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Apr 2018: 2010 Etienne Sauzet Combettes, 2002 Armand Rousseau Cham’ Clos de Beze, 1995/2003 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, 1990 d’Yquem, 1968 Vega Sicilia Unico…

May 14, 2018

2002 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz, popped and poured at Wah Lok, 05 Apr 2018. I’ve cellared this bottle for about ten years. Opague purple, proffering an enticing complex of toffee, mocha dark, chocolate and licorice camphor on the effusive nose, matched by a good attack of peppery spicy tones on the palate, full-bodied, structured with well-mannered tannins on a background of delicious dark currants, finishing with emerging notes of ferrous minerals. Excellent.

2007 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs, popped and poured at LF’s birthday bash, Pistacchio Grill, 06 Apr 2018. Imbued with strong minerally and ferrous tones amidst crisp citrus and bitter lemon that imparted some degree of sternness, displaying excellent presence and concentration of fruit with controlled intensity, finishing with sweet tannins. Quite excellent.

2006 Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Vic, popped and poured at LF’s birthday bash, Pistacchio Grill, 06 Apr 2018. Displaying some evolution with earthy tones, medium-bodied, proffering gentle notes of raspberries and red fruits underscored by dark undertones with fresh acidity but missing in opulence and charm.

20180406_201743.jpg1968 Vega Sicilia Unico, popped and poured at LF’s birthday bash, Pistacchio Grill, 06 Apr 2018. Still remarkably full in colour, opening with distinct characters of earth and iron filings, very open and rounded with the distilled essence of red fruits, still amazingly fresh and layered with inner detail, going on to develop a lovely bloom of rose petals and camphor, finishing with great lift. Perfect for the birthday boy. Outstanding!

2003 Dominus, popped and poured at LF’s birthday bash, Pistacchio Grill, 06 Apr 2018. This wine displays a profound depth of structured red fruits and cherries, richly layered with chiselled detail and concentration, infinitely masculine, filled with glorious abundance, still yet to peak. Excellent.

1996 Domaine Louis Remy Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Sanjay, popped and poured at LF’s birthday bash, Pistacchio Grill, 06 Apr 2018. Quite well evolved, exuding a powerful earthy pungency matched with delicious notes of camphor, rose petals, complex plums and orangey tangerines, perhaps a tad short.

2010 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er, courtesy of Sanjay, 07 April 2018 at Sofitel Sentosa. Clear golden hue, exuding a superb complex of dense diesel fumes, earth, concentrated white fruits and clear citrus, highly structured on the stern minerally palate with a hint of bitter lemon. Superbly layered with notes of white flowers in bloom, citrus, cinnamon and cool vanillin icing laced with crisp acidity, already developing some early complexity, finishing with a suggestion of fine white pepper. Simply outstanding.

20180414_202042_001.jpg1995 Domaine Paul Aine Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 14 April 2018. Earth, licorice, old leather and mild medicinal tones dominate on the nose, leading to a medium-bodied proposition of cool dark fruits and raspberries before evolving with further notes of camphor, redcurrants, plums and tangerines underscored by stern minerals, becoming more open and fleshy with time. Drinking well.

2015 Maison de Montille Saint Romain, popped and poured over a meal at home, 16 Apr 2018. This unassuming sleeper displays a rich presence of green fruits and melons with chalky undertones supported by understated crème, vanillin and icing, displaying fine acidity and intensity, very well balanced and integrated, finishing with excellent mouthfeel. Superb value.

1970 Coto de Imaz Riserva Privada, courtesy of LF at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Good color. Obviously well-evolved, producing an effusive fragrance of aged mint tinged with earth, orangey tones and plums, still showing good acidity though the fruit is clearly receding. Still drinking well.

1968 Bodegas Marque de Murrieta Cadtillo Ygay Logrono, courtesy of LF at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Sharper than the preceding wine with better definition on both nose and palate, exuding a highly lifted bouquet of camphor, rose petals and grapefruit, still rather rich in fruit quality and acidity, highly supple and seamless, finishing with traces of burnt. Excellent.

2006 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses, courtesy of Sanjay at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Lovely bouquet of sensuous smokiness and yeasty pungency, quite gentle and placid on the palate with graphite minerals that imparted a slightly stern demeanour, quickly developing a dry searing intensity from the tight concentration of dense citrus and melons. Great potential.

2005 Ch d’Yquem “Y” Ygrec courtesy of Sanjay at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Luminous glow of tropical fruits, peaches and durians (yes!) with creamy textures and overtones of paraffin. Very rich, almost luscious, growing steadily in intensity as it sat in the glass. Still tight.

