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October 2014: 1982 & 1998 Gaja Barbaresco, 1990 Lafite Rothschild, 1997 Ornellaia, 2003 Rockford Basket Press, 2006 Rockford Black Shiraz, 2007 Tignanello, 2011 Kracher No.8

October 31, 2014

2009 Luis Canas Riserva, popped and poured at the departmental dinner at Holiday Inn, 03 October 2014. Dark red. Forward notes of raspberries, forest floor, redcurrants and a touch of green. Medium-full. Finishing with well-managed tannins, accessible and drinking well without much of true complexity.

2011 Miani Colli Orientali del Friuli. From the list of Buona Terra, 7 Oct 2014. Great aromatics, displaying an oily complex minerality on the palate of wonderful intensity with notes of seared caramel, creme de la crème and nutmeg. Would have been difficult to tell apart from a Burgundy, to be honest, if blinded.

2000 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte. From the list of Buona Terra, 7 Oct 2014. Made from 100% sangiovese, well-evolved and soft with gentle notes of rose petals and overtones of tangerine, displaying great acidity and structure. Somewhat short initially though it got better, gaining in intensity over time.

1982 Gaja Barbaresco (courtesy of Uncle Hsu). Decanted on-site at Buona Terra for well over an hour, 7 Oct 2014. As expected, this wine is fully evolved, displaying great purity on the nose with very lovely notes of roses and resin and splashes of camphor although it is clear it has begun to fade on the palate. Nevertheless, we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to taste it.

1998 Gaja Barbaresco (courtesy of Uncle Hsu). Decanted on-site at Buona Terra for well over an hour, 7 Oct 2014. This wine is almost at its peak, displaying an abundance of attractive red fruits, citrus and kumquat, again throwing off a great fragrance on the nose although it is bit square on the palate, exhibiting good weight and depth without the cerebral qualities of a Burgundy.

1997 Ornellaia, on-site at Buona Terra for well over an hour, 7 Oct 2014. This wine had a most unusual nose, notes of green chilli, earth and forest floor, considerably darker in tone than expected, although it gave way to some spice and sweet dark tannins after some time. Perhaps it needs more time to settle down.

2004 Flor de Pingus (courtesy of Hsiang Sui), decanted on-site at Buona Terra for well over an hour, 7 Oct 2014.  This second wine of Pingus is still rather muted on the nose, preferring to show off its colors on the palate with notes of enamel, earth, dark currants and very ripe raspberries of remarkable intensity. Still youthful. At a fraction of the price of its parent wine, little wonder this wine is so difficult to procure.

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (courtesy of Hsiang Sui) at the end of a long evening at Buona Terra, 7 Oct 2014. Strong medicinal aromas, port like, remarkably balanced with a  controlled intensity.

2000 Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs “Les Chetillons“, popped at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Lovely deep flavours of roast, toasted wood, yeast, complex citrus and creamy minerality. Very well-balanced and lively. I believe this champagne has yet to peak.

2006 Peccavi chardonnay, tasted after 3 hours of aeration at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Quite an abundance of white flowers, crème de la crème and buttery notes, broad and generous on the palate, tapering towards a narrow vanillin finish. This Margaret River chardonnay plays it safe which I don’t really mind.

2006 Rockford Black Shiraz, popped at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. From a fresh unopened carton carried all the way from Rockford’s cellar door in the Barossa. This famous sparkling shiraz is loaded with ripe black fruits and redcurrants with other notes of red plums, wild berries and raisins reminiscent of the estate’s Basket Press shiraz, its gentle bubbles imparting a smooth texture and a feminine feel, displaying very good depth and layering although this bottle didn’t quite possess the liquered note towards the finish, robbing it of some complexity.

2003 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, tasted 3 hours after aeration at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Stupendously huge with out-sized proportions of medicinal and herbal aromas, coupled with powerful notes of licorice, red plums and tangerine, displaying a wonderful depth of gloriously ripe fruit oozing ripe sweet tannins, finishing with a generous dose of spicy pepper and mint. Yet the whole thing is superbly balanced and still remarkably youthful. I don’t think it is anywhere near its peak. This is a long-lived shiraz that rewards patience.

2004 Clonakilla shiraz-viognier, tasted after 3 hours of aeration at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Coming after the Rockford, this Clonakilla is distinctly underwhelming and seemingly flat. But, in reality, this is a finely crafted shiraz that prefers a discreet profile, displaying balanced notes of forest floor, camphor, redcurrants and ripe wild berries with the small fraction of viognier adding controlled touch of greenness, a fine counterpoint to any tendency towards wild exuberance.

2007 Tignanello, tasted some 3 hours after aeration at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Open and inviting, the sunny sangiovese offering fruit that is ripe and warm with overtones of tangerine and cedar, while the somewhat stern cabernet structure is discernible at the side with a dash of camphor contributed by cabernet franc. Very attractive, but one should really set it aside for several more years.

2001 Ch Cos DÉstournel, tasted about an hour after aeration at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Even after all the above, the classic stamp of a Bordeaux is easily identifiable, the signature dryness and even balance of mushroom, tea leaves, dark fruit and blackcurrants allied to secondary characteristics of cedar, cinnamon and leather, dry but slightly sweet at the finish with well-recessed tannins. Somewhat overwhelmed on this occasion by all the other wines. Best to be drunk on its own.

1990 Ch Lafite Rothschild, two standard bottles poured into the same decanter 4-5 hours prior to tasting at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014 (there was a 1999 Ch L’Evangile that I did not get to taste). When freshly popped this 1990 Lafite was tannic and angular and stern. But by the time we tasted it hours later, it had transformed totally into a mature, soft and gentle claret offering an abundance of earthy pungency on the nose matched with an enchanting depth of dark currants and mature red fruits on the palate with recessed unobtrusive tannins that are perceived rather than felt, conjuring up a sombre burnished tone. For sure, some of the classic dry Pauillac signature is evident, but this wine succeeded in flummoxing every experienced wine aficionado who tasted it. I wouldn’t say it was a quintessential Lafite on this occasion, but outstanding nevertheless, even in the face of all the above wine that had preceded it.

2011 Weinlaubenhof Kracher No.8 Trockenbeerenauslese, tasted after about an hour’s aeration at the opening party of Glen Arden, 11 Oct 2014. Rich in nectarine and honey and glycerin, utterly smooth, never cloying, the sweetness never straying out of control. Layered and hits the right spot on the palate, although I fancy German eiswein carries greater sophistication and complexity.

2004 Mitolo Savitar Shiraz, decanted on-site at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 16 October 2014. Predictably, this wine is big, loaded with dense ripe shiraz fruit offering notes of red plums, cedar and camphor, producing powerful medicinal and herbal aromas. Quite hedonistic but very well controlled and balanced, finishing with spicy peppery notes.

2012 Jacob’s Creek Classic Shiraz, popped at Foo House, 25 Oct 2014. Someone gave me half a case of these, but this bottle was corked.

2012 Louis Jadot Macon Villages, popped and poured at Porta Porta (Stanley St), 29 Oct 2014. I was keen to test the quality of lower-tier Bourgogne of this low-yielding but excellent vintage and I wasn’t disappointed. There are effusive notes of clear citrus, lime and green apples on the nose, pretty generous, filling the palate with a controlled intensity seldom encountered at this level from this region, supported by unobtrusive stony minerality, developing further notes of almonds and seared caramel as time went by. At SGD45, this is a worthy drop.

2007 Beau Mayne, popped and poured at Arden, 31 Oct 2014. Supposedly a table wine, but there was plenty of raisiny fruit with overtones of cedar, briar and prunes without any discernible hollowness on the palate.

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