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April 2014: 1998 Vega Sicilia Valbuena No.5, 1998 Clos Badon Thunevin, 2004 Solaia, 1986 Leoville Poyferre, 2004 Pichon Lalande

May 1, 2014

2005 Barossa Valley E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, decanted on-site at Burlamacco Ristorante, 1 April 2014. Highly attractive bouquet of dried plums, dark cherries, licorice, vanilla and enamel that carried well onto the palate with excellent weight and density, slightly waxy in texture, though not quite as open as I’d hope it would be, mildly tannic at the finish, yet to develop true complexity. Hopelessly over-priced in Singapore, but worth cellaring if you purchase it duty-free in Australia.

2010 Winemakers’ Reserve cabernet sauvignon, popped and poured at Foo House, 5 April 2014. This is a supermarket wine that punches way above its weight. Instead of some thin weedy juice, one is pleasantly surprised by the fullness and weight on the palate, the wine appropriately soft at the edges with well-integrated tannins that add attractively to its structure, open enough in the mid-body, offering notes of red plums, tangerine and grapefruit. Not bad at all.

1998 Vega Sicilia Bodegas Vinedo Tinto Valbuena N0.5, popped and poured at Jade Palace, 6 April 2014, on the occasion of Monster’s 15th. Displaying a brighter tint of red than usual, the initial impression was dominated by medicinal aromas that lightened up rather quickly to yield notes of red plums, bright cherries, tangerine and kumquat, the latter contributing to the high-toned presence on the palate. Medium-bodied with good concentration of fruit without plumbing the depths, though the tannins have yet to settle completely even after 16 years. Undeniably likeable, though ultimately lacking in distinction.

2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 19 April 2014. Dark inky red, weighty with excellent concentration of ripe dark berries and blackcurrants, racy and medium-full, structured with silky tannins and notes of graphite towards the finish. 1998 Clos Badon ThunevinHowever, this wine is still very much on the ascendancy and it’d be a real shame to drink the entire case at this stage. Keep.

1998 Clos Badon Thunevin, decanted on-site at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 21 April 2014. As suggested by the deep purple, this wine is made from fruit harvested at full ripeness and aged in significant new oak, which translates into a medium-full presence with notes of raspberries, raisins, cedar, dark fruits and traces of vanilla although mellowed and softened by the passage of time, weighty with a creamy texture but not overbearing, tapering towards a stern and slightly metallic finish. Expectations are high for any wine crafted by the maker of Ch Valandraud and this wine does not disappoint, especially if it’s going for only SGD76.

2009 Ch Fuisse Tete De Cru, two bottles bought off the restaurant list of OCF (hosted by Troy), 22 April 2014. I’m normally not a fan of Pouilly-Fuisse but as the restaurant has a strict 1-for-1 policy, this was the most affordable Burgundy on the list at SGD125, taking a chance that the outstanding vintage of 2009 will add more weight and body to the usual narrow spectrum of this region’s whites. I was right. Notes of clear citrus and white flowers emanate from the glass with a hint of caramel and walnut. On the palate, this wine is noticeably more generous in proportion than usual for Pouilly-Fuisse, although the fruit is still rather firm and tight at this stage, the sharp citrus threatening to upset the balance towards the finish. Not bad at all, but still pricey.

Pair of 1986 Poyferre1986 Ch Leoville Poyferre, two bottles decanted on-site at OCF (hosted by Troy), 22 April 2014. Regular followers will know that I’ve been drinking through a case of this over the past 3 years. On this occasion, it was, by a significant margin, at its best. Displaying an evolved vermilion with a dash of green on the nose, the wine was utterly soft and velvety, bereft of wood and tannins although still retaining adequate acidity and weight, allowing the purity of fruit to come through easily with an abundance of red fruits and redcurrants, underlined by sweet cedar and glycerine. However, there is no doubt though that this wine has just gone past its peak, as the fruit tended to trail the acidity and alcohol towards the finish. Still quite excellent, but it is not on par with Leoville Las Cases.

2011 Schlumberger Brut, popped and poured over lunch with David at Jade Palace, 23 April 2014. During my visit last week to the Salzburg Easter Festival, this sparkling wine was sold during intermissions at EUR8 per miserable flute, only for me to discover that it costs only all of EUR10 from Munich duty-free. OK, it’s nowhere near Louis Roederer, but it is stuffed to the hilt with brilliant citrus, lime and pomelo although it is too congested on the palate, firm and minerally, not helped at all by the brazen dryness, finishing in a stern and austere mood that’s the contribution of its weissburgunder (pinot blanc; others being chardonnay and welschriesling) but one that is highly consistent with the typical Austrian temperament.

2009 Domain Road pinot noir, popped and poured at home, 24 April 2014. This New Zealand pinot appears to have turned the corner, much more relaxed and open on the palate compared to a previous bottle just a couple of months ago, although I don’t think anything can ease its tendency towards heaviness in texture and weight with notes of cinnamon and prunes rather than delicate red fruits. A true bourgogne or village from a good producer will serve you better.

Delicious!2004 Ch Bernadotte, two bottles from the same case popped and drunk over three hours at Ben’s opening party of Arden Endocrinology, 26 April 2014. Very dark in color, medium-bodied with predominant notes of dark fruits and blackberries laced with some sweet cedar ten years after vintage, though rather stern and unyielding towards the finish where a trace of green may be discerned. One wishes for the fruit to be a bit more forward and open. But at SGD35, I maintain that this is a very well-crafted (by the makers of Pichon LalandeHaut Medoc that may be more rewarding with further cellaring.

2004 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, again two bottles from a case recently imported from Bordeaux Index London, decanted and drunk over three hours at Ben’s opening party of Arden Endocrinology, 26 April 2014. The raison d’etre is obvious, for this afforded a direct comparison between it and the Bernadotte above, both being made by the same team. The bouquet is immediately glorious right from the first pour, exuding powerful aromas of cedar, cinnamon and sweet meat from the wonderful concentration of ripe dark fruits and redcurrants beneath. Glorious beef with 2004 Solaia behindOn the palate, the wine is medium-full and generous in body but soft at the edges with a sappy texture, again marked by an attractive level of sweetness though it has yet to display any significant secondary characteristics, eventually developing quite a bit of tannic spine after some time even though the wine had become more relaxed. Quite excellent, but needs further cellaring.

2004 Solaia, decanted on site at Otto Ristorante, 30 April 2014. A very generous contribution by John and what a way to end the month. Deep purple with effusive aromas of blueberries, plum, raspberries and dark currants that leapt right out of the decanter. In spite of some bottle age, this full-bodied wine hardly seems to have evolved at all, fully extracted, weighty and upfront, displaying a rich concentration of glorious ripe fruit along with traces of vanilla and new oak with powerful medicinal aromas bringing up the rear, approaching a level of hedonism that could almost be mistaken for New World although it has certainly become accessible and fairly well-integrated at this stage. I am reminded of its close resemblance to a young Pingus. Fascinating to taste now but hardly ready. Don’t touch it for another ten years, dare I say.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 13, 2014 11:10

    I like your eclectic taste. enjoyed your blog. would you like to send me your email address? mine is


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