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Sept 2014: 2003 St Hallett Old Block, 1990 Leoville Barton, 2005 Mount Mary Quintet, 2006 Kracher No.11 TBA…

October 6, 2014

2004 Jean Gaunoux Hudelot Puligny-Montrachet “Champs Gain”1er, tasted neat after hours at Glen Arden, 01 Sep 2014. Displaying a luscious golden tone, this wine exhibited a clear flinty minerality and notes of yellow citrus that was quite sharply accented with a dash of perfumed white flowers, medium-bodied, still retaining a fair bit of crisp acidity on the palate. As with most quality whites, it become more concentrated in color and flavour as it sat in the glass over the next 90 minutes, the intensity developing into a fabulous nose of great complexity although it was less exciting on the palate, turning a bit reticent towards the short finish. At SGD97, this is still highly satisfactory.

2003 St Hallett Old Block, decanted at Burlamacco Ristorante, 02 Sep 2014, and shared with Dr N who given it to me direct from Adelaide several years ago. Still displaying a deep dark purple after all these years, this wine was an absolute blockbuster right from the first pour, exuding thick heavy aromas of menthol, medicinal herbs, licorice, raisins, garden floor and a generous abundance of very ripe fruit laden with overtones of dark currants, dense and almost unctuous, laced with lively acidity. It gradually loosened up after some time, lightening up slightly in texture although it still remained full-bodied, allowing more plummy fruit and mineral notes to emerge with a dash of liquer taking up the finish. A classic Barossa shiraz made from very old vines but not for daily drinking.

2012 Wolf Blass Red Label, popped and poured at Crystal Jade, 6 Sep 2014. This may be a supermarket wine, but one admires the effort put in by this respected estate, crafting a wine with an abundance of ripe raisiny shiraz with overtones of red plums and a dash of licorice, very good in concentration but soft and accessible, good to drink now with the sterner cabernet bringing up the rear although it doesn’t quite add to any structure. The headache and myositis next day lasted 24 hours though.

2005 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, a bottle presented to me by Mr Steven Ong a couple of years ago and decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 8 Sep 2014, over a late but quick dinner. I’ve had a case of the 1993, but this is the first time I’m tasting a younger wine from this estate and what a lovely thing this is. Very deep purple, from which rich and luxuriant notes of violets, blackcurrants and a lovely blend of red and dark fruit with overtones of graphite excite the senses with serious intensity and weight, framed by lithe supple tannins that provided a  firm but pliant structure on the palate, mellowing a little over time but remaining poised and balanced. At its peak, and would hold for quite some time.

2003 E Guigal Hermitage, a bottle presented to me by Dr Jonathan Teh recently, popped and poured after hours at Glen Arden, 12 Sep 2014. This is so much better than a similar bottle bought off the list of Jade Palace just a few months ago. Whereas that was angular and unsettled, this was singing right from the first pour with an abundance of glorious ripe fruit, saturating the olfactory senses with notes of cedar, cinnamon, savoury sweet meat and bacon. Firm, full and layered on the palate with a particularly rich vein of red fruits within the depths. Delicious.

2005 Mount Mary Quintet (courtesy of John), aired in bottle for 3-4 hours and further decanted prior to tasting after hours at Glen Arden, 12 Sep 2014. Quite evolved in color, its rusty brown not particularly attractive, but this wine is absolutely glorious on the palate where notes of red plums, licorice, tangerine, kumquat, cedar and cinnamon all come together in a harmonious blend, even and medium-full, displaying great definition and linearity, stern and correct but with a hint of sweetness from the recessed tannins. No, it doesn’t possess that undefinable hallowed glow of a claret, because it isn’t a claret. Mount Mary requires plenty of patience and I’d say this wine has yet to peak even though it is drinking so well now.

2009 Domaine de la Poultier bourgogne, courtesy of Astra Women’s Specialists on the occasion of their grand opening, 13 Sep 2014. This is a good drop, not surprising considering its vintage, open and inviting on both the nose and palate with aromas of fresh morning dew, lemongrass and citrus with a light touch, supported by attractive flinty minerality that doesn’t call attention to itself, taking on a richer tone after some time with a creamy texture that offset the crisp acidity very well. I enjoyed it.

Duval-Leroy Brut NV, on board Swissair Business Class, 13 Sep 2014. Highly aromatic with notes of lime, pomelo, green apples and clear citrus with mild yeasty overtones, fairly generous on the palate but just a tad too dry and short on depth.

2013 Fricktal Cuvée Blanc, on board Swissair Business Class, 13 Sep 2014. This is a Swiss wine with a mix of pinot blanc and pinot noir that was a tad shy on the nose, displaying notes of green fruits and melons, but well-layered on the palate with other notes of apples and mint appearing.

2013 Terras de Moncao, on board Swissair Business Class, 13 Sep 2014. This is a Portugese white with quite an intriguing nose of white flowers and perfume, with an intensity that’s least expected. On the palate, however, this wine is purely one-dimensional and unexciting although it doesn’t leave any hollow spots.

