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Notes in brief (July 2012): 1986 Poyferre, 1999 Bonneau du Martray, 1996 Montrose, 1996 Malescot St-Exupery, 2006 Pintia…

August 1, 2012

2010 Vincent Girardin Bourgogne blanc (courtesy Ben), at Wall St Bistro, 6 July 2012. Popped and poured. Lighter in style with an attractive clear crystalline minerality imbued with some vanilla fragrance, white pepper and a dash of white flowers. Slightly short at the finish and congested on the mid-palate at this stage. Needs another 2-3 years to sort itself out but undeniably a good drop at only SGD37, direct from J D Burleigh.

2005 Ch Lalande Borie, at Wall St Bistro, 6 July 2012. Popped and poured. I’m halfway through a case that I bought last year, and it gets better and better each time. At this stage, it is saturated with notes of ripe raspberries and blueberries, slightly “gritty” on the palate (I find this attractive) with a dash of vanilla. Utterly smooth and seamless. It took on an even more sophisticated sheen after about 45 minutes, oozing with class and confidence. Thoroughly delicious. Buy!

1996 Ch Malescot St-Exupery, at Wall St Bistro, 6 July 2012. Aired in bottle for almost 2 hours. The initial impression was that of a wine stripped of its excesses, just a predominance of red fruits against an earthy backdrop framed by mild supple tannins. It then gradually grew in weight and character, developing the characteristic hue of mushrooms and dried herbs that’s classic of a well-aged claret whilst becoming more forward with a touch of creme de la creme, imparting a sense of lushness, immeasurably complex. It’s just entering its drinking window, and will probably remain at its peak for years. Excellent.

1999 Domaine des Comte Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu 1er Cru, a late night cap at Taberna, 12 July 2012. This premier cru from the Cote de Beaune is an astute selection by Kieron, considering that this renowned producer hardly makes any reds. Darker and perhaps more extracted than usual for pinot with a generous bouquet of plummy fruit and strawberries. Weighty on the palate, where it came across as still being rather tight and dense with a significant tannic attack towards the finish. I didn’t quite get a sense of the layering. Perhaps we’ve under-estimated its bottle age. Needs more time.

2006 Pintia by the glass, with the compliments of Caveau at the opening of its new wine bar, 13 July 2012. This is simply quite outstanding, displaying an abundance of aromatic raspberries and blueberries, very open and inviting, caressing the palate with chewy savoury tannins that led to a lasting finish. Way better than the 2003, which is far too tannic. Buy.

1998 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth, at House restaurant, 14 July 2012. Decanted on-site. This is a coveted vintage for South Australia, and it shows. Still youthful in appearance, saturated with ripe dark berries and ferrous minerality of excellent concentration and density that provided an aromatic lift towards the finish, framed by a cabernet structure of subtle velvety tannins, managing to avoid the usual heaviness. However, it seemed to lack the layering and secondary development that I was searching for. Will still keep for many more years.

1996 Ch Montrose (courtesy John), at Otto Ristorante, 18 July 2012. Decanted on-site. This is quite superb. Still showing a deep garnet red with just a trace of bricking at the rim, exuding effusive aromatics that are more fruit-forward than usual for a 1996 with an abundance of sweet dark berries, tarry in character, beautifully integrated with the classic Bordeaux dryness at the sides, becoming fuller and developing a bit of an attack after some time before settling into a languid, rounded and layered wine that’s almost voluptuous, quite unheard of for a Montrose. I could just stick my nose inside the glass all day. Very lovely.

2004 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, a half bottle at Amarone Ristorante, 19 July 2012, SGD72 off the restaurant list. More evolved in color than I’d expected but even then, it was rather restrained and unresolved on the palate initially, finally revealing its true colors only an hour later as the plummy note of sangiovese appeared, together with early secondary nuances of dark cherries and a hint of raisins amidst deeper, medicinal aromas. Enjoyable.

1999 Bonneau du Martray, private dining at Tunn’s celebratory dinner at Absinthe (now relocated at Boat Quay), 20 July 2012. Aired briefly in bottle. There were initial notes of coconut and apples, much less of the usual butter and cream, but in spite of the significant bottle age, it was still rather concentrated and tight with quite a bit of brazen attack initially on the palate. I got the impression that it began to fade quite considerably as it warmed up in the glass, and a certain oxidised note seemed detectable at the edges. Rather underwhelming for this producer, confirming my impression from two previous bottles (from the same case). Frankly, I’d expected it to be a lot more racy and exuberant.

1986 Ch Leoville Poyferre, private dining at Tunn’s celebratory dinner at Absinthe, 20 July 2012. From an OWC which had just arrived two weeks prior from Bordeaux Index, London. Poured from two identical bottles that were decanted on-site and aired for around 90 minutes before serving. Both were remarkably consistent, displaying a deep garnet red at its core. A gorgeous bouquet of predominantly ripe red fruits and raspberries amidst some bluberries and dark currants, leading to a medium-bodied high-toned wine with a touch of salty, earthy minerality on the palate, layered and open, suitably complex. Not at all backward. Absolutely at its drinking peak with all indications that it will continue to hold for many more years. Wonderful.

1994 Ch Montrose, at Saint-Pierre, 31 July 2012. Aired on-site in bottle. Probably at its best for this particular vintage. Dark vermillion, soft, fleshy and rounded, medium-bodied with fruit that is decent in quality with a few bright spots without any dryness, aided by the recessed tannins, well-integrated although lacking in definition and lushness. A good drop nevertheless, as long as the food and the company is great.

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