Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

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R. Somerville
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Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#1 Post by R. Somerville » June 16th, 2020, 1:03 pm

Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982.

Call me a philistine, but 3 random bottles from the same case were thoroughly underwhelming for all the hype of '82.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#2 Post by Andrew K. » June 16th, 2020, 1:06 pm

1989 Lafite was underwhelming. Elegance and class for sure, but underwhelming.

I didn't love the 1985 La Tache that ironically is displayed in my avatar.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#3 Post by Victor Hong » June 16th, 2020, 1:10 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 1:06 pm
1989 Lafite was underwhelming. Elegance and class for sure, but underwhelming.
.......
Same.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#4 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » June 16th, 2020, 1:48 pm

I'm not sure '89 Lafite was ever hyped as "great", but there's certainly a lot of examples of supposedly great vintage + first growth = dud. FWIW, all the '82 PLs I was lucky enough to taste were quite lovely. My nominations would be:
- Chateau Grillet (just not a good or very interesting wine)
- Egon Mueller Scharzhofberger Spaetlese (just not showing anything this philistine doesn't get from dozens of cheaper Riesling)

I haven't listed dozens of examples of Rhone wines that were super-hyped and high-scoring on release, because that's a road well-travelled on this Board!
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#5 Post by Eric Egan » June 16th, 2020, 1:54 pm

most lauded post-1999 Bordeaux, with a few honourable exceptions.

Most recently the 2005 and 2010 Chateau Palmer I had the other day, which were really underwhelming (thought admittedly the 2015 and 2016 were pretty good - are they turning the tide? I guess we'll have to wait and see).
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#6 Post by G. Curd » June 16th, 2020, 2:11 pm

I bought a bottle of 1945 Domaine Ponsot from the Clos St. Denis Grand Cru appellation from this guy name Rudy K in NY. It just tasted like red blend someone put together in their kitchen. :)

On a serious note, I know this isn't a Grad Cru or anything, but I remember early in my wine life I tasted I bottle of Silver Oak from Napa and I didn't understand the hype at that time. I wish I remembered the vintage.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#7 Post by James Wright » June 16th, 2020, 2:14 pm

a run of Lafites from the seventies...
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#8 Post by AndyK » June 16th, 2020, 2:17 pm

2001 Masseto [scratch.gif]
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#9 Post by R. Somerville » June 16th, 2020, 3:31 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 1:06 pm
1989 Lafite was underwhelming. Elegance and class for sure, but underwhelming.

I didn't love the 1985 La Tache that ironically is displayed in my avatar.
I remember the hype about Lafite that year well.

Ended up selling the other 9 bottles of PL '82 for a fortune and buying other wines instead.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#10 Post by Greg K » June 16th, 2020, 3:34 pm

1990 LLC (what a boring wine)
1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#11 Post by R. Somerville » June 16th, 2020, 3:38 pm

Greg K wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:34 pm
1990 LLC (what a boring wine)
1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle
So the '100' hype was not all it was made out to be? - never had the '90 La Chapelle though I wish I'd had the '61.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#12 Post by Eric Ifune » June 16th, 2020, 3:51 pm

1961 Palmer, but it was a suspect bottle.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#13 Post by M. Dildine » June 16th, 2020, 3:52 pm

Easy. An obscenely corked 1982 Margaux.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#14 Post by Ed Gonzales » June 16th, 2020, 3:57 pm

krug ambonnay - 95, 96, 00
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » June 16th, 2020, 3:58 pm

"Great" is an overstatement here, and it's not in the league of these first growths and all in the thread.

But as far as a wine that was $90, got huge scores, and comes from a grape (cab franc) and region (Tuscany) both of which I generally love, I was horribly disappointed by Le Macchiole Paleo. So soft, oaky, generic, no sense of the grape or the place, could have been just about anything, tasted like it was worth more like $25.

