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My lunch with Laurent

March 24, 2023

Monsieur Laurent Ponsot very kindly accepted my offer to host him to lunch at Imperial Treasure Great World, Singapore, on 09 March 2023, almost four years to the date when I’d last met him in Singapore (click here). It seems neither age nor the pandemic has affected him one single bit, for he still appears exactly the same as I’d remembered, picking up his charm and persona where he’d left off. Laurent has made full use of his time, for he’d just completed writing a book about his personal endeavours into the infamous Rudy Kurniawan affair that promises to lay bare about the entire fraudulent wine business. Laurent wouldn’t reveal anything more (“read the book!”) though it’s clear that, even till now, the latter has no place at all in his heart. When I mentioned that Rudy himself had been in this very same private room only four nights ago, Laurent, his eyes twinkling, said he already knew as someone had sent him a photo. Well, well…Laurent is certainly very well-informed about things and he is not afraid to express his opinion. He does not use new oak at all, believing that it is even more permeable to micro-oxygenation, something that he attributes to the high rate of premox encountered in the wines of Domaine Leflaive. Laurent is on a mission to raise the image of negociants, unfairly looked upon as being second-rate to actual domaines, for Domaine Ponsot previously had also run a negociant business, as is Laurent Ponsot’s own line now (established 2017) which is entirely that. He has expanded to more than 20 different wines, each of which is supplied by 5-8 growers which he then blends to produce a representative cuvée. His wines certainly do speak of their individual terroir in full but elegant terms, always very tastefully balanced without resorting to gimmickry even though his labels sport that Star Wars type of font (I personally like it very much). We drank on a theme of Morey-Saint-Denis for the reds to pay hommage to Laurent’s origins; by sheer coincidence, there was a trio of Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru, no less. In spite of global warming, Laurent remains highly optimistic that climate change will not adversely affect the quality of wines in the long run, as he points out that climate change has always been a regular phenomenon since the start of time. Well, we must certainly hope that he’s also correct on this, just as he has been on a whole range of issues about winemaking to be who he is today. Merci beaucoup, Laurent, for spending your precious time with us, and we look forward to visiting you in Burgundy soon.


Champagne Bollinger R.D. 2007, courtesy of Russ. Dull golden. Distinct note of grapefruit on the nose, leading to quite a full palate of delicate citrus, pomelo and bitter lemon with a pronounced tone of austere minerals cushioned by a refined density of soft bubbles, oozing with sweet intensity at the finish after some time.

2018 Laurent Ponsot Meursault Charmes Cuvée de la Centaurée, courtesy of Alice. Dull golden. Excellent fullness and density of clear citrus and lemon, structured with clean definition and clarity. Very lively and fresh, displaying good balance between the fruit and its deeper vein of ferrous minerals, stoking the palate with a tinge of sweetness.

2005 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets. Darkish opaque golden hue, proffering a weighty nose of peaches and caramel. Still rather full and agile in spite of its distinct maturity, the fruit approaching that of grapefruit overlaid with fresh frangipani in full bloom against a backdrop of cool chalky tones. Still holding on but I wouldn’t keep any longer.

2012 Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis, courtesy of Russ. Classic pinot tint, exuding a mild rosy fragrance touched with some salinity. Its pedigree is evident throughout the medium palate where its savoury darkish fruit is impeccably balanced against the sleek acidity giving the impression of charred elements, eventually settling down with refined purity.

2020 Domaine Heresztyn-Mazzini Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru, courtesy of Tim. Very deep crimson. Warm density of ripe red fruits, raspberries and currants on the nose. Bold presence of fruit and slick acidity in equal measure touched with a splash of oak on the full palate. Very well integrated at first, proffering fine gritty inner detail and excellent precision before it developed into a monolithic tannic presence, becoming way too angular.

2018 Laurent Ponsot Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru, courtesy of Alice. This wine opens with a rich dark rosy fragrance, superbly lifted. The palate is medium-full, layered with a fleshy abundance of bright red fruit that exude a warm ripeness, not overly extracted. Highly refined and beautifully balanced, finishing with good length.

1998 Domaine Dujac Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru, courtesy of Russ. Mature pinot tint, proffering an alluring warm fragrance of red fruits and mandarins from fruit that is beautifully mature yet tremendously lively and agile, still imbued with fine intensity, yielding layers of enticing flavours from melted sweet tannins. Marries real charm, elegance and understated power. Outstanding.


With Marielle Cazaux: La Conseillante 2005, 2006, 2010 & 2015

March 18, 2023

20230304_192534.jpgThe great Dr Ngoi hosted Mme. Marielle Cazaux, winemaker of Château La Conseillante since 2015, to dinner at Imperial Treasure Great World, Singapore, on 04 March 2023 in an all-Pomerol line-up that included a mini-vertical of La Conseillante (a 2004 was unfortunately corked). It was very good to meet Marielle again who still recalled our visit to her château in 2016, as well as our lunch at Shinzo in 2019. The 12 hectares of vines at La Conseillante, average age about 40 years, are split into 18 sub-plots, planted with 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc on soil that is 60% grey clay and 40% sandy gravel. Interestingly, Marielle told us that 30% of vines actually sit within the Saint-Émilion soils of neighbouring Château Cheval Blanc. Planting density is cropped at 7000 vines per ha. The juice from each sub-plot is individually fermented in concrete vats and subsequently aged in 70% new oak for up to 18 months. Fining with egg white is utilized, as is racking every quarterly. About 10% of pressed wine is added to the final blend for additional flavouring, colour and intensity. The line-up that evening showed La Conseillante to be drinking beautifully according to the characteristics of each vintage, while Marielle’s maiden effort of 2015 tastes exactly as I’d remembered it to be when she’d served us barrel samples at the château. Merci beaucoup Dr Ngoi and Marielle!

2020 Samuel Billaud Chablis Blanchot Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Pale golden. Fresh morning dew and clear citrus on the nose with a warm floral fragrance. Good density and intensity of fruit with a hint of longans, imbued with good energy, becoming a little minerally over time. Delicious.

2000 Pensées de Lafleur, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Cool ripe darkish tones on the nose, leading to a medium-full density of raspberries and black berries that display delicate refined depth, structured with finely grained tannins and superb acidity that linger wit glowing intensity.

2009 Château Clinet, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Deep garnet. Warm distant fragrance of dark roses and currants, delivering an intense palate of dark plums and ripe berries. Big, tight and densely structured with masculine power. Still largely primal, loosening up a little to reveal characters of soy laced with an understated sweetness, becoming more seamless and velvety over time. Excellent.

2004 Vieux Château Certan, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Deep crimson. Shy on the nose though the fleshy medium-bodied palate is layered with silky smooth tannins imbued with some vegetal elements, displaying high-toned acidity and lithe intensity that taper to a fine glowing finish with a splash of spice.

2005 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Aired in bottle. Deep crimson. Dark fruits, plums and red currants dominate with cool ripeness and sleek velvety power on the darkish palate, boasting great balance and seamless integration with great supple intensity and sublime acidity, tinged with a dash of capsicum. On par with the very best of 2005.

20230304_203939.jpg2006 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Aired in bottle. Dark tones of raspberries and wild berries, packed with medium fruit that traverse the palate with relaxed charm and good transparency. Gelled together with warm ripeness and sleek acidity. One is really drinking the vintage.

