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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 dimensionality 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.

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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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 Bonne-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 plenty of other lovely (and better) spots throughout the Cote d’Or for that purpose. A more prosaic explanantion 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, dimensionality 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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Dec 2018: 1994 Henschke Hill of Grace, 2008 Penfolds Grange, 1989 Olivier Leflaive Clos Saint-Jacques, 1982 Ducru Beaucaillou, 2010 Sine Qua Non Stockholm Syndrome…

January 8, 2019

2015 Maison de Montille Saint-Aubin Sur Gamay 1er, popped and poured at Wah Lok, 01 Dec 2018. Ample in green fruits, lime and clear citrus on the nose. Rather full with sharp intensity, filling the palate with a broad expanse of dry minerality, developing a late floral bloom as it finished with traces of nutmeg and white pepper. Excellent value for money.

2012 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ruchottes 1er, courtesy of Benjamin Ma at Imperial Treasure Asia Square, 02 Dec 2018. Straw colored. Closed initially, gradually proffering stony minerals that are slightly flinty along with an opague white floral tone. Excellent in concentration, displaying a distinct minerally balance followed by emerging white fruits and nutmeg, fleshing out with lovely oiliness, highly poised and elegant as it finished with notes of white pepper. Excellent.

1989 Olivier Leflaive Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er, courtesy of Dr Chua Yang at Imperial Treasure Asia Square, 02 Dec 2018. Beautifully evolved vermillion, exuding lifted aromas of incense, sweet cherries and ground minerals that carried well on to the palate with a gentle depth of red plums, tangerines and currants on a ferrous earthy floor, still displaying lovely freshness, acidity and complexity with very fine inner definition but will not improve further. Excellent.

2010 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Gevrey-Chambertin 1er, courtesy of Roger at Imperial Treasure Asia Square, 02 Dec 2018. Good colour. Bright nose and palate of red fruits, raspberries and cherries with a lovely gentle lift. Medium-bodied, displaying very good presence and purity with gentle acidity underscored by subtle minerals. Full of feminine grace. Excellent.

2014 Chateau de Marsannay Chambertin Grand Cru, at Imperial Treasure Asia Square, 02 Dec 2018. Glorious color. Intense cherries, red fruits and rose petals on the nose. Medium-bodied. Fleshy and supple, quite rich in tone with fairly transparent textures layered with saline minerals but lacking complexity and character, rather short as well at the finish. Far better on the nose. Perhaps shutting down. Best to lay off for a few years.

2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Alvin at Imperial Treasure Asia Square, 02 Dec 2018. Beautiful vermilion. Effusive in rose petals and red fruits, utterly beguiling. Medium-bodied. Ample in delicious bright fruits and dark currants, underscored by a deeper darker streak with quiet subtle acidity, just a tad short. Still youthful. Made from purchased fruit.

2002 Donnhoff Niedenhauser Hermannscule (375 ml) courtesy of Alvin at Imperial Treasure Asia Square, 02 Dec 2018. Powerful diesel notes amidst sweet incense, dried apricots and light nectarine with some orange peel, medium-bodied, covering the palate with subtle acidity and burnished tones.

1995 Domaine Robert Ampeau Meursault-Perriere 1er, courtesy of Vic at the Tanglin Club, 4 Dec 2018. Dull golden. There may have been a hint of oxidation as notes of recessed chalky minerals with a bit of musty sheen wafted over. Showing well on the palate though with fine presence and seamless subtle acidity, very smooth, glowing with quiet intensity as it developed broader creamier textures.

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2006 Kistler Stone Flat Vineyard Parmelee Hill Chardonnay, courtesy of Robert Kwok at the Tanglin Club, 4 Dec 2018. Light golden, exuding delicate white citrus and lime amid mild diesel tones, coating the palate with a luxurious sheen of rich creamy tones, rather gentle at first, building up in gradual intensity as it developed greater depth and structure with more earthy nuances and raw nutmeg. Very lovely.

2008 Kistler Somoma Coast Cuvee Elizabeth Bodega Headlands Vineyard, courtesy of Robert Kwok at the Tanglin Club, 4 Dec 2018. Delicious dark cherries and rose petals dominate with a lovely perfumed fragrance, imparting a velvety intensity on the palate.

1995 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande at the Tanglin Club, 4 Dec 2018. Fleshy with matured ripe fruit that exudes tangerines, cedar and glowing dark plums on a backdrop of dried tea leaves, old leather and mushrooms, fleshy with abundant graceful elegance. At its best and will hold for many more years.

