Decanted for for 2.5 hours at Gabriels. Pure elegance, dense with an incredibly massive nose of dark fruits, leather spice and in the mouth a never ending complexity of earth, fruit and coffee and smoke and perhaps tomato. Rich and wonderful, the wine is evolving if this bottle is an example and was great with my lamb.
Decanted for 1.5 hours and then consumed over the following 3 hours. Consistent with other recent bottles however with more warm sweet Hermitage spice on the nose, and more prominent black fruit on the palate (and less earthy elements). Smooth in the mouth and a long finish. This wine should continue to develop more depth but I do enjoy the current balance of fruit, acid and tannin.
This is one wine for the ages. Decanted for 5hrs and frankly it can easily use more. It continued to evolve in our glasses over next 60 min. At 25yrs this wine is still young but very approachable. The nose of leather saddle, carmel toffee and strawberry pie. The taste was so smooth and balanced. It had warm plum with wild blueberries. It also had molten lava chocolate cake. The Finnish seems to go one for a full minute +. Loved this wine but can easily age for another 35yrs.
Aroma of cherries and cola. Tannins are completely melded, providing a smooth warmth on the upper palate. The wine is saturated with flavors of cola and cherries with a hint of licorice and just a thought of tar. Fresh and lively, the wine is wonderful but just short of true greatness as it lacks the complexity to take it to the next level. This is the last bottle of a case I've enjoyed during the past 15 years. I've found great bottle variation in that time. This was one of the better bottles.
BYO (Østerbro): Deep and complex nose with blueberry, earth and mushrooms with a lot of intensity to it. The same notes carries through to the palate which is even more intense and even more complex. The palate also has some wet wool, aged meat, forest floor and camphor in it and the acidity nicely carries through and keeps everything fresh. It did however also have a overpowering tannin structure which kept it from reaching even higher levels. The overall impression is that this is still a very young wine and it will keep for a very long time!
Absolutely lovely. Somewhat translucent cherry color with some bricking on the edge. Still showing full dark fruit and iron with some leather. Very accessible as the tannins are soft and integrated. This was decanted for a couple of hours and went all night with no diminishing flavor. It is not going anywhere for a while so drink or keep for 10+ years more.
Amazing wine. World class and no doubt that this is an all time wine. It is drinking like it is 10 years old not 25. Massive aromatics of dark fruits, soy sauce, ash and smoke. Beautifully deep fruit on the palate with an eternal finish.
Medium-dark red-garnet color. Immediate, forward nose of smoked meat, tar, thyme, cherry, black pepper and menthol. On arrival, medium-low tannin and balanced acidity. Flavors echoed from the nose, very harmonious and dense. Finish medium long, the menthol and tar gets even bigger at the very end. Complemented our Super Bowl dinner of beef pot roast, baked rice with saffron and pea shoot walbut salad. Bottle #4 of four.
Mrs L just landed a piece of business, so when she got home for dinner, I thought a nice bottle was in order. And even with all the hype, I was taken by surprise at how good it was. When first opened and decanted the wine was dark ruby, with nothing much going on. Sniffing it, I felt I had no nose. But two hours later, it turned deep blood red and sported a golden edge that looked like a halo. Dried flowers, spices and dark berries filled the nose. Flawless on the palate, there were velvety smooth tannins that tasted as though seamlessly woven into layers of juicy, crisp black cherry fruit. Dried seaweed in the finish gave the wine a fulsome and savory umami character that just juxtaposed perfectly with the sweetness of the fruit. This is my second encounter with this wine, and this bottle was just all flawless vinous pleasure. It's the first time I've given anything 100 points, and I always thought it would be such a difficult decision. But this one was a no-brainer, took all of two seconds...
Drack från magnum. Väldigt koncentrerad och kraftfull doft med mörka bär, tjära, stening mineral, provencalska örter, peppar, rökt kött och rosor. I smaken också väldigt koncentrerat med mycket primär frukt , läder, bacon och pepprigt avslut. Massivt och koncentrerat med ända med en helt underbar struktur och elegans mitt i kraften
from magnum. dark red to ebony center, faint paling at rim; concentrated iron filings, smoked meat, black licorice, creosote; big-framed, though not clumsy; super balanced & concentrated, roasted damson plums, molten lava, bacon fat, burnt figs, long on the finish w/sturdy integrated tannins. in this format, still on the upside.
shortribs in syrah reduction w/orange-rosemary gremolata; roasted roots w/sorghum-malt vinaigrette; creamed tuscan kale w/benton's bacon
Dinner with good friends and tasted against the 1989 La Chapelle. The '90 was soft and complex seemed to lack the vibrancy that previous bottles had. Was it this bottle or was the wine beginning to decline? These have been from a case bought upon release back in the day. The '89 was brighter and less complex. Still the 1990 was a great wine but now seems to be the time to drink up.
From a magnum at cellar temp (55) since purchase. Very very young, should have been left for 5-10 more years. Very drinkable but had not yet acquired bottle bouquet or secondary flavors. Medium body, balanced, subdued nose, pleasant Rhone flavor. Average plus finish. Nothing wrong with the bottle that another decade wouldn't cure. Other tasting notes are probably from 750's or different storage. 4 of us drank it over 2.5 hours after decanting.
Opened and decanted for 2 hours. Elegant, with a massive nose of dark fruits, leather spice and in the mouth a never ending complexity of earth, fruit and coffee and smoke. This remains a favorite wine and show s no sign of fading
Christmas wine with dry age standing rib roast. The wine has not changed from my last tasting in August 2014: "The whole ball of wax you'd want in a Hermitage. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, soft black currant, black cherry, leather, roast beef, hints of bacon fat, tar, iron, spice." Big, rich and powerful in the mouth. Exceedingly intense fruit. ... Well structured for longevity. Just starting onto its plateau of maturity; tannins have not totally integrated into the wine. A long, lingering and very appreciable finish." Soft and succulent in the mouth. A great pairing too. Has many years left for appreciation.
Served after a 45 minute decant. On the nose, plum, raspberry, cherry, raisin, with tar and coffee behind. Herbal elements emerge and mint flits in the background. Great texture in the mouth with nicely balanced tannins and glycerin. Depth of flavors is impressive. A beauty to drink now but this has a long life ahead of it.
Coravined a little. What a gorgeous wine! Mushrooms, black olives, earth, cherry, violet, berries, bramble, black pepper, meat. The nose and the palate are very harmonious - you taste what you smell. Medium+ tannins, medium acidity, full body, very long finish. Perhaps the best non-dessert wine I've ever had. The fruit might be fading a bit, but the savory notes more than make up for it. So I think it will last for a long time yet. I think I hear that coravined bottle calling to me from the cellar....
Compelling in every way. The wine is incredibly concetrated with all the right stuff. Perfectly ripe, spicy, mineral driven berries, pepper and earth round on the experience, leaving with a blast of fruit that remains on your palate for at least 60 seconds. Still young, this is a thrill to drink today, and it's going to get better and better with more age.
Tasted with a friend. Great showing for this wine. Lots of minerality. Forest floor. Roasted porcini. Super concentrated and extremely long finish. Unctuous texture. In a perfect spot right now for my taste.
Bottle and wine in perfect condition from the same half-case as I purchased years ago but this bottle seemed a bit flat compared to the big, ripe monster that I know this wine to be. Plenty of graphite minerals and charred meat flavors and the finish is cool and complex but this bottle lacks the excitement of several previous experiences with this wine. 91?
Special occasion tasting. It really has not changed much from my last tasting. "The whole ball of wax you'd want in a Hermitage. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, soft black currant, black cherry, leather, roast beef, hints of bacon fat, tar, iron, spice." Big, rich and powerful in the mouth. Exceedingly intense fruit. Somewhat soft, as long as the wine temperature has reached 65+ degrees. Well structured for longevity. Just starting onto its plateau of maturity; tannins have not totally integrated into the wine. A long, lingering and very appreciable finish. Paired well with osso buco at one of the finer Phoenix restaurants. This wine is not a disappointment at this early stage.