2010 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Marielle Cazaux. Decanted on-site. Deep purple. Beautifully defined bouquet of dark rose petals, currants, black cherries, earth and cedar, just beginning to exude early complexity while the ultra-silky palate boasts lovely sophistication and finesse underscored by sexy sublime acidity. Utterly seamless and impeccably proportioned with unobtrusive tannins. Not showy at all, simply brimming with quiet energy and regal elegance in the glass. It has that indescribable elusive presence and certain correctness that defines a complete wine. Truly outstanding.

2015 Château La Conseillante. The maiden vintage of Marielle Cazaux. Aired in bottle for two hours prior followed by further decanting on-site. Purplish crimson. A little shy at first before blossoming with an effusive floral presence of rose petals, dark cherries, raspberries and currants that exude a delicious darkish fragrance. Seamlessly integrated with lovely tensile presence and great balance on the palate, its fruit gloriously ripe and vibrant (perhaps a little too ripe), structured with sweet, sophisticated tannins that pack velvety power. Highly successful, in my opinion. Certainly neither jammy nor over-extracted although it doesn’t quite possess that silky sexy elegance of the outstanding 2010, perhaps confirming Marielle’s view that she ought to have followed her instinct and harvested earlier rather than allowing the fruit to hang for too long.

1999 Salon, 2017 Bernard-Bonin Meursault, 2011 Francois Lamarche Aux Malconsorts, 2015 Pousse d’Or Chambolle Amoureuses, 2017 Michel Noëllat Vos-Romanée Suchots

March 14, 2023

Free-for-all promenade of whites, followed by Premier Cru that would give Grand Cru a run for its money at Shang Palace, Shangri-la Singapore, 03 March 2023. All tasted blind, except for the champagne. Many thanks, Mr Harry Fok and Mr Britt Ng, for the brilliant service and organisation.

1999 Champagne Salon, courtesy of Sir Bob. Superb lift, proffering clear citrus, pomelo and raw nutmeg in chiseled high definition. Still very fresh and full with youthful vigour, superbly balanced with a minerally predominance in its dry intensity, imbued with just the right level of acidity. As invigorating as it is delicious. This is an immortal Salon for the ages.

2017 Domaine Bernard-Bonin Meursault Vieilles Vignes, courtesy of LF. Pale. Quiet nose of distant icing with a most unusual palate of grapefruit, olives and preserved fruit that exert a sharp high-toned delicate presence. Somewhat narrow at first though it changed quite rapidly in the glass, snapping into focus with a rounder agile body tinged with distinct nutmeg, just a little short.

2017 Littorai Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay, courtesy of LF. Pale luminosity. Shy. Misty fruit on the nose, becoming more reductive with a distinct minerally presence. Layered with refined density and good weight. More rounded and agile over time, lightly chalked, finishing with good length.

2019 Domaine de la Pousse d’Or Puligny-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er, courtesy of Vic. Pale with icy tones. Quite delicate and open with a somewhat flinty presence of clear citrus, becoming more rounded and seamless in the glass though its high-toned character remained, imparting great freshness.

2019 Pierre-Yves-Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin Hommage à Marguerite 1er, courtesy of Kieron. Pale. Effusive bouquet of distant green capsicum with emerging whitish tones, distinctly reductive with a dash of nutmeg. Very fresh, displaying good clarity and excellent definition with lithe agility amid a pronounced tension, laced with a trace of vanillin.

2018 Kuheiji Chassagne-Montrachet, courtesy of Britt Ng. Pale. Weighty bouquet of white tones with a splash of oak, well replicated on the palate with voluptuous fullness and velvety textures supported by subdued acidity. Drinking well.


2011 Domaine Francois Lamarche Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts 1er, courtesy of Kieron. Lovely pinot tint, exuding a delicious effusive rosy fragrance. Well-structured, slightly forward in balance with supple freshness and intensity though its density of fruit may come across as being a little gruff, a tad short as well.

1998 Domaine Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux 1er, courtesy of LF. Opaque brownish red, exuding bold mature tones of mulberries, raspberries and fresh currants. Medium-full, structured with velvety intensity and slick acidity, displaying fine complexity with a dash of pungent earthiness.

2015 Domaine de la Pousse d’Or Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of Vic. Deep crimson. Good lift of red fruits imbued with some austere minerality amid overtones of enamel. Rather full and velvety, displaying good verve and sleek acidity though there is no way one would have ventured a guess at Amoureuses, such is its masculinity and power.

2006 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er, courtesy of Sir Bob. Brownish red. Lovely lift of red fruits leading to a bright full palate, richly layered with mature ripe fruit that is still beautifully fresh and delicious, revealing secondary characters of tangerines on a bed of sweet tannins.

2017 Domaine Michel Noëllat Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er. Good colour with some early crimson. Good lift of haw and red fruits. Subtly structured with good intensity, the fruit beautifully fresh and ripe. Well-integrated, revealing subtle inner detail. Quite voluptuous and succulent without being over-extracted. Delicious.


2011 La Confession, 2015 Clos de la Cure, 2015 Fonplegade, 2017 Château Soutard, 1998 La Gomerie, 2005 Château La Dominic, 2018 Château de la Grenière cuv’ Chartreuse

March 9, 2023

The Jürade de Saint-Émilion du Singapour met for a formal dinner on 01 March 2023 at Tunglok Signatures, featuring a line-up of estates less commonly known from Saint-Émilion. With only eighty-five estates being classified as Grand Cru Classé or higher (in the 2022 revision) out of more than a thousand growers and producers spread over the commune and its satellite districts, it is tough for most of those at the lower tiers of Grand Cru or below to get a shout in the commercial market although, with greater know-how and sophistication, the gap in quality has narrowed tremendously between the top and bottom tiers. This was easily seen in the line-up that evening, generously supplied by the Wine Council of Saint-Émilion, where it would have been really difficult to tell, if blinded, that we were drinking from lower tier estates. It is best to approach Saint-Émilion with an open mind and NOT be swayed by labels.

2018 Ch de la Grenière Cuvée de la Chartreuse. From Lussac Saint-Émilion. Deep crimson. Attractive warm ripe plummy tones on the nose, displaying excellent density of fruit that’s almost succulent, structured with fine precision and subtle intensity. Very well integrated and refined, finishing with good length. This wine is unclassified, but it’s really excellent by any standard.

2015 Clos de la Cure. Grand Cru. Purplish crimson, proffering distant ripe mulberries on the nose. Excellent presence of fruit though not quite as dense as the preceding wine, displaying lovely suppleness and intensity with fine acidity and a sense of delicate warmth. Very fine.

2011 Château La Confession. Grand Cru. Deep purple, exuding dryish hues with a softly contoured medium-full palate imbued with a supple depth of dark fruits, still tinged with a splash of vanillin and varnish. Very agile with fine clarity and structured intensity though its acidity is a tad too prominent. Didn’t quite really gel as well as I’d hope it would as with the 2012.

2017 Château Soutard. Grand Cru. Deep inky purple. Quite highly aromatic, boasting broad swathes of dark currants and sweet black berries matched by a structured medium-full palate imbued with excellent vigour and firm high-toned acidity, fleshing out with greater fullness and better integration of finely grained tannins though it is still quite tightly wound.

2015 Château Fonplegade. Grand Cru Classé. Deep garnet. Surprisingly beguiling on the nose, beautifully deep and elegant with early cedary characters. Very fleshy and agile, layered with ripe dark fruits and currants that impart supple intensity, lit with some bright spots within. Drinking way above its classification. A real gem, if you can find it.

