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2002 Dubrueil-Fontaine Corton-Charlemagne, 1998 Ch Montrose & 1999 Ch Palmer

August 13, 2009

True friendship transcends all barriers and difficulties. This was amply demonstrated when an impromptu gathering at Saint-Pierre was called at very short notice, a wine of the vintage was readily proferred, and everyone turned up in spite of their busy schedules. We were given a private room, the wines decanted, the main courses of wagyu beef and kurobuta pork expertly prepared, and we were ready for an intense but highly enjoyable meal.

The 2002 Dubrueil-Fontaine Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru (courtesy K), a shade off golden, displayed great purity and minerality. Very fresh, balanced, elegant, with good acidity and complexity. Drier compared to a Bonneau du Martray, which will probably carry a layer or two of additional complexity, but this is still excellent. A great start.

The 1998 Ch Montrose (courtesy PS) that followed was deep red with a ruby rim. The nose was rather muted and restrained initially, but it eventually opened up, revealing dollops of rich, dark fruit which were amply replicated on the palate. Very good body and density, the firmness of St Estephe already beginning to soften. Excellent stuff. Should have bought this at Carrefour 4-5 years ago, when it was available for less than SGD100.

Next to it, the 1999 Ch Palmer had greater depth, power, and concentration. Not overtly voluptuous, already mellowing, harmonious, carrying great finesse and balance. Only wines from Margaux commune (actually only those of Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer) seem able to combine masculinity and charm so successfully. Tasted twice before: first in Aug 2006 (private dining on the occasion of my promotion) where it held its own against the likes of 1986 Haut Brion and 1983 Leoville Las Cases, and then last year at a 1999 horizontal at See Lim’s, showing well against Cheval Blanc. This vintage is known to favour estates south of the Medoc, with the sweet spot falling on both Ch Margaux and Ch Palmer. I feel this Palmer is still on the ascent. Like other great wines, it has become really expensive over the past year, and increasingly difficult to source. Will have to space out my remaining 7 bottles properly!

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