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2012 Faiveley Ch’bertin Clos-de-Beze Rodin, 1999 Leflaive Bienvenues Batard-Mon’chet, 1998 Chateau Rayas…

May 8, 2017

As I have mentioned before, one should drop everything whenever the great Dr Ngoi summons you to dinner, even at the eleventh hour. This happened again on 02 May 2017, this time at his residence to honour a personal friend, pulling no punches with the wine proffered from his cellar. You know that the evening simply cannot go wrong when a 1999 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru is served as the aperitif. Even after 18 years, this wine is still tightly coiled, displaying a gentle nose of white flowers, yellow fruits and bananas with barely a hint of complexity whilst a deep minerally streak runs through the palate, replete with crisp acidity, pomelo and some mild sweet grassy notes, rich but delicate in balance, yet to unravel but I’m not complaining.

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The 2009 Chateau Grillet was poured at the dinner table, where Grace had gone to great lengths to ensure that the home-cooked food was on par with Cordon Bleu. This Rhone white has achieved a cult following and is extremely difficult to procure. On this occasion, however, it was essentially closed, offering just a peep of icing and white flowers on the nose though the palate is clean and stern-edged, loaded with a great expanse of dense marsanne and roussanne fruit with a character that recalled beeswax, somewhat recessed but well-structured, tapering to a long cool minty finish. 2017-05-02 20.40.06Very fine. Most people zoom in on burgundy whites but I feel that Rhone whites are under-valued and under-rated.

Next, we drank a pair of reds concurrently. The 1998 Chateau Rayas displayed generous feminine aromas of gentle rose petals with traces of camphor, appropriately soft with lovely depth, rounded with great detail and definition on the palate, open with a great minerally streak against red fruits set a little backward, topped with briar and mild herbal tones. This wine is all velvet with concealed power. Beautiful.

Next to it, the 2012 Domaine Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru Les Ouvrees Rodin was almost as effusive on the nose, showing off soft red fruits, strawberries and bright cherries with a hint of tangerines, highly perfumed. The palate was most unusual in character, highly streamlined and silky smooth, narrow at first with a stern follow-through, taking its time to open up which eventually it did with growing intensity and precision, though not overtly structured nor masculine. One for the long haul and best to lay down for several years, at least. This special tiny plot measures only 0.32 ha, located at the southern end of the Clos de Beze vineyard, containing the oldest vines of the three or four parcels owned by Faiveley of Clos de Beze. Needless to say, production is extremely limited.

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For good measure, a 2004 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Aux Beaux Bruns 1er was popped as well, immediately darker with a firm masculine tone of dark roses, tangerines and dark cherries, making its presence felt right from the bouquet, layered with excellent concentration and fine intensity, slightly brooding in character. One would have thought a 2004 would have hit full maturity but this wine appears to be developing still. The evening concluded with a generous sip of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac under the evening stars. I wouldn’t try to comment on this great stuff, save that it costs SGD90 per millilitre, thrice the amount one would pay for Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti at retail.

Thank you Dr Ngoi, and thank you again.

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