My brother Jim, as noted, is a wine aficionado of some repute, though he hangs out in much more rarefied wine circles than I do. So, when Jim emailed that he was opening a bottle of vintage Cristal for New Year's Eve, I asked him to send his impressions about the wine and I would post them. (Yes, I know I banned Roederer wines from the blog, but I can make an exception for my brother.)
His thoughts on the 1990 Cristal (and a new feature that will appear occasionally — Wine my brother drinks):
"Out of the bottle it looked normal — noticeably different pressure release, an errant cork may get to the ceiling, maybe, but the bubbles rose in the glass when poured. First sniff was almost sour, not unpleasant but not expected. Didn't know what to expect, really.
"First sip I tasted on the roof of my mouth and in my sinus — big, slightly sour but fruity. The majority of the folks who had an opinion deemed it sour apples, and I agree. Really smooth, and if I knew what a 'velvety mouth feel' was I might employ it here. Plenty of carbonation to keep the party in the glass going, all in all a big hit. I don't know that letting it sit for 20 years made it any better, certainly different, but it was a treat to try something that was really well made and not something you see everyday."