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Sept 2018: Suenen Oiry, 2011 Marcassin, 1989 Chateau Angelus, 1985 Haut-Brion, 2013 Arnaud Ente Meursault Clos Ambres 2004 Harlan, 2007 Clos de Tart, 1996 Dominus…

December 5, 2018

Truly a month of excesses…so much wonderful wine, so much great company but so little time…

2000 Champagne Henriot Enchanteleur, at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Luminous gold. Gentle toasty oak with a yeasty pungency. Excellent presence and balance, displaying brilliant clarity, inner detail and depth of chalky minerals, exuding subtle power and intensity. Excellent.

2007 Champagne Salon, courtesy of CJ at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Darker in tone with a superb breadth and depth of intense citrus, green fruits and dark berries. Rounded, more forward in fruit balance with recessed minerals. Yet to develop significant complexity.

2004 Champagne Billecart Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs, courtesy of CJ at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Shut. Excellent concentration of dry yellow citrus without much depth.

2013 Domaine Arnaud Ente Meursault Clos des Ambres, courtesy of LF at his residence, 01 Sep 2018. Shut but what lovely complexity there is on the palate imbued with wonderful depth of delicate citrus, walnuts and white floral tones, open with superb layering, richness and great inner detail that stood out with chiselled presence as it blazed a trail of great intensity throughout its length. Fabulous!

2011 Marcassin Chardonnay, courtesy of LF at his residence, 01 Sep 2018. Most unusual bouquet of aged glue, vanilla and freshly varnished wood, exuding great complexity. Very good concentration Smooth and rounded with a lovely oiliness, glowing with fabulous intensity with overtones of incense and paraffin, finishing well. Excellent.

2004 Domaine de Montille Vosne-Romanee Aux Malconsort 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Well evolved in colour, open with a classic pinot tone, layered with gentle intensity of aged red fruits, red apples and ripe cherries, displaying superb intensity and precision.

1998 Domaine Armand Rousseau Mazy-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Sanjay at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Surprisingly quiet on the nose, though the palate is imbued with wonderful sublime acidity with characters of older red fruits, very well integrated with great intensity and power.

2007 Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart Grand Cru, courtesy of Hsiang Sui at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Sophisticated bouquet of dark plums and raspberries with traces of earth, medium-bodied, exuding lovely intensity and ripeness, well-layered without quite plumbing the depths of expression. Excellent, nonetheless.

2011 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard, courtesy of LF his residence, 01 Sep 2018. Classic pinot tint, displaying excellent depth and freshness of fruit. Very open, slightly forward in fruit balance, fabulous in intensity and acidity. Superb.

1989 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Vic at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. This celebrated vintage of Angelus is evolving at a glacial pace, still delighting the senses with tertiary nuances of toffee, mocha and light chocolate from the glorious depths of its mature ripe fruit. Utterly sublime in acidity, detail and absolute richness. Outstanding.

1985 Ch Haut Brion, courtesy of Vic at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. This wine is still very much alive, exuding a great earthy pungency on the nose while the palate is beautifully open, fleshing out with great suppleness and sublime acidity, supremely confident in its poised elegance and easy charm without calling attention to any of its parts. Truly at its drinking best. Outstanding.

2004 Harlan Estate, courtesy of Hsiang Sui at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Impenetrably dark. Complex bouquet of black fruits, understated dark and plums dark berries amidst traces of burnt that carried well onto the palate with great tension, superb in its concentration of fruit and stunning precision of attack, balance and proportion that conferred great definition and delineation. Very correct down to the last finite detail without being too clinical. Outstanding.

2006 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, at LF’s residence, 01 Sep 2018. Traces of burnt on the nose. Medium-full. Lifted in licorice and mint, layered with  dense dark fruits and currants that imparted sweet spicy intensity, finishing with sophisticated silky smooth tannins. Yet to peak. Excellent.

2003 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Auslese**, courtesy of LF at his residence, 01 Sep 2018. Dense characters of diesel and petroleum fumes on the nose. Ample in stunning white citrus and exotic tropical fruit, layering the palate with a lithe oily smoothness before tapering to a long smoky persistence that seemed to linger forever. Superb.

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2014 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve, courtesy of Hiok at Il Den, 05 Sep 2018. Good color. Forward bouquet of delicious perfumed rosy  fragrance. Amply layered on the palate with a mild cedary floor, highly intense though it really lacks true complexity.

2017 Thomas Haag Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett, courtesy of Jon at Il Den, 05 Sep 2018. Wonderful weight on the nose, imparting a sense of oiliness and chalky minerals with traces of tropical fruits. Lithe with ethereal poise, exuding wonderful freshness, great balance and restraint with controlled intensity, all the better, finishing well with early complexity. Superb.

1998 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth at Il Den, 05 Sep 2018.  Earthy nose, exuding delicious aged dark fruits that carried well onto the palate with juicy dark currants amidst traces of licorice with a suggestion of dirt floor. Fleshy and highly supple, very well balanced, finishing with understated intensity.

2012 Ch Ksara Cuvee du Troisieme Millenaire, at Il Den, 05 Sep 2018.  Dark, showing just a bare hint of evolution. Medium-full and open, layered with dark plums and currants with shades of licorice, a tad spicy at the finish. Has a bit of everything.

