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Nov 2013: 1999 Rockford Basket Press, 1999 Leoville Las-Cases…

December 6, 2013

2007 La Pleaide, popped and poured at Bar-rouge, 01 Nov 2013. This Heathcote wine is supposedly a conjoint effort with M Chapoutier, which probably accounts for the highly refined presentation. Dark red, rather muted, but one senses layers of luxurious ripe shiraz beneath, which was exactly what transpired on the palate – cool, smooth, slightly creamy and rounded with notes of redcurrants, dark chocolate, mocha and plums, starting to show some layering at this stage with tannins that are superbly integrated, the entire wine so skilfully crafted such that there is absolutely no trace of its 15% alcohol. Certainly much more Rhone-like than Down Under. Excellent.

1999 Rockford Basket PressPol Roger Brut Reserve NV from the list of Bar-rouge, 01 Nov 2013. Ticks all the right boxes. Deep toasty oak, yeasty, burnished tone, sophisticated minerality with notes of malt and citrus. Excellent balance and depth.

1999 Rockford Basket Press, decanted on-site at Jade Palace, 2 Nov 2013. In spite of its 14 years, the Basket Press remains a huge wine with all the trappings of a good ol’ fashioned shiraz, loaded with ripe Barossa shiraz that exuded a sense of warmth, licorice, brandied cherries, game and sweet meat, the 14.5% alcohol, however, contributing to a significant tannic sharpness and disjointedness at the start. Things began to snap together with food and further aeration as the alcohol receded sufficiently to allow the fruit to gel with a hint of secondary development as notes of cinnamon, chocolate and mocha emerged, the wine slightly more expansive on the palate. I’m a great fan of Rockford, but I can’t help wondering if this wine will ever integrate and evolve.

1998 Ch Lanessan, popped and poured at Burlamacco Ristorante, 5 Nov 2013. My third bottle from the same lot within a month, and it confirms my initial impression of a grossly under-rated wine, on this occasion particularly soft and fleshy with a lovely lift of rich salty minerality on the palate without any hollowness, associated with notes of graphite, red fruits and rose cordial. I’ll swear that, if blinded, one could have easily mistaken it for a classified growth from an off-year.

1998 Domaine de Chevalier1998 Domaine de Chevalier, decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 11 Nov 2013. Deep ruby in color with lovely lifted aromas of violets, raspberries and dark currants that are well balanced against the gravelly minerality without much of the characteristic earthiness of Pessac-Leognan. Developed excellent depth of fruit with food and further aeration but it remained medium-bodied on the palate, layered with a touch of spice and mint at the finish. My last bottle, and I’m toying with the idea of importing a case if the price is right.

2011 Fortant de France, 12 and 16 Nov 2013, on board Singapore Airlines. For some time, this has been the airlines’ staple red for economy class, and it’s fairly decent, stuffed with ripe red fruits with a dash of spice without any hollowness nor green notes that usually accompany cheap table wine.

2007 Casa Sant’ Orsola, popped and poured from the restaurant list of La Luce in Jakarta, 15 Nov 2013. Displaying the usual characteristics of a Barolo, relatively upfront with notes of redcurrants, plummy fruit and spice box with a tinge of sweetness at the side, appropriately masculine and weighty, its firm tannins becoming more prominent over time. Yet to develop secondary nuances and still rather straightforward at this stage, but at least it doesn’t try to pretend to be anything else.

Fantinel Prosecco NV, popped and poured from the restaurant list of La Luce in Jakarta, 15 Nov 2013. This is much more characterful than the usual faceless prosecco, displaying enticing aromas of fresh citrus, pomelo and green apples, appropriately yeasty and remarkably broad and well-balanced without being too dry.

2011 Santa Carolina cabernet sauvignon, over a light dinner at the executive lounge of The Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, 13 Nov 2013. This Chilean red is medium-full and straightforward, stuffed with ripe dark berries tempered with earth and forest floor, finishing with a liberal splash of spice and pepper.

2011 Villa de Sud merlot, over a light dinner at the executive lounge of The Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, 13 Nov 2013. I found it difficult to tell apart this South African red from the Santa Carolina above. Upfront, straightforward, and undistinguished.

2008 Schlossgut Diel Goldloch kabinett, popped and poured at O & E restaurant, Jakarta, 12 Nov 2013. Full of verve and vibrancy as layers of tropical fruit, kiwi, complex citrus and a dash of apricot trooped across the palate accompanied by a subdued sweetness that struck a perfect balance against the fresh acidity. Quite the perfect counterfoil against the spicy cuisine.

1993 Carpineto Vino di Nobilo Montepulciano Riserva, popped and poured at Ming Kee Live Seafood, 22 Nov 2013. Dull dusty red with musty earthy odours that quickly gave way to notes of red plums, tangy orange, cedar, cinnamon and leather, still displaying excellent depth of fruit and acidity after 20 years. Good stuff.

20131122_2008012011 Misha’s Vineyard Dress Circle Pinot Gris, served at the hospital’s annual scientific meeting gala dinner at the Raffles Hotel, 22 Nov 2013. Crisp, fruit forward, saturated with fresh citrus and grassy notes, supported by clear minerality and lively acidity. Good weight.

2007 D’Arenberg The Galvo Garage, served at the hospital’s annual scientific meeting gala dinner at the Raffles Hotel, 22 Nov 2013. Notes of dark and red currants from the cabernet well integrated with brighter notes from shiraz, medium-bodied, covered with dusty tannins. Typically McLaren Vale in style.

2011 Torbreck Old Vines Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, served at the hospital’s annual scientific meeting gala dinner at the Raffles Hotel, 22 Nov 2013. Quite recognisable as a GSM, the plummy tones of shiraz interspersed by the darker and greener notes from the grenache, while traces of violets and raspberries betray the mourvedre.

1999 Ch Leoville Las Cases, decanted on-site at Jade Palace, 30 Nov 2013. One of my favourite estates that I regard as a premier cru, way over La Mission Haut Brion, in my humble opinion. Still very youthful after 14 years, a big wine, medium-full, saturated with dark berries and blackcurrants, beautifully structured with its sophisticated tannins still marking their presence. Some early secondary development with notes of cedar, violets and cinnamon, finishing with a heavy minerality that imparted a stern demeanour. Typically Saint-Julien. Typically Las Cases.

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