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USA: 1997 Phelps Insignia, 2015 Aubert, 2016 Kenzo Rindo, 1997 Mondavi Reserve, 2001 Beringer Private Reserve, Kistler…

March 31, 2020

A few of us gathered at Waterfall, Shangri-La Singapore, on 10 March 2020 for an exclusive Californian theme. All wines were aired or decanted on-site with the exception of the Kenzo Rindo, which had been double-decanted for three hours prior. On this occasion, the whites were outclassed by the reds, all of which were hitting their stride beautifully, particularly those aged beyond twenty years, without even having seemingly peaked. The take-home message: catch the whites in their youth but keep the reds for the next generation. Many thanks, everyone.

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At Waterfall, Shangri-La Singapore.

2003 Kistler Kistler Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, courtesy of Bob. Dull golden. Mature aromas of grapefruit and orangey tones shrouded within a dense sheen of paraffin. Rather full and concentrated, rounded with rich acidity. Dead serious in demeanour, resulting in a leaden feel.

2006 Kistler Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay, courtesy of Bob. Dull golden. Shut. More minerally on the palate with overtones of white ash, showing very good concentration, depth, transparency and intensity though a tad stern with subdued acidity.

2001 Kistler Russian River Les Noisetiers Chardonnay, courtesy of Bob. Gentle enticing fresh floral aromas. Excellent in presence, depth and layering amid a hint of paraffin with further emerging notes of apricot and pineapples. Very well integrated with fine acidity, finishing with lasting glow and intensity as it attained a rounded creaminess. Much fresher in feel than the preceding two wines. Excellent.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay, courtesy of K. Light golden-greenish hue, exuding delicious forward aromas of green and tropical fruits that extended well onto the palate with white floral tones, showing great presence and density with sublime acidity, depth and length as it developed a further spicy glow. Excellent.

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2007 Kistler Cuvee Elisabeth, courtesy of Bob. Very deep red with a forward bouquet of sweet dark berries and dark currants. Medium-full. Still quite intense at the edges with taut acidity, becoming creamier in texture over time with emerging bright red fruits.

2016 Kenzo Rindo. Made by Heidi Barrett of Screaming Eagle fame, this classic Bordeaux blend from Napa showed a very deep garnet red with an unique lift of mulberries, malt and warm wet gravel on the nose. Very smooth and open with great suppleness on the palate, richly layered with dark cherries and blackberries that sparkle with brilliant graphite, displaying excellent depth and definition on a burnished floor of cedar and eucalyptus. Morphed very well with superb integration, yielding some early complexity. Very classy with superb potential without any hint at all of its 15.2% abv.

2001 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, courtesy of Uncle H. Deep purple with a rim of evolution. Open with characters of sweet dark berries, incense and tobacco that exude a smooth relaxed intensity with sublime acidity, utterly seamless, displaying great balance, subtlety and length. Excellent.

1997 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, courtesy of Uncle H. Deep dark ruby. Superb depth and concentration of dark fruits, blackberries and old leather, open with lovely freshness. Still rather full, displaying great acidity and balance. Clearly hitting its stride now and will hold for many more years. Outstanding.

1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia, courtesy of Lars. Brilliant deep ruby, imbued with wonderful depth of ripe black fruits, dark berries and dark cherries that exude superb freshness and balance. Evolved further into some kind of distilled essence, becoming richer, bolder and even deeper with expanding fullness. Outstanding, but it may not even have peaked.

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Rhône: Guigal, Chave, Jaboulet-Aine, Beaucastel, Clos des Papes…

March 25, 2020

The Jürade de Saint-Emilion du Singapour met on 05 March 2020 at Rhubarb for an evening of Rhône. All the wines were showing very well though what came across clearly was that Rhône really needs plenty of bottle age, much like Bordeaux, in order to be at its best, preferably approaching thirty years as one may appreciate from the notes below. My thanks to all concerned for the generous contributions.

20200305_202601.jpgChampagne Delamotte NV. Clear bright minerals with good concentration of crisp clear citrus and traces of green fruits, displaying fine transparency. Not too dry.

