1990 and older Châteauneuf-du-Pape offline at Kaspar's

Seattle, WA

Tasted April 30, 2005 by Eric with 1,110 views


Roy Hersh has been running monthly offline tastings of folks from the Squire's Bulletin Board, and this was the first one I attended. I had the honor of organizing a table that included Michael Gordon, Bryan Ghows, Doug and Lyn Lee, Justin Wells, and Stewart Todd. It was a fun group and a great lineup!

Flight 1 (4 notes)

With a first course of Spinach, Oregonzola, Spiced Nuts and Air Dried Beef Salad we started with some white Rhônes. These often seem to show poorly in tastings, but I am finding them to be an acquired taste and one that I am increasingly liking!

2001 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The nose is fairly restrained showing stoney minerality and some fruit-pit notes. The palate is nutty and extremely dry showing loads of minerality, very precise and clean, yet not very giving. The finish shows roasted nuts.
2003 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The exotic and flamboyant nose shows marzipan, clove, and peach pit, clearly the product of a very ripe vintage. The wine hits you with big mouthfeel, powerful and ripe and then finishes out with a rich, oily and warm texture. It was a fascinating contrast to the more structured and classic 2001 Clos des Papes Blanc, and I preferred this riper and more exotic 2003.
2003 Domaine de la Becassonne Côtes du Rhône Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
The nose is lighter than the other whites, hinting at lemon peel, minerals and rainwater. The palate is fresh and clean with surprising acidity. I rather liked this for its cleanliness and purity.
1998 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage Blanc Chevalier de Sterimberg France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Deep gold color. The nose is funky with somewhat oxidized notes. The palate is nutty and extremely dry, rich and yet wacky, at a somewhat awkward point in its evolution yet clearly with so much potential.

Flight 2 (3 notes)

With Foie Gras in a Pear and Demi-glace Sauce I provided a flight of wines that I thought would match nicely. For me the Selbach-Oster was on another plane, one of the most stunning wines of the tasting.

White - Sweet/Dessert
1997 Alois Kracher Muskat Ottonel Beerenauslese #5 Zwischen den Seen Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee
90 points
The ripe nose shows loads of orange peel, clearly Muscat (or Muskat Ottonel in this case). The palate is classic Kracher with maple syrup, cotton candy and caramel yet also a mouthwatering burst of acidity.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Dr. Fischer Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Eiswein Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
89 points
The nose immediately greets you with diesel, slate, and honey. This is nice, actually very nice, yet compared to the Selbach-Oster Junior this is somewhat limp and pallid.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Eiswein 'Junior' Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
95 points
When I first opened this it was stinky, almost moldy, and I was worried it was corked. However, this note quickly developed into a stinky, Mosel note of extreme minerality. On the palate this grabs your attention, a STUNNING laser of acidity, concentrated grapefruit. Words fail me, but in the dictionary next to the word 'vibrant' there is clearly a picture of this stunning wine, wow!

Flight 3 (3 notes)

Ah, at last, with Ravioli with Beef Shank Filling and Cabernet Garlic Rosemary Butter we broke into the big boys and what a terrific start!

1988 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
94 points
Very cloudy in the glass. The nose greets you with a Southern Rhône pile of herbs and spices as well as lightly oxidized notes of soy sauce. With air white pepper, ash and mineral come to the fore, mmm. The palate explodes with black-licorice/aniseed, black olives. This is silky smooth and enveloping, so suave and yet so explosive as it gets more air. Fantastic wine!
1989 Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel) Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
92 points
The nose is absolutely fantastic, textbook Châteauneuf-du-Pape, tapenade, olives and raging garrigue. Alas, this was the best part of the wine. The palate, while lovely, was less giving. Mature with somewhat sharp acidity. It did improve considerably with air, getting sweeter and showing beautiful notes of cherry, clearly a big mouthful of mature Grenache.
1990 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
94 points
The nose is crushing, ripe, exuding huge notes of beef blood, iodine, roasted plum and pepper. Gamey and wild, this is still extremely youthful and tannic, yet I loved every sip.

Flight 4 (4 notes)

As if the first flight wasn't pleasurable enough, with Grilled Grass Fed Double Beef Entrecôte with Peppercorn Sauce we broke into a gorgeous flight of 4 wines.

1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
95 points
This bottle was pristine with a perfect cork. Closed, tight and structured, this took a long time to come around. The palate is sweet, pure and intense, a laser of cherry brandy, so very, very tight right now.
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
97 points
This is wide open, just blasting along with horse, tapenade and sweet cherry. My note is brief, but this wine is yielding immense pleasure right now, at a perfect point to enjoy, still young and yet with so much complexity.
1985 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
88 points
Showing somewhat oxidized and a bit tired. The palate greets you with ample barnyard and a mouthful of sweet grenache, very pure and very dry.
1990 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Cuvée du Papet France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
93 points
I found this wine to be rather intense, spicy, massively tannic, loaded with olive and soy sauce. With more air this seemed crazily young and intense.

Flight 5 (2 notes)

Finally with Molten Chocolate Cake with Grand Marnier Truffle Center we uncorked a couple of ports, although I was beyond taking notes at this point.

Red - Fortified
1985 Warre Porto Vintage Portugal, Douro, Porto
No note.
Red - Fortified
1977 Graham Porto Vintage Portugal, Douro, Porto
No real note, but there was very clear spirit on the nose.


It was great meeting so many folks and putting names to faces!

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