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May 2019: 2014 Antikythera, 2015 d’Yquem, 2012 Solaia Annata Diversa, 1996 Esmonin Clos Saint-Jacques

June 3, 2019

2005 Sociando Mallet, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 01 May, 2019. Delicious depth of black currants and dark ripe berries, layered with characters of soy and refined minerals that impart slightly dryish textures. Undeniably rich with very fine subtle acidity though missing in outright opulence. Still youthful. Very fine.

2011 Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay, popped and poured over dinner at home, 05 May 2019. This Yarra Valley white (James Halliday’s flagship) exudes dense oily textures with a smooth creaminess, richly imbued with earthy minerals that confer a certain chiselled stoniness, yet displaying fine transparency amid gentle overtones of raw nutmeg, finishing with a trace of sternness. Still youthful.

Moet et Chandon Imperial Brut NV, popped and poured over dimsum lunch at Asia Grand, 11 May 2019. Deep toasty characters allied with crisp citrus and pomelo, gently aromatic with a firm dry graphite tone, creamier in tone over time.

2015 Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er, popped and poured over dinner at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 13 May 2019. Gentle grassy elements, morning dew and delicate flinty minerals dominate, opening up over time with further notes of cinnamon and tropical fruits laced with sleek understated acidity that teased the palate with very finely-knit intensity, revealing lovely inner detail but just a tad short. Quite excellent.

20190513_204714.jpg1996 Domaine Esmonin Michel et Fille Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er, courtesy of Sanjay at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 13 May 2019. Popped and poured. Lovely gentle fragrance of violets and raspberries with a certain salinity in its seamless balance, displaying very fine presence and concentration with a feminine grace at its soft tangerine core, finishing with svelte velvety tannins. Quite excellent, caught at its best.

2014 “Y” d’Yquem, tasted at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. Closed, gradually opening up with a gentle lift of icing, pears and light apricot, displaying good presence and quiet elegance.

2014 Otazu Bond, decanted for five hours prior from magnum at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. This wine is really gelling together now, proffering characters of smoke, licorice and bramble with a dash of Asian spices and herbs. Structured with good concentration, refined tannins and understated acidity, revealing some gritty inner detail over time on a cedary floor.

2015 Domaine Ponsot Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Monts Luisants 1er  tasted at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. Closed on the nose, though the palate is suffused with dense earthy minerals, intense bright cherries and red fruits with overtones of rye, held together with sleek controlled acidity, forwardly balanced with excellent presence.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes Cuvee du Tilleul, tasted at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. Notes of earthy forest floor and dark currants dominate on the nose and palate, interspersed with splashes of bright cherries. Full, fleshy and forwardly balanced.

2014 Alter Ego de Palmer, tasted at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. Cool dark fruits and currants dominate, rounded with good even tone and concentration, rather genteel in character but it felt rather nondescript, lacking the distinction of the 2010.

2001 Artadi Pagos Viejos, tasted at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. This wine is deeply layered with vibrant dark currants beneath a sheen of delicate vanillin, caressing the palate with very fine inner definition and velvety intensity. Quite excellent.

2015 Ch d’Yquem, tasted at a GEH party, 17 May 2019. Effusive in characters of rye, dense nectarine and honey. Surprisingly open with transparent intensity and fine acidity, coating the palate with easy charm.

2014 Ch Haut-Gaussens, aired in bottle for three hours prior over a home-cooked dinner, 20 May 2019. Enticing bouquet of dark currants, violets and raspberries, showing good concentration and depth of dark plums on the palate with good levels of ripeness and detail amid some earthiness, turning more acutely intense and structured as it sat in the glass. Very fine for a Medoc.

Forget-Brimont Premier Cru Brut, 23 May 2019 at Four Seasons, Singapore. Full tight presence of dense green fruits and citrus, dry and forwardly balanced against a broad expanse of stony minerals. Rather sharply-accented but the palate soon adjusts to it.

2018 Pinical Estate Family Reserve Chardonnay, tasted at the Silver Kris lounge, Bangkok International Airport, 26 May 2019. Very clean and precise presence of raw nutmeg and grassy elements, rather full with a slightly sharp but refined acidity.

2017 St Martin Reserve Pays D’Oc Rouge, tasted at the Silver Kris lounge, Bangkok International Airport, 26 May 2019. Notes of earthy forest floor, vegetal elements and wild berries dominate. Full but undistinguished.

2009 Ch Fontenil, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 26 May 2019. Deep purple, saturated with dense blueberries and blackcurrants with an abundance of graphite minerals. Rather intense and stern without much secondary development at this stage. Still very youthful.

2015 Domaine Louis Jadot Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. White floral tones and delicate grassy elements dominate on the effusive nose with a lovely creaminess on the palate, its sleek subtle acidity and early complexity evoking wonderful tension and mouthfeel. Quite superb.

2010 E Guigal Ex Voto Ermitage, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Heavier dull golden hue, laden with characters of gasoline, ginger and herbal aromas, rather exotic, replete with waxy overtones amidst warm floral tones, finishing on a racy spicy glow with a tad of sternness. Might appeal more to afficionados of Rhone whites.

Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru, courtesy of Ooi CJ at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Delicate tones of light green melons amid very fine graphite elements, complemented with very fine bubbles amid dryish textures, finishing with a toasty glow.

2014 Domaine Thibert Pouilly-Fuisse Les Cras, popped and poured at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Glow of morning dew with lime and clear citrus, its taut acidity and concentration imparting sleek intensity with delicate precision. Still too young to be popped.

2009 Maison Leroy Vosne-Romanee, courtesy of Sanjay at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Murky opaque red, exuding a lovely glow of dense raspberries, dark plums and red fruits. Open with lovely acidity, intensity and suppleness. Caught at its best. Excellent.

20190528_203304.jpg2014 Antikythera Point Noir, courtesy of CHS at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Generous expanse of red fruits and currants, excellent in concentration and purity. Open with superb presence and suppleness. Excellent.

2002 William’s Selyem Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Darker in tone and color. More racy than usual with powerful overtones of tangerines, camphor and haw flakes on an earthy floor, giving off an illusion of fizz with more than a hint of peat. Quite excellent, if you don’t mind big-boned pinot.

2013 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Broad swathes of violets, blueberries and raspberries dominate with lovely ripeness, rather full, still imbued with traces of vanillin. A tad more forward and more brightly lit. Excellent.

1993 Ch Latour, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. Had to be decanted on-site as its friable cork disintegrated on opening. This premier cru exudes an enticing earthy pungency amid dark fruits and blackcurrants, medium-bodied and supple with fine transparency on the palate though the spectrum of flavours is rather narrow, lacking in true opulence and layering.

2012 Solaia Annata Diversa, courtesy of Vic at Kai Garden, 28 May 2019. An unusual bottling. Normally a blend of various cabernet with 20% sangiovese, the words annata diversa will appear in vintages where sangiovese has been omitted. This youthful Solaia is generously imbued with glorious ripe black fruits and currants that evoke characters of mocha, dark plums and dark chocolate. Still predictably full and tight at this stage, structured with pliant tannins and sleek acidity. Should develop well.

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An Italian affair

May 19, 2019

The Italian wine journalist Riccardo Gabriele of PR VINO was kind enough to invite me for dinner at Buona Terra on May 6th 2019 during a short stopover in Singapore. With the exception of the Carpineto and the Tommasi, all wines were supplied by Riccardo. I must admit I’ve yet to really come to grips with Italian wines. Most people tend to gravitate towards the usual established big names, but the fact is Italian wines offer far greater diversity in geographical locations and grape varieties than most other regions so much so that it demands the same degree of dedication as one would for Burgundy if one is to fully understand Italian wines. All wines were popped and poured on-site with the exception of the Tommasi and Carpineto. They all surprised me with their excellent craftsmanship, refinement and sophistication. Many thanks, Riccardo, for an excellent evening. Till we meet again, happy drinking.

20190506_202720.jpg2018 Fattoria Fibbiano Fonte delle Donne. An equal blend of colombana and vermentino planted in the Pisa hills of Tuscany, this lovely white exudes lifted tones of cool morning dew, light green fruits, grassy elements and icing, highly effusive. Fresh and supple, very well-layered with excellent presence and concentration of crisp citrus and white flowers with very well-defined acidity, developing a more pronounced dry salinity before finishing with a great minty persistence. Quite excellent.

2017 Assuli Lorlando Nero D’Avola. From 100% Sicilian nero d’avola vinified for early drinking but you wouldn’t have guessed at all by its brilliant deep ruby that revealed a forward balance of wild berries and raspberries with a deep fragrance of dark currants amid some earthiness, seamlessly structured with supple ripeness and fine acidity as it tapered to a gentle finish amid gentle overtones of spice and black pepper. In spite of its unassuming origins, this is wine of great refinement and craftsmanship. Excellent.

2017 Abrigo Giovanni Dolcetto Di Diano D’Alba Superiore “Garabei”. Comprising 100% dolcetto from a single vineyard planted in 1968, this wine proffers a powerful lift of raw red fruits, quite brightly lit on the full palate with broad swathes of warm fruit and ripe wild berries laced with mild vegetal traces. Excellent in concentration and fullness, displaying clean precision on a bed of ferrous minerals though a tad too acidic initially, developing softer inner detail over time. Very fine.

2016 Abrigo Giovanni Barbera D’Alba “Marminela”. Deep garnet red. Shut on the nose though the full palate is brightly lit with a predominance of red fruits, quite fleshy with good acidity and integration with a warm alcoholic trail amidst characters of bramble and briar. Made from 100% barbera derived from two vineyards (in Grinzane Cavour and Diano d’Alba) sited 230 metres altitude and aged for nine months in concrete vats.

2016 Carlo Baccheschi Berti Poggio del Sasso “Merah”. Made of 100% sangiovese from the region of Montalcino, this deeply colored wine exudes a warm glow of gravel and red fruits with shades of vanillin. Full, fleshy and delicious but still a tad congested in spite of its attractive acidity, finishing with good linearity amidst a bit of dry minerally glare without betraying its 15% abv.

