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May 2014: 1990 Haut Bailly, 1995 Rauzan-Segla, 2009 Rockford Black Shiraz…

June 8, 2014

1993 Carpineto Vino de Nobilo Montepulciano Riserva, my penultimate bottle popped and poured at Imperial Treasure T3, 2 May 2014. Perhaps it was drunk too quickly on this occasion, for the wine wasn’t showing too well. For the first half hour, the fruit was far too backward to match dominant alcohol which led to herbal and medicinal aromas. After some time, more of the salty minerality and a mix of red and dark berries began emerging but they never integrated well, taking on a sullen and reluctant demeanour, not helped at all by the surprisingly tannic finish. I think this is the result of this particular bottle having been exposed to wide fluctuations in temperature in my office for far too long.

2012 Chateau La Canorgue Vendanges de Nathalie, popped and poured at Porta Porta (Stanley St), 6 May 2014. It is best to approach this wine from the Luberon region with an open mind, where the generous aromas of raspberries and brandied cherries laced with a tinge of lychee come across as pleasantly surprising. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, dominated largely by salty minerality with dark overtones that could fit in with any red south of the Cotes d’Or, finishing with solid but supple tannins. Agreeable at SGD43.

2009 disgorgement of Rockford Black Shiraz, served icy cold at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 10 May 2014 at a Mother’s Day lunch. This was on par with what I’ve come to expect of this wine: saturated notes of black fruits, redcurrants, dark plums and brandied cherries, not promising much on the nose but fabulous on the palate where the depth of fruit, layering and the unique liquered finish added up to significant complexity, with the smooth gentle bubbles an additional touch of sophistication. Excellent.

2010 Ch Loudenne, my third magnum of this wine in as many months, popped and poured at the SMA dinner, Regent Hotel, 10 May 2014, with consistent notes. This is a real sleeper that punches way above its weight, displaying excellent concentration and depth of ripe fruit, coating the palate with a solid sheen of blackcurrants, raspberries, raisins and a dash of mocha and vanilla, possessing more than adequate fat in the mid-body, even developing some element of layering and complexity after three hours, just lacking in sheer opulence.

Zuccolo Extra Dry, a prosecco popped and poured off the list of Boathouse restaurant, 14 May 2014. Rounded in body with generous notes of green apples, gentle citrus, melons and other grassy elements, away from the usual toasty characters, fairly smooth on the palate, its dryness making its mark towards the finish. Does its job as an aperitif.

2012 Black Cottage pinot noir, again off the list of Boathouse restaurant, 14 May 2014. Decanted on-site for about 30 minutes and drunk over the next hour, displaying  a lovely true pinot tint seldom encountered from the New World. There is an abundance of red cherries, rose petals, sweet incense and a dash of camphor on both the nose and palate where it is distinctly soft and medium-bodied with very good overall balance, producing a very satisfying mouthfeel even though it could do with more fat and depth of fruit, its aromatics becoming more focused and lifted over time, leading eventually to a mild tannic finish. I guess one cannot go too far wrong with any New Zealand pinot noir, although this one hailed from Marlborough rather than Central Otago.

2004 Ch Branaire Ducru, decanted on-site at Boathouse restaurant, 14 May 2014, for an hour and drunk over the next hour. This estate, along with Beychevelle and Lagrange, tends to be overlooked in Saint Julien, perhaps because it can come across as solid but unexciting. However, at ten years post-vintage and offered at a reduced price of SGD98, I was prepared to give it a go. Powerful aromas of red plums and red berries dominate on the nose, the wine vibrant on the palate with notes of sweet meat and a savoury hint, solid with very good density and depth of fruit but still youthful, its tight tannins adding further to the palpable intensity towards the finish. At this price point, I’m prepared to accumulate more of this (unfairly) under-rated vintage, but would refrain from popping another for the next five years.

1995 Ch Rauzan-Segla (courtesy of John). Popped and poured over two hours at Anu & Ravi’s wedding, Holiday Inn Orchard, 16 May 2014. Surprisingly, this wine was still rather tight at the beginning, medium-to-full bodied with notes of black and red fruits that gradually opened up on the palate, becoming more soft and fleshy and rounded, displaying more depth and concentration than most of the 1995s that I’d encountered, suggesting that this wine still has a long way to go. Though quite elegant, it doesn’t really exhibit the feminine grace and fragrance that is usually the hallmark of a Margaux.

2003 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape, popped and poured at Anu & Ravi’s wedding, Holiday Inn Orchard, 16 May 2014. Instead of something monstrous and awkward, this CdP displayed a remarkable poise and balance, allied with a seductive nose of subtle liquer and brandied cherries and an unprecedented level of complexity, depth and finesse seldom encountered from CdP after two hours. Excellent.

2012 Tasco d’Alnerita Regaleali Bianco, a blend grecdnico and inzolia, courtesy of Bistecca steakhouse, 19 May 2014, where I met up with the eminent Julian Teoh again. This wine is easy on the palate with its soft focus and gentle notes of green melons amidst other grassy elements, shut on the nose initially as a result of being served too cold but it didn’t seemed to open up further even after having warmed up, although one could discern notes of gentle melons and soft-focused grassy elements after some persuasive coaxing.

2010 Ch Macay, popped and poured at Foo House, 20 May 2014. Having been less than impressed by its 2009, I took a chance on the 2010 as it was going on sale for only SGD30. This seemed a lot fresher with excellent ripeness of fruit, displaying quite an abundance of sweet dark cherries, wild berries, cassis and violets, medium-full with good density of fruit and well-managed tannins. However, I feel that this Cotes de Bourg is still a notch below a well-crafted cru bourgeois from the Medoc in terms of quality of fruit, layering, concentration and depth, given the same vintage.

Rockford Black Shiraz 2010 disgorgement, at Ben’s BBQ on 23 May 2014. An abundance of black fruits, redcurrants, sweet brandied cherries, dark plums and licorice wrapped with fine gentle bubbles provide the backbone for the layering of Australia’s top sparkling shiraz, on this occasion possessing very good weight and concentration though yet to develop real complexity, revealing the essence of Rockford’s basket-pressed shiraz when the fizz has subsided. Good stuff. Keep for a few more years.

Bottega Vino dei Poeti Brut NV. This prosecco is excellent value for money, plucked off the list of Otto Ristorante for SGD80 on 28 May 2014. Lifted aromas of grassy notes with creamy yellow citrus, generous in body and smooth with an excellent mouthfeel, finishing with sweet melons and a dash pomelo, providing an illusion of complexity. Very lively without getting in the way, becoming broader and full-bodied over time. Very good.

1990 Ch Haut Bailly (courtesy of John). Decanted on-site and drunk over the next two hours at Otto Ristorante, 28 May 2014. Still displaying a deep garnet red with an earthy farmyard pungency from the first pour, soft and delicious and generous in body, cloaked in sweet svelte tannins, layered with red and dark berries that imparted good complexity at the long finish. It become more expansive over time, taking on some dryness before its fruit emerged to the fore with renewed vigour and near opulence, bringing its complexity to greater heights with added notes of deep caramel toast and sweet meat. Yet to peak. Outstanding.

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