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Ch D’Aiguilhe @ Asia Grand: 2003 & 2005

November 19, 2009

By coincidence, I happened to lunch at Asia Grand twice within a month, each occasion with a generous supply of beautiful wagyu beef, bamboo clams and some delectable dim sum dishes, all washed down with a bottle of Chateau D’Aiguilhe. This may only be an ancient estate in the Cotes de Castillon, on the outskirts of Bordeaux, but once it has been given the Midas touch by Stephan von Neipperg, you can’t go wrong, especially when a half bottle of the 2003 vintage is going for only SGD26 (incl GST). Popped and poured, it showed a very deep garnet red with a purplish rim. The initial bouquet was heavy with liquorice and soy that carried onto the palate, revealing high levels of extraction and thick textures, finishing on a slightly plummy note with tight, firm tannins. Much of its character is related, I’m sure, to the extreme heat of this vintage. After some aeration in the glass, the wine softened somewhat, but it was still essentially an unashamedly modern, young wine that’s happy to stain your tongue, teeth as well as the glass. I recalled a previous tasting at Les Amis couple of years back, also from a half bottle, that seemed a bit softer. No matter. This looks set to last the distance. Will let it sleep next couple of years.

About 3 weeks later, I was back again with Vic, this time with a 2005 over an identical menu. I much prefer this, a beautiful deep dark purple exuding rich ripe flavours of blackberries and blueberries, matched with a gentle entry, great body and mouthfeel, wonderful extraction, quite hedonistic without going over the top, finishing with sophisticated tannins. Still very primal, of course, but there was none of the heaviness or heat taint that marked the 2003, offering a glimpse at the potential depth after it had softened an hour later. Very classy, easily outperforming many other grand cru classe. Some would say it’s almost New World, but I disagree. No one could mistake that wonderful lushness and transparent texture for anything other than a superb Bordeaux. Having tasted quite a range of 2005 Bordeaux, I still maintain that Ch D’Aiguilhe offers the best value for this outstanding vintage.

We finished off with a 2002 Ch De Fargues, an estate under the venerable Lur Saluces of Ch D’Yquem. Light-golden, offering all the right notes of nectar, peach and apricot  with a refreshing light touch, underscored by a deeper vein of tropical fruits. Excellent.

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