An appraisal of the
1990 vintage - Twenty years on
A few words on the
1990 growing season
1990 vintage is the last of a trio of consecutive great years in the
Loire. Apart from some issues with frost in Muscadet, the growing season
along the valley can only be described as ideal. Flowering was early
although a little uneven. In Savennières, it was the earliest ever
recorded, starting in the last few days of May. June was cool but, for the
second year in a row, drought was an issue during July and August with the
vines closing down due to water and heat stress. This ultimately delayed the harvest by a few days, although
this was still a precocious vintage when compared to the two or three
decades that precede it. That
said, 1990 was marginally cooler and less sunny than 1989. The hot summer was broken by humid conditions in the early
mornings during September and October, ensuring that, in the Chenin
appellations, noble rot set in and
quickly took hold of the grapes.
early morning mists allowed for superb and sweet wines to be
made. In the Berry there was some intermittent rain and some minor hail
damage in Sancerre, and in Chinon September storms ensured that the crop
was diluted somewhat, although the reputation of the vintages ensures this
is still considered a legendary year. In terms of volume, 1990 was
slightly more abundant than 1989.
with the 1989 red wine flight, this was a very
and somewhat disappointing overall. The wines showed a little too rustic
and, in some cases, the heat of the vintage with too much tannin and
over-extraction. The Clos des Cordeliers, for me, was the best wine. The
Foucault brother’s wines always flatter, but too atypical for my own
Rouge, Château de la Roche aux Moines, Mme A Joly
The last year that red wine was produced in the Joly
cellar. Opaque. Dull red showing some evolution to the rim. The nose is
delicate, light and earthy or even grubby. This is still distinctly
Cabernet Franc, even if the fruit has faded. Light on entry with good red
fruit flavours on the mid palate. The tannins, however, remain brutal.
This was over extracted and will never soften. It will keep but not
Rouge, Clos de Coulaine
Dull appearance. Mid depth and now showing its age. The
nose is clean, if a little herbal, but good weight and focus. The palate
is more earthy; it builds well and has good grip. The tannins are still
noticeable and the wine somewhat over-extracted and bitter to the finish.
This should keep, but it won't improve. (04/10)
de Bourgueil ‘Prestige’, Jean-Paul Mabileau
The father of Frédéric. Dull appearance and showing
some age, but with a good graduation to the rim. Delicate and lifted nose.
Earthy and herbal. Attractive. The palate is delicate with fresh, lifted
acidity. Gravelly tannins. The wine builds nicely, although it is the
acidity that carries the finish. There is an attractive savoury edge too.
Good length. This is still holding up well, although best drunk up.
‘Cuvée Ronsard’ Domaine des Galluches, Jean Gambier
Very pale and shallow. Dull, opaque appearance. Bitty.
The nose is of meat paste and bovril; savoury and cheesy. This has sadly
lost all its fruit. Dull and grubby on the palate, it is short and dried
out. The only thing left is the acidity which lingers at the finish. A
poor bottle? (04/10)
‘Cuvée Grand Mont’ Pierre-Jacques Druet
Bright appearance with very good graduation to the rim.
Mid-pale and showing its age. The nose is delicate and still very fresh
and is not as advanced as the colour suggests. The wine still retains some
attractive red fruit character. Delicate on entry, with gravelly tannins
which are still very supple. Clean and well focused with almost crunchy
acidity to the finish. This is still very fresh, lively and in good
condition. Will age further. (04/10)
Domaine de Beauséjour
Bright but pale. This is quickly loosing its colour.
Shallow appearance. Garnet rim. The nose is mineral with oyster shell
overtones. The palate has lost its fruit and has dried out. Short.
Ordinary. Drink up. (04/10)
Chinon ‘Cuvée des Cireaux Vieilles Vignes’, Domaine Chapellerie, Jean-François Olek
Dull, opaque appearance. Mature, but with good
graduation. The nose is clean, ripe and very
pure; it's still holding its fruit well. Good structure and balance,
although a little taut and grippy.
The impression is that this is just starting to fade and dry out, with
some granular tannins to the
finish. Drinking well now, but close to the end of its natural life.