2005 Château La Dominic, courtesy of Calvin. Grand Cru Classé. Deep garnet. Dark fruits and currants dominate with rich overtones of cedar and ripe plums. Medium-full, well layered with sleek acidity and velvety warmth, oozing with a trace of sweetness from well-mannered tannins.

1998 Château La Gomerie. Grand Cru. Deep garnet. Distant forest characters and mahogany on the nose. Well-integrated with supple intensity and refined acidity though the fruit is just a tad backward, displaying cool raspberries and ripe wild berries with some rustic hint.

Cillario & Marazzi Cassis 1880, courtesy of Sandy. Marked dominance of blackcurrants, ginger and ginseng that exude sweetish overtones, exerting powerful intensity on the dark richly layered palate. Almost unctuous and port-like, though it certainly isn’t. Not for the faint-hearted. The perfect end to a lovely evening.


Feb 2023: 2014 Kongsgaard Chardonnay, 2018 Florent Garaudet Monthelie Taupine, Pierre Péters Cuvée Réserve Blanc de Blancs 2017 Bouchard Corton-Charlemagne

March 5, 2023

2019 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault. Popped and poured at Crab At Bay, 02 Feb 2023. Pale golden. Distant morning dew on the nose, slightly chalky. The medium-bodied palate is generously endowed with subtle minerally layers amid overtones of cool icing, displaying refined balance and understated verve. Very fine.

Champagne Pierre Péters Cuvée de Réserve Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV. Popped and poured at Crab At Bay, 02 Feb 2023. Open white tones dominate, its very soft refined bubbles surfing up the palate with tremendous agility and excellent linearity. Possesses great verve and balance, underpinned by a deep but understated yeasty intensity, finishing with sweet intensity. Very close in character to Les Chetillons. Superb.

2010 Château Chasse-Spleen. Popped and poured at Crab At Bay, 02 Feb 2023. Dark purple. Restrained earth, bark, raspberries and mulberries, structured with refined tannins. Displays a very smooth even presence with excellent seamless integration, yielding good complexity with further detail of crushed fruit. Drinking very well.

2017 Meerlust Rubicon. Popped and poured at the in-laws, 05 Feb 2023. Deep purple. Dark fruits, currants and ripe wild berries dominate with forward presence on a dryish floor of wood shavings and bramble. Well-structured with good refinement and acidity.

2019 Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet Cote d’Or Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes, drunk at home between 5-9 Feb 2023. Light greenish hue, promising green fruits and citrus amid fresh morning dew. Somewhat tight and reductive at first. A lot better after three days (!!), more open with excellent fullness and acidity that imparted a high-toned vibrancy underpinned by an understated chalky minerality.

2005 Hestan Chardonnay, courtesy of CHS at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Dull golden, allied with weighty mature tones on the nose with some early apricot and cinnamon. Medium-full, proffering fine fleeting intensity and acidity before settling down with a recessed chalky glow, eventually fleshing out with smooth creamy textures. At its best.

2014 Kistler Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay, courtesy of Sir Bob at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Light luminosity. Resolutely shut on the nose though the palate is generously imbued with delicate citrus basking in a glow of distant vanillin and glacial tones, well-layered with a tight controlled intensity.

2015 Domaine Georges Nöellat Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Boudots 1er at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Purplish tint. Soft fragrant lift of raspberries and dark cherries. Softly contoured and fleshy. Very well integrated with some early development but rather unassuming and understated on the whole with a distinctly feminine stance.

1994 Pahlmeyer Merlot, courtesy of LF at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Opaque dull red. Medium-bodied. Quite fleshy with darkish fruit, slightly velvety on a floor of earthy tannins. Developed further overtones of spice and mahogany, eventually blossoming with a superb lift ripe plums and dark roses that finished in an effusive glow. Nearing peak maturity.

2017 Château de Meursault Meursault Les Charmes Dessus 1er, courtesy of Sanjay at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Restrained on the nose though it has a very attractive cultured mouthfeel of ripe white fruits and chalk, seamlessly integrated with controlled intensity and great refinement, fanning out with some bite.

20230207_213431.jpg2014 Kongsgaard Chardonnay, courtesy of Vic at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Dull golden. This wine opens with a laidback restraint though the palate is quite full and weighty, generously endowed with dense citrus structured with clean controlled intensity and good power. Still primal.

2007 Château Suduiraut, a half-bottle at Crab At Bay, 07 Feb 2023. Deeply coloured. Dense apricot and cinnamon dominate with aged honeyed tones that impart velvety textures with moderate sweetness, not too luscious. Still imbued with fine acidity, finishing with residual tones of ash and ember.

2017 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, over lunch at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 11 Feb 2023. Greenish hue. Lovely clean lift of morning freshness and floral bloom with a bit of chalky hint. More effusive over time, developing quite an intense minerally presence. Highly harmonious with a very fine floral inner essence, underpinned by just the right degree of acidity. Thoroughly elegant, almost ethereal. Far from peaking but it’s simply quite irresistible.

2018 Domaine Florent Garaudet Monthelie 1er “La Taupine”, over lunch at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 11 Feb 2023. Darkish pinot tint, proffering dark plums and currants. Quite richly layered with a deeper vein of fresh black fruits dressed in svelte sexy tannins. Rounded and seamlessly integrated, exuding a lovely rosy fragrance with quiet intensity. Manages to combine velvety power with refined elegance. Confirms my initial impression from a glass tasted a month ago. A real gem.

2018 Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese, by the carafe over lunch at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 11 Feb 2023. Marked profusion of earthy petroleum fumes which I like very much, matched by a luscious density of deft tropical fruit characters. Not cloying at all, showing great balance, clarity and refinement.

2019 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 13 Feb 2023. Dull golden-greenish. Delicate lift of tight citrus, white flowers and chalk, displaying slick fullness with lovely freshness and oily density, underpinned by sublime understated acidity. Beautifully layered with fine precision and structure, yet so subtly detailed, turning a shade sterner as it became more minerally in the glass. Excellent.

2019 Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chê the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 13 Feb 2023. Effusive warm ripe tones with a deep intensity of dark roses at its core though the sleek rounded medium-bodied palate could do with greater presence of fruit. Fleshed out better after some time with shrubbery characters and Asian spices.

2012 Champagne Pol Roger Rosé. Popped and poured at Corner Grill, 14 Feb 2023. Orangey hues. Nose of grapefruit and pomegranate with a mild yeasty pungency, brightly lit with tight dry intensity. Loosened up a little after some time, becoming more introspective and minerally with a cool balance before evolving with further notes of orange peel and inner raspberries.

2019 Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages. Popped and poured at Eastern House of Seafood, 18 Feb 2023. Clear golden luminosity. Rich white tones and chalky creaminess dominate with excellent fullness, clarity and precision. Turned tighter after some time, almost steely with a bit of stern austerity developing from the mid-palate of ferrous minerals.

2016 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Saint-Véran Champ Rond. Aired in bottle for well over an hour prior to dinner, 20 Feb 2023. Fairly deep yellowish hues, proffering an exciting bouquet of frangipani in full bloom, yellow citrus as well as delightful tropical fruits that, interesting, became more distant as the medium-bodied palate loosened up in the glass, developing a laidback character with unprecedented clarity and brightness with the white tones and chalky elements set rather backward. Became more minerally over time, distinctly austere and steely.

