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June 2015: 1994 Angelus, 2005 Leflaive Folatieres, 2005 Robert Chevillon Roncieres, 1997 Dominique Laurent Clos de la Roche, 2004 Louis Jadot Clos-Saint-Denis

July 1, 2015

2004 Henri Abele, popped and poured over dim sum at Jade Palace, 01 June 2015. With a lovely luminous glow, this champagne displayed an initial forward balance of intense citrus, lime and green melons, firm and minerally with an appropriate degree of dryness. It took another hour before it developed further depth and complexity with powerful aromas of toasty oak, yeast and malt coming on. A bargain at SGD70.

2012 Domaine Sylvain Cholet Bourgogne, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Highly attractive bouquet, positively glowing with plenty of floral characters with the fragrance of white flowers and lovely soft citrus on the palate. Zesty and lively. Well-priced at SGD38, which is very good value for such an excellent vintage.

2000 Domaine Potinet-Ampeau Mersault “Charmes” 1er, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Another good ‘un, fairly pungent on the nose with sweet floral notes by the side, displaying silky textures with an attractive richness on the mid-palate that’s sometimes missing in so many of the wines of this commune, imparting a sophisticated mouthfeel. Quite excellent but pricey.

2013 Domaine Jouard Chassagne-Montrachet “Chaumees – Clos Truffiere” 1er, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Muted on the nose although traces of enamel and sweet incense are discernible. However, this wine is too linear and one-dimensional at this stage, somewhat thin and lacking in personality. Needs plenty of time to develop.

2008 Domaine Potinet-Ampeau Mersault “Les Rougeots”, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Not premier cru but a named village wine, rich and minerally with a hint of apricot and traces of vanilla, supple and pliant, finishing with great length and finesse. At SGD70, not exactly a bargain though.

2008 Jean & Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis “Les Preuses” Grand Cru, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. You would not have known this is a grand cru if it had been tasted blind, for this wine came across as flinty and firm, its aromas clouded by dense smoky incense, lacking in complexity and depth. At SGD108, it makes the preceding Mersault “Les Rougeots” (above) from the same vintage seem like an absolute bargain.

2008 Domaine Jacques Cacheux Echezeaux Grand Cru, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Sounds promising, but the initial impression was seriously off-putting, thanks to powerful aromas of anti-septic, most unusual, coupled with notes of red cherries within a medium-bodied wine that was lacking in weight. I was about to write off this wine when it took on a significant transfiguration, becoming more feminine and elegant although I’m still unconvinced that it deserves to be an Echezeaux.

2011 Domaine Jacques Cacheux Echezeaux Grand Cru, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. This more recent vintage of Echezeaux from the same domaine, priced even higher, is no better – far too medicinal in flavour and too bland in character. I’m not impressed.

2006 Paixia Mencia, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. A full-bodied blockbuster, bursting with ripe raspberries and wild berries with a plummy afterglow, still youthful with traces of enamel.

2011 Macan, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Deep purple. I thought this would be another huge effort, but it was surprisingly open with notes of violets and ripe blueberries and raspberries though somewhat characterless on the palate, tapering off too quickly, a case where the wine is better on the nose.

2005 El Belisario, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Deep purple. Another blockbuster loaded with ultra-ripe fruit and overtones of heated gravel and dew, its vanillin oak still discernible even after ten years, imparting some sweetness in the tannins at the short finish. Almost hedonistic.

2007 Domaine Potinet-Ampeau Puligny-Montrachet “Champ Gain” 1er, aired in advance at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, courtesy of Dr S S Ngoi, 02 June 2015. Surprisingly good, offering good concentration of pungent citrus, firm and minerally, lingers at the finish. Still undeveloped.

2011 Pigaro Amarone della Valpolicella (courtesy of Ben), popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 10 June 2015. As expected, this is a full-bodied red saturated with dark fruits and black currants with some bright notes, almost dense, coating the palate with broad swathes of vanilla and cedar, supported by firm ferrous minerality that imparted a steely finish.

1994 Ch Angelus, decanted on-site at Edge, Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore, 11 June 2015, on the occasion of our 21st anniversary. This was a bottle personally autographed by M. Hubert De La Forest several years back when he visited Singapore. Still displaying a fairly deep purple, this wine gave off a most attractive pungency on the nose amidst other aromas of sweet meat, almost complex in itself. Very good levels of raspberries and dark currants saturate the palate with open textures, well-matched against the salty minerality, framed by velvety tannins with just a hint of rusticity that left a puckered sensation on the tongue, a tad short at the finish, missing in opulence and voluptuousness. A classic example proving how the deficiencies of 1994 have been overblown. Quite excellent.