‘Les Picasses’ Olga Raffault
Bright. Very good graduation to pale rim. The nose is
restrained and not giving much away. Gravelly on the nose with hints of
menthol. The palate is very open with good structure. This is holding up
well. Taut and mineral, displaying very good Cabernet Franc expression.
Supple but with some grip. Very clean with fresh acidity to the finish.
Very good. This is mature, but it will hold further. (04/10)
‘Clos de l’Echo’ Couly-Dutheil
Bright. Mid depth. Mature. This has a strange, earthy,
bruised cider apple nose that reminds me of Calvados. The same flavours
pervade the palate. This is grippy and dried out displaying unripe stalky,
green tannins. Poor. (04/10)
Clos des Cordeliers
Tasted from magnum obtained directly from the cellar.
Polished. Youthful appearance. Still retains its colour. This has barely
evolved. Very attractive nose that is pure and clean. Excellent focus on
the palate. This builds well. Taut with excellent grip. Powerful and
concentrated with good balance. This still appears very youthful,
displaying excellent Cabernet Franc character. Long finish. This has the
potential to evolve and age much longer. Excellent. (04/10)
Saumur-Champigny Domaine de Sanzay
Mature appearance. Pale with a garnet rim. The nose is
distinctly mature Cabernet Franc; sous-bois and earthy but with real
charm. Delicate on both nose and palate, it retains a little red fruit but
is still pure despite its age. Drinking well now, but could hold further.
This bottle was drunk over dinner in Saumur. (01/10)
Clos Rougeard, Foucault
This was aged in second-hand barrels from Château
Margaux. Dull appearance. Mid depth with no real sign of ageing. Typical
Rougeard nose, with its Australian-like oak and menthol profile. The
flavour profile is 'organic'; very farmyard and tertiary. Taut, with good
grip and focus. This is immediately impressive; open and seductive.
Initially very clean and fresh on the finish, the wine did deteriorate
quicker in the bottle than one would have expected. Flatteringly
impressive, this is still youthful and will age further. (04/10)
The corresponding flight from the 1989 vintage tasting was
a revelation and the 1990s proved to be the same. There were some great
wines here, but with one notable disappointment.
‘Les Angelots’ J-M Masson-Blondelet
Mid pale. Still retains a youthful green hue. This has
barely evolved. The nose is lovely and fresh; delicate with distinct
Sauvignon character and a sense of minerality which follows through to the
palate. The flavour profile remains correctly 'green' although is slightly
maritime, with a faint oyster shell character (cork?). The wine is well
balanced with a persistent finish. This is still in very good condition
for its age and there is no rush to drink. (04/10)
‘Domaine des Rabichattes’ Albert Grebet
Mid pale with green hints. Bright appearance. Clean nose
but a bit dull and a touch dirty. Well balanced with good structure.
Delicate with a good mineral thread. It just falls a bit short. (04/10)
‘Pur Sang’ Didier Dageneau
Massively disappointing given the hype and reputation. Mid
depth and showing some age. Oxidised and tired on the nose whilst the
palate is clutching to life. Short and bitter on the finish and sadly
dried out. A poor bottle...? (04/10)
‘La Côte de Monts Damnés’ Henri Bourgeois
Luminous. Mid depth, yellow-green appearance. Lovely broad
and intense nose, showing some maturity, but complex floral and marzipan
aromas. This is obviously a riper style, displaying exotic and tropical
fruit flavours. Very clean and fresh on the palate with more of a
greenish, vegetal profile. Builds well with excellent structure and
balance. Persistent finish. Well focused and absolutely no rush to drink.
Not in the same class as the 1989, but still very good. (04/10)
- La Grande Côte’ François Cotat
Luminous. Mid-depth, yellow-green. Intense, rich and
explosive on the nose. Very complex. Intense on entry and builds well to a
powerful, concentrated finish. There is clearly residual sugar here, but
the wine is still very much in balance. The flavour spectrum is very
broad. This is still on a plateau and there is no rush to drink.
