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Notes in brief (Aug 2011): 2004 Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze, 1989 Domaine de Chevalier, 1998 Pape Clement, 2001 Leoville-Barton/Montrose, 2006 Kracher No.8 TBA, 2005 Pahlmeyer chardonnay…

August 23, 2011

2002 Kay Brothers Amery Block 6 shiraz, shared with some colleagues at Table At 7, Mohd Sultan Rd, Singapore, on 2 Aug 2011. Aired in bottle for about an hour, but it didn’t seem to help. This is a full-bodied monster, loaded with licorice and warm plummy fruit, fully extracted, with other notes of bitter chocolate, vanilla and raisins, framed by a sharp tannic attack and, of course, that 15.0% (yes!) alcohol that prevented anything from gelling together. This wine isn’t going anywhere at the moment, and I’m not sure how it will shape up with further cellaring. Can someone remind me not to touch my remaining two bottles for the next 10 years?

2004 Domaine Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru, shared with the wifey at Pete’s Place, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 6 Aug 2011. Double-decanted for 40 minutes at home. Notably darker in color, and heavier on the palate than usual for a burgundy. There’s plenty of stuffing – strawberries and red cherries with a plummy hint amidst some glycerin – but the wine lacked the delicacy, power and opulence of a real top-flight Clos de Beze. The acerbic and tannic finish didn’t help either, and even though the wine eventually did settle down after 90 minutes, it still wasn’t quite convincing as a Grand Cru, for there’s too much that’s still unresolved, missing in real sophistication. I thought it had shown better at a previous tasting at Absinthe in July 2010 (see Aug 2010 post). I’m not sure if another 5 years will help improve matters.

2003 Charles Melton Nine Popes (a gift from Prof Karen Horowitz that I’d carried back from Adelaide last year), shared with the wifey on 7 Aug 2011 at Foo House. Knowing I can’t finish the whole bottle, I’d poured the first half immediately into an empty half bottle in the fridge, bringing only the remaining half to the restaurant after airing it for 90 minutes. Very dark. Heavy with notes of fresh dark berries, principally of warm Barossa shiraz, some licorice, plum, herbal greenness and smoked meat, enveloped in powerful sweet medicinal aromatics, savoury and saturated with extraction. And so it remained without further development throughout the next hour of dinner. Good with game and flavourful Asian dishes, I suppose, but it could easily wear your palate down.

1989 Domaine de Chevalier, over a wagyu ribeye at Le Pont de Vie with the wifey, located along Kandahar St, of all places, on 8 Aug 2011. Finally, something that put the smile back. Double decanted briefly for 30 minutes and aired thereafter in bottle for a further 75 minutes en route to the restaurant. A dull ruby red that belies a bouquet of predominantly red fruits and cherries, and that unmistakable character of a truly mature claret, a hallowed glow of pine and roses that grew in intensity over time. Medium-bodied, soft but still retaining excellent structure and substantial fat in the mid-body that has, perhaps, more breadth than depth with excellent purity of fruit. Very lovely. At its drinking plateau now and will easily hold for many more years.

2003 Moss Wood cabernet sauvignon, at Saint-Pierre on 12 Aug 2011, popped and poured. Although labelled as a straight varietal, it’s actually a blend of 86% cabernet sauvignon, 6% cabernet franc and 8% petit verdot, which perhaps account for the wonderful complexity that emerged from the crimson depths. There’s plenty of blackcurrant supporting the lifted notes of red cherries and raspberries that gave off a rosy fragrance, a hint of glycerin and a touch of sancha, the richness almost threatening to create an opague sheen at one point before receding away for the better, the wine becoming more transparent and expansive. Beautifully balanced, yet imbued with excellent structure and understated power. In fact, if blinded, one would be hard-pressed to say it’s anything other than a classified growth from Margaux. Very lovely indeed.

2001 Ch Leoville-Barton (courtesy Ben), at a ward dinner at Foo House, 12 Aug 2011. Popped and poured. Rather dark red. Dense with a full-on approach of ripe dark berries that almost overwhelmed the underlying minerality, in a way robbing away some sense of terroir, powerful, structured and tight. Hardly ready, a wasted pop. Wait another 5 years, at least.

2001 Ch Montrose, at Foo House, 12 Aug 2011. Popped and poured. Very dark as well. Not much of the clayey character of St-Estephe, but compared to the Leoville-Barton, this is a lot more open in texture, weighty without being dense, showing off plenty of dark berries and blackcurrant, classically structured and poised with nothing in excess, yet to develop secondary nuances. Very promising, but it’s a pity I don’t have any more remaining.