2019 Nicole Lamarche Bourgogne Rouge. Tasted at home, 21-22 Feb 2023. Rose-tinted hues dominate throughout the nose and palate, softly contoured with laidback charm and feminine elegance, showcasing fine purity of raspberries and dark cherries amid traces of incense with tannins well out of the way. Drinks very well though, perhaps, just a tad too polite.

2020 Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron Côtes de Nuits-Villages La Montagne, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 24 Feb 2023. Greenish hue. Attractive aromatic bouquet. High-toned tensile presence of white fruits and yellow citrus with an after note of lychees on the rounded but narrow body that impart a bright intensity, eventually settling down with a more open even presence.

2018 Kuheiji Pommard Les Arvelets 1er, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 24 Feb 2023. Clean nose of tangerines, red fruits and currants. Medium-full. Well layered with refined acidity, displaying fine tension and suppleness with an attractive freshness. Vibrant fruit within its understated tannin structure, just a tad darkish. Good balance and intensity.

Troplong Mondot: 2019, 2009, 2005, 1998, 1990, 1988 & 1955

February 25, 2023

One of the real gems of Saint-Émilion is Château Troplong Mondot, not that it isn’t unheard of but, rather, people who have drunk Troplong Mondot would not have realised its unique qualities. Founded in 1745 by Raymond de Sèze, the estate passed to a certain Raymond Troplong in 1850 who combined his name with that of the land (Mondot), hence its name. Subsequently, the Thienpont negociant family came into possession before selling on to the Valette family, which ran the estate from 1936 till 2017, and it was during this stretch that the château finally achieved its full potential under the stewardship of Christine Valette who produced the wines from 1980 until her untimely passing in 2014. Till this day, the triumvirate of 1988-1990 is still spoken of in the same breath as other exalted estates, as is the 1998 and most of the vintages from 2000 onwards. Key to Troplong Mondot’s success lie in its terroir, sited on a gentle mound 110 metres above sea-level where there is a substantial deposit of clay covering the usual limestone. This elevation facilitates even drainage during wet months while the clay helps to retain moisture during the hot months, preventing heat stress. The harder clay also forces the roots of the vines to dig deeper, resulting in greater power and complexity to the wine. This kind of terroir is found nowhere else in Saint-Émilion, reminding me very much of the same kind of land that Château Pétrus sits on in Pomerol.


Planted nowadays with 73% merlot, 16% cabernet franc and 11% cabernet sauvignon (average age close to 30 years), the winemaking is minimalist and lesser new oak is used, allowing its natural qualities and power to shine. And it was certainly a wonderful privilege to glimpse the château’s development through a generous tasting of several vintages spanning six decades at an exclusive “Home Away From Home” event dedicated to Château Troplong Mondot at Chapter 1, Singapore, on 23 February 2023, very kindly hosted by Hervé Aymond of Corndale Consultants, where the entire restaurant had been transformed into a Troplong Mondot residency. CEO and winemaker Aymeric de Gironde (he says the river had been named after his family) was present and he’d brought along Michelin-star chef David Charrier from the estate’s restaurant Les Belles Perdrix too, as well as several other staff members, to prepare dinner. One is struck by how well the wines are made, each reflecting its terroir and respective vintage without any glossy excesses. The post-2000s are quite exceptional whilst the earlier ones are simply beautiful, a testament to the talent of Christine Valette. Even the 1955, neither a standout vintage nor a time when Bordeaux was great, is still showing well. Merci beaucoup Hervé, Aymeric, David and all for a superb evening.


2011 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. Pale luminosity. Effusive in toast and yeasty tones amid a dominant earthy pungency. Concentrated in dense yellow citrus that impart explosive power whilst its soft luxurious bubbles caress the palate with delicate open intensity.

2019 Château Troplong Mondot. Deep ruby. Highly aromatic in perfumed characters of dark rose petals and currants with a trace of vanillin. Highly supple and rounded, beautifully integrated with smooth sophisticated tannins. Impeccably proportioned and balanced, imbued with sublime acidity and juicy succulence, developing subtle glowing power in the glass. Already elegant and accessible at such an infantile stage. Clearly destined for greatness. The third vintage of Aymeric de Gironde since joining from Château Cos D’Estournel in 2017.

2009 Château Troplong Mondot. Poured from double magnum. Impenetrable deep garnet red, proffering a delicious bouquet of dark currants and black cherries that light up the slick palate with considerable power and lithe intensity, yet displaying great harmony and cohesion, finishing with superb length. Still barely evolved but will be outstanding in time to come.

2005 Château Troplong Mondot. Deep garnet, proffering powerful swathes of deep dark fruits and currants that exude a teasing lifted fragrance. Very smoothly delineated with excellent density of cool ripe fruit, showing early secondary characters. Highly integral between the fruit and refined acidity and svelte tannins, taking its time to reveal its layers with considerable power and great finesse, finishing with lasting persistence. One is truly drinking the vintage.

1998 Château Troplong Mondot. Deep garnet with just a trace of bricking at the rim. Somewhat earthy with forest characters though the presence of copious dark fruits beneath is clearly evident even on the nose. Highly supple and fleshy with a bit of medicinal warmth tinged with capsicum, showing good harmony and detail with understated power. Very lovely and elegant indeed. A true reflection of that outstanding Right Bank vintage.

IMG-20230223-WA0028.jpg1990 Château Troplong Mondot. Tasted blind. Sporting an intense deep crimson (pictured here), this wine is still so incredibly youthful, wonderfully full and vibrant, still laced with traces of enamel and vanillin. Highly integral, seamlessly combining its exuberant power with absolute harmony in a delicious complex of red fruits and currants and unobtrusive tannins that danced with great agility. Feels like less than 10 years! This legendary 1990 will be truly immortal. Simply incredulous.

1988 Château Troplong Mondot. Poured from magnum. Deep crimson. Refreshing lift of darkish fruit tinged with some capsicum, gently delicious. Fleshy and very well layered, not drying out, wielding excellent power with crisp articulation and freshness. Still as good as my last encounter in 2012 at Eleven Madison Park, New York. Highly successful.

1955 Château Troplong Mondot. Tasted blind. Brilliant color. Quietly intense on the nose, marked by herbal characters, dried mushrooms and old leather. The medium-full palate is still, amazingly, quite fresh with slick acidity, boasting a very fine presence of darkish fruit set just a little backward with a distant sur-maturite, imbued with a trace of medicinal powder. Considering that the estate wasn’t in the best shape back then, this 1955 is truly astonishing. What a privilege to have tasted it!



All magnums: 2008 Louis Roederer Cristal, 1975 Ch Latour, 2000 Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 2009 Bonneau Martray Corton-Charlemagn 1995 Lafleur-Pétrus

February 20, 2023

ABLEA.B.L.E. – Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations – is part of the social mission of the Catholic Church of Singapore that has been doing its good work since 2010, quietly helping the physically challenged to live productive, meaningful, and independent lives. A charity gala was held at the Shangri-la, Singapore, on 17 February 2023 in support of this worthy cause where a good sum was raised though more would always be welcome; please kindly call +65 68017460 or email should you feel inclined towards any donation. Many thanks, Tim, for your kind invitation and to everyone for your generous contributions.

2019 Château Grand Village. Deep purple. Fairly attractive nose of enamel, varnish and warm pebbles. Medium-full. Slightly plummy with a racy presence of ripe fruit, structured with refined tannins and intensity though the finish is short.

