Robert Parker 95
Tasted from magnum at Bordeaux Index, this is another confirmation that the 1989 is the Lafite to go for if choosing between 1988, 1989 and 1990. Here it has a typical Lafite nose with cedar, graphite and not so much menthol this time, but traces of wild mint. It blossoms with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and a sense of solidity that I find missing in the 1988 or 1990. It has a sense of femininity and grace: an undercurrent of sous-bois, bay leaf and a touch of sandalwood. Harmonious with good length, I feel that the 1989 is at its peak right at this very moment. Tasted December 2012.
On being poured there was real tension in the glass, I felt, between Lafite’s delicate style and the big, ripe character of this vintage, warmed as it was by a particularly hot summer, the summer of the bicentenary of the French revolution. There was a slightly burnt note and quite a bit of tannin on the finish. But then it really mellowed in the glass and became super voluptuous. And fragrant. But edgier than the 1997. Unusually spicy for Lafite and wonderfully persistent. These bottles had been bought in 1996 for just 55 each (which probably seemed iniquitous at the time). The 1989 Lafite is now trading at 800 a bottle, a surprisingly low premium on the 1997.
Anticipated maturity: 2000-2020