x
  • Country ranking ?

    6
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Skirt Steak with Pomegranate Sauce

New record for 1989 Haut-Brion 

Haut-Brion’s 1989 vintage reached a new high on Liv-ex’s trading platform this week at £14,846 per case.The new record is well above the First Groeth’s previous high of £14,500, which it achieved during the market’s high point in 2011.

According to the Liv-ex blog, since the market’s nadir in July 2014: “The Haut Brion Index – tracking the prices of the last ten physical vintages – is up 15.8%. It is currently the second best performing first growth behind Mouton Rothschild.”

Awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, the wine is largely regarded as the equivalent of 1945 Mouton Rothschild, 1961 Latour or 1982 Lafite. Originally released in 1990 for £480 per case, by April this year it had appreciated an astonishing 3,600%.

As Liv-ex notes, Haut-Brion’s other 100-point jewels include the 2005, 2009 and 2010 all of which are currently trading for less than £5,000 per case. Is now the time for savvy investors to buy?

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The Story

There is an amazing dual hit of black fruit and fine-grained tannins here, which is rounded off with a wonderful creaminess. The fruit is encased in a huge structure, which is not always easy to assess when tasting en primeur, but it has a lovely fleshiness to it and the wine is multi-layered with flavours evolving in the mouth. Notes of cocoa, vanilla and tar show towards the finish and it all ends completely seamlessly. The tannins are extremely ripe and well-integrated. Ch. Haut-Brion is often understated at this stage, which serves to underline how fine this wine will be.

 

Château Haut-Brion Thomas Jefferson, the american ambassador to Paris and later President of the United States of America, visited Haut Brion on May 25th 1787 commenting in his journals about the soils of the vineyards as well as mentioning that there were four vineyards of first quality Château Margaux, Château Latour Ségur, Château Haut Brion and Château La Fite. He also wrote:"Haut Brion is a wine of the first rank and seems to please the American palate more than all the others that I have been able to taste in France.“ Jean de Pontac began constituting the Haut-Brion vineyard, in the Graves region, in 1525.

 

His descendants went on to produce "New French Claret," the precursor of today's great wines. Their efforts enabled Arnaud III de Pontac to sell his wine under the estate's name as early as 1660. Called “vin de Pontac”, then Haut-Brion, it gained a fine reputation and enormous success in London. The first of the Bordeaux great growths was born. Through the centuries, the owners and managers of Haut-Brion have been obsessed with perpetuating the château's reputation for quality. Classified a First Growth in 1855, Haut-Brion has done everything possible ever since then to maintain its standing. To perpetuate its Grand Cru status, an estate and its constituent parts have to be maintained over the centuries, suitable grape varieties for each plot have to be chosen, and a relentless selection process carried out. Today, a great American family, the Dillons, has been continuing this tradition for seventy years.

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Vintage 1989

A VERY EXCEPTIONAL YEAR
A very hot year and also very dry ; such years produce great vintages.
Here is what we can say about this wine today : First, the wine shows great concentration of aromas and a lot of mellowness due to lovely tannins and a rather low acidity. A wine with a lot of fitness and harmony. One might compare it to the 1959 for its
structure and mellowness. Similar weather conditons produced a rather similar
crop. The grapes for the white wine were gathered on August 29 & 30 and the harvest really started for the red on August 31st.

Weather conditions

Sum of temperatures : 3408 °C
Rain : 355 mm
Days where temperature above 30 °C : 24
Harvest : from 29/08/1989 to 20/09/1989

Current vintage notes
Historically an early vintage. The growing season was particularly hot,sunny and
dry providing ideal conditions for budding, flowering, veraison, maturity and
harvest. An exceptional year produced an exceptional wine.


Dueling Haut Brions
Two wines stand above all the others on the Left Bank in 1989; dueling Haut Brions, as I often like to say. Even though these two legendary wines have the same owners, the wines could not be any more different. There is one important fact, though, that is similar for both these beauties; they are essentials for the cellar of any serious claret collector, monuments to their category. The greatest fact about these two wines is their consistency. While many Bordeaux shut down and go into a shell, these have been rock stars from the very beginning, always drinking phenomenally.
My most recent bottle of 1989 La Mission Haut Brion was a perfect example of this wine. Its nose was black and chocolaty, with midnight fruit and some slightly salted mixed nuts for added complexity. There was classic cassis and cigar, with caramel and also charcoal. Its fruit was beyond rich; it was wealthy. Pencil really came out on the palate along with dense forest flavors and a slaty, dry finish. There was outstanding acidity to this dense wine. Secondary flavors of coffee and blueberry joined the party. My host commented how he has always liked the ’89 La Miss more ‘right now’ compared to the wine to which it is often compared, the 1989 Haut Brion (97).
And the 1989 Haut Brion was served next, right on cue. I have long and repeatedly extolled the virtues of this wine, but it never gets old. This wine is one of the greatest ever made, so much so that I would put it in my top ten of all-time, and for a wine this young, that is saying something. There is no other young wine, with the exception of 1989 Petrus, that has shown consistently this great every time I have it, and I have had this wine close to twenty times. Its aromas were ‘insane,’ open yet reticent, so seductive as if it was standing behind a lace curtain. There was an abundance of nuts and minerals along with endless length, and poise. Carob and spice emerged in this incredible wine (99).
I have the good fortune of having 1989 Haut Brion basically quarterly, so I could fill the next two pages with other notes on the wine. The La Mission is indeed more forward and exuberant, spilling out of its shirt so to speak, but the Haut Brion will never even let you see a wrinkle. They are both magnificent wines that should age effortlessly well beyond 2040.
FIN
John Kapon