2005 Clos du Marquis (courtesy LW), at Foo House, 12 Aug 2011. Also popped and poured. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t exactly a “second wine” but, rather, it is made from a separate parcel within the clos of Leoville-Las-Cases. I was curious to know how this would turn out, as I have almost a half-dozen stashed away and I have read and heard good things about it. But nothing prepared me for this: a huge, bold monster, super-saturated with over-ripe fruit, almost jammy with a glowing alcoholic trail. A “fruit bomb” would be apt, as would be if the words Barossa Valley had been printed on its label. I have never tasted a Clos du Marquis such as this. Will reserve judgement.

2005 Lacoste Borie at an impromptu happy hour, 17 Aug 2011. Popped and poured.  Lovely purple glow. Light-medium in density, quite generous in ripe berries that went reasonably deep, showing early signs of evolution. A good drop.

2006 Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste, a magnum poured at my 20th anniversary class reunion at the Conrad Centennial, 20 Aug 2011. Bright purple with forward characters of ripe fragrant blueberries and blackcurrants without any hint of oak, soft at the edges, already fairly accessible at this stage, medium-bodied with good concentration, leading to some tannic sharpness at the finish. Could do with better density and depth.

2008 J J Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr auslese (courtesy GPP) over lunch at her home, 21 Aug 2011. Superb definition on the nose and palate with opulent flavours of lychees, a heady mix of tropical fruits, apricot, laced with nectar and petroleum fumes, imbued with outstanding density, culminating in an oily richness that glided effortlessly down the hatch in a long persistent finish. Simply wonderful.

1998 Ch Pape Clement, over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 22 Aug 2011 with Vic and KP. Decanted on site. This wine is coming along very well. A very beautiful deep purplish core that exuded a lovely waft of fresh dark fruit; soft, fleshy and quite open on the palate with a good deal of earthiness initially. It gelled together after 45 minutes, developing greater depth and a wee bit more intensity, but the balance remained quite impeccable throughout. Highly elegant. A wine that’s obviously still on the ascent, but some people like to catch it at this stage where the wine, already well-developed, still excites the palate. Excellent.

2005 Pahlmeyer chardonnay (courtesy PS), over dinner at Jade Palace 22 Aug 2011, on the occasion of David’s farewell. An intriguing bouquet of green citrus, straw, dry grass, green melons and a dash of pineapple with a smoky nutty core, just a tad hollow initially. But it simply grew and grew in complexity, fleshing out with a flinty layering, becoming more full-bodied, so much so that I’d be hard put to identify it as a New World chardonnay if I’d been blinded. Outstanding.

1996 Ch Madelaine (courtesy David), at Jade Palace, 22 Aug 2011. Dull dusty red. Didn’t impress initially in spite of having been aired in bottle for almost an hour, the wine producing a one-dimensional note of dark berries with some musty and green overtones. It underwent quite a dramatic change within the hour, transforming into a traditional St-Emilion with a lovely glow of blueberries, orangey citrus, mushrooms and tobacco, seamless and elegant, tasting like a much more mature Bordeaux. Excellent.

2006 Kracher No.8 Traminer trockenbeerenauslese, at Jade Palace, 22 Aug 2011. Not much of apricot, but it simply oozes layer upon layer of pure nectarine and honey of the highest order with splashes of tropical fruits, melons and other worldly exotica counter-balanced by dark deep minerality and subdued acidity that held the sweetness firmly in check. A classy beauty that abhors any display of vulgarity. Outstanding.

2008 Talbott Sleepy Hollow chardonnay, over lunch at Hinoki with David, 23 Aug 2011. Rather similar to the Pahlmeyer above, but more subdued, with grassy characters and notes of green melons more to the fore, full-bodied on the palate with quite a degree of biting intensity, with other notes of cream, butter and vanilla very much recessed in the background.

2008 L’Hospitalet de Gazin, a half-bottle all to myself over lunch at Prive, 31 Aug 2011. Popped and poured, showing a very lovely clear ruby red. Notes of redcurrants and raspberries on the bouquet and palate, together with some toasty and a hint of vanilla, slightly lean in body initially but, by no means, thin. It rapidly fleshed out within minutes, becoming fairly homogenous and harmonious, decent in concentration and quality fruit. I’ll buy a case of this if the price is right.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Derrick permalink
    September 24, 2011 10:01

    Dear Richard, i think you need to invest in a low light camera. The photos of the wine are not well taken with your camera phone ! Just a suggestion !

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