Mostly Northern Rhone dinner (The Grill Room at Capella Hotel Georgetown): As Tom mentioned, there is bottle variation for the ones that were imported to the states. This is too porty and lacks the intense fruit that you get in the correct bottle. Some sweet dry black fruits, mint, steak, tapenade and menthol. Not showing the incredible concentration one expects from the 90 La Chapelle. Still pretty decent.
I expected so much, but this wine was over the top, seems to be oxidated, it was a very very god red wine,but not outstanding, pepper,dark red fruit,but the tannins looked tired, acidity is high, maybe the bottle was not in a good condition. will try it again
La Chapelle vertical tasting....A perfect wine....utterly spellbinding...left me speechless....this wine still had a freshness and vivacity to it, which leads me to believe that it has a very long life ahead of it.
The best Syrah I've ever had....it was an honor to experience this wine.
Tasted at the "Rhone Wine Tasting" at Bistro Provence, Bethesda Pronounced smell of lovage, some funkiness. Definitively interesting I liked the way it presented itself and it was my choice no.2 of the reds of the evening. Think it will last for a while longer..
1990 ANYTHING Dinner (Our house): Mature and detailed nose of black fruit, earth, herbs and smoked meat. The palate matched and was fairly concentrated, but not holding much back. This will improve but is in a nice spot.
As you have surmised from others, mere words are a challenge as accurate depictors for '90 Chap. Stood 750ml for weeks. Btl opened at 11am, tasted a splash and it was quite obviously not ready to PnP. Let it sit for 6 hrs, then PnP. An *incredibly young* wine today. Beyond massive in flavor and weight. Overly opulent (to me) - not at all a knock! Truly amazing, with its waves and layers of beef, blood, kirsch, boysenberry and bacon fat. Medium-long finish, but very little precision in that. Such is the beauty of our beloved hobby: it truly comes down to your wants and "needs" (!) for style and experience. I was saving this for a special occasion, and our annual Masters Friday tradition was more than special enough. Thrilled my buddies loved this as much as they did. I loved it a touch less than they, but again, that is style preference. It is undeniably a magnificent, stunning wine. I have no idea how long to hold the few other bottles I have...?!! Next time I will decant, and also serve it a touch colder.
"Best of the Best" Tasting (Switzerland): What a shame. The cork clearly revealed that the opened bottle is a '1994' La Chapelle !? Unfortunately such rare bottles are the longer the more prone to be faked.
Dinner at the Fung's! (Fung's): this was the first red of the night. it was very good on its own, but when compared to the other wines tonight, it was a little weak. typical of rhone. black fruits with a little bit of spice.
Lazy Sunday group Holiday dinner (The Grill Room at Capella Hotel Georgetown): The 90 la Chapelle pretty well be a 100 year wine! Extremely youthful, ripe slightly dry black fruits, licorice, tapenade, rare charred steak, tar and a hint of mint. Exceptional concentration, big scale, bright acidity and nicely integrated tannins. It will improve at least for another twenty years. Impressive wine.
Tasting Group - White Truffle Dinner (Casa Aneff): Tasted blind alongside the ’90 Soldera. You can definitely tell this is a bottle of Rhone wine. There was pepper and blueberry on the nose as well as some hints of iron/blood. A bit of sweetness on the palate. This was a very enjoyable bottle of wine that is drinking well right now, but should continue to show well over time.
Spectacular wine. Opened up because in need of good wine. Almost fell over when I saw current value and then said, hey, OTB and enjoy. Did not disappoint. Earthy, full, smooth, chewy, delicious in every part of the sip to swallow. So happy I have 6 more. What to replace it with?
Liked this a lot, but again it doesn't live up to its exalted reputation (and I do find it a touch ripe compared to other vintages of La Chapelle - 89 and 85 in particular - that I like a lot more.) Lots of rich red and dark fruit and black olives at the core, framed by more savoury smoky, meaty and developed leathery notes, polished and very nicely balanced with fine grained tannins and impressive length.
Yellowish, with hints of brown, at the rim; deep dark garnet with brick-like hues, indicating the wine is starting to mature. The whole ball of wax you'd want in a Hermitage. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, soft black currant, black cherry, leather, roast beef, hints of bacon fat, tar, iron, spice. Big, rich and powerful, but also velvety in the mouth. Structured and balanced. It's starting onto its plateau of maturity, but the tannins have not totally integrated into the wine; just a very slight acidic sensation on the tip of the tongue (not enough though to impede appreciating this exceedingly pleasing wine). A long and lingering finish that is soft and velvety (nothing acidic here). Of course, it pairs quite well with prime rib-eye. Magnificent stuff. Score 97-98. Note: the bacon fat becomes more conspicuous as the wine warms.
I cannot believe I've tasted this wine 4 times over the past two months, and with very consistent results. This specific bottle was good, but not great. Rich, big, deep and concentrated, the aromatics kicked off with licorice, tobacco, earth, iron, blackberries and black cherries. Powerful, long and young, as good as it is now, it's only starting to open.
Still young, vibrant and fresh, with a deep hue, the wine popped with a complicated perfume packed with boysenberry liqueur, black cherry, flowers, herbs, pepper, licorice, spice and forest floor aromas. Rich, concentrated, powerful and structured, there is a regal quality to the fruit that shines through every step of the way. I've had slightly better bottles that merited triple digits. But this was very close. Drink this now, or age it for decades.
With '86 Lafite Rothschild at 131 Main, with steaks and BBQ ribs. Both wines were perfect, equally outstanding, but completely different styles. La Chapelle was dark garnet-purple and still completely opaque, no sign of lightening at the edges. The aroma had an initial pronounced herbal-bell pepper tone, which gradually changed over several hours to become deeper and richer, with some bacon fat, mocha, and dark fruits/cassis components. Very concentrated but perfectly balanced flavors which improved over several hours. Initially closed and moderately tannic, it opened up completely. Tannins melted away, to show a perfectly balanced, complex series of flavors from cassis, blackberries, powerful but silky. Full-bodied, drank like a wine much younger than its 23 years. One of the longest and most memorable aftertastes of any wine I've tasted in 40+ years, just didn't quit. Four hours after opening it's still getting better, and there's still a glass left! Two bottles left: considering how it has evolved over several hours, I would open the others several hours before serving, to let it soften and develop its complexities. This wine will last for years. Ric
Had the 89 and the 90 side by side and it was like a horse race where at each tasting one wine was superior to the next. The 89 has really improved in the last two years and is supple, sexy and rich with a long, luscious finish. The 90 is big, precise and still young and amazing in its own right. next time, open the 90 an hour or two earlier than the 89.
Decanted for roughly 2 hours before trying. Highly aromatic and powerful nose of ripe, black berries and cassis with damp earth, leather, roasted game and very dark spices. Rip and full of power on the palate as well. Very dark and muscular with great texture. Fantastic acidity. Full bodied with a long gripping finish. The best bottle I can remember having of this wine.
Consumed at the SAFW (Society for the Appreciation of Fine Wine) Reunion II tasting, held at Laura’s home, 1/26/2013. The wine tonight was very similar to a tasting of the wine 14 months ago, wherein I indicated: “Purple at the rim; a deep dark garnet color. Wonderful aromas and flavors of blackberry, soft black currant, earthiness, leather, raw beef, tar, iron, violets, spice. Rich, powerful, smooth and balanced. A long, long finish of some 45 - 50 seconds.” Nothing has changed, except it seemed a little more open this time.
An Assortment at Adams (Washington DC): Amazingly youthful. An effusive nose of blackberry, spice, a touch of smoked meat, olive and a hint of pepper. Deep and intriguing with the sense that you are just getting a glimpse of what this has to offer. The palate has the same feeling - silken, massively concentrated and exquisitely balanced. Extraordinary wine. This is just packed and brooding; so much left to unravel as this matures. A powerhouse.
An impromptu gathering at Adam’s house (Washington DC): Expressive very ripe nose of black fruits, licorice, smoke meat, kir, fruit cake, garrigue and tapenade. Sweet semi dry black fruit driven palate, incredible concentration and youth, good acidity and nicely integrated tannins. If a sound bottle, major upside potential, perhaps it will reach the apogee of the 61?
