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Jurade de Saint-Emilion: Singapore

February 21, 2019

IMG-20181128-WA0014.jpgThe Jurade de Saint-Emilion is the oldest wine brotherhood in the world, formed in 1199 to act as custodians of wine production in Saint-Emilion on behalf of the English crown. This commune, in turn, may trace its origins as far back as the second century when viticulture was first introduced by the Romans and, subsequently, in the eighth century when Emilion the Benedictine monk, famed for his feats of miracles, moved from Brittany to found a monastic town that eventually became Saint-Emilion, culminating in the construction of the Monolithic Church in the early twelfth century which still stands today. The function and tradition of the ancient Jurade continued until the French Revolution of 1789 when it was dissolved. It would not be until 1948 when several winegrowers came together to resurrect the Jurade as a band of global ambassadors for the wines of Saint-Emilion. In case you’re wondering why Saint-Emilion needs any further promotion, it would be worth remembering that this commune of 27 square kilometres houses more than 600 different winegrowers (plus another 500 if one includes its satellite regions of Puisseguin, Lussac, Montagne and Saint-Georges) across a multitude of differing microclimates, such that the usual names one encounters account for barely a fraction of the production available. The reality hit me when I discovered that, with the exception of Ch Angelus, I had never come across any of the wines at the inception of the Singapore Chapter of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion on 29 November 2018 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, led by our very own Chancellor Melvin Choo and graced by the Jurade’s Commandeur Hubert de Boüard de Laforest (famously of Ch Angelus) as well as the respective vignerons from each of the chateaux listed below. I found the wines to be very well crafted, layered with ripe fruit and possessing very fine minerality and acidity with great balance. It’s quite a wonder that they still remain “undiscovered”, a testament to the very stiff competition in the real world of wine business. Do look out for these labels from your local retailer.

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Forget-Brimont Brut Premier Cru. Quite minerally on the nose but shy. Good concentration of dried pears and gentle white fruits with an attractive depth of dark fruits, just a little short.

2016 Ch Lanbersac Cuvée Or Rouge. Soy, dark plums and licorice dominate. Bold and minty with a slight vegetal tinge, showing good concentration and linearity.

2015 Ch La Rose Cotes Roi. Dryish tones of mushrooms and Chinese tea leaves. Ample presence of dark red fruits and mulberries, very well-integrated. Good finish.

2015 Ch Mangot. Effusive bouquet of ripe raspberries and strawberries amid overtones of chocolate, enamel and vanilla, highly attractive. Lovely supple fullness with excellent concentration, layered with very fine acidity and intensity of fruit, all very well-integrated with subtle detail. Excellent.

2014 Ch Coutet. Some early evolution in colour with a lightly accented bouquet of fresh wild berries. Good agile presence with an abundance of mulberries amid transparent textures, structured with gentle sweet tannins, just a tad short.

2014 Ch Pindefleurs. Glow of warm ripe plums. Medium-bodied with a juicy succulence, highly supple with seamless subtle acidity. Great freshness and charm, finishing with good persistence. Lovely.

2014 Ch Moulin Gaihaud. Good lift of ripe raspberries and dark cherries. Soft and gentle on the palate, structured with seamless acidity and sweet tannins that offer gritty detail. Very fine.

2012 Ch De Pressac. Some early evolution is evident, exuding broad swathes of warm red fruits, rose petals and red currants with a sweet open expanse across the palate, displaying excellent ripeness and intensity of fruit, finishing with good linearity.

2011 Ch Laroze. Rich vermillion hue. Good presence of red fruits and currants, highly supple, layered with subtle intensity and acidity. Quite seamlessly integrated.

2008 Ch Guadet. Sophisticated bouquet of dark violets, blueberries and black fruit. Equally engaging on the palate, teasing the senses with lovely subtle intensity of fruit amid svelte detailed tannins, very fine in concentration and acidity. Superbly balanced. Excellent, all for a fraction of the cost of a premier grand cru classé A.

2011 Ch Angelus. Expectations are high for any Angelus and this wine doesn’t disappoint, opening with a generous expanse of cool ripe fruits layered with mulberries, dark currants and blackberries, lifted with excellent concentration, fleshing out with fine open intensity within pliant supple tannin structures. Highly elegant and sophisticated.

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With Commandeur of the Jurade de Saint-Emilion Hubert de Boüard de Laforest

And, of course, we brought more of our own Saint-Emilion for dinner to accompany the excellent cuisine prepared by the team from Daniel Boulud…

2002 Ch Pavie Macquin, courtesy of Vic. Faint evolution at the rim. The nose is simply quite bequiling, an attractive blend of ripe red fruits, blackberries and dark currants that carried well onto the palate with a cedary floor. Medium-full, fleshy and rounded, structured with supple pliant tannins as more of delicious dark currants emerge to the fore over time.

2001 Ch Figeac, courtesy of Kieron. Generous expanse of delicious dark fruits, classically structured, very open and softly textured, imparting a mild gentle intensity.

2000 Ch Figeac, courtesy of CHS. Showing some evolution in colour, this wine exudes an interesting light nose of morning dew, clear citrus and light red fruits matched by a medium-bodied presence of feminine grace, softness and gentle intensity, very well-integrated, finishing well. Lovely.

1995 Ch Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of LF. Dusky red. Mild herbal medicinal tones and licorice dominate on the bouquet whilst the palate is softly rounded and highly supple, exuding quiet intensity with a lovely depth of ripe fruit amidst dusty textures. Excellent.

1995 Ch Ausone, courtesy of LF. This wine opens with a greatly evolved hallowed glow of an aged claret, fleshing out with great definition and focus on the palate, amply layered with cool ripe fruit that exude sublime acidity with subtle intensity, very supple and elegantly structured. Excellent.

