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1994 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet, 1989 Château Angelus, 1998 La Gomerie, 1961 Château L’Eglise-Clinet, 2002 Masseto

October 28, 2020

Our select group of five met again at Buona Terra, Singapore, on 27 October 2020 to welcome LF back from his onerous duties at a distant sultanate. A Montrachet had been promised while the rest of us dug deep to bring stuff that is less commonly encountered. The line-up turned out to be quite outstanding and with Gabriele Rizzardi and his team on hand to look after us, we were set for a great evening.

20201027_195104.jpg2005 Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, courtesy of LF. Highly aromatic whiffs of perfumed fragrance hinting at pink roses and haw over some earthy darkish tones, possessing a lovely rounded presence with an emerging crystalline quality underscored by minerally intensity of understated depth, finishing with good length. Excellent.

1994 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru, a half bottle courtesy of Sir Bob. Tasted blind but still easily recognisable as the Holy Grail of whites. Luminous gold, exuding a classic restrained nose of white tones and distant minerals with a lovely creamy smoothness, its warm velvety fruit teasing the palate with a rounded fleeting intensity before finishing with superb linearity and lingering length. Supremely confident and refined, utterly seamless in every way even as it went on to develop expansive swathes of white floral tones with wonderful flair and balance. Outstanding.

2018 Domaine Etienne Sauzet Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Jardin du Calvaire, courtesy of Sir Bob. Tasted blind. Pale. Nutmeg and wet grassy elements on the nose, somewhat reductive, whilst the palate is reminiscent of green fruits and longans tinged with a bit of sweetness, rounded but slightly forward, imbued with very fine acidity but short. Very hard to place; I thought it might even be New World.

1996 Maison Leroy Bourgogne, courtesy of Sir Bob. Tasted blind. Considerably heavier tint that suggested a mature wine, proffering a delicate bouquet of brioche with a hint of earthiness that led to secondary characters with chromatic white tones on the medium-bodied palate, still imbued with very fine acidity though distinctly short at the finish.

2010 Kistler Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, courtesy of Sir Bob. Tasted blind. Clear golden. Took some time in the glass to put on weight, fleshing out with a classic Puligny-like chalkiness and white tones with excellent acidity and intensity, so much so that I was convinced it was a Puligny-Montrachet.

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2002 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto, courtesy of Vic. Tasted blind. Dark evolved purple. Dark fruits and currants dominate with a hint of vanillin. Medium-bodied. Superbly lush and supple, exuding fine intensity with excellent inner detail, imparting a plush velvety feel that spelt 100% merlot. I nailed it, though I’d thought it to be the 1997. Excellent.

1998 Château La Gomerie. Dark crimson. Pronounced minty tones, dark fruits and earth along with some bell pepper on the nose. Medium-bodied. Highly supple with a distinct minerally tone, still coiled with some tight intensity within its depths though it eventually mellowed in the glass to reveal highly-refined tannins, caressing the palate with a fair degree of lushness. May not actually have peaked. Also a 100% merlot, but there seems to be more structure to it than the Masseto. This is its fourth vintage since the inaugural 1995 but this 2.5 ha plot has since been reabsorbed back into Beau-Séjour Bécot after its final vintage of 2011.

1989 Château Angelus, courtesy of Kieron. Tasted blind. Still rather dark, exuding an attractive earthy pungency amid overtones of green capsicum. Medium-bodied, imbued with abundant dark currants and ripe berries that impart a lovely feminine fleshiness with a highly supple mouthfeel, yielding fine definition with a hint of succulence, becoming more relaxed and understated with a hint of dry medicinal powder as it sat in the glass. Still remarkably fresh. Absolutely on song. Several thought it to be Left Bank though I thought it to be a mature Pomerol.

1961 Château L’Eglise-Clinet, courtesy of LF. Still displaying a deep dark crimson, this wine opens with a certain minty glow of licorice and cedar that recalled pipagao, imbued with good concentration of mature fruit tinged with sweetness that is still amazingly fresh. Rather placid with fine transparency at first before gaining in weight and layering, becoming more port-like but in the best sense. Still has the legs to carry on. Wonderful stuff.

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Vosne-Romanée: 2008 Forey Gaudichots, 2011 Montille Aux Malconsorts Christiane, 2016 Thibault Liger-Belair Richebourg GC, 2014 Domaine Prieuré-Roch Les Suchots & 2002 Sylvain Cathiard Aux Reignots

October 22, 2020

A leisurely evening on 21 October 2020 at La Strada, Singapore, on a theme of Vosne-Romanée 1er or grand cru hosted by Timothy Goh where all wines were blinded and served in random order by the maitre’d. We were on good form, for each of us could identify our own wines while picking out the correct plots most of the time. Many thanks for dinner, Tim, and to everyone for your contributions.

2018 Pieropan Soave Classico, courtesy of Tim. Gentle fresh morning dew and floral elements on the nose tinged with a trace of sweetness. Light crystalline clarity, showing clean acidity with good detail, finishing in a minty glow with a touch of salinity.

2016 Aubert Chardonnay, courtesy of Kieron. This wine opens with a lovely complex of citrus, floral tones, some nutmeg and emerging pineapples, fairly vigorous, while a cool velvety creaminess coats the palate with a light sheen of paraffin and distant green fruits, displaying excellent intensity though understated on the whole with lovely restraint. I was spot-on with my guess.