The notes here are useful and accurate. This wine is now getting ready to drink. I decanted 2 hours before the dinner. The texture is particularly noteworthy: dense, velvety, seamless. Perfect integration of oak. Nice acid-alcohol-fruit balance. On the palette, ripe but not jammy black fruits, esp. blackberry, are interwoven with a pleasant herbal component (garrigue). The finish is medium long and earthy. It is concentrated but not heavy. It lacks the additional complexity to warrant an extraordinary rating. I expect it to develop more and maybe achieve a higher score but it will never reach 1961 level. I matched it with roasted tenderloin and broiled matsutake and it worked well for the Christmas dinner.
Rich, dense, thick, long, silky with a finish that goes on for over a minute. I can't articulate any better than did Jeff Leve - this is the best wine I can recall tasting. I'd give it 100 points, but then - as Jimn has written - I'd be leaving no room for anything better. Perhaps I'll revisit this rating in the future. A perfect Christmas wine.
I’ve been blessed to have tasted this majestic wine several times this year. In fact, I had this wine twice last week! Even more amazing is the remarkable level of consistency the wine continues to perform at. At days from its 23rd birthday, it’s really starting to come into its own, with its showy display of ripe blackberry, plum and cherries complicated by wet earth, smoke, minerals, garrigue and spice. On the palate, the wine is incredibly dense, with polished textures and no hard edges. The finish is expansive, thick, seamless and long, lasting for over 60 seconds! Over the years, this wine continues to develop layers of complexities, intensity of flavor and silky textures. If you’ve never tasted an Hermitage that blew you away, if you have the money, this is the wine to buy.
Almost a black ink color. Nice dark fruit on the nose. Very smooth and long finish. Was quite tight for the first few hours of being open, but softened up over time. This was drinking well now, but will last for many years to come.
End of year dinner; Break out the good stuff- Alto Adige, Rhone, Bordeaux, Barolo, Loire and Port. (Amali.): I've found this wine to be rather inconsistent over the years. More often than not, it fails to live up to the hype. Not tonight, however. What an absolutely thrilling showing! Just a powerhouse of a wine and I don't mean that in an over-the-top way as everything about this bottle was about balance. This bottle was a little cleaner than usual with a little less funk and more upfront black fruit, black olive and just a hint of bacon. It showed youth, but wonderful integration, density and power, but a velvety mouthfeel and silky tannins. Stunning wine and easily WOTN and tied with a '90 Chave for my wine of the year. Solid A+.
The Eleventh Annual Stonefields Dinner (Guelph, ON, Canada): From magnum, decanted roughly 90 minutes before service...it could have used 3-4 hours. Deep ruby colour The nose is so primary here.....pure blue fruit, minerals, and with massive swirling you can get a little bit more out....olive, smoke, purple florals, and pepper. The palate is equally tight showing bluefruit, fat, minerals, pepper, and olive. The finish is long and smooth with complex flavours that follow from the nose and palate. In single bottle format, I have scored this 97pts or higher on 2 occasions. In magnum, I would not touch this for at least 10 more years and it needs more time. This is also a wine that I would give a good long decant and follow it along as it is one that I have witnessed utterly change from hour 1 -3 in the decanter.
Once in Lifetime...: From magnum, decanted approximately 90 minutes prior to service, a deep inky purple in the glass. Very youthful and tight on the nose. With some coaxing, it revealed notes of black fruits, blueberries, light vanilla, olives, smoke, herbs, licorice, florals, pepper. On the palate, again, still quite tight, with rich black and blue fruit, pepper, smoke and briny olive. The concentration here is massive, but it is in perfect balance. Finish is quite long, and accentuated by brisk acidity and quite a bit of silky tannin. In this format, I wouldn’t touch this for another 15-20 years. This bottle was much tighter and more youthful than the single bottle format tasted earlier this year. Score is a little reserved, but it is clear this will evolve in to a real stunner and may one day merit a perfect score.
Pre-Christmas dinner with Mrs and LH (At home): This wine was meant to be the highlight of the dinner, except that it was upstaged by an unexpected addition to our (small) lineup. First time I've opened a 1990 HLC and it didn't disappoint. Smoked meats, dark berries, spring flowers, mocha -- classic Hermitage nose with power and density. I now know what some writers mean that this wine is built to age, this wine came across as drinkable but young, with chewy tannins that were not exactly intrusive but they certainly made their presence felt. Complex, youthful, vibrant and balanced, this is a wine that appeals to both hedonist and intellectual (i.e. drinkers like me!) NB: I decanted this for 24 hours, and still felt it could have benefited from more breathing time. If opening this, give it plenty of time in decanter!
Another outstanding bottle after a couple of more muted examples. Very bright in the glass, incredibly youthful looking, dark red/purple with just a hint of amber on the rim. A complex nose of violets, chocolate, dark fruits, cherries, forest floor, liquorice, menthol and aniseed. On the palate still very fresh with great acidity, integrated tannins, great mouth weight and a persistent finish. Overall very classy. in its prime but absolutely no hurry to drink up. Great!
my third time trying it and so far consistently excellent...it's a dark fruit fiesta that satisfies the pleasure seeker and sends the wine intellect into overdrive.
the bouquet and palate are consistent and layered with complexity. I was smart enough to let this one breathe for more than an hour before drinking and was rewarded with aromatics that burst from the glass. as i said the same characteristics are present in the mouth....mocha, ripe blackberries, and a bacony/bloody duck type of flavor that is somewhat unique and complements the sweet dark fruit - the sweetness doesn't dominate, it's in harmony with the savory aspect of this wine. it's thick, layered and succulent, the tannins well integrated
I am guessing that this bottle was off as it really was uninteresting and hard to identify as a Northern Rhone wine. It had a hot boullion character. I have been served this wine before, undecanted and after a long night of drinking, and found it unremarkable (how many good bottles have been wasted that way?), so my experience is limited. This bottle was breathing for a long time and just seemed to get worse.
All its cracked up to be. Rich notes of syrah, bacon/smoked meat nose. There is a depth and length to this wine that is so rich and it held in the decanter for 24 hours. I can't wait to have this again.
Father's Day - It's been a couple of years since my last bottle. Immortal wine! The nose is dark with leather, spice, and black fruits. There is a sweet topnote that momentarily breaks the darkness. The palate is dense with layers and layers of endless flavors: meat, black cherry, and leather. The spine is quite evident and tannins still present. Son of '61 in time
Tasted at a 50th birthday party of a generous friend! - far outperformed a corked Lafite 86, a tough, closed Mouton 86 and a rather over the top Beaucastel Jacques Perrin 90 (4 'perfect' wines a la Parker score). HLC 90 - good colour, lots of syrah fruit, ripe and complex, ageing effortlessly. Much more impressive than the 85. Could not take more detailed notes unfortunately, but undoubtedly a great wine.
I have had this wine maybe 8-10 times with a few truly staggering bottles. This was at the next level. I really cannot put into words how far beyond normal wine this went. Surreal. Mindblowing. Staggering. The definition of perfect. Blood, plum and meat move to black pepper, smoke, and roasted and smoky beast. The palate is both deep and utterly fresh and silky. This was a pinnacle expression of Hermitage, shoot me now, wow.
The Northern Rhone Dinner (Chave, Jaboulet, Chapoutier, Rostaing, Tardieu Laurent) (Patrick's House): Quickly decanted for sediment and served immediately, followed for approximately two to three hours. On the nose this showed gorgeous blue fruits, dark fruits, florals, iodine, smoke meats, spice, pepper, fresh herbs, earth, decomposing leaves and briny olive. On the palate, dark fruits, blue fruits, olive, earth, and spice. Perfectly balanced acidity, tannin and fruit concentration. This is a beast of a wine and has a very lengthy complex peacock finish, with layers upon layers of different notes on the palate. This huge wine, but not overdone and totally destroyed the 1989 that was consumed alongside it. I'd love to revisit this one in ten years.
i bought several bottles right after release and never opened one, so it was very gratifying to see my timing was good. This wine is a behemoth, but if it was in some sort of closed brooding stage it's certainly emerging - for me an interesting comparison is the 86 Mouton as they are both big, dark, slowly evolving wines with a long life ahead, but this wine has a lot of charm the Mouton isn't yet showing. The bouquet is very dark fruit oriented with notes of tar and violet. It is even blacker on the palate at first, but with aeration it begins revealing a lot of secondary nuances and a sweet inner core. After yet more aeration there was a sensation of dark cherry liqueur and a long succulent finish.
highly recommended and much better than the 90 Chave. so often i read commentary that 20 year old wine will continue to evolve, but frequently i find that means it'll get older and softer. This wine is truly poised to reveal more of itself over the coming years. one that will be fun to drink and chart its evolution
Monday Night 1990 Themed Dinner (The Principal): This wine was all about potential as it was painfully young even compared with the Landonne. Everything is there for this to develop into an incredible wine but we drank it 10 years too early.