20190506_195339.jpg2013 Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, courtesy of Simone Marghieri, decanted on-site. Blend of four grapes, mostly corvina, from two plots by the lake. The grapes are air-dried on bamboo racks in temperature-controlled facility for 100 days, losing 40% of grapes in the process and matured in old oak barrels aged 5-8 years for three years. Displaying a deep garnet red, this flagship of Tommasi opens with enticing aromas of sweet incense and ripe dark plums, rather full as expected but open, massively proportioned with a lovely rich intensity yet classically balanced, structured with velvety tannins that oozed with highly refined gorgeous sweetness.

2004 Carpineto Vigneto Poggio Sant’ Enrico Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, decanted on-site. Deep purple, beautifully nuanced and lifted in its deep bouquet that found full expression on the palate, highly generous in violets, blueberries, red plums and dark currants with some early secondary characters framed within a supple finely-detailed tannin structure that stretched out with a rich luxurious elegance. Excellent in concentration, ripeness and balance, tapering to a long spicy finish with a lovely biting intensity. This is really a wine of great sophistication but still far from its peak. A single vineyard bottling released only in exceptional vintages, this is truly outstanding. Antonio Zaccheo can be very proud of his work at Carpineto since 1967.

2009 Ca’ D’Gal Vite Vecchia Moscato D’Asti. Luminous light golden hue. Beautifully lifted in its unique bouquet, a complex kaleidoscope of perfumed citrus, lemongrass, dense incense, mint and menthol with an illusion of fizz, gently concentrated with further notes of pears and fig. Highly alluring and effortless, almost ethereal in its gentle sweetness. Most lovely.

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R.W.J. Tenth Anniversary blast

May 8, 2019

Time flies, really. It has been ten years since RWJ first went online in April 2009. This would not have been sustainable without the enthusiasm of friends and anyone around the world with any interest in wine who have been peeping at these pages from time to time, and I thank each of you for your continuing support. These same people had kindly gathered at Jade Palace on 23 Apr 2019 to celebrate this milestone with a “special occasions” wine theme. And what a fabulous line-up it turned out to be!! I’ll let the wines speak for themselves. Thank you all once again and may we get to enjoy several more fabulous decades ahead.

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2008 Louis Roederer Cristal, courtesy of Vic. Lovely dense plume of pomelo and morning dew with a hint of earthy pungency. Full presence, openly supple with traces of ash and ferrous minerals, displaying very fine inner detail. Highly integral.

2012 Domaine Arnaud Ente Meursault, courtesy of LF. Closed initially, gradually yielding gentle tones of icing and vanillin on the nose with a very even tone of white floral notes on the palate, imbued with a very fine gentle chalkiness set within crisp defined acidity. Developed more creamy richness over time, layered with emerging complexity and lovely intensity, trailed by mild minty tones. Very correctly proportioned and elegant. Excellent.

2012 Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault, courtesy of LF. Closed as well, though the palate is layered with a full creamy elegance against a rather laid back chalkiness suffused with warm gentle saline minerals. Utterly seamless, showing great subtle acidity that conferred good energy and definition, turning a bit more plump with time. Very fine.

2013 Peter Michael La Carriere Chardonnay, courtesy of LF. This wine opens with some nutmeg and teasing chalky minerals, quite racy on an open palate dominated by exotic layers of morning dew, lemongrass and deep dark minerally tones, taut with fine acidity, finishing well with lasting persistence of white pepper. Excellent.

2011 Marcassin Sonoma County Chardonnay, courtesy of LF. Displaying an exuberance of white floral tones and dense chalky textures that imparted a lovely textured mouthfeel, this wine is a little more upfront, opening up very quickly with recessed overtones of fruit and minerals although its distinct New World flamboyance is unmistakable. Excellent.

1987 Domaine L H Magnien Vosne-Romanee, courtesy of KP. Fully evolved. Still showing very well a feminine glow of soft red fruits that delivered a medium-bodied palate of delicate sweetness and fine acidity, not drying out at all, finishing with very fine lasting presence. Excellent!

2001 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er, courtesy of Andre. Good colour, exuding a lovely glow of dark plums and red fruits. Nicely open and rounded, displaying good presence and warmth. Highly seamless and supple, quietly poised with a mild minerally finish. Excellent.

20190423_184122.jpg1995 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Grand Cru, poured from magnum. Deep garnet core with a vermillion rim, opening with an effusive deep tertiary glow of red plums, dark cherries, currants, ash wood, tobacco and mulberries. Still rather full and supple, imbued with very fine acidity that conferred great freshness, precision and linearity with breath-taking lush splendour, finishing with glowing persistence. Still fresh with the legs to continue another couple of decades. Outstanding.

2000 Ch Pichon Baron Longueville, courtesy of David Tan. Deep garnet red. Effusive glow of dark fruits and black currants, highly supple and fleshy with very deep layers of gorgeous fruit, evolving a hint of snuff and mushrooms after some time though without the classic dryish Pauillac textures. Still youthful.

1996 Ch Margaux, courtesy of Pipin. This wine exudes an attractive feminine earthiness and rosy fragrance with a lovely expanse of gentle red fruits amidst warm dryish textures, its juicy succulence further enhanced by sweet supple melted tannins, just a tad short. Excellent.