Qualitatively, it has the edge over the wine below. (04/10)
‘Chavignol – Les Monts Damnés – Cuvée Spéciale’ François Cotat
Cotat usually divides opinion and this wine was no
different. The late harvest style was clearly obvious here, with
noticeable residual sugar with one taster commenting that the wine was
'sweet and unresolved'. We know that Cotat's wines are capable of lasting
decades, and this example is still growing into itself. Mid-full with
green-yellow tinges. Restrained on the nose, but with a floral edge. The
wine builds well on the palate with excellent balance and structure,
despite the concerns over the level of ripeness and sweetness. This is
classic Cotat and can be expected to age and evolve for another two
A single wine flight, but the Azay was rustic and everything it should be.
- Azay-le-Rideau Sec, Domaine Pascal Pabileau
Polished, deep yellow-gold. Appears mature - or
botrytis affected. Mineral or rather oyster shell nose with some vegetal
aromas behind. Dry on entry and mid-weight. Quite simple and monotone, but
well balanced and some redeeming acidity to carry the finish. Proper old
fashioned Chenin, but fast approaching its sell by date. (04/10)
are some tasters who criticised the Baumard wines for their lack of individuality, but I
appreciate them for their consistency and durability; the wines improving
over a course of three days. With regards the wines of Nicholas Joly, this
is surely the last great vintage produced at the domaine.
and mature in appearance. Light orange-gold. Floral nose, but just showing
its age. White flowers and hints of marzipan. The palate is dull, broad
and a bit monotone with flavours of dead yeast. This is not showing
particularly well. Pithy to finish with some bitterness. Probably past its
'Clos du Papillon' Domaine du Closel
appearance. Mid-full orange-bronze. Broad and ripe. Shows concentration.
This is still very precise and expressive on the nose. Delicate and
complex, restrained and refined. The style is still quite old fashioned
and traditional. Gentle on entry. Well balanced. Attractive with good
texture. Fresh and clean, with a nervous line of acidity running through
the wine. Powerful to finish, with a characteristic pithy and phenolic
edge. Authentic. Drinking now, but will keep and possibly still evolve
further. This note is lifted from a retrospective tasting of Clos du
Papillon from 1988 to 2007 at the domaine. (02/10)
du Papillon’ Domaine des Baumard
Very pale with green hints. Typical of the Baumard style, this is tight,
reductive and unevolved on the nose, with a faintly lactic element behind
(even though there is no malo-lactic fermentation). Delicate and elegant
with excellent focus. The wine builds well and has good grip. Very long
and pithy finish. This is still drinking well and will hold. (04/10)
Spéciale’ Domaine des Baumard
Mid depth, yellow-green appearance. Quiet and delicate on the nose.
Faintly floral. It's very restrained and shows no real sign of its age.
The palate is much more open and serious with very good structure. It
builds well and has good grip. Excellent focus. Mineral and pithy to the
finish. This is still holding up well and still evolving. Very good.
Domaine aux Moines
Mid depth, straw-yellow. Delicate nose with moving towards the 'greener'
spectrum of aromas. Mineral, but also slightly grubby behind. Mid weight
on entry but builds well, although the palate falls short with some dirty
and earthy flavours. Nicely textured, if a little rustic. The wine is
holding up and there is no real rush to drink, although it is unlikely to
de la Bergerie', Château de la Roche aux Moines, Mme A Joly
luminous appearance. Mid depth with green tinges. The nose is distinctly
'organic' and a little high toned. It is, however, attractive with some
proper minerailty and sense of place. The palate is delicate and refined
on entry. Excellent structure and poise. Taut to the finish. There is
absolutely no rush to drink. (04/10)
de la Coulée de Serrant, Mme A Joly
Mid depth, staw-yellow-gold. Tight, mineral and very reserved on the nose.
It appears backward and unevolved. The palate is still very youthful and
still very fresh, displaying a great stony minerality. The wine is poised
and focused with a very persistent and juicy acidity to the finish. This
demonstrates the quality of its provenance. Still immature, this wine has
a very long life ahead of it. (04/10)
The 1990s were a step up in quality over the 1989s with
much greater consistency. The profile of the wines is still very different
from the wines directly across the river, which is no bad thing, as the
best examples retained poise and elegance and were not generally affected
by the overripe character of some of the Vouvrays. The wine of Christian
Martin impressed some of my fellow tasters and is worthy of a mention, but
the best of the flight was the Deletang, which would be considered
consistent with their reputation at the time.