Not sure the vintage, maybe 2013 or 2014.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#16 Post by MikeL238 » June 16th, 2020, 4:20 pm

Greg K wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:34 pm
1990 LLC (what a boring wine)
1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle
+1 on 1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle. Enjoyable, but definitely not worth the price.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#17 Post by Anthony C » June 16th, 2020, 4:26 pm

I forget the vintage, but it was an older Dom Peringnon that tasted like fizzy sourdough starter (bottle probably wasn't flawed, just way too old).
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#18 Post by Greg K » June 16th, 2020, 4:28 pm

R. Somerville wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:38 pm
Greg K wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:34 pm
1990 LLC (what a boring wine)
1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle
So the '100' hype was not all it was made out to be? - never had the '90 La Chapelle though I wish I'd had the '61.
I think Jaboulet is generally overrated, and the 1990 was part of how I came to that view. I’d quite like to have the La Clapelle too!
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#19 Post by Glen Gold » June 16th, 2020, 4:32 pm

MikeL238 wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:20 pm
Greg K wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:34 pm
1990 LLC (what a boring wine)
1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle
+1 on 1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle. Enjoyable, but definitely not worth the price.
And I can +1 that LLC. The 2002 LLC was better. [soap.gif]
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#20 Post by Mark Golodetz » June 16th, 2020, 4:34 pm

The La Chapelle 1990
I understand more than one bottling, and the European versions are stellar. The ones I have had in the U.S. were underwhelming.

My underwhelming wine was the famous Cheval 1947, two bottles, the first a Van der Meulen bottling. The tasting was memorable anyway, as two of the people started a fist fight over Parker, one having to be restrained. Passions must have been running high as the big guy was around ten inches taller and probably eighty pounds heavier.

Back to the Cheval. This was not just a bad bottle, it was godawful one. It smelled and tasted of skunk; and it wasn’t just a nuance, it was front, center and round the sides.

The second bottle was chateau bottled and pronounced correct. Overripe, plummy, essence of raisin, soft from an almost total absence of acidity. Tasted around 2000, it showed no complexity whatsoever, but there were some in the group who liked it, but there were no takers for wine of the century or even wine of the night (La Mission 1955).
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#21 Post by MikeL238 » June 16th, 2020, 4:36 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:34 pm
The La Chapelle 1990
I understand more than one bottling, and the European versions are stellar. The ones I have had in the U.S. were underwhelming.

My underwhelming wine was the famous Cheval 1947, two bottles, the first a Van der Meulen bottling. The tasting was memorable anyway, as two of the people started a fist fight over Parker, one having to be restrained. Passions must have been running high as the big guy was around ten inches taller and probably eighty pounds heavier.

Back to the Cheval. This was not just a bad bottle, it was godawful one. It smelled and tasted of skunk; and it wasn’t just a nuance, it was front, center and round the sides.

The second bottle was chateau bottled and pronounced correct. Overripe, plummy, essence of raisin, soft from an almost total absence of acidity. Tasted around 2000, it showed no complexity whatsoever, but there were some in the group who liked it, but there were no takers for wine of the century or even wine of the night (La Mission 1955).
There were different versions? I'm confused.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#22 Post by David Kubiak » June 16th, 2020, 4:53 pm

By far ‘86 Lafite.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#23 Post by Paul McCourt » June 16th, 2020, 5:51 pm

1959 Haut-Brion. A 60th birthday bitter disappointment.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#24 Post by William Kelley » June 16th, 2020, 5:52 pm

MikeL238 wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:36 pm
Mark Golodetz wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:34 pm
The La Chapelle 1990
I understand more than one bottling, and the European versions are stellar. The ones I have had in the U.S. were underwhelming.
[...]
There were different versions? I'm confused.
Yes, and this is quite common. Until the 20th century, almost all wines were bottled directly from the barrel, foudre or tank. Blending a large number of barrels to make a homogeneous cuvée requires pumps and large blending tanks—from a technical perspective, not so easy without modern equipment. And to this day you will have multiple bottlings of many, many wines that carry the same label. In Chablis, for example, many producers did two or even three bottlings of their huge 2018 crop, with the first bottling in many cases coming in February the year after the vintage—whereas the last bottling might see another 10 months or more on the lees. As for Jaboulet, I think it was quite typical for there to be different bottlings for different importers (my experience has been that the Malmaison bottlings for Clive Coates in the UK were the best in the era when that label was extant). And in the 1990 vintage, the variation is quite flagrant: I have had some great bottles, and also some that were very flat and roasted.