2001 Ch Latour, courtesy of Kieron. Deep garnet red, exuding a powerful warm hallowed glow of early tertiary characters. Firm but fleshy, displaying very fine depth of black fruits and dark currants imbued with highly subtle ferrous and minerally elements, finishing with traces of soy, again just a little short. Excellent.

1995 Ch Latour, courtesy of David Ong. This wine is imbued with deep layers of supple black fruits and dark currants within its impenetrable darkness on a firm minerally bed, very finely detailed, highly poised and elegant with excellent linearity, almost aloof in its quiet demeanour as it developed further complexity with overtones of ash and incense. Excellent.

20190423_221715.jpg1988 Ch Latour, courtesy of Vic. Decanted on-site from magnum. Deep garnet red, proffering an effortless bouquet of tobacco snuff with a fabulous earthy pungency that led to a generously layered palate of dark fruits imbued with very fine graphite minerals, rendered taut with superb tension by acidity that is still remarkably fresh. Superb.

2007 Ch Climens, courtesy of Hiok. Beautiful deep luminous glow, revealing superb depth and sweet complexity of nectarines and apricot against a delicate chalky backdrop, highly impressive in its transparency in spite of such immense breadth and layering, exuding great fragrance from its deep core of orangey tangerines. A refreshing change from d’Yquem. Outstanding.

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The best bunch of guys

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Ric savouring some 1988 Ch Latour

 

Apr 2019: 1999 L’Evangile, 1999 Margaux, 2005 Philippe Foreau Vouvray Moelleux, 2013 Aubert “Lauren”

May 6, 2019

Prosecco Riondo, from the list of Lucca, 04 April 2019. Generous tones of cream soda, green fruits, pears and light citrus. Fine easy presence with some dry intensity. Serviceable.

20190405_192807.jpg1999 Ch L’Evangile, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 05 April 2019 to mark M’s twentieth. Effusive in tertiary shades of dark roses, dark cherries and cassis amid some earthy pungency with a hint of ferrous minerals. Medium-full with a firm concentration of ripe dark fruits that traverse the palate with great verve and expanse, lovely in depth with a distinct salinity, structured with pliant supple tannins, tapering to a glowing minty finish with a trace of sweetness. Still youthful. Has more charm and character than most 1999s. Excellent.

2005 Ch D’Aiguilhe, popped and poured at home over dinner, 07 Apr 2019. Unfolds with dense layers of dark wild berries, blackcurrants, mocha and chocolate, showing gorgeous depth, concentration and layering, structured with a bit of dry tannins on a cedary floor. Less angular than before. Just beginning to develop. Yet to peak. Quite excellent if you don’t mind its modern style.

Pago de Tharsys, courtesy of Dr Ngoi, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Agreeable bouquet of yeasty tones and smoke. Dry with good weight and a bright minerally shine. Short.

2015 Bodega Otazu Merlot Rosado, courtesy of Dr Ngoi, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Translucent ruby. Good presence of lightly-skinned red fruits. Slightly earthy with a minerally shine, imbued with fine acidity.

2006 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, popped and poured from magnum, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Bright red cherries and raspberries dominate amid overtones of soy with a hint of paraffin. Medium-bodied. Fleshy, rounded and well-layered, imbued with finely nuanced acidity. Absolutely mellow, finishing with traces of tobacco. Very fine.

2009 Peay Sonoma County Chardonnay, courtesy of LF, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Deep bouquet, somewhat peaty with overtones of recessed chalk and peaches, rounded with very fine acidity.

2008 Bodega Otazu Otazu Premium Cuvée, courtesy of Dr Ngoi, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Deep purple. Generously layered with dark berries and black currants that exude gentle aromas, still laced with oaky vanilla. Rather full but placid with a well-defined profile, teasing the palate with its fleeting intensity and very fine acidity, just ever so slightly forward in balance.

2015 Domaine Mungeard Mugneret Echezeaux Grand Cru, courtesy of MH, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Lovely pinot character. Surprisingly open with detailed velvety red fruits that exude smooth sophisticated refinement with a lovely lift of rose petals and haw flakes, finishing with excellent linearity. Excellent.

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2002 Dehlinger Octagon Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Lovely gentle lift of red plums, rose petals and cherries amidst some gentle salinity. Beautifully open and nuanced, displaying excellent presence and linearity as it finished with deep ferrous elements. Excellent.

2010 Chateau d’Ampuis, courtesy of CHS, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. Great lift of dark cherries and mulberries, amply proportioned and structured, glowing with deep layers of gorgeously ripe fruit amid overtones of tobacco. Excellent.

2005 Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux, courtesy of LF, 12 April 2019, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew. This wine from the Loire exudes a very refined gentle sweetness with characters of nectarine and sweet incense, its excellent presence and gentle viscosity imparting superb smoothness with delightful deftness and linearity, beautifully layered with lovely feminine complexity and intensity, finishing with traces of ember. Outstanding.

1993 Domaine Faiveley Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Beng TL at Club 1880, 15 Apr 2019. Sharp nose of evolved tangerines. Clearly past its prime, lacking real fruit and presence. Just an acidic shell.

1994 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Beng TL at Club 1880, 15 Apr 2019. This monopole has faded badly, left with only an acidic spine on a sandy floor marked by undistinguished fruit, lacking depth and presence. A far cry from the Corton Clos des Cortons of nowadays.