2014 Charles van Canneyt Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Excellent purity of red fruits on the nose and palate, displaying good concentration, layering and depth with early complexity, highly controlled in fruit intensity, very finely balanced with velvety tannins and crisp acidity that produced superb mouthfeel. Excellent.

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2002 Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos des Beze Grand Cru, courtesy of MH at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Very dark, displaying very tight concentration of dark cherries and raspberries with traces of vanillin on the nose and palate, exuding an air of cool nonchalance with quiet intensity, still remarkably youthful, structured with fleshy silky tannins, superbly integration, very finely proportioned and balanced, tapering to a minerally finish.  Not overtly opulent nor succulent, yet there is never any doubt that this wine has so much more in reserve, but simple contented to reveal a little at a time. A cool dark beauty, not showy at all. Outstanding.

1990 Ch d’Yquem, courtesy of Sanjay at Yan, 20 Apr 2018. Quite heavily tinted, proffering powerful aromas of aged apricot, nectarine, rye and malt, superb in concentration and intensity that excites the senses with its stunning complexity, leaving behind a stony minerally glow long after it has left the palate. Outstanding.

2001 Ch Lagrange, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 25 April 2018. Unexpectedly sullen at the start, rather unyielding with tough graphite tones within narrow confines. It took on a totally different character when it did finally open up after an hour, developing the classic hallowed glow of a maturing claret, fleshy with good depth of redcurrants and dark berries, laced with understated acidity that drew exciting tension across the palate, growing with intensity over time. Very fine.

2015 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er, courtesy of host Hsiang Sui at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Delicious buttery and chalky tones topped with creme de la crème, highly generous, with further notes of icing whilst raw nutmeg and exotic spices traipse across the palate with delicate detail, only to lose a bit of focus towards its gentle finish. Very fine.

2013 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay Gravueres 1er, courtesy of host Hsiang Sui at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Dark plums and wild berries dominate on the nose, though somewhat tight and lean on the palate with earthy undertones and understated intensity.

2004 Mount Mary Quintet, popped and poured from magnum at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Lovely aromas of dark cherries and dark plums fill the nose whilst the fleshy palate displays good detail and precision layered with mild saline minerals, ripe wild berries, raspberries and dark currants, gently structured.

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2013 Williams Selyem Foss Vineyard Russian River Vineyard, courtesy of LF at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Notes of cool ripe raspberries and dark cherries dominate on the palate with good lift and focused concentration, still primal in tone, yet to develop but it clearly holds great potential.

2010 Silver Oak Alexander Valley, courtesy of Sanjay at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Quite an unique lifted bouquet of heated stones and savoury curry, gentle and open with good concentration and definition of delicious dark currants structured with sublime acidity and supple tannins, gorgeously rich, fleshing out with supreme confidence. Superb.

2013 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Good colour, very clear and well-defined in its bouquet of ripe red fruits and dark berries, highly focused, showing very tight intensity and concentration though without the opulence and expanse. Needs further cellaring.

2001 Ch Rieussec, from a half bottle courtesy of host Hsiang Sui at the wedding lunch of Eryn & Seng at Capella, 29 Apr 2018. Effusive notes of apricot, ember, cider and sweet incense dominate in equal measure on the nose and palate, full-bodied and fresh with lovely acidity and beguiling presence. Still not quite ready if you are looking for complexity but it is so delicious now.

2003 Domaine Paul Aine Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, decanted on-site at Gattopardo, 30 Apr 2018. Deep purple. Generous in aromas of fresh dark cherries, raspberries and blackberries. Highly supple and fleshy on the open palate, rounded with gentle herbal and medicinal overtones topped with balsam and licorice, finishing with a blaze of youthful intensity amidst a cool minty structure without any trace of its 14.5% alcohol.

 

Georges Comte de Vogue: 1999 Musigny, 1999 Bonnes-Mares, 1996 Amoureuses…

May 2, 2018

These were the wines of Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue tasted at a dinner at Jade Palace, 13 Jan 2018, that took place after a masterclass (of the 2009 wines) presided by Jean-Luc Pépin, Commercial Director of the estate. The line-up was supposed to be 1999 but (as alluded to in my preceding post) as there were quite a few bottles that turned out to be corked, these were replaced by wines from other vintages. The stalwarts of 1999 are developing very well at a glacial pace, truly wines of character and substance though the real revelation that evening was actually the 2010 for burgundy red, truly a cut above 2009.

