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Happy birthday Professor!! 2001 Margaux, 1995 Haut-Brion, 1990 Lafite Rothschild, 1996 & 2002 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1985 Latour & 1997 Gaja Darmagi

March 18, 2019

IMG-20190318-WA0003.jpgHow do you celebrate the life of someone who has looked after you very well, without whom you wouldn’t have achieved today’s success? The Professor needs no introduction to those whose paths have crossed. As brilliant as Moriarty but infinitely kinder, he has righted many wrongs, saved countless souls, put people in their respective places when necessary and helped his country win the fight against SARS. The man loves Bordeaux, and we were only too happy to roll out an entire First Growth line-up to celebrate his big round number at Silk@SICC on 15 March 2019, even though nobody really knows when the red-letter day actually is. With the exception of the Lafite, all wines were aired on-site. Many happy returns Professor! We shall always remain indebted to you.

1996 Dom Perignon, courtesy of Kieron. There was a distinct cork taint on the nose that pervaded slightly onto the palate, obscuring somewhat the soft yeasty pungency of this well-aged champagne warhorse that’s still holding well with crisp acidity and controlled intensity of clear and yellow citrus on a bed of recessed chalkiness, imbued with gentle dryness.

2001 Ch Margaux, courtesy of WCY. Surprisingly shy on the nose, proffering only faint aromas of dark cherries and dark currants though this wine is glowing with fresh mulberries and dark fruits on the palate, fleshy and rounded, suffused with sublime acidity amid traces of ferrous minerals that yielded transparent tertiary textures, finishing with peppery traces. Superbly balanced and proportioned. A classic Margaux.

1995 Ch Haut-Brion, courtesy of Kieron. More effusive than the preceding Margaux, this lynchpin of Pessac-Leognan exudes a gentle earthy pungency along with plummy tones, kumquat and tangerines at its core with greater immediacy, utterly seamless in its mellowed elegance as it dressed the palate in svelte tannins and lovely acidity. Doesn’t quite plumb the depths (not a hallmark of 1995) but makes up for it with its overall sublimity, culminating in a long glowing finish. Reflects very well the vintage characteristics.

2002 Ch Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of KP. Deeply coloured. Darkly flavoured with a bolder extraction of cool ripe mulberries, raspberries and black currants, still rather tightly coiled with an acidic spine though never astringent, opening up with greater transparency over time, revealing a hint of vegetal trace but it remained cloaked in dark tones.

1996 Ch Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Hiok. Deep dark garnet core. Surprisingly reticent, though there’s never any doubt about the abundance of dark fruit lurking beneath, proffering dark chocolates, complex smoke and incense as the wine became more mellow and relaxed over time, quite seamlessly integrated with very refined acidity but it could do with more layering.

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The Professor’s men and lady from Changi

1990 Ch Lafite Rothschild. Aired in bottle for five hours prior, this wine opens with aromas of dark berries, mulberries and dark currants with a soft feminine fragrance, eminently elegant as it opened up with a deeper mentholic vein, still displaying very good presence and fine acidity, gaining further intensity with more velvety textures as it sat in the glass, just a tad short as it finished with a gentle ferrous trace. Quite the quintessential Lafite, still holding well even though its cork had turned too friable. From an OWC of 12.

1985 Ch Latour, courtesy of Vic. This Latour at 34 years is still darkly coloured, full and masculine, opening with a great lift of dark currants, ripe black fruits and violets that leapt from the glass, very open and fleshy, still imbued with an abundance of cool ripe fruit with after notes of tobacco leaves, structured with detailed velvety tannins that deliver power and smooth elegance in equal measure. Caught truly at its absolute peak. Very lovely. Superb!

1997 Gaja Darmagi Langhe courtesy of the Professor, a blend of 96% cabernet sauvignon and 4% cabernet franc. This wine from Piemonte displays a deep garnet core, superbly layered with a racy intensity of toffee, mocha and ripe raspberries within a highly supple tannin structure suffused with sublime acidity. Open and highly inviting, traversing the palate with great linearity all the way to its lengthy glowing finish. Outstanding.

