoville-Barton (19%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the May installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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4 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 1990 Bordeaux

  1. A 99-point Lynch-Bages! No contest. Of course WS only gave it a 94, but that was 13 years ago, and they didn’t think it was quite ready, Waiting eagerly to read your notes.

  2. The Baron is a classic Left Bank wine. It has great balance, length, structure and acid all
    Necessary for a great wine. The vineyards are of course feet away from the great Chateau Latour

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