WCC Châteauneuf du Pape 1990 or older
at Nicole's Bistro, Albany, NY (3/24/2005)

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 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – tied for 9th place (0,0,1,1)
Big earthy nose. Medium thick. Sweet. Ready. Tasty! 91 points.

7. 1989 Château Beaucastel – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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