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Notes in brief (Feb 2012): 1996 Angelus, 2001 D’Arenberg Dead Arm, 1996 Cos D’Estournel, 2002 Nicolas Potel Charmes-Chambertin, 2002 Trevor Jones Wild Witch, 2000 D’Angulet…

February 26, 2012

A glorious month of mostly superb wines…enjoy….

2006 Ch du Gravillon, from St-Emilion, at Imperial Treasure T3, 2 Feb 2012. Popped and poured. Surprisingly good, fairly soft, medium-bodied, imbued with a natural balance of mulberries and raspberries against a background tone of darker fruits, fleshing out with further aeration. Feminine and elegant. Quite lovely, I must say.

2009 Joseph Drouhin Chablis 1er Cru (courtesy Ben), at Jade Palace, 2 Feb 2012, with Prof W Young. Popped and poured. Muted on the nose, but quite lively on the palate with lifted tones of green melons and a hint of tropical fruit, more fruity than usual for a young Chablis, the minerality noticeably subdued. Seemed to fade a little over time but very agreeable, nonetheless.

2001 D’Arenberg Dead Arm shiraz, at Jade Palace, 2 Feb 2012, with Prof W Young. My penultimate bottle, decanted on site for an hour. Still showing an impenetrable red, quite open on the nose with a sense of warmth, no doubt a quality of the ripe fruit from the combination of old vines and arid soil, imparting notes of plums and licorice on the palate, not too dense, sprinkled with smoky tannins and a hint of forest floor. It opened up further over time, the fruit emerging more to the fore, the note of licorice more evident, the tannins more assertive, yet its poise and balance remained. Still rather youthful. Keep.

2009 Domaine Moreau Chablis 1er Cru “les Vaillons”, at Imperial Treasure, One Degree 15 Marina, Sentosa, with the Mayo Clinic faculty, 3 Feb 2012. Aired in bottle for an hour. Pale yellow with lifted aromas of white flowers, lime and citrus imbued with fine chalky minerality and crisp acidity without being too cutting. hasn’t quite developed any definite complexity yet, of course, but it’s good stuff, nonetheless.

2009 Bethel Heights Estate pinot noir (courtesy Bill Young, who brought 8 bottles from USA), at Imperial Treasure, One Degree 15 Marina, Sentosa, with the Mayo Clinic faculty, 3 Feb 2012. This wine from Oregon, USA, is one of the best New World pinot noir I’ve had, displaying the correct pinot tint, maintaining a lovely poise and delicacy, possessing great elegance, if not the ultimate degree of finesse. Powerful on the nose with perfumed aromas of red cherries, raspberries and a hint of varnish and charred wood. I don’t think you’ll mistake it for an Old World pinot, lacking the effortless grace and complexity of the best, but it’s still a very good pinot.

2005 Ch Lalande Borie, at Imperial Treasure, One Degree 15 Marina, Sentosa, with the Mayo Clinic faculty, 3 Feb 2012. Aired in bottle close to 2 hours. One would have expected the 2005s to be big or shut down, but this wine was open, ultra-smooth, soft and accessible, yet structured. Notes of ripe dark berries with a hint of blueberries and raisins dominate, medium-bodied and low in acidity, opening up with further aeration to yield some cedar, tinged with some sweetness, although it didn’t quite possess the ferrous minerality of Saint-Julien. Drinking very well. This estate is always well worth seeking out in outstanding vintages.

2009 J J Christoffel Erden Urziger Wurzgarten spatlese, at Lih Ming’s residence, 5 Feb 2012. Pale, not as sweet as one would have expected for a spatlese, which is a good thing. Notes of green melons, tropical fruits and sweet citrus dominate, well-balanced without being over-saturated. I like it this way. Yet on another occasion, 18 Feb 2012 at Punggol Choon Seng Seafood where it was paired with some simple Chinese cuisine, this wine was noticeably fuller in body and tone, displaying greater depth and intensity without overblowing the sweetness. Very classy.

