Reviews & Scores
The 1990 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru boasts an ethereal and quite profound bouquet that shades the 1990 Clos Saint-Denis poured alongside. It bursts from the glass with red fruit laced with tobacco, mint and rose petal, all with captivating delineation and transparency. The palate offers a candied core of red fruit framed by filigree tannin. This is precise and almost symmetrical in terms of focus, blessed with a sappy, harmonious and quite opulent finish without detracting one iota of its terroir expression – a difficult feat to pull off. Magnificent. Tasted at Tour d’Argent restaurant in Paris.
As the 1990 vintage goes these days, this is a relatively fresh example with admirably complex aromas of spice and dried floral elements introducing earthy, pure and solidly well-detailed medium-bodied flavors that are delicious, rich and mouth coating, all wrapped in a moderately firm and lingering finish that is both satisfying and impeccably well-balanced. With 30 minutes or so of air, the presence of the stems becomes more obvious though they're by no means intrusive, just well-represented. In sum, I quite liked this and in terms of longevity, while I don't necessarily see any further improvement, I also don't see any risk of decline for at least 20 years, perhaps a bit more as this is in excellent shape.
It is with somewhat mixed emotions that I report just how spectacular the 1990 Dujac Bonnes-Mares will be, as my only bottle was served at a Bonnes-Mares vertical tasting. This is a great, great vintage for this wine, which offers up a structural integrity, purity of fruit and tangy levels of acidity that are quite extraordinary for the 1990 vintage. The bouquet is still quite primary, but stunning, offering up scents of ripe plums, chocolate, mustard seed, venison, strong soil tones, violets and a generous framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is medium-full, tight and tangy, with laser-like focus, a rock solid core of fruit, moderate tannins, and great grip and length on the impeccable finish. The level of soil transparency here is nearly unparalleled for a young 1990. It is hard not to want to drink this wine right now, but it is still very early days for this monumental example of the vintage.
Jacques Seysses is immensely proud of his 1990s, proclaiming them the finest wines he has made since 1978. He said the same thing about his 1985s, but I agree that the 1990s appear to have greater potential for longevity. Seysses's three best efforts in 1990, a vintage where his yields were only 35 hectoliters per hectare, include a soft, profound Clos St.-Denis, a full-bodied, tannic, muscular, dark-colored, sweet, superbly extracted Clos de la Roche, and the richest, most age-worthy wine of all, the Bonnes Mares. The Bonnes Mares enjoys the most saturated, deep ruby color, and a tightly knit, closed nose, which, with coaxing, offers up smells of meat, soy, sweet black fruits, and toasty vanillin oak. It is splendidly rich and well-delineated, with full body, exceptional extraction of flavor, impeccable balance, and a long, deep finish.