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2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Bourgogne Blanc. Vinified in only 15% new oak, max. Gentle notes of dew and white truffles dominate on the nose with an unique trace of steamed kaya bread, whilst the palate is suffused with an oily presence, quite rich, verging on opulence as subtle characters of creme and soft complex minerals emerge over time, carrying tremendous drive to produce an exciting back palate before finishing with great persistence, thoroughly seamless throughout its length. Great stuff !

2004 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Bourgogne Blanc. With the added benefit of bottle age, the 2004, very lovely in colour, displays delicate tones in spite of its rich body of clear citrus, yellow fruit, peaches, melons and tropical fruits, superb in concentration and focus with fine intensity, the recessed chalk and minerals lending an aged feel of orange peel. Excellent.

2010 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny. Having tasted the excellent 2009 just a few hours prior, the 2010 raised the bar further, proffering a superb lift of soft red fruits, plums and earth that led to a medium-bodied fleshy palate with plush textures, oozing with gentle acidity and supple tannins that delivered great verve, detail, elegance and understated power. This may be a village but what a complete wine, outstanding in every way, proving as well the superiority of 2010 over 2009.

20180113_211539.jpg1999 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Beautiful colour, showing some evolution, exuding a deep generous bouquet with an exuberant lift of complex red fruits and red currants that produced a ripe, opulent fleshy palate of great succulence  amidst traces of tangerines and earthy minerals, topped with great acidity though a tad short. Excellent, nevertheless.

1996 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Amoureuses. Still deep in colour, from which arose a dense solid core of fleshy ripe dark fruits brimming with quiet intensity, solidly structured and layered but still tight after all these years, eventually softening after some time as it broadened with generous sweet tannins though still undoubtedly masculine, reflecting well its vintage characteristic.

1999 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Ever the extrovert, this wine is highly exuberant, proffering lifted tones of red fruits, dark plums, camphor and tangerines with bold presence as its excellent depth and concentration of fruit took grip,  displaying excellent linearity as well though it still came up a little short at the finish.

1999 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru. Superb colour, exuding a deep intense bouquet of ripe dark fruits, blackberries and camphor, richly layered with great concentration of glorious fruit that evoked cedar, cinnamons and some earth, very fleshy and balanced, cloaked in velvety sweet tannins. Slow to evolve, this wine is still remarkably youthful with plenty of power held in check. Outstanding.

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2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue

May 1, 2018

In what is becoming a serious tradition, Alvin Seah of Domaine Wines would host Jean-Luc Pepin, Commercial Director of Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue, in Singapore every January. This year’s event on 13 Jan 2018 at Jade Palace consisted of a masterclass of the wines of 2009 followed by dinner. Needless to say, it was a great success, the 2009s all drinking very well with plenty of well-proportioned fruit, detail and acidity, powerfully structured as one would expect from this esteemed producer. The tasting (and subsequent dinner) was marred by a few faulty bottles, not enough to spoil the party but worrisome enough considering they all occurred within the same sitting, not to mention the fact that these things are still happening even for recent vintages. It is really time for  major producers to seriously consider alternative closures. Tradition is great, but if it cannot guarantee that these wines will remain impeccably bottled, then it’s time to move on.

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2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny. This village hails from a 1.8 ha plot sitting on Comblanchien limestone, and usually the first wine of this domaine to be bottled. The 2009 exudes a superb intense bouquet of lifted rosy fragrance matched by an attractive earthy pungency, full-bodied, delivering very fine acidity, concentration and depth of fruit with dark spicy tones. Still youthful, yet to develop.

2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er. I hadn’t realised, but Jean-Luc was quick to point out that, since 1995, the domaine has self-consciously declassified all young vines (arbitrarily stipulated as below 25 years) of Musigny Grand Cru as premier cru. In other words, each time you pop a Chambolle-Musigny 1er, you are actually drinking a young Musigny Grand Cru! Indeed it shows, as this superb example of 2009 exudes lovely deep aromas of rose petals and red fruits from its purplish tint, stuffed with cool ripe fruit infused with graphite minerals that imparted tremendous verve and vigour in spite of its slightly stern demeanour, better in depth, layering and definition over time, displaying subtle intensity with well-integrated acidity as it tapered to a quiet lengthy finish. Excellent but priced at a premium.

