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Notes in brief (Aug 2012): 2009 Domain Rd, 1993 Carpineto Montepulciano Riserva, 1983/1999 Leoville Las-Cases…

August 30, 2012

2000 Ch D’Angludet, at the newly-renovated Prive, 1 Aug 2012. Popped and poured. Compared to a previous tasting some 6 months ago, this bottle seemed rather unsettled. For sure, there’s substantial quality fruit that’s beginning to develop secondary nuances of cedar and violets, supported by a slightly salty minerality but, at the same time, there are traces of vegetal notes at the edges that dampened the bouquet, resulting  in a fair degree of unevenness on the palate. However, another bottle (my last) from the same batch tasted just a week later (10 Aug) at Wall St Bistro was much more successful, displaying none of the greenness. A qualified buy, if the price is right.

2007 Ch Les Carmes Haut Brion, my final half-bottle of this wine at Wall St Bistro, 3 Aug 2012. Popped and poured. Deep glossy purple, displaying very good density of ripe raspberries, dark currants and other wild berries, almost full-bodied with well-managed tannins, finishing with just a trace of ferrous minerality. Still hasn’t shed its coat of vanilla. Somewhat one-dimensional at this stage. Give it another 3-5 years and you’ll probably catch it at its sweet spot.

2009 Domain Road pinot noir, at Jade Palace, 4 Aug 2012. This is top quality stuff, almost superb. Popped and poured. One expects, at this stage, the pinot to be more forward and that is, indeed, the case. Saturated with top-drawer fruit with generous notes of ripe raspberries, dark cherries and redcurrants but not over-extracted, coupled with fine supple tannins that are very well-integrated into the slightly salty minerality with excellent depth and transparency, although it doesn’t quite possess the layering of a true Bourgogne. But this is really an excellent pinot noir in its own right regardless of its bargain price and I daresay it will be glorious in another 5-7 years. Buy.

2009 Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze, popped and poured at Hinoki, 7 Aug 2012. As good as my initial encounter just a couple of months ago in June. Excellent body with subdued minerality, allowing more of the fruit to come forward. Mainly notes of green apples, melons and citrus, lively without the cutting acidity. Very good.

2001 Ch Lafleur-Gazin, at Hinoki, 7 Aug 2012. Aired for an hour in bottle. This is drinking rather well now. Rounded and mellow. Notes of redcurrants, wild berries and a bit of plum with adequate depth, although it lacked the gloss and density of the better known Pomerol heavyweights. More feminine, I’d say, all the better to match the delicate Japanese cuisine.

2001 Beringer Private Reserve cabernet sauvignon, a half-bottle courtesy of Kieron at an impromptu meet-up at our off-site cellarage at Extra Space, Kallang, 9 Aug 2012. I must say I cannot recall the last time I’d drunk a glass of wine at an ambient temperature of 13 degrees Celsius. Aired in bottle for about 30-45 minutes, and drunk over the next hour. Dark inky red, saturated with ripe cabernet, more fruit forward, cloaked in supple discreet tannins with very little of the dryish character of a Bordeaux. Highly enticing on the nose where there is an abundance of plummy fruit amidst dark berries and other notes of dark chocolate, licorice and raisins, although it is still rather tight and it seemed to recoil into its shell after some time. Don’t be mistaken – there is no suggestion of a fruit bomb whatsoever; just a top-notch straight cabernet that needs another decade of cellaring to do it justice.

2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, at Trattoria L’Operetta, 10 Aug 2012. Part of a case imported from Bordeaux Index. Popped and poured. In spite of having spent some time in bottle, this wine is still far from ready for drinking, saturated with loads of ripe dark fruits, slightly tarry, boasting excellent structure and sophisticated tannins, but the wood and vanilla is still way too evident, not helped by the fact that the restaurant is extremely warm, hardly the right setting to appreciate a good bottle in spite of the excellent food. Guess I shouldn’t pop any more of these until 2014, perhaps.

2010 Elderton Merlot, courtesy of Vic at his office, 14 Aug 2012. Popped from screw cap. This is not the estate’s flagship bottling, but it was, nevertheless, most impressive. Saturated with ripe Barossa fruit with its unmistakable warmth and notes of orangey citrus, raisins, chocolate and licorice, very well crafted such that it was never jammy, full-bodied without knocking out your palate. Weighty and layered. If I hadn’t glanced at the label, I’d have thought I was drinking a shiraz, such was its vibrancy and verve. A class act.

2006 Albert Ponnelle Eschezeaux Grand Cru (courtesy of LW at her farewell party), back again at Tratorria L’Operetta, 15 Aug 2012. Popped and poured. Medium-bodied, salty, smoky with a spicy trail arising from a tannic spine, lacking in subtlety. Hardly distinctive, in spite of its supposed lofty origins. To be fair though, as I’d mentioned earlier, the ambient temperature at L’Operetta is far too warm for any kind of meaningful wine appreciation. A pity, as the food is good. I wouldn’t come back again if I’m bringing a bottle.

