Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I’m back home in France, after an action-packed trip to the United States. At a friend’s wedding on the Washington coast this weekend, one of the many, many wines that we drank was Bollinger’s Grande Année from 1989. Creamy and broad, it showed a velvety, honeyed nose and a yeasty, umami-dominated richness on the palate, accented by hints of saffron, sandalwood and dried exotic fruits. It was generous in character and deliciously pleasurable to drink, but I did think that this wine felt more focused and more expressive several years ago, and if I had any bottles in my cellar (which I don’t), I would drink them up.

Champagnes from 1989 have always been forward and quick to develop, and I’ve been of the opinion that they are now fully mature or even slightly past their best, especially if they’ve been shipped across the Atlantic. What have your recent experiences been with ’89s?


Gavin said...

Krug '89 still seems coiled and needing time to my taste. I agree that other wines seem to have lost appealing primary fruit that hasn't been replaced with enough secondary complexity.

Peter Liem said...

Hello Gavin,

Interesting about the Krug. Did you taste the Collection? The last couple of times that I tasted the "regular" '89 it seemed to be fully mature, not necessarily past its best, but significantly accelerated in advancement over other vintages of that era.

Gavin said...

Peter, this was the regular cuvée. Have you had the '89 VVF? I had it about two years ago and it was extremely puzzling. A recent Vilmart Coeur de Cuvée was looking past it.

Anonymous said...


For me ost '89s are now fully mature or beyond. The only youthful 89 I have tried has been Clos des Goisses 1989. Even Krug '89 is approaching its maturity.



Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas said...

Peter – I wish I could contribute with more recent 1989 tasting notes. In Nov-2008 I brought a 1989 Deutz Blanc de Blanc Vinoteque to a BYO event – which was rather evolved with almost cheese character on the nose. It really failed in comparison with some of the other wines we had that evening.


Peter Liem said...

I haven't had the '89 VVF since it was released. I did have the '90 over Christmas, and it was good rather than great. Completely different sort of vintage, I know. I agree that the Vilmart is a bit long in the tooth -- for me that wine peaked about eight or nine years ago.

Definitely agree about the Clos des Goisses. If there's anything you can count on to give backbone in a soft vintage, it's the Clos.

Interesting about the Deutz. I don't think I've ever had that wine.

Brisbane hotels said...

No.2 of the Krug '89 Ten Layers of Experience:By: Patrick Comiskey: It must be cold, so cold you can feel it, like a fog, on your fingers just before you grasp it.

Cheap Tickets said...

The Domaine Romanée-Conti is the most rarefied and expensive wine in the world, with vintages that need decades to mature. At a tasting for the 2006 DRCs, Bruce Palling hears one vintage intone “Leave me alone you fool--don’t you know I am trying to sleep?” ...
Better taste this then...

Rolf Trap said...

Veuve Clicquot Cave Privee rosé 1989 is still very youthfull, but ofcourse this is a late disgorgement from 2008, so Im not sure if it counts?

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