2013 Besserstein Pinot Noir, on board Swissair Business Class, 13 Sep 2014. Coming from the region of Aargau, Switzerland, there are appropriate notes of red fruits underscored by redcurrants with overtones of fresh cherries, forward and trying hard to please, but lacking in distinctiveness and, ultimately, it doesn’t taste like pinot.

2009 Clarendelle, on board Swissair Business Class, 13 Sep 2014. Kudos to Swiss for this inclusion. Distinctively Bordeaux. Very well balanced with the right mix of ripe fruit and recessed minerality, medium-bodied, not too dry, slightly earthy and spicy towards the finish, though it doesn’t quite possess the classic Pessac-Leognan character.

From the Wiener Staatsoper balconyLaurent-Perrier NV, at the Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna, before the start of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, 14 Sep 2014. A rip off at EUR14 per flute, this is, nevertheless, a very good calling card for this famous champagne house, generous in aroma and body with an abundance of toast, malt, complex citrus, chalky minerality and mild yeasty overtones, a tad dry towards the finish.

2012 Roccadelle Macie Galestro, popped and poured over lunch at Settimo Cielo, Vienna, 15 Sep 2014, from the restaurant list. Light, citrusy without being too crisp, good body, clear minerality, well balanced and easy. Perfect for lunch.

2012 Scheiblhofer Legends, off the list of Figlmuller, an institution in Vienna, 16 Sep 2014. Popped and poured. A blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, this Austrian red is full-bodied and fruit forward with generous notes of dark currants, dark cherries, raspberries and a dash of ripe wild berries and earthy green bringing up the rear, linear and solid across the palate without any true complexity. Does its job as a table wine.

2012 Terramo Tempranillo., at the Star Alliance lounge of Zurich airport, 19 Sep 2014. Very pleasant and well integrated with notes of red fruits and red plums, finishing with sweet gentle tannins.

2000 Ch Potensac (courtesy of Johnny) at Top Seafood, 23 Sep 2014, Popped and poured and drunk rather quickly. Dark red. There was plenty of dark fruits, alcohol and a powerful dose of medicinal aromas at the first pour that indicated this wine hasn’t quite come together. It settled down after half an hour and some food, delivering classic notes of earthy dried leaves and mushrooms in a medium-full tone well integrated with the wood without any angularity nor hollowness. In spite of it being an unclassified growth, one senses that this wine has yet to develop completely. Keep another 5 years before re-visiting.

2002 Grant Burge Meshach shiraz (courtesy of Johnny) at Top Seafood, 23 Sep 2014. Popped and pored and drunk rather quickly as well. I remembered this was the first estate I’d visited when I first visited the Barosss Valley in 2002, the same year as this vintage. Like the Potensac above, this wine was somewhat disjointed initially with a prominent note of pine wood on the broad side. However, it soon snapped into focus, turning into a wine of considerable power, yet beautifully controlled and tight, delivering an abundance of ripe warm Barossa shiraz with overtones of red plums, licorice, cedar and sandalwood, producing a superb mouthfeel with its depth and sophistication without turning jammy although the note of pine remained distinct. This shiraz has plenty of character and will be long-lived. Excellent.

2008 Pio Cesare Barolo, courtesy of Kenneth during dinner at his residence, 26 Sep 2014. Popped and poured. I had forgotten how powerful Barolos can be, for its deep medicinal herbal aromas, coupled with licorice and mint, were almost overwhelming at the first whiff. Almost brownish in color, the wine was dominated by spicy black pepper and menthol on the palate before settling down with more notes of prune, dark currants and raisins emerging, the firm tannins raising some sharpness and angularity at the finish. To some extent, it reminds me of a New World shiraz.

2000 Ch Rauzan-Segla, courtesy of Kenneth during dinner at his residence, 26 Sep 2014. Decanted on-site. My expectations were high for this vintage and I wasn’t disappointed. Effortless notes of violets, cedar and dark currants emerged from the ripe black fruit, fairly rich and glorious on the palate, carrying good weight and concentration with a touch of the classic Medoc dryness. Succulent and delicious, though not at all feminine. I enjoyed it.

2006 Kracher Number 11 Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese, popped and poured at Kenneth’s residence, 26 Sep 2014. Unfortunately, this was served a bit too warm. There is an abundance of apricot and honey with its inherent sweetness kept well under control, never for an instance cloying but I’d expected greater complexity and layering which were missing, the wine coming across as one-dimensional, not quite lighting up the senses.

1990 Ch Leoville Barton (courtesy of John), decanted on-site at Jade Palace, 30 Sep 2014. Still displaying a dark inky red, this Saint-Julien wine promises an abundance of ripe intense black fruits on the nose with overtones of herbs and graphite which is largely realised on the palate along with other notes of cedar and red plums, slightly tarry in texture thanks to its density and weight. As expected of any 1990 Bordeaux, this wine is highly attractive, although the pronounced tannins after more than an hour of aeration suggests that it has yet to peak.

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