2002 Tim Adams Aberfeldy Shiraz, courtesy of KP at Il Den, 05 Sep 2018.  Reticent, hinting at dark wild berries. Supple and fleshy, rather full, imbued with lovely acidity and concentration of red and dark plums that conferred great velvety intensity.

1996 Dominus, courtesy of John Law at Il Den, 05 Sep 2018. Complex bouquet of attractive earthy pungency with lovely red fruits. Very open and subtly structured with great suppleness, distinctly masculine in character, developing lovely complexity as it sat in the glass. Excellent.

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2014 Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot, from list of Crystal Jade Paragon, 06 Sep 2018. Deep crimson, proffering cedar, cinnamon and black pepper on both nose and palate. Rather full, displaying crisp acidity, good integration and layering with dryish textures, developing further emerging tones of graphite tones, subtly intense, finishing with a spicy afterglow.

2015 Maison de Montille Saint-Aubin Sur Gamay 1er, at Ming Kee Live Seafood, 08 Sep 2018. Reticent at first with a predominant ferrous tone, slightly stern. Took its time to open with more chalky creamy tones along with delicious concentration of green fruits lime and yellow citrus. Medium-full. Potential complexity. Quite fine.

1999 Paul Aine Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, popped and poured at Eat First, 09 Sep 2018. Generous bouquet of dark fruits, ground pepper, earth, aniseed and dark plums. Rounded and fleshy with fine acidity, finishing with a touch of spice.

2002 Silver Oak Napa, popped and poured at Wah Lok, 14 Sep 2018. Hedonistic bouquet of incense, red and black currants and dark cherries of glorious depth that carried well onto a rich velvety bed of sweet gentle tannins with further overtones of tobacco and dry mushrooms, sculpted with masculine tone and structure, imbued with subtle intensity of fruit with traces of graphite. Became more fleshy and juicier over time, finishing with a long minty glow. Excellent.

2003 Champagne Henriot Millisieme, poured from magnum at our house-warming party, 15 Sep 2018. Full-bodied. Stern, minerally and dry. evolved slowly with more stony citrus to the fore but generally unyielding.

2007 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, at MH’s birthday lunch, Tunglok Signatures Orchard, 17 Sep 2018. Dull luminous gold. Recessed chalky tones amidst dense earthy minerals and complex white fruits and citrus with well-developed floral notes. Rather full on the palate with tones, imparting, slightly reductive with a paraffin glow, showing good transparency and superb seamless integration. Caught at its best. Excellent.

2003 Ch Lagrange, 21 Sep 2018. Raspberries, dark fruits and red currants dominate on the nose with excellent ripeness. Subtly structured with fine tannins and acidity, mellowing further with notes of soy, dark plums and a tinge of mushroom, finishing with growing intensity amidst cedary notes. Very fine.

2012 Ch Senejac, from the list of Merci Marcel, 22 Sep 2018. Opague purple. Classic nose of ripe raspberries, wild berries and dark currants amidst earthy tones. Very good concentration and presence, rounded with fine acidity amidst dryish textures quite appropriate for  Medoc, gently structured with delicious sweet tannins. Good refinement. Grew tighter over time with greater intensity and fabulous tension across palate. Quite excellent.

2005 Champagne Henriot Cuvee Hemera, courtesy of Sanjay at Shima Kimura, 27 Sep 2018. Superb peaty pungency on the nose with aromas of after-rain vapour, imbued with delicate minerals and gentle clear citrus that conferred attractive deftness on the palate.

Champagne Suenen C+C Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, courtesy of CJ at Shima Kimura, 27 Sep 2018. Shut, proffering only some earthy glimpses though the palate is layered with a broad expanse of sweet delicate tones, ample in pomelo and clear citrus that also conferred a bit of austerity amidst the overall complexity, superb in definition, finishing well. Superb.

Champagne Suenen Oiry Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, courtesy of CJ at Shima Kimura, 27 Sep 2018. More exuberant than the C+C above though its minerality is slightly more recessed, cloaked in very fine soft gentle bubbles. Excellent.

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2012 Jean-Marc Brocade Chablis 1er, at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 29 Sep 2018. Subdued nose of crème and chalk that belies a broad expanse of white floral tone, nutmeg and stern minerals amidst traces of spice and bell pepper. Quite firm, layered with fine intensity and attack, finishing well. Very fine.

2017 Robert Oatley McLaren Vale Shiraz, at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 29 Sep 2018. Nose of earthy undergrowth, littered with some traces of spice, black pepper and vegetal notes on the palate. Uninspiring.

2016 Coldstream Hills Chardonnay, on board SQ322 Business Class, 29 Sep 2018. Gentle earthy floral tones, slightly creamy with understated minerals, showing good presence of pomelo and a bit of bitter lemon with good definition but stern at its finish.

2014 Ch Cambon La Pelouse, on board SQ322 Business Class, 29 Sep 2018. Dominance of dark plums and undergrowth on the nose and palate amidst dryish textures. Good presence but austere, not helped by traces of green that lingered. Became more intense and fuller, developing further notes of toffee and mocha with rustic detailed tannins.

