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Aug 2014: 1997 & 2006 Rockford Basket Press, 1999 Angelus, 2004 Mount Mary Quintet, 2007 Muller-Catoir Mandelring, 1999 Tignanello…

August 31, 2014

2007 Muller-Catoir Mandelring Spatlese, popped and poured at Yan Ting, St Regis Hotel, Singapore, 01 Aug 2014. This is a highly cerebral spatlese from this famous estate, bursting with a kaleidoscope of intense longan and lychee amidst attractive but controlled sweet overtones recalling peaches, melons and clear citrus, supported by firm crystalline minerality, medium-full but superb in concentration, extending to a lengthy finish long after the wine has left the palate. 20140801_135607[1]One is utterly impressed by its balance and control in spite of so much that was going on. Excellent.

2001 Elderton Command Shiraz, decanted on-site at Yan Ting, St Regis Hotel, Singapore, 01 Aug 2014. Although one discerns secondary characters of cedar and traces of leather, this wine is still infused with a density and weight more akin to a recent bottling rather than one that’s already 13 years, still sporting broad swathes of vanilla and enamel and the hallmark spice and black pepper and menthol of Barossa shiraz in generous measure. I’m really not sure if this wine will develop any further.

2000 Ch Giscours (courtesy of John), decanted on-site at Prive Grill, 04 Aug 2014. As expected of this vintage, this wine is still tight and youthful. For sure, there is an abundance of superb ripe fruit offering notes of blueberries, violets and dark currants with an attractive sprinkling of brighter notes on the palate, although one senses some inhibition in expression at this stage, reflecting its reticence on the nose, framed by silky but unresolved tannins of quiet intensity. Not ready.

2011 Lutsa pinot bianco, courtesy of Charles during dinner at his residence, 09 Aug 2014. This is somewhat off the beaten track, but it has some good things going for it, ripe fruit recalling white flowers and other grassy elements supported by firm chalky minerality without any hollow spots.

2010 Ch Loudenne, poured from magnum at over dinner at Charles’residence, 09 Aug 2014. I’m surprised that this wine has totally shut down. There is absolutely nothing on the nose, although there is an abundance of dark currants, blueberries and raspberries on the palate amidst receding notes of enamel, excellent in concentration with subdued tannins. Hold.

2006 Rockford Basket Press shiraz, 11 Aug 2014, Otto Ristorante. Decanted on-site. I’d expected a Barossa blockbuster but, surprisingly, this wine turned out to be more evolved than I’d anticipated, displaying a tinge of bricking, fairly soft and accessible (for a Rockford!) though still full-bodied with a central core of red plums and tangerine layered with overtones of licorice, dark chocolate and mocha, well-integrated and coming together pretty well. But best to lay off for another 4-5 years, if you can.

2000 Penley Estate Reserve cabernet sauvignon, 13 Aug 2014, decanted on-site at Jade Palace. Regular followers will know that I possess a soft spot for this Coonawarra estate, although I’ve never had this particular vintage. Nothing quite prepared me for the full-on density of fruit with powerful medicinal aromas and angular tannins from the first pour. 1999 AngelusIt took an hour to slowly open up to reveal a softer core of red berries and dark violets whilst its textures lightened up considerably to allow more fruit and a mild salty minerality to come through, eventually resembling more of the Penley Reserve cabernet that I knew and loved although, on this occasion, it didn’t have time to develop true complexity. I’ll have to refrain from popping another, not for another few more years.

2013 Matakana sauvignon blanc, by the glass at SingHealth’s RiSE awards, 14 Aug 2014. Clean and crisp, possessing some grassy elements with a fair bit of intensity, dry at the finish.

2013 Matakana pinot noir,  by the glass at SingHealth’s RiSE awards, 14 Aug 2014. Fruit forward with notes of bright cherries and rose petals, certainly well-balanced against some earthy minerality in the background. Pleasant but superficial.

2011 Ribbonwood pinot noir, 15 Aug 2014. Reasonably priced around SGD60 at the Tanglin Club. While this pinot possesses a forward balance as well, it has much more depth of fruit of excellent concentration and ripeness without being overbearing, rather open and pleasing on the palate without trying too hard.