2008 Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, courtesy of David. Poured from magnum. This wine opens with an effusive white floral bloom amid dense overtones of sweet citrus though pomelo and bitter lemon are distinctly dominant on the medium-full palate, imparting a hint of austerity balanced against structured fullness and sharp acidity, fleshing out eventually with open rounded intensity.

2009 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of Russ. Poured from magnum. Pale luminosity. Highly restrained at first, gradually warming up with cool overtones of frangipani and vanillin though remaining rather understated with polite supple intensity, evoking elegant creamy textures with undertones of summer hay. Very impeccably proportioned with youthful balance, still light years from maturity. They don’t make ’em like this no more.

2000 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, poured from magnum. This wine proffers raspberries and dark roses in soft focus, imbued with graphite minerals. A little narrow in spectrum on the palate though it makes up with a stylish display of cool ripe fruit laid on a deeper vein of dark currants laced with slick acidity, yielding good balance with fine velvety detail. Ever reliable, though it doesn’t quite possess that classic dryish Pauillac signature.

1995 Château Lafleur-Pétrus, courtesy of Kieron. Popped and poured from magnum. Dark purplish core, seducing the senses with a kaleidoscope of rosy characters amid an attractive earthy pungency. Softly contoured with lifted ripe plummy tones, superbly fresh and supple. Structured with svelte velvety tannins that exert delicious intensity with secondary characters of cedar, finishing with good length and smooth linearity. Superb.

1975 Château Latour, courtesy of Sir Bob. Poured from magnum. Still fairly deep purplish. This wine is singing beautifully, still amazingly fresh and vivacious on the supple medium-bodied palate. Totally integral with a balanced cool ripeness and understated intensity, exuding a delicious rosy glow with a deeper core of tangerines in soft focus. Almost opulent. At its ethereal best and seemingly immortal, stamped with real class and pedigree.

2005 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny, courtesy of Andre. Classic pinot tint. Well-extracted, resulting in delicious darkish characters that mark the palate with excellent presence and purity of fruit, structured with very refined tannins that are a little sweetish, exerting controlled intensity.

2017 Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny. Classic pinot tint. Profusion of cider, dried red fruits and raspberries amid overtones of ember that inform the medium-bodied palate with slick understated verve and layering, displaying superb purity and acidity that convey the fruit with suave exuberance yet with just the right degree of delicate presence. Superb by any standard.


La Paulée de Singapour 2023

February 8, 2023

20230203_192507.jpgAfter a three-year hiatus, the La Paulée de Singapour resumed with a vengeance on 03 February 2023 at the Sofitel Sentosa where it was really wonderful again to be able to meet in person all the wine-lovers and winemakers who have made the previous editions of the La Paulée so special. In spite of the persistent downpour, the French community turned out in force, as did the new French Ambassador, and it was really good to welcome again Gregory Gouges, Vincent Bouzereau, Aurore Devillard, Jacques Devauges and Édouard Delaunay to our shores. As usual, the evening began with an extensive promenade featuring mostly the yet-to-be-bottled 2021 wines while several producers had also made the special effort to offer back vintages in large format for tasting. Dinner got underway with a raucous start where the staff of the Sofitel outdid themselves with their exemplary service and cuisine, punctuated by several rounds of the obligatory ban burguignon along with other traditional Burgundian songs. I must say this edition of the La Paulée was the best in terms of camaraderie, food and social interaction. Christophe and his team from The Vintage Club, Singapore, are to be congratulated for such a successful evening. Interestingly, in spite of having tasted forty-five different wines that evening, I wasn’t at all hammered. In fact, I could have driven home (just kiddin’). My only gripe is that Sentosa isn’t exactly such a convenient location; so, please, may we move back to the City for the 2024 edition, or could we at least package the evening with a night’s stay at the Sofitel. Merci, Christophe!

2021 Château de Chamirey Mercurey La Mission 1er monopole. Highly perfumed with a certain floral waxiness on the nose. Medium-bodied. Lovely freshness of lemon citrus that exert subtle intensity with a very even presence, stretching with excellent length and linearity. Brilliant!

2021 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Clos du Roi 1er. Good colour. Attractive rosy fragrance with some elements of ash, very beautifully integrated. Medium-bodied. Subtly layered with ripe raspberries and darkish fruit, laced with refined acidity. Excellent freshness and balance.

2021 Domaine des Perdrix Vosne-Romanée. Red fruits with a hint of warm pebbles amid overtones of rye and malt. Somewhat lean but the fruit is there, well-balanced with keen tannins that exert refined acidity and subtle attack. Very fine.

2018 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Aux Perdrix “Les 8 Ouvrées”. Poured from magnum. Deep ruby. Generously proportioned. Structured with clean sophisticated sweet tannins on an earthy base. Delicious.

2021 Domaine des Perdrix Échezeaux du Dessus Grand Cru. Restrained nose of raspberries and mulberries. Medium-bodied. Slightly darkish with a certain relaxed charm, displaying refined acidity and subtle attack, structured with smooth tannins that produce gentle bite. Elegant.

2017 Lucien Muzard et Fils Meursault Les Meix Chavaux. Fairly effusive in summer hay and floral characters. Nicely rounded and plump, layered with lovely freshness and refined acidity. Good balance.

2009 Francois d’Allaines Meursault Tête de Cuvée. Poured from magnum. Its relative pallor belies an ample floral bouquet with some mature characters. Still rather youthful and full, imbued with a high-toned acidity and clear citrus that impart incisive clarity and attack with plenty of verve. Excellent.

20230203_185645.jpg2017 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault Les Charmes 1er. Poured from magnum. Superb bouquet of detailed floral characters in spite of its marked pallor. The medium-bodied palate is laced with a distinct salinity, structured with lean precision and sublime acidity, layered with elegant citrus that tapered to a quiet finish. Excellent.

2020 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault. Pale but beautifully perfumed. Rounded with a classic Meursault tone though that saline trait is, again, present on the medium-full palate without being distracting. Not as lean as the domaine’s Meursault Les Charmes 1er, yielding subtle detail and keen precision with elegant balance. Lovely.

2016 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er. Poured from magnum. Plump and rounded, producing good mouthfeel. Very cleanly refined with a gentle feminine stance. Correctly balanced with subtle shades, moving across with a bit of pick-up towards its finish. Quiet sophistication.

2021 Domaine de Montille Puligny-Montrachet. Pale. Grassy elements and summer bloom on the nose. Excellent concentration of lime and yellow citrus underpinned by great acidity. Very lively with lovely freshness and tensile presence. Shows good precision in spite of its plumpness, finishing with fine linearity.

2020 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Blanc Grand Cru. Lifted floral fragrance. Medium-full, imbued with robust fruit tinged with some nutmeg. Refreshing acidity. Good balance. Subdued finish.

2020 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Clos des Meix Grand Cru monopole. Good colour. Predominant red fruits tinged with some earthiness and match-stick smoke. Medium-full. Good clean presence and precision. Good balance.

1999 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Clos des Meix Grand Cru monopole. Poured from magnum. Still fairly deep in color with a bit of brownish core, exuding a lovely complex of predominant red fruits, iron ore, earth and sandalwood. Still rather fullish and youthful though some secondary characters are evident, yielding some inner detail of crushed fruit underscored with highly refined acidity. Still masculine though some mellowness has set in. Developing at a glacial pace.

2017 Domaine des Lambrays Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er. Poured from magnum. Intensely floral and effusive. Rounded and plump with good early complexity, layered with a deeper vein of fruit and minerals that impart the classic Puligny tone.