2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Amoureuses. From soils of 99% limestone, this perennial favourite proffers a deep bouquet of dark cherries, red fruits and raspberries from its deep purple abyss, highly lifted, coiled with dark plums and tangerines of substantial power, depth and freshness, almost masculine in its structured tone though it mellowed considerably after some time, turning more velvety and feminine before receding back into its shell. Unlike the openly flirtatious Les Amoureuses of Robert Groffier, this is a mystic beauty not to be trifled with. Excellent.

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2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. From a sizeable 2.7 ha, this wine proffers a lovely exuberance of warm ripe strawberries, red fruits and preserved cherries with a faint streak of vanillin, excellent in concentration and bold masculine power with superb linearity underscored by a deep minerally streak, structured with pliant tannins. A warm extrovert that everyone loves to hang around with but this chap also knows how to behave, sitting in the glass with quiet intensity when left alone. Absolutely true to its terroir characteristic. Superb.

2009 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru. Owning 7.2 ha of this hallowed plot and 100% of neighbouring Le Petit Musigny, Comte de Vogue has always been the point of reference for Musigny. From soils that contain more clay than limestone, this pinnacle of Musigny exudes a superb lift of earthy minerals and smouldering ember marked by some early complexity, medium-bodied, fleshy but subtly layered with glorious dark fruit and sweet tannins amidst highly-understated acidity, impeccably proportioned. Possesses that extra added dimension on top of great finesse and elegance without being showy. Outstanding.

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Mar 2018: 2002 Coche-Dury Meursault, 2000 Palmer, 1974 Vega Sicilia Unico Risv, 1995 Pichon Lalande, 2013 Tenuta Ornellaia, 2014 Bernard Moreau Ch’sagne-Montrachet

April 25, 2018

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2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet, popped from the list of Ma Cuisine, Singapore, 02 March 2018. Lovely glow of white flowers in bloom with overtones of vanillin, displaying fine concentration of fruit with crème and stony minerals that reflected well the terroir of Chassagne, growing in weight and expanse with fine detail and biting intensity though without the richness and layering of the best of Ramonet, finishing with echoes of white pepper amidst early complexity that produced excellent mouthfeel. Very fine.

2014 Otazu Bond, popped and poured at Asia Grand on 03 March 2018 to celebrate M’s great success. This limited edition magnum (only 150 bottles globally), blended by yours truly at Bodegas Otazu, boasts generous aromas of smoke and mocha tinged with licorice that matched very well with the broad savoury expanse of barbequed meat, sweet dark currants, ripe wild berries and mild cedary characters amidst spicy peppery tones on the palate, excellent in weight and concentration, supported by a rich earthy base without any heaviness, rounded with good balance, finishing with structured sweet tannins. This wine is only just beginning to turn the corner.

1994 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 06 Mar 2018. After shaking off some bottle stink, this wine exudes a powerful earthy pungency with overtones of forest floor and cedar, carrying a deep streak of ripe raspberries and dark cherries with a rounded plummy tone on the palate. Medium-bodied, fleshy with fine intensity of fruit and sharply delineated acidity, displaying good transparency but lacking in opulence and charm which is quite typical of the vintage.

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2001 Ch Sociando Mallet, decanted on-site at Braci, 8 Mar 2018. Tasted blind. Deep garnet red. Reticent at first, proffering only dark berries, graphite and bitter earth, utterly shorn of fat. It began putting on weight rapidly after some time, developing really excellent concentration with gentle biting intensity that grew in power and depth as it sat in the glass, showing good length and linearity although it remained rather tightly focused within a narrow spectrum of flavours, still youthful. I’d read somewhere that the 2001 Sociando Mallet resembled a First Growth in its youth in blinded tastings. Well…not quite, but it definitely belongs amongst the classified growths. Very fine.

2000 Ch Palmer, courtesy of Nicolas Laurent, decanted on-site at Braci, 8 Mar 2018. Tasted blind. Very deep dark core with just a hint of rim evolution, exuding a sharp earthy pungency that complements beautifully the great expanse of fleshy savoury palatal succulence, displaying superb integration between its well-defined acidity, tight svelte tannins and rich dark plummy fruit, rounding off with a dryish velvety feel as it finished with superb length and precision. Barely evolved, this is a wine for the ages. I guessed correctly. What a masterpiece!

2001 Ch Rauzan-Segla, courtesy of Alexandre Olmedo, decanted on-site at Braci, 8 Mar 2018. Tasted blind. Slight vegetal traces on the nose, but the palate displays lifted tones of ripe dark fruits of excellent depth and richness, quietly intense, structured with great opulence and length with finely-chiselled ferrous minerality that tapered towards its glowing finish with a hint of gunsmoke amidst sweet gentle tannins. Rauzan-Segla has seldom tasted so good. Superb!

