TN's:1990 Champagne Horizontal Quick Recap

Got together with a few others for a 1990 Champagne dinner at Marea. Service was great as always and the food was just off the charts. Not a whole of surprises on how the wines showed. The following is a brief summary.

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Mag
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 375mls x 2

The contrast between the two formats was vast but I’m relatively sure the halves had seen some poor storage at some point in there lives. The mag was very youthful, but also a straightforward wine with nothing to excite me. The halves were a tired example of the same wine. Good and Fair minus

La Grande Dame
La Grande Dame Late Disgorged

There is no difference between the two labels and once the bottle is removed from the owc, there is no way to tell the two bottles apart - which is ridiculous.
The original release La Grande Dame was initially more expressive and open than the late disgorged version. However, the fruit was more intense on the latter. Over the course of the evening, the Late Disgorged LGD opened up a bit and was a clear notch above the original. Excellent minus, Excellent

Roederer Mag

Not as glaring a difference between the two, at least out of the gates. The '90 Roederer is definitely an over achiever compared to some other vintages. I like the '90 Cristal, and it did gain in the glass but I think it is overpriced at $400 or so a bottle. Putting the price tag aside, it is a good high quality Champagne. Excellent Excellent plus

Pol Roger BdB
Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill

The contrast between these two is glaring. The BdB is fully mature and a soft wine without much structure. The SWC is surely pinot dominated and is a powerful wine with tons of acidity and structure. But, there is plenty of fruit upfront to support the acidity. Stills needs some more bottle age to show its best. A bottle consumed from the same case a few weeks ago was a bit more expressive. Great fture for this wine. Very Good and Excellent plus

Taittinger CdC
Dom Ruinart

This was the one flight I was surprised by. Based on past experience I was expecting the Ruinart to win the battle of these two BdB’s. However, It was the Taittinger that started out showing more fruit, more structure and then continued to improve as the evening went on. This bottle of Dom Ruinart was solid, but it didn’t have the next gear that the CdC had. Staggering minus and Excellent

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses
Dom Perignon

I anticipated the Goisses to be my favorite of the evening and it didn’t disappoint. Was a couple of other peoples favorite wine as well. Pure fruit with a touch of chalkiness to it but it’s balance of power and elegance is what made it my favorite.
Krug was a powerhouse of a champagne only rivaled by the Pol Roger SWC in that regard. Still an infant with surely a long life of great drinking ahead of it. The Guinea Hen definitely helped smooth out the rough edges that time will surely also help.
The first bottle of DP was controversial only in whether it was corked or had some other flaw(s) to it. Second bottle was a sound bottle showing the round creamy DP style. There some variation to '90 DP but this second bottle was a top example. Staggering plus, Staggering minus, Staggering minus.

DP Rose Oenotheque

I’m sure it was just the different setting, but this seemed much less youthful and purely fruit driven than the bottle I had a few weeks ago. Much more elegant and defined on this night.
Excellent plus

Fun night with a couple of the usual suspects but several new Champagne recruits were in attendance as well. I wish I was going back to Marea again tonight - I enjoy it that much.

Great reading, Ray, and I am sure even better tasting. Thanks for the notes. [cheers.gif]

Excellent report, and full of useful information.
I have very recently drunk the Cuvée des Enchanteleurs Henriot 1990 in magnum, and was not so impressed as I was expecting more. But it was a nice champagne.

How much time do you think the 1990 Cristal had left? Do you think it will decline any time soon?

Nice notes and thanks for sharing, agreed about Marea, the place is rocking.


I’m confident that '90 Cristal has a decade or two more of prime time drinking. Like last night it generally improves and gains in the glass once it has been opened and poured. To me that is a sign that a Champagne or wine for that matter has plenty of longevity to it.

I’ll be back in a couple of days to get my fix.

I was there 2 weeks ago for a friend’s birthday and the food was spectacular (I could bathe in that fusilli dish if it were socially acceptable), we had a 1985 Salon that was on the decline, sadly, but happily a 1990 Olga Raffault Les Picasses perked us up. Still, that’s the 2nd 1985 Salon from the same case that has shown poorly, the first one was with you and the guys at Mishima. Only 1 bottle left, hoping for the best.

90 Taittinger CdC has lost its youthful creaminess but I still love that wine . . . thanks for the notes.

90 LGD is pretty nice from the Mags, not really the bottles, but you shoulda known that. [tease.gif] Pretty hard to get excited about LGD, though I still support the 79. Some of those 88 or 89s from the 3 packs were good, but others sucked from the same boxes.

Absolutely love 90 CdG, but overconsumed it a couple years ago. It is very ripe and rich. Heard a story that the alcohol level on that one was stratoshperic. You only like Cristal, if it’s my bottle so hang it up. Some of the 90 Cris pushes the ripeness and density like sweet light crude, it can topple over a bit. Some bottles seem very strong.

Too bad the Ruinart didn’t show better as I had 3 very fresh recent releases this year, but I don’t have any stock on that one.

I have no luck with 90 DP, perhaps the Mags are solid…

Great! Thanks Ray!

Thanks Ray,

We’ve come to love 90 Champagne at our house and your perspective is very much appreciated. I’ll have to try to find some of these in the next auction hunting season.

Do you have a reference point where 90 Delamotte would rank? We’ve gone through ours in a hurry and thought it was a great mature champagne.

Sounds like another great event - that I missed, and I was only a few blocks away.

Surprised about the CdC considering the last few bottles we tried were over the hill and since the '95 is in the zone now. I am not a fan of VC LGD either, but I had a mag of '90 earlier this year and it was quite nice. Don’t know which release, but based on your notes probably late release.

Thanks Ray.


I haven’t had the Delamotte so I can’t give you any input - sorry.


The last couple of bottles that I drank with you of '90 CdC came from the same case - not mine in case anybody is wondering :wink: and if you recall I told the person whose cellar they came from that they were not representative.
As far as the LGD, the late disgorged were only done in 750ml’s in a 3-pack of '88, '89 and '90. So, the mag you had was original.


Any experience with 90 Deutz Cuvee William? I have some in mags but based on how young the 88s in mags are I was thinking of waiting at least another 10 years.



The bottle of 1990 krug I had last week was very youthful yet spectacular. I think provenance was key in its showing, with an easy 3 decades of slow and easy aging ahead of it.


I’ve only had the '90 William Deutz out of magnum in the past couple of years and it was youthful. I think down the road, while it won’t be at the very top of the 90 Champagne pyramid it will be a very good performer.


Not sure what you mean about the provenance of your bottle making it show youthfully. It was only released five or so years ago so well stored bottles should be more the norm than the exception.

Ray - we need to remind our friend to stop buying Champagne from truck stop close out sales 10 years after initial release.

Ray, agreed on the should be but we all know well enough that many are not. Its easy to imagine how 5 years of poor storage would affect even these bottles

Thanks, Ray. While the much hyped '90 vintage produced some great Champagnes, the best of '96 should leave them in the dust.

PS - A recent '90 Cristal Rose was wine of the vintage material.

PPS - I could have that Marea crudo by the ton!