2021 Domaine des Lambrays Morey-Saint-Denis Les Loups 1er. Good colour, exuding an attractive rosy fragrance. Medium-full. Fairly opulent and rounded with great presence and refinement, layered with subtle intensity.

2021 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru. Good color. Delicious lift of rose petals and haw. Very well balanced with a rich but understated feminine elegance, gently structured with sweet intensity, just a tad more forward in fruit at the moment. Good length. Highly successful.

2006 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru. Poured from imperial! Good colour. Predominance of mature red fruits though still remarkably youthful and full, rounded with good intensity and refined inner detail. Underpinned by a gentle deeper vein of fruit and sublime acidity, finishing well. Excellent.

IMG-20230203-WA0035.jpg2021 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges La Perrière 1er. Highly aromatic in floral tones with a dash of varnish. Fairly full and rounded, layered with fine intensity of white fruits with a tinge of saline minerals. Moderate finish. This is the domaine’s unique pinot blanc (a mutated pinot noir), not chardonnay.

2021 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets 1er monopole. Good color. Ample in ripe raspberries tinged with a complex of ash, ember and heated pebbles that produce superb mouthfeel. Very seamlessly integrated with refined presence and moderate intensity. Good finish. Highly successful.

2021 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er. Good colour, proffering traces of match-stick smoke amid a bright rosy glow. Fairly full, crafted with highly refined tannins that impart delicious intensity. Unusually great sophistication for Les Pruliers.

2021 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 1er. Deep ruby. Layered with rich rosy hues, cherries and red fruits. Medium-full. Structured with lean precision, displaying excellent balance between the fruit and sublime acidity, layered with subtle intensity. Superb.

2021 Hospices de Nuits Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint-Georges 1er Cuvée des Sires de Vergy, vinified by Maison Henri Gouges. Good colour. Similarly rosy on the nose though the palate is considerably leaner without the voluptuousness of the domaine’s Les Saint-Georges, displaying a sharp tannic attack.

20230203_192716.jpg2021 Édouard Delaunay Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes 1er. Great colour. Red fruits and cherries on the nose, deliciously ripe. Quite full. More fruit forward, balanced by sublime acidity. Great refinement. Almost voluptuous. Édouard tells me the fruit comes from the middle of the plot.

2021 Édouard Delaunay Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Good colour. Fragrant rosy hues. Quite full. Excellent intensity and acidity. Superbly balanced with lovely mouthfeel, tapering to a controlled finish.

2021 Édouard Delaunay Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Good colour. Highly aromatic, leading to a palate of excellent depth and refined intensity, imbued with very good presence of ripe fruit laid on a subtle minerally floor. Moderate finish.

2019 Édouard Delaunay Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Poured from magnum. Good colour, proffering a restrained rosiness though the fullish palate is gorgeously ripe and rounded with excellent presence and purity of fruit.

2021 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er. Glowing presence of dominant red fruits with a forward teasing intensity that exert fine attack and acidity though the finish is rather quick.

2021 Domaine Bruno Clair Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Detailed nose of red fruits and haw. Medium-bodied. Quite seamlessly structured, layered with an ample spread of fruit with understated acidity though the finish is short. Surprisingly feminine.

2021 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru. Great colour. Effusive in red fruits that impart great presence on a subtle minerally base, blazing with elegant intensity. Highly successful.

1999 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er. Poured from magnum. Deep bouquet of red fruits, capsicum, varnish and spice. Medium-bodied. Generously layered with very good gentle presence of ripe raspberries, still holding up well with a moderate finish. Has that Gevrey signature.

2018 Château de Meursault Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus 1er. Poured from imperial. Pale. Warm hues from the plump ripeness of clear fruits and yellow citrus laid on a minerally base, showing very good refinement with early inner detail, framed by distant green fruits with a laidback chalkiness.



And at dinner…

2015 Domaine Jean Monnier et Fils Meursault Vieilles Vignes, courtesy of Nowfel Lieulliot. Pale golden. Attractive bouquet of summer bloom with a caramelised golden tone on the medium-bodied palate, layered with a dash of lychees.

2015 Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er, courtesy of MH. Luminous gold. Highly aromatic, effusive in floral characters while the full palate is dominated by dense white tones underpinned by a high-toned acidity that exert sharp intensity.

2011 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Kok Hong. Restrained white tones and cool icing on the nose. Medium-full, displaying a very clean profile with lean precision, imbued with some nutmeg and dry grassy elements. Fleshed out with sexy intensity and sublime acidity, yielding great inner detail. Beautifully balanced.

20230203_204916.jpg2011 Domaine de L’Arlot Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er, courtesy of LF. Good colour. Somewhat restrained on the nose though the full palate is amply endowed with intense red fruits and overtones of warm pebbles, its high-toned balance conferring freshness and energy. The maiden effort of Jacques Devauges, tasted in his presence.

2012 Domaine de L’Arlot Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er, courtesy of Vic. Good colour. Cherries and dark plums dominate with secondary characters of tea leaves. Equally ample as the 2011 in its ripe intensity of fruit though appreciably larger in proportion but it is quite impeccably balanced. Peaking beautifully. Tasted in the presence of its maker, Jacques Devauges.

2016 La Forge de Tart Morey-Saint-Denis 1er, a cuvée comprising three subplots of Clos de Tart Grand Cru replanted in 1999, 2005 and 2011, respectively. Great colour. Bright intensity of fresh red fruits and cherries, a little more forward but supported by excellent depth amid traces of white ash and incense, structured with understated tannins. This has fleshed out beautifully compared with another bottle tasted a year ago from the same case. Another brilliant effort from Jacques Devauges, tasted in his presence.

2017 Domaine Duroche Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jeunes Rois, courtesy of LF. Poured from magnum. Very deep ruby. Highly restrained on the nose but the palate is well extracted, displaying a superb depth of intense red fruits and currants. Gorgeously ripe and full, lit with bright red cherries and brilliant graphite.

2010 Domaine Amiot-Serville Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er, courtesy of Kien Kah. Some evolution is evident, its cool ripe fruit now tinged with a trace of earthiness. Beautifully balanced with fresh intensity.

2009 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanée, courtesy of CHS. Deep ruby. Great lift of velvety red fruits and currants. Medium-full. Beautifully structured with sublime acidity, exuding refined elegant intensity.

2018 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains 1er, courtesy of Gregory Gouges. Clear ruby. Forward in fresh red fruits, cherries and dark currants. Generously proportioned with svelte tannins but deliciously balanced. Quite gorgeous.

2001 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Corton Clos Regnot Grand Cru, courtesy of Barrie. Some evolution is evident though the nose is still rather unyielding. Ample in maturing dark fruits and currants with a deeper core of tangerines, underpinned by vibrant high-toned acidity.

2014 Domaine Lignier-Michelot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru. Deeply coloured. Hugely masculine, layered with ample depth of dark fruits and currants. Wonderfully fresh, structured with great precision. Still tannic.

1988 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Volnay Les Santenots 1er, courtesy of Vincent Bouzereau himself. Classic pinot tint. Mature rosy hues and sweet cedar on the nose. Distinctly autumnal though still retaining good levels of freshness and acidity.