2016 Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Richebourg Grand Cru, courtesy of Tim. Very dark. Clearly youthful, brimming with intense red fruits and currants though shy and elusive at first, becoming a bit more plummy later on the nose. Medium-full, displaying excellent ripeness with clean definition and sleek acidity. Very well balanced and proportioned, revealing a deeper vein of dark fruit that conferred subtle weight. Masculine yet elegant.

2014 Domaine Prieuré-Roch Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er. Bright crimson, looking misleadingly mature based on colour alone. Distinctly feminine on the nose, quite effusive in delicious sweet cherries and red fruits with further notes of plums and haw followed by an earthy tinge. Medium-full. Fleshy with fair intensity and striking acidity that conferred sharp definition though the fruit is rather restrained within a narrow spectrum. Became utterly seamless by the end of dinner, developing a lovely layered fluidity though it is clearly not the opulent sort. Tim got it right.

2002 Domaine Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanée Aux Reignots 1er, courtesy of Andre. Beautiful clear ruby. Dark raspberries dominate on the nose though a hint of varnish is discernible along with a tinge of ash. Rounded on the palate with excellent presence and depth with subtle sublime acidity though still rather tightly coiled, taking its time to shake off the glare of shiny minerals to reveal good purity and integration, finishing with good length and understated intensity. Still yet to peak.

2008 Domaine Forey Vosne-Romanée Les Gaudichots 1er, courtesy of Russ. Good colour. There is a sense of dry heated gravel on the nose amid red fruits and currants. Rather brightly lit on the medium-bodied palate, showing fine concentration with rounded suppleness, gaining greater intensity with a more forward balance after some time though it remained short. I guessed it right though another bottle tasted last month was richer and more opulent.

2011 Domaine de  Montille Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts Christiane 1er, courtesy of Kieron. Classic pinot tint, exuding soft red fruits and rose petals with a dash of velvetiness amid overtones of varnish. Highly feminine on the medium-bodied palate, marked by remarkably rounded fruit that yielded soft inner detail with a light touch. Beautifully proportioned and balanced. Highly elegant and well-behaved, allowing the vintage to speak for itself. We were unanimous in calling it Aux Malconsorts, though the Christiane here from Montille is a slice that slips right into the southern end of La Tâche. Excellent.

Aux Malconsorts Christiane

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1996: Montrose, Léoville Las-Cases, Longueville Pichon Comtesse de Lalande

October 15, 2020

A dinner at Origin Grill, Singapore, on 13 October 2020 produced a lovely coincidence – an unplanned trio of 1996 Left Bank clarets. Great minds do really think alike. Used to be famously backward, mirroring its 1986 counterparts, the wines tasted that evening have all advanced in maturity and are now at their drinking best. I’d strongly suggest that you stop hogging them as trophies and start appreciating them on the palate. Be sure to allow plenty of time for aeration, for they do really take a long time to wake up in the glass. Many thanks to sommelier Britt Ng for the impeccable arrangements and wine service.

2015 Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 1er, courtesy of Sanjay. Lovely clarity with a crystalline quality beneath a gentle layer of crème de la crème, revealing excellent detail as it fleshed out with delicate overtones of nutmeg, clear citrus, pomelo and white floral notes with sublime acidity that is superbly integrated, morphing into the distilled essence of a classic Puligny. Excellent.

1996 Château Montrose, courtesy of Vic. Evolved purple, proffering a mild pungent earthiness within a gentle glow of green capsicum. Dryish at first, gradually fleshing out with fine presence and intensity, displaying excellent definition with sublime acidity as it tapered to a grippy finish amid further notes of toffee. Excellent.

1996 Château Léoville Las-Cases, aired in bottle for two hours prior. Darkish purple. Rather understated on the nose, almost alarmingly soft and uninvolving at first on the palate. It then snapped into place as a well-balanced, fairly seamless and rounded feminine proposition with fine presence of mature dark fruits facilitated by receded tannins, finishing with a dash of austerity. Still somewhat underwhelming compared with another bottle tasted in February 2020 which was stunningly gorgeous.

1996 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, courtesy of MH. Dark with characteristic leafy notes on the nose that is quite the signature of Pichon Lalande (likely from its bit of petit verdot in the blend). Dryish with an open relaxed feel, gelling together very well with a delectable expanse of delicious red fruits and plums, fleshing out with excellent weight and supple detail though that leafiness remained distinctly discernible. Excellent.

2013 Alois Kracher No. 6 Grande Cuvée Trockenbeerenauslese. Peaches and nectarine dominate with excellent concentration, exerting superb control whilst evoking a sense of delicacy and earthy detail amid intense characters of tropical fruits without overwhelming the palate. Excellent.

2002 D.R.C. V-Romanée Duvault-Blochet, 1998 Dujac Clos-Saint-Denis, 1996 Salon, 1999 Domaine Fourrier Clos-Saint-Jacques, 2005 Henri Boillot Bâtard-Montrachet & 2001 Château d’Yquem

October 8, 2020

I was back at Imperial Treasure Great World for the second time in five days on 25 September 2020, this time by the kind invitation of Messrs Yu père et fils who had also generously furnished the entire line-up of wines, unless otherwise stated, all of which were drinking beautifully. Many thanks, Sir, for a most memorable evening.