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My dinner with Laurent

March 10, 2019

Laurent Ponsot is a name familiar to all Burgundy lovers, especially after the airing of the hit documentary Sour Grapes. Nevertheless, when I received an invitation at short notice from Dr Ngoi to a private dinner with Laurent organised by Wine Cliqúe at the one Michelin-starred Summer Pavillon, Ritz Carlton Millenium, Singapore, on 07 March 2019, I didn’t really know what to expect. For starters, the numerous bottles that were airing quietly in a corner didn’t sport the usual dull-yellow Ponsot label. They appeared distinctly modern in fashionable metallic hues with the name LAURENT PONSOT etched across in green lettering borrowed from Star Wars. No “Domaine” at all. What’s going on?

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Sure enough, when the man himself arrived a few minutes later, he looked exactly as he had been in Sour Grapes. Friendly, articulate and disarmingly engaging without nary a wrinkle around his twinkling eyes, Laurent is easily 20 years less than his 65. This is clearly a man who enjoys his work and who lives life to the fullest, abeit in a principled manner. And now, Laurent has to do it all over again. I hadn’t realised but, in spite of him having almost single-handedly raised the quality and profile of Domaine Ponsot to worldwide acclaim since taking over the reins from his father Jean-Marie at this mecca of Morey-Saint-Denis in 1981, things haven’t gone well for Laurent in recent years, culminating in him leaving the fold of this revered domaine in 2017 after 36 years, selling off his share entirely. But, as they say, you can’t keep a good man down. Laurent has started his own line under his own name, its inaugural vintage being 2015, with the help of his son Clement and several of his old-time staff, including his cellar master, who had also left Domaine Ponsot to support him. Laurent now functions as both grower and negociant. He still owns parcels in Griotte-Chambertin, Clos Saint-Denis and Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes inter alia, but he now prefers to create blends from different plots of lieu-dit within each commune, buying in grapes or via share-cropping or, in the case of his Corton-Charlemagne, buying in the must (freshly crushed grape juice that contains as well the skins, seeds and stems). Both the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune are well represented in its portfolio with the exception of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Volnay and Pommard for which Laurent has no interest. Neither is there any Chassagne or Saint-Aubin. All along, Laurent has advocated zero new oak for his wines. He stresses that the grapes growing in the vineyards are naturally exposed to the elements of terroir but not oak…so why should one expose it to fresh oak? Moreover, he explains that fresh oak tends to expose the wine to micro-oxidation. As such, he utilises only one-year-old used oak for premier cru and grand cru, whilst older wood is used for village. Laurent never fails to remind us that the vines represent a connection to Mother Nature and that his role is one of servitude rather than being a creator. In this respect, I am reminded of Comte Georges de Vogüe’s long-serving cellar master Francois Millet who espouses the same philosophy.

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Talking to Laurent, one senses that he is an absolute hands-on person who is guided by what he has seen and done throughout his long career. When I broached to him the issue of bottle closures, he lights up instantly for, after 16 years of intense study and observation, he has found the ideal closure in the form of a synthetic cork that is totally inert to chemical interaction with the bottled wine, yet allowing a controlled permeability to oxygen. In fact, Laurent has pin-pointed 100 parts per million of oxygen in wine as being ideal for the taste of a 10-year-old Burgundy, and he has helped to develop what eventually became known as the ArdeaSeal AS-Elite, with which he has famously used to stopper his wines since 2008. This is a man for whom tradition is useless if it fails him, and he is not afraid to walk away from such sacred cows.