1996 Domaine Paul Jaboulet-Aine Chevalier de Sterimberg. Aged tone and colour. Heavier bouquet of mature creme and caramelised baked apples. Smooth and rounded, rather full. Still imbued with good acidity and concentration, developing a greater expanse of white tones over time with very fine intensity, finishing with lingering persistence and kinearity. Severely under-appreciated, this is one of my favourite Rhône whites.

2007 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. Luminous in color, proffering musky aromas tinged with diesel exhaust and peat. Very good fullness, depth and layering on the palate, fleshing out over time with excellent freshness amid predominant white tones that exude a controlled poised elegance. Excellent.

2001 E Guigal Ermitage Ex Voto, courtesy of Stephen. Dull golden with a weighty effusive glow of mature creme and apples. Considerably lighter on the palate, marked by refined acidity amid traces of glycerin, superbly balanced, evolving with greater weight and power with a dominant plummy tone. Good finish. Excellent.

2005 E Guigal Ermitage Ex Voto, courtesy of Sandy. Dull golden, exuding a controlled glow of white fruits. Medium-bodied. Very smooth on the palate, seemingly more delicate in feel though undoubtedly deeper than the 2001, laced with darkish undertones amid oily textures. Quiet finish. Yet to peak.

2006 Clos Saint-Jean Deus-Ex Machina Châteauneuf-du-Pape, courtesy of Marc. Impenetrably dark with consistent powerful tones of dominant dark plums, currants, dark cherries and tangerines on the nose and palate. Darkly concentrated with focused intensity, structured with sweet tannins oozing with medicinal traces, culminating in a tensile finish. Strictly for afficionados of CdP.

20200305_233116.jpg2001 Château de Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin, courtesy of Russ. Very deep garnet red. Superb freshness of red and dark currants that exude youthful intensity with a very gentle perfumed floral fragrance, displaying wonderful suppleness and open intensity with further notes of early cedar and tobacco. Superb.

2000 E Guigal Château D’Ampuis. Deep crimson with some evolution. Predominance of delicious red fruits that display lovely ripeness, very open with great agility, revealing very fine ferric traces tinged with capsicum, finishing with great acidity and linearity. Distinctly feminine.

1990 E Guigal Hermitage. Mature brownish red with an effusive complex of earthy pungency, Chinese herbs and mushrooms. Medium-bodied. Beautifully open with silky smooth tannins that exude great sophistication and elegance with velvety ripe fruit caught at its optimum. Distinctly feminine. Most lovely.

1995 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. Evolved brownish red, exuding gentle rosy hues with a lovely lift. Wonderfully supple and fleshy, laced with superb acidity that confer great excitement, yet highly harmonious and elegant at the same time. Simply glorious.

1995 Château de Fonsalette. Very deep opaque red. Chinese herbs and dried mushrooms dominate on the nose, a perfect counterfoil to the broad expanse of red fruits luxuriously laid on velvety bed of svelte tannins, open with lovely intensity, going on to develop dominant tones of plummy tangerines before finishing with a dry sappy mouthfeel. Superb though not really surprising, for this estate belongs to the stable of Château Rayas.

1997 Domaine Paul Jaboulet-Aine Hermitage La Chapelle. Dark vermilion. Medicinal characters dominate, underscored by red fruits and dark currants. Rather full and fleshy, open with very fine acidity and intensity, developing a little more of licorice and herbal tones over time. Still quite youthful.

1995 Domaine Paul Jaboulet-Aine Hermitage La Chapelle. Deep garnet core with some vermilion, seducing the senses with an excellent lift of red fruits and currants that teased the palate in equal measure with wonderful agility and impeccable balance amid further overtones of tobacco. Superbly harmonious.

1991 Domaine Paul Jaboulet-Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, courtesy of Sandy. Deep garnet core with some vermilion, exuding a lovely complex of dark fruits, raspberries, mulberries and currants that extended well onto the open palate with lithe youthful intensity, revealing very fine detail and layering. Very fleshy, finishing with great persistence. Superb.

2006 E Guigal Cote-Rôtie La Landonne, courtesy of Chancellor Melvin. Very deep crimson, displaying a smoky lift that added a further dimension to the superb ripeness of raspberries and dark fruits, exerting excellent tensile mouthfeel with lovely open intensity and proportion. Excellent.

