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2009 Baron Thenard Montrachet Grand Cru, 1989 Palmer, 2003 La Mondotte, 1990 D’Yquem

September 3, 2016

These wines were drunk at a dinner hosted by Dr and Mrs Wang Kuo Weng at the NUSS Guild House, Bukit Timah Campus, Singapore, on 23 Aug 2016. Kuo Weng had been very impressed with the 2003 Ch La Mondotte from a previous tasting and wanted to share a bottle with us, along with an old Palmer and D’Yquem. Why not? I came up with the whites, Mrs Wang arranged a customised menu at this lovely restored building and we were set.

2011 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Clavoillon 1er. Aired in bottle for 7 hours prior in the fridge. The bouquet here is most enticing with lifted aromas of white flowers, peaches, fig and melons, matched by an explosion of minerals, crème, butterscotch, crisp citrus and great acidity all coming together with great exuberance. It went on to develop a perfumed fragrance along with more fat in the mid-body as it warmed up to the right temperature, becoming more open and detailed, displaying superb concentration and depth with further notes of caramel and nectarine, culminating in a great finish of wonderful intensity that seemed to linger forever, displaying the cultured breed of this great estate. Still youthful and far from peaking, but this wine is already so good. Superb.

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1989 Ch Palmer. Aired in bottle for about 90 minutes prior. The distinct glow of an aged claret is unmistakable, suggesting violets, rose petals and blueberries with earthy tones and ferric traces, the signature fragrance of Margaux still fresh and alluring. On the palate, the wine has mellowed beautifully, evolving over time to develop lovely characters of red fruits and camphor with mild overtones of ash, still possessing lively acidity and good concentration, not at all drying out but neither the best in definition. The 1989 Palmer is past its absolute brilliance but it is ageing most gracefully and if you’ve never tried one before, it’s still not too late.

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2003 Ch La Mondotte, aired in bottle for 3 hours prior. Predictably, this is a big wine done in a modern style, lavish with an abundance of dark fruits, soy and graphite on the nose, very deep and intense on the palate, highly extracted, the fruit warm and ripe with raisiny characters that gave way to a dominant plummy tone with sweet tannins. However, the intense heat of the growing season took its toll on the finish, which is practically non-existent as the flavours simply dropped off as soon as the wine has left the palate, resulting in a lack of balance. Go for other vintages.

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2009 Baron Thenard Montrachet decanted in ice

2009 Baron Thenard Montrachet Grand Cru. Double-decanted from 0730h (you read correctly) under temperature control and drunk neat with a generous cheese platter after the main course. This is the way Burgundians treat a Montrachet Grand Cru. Baron Thenard is the second largest owner (after Marquis de Laguiche) of Montrachet (strictly speaking Le Montrachet, as it lies on the Chassagne side) with 1.83 ha of this Holy Grail of chardonnay. 2016-08-23 20.54.53Established in 1842, this estate used to sell its wines to Domaine Remoissenet but has now stopped that practice. Served a tad too cold initially, this wine started off with a predominant tone of minerals with some faint citrus, quite ethereal, displaying some early complexity. As it warmed to the right temperature, its feminine elegance became evident, turning more chalky with a luminous glow as it slowly revealed further notes of caramel and clear citrus, taking its time in an unhurried fashion like a seductress, maintaining a balanced and gentle poise throughout without any hint whatsoever of its 14% alcohol. If I have a quibble, it would be the relative lack of detail on the palate compared with the Montrachet of Bouchard (though this lies on the Puligny side), and the wine borders almost on shyness. Though the guests were impressed, I think this wine is becoming a bit shut. It needs further bottle age.

1990 Ch D’Yquem, from a half bottle. This hallowed wine displayed predominant tones of nectarine with a lifted complex of apricot and honey crust shrouded in overtones of white incense, the aged acidity contributing to a mellowed tone, more minerally towards the finish with an easy balance. Excellent but go for a 750 ml bottling if you are bent on getting one as the acidity is fresher.

My thanks to Dr and Mrs Wang for their kind generosity.

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The gleaming tone of 2009 Baron Thenard Montrachet



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