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Notes in brief (Dec 2012): 1990 La Dominic, 1982 Meyney, 2001 Elderton Command, 1997 La Conseillante, 1998 Beausejour Becot

December 31, 2012

2002 Penfolds St Henri shiraz, at Ben’s BBQ, 01 Dec 2012. Part of a half-dozen mis-priced at only SGD58 about 5 years ago from Bottles & Bottles at Parkway Parade. Aired in bottle under ice cover for almost an hour. Deep, dark, luxurious with plenty of blackcurrants and sweet ripe shiraz from a cool growing season, as evidenced by the marked absence of heat stress nor alcoholic trail, utterly smooth and rounded, weighty yet remarkably well-balanced. Superbly crafted without any jarring edges. I’d say it’s yet to peak, but it is absolutely beautiful to drink at this stage.

1982 Ch Meyney (courtesy John), popped and poured from magnum at Ben’s BBQ, 01 Dec 2012. Aired in bottle under ice cover for about 45 minutes. Still very much alive with the unmistakable signature of a well-aged Medoc – the dry smoky tannins imparting a dusty texture, the fruit slightly backward and musty, the acidity levels already dipping low, contributing to the overall smoothness. Yet to dry out but I wouldn’t keep any longer.

2011 Wither Hills sauvignon blanc, at the Krisflyer Business Class lounge, Changi Airport T3, 4 Dec 2012. Goes very well with food, a wine that grows on you, medium to full bodied with attractive notes of tropical fruits, peaches and pineapple, liovely without the overt crispness, matched by limey minerality. I guess you can’t really go wrong with any sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand.

Ruinart NVRuinart Blanc de Blancs NV, over dinner at Choon Seng Punggol Seafood restaurant, 16 Dec 2012. Popped and poured. More of lifted aromas of white flowers and fresh clear citrus rather than the usual toasty yeasty notes, supported by delicate minerality and lively acidity combined with fine gentle bubbles, ensuring that the wine doesn’t veer too much towards dryness.

2005 Patrick Javillier Savigny-les-Beaune “Les Serpentieres” 1er Cru, over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 17 Dec 2012. Decanted on-site. Third time I’ve had this wine, and this was the best experience, by far. Caught at an exciting stage where the wine has clearly enetered its drinking window, soft yet fleshy, hitting all the right notes of red cherries, camphor and dark rose petals carrying just the right weight and body without any hollowness, supported by understated earthy minerality. It doesn’t quite have the intensity and opulence of a Gevrey-Chambertin, but it can certainly hold its ground on any table.

2007 Palazzo Desti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, at Imperial Treasure T3, 18 Dec 2012. Popped and poured. Medium-bodied with a prominent plummy tone, no doubt from the sangiovese, with other red fruit characters, softening into a more relaxed wine after some 30 minutes, littered with a dash of spice and licorice that offered some grip on the palate. Enjoyable.

2006 L’Hospitalet de Gazin (courtesy Ben), at a ward dinner, Wall St Bistro, 18 Dec 2012. Popped and poured. Medium-full and surprisingly firm for a second wine, with aromas of dark cherries, wild berries and earth amidst other gravelly textures, soft at the edges, grippy on the palate. It’s really quite good, actually.

2005 Ch Bernadotte, at a ward dinner, Wall St Bistro, 18 Dec 2012. Popped and poured from magnum. Compared to a previous tasting earlier this year, this wine seems to have become more withdrawn and reticent, a quiet nose of blueberries and dark currants lurking in the background, firm and full on the palate, yet to shed its vanillin coat nor made any progress in development. But I can imagine it turning into something deep, dark and delicious over time. Plenty of potential.

1998 Ch Beausejour Becot, at a ward dinner at Wall St Bistro, 18 Dec 2012. Decanted on-site. Still relatively unevolved in color, offering notes of licorice, chocolate, enamel, plums and orangey citrus with a trace of sweetness, fairly full and weighty on the palate, developing greater depth and layering with lighter textures after 60 minutes, eventually exuding a powerful complex glow. 1998 Beausejour & 1990 La DominicExcellent but still yet to peak. Keep.

1990 Ch La Dominic (courtesy John), at a ward dinner at Wall St Bistro, 18 Dec 2012. Decanted on-site. Although hailing from the same commune as the Beausejour, this wine possessed an immediacy on the nose that was more arresting with fragrant notes of red roses and red fruits combined with an attractive earthy note, gradually gaining in power and weight over time, displaying complex tertiary characters that were quite lovely. Gives the impression that the wine has yet to peak. Excellent.