‘Vieilles Vignes’ Berger Frères, Domaine des Liards
Polished appearance with yellow-green hints. This is still
very clean and vinous, although backward and not very expressive on the
nose. The palate is clean, simple and a bit monotone. Stylistically, this
is more a sec-tendre and is a little reductive - a common theme in
the drier Touraine Chenin's from these two vintages. The acidity remains
firm to the finish. Pithy and a little bitter and phenolic. Drink or hold,
but unlikely to improve. (04/10)
Demi-Sec, François Chidaine
Bright, yellow-gold. Dull and tired nose. Very old
fashioned style. Mid-weight on entry and pretty crisp considering the
vintage. The palate is better than the nose suggests. Pithy and nicely
textured, but a bit monotone and simple with classic old fashioned
'bruised apple' Chenin character. Undistinguished. Drink up. (04/10)
‘Les Lys’ François Chidaine
Polished. Mid-pale, yellow-straw with green hints.
Attractive nose of star-fruit and marzipan, although it is showing some
maturity. Delicate and attractive on entry. Well textured and clean. This
is mature, but in a positive sense. Very gentle in style. The finish is
crisp and juicy ensuring the wine is not too sweet. Well balanced. Very
good and although mature, should keep a few more years. (04/10)
Moëlleux, Yves Chidaine
The father of François. Mid-pale, straw with green hints.
The nose is still showing some sulphur which accounts for the reductive,
struck-match aroma. Backward and showing some negative signs of maturity.
The SO2 accounts for why the wine has maintained its pale appearance. The
palate is better, but more demi-sec in style. A bit old fashioned
and rustic, but with juicy acidity to the finish. Good structure and
length. This is drinking now and is likely to over-mature before the
reductive character blows off. The wine will age but never properly
Moëlleux, Christian Martin
Polished. Mid pale with green hints. Clean, but quite
neural nose with some terpine character. Dry on entry and not an obvious moelleux.
Clean, but quite simple in style. Well balanced and gentle; honest and
unpretentious. Drink or hold. (04/10)
Berger Freres Domaine des Liards Vendanges Tardives
This bottle was unfortunately corked, but it was still
possible to taste through the taint. Polished. Youthful mid-pale with
green hints. This is distinctly 'dry' and taut for the style. The wine
displays a good stony minerality, but falls a little short. This is
drinking well now and will hold for a few more years. (04/10)
Moëlleux ‘Les Batisses’ Deletang
Polished. Pale, yellow-green. A little bit closed and
still somewhat reductive. Floral with some white flowers and marzipan.
Builds well and shows its class among the rest in this flight. Well
focused with very good balance. Juicy and well poised. This is still very
young and fresh and will continue to evolve. (04/10)
There was very little duplication in growers between the
1989 and 1990 tastings making this a difficult flight to compare, but the
1990s were certainly more consistent, throwing up one or two pleasant
Polished, pale green and unevolved in its
appearance. Restrained and old fashioned Chenin nose that doesn't give
much away. This is mature but certainly not tired. Mid-weight on entry and
builds well to a relatively powerful finish. This is a drier expression of
moelleux. The palate is a bit pithy and phenolic on the finish, but
this is still credible and there is no immediate rush to drink.
Interestingly, the back label recommends that the drinker should 'Consume
within 4 years of purchase'... (04/10)
Pichot Moëlleux ‘Sainsburys’
green-yellow appearance. Attractive nose that is faintly exotic, with
aromas of honeycomb and quince. Lovely on entry; well focused with
excellent palate weight and proper balance. Juicy acidity which makes the
wine appear drier than what it is. The acid profile will ensure that
this wine will continue to hold and even evolve further, although I doubt
there is any still in existence; Sainsbury's recommended that this be
consumed 'within two years of purchase'. A
really pleasant surprise. (04/10)
Polished, pale yellow-green. Notes of white flowers and
marzipan to the nose which suggest some negative signs of maturity. The
palate is nicely textured and builds well to a powerful finish, but this
does show some alcoholic burn and is also a bit pithy and bitter on the
finish. This is still holding up, but is not particularly distinguished.