Aug 2018: 2014 Pierre Damoy Clos Tamisot, 1996 Sociando Mallet cuvee Jean Gautreau, 2008 Hudelot-Noellat Romanee-St-Vivant, 2014 Brion Caldwell, 2013 Aubert Laurent…

December 2, 2018

2014 Domaine Pierre Damoy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Tamisot, popped and poured at Yan, 03 Aug 2018. This over-achieving village monopole proffers a generous bouquet of old wood, smoke and earthy tones infused with ripe dark fruits, softly focused. Surprisingly open and fleshy though its inner detail was obscured by a bit of minerally glare, softening after some time to reveal more dark plums and dark cherries to the fore, positively glowing, finishing with a trace of austerity. Excellent.

2004 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges La Perriere 1er, popped and poured at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. This unusual 100% pinot blanc has a well-aged hue of resin, rye and malt with traces of orange peel, open though its fruit is set rather backward and beginning to dry out, turning more reductive over time with stinging acidity and growing intensity. Very fine but I wouldn’t wait further.

2013 Aubert Laurent, courtesy of Kieron at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. Very oaky on the nose but balanced by delicate earthy minerals on the palate, richly layered with notes of peaches, pomelo and white citrus with an aura of smoky incense, not too creamy. Great balance and elegance, finishing with great persistence. Lovely.

2008 Ch Troplong Mondot, courtesy of F at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. Deep purple. Highly aromatic, delivering on its promise of delicious dark cherries and black currants with fleshy supple tones ingrained with very fine tannins that stoked the palate with gentle intensity, shaping up towards a glowing finish. Excellent.

2000 Ch La Gomerie, courtesy of Kieron at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. One of the original upstarts that kicked off the garagiste movement, this wine of 100% merlot exudes an earthy bouquet imbued with ripe dark berries, highly promising, but let down by a palate that lacked opulence and sophistication particularly for such a glorious vintage, finishing short.

1995 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. Great colour, proffering a fabulous earthy pungency on the nose with great elegance on a palate richly layered with dark fruits that oozed gentle sweet tannins on a background of tea leaves, open and smooth, displaying great refinement though it took on a more austere and minerally tone over time. Excellent.

2005 Ch Bellefont-Belcier, courtesy of KP at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. Lovely deep purple, rather dense and forward in fruit balance on a bed of dried tea leaves with minty overtones but surprisingly short at the finish. Yet to develop.

2003 Ch Sociando Mallet, courtesy of WCY at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. Good color. Classic glow of dark fruits and currants on a cedary floor, highly supple, displaying great acidity and excellent linearity though not quite as layered as the best. Very fine.

1996 Ch Sociando Mallet, courtesy of WCY at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. Great color, allied with a wonderful bouquet that is absolutely beguiling, thrilling the senses with a fabulous floral bloom of lovely rosy fragrance. Big, open and infinitely delicious, only just a tad short after all these years. This is what drew everyone to Sociando Mallet in the first place. Superb.

1996 Ch Sociando Mallet Cuvee Jean Gautreau, courtesy of WCY at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. This is a special bottling started by its owner-cum-winemaker Jean Gautreau back in 1995, made from the best few barrels (out of more than 1000 barrels per vintage) and aged in 100% new French oak. Compared with the standard bottling above, this special cuvee possesses an equally great bouquet though with appreciably greater depth and definition from the superb layering. Lush, beautifully balanced and integrated. Absolutely stunning.

1996 Ch Saint Pierre, courtesy of WCY at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew ION, 06 Aug 2018. In spite of the significant bottle stink, this wine is open with dark earthy tones softened by characters of gentle rose petals, somewhat uninspiring.

Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose NV, Jade Palace 19 Aug 2018. Dry grapefruit and orangey citrus dominate amidst gentle yeasty tones. Layered with gentle ground minerals. Crisp but slightly stern.

2014 Chateau de Mersault Meursault Charmes-Dessus 1er, 20 Aug 2018 at Osteria Art. Bare tinge of bottle stink. Closed initially but opened up with well-defined dense minerals. Rather sullen and backward though it developed more creamy tones with very even concentration and presence. Going through an awkward phase. Not at its best on this occasion.

2002 Domaine Ponsot Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru, courtesy of MH at Osteria Art, 20 Aug 2018. Mild evolution with a faint rim of bricking. Medium-full. Softly layered with ripe wild berries and raspberries, structured with mild sweet tannins. Relatively dark in tone, exuding quiet intensity and elegance with fresh vivacious acidity. Very fine.

2008 Domaine Alain Hudelot-Noellat Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, courtesy of Vic at Osteria Art, 20 Aug 2018. Dusky red. Full bouquet, richly perfumed with ripe dark plums, currants and minerals. Darker palatal tones of cool ripe fruit on a backdrop of complex earthy minerals tinged with traces with salt, rather subtle, finishing with sexy velvety tannins. Excellent.

2013 Pierre-Yves Colin Morey Chassagne-Montrachet, courtesy of Kieron at Imperial Treasure Paragon, 23 Aug 2018. Clear citrus with overtones of vanilla and icing. Immense concentration, displaying good definition of gentle minerals and white fruit with crisp acidity. Developed a lovely floral bloom over time, becoming more smooth and rounded with chiselled minerality. Excellent.

2000 Ch Monbousquet, at Imperial Treasure Paragon, 23 Aug 2018. Deep ruby. Richly layered with ripe dark currants and black berries tinged with enamel. Big bold presence but not overwhelming.