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2004 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, popped and poured over dimsum at Imperial Treasure Teochew ION, 11 March 2018. Lifted Pauillac signature, glowing with aged plums and dried Chinese tea leaves. Expectedly opulent, opening up well to reveal rich deep tones of dark currants and blueberries, superbly ripe and delicious, seamlessly structured with highly detailed tannins and understated streak of bright minerals. Excellent.

1979 Domaine Louis Trapet Pete et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Robert Kwok at La Cala, 12 Mar 2018. Pale vermilion, this wine has evolved most beautifully, evoking bright red fruits and sweet plums with traces of lychees and glycerin, still imbued with abundant fresh acidity that imparted great suppleness and tensile intensity, staying par for the course without fading away. Lovely!

1995 Domaine Robert Ampeau Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er, courtesy of LF at La Cala, 12 Mar 2018. Lovely golden hue with a certain restraint on the nose though it is quite ample and well developed on the medium-full palate where aged creme and chalky minerals dominate in an easy laissez-faire manner before being gradually overwhelmed by a growing intensity of gentle tropical fruits, turning a little sappy and luscious. Probably at its best.

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2002 Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault, courtesy of Robert Kwok at La Cala, 12 Mar 2018. This wine bears all the classic hallmarks of a Coche-Dury: reticent at first, eventually developing more of crystalline tones on the nose and palate with a soft focus, rather gentle and delicate in spite of its fullness, proffering superb definition, depth and detail, gently layered with understated intensity, finishing with great linearity and persistence. Brilliant.

1976 Domaine Robert Ampeau Volnay-Santenots, courtesy of LF at La Cala, 12 Mar 2018. Showing a well-evolved vermilion, this medium-full wine is still oozing with bright plummy fruit underscored by a deeper streak of dark fruit with herbal tones and licorice, utterly seamless, exuding brilliant intensity from its fresh acidity. Quite amazing.

1993 Domaine Leroy Nuits-Saint-Georges, courtesy of Robert Kwok at La Cala, 12 Mar 2018. This wine is imbued with excellent tone and purity of fruit that exude great aromatic fragrance, layered with earthy textures and tangerines at its core, producing fine gritty detailed tannins that shouts out the unique terroir character of this under-rated commune, very open and lovely in its suppleness and controlled intensity, finishing with great persistence. Outstanding.

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2004 Ch Bernadotte, popped and poured at Ka Soh. Full-bodied, exuding dark plums and fresh black currants, expressing supple tannins with excellent presence and intensity marked by earthy minerals and great acidity without any burliness or vegetal tones, becoming softer and more feminine over the course of dinner. This is the best bottle of 2004 Bernadotte thus far, and I’ve gone through quite a number over the years. Excellent.

1987 R Lopez Heredias Vina Tondonia, at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. Dark murky red with pungent musty old medicinal aromas, distinctly faded on the palate where only bare traces of old plums and tangerines remain.

2009 Maison Roche de Bellene Richebourg Grand Cru at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018, courtesy of Kenny. Red fruits and cherries dominate on the nose and palate, showing good purity. Medium-full, rounded and supple with crisp acidity, quite rich and forward in balance but lacking in real depth and layering, turning a tad spicy at the finish.

2001 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. Deep garnet red, exuding a rich bouquet of black currants, dark plums and dark cherries. Nicely rounded with warm ripe fruit, highly supple, showing good detail amidst seamless structured tannins against a backdrop of slight dusty textures, positively glowing at the finish. Excellent.

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2013 Ornellaia, courtesy of Hiok at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. This cabernet-based Bordeaux blend cultivated in Tuscan soils exudes a powerful earthy pungency amidst overtones of ripe dark berries and blackcurrants, distinctly masculine in its stern uncompromising structure that inevitably lends an air of aloofness before mellowing to some degree over time as its tannins took on sweet velvety textures with peppery tones topped with traces of graphite, finishing strongly. Excellent, but best to lay down for another decade.

1995 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (courtesy of John) at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. Deep crimson, exuding a superb glowing pungency and lovely earthiness in its complex bouquet, medium-full, stuffed with excellent concentration of ripe dark berries laced with very fine subtle tannins and seamless supple acidity that produced near-opulent textures, imbued with a bit of the classic Pauillac dryness as it turned more feminine over time. Highly seductive. Quite outstanding, yet nowhere near its peak.