Incidentally, a friend ran numbers on the US bottling of 1990 La Chapelle recently: it's 13.64% alcohol, pH 3.38 and TA of 0.63. Looking at the numbers alone one would assume that it was heavily acid-adjusted. And when, for context, one considers that most Gentaz Côte Rôtie were below 11.5%, it is clear that the 1990 La Chapelle was at least on the cusp of overripeness.

For me, even the best bottles of the 1990 are ultimately not on the level of the 1978, 1972 or 1961, or indeed even some of the less-celebrated vintages such as 1982 (from a cold cellar). But it took me a few years and quite a few bottles to come to that point of view.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#25 Post by Rory K. » June 16th, 2020, 6:25 pm

1982 Margaux. Had it a couple years ago and it was quite faded and dull, perhaps I overestimated its longevity
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#26 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » June 16th, 2020, 6:28 pm

Every bottle of Keller I have ever tasted.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#27 Post by Brian Pinci » June 16th, 2020, 6:42 pm

A corked Lafon Meursault Desiree a long time ago when I was very young and really couldn't afford it. I was so upset.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#28 Post by Markus S » June 16th, 2020, 6:54 pm

Hmm, probably a 20 or so year old Yquem. Also a Bereche Champagne.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#29 Post by Howard Cooper » June 16th, 2020, 6:55 pm

Every 2009 Bordeaux I have had except Montrose.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#30 Post by Craig G » June 16th, 2020, 6:57 pm

Greg K wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:34 pm
1990 LLC (what a boring wine)
1990 Jaboulet La Chappelle
That’s funny. I love 1990 LLC but 1990 La Chapelle is also my most disappointing hyped wine. I’ve had it from four bottles, one corked, one heat damaged, one just not very good, and finally one good one - but still not as interesting to me as other good vintages of La Chapelle.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#31 Post by Andrew Demaree » June 16th, 2020, 7:09 pm

1990 Margaux. Didn’t have any obvious flaws, but certainly didn’t need to live up to the fantastic CellarTracker reviews and paled in comparison to a bottle of 1991 Montelena poured at the same tasting.

To be fair, I’ve only had the Margaux once and it wasn’t my bottle, so I can’t vouch for how it was handled prior to purchase. I do know that it was stored in a temperature and humidity controlled cellar after purchase.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#32 Post by Howard Cooper » June 16th, 2020, 7:18 pm

Andrew Demaree wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 7:09 pm
1990 Margaux. Didn’t have any obvious flaws, but certainly didn’t need to live up to the fantastic CellarTracker reviews and paled in comparison to a bottle of 1991 Montelena poured at the same tasting.

To be fair, I’ve only had the Margaux once and it wasn’t my bottle, so I can’t vouch for how it was handled prior to purchase. I do know that it was stored in a temperature and humidity controlled cellar after purchase.
1991 Montelena is a fabulous wine that would best a lot of Bordeauxs.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#33 Post by julianseersmartin » June 16th, 2020, 7:24 pm

1990 Beauséjour, one of the more famous 100pt Parker calls. Absolute garbage, soupy mess in my view, but always could have been a bad bottle. More worryingly I suppose, lots of reports of variability with this wine.

A lot of 1982 BDX are pretty boring these days. Long been overpriced and overvalued.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#34 Post by dsimmons » June 16th, 2020, 7:41 pm

Early on in my wine odyssey, I splurged and purchased 4 bottles of 1999 Pavie. The first bottle of this I drank was wonderful. The second bottle I took to a restaurant to have Christmas Eve dinner with my son. I was stoked to showoff my great bottle of wine and my new hobby to my son... Well you guessed it, the bottle was mediocre at best. No good wines, only good bottles.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#35 Post by B. Buzzini » June 16th, 2020, 8:40 pm