1998 Ch Lanessan, over a cote du boeuf at Wall St Bistro, 21 Dec 2012. Decanted on-site. Slightly uneven initially, eventually gaining weight and smoothening out with attractive notes of tangy citrus, red fruits, forest floor, cedar and cinnamon, carrying good weight and body though neither rich nor opulent. But it’s still a good drop, and probably the best Lanessan I’ve had. At SGD33, I’m happy to drink this any time.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, at an early Christmas dinner on 22 Dec 2012. Popped and poured, drunk over 30 minutes. Very well-balanced at the start with lifted notes of lively lime and citrus flavours coupled with delicate minerality, not much of the usual toasty notes. However, it began veering towards more dryness, threatening to become abrasive. I suppose it was drunk way too quickly. Will reserve judgement.

2010 Grosset Polish Hill riesling, at a Christmas Eve lunch at Moomba which, incidentally, is the last meal being served at this restaurant as it is closing down for good. Aired briefly in bottle. A broad swathe of peach, green melons, green apples and lively citrus, forward in character, obscured the underlying minerality, eventually developing a slightly steely and flinty note in the mid-body that led to an austere finish. Seemed unsettled and somewhat awkward at the moment. This is a highly age-worthy riesling and I’d leave my remaining bottles alone for at least another few years.

2001 Elderton Command shiraz (courtesy John),  at a Christmas Eve lunch at Moomba. Double-decanted and aired further in bottle for 3-4 hours prior to tasting. I’ve always been impressed with this estate’s flagship shiraz and this tasting note confirms. Displaying some bricking at the rim, this aged shiraz is still remarkably full-bodied but superbly balanced, the huge body of smooth ripe fruit explodes on the mid-palate in a burst of spice, pepper, licorice, sweet plums, wild berries and dark currants enveloped by a lovely warmth and structure, possessing just the right degree of depth, utterly smooth and sophisticated without any alcoholic trail, inviting one to partake more with each sip without causing fatigue to the palate. Not quite the last word in complexity, but probably all the better. Superb.

2006 Ch Malartic-Lagraviere, popped and poured at La Barca, 28 Dec 2012. Already quite accessible at this stage with notes of violets, blueberries and dark currants, displaying excellent concentration, weight and balance without being in-your-face. Yet to shed its vanilla coat from the wood, and neither has the Pessac-Leognan terroir surfaced. Expertly crafted.

2011 Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc (courtesy F) at the Dept year-end dinner, Cotton Bleu, 28 Dec 2012. Popped and poured. Fruit-forward with notes of melons, fig, pears with a lovely degree of ripeness, leading to a cool, refreshing finish. Very good, in fact.

2006 Peccavi chardonnay, at Cotton Bleu, 28 Dec 2012. Popped and poured. Quite precocious with generous notes of cream and buttery wafers, displaying substantial fat within the mid-body, supported by rich minerality. More focused and tight compared to a previous tasting several months ago. Excellent ageing potential.

2001 Baroosa Old Vines shiraz (courtesy John), at Cotton Bleu, 28 Dec 2012. Popped and poured from magnum. Predictably huge and full-bodied, but remarkably well-balanced, the unmistakable character of Barossa shiraz picked at optimal ripeness, offering an attractive mix of red and dark fruits, camphor and rose petals underlined by powerful herbal and medicinal aromas, displaying excellent weight and depth. Yet to peak, I’d say, and just slightly less sophisticated than the Elderton Command shiraz of the same vintage. Quite excellent. A superb bargain at SGD88.

1998 Tahbilk shiraz (courtesy John), at Cotton Bleu, 28 Dec 2012. Markedly different from the above wine, the bouquet dominated by a powerful glow of tangy citrus and plums, highly attractive, rounded and well-balanced on the palate, littered with notes of mint and menthol. Very good.

2004 Clos du Marquis (courtesy F), at Cotton Bleu, 28 Dec 2012. Coming at a distinct disadvantage immediately right after those Aussie reds, this claret appeared totally laidback and disinterested, struggling to gain the palate’s attention. Nevertheless, the classic Bordeaux balance is quite apparent, smooth and easy and drinking very well now.

1997 Ch La Conseillante (courtesy John), at Cotton Bleu, 28 Dec 2012. Decanted on-site. Coming last in the line-up, but clearly the wine of the night. Surprisingly powerful on the nose with notes of dark cherries, spice and earth, almost matching the Aussie reds, medium-full on the palate with excellent weight and definition without any hollowness. Quite unbelievable, for a 1997. Excellent.

2004 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 29 Dec 2012. Quite open with a mix of red fruits and raspberries, not as plummy as one might have expected from the sangiovese, gaining in weight and concentration very quickly, well-balanced, soft and fleshy with subdued tannins. Very pleasant and attractive.

2004 Voyager Estate cabernet merlot, my last drop for 2012, drunk at an office New Year’s Eve party, 31 Dec 2012. Popped and poured. One can easily discern the stern structured and smoky cabernet against the softer, more supple merlot. But in spite of the abundant fruit, the marriage here isn’t quite harmonious, lacking in character, rather generic tasting.

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