2018-11-29 22.51.59

 

La Paulée de Singapour 2019

February 7, 2019

20190125_184212.jpgTime flies and, once again, the third edition of La Paulée de Singapour descended upon us on 25 January 2019, masterminded by Christophe Cazaux-Maleville and his wonderful people at the Vintage Club. It is to the latter’s credit that the ticket price has remained unchanged in spite of the event having been moved to the Shangri-la Singapore, distinctively a much better venue: much more spacious, excellent ambient temperature control and great service. It was good as well to have Mr & Mrs Bruno Clair in attendance, along with Stéphane Follin-Arbelet (of Chateau de Marsannay) while His Excellency Marc Abensour, the French ambassador, also made a welcome return. As usual, the evening began at 5.30 PM with an extensive tasting promenade. New producers have been added viz. Bruno Clair who was very generous in bringing a wide range of premium 2017 barrel samples, Lucien Muzard, Domaine Chanson and Domaine du Roc des Boutires, in addition to usual stalwarts Georges Noellat, Chateau de Meursault, Faiveley, Chateau de Chamirey, Domaine de Montille, Domaine des Perdrix and Vincent Bouzereau, inter alia. In spite of the alloted 150 minutes, I still couldn’t finish tasting through the entire promenade, an indication of the vast volume available. Most chose to present their 2016s but, regardless of vintage, almost every wine performed really well, a testament to the fantastic breadth and depth of talent and quality to be found at all price points in Burgundy. Things got off to a riotous start right away at dinner as the French community led the way in the shared camaraderie of wining, dining and laughter, punctuated by several rounds of the obligatory ban burguignon. Having already tasted 31 wines at the promenade, going through at least another 14 at dinner (at my table alone!) was a bit of struggle and, inevitably, a few were, regrettably, omitted here and there. The Burgundian cuisine served was excellent but, being true Asians, Kieron and company additionally ordered a huge serving of classic yangzhou fried rice plus crispy roast pork that truly hit the orgasmic spot. Outrageous. This has been absolutely the best La Paulée yet on local shores. Merci Christophe! We are already looking forward to 2020.

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2015 Domaine Georges Noellat Vosne-Romanee. Bright tone of red plummy fruits, displaying sharp attack of concentrated fruit. Taut with lovely tension, finishing with good linearity.

2014 Domaine Georges Noellat Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru. Good depth with some early complexity predominantly red fruits and currants on the open palate, nicely rounded with pliant tannin structure. Distinctly feminine.

2016 Chateau de Meursault Bourgogne Clos du Chateau. Magnum. Nose of white pepper and rye. Good density. Quite plump with an attractive oiliness, laced with a tangy spiciness at the side without any jarring edges. Great acidity.

2016 Chateau de Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus 1er. Jeroboam. Rather quiet and reticent, proffering only glimpses of white pepper. Fleshy and well-balanced on the palate, structured with subtle acidity that imparted lovely freshness and detail, finishing with a bit of spicy lift.

2016 Chateau de Meursault Meursault-Perrieres 1er. Jeroboam. Expressive floral fragrance. Medium-bodied, open and subtly nuanced with very well integrated acidity. A touch more minerally than Les Charmes-Dessus. Very gentle and feminine. Charming.

2016 Chateau de Meursault Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er. Red fruits and raspberries dominate with slight steamy aromas. Quite fleshy with lovely concentration and freshness, exuding distinct feminine presence and great acidity. Not at all overwhelming. Great expression.

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With M. Stéphane Follin-Arbelet who still remembers me

2017 Chateau de Marsannay Clos de Jeu. Earthy green elements. Fleshy with a darkish tone. Well crafted, displaying good presence and fine acidity. Not gruff but not distinctive either.

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Vosne-Romanee Les Champs Perdrix. Barrel sample. Deep ruby. Lovely fresh bouquet of raspberries, violets and dark cherries, richly layered with excellent ripeness and concentration, rounded with soft supple tannins.

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Savigny-les-Beaune La Dominode 1er. Barrel sample. Enticing bouquet of ripe raspberries and camphor with a lovely floral fragrance matched by a highly supple feminine presence, exuding some gentle sweetness without any vegetal greenness. Very lovely.

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M. Bruno Clair

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er. Barrel sample. Deep ruby, exuding a rich glow of raspberries, mulberries, dark cherries, camphor and paraffin. Very ripe and richly layered with excellent concentration within a pliant tannin structure, rounded with excellent precision. Good finish.

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er. Barrel sample. Lovely clear ruby, exuding an aromatic lift of red fruits and tropical exotica amid traces of tangerines. Highly supple and superbly integrated, open with a juicy succulence, showing fine definition and great linearity throughout its considerable length. Wonderful.

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Barrel sample. Boldly aromatic, assaulting the senses with a deep delicious fragrance of red fruits, ripe cherries and bright rose petals. Medium-bodied, soft, rounded and fleshy, showing great focus and linearity with supple pliant tannins that culminated in a long glowing finish. Highly elegant. A feminine but daring Bonnes-Mares coming from the side of Morey-Saint-Denis. Superb.

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambertin-Clos des Beze Grand Cru. Barrel sample. Deep ruby with a great effusive glow of red cherries and rose petals, showing immense concentration and depth of fruit with supple intensity, superbly nuanced in its acidity that imparted superb mouthfeel. Highly feminine, just a tad short.

2012 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambolle-Musigny Les Veroilles. This humble village steals the limelight with a lovely earthy glow tempered with red fruits and a dash of dark currants and malt, bright and sprightly with very fine acidity, rounded and fleshy. Excellent.

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2014 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Blanc Grand Cru. Quite open with a quiet gentle lift of white citrus and floral fragrance, medium-full with crisp acidity amid traces of white pepper in background. Elegant but ait short, not revealing much detail. I’d expected more.

2016 Chateau de Chamirey Mercurey La Mission 1er monopole. Pale with overtones of rye on a slightly peppery nose that belies great concentration and intensity of fruit on the minerally palate, medium-bodied and open with traces of ferrous elements at the sides, just a tad short. This estate’s unforgettable 2014 remains king.