1988 Ch Calon Segur, courtesy of KP at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. This wine exudes red fruits with some lovely earthy pungency, medium-bodied, displaying good transparency and purity with great suppleness though the fruit is set a little backward, developing a deeper minerally streak over time that imparted a darker overall tone. Could do with greater fullness, though. Very, very fine, nonetheless.

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1974 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva, courtesy of Kenny at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. Still remarkably dark in color, proffering a nose of sweet dark fruit and small ripe wild berries, still amazingly good on the palate where the fruit is still very lively with good presence, great transparency and deftness, enhanced by crisp acidity that enhanced further detail and delineation, finishing with a spicy minty trail. Excellent. What a privilege!

2010 Weingut Vollenweider Wolfer Goldgrube, courtesy of Jonny at La Barca, 21 Mar 2018. Highly attractive bouquet of faint diesel tones and nectarine, saturated with dense tropical fruits on the open palate that boasts truly gorgeous acidity and fabulous intensity of ripe pineapples and lychees, beautifully layered, lingering with great persistence long after its finish. Superb.

2014 Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet, popped and poured on 29 Mar 2018 at Famous Kitchen. Shy at first, revealing only restrained notes of cool icing and vanilla. Took an hour to blossom with floral notes complemented by delicate chalky tones amidst traces of white pepper, excellent in concentration and intensity, finishing with sharp precision. A gross over-achiever. Great buy.

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FICOFI: Vega Sicilia Unico 2005, 2006, 2007 & Riserva Especial 2016, 2017

April 18, 2018

These notes stem from a FICOFI event at Forlino’s, One Fullerton Singapore, on 26 February 2018 with Pablo Alvarez in attendance. It was just as well that we did not drink any Vega Sicilia when we hosted Pablo to a private lunch the day before, for the lineup this evening was quite generous, offering a mini-vertical of successive vintages of the Unico as well as two bottlings of the Especial, which is seldom encountered. It goes without saying that Unico needs plenty of bottle age, two to three decades being the norm at least. Therefore, it’s not surprising these wines are still tight at this early stage though they certainly hold plenty of promise. Let them sleep.

20180226_211954.jpg1998 Dom Perignon P2. This Second Plenitude of D.P. displays green fruits, melons and pomelo with a dash of bitter lemon on the nose though shy at first, gradually yielding more yeasty tones and earthiness, opening up with fine depth, acidity and balance. Excellent.

2012 Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena no.5. Made of 100% tempranillo, this wine showed an impenetrable deep dark inky red, proffering dark currants and raspberries on the nose, slightly forward in fruit intensity and balance, layered with excellent depth and detail of graphite minerals, dark chocolate and licorice with a certain raciness. Very fine. Consistent with a previous tasting in July 2017.

2004 Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena no.5. Equally deep in tint with just a hint of evolution, stuffed with dark fruits, raspberries and bright red plums with a prominent core of tangerines, fleshy and deft with open textures amidst early complexity though not showy at all. A study in understated elegance. This is a blend of 90% tempranillo with a sprinkling of merlot, highly consistent with a previous tasting in July 2017.

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2007 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva. Deep impenetrable red, proffering a darkish tone of mocha and licorice, slightly racy, densely layered with dark red fruits, excellent in ripeness and detail, underscored  by understated acidity and earthiness, structured with chewy tannns. More masculine now compared with previous tastings in July 2017 and 2015. Great potential.

2006 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva. Unique bouquet, more of earth, toffee and mocha, open but narrower in profile on the medium-bodied palate. Quite seamless with gentle tones and sweet tannins that became more pronounced and accentuated over time but essentially primal, yet to develop further.

2005 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva. This wine exudes a heady fragrance of dark cherries, red currants and cinnamon, displaying excellent presence and depth of glorious fruit with rounded velvety tannins, highly seamless in its impeccable balance between fruit and sublime acidity that combined to produce a superb mouthfeel of immense succulence. Absolutely delicious. No wonder Vega Sicilia took such a long time to release this beauty. Lots of great potential ahead. Consistent with a previous note in July 2017 when it was first released. Outstanding.

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2017 Unico Riserva Especial. Very dark and essentially shut, though the palate is lit by dark roses and cherries with a lovely lift and depth, rather understated in acidity and intensity that exuded a gentle and elegant demeanour, finishing with a dash of earthiness. Plenty of promise here but yet to unfurl its true beauty.

2016 Unico Riserva Especial. More open than the preceding wine, proffering feminine tones of cherry blossom, dark roses and red currants, highly lifted, layered with gentle tones of mocha and licorice, displaying great fluidity and fine gritty detail with understated intensity, finishing well with a long minty glow. Excellent.