1982 Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, courtesy of Kieron at the Tanglin Club, 4 Dec 2018. This wine opens with a superb earthy pungency, still imbued with plenty of youthful vigour and verve from the rich layers of ripe dark fruit amid dryish textures, very correct in its Saint-Julien posturing, still far from drying out. A great classic claret at its very peak.

2010 The Hilt Old Guard Chardonnay Santa Barbara County, courtesy of KP at Il Den, 05 Dec 2018. Clear luminosity, effusive in dense citrus with a lovely sense of oiliness. Excellent concentration of white fruits with a deep ferrous core, very cleanly focused and precise, displaying sharp acidity amidst rich oily textures that developed growing intensity and some early complexity, finishing in a gentle glow. Excellent.

2002 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er, courtesy of John at Il Den 05 Dec 2018. Mature deep earthy tones on the nose, beautifully open with good density of white citrus structured with chiselled chalkiness that imparted a clean, dry austere feel, very lithe and seamless, displaying excellent detail, culminating in a complex lengthy finish. Excellent, but do not hold any further.

2008 Penfolds Grange, courtesy of Hiok at Il Den, 05 Dec 2018. Deep dark purple. Resplendent bouquet of abundant ripe raspberries, mulberries and dark currants that exude a powerful medicinal glow though the palate, unfortunately, doesn’t quite measure up, rounded and open enough with lovely suppleness and good transparency but, somehow, rather lean and uninvolving, unexpectedly short as well at the finish. I’d expected more.

1994 Henschke Hill of Grace, courtesy of Sea Hing at Il Den 05 Dec 2018. This wine opens with a quiet reticence, revealing dark currants and plummy characters with some ground pepper in the distance, taking on a distinctly mature tone on the palate with more of similar plummy notes, open but lean, finishing with sweet tannins but short as well. Do not keep any further.

2006 Chris Ringland Shiraz, courtesy of Kenny at Il Den 05 Dec 2018. Impenetrable inky blackness from which arose a great funky earthy pungency, leading to a palate imbued with rich layers of warm ripe Barossa shiraz, open with great suppleness and crisp acidity, revealing good detail and excellent sophistication within its sweet structured velvety tannins without any trace of its 14.6% abv. Excellent.

2010 Sine Qua Non Stockholm Syndrome, courtesy of Jon at Il Den, 05 Dec 2018. Impenetrably dark. Quite effusive in ripe black fruits and black currants that are well replicated with great concentration on the palate. Very warm and ripe, almost pruny, massively proportioned with a forward balance of fruit and exotic spices though rounded with sweet pliant tannins, never ever threatening to overwhelm. Superbly crafted. Excellent.

2002 Shafer Hillside Select at Il Den 05 Dec 2018. Impenetrably dark. Ample in soft red plums with a minty tone, fleshy and well-layered with great concentration of ripe fruit, raspberries and currants that exude a smooth sheen of velvety intensity from its soft sweet svelte tannins, beautifully open.

1983 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, courtesy of KP at Il Den 05 Dec 2018. Evolved dusky red, proffering classic tones of light tangerines and orange peel with further notes of lychees, slightly past its prime as it became more reductive over time.

2004 Peller Ice Wine, courtesy of Hiok at Il Den 05 Dec 2018. Dense bouquet of longans. Luscious without being cloying, displaying excellent concentration and linearity with subdued acidity. Not much complexity but very enjoyable.

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2016 Conchy Y Toro Frontera Sauvignon Blanc, tasted at Changi Airport T3 Krisflyer Gold lounge, 08 Dec 2016. Forward in white fruits with a nice floral bloom. Quite full, layered with creamy textures and gentle minerals with fine presence and detail. Convincing.

2004 R Lopez Vina Tondonia Riserva Blanc, from the list of three Michelin-starred ABaC restaurant in Barcelona, 10 Dec 2018. Displaying a clear golden hue, this wine opens with an alluring complex of nectarine, fig and dense white flowers with a hint of sour plums amidst a gentle oxidative tone. Medium-full. Rounded with subtle nuances and peppery traces, exuding an aged feel and elegance through its refined acidity and sublime minerality, finishing with a gentle lifted intensity. Quite excellent.

Fontallada Brut Nature, a Cava courtesy of Hotel Barcelona Catedral, 12 Dec 2018. Dry. Notes of green fruits, melons and intense citrus that impart crisp cutting acidity, underscored by steely minerals with a bit of mint and icing, slightly sweet. Serviceable.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove Blanc de Blancs NV, on board SQ387 BCN-SIN Premium Economy on 14 Dec 2018. Plenty of lovely freshness, proffering whiffs of green fruit, melons and white citrus, appropriately dry with very good levels of ripeness and fullness, developing a clean forward chalkiness by the third pour. Very fine.

