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Notes in brief (Jan 2013): 1998 Majella, 1990 Carpineto Vino Nobile Montepulciano

January 30, 2013

2007 Brokenwood Mistress Block, a bottle purchased directly from the cellar door at Hunter Valley back in Dec 2009, popped and poured at Asia Grand on 4 Jan 2013. Full-bodied with notes of ripe shiraz imbued with characters of raspberries, raisins, dark chocolate and a hint of licorice, dripping with mint and menthol but very well-balanced and proportioned, the tight silky tannins imparting an elegant feel.

1998 Majella cabernet sauvignon, double decanted under temperature control for 90 minutes and aired further in bottle at Imperial Treasure Great World before serving, 5 Jan 2013. 1998 MajellaThis wine was worth all that effort, no question about it. The cork was fractured as a result of dessication, but emerged without total fragmentation, giving way to a great deal of bottle stink initially but which disappeared totally after some time. The bouquet is dominated by notes of dark currants, blackberries, violets and cedar that led to a wine of considerable maturity, distinctly medium-bodied, soft and fleshy, the fruit not showing any sign of drying out, not overtly weighty nor exuberant, but very well-balanced. It got better and better as dinner wore on, eventually developing tertiary notes of leather, cinnamon, cassis and tangy citrus that combined to produce a most lovely glow on the nose that was remarkably similar to what one would experience from a well-aged claret, something that I never knew was possible from an Aussie cabernet. Excellent.

2009 Stefan Kollmar Auslese (courtesy Jeremy), popped and drunk over a live telecast of Manchester United against Liverpool, 13 Jan 2013. Quite a  lovely bouquet indeed, with notes of peaches, rock melons, fig, pears and pineapples but it didn’t quite live up to expectations on the palate, possessing neither the intensity nor potential complexity expected of an auslese although its balance cannot be called into question.

2010 Siete Soles, a straight merlot from Chile, popped and drunk right after the Stefan Kollmar above, 13 Jan 2013. Yet to shed its heavy cloak of wood, alongside a peculiar note of malt and wheat that thoroughly obscured the underlying fruit. Don’t waste your hepatocytes on it.

2011 Torbreck GSM, SGD90 from the limited (and unimpressive) wine list of The Exchange, 16 Jan 2013. Popped and poured. What impressed was that this wine was crafted such that textures remained open and light, with flavours that reminded me of Beaujolais. Otherwise, it’s just a simple and unremarkable wine, finishing with a stiff tannic spine.

2005 Vincent Girardin Mersault “Les Charmes-Dessus” 1er Cru, over an excellent set lunch at the University Club, 18 Jan 2013. Popped and poured, displaying a lighter tinge of gold, very clear indeed. Not quite as exuberant as I’d have expected from this producer, but there are enough of fig, melons and a dash of vanilla amidst understated minerality and fragrance on the nose and palate, yet to develop any significant complexity. I’d have preferred a little more intensity and character. Perhaps it needs more bottle age.

Adami Dei Casel Prosecco, a glass of which at Oso Ristorante, 24 Jan 2013. Rather pleasant with grassy notes balanced against lively citrus, not too dry, straightforward but efficient.

2009 Gaja Langhe Sito Moresco2009 Gaja Langhe Sito Moresco DOC, at Oso Ristorante, 24 Jan 2013. Popped and poured. Highly attractive from the first pour, medium-full with chewy tannins framing the broad swathes of red fruits, raspberries and wild cherries with a trace of sweetness at the edges, supported by notes of forest floor and earth, imparting a hint of complexity. Soft, rounded and accessible. Very good.

1990 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, decanted on-site at Al Borno, 26 Jan 2013. This was a wine that took quite a while to get going, seemingly backward and lacklustre at the first pour. After some time, notes of blueberries and ripe wild berries began emerging to the fore, the wine firming up, developing a greater sense of depth and intensity. Eventually, the tertiary characters of leather, cinnamon and violets appeared amidst smooth, rounded, velvety textures. Quite excellent.

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