2007 Domaine Paul Jaboulet-Aine Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Le Chant des Griolles. Pale. Rather effusive and forward with an enticing sweetness, almost bold, displaying very good intensity though underscored by a deep ferrous streak that imparted almost too much of sternness on the palate.

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Feb 2020: 2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, 1993 Leroy Pommard Vignots, 1994 Ausone, 2009 Georges Roumier Clos de la Bussière, Sociando-Mallet 2001 & 2005, 2002 Caymus Special Selection…

March 20, 2020

2003 Ch Pape Clement, popped and poured at Venue by Sebastian, 01 Feb 2020. Deep garnet red, exuding copious dark fruits, blackberries and blackcurrants with distinct overtones of tobacco snuff amid traces of dry earthiness. Excellent in concentration. Silkily structured with very fine acidity that exert lovely tension across the smooth sleek palate, developing a further complex of ferrous elements, light cedary tones, cinnamon and orange peel, finishing with persistent tingling mouthfeel. Quite excellent.

Champagne Ruinart Blancs de Blanc NV, courtesy of Sir Robert at his residence, 06 Feb 2020. Pale greenish. Delicate minerally tones of clear citrus and green fruits that immerse the palate great freshness, clarity and gentle rounded presence. Appropriately dry; just a tad short but excellent.

1991 Maison Leroy Meursault, courtesy of Sir Robert at his residence, 06 Feb 2020. Delicate tones of recessed fruit and citrus that tend to accentuate the sharp acidity within, glowing with raw nutmeg and spice over time in the glass. Medium-bodied. Harmonious but a bit short.

1991 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Sir Robert at his residence, 06 Feb 2020. Highly delicate and shy on the nose. Distinctly aged in feel on the palate, displaying a rather full pervasive expanse of white tones and exotic floral overtones amid recessed chalkiness, highly subtle and harmonious. Developed a further gentle complex of spice, green capsicum and white pepper that grew with sharp intensity and character over time. Quite consistent with a similar bottle tasted in December 2019 at Iggy’s, also courtesy of Sir Robert.

20200206_214105.jpg1994 Ch Ausone, courtesy of Sir Robert at his residence, 06 Feb 2020. Decanted for three hours prior. Still rather dark with some evolution, exuding a classic glow of mature claret with a very fine peppery quality amid traces of ferrous elements and capsicum. Medium-bodied. Supple with a very relaxed feel, imbued with very good concentration and purity of dark fruits and wild berries with emerging notes of red fruits over time. Delicious. Charming in its own way even though it doesn’t quite possess the layering and opulence of the best vintages.

1993 Domaine Leroy Pommard Les Vignots 1er, courtesy of Sir Robert at his residence, 06 Feb 2020. Beautiful deep ruby, exuding a bit of funky earthy pungency that gave way quickly to broad swathes of delicious red fruits and rose petals that was simply quite beguiling. Still rather full and fleshy, subtly structured with excellent definition and detail, laced with ferrous elements that imparted a certain sternness before becoming sweeter over time. Superb.

2005 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge at Zafferano, 08 Feb 2020. Deep purple. Cool raspberries, dark cherries, strawberries and red currants dominate on the nose, superbly ripe. Beautifully supple and rounded. Very well proportioned and harmonious on a bed of velvety tannins, developing fine intensity. Finished with good linearity amid overtones of rye. Excellent.

2005 Ch Sociando-Mallet, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 14 Feb 2020. Deep purple. Richly layered with dark currants and dark cherries, lined with graphite elements that lend trace of austerity. Highly supple, displaying excellent presence with a hint of dryness. Rounder and richer over time with a mouth-puckering intensity along with early notes of cedar. Still not quite ready.

2001 Ch Sociando-Mallet, popped and poured at Venue by Sebastian, 15 Feb 2020. Deep purple. Malt, smoke and mulberries on the nose. Excellent presence of marmite, Chinese herbs, black fruits, dark currants, earth and grape must, exuding lovely ripeness and brilliance. Highly supple and fleshy, imbued with seamless gorgeous acidity. Grew in intensity over time, eventually gelling with a dominant plummy tone. Still youthful. Belongs clearly within the league of classified growths.

