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2001 Lagrange, 1998 Grand-Puy-Lacoste & L’Entrecote

March 18, 2011

2001 Ch Lagrange, double-decanted and aired further in bottle for a total of 3 hours before sharing it with Kieron at Prive. Clear deep red with only a hint of development at the rim. Quite open with an attractive bouquet of ripe raspberries and blueberries although the initial entry was somewhat thin on fruit, consisting just mainly of its alcoholic structure amidst a dominant note of soy. Gradually, it began fleshing out over time and with food, the flavours of dark berries and dark cherries emerging to the fore. The full potential of this wine was revealed only two hours into the meal, where broad swathes of red fruits, soft and succulent, and other notes of plum and cedar caressed the palate with reasonable depth, supported by firm but supple tannins. Classically structured. Yet to peak. Excellent.

1998 Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste, double-decanted for 60 minutes before being brought to the excellent L’Entrecote restaurant at Duxton Hill. Deep purplish-red, producing an attractive aroma of raspberries and other dark fruits with a trace of sweetness that followed through on the palate. Unlike a bottle tasted in 2008 that contained too much of green notes, the current one was grippy, rounded and fruit-forward, though without much of a sense of Pauillac, but there was no mistaking the purity of the ripe fruit. Lovely. For the uninitiated, L’Entrecote is a chain of restaurants that originated in Paris, with a superb 2-storey outlet in the city centre of Bordeaux itself, that serves only beef steak (done either rare, medium or well-done) paired with thin frites and a generous helping of fresh salad. Half the steak is served to you first (cut in narrow strips), doused in a secret recipe sauce that is simply irresistible, while the other half is replenished onto your plate later, together with additional frites free-of-charge if you desire. I’m pleased to report that the outlet in Singapore, opened some 4 months ago by Laurent Perez, is faithful to the French in every way (apart from the use of the color red, instead of yellow), the steak going for SGD29. Service is smart, attentive and unfussy. And true to the original, just a single type of Bordeaux house red is available, which may be purchased by the glass, carafe (250 ml or 500 ml) or bottle. The wine does its job, but I’d happily pay the SGD30 corkage to bring my own bottle to go with the excellent steak.

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