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The conversation drifts to other things. Laurent has been to Singapore and many parts of Asia many times over. In the very early ’80s, Laurent was one of the very first vignerons to promote his wines in Asian markets, thus accounting for his ability to converse somewhat in Mandarin and Japanese, including a stammering of Malay. He has had countless Japanese women throwing themselves at him in absolute supplication, but he politely declines. Laurent loves his fried rice, particularly the stuff served at Summer Pavillon and we duly obliged him. He wants to be a pigeon in his next life, because it keeps coming back! You can’t help but like the man. You have the feeling that Laurent is a fun guy but he is serious about things that matter to him. He is comfortable talking about Rudy Kurniawan, but any mention about meeting up with Rudy again after his eventual release easily gets Laurent heated under the collar. And he isn’t too happy about Sour Grapes either. Being a retrospective production, it seems a number of deviations from the fact had to be made in order to spruce up the story and Laurent is only too happy to rectify such mis-representations in his forthcoming tell-all memoirs. I can’t wait for it to be published.

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Now, how about the wines? It seems Laurent has hit the ground running. Within such a short time, he has already achieved results befitting his famous name. Whereas a number of 2016 whites from some producers tend to be plump, flabby and tired, the whites of Laurent Ponsot display absolute purity and precision of expression, imbued with delicate elegance, energy and balance. The reds, too, show tremendous verve and detail, again ingrained with superb balance and purity. Most importantly, the individuality of each terroir shines through with effortless grace. Tasting these wines, one begins to understand why Laurent eschews new oak, for the lack of it actually enhances the inner definition and purity. They all have nicknames: the whites take after various species of flowers while the reds take after trees. Naturally, quantities are highly limited, particularly for such a low-yielding vintage as 2016 where only 47,000 bottles were produced in total and they do command a hefty premium.

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2003 Champagne Pommery Cuvee Louise Rosé. Lovely deep yeasty tones amid some lovely earthy pungency, developing more notes of grapefruit and heated gravel on the brightly lit palate, displaying very fine depth, detail and appropriate dryness, just a tad short. Quite excellent.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Meursault-Blagny 1er Cuvee de Myosotis. Pale. This wine opens with a cool clean lift of wild grass and shades of nutmeg, superbly integrated and proportioned with excellent presence and depth of fruit, exuding elegant vigour, delicate detail and refinement with a minerally shine without excess plumpness nor acidic assertiveness, finishing in a lengthy white floral tone with superb linearity. I’ve not come across such great refinement from this source. Excellent.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Meursault-Charmes 1er Cuvee de La Centauree. Pale. Slightly more creamy on the nose but it still has that superb delicacy and presence, substantially layered with nutmeg, olives and complex citrus on a bed of gentle chalkiness stuffed with sublime acidity. Almost racy at first, eventually settling down with great seamless elegance, exuding highly unique flavors that culminated in a great glowing lengthy mouthfeel. Outstanding.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Cuvee du Kalimeris. Made from bought-in must. There is a lovely luminous glow of white fruits on the nose that grew with gradual intensity like a morning mist breaking cover, leading to a palate of delicate white fruits and clear minerals that shone with lovely purity, gentle richness and transparency amid traces of nutmeg, finishing with a persistent tangy mouthfeel. This is up there with the very best of Corton-Charlemagne.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru Cuvee du Cedre. Lovely colour though restrained, proffering gentle earthy tones, light red plums and currants on the nose, highly consistent with the generous tone of light cherries laced with ferrous elements on the palate, highly supple, its refined purity and teasing acidity producing a great open mouthfeel as it developed an excellent minerally depth over time. Deliciously seamless. Superb.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Cuvee du Saule. Superb deep ruby. Lovely aromas of cherries and redcurrants of superb ripeness and purity, matched by a deeper vein of rich fruit structured with exciting tannins that imparted wonderful mouthfeel, yet superbly proportioned in spite of its fabulous open intensity. Outstanding.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru Cuvee du Merisier. Made from vines planted in 1905. Deep ruby hue, exuding a quiet restraint on the dryish bouquet, layered with rich velvety textures that reveal lovely inner detail within its incredibly svelte tannins, seamlessly integrated with tremendous verve and depth. Brilliant!