2016 Maison de Montille Saint-Romain. Gentle white citrus on the nose and palate, quite plump, showing very good presence and acidity with some early complexity amid white floral tones. Quite full, exuding a bit of old-fashioned rusticity that suits the wine really well. An over-achieving village. Excellent.

2016 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Saint-Aubin En Remilly 1er. Full floral bouquet. Quite rich and full, displaying great focus, precision and concentration supported by a superb depth of complex minerals topped with a creamy richness, exuding great definition and linearity. Excellent.

2014 Domaine de Montille Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Lovely glow of dense white citrus, layered with excellent depth with some early complexity, superbly balanced, culminating in a long glowing finish that lasted with absolute persistence. Neither too creamy nor chalky. The epitome of power and elegance. Brilliant!

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2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay VV. Clear ruby. Lovely glow of rosy red fruits. Well extracted but supple on the full open palate, displaying very fine intensity and weight on a minerally floor, finishing well.

2016 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay La Maladiere 1er Rouge. Lovely glow of warm red fruits. Richly layered and gently supple, superbly ripe, wonderfully bright and open, very well balanced with excellent integration and depth. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay La Maladiere 1er Blanc. Fresh morning dew on the nose, slightly grassy, with bright minerally tones, almost Chassagne-like in character. Well replicated on the palate, quite richly layered with lovely depth of stony minerals with traces of Asian spice. Excellent.

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2014 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuisse. Glorious lift of white floral fragrance, densely layered with tremendous intensity of white citrus, lemons and complex tangerines amidst flinty minerals with excellent detail, finishing well. Excellent.

2016 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuisse Aux Bouthieres. Magnum. Dense morning dew and complex grassy tones on the nose. Rather full, rounded and fleshy, imbued with ground pepper amid chalky undertones, impeccably balanced and open with great presence and integration. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Chanson Chassagne-Montrachet. Lovely lift of white fruit and grassy tones with a lovely gentle fragrance, very well-layered and full on the palate with an abundance of wild grass and green fruits, displaying some attractive rustic integration with good subtle acidity and balance, finishing with fine intensity.

2016 Domaine Chanson Beaune Clos Des Mouches 1er Blanc. Great bouquet, exuding a profound earthy pungency with dense overtones of nutmeg and exotic spices. Rather full, layered with dense white citrus amidst ground pepper and gravelly tones, very Chassagne-like, cutting across the palate with great purity and precision. Highly extroverted and very successfully crafted. Superb.

20190125_194527.jpg2016 Domaine Chanson Corton Vergennes Grand Cru. Great purity of expression with a lovely bloom of floral tones, highly poised and elegant. Rounded and full with a great deal of of abundance beneath, exuding rich tones of nutmeg and wild flowers with some early complexity, finishing well. Excellent.

2016 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saints-Georges Aux Perdrix 1er. Darkish in colour and tone, open with cleanly-defined fruit and tangerines that glowed with superb suppleness and succulence, almost opulent, that seemed to overwhelm the very subtle minerality. Distinctly feminine.

2016 Domaine des Perdrix Vosne-Romanee. Unusual minty glow on the nose, replete with dark currants and tangerines though, surprisingly, the bright and lighter palate results in quite a bit of disjoint. Lacks distinction.

2016 Domaine Faiveley Nuits-Saints-Georges Les Porets 1er. Bright sheen of emulsion on a backdrop of cleanly-defined supple red fruits, layered with a narrower deep vein of darker fruit, lifted with a certain deftness.

2016 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Corton Clos des Fietres Grand Cru. Chalky tones with an abundance of glorious ripe fruit, exuding cool elegance with great balance.

2007 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of Natalie Ngoi. Golden hue. Highly attractive bouquet hinting at rich buttery creaminess, appropriately full on the palate, showing fine detail, superb balance and subtle acidity. Hasn’t quite fleshed out with secondary nuances.

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FICOFI CEO Philippe Capdouze turns sommelier

2011 Domaine Ponsot Morey-Saint-Denis Les Monts Luisants 1er, courtesy of Kieron. Magnum. Great bouquet of longans and peaches, layered with dense fruit and minerals and sharp acidity that impart great detail and intensity on the palate, displaying wonderful freshness, complexity and deftness. Excellent.

2009 Domaine Dugat Py Vosne-Romanee VV, courtesy of Sanjay. Very dark, exuding smoke and ember, revealing great suppleness on the full and fleshy palate, wonderfully fresh with great acidity and layering, finishing with traces of iron fillings. Very fine.

2003 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Magnum. This wine opens with a great earthy pungency, underscored with intense raspberries, red currants and dark cherries with overtones of gun smoke, displaying excellent definition and razor-sharp precision within its tannin structure. Full-bodied, and still youthful. Huge potential.

2001 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saints-Georges Clos des Porrets St Georges 1er, courtesy of LF. Magnum. Great lovely earthiness cloaked in velvety textures, displaying lush presence of red fruits and dark currants, layered with tangerines and wonderful acidity that confered good linearity and freshness, finishing well.

2009 Domaine Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, courtesy of Vic. Very clean in feel, imbued with wonderful depth and richness of ripe raspberries and dark currants laced with sublime acidity that impart fabulous intensity, detail and precision throughout its length, highly agile and supple. Still youthful. Excellent.

2013 Charles Van Canneyt Corton-Renardes Grand Cru. Open with a generous spread of bright red fruits and rose petals, softly rounded with overtones of sweet incense, displaying fine intensity and linearity but short.

20190125_212429.jpg2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Surprisingly open for such a young grand cru, proffering lifted aromas of ash and incense amid red currants and dark berries, displaying lovely fullness and concentration with a note of gunmetal flint. Promising.

1966 Daniel Senard Corton Clos des Meix, courtesy of Christophe. A rare bottling before this producer became Domaine Comte Senard and before this plot became its monopole grand cru. Still remarkably dark and richly layered with deep medicinal tones on both nose and palate, slightly sweet with overtones of ripe bananas, mainly fruit driven at this stage as its minerals have long been resorbed. What a privilege!