2012 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Goulots 1er VV, courtesy of Dr Beng TL at Club 1880, 15 Apr 2019. This wine took a really long time to come around, displaying good purity of fruit with characters of rose petals, dark cherries and earth. Medium-bodied, just somewhat reticent at first with a predominance of dull earthy textures and jagged acidity before finally turning the corner, developing very fine seamless intensity and depth.

2011 Domaine Leflaive Meursault Sous Le Dos D’Ane 1er, popped and poured at Club 1880, 15 Apr 2019. Delicate tones of flinty minerals, clear citrus and white flowers, displaying fine presence and acidity with understated intensity, becoming more minerally over time against a backdrop of caramel and walnuts. Very fine.

2005 Domaine des Monts Luisants “Les Monts Luisants” Morey-Saint-Denis 1er, popped and poured at Club 1880, 15 Apr 2019. Dark cherries and mulberries on the earthy nose, though the palate is dominated by bright red fruits, very fine in concentration and acidity with a firm core of tangerines, highly seamless, developing an overwhelming salinity as the evening wore on. Probably at its drinking best.

Louis Roederer Premier Brut NV, a half bottle from Jade Palace, 16 Apr 2019 to celebrate M’s great success. Very correct in its deep yeasty pungency and depth of yellow citrus, lime and pomelo, appropriately dry with toasty characters and fresh acidity. Drinking well.

1999 Ch Margaux, decanted on-site at Jade Palace, 16 Apr 2019 to celebrate M’s great success. Exciting bouquet, displaying deep complex tertiary characters of dark berries, ripe wild berries, mulberries and violets that exude delicious aromas. Medium-full. Fleshy and supple, imbued with deep layers of gorgeous fruit and detailed graphite minerals amidst sublime acidity, glowing with wonderful verve and persistence. Very lovely. Caught at its absolute peak and should hold for many more years. Superb.

2009 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino, popped and poured over buffet lunch at Carousel, 17 Apr 2019. Forward balance of bright red fruits and plums, turning darker in tone later, layered with detailed gritty tannins on a cedary floor. Quite agreeable.

Castellblanc Brut Cava, from the list of Antoinette, 18 Apr 2019. High-toned concentration of lime and white citrus, forwardly balanced, bone-dry with razor sharp acidity.

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Superb wagyu beef at restaurant Ibid

1995 Ch Grand Puy Lacoste, aired in bottle for two hours prior at restaurant Ibid, 30 Apr 2019. Lovely hallowed glow of wild berries, cool raspberries and licorice underscored by gentle dark currants and violets. Firm with distinct ferrous elements, somewhat stern and uninvolving at first before developing greater warmth and depth of fruit as its mellowed tannins gained some lovely intensity of aged fruit and mushrooms over time along with a bit Pauillac dryness, finishing with decent length.

2013 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of CHS at restaurant Ibid, 30 Apr 2019. Rather reticent, taking its time to develop gentle tones of light citrus although its mid-body is quite seamlessly layered with chalky minerals and white floral tones laced with crisp acidity, turning more dry and minerally over time as it grew with gradual intensity. Still rather awkward and reluctant on the whole, partly a reflection of the vintage and partly because the wine may just be shutting down.

2013 Aubert “Lauren Vineyard” Chardonnay, courtesy of LF at restaurant Ibid, 30 Apr 2019. More delicately expressive than the preceding Etienne Sauzet, more forward and generous in clear citrus and green fruits laced with a hint of lychee, structured with crisp acidity. Imbued with fine depth and lively intensity, exuding an eventual lovely chalky glow as it sat in the glass. Excellent.

2014 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF at restaurant Ibid, 30 Apr 2019. Deep clear purple. Not much on the nose but the palate is overflowing with very well-defined dark fruit and raspberries with tannins that are seamlessly integrated, oozing with delicious gentle sweetness amidst smooth dry intensity. Excellent.

2000 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, courtesy of Vic at restaurant Ibid, 30 Apr 2019. Richly layered with blackcurrants and dark fruits, very vibrant and fleshy. Still youthful, yet to shed its alcoholic tinge. Needs lots of aeration.

2001 Ch Guiraud, a half bottle courtesy of CHS at restaurant Ibid, 30 Apr 2019. Deeply evolved in colour. Openly layered with deep tones of aged apricot, honey, dense minerals and medicinal notes marked by striking acidity, finishing well. A testament to the superb vintage for Sauternes.

