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Dec 2013: 1998 Ducru Beaucaillou, 2002 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne, 2001 Cos D’Estournel, 2009 Jean Marc Baudot “Genevrieres” 1er…

January 1, 2014

2011 Riorret pinot noir, over lunch at Locale, the restaurant of de Bortoli at the heart of Yarra Valley, Australia, 2 Dec 2013. Made from grapes from a single vineyard in Mornington Peninsula. Appropriately earthy with enough delicacy on the fruit, but this is soon overwhelmed by the salty minerality that became more dominant over time, restricting the spectrum of flavours.

2010 Denis Pommier Petit Chablis, at PM24, Melbourne, 3 Dec 2013. Popped and poured. Lively with classic buttery notes and creme de la creme, supported by subtle minerality that avoids the usual flinty chalkiness, generous in body and depth, the acidity subdued but increasing in intensity over time. Very fine.

2005 Rymill cabernet sauvignon, at PM24, Melbourne, 3 Dec 2013. This is a grossly under-rated estate from Coonawarra that I’ve long admired ever since I drank a bottle of its 1997 Shiraz in 2004 and came away impressed with its ability to age so well. At AUD92, the 2005 Rymill cabernet is one of the cheapest listings in PM24’s expensive wine list, but it is an astute choice. Adequate bottle age has ensured the development of secondary characteristics, the wine exuding mature notes of cedar, leather, cinnamon, cassis, earth and a dash of apricot amidst flavours of redcurrants and plums, generous in body and depth with subdued tannins. Excellent.

Carbochon NV, a prosecco at Grossi Florentino, Melbourne, 4 Dec 2013. Toasty oak with plenty of fig and yeasty notes, highly lifted, becoming more intense over time, finishing on a austere note of graphite.

Delectable foie gras terrine2007 Stift Veltliner, at Grossi Florentino, Melbourne, 4 Dec 2013. Luscious golden tone, quietly intense with mild characters of apricot and nectarine without the sweetness, taking an austere turn towards the finish, in keeping with its Austrian origin.

2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino, at Grossi Florentino, Melbourne, 4 Dec 2013. I was hoping this would have begun to mellow (my choices severely limited by the expensive wine list) but this wine is still intense and youthful, producing powerful aromas of raspberries, dark currants and dark plums, structured with traces of vanilla and enamel. Difficult to pair with food at this stage.

2013 Skillogalee riesling, at The Atlantic restaurant, Melbourne, 5 Dec 2013. Comes across as very clean and pure, saturated with notes of lemongrass and banana peel, lifted with excellent depth and plenty of fat in the mid-body, excellent balance between the clear minerality and fresh acidity without excessive crispness. Great linearity, leading to a harmonious finish. An excellent example of what Clare Valley is capable.

A sweetie...2006 Geoff Merrill Reserve cabernet sauvignon, decanted on-site at The Atlantic restaurant, Melbourne, 5 Dec 2013. Nicely layered. Leathery in texture, saturated with cinnamon, earth and plums, almost resembling tempranillo. Became weightier over time, well-integrated, savoury and structured with tight tannins. Not for purists.

Bollinger Special Cuvee NV, at Il Bacaro Cucina, Melbourne, 5 Dec 2013. Lovely golden hue, fairly deep on the nose with notes of toast, yeast, malt and roasted cashews. Firm on the palate with a broad even minerality, the acidity and dryness just a tad overzealous but I’d imagine it’ll settle very well given adequate aeration.

2011 Katnook Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon, a bottle already opened at the Krisflyer lounge of Melbourne airport, 6 Dec 2013. Deep purple with notes of red plums, red apple skin and raspberries with a significant contribution of forest floor, twigs and green. A far cry from the quality of Rymill.

2011 Nautilus sauvignon Blanc, on board Singapore Airlines Business Class from Melbourne to Singapore, 6 Dec 2013. Attractive pungency, beneath which are powerful emerging notes of lime, citrus, tropical fruits, pomelo and rock melons. Soft, well balanced, subdued and slightly austere towards the finish. More lifted over time with emerging notes of fig and white flowers.