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000
1 490€ +16.7% 1 277€ +8.4% 1 178€ -13.8% 1 366€ +37.0% 997€ -31.5% 1 455€ +13.9% 1 277€ +153.4% 504€ +128.1% 221€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

43 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full, Ruby red and Clear

ending

Long, Extensive and Lingering

flavors

Toasty, Blackcurrant, Cigar-box, New-oak, Licorice and Violet

nose

Opulent, Complex, Seductive and Intense

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Complex, Concentrated, Full-bodied, Rich, Firm, Harmonious, Medium-Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Well made and Masterpiece

Written Notes

What can I say about the 1989 Haut Brion that I haven’t already said over and over again.  It, along with the 1989 Petrus, are the two greatest “young” wines I have ever had, and the youngest wines I would include in my ‘Top Ten’ lifetime category (I would let them share a spot lol).  This wine has been great every time I tasted it and has never shut down.  ‘Humdinger’ summed it up nicely (98+).

  • 98p
8 Great Bordeaux 1.Flight Latour 1990 MG vs Lynch Bages 1989 MG 2 Flight La Mission Haut Brion 1989 vs Haut Brion 1989 3.Flight Mouton 1982 vs Latour 1982 MG 4 Flight Mouton 1986 vs Lafite 1986 orientalic spices, coffee extract, soft and ripe tannins, but with a great structure, the acidity gives a fantastic backbone supported with a lot of minerality and a memorable extract sweetness, nearly a perfect Pessac, maybe a hint in front of LMHB, 30 years ahead, 99-100
  • 99p
Haut-Brion Vertical 1918-1999 / Vintage 1989 100 points: Deepish ruby, garnet rim. Highly scented and massive intensity, rich, ripe, layered, red and darker fruits, detailed, leather, plums, tobacco, superb nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, sweet ripe red fruits, darker berries, layered, detailed, nuanced, superb and hedonistic, impossible to describe, stunning length.
  • 100p

Information

Origin

Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Best buy

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

There is a possibility

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

100 points James Suckling

  This continues to be a perfect wine with a beautiful, dense character of tobacco and sweet fruits. Chocolate, toasted walnuts and flowers here too. It's full-bodied with velvety tannins. Lasts for minutes on the palate.   (6/ 2013)

100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

  This continues to be one of the immortal wines and one of the greatest young Bordeaux wines of the last half-century. Consistently prodigious and almost a sure bet to top the scoring card of any blind tasting of this vintage as well as other years, the 1989 Haut-Brion is a seamless, majestic classic, and a tribute to this phenomenal terroir and its singular characteristics. The wine still has a very thick, viscous-looking ruby/purple color, a spectacular, young but awesome smorgasbord of aromas ranging from scorched earth, liquid minerals, graphite, blackberry and black currant jam to toast, licorice, and spice box. The levels of fruit, extract, and glycerin in this viscous, full-bodied, low-acid wine are awe-inspiring. The brilliant symmetry of the wine, extraordinary purity, and seamlessness are the hallmarks of a modern-day legend. It is still in its pre-adolescent stage of development, and I would not expect it to hit its full plateau of maturity for another 3-5 years, but this should be an Haut-Brion that rivals the greatest ever made at this estate. Life is too short not to drink this wine as many times as possible! A modern day clone of the 1959? Anticipated maturity: 2005-2030.   (1/ 2003)

100 points Wine Spectator

  What a gorgeous, seductive and beautiful wine, as always. I can't get over the perfumed aromas of subtle milk chocolate, cedar and sweet tobacco. Full-bodied, yet so refined and silky, lasting for minutes on the palate. Everything is in just the right proportion. This is a wine that will go on forever. I love it. One of my great loves in the wine world. (Web Only- 2010) 

97 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

  Medium red. Highly nuanced, roasted aroma dominated by tobacco, grilled nuts, smoke and vanillin oak. Densely packed, but also juicy and penetrating, with great thrust and superb vinosity. A very powerful wine with a robust tannic structure. Finishes very long and strong. This and La Mission really transcend the vintage. Drink 2005 through 2030.   (7/ 2002)