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500g Hokkaido beef at Rubicon

2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er, popped over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 17 Feb 2020. Good color. Excellent concentration with a dense minerally presence though the fruit is rather shy initially, the wine almost austere in demeanour. Developed more of crème and icing over time, displaying good transparency with further notes of delicate peaches amid a mild salinity but it refused to be hurried, requiring plenty of patience in the glass. Best to cellar another 2-3 years.

2002 Caymus Special Selection, courtesy of Kieron, decanted on-site over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 17 Feb 2020. Deep garnet red. Imbued with abundant dark currants and blackberries, superbly ripe and delicious with some early secondary development and cedary characters. Warm and supple with discrete minty and vegetal undertones, glowing with a slow gentle intensity of dark plums that grew tighter over time with excellent linearity, rounding off beautifully on a bed of sweet velvety tannins. Excellent though it may not have peaked.

2001 Bass Philip au Jardin Les Amis, courtesy of Sir Robert over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 17 Feb 2020. Tasted blind. This wine displays an evolved red with a delicious rosy fragrance, still reasonably fresh with excellent acidity and adequate fruit on the palate, seamlessly rounded with a deep core of tangerines.

2006 Fontanafredda La Rosa Barolo, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 20 Feb 2020. Crimson at the rim. This wine is highly fleshy and supple, exuding red plummy tones with a certain rounded feminine character, highly harmonious with well-managed tannins. Developed more depth and lift over time with more exciting intensity, yielding more inner detail with some early cedar and cinnamon along with a trace of earthiness. Still youthful.

2015 Hardy’s Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, popped and poured at Yoshi, 21 Feb 2020. Explosive nose of crème and chalk with rich upfront vanillin. Very clean and highly focused on the palate, displaying excellent concentration of white tones on a floor of subtle minerals with a trace of steeliness. Opened up with more tropical fruits and nectarine, rather plump and elegant as it finished in a minty glow with excellent refinement.

2017 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Blanc, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 22 Feb 2020. Broad expanse of gleaming white tones tinged with a peppery glow. Medium-full. Layered with very good concentration and transparency with fine inner detail, showing traces of green capsicum and nutmeg with a hint of salinity towards the finish.

2011 Domaine Henri Boillot Pommard, a half-bottle from the list of Gunther’s for SGD65, 24 Feb 2020. Darker tint of pinot, exuding a high toned rosy fragrance with delicious red fruits and cherries. Quite fleshy and full, imparting very fine acidity and tension, developing deeper darker undertones with a bit of charcoal quality before giving way to dominant plummy tones framed within sweet subtly structured tannins. Finished well.

20200228_161933.jpg2009 Peay Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, courtesy of Kieron over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Blinded. Dull golden, appearing older than it actually is. Shaved apples and pears on the nose, rather shy, though fairly robust on the palate with dominant medicinal tones (not unlike the Chinese traditional cough remedy pipagao) and tight reductive fruit. Very fine in acidity, becoming more homogenous over time as it lightened up though neither creamy nor chalky, culminating in a warm fullish finish.

2017 Vincent Dancer Chassagne-Montrachet Tete du Clos 1er, courtesy of Tim over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Pale. Powerful sweet citrus on the nose with a hint of sour plums. Quite full. More forward in fruit and clear citrus without the usual white tones of Chassagne. Opened up after some time to reveal a bit more minerally detail though its balance remained unchanged, exuding a delightful fruity glow as it tapered to a quiet finish.

2014 Domaine Thibert Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras, over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Pale. Delicate clear citrus dominate on the nose with a bit of sharp acidity but not overdone. Light teasing quality on the palate, opening up with a more expansive even tone of citrus. Highly harmonious, maintaining its delicate elegance throughout the afternoon.

2012 Domaine Duroché Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Etelois, courtesy of LF over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Displaying a deep dull red with some early evolution, this village proffers a lifted bouquet of delicious dark fruits, saccharine and dark cherries, developing further complex earthiness over time. Quite fleshy and rounded with distinct saline minerals that confer lovely tensile mouthfeel.