2002 Penley Estate Reserve cabernet sauvignon, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 16 Aug 2014. Like the 2000 above, this wine is full in body and expression with dense notes of mulberries, black fruits and cedar, eventually opening up to reveal an efflux of smooth sweet tannins and excellent depth of fruit though with traces of herbal character in the background. Probably yet to peak.

1999 Tignanello (courtesy of John), decanted on-site at Michaelangelo’s, 18 Aug 2014. Dark purplish with an initial exciting glow of ripe plums on the nose amidst other notes of dark currants and traces of tangerine. On the palate, this wine is layered with an excellent concentration of dark fruits with the plummy character of the predominant sangiovese never far away while the smaller proportion of cabernet is evident in its structured finish with gentle tannins, though it has yet to open fully in spite of persistent coaxing. I’d say this perenial favourite is still a couple of notches away from its peak. Very good. Please note that Monday BYO is no longer available at Michaelangelo’s.

2005 Duckhorn cabernet sauvignon, decanted for 3 hours before tasting after hours at Arden, 20 Aug 2014. Whereas it used to be tannic and angular, this wine is now pretty accessible, softer at the edges with a fairly intense core of ripe succulent blueberries and dark currants with overtones of violets, cedar and liquered cherries on the nose and palate, rich in layering although traces of vanilla from the new wood is still discernible. Delicious, but let it rest another 3-4 years.

Ric & Iggy2004 Mount Mary Quintet, decanted on-site and drunk over the next two hours over an outstanding lunch at Iggy’s, 21 Aug 2014. Very clear lovely purple, giving off initial aromas of raspberries and violets, highly enticing. The palate was dominated by darker fruits at the start before opening up after 45 minutes to reveal characters of rose petals and bright cherries from fruit of excellent purity, medium-full in body but generous, displaying excellent definition and glow with tannins that are seamlessly integrated, becoming quite Burgundian in character. Iggy, the great man himself, loved it. This is a superb Mount Mary Quintet but make sure you give it all the time it needs.

1998 Ch Lanessan, popped and poured at Porta Porta (Stanley St), 22 Aug 2014. There is nothing much to shout about here which is probably why this is such an under-rated wine, for it does its job so well but quietly. At this stage, the 1998 Lanessan is soft and distinctly medium-bodied, having evolved significantly with secondary characters of cedar, plums, and blueberries that provide a hint of layering and gentle complexity even though it doesn’t quite possess enough richness and concentration. But it doesn’t need that. This is a great table wine that accompanies your food without any distraction.

2007 Ch Haut Batailley, decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 26 Aug 2014. Discounted to only SGD59, this is an immensely drinkable Pauillac with no lack of quality fruit offering up notes of cedar, raspberries, sweet incense and a trace of its Pauillac terroir of light tobacco and tea leaves although what lets this wine down is a flabby finish without any structure, and a definite lack of opulence in spite of its attractive fruit. But I suggest you leave your cerebral cap behind and just enjoy the wine at this price.

1999 Ch Angelus, aired in bottle for well over an hour and then tasted on its own without any accompaniment over the next 90 minutes after hours at Glen Arden, 28 Aug 2014 and again on 01 Sep 2014. This wine has just entered its phase of maturity where it is soft and open, yet carrying excellent weight and concentration of ripe supple merlot that offered characters of mulberries, redcurrants and cinnamon supported by sweet tannins at the sides that offset the darker cabernet structure very well, making for a highly attractive proposition, just missing real opulence and dazzle. 20140830_200056[1]Much better than a previous bottle tasted some 2-3 years ago from the same lot.

1997 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, popped and poured at Foster’s Steakhouse, 30 Aug 2014. I’d cellared this bottle, my last, for several years and I thought it would be interesting to see how this Rockford, from a supposedly weak vintage, would fare 17 years after vintage. The results are glorious, though not immediately apparent at the first pour where the dusty red wine was notably already quite open, predominantly characterised by notes of menthol, ripe sultanas, cedar and herbal aromas. Things gelled together within 30-45 minutes as the medicinal quality receded to allow more of ripe red plums and tangerine and wild berries to emerge, coupled with savoury sweet meat amidst great acidity with slick racy tannins bringing up the rear. Exciting, complete and harmonious. Jeremy Oliver is completely wrong about this wine. This 1997 is far from over the hill. In fact, it is at its very peak.

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