2009 Domaine Perrot-Minot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Lifted tones of bright tangerines. Supple with excellent concentration, presence and intensity, still layered with some emulsion but the acidity here is absolutely sublime.

2009 Domaine Francois Lamarche La Grand Rue Grand Cru. Fleshy and rounded, exuding great color, layered with gorgeous ripe berries and dark currants with some early complexity, structured with velvety tannins that deliver fine power and elegance. Very lovely. Wonderful.

2012 Domaine Anne Gros Echezeaux Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron. Lovely balance. Ample expanse of cool ripe fruit and mulberries, very well integrated with great subtlety. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cing Terroirs, courtesy of Caroline. Magnum. Opague ruby. Excellent concentration of ripe raspberries, dark currants and mulberries supported by fine acidity with traces of ember. Fairly lush and sophisticated.

1989 Domaines Rolet Cotes Du Jura, courtesy of Christopher. Distinctively aged and mature, proffering lifted aromas of aged cheese but its balance has been disrupted by fruit that has receded into the far distance, leaving behind substantial sharp acidity.

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Fried rice !!

Paulee 2019

Photo: Vintage Club

Jan 2019: 2014 Louis Jadot Clos St-Jacques, 1983 Mouton Rothschild, 2008 Pol Roger, 2008 Cristal, 1987 Guigal La Landonne

February 5, 2019

1999 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle. Decanted on-site at Peach Blossoms, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 03 Jan 2019. Gentle medicinal tones and licorice allied with good concentration of ripe warm plummy fruit on the palate, structured with sweet tannins that impart gentle intensity of fruit, turning a bit more earthy and minerally over time, revealing good depth and layering on a cedary floor. Drinking well and unlikely to improve any further.

1987 E Guigal La Landonne, courtesy of Stephen Co at Peach Blossoms, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 03 Jan 2019. Deep purple. Gentle dark cherries, dark plums and raspberries dominate, still remarkably fresh and lively. Rounded with superb fullness, brightý lifted, imbued with sublime acidity and chewy tannins on a floor of very fine earthy minerals amidst a complex of charcoal and incense. Superb.

2010 Ch Le Doyenné, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 05 Jan 2019. Gorgeous layers of dark cherries, raspberries and dark currants dominate on the nose and palate, beautifully ripe, darkly delicious and rounded with finely-grained minerals that are very well integrated, developing further notes of red plums and cedar as its structured gritty tannins gained some lovely biting intensity. Eclipses the 2009, even though that was quite excellent too. A definite bargain at SGD45. We should be drinking such gems.

20190112_193629.jpg2010 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saints-Georges Les Pruliers 1er, popped and poured at Jade Palace, 12 Jan 2019. Dark vermillion. Medium-full, proffering gentle currants and dark cherries on the nose, positively glowing with excellent purity and definition. Wonderfully fresh and supple, evoking lovely tension across the palate that culminated in a bracing finish, exuding great confidence through its understated charm, verve and intensity. Very gentlemanly and correct, just entering its optimal drinking window. Best appreciated by connoiseurs of Henri Gouges.

2008 Champagne Pol Roger, courtesy of Vic at Sushi Koike, 18 Jan 2019. Fabulous clear crystalline tones and nutty flavors, well lit with green fruits amidst smooth creamy textures that exude a luxurious sheen, displaying good length and precision with a quiet intensity, revealing some yeasty pungency over time. Excellent.

2008 Champagne Cristal, courtesy of Vic at Sushi Koike, 18 Jan 2019. Gentle bouquet of yeasty tones, somewhat reticent. Rather dry, brightly lit and taut with a predominance of clear crystalline tones on the palate, yielding more layers of ferrous minerals as it took on a deeper note, developing absolute razor-sharp precision and focus over time with further notes of graphite and smoky characters. Very different from the Pol Roger but excellent as well.

2014 Domaine Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er, tasted after two hours of aeration in bottle at Sushi Koike, 18 Jan 2019. This wine opens with an abundant bouquet of rose petals with further notes of kumquat on the palate, structured with smooth supple tannins that build up to a lovely feminine intensity, finishing with excellent linearity.

2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, popped and poured over dimsum at Asia Grand, 19 Jan 2019. A bottle I’d cellared for many years. Deep straw-colored, opening with dense green fruits and floral tones, revealing good concentration and intensity of fruit amid some chalky depth with a distinct glint of stern ferrous minerals that imparted a certain bitterness. Well-structured, but it began to fade a little as lunch wore on, lacking real distinction.

2005 Faiveley Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru, popped and poured at Crab At Bay, 23 Jan 2019. This wine opened with backward white floral tones as well as recessed chalkiness, failing to impress although it went on to develop better concentration and intensity of fruit and minerals with a more forward balance after an hour but it didn’t seem entirely convincing.

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1983 Ch Mouton Rothschild, drunk from a pair aired in bottle over lunch at Alma, 24 Jan 2019, courtesy of SC. Deep garnet core with vermillion rim, proffering a lifted complex of dark plums, ripe tangerines, shrubs, red fruits and violets that delivered a wonderful fleshy presence on the palate, layered with dense tertiary nuances and dried mushrooms on a mild cedary floor laced with silky smooth tannins, finishing with gentle lasting intensity. Quite the epitome of mellowed elegance. Very lovely.

2017 Stoneburn Sauvignon Blanc, tasted at the Krisflyer Lounge of Heathrow London, 29 Jan 2019. Dry grassy elements. Concentrated palate of clear citrus and gravelly minerals that produced a sharp attack of refined acidity, finishing with decent spicy length. Highly serviceable.

2003 Ch Phelan Segur, popped and poured at Teochew City, 31 Jan 2019. Dark currants, dark plums and licorice dominate with good density on the nose, in contrast against gritty chewy tannins, leathery textures and a great deal of earthiness with traces of sweet on the palate, coming together very well by the penultimate pour. Very fine.

