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May 2015: 1998 Sociando Mallet, 1994 Weinbach Furstentum Cuvee Laurence SGN, 2005 Muller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten, 1981 Vieux Chateau Certan, 1990 Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets…

May 29, 2015

Champagne Trouillard 1961 Cuvee Leong See Odd, popped and poured at the re-opening of Heart Partners, 09 May 2015. Fruit forward on the nose with attractive notes of lime, green melons, pomelo and pineapples of good concentration, slightly sweet but marred by a disproportionate brazen dryness across the palate although it did mellow down after two hours.

2005 Weingut Muller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Riesling Spatlese, popped and poured at the re-opening of Heart Partners, 09 May 2015. Happening at Heart PartnersA bottle that I have cellared for many years, this wine offers an abundance of apricot, ripe melons, tropical fruits and nectarine coupled with clear minerality, beautifully proportioned and balanced without being over-the-top, appropriately sweet yet subtle and understated, finishing with great length. A connoisseur’s drop.

2008 Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos Des Corton Grand Cru (courtesy of Li Fern), popped and poured at the re-opening of Heart Partners, 09 May 2015. In spite of its classification, this wine could only boast of rose petals and cherries that failed to live up to its Grand Cru status on the palate, the medium-bodied wine lacking in presence, depth and richness. Disappointing.

2008 Domaine Faiveley Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er, popped and poured at the re-opening of Heart Partners, 09 May 2015. This is my second bottle of this wine in 3 months, again courtesy of Li Fern, tasted with consistent notes. Dark, with an abundance of red fruits and dark cherries, excellent in concentration and intensity, generous in depth of fruit. Very fine.

1995 Château Gruaud Larose (courtesy of Vic), decanted for some time before tasting at the re-opening of Heart Partners, 09 May 2015. Notes of raspberries, wild berries and dark fruits with overtones of tangerine and orange peel dominate, but this medium-bodied wine is quite seriously lacking in depth and layering, not helped by the short finish. There is a real danger of it starting to dry out soon. Disappointing.

1995 Château La Gomerie (courtesy of Hsiang Sui), popped and poured at the re-opening of Heart Partners, 09 May 2015. This is the inaugural vintage for this wine that started a revolution in the garagiste wine movement but, unfortunately, this bottle was dank and significantly corked.

2010 Domaine Louis Jadot Bourgogne Rouge, popped and poured at Imperial Treasure Peking Super Duck at Paragon, 12 May 2015. Beautiful clear ruby with an expanse of rose-scented fragrance on the nose coupled with ripe cherries and redcurrants on the palate, much more intense than what one would normally expect from a Bourgogne, finishing with well-managed tannins. Excellent value at below SGD40.

Champagne Pierre Paillard NV Brut, tasted blind at Praelum, bought by the group off the bistro’s list, 14 May 2015. No relation to Bruno, this champagne possesses a forward balance of zesty citrus and subtle notes of yeast and toast, a tad dry and sharp, supported by firm flinty minerals, putting on some malt with a sweet intensity later. Lively with plenty of presence, leading us to think that it might be a Bollinger. A blend of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. I enjoyed it. Praelum tasting

1990 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets (courtesy of Hsien Min), tasted blind at Praelum, 14 May 2015. This wine has a lovely golden hue with an earthy pungency, developing notes of apricot, nectarine and cinnamon as it warmed up to the right temperature, perhaps more attractive on the nose than on the palate where it was decidedly more delicate and slim with a suggestion of white flowers and incense. The group was split between Mersault and one of the grand crus of Montrachet.

1993 Henri de Villamont Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Pucelles (courtesy of Bok of Fine Wines SG), tasted blind at Praelum, 14 May 2015. We were at a lost, to be honest, the wine displaying a deep luminous hue but closed, not giving much away, flat and uninteresting at first, lacking weight, before developing some notes of apricot after some time amidst good levels of acidity but I sense the fruit to be drying out.

1981 Vieux Château Certan (courtesy of Elizabeth Lin, director of Praelum), tasted blind at Praelum, 14 May 2015. There was a significant bottle stink that blew away, revealing a wine of earthy pungency with a predominance of attractive red fruits amidst a core of kumquat. Sweet, seamless and spicy, moderate in length, distinctively feminine, seducing the palate with velvety tannins. Bok correctly picked out Pomerol but this VCC from an “off” year is quite a revelation.

