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Notes in brief… (February 2010)

February 12, 2010

2006 Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze, at the in-laws. Pale lemon color. Flavours lean towards light citrus, lime, green apples and grassy notes. Light-bodied, lacking in weight, density and depth. I daresay a Leflaive bourgone blanc is better. Not buying any more of this.

2000 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth, at the EMSS AGM at Trader’s Hotel. Impenetrable crimson, a huge wine with undifferentiated flavours of licorice and dark berries of undeniably high extraction, very ripe with spicy notes, ending in a substantial trail of alcholic heat even after 10 years. Lacking in depth and complexity. Not my idea of a Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon. I thought I’d been drinking a Mclaren Vale shiraz until I saw the label. Certainly very different from a previous bottle tasted in June 2009 at Ed’s wedding, which was more accessible with some layering and complexity. My last bottle, but will not be missed. The 1998, and even the 1999, is much more preferable, and I have high hopes for one last bottle of the 1996.

I happened to bump into HK at Moomba (below) and, coincidentally, he poured me a 2001 Ch Langoa-Barton which provided a great opportunity for comparison with the Lagrange side-by-side. Although I’ve long admired this estate, I feel that Lagrange is the better buy, given that they both sell at similar price points, and this comparison proves it. Very similar in color and bouquet, but the Langoa-Barton is just a tad more rustic and lighter in texture, missing the opulence that Lagrange is sometimes capable of. Nevertheless, I’m happy to drink the former anytime.

2001 Ch Lagrange, over dinner at Moomba. This is my fifth bottle from a case bought cheaply for only SGD58/bottle a few years back. I have a soft spot for Lagrange for the fact that it still sells at realistic prices even though quality has improved by leaps and bounds ever since Suntory bought over in 1983, and this evening’s showing proved just how good it is. Dark red, imparting a sweet nose of dark fruits, blackcurrants, soy and that unmistakable metallic note of graphite that spells Saint Julien, with a hint of sizzling intensity. Medium-full, with excellent levels of richness and density producing a firm grip on the palate, the fruit beginning to develop secondary flavours, ending in a savoury finish with fairly sophisticated fine tannins without any hint of wood. To hell with label drinkers; connoiseurs of claret recognise a good drop when they taste one, and Lagrange is a great example.

2007 Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon-Milly-Lamartine, my second and last bottle over yusheng. I regretted buying this. I’d mistaken it for the “clos du four” which hails from the same producer, but this isn’t, and it shows. Very dry, crisp and tight. Short on flavour and length, tasting more like a New World riesling than a white burgundy. Not good.

2007 JJ Christoffel Erben Uziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese, probably one of the best wines to drink in the sweltering heat of Lunar New Year. Light golden-green. A wine of low acidity, smooth, producing solid notes of nectarine, apricot, mangoes, lychees and a touch of honey underscored by a level of sweetness (not overwhelming at all for an auslese) that lingered on and on, making you long for sip after sip. Excellent.

2006 Egon Muller Wiltinger Braune Kupp Riesling Spatlese (difficult-to-find; purchased from Vinum’s warehouse sale), at the Reunion Dinner on 13 Feb 2010 over steamboat delicacies. Beautiful clear yellow. An abundance of nectarine and apricot on the nose, highly perfumed, living up to its promise with a generous expression of tropical fruits, immediately leading to a deeper vein of exotic flavours that danced persistently across the palate, vibrant and vivacious without the acidity being overly crisp. Simply quite sublime.

2006 Dog Point Section 94 sauvignon blanc, at Imperial Treasure T3 on the occasion of Ben Ng’s visit. Pale, but exuding a lovely bouquet of floral fragrance with a hint of jackfruit and longans. Full-bodied, vivacious, showing great presence, dovetailing to a slightly grassy note at the finish. Excellent.

2004 Pahlmeyer merlot (courtesy Hiok), during an after-work happy hour with bak kwa, foie gras and smoked duck. Dark red.Very fruity and rich. Gentle on the entry, leading to a relatively soft wine with unobtrusive acidty. Quite resinous though, with a smoky note pervading the whole wine. Lacks the mouth-puckering suppleness of Old World merlot, but this is drinking well, I must say.

2003 Ch D’Aiguilhe, a half bottle over a tenderloin steak at Foo House. A big wine, but it’s better integrated now than 6 months before. Laden with very ripe dark berries and plums, highly extracted, warm, meaty, very full but it is becoming more seamless, ending with savoury chewy tannins, though the 14.0% alcohol is still quite apparent beneath. A good casual drop, but I don’t think I can take too much of this monster.

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