Champalou ‘Cuvée Champalou’
Bright, deep orange-bronze. Attractive nose that is
obviously (along with the colour) derived from botrytis. It's complex and
classical with notes of honeycomb, oranges and baked apple. The palate is
lovely; lush, with a lovely racy acidity to help balance out the sugar. It
also has great texture. Falvours include quince and orange confit. There
is no rush to drink this, although it is unlikely to improve. Very good.
Gaudrelle ‘Réserve Spéciale’
Polished appearance. Deep orange, indicating botrytis.
Broad, ripe and attractive. The nose appears a little flat initially on
the nose, with notes of burnt caramel and toffee. This is gentle with a
delicate texture. The flavour of caramel follows through onto the palate.
Lush, pretty and flattering. There is no immediate rush to drink this.
Very good. (04/10)
Brisbarre ‘Grande Réserve’ Moëlleux
Polished, mid depth, yellow-green. The nose is clean but a
little neutral and not very expressive, with the faint whiff of marzipan
indicating some over maturity. the palate is better and more open. Well
textured with good balance, it remains fresh and clean. Linear acidity,
but falls just a bit short and lacks real interest. It's a bit monotone,
but overall good and should age further, if not necessarily improve.
– CLOS BAUDOIN
- PRINCE PONIATOWSKI
'Clos Baudoin' was the name of the posh five hectare vineyard,
occasionally vinified dry - but more often produced as a moëlleux
- when vintage conditions allowed. Aigle Blanc was from the remaining 17
hectares and effectively used as a second label.
with the 1989s, the 1990s lack the precision and sheer quality of the
likes of Huet, Foreau and Bernard Fouquet. Some tasters found them too sweet, caramelised and a bit too soft with excessive alcohol burn.
Baudoin ‘Aigle Blanc’ Moëlleux
Polished. Mid depth yellow. The nose is a bit dull and
earthy, the palate equally monotone with some spent match reduction. Mid
weight, but falls a bit short. Ordinary yet authentic. Drink up. (04/10)
Polished. Mid depth, yellow-gold. Clean, but a little
reductive, with notes of baked apples and a spent match. The palate is
better and more flattering with a juicy acidity to help balance the
sweetness and making the wine appear quite dry. Well focused and proper,
if a little old fashioned. This is decent and holding up well. No rush to
VOUVRAY – BERNARD
FOUQUET – DOMAINE DES AUBUSIÈRES
Fouquet managed to produce five different sweet wine cuvées this vintage,
all becoming more
concentrated as one tasted through the flight. This was clearly a very
fine year for Bernard and
his wines are at least of the same quality of Huet and Foreau. Some would
yellow-straw. Dull, reductive and rubbery nose with distinct oyster shell
flavours on the palate. There is also some bitterness on the finish. Poor.
‘Trie Grains Nobles’
Described by Michael Broadbent in 1995 as
'Perfection'. Polished. Very deep and obviously botytised appearance.
Orange-gold. Floral aroma with notes of clove. Rich and concentrated on
entry, if displaying a little 'old fashioned' Chenin character. Highly
botrytised, but with very good balancing acidity. Quite high toned and a
little bit volatile, but still taut and showing a surprising degree of
minerality. Very good focus and still very fresh. It will hold but
probably not improve further. (04/10)
‘Sélection Grains Nobles’
Polished. Very deep orange-gold and obviously botrytised,
but with very good graduation in colour to the rim. Richly concentrated
nose that is highly botyrtised and complex. Smoky, with even the
impression of some oak. This is lovely on entry and on a different level
to the Trie Grains Nobles, above. Lovely nervous and racy acidity
that is slightly volatile, but which helps to add overall complexity to
the wine. This is still youthful and there is absolutely no rush to drink.
‘Le Marigny – Trie des Grains Nobles’
Bright. Very deep copper-bronze. Broad, profound on the
nose and hugely concentrated. Rich and unctuous on entry, but bound
together by a lovely thread of acidity. Great structure and shows real
finesse. Exotic flavours, with caramel and toffee. No rush to drink.
‘Cuvee Alexandre - Sélection Grains Nobles’
Deep orange-bronze. Polished. Attractive nose of oranges
and quince. Confit and complex whilst restrained and elegant. The palate
is highly textured. Unctuous and verging on being too rich, but is aided
by the balancing acidity. Powerful, but still shows finesse. There is a
gentle quality to this, with racy acidity to the finish. There is an
impression of oak running through the palate. Excellent. Will age further.