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2017 Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc, popped and poured at home, 16 Dec 2018. Medium-full. Slightly reserved in fruit, exuding more of peaty tones with a certain earthiness whilst the palate displays a predominance of limestone and saline minerals with overtones of raw nutmeg and white pepper laced with a mild spicy edge, becoming better integrated with further aeration. At SGD25, this is highly serviceable.

1991 Poggio Salvi Villa Brunello di Montalcino, a bottle gifted to me by Don Tay and decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 19 Dec 2018. Opague dull purple, opening with bright plummy tones and sweet dark currants amid a mild herbal trace. Rounded and fleshy, showing distinct ferric traces at the sides on a rich cedary floor, glowing with excellent presence throughout its length before ending in a soft gentle finish. Caught at its best.

2017 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, popped and poured at home, 21 Dec 2018. This wine exudes an amazing bouquet of  rich oily textures amidst dense white floral tones and grassy elements, replete with straw notes and nutmeg. Its slightly peaty palate is dominated by a gravelly minerally floor, bearing fine weight and intensity of fruit, finishing with tangy white pepper and lime. Cloudy Bay’s famous flagship is back to its over-achieving old ways. Excellent.

2015 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc, tasted at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 22 Dec 2018. Aromas of white pepper morning dew and grassy elements. Medium-full. Fresh, clean and rounded, showing excellent concentration and presence with peppery characters, finishing with good linearity. Quite excellent.

2017 Antonin Rodet Vire-Cleese L’Epinet, tasted at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 22 Dec 2018. Characters of morning dew and dry Asian spices with a dash of white pepper. Medium-bodied, possessing a light delicate feel with transparent textures. Quite fine.

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2016 Ch La Chandelleire, tasted at Changi Airport T3 Silver Kris lounge, 22 Dec 2018. This Medoc exudes earthy tones and dark wild berries amidst a vegetal hint with traces of rose petals at the edges, developing a brighter tone of emerging red fruits and currants after some time, structured with pliant tannins but still too straightforward and undistinguished.

2014 Sebastiani Sonoma County Merlot, from the list of Alto in Hong Kong, 23 Dec 2018. Decanted on-site. Generous spread of ripe raspberries, violets and mulberries, displaying excellent concentration and presence with detailed chewy tannins and fine intensity, highly supple and pliant. Quite agreeable.

2006 Ch Malartic Lagraviere, popped and poured at Teochew City, 28 Dec 2018. Softly rounded, mellow and smooth with good transparency, revealing some earthy characters with a deeper streak of ferrous minerals, turning more intense with pruny tones and licorice. Not quite settled.

2007 Tignanello, popped and poured at California Pizza Kitchen, 29 Dec 2018. Dark, dense, stern and acidic, its firm angular tannins imparting a certain toughness that hindered the fruit beneath, which struggled to break through.

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Slow Lunch with Dr Ngoi

January 2, 2019

These are notes from a slow lunch hosted by Dr S S Ngoi at his residence on 17 Nov 2018 to celebrate the completion of renovation works done to his wine cellar. We were invited on condition that we were forbidden to bring any of our own wines. Instead, each of us present was supposed to delve into his cellar and bring out a bottle that we fancy with the guarantee that it would be popped. Knowing the great man, I don’t have to spell out the treasures that abound within the cold walls. Nevertheless, we thought that we’d better still behave ourselves; there is no room for greed even within the bonds of great friendship. Javier Low of Il Den, who is fast becoming a home-grown celebrity chef in his own right, was called upon to mastermind the slow lunch which surpassed all expectations. We began at 1230h and did not end till after 2030h, by which time we’d all been properly hammered. Thank you very much, Dr Ngoi, for your kind generosity and friendship.

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1983 Dom Perignon. Deeply coloured, proffering a highly complex bouquet of pineapples dried apricot, honeyed toast and roasted almonds that led to a lovely depth and expanse of citrus fruit on the palate that, in spite of its distinctly mature signature, is still wonderfully fresh and vibrant with fine acidity, imparting a lovely firm steely minerally shine. Superb.

Krug Rosé Brut. Grapefruit and orangey citrus dominate amid dryish textures. Medium-full. Rounded and plump, displaying lovely intensity and linearity throughout its length.

2009 Domaine Roulot Meursault-Charmes. Shut on the nose. The palate is softly rounded, very gently layered with white floral tones and recessed chalky minerals and fruit. Took a long time to develop more of the limestone minerality of Meursault along with some floral aromas but still shy. Distinctly feminine.