1996 Champagne Salon. Lovely gentle complex of white fruits, clear citrus and pomelo amid overtones of white ash and mild yeasty tones within a sheen of very fine soft bubbles that exuded a lifted trace of cool icing, showing superb balance with a quiet verve and intensity, not too dry, developing a brighter minerally tone with a deeper note of gunmetal flint. Excellent.

2005 Domaine Henri Boillot Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Lovely luminosity. Rather shy at first, proffering just glimpses of pears and brioche with a hint of honeysuckle before blossoming into a lovely chromatic tone of burnished crème, displaying good clarity with a focused intensity underpinned by a trace of steeliness, eventually finishing with a whiff of glycerin amidst understated minerally tones. Yet to peak. Excellent.

2002 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne-Romanée Aux Brûlées 1er. Evolved red. Tertiary characters of cedar, dark plums, red fruits and rose petals on the nose and palate. Rather fleshy, imbued with very fine minerals and concentration of fruit. Not quite layered in body though it feels very correct in the mouth, very well balanced with a bit of salinity, haw and understated intensity that imparted lovely glow and complexity, becoming utterly seamless and darker in tone over time. Drinking well.

2002 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Vosne-Romanée Duvault-Blochet 1er. Opaque evolved red, exuding an enticing fragrance of rose petals and red fruits with a distinct core of tangerines that is something of a D.R.C. signature. Medium-bodied. Soft, fleshy and highly supple with a certain sur-maturite that seems to suggest an older wine. Very seamlessly integrated with good concentration and intensity of fruit, finishing well. Made from young vines of various plots of grand cru.

1998 Domaine Dujac Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru. Evolved red. Classic characters of raspberries, dark cherries and ripe berries, quite intense and delicious. Soft and fleshy on the palate, generously endowed with a succulent expanse of distilled red fruits, haw and plums, structured with pliant intensity. Very classy. Drinking superbly.

1999 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er. There is an attractive mild earthy funkiness on the nose that led to mature red fruits, mahogany and a sense of pebbly warmth, displaying great suppleness and fleeting intensity with darker shades of ripe fruit supported by pliant tannins that exude great sophistication. Highly successful. Caught at its peak.

2000 Château d’Yquem ‘Y’ Ygrec, courtesy of Sir Bob. Lovely luminosity. There is a fairly heavy  tint of paraffin on the nose with a hint of enamel while the palate is richly endowed with layers of white fruits and crème exerting quite a full fresh vibrancy that is almost haughty, revealing good inner definition though yet to be fully resolved. Needs further cellaring.

2001 Château d’Yquem, a half-bottle courtesy of Kieron. Deep golden, displaying a dominance of apricot and nectarine that glowed with excellent depth and purity. Highly seamless with the rich layering and sweet intensity of fruit held in tight control, utterly smooth as it tapered with fine linearity to a glorious finish.

Sep 2020: 2018 Château Roulerie Terrasses, 2017 Bernard Moreau Chassgn-Montrachet, 2017 Domaine Roc Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé, 2014 Domaine Villaine St-Aubin Perrières, 1983 Château Margaux…

October 1, 2020

Champagne Leon Launois Cuvée Réservée Brut NV, popped and poured at Lou Sang (formerly known as Mak Hong Kee), 05 Sept 2020. Brightly coloured. Dense body of yellow citrus, lime and bitter lemon that exerted dry cutting intensity before developing a hint of smoky depth towards the finish, appearing somewhat two-dimensional. However, another bottle tasted at Otto Ristorante on 29 Sept 2020 showed excellent chalky expanse with better depth and detail. Perhaps not quite as sophisticated as the best maisons but at less than SGD40, it is highly serviceable.

2009 Goulée, popped and poured at the in-laws on 06 Sept 2020. Dark plums, black currants and spicy licorice dominate with fine depth and concentration. Settled down quite rapidly into a medium-bodied proposition, opening up with true Médoc character that is slightly stern and darkish. By Cos D’Estournel.

2018 Château de la Roulerie Les Terrasses Anjou Blanc, popped and poured at Putien Kitchener Rd, 07 Sept 2020. Luminous light golden. Fairly full presence of lemon and oyster essence tinged with salty minerals on a fine sandy floor. Snapped into sharp focus after 30 minutes, revealing some inner detail of icing with fine clarity as it morphed into a harmonious whole with a lovely deep chalky glow. Quite excellent. Don’t under-estimate chenin blanc.

2003 Château Duhart-Milon, aired in bottle for 3 hours prior at Summer Hill, 08 Sept 2020. Highly attractive bouquet of truffles, ember, roast and earth matched by dark plums, currants and ripe wild berries on the medium-full palate. Very fine in concentration and intensity. Highly supple and harmonious, revealing a deeper vein of delicious currants. Took on a bit of tarry quality as it warmed up in the glass but doesn’t possess the opulence nor succulence of the best estates.

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Fried thinly-sliced Ma Ling luncheon meat

2018 Coldstream Hills Chardonnay, popped and poured at home, 13 Sept 2020. Youthful complex of citrus and white floral tones that exert tight gentle intensity, very well balanced with a lively controlled acidity.

2018 Maison A-F Gros Bourgogne Rouge, popped and poured at the in-laws, 16 Sept 2020. Gentle fresh floral fragrance of rose petals, haw and light cherries leading to a medium-full palate, displaying good concentration of fruit with understated intensity.