1992 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Blinded. Dull dusty red, exuding an evolved glow of dark fruits and currants. Very fleshy, soft and open, revealing even more red fruits with a mature plummy tone supported by excellent minerality with a trace of salinity. Finished well with good linearity and great subtle acidity, though just a tad short.

2009 Domaine Georges Roumier Morey-Saint-Denis Clos de La Bussière 1er, courtesy of Kieron over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Very deep dark pinot. Gently delicious. Fleshy and very evenly toned, exuding a highly-refined intensity. Harmonious with lovely detail. Highly elegant. Its impeccable pedigree is evident.

2014 Maison Leroy Chorey-les-Beaune, courtesy of Sir Robert over a long lunch at Alma, 28 Feb 2020. Superb clear ruby but shut at this stage, though the palate is open with a very even tone, layered with lovely acidity.

2005 Ch Barde-Haut, popped and poured at Rubicon, 29 Feb 2020. Deep garnet red, lighting up the palate with rich tones of dark currants, cedar and ripe berries with a brilliant sparkle. Shows excellent concentration of fruit with very fine depth and acidity, turning more savoury over time. Still brimming with youthful intensity. Delicious.

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2003: Pichon Lalande, Lafite Rothschild, Cos D’Estournel, Château de Beaucastel, Leoville Poyferre, La Conseillante…

March 13, 2020

This horizontal of anything 2003 was inspired by memories of our fight at the frontline against SARS back then, a situation as difficult as the current Covid-19. Jade Palace was the venue on 03 March 2020 with all the usual suspects. Surprisingly, the intense heat wave of that vintage didn’t seem to have had any negative impact on the wines tasted, apart from one or two that were betrayed by a tad of shortness at the finish.

20200303_204058.jpgChampagne Larmandier-Bernier Longitude NV, courtesy of LF. This wine opens with a gentle yeasty pungency, almost shy, with overtones of malt. Rounded with full presence, developing a lovely burnished tone that led to a dry gleaming finish though, essentially, it is still wound with tight intensity.

2003 Champagne Dom Perignon, courtesy of CHS. Poured from a pair. Light clear golden. Bit more fruit forward on the nose, displaying green fruits and pomelo while distinct graphite and ferrous elements dominate on the palate, imparting a stern demeanor. Became more open over time, developing more toasty presence with a mild yeasty pungency amid chalky undertones. Good balance, finishing with dry intensity.

2003 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Deep purple. Good lift of dark fruits and currants dominate on the nose with a hint of capsicum. Excellent concentration and suppleness, fleshing out with more soy and mint amid darkish undertones before opening up with other notes of mulberries tinged with forest green (from the petit verdot, no doubt), considerably softer and rounder. Quiet finish. Delicious. Drinking well.

2003 Domaine Jean Griviot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Poured from magnum. Much darker than usual, proffering sweet currants and dark cherries, displaying excellent fullness with very fine tension and acidity, finishing with dry tannins.

2003 J Rochioli East Block, courtesy of LF. This Russian River pinot noir is equally dark in colour with a bolder tone of haw, cedar and licorice, rather bright with a full concentration of ripe dark fruits and currants, forwardly balanced, structured with sweet rounded tannins.

2003 Ch Leoville Poyferre, courtesy of John. Deep garnet red. Gentle lift of dark currants and black fruits, displaying excellent concentration and ripeness with a lovely suppleness and open glowing intensity though it turned more placid over time. Darkly delicious. Drinking superbly.

2003 Ch La Conseillante, courtesy of Vic. Deep garnet red. Lifted savoury characters. Rather open on the medium-full palate, revealing good definition with subtle acidity that is very well integrated. Very genial in character, imbued with superb balance and freshness. Excellent.

2003 Château de Beaucastel, courtesy of LHF. Wild berries and dense forest characters dominate. Fleshy and concentrated with taut intensity. Gently delicious.

2003 Alain Brumont Château Montus “La Tyre”, courtesy of LF. This interesting wine comes from Madiran in southwest France, comprising mainly of the grape tannat with some other red varietals. Displaying a deep impenetrable black, this wine exudes black pepper, spice and capsicum with a massive presence of dense dark fruits, though supple enough as it opened up with good detail and sweet tannins. Not for the faint-hearted.

