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Notes in brief (May 2011): 1998 Domaine de Chevalier, 2000 Branaire Duluc-Ducru, 1994 Leoville Las-Cases, 2000 Calon Segur…

May 27, 2011

2007 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett, a half-bottle over dinner at Ming Kee. Pale lime in color, with characters of citrus, lime, melons and trailing notes of tropical fruits with moderate sweetness, supported by flinty minerality that became broader and firmer over time, eventually developing a lasting bitter-sweet finish. Very good.

1998 Domaine de Chevalier, over dinner at Imperial Treasure ION, 2 May 2011. Popped and poured, showing a dull dark purple core. A whiff of earthy barnyard aromas greeted the nose initially before it settled down, giving off a minerally sheen. Seemingly hollow at first, but it rapidly gained weight over time and with food, fleshing out into a rounded body of smooth blueberries and dark berries with cedar and sweet mulberry appearing, displaying good depth and concentration, supported by firm but pliant tannins, classic in poise and structure, ending in a moderate finish. It may not quite possess the lush opulence of the great vintages, but Domaine de Chevalier always remains true to the terroir of each vintage without resorting to any gimmickry manipulation. This is drinking well now, and will hold for several more years.

2000 Ch Branaire Duluc-Ducru, private dining at Au Petit Salut on 3 May 2011. Aired in bottle for 20-30 minutes, drunk over the next 90 minutes. Deep garnet core. An evolved bouquet of predominantly dark berries with some red fruits without the graphite tone. Medium-full. Rather atypical for a Saint-Julien, missing much of the usual ferrous minerality, being much more generous with rich ripe fruit, fleshy and rounded, already displaying some secondary nuances characterised by a heavier vein of licorice, plum, orangey citrus and cinnamon, not quite seamless as yet, eventually developing a mildly tannic and stern finish over time. A wine still early in its development, and probably will only hit its drinking window 10 years down the road. My key impression was that this is a “heavy” wine, compared to, say, Gruaud-Larose of the same vintage, which is much more open and layered. My only bottle.

2000 Ch La Dominique, at Etoile on 6 May 2011. Popped and poured. Dark red with a fair tinge of brown. Quite a powerful bouquet of ripe warm fruit, rather heavy with notes of licorice, soy, plum and kumquat, fully replicated on the palate with density and richness without the outright lushness and opulence of Monbousquet from the same vintage. It’s big, but well-proportioned. Already well integrated and developing secondary nuances, but clearly still far from full maturity, which will probably require another 15-20 years. Obviously not your traditional Saint-Emilion, but still able to distinguish itself from New World cabernet. I enjoyed it.

2004 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino, at Imperial Treasure T3 on 11 May 2011. Popped and poured. Bright clear ruby red. Predominantly of red fruits, brandied cherries and a hint of plum, no doubt from the sangiovese. Medium-bodied, fairly soft and accessible. Compared to a previous tasting some nine months ago, I thought this contained a slightly heavier alcoholic trace. Perhaps best to let my two remaining bottles rest another 2-3 years.

2006 Marchesi di Barolo Barbera d’Alba Ruvei, a half-bottle (SGD60++) bought off the restaurant list of La Strada on Mother’s Day. A Piedmont red, deep in color. Fairly intense intially, with rich ripe flavours underpinned by a firm alcoholic bed. After 45 minutes, and with food, it became fairly broad with more red fruits and currants to the fore, quite fresh and inviting, the nebbiolo giving off some plummy character with decent body and depth, slightly sweet and spicy. Does its job well.

2005 La Fleur de Bouard (courtesy of LW), at Etoile on 18 May 2011. Popped and poured. Deep purple. Violets and ripe dark berries, slightly raisiny on the nose. Medium-bodied with very good concentration and a rather peculiar earthy finish of dry dusty tannins. Enjoyable.

2006 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cabernet, popped and poured at a happy hour event on 19 May 2011. Surprisingly open and highly approachable, fairly soft, rounded and fleshy, displaying excellent concentration of fruit at just the right level of extraction. Possesses a very natural feel. I’d previously said (in 2009, when I first tasted this wine during a Penfolds dinner at Saint-Pierre) that this would turn out to be a truly great QPR. It’d certainly lived up to its promise.