2017 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé. Popped and poured at Ka Soh, 18 Sept 2020. Light golden. Broad expanse of chalky white tones amidst greenish hues on the nose. Amply-layered on the palate with an initial delicate fleeting presence that fleshed out with glorious gleaming tones and intense acidity, revealing excellent inner detail amid subtle graphite elements with further notes of lime, bitter lemon and pomelo as it finished with a bit of minty velvetiness. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Distilled white floral glow amid placid cool white tones. Excellent concentration of fruit laid on a broad expanse of classic Chassagne chalkiness, revealing gritty detail and definition with striking presence and intensity, developing a lovely rich creaminess over time as it finished with a trace of austere minerals. Only a village but thoroughly superb.

2016 Domaine Francois Raveneau Chablis, courtesy of Kieron at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Rather coy with just a gravelly hint on the nose. The palate is well rounded with fine concentration of yellow citrus with a suggestion of tropical fruit that imparted some fleeting flinty intensity with a trace of austerity. Yet to differentiate.

2016 Domaine Arlaud Morey-Saint-Denis at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Purplish ruby, exuding a lovely glow of red fruits, rose petals and haw. Good concentration, freshness and purity of fruit that shone with bright intensity, mellowing after some time with softer rounded tones and some earthiness although there is a discernible attenuation of depth that remained throughout the evening.

2014 Domaine de Villaine Saint-Aubin Les Perrières 1er, courtesy of Vic at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Lighter toned. A little shy at first, gradually revealing delicate crème, icing and vanillin, very well layered with smooth textures and fine clarity that evoked a cool controlled intensity. Almost aristocratic. Very lovely.

1983 Château Margaux, courtesy of Sir Bob at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Deep garnet red, proffering an effusive intense glow of a mature claret with tertiary characters of dried tea leaves, wood shavings and exotic fragrances amidst a deep core of red fruits and currants immediately recognizable as Left Bank. Soft, fleshy and still remarkably full in spite of its thirty-seven years, imbued with understated sweet velvety tannins and mandarins that finished with excellent length and regal elegance. Much fresher than another bottle tasted earlier this month. Outstanding.

1993 Domaine Robert Ampeau et Fils Volnay Santenots 1er, courtesy of Kieron at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Well-evolved crimson, proffering camphor and plummy tones with restraint. Quite full and fleshy, imbued with abundant warm bright fruit that is still wonderfully fresh with plenty of life in them. Became more open and earthy in the glass with further notes of ripe raspberries, yielding fine detail. Excellent.

2008 Domaine Forey Vosne-Romanée Les Gaudichots 1er, courtesy of LF at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Early crimson hue, exuding copious red fruits with great clarity. Full, fleshy. Very well layered and seamlessly integrated. Highly graceful in its subtle nuances and power, displaying lovely lift and purity. Directly abuts La Tâche but lacks the nth dimension of that great monopole.

1993 Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er, courtesy of Sir Bob at Imperial Treasure Great World, 21 Sept 2020. Displaying a mature vermilion, this wine proffers a lifted complex of red fruits on the nose coupled with fine concentration and purity of fruit that exert striking intensity. Highly attractive. Tasted blind but Kieron was absolutely spot-on!

2006 Fontanafredda Barolo La Rosa, popped and poured at the in-laws, 24 Sept 2020. Dark plummy tones dominate with a dash of burliness, showing very good concentration and intensity of fruit with fine acidity. Slightly medicinal in quality. Not distinctive.

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2018 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthires. Popped and poured at Jade Palace, 27 Sept 2020. Pale. Delicate highly intense citrus at the open. Settled quite quickly with a more relaxed feel, displaying good clarity and fine inner detail with a gentle chalkiness before fleshing out with greater presence amid overtones of cool icing though it remains distinctly leaner and more introspective than the 2016. Consistent with a previous tasting from magnum last month.

2009 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets St-Georges 1er. Popped and poured at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 28 Sep 2020. This monopole opens with delicious ripe cherries and red fruits on the nose, showing fine concentration and purity of fruit on the gentle medium-bodied palate. Quite fleshy, structured with smooth understated tannins that enhance its delicate intensity, becoming highly supple and seamless though somewhat attenuated in depth, finishing with a minerally trace. Drinking well.

1982 Vieux Château Certan, 1988 Le Pin, Château Margaux 2002 & 1983

September 25, 2020

Dr and Mrs Wang Kuo-Weng kindly hosted dinner for their usual group at Shang Palace, Shangri-la Singapore, on 11 September 2020 under properly-distanced conditions. Mature claret seemed to be the main theme and all the wines were showing beautifully. Many thanks, Dr Wang and Meng, for the wines and to Chuan Ann as well for the impeccable wine service.

1996 Champagne Bollinger R.D., courtesy of WKW. Lovely luminosity, proffering a lovely yeasty pungency with overtones of toast and roasted walnuts. Open with a certain minerally presence within a sheen of fresh bubbles, displaying crystalline clarity and wonderful depth with fine understated intensity as it developed a distilled dry essence over time. Beautifully balanced. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras. Chalky minerals dominate with some earthiness on the nose, displaying sublime acidity and superb clarity of white tones with utmost precision. Superbly integrated and layered with understated depth, teasing the palate with delicate fleeting intensity. Good finish. Pouilly-Fuissé is severely under-appreciated.