1983 Ch Leoville Las-Cases (courtesy John) at Imperial Treasure Nan-bei on 15 Aug 2012, shared with PS as well. My second time with this wine in as many months. Decanted on-site; only about a third was remaining by the time I arrived. This is probably the best example of this wine, by far. Rather dark in color, indicative of a slow evolution, still remarkably fresh and lively. There is that powerful hallowed glow of a mature claret all over with complex notes of plum, dark orange, cinnamon and dark currants amidst the dry flavours of mushrooms and tea leaves, beautifully proportioned with excellent depth and layering, laced with just a trace of ferrous minerality that’s unmistakably Saint Julien. This can easily last for many more years. Outstanding.

1993 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, at Imperial Treasure Nan-bei on 15 Aug 2012, shared with PS and John. This is part of a vertical presented to me last Christmas by Steven and Rosy. Decanted on-site, displaying a deep purple with an evolved rim. There were notes of violets, blueberries and some darker fruits on the bouquet as well as palate initially, where it certainly possesed excellent weight and depth although it was somewhat disjointed on the mid-body, the flavours seemingly more concentrated at the bottom, finishing with a dash of spice and pepper. It quickly settled into a more seamless entity, the merlot component emerging to dominate the palate with supple plush tannins, sloshing around in the absence of a cabernet structure while the predominant sangiovese provided a plummy note in the background, together with a trace of salty minerality, reveling in its Tuscany terroir. It remained in this manner for the rest of the evening, remarkably lively, fresh and youthful still. Quite superb.

Henri Giraud Esprit de Giraud NV, at Salt Grill and Sky Bar, ION Orchard, 17 Aug 2012. Popped and poured. It ticked all the right boxes with quite a generous dollop of oxidised yeasty overtones, malt, crackers and toasty oak supported by crystalline minerality of decent weight. Would have been very good if the bubbles had been softer and more open, but at least it wasn’t acerbic. Preferable than the ubiquitous Charles Heidsieck or Verve Cliquot.

1989 Ch Chasse-Spleen, at Onion restaurant, 17 Aug 2012. Popped and poured over 90 minutes. Amazingly full-bodied and almost hedonistic in spite of its bottle age, with the ripe cabernet exuding notes rich in blueberries, blackcurrants amidst velvety sexy tannins. This eventually settled into a more open, medium-bodied and seamless wine with the hallmarks of a mature claret, dominated by an attractive salty minerality. Lacks the last ounce of depth and complexity that a classified growth can summon, but this is very satisfying over a good steak.

Verve Cliquot Rose NV, at ordered off the wine list (not by me!) of Melt World Cafe, Mandarin Oriental hotel, 20 Aug 2012. There are notes of what could pass off as cherries and melons, but I didn’t get a sense of the yeasty oxidation nor depth, the entire wine being just a dry brazen one-dimensional blitz on the palate. Forgettable.

2001 Ch Bernardotte, poured from magnum at Porta Porta (Stanley St), 21 Aug 2012. Soft and fleshy with notes of blueberries and other wild berries, ripe and classic in poise and balance without any of the vegetal characters commonly found in Medoc wines, possessing fairly good definition. Highly attractive and drinking well.

2002 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Champonnet 1er Cru, popped and poured at House, Dempsey, 25 Aug 2012. I find that restaurants nowadays in Singapore are too warm to allow for proper appreciation of a wine’s character, and this instances no exception, perhaps contributing to the attenuated body, dominated instead by a rather sharp tannic attack. However, this eventually settled over time, turning into a medium-bodied wine with some lovely notes of rose cordial and cherries, supported by a bed of earthy minerality, slightly salty, rounded and soft at the edges, almost taking on an oily note in the mid-body after an hour, becoming quite harmonious. Undeniably attractive, but would have been better had we drunk it in a cooler environment.

1999 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, decanted on-site at Mag’s Wine Kitchen, 25 Aug 2012. Dark red with just a hint of bricking at the rim, offering loads of dark berries, earth, and sparkling ferrous minerality that was palpable even on the nose, excellent in concentration with generous notes of soy, graphite, traces of plummy fruit and secondary nuances of cassis and dried herbs, brimming with quiet intensity and tightly-knit tannins. This wine has yet to peak, but I like so-called off-vintages that are caught just before they peak, when they are most exciting. Excellent.

2003 Ch Duhart Milon, at Wall St Bistro, 30 Aug 2012. Decanted on-site and drunk over the next 90 minutes. All the signs of a hot growing season are there, the wine displaying a raisiny note with a discernible trace of burnt at the edges although it is full and rounded on the mid-body, the ultra-ripe fruit taking on an unprecedented level of sweetness that goes well with the lowish acidity, the wine somewhat unresolved at the finish although the absence of any alcoholic heat was most welcome. Ultimately, it lacks real distinction, its character atypical for a claret.

2007 Poggio Al Santi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, SGD69 off the restaurant list of Donna Carmela, 31 Aug 2012. Decanted on-site and drunk over the next hour. Highly attractive on the nose, fruit forward with notes of plum, strawberries and a mix of red fruits and orangey citrus that came on strong with a sharp tannic attack when first tasted, somewhat light-bodied. It settled very quickly, gaining weight, the tannins receding away rapidly to produce a very smooth, rich and even wine, developing some degree of dryness over time. Not bad at all.

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