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Feb 2014: 1986 Tour du Haut Moulin, 1986 Gruaud Larose, 1996 Pichon Baron, 2005 Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay…

March 5, 2014

Akimasa Sekiguchi2006 Peccavi chardonnay, popped and poured at Roland restaurant, 2 Feb 2014. An abundance of cream and buttery notes with a touch of light citrus and pomelo, coupled with crisp minerality. Leaner compared with its Margaret River cousin the Leeuwin below and certainly more transparent as a result. A good drop.

2009 Domain Road pinot noir, aired in bottle for about 45 minutes prior to serving at Roland restaurant, 2 Feb 2014. Consistent with previous tasting notes, this pinot from Central Otago is a bit too dark and dense for its own good, imparting a certain heaviness on the palate that cannot be camouflaged by notes of dark cherries, raspberries and wild flowers.

2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, aired in bottle for 30 minutes prior to serving at Imperial Treasure T3, 6 Feb 2014, on the occasion of Mom’s 83rd birthday. Highly aromatic, generous dose of crème de la crème, rich buttery spread, cashews and a touch of vanilla, supported by crisp minerality and fresh acidity on the palate, turning a tad stern with a dash of steeliness creeping in at the finish after some time. In spite of its relative opulence, I feel it still lacks the last ounce of real complexity and typicity that comes so easily with actual Burgundy.

1986 Ch Gruaud Larose (courtesy of Ellen), at Parkway Pantai’s Lunar New Year dinner at the Pan Pacific hotel, 7 Feb 2014. Dull dusty red in color, fully matured, but now displaying a certain awkwardness and disjoint. The bouquet is certainly quite enticing with notes of toast, sultanas, old leather, cinnamon and cedar all served up in a generous glow, but doesn’t quite live up to its promise on the palate where the fruit is alarmingly short, just a shell of spicy alcohol and acidity. Did I miss the Lynch Bages?Perhaps this bottle hasn’t been properly stored, for I don’t recall this wine to be in danger of fading when I last had it in 2012. Will reserve judgement.

1996 Ch Pichon Longueville Baron  (courtesy of Ellen), at Parkway Pantai’s Lunar New Year dinner at the Pan Pacific hotel, 7 Feb 2014. Popped and poured. The initial bouquet is dominated by an overwhelming earthy pungency that blew off quite quickly, allowing the classic Pauillac signature of snuff box, dried mushrooms and tea leaves to appear. The fruit, a good balance of red and dark berries with a touch of camphor, is still rather backward, the wine stern and structured, veering towards a slight excess of dryness, robbing it of opulence and charm. But this is still very fine, nonetheless.

2001 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (courtesy of Ellen), at Parkway Pantai’s Lunar New Year dinner at the Pan Pacific hotel, 7 Feb 2014. Popped and poured. Something distinctly distressing about this bottle, the wine appearing much more evolved than expected for a 2001, dry and weedy and alarmingly short of fruit. I don’t recall the 2001 Pichon Lalande being in danger of fading the last time I had it 3 years ago. Must be a poorly-kept bottle.

2007 Meo Carmuzet Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (courtesy of Ellen), at Parkway Pantai’s Lunar New Year dinner at the Pan Pacific hotel, 7 Feb 2014. Popped and poured. Notes of strawberries and cherries dominate along with some earth and leafy overtones but, again, the fruit is rather backward and uninspiring, rendering the wine almost nondescript. Not befitting of its Grand Cru status.

2008 Reynella Basket Pressed shiraz, popped and poured at Bistro 103, 8 Feb 2014. I’d been searching for this McLaren Vale single vineyard shiraz ever since I tasted it at the cellar door of Hardy’s back in Dec 2012, but absolutely to no avail in Singapore. I finally chanced upon it at duty-free at Jakarta international airport. Full-bodied and dense, displaying an excellent concentration of red plums, licorice, dark currants, black pepper and roasted meat, rich and savoury and utterly smooth with very fine tannins, slightly spicy towards the finish. Very well crafted, though I’d say it’s still a notch below the Elderton Command shiraz as well as Hardy’s own Eileen Hardy shiraz, but the latter sells for twice the price. Very good.

2010 Denis Mortet Bourgogne Rouge de Noble Souche, popped and poured after hours at Arden Endocrinology, 12 Feb 2014. This wine has some good things going for it, in spite of its generic status. It took quite a while for the fruit to emerge but when it did, there was enough of fragrant red cherries and strawberries to balance against the rich salty minerality, though there wasn’t much in complexity and depth. Definitely agreeable at below SGD50.

1986 Tour du Haut Moulin: still alive...2006 Ch Smith Haut Lafitte, decanted for 2 hours prior to tasting at home to an afternoon of music from the great masters, 16 Feb 2014. Dark red with very good concentration and balance of predominantly dark berries and blackcurrants with occasional bright notes, the wine largely tempered by a distinct ferrous minerality that, I suppose, is the contribution of the Pessac-Leognan terroir. It became more relaxed and open with further aeration, with eventual notes of raspberries, coffee and mocha emerging, rounded and supple. A good drop, provided the price is right.

2005 Kilkanoon cabernet sauvignon, a glass courtesy of SS, to go with a USDA ribeye at Pasar Bella, Turf City, 21 Feb 2014. Dark and opague, disjointed notes of licorice, mocha, twigs and more than a touch of green and wild berries. I don’t think Clare Valley is suitable for cabernet.

2000 Ch Grand Corbin at Imperial Treasure T3, 25 Feb 2014. Popped and poured. Deep purple. Generous with aromas of blueberries, soy, violets and herbs, quite full on the palate where the excellent ripeness of the grapes make a delicious impact, laced with sweet glycerin and some earthiness, that led to a long and lasting finish, albeit with a touch of ferrous austerity, gaining in breadth and depth of fruit after an hour with further aeration and food. At SGD89, this is excellent value.

1986 Ch Tour du Haut Moulin, popped and poured at Foo House, 26 Feb 2014. At only SGD65, with its capsule and fill level looking quite pristine, it was definitely worth a gamble. Its cork was dessicated, but the wine turned out fine. Dull dusty red and, as expected, lowish in acidity and alcohol with tannins that had dissipated long ago, but the fruit was still quite well and alive, offering notes of tangerine, red plums and cedar, rustic in feel and texture. Somewhat soft, but it put on weight very well over the next hour, snapping into focus and broadening in intensity although the fruit was beginning to fade. A good drop, by any standard.

2009 Ch Macay, popped and poured at Iroha, a teppanyaki establishment run by chef Akimasa Sekiguchi and his wife at 392 East Coast Road. I had high hopes for this Cotes de Bourg, having had a strong 2007 before. However, the 2009 was far too backward, resulting in a medium-bodied wine dominated more by graphite minerality and wood. Certainly, it grew in intensity with more of raspberries and dark cherries emerging to match the acidity, but it could do with more body, concentration and weight. In spite of the stellar vintage, this came across more like a second wine of a lesser growth.

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