When Anna calls with an invitation to a Champagne night, you don't hesitate - you simply go. This time, the theme was a throwback to the venerable 1990 millésime, an opportunity that would have any enthusiast's taste buds tingling with anticipation. As we uncorked several magnums, the evening unfolded into a showcase of depth and maturity that only time can bestow upon such celebrated bubbles. While some bottles had surrendered to age, others captivated us with their finesse and remarkable longevity. It was a night where the past was poured into our glasses, affirming that "there are great bottles".
I extend my heartfelt thanks to Anna and Arsen for orchestrating this memorable evening, to MI6 for their warm hospitality, and to all participants whose company and conversations rendered the experience both unforgettable and enriching.
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 1990 (magnum)
This wine secured the 🥈 2nd place in our wine tasting lineup.
This magnum opens up with an intriguing mix of crème brûlée, musty cellar, earthy champignons, and crisp yellow apples. As it breathes, it unwraps layers of caramel, lemon tart, and hazelnut, all with a note of Jerez. The palate is greeted with a fresh yet richly oily texture, carrying notes of overripe apples, warm bakery spices, caramel, and a finish reminiscent of apple jam. It's a mix of complexity, with each layer offering something more to explore - undeniably easy to enjoy and utterly satisfying. It stands as a close runner-up for my night's favorite.
Deutz Blanc de Blancs Brut 1990 (magnum)
This wine secured the 🏅 6th place in our wine tasting lineup.
This magnum captivates with an aromatic display of white flowers, damp chalk, and earthy undertones of hazelnut and marzipan, mingled with the savory depth of mushrooms and the soft sweetness of bruised apples. It boasts a vibrant freshness, suggesting a vitality that promises longer lifespan. A faint echo of Jerez adds intrigue without overwhelming the wine's inherent vivacity.
In contrast to Dom Ruinart BdB '90, it presents a more dynamic, fruit-driven character. While it delights with its finesse, the finish is notably more brief.
Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1990 (magnum)
This wine secured the 🏅 5th place in our wine tasting lineup.
This magnum reveals age with a bouquet where the mustiness of mould is at the forefront, layered with nuances of sponge cake, nuts, honey, seashells, bruised apples, and a touch of Jerez. The nose might challenge with its pronounced earthiness (or rather mould-iness), yet the palate tells a different story, unfurling gracefully with each second, like sea waves. It offers a spectrum of tastes, from the deep sweetness of honey and Jerez to the tangy bite of lemon curd, all anchored by the familiar comfort of bruised apples.
Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon Brut 1990 (magnum)
This wine secured the 🥇 1st place in our wine tasting lineup.
This magnum is a standout, definitely the best Dom Pérignon experience yet. It boasts an expressive and generous bouquet, brimming with the warmth of baked apples, the richness of honey, and the indulgence of toffee, complemented by nutty and earthy mushroom undertones. Approachable yet profound, it maintains a lively and vibrant character, thanks to its stellar acidity (considering age, yo). The balance is near perfect, culminating in a long, creamy and satisfying finish.
Bollinger R.D. 1990
This wine secured the 🏅 8th place in our wine tasting lineup.
This bottle seems to have met its end; it's turned a murky amber, signifying over-oxidation. The nose is reminiscent of low-end Madeira, uzvar and a forest in the autumn, complete with the earthy scent of decaying leaves (I love that smell). Despite its state, there's still complexity here, and surprisingly, the palate retains a certain freshness. It's a pity, no doubt, but even in its decline, this wine offered an intriguing tasting experience.
Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru (d2019) NV
This wine secured the 🏅 7th place in our wine tasting lineup.
Amidst the venerable titans of aged wines, this offering stands its ground with a vivacious profile. It serves as a refreshing intermission, boasting a complex bouquet - lemon, Jerez, shells, and chalk, with a hint of sunflower seeds. The palate doesn't shy away, presenting a fruit-driven experience supported by racy acids. The finish is enduring. While it may be challenging to fully appreciate its nuances sandwiched between aged behemoths, Egly-Ouriet competes with poise.
Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon Œnothèque Brut 1990
This wine secured the 🥉 3rd place in our wine tasting lineup.
This wine carries the gravitas of age, hinting at past complexity, yet now teeters on decline. Its bouquet conjures a scene of an ancient cellar - earthy mold, caramelized baked apples, musty mushrooms, sweet raisins, and Jerez hints. It's akin to an aged storyteller, whose allure persists even as the final chapter approaches, sharing tales with waning but persistent charm.
Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon Rosé Brut 1990 (bottle #1)
This wine secured the 🏅 9th place in our wine tasting lineup.
You're dead and out of this world
You'll never get a second chance
Plan all your moves in advance
Stay dead, stay dead, stay dead
Stay dead and out of this world
– Norma Tanega
Encountering this wine is like finding an echo of what once was - a ghost of caramelized fruits and ancient berry jam. It's a relic, void of vitality yet not repulsive; it's drinkable, but merely a shadow, stripped of its once-lauded elegance and intricate layers (this is my speculation).
Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon Rosé Brut 1990 (bottle #2)
This wine secured the 🏅 9th place in our wine tasting lineup.
The second bottle stands tall - alive, kicking, and brimming with flavour. It's not a puzzle of complexity but rather a straightforward chorus of red fruits, plum jam, and spiced berries confiture. It's a bit reserved, yet it delivers a flavorful punch with a persistence that lingers on the palate.
Francoise Bedel Comme Autrefois 2005
This wine secured the 🏅 4th place in our wine tasting lineup.
A masterful display of complexity and depth, this wine presents a tapestry of honey, honeycomb, baked apples, and a Jerez accent, intertwined with earthy mushrooms and a flourish of bakery notes. It's a multidimensional experience - intense yet delicate, aged yet vibrant, a testament to the winemaker's art. Beautifully matured yet brimming with youthful vigor.