2003 Ch Cos D’Estournel, courtesy of MH & JL. Poured from magnum Deep garnet red, exuding an gentle hallowed glow with warm smoky tones. Fleshy and open with very fine detail and intensity, developing some early complexity. Highly harmonious. Excellent.

2003 Ch Lafite Rothschild, courtesy of Grace Ngoi. Deep garnet red. Very deep intense bouquet of black fruits and dark currants. Superbly ripe. Darkly delicious. Open with lovely suppleness, exuding a youthful intensity that carried a certain feminine fullness and warmth with some early secondary characters coming on over time. Highly harmonious, just a tad short which is probably a result of the very hot vintage.

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Weingut Markus Molitor

March 9, 2020

Weingut Markus Molitor has been around for eight generations, the present one since 1984 when Markus took over from his father. With vineyards located amongst some of the steepest slopes in the world in the Mosel region, harvesting has to be done laboriously by hand under difficult conditions. Yields are naturally low. If the tasting at Jade Palace, Singapore, on the evening of 25 February 2020 in the presence of the estate’s Sales Director Daniel Kiowski is anything to go by, it would seem that the wines are lovingly made, displaying great harmony, precision and balance. The bottles are colour coded according to the taste category of the wine. The dry wines have a white cap. The off-dry wines are capped in greyish-green while the naturally sweet and botrytis wines proudly display a gold cap. While the reds are decent, it will be the superb whites that Markus Molitor will be highly sought-after for.

2015 Weingut Markus Molitor Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett Riesling Green Cap. Pale. Fairly dense oily aromatics of diesel exhaust. Medium-bodied. Good inner detail, layered with a gentle deeper streak of tropical fruit amidst some earthiness underscored with a trace of pungent sweetness. Good finish. Grown on soils rich in iron.

20200225_210259.jpg2014 Weingut Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spatlese Riesling Gold Cap. Clear golden. Effusive bouquet of petroleum characters. Medium-bodied. Warm expanse of oriental fruit and peaches. Gently proportioned and harmonious, tapering to a smooth quiet finish. From very low-yielding vines aged more than 80 years.

2014 Weingut Markus Molitor Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese** Gold Cap. Lovely luminosity. Fairly dense chiselled aromatics. Medium-bodied but rather plump in the mouth. Rounded with lovely proportions, very seamlessly integrated with excellent controlled sweetness. Exudes a certain feminine quality. Finished with good persistence. From blue and grey slate soils.

2015 Weingut Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett Fuder 6 White Cap. Pale luminosity. Exudes even high-toned petroleum and white flowers. Very well replicated on the medium-bodied palate, displaying crisp acidity with clean precision. Quite excellent in clarity, definition and presence. Not too dry. Unlike the preceding three wines, this is a dry white, aged in 1000-litre barrels. Excellent.

2016 Weingut Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** White Cap. Pale luminosity. Quite an effusive bouquet of distilled white fruits amid traces of smoke with a fair illusion of fizz. Good gentle depth of clear citrus, pomelo and ferrous elements with subdued acidity on the palate, showing good transparency and harmony. Not too dry; actually has a trace of sweetness in its finish.

2014 Weingut Markus Molitor Brauneberger Mandelgraben Pinot Noir*. Cloned from Chambolle-Musigny. Classic pinot tint, proffering haw, charred elements and red fruits tinged with tangerines. Light-medium. Good acidity and suppleness though the fruit isn’t quite expressive. Bit too crisp.

2013 Weingut Markus Molitor Brauneberger Klostergarten Pinot Noir**. Classic pinot tint. Considerably deeper tone of haw, cherries and strawberries. Medium-bodied and fleshy, showing good concentration and presence with very fine acidity. Good balance. Developed even deeper and darker shades over time. Gentle finish.