A great bottle of this wine which can be quite variable from bottle to bottle. Quite structured at first but then dark violet fruits emerge as the tannins melt away and ultimately the wine is rich and velvety with a good backbone of acidity. The finish is full of complex slate and mineral notes with a wonderful silky texture. Delicious but needed several hours to really show itself.
Baltimorean and one dcwino in NYC – Part 2 French at Corton: Incredibly big and youthful. Black fruits, licorice, leather, tapenade, smoked and charred meat, ash and burnt rubber. The palate is intense but not necessarily unctuous with very well integrated tannins. Bright acidity keeps the wine fresh. There is no question that this will age gracefully but not sure whether this will ever reach the level of the 61 La Chapelle as the fruit is not as sweet. Nevertheless an impressive wine with a long life ahead.
Huge variation between bottles with this wine. I've had three outstanding bottles out of a case in the past 10 years. This bottle was nice, showing bricking at the edge of the wine with a slight orange cast throughout. Aromas of plums, flavors of cherry cola, licorice, spices. Tannins melded. Wine fully balanced with good length. This does open up with air and deserves to be decanted 90 minutes in advance. Drink now or hold another five years.
As hard as it is to believe, at almost 22 years of age, this looks and tastes like a young wine. Deeply colored, with a nose filled with spice, black plum, gravel, iron, pepper, grilled meat, blackberry and cassis, the wine is packed and stacked with layers of ripe, deep, pure, sensuous fruit. Still tannic and needed several more years before its fully mature, this exciting wine is powerful, glycerin filled and intense. The wine ends in a beautiful display of plush, ripe, decadent, fleshy, flashy black and red fruit.
Thanksgiving get together. Purple at the rim; a deep dark garnet color. Wonderful aromas and flavors of blackberry, soft blackcurrent, earthiness, leather, raw beef, tar, iron, violets, spice. Rich, powerful, smooth and balanced. A long, long finish of some 45 - 50 seconds. Difficult to give this wine any justice in scoring, after a 1989 Haut Brion. The wine is probably at the beginning of its plateau and should last a couple decades. Score 96-97.
Open for 2 hours prior to drinking and then decanted. Pure elegance with an incredibly massive nose of dark fruits, leather spice and in the mouth a never ending complexity of earth, fruit and coffee and smoke. I doubt that Northern Rhone gets any better than this.
Acker Merrall Inaugural Chicago Auction (Trump International Hotel): A perplexing wine. This is probably the 5th or 6th time I've tasted this wine. it was amazing once a few months ago, but somewhere between "okay" and "good" (perhaps 85-89 points) every other time. Tonight it was dark to start, but also earthy with lots of forest floor, then a bit muddy and uninteresting towards the end.
Hard to imagine this is the same wine I had almost four years ago. It reamains a gorgeous wine, but more elegant, balanced and subdued than my notes from 2008 had indicated. It was not quite as good as the 1989 Grange we had at the same time, which certainly surprised me, having tasted both in the past. The wine is still vibrant and fresh and does need air time as others have indicated. Opened three hours and then decanted for one hour. Paired with venison...great combination.
I didn't read my last note, and we decanted only briefly before drinking. Initially a little rough, but as I approached the end of my last glass the wine was just singing - soft, rich, complex and beautiful. Make sure to decant for at least 3 hours next time.
Decanted 2 hours before tasting - should have left it longer. The wine is still young. A soft richness, and so complex, with a finish that just goes on and on. Simply amazing. I'll decant the next bottle a couple of hours earlier.
Explosive nose, lots of energy and still youthful after 3hours decanting and 20 year in bottle. Expressive, long, extravert - next bottle a few years from now. In hk amuse bouche. That's why I am buying all these 2009 La Chapelle's.
Decanted for about 1 hour, probably not enough, very young and tannic, nose was great but not so good in the mouth. Very surprised that despite the 20+ years, this wine is still so raw and powerful, perhaps more air time would help next time. Was finished by hour 3 so did not really gave this enough time, the rating reflected this.
Super ripe nose of black berry fruit, roasted meat/game and pepper. While others liked this quite a bit and commented it was the best showing they've ever seen of this wine, it was a bit too jammy for my personal taste. The palate was full of very ripe, almost syrupy black fruits and spice with earth notes. Full bodied with a long finish. Served alongside the 90 Chave Hermitage.
A few stars from dinner (Lake Forest, IL): Third time I have had this wine, by far the best showing. Flavors of roasted meat, blackberry with some chocolate hidden in the background. Still quite primary, but this stayed squarely on the right side of seeming jammy. Nose was big and bold as well, with plenty of spice in the mix as well. This was a really fun wine last night, one I'd be thrilled to revisit in ten years and again in twenty. But I think there has been plenty of bottle variations since this wine has never showed this well before.
KYD #2: Nice and complex nose with blackberry, earth, mushrooms, black olives, buttermilk, tobacco and mint leaves. Very compact and concentrated fruit flavor profile with a very powerful and tight structure but also a very long and beautiful aftertaste. The overall impression is that this is still a very young wine and generally it does seem a little bit to one-dimensional with a primary flavor focus on the fruit. After the wine was revealed I was perhaps a little bit disappointed due to its legendary status!
Blind Syrah Tasting w/ Ryan Johnson, Dick Boushey, Eric LeVine, and MrBigJ (Wild Ginger, Seattle, WA): Tasted blind. (Group's #3 (my #3)) – 1 first place vote, 4 second place votes, 6 third place votes, 1 fourth place vote – The nose had aromas of dark fruits and earth, and was just a little bit volatile. The palate had quite a bit of dark, dark fruit flavors with leather and mushroom notes. This wine seemed to be fairly tannic, and was even slightly mouth drying. Once this was revealed, it was hard to believe that this was over 20 years old! This was a wine that I had wanted to taste for a long time, and was a great surprise!
Deep brooding black ruby color. Gorgeous nose of funky earth, black rasberries, saddle leather and black minerals. A deep, rich, thickly textured wine with grip and sappiness. The flavors echo the nose but the wine remains about its earthy funk and liquor-like texture and intensity. My only issue with this extraordinary wine is the stubbornly high acidity on the finish. I'm now going on 3 hours open and the acidity is beginning to ameleorate so my sense is this wine needs more time but the flavors are so mature that it remains a conundrum wine for me.
Quite a surprise - this seems incredibly primary and youthful for a 20+ year old wine, packed with red and dark fruited flavours with accents of meat, pepper and faint herbal elements. This has considerable depth - with time it starts to unravel more layers and nuance, and it's an amazing wine to sit down with and explore.
Dark red. Aromas of smoked pork, wild blackberry, leather, mushroom, violets, camphor, machine oil. Medium tannin, medium acidity. Exquisitely balanced, both structured and fat. Flavored of rich mixed berry fruit, prune, olives, earthy raw meat, menthol. Simply outstanding. Bottle #4 of six.
Just fantastic. A truly complete wine. I pegged it initially as a tight 10 year old Chateauneuf from a producer such as Boiserenard/Coulon, but eventually more classic Northern Rhone Syrah qualities came through: blackberries, iron, meaty gamey notes, some beeswax/lanolin, and just amazing persistence on the finish.
The emperor has no clothes. Hopefully for people who are cellaring this it is monolithic - tastes like CA Syrah with age. Few secondaries, boysenberries, but little complexity or length. This isn't closed, it is over ripe. Certainly a tasty wine, but not a 90 pointer let alone a 100 pointer. Everything that is wrong with wines that many revere today. I like fruit, but wines like this make me sign up for my membership card with the Anti Flavor Wine Elite.