1995 Les Fort des Latour, courtesy of Melvin Choo at Imperial Treasure Paragon, 23 Aug 2018. Deep ruby. Lovely glow of the classic dryish Pauillac signature tone with some early complexity. Fleshy and rounded with excellent presence of tea leaves and tobacco snuff, finishing with a great flourish of nail varnish. Excellent.

2007 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Toasty earthy yeasty pungency. Very fine bubbles. Abdundant clear citrus, softly layered with great clarity and detail. Excellent presence and persistence.

2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. The nose is closed, though the palate is imbued with grapefruit and gentle rose petals with dense earthy ferrous elements in equal measure. Dry.

2013 Muddy Water Pinot Noir, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. . Deep colour. Forward. Superb floral fragrance. Excellent presence gently layered with superb tannins, imparting great mouthfeel. Doesn’t bite. Long. Quite excellent.

2014 Magnacosta Tenure di Trinoro at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Made from 100% cabernet franc. Earthy rustic dark plums on the nose. Nice entry onto the medium-full palate, ample in ripe wild berries with textures of very finely-grained tannins. Very fine.

2013 Il Pino di Biserno at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. A classic blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc from the Alta Maremma area of Tuscany. Dark, exuding perfumed wild berries. Full-bodied. Layered with superb fruit that produced quite a bit of spicy tones, structured with silky pliant tannins, displaying great acidity, balance and length. Quite excellent. Drinking well but can keep.

2017 Les Sorcieres Clos des Fees, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. From the Cotes du Rousillon. Notes of earthy light rose petals. Fresh and gently rounded. Quite delightful. Great for summer.

2013 Mas de Daumas Gassac, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Lovely bouquet of dense ripe wild berries and red fruits with an attractive oily earthy pungency. Quite open and lively on the medium-bodied palate, somewhat rustic with a dash of vegetal elements.

2014 Domaine de la Janisse Chaupin, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. From 100% grenache. Rosy. Rounded with a certain lightness, showing good density intensity yet light footed.

2015 Domaine de la Janisse VV, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Excellent depth, density and richness of wild berries, earthy elements and vegetal traits. Structured with spicy tannins. Well-latered, finishing with a minty glow. Very good.

Philipponnat Royale Reserve Brut NV, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Rich tones of white and yellow citrus, crisp and zesty. Not too dry, oozing with sweet tannins. Plenty of verve.

20180825_153911.jpg2015 Carter Cellars Hossfeld Coliseum Proprietary Red, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Impenetrably dark, exuding a full bouquet of enamel and varnish on a deep palate of ripe black fruits, beautifully warm and rounded with tannins that are very well integrated on an earthy cedary floor with just a bare vegetal tinge, finishing well. Quite excellent.

2012 Cameron Fisher Proprietary Red, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Deep full bouquet of sweet dark plums, black fruits and currants. Richly layered, dense and opulent on the palate, subtly structured with seamless subtle ferrous elements and minerals that imparted a spicy peppery finish. Excellent.

2014 Brion Moon Mountain Sonoma County, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Rich dense bouquet of ripe plummy dark fruit with a medicinal tinge on the mid-palate, layered with spice and a touch of liquer. Attractive.

2014 Brion Caldwell Vineyard,  at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Dark. Richly perfumed on the nose, exuding dense hedonistic aromas. Superb fruit quality and layering. Highly detailed with excellent power, structure and depth, showing sophisticated handling of tannins. Excellent.

2014 Ridge Monte Bello, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Deep opague purple, exuding varnish and enamel. Full palate of ripe raspberries and cherries, excellent in density and inner detail, highly succulent. Surprisingly open. Not jammy at all. Excellent.

1999 E Guigal La Turque, at Matter of Taste, Regent Hotel Singapore, 25 Aug 2018. Good color. Deep earthy pungency. Dryish, showing good concentration of grapefuit characters but not profound.

2005 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 25 Aug 2018. Deep purple, exuding a dense bouquet of vanilla and enamel with deep-seated fruit. Structured with crisp tight acidity and subdued minerals, layered with excellent depth of delicious dark currants and raspberries amidst licorice and forest notes, developing a rich creamy glow tinged with cinnamon and cedary tones as it sat in the glass. Excellent.

Charles Heidsieck Brut NV, at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 26 Aug 2018. Dense white citrus. Plenty of brio. Generous spread of fine bubbles but one-dimensional in its bold dry intensity. Took a while to develop more depth and layering with richer tones of intense citrus on a firm bed of earthy ferrous minerals.

2017 Antonin Rodet Vire-Clesse L’Epinet, at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 26 Aug 2018. Quite subdued initially, showing just a glimpse of white pepper and bell hoppers. Took some time to reveal good presence of white and yellow citrus on the palate with a clean minerslly glow, finishing on a note of nutmeg. Needs time in the glass.

2015 Devil’s Lair Chardonnay, on board SQ328 Business Class, 27 Aug 2018. Attractive earthy pungency with strong suggestion of oiliness on the nose whilst the palate is imbued with white pepper and Asian spices amidst delicate citrus and chalky minerals with illusion of fizz. Developed greater density over time with excellent concentration and minerality. Highly successful.

2014 Ch Larose Perganson, on board SQ328 Business Class, 27 Aug 2018. Attractive earthy pungency with Asian spices. Medium-full. Supple and rounded. Nicely open with slightly dryish textures, quite ample in juicy black fruits without the usual burliness of Medoc.