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1983 Ch Margaux, 2000 Leoville Las-Cases, 1998 Cos D’Estournel, 2000 Pichon Baron…

February 25, 2020

Covid-19 has certainly disrupted lives and businesses but life must still continue, for we cannot allow ourselves to be paralysed into a downward spiral. Those of us from the Professorial team that had dealt successfully with SARS seventeen years ago gathered again on 18 February 2020 at Jade Palace (good to see the place still teeming with life) to commemorate our inaugural dinner that had taken place back in 2003. The theme was supposedly Bordeaux 2000 but, in the end, nobody really cared.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Lovely luminosity. Glowing gleaming tone, imbued with delicate chalky minerals and faint overtones of crème de la crème. Developed further notes of raw nutmeg and exotic white fruits over time as it grew in intensity with better definition and focus, laced with sleek acidity. Very fine.

1998 Ch Cos D’Estournel, courtesy of CY. Deep crimson. Powerful bouquet of mature red fruits that exude glowing plummy tones with a lovely gentle earthiness amid very fine understated graphite elements. Medium-bodied. Fleshy and rounded with good transparency and suppleness, well layered with dark cherries and ripe wild berries that are neither gruff nor succulent. Drinking well.

2000 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge. Deep crimson, proffering just a subdued earthiness at first, almost shy. Medium-bodied. Sleek but somewhat narrow in spectrum. Rounded with good harmony, balance and proportion. Not showy. Developed some early medicinal characters after some time, eventually finishing with lifted plummy tones. A little underwhelming compared with a previous tasting two months ago.

2000 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, courtesy of V. Deep garnet with some evolution, exuding a deep velvety plummy glow. Fleshy with very good concentration and complexity, structured with exciting tannins though it was a tad narrow in body. Still youthful.

2000 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, courtesy of the Professor. Deep purple with some evolution. Its impeccable pedigree is immediately apparent at the first whiff where velvety dark fruits and berries abound on the nose, matched by excellent concentration of fruit with a fleshy suppleness on the palate amid traces of varnish and herbs, its quiet intensity and sophisticated tannins imparting a certain aloofness. Almost aristocratic, as if it knows that it belongs amongst the best. Still not quite ready, I feel, for it may need another decade to develop an additional dimension in complexity.

Blinded Red #1. Deep crimson. This wine opened with a hint of capsicum on the nose amid gravelly tones with a faint delicious trace that lit up with exuberant bright red cherries and sweet red plums on the medium-full palate, layered with cedary characters on the floor. It tasted familiar but certainly not quite Bordeaux though I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. No wonder…it turned out to be the 2000 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth, courtesy of Kevin H. What a spoiler.

Blinded Red #2. Deep crimson with vermilion at the rim, delivering soft floral fragrances with understated characters of sweet incense. Fleshy and open with fine definition and inner detail that traverse the palate with excellent linearity, culminating in melted tannins that still conjure tantalising excitement and intensity. We were right in deducing it to be an ’80s Left Bank….a 1983 Ch Margaux, no less, courtesy of Tall Man. Superb.

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The Three Leovilles

February 13, 2020

The Jürade de Saint-Emilion du Singapour kept its promise of bi-monthly meetings with a theme centring on the three Leoville estates of Saint Julien on 15 January 2020 at restaurant Nicolas. Derived originally from a very large piece of land under Domaine de Leoville back in the 18th century, it was eventually divided into three: firstly in 1826 when Hugh Barton purchased a part that became Ch Leoville Barton (47 ha, now still within the Barton family), then in 1840 when a family feud caused the remainder to be subdivided into Ch Leoville Poyferre (60 ha now under the Cuvelier family) and Ch Leoville Las-Cases (97 ha now under the Delon family). The latter, with its vines seamlessly abutting those of Ch Latour, has always clearly been a notch above Barton in the pecking order with the easy-going Poyferre something of a wild card, as exemplified by the 1996 horizontal below. To me, Las-Cases is on par with premier cru and, in the best vintages, it probably offers the best value if one really wishes to get an outstanding claret at a relative bargain. The tasting that evening threw up one lovely surprise, a 1991 Barton that was truly beautiful. Many thanks to Marc for the organisation, and to everyone else for their contributions.

Bordeaux 2008 Ric 130

2014 Domaine Michel Caillot Meursault Clos du Cromin. Essentially shut, proffering just faint glimpses of tropical fruits though the minerally palate is delightfully delicate, imbued with excellent presence of lime and clear citrus, fairly expansive and open with fleeting intensity and superb acidity that traversed with unbroken linearity all the way to its delicate finish. Excellent.