2014 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Closed on the nose while white fruits dominate on the palate with white floral tones amidst a minerally shine, taking it’s time to develop further detail and intensity of wild flowers with mild chalky elements. Highly promising but going through an awkward phase now.

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1962 Vega Sicilia Unico. Still alive, exuding a gentle rosy fragrance amid overtones of paraffin and camphor with a predominance of red fruits and cherries on the palate, still so fresh and lively, finishing with lovely biting intensity. Excellent. What a privilege!

2011 Domaine Louis Jadot Saint-Aubin Les Murgers Dent des Chien 1er. Shy on the nose whilst the medium-bodied palate is imbued with cool ripe fruit with a hint of nutmeg and wild flowers, finishing with traces of white pepper and paraffin. Rather cautious and introverted.

2008 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Vosne-Romanee 1er Cuvee Duvault-Blochet. Evolved colour, exuding an effusive easy charm of red cherries and tangerines on both nose and palate, enhanced by smooth silky tannins and sublime acidity with lovely depth and feminine suppleness, gaining further weight and gentle intensity as it took on a subtle gunmetal minerality over time. Not the usual brooding dark intensity of Vosne-Romanee. Excellent.

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2007 Domaine Prieure-Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Dusky opague brownish red with an enticing fragrance of red fruits. Medium-bodied, softly rounded with a gentle fullness, displaying excellent presence with a deeper intensity of dark fruits over time.

1989 Ch Palmer. Evolved in colour with a vermillion rim, exuding a great earthy pungency. The palate is still rather fullish, open and fleshy with superb transparent textures amidst sublime acidity and intensity on a finely-grained dryish earthy floor. Still has an age ahead. Outstanding.

2016 Yamhill Pinot Noir. Deep purple. Closed on the nose though the palate is saturated with excellent concentration of ripe dark cherries with overtones of enamel and vanilla, very well-balanced.

2010 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Impenetrably dark, exuding smoky incense on a well-extracted palate rich in glorious ripe raspberries and dark currants on a cedary floor but neither jammy nor pruny.

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2006 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny. Fabulous bouquet of intense red fruits and red currants, highly aromatic. Medium-full. Rounded with earthy tones and evolved dark currants on the palate, displaying good linearity throughout its length.

2004 Ch Lascombes, poured from magnum. Dark with excellent concentration and dryish textures, fresh but somewhat reticent with subdued acidity although there is certainly some early development.

2015 Littorai Cerise Vineyard. Shut, with a darkish palatal tone of ripe raspberries and dark bitter cherries, showing good presence with understated acidity.

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2012 Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Beze Les Ouvrees Rodin Grand Cru. Forward balance of red and dark fruits, displaying an unusual complexity of toffee, mocha, bitter dark chocolate and black cherries on the nose and palate, imbued with brooding deep intense fullness cushioned by sophisticated silky velvety tannins, mellowing a little as it sat in the glass but this is far from ready.

2009 Domaine d’Arlot Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru. Lovely deep colour. Great attack of delicious dark fruits and currants with razor-sharp definition on the medium-full palate, appropriately darkish in tone with open intensity underscored by a deep ferrous streak. Still fresh and youthful. Very fine.

2011 The Mascot. Dark smooth sheen of dark currants, black fruits, cedar and cinnamon, superb in concentration and intensity yet open with excellent transparency and detail, structured with highly supple tannins. Great potential here. Made from the younger vines of BOND, Promontory and Harlan Estate, all of which are holdings belonging to Will Harlan, its inaugural vintage being the 2008.

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Nov 2018: 1996 Lynch Bages, 2000 Palmer, 1982 Pierre Damoy Chambertin Clos de Beze, 2014 Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons

December 29, 2018

Champagne Nicolas Feuillate, on board SQ345 ZRH-SIN Premium Economy, 02 Nov 2018. Dry expanse of dense yellow citrus and chalky minerals, displaying excellent depth, intensity of fruit and acidity, finishing with bitter lemon and pomelo. Excellent.

2013 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, popped and poured at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 05 Nov 2018. Ample in red plums and dark cherries within a slim defined profile with a deep vein of ripe dark delicious berries, structured with smooth silky svelte tannins, developing more of plummy tangerines over time with plenty of refinement and fine intensity. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Saint-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Rather shut on the nose, whilst proffering only glimpses of slivery white citrus on the palate dominated by sharp stern minerally glare with a bare hint of paraffin. Took a very long time to open with gentle white floral fragrance, gradually evolving to produce deeper intensity of fruit, finishing with good persistence. Best to lay down further.