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FICOFI: Burgundy on board the Lady E

January 29, 2019

FICOFI kicked off the new year in style with a generous promenade of Burgundy on board one of the very best superyachts of the world, the Lady E, moored at One°15, Sentosa Cove Singapore, on the afternoon of 26 January 2019. Stretching 69 metres and capable of a top speed of 18 knots (12 knots at cruising), the Lady E exudes absolute class and sophistication throughout its five floors of sheer luxury, looked after with extreme care by its full-time crew of 19 who travel far and wide across the seven seas wherever the Lady E may sail. It may be yours too for a week if you fancy splurging close to USD500,000. On that day though, we only had the privilege of stepping on board to taste through a good range of older vintages of Burgundy as well as some 2017s which had only just been recently bottled, graced by the presence of Mr & Mrs Bruno Clair and Stéphane Follin-Arbelet. In spite of the balmy afternoon heat, the sommeliers have done a great job in ensuring that the wines were properly chilled. The 2017 whites again are superlative while the reds, particularly from the Cote de Nuits, are proving to be quite irresistible too.

1995 Champagne Henriot Enchanteleur. Jeroboam. Lovely luminosity. Unusual bouquet of sweet ripe berries with an attractive perfumed depth that I’ve not encountered before in champagne. Slightly backward on the palate, allowing some graphite minerals to dominate without being too dry, displaying excellent presence, acidity and balance, finishing with traces of sweet.

2015 Louis Jadot Beaune Greves Le Clos Blanc. Jeroboam. Perfumed glow of sweet white fruit and frangipani, showing good acidity and gentle concentration. Not plump, finishing with glowing length.

2015 Chateau de Puligny Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Jeroboam. Shut, revealing only glimpses of wild flowers. Excellent in acidity, tension and fullness though there isn’t much detail. Good finish.

2011 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Jeroboam. Lovely lift of creamy chalky tones. Excellent mouthful of tangy acidity with understated fleeting intensity of fruit, very successfully integrated, revealing good definition but not too exuberant.

2014 Chateau de Meursault Meursault-Perrieres 1er. Magnum. Wonderful delicate lift of gentle chalkiness that extended to the medium-bodied palate, displaying lovely gentle intensity of fruit, quite fleshy and plump with good transparency, finishing well.

2013 Chateau de Meursault Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus 1er. Methuselah. Effusive bouquet of green fruits and fresh morning dew with a lovely fullness. Softly rounded, poised and elegant, imbued with predominant characters of white citrus with good subtle acidity but not much detail. Bit short.

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2004 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er. Magnum. Highly aromatic with intoxicating notes of ripe red fruits and emulsion, layered with plenty of secondary nuances, rather bold. Medium-full. Open, softly rounded with highly supple tannins, rathher brightly lit, conveying tremendous energy amid minty overtones. Excellent.

2011 Domaine Bruno Clair Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Quite extroverted with an unmistakable immediacy, exuding a dense bouquet of intense ripe raspberries and varnish from an abundant spread of fruit contained with pliant supple tannin structures laced with a certain spiciness though not quite as weighty as one would expect of a Bonnes-Mares. Still infantile.

1993 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Jeroboam. Lovely aromatic lift of delicious red fruits, rounded and fleshy with well-integrated acidity and understated intensity, exuding great verve with fine power and elegance. Very well proportioned. Still youthful.

2015 Domaine Louis Jadot Beaune Clos des Ursules 1er. Jeroboam. Great color. Good extraction and purity. Well structured, slightly more forward with fine intensity and good integration without the burliness of Beaune. Yet to develop.

1999 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1er Rouge. Methuselah. Wonderful freshness and lift of ripe red plums and cherries, imbued with excellent fullness and acidity, displaying great linearity throughout its lasting length. Excellent.

2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1er Rouge. More forwardly balanced, exuding a rich smooth intensity of red fruits and dark cherries, displaying great concentration and refined precision. Still infantile. A younger incarnation of the 1999. Will be outstanding.

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2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Proces 1er. Deep ruby. Forward nose of ripe raspberries, ripe wild berries and mulberries that carried well onto the medium-full palate. Quite fleshy with a lovely warm intensity of fruit amid traces of earthy undergrowth, displaying wonderful acidity, integration and great precision throughout its supple length. Excellent. Normally bottled as part of its Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er output, this vintage marks the very first time that this domaine is bottling its three parcels of Les Proces 1er separately.

2017 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves L’Enfant Jesus 1er. Good lift of ripe cherries and rose petals, exuding excellent purity and freshness with gentle intensity. Very well proportioned with seamless integration of tannins. Excellent.

2017 Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles 1er. Lovely glow of rose petals amid tangerines. Fleshy and rounded with a superb supple intensity that created some gentle tension across the palate, underscored by mild earthy elements. Bit short.

2017 Domaine de Montille Volnay En Champan 1er. Great color. Lovely glow of ripe raspberries, displaying lovely acidity, intensity and succulence, quite seamlessly integrated with excellent linearity.

2017 Chateau de Meursault Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus 1er. Distinct grassy tones and green fruits, quite lifted. The palate is imbued with clear crystalline minerals that impart good vigour and ultra-fine precision, showing good detail without the plumpness, finishing well.

2017 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Gentle floral lift. Excellent palate, imbued with very good density of nutmeg and white flowers without any overt heaviness, aided by deft handling of chalky minerals. Distinctly feminine. Really good.

2017 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Volnay Les Caillerets Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 1er. Forward tone of ripe dark berries and currants, undeniably delicious and aromatic in its smooth concentration and rich presence, showing good intensity and linearity.

2017 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault-Genevieres 1er. Grassy elements dominate with white floral tones with a lovely fullness and attack of sharp acidity amidst a notable background chalkiness that conferred a more minerally balance.