2015 Zonte’s Footstep The Lake Doctor Shiraz, on board SQ328 Business Class, 27 Aug 2018. Ripe warm shiraz with characters of dark and red plums. Big, full and creamy but not overwhelming. Excellent in concentration and presence with smooth rounded tannins. Good stuff.

2013 Ch La Pirouette, Lufthansa Senator lounge, Munich airport, 30 Aug 2018. Fleshy, supple and juicy. Good concentration of raspberries, layered with earth, ash and enamel. Very agreeable.

2017 Weingut Huls Riesling, on board SQ327 Business Class, 30 Aug 2018. Green melons and longans dominate, proffering gentle diesel fumes with a fine oily presence. Pleasant with balanced acidity. Slightly sweet.

2015 Heirloom Shiraz, on board SQ327 Business Class, 30 Aug 2018. Good complexity on the nose. Dense in ripe shiraz with overtones of mocha, licorice and earthy incense. Full-bodied, showing excellent presence and acidity, finishing with good sophistication. From McLaren Vale.

Aussie All-stars: 1994 Grant Burge Meshach, 1994 Parker Est Terra Rossa First Growth, 1993 J Barry Armagh, 1990 Penfolds Grange, 2009 Henschke Hill of Roses…

November 30, 2018

I know certain people are averse to drinking an all-Australian line-up for fear of the potential after-effects: severe myalgia and headaches. However, when Dr Wang KW invited me to partake in a dinner where a 1990 Penfolds Grange will be popped, all resistance melted. Dinner eventually took place on 10 November 2018 at the Chinese restaurant of Raffles Town Club, Singapore, with the wines (with the exception of Vasse Felix, Rockford and Henschke) being generously sponsored by Ms Jennifer Chia. The reds (except the Henschke) were mostly double-decanted many hours in advance. This was one of the rare occasions where I get to drink Australian reds aged beyond 20 years. If there is anybody who still harbours doubt about the ageing potential of Aussie reds, the evening’s line-up was solid evidence that they do age well. Not only that, they seem to age very slowly, as some still appear relatively youthful. I certainly enjoyed them. Did we suffer any after-effects? Nobody said anything but I can tell you one part of my bodily system didn’t seem to agree with the wines for several days after; I shan’t divulge any further. Nevertheless, a huge thank you, Dr and Mrs Wang, for the dinner and especially to Jennifer for sharing all these gems.

2015 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay, courtesy of George. Generous aromas of lead petroleum on the nose while the palate is layered with ample yellow citrus and lime, exuding fine acidity and controlled intensity within a very focused narrow profile, missing in inner detail and succulence.

20181110_181124.jpg2003 Rockford Black Shiraz, drunk from an identical pair that I’ve cellared since buying them direct from Rockford’s cellar door in late 2003. This famous sparkling shiraz opens with an excellent depth of dark currants, ripe blackberries, medicinal herbal tones and licorice on the nose and palate, subtly structured with smooth gentle bubbles and sweet undertones that lent a sense of understated intensity, displaying good complexity though less of its famous liquered finish. Still holding well after 15 years, the oldest Black Shiraz that I’ve ever had.

1994 Grant Burge Meshach. Deep crimson. Complex bouquet of ripe wild berries, dark currants and dark plums. Open with great concentration and excellent depth on a plummy cedary floor, gently structured with good linearity, turning more minty with a spicy glow at its finish. Not much of inner detail but sufficiently compelling and delicious. Still youthful. Excellent.

1994 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth. Still very dark in colour, proffering a delicious nose of ripe dark cherries and blackberries on an earthy palate, supported by very good concentration of fruit. Very well balanced. Still going strong. Excellent.

1993 Jim Barry Armagh. Deep garnet red with a rim of vermillion. Closed on the nose though the palate is right upfront, big and bold, imbued with an abundance of wild berries and dark fruit, very ripe with a distinct vegetal note, rounded with excellent presence and depth, exuding an open spicy intensity. Very fine, but needs plenty of time in the glass to reach its best.

2009 Henschke Hill of Roses, a bottle I’d purchased directly from Henschke’s cellar door. Single vineyard, grown from cuttings taken from the 20 best rows of Hill of Grace in the Eden Valley of the Barossa. Deep purple, exuding a generous bouquet of ripe dark plums and blackcurrants tinged with incense that hinted at wonderful depth. Full-bodied. Richly layered in fruit and earthy minerals, swathed in a luxurious sheen of svelte velvety tannins that oozed with understated sweetness. Highly sophisticated in feel and structure, superbly balanced with feminine grace, opening up with lovely deftness. Surprisingly delicate. A worthy successor to Hill of Grace. Excellent.

1990 Penfolds Grange. Impenetrably dark. Highly generous bouquet of warm ripe Barossa shiraz, beautifully nuanced with characters of dark plums, black currants and bell pepper that carried well onto the palate with lovely expanse and weight, displaying great cohesion, density and fabulous intensity of fruit, structured with great acidity and transparency with superb inner detail and complexity. Still youthful. Outstanding.