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Gorgeous roast duck at restaurant Ibid

Jurade de Saint-Emilion du Singapour: Chateau Angelus 2000-2010 & 1982

April 29, 2019

The Jurade de Saint-Emilion du Singapour forged ahead in its inaugural year with a vertical of Chateau Angelus at Origin, Shangri-La Singapore, on 25 April 2019, organised by Chancellor Melvin Choo and Dr Kieron Lim. Familiar to every wine lover, Ch Angelus (the article L’ was dropped in 1990) derives its name from the three church bells at the chapel of Mazerat within the commune. Planted with almost equal portions of merlot and cabernet franc across its 23 hectares, Ch Angelus has been eponymous with Hubert Boüard de Laforest since he took over the reins in 1976 upon completing his oenology studies with the venerated Emile Peynaud. Hubert, also himself Commandeur of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion, has been very successful in promoting the estate, gaining Premier Grand Cru Classé (B) in 1996 (from grand cru classé) and then Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in 2012. While the 1989 and 1990 have both gained legendary status, Angelus has upped the game further since the new millennium, making wines that are consistently rich, sophisticated and naturally balanced, accessible as well to those who cannot wait to reap the rewards of patience. For this dinner, all wines (except the 1982) were decanted on site while the 2006 had been double-decanted for six hours prior. They are described according to the sequence drunk as recommended by Britt Ng, Head Sommelier of Shangri-La, and he had been absolutely correct. The 2010 is a brilliant reincarnation of the 2000 while the 1982, never truly outstanding on record, is still very good. A big thank-you to everyone for their contributions, and especially to Britt for the impeccable arrangements.

2007 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque, a magnum from the restaurant list. Popped and poured. This champagne boasts a dense bouquet of clear citrus and delicate minerals with gentle yeasty tones, notably lighter in texture, imbued with good concentration of pomelo and ferrous elements topped with very fine bubbles, showing good depth without the profundity of 2008, just a little short.

20190425_195803.jpg1982 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Sandy. Popped and poured after about 30 minutes of aeration in bottle. Showing an evolved rusty red, this wine is still well and live, proffering an alluring soft complex of mulberries, red fruits, mandarins and grassy elements on the nose, not at all reductive. Quite fleshy on the palate with surprising lush succulence and fine inner detail, producing good grip in spite of its subtle intensity and understated structure, finishing with glowing persistence before beginning to fade after three hours. Can easily be mistaken for a Left Bank if tasted blind. Not at all dry. What a privilege!

2007 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Sean. Lifted expanse of bright red fruits, red currants and raspberries on the nose with overtones of wet heated gravel, showing excellent presence and acidity, oozing sweet gentle tannins with superb linearity, ripeness and layering before settling down with a genteel presence, just a tad short. Very well crafted in spite of the vintage difficulties. Quite excellent on its own, caught at its ideal drinking window.

2003 Ch Angelus, courtesy of KC. Violets, mulberries and raspberries dominate on the effusive bouquet, adding a bit of a herbal plume over time. Fleshy and open with good inner detail and lovely fragrance, utterly seamless, traversing the palate with fine intensity and linearity. Again just a bit short, consistent with other 2003s.

2001 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Kieron. Deep garnet red with an early vermillion rim. Surprisingly reticent, taking a long time to develop aromas of old dew, bell hoppers and capsicum. The palate, though, is quite succulent from the outset, soft and fleshy with graphite minerals that are very well integrated, classically structured with sweet gentle tannins that imparted deep delicious tones. Excellent.

2006 Ch Angelus. Deep inky red, effusive in very fine minerals, dark cherries and mahogany with traces of vanillin. Fleshy full presence, open with a quiet exuberance, layered with ripe dark berries cloaked in very fine tightly-knit tannins amid overtones of mushrooms that conferred an illusion of dryness, finishing with decent length and quiet intensity. Quite excellent, perhaps just missing in outright opulence.

2004 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Russell. Deep garnet red, proffering dense aromas of dark berries with a peppery hint. Medium-bodied and fleshy. Darkish in tone. Classically structured with good presence, exuding lovely charm in spite of some vegetal traces, again just missing in depth and opulence. Very fine.

2000 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Melvin. Deep dark inky red, exuding a wonderful expanse and depth of gorgeous red fruits and dark currants on the full palate, solidly layered with great warmth, presence and ease, transitioning seamlessly to a glowing lengthy finish. Superbly balanced. Still highly youthful. Fabulous.

2010 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Dennis. Very deep dark impenetrable red, ingrained with bottomless layers of dense gorgeous ripe blackberries, blueberries and dark currants on both nose and palate, yet to shed its thin veil of vanillin completely. Full with taut tension and sublime acidity, structured with sexy silky tannins with further emergence of mocha and dark chocolate over time. Massively proportioned with controlled sophistication. This must be the younger equivalent of the 2000, perhaps even better. Time will tell but still far from ready.

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FICOFI: Masters of Climats 2019

April 24, 2019

FICOFI’s Masters Of Climats is an annual event featuring the latest releases of Domaines Prieure-Roch, Bouchard Pere et Fils and Joseph Drouhin that covers an excellent spread of the Cote d’Or. For this year’s event on 02 April 2019 at the Four Seasons, Singapore, where it was good to catch up again with Luc Bouchard, Jean-Paul Dumond (Drouhin) and Yannick Champ (now the sole proprietor of Prieure-Roch following the recent demise of former co-geriant Henry-Frédéric Roch), the focus was on the wines of 2017 although Prieure-Roch preferred to showcase its 2016s. In a way, that actually offered some useful comparison. Whereas the 2016 reds are stunning in every way, the 2017 reds of Bouchard and Drouhin are only half a step behind, confirming the excellence of the vintage although, truth be told, I’ve always felt that the forte for both these domaines lies with their wonderful whites. Here, not much else needs to be said about their 2017s other than to buy up whatever you can. A very big thank you to Luc, Jean-Paul and Yannick for the friendship and for making the long trip to Singapore to share your wines.

