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Jan 2014: 1995 Lynch-Bages, 2009 D’Arsac, 2006 Rockford Basket Press, 2003 Lagrange…

February 4, 2014

1993 Carpineto Vino di Nobile Montepulciano Riserva, decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 8 Jan 2014. Having worked my way through almost a case of this wine over the past year, it’s clear that some degree of bottle variation exists, but when it is on song, this wine certainly takes some beating. Generous advanced characteristics of ripe dark berries amidst a dash of tangerine and twigs, with overtones of briar, cedar and plums. Rounded, yet still almost full-bodied in spite of its twenty years with a wonderful concentration of tight salty minerality on the posterior palate that stayed on throughout the meal without threatening to fade. Very attractive.

2008 Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, bought from the restaurant list of Jaan, 18 Jan 2014, for SGD180. Decanted on-site. Strawberries, red cherries and tangerine dominate, well balanced against the salty minerality, medium-full on the palate with a dash of smoke and camphor. I’d have preferred it to be richer with more fat in the mid-body. Somewhat nondescript in the end. Disappointing, to be honest, considering the price.

2009 Ch D’Arsac, decanted on-site at Burlamacco Ristorante, 21 Jan 2014. An estate located on the “wrong” side of the D2 highway at the southern end of Margaux commune, but it is quite superlative, really, in this vintage. Deep purple, somewhat muted on the nose but displaying excellent weight and concentration of ripe fruit with notes of cassis, blueberries and dark currants and dark cherries on the palate, fairly supple with well-managed tannins, finishing with a touch of graphite and leaf. Very fine, considering it’s only SGD49. Go for a case. Incidentally, D’Arsac was the estate selected by Michel Rolland for the making of Episode One of the Winemaker’s Collection back in 2005.

2011 Schlossgut Diel Spatlese, popped and poured at Ben’s BBQ, 24 Jan 2014. Generous aromas of tropical fruit flavours and teasing citrus, saturating the palate with additional notes of nectarine, fig, apricot and custard, absolutely refined, delicate and complex, the sweetness never over-domineering. Simply quite dazzling. I’d have thought its an auslese. Excellent.

2006 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, aired in bottle for about 45 minutes prior to serving at Ben’s BBQ, 24 Jan 2014. Predictably big, weighty and dense, packed with licorice, plum, herbs, forest floor, a dash of green and a prominent medicinal after-taste that imparted a stern steely finish that didn’t quite gel with the rest of the wine. In that sense, it was disappointing but even though the wine was properly chilled before serving, it was drunk in the open amidst ambient temperatures that may have been unfavourable. Will reserve judgement.

1990 Ch Malarctic-Lagraviere (courtesy Jeannie), at Ben’s BBQ, 24 Jan 2014. Sadly way over the hill, the color ominously a dilute dirty brown, totally bereft of fruit on the palate, just an empty shell of old wood and dusty sediment. I poured it away.

2009 Castelnau de Suduiraut (courtesy Jeannie), at Ben’s BBQ, 24 Jan 2014. Apricot, dried honey and licorice dominate, the lower-than-expected acidity robbing the wine of some much-needed vibrancy and lift. In fact, the Diel spatlese above was far more appealing and complex.

1995 Ch Lynch-Bages (courtesy John), decanted on-site at The Rabbit Stash (BYO Tuesdays!), 28 Jan 2014. The bouquet doesn’t exactly leap out of the glass, but there’s an abundance of dark cherries, mulberries and dried dark plums along with notes of tea leaves and snuff. Medium-bodied, very supple textures, its finely-knit tannins still capable of springing a surprise, contributing towards a structured finish. Not the last word in depth nor opulence but I feel this wine has yet to peak. Very fine.

2004 Wolff Blass Gold Label, drunk at the reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year, 30 Jan 2014. Made from grapes sourced from the Barossa. Fairly dense with abundant notes of licorice, dark chocolate, medicinal aromas and savoury roast, highly typical of ripe shiraz. Agreeable but doesn’t wear well on the palate.

1998 Ch Lanessan, popped and poured on Lunar New Year, 31 Jan 2014. It needs time to pull itself together as the initial bouquet may be off-putting, the fruit reticent whilst the acidity and residual tannins make their mark. But it becomes pretty rewarding an hour later once the fruit emerged, painting the palate with broad swathes of dark cherries and red plums along with some herbal medicinal quality, firm but confident, far from drying out. Very decent wine, but make sure you get it cheap.

2011 Michel Torino Don David cabernet sauvignon (courtesy of Kee Soo), on Lunar New Year, 31 Jan 2014. Unashamedly fruit-forward with notes of fresh raspberries, violets, blueberries and redcurrants, full-bodied without being jammy, delicious and pleasant. A good table wine.

2003 Ch Lagrange, aired for almost an hour in bottle before tasting on Lunar New Year, 31 Jan 2014. The nose is fairly generous with notes of black fruits and dark currants, ripe and broad on the palate, framed by sophisticated tight tannins. There is some secondary development taking place with traces of cedar and camphor emerging and, thankfully, none of that tell-tale burnt from that super-hot vintage. Very fine.

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