2008 Vincent Girardin Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of CJ at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018.  Shut on the nose whilst displaying a firm minerally tone with an evolving rich creamy tone on the palate, imbued with subtly intense citrus that exuded a gentle glowing intensity. I’d expected more.

2007 Domaine Pierre-Yves Colin Morey Meursault Les Genevrieres 1er, courtesy of LF at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Lovely luminosity but shut on the nose, though it exudes fine presence on the palate, slightly more minerally in balance with overtones of pomelo, its initial sternness turning into recessed chalky tones over time as its fruit became more introspective, probably a reflection of the vintage.

2007 Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchiere 1er, courtesy of Sanjay at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Closed, proffering just a glimpse of complex white fruits and citrus though the palate is defined by sharp delicate citrus with gentle tones of honeysuckle and fig, layered with excellent depth of light tropical fruits and jack fruit.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru monopole, at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Good colour. Enticing nose of ripe raspberries, rose petals and red cherries. Medium-bodied, surprisingly open with great suppleness and acidity, becoming more plummy with greater intensity over time, exuding lovely charm before tapering with excellent linearity to a glowing finish. Excellent.

1998 Ch Angelus, courtesy of Winfred at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Poured from magnum. Dark crimson. Lovely earthy pungency on the nose with a delicious soft rosy fragrance. Ample in dark fruits and black currants on the palate that impart characters of soy and mint, revealing good inner detail with lovely acidity amid further notes of light tangerines. Excellent.

1976 Domaine Robert Ampeau Volnay-Santenots, courtesy of LF at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Evolved in colour with a distinct aged plummy tone tinged with licorice. Rounded, seamless and fleshy on the medium-bodied palate, showing excellent lift of orangey tangerines, still retaining good acidity, tapering to a minty finish.

2000 Ch Palmer, courtesy of CW at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Deep purple, exuding a lovely deep plummy glow of black fruits and dark currants. Highly seamless and supple in its fabulous integration and nuanced acidity, displaying tremendous charm and ease. Excellent.

1994 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, courtesy of Vic at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Deep purple. Effusive in delicious wild berries and dark currants. Medium-bodied. Good concentration. Charming enough but lacks opulence.

2003 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, courtesy of Hsiang Sui at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Very deep crimson. Laden with abundant black fruits and black currants on the nose with ash and incense that led to an open sweet cedary floor layered with lovely acidity, structured with svelte tannins that finished with lingering intensity. Quite excellent.

2010 Ch Rieussec, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Imperial Treasure Great World on the visit of Pablo Alvarez, 07 Nov 2018. Light golden hue, displaying a firm tone of apricot, nectarines and fig with notes of sweet incense and smouldering ember, yet to developed any significant complexity.

2017 Orangeraie Pays d’Oc from the list of Merci Marcel, 16 Nov 2018. Light grassy elements with traces of mint on the nose. Medium-bodied, imbued with minerally elements and green fruits. Quite lively and refreshing, turning more subdued after some time with overtones of toast and burnt cider. Serviceable.

2015 Pascal Jolivet Le Roc Sancerre, at the launch of Montblanc’s new range of tourbillon timepieces at 28 Wilkie, 19 Nov 2018. Suprisingly effusive in white floral bloom with longans amidst light grassy elements, quite racy in character, whilst dried pineapples and apricot dominate on the palate along with mild chalky tones and nutmeg, displaying excellent concentration, presence and balance, finishing with a dryish note of paraffin. Very good.

20181126_202520.jpg2014 Ch de Puligny-Montrachet Saint-Aubin En Remilly 1er, poured from magnum at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. This wine displays a lovely rounded tone and depth, cloaked within a nutty creamy chalkiness that teased the senses with its gentle exquisite intensity of white fruits, turning brighter and more minerally over time with further notes of dry malt and rye and pineapples before suddenly shutting down in the middle of the meal. I’ve observed that the 2014 whites and reds are going through an awkward phase now. Best to refrain from popping these for the next few years.

1982 Domaine Pierre Damoy Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru, courtesy of Peter Tan at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Murky brown, exuding an excellent lift of gentle medicinal glow with truffles and complex tertiary notes of ripe cherries and currants on the palate from a superb deep tangerine core, highly supple and sumptuous. Excellent.

1998 Rossignol Trapet Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Stephen Tan at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Surprisingly closed on the nose though the medium-bodied palate is showing well with very fine old fruit that’s still very much alive, quite fleshy and savoury, still imbued with clean crisp acidity, finishing with a complex of tanned wood and camphor. Very fine.