– PHILIPPE FOREAU
Even Noël Pinguet (who was present at the 1990 tasting)
concedes that Philippe Foreau made better wine in 1990 than Huet.
Stylistically, they are certainly different to Huet, retaining the classic
freshness and acidity that is the hallmark of Foreau, even in a year like
Polished. Mid-depth yellow-gold.
Classic old fashioned Chenin nose of cloves and wet wool. The wine is a
little earthy and grubby. It's certainly less successful. Dry on entry;
taut and mineral to the palate. A classic demi-sec, but one fears a
token effort for what is fundamentally a sweet wine vintage. Ordinary.
Polished. Deep, mid-depth
orange-gold. A bit rustic and old fashioned, but with aromas of baked
spiced apple and quince. Delicate on entry with racy acidity; the wine
lifts to a second level with excellent focus and acidity. Powerful, but
balanced and elegant. Excellent poise and persistence. This will continue
to hold. Only 9.5% alcohol. (04/10)
Bright, deep copper-bronze. Rich,
barley-sugar nose, with complex toffee, caramel and smoky aromas. Clearly,
this is very heavily botrytised. Lovely texture on entry. High toned, but
very fine and elegant. The racy acidity cuts through to the persistent
finish. Tropical and exotic with an impression of oak (although this is
derived more from the flavour profile than any use of wood). Excellent.
This will continue to hold and even develop. (04/10)
Dark orange-bronze. Broad nose of
toffee apple and caramel. It appears a little monotone such is its
richness. The palate is lovely; very clean and fresh, intense but retains
elegance. The flavours are exotic, but with hints of orange confit.
Complex, racy and juicy acidity, with excellent poise and balance. This is
a great wine, but it should be noted that this bottle appears less evolved
than other examples tasted over the past decade or so. (04/10)
- DOMAINE HUET
Neither before or since has Noël seen such an expression of
noble rot in the vines at Huet. All the 1ere Trie wines are 100% botrytis
affected and as a result there was no Cuvee Constance produced this year;
being little or no distinction between the style and quality of these
three wines. As with 1989, a nominal sec
exists, and the yields for the two vintages are also comparable.
the 1989s are still youthful in both appearance and their evolution, the
1990s have developed much quicker, the heavy botrytis character ensuring
that the wines have taken on a deep appearance.
Noël (and me) the 1989 is the better year. Whilst the 1990s are hedonistic, they are probably
at their peak, although their plateau of drinkability will be a long and
very enjoyable one. Here, lessons can be learnt from the great 1947
vintage, where the appearance is also profound, although the wines have
never shown any sign of falling apart.
It should also be noted that 1990 vintage is significant for the
domaine’s succession as a certified producer of biodynamic wines.
Le Haut Lieu Moëlleux
depth. Straw yellow. Pale to rim. Slightly honeyed with obvious richness
and concentration. Delicate and gentle, if a little rustic. Easy and
approachable now. Distinct bruised apple flavours. Good length although a
little clumsy. Drinking well now, but will continue to hold and even
1990 Le Haut Lieu Moëlleux 1ere Trie
Polished appearance. Deep
orange/amber with a pale green rim. More evolved than the others from this
vintage. Coconut, oranges and apricots backed up with honey. Botrytis
shows behind. A hint of Volatility helps to lift the wine. Lighter and
currently more balanced that Le Clos du Bourg. Crunchy acidity and very
fresh and clean. Lovely texture and acid balance. Very precocious and
flattering. Drinking now, but unlikely to evolve further. (04/10)
Le Mont Moëlleux 1ere Trie
100% botrytis. Polished. Mid depth. Has the greatest graduation of this
trio. Orange/amber. Still very backward, but appears the most refined of
the trio on the nose. Honey/honeycomb, apricots and spice. Very delicate.
Broad on entry and a touch clumsy at present, lacking the acidity (or at
least the acid is currently disparate) of the other two. Dry to the
finish. My previous note (in 2004) states 'Still very reserved and needs
more time', but on this tasting it was the most expressive of the trio of 1ere
Tries. Drinking now and will hold, if not necessarily improve. (04/10)
Le Clos du Bourg Moëlleux 1ere Trie
100% botrytis. Polished.
