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Notes in brief (September)…

September 9, 2009

2006 Leopold Aumann Harterberg CS-M-ZW, over boiled beef at the excellent restaurant Immervoll in Vienna, Austria. That last bit stood for 40% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, and 20% zweigelt. Deep dark red, with  hardly any bouquet. The  palate revealed a delicious, smooth, fruit-driven wine that was quite elegant and well-balanced, without trying too hard. Made in a New World style. With time, it developed further intensity, but it still remained a simple, straightforward table wine that does its job. 54 Euros, from the restaurant list.

2008 JJ Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Kabinett Riesling, at the in-laws. Straw-colored. Lovely bouquet, full of floral and lime notes, very fragrant. Well balanced, with a fairly rich vein of minerality but never excessive, finishing with just the right touch of sweetness. Excellent.

2004 The Moorooduc Chardonnay, over beehoon crab at Ming Kee, its signature dish. Luminous pale golden. Initially served too warm, the body was disjointed from the nose, which carried very floral and delicate notes of citrus, chalk and minerals. As it hit the right temperature, the body firmed up, carrying some weight, but still very chunky and unresolved on the mid-palate. Good concentration, but it lacked depth and richness at this stage. A good chardonnay, no doubt, but I suspect it needs much more time in bottle. Two more left.

2002 Domaine Faiveley Nuits St-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vignerondes”, after hours. A classic Burgundy red in every way – lighter dusky red, lovely bouquet of fresh cherries and raspberries without being over-exuberant, medium-bodied, very even on the palate, polished, moderate depth and finish. Doesn’t pack power, but otherwise very correct. A good one.

The 2006 Littorai Hirsch Vineyard, from Sonoma County, drunk alongside the Faiveley above, surprisingly has almost the same color as the Burgundy. However, the nose was perceptibly heavier, with dominant notes of barley and malt (!). Also medium-bodied, but a bit fuller, with excellent fruit quality, the note of malt persisting on the palate which wasn’t intrusive; rather, it added an exotic touch. Moderate depth, with a sweet finish. Still quite primal and straightforward at this stage, but I’m sure it’ll age very well. Good stuff.

2004 Ulithorne Frux Frugis Shiraz, at June’s wedding dinner on 20.09.2009 at 2009h. Neat. This is a relatively new estate in McLaren Vale, which I first got acquainted with during a dinner at Sage some 2-3 years ago, with the winemaker in attendance. The wines had shown up very well then, but this bottle tonight was disappointing. Too much wood on the nose, with heavy doses of incense and smoke that carried well onto the palate. Even the plummy, sweet fruit failed to shake off the heaviness. Far too disjointed.  The wine eventually developed a sweet-sour edge. I didn’t like it, and I don’t think it’ll age well. Just as well it’s my last bottle.

2004 Ch Leoville Poyferre, my third bottle over the last 6 months, from a half-bottle over dinner at Crystal Jade T2. Deep dark red. Seemed more reticent this time round, more subdued, but notes of dark berries emerged after persistent coaxing. Full-bodied, austere, huge on the mid-palate, still quite primal, trace of alcohol, firm tannins. Quite awkward on the whole, and not much in terms of flavours – a wine that’s probably going to shut down soon, although I have no doubt in 10 years it will be excellent. Business seemed slow at this Crystal Jade branch, and they have waived corkage, supplying excellent Oberglas 1860 stemware.

1996 Ch Potensac, at TMCC. Ruby red with bit of dusty rim. Quite fruity on the nose, holding up well on the palate, a wine that’s beginning to soften, although still big and quite backward. It mellowed with further aeration, smoothening its rustic edges, transforming into quite a harmonious wine that went very well with the black pepper steak and spicy dishes. Drinking much better than a previous bottle Fatty brought 4 years ago at the old Asia Grand. Very good.

2003 Ch Lafon-Rochet, at Foo House over a Monster Burger, from a half-bottle. Deep impenetrable red. Quite shut. Also subdued on the palate, though one can appreciate its full-bodied nature, ripe fruit, and firm structure. Surprisingly one doesn’t get the raisiny toasted note of a very hot vintage. The only hint was the discernible alcoholic bed, but even that was held in check and deemed acceptable for a young Left Bank. I’m not sure how this will evolve in the long run, but no harm drinking now.

1999 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. Part One: at Asia Grand, to celebrate Monster’s first-placing in his swimming heat. Knowing that the missus and I would struggle through a full bottle over a simple meal, I had poured half into a half-bottle immediately upon opening and sealed it, bringing only the remaining half to the restaurant. Somewhat disappointing. The nose was rather musty, suggesting an imbalance of wood over fruit, which was the exact experience on the palate. The fruit appeared to have dried out quite a bit, leaving behind a disjointed core with unresolved dusty tannins. I’d expected more, as a bottle tasted earlier this year at Jade Palace was lush, bold and drinking very well. The current bottle in question was purchased recently at Crystal’s megasale. Perhaps of dubious provenance? Part Two: drank the remaining half two evenings later at the in-laws. It kept very well in the bottle, with none of the oxidised note. It seemed to taste better, more even and fruitier, although essentially it lacked richness and density. I may wait another year or two before opening the next bottle.

Foie gras sushi at Kome2006 Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir, at Majestic. Definitely tasting better than the sample I had few nights ago at the American Club (see below): fresher, more delicious. The bouquet is underlined by the slightest trace of alcohol, to be expected for a young wine, but there is abundant rich fruit to support it. Soft, with a rich core, excellent definition. None of the burnt note or heat of a very dry vintage. Hasn’t gained complexity, but this has great potential. A very good New World pinot noir.

2002 Ch Rauzan-Segla, second time in as many months from my remaining half-bottle, again at Foo House with the missus over an excellent tenderloin steak. Very austere and disjointed, lacking in quality fruit to support the alcohol, which was quite jarring. Hollow. We didn’t even finish it.

2007 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, at Kome. Supposedly one of the best rieslings from Australia, Clare Valley. A lot of acidity initially that obscured the flavours. Gradually regained its balance after an hour, tasting very fresh, with loads of citrus, lime and minerality without being too dry. But its a bit edgy. I’ve had better examples from 2006.

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