2003 Ch Cos D’Estournel at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Deep garnet red. Classic glow of dark currants and dark fruits charged with dense cinnamon and soy. Medium-full. Open with lovely concentration and glow of a classic claret without any trace of the dreaded heat stress of 2003, confirming the superiority of the St-Estephe terroir in difficult vintages.

2011 Etude Carneros Chardonnay, courtesy of Sanjay at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Shut initially, this wine took its time to open with tangy citrus, white citrus and chalk amidst some  crème de la crème, glowing with after tones of nutmeg on the cool palate, becoming more nutty and backward after some time. Yet to develop

2015 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroir at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Great colour. Open and highly supple with an abundance of red fruits, currants and raspberries, warm and beautifully ripe, cloaked within pliant tannins and superb acidity. Very lovely. We should drink more of these.

2010 E Guigal Hermitage, courtesy of Sanjay at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Deep colour. Ample in warm ripe fruit with classic characters of orange peel, well structured with deep velvety tannins and crisp acidity amidst some green elements.

Ulysses Collin Rose de Saignee Les Taillons Extra Brut,  at Jade Palace, 22 Nov 2018. Lovely golden hue, proffering tangerines, orangey citrus and grapefruit with crisp acidity and dry intensity.

2015 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, popped and poured at Ming Kee Live Seafood, 24 Nov 2018. Deep impenetrable inky red, exuding sweet dark currants, dark cherries and black berries on the nose but the palate is a tad too harsh at this stage, full in bitter dark chocolate, structured with firm tannins that impart great biting intensity. Not ready, but this calling card of Wynns rewards long patience. At SGD45, it’s price has not moved in the last 10-15 years. Aficionados of cool Coonawarra cabernet need not hesitate but be prepared to wait.

2011 Ch Angelus, at a pre-Saint Emilion Jurade tasting, 26 Nov 2018. Dark. Open, soft and highly supple. Ample in dark currants, dark chocolate and mahogany amidst ash and ember cushioned within pliant velvety tannins. Fleshy and rounded, tapering with excellent linearity to a deep minty glowing finish. Drinking very well.

2001 Domaine Paul Aine Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, popped and poured at Jade Palace, 26 Nov 2018. Dusty reddish brown. Dense concentration of red plums and tangerines with gentle medicinal tones, structured with firm tannins that are slightly angular and unyielding. Not ready.

1998 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, courtesy of Kieron at Jade Palace, 26 Nov 2018. Impenetrable dark inky red. Still unbelievably dense and tight after 20 years, this iconic wine exudes generous aromas of eucalyptus, licorice, dark chocolate and mint whilst the palate is amply layered with cool ripe black berries and wild berries that impart a warm alcoholic trace. When will it ever be ready?

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, courtesy of Mr WB Tay at Hua Ting, 28 Nov 2018. Dry, firm. Full presence of pomelo, bitter lemon and white citrus, slightly sweet, revealing attractive depth, finishing with a burnished tone.

2001 Ch Montrose, courtesy of Mr WB Tay at Hua Ting, 28 Nov 2018. Dark crimson, exuding a mild earthy pungency with secondary characters of cedar and soy. Open with sweet supple tannins with a rich plummy tone, revealing good depth and acidity, finishing with dryish intensity. A classic claret.

2014 Bernard Moreau Chassage-Montrachet, at Hua Ting, 28 Nov 2018. Good lift of dense white floral tones and minerals, displaying good early complexity on the medium-full palate along with some gentle chalkiness, showing good detail and layering with very subtle acidity. Very fine.

1996 Ch Lynch Bages, at Hua Ting, 28 Nov 2018. This wine opens with a highly agile bouquet of great complexity, evoking pungent earthiness with an abundance of dark currants and black berries, revealing a superb expanse of mature ripe dark fruits from its deep layers, exuding very fine intensity and acidity with a rich hallowed glow characteristic of a great claret caught at its peak. Wonderful.

2014 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Kabinett, courtesy of Vic at Hua Ting, 28 Nov 2018. Dense bouquet of petroleum characters, fig and honeysuckle with distant notes of pineapples and tropical fruits on the palate, dryish with a slightly sweet edge.

Oct 2018: 1996 Etienne Sauzet Combettes, 2005 Lynch Bages, 2004 Torbreck RunRig, 2006 Bouchard Chevalier-Montrachet…

December 19, 2018

2013 Bonacchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, from the list of Ristorante A Mano, Berlin, 01 Oct 2018. Deep vermillion, exuding earthy tones, red plums, dark fruits and mocha on the nose and palate. Open and inviting, rounded and fleshy with refined tannins and acidity, revealing excellent depth and fine intensity. Very fine.

