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Notes in brief…(March 2010)

March 16, 2010

2006 Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Shiraz, the perfect quaffer over a BBQ at Changi chalet on a sweaty evening. Various people keep giving me bottles of this during the year-end season. Deep red, slightly dusty. Soft, rounded, medium-full, drinking very well without any hard edges nor traces of wood or alcoholic heat. Excellent levels of fruit, some licorice and plum, not over-driven yet carries weight, well-balanced. An unmistakable shiraz, but it’s good enough that if I’d been blinded, I wouldn’t have thought it’s a Jacob’s Creek.

2004 Ch Lagrange, at Imperial Treasure T3. I thought this might still be rather tannic, but to my surprise, its character had changed so much from an initial bottle tasted in 2007 (woody and one-dimensional) when this vintage first hit the shelves. Deep ruby red. A bouquet of predominantly red fruits and raspberry, its youthfulness given away by the primary fruit flavours. Surprisingly soft and fairly rounded on the palate, showing good levels of concentration, excellent structure, good grip, well-integrated, finishing with a tad of firm austere tannins with hardly any trace of wood. Quite similar in character to a 2004 Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste, if not for the austere finish. This is really developing very well, and I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase a case as house pour if a good offer comes along.

2007 J J Christoffel Erben Uziger Wurzgarten Kabinett Riesling (courtesy PS), at Imperial Treasure T3. This must be the third time I’ve had this wine within a year, and it impresses more and more with each tasting. Pale golden. My initial impression was that of an auslese – a good one – for it was as superb on the nose as it was on the palate: highly complex, lifted aromas of nectar, apricot, pineapple, sophisticated citrus mix, dash of lime, honey and minerals, absolutely fragrant. Lived up to its promise in every way on the palate, the wine full, rich, concentrated yet supple, lively without too much acidity getting in the way, leading to a persistent finish with lingering flavours of tropical fruits. The only drawback, I felt, was that the level of sweetness was just a notch too much for its own good. But it’s excellent, really.

1996 Ch Rol Valentin, over a lovely lunch of dimsum and wagyu beef at Asia Grand. I spotted this bottle just 2 days ago at Le Benaton (now relocated to Bukit Timah next to Coronation Plaza) going for only SGD73. Popped and poured, showing a mature red with a brownish tinge, revealing a fairly complex bouquet of mature dark fruits, dates and plum that led to a soft, rounded, yet relatively full-bodied wine with excellent density, loads of soy and earthy notes and the last remnants of oak barriques, the supple merlot fruit gaining in intensity and sophistication after an hour, ending in a harmonious persistent finish with melted tannins. I believe 1996 was the inaugural vintage for this chateau, and I certainly prefer this than the 2001. Excellent.

1995 Ch Lagrange, over an impromptu lunch with Hiok & KP at Imperial Treasure, ION Orchard. Aired for an hour in bottle. An evolving red with some bricking at the rim. The nose was initially rather muted, the wine austere with the fruit seemingly drying out. However, things improved significantly after an hour – the healthy glow of the Saint Julien cabernet much more to the fore with its unmistakbly dry and slightly metallic character, the so-called graphite note. Actually I find that much of the Bordeaux character on the Left Bank defies accurate description, and comments about “graphite” or “pencil lead” or – from certain persons – “cockcroaches” (God forbid!) are poor substitutes. Medium-bodied, soft, rounded, quite mellow, a wine of low acidity without noticeable tannins, the fruit of very decent quality and deep, but slightly hollow towards its austere finish. I remembered buying 6 bottles of these for only SGD75 each from Ben Foods at Fishery Port Road a few years ago. This wine is drinking well now, and will probably be even better if given 2-3 hours of airing, but it’s a severe governess that doesn’t put on a smile. Only 1 more bottle remaining.

2007 Joh Jos Prum Wehlenur Sonnenuhr Spatlese, over Alex’s famous Geylang Lorong 29 fried hokkien noodles, now located at Telok Kurau. Pale golden, but the hallmark of a JJ Prum is unmistakable: rich flavours of nectarine, apricot and ripe tropical fruits arising from a full yet supple body, appropriately concentrated, the fresh acidity in perfect counterbalance, never overwhelming, finishing with understated sweetness and just a glimpse of the deep potential that will most certainly develop in years to come. Superb!

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