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August 2013: 1989 Domaine de Chevalier, 1986 Leoville Poyferre, 2000 Clos Fourtet, 2000 Malartic-Lagraviere…

September 3, 2013

2005 Ch Bernadotte, popped and poured from magnum at Hsien Chieh’s wedding, 3 Aug 2013, at The Fullerton Hotel. Saturated with notes of ripe dark berries, slightly savoury with a hint of toast, prunes and mulberries on the nose, seemingly relaxed and medium-bodied on the palate initially, underscored by a dash of sweetness, before firming up with a tannic sharpness towards the end of dinner. At less than SGD100, this is a magnum that I’ll keep buying to drink.

2010 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, popped and poured over dinner at home, 5 Aug 2013. Generous notes of citrus, lime, pomelo with a lovely lift, medium-full on the palate with a sweet intensity supported by flinty minerality, vibrant and lively. But it turned more austere and steely a few hours later in spite of refrigeration, not helped by further warming in the glass. For sure this Clare Valley riesling is capable of ageing well (a memorable 2000 comes to mind); perhaps that’s just what’s needed.

2007 Ch Macay, a Cotes de Bourg presented to me couple of years ago and stored in my office since. Popped and poured at Imperial Treasure T3, 7 Aug 2013. This label is usually marketed as a supermarket wine, but its quality blew me away. Showing a tint of vermillion, it presented highly attractive aromas of tobacco, Chinese tea leaves and toast, backed by a ripe mix of supple red and dark fruits of good concentration without any hollowness nor greenness, most remarkable for its excellent balance. Forget about Potensac. This is a real sleeper, and I’m going to hunt around for a 2005 or 2009.

2005 Ch Villars de Fontaine Les Jiromees, popped and poured at the in-laws, 10 Aug 2013. Much deeper in color now, a lovely golden hue, compared to a previous tasting four years ago, and more forthcoming as well with notes of creme de la creme, vanilla, caramel and a dash of apricot supported by clear minerality, no longer as cutting nor as crisp as before. There’s still a bit of unresolved steeliness, but there is no doubt this wine is evolving very nicely, likely to gain further weight and complexity with time. One for the long haul.

2012 Karri Oak chardonnay, at the RiSE Awards, Singhealth, 15 Aug 2013. Straightforward with tangy citrus, peach, green apples and pears, lively and refreshing. Does its job.

1986 Ch Leoville-Poyferre, decanted on-site at Keystone restaurant, 16 Aug 2013. This bottle is a lot better than a previous one, from the same case, that wasted tasted at Hiok’s residence at the start of the year. Dark vermillion in color, offering quite an abundance of cassis, plums, licorice, mocha and a dash of orangey citrus on the nose. On the palate, this wine posseses much more depth than I ever recalled with plenty of body, coupled with very fine supple tannins and acidity that is clearly receding, the wine growing in breadth and intensity over time, proving that there is still plenty of life left in it. Excellent.

2003 Ch Lagrange, over dinner at GPP’s residence, 17 Aug 2013. Popped and poured. It occurred to me that I’ve not tasted any of this St Julien estate for at least two years. Compared to some other Left Bank estates, Lagrange does not seem to betray any signs of heat stress from this terribly hot growing season. The usual notes of blueberries and dark currants dominate, the wine gelling very well on the palate, nicely structured, firm but expansive, coming across as a very correct wine. I enjoyed it, but perhaps the heat did rob the wine of much of its St Julien terroir, leaving it rather inconspicuous and characterless.

2009 Frank Phelan, at Jade Palace, 20 Aug 2013. Decanted on-site. I didn’t realise, but this is the second wine of Ch Phelan-Segur. Already highly accessible at this stage. Instead of the usual solid dense texture of young wines from ripe vintages, this wine is soft and rounded, offering notes of blueberries, violets, briar and raspberries with good transparency, layering and concentration, dryish in texture, its mild tannin very much recessed into the background. It firmed up over time, developing a quiet intensity on the palate although it remained muted on the nose. Highly-recommended.