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FICOFI: Bouchard, Drouhin & Prieure-Roch

January 22, 2019

These are notes from a generous promenade-cum-dinner featuring Bouchard Pere et Fils, Joseph Drouhin and Prieure-Roch organised by FICOFI in Singapore, 12 April 2018, in the presence of their respective representatives Luc Bouchard, Jean-Paul Dumond (Sales Director of Drouhin) and Yannick Champ (co-geriant of Prieure-Roch). With three stations each overflowing with so much wonderful stuff, 60 minutes simply weren’t enough to savour and appreciate the efforts of the winemakers. Regretfully, I missed a couple of wines but whatever I had below all performed very well.  Bouchard and Drouhin showed off mostly their 2016s, fabulous for reds while the whites are plummy, whilst Prieure-Roch féted us with mostly 2009s, another great vintage. Interestingly, Bouchard now sports a brand new look on their labels with effect from the 2016 vintage.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault-Perrieres 1er. Lifted bouquet of fresh morning dew and grassy elements, whilst the palate is imbued with delicate yellow citrus, very fine in acidity and presence. Lovely.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault-Genevieres 1er. Fat. Delicate perfumed floral tones. Quite opulent on the palate, ample in lovely concentration of fruit and ferrous minerals in equal measure, turning just a tad stern towards its finish. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Rich, full and succulent, filled with an abundance of white floral characters tinged with white peppery tones along with some spiciness at the sides, underscored with complex minerals that confer sharp inner detail and definition. Yet rounded and gentle, superbly balanced. Wonderful.

2014 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Some early complexity is discernible, overshadowed by such superb mouthfeel from the fabulous intensity of nutmeg and other exotic nuances along with traces of white pepper that impart a distilled complex of great definition and detail. Bold, massive yet wonderfully elegant. Outstanding.

2016 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Considerably less extroverted than the 2014, proffering a quiet minerally bouquet with overtones of nutmeg. Less dense as well on the medium-bodied palate, imbued with lovely delicacy of cool ripe fruit though missing the ultra high definition of 2014, finishing with mild intensity.

2014 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru. Discernible early complexity on the full bouquet, exuding toffee, coconut and dense petroleum. Smooth and placid, poised with delicate cool refinement but somewhat reticent at this stage though its natural balance is absolutely impeccable. Will be slow to develop but it could turn out to be one of the great Montrachets of this century.

2016 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru. Deep bouquet, boasting a complex of white flowers and dense minerals but somewhat introverted, lagging behind a more involving palate that held great concentration of fruit, richly layered in crème de la crème and splashes of exotic spice throughout its considerable length. Excellent, and likely to develop faster than the 2014.

2016 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 1er. Generous tone of fresh raspberries and dark berries with traces of green and spice within a slender understated structure, underscored with good acidity.

2014 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Fresh floral lift on a rounded palate scored with abundant raspberries with a light delicate touch, displaying good balance. Lovely but not quite truly distinctive.

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2011 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru. Beautiful liquid gold. Some lovely opulence on the nose though somewhat reserved, revealing some early complexity on a palate of dense minerals and delicate crème de la crème, quite seamlessly integrated with a fair abundance of white fruits that exude dry intensity, very well balanced. Still rather taut on the whole.

2008 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Good lift of spice and raw nutmeg on the nose, yielding some early complexity on a palate dominated by characters of exotic fruit and bananas, rounded with delicate minerals, displaying great verve, intensity and vivid detail with excellent linearity.

2016 Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. This wine opens with Asian spices and earth on the nose, striking a delicate balance on the minerally palate laced with excellent depth of white fruits amid great acidity, generating an immediacy that imparted superb mouthfeel throughout its wonderful length. Superb.

2016 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er. This wine exudes immense purity on the nose with a glorious lift of ripe red fruits and cherries, displaying real power, concentration and intensity with a lovely openness though still primal, yet to develop the sensual regal elegance that one expects from Amoureuses but it already feels so right. Will be outstanding.

2016 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1er Rouge. Generous expanse of raspberries and dark cherries, covering the palate with tremendous vigour and intensity, structured with tightly-knit velvety tannins that reveal lovely detail. A great over-achiever.

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Yannick Champ (L) with Jean-Paul Dumond

2009 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Argillieres 1er. Deep glow of medicinal and earthy tones. Tight with fleshy dark fruits on the palate, dotted with black pepper, slightly stemmy.

2009 Domaine Prieure-Roch Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er. Glowing eminence, boasting ripe dark berries and dark plums. Quite fleshy, displaying good depth amidst dark earthy tones, imbued with lovely freshness and acidity.

2008 Domaine Prieure-Roch Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. The bouquet offers a lovely complexity of heated gravel and red dates with a perfumed fragrance, greatly lifted with open detail, rather fleshy and rounded with superb integration and great acidity. A wine of great individuality. Highly successful.

2009 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Quite full on the nose and palate, filled with ample dark fruits, currants, exotic spice and earth, rather dark in tone. Rounded with smooth tannins and very well-balanced, finishing with good acidity.

2009 Domaine Prieure-Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Double decanted for four hours prior. Fully open, highly effusive in rich dark berries that carried well onto the palate with sublime acidity, filled with layers of deep glorious fruit on a bed of smooth velvety tannins that still held so much in reserve. Outstanding.

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M. Luc Bouchard (R)

And for dinner…

2005 Champagne Henriot Cuvee Hemera. Yeasty lift with a rich creamy tone. Crisp but not overtly dry. Highly supple, yielding good transparency and open intensity, layered with great subtley, finishing well.

2012 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches 1er Blanc. This wine opens with a deceptively gentle tone of peaches allied with mild grassy elements and nutmeg before blazing away with fine open intensity of creme de la creme and dense overt chalkiness, displaying good linearity but slightly short.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Morning dew, wild flowers and white pepper dominate on the nose while the palate is distinctly more minerally, excellent in concentration with a quiet intensity.

2010 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte Grand Cru. This wine proffers a deep open bouquet of complex minerals with an attractive white floral fragrance, matched by a rich wonderful depth of fruit on the palate sprinkled with white pepper, exotic spice and traces of vanillin, producing fabulous mouthfeel and length. Combines the power and richness of Chevalier with the delicate finesse of Montrachet. Not surprising, as those who know will understand that the 0.21 ha La Cabotte actually sits within Montrachet itself at its western boundary and was once considered part of Montrachet Grand Cru. Outstanding.

