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Notes in brief (July 2010): 95 Lagrange, 94 Cos D’Estournel, 06 Felton Road & more…

July 21, 2010

1998 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna shiraz, over lunch at Imperial Treasure T3. I remembered splitting a case with KP for only SGD40 per bottle, purchased from Auric Pacific Fine Wines some years back. Very deep dark red. Strong hint of ripe, exotic Barossa shiraz on the nose, delivering a full-bodied knockout (almost, in spite of its 12 years) on the palate, with notes of plum, licorice, dark currants and raisins, supported by lively acidity and alcohol and a prominent herbaceous medicinal lift. Still has plenty of youthful exuberance. The balance is there, but the parts are only just beginning to gel together. I’d say this has legs to last another 10-15 years, but alas, that was my last bottle.

1996 Clos du Marquis, over lunch at Prive with Kieron. Bright evolved red with notes of cedar, pencil-box, mature dark berries imbued with sur-maturite and minerality. Medium-bodied, soft, very well integrated and harmonious, the wine shedding some of the backwardness this vintage is known for. Quite excellent, but that was my last bottle.

1995 Ch Lagrange, an impromptu choice at an impromptu dinner at Asia Grand with the wifey. Bought for only SGD75 from Ben Foods some years back. Popped and poured. Dull red, a nose predominantly of some metallic minerality (the so-called “graphite” note of St-Julien), coupled with a mild bottle stink which blew off after a few minutes. It morphed very quickly into a low acidity, harmonious wine, easy on the palate with just enough fruit to avoid any sense of hollowness. I doubt it will improve much further and I was happy to drink up my last bottle of this.

2006 Felton Road Central Otago pinot noir (courtesy of Kieron), at Asia Grand. Deep pinot hue. Very open on the nose right from the outset – sweet red cherries, full of perfumed fragrance, violets and ripe red fruits that carried well onto the palate. Full-bodied, displaying excellent concentration and focus at just the right level of extraction, with glorious rich fruit running deep. The only thing missing is the sense of place – terroir – otherwise this wine checks all the boxes correctly.

2003 Ch Condom-Perceval (courtesy of Hiok) at an after-hours drinks session. A Bordeaux table wine. How is a wine with this sort of name supposed to taste? Dusty dull red. The fruit is there but it doesn’t taste right – upfront, plummy, notes of orange peel with a sour aftertaste, clumsy, the fruit, acid and alcohol all over the place, restless, ending abruptly with absolutely no sense of place. No better than a supermarket wine. We poured it away. Damn cock.

1996 Ch Cantermerle (courtesy of PS), drunk with the Condom above. Coming after that, the Cantermerle (decanted for 3 hours) seemed like a breath of fresh air, even though this wine isn’t great, by any stretch of imagination. An evolving red, the mature cabernet producing some secondary notes of cedar, grapefruit and cinnamon, but there is already a fair bit of dryness creeping in around the edges, the fruit still remaining quite backward, as expected of this vintage, the oak still making its presence felt.

2006 Dog Point Section 94 sauvignon blanc, over some fabulous mussels and signature beehoon crab at Ming Kee Live Seafood. Upfront with loads of zesty citrus, jackfruit, tropical fruits and a hint of nectar. Medium-full on the palate with flinty minerality, the keen acidity ensuring plenty of vibrancy and freshness. But like all New World wines, it can wear your palate down quite quickly, and the lack of a signature terroir robs the wine of potential greatness.

2003 Ch D’Aigulhe, a half-bottle at Jade Palace. Deep crimson. Dense, evidently with a high level of extraction, producing very deep notes of dark berries, soy and plum, structured with silky smooth tannins, the vanilla from the new oak still quite discernible. Very well-crafted, bordering on the New World in style, if not for the homogeneity and minerality in equal measure to the fruit that is only possible from the Old World.

2003 Wente Riva Ranch chardonnay (courtesy of PS) over dinner at Starz Restaurant, Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa. Pale yellow, very pleasing with fragrant citrus and melons, imbued with good levels of minerality, medium-bodied, easy on the palate. Nothing very cerebral, of course, but it served its function well.

2004 Ch Corbin, poured from a magnum that was bought at the mid-year Caveau sale, over dinner at Starz Restaurant, Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa. Dense red with an opague core. Quite open on the nose, with minerals, soy and some plum that expanded with further aeration, revealing excellent fruit quality, medium-full, well-balanced with relatively tame tannins. A grossly under-rated wine. An excellent buy at only SGD65.

1994 Ch Cos D’Estournel (courtesy of TEK), popped and poured over dinner at Starz Restaurant, Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa, drunk alongside the 2004 Corbin (above). An evolving red revealing flavours of plum, casis and cinnamon with a lovely aromatic lift, supported by excellent fruit without any sign of drying out. Remarkably well-integrated, structured and soft, without any harshness shown bysome wines from this particular vintage. Perhaps the depth and complexity isn’t quite there, but I much prefer this style of Cos than the present-day highly-extracted “international” style. Very good.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Pete cs permalink
    July 24, 2010 04:18

    Condom-Percival what a crazy label! Mind you 2003 was rated as a sexy and hot vintage.

    • Ric permalink*
      July 24, 2010 10:44

      Hey Pete,
      Thanks for dropping in. If you are ever coming to Singapore, drop me a note and we’ll arrange to meet off-line for a good dinner.

      • Pete cs permalink
        July 24, 2010 15:52

        Hi again, yes I will, and you let me know if your in the uk.
        Regards, Pete

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