2015 Weedenborn Riesling, at Lokal, Berlin, 01 Oct 2018. Illusion of fizz with notes of icing amidst traces of diesel, blossoming with white floral tones and raw nutmeg after some time, developing lovely fullness with cutting acidity, revealing fine intensity and detail before turning austere as its underlying ferrous textures became more apparent.

2007 Weingut Schembs Spatburgunder at Lokal, Berlin, 01 Oct 2018. Delicate red fruits and rosy tones on the nose. Medium-full, showing good acidity but its fruit  is set too far backward. Underwhelming.

2015 Enrico Serafino Barbaresco, from the list of Essenza Ristorante, Berlin, 04 Oct 2018. Transluscent plummy red. Somewhat shut, proffering bright plummy tones on the palate with sharply defined acidity, developing further notes of earthy incense and ash as it grew in supple intensity though still rather tightly coiled within a narrow spectrum. Not ready.

Santa Margherita Rose Brut NV, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. Lightly colored. Full but gentle expanse of grapefruit, pink roses and light tangerines. Appropriately delicate. Very refreshing and pleasant. Attractive.

2016 Bouvet Saphir Saumur Brut, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018 White citrus tinged with green elements on a bed of mild ferrous minerals. Quite full. Not too dry. Serviceable.

Bouvet Ladubay La Petite Bulle, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. This Vin Frizzant exudes soft gentle aromas of fresh green melons, fairly smooth, carrying good concentration of fruit, very seamlessly integrated. Very agreeable.

2016 Sankt Annaberg Burrweiler Stannaberg Riesling Pfalz, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. Classic diesel fumes with an attractive complex of light citrus and pomelo that carried well onto the palate with faint traces of sweet.

2015 Ch Borie de Noailin, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. Predominance of earthy tones, undergrowth and dusty tannins. Full but unremarkable, supported by a spicy acidic spine.

2015 Bodegas Alconde Optimo, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. Full bouquet of warm ripe fruit, matched by excellent density of ripe wild berries with a touch of white citrus. Medium-full, quite supple and sprightly with fine acidity.

2017 Vieille Ferme, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. Lovely white citrus though rather narrow in spectrum. Very well-integrated with fine acidity and good concentration, just a tad flinty.

2015 Cambria Benchbreak Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley, at Tegel Airport Senator Lounge, Berlin, 05 Oct 2018. Great earthy pungency with exotic spices on the nose, imbued with dense chalky minerals on the palate, rather full with well-developed tones of creme and magnolias. Very well structured, tapering to a lasting finish tinged with nutmeg.

2004 Torbreck RunRig, decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 06 Oct 2018. Deep dark ruby, exuding an earthy glow of dark plums and licorice with a suggestion of rustiness. The palate is imbued with fine concentration of delicious red fruits, dark cherries and raspberries that confer abundant freshness with a dash of spice, quite robust and firm as well, revealing secondary nuances of cedar and cinnamon. Still yet to peak.

2005 Champagne Henriot Hemera, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. This wine exudes lovely yeasty tones with an attractive earthy pungency, medium-bodied, very rich and refined with smooth gentle bubbles, open with clear transparent crystalline tones and subtle minerality, finishing with a slight ferrous trace. Very fine but a bit too refined. I’d expected more complexity.

2015 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. This wine exudes a great earthy pungency on a concentrated palate of tight distilled citrus with overtones of raw nutmeg and paraffin, less minerally than usual for Les Pucelles, displaying excellent linearity as it finished with quiet intensity. Excellent.

2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Lovely bouquet, displaying a broad expanse of deep chalky tones and grassy elements. Excellent in concentration, highly focused and seamlessly integrated, very lively, finishing with great persistence amidst a tinge of green melons.

2006 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Shut at this stage, though the palate is tight with abundant fresh clear citrus, structured with crisp focused acidity. Not ready.

2005 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Dark with abundant density of black fruits and dark currants amidst dryish textures that imparted taut focused acidity and intensity, opening up with further signature Pauillac dryness but shy. Still infantile.

2005 Ch Lynch Bages, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Displaying a bare hint of evolution, this wine has more of an aged feel compared with Pichon Baron of the same vintage, highly fleshy and supple, layered with dark currants and blackberries that conferred excellent presence, depth and silky intensity on a classic Pauillac backdrop. Absolutely delicious and seductive. Excellent.

1995 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Deep purple. Ample presence of ripe wild berries, considerably more relaxed and open with supple lean acidity, very well-integrated on a cedary floor with amidst subdued tones of graphite minerals that announce its origins. Excellent.

