Chelsea's Third Annual Birthday Wine Tasting

Lancaster, PA

Tasted March 13, 2010 by TheBusiness724 with 696 views


Scott and Diane graciously hosted what is quickly becoming Chelsea's annual birthday wine tasting dinner. Scott chose a 1989 Bordeaux horizontal as the theme of the tasting this year, and selected a number of excellent bottles from his cellar to open for the group, many if not all of which he has owned since their initial release. We decanted the six wines for the tasting in advance, which really helped open them up nicely. And the three flights of 1989 Bordeaux were served blind.

Flight 1 - Pre-Tasting Toast (1 note)

White - Sparkling
1990 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Special Club France, Champagne
A nice example of aged champagne that was a great way to wake up our palates and make a toast.

Flight 2 - Blind Flight #1 (2 notes)

1989 Château La Dominique France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
This was my #3 wine of the tasting, and the group's #3. I originally had this wine correct as La Dominique because I thought there may have been some spiciness attributable to cabernet franc, which led me toward the right bank. Ultimately I let myself be talked out of it, but the wine performed well.
1989 Château Chasse-Spleen France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc
My #6, the group's #5. This bottle did not show especially well compared to other bottles I have had in the past (including another bottle from Scott's cellar), and in my opinion it placed last in the tasting, but to be fair it is all relative and the wine was still enjoyable, especially just after it was poured.

Flight 3 - Blind Flight #2 (2 notes)

1989 Château Montrose France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
My #1 wine of the tasting and of the night, and the group's #1. I had originally pegged this as Pichon Baron and actually felt somewhat confident about it. Clearly I was wrong, but hey, St. Estephe and Pauillac are adjacent. A great wine drinking very well right now.
1989 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
My #4, the group's #4. This changed quite a bit in the glass, I thought, going from slightly vegetal to a rich and plush feel. Very much enjoyed this, but it tasted much different to me than the 1990 vintage of the same wine I was lucky enough to drink about a month ago.

Flight 4 - Blind Flight #3 (2 notes)

1989 Château L'Enclos France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
Scott mentioned ahead of time that he thought this was a bit of a sleeper in this tasting. It ended up being my #2 and the group's #2. This bottle actually received just as many first place votes as did the Chateau Montrose, but had a slightly lower average rating, relegating it to the #2 spot overall. Considering the other wines it was served against, this was a heck of a performance that caught us by surprise.
1989 Château Léoville Las Cases France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
My #5, the group's #6. It could be that this wine was served last and our palates were getting a bit tired, but people still seemed to come away wanting more from this. Of course, it only placed where it placed because the other wines were so good. I still thought it was smooth and very drinkable, maturing nicely, but maybe a bit less complex than I would expect from this estate.

Flight 5 - Dinner - Beef with Gorgonzola and Mushroom Sauce, Crabcakes (2 notes)

2004 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
From magnum. A ripe and delicious Cali cab served with dinner that was a nice change of pace to the old-world wines we drank during the tasting.
2002 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
From magnum. A ripe and delicious Cali cab served with dinner that was a nice change of pace to the old-world wines we drank during the tasting.

Flight 6 - Dessert - Pecan and Key Lime Pies (1 note)

Red - Sweet/Dessert
1959 Antonio Ferrari Solaria Jonica Puglia IGT Italy, Puglia, Puglia IGT
Rumor has it that Antonio Ferrari meant to ferment this wine into a rich, high-alcohol dry wine in the style of an Amarone, but the fermentation stopped early due to a dramatic change in the weather, instead resulting in a Recioto style with residual sugar. Not having much personal experience with Recioto, this reminded me quite a bit of port, which seems to accord with what other tasters have said. An enjoyable wine that served as my contribution to the tasting.


I've come to look forward to this night each year because it is always a blast with a great group of friends and Chelsea's family and we always have such good wines. Not to mention that it ends up devolving into various fun games and conversations. Thanks to Diane and Scott for hosting as well as letting us invade their house for the weekend.

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