Very deep. Orange/amber/bronze. Closed nose. Some tea-like character, but
currently very closed, although the botrytis is evident. The palate is
more expressive with a lovely thread of high toned acidity running through
the wine. Powerful, with very firm, crunchy acidity. Builds well in the
mouth and is still very fresh with more to give. Very powerful. Ultimately
the best of this trio. With the firm acidity, it is possibly another 1971
or even 1947 in the making. For
some tasters, the best single wine of the 1990 tasting.
flight consisted of some pleasantly simple wines displaying more rusticity than
‘Vendanges Manuelle’ Domaine des Trahan, Cersey
Very deep yellow-gold with hints of green. The nose is mature, but also a
bit grubby and even now showing signs of residual sulphur. Builds well on
the palate, but the impression is sweet and sour; unknit and monotone. It
lacks any real interest and is a touch rustic. The acidity shows through
on the finish. Powerful but clumsy. Will hold but not improve. (04/10)
de la Loire ‘Vieille Sève’ Domaine de Fresche
Very youthful pale green. The wine is slightly corked, which is a shame as
it still appears very fresh on the palate. (04/10)
du Saumur, Jean-Claude Bourdin
Deep orange-bronze. Typical nose of bruised apple. Gentle on the nose with
some aromas of marzipan, indicating some over maturity. Smoky-botrytis.
Delicate on entry and shows great freshness, with lovely bright, focused
acidity. Taut and still very fresh. This still has a long life ahead of
du Saumur ‘Domaine de la Petite Chapelle’ Dézé
Mid-depth straw-yellow with hints of green. Quite dull and simple on the
nose. One dimensional. The acidity kicks in on the finish. Unknit and
clumsy. The acidity will help to preserve this, but for no real benefit.
DU LAYON, QUARTS DE CHAUME AND BONNEZEAUX
the 1989 tasting,
this proved to be the most disappointing flight overall and
raised concerns about the variable quality and questions of some of the
fairly primitive winemaking practices used at the time.
The wines of
Domaine Terrebrune, then under the control of the late René Renou were,
sadly, the greatest disappointment off all, with each of the three wines
tasted being well beyond their sell by dates. The Domaine des Baumard wine showed true to their house style,
being very youthful and
barely evolved. Again it
was the relatively unknown Domaine Banchereau with their Coteaux du Layon
Chaume, ‘Cuvée Privilege’ that was the stand-out wine in this flight.
Sadly, this grower no longer exists; the vineyards being sold off and the
cellar in Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné demolished to make way for a new village
Given the reputation of the vintage, the wines should have been much
better, demonstrating greater consistency. There were too few great wines
here and it has to be said that Bonnezeaux as an appellation was, like the
1989 tasting, the least impressive flight of all, bringing into question
its reputation as a stand alone appellation during this period.
du Layon ‘1ere Trie’ Domaine des Petits Quarts, Godineau
Mid-full orange-bronze. Delicate and attractive nose. Gentle, elegant and
well focused palate that is holding up well. A bit dull and ordinary, but
will continue to hold. (04/10)
du Layon, Domaine du Petit Metris, Joseph Renou
Mid-full orange-yellow. Very attractive appearance. Rich and unctuous and
clearly botrytised on both nose and palate. Broad, big and powerful,
although the alcohol also shows. There is some evidence of oak ageing and
that this is starting to dry the wine out. Best drink up. (04/10)
du Layon ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Chateau de Breuil
orange-gold with a viscous texture. Reserved nose that is delicate,
attractive and not obviously sweet. Faintly more vegetal on the nose. Lush
and attractive with very good balance and freshness. Builds well to a
juicy and creamy persistent finish. Very good and should continue to hold.
du Layon Faye-d’Anjou, Domaine des Saulaies, Philippe Leblanc
Mid-depth green-straw appearance. The nose is badly affected by reduced
sulphur - which helps explain the barely evolved appearance and palate.
Dull and ordinary. (04/10)
du Layon Saint-Aubin, Domaine Roche Moreau, A. Davy
Mid depth with distinct green tints. Floral and old fashioned, wet wool
and oyster shell nose. The palate retains firm acidity on the finish. This
is drier style and holding up well, but very simple and undistinguished.