2003 Cullen Diana Madeline,  popped and poured at a happy hour event on 19 May 2011. Deep purple. Again much more open than a previous bottle tasted six months ago. Fleshy with excellent concentration, displaying a true cabernet quality with appropriate dryness as well as some leafy, tobacco character. Very attractive.

2004 Oliver’s Taranga HJ reserve shiraz, a highly-rated wine (Winestate Magazine’s Wine Of The Year) from McLaren Vale, popped and poured at a happy hour event on 19 May 2011. Deep impenetrable purple. Immediately bolder in style, lush with blueberries, blackberries and raisins supported by a mild plummy lift. Smooth, structured and sophisticated without any alcoholic trace. Has finally turned the corner, compared to a previous tasting some two years ago. Excellent.

2004 Ch Leoville Poyferre, at Saint-Pierre on 20 May 2011. Popped and poured. Clear bright red. Quite open in body and highly accessible with notes of red fruits, blueberries and a hint of bitter chocolate. Medium-bodied and fleshy. Developed a rather stern, somewhat bitter and metallic finish after an hour, and with food. On the whole, it’s drinking quite well but it’s perhaps better to allow it another few more years to come round.

2005 Les Hauts de Smith, my last bottle, a Imperial Treasure T3 on 25 May 2011. Popped and poured, deep purple in color. Very lovely on the nose, rather complex with violets, ripe blueberries amidst earthy minerally notes, slightly sweet. Disappointing on the palate, however. I’d expected it to be quite open, but here it’s rather stiff and dense, sharp on the mid-palate without much disernible layering, leaving a trail unresolved alcohol. Certainly not what I knew this wine was capable of.

1994 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, at Jade Palace on 28 May 2011 with the family. Double-decanted for 2 hours prior. Deep red. Unmistakably Saint-Julien on the nose with plenty of stern minerality and graphite. Although the vintage was less than favourable, the fruit is far from drying out, still rather concentrated and sharp in the mid-body but lacking in charm and layering, somewhat one-dimensional and austere, ending in a dry finish that’s quite appropriate for this estate’s terroir. Certainly quite different from a previous bottle opened at Kome two years ago, which was more open, engaging and evolved. Will it improve? I don’t think I’m in any hurry to pop my remaining 3 bottles.

2007 Ch Les Carmes Haut-Brion, a half bottle after work on 30 May 2011. Dark purple. Surprisingly weighty (in spite of the poor growing season) with blueberries and blackcurrants, laced with a tinge of sweetness and afterglow of fresh vanilla and reasonably ripe fruit. Soft and medium-bodied without any jarring edges, ending with reasonable length but clearly lacking in richness and density. Meant for early drinking.

2000 Ch Calon Segur, courtesy of Vic at his new condo on 31 May 2011. Decanted for over an hour and served blind. Fairly deep purple with a slightly lighter rim. Rather shy initially; you really have to stick your nose right inside the glass to appreciate the cool ripe fruit, wonderfully fresh on the palate, medium to full-bodied, grippy, rounded and very harmonious. Doesn’t possess the dryness of Pauillac nor the sterness of St-Julien nor the earthy aromas of Graves nor the clayey tone of St-Estephe, which led me to think it was likely to be a classified Margaux, being a tad feminine although I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s perfumed. Looks like history is repeating itself, for this was exactly what I fell into when I mistook the 1990 Montrose for a 1990 Margaux (see April posts). Excellent.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter Cabe-Spanner permalink
    June 1, 2011 22:40

    Hi Ric, I very much enjoy these posts, the Las Cases didn’t seem to perform well, such a shame, but never mind ,such is the life of we wine geeks.

    Regards and cheers.


    • Ric permalink*
      June 2, 2011 10:24

      Hi Pete, thanks for visiting! Go try a 1994 L’Evangile, if you haven’t…probably wine of the vintage.

      • Pete c-s permalink
        June 5, 2011 22:41

        Hey Ric, yes thats a good tip, I will try to find a bottle and give it a try, as always just finding good single bottles can be very tricky, all part of the fun though, (the thrill of the chase).



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