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Notes in brief (July 2011): 1999 Bonneau du Martray, 1988 Latour-a-Pomerol…

July 26, 2011

2004 Leeuwin Estate Art Series chardonnay, at Jade Palace, 2 July 2011. Popped and poured. A bit underwhelming initially. But after warming up to the right temperature with 60 minutes of airing, one appreciates the remarkable balance between the lavish flavours of peach, lime sorbet, melons, green citrus and the clean minerality that can stand up to any Puligny-Montrachet premier cru, perhaps just missing the last ounce of depth that only a true Burgundy can summon. Excellent.

2000 Les Pagodes de Cos, a bottle presented to me by PS some 5 years ago, then drunk with PS after work on 4 July 2011. Deep impenetrable red with an early hint of evolution towards the rim. Already quite impressive on the nose when it was initially decanted, but the real quality kicked in an hour later as the initial impression of forest-floor gave way to an abundance of dark fruits, sweet plums, cassis, anise and soy that emerged from the cool ripe fruit, weighty and bold, remarkably complex, so much so that, if served blind, you won’t even realise that you’re drinking “only a second wine”. Quite superb.

2001 Ch Sociando Mallet (courtesy Jessica) at Prive, 8 July 2011. Aired briefly in bottle. Deep ruby with some early signs of evolution. Soft at the edges, fleshy, plenty of blackcurrants, dark cherries, cedar, laced with bit of sweetness. But the most impressive thing about this wine is the bouquet, a gorgeous and complex blend of fruit and minerals amidst a powerful glow of earthy pungency – I could keep nosing it the whole day. If blinded, you may have thought it’s a First Growth under your nose. Excellent.

2006 Fontanafredda Barolo (courtesy of Ben), at Morton’s Steakhouse, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 July 2011. Popped and poured. A lighter shade of red, with predominant notes of red cherries and raspberries, gaining weight very nicely after an hour, along with some spicy tannins. Not bad at all.

2007 Ch Les Carmes Haut-Brion, a half-bottle at Etoile, 5 July 2011. Surprisingly good. Deep vermilion, quite open with notes of dark cherries, chocolate, a dash of citrus laced with a tinge of sweetness and just a hint of the earthiness of Pessac-Leognan, the solid bed of well-extracted fruit gaining weight over time. Just lacking in charm and layering. Nevertheless, a very good accompaniment to any meal.

1999 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, from a case imported from a London merchant by KP. The first bottle at Jade Palace on 18 July 2011 was distinctly corked (much to my embarrassment as I’d specially brought it along for PS’s benefit), the wine itself awkward in every way. KP was kind enough to open another bottle the next evening on the 19th, when we met for mahjong. I didn’t recognise it as a BdM initially, for KP had served it blind and it’d seemed to me more like a village white, the green citrus and understated minerality failing to make an impact, not helped by the opague accentuated finish. It opened up nicely after warming up in the glass, the honeyed melons and caramelised layer of fine minerality eventually appearing, gaining in complexity towards the finish but, somehow, it doesn’t quite possess the unmistakable stamp of BdM’s Corton-Charlemagne, missing in definition and delineation, somewhat unresolved.

2003 Ch Rieussec, a half-bottle at Jade Palace on 18 July 2011. Clear golden, lowish in acidity and laden with intense notes of nectar, apricot and vanilla, rather heavy with sweet incense at this stage of evolution, finishing with a bit of steeliness. Only SGD70, off the restaurant list.

2005 Ch Malartic-Lagraviere, 15 July 2011 at Bedrock Bar & Grill. Decanted on site and drunk over an hour. Compard to a previous tasting in 2008 when it had just been bottled, this wine seemed to have shed most of its vanilla coat, more open and rounded at the edges, soft with accessible notes of red cherries and raspberries tapering to a more concentrated, heavier finish dominated by glycerin. Probably needs another 3-5 years to sort itself out better, but it’s good value if you can find it for under SGD100.

2003 Ch Pouget (courtesy Jessica), 25 July 2011 at Jade Palace. Decanted on-site. I must admit I’ve not heard of this Margaux estate before, let alone taste it, but it’s absolutely lovely. Deep glowing red. Bouquet of violets and blueberries with forward notes of fresh red fruits, soft and rounded, settling down quickly into a supple, highly homogenous wine of medium-bodied density and concentration, suitably feminine with imperceptible tannins. Quite excellent, really.

1988 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, at Jade Palace, 25 July 2011. Decanted on-site. Reticent at the beginning and almost nondescript on the palate, but it opened up after 30 minutes with a fairly powerful glow of mature sweet berries that was replaced after some time by notes of tea-leaves, slightly dry, whilst gaining greater intensity, power and concentration, the tannins having receded completely. Perhaps not the last word in profundity nor complexity in spite of the age, consistent with most wines of this vintage, but at least it doesn’t harbor any such pretension. Excellent, considering I paid less than SGD150.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pete c-s permalink
    July 30, 2011 02:18

    Hi again Ric,
    I hope you and your family are well. Its great to see a note on Sociando-Mallet I totally agree it is a wine of classed growth standard and in good or great years shows stunning quality. The Barolo you mention in the post is available at my local wine shop, I shall pick up a bottle and give it a try.

    Cheers,
    Pete.

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