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2001 Cheval Blanc, 2003 Bellevue Mondotte, 2002 La Mission HB, 2004 Pichon Lalande

October 27, 2017

Dr and Mrs Wang Kuo Weng hosted yet another dinner again on 21 Oct 2017, this time at the beautifully anointed Dining Room of the Raffles Town Club Singapore. KW was keen to explore wines from vintages overshadowed by the great years of 2000 and 2005, which meant we’d drink between 2001-2004. Not really a cohesive theme, but who cares when there is good wine to be drunk and someone else is paying for dinner? Mrs Wang, as always, had gone the usual length to customise the dinner menu and I must say the food was truly excellent.

IMG-20171021-WA0008.jpgWe began with a pair of 2014 Domaine Chateau de Meursault Meursault Les Charmes-Dessus 1er to go with the generous platter of cold prawns, oysters, mussels and crayfish. Displaying a minerally tone with excellent concentration of clear citrus, this wine was a bit closed initially, though it opened up well over the course of dinner, turning more fleshy and creamier with good definition, developing a broad expanse of rich tropical fruits with fabulous intensity, its fine acidity adding immeasurably to the freshness without ever being too cutting.

The reds were drunk in two flights. The 2004 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande took quite some time to open up, revealing delicious aromas of dense dark berries and currants, quite full on the palate with  excellent ripeness of fruit tinged with traces of earth, undoubtedly feminine in character and proportion, finishing with tight svelte tannins but never jarring in any way. Quite a classic claret, as is the case with many of the Left Bank estates of that vintage. The 2003 Ch Bellevue Mondotte (courtesy of WKW and double decanted) was very ripe and pruny on the nose, betraying the excessive heat of that year where the Right Bank bore the brunt of it. The wine has already entered into secondary development on the palate, medium-bodied and supple, suitably expansive with some cedar, mint and a hint of licorice but, like most 2003s, it faded alarmingly towards the finish.

IMG-20171021-WA0012.jpgWe began the second flight with the 2002 Ch La Mission Haut-Brion (courtesy of Hean Meng, double decanted as well). Initially closed with a mild bottle stink which, thankfully, blew off to reveal aromas of ripe dark berries, the wine medium-full, slightly monolithic with a rustic presence characteristic of this estate, finishing with violets and dark currants but missing in the opulence and layering of the best vintages in spite of its good concentration. The best, as usual, was saved for last, a 2001 Ch Cheval Blanc (courtesy of WKW, double decanted in advance) that was shy at first, just faintly delicious in spite of the deep purple that promised an abundance of fruit beneath though its attack on the palate was rather minerally with a lovely expanse, layered with ripe berries and dark cherries, poised with great elegance and finesse. A feminine beauty still in its adolescence that should blossom beautifully at its peak maturity another decade on, bringing the evening to a lovely conclusion. Many thanks again, Dr & Mrs Wang and to HM as well.

 

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