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Tasting notes from Caveau wine sale

June 27, 2010

Caveau, a subsidiary of Vinum Fine Wines, holds a superb sale once every 6 months where prices of its agency wines are slashed below cost. These are entry level Bordeaux cru bourgeois and Burgundy village, but there are occasional gems from the Right Bank, as well as Egon Muller and Alion, and knowing Vinum’s high standards, satisfaction is almost always guaranteed. Here are some notes from a tasting of selected wines at its warehouse as well as some stuff that I bought…

2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits Saint-Georges “La Charmotte”, over dinner at Imperial Treasure ION. A dull tint of red. Bursting with true Burgundian flavours without any woodiness. Soft, gentle and rounded, with excellent concentration of the lovely fruit, somewhat denser at this stage on the mid-palate yet distinctive enough not to be mistaken for a New World pinot. Excellent, really. Only SGD45.

2005 Chateau D’Escurac, a Medoc cru bourgeois, decanted over lunch at Moomba. Very deep purple. Quite muted on the nose in spite of persuasive coaxing. A gentle entry leads to a medium-full wine packed with excellent fruit density. Well-balanced, ripe and supple with fine structured tannins. Has an unforced natural feel about it without any hint of over-extraction nor the usual greeness associated with Medoc wines. Much more pleasurable than Ch Bernardotte. This is performing at the entry-level of grand cru classe. Very good, really. Even Augustine of Moomba was surprised. Only SGD25. I’m glad I bought more.

If  the D’Escurac was good, the 2005 Chateau D’Aurilhac, a Haut-Medoc cru bourgeois, tasted over dinner at Imperial Treasure ION, was even better. It’s outstanding, in fact. Popped and poured. Very deep red, immediately exuding loads of gorgeous dark fruits with a high tone of minerality and graphite, not unlike a St-Julien in its youth. Fruit-forward, full-bodied, high on extraction but definitely not excessive, the intensity of the glorious fruit density matched by supple sexy tannins with judicious use of wood that was totally unobtrusive. The quality and sophistication puts it definitely well within grand cru classe territory. A terrific buy at only SGD27. Even at its usual price of SGD50 (thereabouts), it’s still a bargain. A strong candidate for RWJ’s Best Affordable Red of the Year.

2007 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Kabinett riesling, from a case of half bottles bought for only SGD31 per bottle, drunk over chilli crab at a Father’s Day dinner. Very pale. Rather restrained initially, with predominant flavours of green apples, pineapples and lime sherbet, marked by intense acidity, lively but somewhat monotonous. Developed real depth after some time, revealing layers of rich nectarine and floral fragrance, finishing with a tinge of bitter citrus. Quite excellent, but still needs time in bottle.

2005 Bodegas y Vinedos Alion. Tasted at Caveau’s warehouse. Made by Vega Sicilia. Deep red with a vermillion core. Medium-full. Notes of spice, pepper, vanilla  and fresh plum from the 100% tempranillo grapes. Slightly tannic, ends in a savoury finish. Perhaps not exactly a bargain at SGD70, but I believe this wine is age-worthy; itjust needs plenty of time.

2005 L’Hospitalet de Gazin. The second wine of Ch Gazin. Deep purple. This Pomerol is very similar in character to Ch D’Escurac (above). Almost feminine. Soft, rounded, easy on the palate but has very substantial ripe fruit and weight to set it apart from a run-of-the-mill Medoc. A good buy at SGD45. Also bought a magnum of the 2004 vintage, going for only SGD70.

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