DU LAYON-CHAUME AND QUARTS DE CHAUME
du Layon-Chaume ‘Les Charmelles’ Château de Plaisance
Mid-depth. Yellow-gold. Broad and delicate. Attractive nose of coconut
with the complexity of a green Chartreuse. Builds nicely with good texture
and racy acidity. The alcohol shows a little and the wine becomes clumsy
on the finish. Decent and no rush to drink. (04/10)
du Layon-Chaume ‘Les Aunis’ Château de la Roulerie, D. Jaudeau
appearance. Mid-full orange-bronze. Dull nose and a bit grubby (cork
taint?). Bruised apple. The palate is similar; a bit grubby and earthy.
Nicely textured with decent weight and focus. Will hold and there is no
rush to drink, but this is relatively undistinguished. (04/10)
du Layon-Chaume ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Château de la Guimonière
Mid-pale straw appearance with hints of green. Clean but tight on the
nose. Not very expressive. Gentle on entry and nicely textured. Very clean
and fresh on the palate with good length. The acidity carries the wine a
little. Drinking well now and should hold. (04/10)
du Layon-Chaume ‘Cuvée Privilege’ Domaine Banchereau
and bitty. Mid-depth orange-bronze. Very rich with a highly botrytis
affected nose. Lush on entry with excellent fresh acidity. Concentrated
and deeply complex. The flavour profile suggests oranges; both peel and
flesh, with honey and quince. Very powerful. This is more advanced than
the 1989 equivalent, but is still excellent and there is no rush to drink.
de Chaume, Domaine des Baumard
Mid-depth straw-yellow. Tight and somewhat unevolved. Delicate with good
focus and balance. Gentle and nicely textured. This is still in its
adolescence and will continue to age further. (04/10)
de Chaume, Domaine du Petit Metris, Joseph Renou
Mid-full gold. Attractive nose: broad, with obvious botrytis. Complex,
with notes of honeycomb and quince. Delicate and lovely on entry. Great
texture, balance and freshness. It builds well to a powerful, concentrated
and persistent finish. Excellent and no rush to drink. (04/10)
Domaine de Terrebrune
Mid-depth yellow-straw. Dull, earthy and bit grubby. Old fashioned,
mid-weight and one dimensional. Earthy and grubby on the palate, the
acidity kicks in on the finish. Hot, clumsy and falls short.
‘Trie de Vendange’ Domaine Terrebrune
Mid-depth yellow-gold. Dull, clumsy and ordinary nose. Simple and one
dimensional. Flat with no real structure. Falls short. (04/10)
‘Trie Spéciale’ Domaine Terrebrune
Deeper appearance. Delicate. Light and more vegetal on the nose.
Mid-weight with better balance, but pithy and bitter to the finish. This
is the best of the Terrebrune trio, but certainly not distinguished.
‘Malabé’ Godineau Domaine des Petits Quarts, Godineau
Deep orange-bronze. Attractive appearance. The nose shows honeycomb and
bruised or baked or even toffee apple. Builds nicely on the palate and is
well structured. Chalky textured. The alcohol shows a little on the
finish. Holding up. (04/10)
‘Élevé en fût de Chêne’ Domaine des Petits Quarts, Godineau
in second hand barrel from d'Yquem. Bright. Deep yellow-gold. The nose is
dominated by oak. There is very little subtlety here. Concentrated and
powerful. Chalky textured, any real character is lost behind the wood.
Whilst this was flattering within a couple of years of the vintage, the
wood is now starting to dry this out. Drink up. (04/10)
Bonnezeaux ‘La Chapelle’ Château de Fesles, Gaston Lenotre/Jacques
appearance. Mid-full orange-bronze. Clean but dull on the nose and not
character. Clean, but monotone and one dimensional. The alcohol shows too.
Dull, earthy and
ordinary. On this showing, the property fails to live up to its
reputation. Drink up. (04/10)
The Vine # 92 – (September 1992) - Bourgueil ‘The Fine
1989 and 1990 Vintages’ – Clive Coates MW
Vintage Wine – Michael Broadbent MW (2002 Websters)
Vintage Timecharts - Jancis Robinson MW (1989 Mitchell Beazley)