2013 Gaja Barbaresco, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Shut on the nose, though the palate carries an abundance of racy dark currants and delicious red fruits with plenty of vigour and intensity, taut with tense acidity. Excellent potential but too young at this stage.

2013 Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussua Romirasco, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Amply layered with rich ripe fruit and currants that exude overtones of paint, enamel and varnish – all very racy and exuberant – structured with detailed gritty tannins that lend a spicy edge to the persistent finish.

2009 Sandrone La Vigne Barolo Le Vigne, at a FICOFI blind tasting conducted by Eric Riewer, 08 Oct 2018. Closed on the nose though the palate is richly layered with abundant ripe dark fruit and currants that impart lovely freshness with silky smooth tannins, exuding fair intensity.

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2008 Rockford Black Shiraz, over dimsum at Asia Grand, 14 Oct 2018. Gentle but deep herbal and medicinal bouquet that precedes a full rounded palate of warm ripe Barossa shiraz with characteristics of earth and dark wild berries, excellent in concentration and presence with smooth tannins that exude subdued intensity, though the fizz is already beginning to dry out and there isn’t much of the expected complexity. Rather disappointing on this occasion.

2014 Domaine Pierre Damoy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Tamisot, popped and poured at home on 15 Oct 2018. This wine opens with a severe stern demeanor, layered with a rather thick opaque sheen as a result of its high extraction such that its fruit struggles to shine through. It did become a bit more relaxed after 90 minutes in the glass as more of dark cherries and raspberries came through but it is going through an awkward phase now.

2015 Pierre Frick Riesling, courtesy of Javier at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. This natural wine, whatever that means, proffers sour plums, nutmeg, olives and mature frangipani on the nose amidst a gentle hint of raw diesel, imbued with tight intensity of white fruits, yellow citrus and clear minerals on the palate, showing good definition but short.

2003 Champagne Henriot, poured from magnum at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Open with dry minerality, proffering a soft gentle floral bloom allied with mild ferrous undertones, showing excellent depth and youthful intensity.

1996 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er, courtesy of John at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. This wines exudes a powerful earthy pungency on the nose with other notes of wild grass and diesel, almost peaty in character whilst broad swathes of gentle chalky minerals with complex undertones dominate on the palate, yielding excellent depth and detail. Absolutely lovely.

2014 Freeman Chardonnay, courtesy of  Vic at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Shut on the nose, though the palate is covered in rich creamy tones and smooth oily textures, underscored by crisp subtle acidity with forward tones of nutmeg and white floral characters, all very subtly managed with lovely proportions, just a tad short. Quite excellent.

2014 Domaine Bruno Clair Chambolle-Musigny Les Veroilles, at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Lovely clear ruby, exuding gentle aromas of rose petals, cherries and red currants with just the right degree of presence and concentration on the palate, beautifully balanced.

1999 Domaine Robert Ampeau Savigny-les-Beaune, courtesy of CJ at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Significantly darker, showing good concentration of dark fruits with overtones of undergrowth. Rounded and smooth, structured with silky smooth tannins and fine acidity.

2015 Maison Leroy Bourgogne at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Darkly coloured and shut. Well- extracted but done just right, reveling in a lovely intensity of dark currants, raspberries and ripe wild berries, displaying great definition and sublime acidity. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Coquard Loison Fleurot Chambolle-Musigny, courtesy of LF at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Superb colour and freshness, imbued with gentle saline minerals and earthy tones underscored by great acidity.

2014 Domaine Coquard Loison Fleurot Gevrey-Chambertin, courtesy of LF at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Ample in warm ripe fruit and dark currants, structured with stern minerality amidst sublime acidity. Distinctly masculine.

2012 Jurancon Les Jardins de Babylone at Il Den, 18 Oct 2018. Very deftly balanced with a teasing quality on the cool palate imbued gentle tropical fruits.

2002 Piper Hiedsieck Rare Millesime, tasted at the Silver Kris First Class Lounge of Changi Airport T3, 20 Oct 2018. This wine opens with abundant earthy pungency and toasty oak amidst gentle yeasty overtones, absolutely bone dry on the palate where dense yellow citrus and lime dominate with fine intensity on a backdrop of graphite minerals. Excellent.

2017 Antonin Rodet Vire-Classe L’Epinet, on board SQ346 SIN-ZRH Business Class, 21 Oct 2018. Green elements, white fruits and floral tones proliferate on the nose, possessing a very clean feel and focus within its tight slim profile on the palate. Rather straightforward.

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Javier’s creation at Il Den, Singapore.

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

December 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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