WOTN: rose pedal and violet nose. Dark red/purple in glass. Doesn't show it's age. Fleshy quality in palate. Developed a meaty nose.Black olive notes with ripe cherry. Chewy texture. Delicius. Shrug your shoulders kind of yummy. So easy to drink. Smooth tannins.
Red wines at their peak with AuZone (AuZone, Stockholm): Medium to dark red colour, some brick colour to the edge. Slightly sweetish nose, discreetly aromatic-flowery, dark berries, black olives, oak. On the palate slightly tough, mild spice, dark berries, quite tannic. 91-92 p. Just like the 1989 in the same flight, I was surprised to learn what it was. Based on what I felt in the glass, I have some problems believing that it was a wine that had received a perfect score. Even though it was quite good and typical for Rhône, I neither thought it had the amount of “extra everything” or the obvious elegance of both nose and palate that I think have to be there to start discussing a 95+ point score. (It was more appreciated by other tasters, so it was probably nothing wrong with it.) Based on the tannin level I would say that the wine would benefit from more age.
Wine open at 11:00am and start to enjoy at 6:00 pm. Solid purple color with a pale color at the rim. Complex layer with a lot of fruity favor - blackcurrant, cherry, smoky tobacco. Long n dense finish. Amazing wine in a wonderful vintage.
This would really be a wonderful wine if it wasn't so tannic and dry on the first day, because one rarely realizes that a wine needs to be opened a day in advance. Anyhow, for Daniel's 20th birthday, powerful and aromatic but very tannic and to me, not the wine I had hoped for. Maybe the bottle is somehow off, although the fruit and aromatic structure is fine. The issue is the extreme tannins.
A Small 1990 European Dinner (Nopa, San Francisco): It's been almost 3 years between bottles of this and the lack of change is uncanny. Very deep, primary color. Again, pronounced blackberry liqueur quality. It is almost syrupy, but it is saved from being too heavy or port-like by strong acidity. As occurred when I drank this in 2007, some green notes emerged, but only after 2-3 hours in the decanter. Tannins are substantial but easygoing. Three words describe the approach to this wine-patience, patience, patience. It has every indication of maintaining this rather simple, monochromatic state for another decade or (probably) more based on the trajectory I've observed since 2000. I truly hope that people who own this wine (including me!) can look forward to as much longevity as the wine itself. It is not much closer to maturity on its 20th birthday than it was on its 10th.
Decanted for 3-4 hours prior to drinking. It was a shock to move from the 89 Lafarge to this, from brightness to pure elegance. This goes down so easy its amazing. Incredibly massive nose of dark fruits, leather spice and in the mouth a never ending complexity of earth, fruit and coffee and smoke. I doubt that Northern Rhone gets any better than this. Definitely outclasses the 89 by a long-shot, although I would drink that any day of the week.
Decanted just prior to consumption. Dark and deep red but not opaque. Fairly primary nose of dark fruit. The wine just washes over the palate with a concentrqated core of primary fruit. Beautifully integrated tannin, acidity and alcohol. Seamless and satiny. A perfect combination of grace and power but still youthful. I would expect it to develop more secondary and tertiary characteristics with more time. Close to perfection now for its stage of development but with headroom in score for further development. Fabulous. I wish I had more in the cellar to see how this will be in another five or ten years.
Gorgeous, deep red purple color. This has a beautiful sour nose of red and black cherries, and a melange of dry baking and asian spices in old wooden boxes. The perfect nose is in a place that very few wines will ever reach. The mouth is also incredible. I am watching a violent Florida thunderstorm tossing my live oaks and thumbnail sized hail rain down from the sky, and am reminded of the power of this wine. There is also a natural piercing sweetness surrounded by still, dare I say, youthful tannins. This wine has qualities of both the 1955 Leroy La Romanee and the 1961 Conterno- two wines I've had within the last year. I believe, in 20 to 30 years, this wine will be a powerful, weightless megastar that is perfect in every way. 99+++
The Greatest Pig Roast Ever?? (Chicagoland): Faint dark fruit, meat and spice on the nose and palate. Medium body and finish. Seemed to lack structure and energy. Didn't really do much for me. Others thought this particular bottle to be over the hill.
Hard to believe this is a 20 year old bottle as it feels and looks so young. Almost black in colour, very strong burnt toffee aromas at first. As it sits in the decanter more fruit starts to show and it turns inot a much more complex wine and it kept improving till there was, sadly, nohing left in the decanter. Can't help feeling that it has not hit it's prime drinking window and should be put a way for a while longer.
Definitive Rhone (Fabi and Rosi European Kitchen Austin, Texas): What's not to like. Several tasters thought this perfect, others of us were amazed that the 1991 we tasted alongside it was quite competitive. Some comments from one group: "classic, balanced, beautiful, mature," "favorite, lush, delicious," "everything I want from a fine wine," and they didn't even score the wine. Overall we thought the wine young, with an almost port jam, had great structure and finish. The balance was very impressive, some called it sublime and restrained, and the caramel and sweetness promise more to come as the wine ages. Our discerning palates detected black fruit, basil, provencal herbs on the nose, smoke, crushed violets, raspberry jam, truffles and earth, blueberry, cassis, and black cherry. If we averaged the scores offered (and not all score), we'd give this a 98, but why present an average score when so many thought this a close-to-perfect wine.
Tasted blind. Black color. Black plum & black olive on the nose. Deep, rich & massive black plum fruit flavors. Oak, oak & more toasty oak on the finish. After 20 years the oak hasn't integrated? This is still a very good wine.
This bottle was on fire. Same provenance as last bottle, but this time we had with food and that brought it up just another notch. The nose was full of sweet smells of lavender, cherries and blackberries, along with white pepper, sage and a little iodine. A little more fruit than I remember from the last bottle, along with the requisite iron and meat. Long, smooth finish. First wine this year that stopped me in my tracks.
1990 Jaboulet La Chapelle had 2 or 3 different bottling dates. When tasted from the first bottlng, (there is no way to tell) the wine os one of the top Hermitage wines ever produced! And this was a very good bottle. The wine oozes out of the glass sliding over your palate in wave after wave of deep, dark, lush frui, spices, minerals, pepper, licorice, cassis and berries. Still young, in another decade or two when this wine is fully mature, the best bottles will deliver an amazing tasting experience.
Last of the 3 pack bought on release ($59), we could wait only for it's 20th BD. A perfect bottle with near perfect contents. The room was spellbound by how badly it outclassed, and tasted younger than the simple '00. Herb and leather tinged black fruit w/layers to be explored (you certainly had time to think about it given the long finish). Decanted 2 hrs before serving and gassed the 1 glass remains over night -- was great also!
Monday Night Dinner at Harry's/Vintry: This bottle had great provenance and it showed compared to some other bottles of this that I have had. Standard blood, mud, iron and leather. But better tannins and more fruits that on other bottles. We drank this after the meal and it drank extremely well with some after-dinner cheeses and meats with just a short decant.
Decanted for several hours. Dark, inky purple/garnet. Was not showing any age visually. The nose was wonderful with dried flowers, well-seasoned leather, thyme and hints of garrigue, concentrated dark berries. Nice roasted earth aspect. While it was taking on some secondary aromas, it was still remarkably fresh and vibrant. The palate was still bright with black fruits. The fruits did have an earthy, leathery aspect to them. Nice minerals and almost a dark roasted coffee hint. The tannins were integrated well and provided great structure. Incredibly complex, with so many miles to go yet. This was poured back into the bottle, and revisited 48 hours later: The nose was still wonderfully vibrant with little change. Maybe more violets and more pronounced leather notes. The palate was still fresh and while there may have been a little softening, it pretty much held up for the 2 days.