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FICOFI: Chateau Cheval Blanc 2000-2009 & Chateau d’Yquem 2007, 2013

November 29, 2018

Pierre Lurton dropped in to Singapore again on 06 November 2018 at the Four Seasons to grace a FICOFI event featuring the estates under his management, Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem. Ever the consummate promoter, Pierre waltzed about easily amongst members and guests whilst holding sway whenever he spoke about the wines. It’s always a privilege at such events to be amongst the first persons in the world to get to taste the latest vintage of Y d’Yquem. The line-up of Cheval Blanc, on the other hand, was way too young. Having experienced the full potential of cabernet franc viz. a 1975 Ch Cheval Blanc at the chateau itself and then again from a double magnum on another occasion, I maintain that Cheval Blanc should only be popped after 20 years, at the very least. In its youth, Cheval Blanc tends to be clouded by the darker fruit and weight of merlot, obfuscating the purity of cabernet franc. Even if some of the more classically structured vintages appear to be approachable, they lack true character that can only emerge with the passage of time. Nevertheless, those of us who cannot afford to drink Cheval Blanc or d’Yquem on a daily basis must remain grateful for whatever opportunity that come our way. And so merci beaucoup Pierre and to FICOFI for the organisation (the food that evening was truly outstanding).

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Pierre Lurton

2000 Dom Perignon Second Plenitude. Closed with only just some gentle yeasty tones. Took a long time to develop some sublime acidity and citrus fruit, subtle with taut intensity, finishing with some minerally glare amidst pomelo and bitter lemon. Didn’t really quite got off the ground in spite of persistent coaxing. The 1998 P2 is much preferable.

2016 Y d’Yquem. The unique dry white from Ch d’Yquem made since 1959, usually picked just before d’Yquem itself, comprising a blend of 80% sauvignon blanc with 20% semillon, slightly botrytised. Lightly coloured. Open clear grassy elements imbued with fresh early morning dew on the nose, developing further notes of yellow citrus, white peaches and dried apricots on the palate with a smooth deep gentle glow. Highly detailed and perfumed, continuing to evolve in the glass with overtones of raw nutmeg and cool climate fruit. Only 10,000 bottles. Excellent.

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2009 Ch Cheval Blanc. Deep purple, exuding dense aromas of dark cherries, black fruits and dark currants with a great sense of depth. Surprisingly deft and silky smooth on the palate where traces of licorice and enamel are still evident, finishing with good length but this wine has hardly evolved. Not ready.

2006 Ch Cheval Blanc. Dark crimson. More developed on the nose, displaying a lovely glow with a broad open expanse of dark red plums that imparted great concentration and fabulous intensity of fruit with  detailed finely-grained tannins amidst deeper tones of soy yet maintaining a lovely transparency in texture, becoming more and more approachable over time. However, knowing how wonderful Cheval Blanc can be given enough bottle age, the 2006 is far from ready although it is likely to reach its drinking window earlier than the 2009.

2004 Cheval Blanc. Poured from magnum. This wine opens with gentle red fruits, dark currants and earthy tones tinged with truffles, more open and lighter than the preceding reds. Medium-bodied, rounded and fleshy, classically structured with good definition and linearity, finishing with gentle intensity, just missing the opulence from the best years. Drinking quite well but I’d let it rest another 3-5 years.

2000 Ch Cheval Blanc. Dark crimson. There’s some early evolution and complexity on the nose, dominated by earthy tones, ripe dark berries, black fruits and soy. Highly supple, fleshy and lithe on the open palate characterised by a full plummy tone with lovely secondary nuances and good complexity, showing great transparency and balance. Developing very well but still youthful, far from its full potential.

2013 Ch d’Yquem. Lovely luminosity. Lifted in nectarine and honey. Luscious and deeply layered with dense apricots and treacle. Sweeter than usual but offset by excellent acidity, achieving great balance. Just a little stern at its lengthy finish. Excellent.

2007 Ch d’Yquem. Brilliant deep luminous molten gold. Rich complex bouquet of dense petroleum with aromas of steamed rice. Luscious, covered in sheer luxurious sheen of sublime acidity with bottomless layers of apricot and exotic tropical fruit, finishing with a rich burnished tone throughout its glorious length. My second tasting in six months, both from FICOFI, but this is even more impressive. Absolutely outstanding.

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FICOFI: Maison Joseph Drouhin

November 27, 2018

Jean-Paul Dumond, Sales Director of Maison Joseph Drouhin, laid on a generous line-up on 20 October 2018 during one of his frequent stopovers in Singapore, where there was a promenade followed by lunch at Capitol Plaza. There didn’t appear to be any particular vintage theme and, regrettably, no Montrachet nor Musigny grand cru but still there was plenty of good stuff to partake in. I tend to be partial towards the whites of Drouhin, always so very correctly poised but, on this occasion, I was also very impressed with how well the older vintages of reds were still holding up.

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2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er. Soft gentle bouquet of white floral fragrance. Good depth with earthy tones on the palate, matched by lovely dry intensity and lively acidity. Excellent freshness and length.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er. More relaxed on the nose with recessed tropical fruits. Dry placid palate. More developed and more minerally. Good balance.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Dry minerally glow with white floral overtones, leading to a classic Puligny signature of gravelly depth, richly detailed with very fine acidity and concentration, exuding subdued intensity. Excellent.

2013 Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Shut, just glimpses of gentle white fruits, displaying a minerally glow at the sides amidst traces of chalky minerals. Good tonal fullness. Somewhat reserved as it kept its distance. Took its time to open, revealing subtle tropical fruits layered with rich detail. A classic Corton-Charlemagne. Very fine.

