Tasting Notes for Margaux, Imperiale, 1989:
As prodigious as the 1990 is, the 1989 seems to typify so many of the Medoc first-growths in this vintage - excellent, but undistinguished for its reputation. The wine possesses a leathery, oaky nose, medium body, and good ripeness, but next to the 1990, the 1989 is dwarfed by that wine's richness, intensity, and length. The tannins come across as more elevated, as well as slightly greener and tougher. The 1989 may put on more weight and come together, much like the 1985 did after 4-6 years in the bottle, but for now, this wine seems to follow the pattern of many 1989 Medoc first-growths, revealing an unexciting level of quality. Give it 5-6 more years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 20.
Parker Points: 89
Drinking Period: 2002-2022
Tasting Notes for Mouton Rothschild, 1989:
Considering the vintages and the estate, Mouton's performances in 1989 and 1990 are puzzling. I have tasted these wines multiple times since my last reviews appeared in print. The 1989 Mouton-Rothschild is the superior wine, but in no sense is this a compelling wine if compared to the Moutons produced in 1995, 1986, and 1982. The 1989 displays a dark ruby color that is already beginning to reveal significant lightening at the edge. The bouquet is surprisingly evolved, offering up scents of cedar, sweet black fruits, lead pencil, and toasty oak. This elegant, medium-bodied restrained wine is beautifully made, stylish, and not dissimilar to the 1985. It is an excellent to outstanding Mouton that should be close to full maturity in 4-5 years; it will drink well for 15-20. Wine Advocate # 109 Feb 1997
Parker Points: 90
Drinking Period: 2002-2017
Tasting Notes for Haut Brion, 1989:
Haut-Brion has been the most consistent first-growth over the last decade, producing top-notch wines, even in such tough years as 1987, 1993, and 1994. The 1989 is one of a handful of truly profound wines from a vintage that tends to be overrated, save for the Pomerols, a few St.-Emilions, and some overachievers in the Medoc. However, 1989 was an extraordinary success for Jean Delmas, the administrator of Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion. The prodigious 1989 Haut-Brion is one of the greatest first-growths I have ever tasted. It has always reminded me of what the 1959 must have tasted like in its youth, but it is even richer and more compelling aromatically. The wine exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color, as well as a sweet nose of jammy fruit, tobacco, spicy oak, minerals, and smoke. Fabulously concentrated, with huge levels of fruit, extract, and glycerin, this wine is nearly viscous because of its thickness and richness. Low acidity gives the wine even more appeal and adds to its precociousness. The wine has not budged in development since it was first bottled, although it has always provided thrilling drinking because of its voluptuous texture. It needs another 5-6 years of bottle age before it will begin to develop Haut-Brion's fabulous fragrance. Expect it to hit its plateau of maturity around 2003-2005 and drink well for 15-25 years.
Wine Advocate # 109 Feb 1997
Parker Points: 100
Drinking Period: 2003-2028