(at Alizee – Baltimore) Just love this wine when it is on. Beautiful mature Bordeaux garnet. The nose took some coaxing but ended up deep with multi fruit and minerals at the fore. Pure velvet palate – my favorite of the night (though the nose on the ’91 La Turque was more interesting) – fireworks in the mouth. Pure, long and perfect! In a good place now (with some decant time) but should stay memorable for a long time to come. (100)
The blackest and purest of the wines tonight. Like drinking blackfruits and stones. Huge minerality and precision, dense and meaty. Still very young but this is going to be amazing in a decade or more. Fantastic . 96++
Purple, black in color, this blackberry and cassis wine offers earth, olives, truffles, damp forest and earthy, peppery scents. The wine is opulent and fleshy with refined, elegant tannins. The dense, black fruit filled palate is lush with a backbone for aging. In many ways, it reminded me of slightly less concentrated version of the legendary ’61
DAY ONE (91 pts) Dark mahagony. The nose here is very nice, with leather and animal aromas over dried cherries and plums, then all sorts of hints: spices, walnuts, violets, toffee. But a bit dry and acidic in the mouth; finish is long but the tannins may be winning here. Higher points if my tolerance for this level of acidity wasn't limited.
(DAY TWO) (97 pts). Color seems darker after a day in my "wine keeper" under, mostly, nitrogen. Nose has evolved and seems richer and more nuanced, intense. But astonishing change to the mouthfeel, which is now soft and almost satiny. Unreal how much better this tastes, too: the acidity has subdued and the fruit is up front now. WAY better than last night!
Dark as night. Lots of red fruit, meat, pepper and coffee. The nose seems very concentrated. It promises a lot but needs time. Very fresh as well. Even some mineral. Very nice flavours but still pretty tied up. Long dry tannic finish. An outstanding wine that showed potential greatness if not tons of aged nose like others in the tasting.t
Jaboulet La Chapelle Dinner (Vancouver, BC): By far the darkest wine yet. Amazing nose of barnyard, intense dark red fruits, cassis and sweet and sour notes. In the mouth this is huge. Powerful yet elegant. Showing very youthful. This is full bodied with medium to high tannins and acidity with a long finish. I find this still to be very primary and needs a lot of time. There is so much potential here. Hold for 10+ years. Exceptional. 95+
Very dark garnet. Big nose with lot of blackberries, vanilla and tobacco notes. A much ‘bigger’ wine than the 89 Chave, with lush mouthfeel. This wine is just a baby and I feel potentially could develop into the class of the 61 and 78. WOTN for some.
Wino Guys Weekend (WGW) #3; 9/11/2009-9/12/2009: Opaque, purple/black colour. Brooding nose of celery root, vanilla, sweet black fruit, black olive tapenade, and hints of peach, cassis, and hot stones. Full-bodied, very refined and complex showing notes of peach, cassis, capsicum, celery root, black olive tapenade, and crushed black berry fruits. Long finish, with more celery root and cassis notes joined by just a touch of white pepper. Absolutely majestic! This wine has a long, long life ahead of it and I hope I get the chance to try it again. WOTW and probably my WOTY so far.
Wine Guy Weekend Chez Doktas Take 3; 9/11/2009-9/13/2009 (Collingwood, Ontario): Ok, we are splitting hair but as fantastic as the La Chapelle was, it was just a little less "together" than the Chave and I felt is needed a bit more time to come together. In fact, it smelled and tasted like a young syrah with vibrant blackberry nose, a very pure nose of blackberry, coffee hints, blackcherry, vanilla and some mulberry hints. Wow. Stunning purity. Blackberries everywhere and some damn good. Long finish.
Incredibly massive nose of dark fruits, leather spice and more. Dark purple, Somehow smooth as silk but with strong tannins and a never ending complexity of earth, fruit and coffee and smoke. I doubt that Northern Rhone gets any better than this. Will
Was pretty excited about this. 100 points per RP. Have not loved many northern Rhones but had been reading up on them lately. This kinda showed up... Insane nose. Began with good primary dark fruit, moving to explosive waves of cinnamon and nutmeg. Licorice. Evolving. Palate was full and fleshy with dark fruit notes but principally secondary notes of herbs and animal. Lots of animal. This is the best the north has to offer and I am not blown away. I like it, I appreciate it, I really enjoy it. But for several hundred bucks I can think of a lot of other wines I'd rather buy. I will try it again and will not give up on N. Rhone. But I have not figured it out yet. Help1
Commanderie des Costes du Rhone dinner at Cafe des Artistes: Brought to Commanderie des Costes du Rhone dinner at Cafe des Artistes - Much bigger than the '78. Raw meat, smoke, some spice, round tannins and plenty of acidity, long, dark finish. Still looking for that 100 pt bottle, although Jason thought this bottle was 99 pts.
purchased at golden west in 1998- perfect fill pristine bottle. when opened and decanted the odor of fresh crush raspberries filled the air literally. spent about and hour in decanter and consumerd over the next 3 hours. A spectacularly balanced near perfect wine. as good as it gets really- i get the interplay between the meat, blood, red fruit and minerality. Super middle and a really long finish- the wine is young as yesterday but filling out- wine of the year? yes.... so far...
After a number of bottles of the "great" vintages of this wine, I should probably just give up on it as I've yet to have one that really showed well. Really wrapped up dark fruit and spice. Tannic core. Showing so little it's hard to even comment on.
Very dark red, not much on the nose at first. After about 30 minutes it starts to open and after about an hour it shows of a wonderful nose and starts to reveal the fruit and complexity on the palate. Wonderful wine, in need of at least an hour in the decanter prior to drinking. A
This had a saturated cork, so it may be a slightly off bottle. Dark color, nose was good but a bit reserved, with more earth and leather than fruit. Seemed short on the finish. Opened up a bit, but I thought it would give more. Try another - and maybe give it an hour or two of air. B+/A-
Decanted and drank over 5 hours. Very vegetative on the nose, canned peas and asparagus. On the palate, raw meat, charcoal and canned corn. The finish was rather short and I would have expected more dark fruits. This was not a 100 pointer now. The '88 and '89 La La La's I have recently were much better Northern Rhones.
Uncorked DK does Northern Rhône - Guigal, Chave, Chapoutier and more (Premisse, Copenhagen): Dark red core with slightly brown rim. On the nose there is first a sh*tload of stables, afterthat herbs, hung meat and read berries which seems very fresh. In the mouth this is intense, light and slightly drying in the long aftertaste. A high level of acid and extraordinary density of the fruit gives the wine another level. With it time it becomes more complex and reveals mushrooms, forrest floor and leather. (U:96,3)
Big wine, lots of structure, but somewhat sweet structure. Not 'Burg' sweet, but not drying or rough. Again, a really big wine but absolutely ok to drink today. Gonna get seriously better with some time...
Tasted at the Vintages auction gala tasting. Another first time wine for me that I enjoyed. It had a nice mid level purple colour with a very inviting bouquet. The taste was very well balanced and I drank every drop.
Deep, deep red almost opaque black color; no sign from the color that it's an 18 year old wine. Explosive, intense, complex aromatics -- blood/iron, blueberry, licorice, smoke, scorched earth, and violet undertones. Clean, pure, precise sweet fruit on the palate. Harmonious and perfectly balanced. Long, persistent finish leaves behind echoes of that incredible nose. This wine must have 10+ years of positive development remaining but it's already a perfect wine!
'61 La Chapelle (The Square): This gave rise to an intense debate between those who insisted it was slightly corked, and those who could find no flaw. Eventually the Cork Party was out-voted and conceded that the unusual and transient qualities of the wine might have caused some temporary vineous terminological imprecision. As Charles pondered to me, “I wonder why it is that more women don’t come to these things?” I think this will be up there with the ’78 and the ’61 when it reaches the same stage in its evolution. Right now, while it is perfectly delicious, it is very tight, in spite of a long decant. Powerful, brooding, intense and muscular.
Hermitage La Chapelle, 10 vintages incl 1990. TWS Tasting (Merchant Taylors' Hall, London): Yuck, horrible nose. This is corked. Dash the glass to the front and wave it under the nose of Marcel O-W who agrees and with much apologising arranges for another bottle to be poured. Yup, this is better. Full colour, slightly cherry nose. Spice, mulberry, raspberry and cassis. Tobacco and mint. Very harmonious attack, cool fruit and silky tannins. Not a powerhouse but certainly very fragrant and nuanced. A dry leathery quality starting to come through in the middle. Does this still need a bit of time? Not as impressive as one might have hoped - think it needed more air. Certainly classy though. ****1/2
Almost black in color, this highly extracted wine is an opaque deep black-purple color with no signs of bricking at 18 years of age! It is a bit tight in the aroma department with some anise. The taste is predominately anise and tart cherries and iron, blood, but this wine all about the rich, velvety, viscous body. This wine is sexy, full bodied, and voluptuous. The taste is long, very long, velvety, and rich, round, balanced. While this is drinking extremely well now with fully resolved tannins I can't help but wonder if it will open up more in the years to come. With all of the fruit it shouldn't be so tight. A rewarding glass, but it may be better to hold this for a few years more. It certainly has many years to go. Serve with cassoulet or lamb.
