Visiting son Alec and his fiance' Vivianna in New York City for the weekend, we took a couple of very special wines from Alec's birth year. We drank the first bottle, Château Calon-Ségur that we took BYOB to Bobo French Wine Dine Experience on Friday night.
Tonight, Alec and Viv were preparing dinner and to celebrate their engagement and the occasion, we took from our home cellar a very special bottle that I acquired upon release for his birth year. The 1990 vintage was a very unique year in the release of vintage wines in that three times, the Wine Spectator Wine of the Year was from that vintage year.
In 1993, the WS Wine of the Year was Caymus Special Select, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 1990. In 1994, the WS Wine of the Year was Chateau Gran Vin Latour Pauillac Bordeaux, from the 1990 vintage. In 1995, the ‘Red Wine of the Year’ by Wine Spectator magazine was Penfold's Grange, 1990.
This is testimony to the fact that 1990 was a blockbuster vintage in all three hemispheres' top wine regions - US Napa Valley, France Bordeaux and Australia. Someone want to collect a birthyear vintage wine for a given year has several options from which to select. For this year, any one of these three regions offered top rated wines!
Tonight's bottle was part of an OWC - Original Wood Case of the 1990 Penfold's Grange that I picked up on release back in 1993. I actually purchased it a Berry Brothers & Ruud in London during one of my very frequent monthly trips there. In those days, they had a wine shop in Terminal Three at London Heathrow Airport. I purchased and hand carried the case of wine on the plane enroute home, and have stored it in our home cellar ever since.
For dinner, Alec and Viv prepared ribeye steak with wine reduction mushroom sauce, grilled diver sea scallops, asparagus and pomme frites.
For the starter wine, they opened a Orin Swift Abstract California Red Wine 2016
Penfolds Grange Shiraz 1990
For the main beef entree course, I served the Penfolds Grange. Readers of this blog know we drink a lot of Australian Shiraz' and that we like them big and bold. This Aussie Shiraz was a totally different profile than the usual shiraz we encounter. Naturally, this is an extraordinary wine that is in a totally different class, with a totally different profile than the once a week, once-a-month, or even the once-a-year wines that we drink. This is one of those very special occasion, or even once in a lifetime wines. Of course, this wine sells for more than $500, a price-point higher than we normally spend on once a year, once a month or other wines.
Grange is arguably the most prestigious and most historic, famous wine from Australia, first released back with the experimental vintage release in 1951. For its first four decades, the label was called Penfold's Hermitage Grange. With this 1990 release, the Hermitage moniker was removed and thereafter it is simply known as Grange.
The fill level was proper and appropriate for its age, the cork was perfect, and of course the foil and label were perfect as it was still packaged in the original tissue and OWC - original wood case.
Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, flawless, elegant, polished, harmonious, perfectly balanced, silky smooth flavors of concentrated black berry and black raspberry fruits with notes of vanilla, licorice, spice, black truffles and oak with hints of spice and cedar turning to fine grained tongue puckering tannins on the long lingering finish.
RM 95 points.
Wine Spectator gave this 98 points, James Halliday 97 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 95 points, and Jancis Robinson gave it 18 out of her twenty point scale.
James Halliday said it was 'destined to be one of the greatest Granges'. Wine Spectator called it 'magnificent, exotic, a veritable cascade of opulent flavors'. The Rewards of Patience - Fifth Edition (2004) called it Outstanding and projected its Drinking Window from now to 2040. Southcorp Wines said, 'The 1990 vintage was the kind that winemakers only expect to see once or twice in an entire career'.
La Fine du Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf du Pape 1988
After dinner, Alec opened this special extremely limited release Chateau La Nerthe La Fine 1988.
We discovered, tasted, and Alec acquired this wine during our visit to the Château La Nerthe estate this summer.
La Fine de Château La Nerthe comes exclusively from the distillation of white wine in bottles of the Château. White wine is aged in bottles in the cellars before being tasted and distilled.
Château La Nerthe perform a triple distillation to obtain the finest and delicate aromas possible. They seek the spirit of their old white wines that make the reputation of Château La Nerthe. By its origin, its extraction, its requirement and its refinement of 10 years minimum in oak casks, the Fine of the Castle La Nerthe is the expression of the exceptional finest spirit of their wines.
Château La Nerthe have been producing these fine wines in the true tradition of fine wine distillation in Châteauneuf du Pape since this, their first vintage, 1988.
Tea honey colored, full bodied, delicious, smooth, harmonious, nicely balanced.
RM 93 points.