2005 Ch D’Yquem. Dense overtones of nectarine and apricot amidst an air of heavy petroleum fumes, displaying superb concentration of fruit that recalled smouldering ember and cider supported by firm stony minerals, culminating in a stern lengthy finish.

 

 

FICOFI: Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron 2010, 2005, 2000 & 1957

April 11, 2018

This is a superb event organised by FICOFI at Nicolas, Singapore, on 27 February 2018 at very short notice, presumably to take advantage of a whistle stop by Xavier Sanchez, Marketing Manager of the AXA Millesimes group of vineyards that include all the estates tasted this evening where the star, no doubt, belonged to Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron where three outstanding vintages each separated by five years were featured generously in double magnum format. And as if that wasn’t enough, a very fine 1957 (my second bottle in two months!) was offered as well. The food at Nicolas, as usual, never disappoints, ensuring that the wine pairing hits all the right notes. For me, the 2010 Pichon Baron would be the new 2000 while the S de Suduiraut, Petit Village and the Quinta do Noval Porto were all superb as well in their own right. An outstanding evening.

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2016 S de Suduiraut. Rich expressive palate preceded by overtones of dry grassy elements, hay and summer heat on the nose. Very good concentration and lovely intensity of white fruits with understated acidity, revealing fine detail with faint echoes of white pepper, tapering to a quiet finish. Great finesse and refinement throughout from this dry white of Sauternes. Excellent.

2014 Ch Petit Village, poured from double magnum. Subdued tones of earth, dark berries, black fruits and graphite. Medium-full. Sits quietly with fine concentration and intensity, framed by highly supply tannins that confer velvety textures, becoming more rounded, warm and open over time. Sexy stuff from a most unexpected source. Excellent.

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2010 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, poured from double magnum. Aromas of dense black fruits and dark currants amidst graphite and ferrous minerals with traces of vanillin that produced a subdued masculine fragrance. Opened up very well with food to reveal great concentration of gloriously ripe fruit on the fleshy palate, superbly layered and integrated even at this very early stage, structured with highly supple mouth-puckering tannins that imparted sensational mouthfeel and intensity, underscored by understated acidity throughout its length. Still primal but already such a complete wine. Outstanding.

2005 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, poured from double magnum. Very dark, proffering dense earthy ferrous minerals on the nose. Just beginning to open up on the palate that is still generally tight, infinitely masculine with raw intensity of dark currants, relaxing a little more over time as it developed some degree of suppleness before receding into its minerally shell. Huge potential but awkward and somewhat unresolved at this stage. Give it time.

20180227_211021.jpg2000 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, poured from double magnum. Superb hue of deep purple, exuding a deep delicious glow of gloriously ripe dark berries, currants and black fruits amidst overtones of tobacco ember, producing excellent concentration with a gentle searing intensity on the palate, structured with ferrous minerals. Just beginning to hit its stride and will stay the course for decades. Absolutely on song. Superb.

1957 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. Light crimson. Still showing well with a lovely glow of peaches and plums amidst a great earthy pungency, still lively with great acidity, concentration and depth of fruit, utterly seamless, naturally structured and layered with good transparency that revealed its distilled essence of dried tobacco dried leaves, finishing with great length and suppleness. If only we can age just as well. Outstanding.

1997 Quinta do Noval Porto Vintage Nacional. Very dark. Highly supple, possessing a great natural unforced quality with gentle depth and understated acidity, producing a lovely minty glow amidst light medicinal touches. Superb.

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FICOFI: Domaine Faiveley 2016 & more

April 3, 2018

It was good again to catch up with M. Erwan Faiveley, seventh generation owner of this famous domaine, on his annual visit to Singapore at the Four Seasons on 26 March 2018 during a FICOFI event where there was a promenade of selected wines of 2016, followed by a sumptious dinner paired with several back vintages. By now, most of the 2016 has been bottled although those that were tasted this evening are still barrel samples, as one can see from the corner of the labels. Re-visiting them re-affirmed my impression of the 2016s during my recent extensive tasting in the cellars of Faiveley last November. Certainly, the whites of this low-yielding vintage are excellent, displaying fine detail and precision while the grand cru reds are gorgeous, almost stunning in their succulence and structure. When a wine has the concentration, purity of fruit, great acidity, structure and balance right from the start, it cannot go wrong and that certainly holds true for the 2016 wines of Faiveley. Moving on, Erwan was especially excited about the 2017 still sitting in barrel, where it seems the whites are turning out to be exceptional although Erwan has advised that one will need to be selective about the 2017 reds.

