For Bordeaux, 2009 and 2010 sit in our recent memory as two of the best 21st century vintages to date. It’s not unusual for greatness to come paired like this. 1899 and 1900 were two such vintages vying for the upper hand a century ago. 1928 and 1929 followed. As I got into wine in the 1990s, the pair in question was 1989 and 1990. Initially the 1990 vintage showed better – it was open, exuberant, and expressive from early on. The 1989s, great as they seemed, were more backward. As our 1989 Bordeaux retrospective dinners showed last year, the 1989s are still a little backward at times. Time – 30 years on – to take a look at how 1990 is doing. Is it still in its absolute prime at all the top addresses?
This evening’s line up will be useful in informing us of two things – the progress of the 1990 vintage; and a rare opportunity to try all of the “first growths” from both banks in one night, and so in one vintage, to tune in to their different identities, at full maturity.
Of course this is not an evening for lab coats and microscopes! This is an evening of shared exploration and fun, and not to mention a great dinner. We’ll get a good sense of the style and expression of the vintage overall, its quality, and from a region that has changed a great deal since 1990, the style of the wines being made back then. This is a good chance too for us to work out our own favourites for further drinking. This is Bordeaux, remember, where with some exceptions, it’s still quite possible to buy and to drink well-stored 30-year-old examples of the best without necessarily selling a car, a company or a kidney!