particular fine wines or spirits playing a featuring role.
Second in the series is Amanda Sutcliffe
Hailing from 1989 myself, I have always had particular affection for this coveted vintage. You can imagine my excitement, therefore, when the finale of a weekend out shooting was a stunning three course dinner served with a trio of titans: Mouton Rothschild 1989, Margaux 1989 and Cheval Blanc 1989.
The lobster starter was accompanied with a stunning 2015 Arnaud Ente Meursault – so rich yet delicate, with layers of orchard fruits, struck flint, brioche and floral nuances all jostling to present themselves on the palate and with a finish that went on and on. Stunning.
Then came the eagerly anticipated main course of August grouse, cooked to perfection, with the three Bordeaux glasses filled one alongside the other so as to compare and contrast. Immediately the discourse began – “Cheval is the clear winner!” – “No Mouton definitely has the lead here…” – “The Margaux seems the most complex…” and so on. The wonderful thing about wine, whether your knowledge rivals that of an MW or not, is that it brings people together discussing a fascinating subject. Smell, taste, how it changes after a while in the glass… the guests were all enthusiastically sniffing and slurping and, despite hotly voiced opinions, no winner was crowned. The room remained divided equally amongst these three. Goes to show you just how subjective wine really is.
My own notes, for what they’re worth, gave the first place to Margaux…but only by a nose. Cheval Blanc followed as a close second, with Mouton just coming in third. That said, had I a bottle of Mouton 1989 in my cellar I would treasure it above most things in there!
1989 Margaux: The first word in my tasting note was ‘sexy’. The nose is downright seductive, with red fruits, black fruits and beautiful floral notes soaring from the glass. The gorgeous perfumed nose that only Margaux can deliver continues on the palate, alongside notes of fresh damsons, pencil shavings and a hint of game and leather. Its age brings about the wonderful tertiary flavours which complement the food so beautifully.
1989 Cheval Blanc: Rich, black fruits alongside earthy notes and mocha nuances. These aromas continue on the palate, alongside some pleasing meatiness – charcuterie and bacon fat in particular. Supple tannins, it still feels like a big wine, but it is silky and relaxed now and oh-so inviting. Each sip is enhanced by its beautifully long and balanced finish, with the layers of fruit and subtle graphite notes lingering on the end. Fantastic accompaniment to the grouse.
1989 Mouton Rothschild: Like the other two, the nose lures you in. If Margaux’s nose was perfumed and floral, Cheval’s meaty and rich, Mouton’s was mineral and fruit. Tantalising notes of blackberry cassis, cedar box and pencil lead rushed forwards on the nose. They were joined by wild strawberry and plums on the palate, alongside some subtle sweet spice and tobacco. Richer than the Margaux and less savoury than the Cheval, it was perhaps the most youthful of the three, and with a gorgeously long and moreish finish.
Purchase 1989 Mouton Rothschild here: https://www.biwine.com/shop-online/product/red-bordeaux/mouton-rothschild/1989
Purchase 1989 Margeux here: https://www.biwine.com/search-result?q=margaux+1989