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Notes in brief (May 2012): 2000 Latour-a-Pomerol, 1995 Sociando Mallet, 2010 Tomassini”Ripasso”…

June 3, 2012

2006 Peccavi chardonnay, over an early sumptious lunch of dim sum and wagyu beef at Asia Grand on 01 May 2012, something I haven’t done for some time. Decanted for about 40 minutes prior. This Margaret River chardonnay is full-bodied and generous with the classic character of vanilla, almonds, yellow citrus and stony minerality, complete with the buttery texture. However, it is far too bold and brazen for its own good, jagged at the edges, lacking in subtlety and real complexity of a Leeuwin Art Series. Almost acerbic. Perhaps it needs more bottle time?

2009 Ch Lalande Borie, half of a full bottle, aired for almost an hour at Foo House, 6 May 2012. The 2009s are appearing on the shelves now. Don’t let the initial notes of high-toned ferrous minerality and its leafy, austere and almost bitter character put you off. It’s evident that beneath all that, this wine is saturated with ripe cabernet that slowly appeared after an hour, taking the form of sweet blackcurrants infused with some cedar and violets.  It’ll need plenty of time to shed its awkwardness, but fans of Xavier Borie should load up while stocks last. SGD61 from Carrefour.

Duval Leroy Brut NV, a freshly-popped bottle at the Krisflyer Lounge of Changi Airport Terminal 3, 7 May 2012. Grassy with accentuated notes of bitter citrus, lemon, pomelo with a hint of malt and trailing green notes. Medium-bodied with well-defined minerality, not too dry, imparting a sense of depth at the beginning but fading towards the finish.

2010 Te Kairanga sauvignon blanc, at the Krisflyer Lounge of Changi Airport Terminal 3, 7 May 2012. Compared to other exuberant offerings from the famed Marlborough region, this wine, from the same origin, seems terribly tame, grassy with a hint of tropical fruit, green appples and Kiwi fruit, pleasant enough but hardly distinctive, lacking in liveliness and vibrancy.

2009 Ch D’Arcins, at the Krisflyer Lounge of Changi Airport Terminal 3, 7 May 2012. In spite of the outstanding vintage, this Haut Medoc doesn’t seem to have benefitted. For sure, there is an abundance of cabernet fruit, but this wine is sadly one-dimensional, heavy in undergrowth and other leafy notes. Not worth quaffing.

Henriot Brut Souverain NV, on board SQ352 Business Class to Copenhagen, 8 May 2012. Quite attractive on nose with a good deal of delicate citrus, bitter lemon and peaches, veering on the dry side. Unfortunately, it is way too straightforward and simple on the palate, a tad hollow, fading towards its finish.

2009 Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus Riesling kabinett, on board SQ352 Business Class to Copenhagen, 8 May 2012. Possesses a mild level of sweetness with subdued acidity, laced with nectarine but quite straightforward. Nevertheless, riesling is always a safe choice when drinking on board.

2008 Ch D’Aurilhac, on board SQ352 Business Class to Copenhagen, 8 May 2012. Soft, fruit-forward with a predominance of raspberries and red fruits. Rustic at the edges, lacking the intensity and concentration of the best vintages.

2009 Domdechant Werner Hochheim Rheingau Riesling, at Peter Lieps Hus, Copenhagen, 9 May 2012. Medium bodied, green apples yellow citrus laced with a touch of mangoes and apricot. Doesn’t quite sparkle as much due to subdued acidity, but it’s very agreeable and so easy to quaff down with the fresh salmon.

2010 Tomassini Bolla le Poiane Valpolicella Classico “Ripasso”, at Peter Lieps Hus, Copenhagen 9 May 2012, over a meal of deer meat that came from the deer park within. In spite of its youth, this wine possesses surprising weight and concentration of raspberries, red currants and violets that did very well to overcome the extreme gamey nature of the meat, more expansive on the palate over time with tannins kept in check, managing perhaps even a bit of layering. Very good.

Silver Cap blanc de blancs as an aperitif at Salt restaurant, Copenhagen, 10 May 2012. Unfortunately, this is a poor example of a blanc de blancs, way too dry and brittle, one-dimensional throughout with upfront bitter lemon and green citrus. Almost acerbic.

2010 Cape Grace chenin blanc, at Salt restaurant, Copenhagen, 10 May 2012. I didn’t know the label at first, and thought this was a decent chardonnay, soft and medium-bodied with fruit that is adequately ripe and recessed minerality that doesn’t get in the way, finishing with a touch of leafy green.

2007 Chateau de Grave, a Cote de Bourg at Kr235 at the Fraegerek restaurant along the Nyhavns harborfront, Copenhagen, 11 May 2012. Popped and poured. Very soft and almost thin initially. I left it in my glass for a good half hour, after which it seemed to have fleshed out, seemingly a lot weightier than before, characterised by forward notes of dark berries still cloaked in some vanilla, restrained and nondescript, earthy and slightly austere without any further development. It was the cheapest wine in the restaurant’s very limited short list of what looked like cheap wines (the final item, however, being three different vintages of Ch Mouton Rothschild!!) and, normally when faced with such a situation, I’d just go for the cheapest. After all, what difference does it make?