2008 Joseph Drouhin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Poured from jeroboam. Glorious color. Effusive complex floral bouquet with a rich oily tone but surprisingly shy on the palate, exuding a minerally glow with notes of nutmeg within a slim well-defined profile. Opened up with gentle opulence, displaying fine balance and elegance, more nutty with shades of almonds. Excellent.

2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Poured from jeroboam. Herbal medicinal glow tinged with earth. Rounded and soft, well structured with good integration and concentration. Opened up very well with food, displaying lovely opulence and fullness.

2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Good color. Deeper glow with more fruit to the fore and great acidity, lively yet subtly poised with good integration and balance, finishing with excellent linearity.

1996 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Good color. Generous expanse of raspberries with good levels of ripeness, positively glowing with just a touch of greenness. Good concentration and structure, turning more minerally at the finish.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Lovely freshness with a feminine stance. Distant cherries and raspberries. Good balance. Softly rounded. Opened up over lunch with better detail and depth, just a tad short.

2016 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er. Good color. Dominance of red fruits, ripe red cherries and camphor tinged with earth. Lovely seamless integration and acidity. Feels a bit cautious on the palate. Doesn’t possess the exuberance of Groffier.

1996 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin Champeaux 1er. Correct tint. More of tangerines, bright red fruits and camphor. Rounded with great balance and acidity. Holding up well.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Fresh enticing bouquet of red cherries and rose petals. More forward with a lovely soft feminine intensity. Rounded and fleshy. Great integration, balance and acidity. Very correct.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Lovely earthy pungency, offering superb complexity and more layering than the preceding reds. Medium-bodied, displaying great presence of ripe raspberries with residual overtones of camphor and paraffin. Very well balanced and integrated with lively acidity. Yet to develop.

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1999 Joseph Drouhin Hospice de Beaune Beaune. Poured from magnum. Still showing good colour. A bit more forward and accented on the nose. Ample in mature red fruits. Bright, rounded and fleshy, carrying good weight and intensity without any heaviness, displaying great balance, detail and definition. Highly successful.

2011 Joseph Drouhin Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Proces 1er. Good colour. Very good in concentration and acidity with plenty of freshness on a bed of classic Nuits-Saint-Georges earthiness. Just a tad short.

1995 Joseph Drouhin Nuits-Saint-Georges Roncieres 1er. Poured from magnum. Lifted tones of bright red fruits. Very good in concentration, slightly denser than usual with classic earthy overtones. Dryish in texture, structured with fine acidity but again short. Lacks opulence.

1978 Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanee Beaumonts 1er. Dusky crimson. Still carrying an abundance of delicious mature red fruits on the nose and palate with an earthy edge. Medium-full, displaying very fine acidity with a deeper vein of dark currants and tight intensity that tapered to a long spicy finish. Still has the legs to last another decade. Excellent!

1995 Ch d’Yquem. Glow of aged chalky minerals with enticing notes of honey, nectarine and sweet citrus, showing lovely tension, acidity and structure. Jean-Paul Dumond simply cannot do without an d’Yquem, hence its inclusion in any Drouhin line-up.

 

FICOFI: Chateau Palmer 1999-2006

November 26, 2018

This tasting stems from a FICOFI function held at the Ritz-Carlton, Singapore, on 08 June 2018 in the presence of the CEO of Chateau Palmer, M. Thomas Duroux. I have never come across anyone who has anything against this excellent troisiemes cru. Since the 1980s, Ch Palmer has consistently run Chateau Margaux really close. In certain vintages, particularly in 1983, 1989 and 1999, I’d say that Ch Palmer may even be the better wine, especially when one factors in the price differential. Of course, Ch Palmer is more expensive now than before, but it has consistently pushed the boundaries of its quality such that the gap between itself and Ch Margaux has narrowed tremendously. In particular, it is in the so-called off vintages that Palmer represents great value. For this evening, FICOFI has showcased Ch Palmer from the best years although 2006 is probably more classic rather than outstanding. The 2010 Alter Ego de Palmer is superb but it’s a great pity we didn’t have the 2010 Ch Palmer on hand too to do a side-by-side comparison. Overall, my impression is highly consistent with a recent vertical that I’d reported in November 2017. It would be fascinating to compare Palmer versus Margaux, vintage for vintage. That would be a great wine theme to consider.

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With Thomas Duroux, CEO of Chateau Palmer

 2007 Delamotte Blancs de Blanc. Lovely bouquet of delicate citrus, wild flowers and lime of excellent density. Good presence on the palate, more minerally with characters of aged chalk. Expansive without being opulent, finishing well.

2010 Alter Ego de Palmer. Deep garnet red. Intense complex bouquet of dark plums, black berries, ripe wild berries with traces of licorice, dark chocolate and black currants. Very well replicated on the palate with a luxurious sheen of very warm ripe fruit still coated in some enamel, very well layered with excellent concentration within a delicate tannin structure though not showing much complexity. Highly pleasurable. Probably the most successful Alter Ego ever.

2006 Ch Palmer. Rich ripe bouquet of blackberries and cassis, exuding sweet aromas. Medium-full. Rounded with good presence and definition that benefitted from its transparent textures, still tannic at this stage though the wine is, surprisingly, gentle in intensity, developing more smoky tones over time. Not quite settled yet.