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1988 Le Pin, courtesy of Meng. Evolved vermilion, exuding delicious red fruits on the nose. The medium-bodied palate is highly supple and succulent, boasting fine concentration of raspberries and dark cherries that exert understated intensity. Developed a faint trace of iron ore amid a gentle complex of summer hay and heath as it sat in the glass, maintaining great balance and proportion. At its best.

1982 Vieux Château Certan, courtesy of WKW. Evolved red, showing good lift of dark cherries and raspberries with a smoky intensity while the palate is superbly layered with darker shades of fruit amid understated pebbly minerals, yielding great clarity and velvety detail over time along with a hint of cinder, eventually gaining striking intensity. Still amazingly fresh and vibrant with the legs to continue for another decade, at least. Outstanding.

2002 Château Margaux. Deep crimson. Slim, smooth rounded presence of dark fruits, blueberries and raspberries, displaying good concentration and fine acidity though somewhat narrow in spectrum on the palate. Drinking well but lacking complexity and depth. Short finish.

1983 Château Margaux, courtesy of Meng. Fully mature in every way, proffering an effusive bouquet of aged red fruits and sweet ripe berries that impart the classic perfumed complexity of this particular commune. A certain powdered medicinal trace is evident on the palate, still imbued with fleshy dark characters and cocoa amid supple tannins that are slightly dusty though the fruit has clearly lost some definition, threatening to develop a shade of burliness. Holding out well but will not improve further.

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1961 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage Chapelle, 1982 Ch Lafite Rothschild, 2005 Masseto, 1996 Robert Ampeau Meursault-Perrières, 1990 Domaine Romanée-Conti La Tâche

September 18, 2020

These notes came from a dinner hosted by Dr Ngoi at Imperial Treasure Great World on 10 September 2020 to celebrate SKY’s birthday, whom I never knew was a movie star until I saw Eric Khoo’s Be With Me. Every wine was showing very well; the old reds in particular were simply mind-blowing. Thank you SKY, Dr Ngoi and Tony for bestowing such a privilege on me.

2004 Champagne Dom Pérignon, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Beautiful luminous gold, exuding a lovely fullness that struck a perfect balance between ample lime, pomelo and citrus and subtle ferrous minerals, imbued with very fine acidity that imparted a superb smooth intensity that carried tremendous zest and lift. No wonder everyone loves Dom.

2007 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Surprisingly deep golden lustre, proffering fine density of caramel, coconut shavings and secondary characters of aged chalk on the nose while the palate is layered with a smooth, almost satiny, intensity of lithe white fruits that opened up with excellent transparency, displaying traces of the classic Corton spiciness at the finish. Excellent.

1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau et Fils Meursault-Perrières 1er. Dull golden. Quiet caramelized tone with recessed yellow citrus that led to a medium-bodied palate, layered with lovely transparency that revealed superb subtle inner detail within a highly harmonious body of understated chalky intensity and very fine sleek acidity, delicately balanced and poised with superb refined elegance that finished with lasting persistence. This is Burgundy white at its best.

2007 Domaine Forey Père et Fils Vosne-Romanée Les Gaudichots 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. This wine opens at first with gentle notes of rose petals, light cherries and raspberries, wonderfully fragrant, while the palate is highly harmonious, imbued with excellent purity of fruit that yielded fine understated definition, eventually blossoming with a more intense deeper tone of red fruits as it grows on you with unassuming elegance. A confident refined beauty. 

2015 Domaine Georges Lignier et Fils Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru. Deep ruby. Shy on the nose with a sense of understated intensity. Harmonious medium-full palate of ripe raspberries and subtle earthiness with good purity of fruit and controlled intensity, displaying some early suppleness but still largely primal.

2005 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto, a double magnum courtesy of SKY. Deep crimson with an equally deep bouquet of bold dark currants, red and black fruits, rather forwardly balanced at this point and still harboring traces of enamel. The medium-full palate is superbly layered with a clean astounding freshness and focused intensity amid overtones of mahogany and some licorice, revealing some inner detail though still remarkably youthful. This slimly-defined Masseto is quite different from the lush velvety opulence that I remembered of the 2001. Far from ready.

1982 Château Lafite Rothschild, courtesy of SKY. Opaque brownish red, exuding a glowing distilled complex of dark berries, currants, cassis, soy and dried mushrooms, superbly focused in its effusive deep velvety fragrance while the medium-bodied palate is beautifully open with supple subtle Pauillac nuances, laced with sublime acidity that conferred understated verve. Elegantly poised with great harmony and feminine refinement. Pardon the cliché, but this is really quite the quintessential Lafite.

1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche Grand Cru, courtesy of Tony Chew. Displaying an evolved brownish red, this wine opens with a wonderful lift of delicate red fruits amid overtones of haw and rose petals, still imbued with sublime acidity and superb concentration of fruit that teased the palate with supple fleeting intensity, fleshing out with tremendous agility and freshness, eventually developing the classic D.R.C. signature of deep tangerines tinged with spice and orangey hues whilst maintaining its refined controlled exuberance throughout the evening. Truly a complete wine.

1961 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle, courtesy of SKY. Still deep crimson in colour, this wine opens with an absolutely beguiling lift of creamy red fruits and red roses with a sense of velvety warmth that carried well onto the palate with amazing freshness and purity, still imbued with superb concentration of fruit laced with a hint of saddle that is utterly mesmerizing in its fleeting sublime acidity. Beautifully proportioned and balanced, finishing with fine linearity although it began to fade a little after an hour. Still glorious in every way. What a privilege!