1999 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 1er. Richly layered in dark cherries with a lovely depth of perfumed cider, displaying great purity of fruit and expression, superbly balanced against the fine acidity and understated tannins. Very complete in itself. Outstanding.

2002 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Complex bouquet of red fruits and dark currants. Rather firm with a high-toned salinity on the palate, very focused with good linearity.

2005 Ch d’Yquem, put on specially for Jean-Paul Dumond who simply cannot do without this Sauternes which did not disappoint with its rich dense layers of nectarine, ripe apricot and cinnamon with overtones of sweet incense underscored by fresh sublime acidity, still absolutely infantile at 12 years. Outstanding.

 

FICOFI: Clos Vougeot Grand Cru

January 19, 2019

Some short notes from a FICOFI tasting on 24 May 2018 at the Four Seasons, Singapore, focusing on the largest and most-maligned of all Burgundy grand cru. Occupied by over eighty producers and stretching all the way downslope right to the D974 highway, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru has often been criticised, not without reason, as second division. In most cases, the wine may seem quite inviting on its own but its shortcomings are clear when lined up against the stalwarts of Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanee, between which it is sandwiched, commonly lacking in that extra dimension and distinction. Nevertheless, some gems can be found at the correct places within such a large plot and FICOFI, on that evening, had put on some convincing examples that might make you change your mind. Just make sure you choose wisely. As always, it’s the producer that matters most, followed by vintage. Chateau de La Tour in particular, with the largest holdings and which I had the privilege of visiting last fall, makes an exceptionally fine Clos Vougeot Grand Cru in its vieille vignes bottling.

2015 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Darker in tone, marked by dark cherries and dark currants with occasional bright spots, exuding lovely aromas with overtones of light incense and smoke, cleanly delineated with good focus on the palate though without the opulence that one may expect from such a good vintage, structured with some spicy edge.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Gentle notes of dark roses and camphor on the nose and palate, opening up with lean clean precision amid gravel and minerally tones that impart a certain sternness.

2013 Domaine Alain Hudelot-Noellat Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru. Feminine rosy tones, quite alluring, matched by a fleshy open palate that yielded subtle subdued intensity of fruit with good detail, showing great refinement but short.

2012 Chateau de La Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru VV de plus de 100 ans. Special bottling from vines more than a hundred years old. This wine opens with a deep bouquet of blueberries, violets and dark currants, highly effusive, while the open palate proffers excellent concentration of fruit with superb intensity and seamless detail. Very fleshy, rounded and subtly structured. Highly refined and elegant. Outstanding.

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2009 Domaine Faiveley Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Rich in bright red fruits, gently layered with earthy tones that conjured vibrant intensity on the fleshy, satiny smooth palate. Still highly youthful, appearing seemingly slow to evolve, probably a reflection of that remarkable vintage.

2007 Domaine Prieure-Roch Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. There’s a great deal of earthiness here as one may expect from this estate, though the wine is nicely open at this stage with lovely notes of rose petals and red fruits, suitably delicate on a bed of velvety intensity with plenty of concealed power, its wonderful acidity delivering sharp detail and precision, finishing in a glorious blaze of ripe after notes. Superb.

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The Clos Vougeot vines of Meo Camuzet right in front of the Chateau du Clos Vougeot

Les Amoureuses: 2008 & 1996 G de Vogüé, 2013 Bertheau, 2001 Jadot, 2011 Drouhin, 2011 de la Pousse d’Or, 2005 Amiot-Servelle, 2009 Robert Groffier, 1989 Antonin Rodet & 2007 J-F Mugnier

January 14, 2019

There is a certain romance about Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er that sets the pulse racing: the mystigue surrounding its very name, the outrageous prices that some of the bottlings fetch, its relative scarcity…and yet people are still buying without hesitation. Wherein, exactly, lies its allure? Much has been said about its sensuousness, its feminine grace and its delicate beauty, much of which actually abound on the nose rather than the palate. Second only to Musigny Grand Cru in pricing within the Chambolle-Musigny appellation and consistently more expensive than Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru (partly explained by supply-and-demand economics: Les Amoureuses is only a third the size of 15.0 ha Bonnes-Mares), it is no wonder that many have opined that Les Amoureuses should be regarded as grand cru. Does it?

Situated at an altitude of 250-280 metres, the plot of Les Amoureuses slopes down eastwards from the Route des Grand Grus at a gradient of eight degrees in a series of stepped terraces. A small portion actually lies on the other side of this road just abutting the northern boundary of Musigny Grand Cru (one of Joseph Drouhin’s three separate plots is most adjacent, which is really fascinating). Les Amoureuses lies on Comblanchien limestone (extremely dense ancient bedrock formed by marine sediment 170 million years ago after the sea had receded) with a topsoil of ferrous clay, especially at the parts closest to its eastern boundary. Fourteen growers occupy this hallowed 5.4 hectare plot, divided as such:

  • R Groffier (1.09 ha)
  • J Drouhin (0.59)
  • G de Vogüé (0.56)
  • J-F Mugnier (0.53)
  • C Amiot-Servelle (0.45)
  • G Roumier (0.40)
  • B Serveau (0.35)
  • Bertagna (0.34) but seemingly unplanted
  • F Bertheau (0.32)
  • G Peirazeau (0.25)
  • Pousse d’Or (0.196)
  • P Rion (0.16)
  • M Zibetti (0.12), formerly Domaine Chazans
  • L Jadot (0.12)

Nobody really knows how the name came about. If it is a place for lovers to gather, there are plenty of other lovely (and better) spots throughout the Cote d’Or for that purpose. A more prosaic explanation is that it’s a metaphor for the mud sticking really close to the boots of vineyard workers but, then again, that happens in every plot everywhere! With so much intrigue to be delved into, KG organised a Les Amoureuses dinner at the delectable one-Michelin starred Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, on 08 Jan 2019 featuring ten bottles from a good spread of nine producers, representing examples from the largest (Groffier) as well as the tiniest (Jadot) holdings, from plots across the road (Drouhin, Pousse d’Or, Mugnier, Bertheau) and from lesser-known producers. And as if these weren’t enough, the line-up was bookended by three different Montrachet Grand Cru and a superb d’Yquem.