1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru, courtesy of the great Mr Oei HL. Well-evolved vermillion. As expected of this pedigree and vintage, this great monopole impressed at once with its stunningly deep bouquet of kumquat, strawberries, glycerin and tangerines amid darker currants, open with cool ripeness and tremendous energy that transcended the palate with great suppleness and effortless grace, layered with sublime acidity and fabulous depth as it stretched out with supreme power, elegance and length. Truly a complete wine. Outstanding.

I must thank the wonderful people at Wine Cliqúe for this intimate opportunity to meet M. Laurent Ponsot, as well as Dr Ngoi and Mr Oei for their kind generosity. This has been an unforgettable evening.

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Feb 2019: 2006 Drouhin-Laroze Clos d Beze, 1996 Ponsot Gevrey-Chambertin L’Abeille, 2000 Ducru Beaucaillou, 1996 La Mission

March 1, 2019

2012 Leth Roter Veltliner Klassik, a glass at Humpback, Singapore, 02 Feb 2019. This Austrian white sports aromas of light lemon and clear citrus on the nose with a gentle floral lift. Quite generous in green fruits on the palate, showing lovely deftness and delicacy with good weight, becoming more expansive in the glass, finishing with a lasting tangy presence. Very fine.

1997 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, decanted on-site over lunch at Otto Ristorante, 04 Feb 2019. Deep vermillion, exuding powerful earthy aromas with characters of mushrooms, ripe grapefruit and dark plums, layered with gentle medicinal and herbal overtones on the nose and palate. Medium-full. Fleshy and rounded with lively acidity, structured with smooth supple exciting tannins that impart lovely gentle intensity, finishing well amidst traces of sweet. Quite excellent.

2014 The Otazu Bond, popped and poured over Lunar New Year dinner at home, 05 Feb 2019. Magnum. Made from top-quality grapes classified as Pago appellation and blended by yours truly, this wine appears to have turned the corner, having finally shed its sheen of vanillin emulsion, revealing deep layers of black cherries, dark currants, dark plums and raspberries, very well concentrated with fine purity, subtly structured with good cohesion, focus and linearity. Quite excellent.

2003 Champagne Henriot Millesime, popped and poured at Yan, 06 Feb 2019. Magnum. This wine exudes excellent freshness and transparency in spite of its rich presence of green fruits and clear citrus, layered with crystalline tones amid subtle ferrous minerals and acidity, growing in intensity over time with a smoky granite density as it yielded further yeasty characters. Excellent.

2004 Mount Mary Quintet, popped and poured all too quickly at Dorothy’s place, 09 Feb 2019. Magnum. Darkly coloured. Ample in dark fruits, blackcurrants and graphite with a ripe dark plummy tone on the palate that opened up nicely with rich layers, oozing with sweet dark chewy tannins throughout its length. Quite excellent.

2018 Frontera Sauvignon Blanc, tasted at Krisflyer Gold lounge, Changi Airport T3, 10 Feb 2019. This Chilean white excites the senses with rich earthy tones amid dense white floral notes, slightly peaty. Plump and very amply layered, revelling in its excellent fullness peppered with raw nutmeg, finishing with gentle intensity. Very fine.

2017 La Cazal Minervois, tasted at Heathrow Airport T2 Silver Kris lounge, 13 Feb 2019. Bright plummy tone on the nose while the full palate is imbued with dense dark fruits, forest floor and bramble amid traces of licorice. Rather straightforward.

Rodier Pere et Fils Brut NV, tasted at Heathrow Airport T2 Silver Kris lounge, 13 Feb 2019. Bold intense yellow citrus dominate on the bouquet, coupled with dry intensity of dense stony minerals on the palate amid yeasty tones, finishing with stinging persistence. Quite serviceable.

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All home-made…Yang can certainly cook.

Champagne Bonnaire Rosé, courtesy of Yang over dinner at her residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. Deep colour. Reticent initially, gradually evolving with notes of grapefruit and mandarin orange on a backdrop of dry tensile minerality, displaying good depth and fine gentle intensity. Elegant. Resembles a Billecart-Salmon rosé.

