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Notes in brief (August 2010): 98 Vieux Telegraphe, 08 Felton Rd, 09 Grosset Polish Hill, 05 Moss Wood & more…

August 27, 2010

2004 L’Hospitalet de Gazin, poured from magnum at the Departmental posting-out dinner at Azur, Crowne Plaza Hotel T3. A more transluscent red. Restrained on the nose and slightly thin initially, but it rapidly gained weight, adding more biting intensity on the mid-palate 30 minutes later, revealing very good fruit quality. Perhaps just lacking in layering and depth, but this is a very decent effort that I’d gladly drink. Only SGD70 at the mid-year Caveau sale.

2004 Ch Kirwan, at the Departmental posting-out dinner at Azur, Crowne Plaza Hotel T3 (courtesy of F). Popped and poured. Bright red at the rim. Medium-bodied, soft on the entry but showing more intensity on the mid-palate than a typical Margaux, with less feminity and fragrance. But it is drinking very well, poised and elegant. Very fine indeed.

2008 (?) Vina Maipo chardonnay, at the Departmental posting-out dinner at Azur, Crowne Plaza Hotel T3 (courtesy of F). Pale lemon color, but this was surprisingly very drinkable. Fruit forward with loads of citrus and lime, backed by a very substantial body underlined by a trace of minerality and a fairly long finish. I enjoyed it.

2005 L’Hospitalet de Gazin, bought cheaply from Caveau and drunk over a simple dinner at Imperial Treasure ION. Second wine of Ch Gazin. Dark red with a deep garnet core, this Pomerol has an attractive bouquet of soy and sweet dark berries with considerable salty minerality on the mid-palate, framed by smooth tannins without any hint of astringency. Just lacking in the layering and depth, but it is a good drop, nonetheless.

2005 Moss Wood cabernet sauvignon, at the combined ward 48/49 dinner at Big Eater. Lovely nose of dark fruits and black- and blueberries. More fruit forward than the Ch Bernadotte that was drunk alongside. Medium-full, elegant, well-balanced with a bit of tannic backbone showing when the ambient temperature became warmer. Leaning very much towards the Old World in style and feel. You could drink this now with a good steak, but I think I’ll keep my remaining 6 bottles.

2001 Ch Bernardotte (courtesy of Poh Yen), at the combined wards 48/49 dinner at Big Eater. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about this, but it came across as rather leafy and green, with a rather austere alcoholic finish. I believe I had a much better example sometime ago. Perhaps it hasn’t been stored well?

2008 Muller-Catoir riesling (courtesy of PS), at the combined wards 48/49 dinner at Big Eater on 18 Aug. This is a generic riesling from Muller-Catoir, sporting a very modern looking label. Very pale, with flavours that lean very much towards a leafy, citrusy style with a huge twang of zesty lime, rather one-dimensional and stern on the finish with hardly any of the sweetness normally associated with German rieslings. I’d rather go for the kabinett, at least.

2009 Grosset Polish Hill riesling, supposedly the best dry riesling from Australia, over Ming Kee’s signature beehoon crab with PS. Light lemon yellow. Very vibrant on the nose and palate, full of stony minerality and bitter citrus lending it an austere touch, with the full-bodied acidity adding to the lively crisp finish. Expectedly, rather one-dimensional at present. I’ve not had an aged riesling from Grosset. Will try my best to stash away these things for a few years. Only SGD46 from WEA.

2005 Ch Carbonnieux rouge, over takeaway fried rice and noodles. Dark red. Rather stern initially, with some herbaceous notes and a fair degree of mustiness from the wood, tasting not unlike a New World straight cabernet sauvignon varietal. It opened up somewhat after 30 minutes, developing more minerality and earthiness on the mid-palate with a trace of vanilla, but still rather one-dimensional, finishing with dusty tannins. I suspect this wine is beginning to shut down.

2007 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger kabinett riesling, a half-bottle over dinner at Asia Grand. This is the fourth time I’ve had this lovely wine over the past three months, and probably the best experience. Rich, ripe, with just the right level of sweetness amidst the smooth citrus and the relatively intense minerality, finishing long with the lovely floral fragrance lingering on and on. Wonderful.

2008 Felton Road Central Otago pinot noir, over dinner at Asia Grand. Double-decanted for 3 hours prior. A darker shade of pinot, primarily fruit-forward with loads of cherries, raspberries and other red fruits, with a coating of ripe peaches and the faintest trace of alcohol within its body. Already quite accessible at this stage.

1998 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape (courtesy of PS), at Prive. Double decanted for almost 3 hours prior. Dull rusty red, exuding a complex powerful bouquet of licorice, strong herbal overtones, sweet meat, game, leather and toffee. Full-bodied, gripping the palate with a concentrated tannic attack, still rather dense, revealing a prominent streak of minerality, ending in a minty finish. However, this is not a monolithic monster. With time and food, it became more open and rounded. This is a wine that has yet to develop but it’s full potential is enormous. Excellent, but should not be touched for another 10 years.

2005 Domaine Bruno Desauney-Bissey Chambolle-Musigny Combe d’Orbeaux. This small producer is a favourite recommendation of Patrick Sauze of Le Benaton, but I find its Chambolle-Musigny less successful. This village wine has a heavy dusty pinot tint, which correlates with a weightier, rustic style that misses the rich deep character of the Musigny terroir, robbing the wine of much of its potential charm suggested by the relatively fragrant bouquet of red cherries, raspberries and redcurrant. Finishes with dusty tannins. Stick to the producer’s Gevrey-Chambertin, which is more true to character.

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