TN: 1990's Northern Rhone Tasting

1990’S NORTHERN RHONE DINNER @ DINO - Dino, Washington DC (3/11/2010)

Organized a nice dinner for 13 at Dino in DC. The theme was 1990’s northern rhone wines and the overarching lesson I came away with was, these wines need significant more time to really mature. Put these wines away for another 10+ years and many of them will turn into superstar bottles.
White Rhone Flight

  • 1995 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc L’Orée - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Dull nickel color. Apricot nose with glycerin and diesel. This wine changed significant after only 4-5 minutes in my glass. Somewhat boring at first, this glass changed into a really stunning glass of wine. There was a fair amount of raw vanilla bean and roasted nuts on the palate and a really seductive creaminess as well. (90 pts.)
  • 1998 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Fresh nose of lemon zest and orange marmalade. Light minerality with caramel and toffee notes. Plenty of light tropical fruts throughout this wine too. My last sip of the wine revealed white peaches and fresh applies. Nice wine. (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Seemed young, disjointed, and couldn’t tell if more air time would have helped it. There was some honeydew and canteloupe flavors that I enjoyed, but I feel like it either needs another 3-5 years to mature or frankly, it just isn’t a great bottle of wine! (86 pts.)

Côte-Rôtie Flight

  • 1995 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    Very stinky nose of mud, wet earth and day old wet coffee grinds, leather all wrapped in aged, dried tobacco. The one thing holding this back from potentially being my WOTN was the somewhat disappointing mid-palate. It seemed out of all of the winest of the night this was closest to its inteded drinking window, or SLIGHTLY passed it. It finished quite well with gripping acidity and a spicy kick. Great bottle. (92 pts.)
  • 1998 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    Massive smokey nose. Akin to being in a smokey bar all night, then smelling the clothes you wore next morning. Combined with the smoke was cedar, tobacco, and bacon. VERY long life ahead of this bottle, probably wouldn’t open again for another 10+ years. Stunning bottle of syrah. (93 pts.)
  • 1999 M. Chapoutier Côte-Rôtie Les Bécasses - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
    Smells like cured meat and pepper. Lots of raw meat on the palate with a creamy cedar aspect as well. Pretty high acidity mades this a great pairing with a plate of cured salumi. The wine also had a noticeable tart cranberry finish. (91 pts.)

Hermitage Flight

  • 1998 Domaine de Vallouit Hermitage Les Greffières - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Minty with burnt herbs on the nose. Lots of olives covered in black pepper as well. Very approachable wine - probably the wine of the night that screamed to me “drink me now”, while many of the others could have benefited from 10+ years of cellaring. I don’t want to down play this wine though - it was showing VERY well and is a great examples of what Hermitage wines can bring to the table. (92 pts.)
  • 1998 M. Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Basically smelled like sunday brunch; maple syrup, espresso, bacon drippings and lots of pepper. Wonderfully complex, this again is a wine that needs more time in the cellar to develop into a top end syrah. (93 pts.)
  • 1999 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Massive wine that I’m embarassed to drink at such a young stage. Easily cellar this for 10+ years without thinking twice. For me, this wine was bacon in liquid form - massive cured and cooked bacon notes on the nose and palate. In addition to that, there was pronoucned olive tapanade flavors coming out. Put this baby away and watch it turn into a superstar - we’re talking 96-98 point material here in another decade. (93 pts.)

Jaboulet La Chapelle Mini-Vertical Flight + Ringer
We had the 1998 La Chapelle, but it was cooked, so I’ve removed it from my notes. Additionally, we had a La Chapelle that was from either 1979, 1980, 1981. The vintage label on the bottle had been torn off and the cork didn’t have the date listed either. The owner of the wine knew that he bought it upon release back in one of those years. It was a SPECIAL bottle of La Chapelle and was my WOTN.

  • 1995 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Gamey nose with olives and baking spices. Dense wine with lots of blackberry and currant. Shockingly tight, young wine. (92 pts.)
  • 1997 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    A very primary syrah at this point. It shows good potential for the coming decades, but right now shows plums, chocolate and nice baking spices. Seemed like a more modern style La Chapelle with light pepper and maple syrup. Disappointing only because of the bottles it was up against. (89 pts.)
  • 1999 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    Too young. However, it did have a nice amount of pepper covered strawberries showing on the palate. Should turn into a nice La Chapelle (90 pts.)
  • 1997 Kathryn Kennedy Syrah Maridon Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Very musty, dusty nose. There was also an interesting oaky aspect here that I found really intriguing. Very juicy syrah with lots of black fruits. (90 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Wow, fantastic wines.

You are real descriptive on the tasting notes, but I am a bit puzzled by the scores. Many critics say that their scores represent the rating a wine will get when it is at its peak maturity. Your scores more seem to be their present quality. Am I right?

Way to go Tooch keep up the good work!

Good stuff Matt. I posted my notes on the other board. to me, the WOTN was definitely the myster Chapelle, but I had the 97 a close second. I also really enjoyed the Jamet and the Ampuis. I felt the Alouette was maderized/over, but could see how others enjoyed it.

Great evening, and put to be my flirtations with Cali Syrah [stirthepothal.gif]

My scores were purely on how the wines were tasting last night. Most, if not all, of the reds will continue to get better for some time. And the Jamet, Le Meal, and 97 La Chapelle probably could last, if stored properly, 20-25 more years without breaking a sweat.

Mystery La Chapelle was my WOTN. That was a great wine…and mysterious. I think my second place bottle was the Chapoutier Le Meal - while clearly young, it was drinking really nicely.