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1989: De Fieuzal, Gazin, Terte Roteboeuf

October 21, 2016

These notes stem from a memorable party hosted by the great Dr Ngoi Sing Shang at Garibaldi, 16 Oct 2016, where we had the entire hall to ourselves for 16 persons. The occasion was to honour the visit (again) of M. Jean-Paul Dumond, Sales Director of Domaine Joseph Drouhin, to Singapore though the greater purpose was just simply to enjoy an evening of fine wine and great food amongst great company. Philippe Capdouze of FICOFI had joined us as well and Roberto, owner and chef at Garibaldi, had prepared several large chunks of white truffles (from Alba, of course) to be liberally shaved. A simple 4-course menu had been prepared, each course covered almost entirely with white truffles, including the dessert. Utterly decadent. As with these famous dinners of Dr Ngoi, there was far too much wine without any particular structured theme, though with the trio of 1989s courtesy of Philippe, we managed to conjure up a progression.

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2005 Dom Perignon (courtesy of Dr Ngoi). Aromas of peaches and tropical fruit tease the senses, coupled with fresh citrus on the palate, gently caressed by fine bubbles, displaying good linearity but a tad short.

2011 Louis Jadot Saint-Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er (courtesy of Dr Ngoi). Slightly pungent aromas with a hint of ripe mangoes, gentle and undeniably attractive, leading to a medium-bodied proposition characterised by clear citrus with traces of bitter lemon and icing, understated in acidity, turning a bit more minerally over time. Saint-Aubin has remained good value for money but I fancy the same wine from Hubert Lamy may be even better.

2008 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (courtesy of Victor). Somewhat shut at this stage (or perhaps there wasn’t adequate aeration) but some racy nutmeg and white flowers are discernible, quite tight with a spicy tone on the palate, medium-bodied with good concentration though a bit short. Deserves more bottle age and proper aeration.

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2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 1er (courtesy of Philippe). Tight with lovely concentration of red fruits and rose petals of excellent intensity and purity, quite exciting, ending with a spicy trace. Yet to develop but the potential is enormous.

2009 Domaine Jacques Prieur Beaune Greves 1er (courtesy of Miah Hiang), served from magnum. Lovely aromas of rose petals and red cherries, very fragrant and gentle, very harmonious with good concentration and purity along with understated tannins and acidity that combine very well into a highly graceful feminine elegance. Lovely.

2009 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 1er (courtesy of Dr Ngoi). Similar in color and character to the preceding Jacques Prieur Beaune Greve 1er from the same vintage, producing a beautiful bouquet of raspberries and roses with a hint of incense and sweet tannins, displaying very  good concentration and linearity, slightly racy with some lovely tension at the edge but could do with greater fullness and purity.

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2008 Ch Figeac (courtesy of Dr Ngoi), poured from magnum. Aired since early afternoon, this wine is rounded and soft with rosy tones redcurrants on the nose and further notes of soy, earth, ripe black berries and briar on the palate, harmonious with very good concentration and weight, matched by silky tannins but yet to evolve. Way too young to drink, in my opinion.

1989 Ch Tertre Roteboeuf (courtesy of Philippe). The benefits of ageing are exemplified in this wine, vermilion at the rim but still dark at its core, gorgeous, ripe and succulent with great acidity, concentration and layering, just a tad stern with characters of grapefruit and cherries, nicely rounded but understated in structure. Excellent.

1989 Ch Gazin (courtesy of Philippe). Fully mature, exuding lovely earthy pungency with good concentration of red and dark fruits with overtones of cashews and charcoal embers, slightly dryish in texture. Very fine, but appreciably a notch below the Tertre Roteboeuf.

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1989 Ch De Fieuzal (courtesy of Philippe). This wine is a great case study in terroir, opening with a superb earthy pungency with a core of tangerines that can only mean Pessac-Leognan (until proven otherwise), very open on the palate, still displaying great acidity and concentration of blackcurrants and dark red fruits with excellent depth and layering, finishing very well. Not a big name estate but, very often, these smaller estates are those that come up very well in vintages that favour that particular commune.

1996 Ch D’Yquem (courtesy of Sanjay). As expected, this D’Yquem possesses lovely concentration of nectarine amidst a hint of apricot, displaying good intensity, linearity and acidity, poised and quite elegant, though it felt a little too complacent compared with the truly great Sauternes of 1990, 1997 and 2001, missing in verve and completeness.

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