Delicious. Hadn't had an old world Syrah of this caliber before...and it was worth the wait. Decanted for approximately three hours. One sip snuck before our guests arrived was delicious, but pretty tight. Good thing to give this air. By hour three, it was drinking splendidly. Like an understated, more elegant version of the best Aussie. I realize I'm coming at this the wrong way...New World Shiraz should be phrased in terms of old-world Syrah...nonetheless, this is a delicate, perfectly-balanced wine with layer after layer of blue fruit that is nearly perfect for this palate. Now I understand the hype.
Dark purple color, minimal fading around the edges, strong dark-fruit characteristics upon opening, developing unbelievable secondary characteristics of barbecue sauce and spices after breathing for an hour. Fleshy mouthfeel, full bodied, very concentrated, with a long finish. Started off as a very good syrah. And continued to get better minute-by-minute. By the time we finished, it was truly amazing. My wine of the year, and, so far, the wine of my life. I just wish I had waited 30 minutes to start drinking.
Bought from the list at Troquet. A wine I've always wanted to try. Initially some funkiness on the nose, which blew off in about 10 minutes. Nose of cigar box, roast meat, blueberry, raspberry and leather. Incredibly fresh. Another amazing palate as it caressed your tongue. Great long finish. This was an awesome wine that we savored, and we longed for more as we drank the last drop. Amazing.
FRENCH BAKERY Northern Rhone BYO Dinner; 6/3/2008-6/4/2008 (The French Bakery, Kane Concourse, Bay Harbour Islands, FL): David's wine. NOT RATED,(RP=100) IN FLIGHT #1 vs the 89, and 95 Chave Hermitage. Only received Roberta's vote. David had only double decanted earlier. Upon initial tasting it was tight as a drum, and couldn't be fairly assessed.At the end of the evening , almost 3 hours later, David salvaged a little from the left over bottle of which he gave me a taste. It was only then beginning to reveal itself, but at that point I was probably too far gone to parse it or remember it. If anyone has this, I would suggest you decant this well in advance of serving.( Perhaps a 100 point wine means it should live forever, or at least 100 YEARS!)
I know. I rated this 99 and the 90 Pavillion 98+, but said the Pavillion surpassed this. It's true. This wine had an even-keeled, open, mulberry, earthy, iron complexity that by itself would have won praises. Still, somehow not quite as precise and blazing as the Pavillion. Tonight, Michel's Opus stole the show. Somehow laid back. May last longer, but I'm not even sure of that. Will this ever really spill over the edge to mind-blowing, grab your face, up-frontness? 10-20 years will tell. Make no mistake, a profound wine.
A day at Brad England's (Avon, CO): Phenomenal stuff that is incredibly youthful with clean, rock star syrah fruit. Cassis and dark fruit notes come jumping out of the glass of this thing and they’re mixed with vanilla, oak and meaty notes that are to die for. Full bodied on the palate, this almost possesses a modern character given the ripeness, purity and lushness but you’re not getting a complaint from me. Still a baby!
Consumed at Per Se in a 3-wine set. 1990 Chave 'Hermitage' vs. 1990 Jaboulet 'La Chapelle' vs. 1990 Guigal 'La Turque'. 3 very different wines, we had them in succession. So, the Jaboulet was served with 1 course, the Chave with the next and the Guigal with the 3rd. By the end of the 3rd course, I had all 3 glasses side-by-side for the comparison tasting.
The Jaboulet was the most structured (still), the fruit had an exotic/roasted component that I really like. If served blind, I might have guessed a really good 1998 St. Emilion (Gomerie, Valandraud, etc). The fruit had that flavor profile. The Chave had amazingly tasty and sweet fruit, and more acid vs. the Jaboulet. If served blind, I might have guessed a 'bigger' Burgundy from a 1990 style vintage. The Guigal tasted just like it always does. Exotic and delicious. The table gulped down the Guigal like it was water on a hot day in the Sahara.
My personal ranking had the Guigal in 1st (98? 100?), the Chave in 2nd (96? 97?) and the Jaboulet in 3rd (95? 97?). But the table was very divided between the Jaboulet and the Chave, with 2 preferring the Chave and 3 preferring the Jaboulet. All 5 voted the Guigal the wine of the night, though.
This rating is only to leave room for something in my life that may be better. This wine was fabulous. A mouthful of dark chocolate covered cherries. This wine was like silk in your mouth. Probably the best bottle I have ever had!
Superb. Nose is very clean and modern, somewhat floral (violets). Palate a bit less expressive, but with some nice savory flavors. A bit atypical for Hermitage in the sense that I didn't pick up much in the way of pepper.
atlanta blue nose group hermitage tasting which included 88,89,90 chave, 88, 89, 90 jaboulet la chappelle, 89, 90, 91 sorrell le greal and 89, 90, 91 chapoutier pavillon. probably second only to the 90 chave. rich, jammy wonderful fruit with plenty of life left.
One of the greatest wines I have ever tasted – in much better shape than the bottle tasted earlier this year. This is worth all the accolades it receives. It announces its presence with force – a masculine wine. I found it perfect in every way: richness, purity, complexity, sexy pleasure, length and harmony. Full and silky without any heaviness at all. Wave after wave of mixed berry fruit – lots of tannin buried underneath. This will last a long time. (100)
Deeply colored, almost black. Intense boysenberry/blueberry character, but this is the first bottle I've tried that actually showed some secondary pine/herb aromatics albeit with about 3 hours of air. Lush dark fruits, very ripe tannins that are manageable at this point, and overall better balance than I've experienced in the past without obvious surmaturite or frank portiness. I did not find a lot of minerality here. A baby, but at least this bottle showed a few hints of budging from its stubborn embryonic state. Based upon tasting 3 bottles over the last 5 years, I would not hold my breath waiting for full maturity; that process promises to be glacial, but the great quality and potential of the wine finally seemed more apparent to me tonight than in the past. Having had the great '78 at almost exactly the same age, in comparison, the '90 is evolving much more slowly and does not come close to the complexity or remarkable seamlessness that the older wine had gained by 17 years of age.
A perfectly nice wine that's still seems to be closed up, and lacking in fruit, finish and "wow" factor. A little flabby and round. Elicited a few "hmmphs" from our crowd. Note that we did NOT give it a lot of time to open up, maybe 10 mins in the glass. Other reviewers say that perhaps HOURS are needed. Tasted back to back with an 89 Beaucastel CndP and the CndP blew it away. More minerals than fruit right now. May open up with a bit more time, but I'm wondering how big this wine will ever get. Not a lot of sturcture, tannin or acidity unfortunately, but perfectly drinkable now in a casual setting. Want to re-try with plenty of decanting.
Steak night with Scott Manlin (Sammamish, WA): Not obviously flawed, perhaps cooked, but this opened up somewhat mute and never really exploded. Ripe but a bit mute. Decanting for a few hours did improve the wine, but everyone agreed this was not a proper 1990 La Chapelle. Bummer.
Syrah Tasting w/ Bob Macdonald (David Anderson's House, Minneapolis): After our first bottle was corked, a backup bottle magically appeared. Amazing, brilliant saturated ruby color. Gorgeous, sappy, fresh black fruit, black cherries, charred meat, black olive, tar and coffee. Complex, supple, silky smooth, and minerally. Fresh and intense. Beautifully balanced. Wow. Group average 19.2/20; #2 of 7.
There is a lot of bottle variation in this wine. I’ve heard the wine was bottled in two separate batches. The first batch reminds me of essence of Syrah. The second batch, held in wood for several additional months lacks the same level of purity, freshness and complexity. There is no way to tell which bottle came from which batch from looking at the bottles. This bottle probably came from the second batch. While it displayed some of the wonderful flashy, opulent, ripe, black fruit qualities, it did not offer the level of intensity found in the best examples. Still good, but not profound.