07 Rayas comes to mind.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#36 Post by Yao C » June 16th, 2020, 9:12 pm

2007 Clos des Papes 4-5 years ago was the nail in the Parker coffin for me. Pruney and cracked up over the course of dinner

Over the past year I was let down by a 1990 Taittinger Comtes which I carried all the way to Hong Kong in my luggage only to find it disjointed and seemingly less than the sum of its parts. Ditto a 1990 Pol Roger SWC. Both auction bottles so maybe storage takes the blame, or travel shock...
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#37 Post by Nick Christie » June 16th, 2020, 9:14 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:34 pm
My underwhelming wine was the famous Cheval 1947, two bottles, the first a Van der Meulen bottling. The tasting was memorable anyway, as two of the people started a fist fight over Parker, one having to be restrained. Passions must have been running high as the big guy was around ten inches taller and probably eighty pounds heavier.
I am immensely Jel of this experience... I would really, really enjoy a wine evening with very old Bordeaux, fist fights, and Parker-chaos. I'm sad the Cheval didn't blow you away, but man, what a night!

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#38 Post by Greg K » June 16th, 2020, 9:57 pm

Rory K. wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 6:25 pm
1982 Margaux. Had it a couple years ago and it was quite faded and dull, perhaps I overestimated its longevity
I had this in November for my birthday and it was spectacular; proper bottles are aging fine, imho.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#39 Post by AstridKG » June 16th, 2020, 11:29 pm

1986 Yquem that was not well stored.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#40 Post by Jan-Willem van der Hek » June 16th, 2020, 11:40 pm

A maderized 1989 Collina Rionda Riserva from Bruno Giacosa...

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#41 Post by R. Somerville » June 17th, 2020, 2:18 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 3:58 pm
Great" is an overstatement here, and it's not in the league of these first growths and all in the thread.
I disagree - it may not be a 1st growth but it was hailed as one of the wines of the vintage, to gigantic fanfare, hyperbole and everything in between. The lesser growths, throughout history, have often outshone the top flight wines. One example for me, amongst many others, was the '86 GPL - I had several bottles and they were truly magnificent, singing from the rafters, making supposedly better wines from that vintage look quite average.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#42 Post by Eric Egan » June 17th, 2020, 2:32 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 6:28 pm
Every bottle of Keller I have ever tasted.
+1

Though actually, I had a spatlese that was pretty good...
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#43 Post by Andy Sc » June 17th, 2020, 4:15 am

Victor Hong wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 1:10 pm
Andrew K. wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 1:06 pm
1989 Lafite was underwhelming. Elegance and class for sure, but underwhelming.
.......
Same.
Never really a hyped wine... (just look at Parker's 92 points in-bottle score in 1992). But recently it gets some better scores, maybe you guys should pop one last bottle before auctioning off your stash.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#44 Post by J. Ashourian » June 17th, 2020, 4:49 am

Basically every bottle of Merchant bottled old bordeaux and Burgundy. Berry Bros, Vandermeulen, D. Sanders, etc... Ive had a bunch and maybe think its a sanitary issue in the bottling process. Most of them smell bad.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#45 Post by Julian Marshall » June 17th, 2020, 4:56 am

Andrew Demaree wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 7:09 pm
1990 Margaux. Didn’t have any obvious flaws, but certainly didn’t need to live up to the fantastic CellarTracker reviews
Me too, I couldn't see what the fuss was about.

Also, Latour and LLC 1989 were very underwhelming.

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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#46 Post by Howard Cooper » June 17th, 2020, 5:00 am

Yao C wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 9:12 pm


Over the past year I was let down by a 1990 Taittinger Comtes which I carried all the way to Hong Kong in my luggage only to find it disjointed and seemingly less than the sum of its parts. Ditto a 1990 Pol Roger SWC. Both auction bottles so maybe storage takes the blame, or travel shock...
I had the 1990 Taittinger CdC a couple of years ago and it was marvelous. My guess would be storage or travel shock, as you suggest.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#47 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 17th, 2020, 8:42 am

