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Notes in brief (Feb 2013): 1986 Lynch Bages, 1986 Leoville Poyferre, 2001 Leoville Las-Cases…

February 25, 2013

Piper Hiedsieck Brut NV, at the Esplanade Theatre, Singapore, during the intermission of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, 2 Feb 2013. Forward with notes of limey citrus and a dash of smoke supported by stony minerality, lively but dry, straightforward but acceptable.

Moet et Chandon Brut NV (courtesy Ben), at Imperial Treasure Super Duck Paragon, 5 Feb 2013. Pretty much in the same vein as the Piper Hiedsieck, but I fancy the Moet has more body and intensity, well balanced against the fizz.

2001 Ch Leoville Las-Cases, at Imperial Treasure Super Duck Paragon, 5 Feb 2013. Aired in bottle for two hours prior to serving. In spite of that, this wine was still extremely tight, inky dark in color, saturated with ripe dark berries of great intensity, almost dense, offering up notes of dark chocolate and licorice, but brooding and austere in demeanour. It sure took a long time to loosen up, taking on a softer, fleshier character with more of dark cherries appearing, its structure snapping into focus as early notes of secondary development became more apparent in the form of plums, apricot and cinammon, going especially well with the wagyu beef cubes. But, overall, I’d say this wine is still not quite ready, one truly for the long haul. Patience is required.

2011 M Chapoutier Luberon La Ciboise, SGD80 from the restaurant list of The Fullerton Boathouse, 6 Feb 2013, an assemblage of grenache noir and syrah from the Rhone Valley. Clearly youthful and vibrant, buzzing with notes of fresh raspberries, cherries and other red fruits, weighty but very well crafted such that it avoids any notion of heaviness, with textures that are unusually transparent for such a young wine, managing even a hint of layering. Nevertheless, it could not conceal the fact that this is still a fairly straightforward wine, but utterly perfect as a lunch accompaniment.

2008 Moulin St Georges2008 Ch Moulin Saint-Georges, a half bottle over lunch with the wifey at Les Amis, 8 Feb 2013. Decanted on-site. Lovely deep purple, saturated with blueberries and other dark berries, fairly dense and weighty initially, gradually opening and lightening up in texture to reveal some lovely layering, displaying good structure, focus and delineation. Very good.

2004 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino, aired in bottle for almost an hour at the family reunion dinner at home on the eve of the Lunar New Year, 9 Feb 2013. Rather disjointed at first, almost acerbic. It began to settle after a further 30 minutes with notes of red fruits, licorice, orangey citrus and red plums appearing, supported by unobtrusive firm tannins. My last bottle. A good wine but I don’t think I’ll miss it.

2010 Joh Jos Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen riesling spatlese, popped and poured at a family dinner on Chinese New Year, 10 Feb 2013. A very lovely mix of nectarine, apricot, rock melon, tropical fruits and pineapples, seamlessly integrated and beautifully balanced with just the right level of intensity and sweetness, never cloying. Excellent.

2008 Umberto Cesari Liano, popped and poured at Capri, 12 Feb 2013. A blend of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon. But this wine is far from ready. Huge, dense, almost unctuous in spite of having been aired for two hours prior, saturated with notes of licorice and very ripe grapes, raisiny in texture, marked by a prominent tannic attack although lurking beneath are some very attractive red and dark fruits that never had a chance to break through.

2005 Ch D’Aigulhe, popped and poured at Imperial Treasure T3, 13 Feb 2013. Still not ready to be drunk. Huge, saturated with licorice, raisins, dark currants and a trace of vanilla coupled with a firm tannic spine. Almost New World in style.

2003 Clonakilla shiraz-viognier, decanted on-site at Amarone, 15 Feb 2013. Smooth ripe cool-climate shiraz offset by the discernible viognier, which added a dimension of vanilla and a touch of greenness, well-integrated and balanced, layered with notes of mocha, dark chocolate, licorice and plum, displaying excellent concentration and depth. Quite the perfect accompaniment for the medium-rare Fiorentina.

2009 Jean-Claude Bachelet et Fils Saint-Aubin “Les Charmois” 1er Cru (courtesy Hiok, at his residence). From the bottom half of a bottle already opened for some time. Typically for Saint-Aubin, the wine is most impressive on the nose, a delicate highly aromatic bouquet of white flowers, citrus and white pepper, supported by stony minerality, well focused and linear. Very good.

1986 Ch Lynch-Bages (courtesy Hiok, at his residence). Already decanted for some time. Rather disappointing at my first sip, coming across as medium-full, musty and earthy, metallic and very backward without much fruit. It got better over time, becoming more masculine, sweeter and weightier, still laced with fresh acidity, displaying good definition. But, on the whole, I found it underwhelming. Should we expect more from 1986?

1986 Ch Leoville Poyferre. Decanted on-site at Hiok’s residence. Compared with the 1986 Lynch-Bages, this wine is considerably more forward and sweeter on the nose, displaying notes of blackberries and cedar, tinge of earth. Soft, medium-full, but austere and dark on the palate, distinctly metallic towards the finish, almost angular, amidst that dryish texture of Saint Julien. It loosened up over time, revealing some delicious layering, but, as with the Lynch-Bages, the overall experience was somewhat underwhelming. Hokkaido scallopPerhaps our expectations of that vintage is a bit too unrealistic.

1993 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, two bottles (from a fresh dozen courtesy of Mr S Ong) decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 22 Feb 2013. Rather quiet and reserved initially, the bouquet dominated by old leather and dusty tannins that eventually cleared, allowing the fruit to come through with notes of brair, earth, cedar, forest floor and dried mushrooms, still quite lively in spite of bottle age. Very difficult to distinguish from an aged Medoc. Soft and fully matured. Will hold for a few more years but I think this is probably as far as it can go.

2002 Petaluma Coonawarra, decanted on-site at Amarone with the family, 23 Feb 2013. Deep dark purple, displaying a great concentration of blackberries and dark currants, exuding lifted aromas of highly-enticing fragrance with a dash of sweetness, distinctively earthy and metallic towards the finish, not unlike a Saint-Julien. One of my favourite reds from Down Under, and I’d suggest cellaring the 2002 for another 3-5 years, at least, when I fancy the rewards will be even greater.

2009 Domain Road pinot noir, popped and poured at Gattopardo, 26 Feb 2013. Possesses a richness and intensity on the mid-palate seldom encountered even for New World pinot, more extracted than usual, saturated with bright cherries, strawberries, raspberries and a dash of dark currants, very well crafted such that tannins are understated and well-integrated, the wine already soft at the edges and quite accessible even at this stage. It loosened up a bit over time, gaining more of earthy notes and graphite minerality all through the depths, but I miss the purity of pinot noir that the Old World masters conjure. Good stuff, but may not suit purists.

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