Jan 2023: 2013 Leroy Puligny Folatières, 2018 Bertrand Bachelet Maranges Fussière, 2018 Florent Garaudet Monthelie Taupine, 1993 Robert Ampeau Volnay Santenots 1er, 1995 Williams Selyem Olivet, 2001 Solaia, 2017 Mongeard-Mugneret NSG Les Plateaux, 2019 Evening Land Seven Springs

January 31, 2023

2016 S de Suduiraut. Popped and poured at home, 03 Jan 2023. Pale. Moderate nose of distant green fruits, glycerin and vanillin that impart mild sweetish overtones, well replicated on the medium-bodied palate. Very clean with fine clarity but somewhat narrow in spectrum, the vanillin being a little too prominent.

2018 Domaine Bertrand Bachelet Maranges La Fussière 1er, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 04 Jan 2023. Fairly darkish for pinot. Quite effusive in ripe raspberries and dark cherries with a hint of varnish. Medium-full. Very beautifully contoured with sleek acidity and silky tannins that impart understated intensity with a highly refined presence. Good finish. This is a real find.

2019 Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Chardonnay, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 04 Jan 2023. Greenish hues, exuding a weighty bouquet of wildflowers, wet grass and rye. Medium-bodied. Well proportioned, showing good integration and clarity but somewhat narrow with a bit of mid-palate glare. Could do with more stuffing.

Château de Champteloup Crémant de Loire Brut NV, from the list of Cafe & Bar Gavroche, 06 Jan 2023. Pale. Attractive flinty nose with distant floral tones, cool icing and white incense. Excellent fullness and dry intensity with plenty of zest, developing more of lime, pomelo and bitter lemon over time with cutting acidity on a bed of ferrous elements, revealing a bit of subtle detail.

2013 Maison Leroy Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er, courtesy of Alvin at Imperial Treasure Great World, 08 Jan 2023. Pale. Softly contoured with subtle velvety textures. Medium-bodied, but richly layered with exquisite floral characters that struck a perfect balance against the ripe elegance and sublime acidity, so much so that one is left speechless by its regal beauty. Outstanding!

2018 Domaine Florent Garaudet Monthelie La Taupine 1er, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 14 Jan 2023. Deep crimson. Distinct mentholic lift allied with a certain earthiness. Very good presence of fruit with darkish hues, structured with silky oily tannins that exert lovely svelte intensity. Surprisingly rich in layering. Excellent freshness. Almost sexy. Good finish. Highly recommended.

2020 Domaine A et P de Villaine Bouzeron, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 14 Jan 2023. This aligoté proffers a sweet creamy nose with an enticing lift of delicate citrus and fresh morning dew. Medium-bodied, boasting excellent presence of lemons and clear citrus that teased with deft agility and sleek acidity, framed by distant green fruits. A refreshing change from chardonnay.

2005 Fontanafredda La Rosa Barolo. Aired in bottle for ninety minutes prior at the in-laws, 15 Jan 2023. Opaque dull red. Moderate bouquet of preserved red plums and dark rosy hues. The fruit, though fairly ample, is somewhat restrained, allowing the sleek acidity to dominate the medium-full palate against a backdrop of bramble, briar and earthy characters. Another bottle drunk over 29-30 Jan 2023 was similar, though it developed chewy crushed raspberries and red fruits after ninety minutes in the glass.

2018 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay. Popped and poured at Corner Grill, 17 Jan 2023. Nose of warm pebbles with a pronounced oily density, giving way to distant buttery notes. Rather full and racy in its gleaming white tones, quickly turning more minerally before settling with a cool relaxed demeanour, retaining its slight austerity. Not unlike a Saint-Aubin.

Bellavista Franciacorta Alma Brut, from the list of Otto Ristorante, 19 Jan 2023. Pale greenish. Delicate lift of pomelo, green fruits and fig with a full excellent teasing presence, showing cool clean refreshing zest and good refinement.

2016 Domaine Philippe Chéron Gevrey-Chambertin Clos des Varoilles 1er. Aired in bottle prior to dinner at Otto Ristorante, 19 Jan 2023. Deep ruby. This wine proffers a generous bouquet of raspberries and dark cherries, leading to an ample palate subtly layered with crushed fruit that impart some velvetiness, settling down with a feminine rosy fragrance and quiet verve. Plenty of promise here. This monopole has been bought over by Prieuré Roch, appearing under its label from 2020 onwards.

1994 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, courtesy of Sir Bob at Otto Ristorante, 19 Jan 2023. Deep ruby. Very attractive subtle earthy funk on the nose amidst a lovely glowing warmth. Very supple and plump, its fruit having evolved with ripe plumminess on a highly subtle minerally base sprinkled with white ash.

1993 Domaine Robert Ampeau et Fils Volnay Santenots 1er, courtesy of LF. at Otto Ristorante, 19 Jan 2023. Evolved red. Slightly murky though the nose is quite resplendent in its rosy hues of mature red fruits tinged with a gentle pungent earthiness. Medium-full. Still retaining that excellent acidity (always an Ampeau hallmark) and freshness of fruit. Very lively with great verve and integration, developing superb agility with a warm plummy feel.

1995 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF at Otto Ristorante, 19 Jan 2023. Evolved murky red. Distinct bold presence of mature dark fruits with a liqueured note, neither complex nor layered initially but it snapped together with superb focus after a short time in the glass, displaying lovely glow and maturity. Good balance.

2001 Antinori Solaia, courtesy of Vic at Otto Ristorante, 19 Jan 2023. Deeply coloured with a floral rosy lift. Medium-full, softly contoured with a slight tannic edge, laced with sleek acidity. Slightly forward, displaying good depth with a bit of velvetiness underscored by a deeper darker vein of fruit amid cedary tones. Beautifully nuanced. Still yet to peak.

2019 Maison de Montille Montagny 1er Les Coères, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 21 Jan 2023. Deep greenish hue. Fairly effusive in green fruits, fig and brioche. Medium-full with an excellent oily density, fanning out with even textures and good detail of delicate tropical fruits and peaches. Good refinement.

2019 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, 21 Jan 2023. Darkish pinot tint. Attractive nose of ripe raspberries, mulberries and intense cherries. Medium-full. Beautifully contoured with a rounded supple presence. Subtly layered with excellent fruit and freshness that lingered with quiet persistence.

2016 DeMorgenzon Maestro Red. Popped and poured at Dorothy’s on 23 Jan 2023. Deep purple. Ample presence of dark plums, mulberries and wild berries cushioned by forest floor and earth. A little bright at first before settling with glimpses of crushed red fruits that exert fine intensity, finishing with a spicy dash.

2020 Les Heritiers Du Comte Lafon Macon Chardonnay Clos De La Crochette. Poured from magnum at Barrie’s lunch party, 24 Jan 2023. Gleaming white tones on the nose, marking its entry with fine clarity and clean precision. The fruit is somewhat backward, matching the recessed chalkiness, developing a subtle peppery intensity in the glass.

2017 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Plateaux. Poured from magnum at Barrie’s lunch party, 24 Jan 2023. Good color. Delicious rosy hues on the nose, displaying superb purity of fruit on the sleek medium-bodied palate with just the slightest hint of sandy floor typical of an NSG. Shows excellent linearity, balance and integration. An astute choice.

2017 Domaine René Cacheaux et Fils Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er. Poured from magnum at Barrie’s lunch party, 24 Jan 2023. Deep ruby. Earthy minerals on the nose in sharp contrast to the layered ripe plummy fruit and refined acidity that exert superb mouthfeel. Just a little bright at first, settling rather quickly with good balance though its finish is short. Drinking very well.