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1993 Ch Latour, 2001 Ch Mouton Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild 2001 & 1985

September 12, 2020

Some recent talk amongst the few of us sparked this First Growth dinner at Imperial Treasure Great World on 03 September 2020 where, coincidentally, both whites hailed from the same vintage while we were able to pair the Lafite and Mouton of 2001.

1979 Champagne Drappier Réserve de l’Oenothèque, courtesy of LF. Deep dull golden. Dense mature nose of old yeast, apricot, cinnamon and aged honey underscored by caramelised nutty tones that imparted fabulous complexity. Still remarkably fresh with superb concentration and acidity that produced a highly refined dry intensity, mellowing with rounded elegance after some time. Still has the legs to last another generation.

20200903_195825.jpg2009 Domaine Leroy Puligny-Montrachet Sous le Puits 1er, courtesy of LF. Pale. White floral tones on the nose with some early complexity. Rather placid with very fine concentration of fruit, displaying good clarity with a restrained intensity. Turned a bit more creamy after some time, revealing some icy detail with a hint tropical fruit. Fleshed out with very fine intensity, taking on a gorgeous refined elegance as it finished with traces of spicy green chilli. Excellent.

2009 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron. Pale. Restrained characters of light morning dew and delicate white tones, glowing later with delectable crème de la crème that lit the palate with piercing crystalline clarity amid overtones of pomelo and white citrus, finishing well.

2001 Château Lafite Rothschild, aired in bottle for ninety minutes and then further decanted on-site. Deep garnet red. Delicious bouquet of red currants, cherries and dark roses that is simply quite lovely. Absolutely harmonious with superb freshness and supple intensity, subtly structured and fleshy. Developed greater depth with more of the smoky Pauillac tobacco character coming on, turning a bit cooler darker and more introspective over time. Drinking very well but may not have peaked.

2001 Château Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Kieron. Deep garnet red. Clearly imbued with excellent depth of red fruits and dark currants though unexpectedly restrained on the nose. Softly rounded, laced with very fine acidity that imparted a sense of distilled essence with a trained focus on the medium-bodied palate, fleshing out with a bolder velvety Pauillac presence late in the evening that threatened to upstage the Lafite of the same vintage though it remained a tad short.

1985 Château Lafite Rothschild, courtesy of Sir Robert. Deep crimson. Effusive in green capsicum and the hallowed glow of distilled red fruits. Rather fleshy. Softly rounded and open, gently layered with inviting characters of haw and camphor laid on austere earthy minerals, displaying great harmony and length though it remained rather subdued on the whole.

1993 Château Latour, courtesy of Vic. Deep crimson. Hint of earth and capsicum amid rosy hues, displaying good concentration and definition with its lively acidity still intact, tinged with a trace of burly green. Harmonious though not really your usual structured and layered Latour, missing that extra dimension of greatness as it finished short with a bit of spice.

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Aug 2020: 1999 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, 2017 Heitz-Lochardet Pommard Poutures, 2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos de la Roche, 1999 R Ampeau Auxey-Duresses Ecusseaux, 2017 Bentrock Sandhi Chardonnay…

September 7, 2020

20200822_204205.jpg2019 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, poured at home after three hours of aeration on 02 Aug 2020. Pale. Unmistakable soft tangy pungency of sauvignon blanc on the nose, producing excellent dry racy presence and transparency with notes of complex citrus, pomelo and a hint of peppermint. Very well-integrated with fine precision and layered with gentle intensity, finishing with good persistence. Great value.

Champagne Leon Launois Cuvée Réservée Brut NV, popped and poured at Crab at Bay, 07 Aug 2020. My second bottle in as many months. Excellent concentration of yellow citrus tinged with white smoke and pomelo that exerted very fine intensity and acidity within a sheen of smooth bubbles. Contrasted  very well against a relatively austere minerally base. Great value.

2009 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Reserva, drunk at home after a two-hour aeration with pork cheeks and foie gras, 09 Aug 2020. This wine has softened considerably, now a tad mellower and more open, revealing an abundance of red currants, dark plummy fruit and ripe wild berries with good inner detail, structured with pliant tannins that are almost velvety in tone as it finished with overtones of mocha and dark chocolate.

1999 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, decanted on-site over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 10 Aug 2020. Dull purple with a dusty rim, exuding a dark rosy-hued fragrance evoking ripe dark cherries, raspberries and mulberries with a laid back sur-maturite. Medium-full. Possesses very fine understated intensity and acidity, revealing fine inner detail of earthy gritty graphite minerals as it finished with traces of dried mushrooms and medicinal powder. Drinking very well, just missing in outright charm and opulence as expected for this vintage.

2017 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 15 Aug 2020. Intense white tones, vanillin and clear citrus on the nose amid diesel undertones. Shows excellent concentration, linearity and length with superb zest and freshness, developing lovely delicate intensity over time along with subtle characters of tropical fruits. Quite excellent.

2018 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthieres. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Lovely luminosity. Fairly sharp intense bouquet of white floral tones and chalk though only medium-bodied, displaying tight chalkiness and graphite minerals topped with a dash of crème on a backdrop of relaxed fruit that limited its expanse initially, eventually opening up to reveal subdued detail as it developed greater body with a rounded presence of delicate citrus. Not quite ready. I think the 2016 was better off the starting blocks.

