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Thread: Pre 1990 French Wines for December

  1. #1
    Bill S. Guest

    Default Pre 1990 French Wines for December

    Blind tasting notes - theme, French wines prior to 1990

    1988 Gustav Adolf Schmitt Niersteiner Heiligenbaum Riesling Spatlese
    (Reinhessen) - the starter and finishing wine need not be in theme.
    This wine was a medium straw colour, and had a nice honeyed nose. On
    palate it was smooth with good length, and dry, but showed the signs
    of having been a sweeter wine that had slowly dried with age. I love
    these mature Rieslings so much that I can happily bypass the simpler
    pleasure of drinking the wines when they are crisp sweet and young for
    drinking them when they are mature, less sweet and more complex.

    1982 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle - I figured (correctly as it
    turned out) that the others would all bring Bordeaux, as they are not
    a very adventurous lot. I decided to pull out something else and
    opted to bring a Rhone because it would be of similar weight, unlike
    an instantly identifiable Burgundy, and might cause them some thought
    as to whether, at this age, it might be a Bordeaux. The wine was in
    excellent shape, showing sweet fruit which at first showed just a hint
    candied, but gave way to a hint of violet and spice, with maybe some
    black olive. The wine was far different from how it showed as a young
    bruiser, now aged to a medium garnet colour with lightening rim,
    bright appearance, and a little black pepper kicking in at the end,
    with very good length. It improved in the glass for more than an hour
    (at which point thirst overcame any further academic interest in
    watching it possibly evolve further).

    1983 Ch. La Gaffeliere (St. Emilion) - this wine was showing amazingly
    similar to the previous one when first opened and only took on itís
    decidedly Bordeaux character with a bit of air. Spicy wood nose,
    slightly darker but less bright than the Hermitage and still
    (amazingly) retaining some nice fruit. Better showing than Iíd have
    credited.

    1970 Ch. Giscours - this dark Margaux was also showing very well, with
    excellent mature Bordeaux nose, soft tannin, mellow middle and decent
    length. I was the only one to insist that this was a 1970 (having been
    fooled several other times by the apparent youthfulness of the
    vintage) and as I expected, the others were surprised to find it was
    that old. I think that this is the best showing I recall in recent
    years for this wine.

    1989 Ch. Leoville Barton - in a way it was downhill from there, as I
    felt that the last three wines werenít up to the same standard, and
    with this one it disturbed me as I have an untouched half case in my
    cellar. The wine wasnít expressive at all in the nose, it had good
    colour and the tannins are now resolved, so it had a smooth mouth feel
    to it, but I thought it slightly low on fruit. I made a mental note
    to find mine and see if this was just a less than stellar bottle.

    1979 Ch. Ausone - I have a hard time getting excited about Ausone pre
    1982, when it came back on form, but the wine is so rare and hard to
    find, that it is always an occasion to have the opportunity to taste
    them. An unusual bread dough and fig nose, followed by a midpalate
    impression of lean low fruit, ending with a bit more interest.

    1983 Ch. Chasse Spleen - oddly enough I have a bottle of the 1989 in
    my pile of things to get around to tasting. This showed as fairly
    dark with a sweet ripe nose, some tannins remaining, narrowing at the
    end to present a meaty edge and an astringency that I found
    displeasing. Perhaps too long in the tooth?

    1966 Sandeman Port - the nose on this medium coloured Port was notably
    hot, but there was nice cocoa and caramel there as well. Colour deeper
    than the 63s and a decent showing on palate, not too sweet, pure and
    long. Very pleasant. Sandeman was not my first (nor third, nor
    fourth) guess!


  2. #2
    John T Guest

    Default Re: Pre 1990 French Wines for December

    1982 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle - I figured (correctly as it
    turned out) that the others would all bring Bordeaux, as they are not
    a very adventurous lot. I decided to pull out something else and
    opted to bring a Rhone because it would be of similar weight, unlike
    an instantly identifiable Burgundy, and might cause them some thought
    as to whether, at this age, it might be a Bordeaux. The wine was in
    excellent shape, showing sweet fruit which at first showed just a hint
    candied, but gave way to a hint of violet and spice, with maybe some
    black olive. The wine was far different from how it showed as a young
    bruiser, now aged to a medium garnet colour with lightening rim,
    bright appearance, and a little black pepper kicking in at the end,
    with very good length. It improved in the glass for more than an hour
    (at which point thirst overcame any further academic interest in
    watching it possibly evolve further).


    What a diffference from my note of last week, bottle variation or batch.
    This had been well cellared since purchase.


    Hermitage La Chapelle Paul Jaboulet 1982
    Slightly dull mature, orange rim, vegetal nose of tinned tomatoes and spice,
    soft entry, spice and pepper, good balance. Finished a tad short.



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