2004 Mount Mary Quinet. Poured from magnum at Barrie’s lunch party, 24 Jan 2023. Dense purple. Medium-bodied. Very supple and fresh, showing very fine cabernet character with a deeper core of tangerines. Rather understated on the whole but all the better for it.

2018 Cristom Vineyards Mt Jefferson Cuvée. Poured from magnum at Barrie’s lunch party, 24 Jan 2023. This pinot noir from the Eola-Amity Hills of Willamette Valley opens with restrained rosy hues though its superb craftsmanship is never in doubt, evident by its slim proportions and feminine character, drinking well with open sleek lines and refined tannins, just a tad forward in fresh darkish fruit but its balance is impeccable. Excellent.

2016 Tenuta San Guido Le Difese. Popped and poured at home, 25 Jan 2023. Comprising 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% sangiovese, this brownish-red wine opens with aromas of dark plums, ripe wild berries and mint that carry over onto the medium-bodied palate, equally brackish in characters of iron ore, earth and bramble, still a little tight and spicy with understated intensity.

2020 Domaine Moreau-Naudet Chablis Forêts 1er, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 31 Jan 2023. Dense golden greenish hue. Highly attractive bouquet tropical citrus, fresh morning dew and floral characters. Medium-full. Fairly weighty in dense caramelised tones of roasted cashews with a deeper vein of coiled minerality that exude an oily density. Settled down with a laidback glowing intensity, finishing well.

2017 Domaine Alexandre Parigot Pommard Les Vignots, by the glass at 67 Pall Mall, Singapore, on 31 Jan 2023. Good color. Red plums and mahogany dominate with a dark rosy fragrance, turning a little minty over time while the youthful palate is imbued with a fresh incisive intensity underpinned by a deeper darkish vein of fruit, imparting excellent verve with a trace of paraffin. Impeccably balanced, tapering to a lingering finish.

La Conseillante: 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 1999, 1998 & 1996

January 25, 2023

The Jürade de Saint-Émilion du Singapour met for an informal dinner on 10 January 2023 at Imperial Treasure Great World, featuring largely a vertical of Château La Conseillante, one of my favourite Bordeaux properties. Owned by the Nicolas family since 1871, its 12 hectares are split into 18 sub-plots planted with 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc on soil that is 60% grey clay and 40% sandy gravel. Planting density is cropped at 7000 vines per ha, where the average age of the vines is about 35-40 years. The juice from each sub-plot is individually fermented in concrete vats and subsequently aged in 70% new oak for up to 18 months. About 10% of pressed wine is added to the final blend for additional flavouring, colour and intensity. The 2007 was almost everyone’s favourite, proving that every vintage has its day, while the 1996 is superb in every way. Many thanks to all for your generosity.

Champagne Mousse Fils l’Extra Or d’Eugène Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV, courtesy of Russ. Poured from magnum. Clear golden. Predominance of dense pomelo and bitter lemon within a sheen of soft bubbles. Very cleanly structured with great crystalline clarity and refined depth, its pronounced acidity exerting some lovely intensity before ferrous elements emerge to impart austere overtones.

2012 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er, courtesy of Ewen. Poured from magnum. Dull golden. Cool glacial tones of icing laced with a trace of salinity, taking on a chalky shine that became more distant along with floral overtones, the fruit distinctly backward as well, glowing with refined intensity and simmering vibrancy as it sat in the glass. Clearly into its mature phase now. Ideal for those who like their chardonnay aged.

2012 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Dolly. Poured from magnum. Impenetrable deep garnet. Rather full and darkish, densely layered with pristine black fruits and dark currants, structured with pliant tannins and understated minerality. Fleshed out with a very fine even tone. Very fresh. Plenty of stuffing here but clearly still primal.

2011 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Lawrence. Purplish crimson. Some early evolution is evident, the wine showing a predominance of bright plummy red fruits imbued with excellent acidity though the medium-full palate is somewhat narrow, laid on an earthy floor of dusty tannins. Drinking well.

2009 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Russ. Deep purple with some bricking. Surprisingly restrained on the nose and palate, displaying a moderate depth of evenly toned dark plummy fruit still laced with varnish, well-integrated but somewhat withdrawn, not showing much. Unexpectedly short as well. Probably going through an awkward phase now. Best to lay down another five years.

2008 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Bowei. Opaque purple with some crimson. Restrained nose of darkish fruit. Gentle entry with a subtle saline lift. Soft, fleshy and supple, imbued with some ferrous elements. Opened up well with a balanced warmth, noticeably more nuanced, taking on a savoury tone.

2007 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Iqbal. Distinctly evolved into reddish-brown. Surprisingly attractive bouquet of warm red fruits with very good levels of ripeness. Medium-bodied. Soft, fleshy, beautifully nuanced with a bit of savoury character. Almost seamlessly integrated. Just a little short but this is really drinking superbly.

2006 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Sok Cheng. Reddish-brown. Somewhat reticent. There is a focused but restrained intensity of mature red fruits and haw on the medium-bodied palate with a slight velvetiness, structured with subtly sweet tannins. More seamless over time, showing excellent balance. Drinking well.

2004 Château La Conseillante. Poured from magnum. Deep garnet. Excellent presence and depth of dark plummy fruit that impart exciting verve. Quite boldly structured with subdued minerality but still somewhat unresolved, exerting some sharp attack and intensity, finishing with a distinct note of soy. Very different from a 750 mL bottle tasted just the night before which was highly supple and floral with a predominance of red fruits.

2003 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Daphne. Purplish brown. Opens with a restrained fragrance though the medium-full palate is plump with a velvety suppleness, fanning out with savoury warmth. Good transparency but a little subdued in acidity. Doesn’t betray the heat of the growing season. At its best.

1999 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Marc. Opaque evolved red. Secondary characters of plummy red fruits, raspberries, black truffles and cedar dominate on the medium-full palate with teasing intensity and very lovely integration, almost exuberant in its excellent freshness and lively acidity. A revelation.

1998 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Kieron. Translucent brownish. Cool complexity of capsicum, green chilli and bell hoppers amid evolved fruit. Medium-bodied. Softly delicious and plump, still imbued with quite a generous depth of dark fruit, displaying very fine integration and linearity, just a little short.

1996 Château La Conseillante, courtesy of Stephen. Evolved red, exuding an attractive earthy pungency amid that irresistible glow of mature dark fruits. Medium-bodied and fleshy. Beautifully open with refined acidity and understated tannins, imbued with very fine intensity and verve. Excellent.

2011 Château Hosanna, courtesy of KC. Crimson hues. Medium-bodied. Elegant presence of predominant red fruits and plums, rather relaxed in feel with a certain cool ripeness. Subtly layered. Drinking well.

2014 Château Hosanna, courtesy of Alvin. Deep crimson. Surprisingly soft. Concentrated presence of plummy red fruits and ripe raspberries with floral overtones, proffering fine detail of crushed dark cherries and stony minerals amidst the density of fruit and sophisticated tannins. For the long haul.

2000 Château Trotanoy, courtesy of Melvin. Deep crimson. Incredible bouquet of delicious berries and dark currants touched with splashes of salinity and savoury characters. Equally effusive on the palate where the wine is still tightly structured, its ample expanse spread onto a bed of ripe velvety warmth tinged with overtones of green capsicum and Chinese tea leaves, seamlessly layered with refined intensity. Still far from its peak, but thoroughly superb.