2016 Domaine Arnauld Ente Bourgogne, courtesy of Yvonne over dinner at Yang’s residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. Good colour. Slightly reductive at first, revealing only delicate grassy notes before it began blossoming with intense clear citrus layered with lovely minerality and teasing acidity that imparted some mouth-puckering intensity, well rounded and feminine with fine detail and transparency, finishing with gentle length but missing in persistence, eventually receding back into its shell as the wine became shrouded with recessed chalky tones. Undeniably attractive but not ready, even for a bourgogne.

2010 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains 1er, over dinner at Yang’s residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. This wine opens with a gentle rosy fragrance that overlay a deeper tint of ripe cherries, slightly earthy as well. Highly supple and sleek, imbued with orangey tangerines that exuded very refined feminine tannins that imparted lovely delicacy and acidity, finishing with moderate length but fabulous open intensity. Excellent.

1999 Domaine Faiveley Clos des Corton Faiveley Grand Cru, courtesy of Yang over dinner at her residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. Deep colour with some evolution, exuding beautiful gentle aromas of earth, cedar, deep cherries, currants and violets. Rounded with lively acidity, fabulous depth and intensity on the palate within a lovely gentle tannin structure, underscored by a great ferrous linearity throughout its length. Excellent.

2008 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de la Marechale 1er Rouge, courtesy of Roger over dinner at Yang’s residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. This wine displays a heavier mature tint, exuding a spicy bouquet of chives whilst coating the palate with a broad expanse of dark berries and black currants amidst light medicinal and licorice overtones, its weighty tone nicely offset by intense acidity, eventually mellowing with lovely presence and great suppleness.

2006 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, courtesy of Alvin over dinner at Yang’s residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. Lovely nose, featuring deep feral tones amid gentle dark plums and currants with a bare vegetal trace. Open with attractive depth of delicious dark berries. Full, vivacious and well balanced with good levels of ripeness and detail supported by a narrow spectrum of rustic ferrous minerals, taking on a waxy sheen with some secondary nuances as it sat in the glass. Excellent.

2006 Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru, courtesy of Alvin over dinner at Yang’s residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. Very correct colour and tint, displaying quite an intoxicating bouquet of dark cherries and red currants with lovely purity, rather racy in its bold swagger and fragrance yet managing to stay poised and controlled, highly supple with a lovely gentle presence. Absolutely on song.

2001 Domaine Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of WCY over dinner at Yang’s residence, 16 Feb 2019. Tasted blind. Unmistakably aged in feel, evident in its evolved opacity with mature earthy tones amidst orangey tangerines that has receded too far behind such that its acidity has turned distinctly angular, difficult to ignore in spite of its feminine softness.

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2005 Ch D’Aiguilhe, over dinner at the in-laws, 17 Feb 2019. Big, bold and tannic, displaying an ample tone of ripe black fruits on a rich cedary floor amid traces of herbs, spice and licorice. Fleshy and structured, finishing with moderate length. Unashamedly modern, appearing to evolve at a glacial pace.

2009 Louis Roederer Brut, from the list of Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Bright minerally shine, well balanced against gentle yeasty tones with light traces of kumquat and smoky incense. Layered with good concentration of sweet fruit, not too dry, developing some early complexity as it finished with intense notes of pomelo and bitter lemon. Very fine.

2014 Domaine Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin Derriere Chez Edouard 1er, from the list of Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Slightly reductive initially with an attractive earthy pungency, revealing  subtle acidity with very lovely nuances on a minerally base. Rounded with good density and layering, superbly balanced and integrated with an eventual warm caramelised tone.

2014 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassage-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er, courtesy of Marc at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Lightly coloured. Belies the aromatic lift of floral fragrances amidst gentle rich creamy overtones, carrying over with a lovely density of complex minerals and white flowers in the mid-body, revealing excellent transparency and purity within its lean elegant profile. Excellent.

2000 Ch Barde Haut, at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Deep garnet core, opening with menthol and licorice with a spicy hint on a cedary floor. Quite fleshy and supple, very subtly structured, finishing with mild intensity. Drinking well.

