Once again, The Stupids got to annoy a group of tasters by puffing up and holding forth on an evening of Rhônes. I think we annoyed even more people than the last time we did them. There ended up being ten wines but one of them (a ’90 Guigal Gigondas) was corked. Needless to say, it placed tenth. The wines were tasted single blind.

First out of the gate was a wine that showed some age in the color. Plenty of bottle bouquet on the nose backed up by tobacco, leather, mature fruit and not a little bit of brett. A mouthful of fruit with a good dose of brett. This was a nice, mature wine. We guessed Chateauneuf du Pape. Sure enough, it was the ’90 Guigal CndP.

Number two was the corked Gigondas. By the way, in a group of serious tasters, who want to make their own judgments and not hear from anyone else until the scores are in, never yell out, in unison, “corked!”

Wine three was not very forthcoming. Some brett and fruit on the nose with tart fruit on the palate. Not much too it. Stuart accurately guessed this to be the ’88 Jaboulet “La Chapelle”.

Stuart nailed wine number four too. By now, he was even starting to annoy me. Mature fruit and bottle bouquet, with a hint of soy sauce on the nose. Tart, tight fruit on the palate with an earthy, dry finish. It was an ’86 Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape.

Wine five we’ve both had enough of to pick it out instantly. Raspberry jam on the nose with a hint of smoky bacon. A great mouthful of fruit with an earthy edge and a great finish. If you are holding any ’91 Juge Cornas “Cuvee C”, pop a bottle. You’ll be quite pleased.

The ’96 Guigal Côte-Rôtie that followed showed the consistent Guigal house style. Gamy, smoky, raspberry and black pepper aromas flowed from the glass. Tart, sweet (huh?) fruit on the palate with a gamy edge and lots of black pepper. Long finish. Nice juice.

Starting down the home stretch, wine seven showed fresh raspberries on the nose but not much else. Ripe, dark fruit on the palate with an edge of earthy spice and a dose of brett. Although the the wine, a ’96 Vieux Telegraphe CndP didn’t show the complexity of previous vintages, I would still happily slurp it down. Stuart wasn’t as thrilled.

In the number eight position was a wine that stuck out awkwardly. With a raspberry framboise nose and a big mouthful of fruit, Stuart guessed this to be a zinfandel thrown in as a ringer. Not too far off, it turned out to be a ’93 Joseph Swan “Côtes du Rosa”.

Wine nine sucked. Unfortunately, I brought it. Raspberry and cedar on the nose. The tart fruit on the palate tried to fight its way through the massive lumber and only partially succeeded. It may be the wine’s bad or it may be that the wine needs another ten years. All I can say is that the ’95 Burgaud Côte-Rôtie didn’t improve in the glass.

Wine number ten turned out to be a nice finish to the flight. Fruit and brett on the nose. Elegant fruit with some earthy brett, it drank very well. Guessed as a CndP, but we were quite surprised when it turned out to be another bottle of ’90 Guigal Chateaunef du Pape. These are two different wines, folks; I wonder how many bottlings they did?

JD (5/99)