1961 Trouillard Elexium Brut Cuvee Speciale Leong See Odd, specially labeled for Dr Leong, at his residence, 5 Feb 2012. Pale golden, yeasty with notes of malt, slightly toasty, lively without being too dry, reasonable depth though rather lightweight. Quite lovely.

1996 Ch Angelus, at Lih Ming’s residence, 5 Feb 2012. Decanted for an hour. Dull dusty red, rather woody and musty initially, framed by dusty tannins. This blew off after some time, revealing more of ripe dark berries laced tinged with sweetness, along with some cedar, soft and rounded, the acidity having receded quite significantly. Still quite backward and not entirely settled, even at this stage. Will reserve judgment.

1996 Ch Cos D’Estournel, at Lih Ming’s residence, 5 Feb 2012. Decanted for an hour. Somewhat woody as well, but it morphed quite rapidly into quite a lovely mature claret dominated by flavours of sweet dark cherries and violets, supported by firm minerality, well delineated and seamless with quite a bit of fat on the mid-palate. It got better and better with each sip, quite alluring in a dark manner, Cos as we knew it before it became too “international”. Much more successful than the Angelus. Quite excellent.

2005 Lacoste Borie, at Gourmet Plus, 8 Feb 2012. My last bottle from a half-dozen, and the most impressive tasting note of this wine, by far. Popped and poured, immediately exuding rich fragrant aromas of ripe blueberries and raspberries. Soft and fleshy on the palate, replete with a good deal of layering and minerality, slightly salty, that left a lasting impression. Proves that you cannot really go wrong with a reputed estate (this is the second wine of Ch Grand Puy Lacoste) in an outstanding vintage. Worth getting more.

2000 Ch D’Angulet, over lunch at Etoile, 14 Feb 2012, one of four bottles freighted in from Bordeaux Index last week. Popped and poured. Dark red with initial notes of dark berries, cedar and dense undergrowth, still relatively tense across the palate in spite of time, and rather earthy as well, characteristic of this Margaux estate on the inner side, away from the Gironde. It quickly opened up and morphed into a seamless wine of excellent concentration, its limestone minerality gaining in prominence over time, soft at the edges underlined by a trace of sweetness, fleshy and elegant with fine tannins, a wine just entering its drinking window. On another occasion on 29 Feb 2012 back at Pepenero where the wine was popped and poured, it seemed a lot more relaxed and soft, albeit with greater restraint on the nose and lesser intensity on the palate. Very good.

2002 Domaine Nicolas Potel Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, at a Valentine’s Day dinner at Capri, 14 Feb 2012. Aired in bottle and drunk over 90 minutes. Slightly darker in tone for pinot, which is typical of this producer. Rather muted on the nose, dominated by a prominent salty tone on the palate amidst other notes of red fruits and cherries, settling down into an easy wine of quiet moderate intensity, displaying good depth and integration, soft but full in the mid-body with easy tannins and subdued acidity. Almost reaching full maturity, I’d say, and will hold for many more years. Excellent.

2000 Pierre Peters “Les Chetillon” Brut Cuvee Speciale, over a lovely home-cooked meal at Anton Cheng’s residence, 20 Feb 2012. Popped and poured. It’s been almost 18 months since I last had this, and it’s still every bit as good. Highly enticing aromas of malt, toasty oak, pomelo, dried citrus amidst the fragrance of white flowers with just the right level of dryness, sparkling with lively acidity, displaying excellent body and a tranparent crystalline tone. Excellent.

2002 Trevor Jones Wild Witch Reserve dry grown shiraz (courtesy of Andrew Wong), at Anton’s residence, 20 Feb 2012. Decanted on-site. This comes from an elevated plot close to Lyndoch, which is the southern gateway to the Barossa Valley. Absolutely superb. Deep ruby red, producing lifted aromas of ripe red berries, raspberries and blueberries, remarkable for its absolute purity without the usual alcoholic or medicinal grip, beautifully balanced, rounded and supple, layered with a lovely persistence. Elegance isn’t something normally associated with Aussie shiraz, but that’s exactly what this wine is all about. Absolutely wonderful.

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