2017 Hospices de Beaune Meursault-Charmes Cuvée Bahèzre de Lanlay 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Rich in fruit with an immediacy of coconut, bananas and frangipani. Medium-bodied. Very well layered with lovely depth and detailed nuances of tropical fruit that transcended the palate with good transparency and gentle intensity.

2014 Chateau de Puligny Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres 1er, courtesy of Grace. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Good clarity on the nose and palate with distinct minty overtones. Medium-full, imbued with refreshing citrus underscored by a dash of ferrous minerals that imparted subdued intensity throughout its length, finishing on a slightly spicy note.

2008 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Champs, courtesy of Vic. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Dryish nose of recessed chalk. Open with a light touch that conferred great clarity with a fleeting sense of intense citrus on a base of ferrous minerals, displaying cool rounded presence with some early maturity.

Champagne Grande Siècle NV at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Unusual minty nose of fluoride. Open with an evenly-toned minerally detail amid dry gentle bubbles within a narrow spectrum of flavours against a backdrop of understated yellow citrus.

2004 Champagne Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rose, courtesy of MH at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. This offering from Maison Laurent-Perrier is rather deeply coloured, proffering a slightly burnished tone of tangerines that lit the dryish palate with a distilled orangey glow amid gentle minty and yeasty overtones, draped with very fine soft bubbles.

2008 Champagne Cassy Cuvée Sophistiquée, courtesy of C J at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Cool refreshing mint. Quite full on the palate with a predominance of white tones, displaying lovely dryness and integration with excellent concentration of fruit albeit within a narrow spectrum, exerting a silky smooth intensity.

1988 Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts 1er at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Rather opaque, almost murky, proffering good density of mature red fruits and dark plums on a medium-bodied palate. Still laced with fined acidity though the fruit is clearly fading.

20200816_203644.jpg2006 Champagne Perrier-Jouët Rosé, courtesy of LF at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Quite deeply coloured, delivering overtones of mandarins and orangey flavours delivered within a superbly rounded body that is beautifully soft and supple in spite of its fullness and intensity. Still youthful.

2017 Domaine Heitz-Lochardet Pommard Clos des Poutures 1er monopole, courtesy of Mr Hariyono at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Tasted blind. Classic pinot tint, proffering a full rounded gentle bouquet of red fruits and dark plums with traces of incense. Medium-bodied. Beautifully integrated with a lovely feminine warmth and softness, finishing with fine linearity. It’s relative lack of length implied a premier cru but I thought I was tasting a Chambolle-Musigny.

2007 Domaine Jacques Prieur Musigny Grand Cru, courtesy of  C J at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Darkly, appropriately imbued with dark fruits and plums that exude a slight herbal trace on the nose though this was more pronounced on the palate where some medicinal sweetness was discernible along with a sense of toughness, not helped by the lack of inner detail.

2015 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Échezeaux Grand Cru, courtesy of MH at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Closed. A big wine, tight and brooding now though the abundance of dark raspberries, wild berries and black currants beneath that unsmiling veneer is evident.

1979 Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé, courtesy of LF at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Beautifully evolved in colour, exuding a well-defined accentuated bouquet of tangerines and orangey tones. Still imbued with excellent concentration and intensity within its cloak of dry bubbles, exerting superb freshness and vibrancy with cool refreshing zest that bounced off a bed of bright shiny minerals. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, courtesy of Sanjay at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. This wine opens with an abundance of red fruits and plums on a classic tarry floor laid with smoldering ember, medium-full, displaying some early evolution as it traversed the palate with fine detail and urgency, finishing with a bit of smoky incense. Drinking very well.

2007 Borgogno Barolo, popped and poured at Venue by Sebastian, 21 Aug 2020. Dark. Substantially weighty and burly, imbued with sweet dark currants and wild berries with a spicy tinge. Developed more plummy tones with better purity after some time, more open and inviting with a hint of red cherries even though its ground minerals imparted some persistent austerity. 

2016 S de Suduiraut Vieilles Vignes, popped and poured at Wah Lok, 22 Aug 2020. Dense, effusive white tones of crème, vanillin and icing from its superb concentration of fruit that recalled peaches with a trace of salinity, traipsing the palate with refined acidity and dry intensity. Settled down after some time with excellent clarity, becoming discernibly more relaxed and a little more minerally. I would drink this while the Ygrec of d’Yquem sleeps, though this wine itself is excellent in its own right. 

2005 Château Sociando-Mallet, aired in bottle for two hours to go with pizza at home, 23 Aug 2020. This wine exudes a classic Haut-Médoc character of dry earthy textures, dark fruits and wild berries. Rather stern and unsmiling, offering only an occasional glimpse of fresh black currants, missing the exuberance and verve of the 2000. 

2000 Château D’Issan, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 27 Aug 2020. Deep delicious bouquet of red currants, raspberries and ripe wild berries with a lovely lift, displaying excellent concentration, intensity and acidity that imparted superb freshness. Developed further notes of Chinese tea leaves after some time with a hint of capsicum and spice amid ferrous undertones, building up to a strong spicy finish with velvety biting detail. Excellent.