1994 Château L’Evangile, tasted blind at Praelum, 14 May 2015. Dusky red, this wine opened with heavy medicinal aromas, at once rustic, weighty and somewhat one-dimensional before developing a more savoury character with notes of soy and heated stones, easing up on the menthol. It got better and better as dinner wore on, far from being on its last legs, proving this vintage to be grossly under-rated.

1994 Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Furstentum Cuvee Laurence SGN Grand Cru, tasted blind at Praelum, 14 May 2015. Lush, with upfront notes of apricot, grapefruit, smoke and nectar, slightly lowish in acidity but still quite marvellous. The usual suspects were entertained but nobody thought of Alsace.

2004 Champagne Henri Abele Brut, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. Lovely overtones of yeast, malt and roasted oak, glowing powerfully, coupled with clear citrus on the palate, suitably intense, well balanced against the firm minerality with just the right degree of dryness. Will develop further. Quite excellent.

Champagne Henri Abele Blanc de Blancs NV, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. Compared with the 2004 above, this NV is rather squarish and one-dimensional on the palate, although there is an abundance of intense citrus and toast, slightly steely and dry on the palate.

2010 Pierre Henri Morel Gigondas, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. Dusky red in color, this Cotes du Rhone offers notes of forest floor and dark berries, even and smooth on the palate with a satisfying mouthfeel, not leafy at all, finishing with sweet subdued tannins.

2012 Château de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. As expected, this flag bearer of the southern Rhone is pretty intense on the nose and palate with notes of anise, spice and black pepper amidst dark fruits and earthy characters, ending in a herbal menthol finish in an act of controlled hedonism. Fans of CdP will not be disappointed but it needs to be left alone for at least a decade.

2011 Château Duhart Milon, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. Managed by Lafite Rothschild, this wine has a pretty dense bouquet of dark fruits and smoky characters, displaying good concentration on the palate with overtones of dried mushrooms and tea leaves but it is not compelling, not helped at all by the short finish.

1998 Château Sociando Mallet, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. I remember this very wine to be available at Carrefour back in 2002 for only SGD68 and I used to have 3-4 bottles stashed beneath my office table, only for the professor to pop a couple open at an office party when I was away. This wine is now well into its secondary development with a powerful glow of cedar and earth, featuring leafy elements and ripe wild berries on the palate, fairly full and delicious, but still yet to peak. Expensive now at about SGD140.

2005 Château Bernadotte, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. A perennial favourite of mine, it is good to see that this wine is developing very well, highly aromatic with notes of cedar and dark berries, its developing complexity heightened by structured sweet tannins with good definition, medium-bodied but short.

2004 La Reserve de Leoville Barton, at an open tasting at Crystal Wines, 16 May 2015. This second wine of Leoville Barton turned out to be a revelation, possessing a seductive sweetness and a complex of spice and some dry characters, ripe and structured, displaying excellent linearity and length. Really good.

2012 Château du Couvent, tasted at Oaks Cellars warehouse sale, 24 May 2015. Dark and weighty, this Pomerol features notes of forest floor, earth, bramble, dark currants and wild berries, velvety on the palate, well-balanced and structured. Surprisingly good.

2005 Domaine Faiveley Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 27 May 2015. Light golden, rather shut on the nose, medium-bodied, eventually developing some light nutty characters amidst chalk and buttery notes, somewhat minerally and firm. I kept yearning for greater complexity and depth but the Faiveley house style seems to miss that.

1993 Carpineto Vino di Nobile Montepulciano Riserva, decanted on-site for over an hour before serving at Otto Ristorante, 27 May 2015. This is the last of 15 bottles that I’ve had, and certainly the best. Soft, fleshy, open with overtones of earth and forest floor and secondary nuances of sweet cedar, spice, menthol and red currants, slightly dry at first before gaining in weight and velvety intensity, positively singing with floral notes.

Valdo Prosecco, popped and poured at Wine Connection, I12 Katong, 29 May 2015. Notes of green melons and lime along with grassy elements, forward in balance, not too dry, finishing with a dominant pomelo note that imparted a steely trace. Quite agreeable at SGD30 from the wine list.

Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut NV, poured from magnum at the party of Baldev & Ong, 30 May 2015. Less of the usual yeasty overtones and more of citrus, malt and green apples, forward in balance with excellent intensity, not too dry, finishing with an attractive sweetness.

2013 Yalumba The Scribbler, popped and poured at the party of Baldev & Ong, 30 May 2015. A successful blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, the wine is full-bodied, generous in ripe dark berries, dark currants and a dash of dark plums and forest floor, well-balanced and peppery in its finish.

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