1989 Domaine de Chevalier1989 Domaine de Chevalier, decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 21 Aug 2013. Fully matured. Glowing with notes of orangey citrus, cherries and other red fruits with distinct salty minerality on the palate, medium-bodied, totally seamless and harmonious, still displaying very good concentration and depth of fruit, growing in intensity and weight over time, though I wouldn’t say that it is, in any way, lush nor opulent. But it is truly a connoisseur’s red, perfectly balanced, brimming with finnesse and elegance. Almost Burgundian. Has more character than a previous bottle (from the same lot) tasted two years ago. Very lovely.

1993 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, decanted on-site at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 23 Aug 2013, and again at Otto Ristorante, 26 Aug 2013. Regular readers will know that I’m drinking through a case of this, and I must say, in spite of full maturity, this wine is still holding up very well. Some patience is required, for it can seem rather earthy and dull at the first pour. It opened up 30-45 minutes into the meal, lightening up in texture and broadening on the palate with notes of plummy fruit and tangy orange, with darker notes of blueberries and violets adding further depth and weight, medium-full and fleshy, tapering to a lasting finish. Very good indeed.

2010 Vincent Girardin Bourgogne Cuvee St-Vincent, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 24 Aug 2013. Consistent with its house style, this wine is heavier in tone for a pinot, but the notes of dark cherries, raspberries and rose petals are unmistakably burgundian, along with some salty minerality that combined to produce substantial body, fleshing out very well. At SGD37, I’m happy to pour this anytime.

2006 Peccavi chardonnay, at The Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 27 Aug 2013. Popped and poured. Compared to previous tastings 1-2 years ago, this wine has evolved significantly, a lot softer now after having lost its stony edge, delicious with generous notes of tropical fruits, yellow citrus topped by a creamy texture that added to its allure, replete with excellent depth of fruit and supported by flinty minerality. Really surpasses itself.

20130827_202914[1]2008 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin, poured from magnum at The Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 27 Aug 2013. This has everything in the right place and proportion though somewhat shy on the nose, medium-bodied with notes of cherries, strawberries and other red fruits, displaying some perfumed aromatics with a touch of earth, gaining more body and depth with further aeration, slightly dry at the finish. Nothing really cerebral but definitely most enjoyable.

2003  Ch Du Tertre (courtesy John), poured from magnum at The Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 27 Aug 2013. Decanted on-site for over an hour. Very lovely with lifted aromas, carrying a fine mix of red and dark fruits with excellent weight and depth of fruit, fresh and lively without any trace of burnt, perhaps a tad more masculine than usual for a Margaux but all the better for it. Du Tertre is a grossly under-rated estate, which is great for us. At less than SGD110 for a magnum, this is a no-brainer.

2000 Ch Malartic-Lagraviere (courtesy John), poured from magnum at The Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 27 Aug 2013. Decanted on-site for over an hour. Quiet on the nose although the earthiness of Pessac-Leognan is unmistakable, tempered by a trace of sweet tannins, generous in body and quality, lovely in balance and temperament, on the verge of developing further complexity. Quite the perfect claret to go with any meal. Yet to peak. Very fine.

2000 Ch Clos Fourtet, at The Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 27 Aug 2013. Aired in bottle for over an hour. Notably darker and heavier than the Malartic-Lagraviere above, along with tannins that are much sweeter with a pre-dominance of dark fruits and soy and a dash of cedar and sweet meat. China wineMuch more integrated than a previous bottle tasted some 3 years ago, though yet to peak. Hard to place in a blinded tasting, I’d imagine.

2009 Grace Vineyard cabernet sauvignon (courtesy F), off the restaurant list at The Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, 27 Aug 2013. Yes, it hails from one of the better-known vineyards of China (that’s right!) but don’t get your hopes too high, for this wine tastes more like a “generic” red from your Christmas hamper, a bit too light and fruit forward for it to be taken seriously as a cabernet, although it is definitely well crafted, clear and clean with aromas that are quite agreeable. Perhaps its vines need more time to gain further maturity. Will reserve judgement.

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