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Notes in brief (Oct 2011): 1998 Clos Fourtet, 2002 Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, 2006 Dead Arm, 1988 Rieussec

November 2, 2011

1998 Ch Clos Fourtet, over dinner at Pete’s Place, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 1 Oct 2011. In spite of having been decanted for 3 hours prior, this wine was still, surprisingly, bold and unyielding, extracted in a more modern style of St-Emilion with a salty tone in the mid-body, obviously generous in red fruits and darker berries but still rather unsettled, weighing in with hefty tannins that grew in stature over time instead of receding away.

2005 Winemaker’s Collection Episode One, at Etoile on 4 Oct 2011. Decanted on site. Deep purple with a slightly evolved tint. This is the last bottle from my first case of twelve that I started drinking since 2008, and it’s showing the best. Highly expressive on the nose with notes of ripe red and dark berries and a bit of plum, grippy and generous on the palate, excellent in concentration, fleshy and layered with raisins and cinnamon, the predominant softer merlot component all adding up to a highly inviting proposition. This is one instance where Michel Rolland’s preference for longer fruit hang and greater extraction has worked wonders on an otherwise so-so terroir.

2009 Ch Bernardotte, popped and poured from a magnum at Azur, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 6 Oct 2011. Deep purple, primarily fruit forward with notes of ripe blackcurrant and blueberries, supported by mild vanilla oak. Pretty simple and straightforward. Only time will tell whether it will gain further weight and complexity with time. At only SGD75 for a magnum, no one’s complaining.

2006 Ch de Pressac (courtesy Gerard) at Azur, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 6 Oct 2011. Popped and poured. I must say this wine was rather enticing on the nose, a healthy dollop of ripe red and dark berries that ran fairly deep with more than a hint of complex minerality. On the palate, however, it was utterly disappointing – thin, green, stern and austere at the finish witha  rusty ferrous quality, a total disconnect from its bouquet.

2005 Domaine Michelot Mersault 1er Cru “les Genevrieres”, from the restaurant list at Absinthe where we were seated right inside its cellar, 7 October 2011. Absolutely lovely on the nose with exuberant creamy minerality and notes of butter, a hint of vanilla and white flowers against a soft citrusy tone. Rounded and smooth, displaying very good depth and concentration. Yet to develop further complexity but I can imagine it’ll be really excellent when that time comes.

2002 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Champonnet“, at Absinthe, 7 October 2011. Decanted on-site for an hour. A lovely red for pinot, soft and supple, rather feminine in character with good purity and concentration of red cherries and strawberries, medium-bodied with a light touch, elegant and beautifully balanced, totally devoid of excesses. However, it is clearly not in the same league as Clos St-Jacques. Nevertheless, it was the perfect accompaniment for lunch.

2005 Domaine Leflaive bourgogne (courtesy LW), at Tunn’s housewarming party, 26 Oct 2011. Popped and poured. Medium-bodied, relatively generous with notes of cream and vanilla, well-balanced against the moderate minerality, neither too citrusy nor crispy. Didn’t develop much further in spite of food and further aeration. Definitely well worth cellaring and re-visiting 5 years later.

2005 Wyndham Estate Black Cluster shiraz (courtesy LW) at Tunn’s housewarming party, 26 Oct 2011. Popped and poured. Dark red, typical in character with flavours of warm medicinal and herbal aromas of ripe shiraz, laced with an attractive sweetness and a trace of liquer at the finish, spicy and peppery but well-balanced, consistent with its Hunter Valley origin. Definitely not over-the-top.

2006 D’Arenberg Dead Arm shiraz, at Tunn’s housewarming party, 26 Oct 2011. Decanted for about an hour. As expected, very deep impenetrable red with aromas of ripe shiraz, dark-fruited with briar and blueberries and a touch of licorice, full-bodied and rich, excellent in concentration without being over-saturated, a lot more sophisticated than the preceding Wyndham Estate above. Over time, it opened up to reveal layers of dark chocolate, toffee, earth and that inevitable bit of spice that accompanies all Aussie shiraz without any alcoholic trail, always a good sign. I’d say the aging potential is excellent, and I’d leave my remaining bottles untouched for another 5-7 years, at least.

1988 Ch Rieussec, a half-bottle at Tunn’s housewarming party, 26 Oct 2011. Deeper in color than usual for a Sauternes, showing its age with low levels of acidity that doesn’t quite support the remaining fruit, imparting a rather dull lustre to the notes of peach, orangey citrus and apricot, missing much of the nectar and honey that would have added a much needed lift to the perfumed aromatics.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kieron Lim permalink
    November 18, 2011 23:46

    Hi Ric,
    agree with the aging potential of Dead Arm. Just had a bottle of the 2000. It had shed its cloak of heavy mouth-gripping tannins & blown off all the excess heat and alcohol to reveal just the right balance of ripe south aussie fruit & structure. Gorgeous nose. I remember drinking this at your BBQ many years ago…. a very different beast it was then.

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