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Notes in brief (July 2009)…

July 29, 2009

Stomping cabernet at Wynn's during 2004 harvest1994 Wynns Michael Shiraz, 31 July 2009 at Imperial Treasure T3. Dark reddish-brown with bit of tawny rim. After 15 years, still huge. Ripe, cool fruit from Coonawarra, without alcoholic heat. Plum, liquorice and touch of spice. Not as jammy as Barossa shiraz. I’ve come to the conclusion that most aged shiraz from Australia remain big and jammy, without much complexity, after all the alcohol and wood have receded. I prefer those that can develop with an Old World feel. So far, only Rockford Basket Press and Henschke Hill of Grace impress. I don’t have enough experience with top tier Penfolds to make a call.

2001 Quinault L’Enclos (Kieron), 28 July 2009 at w49’s dinner at Man Fu Yuan, Intercontinental Hotel. Impenetrable red, dense, notes of dark fruits and soy sauce (sounds weird, but appropriate). A big wine, very full, but unyielding. One senses a lot of complex flavours tightly coiled within, but not given the opportunity to shine. I’m not sure if it’ll ever evolve. A very modern St Emilion approach, but not my preferred style.

With Remy Erdange, maitre'd chai of Domaine de Chevalier

 

 

 

 

 

2000 Domaine de Chevalier rouge (me), drunk alongside the ’01 Quinault L’Enclos (above). A personal favourite. Beautiful deep red with purplish edge. Classic notes of earth and gravel intermixed with dark fruits. Great typicity of Graves. Full, almost velvety tannins, just the right level of concentration and richness. Will last the distance. Showing better than a previous bottle last year at Crystal Jade. Truly a connoisseur’s claret, as Parker says. I’m glad I have 13 more bottles. Need to buy more!!

2001 Ch Du Tertre (brought by PS), at Tunn Lin’s wedding 25 July 2009. Nicely balanced and elegant, the bouquet suitably floral in line with its Margaux origin. Prim and proper, not showy in any way. Drinking very well.

1998 Turkey Flat shiraz, drunk alongside the ’01 Du Tertre. The cork disintegrated and flopped inside the bottle, but the staff at the Pan Pacific did a great job double decanting, filtering off the debris. Ripe, warm Barossa fruit, without the heat. Not unctuous, but nevertheless, still a big wine, filling the mouth with plum and liquorice. Entering its drinking window, but hasn’t peaked yet. Clearly has the legs to last several more years, but I’m not sure how it’ll evolve. Only 1 bottle left.

2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, at Hiok’s bar on 16 July 2009 (David). Another classic claret from a very good, if not great, vintage: red with a tawny rim, flavours of raspberry, smoke, and a touch of game. Expands on the palate. Good grip. Very elegant, doesn’t try too hard to please. Cool finish. Where’s the tannin? Excellent.

1996 Clos du Marquis, drunk alongside the Latour-a-Pomerol (me). Mature red with some bricking, complex flavours appearing but not quite fully developed yet, soft and lush. Drinking very well, but hasn’t peaked. Excellent stuff, easily on par with a Third Growth.

2004 Ch Les Ormes de Pez, at ward 49’s dinner at Kome on 1 July 2009, poured from magnum (Kieron). My previous experience with this, back in early 2007 also from a magnum that was going for only SGD95 at Carrefour, was disappointing. I remembered it was bright purple in color (!), and tasted thin and lightweight. Two years later in bottle and it’s totally different. Now it’s beautifully clear red, much deeper and weightier. Muted nose,  medium-bodied, soft, simple but very pleasant, with notes of gravel, saddle and faint plum marking its Medoc character. Great value.

2003 Domaine Nicolas Potel Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, (Kieron) later at the same dinner when two of us sat down with chef Lawrence to polish off this as well as the 1995 Figeac (below), whilst ruminating over life issues. The bouquet was absolutely fragrant and perfumed, almost seductive, leading one to expect a delicate, feminine wine. Its character, however, was a complete contrast on the palate: a relatively big wine done in a modern manner, full, with some alcoholic heat leaving a touch of spice at the finish that’s quite typical of Potel. The alcohol dissipated after some time, leaving behind a big, opulent wine, ending on a sweet note.

 

95 Figeac1995 Ch Figeac, (me) drunk alongside the Potel above, over some complimentary delicacies Lawrence had whipped up. This is the vintage sporting the special 50th anniversary label. I feel Figeac has always been grossly, and unfairly, under-rated. It is one of the few estates that remains unashamedly rooted in the St Emilion tradition, faithful to the characetristics of each vintage. Already mature, reddish-brown, fragrant with undertones of sweet red fruit. Soft, low acid, harmonious, drinking very well, smooth, showing great delineation from entry to finish, with tannin structure still intact. Complex. Not a powerhouse, but rather poise and elegance in abundance. Excellent depth. A classic, mature claret at its peak. Bon vin!

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