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2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Volnay Les Caillerets 1er Ancienne Cuvée. Generous aromas of red fruits and red plums. Well-layered with delicious cool ripe fruit, structured with sweet pliant tannins and excellent acidity. Lovely.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Grevés L’Enfant Jesus 1er. This monopole of Bouchard exudes a gentle rosy fragrance with a slight hint of earthiness. Taut and concentrated with red fruits at this stage though somewhat subdued, displaying subtle acidity on a minerally floor. Excellent potential.

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2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Le Corton Grand Cru. Warm earthy tones on the nose with very fine ripeness of dark red fruits on a cool quiet palate. Gently proportioned and balanced. Distinctly introverted.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru. Notes of camphor and rose petals with traces of smoke on the nose, well-layered with taut concentration of raspberries and ripe wild berries with acidity that is well reined in, slightly stern at the finish.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault-Genevieres 1er. Generous aromas of grassy elements and raw nutmeg that imparted a certain  racy exuberance. Distinctly more minerally on the palate, carrying a deeper vein of clear citrus that oozed traces of sweet, displaying excellent tone and linearity throughout its length. Quite excellent.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Great clarity of colour and tone, setting the stage with a quiet refined lift of yellow citrus, dense minerals and nutmeg that led to a palate of great ripeness and sophistication, layered with transparent textures that yielded fine detail though for all its feminine elegance, this wine is a shy debutante, yet to flesh out with further refinement and length. Excellent potential.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Broad expanse of controlled white floral tone with some delectable creaminess strung with a hint of nutmeg. Quite full but delicate, displaying sublime acidity with lovely proportions. Highly refined, finishing with smooth linearity. Doesn’t call attention to itself. Has the trappings of a great grand cru, just waiting to flesh out.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru. Regal reserved quiet bouquet, displaying a lovely luminosity in the glass as it exudes characters of fresh morning dew with a distilled chalkiness and crème on the palate. Full but transparent, very highly refined with some attractive oiliness within its mid-body, almost velvety with poised elegance. Superbly nuanced. Utterly seamless and integral even at such an early stage. Outstanding.

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2017 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er. Enticing bouquet of dense tropical fruits and crème, matched by a rich presence of white fruits with understated chalkiness underscored by lovely acidity. Very correct in its tonal balance, as always with Drouhin’s whites, finishing with great flourish and length. Highly rewarding.

2017 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Lovely luminosity. Effusive in overtones of crème and wild flowers amid a delicate chalkiness, Rather plump with a good deal of oiliness in the mid-body, supported by a strong minerally base with traces of mint white pepper, very well integrated with very subtle acidity, carrying great energy and verve. Excellent.

2017 Joseph Drouhin Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. This wine opens with quite an abundance of refined crème and vanilla amid subdued chalkiness, excellent in concentration of dense white floral tones that yielded great precision and presence, rounded with great integration and sophistication though its fullness never overwhelms. Very, very correct in its balance and proportion, traversing the palate with great linearity all the way to its lengthy finish. Superb.

2017 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er. Distinct tones of wild berries amid characters of forest floor and earth. Rounded with good acidity, layering and fullness. Seamless enough but lacks distinction, somewhat tannic at the finish.

2017 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 1er. Dark plums, dark roses and currants on the nose. Full palate of mulberries and raspberries, rounded with a good dose of salinity as well as a hint of smoky earthiness, displaying fine acidity and linearity, finishing well but it lacks real distinction.

20190402_192533.jpg2017 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er. Deep ruby. Quiet nose of dark cherries and dark roses, not yielding much. Fleshy and rounded on the palate with a bit of gassy quality, displaying excellent presence of red fruits and dark currants. Very well-nuanced and layered with superb transparency, carrying good energy but still shy on the whole, finishing on a quiet note.

2016 Domaine Prieure-Roch Vosne-Romanee Le Clos Goillotte 1er. Very seldom encountered from a 0.55 ha plot averaging 50 years. This wine proffers a beautiful detailed bouquet of complex tangerines, red fruits, peaches and red cherries, bright and lively but still taut on the palate, layered with a deep core of mandarins, finishing just a tad short.

2016 Domaine Prieure-Roch Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er. What a fabulous bouquet here, literally leaping out from the glass with a great plummy tone of intense red fruits, highly perfumed and detailed. The palate is most appropriately concentrated with a deep vein of dark fruits, taut with superb tension and acidity on  a smoky minerally floor, superbly structured with pliant supple tannins. Outstanding.

2016 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Corvées VV. Beautiful nose, highly enticing, deeply layered with a great lift of ripe red fruits and dark roses. Plush, supple and rounded on the palate, layered with transparent textures that reveal superb detail and inner definition, beautifully structured with sublime acidity amid overtones of tobacco snuff that tapered to an exciting finish. This is, by far, the best ever example of this proud monopole of Prieure-Roch, alongside a memorable 1999 tasted at last year’s Masters of Climats. Less than 9 hectolitres per ha.