2011 Stonier chardonnay, on board Singapore Airlines Business Class from Melbourne to Singapore, 6 Dec 2013. Controlled bouquet. Lifted notes of cream and caramel with traces of butter and vanilla and chalky minerality. Medium-bodied and well balanced. Very attractive..

2009 Ch Labadie, on board Singapore Airlines Business Class from Melbourne to Singapore, 6 Dec 2013. Muted on the nose, offering dark currants, dusty in texture and tannins with notes of green and twigs. A rather poor choice for a premium class of travel. Their other Bordeaux offering – 2009 Ch Loudenne – is much preferable (see Sep 2013 post), but unavailable on this flight.

2011 Dandelion Vineyards ‘Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz’, on board Singapore Airlines Business Class from Melbourne to Singapore, 6 Dec 2013. R ipe warm Barossa shiraz with traces of licorice, medicinal and herbal notes underscored by ferrous minerality. Not at all overwhelming but neither is it convincing. Doesn’t gel until the end.

2009 Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin, decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 17 Dec 2013. Classic Old World character of cherries, cranberries, earth and minerality and old wood, beautifully proportioned and balanced although it is rather reticent on the nose in spite of persistent coaxing. Good depth and ripeness, but closed. I suspect this wine is in the process of shutting down. Best to re-visit after 4-5 years.

2002 Clos du Marquis (courtesy of Ben), at the ward dinner at Foo House, 17 Dec 2013. Fairly open, replete with tea leaves, snuff and mushrooms, the classic dry character of Saint Julien bordering on Pauillac. Lacks charm and real concentration, however, symptomatic of the vintage. Ultimately nondescript.

2002 Barossa Old Vines shiraz, poured from magnum, at Foo House, 17 Dec 2013. Entirely consistent with expectations. Full-bodied, warm, ripe and savoury, saturated with heavy medicinal notes leading to a hot spicy finish.

1998 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz, (courtesy of John), at Foo House, 17 Dec 2013. Not very different from the Barossa Old Vines above in spite of its bottle age, savoury with concentrated notes of sweet meat, licorice and plum, medicinal and spicy at the finish.

Look what's inside this "egg"Conte Balduino NV, at Burlamacco Ristorante, 18 Dec 2013. Unlike most proseccos, this bottle is simply quite excellent, displaying plenty of depth and a fair semblance of complexity with notes of yellow citrus, green melons, toast, roasted nuts and traces of vanilla, the subtle bubbles ensuring an excellent mouthfeel.

2002 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne, decanted on-site at Burlamacco, 18 Dec 2013. Slightly reticent initially, eventually displaying generous notes of sweet citrus, pomelo and a dash of tropical fruit with a hint of vanilla, much more developed than before .  Layered with very good depth of fruit though within a fairly narrow spectrum, more sharp and steely towards the finish after some time before finally evening out, attaining further level of richness towards the end of dinner. Very good, but Bonneau du Martray remains unsurpassed for CC.

2010 Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato, SGD118 off the restaurant list of Burlamacco, 18 Dec 2013. Popped and poured after brief airing in bottle. Distinct earthy pungency (I love it) on the nose, beneath which lay dense redcurrants and dark berries with some enamel and undergrowth coming on after some time, framed by tight tannins, its lovely pungency taking on a more urgent note over time.  In spite of its youth, one could sense that this isn’t quite New World in character. Excellent value, I’d imagine, if purchased off a retailer.

1998 Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, decanted on-site at Burlamacco, 18 Dec 2013. This wine has mellowed beautifully over the past few years, developing an early sur-maturite with a soft lovely pungency beneath which are understated dark berries and raspberries, excellent in focus and definition, taking on a powerful glow and concentration over the course of dinner whilst its acidity and silky tannins ensured a lively balance and structure. Yummy!!Consistent with a bottle tasted last year (courtesy of Danny), but it is even better on this occasion, perhaps just missing the usual graphite minerality of Saint Julien. Excellent.

2007 Louis Jadot Mersault Charmes 1er Cru (courtesy of Dr Wang KW at his residence), 19 Dec 2013, a bottle already opened for a day, but sealed and chilled. Rather short on fruit, the thin notes of citrus struggling to match the dry stony minerality. Hardly representative of what can be achieved with Mersault.

