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Sept 2016: 2001 Domaine de Combet Lena, 2009 Lafleur Saint-Jean, 2004 Montrose, 1986 Leoville Poyferre, 2005 Clos Marquis…

October 12, 2016

2000 Hollick Wilgha Shiraz, popped and tasted over 3 hours at the inaugural Chapter of Physicians dinner, Grand Copthorne, Singapore, 02 Sep 2016. This shiraz opens quite unusually with aromatic sweet red fruits, red plums and rose cordial, quite perfumed with floral characters on the palate along with subtle notes of licorice and earth and a bit of medicinal trace without the usual peppery quality common in shiraz, probably reflecting the cool climate terroir of Coonawarra where this wine comes from. Sufficiently mellow now with significant bottle age and glowing brightly after some time, still imbued with good acidity and tannin structure, somewhat robust at the edges though it tapered to a relatively gentle finish. Quite fine.

1986 Leoville Poyferre, decanted on-site over dinner at Otto Ristorante, 06 Sep 2016. This wine opens with robust notes of bright red plums, tangerines and earth with the faintest trace of graphite, its acidity still vibrant on the palate where tertiary nuances of violets, blueberries, cinnamon and old leather combine to produce a sweet fragrant glow on the nose that belies its 30 years. Leoville Poyferre may not quite possess the masculinity and power of the other Leovilles but this beauty is absolutely singing without any sign of drying out. My best encounter thus far from this case purchased from Bordeaux Index some years ago. Excellent.


2008 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, popped and poured over pasta at home, 08 Sep 2016. This stalwart of Clare Valley has barely aged, coming on strong with generous proportions of lime, pomelo and other clear citrus with a prominent diesel overtone supported by chunky minerals with crisp cutting acidity, very full, finishing on a stern note with ferric traces, yet to evolve. There is plenty going for it but it needs plenty of time to settle down. Don’t touch for another 5 years, at least.

2005 Clos du Marquis, decanted on-site at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 313 Orchard, 12 Sep 2016. Always mistaken as the second wine of Ch Leoville-Las-Cases when it isn’t; it actually comes from a defined plot within the clos of Las-Cases. Compared with a previous tasting note a couple of years back, this wine has mellowed considerably, now soft and rounded with fragrant aromas of violets, raspberries and blueberries, gently earthy on the palate where it is distinctly medium-bodied, quite fleshy and succulent though without the outright depth nor power of Las-Cases, developing a mild plummy tone after some time, finishing with mild tannins. Very fine, quite perfect for lunch.


Foie gras and wagyu beef tagliatelle. Only at Otto Ristorante.

2012 Sainte Claire Chablis, over dinner at the restaurant of Chateau La Dominique, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, on 16 Sep 2016. There’s an attractive earthy pungency with overtones of sea salt on the nose. On the palate, this Chablis is appropriately crisp with good concentration of lime and citrus coupled with cutting acidity and flinty minerality, gelling well in a bold intense finish that went very well with the several dozen oysters.

2010 Ch La Dominique, from the restaurant list of Chateau La Dominique, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, on 16 Sep 2016, over dinner. This is a huge wine even six years post-vintage, saturated with black fruits, soy, dark currants and enamel from the oak, highly extracted with bold tannins and graphite elements amidst saline minerals, finishing in a spicy alcoholic wake. Truly a bruising encounter. I noticed hardly anyone touched their wine.

2009 Ch Haut Bernasse, a Begerac AOC wine at EUR34 popped and poured over lunch from the list of L’Imparfait, a charming bistro recommended by the Michelin guide in Begerac, France, 17 Sep 2016. Attractive notes of dark and red plums with some earthy minerals dominate on the nose and palate, quite extracted, resulted in a slight jammy tone, finishing with an alcoholic trail. The first impressions were good, but it wears your palate early.


2001 Domaine de Combet Cuvee Lena, tasted at Monbazillac, just outside Begerac, France, 17 Sep 2016. Monbazillac is an AOC specialising in sweet wines that gives Sauternes a good run for its money. A blend of 70% semillon and 30% sauvignon gris, this wine with a burnished golden hue exudes attractive notes of nectarine and aged apricot, quite minerally on the palate where the understated sweetness imparts a somewhat stern demeanour with some degree of complexity. This is good stuff, and inexpensive as well.