Jancis Robinson

  Deep ruby and beautifully shaded at the rim. Intensely ripe with strong lead pencil aromas. Very meaty. Lovely balance and succulence. Just gorgeous stuff and very intense and long without being at all burnt. It gets better and better on the finish. Just a hint of tar but such subtle fruit beforehand. Realy reverberant on the mid palate,. Great combination of richness and energy. 19.5/20 points.   (7/ 2010)

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

98+p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

What can I say about the 1989 Haut Brion that I haven’t already said over and over again.  It, along with the 1989 Petrus, are the two greatest “young” wines I have ever had, and the youngest wines I would include in my ‘Top Ten’ lifetime category (I would let them share a spot lol).  This wine has been great every time I tasted it and has never shut down.  ‘Humdinger’ summed it up nicely (98+).

24d 3h ago

100p
 Andreas Larsson / Best Sommelier in the World 2004, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

1989 Haut-Brion –  one of the most perfect wines that ever came across my lips. It has got everything that I adore about Bordeaux, elegance, finesse yet an incredible power. The perfume is just to die for as it encapsulates everything we´ve learned to associate with Haut-Brion – cigar box, damp tobacco, fine spices, minerals and delicious but restrained fruit. The palate is remarkably textured with layers and layers of flavours, all that concentration and still so incredibly smooth and astonishingly long. Wow that´s claret to me, that´s perfection…

8m 28d ago

99p
 Alper Alpaslan, Pro (Germany)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"8 Great Bordeaux

1.Flight Latour 1990 MG vs Lynch Bages 1989 MG
2 Flight La Mission Haut Brion 1989 vs Haut Brion 1989
3.Flight Mouton 1982 vs Latour 1982 MG
4 Flight Mouton 1986 vs Lafite 1986

orientalic spices, coffee extract, soft and ripe tannins, but with a great structure, the acidity gives a fantastic backbone supported with a lot of minerality and a memorable extract sweetness, nearly a perfect Pessac, maybe a hint in front of LMHB, 30 years ahead, 99-100"

1y 7m ago

100p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Haut-Brion Vertical 1918-1999 / Vintage 1989 100 points: Deepish ruby, garnet rim. Highly scented and massive intensity, rich, ripe, layered, red and darker fruits, detailed, leather, plums, tobacco, superb nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, sweet ripe red fruits, darker berries, layered, detailed, nuanced, superb and hedonistic, impossible to describe, stunning length."

1y 10m ago

99p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"If there were a Bordeaux that could stand up to the Massetto, a good choice would be the 1989 Haut Brion.It was another ‘wow’ wine; it is always special, indubitably one of the top ten wines made in Bordeaux over the last forty years. Long, elegant yet meaty, it zipped along faster than the speed limit but still seemed like it was moving slowly. It was so sensual, seductive from the first sniff to the last sip, full of carob, caramel, cedar and enough spice for Julia Child’s kitchen cabinet. This is an any place, any time wine. Thank you my friend (99)."

1y 11m ago

94p
 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"The 1989 vintage was the first year Haut Brion green harvested, a method to reduce the crop. This beautifully intense wine, still in evolution and surprisingly quite aggressive, had intense chocolatey/cedar aromas and touches of sweet leather. The palate is the most muscular of all the younger wines with rich slinky/thick tannins and volumes of fruit (94/100 points). Some people measure length of flavour with the minute hand of their watch. This was like waiting for the kettle to boil. "

2y 2m ago

100p
 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Château Haut-Brion 1989 /100 points
"Initially lighter than the La Mission but appreciated considerably and surpassed it. Nose of dried plum, raisins, tobacco, dark chocolate. On the palate still some cassis, dark fruit, malt, creamy tannins, long. Spectacular.""

2y 5m ago

97p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"The total opposite to Martha’s Vineyard. Concentration of fruit without power.
Great balance and elegance. Also 97 pts.
Which of the two wines I prefer depends on my mood.
"

2y 5m ago

97p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"One of the greatest wines from Bordeaux. It has everything in it - except enough bottle ageing for delivering all what it has on offer. Future 100 point wine most likely!!"

4y 7m ago

100p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Deep ruby, garnet rim. Massive nose in the sence of layers and complexity. Scented, fruity, refined. Has everything. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, mouthwatering and superb palate, stunning texture and structure, subdued, refreshing and truly long. "

4y 8m ago

100p
 Philip Tuck / Master of Wine, MW (United Kingdom)  tasted  Château Haut-Brion 1989  ( Château Haut-Brion )

"Although tasted once or twice before, this wine still had a lot to live up to. I'm delighted to report that again, it exceeded my lofty expectations. The depth and complexity after an hour or so in the decanter was something to behold. Fabulous depth and texture. Beautifully fresh tannins still with amazing length. This made me think just how good Red Bordeaux can be when the top properties really get it right. A fantastic bottle that will remain so for a decade or two yet but seems perfect now."

4y 8m ago

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