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Notes in brief (June 2012): 1996 Lagrange, 2005 Cissac, 2002 Charles Melton shiraz…

July 3, 2012

2011 Lis Rivis Chardonnay, at a performance of Tosca at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 13 June 2012. Rather shallow, lacking in body and delicacy with an abundance of grassy overtones.

2011 Dolle Gruner Veltliner, at the Lufthansa Senator lounge, Frankfurt airport, 17 June 2012. An Austrian white from the region of Kamptal (gruner veltliner is the grape variety in this example) displaying good body and fullness, veering more towards a dry citrusy edge, supported by stony minerality and fresh acidity.

2011 Naegele Grauburgunder Trocken, at the Lufthansa Senator lounge, Frankfurt airport, 17 June 2012. Dry German riesling. Displaying excellent body and purity and a crystalline minerality with just the right degree of acidity, imparting remarkable freshness an balance. Very good.

2009 Domaine Follin Arbelet Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru “Les Fichots”, shared with KP over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 20 June 2012. Decanted on site. As expected, a tad heavier than usual for pinot both in color and on the palate, leaning more towards ripe raspberries and wild cherries rather than bright red fruits. It took another hour to open up, becoming lighter in weight and texture, the fruit turning lighter and brighter with a lovely freshness that wasn’t there initially. A good drop – only SGD53 from Caveau’s clearance sale. I think it’s difficult to go wrong with anything from 2009.

2001 Cullen Diana Madeline, at Imperial Treasure T3, 22 June 2012, a bottle that I’ve cellared for several years. Decanted on site. Heavier than usual for a cabernet-merlot with deep sultry notes of ripe grapes, almost raisiny though not to the point of jamminess, and a palpable sense of the arid and hot Western Australian terroir. It opened up a bit after further airing, with notes of toast, dark currants and chewy biting tannins being more apparent. Obviously, this wine can easily keep for another 10 years, although I’m not sure how all that density and heaviness will change. Perhaps better to match it with a juicy steak, rather than fine Cantonese cuisine.

1996 Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Le Bossiere” Monopole (courtesy of F), over dinner at Wall St Bistro, 22 June 2012. Popped and poured, immediately displaying the classic Old World pinot character, although one is struck by the extreme salty tone on the palate that seriously threatened to obscure the underlying fruit. It lifted somewhat after some time, the acidity still remaining quite lively, the fruit still elegant and restrained, yet to dry out. I’d have preferred a bit more weight and power, though.

2002 Charles Melton shiraz, a bottle that I’ve stored carefully for the past seven years, given to me by Prof Gary Wittert. Popped and drunk over dinner at Wall St Bistro, 22 June 2012. As expected, a big wine but this has elegance and balance, the warm barossa shiraz fruit having morphed into a seamless harmonious whole with a good mix of red and dark berries infused with a touch of chocolate and a hint of sweet meat, very even and linear on the palate, the tannins well-recessed. Excellent.

2009 Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze, popped and poured at Ming Kee Live Seafood, 23 June 2012. This vintage is probably the best example of this wine over the years, displaying excellent weight and stony minerality with notes of well-defined citrus and white flowers that even managed to float across with a touch of delicacy, with very little of the usual grassy overtone that was prominent in previous vintages. very good, and likely to improve with time. Only SGD45 at Caveau’s clearance sale.

2005 Ch Cissac at Culina, 26 June 2012. Decanted on site. This is clearly the best example of this Cru Bourgeois. Deep red, saturated with highly enticing aromas of fresh ripe red and dark berries with a dash of mulberry, weighty with excellent definition and unobtrusive tannins, fresh and vibrant. A perfect accompaniment to the superb striploin. Excellent.

1996 Ch Lagrange at Choon Seng Punggol Seafood restaurant, 30 June 2012. Popped and poured. Even though I have a soft spot for this estate, I must say that on this occasion I was totally blown away. Rich, tarry, medium-toned with top-drawer fruit that added to the superb definition. It developed bit of attack after some time before settling into a soft, layered, concentrated wine, almost opulent I’d say, which is unusual for Lagrange, the tannins well-integrated into the outstanding cabernet structure. This wine has yet to peak, but I’m glad I caught it at this stage where it is most exciting. Superb.

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