at Nicole's Bistro, Albany, NY (3/24/2005)

Flight 1
With Charcuterie: Country Pate with Rillettes & Saucisson

The WCC met at a Nicole's Bistro to blind taste a range of Châteauneufs. Most wines were decanted late in the afternoon for a 7:30 tasting, except where noted. Our rankings as a group are listed after each wine, followed by the info on which they were calculated, in the format (a1, a2, a3, pts) where
a1 = # first place votes
a2 = # second place votes
a3 = # third place votes
pts = total points = (3 x a1) + (2 x a2) + (1 x a3)

My notes and scores follow each wine. The wines were blind to the group, but not to me.

Flight 1

1. 1979 Jaboulet La Grappe des Papes – 5th place (2,0,0,6)
Appealing chocolate, red-fruit nose. Nice in the mouth, though slightly tart. Mature, but still there. Lovely and complex. 88 points.

2. 1983 Jaboulet La Grappe des Papes – tied for 10th place (0,0,0,0)
Nose of red fruits and spice. Very similar to (1), but a touch weedy. 87 points.

3. 1978 Château Beaucastel (RP 90) – tied for 3rd place (2,1,2,10)
Real barnyardy nose. Sweet and smooth with a slight tannic bite on the finish, but a lovely, smooth, long, complex finish. 89 points.

4. 1981 Château Beaucastel (RP 95) – tied for 10th place (0,0,0,0)
Appealing earthy nose. Exquisite sweet fruit. Great length. Not a powerhouse anymore, but quite lovely. Black fruits. Even better with wild mushroom bisque. 93 points.

Flight 2

5. 1985 Château Beaucastel (RP 91) – tied for 10th place (0,0,0,0)
Tight, complex nose. thick, rich, tannic! Needs 3-5 years. Ready when paired with the Charcuterie. 91-93 points.

6. 1988 Château Beaucastel (RP 89) – tied for 9th place (0,0,1,1)
Big earthy nose. Medium thick. Sweet. Ready. Tasty! 91 points.

7. 1989 Château Beaucastel (RP 97) – tied for 3rd place (2,2,0,10)
Huge red-fruit and mulch nose. Huge and backward, but smooth and sweet. A great wine! Stunning complexity. Wow! 97 points.

8. 1990 Château Beaucastel (RP 96) – 1st place (2,1,4,12) [decanted 24 hours]
Heady complex nose. Huge black fruits. Tannic with intense black fruit. 95 points.

Flight 3

9. 1988 Château Fortia (RP 84) – tied for 9th place (0,0,1,1) [not decanted]
Muted, sweet-fruit nose. Complex, green tannins. Not too appealing. Might need 5 years. Lots of chocolate. 88-91 points.

10. 1989 Château Fortia (RP 87) – 7th place (0,1,1,3) [not decanted]
Intense blackberry nose. Beautiful sweet ripe fruit. Gorgeous now. Tasty black fruits. 93 points.

11. 1990 Domaine de Marcoux (RP 90) – 2nd place (2,2,1,11)
Big barnyardy nose. Backward and tannic. Needs to open up.
One hour later: Thin and a touch bitter. Didn't need to open up. 85 points

Flight 4

12. 1990 Les Cailloux (RP 95) – 8th place (0,1,0,2)
Mulchy nose. Huge thick sweet tasty black fruits. Needs 3 years. Tasty! Has a honey-like quality to it! Unusual, but good. 92-94 points.

13. 1990 Les Cailloux Cuvée Centenaire (RP 100) – 6th place (0,2,1,5)
Huge black fruit nose. Tight, complex, tannic. Exquisite. Complex and stunning! Coffee in the nose. has such potential, but needs 5-10 years. Riveting! Medium length, otherwise nearly perfect. Try again in 5-10 years. 96-98 points.




All original content © Ken Vastola