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Notes in brief (December 2010): 2002 Eileen Hardy, 2007 Peter Michael Mon Plaisir…

December 26, 2010

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose NV, over dinner with Prof & Mrs Bill Young at the restaurant Bunga Emas at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 3 Dec 2010. Popped and poured. A heavier tint of  pink with a deep bouquet of toasty oak, roasted almonds, nuts, yeast and malt. Nicely rounded, tapering off to a smooth finish with just the right degree of dryness. Much better than a previous bottle couple of months back.

2007 Peter Michael Mon Plaisir chardonnay, over dinner with Prof & Mrs Bill Young at the restaurant Bunga Emas at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 3 Dec 2010. Aired in bottle for an hour. Muted on the nose, but it is absolutely glorious on the palate – lovely notes of white flowers and other worldly fragrance of great density perfectly balanced against the delicate citrus and rich minerality, almost creamy in texture, with a finish that just lasts and lasts. Highly sophisticated, superbly crafted. Unlike other New World chardonnays that often try too hard, this has a totally effortless feel about it. Wonderful.

2002 Eileen Hardy shiraz, over dinner with Prof & Mrs Bill Young at the restaurant Bunga Emas at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 3 Dec 2010. I remembered buying this from duty-free at Adelaide airport in 2008. Deep garnet red with a dense core of very rich shiraz, perfectly ripe from a cool vintage, layered with licorice, plum, forest floor and a mild medicinal tinge, yet cushioned like a velvet glove on the palate, rounded at the edges, proving to be highly accessible. Surprisingly sophisticated without any of the rusticity of McLaren Vale. Excellent stuff.

2007 Alasia, at the Krisflyer Gold Lounge at Changi Terminal 3. This Piedmonte chardonnay displayed a lovely light golden color with a generous nose of chalky minerality infused with vanilla and butter, matched on the palate by an excellent body with a creamy texture. Just somewhat uneven towards the finish, a slight blemish on an otherwise very decent showing.

2006 Lucemonaca Montefiori Rosso, at the Krisflyer Gold Lounge at Changi Terminal 3. Dark ruby, exhibiting notes of damp forest floor, bush and bramble, the 14.5% alcohol distinctly evident. But it evened out after some time, gripping the palate with fairly homogenous intensity. Not bad.

2005 Ch L’Arrivet Haut-Brion, over lunch at Imperial Treasure T3. Popped and poured. Deep red with a bright purplish rim. Very promising initially, with an abundance of cool ripe berries and a hint of sweetness on the nose. But it is still backward with plenty of earthy and metallic notes on the palate, lending a stern demeanour that’s not helped by the unresolved tannins that led to a sharp finish. This needs plenty of time to sort itself out.

2001 Ch D’Escurac, at the office X’mas Eve party. Aired in bottle for 3 hours prior. Dark red. Quite promising on the nose with a rich smooth bouquet of luscious ripe berries and cinnamon, revealing good density and concentration on the palate with very little of the green note or toughness commonly encountered in Medoc cru bourgeois. But it’s still rather stern. Could do with more charm. Perhaps time will help, but it’s certainly a very good effort for SGD38.

2007 Moss Wood chardonnay, at dinner on Christmas Day. Popped and poured from the Stelvin closure. Immediately offers highly enticing notes of creamy smooth vanilla, butter, green apples, limey citrus and stony minerality on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and lively, but not overdone. Very close resemblance to a Leeuwin, just a tad less complex. Excellent, nevertheless.

2005 Ch D’Escurac, over dinner at Imperial Treasure Takashimaya on Boxing Day. I’ve been drinking through half a case of this since May this year, bought very cheaply from Caveau’s mid-year sale. Popped and poured. Dark red with a purplish rim. A powerful nose suggesting ripe dark berries and even a hint of raspberries, brimming with intensity. But on this occasion, it is less attractive on the palate, with a predominance of metallic minerality causing the fruit to be more recessed. Rather austere, finishing with sharp tannins. Still a damn good buy at SGD28. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns round the corner after a few years, for the better.

2001 Ch Sociando Mallet, at the Dept year-end dinner on 28 Dec 2010. Decanted for 2 hours prior. Dark red. Quite open on the nose with notes of perfectly ripe dark berries, kirsch, game, and a good dose of fine minerality imparting a mild, austere graphite note. Beginning to show some early layering on the palate, the ripe fruit caressing the palate with a trace of sweetness. Still a long way from its peak. Very fine indeed. I suggest you mop up any bottle that costs less than SGD100, and refrain from opening until 2020.

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