at the Fort Orange Club in Albany, NY (10/7/2004)

A few weeks after our 1989 Bordeaux tasting, the WCC met to taste 1990 red Bordeaux at the Fort Orange Club in Albany, NY. This time, each person brought a bottle (some brought 2) wrapped in plain brown paper, and I coordinated what each person was bringing to avoid duplicates, get the best wines possible, and organize the flights. A few days before the tasting, I printed up a list of the order of the wines, so that I would not be reminded of which wines were which at the tasting. Given my poor memory, this means that the tasting was semi-blind for me, and completely blind for everyone else. My score and notes are below. Most of these wines were decanted that morning except where noted. In a few cases, I brought home the leftovers and tasted them the next day.

Flight 1

1.1 1990 Château Angelus (96)
Fabulous autumnal nose. Flamboyant, sexy, what a way to start a tasting!!! Ready now. Nice mix of autumn woods and mature fruit. Middle age sex in a bottle. (That's a good thing . . . if it's done right.). Great by itself. Maybe even better with wild mushroom tartlet.

1.2 1990 Château Troplong-Mondot (95)
No nose. Fabulous fruit in the middle. Super-long finish. Thick, sweet, and delicious. A touch of mint! Yummy! 2nd WOTF for the group.
Day 2: Chocolate and varnish. OK, but faded. 88

1.3 1990 Château Cheval Blanc (99)
HFS!!! This is the stuff! Big, sexy, minerally nose. Explodes in the mouth. Better by itself than with the mushroom tartlet. Great with steak!! OMG what a wine! Wow! WOTF for me and the group. Tied for 3rd as group WOTN.

1.4 1990 Château La Conseillante (92)(95 with food)
Powerful red fruit nose with a touch of soap? It's not my glass. Expansive in the middle. A little tart and short on the finish. I wonder if its a little damaged. More exciting with food. One guys says "I can't put my finger on it, but there is something similar about the first 3 that's different here.

Flight 2

2.1 1990 Château Leoville-Poyferre (93)
Sweet red fruits. Yummy, earthy. Incredibly long, sour cherry finish. More perfumed. Delicious cherries! One experienced taster thinks it might be a Napa ringer.

2.2 1990 Château Gruaud-Larose (96)
Delicious, minerally nose. Oh, this is fabulous wine. Great length and balance. Classic Bordeaux, with a core of ripe fruit. I love this. Tied for group WOTF, but got no votes for WOTN (see 2.4). Go figure.

2.3 1990 Château Rausan-Segla (92)
Same nose as 2.2. Shorter in the mouth. Very good, but not great like 2.2.

2.4 1990 Château Margaux (97)
Incredible nose. What perfume!! Expansive and tannic in the mouth. Super-long, thick and chocolaty finish. Great wine! Tied for WOTF and finished 2nd as WOTN (cf. 2.2). This wine was decanted the night before.
Day 2: Heavenly, complex nose of red fruits, minerals, slate, cherry pits, and violets. Gorgeous, sweet wine with lots of tannin and fruit. Needs 5 years. Should be 99-100 in 5-10 years. One of the greats!

2.5 1990 Château Prieure-Lichine (93)
Lots of cedar and minerals. A plummy, sexy appealing wine. A last minute add in, this wine had the advantage of being at its peak (I believe).

Flight 3

3.1 1990 Dominus, Napa (96)
Bigger, more intense nose. Massive, thick, intense fruit in the mouth. A blockbuster! Still young. Wow! 2nd WOTF, but not a close 2nd. No one raised any suspicion about this ringer.

3.2 1990 Château Cos d'Estournel (93??)
Cardboard nose. Thick and oily but some bitterness. You can tell it should be a good wine, but something's wrong, TCA?

3.3 1990 Château Montrose (97)
Hot, sexy nose. Wow! Expansive, vibrant, tons of coffee and chocolate. Some say there's something wrong with it, but not me.
Day 2: Appealing, sweet nose of cocoa and red fruits. So silky in the mouth with lots of sweet red fruit, but not as sexy as yesterday. 94

3.4 1990 Château Lynch Bages (94)
Lots of vanilla. Thick, sweet, young. Long, sweet red fruit finish. Clear WOTF for the group. Tied for 3rd as group WOTN.

Flight 4

4.1 1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (84)
Lovely nose, but weedy on the palate. Lean. OK but not good. I guess there really were problems here at this great estate in 1990. Should have been a great year for them.

4.2 1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron (93)
Youthful vanilla nose. Thick and sweet. A touch of mint. Medium length. Needs time.
Day 2: Pure Pauillac nose with penetrating sweet red currant fruit. Gorgeous, thick, silky and still a little tannic. Needs 5 years. 95

4.3 1990 Château Lafite-Rothschild (95)
Restrained sweet backward. Nice cedar and pencil nose. Thick and backward. Needs a lot of time, but could be great.
Day 2: Classic Lafite cedar nose. Thick, a little tannic and short. Not a great Lafite today. 93

4.4 1990 Château Latour (96-99)
Talk about backward!! Knockout nose of black fruits and minerals. Great structure and fruit. What a wine! Yowsa Yowsa! Hands down group WOTN (almost 2 to 1). This wine was decanted the night before.
Day 2: Sour cherries in the nose. Tannic with some fruit. Not what it was yesterday, but still superb. Drink over the next 15 years. 96

I gotta tell ya, 1990 was some kinda vintage for red Bordeaux!

1963 Fonseca Vintage Port (96)
Heavenly caramel, brown sugar nose. Exciting in the mouth. I'm pretty smashed, but I can still taste this! Great, fully mature vintage Port.




All original content © Ken Vastola