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Notes in brief (Sep 2012): 1990 Pavie, 2006 Clos du Marquis, 2006 Grand-Puy-Lacoste

September 27, 2012

2011 Sileni Hawkes’ Bay pinot noir, SGD70 off the restaurant list of Barossa, 5 Sep 2012, paired with its all-you-can-eat steak buffet. Popped and poured, displaying a very clear lovely rosy tint with attractive aromas of sweet cherries, raspberries and ripe strawberries, very bright and uplifting. The wine is gentle and well-balanced on the palate with just the right weight and presence, just a tad full in light of its youth, finishing with a touch of sea salt. A good drop.

1990 Ch Pavie (courtesy of John), over a succulent prime rib at Lawrie’s, 7 Sep 2012. Decanted on-site. Dull purple with some mild bricking at the rim. Notably restrained. It required quite a bit of patience before notes of raspberries, dark berries, some violet and cedar could be coaxed from the glass. The wine was distinctly mature, soft and medium-bodied on the palate with a touch of ferrous quality at the finish, the fruit rather backward for a 1990 such that it lacked opulence and lushness, almost nondescript without imparting a sense of terroir. To be honest, if I’d tasted it blind, I wouldn’t have known it’s a 1990. Could certainly do with more soul and character.

2006 Ch Clos des Prince, at Jade Palace, 8 Sep 2012. Popped and poured. Deep purple, possessing good weight and concentration although its bouquet was, at best, generic, the wine straightforward and one-dimensional on the palate. Surprisingly though, it opened up some 45 minutes later, revealing more layering within and better definition of flavours, offering notes of blueberries, sultanas and earth, smooth on the palate with unobtrusive tannins. Not bad.

2009 Domaines Leflaive Macon-Verze, paired with home-cooked pasta, 10 Sep 2012. My third bottle in as many months, with consistent notes. Generous flavours of green apples, melons and yellow citrus dominate, well-balanced against the lively acidity, supported by a rich bed of earthy minerality that added a steely note or two to the finish. Very good indeed. As I’d commented before, this is the best vintage for this wine. Will age well.

2005 Ch De La Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru (courtesy of David) at Otto Ristorante, 12 Sep 2012. Aired in bottle on site. A heavier shade of pinot, translating into a bigger wine that is consistent with Grand Cru from this plot. Generous with notes of strawberries and dark cherries, medium-full, rather tight and savoury initially but it opened up quite rapidly, lightening up in texture as brighter notes of raspberries began emerging, supported by abundant earthy minerality that eventually tapered to a slightly dryish finish. Didn’t quite achieve the expected level of lushness, however, in spite of its excellent concentration. Nonetheless, this is highly satisfying, a wine that can hold its place amongst good food and company.

2006 Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste, poured from magnum at La Barca, 14 Sep 2012. Decanted on-site. This wine is drinking superbly now, seemingly having gained more weight and concentration over the past year, throwing off notes of red fruits, cherries and rose cordial that seemed almost Burgundian. On the palate, the wine is rounded in tone and body, framed by subdued tannins, remarkably fresh with just barely a hint of the Pauillac dryness towards the finish. Quite the epitome of elegance and balance, the perfect accompaniment to the outstanding 1.5 kg Fiorentina steak. Excellent.

2006 Clos du Marquis (courtesy of Ben), at Wall St Bistro, 19 Sep 2012. Popped and poured. A lovely shade of purple, exuding powerful aromas of ripe wild berries, raspberries and blueberries with a mild tinge of vanilla, hinting at a dense opulent wine. However, this couldn’t have been further from truth, for the wine was very open and transparent on the palate, almost delicate, gentle at the edges. It gained further in intensity over time, the tight svelte tannins sweeping most attractively across the palate, leaving traces of sweet essence in its wake. This is really good. Distinctly Bordeaux, the only criticism being that it had little, if at all, of Saint Julien in its character.

2006 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet “Le Boudriotte” 1er Cru, at Al Borgo with Ben and Vic, 20 Sep 2012. Popped and poured. Generous bouquet with aromas of ripe rock melons, green apples and limey citrus. Rich, almost creamy on the palate, well-supported by understated minerality, tapering to a quiet but complex finish. Still far from maturity even though it is very lovely now. Excellent.

2002 Ch Le Hermitage (courtesy of Ben), popped and poured at Al Borgo, 20 Sep 2012. I had not encountered this St Emilion estate before, and so was curious to see how it’d turn out in this vintage that most people try to avoid. It turned out quite well, surprisingly, the wine deep purple in color, made in a fruit-forward style that showed off nicely notes of dark berries, raisins, earth and a trace of licorice, well-extracted and slightly tarry, carrying excellent weight and definition, if not outright opulence. This style of wine thrives well in difficult vintages.

2010 Anselmann riesling eiswein, aired in bottle for almost an hour being served at Asia Grand, 22 Sep 2012. Purchased for less than EUR30 at Frankfurt duty-free. Notes of ripe pear, apricot, melons and orangey citrus dominate, medium-full with an illusion of fizz on the palate, decent in complexity, the sweetness neither overbearing nor superficial. Lively and refreshing. Worth every cent at this price.

2005 Ch L’Arrivet Haut Brion, decanted on-site at Moomba, 28 Sep 2012. Compared to a previous bottle about 3 years ago, this wine seemed to have evolved quite significantly with generous notes of ripe blueberries and dark currants married to fine supple tannins, medium-full yet soft-grained, excellent in concentration and depth without any vegetal trace that commonly plague these peripheral estates, eventually settling into a fleshy and seamless wine. This is the finest example I’ve had from this estate and I’d certainly acquire more if the price is right.

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