2001 Ch La Conseillante, courtesy of Kieron at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Deep purple. Exudes gentle dark currants and raspberries on the nose. Medium-bodied. Fleshy and rounded with great suppleness, developing more of red fruits and bright cherries that imparted a quiet feminine intensity, slightly stern as it finished with good linearity though just a tad short.

2001 Vieux Chateau Certan, courtesy of Russell at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Deep purple, still carrying a hint of enamel and varnish. Nicely supple and lithe, displaying great succulence and fine detail in its deep layering of dense dark fruits and soy underscored by graphite minerals that lent a bit of austerity, finishing with great linearity in a long lasting glow. Excellent.

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2000 Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, courtesy of Melvin at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Delicate lift of graphite, raspberries and sweet dark currants marked by a lovely earthy pungency. Beautifully open with gentle intensity and concentration, very lively and deft with plenty of layering. Excellent.

1996 Ch La Mission Haut Brion, courtesy of Sandy at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Deep clear crimson. Shy and reticent but undoubtedly beautiful on the palate, very polished and poised with great open transparency, developing a very gentle feminine intensity as it tapered to a minty finish. Excellent.

1989 Ch Talbot, courtesy of KC at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Lovely rosy aromas with a slight earthiness on the nose. Medium-bodied. Possesses a sleek seamless profile with a lovely oily density, gently structured with detailed gritty tannins as it evolved with further notes of mocha and chocolate. Excellent.

2000 Domaine Zind Humbrecht SGN Roten Wintzenheim Pinot Gris, courtesy of Stephen at Summer Pavillon, Ritz-Carlton Singapore, 21 Feb 2019. Very deep colour with an appropriately deep burnished tone of dense honey and aged nectar, still imbued with lively acidity and concentration as it coursed through the palate with a discernible medicinal hint, just a tad short. Quite excellent.

2017 Coldstream Hills Chardonnay, popped and poured over dinner at home, 24 Feb 2019. This wine delivers on its promise of frangipani, clear citrus, cashews and moderate crème on the nose with a satisfying medium-full palate, showing good presence with a certain oily density in the mid-body before evolving with further notes of raw nutmeg, cane and wild flowers, taking on a bolder stance. Excellent value, not far off in quality from this estate’s “Reserve”. Very fine.

2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol at Crystal Jade Paragon, 26 Feb 2019. Perennially under-rated, this wine opens with a delicious deep bouquet of dark currants and black fruits, marked by brilliant quicksilver acidity that I’ve never encountered before from this estate. Quite excellent in concentration and fullness, developing quite a rich plummy tone with very fine depth and weight, structured with a subtle minerally base that imparted a certain stern demeanour over time. Very, very fine.

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2014 Francois Carillon Puligny-Montrachet, courtesy of Kieron at Park90, Singapore, 27 Feb 2019. Pale, proffering a gentle minerally glow with traces of tangerines, slightly bright on the palate. Took quite a while to open up with a lovely expanse of complex grassy elements amid white floral tones supported by a chalky density, showing good detail, becoming more minerally over time as it finished with a long stony persistence. Quite excellent.

2012 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Boudriotte 1er, courtesy of Kieron at Park90, Singapore, 27 Feb 2019. Delicious aromas of nutmeg and mint tinged with saline minerals. Very good presence on the palate with rich creamy textures that eventually transformed into transparent fleshy textures with the classic Ramonet signature of complex white flowers and lovely detailed minerals, finishing with gentle persistence. Excellent.

2010 Domaine Perrot-Minot Chapelle-Chambertin, courtesy of Kieron at Park90, Singapore, 27 Feb 2019. Generous tone of red cherries and dark plums with traces of marmite, softly rounded. Structured with great suppleness, revealing excellent depth of gentle dark currants, very well layered though slightly short.

1996 Domaine Ponsot Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvee de L’Abeille, courtesy of RK, 27 Feb 2019. Rich tone of tangerines and red cherries, beautifully mellow and supple, infused with subtle ferrous and saline minerals along with lively acidity, exuding very fine presence and purity. You’ll never realise it’s a village. At its absolute peak and holding well.

