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American Club tasting

September 6, 2009

I was fortunate to be invited back to the American Club for an evening of premium wines on 5 Sept 2009, where any vendor that mattered was represented, each presenting a fine selection of wines for free tasting, coupled with free flow of food. The only drawback was that it’s only standing room, but that’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to taste more than 200 different wines. So, very briefly…

The WhitesGrosset Grande Reserve Brut NV (disappointingly bland, too much fizz, lacked focus); Bauget-Jouette Brut Reserve NV (very pleasant and agreeable, if a tad simple. I’ll be happy to drink this anytime); 2005 Vincent Girardin Mersault 1er Cru Charmes-Dessus (flinty, good acidity without too much minerality, attractive, quite ready to drink); 2005 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cr Les Folatieres (more body than the Mersault, more stuffing, but a tad shy on the whole, needs more time); 2006 Louis Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos (excellent example of a Chablis, light-medium, less complex than a Puligny-Montrachet); 2004 Moorooduc Chardonnay (at last a chardonnay with very decent body, halfway towards a Giaconda at one-third the price; we bought some).

The Reds2004 Conterno Fantino Barolo “Vigna del Gris” (big, dense, nebbiolo fruit quite discernible; lacks finesse expected of single vineyard Barolos); 2005 Roc de Cambes (cult wine, very difficult to source; modern, extracted but not over-done; very good, but very poor value for a Cote de Bourg); 1999 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon (hasn’t really evolved much, big, not much complexity, disjointed finish, touch of green); 2006 Vynfields Martinborough Pinot Noir (very attractive nose, well-made pinot, bit simple, but a good one, nonetheless); 2007 Vynfields Martinborough Pinot Noir (heavier than the 2006, more stuffing); 2007 Gibbston Highgate Soultaker Pinot Noir (also attractive on the nose, good body and finish, I quite liked it)…but the most attractive thing with the best body was that delicious babe from Rev Distribution Network who was the main reason for tasting the last 3 wines…2005 Domaine de Chevalier (lovely ripe cool fruit, hasn’t developed further complexity but clearly has enough depth to do so eventually); 2000 Ch de Fieuzal (excellent fruit quality, balanced, but not much sophistication); 2004 Ch Gruaud Larose (very classic, well-balanced, good fruit without any green note, will be drinking well; I liked it); 2000 Ch Lynch Moussas (quite an open expressive nose, but wasn’t particularly exciting on the palate); 1994 Ch Montrose (just popped open, seemed fatter, with more stuffing, than my previous experience earlier this year, no sign of the fruit drying out); 2002 Philip Togni Tanbark Cabernet Sauvignon (huge wine but smooth, well made, bit thick in the middle, still monolithic); 2004 Pio Cesare Barolo (rustic, earthy, speaks of the terroir, I suppose, good wine but out of place amongst these monster reds); 2005 Shafer Merlot (big, disappointing, doesn’t taste like merlot at all); 2005 Ch Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (not the Estate, showing well, not as big as I thought it would be, has some depth); 1996 Ch Poujeaux (very attractive nose, medium, softening, good table wine, but nothing really special); 2005 JJ Hahn “1914” Shiraz (big, well made, smooth, but not special enough); 2006 Kay Bros Block 6 (obscured by obtrusive alcohol throughout, I poured it away); 2005 Bannockburn Serre Pinot Noir (very very nice nose, very correct, good body, manages to avoid over-extraction, we liked this); 2006 Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir (very good nose, but too lightweight for its own good); 2005 Rockford Basket Press (the best red of the night, superb fruit, dense, but has plenty of layering and Old World charm, trace of alcohol but that will disappear with time; we bought a case – only SGD 72!!); 2006 The Relic Shiraz Viognier (huge, viognier element discernible, nothing special now); 2005 Diggers Bluff Top Dog Shiraz (from son of Robert O’Callaghan, shares same fruit as the Rockford Basket Press; great quality, but doesn’t have the Rockford’s layering); 2007 Glaetzer Amon-Ra (huge, very well made, rich, ripe, without being unctuous; monolithic now, will be interesting to see how it develops); 2005 Yarra Yering Red No.2 (a blend of shiraz, viognier and marsanne; very attractive with liquorice, spice, mint, and cherries(?), but my palate was already worn by then); 2005 Cain Five (tries not be too big, succeeds somewhat, predominantly red fruit characters, but not distinctive).

That’s it: 32 samples over 3 hours. I was totally worn, even though I was spitting and pouring away two-thirds of my samples. Tasting those New World monsters again and again became nauseating. Well, I’ll be stuck with plenty of Rockford in my collection. I suppose that’s more of a good thing rather than bad. They need plenty of sleep, but at the rate I keep expanding my vertical collection, I’ll have to start thinking hard about how to drink them up.

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