2009 Ch Leoville Poyferre. Deep impenetrable purple, still cloaked in enamel on the nose amid savoury hints though it is already quite open with gentle intensity on the palate, displaying great subtlety and acidity with its understated presence. Quiet finish. Still tightly coiled. Best to lay down for another decade.

2002 Ch Leoville Poyferre. Dark. Slightly earthy with characters of forest floor on the nose amid ripe wild berries and blackcurrants. Good concentration of fruit that recalled briar and wild berries, softly supple with sharp acidity and intensity but lacking layering and detail.

1991 Ch Leoville Barton. Dull purple with some evolution. Lovely earthy glow on the nose amid ripe raspberries while the open palate is generously endowed with succulent red fruits and strawberries. Fleshy with plenty of structure, detail and fine acidity, finishing with a persistent earthy tone. Faded somewhat towards the end of dinner but this wine far exceeds all expectations. Excellent, really.

1998 Ch Leoville Barton. Deep impenetrable purple with a rim of crimson. Shut on the nose. The palate is open with excellent presence of black fruits and currants though, surprisingly, it is not yielding much in detail and layering in spite of its age, finishing quietly.

1999 Ch Leoville Barton. Dark musty crimson, exuding a gentle glow of herbs and dried mushrooms with good presence and subtle acidity, fleshing out with fine seamless intensity but lacking in charm, detail and layering, which appears to be consistent with all the clarets of 1999 that I’d come across at this point of time. Quiet finish.

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Nicolas

1983 Ch Leoville Las-Cases. Evolved mature purple. Open with a soft gentle glow of distilled red fruits and cherries with characters of fresh charcoal and ferrous ore. Sweet and delicious, still imbued with fine presence and intensity though distinctly relaxed in feel.

2004 Ch Leoville Las-Cases. Deep crimson. Soft distant glow of red fruits with a lovely faint floral fragrance along with a hint of malt. Delivers well on the palate with fine supple presence and intensity underscored with graphite elements, distinctly understated in structure. Drinking well.

2006 Ch Leoville Las-Cases. Deep impenetrable darkness, proffering mocha and chocolate with a hint of dry malt. Classically structured. Quite fleshy, showing good refinement and understated intensity. Perhaps not quite ready.

1996 Ch Leoville Poyferre. Deep crimson. Slightly forward with a subtle lift of distilled red fruits and strawberries along with complex earthiness and ferrous elements whilst the soft fleshy palate is imbued with ripe wild berries amid brambly tones and herbs that lent a touch of austerity, not revealing much detail.

1996 Ch Leoville Barton. Deep crimson, exuding complex tertiary flavours with a lifted sweetness amid broad swathes of gentle dark fruits, haw, dark currants and earth, most beguiling. Very refined in structure and acidity, seamlessly integrated with great suppleness. Highly elegant, which says a lot for a claret. At its absolute peak. Superb.

1996 Ch Leoville Las-Cases. Very deep crimson. This estate stamps its impeccable pedigree with rich warm hues of ripe dark plums and currants that show superb concentration and layering with open dryish textures, displaying excellent intensity and acidity, structured with exciting yet harmonious tannins. Has real sophistication and aristocratic power. Like all 1996 of the Left Bank, this wine has turned the corner and is approaching its peak. Quite outstanding.

2000 Ch Leoville Poyferre. Dark crimson. Delicious bouquet of rich dark currants and black fruits. Open with a relaxed suppleness, displaying early secondary characteristics with real sophistication. Appears to have evolved faster than expected.

2000 Ch Leoville Barton. Very dark, exuding a complex of complex red and dark fruits and currants still touched with a faint dash of emulsion though the palate seemed strangely detached, rather distant and aloof in spite of abundant cool ripe fruit that is seamlessly integrated.

2016 Bénédicte & Stéphane Tissot En Barberon Blanc. This Jura displays great luminosity and purity of fruit, exuding a clear crystalline minerality with gentle white floral notes. Excellent in concentration but rather tight and austere, its minerally balance conferring a dry chiselled quality.

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