WCC Bring Your Best Red Blind
at Salty's Pub, Clifton Park, NY, (2/16/2006)

The WCC met with the vague theme of bring your best red wine from the 1990s;. The dinner was at Salty's Pub & Bistro in Clifton Park, NY. The food was very good. Sadly, Salty's closed in 2019.

I brought two bottles of 1994 Dominus. (See below.) I decided that I would not bring Ch. Montelena because it would not be flamboyant enough to stand out in a tasting like this one. "Look how wrong you can be..."

The wines were completely blind to everyone except the coordinator who ordered the flights. Each member of the group voted for their top 3 wines at the end of the reds before any wines were unveiled.

The time in parentheses is the approximate decant time.

With Beggars Purse stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomatoes. Yum!

1990 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (1 hr)
Huge Bordeaux-like nose of black fruits and mineral. Exquisite in the mouth. Long and expansive. Loads of tannin, but terrific, super long finish. Viscous and gorgeous. The most Californian wine in this flight. 96 points. Group #2.

1990 Ch. Montrose, St. Estephe (10 hrs)
Too cold. Muted nose of licorice, black fruit, and woods. Tarry on the palate. A little weedy on the nose. 89 points.
As it opens in the glass, it becomes more tannic and weedy. Something is wrong with this bottle. 86 points. Group #7.

1990 Ch. Margaux, Margaux (2 hrs)
Nose like #1. Much softer in the mouth. Fully ready. Quite tasty, but a touch sour. 91 points.
As it opens in the glass, it is putting on weight and developing a gorgeous floral component. This has great potential, but needs a lot of time. 94–?
Note: This bottle was from the same cellar as another bottle of this wine that came in 2nd in our 1990 Bordeaux blind tasting. That bottle was decanted 12 hours, this one only 2. I think that was the difference. A waste of a great wine.

1992 Harlan Estate Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley (3 hrs)
Big, smoky nose. Delicious in the mouth. Ready and really tasty. 93 points.
As it opens in the glass, it gets better and better. Needs 5 years. Excellent stuff. 95 points. Group #5.

1992 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (3-4 hrs)
Gorgeous nose. Fantastic in the mouth. Wow!! Glorious, expansive with incredible length. The purity is incredible! 98 points.
Open 2 hours: Wow!! This is a great wine to drink now and for at least 10 years more. My #2 wine. Group #7.

With Risotto, parsnips and foie gras, and some blue cheese that throws the whole thing off.

1997 Turley Wine Cellars Petite Syrah Hayne Vineyard, Napa Valley (12 hrs)
Incredibly purple in color. Hard to believe this is from the 1990s and not a barrel sample just based on the color. Huge syrah-like nose. Intense fruit and tannin. Gorgeous, ripe fruit. Immense pleasure. Must be California syrah or petite sirah. This is so delicious now, but clearly can only get better for a long time to come. 94–96 points. Group #10.

1997 Tenimenti Angelini Tre Rose, Simposio, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (6 hrs)
Muted cardboard nose. Nasty in the mouth. Like a mouthful of shit. I literally gagged on this wine. Like drinking a piss-shit milkshake. I should have seen it coming from the cardboard in the nose, but took a big taste anyway. Ugh!! Very, very corked! NR

1998 D'Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale (10 hrs)
Sweet nose of licorice and red fruit. Nice but muted. Needs time? 89–92 points.

1990 Mongeard Mugneret Clos de Vougeot (2 hrs)
Much lighter in color than anything else here. Cheesy nose. Unpleasant taste. NR

With Elk chop.

1994 Dominus Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley (10 hrs)
Mature, slightly cheesy nose. Something nice behind the tarry tannin, but not much fruit now. Interesting, but not very appealing. 89 points. Group #6

1994 Dominus Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley (10 hrs)
Dark, woodsy nose. Gorgeous, expansive and tannic in the mouth. Great length. Fantastic finish. Quite special in a hard-to describe way. 97 points. My #3 wine. Group #7.

Note: I brought both these bottles of 1994 Dominus because the first one I opened did not seem right to me. I liked the second one much better, but the group did not. I think the decant time on both these bottles was too long. This second bottle was even better in the morning and much more flamboyant then. Next time, pop and pour!

1994 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley (6 hrs)
Terrific ripe fruit nose. Smooth and silky in the mouth. Such sweet fruit. Has to be California cab/merlot blend. Beautiful and penetrating in the mouth. Should improve for at least 5 years and last at least 20. Great with Elk chop. 94–97 points. Group #4.

1997 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa, Napa Valley (10 hrs)
Fragrant nose, great perfume. Exquisite in the mouth. Tannic, but the fruit goes on and on! Needs 5-10 years to peak, but is fantastic right now (at least with this decanting time). Super length. A great wine! I would guess it is some California cult cab. 98–100 points. My #1. Group #1 by a wide margin.

1997 Dominus Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley (10 hrs)
Earthy nose. Muted, tight, black fruit. Needs time. Serious stuff, but just too young now. 94–? points. Group #3.


2001 Domaine de la Maletie, Monbazillac
Light yellow gold color. Botrytis nose. Elegant, pleasant, short. 87 points.
Others were more impressed by this. I was not surprised to find out it cost $15.




All original content © Ken Vastola