2009 Domaine de Combet Grand Reserve, tasted at Monbazillac, just outside Begerac, France, 17 Sep 2016. Smoky incense with a lighter tone of nectarine, displaying fine acidity and understated sweetness.

2011 Domaine de Combet L’exception, tasted at Monbazillac, just outside Begerac, France, 17 Sep 2016. Great nose with very attractive notes of tropical fruits, displaying light textures but excellent depth and acidity on the palate with notes of pears and apricot with a medicinal trace, finishing with tangerines. We had a full bottle of this again later in the evening after the 2004 Montrose below. Very satisfying, proving to be an excellent alternative to Sauternes.

2004 Ch Montrose, picked from the restaurant list of La Table du Catusseau, Saint Emilion, 17 Sep 2016 at EUR 160 and decanted on-site. This St-Estephe produced an attractive earthy pungency with notes of dark currants and black fruits, excellent in concentration and depth on the palate, gently structured with sweet tannins. True to Montrose’s nature, it took quite some time to loosen up, eventually producing a lovely plummy tone, moving on to develop further intensity and complexity as it sat in the glass. This is a classically structured claret that is drinking very well now but yet to peak.


2014 Moreau-Naudet Chablis, a pair popped over a fabulous seafood lunch at the legendary Chez Hortense at Cap Ferret just across from Arcachon, an hour’s drive from Bordeaux, 18 Sep 2016. The only Chablis available from the restaurant list, a wine with an easy floral fragrance and sweetness, displaying good depth and concentration of citrus fruits with a forward balance matched by lively acidity, less flinty, slightly stern finish but well balanced. Not a profound Chablis but a perfect match with the several dozens of succulent oysters.

2015 Ch Landereau, popped and poured over dinner at Ch Franc Grace-Dieu, Saint Emilion, 18 Sep 2016. From Entre-deux-Mers, a region smacked between Bordeaux city and Saint Emilion, this wine displayed notes of red apple cider and mild sweet citrus, quite gentle, but it is short of fruit to match the acidity. Unconvincing.

2009 Ch Franc Grace-Dieu, drunk after a brief aeration in bottle over dinner at Ch Franc Grace-Dieu itself in Saint Emilion, 18 Sep 2016. Shy and reticent on the nose though the palate is awashed with earthy tones, dark currants, ripe wild berries and plums, medium-bodied with good balance, acidity and concentration, turning a tad stern at the finish.

2010 Ch Franc Grace Dieu, drunk after a brief aeration in bottle over dinner at Ch Franc Grace-Dieu itself in Saint Emilion, 18 Sep 2016. From what is supposed to be an excellent vintage, but this wine is closed at this stage, though the concentration of fruit and integration is certainly very good on the palate. Should be reassessed in another few years.

2009 Ch Lafleur Saint-Jean (magnum, coutesy of Dr Ganesh Ramalingam), drunk after some aeration in bottle over dinner at Ch Franc Grace-Dieu, Saint Emilion, 18 Sep 2016. This estate is located on the plateau of Pomerol, abutting on Ch Petrus and Ch Lafleur. At this stage, this wine is rather shy and reticent on the nose, though it boasts very good concentration red plums and dark berries with further notes of camphor and a dense texture of soy, medium-bodied with good harmony and depth. May improve further in bottle.


2015 Ch Franc  Grace-Dieu, tasted from barrel at Ch Franc Grace-Dieu itself in Saint Emilion, 18 Sep 2016. Quite lovely with a burnished tone of red fruits and a lighter core of tangerines, medium-bodied, very well-balanced with good acidity. Very promising.

2014 Ch Freybernat, popped and poured at Le Petit Cuisine, 27 Sep 2016. Though a table wine made for easy drinking, this wine, nevertheless, is decent in quality with a forward balance of red plums and dark wild berries with a hint of briar and earth, fleshy and rounded without any hollowness, but neither distinctive in any way.

2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, decanted on-site at Foster’s Steakhouse, 30 Sep 2016. My previous impression of this wine a few months ago was rather unfavourable but, on this occasion, the 2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol showed very well with aromas of delicious dark fruits, highly engaging on the palate with its spread of black fruits, dark plums and blackcurrants, layered with good concentration and focus, its tannins structured yet supple enough, the wine rounded and beginning to mellow. Very fine.

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