2017 Domaine Prieure-Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Delicious lift of ripe dark cherries and currants. Open, plump and succulent within pliant tannin structures, imbued with fabulous acidity that complement perfectly the rich core of tangerines and glorious ripe fruit topped with overtones of mocha and dark chocolate, carrying tremendous verve and persistence yet never in any danger of overwhelming the perfect balance. This wine has everything in place but it deserves to be given the necessary length of time in bottle. Outstanding.

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2005 Champagne Henriot Cuvée Hemera. This wine opens with a deep yeasty pungency that led to a great expanse of chalky minerals and dense citrus on the palate, very lively with great acidity and vigour, not too dry, finishing with an expanse of ferrous minerals. Excellent.

2015 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er. Clean quiet feel with a well-defined profile marked by ferrous minerals, floral tones and dense chalky minerals. Rather full with good acidity and definition, finishing well.

2015 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Highly reticent on the nose, just a hint of saline minerals with some gentle coolness. The medium-bodied palate, though, has a lovely fullness marked by floral overtones, highly even in tone with good intensity and transparency, underscored by a very gentle chalkiness without too much of creaminess.

2012 Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Magnum. Closed on the nose, but the palate is awash with a rich complex mouthfeel of white flowers with an abundance of refined subtle chalky minerals. Quite full and beautifully perfumed but not too plump, showing great verve, refinement and detail with overtones of white pepper. Excellent but yet to really settle.

2005 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Grevés L’Enfant Jesus 1er. Magnum. This famed monopole of Bouchard exudes a hallowed glow of hot stones and dark ripe cherries with some early complexity. Very slim in profile, imbued with great definition and fine intensity of fruit that conferred delicious dark tones. Significantly darker and bigger than expected for L’Enfant. Excellent.

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Yannick looking cool at Duxton Hill, Singapore

2009 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvées 1er. Dull opaque red with a lovely effusive lift of dark currants, dark cherries and complex minerality on the nose and palate. Rather full and spicy at the sides without the usual earthiness of this commune, distinctly masculine in its bold massive structure yet never overwhelming. Superb.

2007 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvées 1er. Less open than the preceding 2009, showing a dull dusty red marked by dark red plums with some salinity from its broad generous expanse tinged with some earthiness, structured with great acidity. Very fine.

2010 Ch d’Yquem. Dense bouquet of lead petroleum with a rich  cloak of nectarine, sweet incense, apricot and tropical fruit, concentrated with fabulous depth and sublime acidity. Still primal but will be outstanding in time to come.

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Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils

April 7, 2019

These are notes from a selected tasting of the 2015 and 2016 wines of Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils organised by Domaine Wines at Gake on 28 Mar 2019. Based in Maconnais which is a good 80-minute drive south from Beaune, this domaine is managed by Christophe Thibert and his sister Sandrine. From humble beginnings in 1967, this domaine has now expanded to 39 hectares centered around Saint-Veran, Pouilly and Macon, all grown and farmed entirely by the domaine. The vines are old (youngest planted in 1969) and Christophe prefers a longer than usual elevage of 20-22 months, using up to 50% new oak. Making wines that combine delicate elegance, detail and layering with excellent sophistication, Domaine Thibert has been touted as being likely to attain cult status in Maconnais much in the same manner as Arnaud Ente in Meursault. What we had that evening was somewhat uneven (the Les Cras stood out best) and not quite representative of the range available (no En Chantone, no Les Longeays, no Champ Rond) but I can assure readers some of the recent back vintages we had tasted at the domaine last October (https://winebyric.com/2018/11/16/ric-visits-domaine-thibert-pere-fils-2/) were truly excellent. Be sure to act fast if you chance upon these wines.

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Christophe Thibert

2016 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Saint-Veran Bois De Fee. Lifted floral tones with some nutmeg. Fleeting attack of fine acidity and intensity on the palate, imparting refreshing zest amid dense citrus layered with light earthy minerals, turning more minerally with the raw intensity of wild grass as it finished with good length.

2016 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Menetrieres. Shy distant floral tones. Softly rounded with gentle intensity of wild flowers amidst mild salinity, snapping into focus as it warmed up from the cold, straightening out with fine linearity and delicate presence but missing inner definition.

2016 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras. Gentle soft floral tones, highly perfumed with overtones of paraffin. Open with excellent concentration of white flowers and nutmeg, beautifully nuanced in acidity, displaying superb inner detail of subtle minerals, poised with superb balance and presence, finishing with tangy complexity. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes Blanches. Marked pallor that belies its generous bouquet of wild grassy elements, morning dew, nutmeg and white pepper. Medium-bodied. Rather delicate with uneven tone, though it finished with attractive intensity.

2015 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Saint-Veran Bois De Fee. Open with distant minty tones on the nose, matched with smooth suave acidity amid delicate chalky creme de la crème on the palate, showing good presence and layering. Very fine.

2015 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Menetrieres. Hint of heated gravel on the delicate bouquet. Full and rounded with very fine acidity and good concentration of juicy pomelo, clear and yellow citrus, quite seamless and supple, just a tad short.

2014 Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras. Powerful bouquet, exuding a lovely deep earthiness amidst floral tones. Medium-full, displaying excellent integration of fruit and minerals, seamlessly layered with gorgeous detail that glowed with gentle elegance and great refinement. Excellent.

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