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June 2014: 1989 Montrose, 2001 Robert Mondavi cabernet…

July 5, 2014

2009 Le Doyenne2009 Ch Le Doyenne, popped and poured at the new Gattopardo along Tras St, 3 June 2014, which I can readily attest as a classy and sophisticated restaurant far better than its previous incarnation at Fort Canning Hotel. I am constantly on the lookout for over-achieving clarets and this wine certainly fits the bill. Dark opaque purple, somewhat muted on the nose although there is a promise of ripe dark berries and raspberries beneath the sheen of new wood and vanilla. Its full glory is revealed on the palate, where a saturation of dark currants and blueberries vie for attention against notes of enamel, full-bodied with excellent depth and concentration, developing notes of cedar and violets with further aeration and food, already harmonious and accessible without calling attention to its well-managed tannins and lively acidity. This is a long-lived 2009 that will yield more rewards with further cellaring, and it’s not even a cru bourgeois. At only SGD42, get yourself a case.

2009 Pierro chardonnay, aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. Attractive pungency with grassy notes. Light medium on the palate, rather simple although it developed excellent concentration and depth towards the end of dinner.

2007 Ruffino Oro CC Riserva Ducale, aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. Notes of heated stones and ripe red fruits, fairly open with tannins of some intensity but well balanced.

2007 Mast Amarone Costasera Classico, aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. As expected of an amarone, this is dark inky red and dense, but surprisingly smooth, tapering to a stern finish. Lacking in development.

2005 Marques de Caceres Gran Riserva. aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. Ripe dark berries supported by redcurrants of good concentration, smooth but unremarkable.

2005 Santa Rita Casa Real, aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. Dense but straightforward on the palate, curtailed finish. Unremarkable.

2001 Diana Madeline Cullen. aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. Margaret River cabernet from this excellent vintage is very difficult to find but, unfortunately, this bottle was significantly corked. What a waste.

2001 Flor de Pingus, aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. Dense, almost hedonistic, with notes of enamel and raspberries. Very well-crafted and sophisticated with a New World demeanor, highly intense, tannic and still youthful.

2001 Robert Mondavi2001 Robert Mondavi cabernet sauvignon, aired in bottle at Cardiology’s dinner, 4 June 2014, Chui Huay Lim Club. From a magnum going for only SGD106, aired in bottle for about two hours. Dark red, offering notes of mulberries, cedar, cinnamon and other black fruits, medium-full, on the verge of tertiary development, well-balanced, framed by fresh attractive sweet tannins. It opened up after some time but this wine is still tight and youthful.

2003 E Guigal Hermitage, bought from the restaurant list of Jade Palace, 5 June 2014, and decanted on-site. Notes of heated gravel, red plums and a dash of medicinal aromas initially, with the impression that it could do with greater fullness and presence. For sure, it did finally blossomed out into a fine wine by the end of dinner, although it certainly took its time to shake off some stiffness and tame the angularity from its tannic spine before opening up to reveal notes of redcurrants and mixed berries with an attractive intensity, becoming very well integrated but it needs time.

1989 Ch Montrose (courtesy of John), a half-bottle decanted for close to 45 minutes prior to tasting at Bistro 103, 6 June 2014. To be honest, I wouldn’t have been aware that this was such a highly-rated wine if I had been blinded, for it came across initially as dry, angular and medium-full, cloaked in dusty tannins. It took quite a while to settle down in spite of having been decanted, eventually developing greater fullness and emerging fruit with notes of blueberries, dark currants and dark berries of remarkable ripeness repelled the initial angularity while the tannins became sweeter, taking on a svelte texture that added immeasurably to the wine’s structure. But the amazing thing was that as it continued to flesh out in the glass, it actually became more intense and youthful, giving the impression that in spite of all its 25 years, this wine has yet to peak, which is quite incredible given that this tasting is based on a half-bottle. Still nowhere near full maturity. Outstanding.

2007 Lan Rioja Riserva, popped and poured at The King’s Cave at Central Plaza Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland, with the wifey on the occasion of our 20th anniversary, 11 June 2014. Reasonably priced at around CHF60, this wine displayed perfumed aromas of rose petals with intense notes of blueberries, red fruits and dark currants on the palate, structured with sweet tannins, distinctly feminine over time as it became softer and medium-bodied with a predominance of red fruits. Good value.