2013 Pio Cesare Gavi (courtesy of Vic) from the restaurant list at Pasta Brava, 16 June 2015. Made from cortese grape in Piedmonte, this wine displayed an abundance of citrus, apples, melons and morning dew, fairly intense and aromatic and lively on the palate, more forward with further notes of honeysuckle after some time. Very good.

2004 Carpineto Vigneto Poggio Sant’ Enrico Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, decanted on-site at Pasta Brava, 16 June 2015. Though somewhat reserved on the nose, this single vineyard offering is generous with an abundance of black fruits and dark plums of fabulous intensity, structured with sweet ripe controlled tannins, yielding some early complexity with traces of smoke and wild berries coming on later. Excellent.

1999 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, tasted blind at Ubin Seafood, 18 June 2015. Dull golden and reserved with just traces of vanilla and white flowers. It took quite some time before it began opening up, showing some bite and intensity, more ample in body, delicate in minerality, displaying good acidity and balance, ending with a mild steely finish. Not quite as lush nor racy as I’d have expected. In fact, slightly disappointing. Desmond got it right.

2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet “Les Folatieres” 1er (courtesy of Zhuo Neng), tasted blind at Ubin Seafood, 18 June 2015. Luscious gold, displaying excellent balance, acidity and structure right off the blocks with notes of caramel, honeysuckle and almonds enhanced by the clear minerality, mellow at first but gradually building up to excellent intensity. Almost everyone guessed its origin correctly although the relatively recent vintage took us by surprise.

2005 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-Georges “Les Roncieres” (courtesy of Hsien Min), tasted blind at Ubin Seafood, 18 June 2015. Dull red with a gentle pungency, dominated by cherries and dark berries that exuded powerful notes of rose petals and camphor with a quiet intensity, ample and fairly masculine on the palate, developing some racy bright spots and plummy notes over time. Excellent. Desmond nailed the commune.

1997 Dominique Laurent Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (courtesy of Elizabeth), tasted blind at Ubin Seafood, 18 June 2015. Brownish red. A complex of sweet ripe berries and cedar, remarkably open and sweet, wonderful aromas on the nose, generous but soft and feminine on the palate, its power having mellowed over time but still retaining excellent acidity and balance. Delicious. Most of us got down to the commune.

2004 Louis Jadot Clos-Saint-Denis Grand Cru (courtesy of Desmond), tasted blind at Ubin Seafood, 18 June 2015. Probably the least commonly encountered amongst the four grand crus of Morey-Saint-Denis. This wine was already much evolved, exuding a floral bouquet of rose petals, tangerine and kumquat along with red cherries. However, it seemed rather reserved on the palate, suitably complex with dominant notes of mulberries and red fruits but feminine and shy. I called Clos des Tart, which is just immediately adjacent.

2002 Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve (courtesy of Andrew), tasted blind at Ubin Seafood, 18 June 2015. Dry, balanced, yeasty, its excellent acidity offset by the firm minerality, somewhat stern at the finish.

2011 Coldstream Hills Reserve chardonnay, popped over pizza delivery at home, 21 June 2015. This highly-rated Yarra Valley chardonnay offers floral notes on the nose, predominantly of pomelo citrus, whilst it is still firm, minerally and tight on the palate, its crisp acidity imparting stern steely demeanour. Pitted blind against a burgundy, it may measure up to a Chassagne-Montrachet premiere cru. Needs time.

2008 Vieux Chateau Mazerat, popped and poured at Prive, 23 June 2015. This turned out to be surprisingly good, conjuring up notes of mint, violets, red fruits and dark berries against the classic dry backdrop of a claret, carrying excellent depth of fruit with open textures, slightly racy, well-balanced and rounded, delicious and succulent, finishing with great length. Very fine indeed. Snap this up if the price is right.

2005 Winemaker’s Collection Episode One, popped and poured at Foster’s, 27 June 2015. This was the inaugural vintage for a parcel of vines of Ch D’Arsac from the Margaux commune to be specially vinified by Michel Rolland, and I had previously drunk through an entire case with great satisfaction. Ten years on from vintage, this wine carries a leading note of violets on the nose and cedar on the palate, medium-bodied, supple and fairly well-integrated, suitably structured with eventual notes of red plums, mushrooms and tea leaves filtering through, neither lush nor deep but, thankfully, without any oakiness. But, to be honest, I was hoping for more depth of fruit and concentration, given the outstanding vintage and the credentials of the winemaker.

2000 Ch Malescot St-Exupery (courtesy of John), decanted on-site at Otto Ristorante, 30 June 2015. Dark and saturated with ripe dark berries but rather unsettled during the first 30 minutes, medium-bodied, somewhat uneven and finishing with a bold ferrous character, most unlike a Margaux. It broadened out over time, becoming more expansive and even, acquiring a rich plummy tone, very good in concentration and depth, slightly dry, but still lacking in ultimate distinction.

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