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2016 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Lifted tones of sour plums and floral characters with lovely bloom, displaying superb expanse of fresh lime and citrus and cool rich vanilla icing, sporting excellent acidity, precision and linearity on the medium-full palate. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Grassy elements on the nose with overtones of nutmeg, exotic spice and a perfumed floral fragrance, displaying excellent fullness of citrus fruit with a hint of bitter lemon, all still rather tightly knit, not revealing much. There is no denying that this wine will eventually blossom very well but the Corton-Charlemagne is the one to drink now.

2016 Joseph Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint Georges 1er. Darker tone and tint, more of earthy minerals and ripe raspberries on the nose, consistent with a high-toned minerally palate, showing good detail and structure, finishing with a persistent spicy glow. Not overdone. Faithful to its terroir, though the 2015 below is actually quite lush and opulent, something not usually associated with this commune.

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2016 Domaine Faiveley Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru. Distilled pervasive essence of dark cherries and sweet dark roses, rounded and fleshy with excellent presence and fine acidity that is superbly integrated, very natural in feel, balance and proportion without trying too hard. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru. Rich abundance of ripe dark cherries and red currants that caressed the palate with creamy fullness and lovely raw intensity amidst earthy elements suffused with superb acidity, imparting a sense of velvety power. Excellent, and may be outstanding over time.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Corton Faiveley Grand Cru. Generous aromas of red fruits, full-bodied yet gentle on the palate, displaying earthy minerals amidst the ripe fruit with superb precision, acidity and understated intensity that produced a persistent lasting mouthfeel. Always a perennial favourite. Huge uncoiled potential.

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There were more wines to be drunk at dinner (everyone was unanimous that the European cuisine served was outstanding) where it was clear that the 2013 whites can be rewarding even in their youth whilst the reds from the great vintages have stood the test of time. The last decade has seen Faiveley attaining the level of refinement, character and understanding of terroir that has, hitherto, been somewhat elusive.

2013 Domaine Faiveley Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Complex deep bouquet of crisp citrus with a great lift that led to a medium-full high-toned minerally palate of ferrous elements and delicate citrus with fine seamless acidity, becoming crisper and more layered as it took on proper grip with emergent notes of creme de la creme. The 2013 whites appear to be evolving faster than either the great vintages of 2012 and 2014.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Bienvenues-Batard Montrachet Grand Cru. Generally shut, rather backward on the nose, proffering just gentle citrus whilst an abundance of white fruits dominate on the palate with fine understated acidity, superbly integrated, building up towards a lovely gentle intensity over time. Poised, elegant and unflustered. Usually more approachable than Batard-Montrachet, this further supports my view that one should drink the 2013s while waiting for the 2012 and 2014 to come around.

2013 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Displaying some early evolution, this wine exudes a mild earthy pungency with a layered soft core of white fruits and tempered citrus that opened up well, tapering to a cool gentle finish. Drinking well, but the 2016 is superior in every way.

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2015 Joseph Faiveley Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint Georges 1er. Deep color, proffering a glorious bouquet of early cinnamon and superb ripe fruit, highly inviting. Equally stunning on the open palate where the great concentration of fruit is layered with gorgeous acidity that added immeasurably to the fabulous mouthfeel, already showing some early inner detail, finishing with a trace of austerity. Makes the 2016 seem reductive.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru. Deep in color, showing just a faint whiff of earthy pungency with traces of graphite minerals though the palate is well layered with very fine acidity, definition and detail, displaying good linearity all the way to its glowing minty finish, becoming more delicate over time.

2010 Joseph Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Most alluring in its bouquet of dark red fruits and dark roses amidst earthy tones, matched by a deeper streak sweet dark currants laced with sublime acidity, exuding lovely feminine fragrance, purity and elegance. Gorgeous, re-affirming what we already know about the 2010 Cote de Nuits: just buy everything.

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1999 Joseph Faively Volnay Santenots 1er. Effusive in cedary tones with further notes of truffles coming on later, proffering a generous spread of succulent ripe dark berries layered with great acidity, excellent in refinement and complexity without any burliness or vegetal tones. For many, this was the wine of the night and the least expected. Great stuff.

2009 Domaine Faiveley Pommard Les Rugiens 1er. Dark tones of dark currants and berries pervade this wine, carrying excellent weight, acidity and concentration. Very fleshy, oozing with sweet supple tannins, never at all heavy, reminding us again why Les Rugiens is considered by many to be ripe for re-classification into grand cru.

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