2005 Ch Palmer. This wine has shut down considerably though the medium-full palate is imbued with abundant ripe raspberries and mocha that imparted superb acidity and structure, taking its time to flesh out. Plenty of raw potential, a wine that’s still far from its peak. Best to lay down.

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2000 Ch Palmer. This wine exudes a dark earthy pungency amidst aromas of delicious dark currants. Very open and highly supple, richly layered with gorgeous ripe fruit with a rich core of marmalade and soy on a cedary floor within a velvety tannin structure that tapered to a long glowing persistent finish. Highly luxuriant and sophisticated in feel. Superb.

1999 Ch Palmer. Gentle aromas of soy and ripe dark berries on the nose. Medium-bodied. Rounded and feminine in character, showing good transparency but not quite as succulent as I remembered, missing a bit of stuffing. Surprisingly short as well. I’ve always felt that the 1999 Ch Palmer is better than the 2000 but this may have to change as it is beginning to show some of the shortcomings of this vintage.

2007 Ch d’Yquem. This Sauternes from a perfect growing season is fully deserving of all its accolades and more. Deep and luscious, highly lifted in apricot and nectarines with an infusion of sweet incense on a full and concentrated palate, seamlessly integrated with broad swathes of sublime acidity, showing wonderful focus, definition and delineation throughout its superb length. Still infantile but already highly precocious. Outstanding.

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Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2008, 2007, 2006, 1998 & 1996

November 24, 2018

Champagne Philipponnat, the crown jewel of Ay, has a proud history that may be traced back to 1522. At one time, it had supplied to the court of Louis XIV as well. Today, the maison is run by Charles Philipponnat, the 16th generation direct descendent. Of the 17 hectares owned by Philipponnat, the 5.5 ha walled monopole of Clos des Goisses must surely rank as one of the most unique sites of all Champagne. Sited on a very steep slope with a 45-degree incline facing south, not unlike the steep terraces of Rhone, it is planted with both chardonnay and pinot noir in a ratio of about 40:60, subdivided into 14 lots. That’s how its name came about, as goisses means “a steep slope”. These vines are now aged about 35-40 years. Nobody really knows what prompted Philipponnat to grow pinot noir at this place, but I guess the cool northerly climate and altitude are probably important considerations. Philipponnat is truly one estate that likes to do things against the grain. Aside from fashioning its champagne with a predominance of pinot noir, the maison extracts only the very first press from ripe grapes. No new oak is used and the wine is left on lees in bottle longer than usual to enhance depth and complexity. Annual production of Clos des Goisses ranges between 6000-40,000 bottles, depending on the extent of frost damage, if any, during the growing season. Tasting a generous vertical with Philipponnat’s export director Antoine de Boysson organised by FICOFI at the Four Seasons, Singapore, on 22 November 2018, the Philipponnat Clos des Goisses is highly consistent in its display of power, delicate fine detail, structure, precision and elegance with the pinot component being so subtly integrated within the depths. This is why Philipponnat has always been my favourite champagne. The 2008 is a must-buy, while I can tell you in advance as well that the forthcoming 2010 release in a couple of years will be the lowest yield ever.

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Clos des Goisses (picture from ilovechampagne.fr)

2008 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Extra Brut. Poured from magnum. In this stellar vintage where chardonnay has been absolutely stunning, Philipponnat has wisely fashioned its 2008 Clos des Goisses with a predominance of chardonnay rather than pinot noir. The outcome is a great success. This wine opens with a fabulous bouquet, effusive in dense aromas of delicate lime, white and yellow citrus that carried seamlessly onto a palate richly layered with very fine complex flinty minerals, displaying great vigour, concentration, acidity and structure that oozed with seductive sweetness on a bed of soft gentle minerals that conferred glorious texture, linearity, stunning inner precision and detail, finishing with great persistence and dry intensity. Wonderful stuff, absolutely enthralling. Outstanding.

2007 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut. Slightly more reserved though showing good lift on the palate with classic tones of champagne underscored by darker deeper notes of cool ripe pinot amidst gentle yeasty undertones. Medium-full, displaying dry minerally textures with some dry intensity, finishing with good linearity along with gentle traces of pomelo and bitter lemon, very well balanced with fine presence.

2006 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut. Wonderful lift, noticeably more deft and agile, proffering very finely-grained honeysuckle and fig with a deeper note of currants. Rounded on the palate with lovely presence and concentration, very fresh, displaying a broad expanse of dryish fullness with delicate tones. Possesses great verve, depth and balance within a compact structure. Excellent.

1996 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses. Lifted deep aromas with a slight earthy note of aged minerals. Displays great expanse and depth on the palate with a distinct old recessed chalkiness with flavours leaning towards darker fruits, still imbued with excellent freshness, acidity and concentration, superbly integrated with superb presence and wonderful complexity, imparting exquisite intensity throughout its lasting length. Outstanding.

1998 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses. Rich bouquet of honeyed toast, exuding excellent depth with a lifted tone of apricots that led to a full palate layered with ripe dark berries and aged chalky tones underscored by a deep vein of stern minerals, finishing with superb dry intensity. Not as exuberant as the 1996 and it definitely feels older than it is.

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