2010 Domaine Jacques Prieur Beaune Champs-Pimont 1er Cru, popped and poured at Jade Palace, 20 June 2014. There is an abundance of raspberries and dark cherries, more on the palate than nose, just slightly darker in tone and a tad bigger than a classic burgundy with just a trace of vegetal character at the side, displaying good density and balance but lacking the brilliance and sophistication of, say, a Gevrey-Chambertin 1er. 20140603_200236[1]Perhaps more cellaring may prove to be more rewarding.

Castellblanch Brut NV, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. Fruit forward with an attractive balance of crisp citrus and bitter lemon that suits this bubbly particularly well, complementing the dry finish quite nicely.

2011 Kerlann Chablis, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. Subdued overtones of citrus and grassy morning dew, topped off with some attractive crème de la crème, but one gets the impression that the wine-making in this instance is a tad too cautious.

2011 Norton Hawkes Bay White Label chardonnay, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. Attractive on the nose with forward notes of cream and fresh oak, but doesn’t quite match up on palate. One dimensional.

2008 Les Haut des Smith, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. I used to like this second wine of Ch Smith Haut Lafitte, particularly its 2005. Here, there is an abundance of wild berries and red fruits, appropriately ripe and well-balanced against notes of gravel and earth but, overall, rather unexciting.

2013 Tamar Ridge Devil’s Corner pinot noir, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. I’ve not had a Tasmanian pinot noir for a long time. This bottle from a well-known estate offers lifted aromas of dark cherries, too forward and spicy on the palate for its own good without much minerality, topped off with a touch of burnt caramel. Can’t say I like it.

2011 Misha’s Vineyard Imptomptu pinot noir, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. Unusual bouquet – rather musty – sullen and uneven on the palate, displaying a touch of green amidst red fruits although it did flesh out towards the finish with a dash of spice.

2010 Ch D’Aigulhe, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. This is a perennial over-achiever. Very dark, no doubt highly extracted, dense and concentrated with powerful notes of red and dark berries and lifted aromas of camphor and perfume, turning a bit vegetal and stern at the finish. Needs plenty of time. Very expertly crafted but its style is becoming too predictable and tiresome.

2008 Clarendelle, at Crystal Wines’ Mega Sale tasting, 28 June 2014. From a freshly-popped bottle. The makers of Haut-Brion have done very well to produce a wine of excellent ripeness and concentration, generous in red and dark berries, highly lifted, almost perfumed, displaying great linearity and balance on the palate. Quite excellent.

2009 Lis Neris Jurosa, at KP’s residence, 29 June 2014. An Italian chardonnay from the Venezia-Giulia region. Quite unusual, medium-bodied with characters of fig, melons and a hint of nectar and tropical fruits on the palate. Interesting.

20140528_205117[1]2002 Simon Bize & Fils Savigny-les-Beaune Aux Guettes 1er, at KP’s residence, 29 June 2014. Dominated by menthol and herbal overtones at first, followed by notes of sweet cedar after much coaxing. Firm and minerally, mildly salty but very even in delineation, more generous over time, eventually reaching a stage of lovely intensity marked by lithe supple tannins before settling into a more relaxed and rounded tone. Good.

2012  Collovray & Terrier Pouilly Fuisse Vieille Vignes, shared with KP at Gattopardo Ristorante, 30 June 2014. Popped and poured. I’m normally not a fan of Pouilly-Fuisse, but this 2012 vintage, supposedly a low-yielding but concentrated one, was surprisingly full, creamy and almost luscious, replete with attractive fat and minerality on the mid-palate, adding further sophistication to notes of peaches and melons, becoming more intense over time with a touch of real complexity, ending in a quality graphite finish. If this village wine from a periphery commune is performing so well, I’d be sure to seek out other 2012 whites from the Cote de Beaune. Very good.

1996 Ch Clos Fourtet (courtesy of KP), decanted on-site at Gattopardo Ristorante, 30 June 2014. Displaying some mild bricking at the rim, this wine offered up notes of mulberry, cedar and plum, distinctly soft with its acidity already lowish and threatening to dip further, medium-bodied and lacking in fullness. It gained some weight over time but, ultimately, it lacks distinction, reinforcing the notion that 1996 truly belongs to the Left Bank.

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