Patrick Stella dinner with Manlin (Custom House): My first 1990, it was very interesting to try. Interesting nose with nice barnyard notes but also some noticeable sulpher - not sure if this is a characteristic of the 90 or simply bottle variation, but it took away from the nose. Not so on the palate with very nice rich round red fruit and secondary spicy floral notes. I think this would have shined even more if it hadn't been sitting next to the 90 La Turque...
Cellar Chilling Bash Opening Night (Crabtree's Kittle House): Nose of iodine, iron, and blood. Big, slightly tight, and very, very meaty. There are some moments where this seems a bit flat, but mostly it's lovely, with plummy fruits and some real meaty character. I preferred the 89 to the 90, but others went the other way.
Deep pitch-black color. Really deep and funky nose of blackberries, slate, minerals, crude oil and horsy saddle. Deep, brooding and still somewhat inpenetrable with a melange of flavors including slate, funky earth, blackberries, pepper and black minerals. It's almost like drinking liquid rock with its incredibly thick but opulent texture. A huge wine that still needs time but can be appreciated now for its intense depth of complex minerally flavors.
(at Charleston – Baltimore) Deep color, stupidly good nose – essence of berry and black current – a salinity that keeps the aromas bright. Not quite hitting on all cylinders yet. This needs another 5 to 10 years to show its best. This should be awesome. (18++)
A last minute addition, so didn't get enough decanter time, maybe an hour at most. This wine needs air. But it was good, and as it was bottle #1 of a case, I look forward to a properly decanted bottle soon.
a great treat to finally taste this well known wine. seemingly mature with a long life ahead at this level. the wine had an interesting composition and a delicious finish which held my attention in the glass. less of a blockbuster than i imagined.
I last tasted La Chapelle 5 years ago, and it hasn't budged or developed more nuance since then. Somewhat surprisingly, this bottle was going downhill after 3 hours, with significant VA intruding, which argues against it being simply too young. And no, provenance and storage were not issues with this bottle.
Usual Suspects: Dark ruby red, no bricking at all. Classic syrah nose, some saddle leather, white pepper ... still mostly primary. Deep, deep, concentrated fruit. Power with finesse. Fine tannnis very present. Still tightly wound but very present. Perfect balance. Gorgeous. Long, long, long. This wine is just emerging from it's youth. Wait five more years for next try. Wish I had five cases. (
Four Northern Rhone reds tasted, second place. Very inky red in the glass, nose opened slowly but steadily throughout the afternoon, lots of dark fruit with hints of cedar and spice, more of the same on the palate, mouth filling and delicious tasting, just sip and savor. long finish, lovely impression, still young, will easily age for five more years.
TN: A Great Sunday Afternoon (86 Meursault, 2x76 Burg, 89/90 Hermitage, etc.) (Tokyo): Lighter in color than the Chapoutier, with a dark red showing hints of lighter ruby. Nose is initially restrained in size but complex in character with bits of meat and leather and cherry and black fruit. Palate has that combination of elegance and hidden size that promises a lot, but it doesn’t initially deliver much. With time (a good bit of it), the volume on the nose gets higher and that same meatiness comes out amidst the darkish fruit on the palate, followed by a kick of spice on the finish. It’s opening ever so slowly but steadily. Despite considerable ripe tannin, it still shows a balance and purity that promises much to come. Opened ten years too early if my guess is any good; I’d love to have tasted this the next day.
Medium ruby; aromas of ripe sour cherries and tar; fruit framed nicely by acidity with tannins now in balance. Excellent wine, but not rated; too much background noise and the pairing with food wasn't ideal...
Very dark, with some lightening at the edge. Closed. Balanced tannins do not compete with the fruit, smooth and viscous. Alcohol peeking through the big wine, but balanced. The next day, tannin still evident, very smooth and rich, more flavors, licorice, but still not giving all. This needs time. Try again in 2010. -JBL
Rocking out at Chez Leve with Hermitage and a whole lot more (Los Angeles, CA): Oh yeah, NOW we are talking. When we first decanted this 6 hours earlier the nose on this was a bit swampy, but the longer it was open the more it improved. This was clearly the best bottle of this wine I have tasted in four tries now. A huge, explosive nose of tar and meat and blood just pours out of the glass. This is like motor oil with wave after wave of tar, sweet fruit, blood, roasted meat, enormously concentrated and complex, a baby, lush, generous, utterly fantastic!
Yowsa. Gorgeous, pure, meat, white pepper, syrah nose. Extremely concentrated but not ponderous and firm wine. This is tight. Very primary. Incredibly balanced, firm but ripe tannins, really long finish. This wine is still a bit closed but oh my god, what there is is great. I can't wait to taste this again in 5-10 years. As this begins to open up, it should be incredible.
La Chapelle verticale (1978-2002) (Bad Ragaz, Switzerland): I had the impression it was still quite shut down and had not finished this transformation (basically the "shell" is still there). The nose is incredibly powerful and complex, which is confirmed both by the mouth and the finish. However the wine is NOWHERE near ready to drink and it's actually quite hard to enjoy it right now (it had been double-decanted but would certainly benefit from extended aeration). It will be a beauty in 10... 20... 30... years.
87 Guigal La La's, 90 la Chapelle, 90 Montrose, 89 Palmer, 90 Tertre Rôteboeuf (Montrachet): Opaque Purple, bordering on black. Darker than the trio. This nose dances from the glass rim. Bubbling over with dark black, concentrated fruit nuances. The nose is surreal. Amazingly close to perfection with sweet fruit, leather, earth, meat, blackberry, blueberry, the bouquet overtakes the rest of the flight. . The palate is surprisingly silky and totally mouth coating. It's almost creamy with perfectly rounded corners and velvety tannins. So amazingly concentrated and full bodied. The upper-cut comes on the finish. Last for eons of time - almost pointless to count. A fantastic wine that I am beyond words happy to have experienced.
Rhônes and dinner with Robert Parker (Baltimore, MD): Mmm, this is dense and lavish with hints of melted caramel and smoldering intensity and depth. Tasted alongside a range of vintages, this was clearly the most concentrated and the youngest with lots of time ahead. Compared to a bottle I tasted last spring, this bottle from Bob's cellar was much more primary.
Tasted with Eric and Tracy. Wow. The nose is simple unreal. Call it a 100 point nose. It showed olives, bacon, minerality, French Roast coffee bean, dried herbs, smoke, and cherry. Wow again. The palate was impressive but a bit primary. I loved the mouthcoating texture. I also enjoyed the refreshing acid backbone that was a pleasant kick. Despite the massive fruit, this wines stays in balance. Needs loads of time but it is wonderful.
Decadence (Issaquah, WA, USA): Oh my, the nose on shows dried herbs, cherry, hints of roasted meat, violets and tar. The palate was almost chewy, massive and mineral driven, such omnipresent structure, so primary and powerful. Unreal balance. I spent more time tasting than writing on this wine, but it was a masterpiece. It is better than I scored it, but it needs a lot of time still to really come around. With 5 hours in the decanter and time to watch it open and unfold we caught a pretty nice glimpse into what this can offer.
Dark red. Hints of burnt raisins and prunes. In the mouth the wine plays much more on butcher notes, such as bacon fat. Somewhat bizarre, and definitely unique in every way. A very tight wine that did flesh out somewhat over the course of the night.
Pre Valentines Day Proposal: Very dark color. Dark purple in the center, with dark red on the rim. Unevolved. A slightly closed nose. Very good extraction. Pepper, gamey, and some good syrah funk, but still painfully tannic. This is a wine that will need quite a bit of time. Good finish, but the tannins overwhelm.
This bottle was from questionable storage. The ullage was about 1 inch and the cork was soaked. The nose was a little closed, but man what mouthfeel! Such weight and incredible denseness. I felt an incredible array of flavors from iron to plums to spices. Incredible finish! Did I mention the incredible finish! What a finish!
Black ink in colour - dense closed super ripe syrah fruit. enormous concentration but impeccable balance. a vast amount of different layers of flavours and an extremely long finish. Best young red I've drunk!