2009 Durvillea pinot noir from Marlborough, at the SAS Gold lounge of Copenhagen airport, 12 May 2012. Attractive bouquet of rose-scented red fruits and varnish, medium-full on the palate, rather too linear but carrying good weight all the way to the finish. Very decent.

2010 Jean Paul Vauclavs, a southern Rhone rouge at the SAS Gold lounge of Copenhagen airport, 12 May 2012. A very decent effort hitting the right notes of plummy fruit and wild berries with a touch of green and forest floor, adequately dense with a spicy edge, trailing linearly to its finish without any hollowness.

2004 Penley Estate Reserve cabernet sauvignon, at Gourmet Plus, 13 May 2012. Popped and poured. A darker-toned cabernet compared to Old World blends, more of dark berries and dark chocolate against a background of woody dusty tannins and forest floor, missing the characteristic violets and cedar of traditional claret, slightly austere. It took more than an hour to flesh out with some brighter notes of concentrated fresh berries breaking through, but this is still a rather youthful wine, perhaps undergoing an awkward stage.

1995 Ch Sociando Mallet (courtesy John), at Moomba, 18 May 2012. Decanted on site. Dark purple with notes of dark cherries and raspberries and a touch of briar, noticeably acidic (still) during the first few sips. Medium to full bodied, weighty, taking on a brighter note as it began opening up after 30 minutes, becoming a lot more smoother and broader. I’d say it’s yet to peak which surprising for a 1995, but it definitely has the legs to last for several decades. Keep.

Jacques Lassaigne Brut NV Rose, at Ming Kee Live Seafood on 22 May 2012. Tasted after airing in bottle for 30 minutes. Reasonably deep bouquet with notes of toasted oak, a touch of yeast and a hint of red fruits. But compared to a previous tasting note last year, this bottle seemed to lack the complexity and nuances normally associated with this producer, far too flat and dry on the palate.

2007 Inniskillin Vidal ice wine (courtesy of LW), at Ming Kee Live Seafood on 22 May 2012. This wine simply saturates the palate with a one-dimensional swathe of intense sweetness without any discernible subtlety nor layering. Most people (usually the ladies) like this, but I much prefer German eiswein.

1999 Chateau du Moulin, a gift that I received a couple of weeks ago, at Wall St Bistro, 23 May 2012. Decanted on-site. Dark purple. The initial impression was rather unremarkable, certainly nothing special on the muted bouquet, the wine soft and medium-bodied and drinkable, carrying just enough weight but lacking in charm and character. However, it rapidly fleshed out over the next 30 minutes with more red fruits emerging to the fore, of which I thought cabernet franc was distinctly discernible,  producing notes of fresh strawberries and raspberries, becoming much more weighty and substantial with some degree of sweetness creeping in at the sides, even taking on a little vibrancy and attack on the mid-palate, which were all very welcome. Quite an amazing transformation from this estate in Puissequin-Saint Emilion. Very good stuff, I must say.

2000 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, a half bottle at Les Amis, 25 May 2012, just in time for a final appreciation of chef Armin Leitgeb’s culinary art before he leaves for good end of May. This estate is steadily gaining in prominence and I must say I’ve never had a disappointing Latour-a-Pomerol, and this bottle, displaying a deep ruby, is a prime example. A rich bouquet of red fruits and bright berries dominate, leading to a soft fleshy medium-bodied wine of excellent concentration, layered in texture and depth, caressing the palate with fine velvety tannins, almost lush. Structured but highly elegant, though evidently still far from its peak. Excellent.

2005 Ch Bernadotte, poured from magnum, at Bistro 103, at a farewell dinner for the outgoing CEO, 25 May 2012. Dark red, packed with outstanding ripe cabernet from this stellar vintage, producing a dense solid core of fruit wrapped with fine velvety tannins with a sprinkling of graphite, tarry in texture with excellent definition. This level of quality is unprecedented for this estate in the Medoc. Still highly primal at this stage, of course, and will take more than a decade to mature. An absolute steal at only SGD88 per magnum. Excellent.

2000 Ch Chasse-Spleen, at Bistro 103, at a farewell dinner for the outgoing CEO, 25 May 2012. Aired in bottle for around 45 minutes. Coming right after the Bernadotte above, this wine is more placid and open and obviously more developed with notes of cedar and cinnamon, displaying excellent depth with some early layering, very well integrated and fleshy and, like the Bernardotte, packed with a generous core of stellar fruit that’s yet to uncoil. Very similar to my first encounter with this wine at Gunther’s back in Nov 2011, and perhaps less dry. Great stuff. Think I’ll place my remaining five bottles in cold storage for another 5-8 years, at least.

2005 Ch Lalande Borie, popped and poured over a nice tenderloin steak at Gourmet Plus, 31 May 2012. This has real weight, concentration and quality fruit but it is somewhat unsettled at this stage. Still rather backward in spite of persistent coaxing, coupled with an austere, uneven finish that contained a metallic note. It snapped together quite nicely at the final pour, which seemed delicious and more forward. Best to leave it in bottle for another 3 years.

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