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FICOFI: 2010 Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet, 2007 Cristal, 2000 Palmer, 1995 d’Yquem, 2011 Pavillon Blanc du Margaux…

October 25, 2017

These are short notes from a very small impromptu tasting that was part of a lecture by renowned wine expert Eric Riewer, organised by FICOFI, at the Four Seasons, Singapore, on 22 Oct 2017. Directed at those already with a keen interest in wine, Eric, who has forty years of experience tasting and writing for Gault & Millot (of which he was Director of Wines) and Decanter magazines, took us through the technicalities of wine tasting and, more interestingly, how he rates wine. Whilst acknowledging that actual tasting notes matter more than scores, Eric favours the 20-point scale. We were made to taste a series of wines blinded and to rate them. I must say Eric and myself are pretty conservative in our scores, and I certainly preferred that approach rather than the outright exuberance that some wine writers tend to favour.


2007 Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal. Generous in clear citrus and fresh morning dew, producing a very clean feel on the palate with lovely fullness and excellent subtle acidity, turning more yeasty and minerally over time with overtones of pears and apricot, beautifully balanced and layered with good definition, tapering to a gentle minerally finish that is slightly steely, yet to produce tertiary characters. Excellent now, but needs further bottle age.

2010 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Shut initially, though it gradually opened up well with an effusive bouquet of sweet floral aromas and ripe citrus with traces of crème, very lovely on the palate as well with excellent layering, presence and acidity, its dryish minerally tone announcing, without doubt, its Puligny origin, exuding a mild intensity as it tapered to a long minerally finish. Yet to develop significant complexity. Excellent, but a waste to pop now.

2004 Pavillon Blanc du Margaux. Closed, just displaying faint traces of white flowers with a hint of sweetness, rather backward and reductive on the palate where further notes of icing, apricot and cinnamon are discernible amidst grainy textures, finishing on a long minty note of raw nutmeg. Regrettably uninvolving, though there were some who liked it.

2009 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune-Greves Vigne de L’enfant Jesus. Good colour. The bouquet is absolutely lovely, filled with an abundance of red cherries and rose petals, quite beguiling, more of the same with further notes of camphor on the palate supported by saline minerals, displaying great typicity and presence, very harmonious, finishing well but turning a little soft towards the end, lacking structure. Nevertheless, this is a very fine drop, almost profound.

2000 Château Palmer. Powerful glow of dark plums, ripe dark currants and black berries that literally leapt from the glass, complex and enticing, utterly seamless between its fleshy plush fruit, sublime acidity and superb velvety tannins, distinctly feminine though it needs more precision at the finish. I maintain that the 1999 Ch Palmer is still the better wine, layered with more character and detail.

1995 Château d’Yquem. Effusive aromas of nectarine and aged apricot shrouded within overtones of preserved tropical fruit, its acidity still fresh, producing lovely intensity and tension across the palate that left indelible impressions of marmalade and preserved orange skins. Probably at its peak and should hold.


After the event, I joined Eric, Nicolas and CW for a late dinner over some comfort food at the ever-reliable Jade Palace, where we had more wine:

2006 Vieux Château Certan. Good color, open on the nose and palate with the distinctive Pomerol signature of soy-like elements and dense dark fruits that blend seamlessly with well-managed tannins and fine acidity, medium-full, yielding good definition, just a tad spicy towards the finish.

2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Clos des Cailleret 1er. Whereas this fabulous monopole used to be utterly sublime just earlier this year, it appears to have shut, proffering only faint citrus. Some icing, soft subtle fruit and minerals are present on the medium-bodied palate, suffused with excellent acidity but this wine appears to have retreated into its shell. If you have managed to obtain any, please let them rest for at least 8-10 years post vintage.

2011 Pavillon Blanc du Margaux. Lively with a great abundance of green fruits, showing good vibrancy and some early complexity with traces of vanilla still present, absolutely lovely in its striking freshness with further notes of green mint and cane sugar, building up inexorably in intensity towards a climatic burst of complex floral tones. Truly a revelation. Gorgeous!

2014 Weingut Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Spatlese. This producer never disappoints, proffering a glorious bouquet of diesel fumes, rich tropical fruits and complex minerals, superbly supple in its intensity of flavours with its fruit and minerals presented in great definition and wonderful depth. Outstanding.




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