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2002 Piper Heidsieck Rare Millesime, courtesy of KG. Lovely nuanced bouquet of yeast and earthy tones, proffering lime, citrus and green melons on the palate with an after note of gunmetal, displaying lovely body and presence, turning sharper in acidity over time.

1976 Bollinger Brut, courtesy of LF. Dark golden hue, all its fizz having dissipated totally after 43 years, distinctly mature on the nose with a superb complex of yeasty tones amidst a little mustiness, dried mushrooms and steely minerals. Still remarkably fresh on the palate with very good concentration and acidity but dry, layered with intense yellow citrus that left a lasting impression.

2007 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Rather reluctant on the nose, proffering just some waxiness with traces of oxidation. Got better over time as more of lime, yellow citrus and stony minerals began developing with fair intensity on the palate, revealing great detail along with some graphite elements as it broadened with greater expanse and depth, utterly seamless in transition and linearity though the legendary ethereal elegance of Bouchard’s Montrachet eluded us that evening. Needs far more time in the glass than we gave it.

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2013 Domaine Francois Bertheau Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er. Good colour. Very gentle rosy fragrance on the nose, especially floral and delicate on an open palate strewn with light cherries and strawberries. Distinctly feminine. Rather understated in power and minerality, exuding very fine gentle intensity. Very lovely, a wine that would be easily under-rated.

2011 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of Grace. Slightly deeper in colour and more aromatic, yet gentle. Very correct in its poise of rose petals and light raspberries, proportioned with just the right degree of concentration that yielded good detail with a feminine feel, gently structured, finishing with traces of earthy minerals.

2011 Domaine de la La Pousse d’Or Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of John. Good colour. Shut on the nose, though the palate is imbued with a distinct firm tone of ferrous minerals, graphite and earth on a backdrop of light red fruits, gradually opening up with more orangey tangerines with a rounded feminine suppleness. Quite lovely actually, though it remained absolutely unyielding on the nose.

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2005 Domaine Amiot-Servelle Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er

2009 Domaine Robert Groffier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of C J. Already evolving to vermillion. Highly effusive with a great bouquet of deep dark roses, dark currants and red cherries. Rather full, exuding excellent presence with a firm minerally streak right across the palate that imparted lovely intensity and great sensation at the finish. Superb.

2008 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of Vic. More darkly tinted, which is quite usual from this estate. This wine opens on a slightly minty note with an unique chalky medicinal aroma that reminded me of Gaviscon (really!). The palate displays supple ripe berries, currants and tangerines that are gorgeously sublime in concentration and acidity, conferring superb mouthfeel. Highly distinctive but still a tad short. Quite wonderful.

2001 Domaine Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of LF. The aromatics here are simply sensational, stroking the senses with a gentle depth of red cherries and bright rose petals, heightening the anticipation of a plush velvety bed of gorgeous fruit  that oozed with great suppleness and freshness, very correctly poised and proportioned with excellent linearity throughout its lovely length. It may have come from the tiniest holdings but this wine is an absolute delight.

20190108_230549.jpg2005 Domaine Christian Amiot-Servelle Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of KG. Dark red. Evidently more extracted, resulting in more power along with medicinal tones on the nose whilst the palate displays excellent depth and structure of fruit with darker tones, imbued with fine acidity, lovely verve and weight but still a bit short at the finish. A masculine Amoureuses, for a change.

2007 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of LF. Fabulous bouquet, intriguingly complex in its intricate mix of delicate  cherries and gloriously ripe raspberries that exude a highly enticing floral fragrance, absolutely superb in definition and depth with a distinctly feminine intensity on the palate, enhanced by sublime seamless acidity that streamed through its entire length with great linearity and gentle sweetness. Absolutely outstanding!

1996 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of CHS. Slightly darkish though the bouquet is beautifully delicate in definition with delicious tertiary characteristics, softly rounded with bright tangerines and red plums that impart lovely intensity and great suppleness, flowing with good linearity amid faint but distinct graphite minerality that added a touch of sternness, finishing with sensational mouthfeel. Very correct in every way. Outstanding.

1989 Domaine Antonin Rodet Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of KG. Opague dull red, exuding a lovely earthy glow, slightly sweet, appearing to hold with good acidity and concentration of tangerines but it began fading after about an hour.

2006 Domaine Moret-Nomine Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Still shut in spite of aeration in bottle for almost three hours. The palate has a certain aged feel of recessed fruit and minerals, further shrouded by a sheen of paraffin that imparted a veiled character, rather closed as well though a bit of white fruits did emerge after much persuasive coaxing.

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1995 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Sanjay. Aired in bottle for three hours. Most unfortunate that this bottle was distinctly oxidized, preventing the mature citrus from shining through as the palate displayed mainly chalky tones of mild intensity that produced quite a bit of hard minerally glare.

1989 Ch d’Yquem, courtesy of Sanjay. Very dark in colour for Sauternes with a deep burnished tone, exuding a fabulous bouquet of exotic fruit (including overtones of durians!) and varnish, delivering an abundance of intense aged nectarines on the full palate, still imbued with fine acidity, finishing well.

So, is Les Amoureuses deserving of grand cru status? I belong firmly to the camp that says things should remain status quo. Yes, the nose is truly extraordinary but the palate tends to fall just a little short in depth, detail, dimension and finish in comparison with Musigny Grand Cru. No doubt the offerings from Mugnier, de Vogüé, Groffier and Jadot are outstanding, but I feel the quality isn’t quite uniform across Les Amoureuses. Nevertheless, to each his own. I shall always remain indebted for any opportunity to drink such lovely wines. A big thank you to everyone for their immense generousity.

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