2012 Garofoli Grosso Agontano Riserva, decanted on-site at Jade Palace, 28 Feb 2019. Intense raspberries, black fruits and dark currants on both nose and palate, laced with stern ferrous elements. Full-bodied, very bold and  lively, mellowing quite a bit after an hour with more open fruit though it is still brimming with quiet savoury intensity. Not ready.

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Koi (Oil on canvas by Chua Mia-Tee, 2008)

Jurade de Saint-Emilion: Singapore

February 21, 2019

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

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

2016 Ch Lanbersac Cuvée Or Rouge. Soy, dark plums and licorice dominate. Bold and minty with a slight vegetal tinge, showing good concentration and linearity. A blend of predominantly merlot and cabernet france with some malbec, vinified Madame Francoise Lannoye at its 22-ha estate in Puisseguin Saint-Emilion.

2015 Ch La Rose Cótes Roi. Dryish tones of mushrooms and Chinese tea leaves. Ample presence of dark red fruits and mulberries, very well-integrated with lively acidity. Good finish. Made by Pierre Mirande.

2015 Ch Mangot. Effusive bouquet of ripe raspberries and strawberries amid overtones of chocolate, enamel and vanilla, highly attractive. Lovely supple fullness with excellent concentration, layered with very fine acidity and intensity of fruit, all very well-integrated with subtle detail. Excellent. Made by brothers Karl and Yann Todeschini focusing on low yields that bring about smaller riper berries, Ch Mangot may trace its roots back to 1556. Impressive.

2014 Ch Coutet. Some early evolution in colour with a lightly accented bouquet of fresh wild berries. Good agile presence with an abundance of mulberries amid transparent textures, structured with gentle sweet tannins, just a tad short. Highly elegant. Ch Coutet has been family-owned since 1601.

2014 Ch Pindefleurs. Glow of warm ripe plums. Medium-bodied with a juicy succulence, highly supple with seamless subtle acidity. Great freshness and charm, finishing with good persistence. Lovely. Originally a Carthusian monastery that was acquired by Dominique Laurent in 2006, the winemaker is supervised by Stephane Derenoncourt.

2014 Ch Moulin Gaihaud. Good lift of ripe raspberries and dark cherries. Soft and gentle on the palate, structured with seamless acidity and sweet tannins that offer gritty detail. Very fine. Founded in 1901, this estate is now run by its third generation owner Jean-Francois Gailhaud while Michel Rolland supervises the winemaking.

2012 Ch De Pressac. Some early evolution is evident, exuding broad swathes of warm red fruits, rose petals and red currants with a sweet open expanse across the palate, displaying excellent ripeness and intensity of fruit, finishing with good linearity. As the name Pressac indicates, there is a dash of malbec in the blend. Located in Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse, east of Saint-Emilion, this very property is the exact place where the English surrendered in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), now owned by Jean-Francois Quenin.

2011 Ch Laroze. Rich vermillion hue. Good presence of red fruits and currants, highly supple, layered with subtle intensity and acidity. Quite seamlessly integrated. Founded in 1882, now managed by Guy Meslin.

2008 Ch Guadet. Sophisticated bouquet of dark violets, blueberries and black fruit. Equally engaging on the palate, teasing the senses with lovely subtle intensity of fruit amid svelte detailed tannins, very fine in concentration and acidity. Superbly balanced. Excellent, all for a fraction of the cost of a premier grand cru classé A. Founded in 1844, this estate is managed by Vincent Lignac.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018-11-29 22.51.59

 

La Paulée de Singapour 2019

February 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With M. Stéphane Follin-Arbelet who still remembers me

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

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

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

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M. Bruno Clair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FICOFI CEO Philippe Capdouze turns sommelier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fried rice !!

Paulee 2019

Photo: Vintage Club

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

February 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FICOFI: Burgundy on board the Lady E

January 29, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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