20200829_210217.jpg1999 Domaine Robert Ampeau Auxey-Duresses 1er Ecusseaux, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 29 Aug 2020. Clear deep ruby, exuding a precise very finely detailed bouquet of dark cherries and raspberries tinged with a bit of earthiness, fairly effusive and deep. Highly attractive. Medium-full. Superbly fresh and harmonious, gliding across the palate with very fine acidity that conferred silky smooth textures, developing great suppleness and detail with a wonderful purity of fruit on a base of distinct but subtle earthy minerals, finishing with a lovely bit of charred wood quality. Great stuff!

2017 Domaine de Montille Saint-Aubin En Remilly 1er, popped and poured at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Pale. Good clarity and freshness on the nose and medium-bodied palate with a rather understated delicacy and intensity. Great balance, beautifully placid and elegant. Very refined.

2017 Bentrock Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay, courtesy of LF, popped and poured at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Light golden. Gentle lift of distant yellow citrus. Medium-bodied at the first pour, striking a very refined rounded polite elegance that’s almost ethereal, beautifully proportioned and utterly Burgundian. Fleshed out over time, becoming a tad sweeter and creamier with greater fullness and intensity though still retaining good clarity. Excellent.

2011 Pauillac, courtesy of Kieron. Decanted on-site at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Tasted blind. Very deep purple, proffering dark currants within a bright sheen of vanillin and enamel on the nose with specks of bright minerals amid distant dark fruits on the medium-bodied palate, rather unconvincing on the whole. Gelled a lot better after some time as it fleshed out with soft purple fruits and currants tinged with dark plums and licorice, showing true Pauillac character with fair detail. The third wine of Château Latour. 

2009 Kistler Cuvée Catherine, courtesy of Sir Robert. Popped and poured at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Purplish, tinged with a hint of early evolution. Quite effusive in gluey resinous hues with a lovely fragrance. Dark, fleshy and highly supple with a dominance of dark currants and black fruits, suitably intense but well balanced, still yet to shake off its trace of enamel.

2018 Coldstream Hills Chardonnay, drunk at home after being aired in bottle for two hours, 30 Aug 2020. Pale. Rather shy on the nose though there is a very fine concentration of delicate yellow citrus and crisp acidity that stings the medium-bodied palate with focused intensity within a fairly narrow spectrum of flavours balanced by a subtle ferrous tone, showing good transparency. 

Champagne Veuve Clicquot Rosé, popped and poured at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 31 Aug 2020. Light orangey hue. Good concentration of hazelnuts, dried apricot, orange peel and bark that blazed across the palate with bright dry intensity within a narrow spectrum. Softer and more relaxed after some time, fleshing out with a deeper burnished tone amid traces of austere minerals.

Dominus 2011, 2006, 1996 & 1991

August 30, 2020

Of all Napa wines, Dominus probably comes closest to matching true Bordeaux character measure-for-measure. Vines were first planted at the Napanook area in the early nineteenth century though the story of Dominus only began in 1982 when Christian Moueix teamed up with the owners there (the daughters of John Daniel Jr of Inglenook winery) to establish a Bordeaux blend. Moueix gained full control of the estate in 1995 and directed the winemaking there till 2008. Dominus truly needs more than twenty years in bottle to be at its best but once there, one is rewarded by a seamless elegant expression of fruit, terroir and craftsmanship of the highest order without calling attention to itself, perfectly balanced and proportioned, the sort of nirvana that all vignerons seek to attain but few succeed. Restaurant Ibid proved to be the fitting venue for this mini-vertical on 25 August 2020, where it was good to see Master Chef Woo Wai-Leong and his team doing well in the aftermath of Covid-19. Apart from the 1991 that was decanted, all wines were aired in bottle.

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2013 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs from the restaurant list. Displaying a slight greenish hue, this English sparkling wine exudes real class and sophistication with a complex bouquet of smoky light earthy pungency, yielding excellent clarity with subtle nuances of delicate lime and green fruits on an open supple palate laced with light toast and yellow citrus that exert gentle intensity with a trace of sweetness within a cloak of very fine translucent bubbles, finishing with a lovely delicate lift. Wonderfully harmonious.

2011 Dominus, courtesy of Dolly. Deep crimson. Distinct nose of green capsicum with more of incense coming on later. Medium-full. Rounded and fleshy, structured with pliant unobtrusive tannins that exert great suppleness with a relaxed quality, underscored by stony minerals that imparted a discernible trace of austerity before blossoming with a lovely velvety fullness of warm ripe fruit with recessed plummy tones, exuding great harmony. Destined for greatness. Will it turn out to be the new 1991?

2006 Dominus. Deep purple. Understated bouquet of raspberries, mulberries and currants. Medium-full, imbued with a controlled intensity of fruit within soft rounded tannins amid a hint of green capsicum with a spicy tinge, gaining in suppleness and intensity as it became more open over time. Less opulent than the 2011 and still a little unsettled at this stage.

1996 Dominus, courtesy of Marc. Deep crimson. Open and brightly lit with an inviting spread of mature red fruits and cherries, again with that signature trace of capsicum. Highly focused on the palate with a distilled essence, revealing a delicious deep gentle vein of blueberries, black currants and camphor as it settled with relaxed intensity and fine complexity, just a tad short. At its best.

1991 Dominus, courtesy of Russ. Dusky red. Fully mature with an open soft fleshiness, somewhat distant with an understated intensity of fruit though its harmony, refinement and elegance is never called into question as it tapered to a sweet delicious finish. A little more reserved and introspective than a previous bottle tasted earlier this month but what a privilege still.

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