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Vintage information 1990:

A majorly hyped vintage, reds particularly so. Not all have aged in-line with the hype, showing flabby and roast flavours coupled to 'dodgy' acidity. The best are superb, but they are not in the majority. Whites were less hyped, yet with good storage the average quality seems not far from that of the reds...

1990 Faiveley Joseph, Corton Clos des Cortons FaiveleyMay. 2012
Medium-plus colour – not exactly a spring chicken but doesn’t look its 20 years old either. Some forest floor notes, impressive depth too, some of the notes hinting at old wood. There’s still an undercurrent of chewy tannin, and very good acidity – all the wine’s texture coming from the tannin. You have the impression the flavour will be only medium length, before a powerful reprise of old vanilla and other barrel notes erupts from the depth – becomes exceptionally long, even showing a little dark red fruit. Impressive, indeed compelling stuff, though arguably not that friendly, I might even say young – a wine for the next 30 years…
1990 Romanée-Conti, Grands-EchézeauxMar. 2011
Deep and dark aromas, seems like tree-bark. Lots of structure yet there’s a nice interplay with floral notes in the mouth. After the 2000 this seems less ripe, the tannin still has much to say. Superb length – bravo!
1990 Tortochot, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des CorvéesJul. 2010
Medium colour – and quite a remarkable colour at that – you might think it cam from a 2001 or 2002, not a 20 year wine. The fruit aromas have sweetness, concentration and a bloody depth. A texture that just about avoids fatness but delivers in its stead a velvet impression from fading tannins – were they a bit astringent in their youth? – I expect so. Very well balanced, though it is a wine whose whole personality is about up-front impact, the finish being medium at best despite the quality of what went before, and showing some nice dried cranberry/currant. Yet for a 20 year-old villages wine I revert to my earlier adjective – remarkable. Can you expect more form such a cuvée at this age? – I’ll decide after I’ve opened the ’85…
1990 Giroud Camille, Nuits St.Georges Les PerrièresJul. 2010
The aromas are deep and just a hint musky, below lies very young fruit. This is full-bodied – there is still plenty of tannin. Really good dimension – this has a full and very outgoing personality that jumps out of the glass – clearly very impressive.
1990 Drouhin Joseph, Grands-EchézeauxMar. 2010
Still deeply coloured. The nose starts with forceful aromas of freshly turned leaves, after 30 minutes it’s on a lower lever but my glass actually needed almost an hour to finally develop sweet and detailed dried red fruits, meat and herbs – the aromas were probably peaking as I was sleeping in my bed – but burgundians don’t decant do they ;-) In the mouth this is sweet and quite powerful. The mid-palate structure is actually a little rustic, but who cares when there are so many dimensions of flavour. Energy and character here, and it’s a long way from it’s peak – bravo!
1990 Drouhin Joseph, Bonnes-MaresApr. 2008
Medium, medium-plus colour. Served a little cold and it’s tight, this really needed a bout 90 minutes before we had a powerhouse nose befitting a Bonnes-Mores with earth, high tones and just a little spice. In the mouth it was lithe, showed good acidity but there’s a sharp edge to the acidity. The length is excellent, there’s no fat and no roast fruit. All in all it’s fresh and exciting in the glass, but always retains that edge to the acidity.
1990 Drouhin Joseph, Vosne-Romanée Les SuchotsApr. 2007
Deeply coloured – still. The nose is super, wide, faintly spicy and complex – tobacco notes and an impression (in the mind) first of brown but slowly changing to red. At the same time the nose slowly becomes softer with sweeter spice. In the mouth my first impression is ’size’ – this is big – followed by plenty of dry tannin. There is quite enough concentration to buffer the tannin, and this concentration really expands on the palate. It’s hardly elegant, but it’s very impressive. I would say this is aromatically excellent and quite ‘ready’, but the palate trails behind, needing at least another 5 years in the cellar. A super bottle.
1990 Méo-Camuzet, Vosne-Romanée Les ChaumesApr. 2007
Medium-plus colour. Just seems a little cleaner and sweeter than the ‘89 and no surmaturité, though it’s quite dense. The palate also has quite some density, indeed it seems rather monolithic – long but quite primary. There’s plenty of tannin if you look for it. Over about 45 minutes in the glass I never felt that there was a moment where the wine blossomed, the nose remaining finer than the palate. Given the density and relatively primary aspect I would suggest waiting another 3+ years before revisiting.
1990 Bachelet Denis, Charmes-ChambertinApr. 2007
The nose starts a little ripe and plummy, maybe even beetroot. It’s not so elegant to start with but slowly begins to release some wonderful red fruit – but it’s a passing phase and later tightens. The palate has some fat and a lovely texture. It actually seems a little simple vs the 1996 and certainly not as long. Still it’s a lovely wine.
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