William Kelley wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 5:52 pm
MikeL238 wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:36 pm
Mark Golodetz wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 4:34 pm
The La Chapelle 1990
I understand more than one bottling, and the European versions are stellar. The ones I have had in the U.S. were underwhelming.
[...]
There were different versions? I'm confused.
Yes, and this is quite common. Until the 20th century, almost all wines were bottled directly from the barrel, foudre or tank. Blending a large number of barrels to make a homogeneous cuvée requires pumps and large blending tanks—from a technical perspective, not so easy without modern equipment. And to this day you will have multiple bottlings of many, many wines that carry the same label. In Chablis, for example, many producers did two or even three bottlings of their huge 2018 crop, with the first bottling in many cases coming in February the year after the vintage—whereas the last bottling might see another 10 months or more on the lees. As for Jaboulet, I think it was quite typical for there to be different bottlings for different importers (my experience has been that the Malmaison bottlings for Clive Coates in the UK were the best in the era when that label was extant). And in the 1990 vintage, the variation is quite flagrant: I have had some great bottles, and also some that were very flat and roasted.

Incidentally, a friend ran numbers on the US bottling of 1990 La Chapelle recently: it's 13.64% alcohol, pH 3.38 and TA of 0.63. Looking at the numbers alone one would assume that it was heavily acid-adjusted. And when, for context, one considers that most Gentaz Côte Rôtie were below 11.5%, it is clear that the 1990 La Chapelle was at least on the cusp of overripeness.

For me, even the best bottles of the 1990 are ultimately not on the level of the 1978, 1972 or 1961, or indeed even some of the less-celebrated vintages such as 1982 (from a cold cellar). But it took me a few years and quite a few bottles to come to that point of view.
As always, a super interesting post.

While I think 1990 is generally a good vintage in many regions, it was one of the first in my wine evolution where riper fruit constituted a big part of the hype. Over the years, in most regions I came to personally prefer the 1989 vintage(Champagne being an exception, although I have enjoyed wines from both vintages there).

That said, 13.64 for abv in the modern world is, at best, mid-range for alcohol. And the vast majority of wines produced in Australia, California, Washington, much of Italy, and Spain are routinely much higher abvs. Even most Austrian Riesling of the Smaragd weight is probably over that.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#48 Post by Blake Brown » June 17th, 2020, 8:53 am

Just about every bottle of 96` Krug has been oxidized over the past 5-6 years and these have come from different sources as well as my own cellar. It was Staggering Plus up until then as one of our champagne guys rates. These have been Disappointing Minus.
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#49 Post by William Kelley » June 17th, 2020, 9:00 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
June 17th, 2020, 8:42 am
That said, 13.64 for abv in the modern world is, at best, mid-range for alcohol. And the vast majority of wines produced in Australia, California, Washington, much of Italy, and Spain are routinely much higher abvs. Even most Austrian Riesling of the Smaragd weight is probably over that.
Sure, but this was not the modern world! This was when e.g. 1990 Ducru Beaucaillou was 12.1% and the 1990 La Mission 12.0%, after chaptalization. It doesn't seem so high today, but it was definitely an outlier back then—just as the wine is proving to be a stylistic outlier in the history of La Chapelle.

The pH is also really low given that, for example, Robert Michel's 1990 Cornas came out at over pH 4 in the 1990 vintage. Admittedly, Jaboulet destemmed and Robert Michel did not, but still....
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Re: Most disappointing 'great' wine you've ever had?

#50 Post by William Kelley » June 17th, 2020, 9:04 am

julianseersmartin wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 7:24 pm
A lot of 1982 BDX are pretty boring these days. Long been overpriced and overvalued.
An interesting point, and until recently I might have agreed with you, but last year I bought a bunch of 1982 BDX that had never moved from a cold cellar in Alsace, and it made me think that many disappointing 1982s are that way because they have travelled too much. I'm increasingly convinced that the reputation of the vintage meant that it was commoditized and traded all over the world, to the detriment of the wines. From my cellar in France, the Ducru Beaucaillou I have still tastes around a decade from full maturity! And even the glorious Pichon Lalande, which several commentators say is on the downslope, is nowhere near any kind of decline.
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