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June 2013: 2001 Ducru Beaucaillou, Rockford Black Shiraz 2004…

June 30, 2013

Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Rizzardi, NV, at Senso Ristorante, 3 June 2013. Expectedly reliable as an aperitif, fairly generous with notes of green melons, kiwi fruit, citrus and apples, slightly grassy, supported by clear minerality that tapered to a mild metallic finish. Lively and rather inviting, I must say.

2009 Darien Crianza, from the list of Ola Cocina Del Mar, 3 June 2013. The nose was rather off-putting, the notes of kirsch, licorice, earth and burnt coming quite squarely at your face with a superficial quality that has “cheap” written all over it. However, it was saved by a decent showing on the palate, the wine’s racy and peppery character proving enough of a distraction from grapes that seemed to betray some degree of heat stress, raisiny and disjointed at times.

2001 Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, decanted on-site at La Barca, 7 June 2013. This wine is drinking perfectly well now, having hit full maturity (faster than I’d anticipated for a 2001) without shedding too much of its character. Bright vermillion with notes of red fruits, kumquat, cedar and earth on the nose, medium-bodied, dominated by an attractive salty minerality on the palate that further enhances the visceral pleasure, the wine soft and rounded, its tannins having dissipated long ago. Doesn’t quite plumb the depths, but its balance and integration is well-nigh perfect with excellent definition. A feminine Ducru (does it really matter?). Very lovely indeed.

2004 Clonakilla shiraz-viognier (courtesy Hiok), decanted on-site at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 10 June 2013. This wine has evolved quite significantly, displaying an excellent mix of racy bright shiraz – licorice, raisins, raspberries, dark currants with a hint of white pepper – tempered by traces of vanillin, citrus and perfume clearly contributed by viognier, the wine soft and fleshy with an easy feel about it, yet possessing good depth and layering.  Expertly crafted, and highly successful indeed.

Avoid!!2005 Bruno Desaunay-Bisset Echezeaux Grand Cru, popped and poured at Crepe-des-Art, 15 June 2013. Dusty in color and feel, displaying more of salty minerality than real fruit quality, earthy and austere. I didn’t get any sense of depth, layering nor the substantial oiliness that one would expect of a Grand Cru bordering on Vosne-Romanee. Disappointing.

2010 La Puerto, a glass from Bedrock Bar and Grill, 17 June 2013, to go with its generous lunch offering of a 200g ribeye. This wine is nothing more than a straightforward malbec, typically earnest in character, fruit-forward with notes of raspberries and dark cherries, fairly intense, ending with an austere metallic note.

2010 Ch Pey La Tour, popped and poured at Imperial Treasure T3, 18 June 2013. No doubt a supermarket wine, but I was curious to find out why Decanter had lavished praise on this estate’s 2010, and the answer was clear right from the first pour. Very attractive on the nose with notes of tarry black cherries, mulberry and a dash of red fruits that carried well onto the palate with enough depth of fruit, though the graphite minerality and vanilla was enough to prevent the latter from shining, ensuring a fairly narrow body. Didn’t improve with further aeration. But it is not bad at all, considering it is only SGD18.

2009 Ch Haut Maillet, popped and poured at Porta Porta (Stanley St), a restaurant that’s extremely quaint and cosy now that its makeover has been completed, along with a revamped classy, competitive menu and excellent stemware and free corkage (for me, at least). Deep purple, weighty with forward notes of raisins, ripe berries, soy and dark currants against a warm earthy background, soft and supple at the edges and reasonably well integrated at this stage although the oak is still in the way, tapering towards an austere finish. Nothing quite distinguishing about this Pomerol, but this is the kind of petit chateaux one should seek out, particularly in fine vintages, that define the heart of Bordeaux.

Rockford Black Shiraz 2004 disgorgement, popped and poured at Ming Kee Live Seafood, 21 June 2013. At nine years, this is one of the oldest examples of this sparkling shiraz I’ve ever had, and it was just as well that I chose to pop it today, for the wine appeared distinctly matured as evidenced by the relative lack of fizz, whilst some faint bricking was already present with dominant medicinal and herbal characteristics at its core, replete with the usual licorice, steeped plums and prunes of a Barossa shiraz. It loosened up over time, lightening up in texture and filling up at the sides, striking up a good balance between the depth of fruit and the fizz, becoming more like the famous Black Shiraz that I knew and loved. Very good, but do start drinking up.

2010 Marabino Noto, off the list of La Barca, 25 June 2013. Popped and poured. 100% Nero D’Avola. In spite of it being obviously a table wine, it was surprisingly satisfying. Deep clear ruby with plenty of forward notes of red cherries and strawberries along with a bit of enamel and wild berries and spice box, displaying very good presence and weight. Obviously one doesn’t look for complexity here. Does its job.

2007 Reserve de la Comtesse (courtesy of Ben), at Imperial Treasure T3, 28 June 2013. Popped and poured. Deep purple, distinctly masculine where dark berries and black cherries are matched against a graphite minerality that gave the wine a tight and lean demeanour, though its inner core is appropriately soft and the tannins gentle. Nothing very distinctive. Can still hold for several more years.

1993 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, popped and poured at Salta, 29 June 2013. Dark, with a hint of vermillion. Dense and tannic with initial medicinal and herbal notes. This eventually gave way to a more open wine characterised by plums, licorice and a tinge of orangey citrus, displaying good depth and concentration. Nothing very special and I wouldn’t bother to keep it further. Another eight bottles remaining.

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