2008 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, popped and poured, courtesy of Dr Wang KW at his residence, 19 Dec 2013. Significantly heavier in color and tone than the preceding Mersault with an abundance of roasted cashews, chalky minerality and a dash of creamy buttery character from the ripe citrus. Doesn’t quite possess the depth and opulence of its rival cousin Domaine Leflaive, but enjoyable enough.

2011 Coldstream Hills Reserve chardonnay, at the Dept’s year-end dinner at The Edge, Pan Pacific Singapore, 23 Dec 2013. From the half case that just arrived from Yarra Valley. Notes of cool vanilla icing and cream supported by clear crisp minerality, very good in concentration but somewhat closed at this stage.

2005 Moss Wood cabernet sauvignon. Aired in bottle and drunk over two hours at the Dept’s year-end dinner at The Edge, Pan Pacific Singapore, 23 Dec 2013. Excellent concentration of raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants framed by lithe supple tannins that gave a highly satisfying mouthfeel, though still primal at this stage. However, the wine is marred by traces of menthol, spicy mint and undergrowth that rose to an unprecedented level of prominence over time, imparting a bright, dense and heavy medicinal note that is simply inappropriate for cabernet sauvignon. Very worrying.

2000 Ch Lascombes, (courtesy of John) at the Dept’s year-end dinner at The Edge, Pan Pacific Singapore, 23 Dec 2013. Some snuff and perfume amidst dusty tannins. Mellow dark berries but could do with greater presence. More open after some food but it remained uneven in tone. A poor effort in spite of the stellar vintage.

2000 Ch Lagrange, (courtesy of John) at the Dept’s year-end dinner at The Edge, Pan Pacific Singapore, 23 Dec 2013. Perfumed nose of red fruits with a suggestion of sweetness, but dominated by notes of dark berries and soy, dense and fairly full with the unmistakable graphite minerality of Saint Julien. Developed traces of medicinal overtones over time, becoming sweeter and more delicious at the same time.

Moet et Chandon Brut Imperiale NV, at a family gathering on Christmas Eve. Good concentration of lime and citrus, green apples and melons shaded by toast and walnuts, pretty generous but a tad too dry. Very agreeable, though.

1998 Ch Lanessan, popped and poured on Christmas Eve. Disappointing on this occasion, the fruit backward, obstructed by dusty tannins. Dry.

2012 Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz, at a Christmas BBQ, 25 Dec 2013. Aired in bottle for almost two hours. Tastes more like a Barossa shiraz, dense, heavy with wood and ripe warm fruit with notes of licorice, chocolate, spice and mint. I wouldn’t recommend.

2009 Jean Marc Baudot “Genevrieres” 1er Cru, a Mersault specially bottled for Iggy’s with two bottles tasted off the restaurant list together, 26 Dec 2013, courtesy of Dr Wang. The first impression is almost New World, highly aromatic with generous notes of ripe tropical fruits, melons, peaches, pears, coconut with white flowers contributing to a perfumed lift and plenty of body supported by broad swathes of great minerality, producing great depth of fruit, richness and complexity all at once. Most unlike Mersault. More Montrachet. Superb but expensive at around SGD400 per bottle.

2001 Ch Cos D’Estournel, two bottles brought to Iggy’s on 26 Dec 2013, part of a half dozen just shipped over from Bordeaux Index London. Bright deep purple. Excellent dept and concentration of dark berries, raspberries and violets, tarry in note but not texture, beautifully proportioned with supple subdued tannins in the background, layered with a mild salty minerality.  Characters of mulberries, tea leaves and the seductive Bordeaux dryness coming on later, adding further to the superb definition. Yet to peak. Excellent.

2001 Elderton Ashmead cabernet sauvignon, my last drop for 2013, over a home-cooked USDA Prime sirloin on New Year’s Eve. Aired in bottle for an hour. Still showing a dark inky red after all these years, the wine fairly dense and weighty with excellent ripeness of fruit that produced notes of blackcurrants, plums, cedar and undergrowth amidst a woody texture and, for some reason peculiar to Aussie reds, the inevitable notes of spicy mint, herbs and menthol aromas. Didn’t really evolve with further aeration. Although it can easily be bought online for only SGD55 (a lot cheaper than its release price), I don’t think I’ll miss it.

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