This wine has always ranked as one of my best Chateauneufs of all time, and it is still hanging in there, even though it is now 25 years old and from a half bottle. It is the regular bottling and not the Cuvee Vieilles Vignes that got the high marks from Robert Parker. Nevertheless, it's hard to miss the distinctive old vines quality of this great Chateauneuf du Pape. And most critics report that the difference between the regular cuvee and the VV was not as great in 1990 as in other years.
There is definitely some bricking and browning as the wine is poured. And there is a great deal of sediment on the bottle. The color is showing some age, but the nose, oh, the nose! The same wonderful smells that I remember so well from previous bottles. Dark fruits, fresh flowers, lavender and licorice. Old vines Grenache but also some meaty tones reminiscent of fine Syrah. After an hour, the smells are getting richer and more complex. More of the same on the palate plus sea salt and savory meat. Old vine intensity and complexity become ever more apparent. Silky texture and a long, satisfying finish.
Yes, still one of my all-time best. Purchased for about $6 per 375 ml bottle back in the day. Probably the best $6 I ever spent.