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2011 Promontory, Harlan Estate 1993 2006

May 23, 2018

These are notes from a dinner at Imperial Treasure Great World City, Singapore, generously hosted by the great Dr S S Ngoi on 28 April 2018 to honour the visit of Don Weaver, Director of Harlan Estate, and his associate Francois Vignaud on their whistle stop. I have forgotten how tall Don is and it was really good to be able to welcome him back to Singapore again as memories of last year’s Harlan lunch at Tunglok remained fresh in my mind. Looking none the worse for wear despite his hectic tour of the Far East, Don had generously proffered the 1993 and 2006 grand vin of Harlan while Dr Ngoi had sponsored most of the remaining line-up. It is easy to dismiss some Napa wines as “upfront blockbusters” but, until one has tasted Harlan Estate, you won’t realise that Harlan has so successfully crafted wines of immense transparency, detail, linearity and precision with concealed power. These are wines of great sophistication and elegance, and the two vintages this evening, along with the 2011 Promontory, are testimony to the stylistic refinement of Harlan Estate. Thank you Don, Francois and Dr Ngoi for such a wonderful evening of great friendship, great food and stunning wines.

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Veuve Clicquot Brut NV, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Generous in smoky and yeasty overtones on the nose, while there is a fine expanse of complex clear citrus and soft cinnamon on the palate supported by stony minerals, producing good presence and intensity, tapering towards a bitter sweet finish of pomelo and lemons. Very fine.

2003 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges La Perriere 1er. Notes of glue and lychee dominate with good depth on the nose, well-aligned with lifted concentration of longans, white flowers, paraffin, lemon and yellow fruits on the palate, rather dry and firm at its minerally finish. Would be hard-pressed to tell that this is made from 100% pinot blanc, not chardonnay, if I hadn’t known.

2001 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Shut initially, just proffering a dash of tropical fruits and coconut though hinting at quiet intensity of fruit beneath. Took a while to hit its stride with an excellent fullness of white fruits with characters of rye and malt amidst stony minerals, displaying excellent linearity and early detail, dry but fleshy, finishing with overtones of hot gravel. Very fine.

2010 Domaine Henri Boillot Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Already showing some early complexity with a deep bouquet of oily diesel tones, this wine possesses a full presence with a dry intensity of rich white citrus supported by firm stony minerals, tightly coiled with early detail and definition, gaining in attractive oily richness over time. An excellent expression of the Chassagne aspect of Montrachet vineyards. Outstanding.

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2012 Domaine Prieure-Roch Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er PURE, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. This PURE bottling, where there is zero oxygen contact during bottling, possesses an incredible freshness in its lift bouquet of complex red fruits tinged licorice, tangerines and dark plums, very open and fleshy, its highly supple tannins imparting superb mouthfeel and persistence, showing well the highly unique Prieure-Roch character. It’s a huge privilege to be able to keep enjoying Les Suchots PURE ever so often, all courtesy of Dr Ngoi.

2011 Domaine Roger Belland Criots-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of C J, poured from magnum. This wine exudes a great lift of white fruits and dense minerals in its lovely open bouquet, matched by a wonderful fullness of complex spices, mint and nutmeg on the palate with a trace of ferric sternness, highly fabulous in its intensity, depth and detail of fruit, finishing with great persistence. Two superb examples of Criots-Batard-Montrachet in a single evening surely cannot be too much of a good thing, and I simply can’t get enough of this.

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2006 Harlan Estate, courtesy of Don Weaver. Deep dark purple, exuding characters of cool blueberries, blackberries and violets, very ripe, full and fleshy without being overly extracted, covering the palate with a broad expanse of silky textures laced with exciting acidity amidst traces of sweet vanillin, highly generous and ample, seamlessly integrated with great linearity throughout its fabulous length which is always a hallmark of Harlan. Consistent with a previous tasting in March 2017 during Don’s last visit to Singapore. Superb now, and will be outstanding in time to come.

1993 Harlan Estate, courtesy of Don Weaver. With the benefit of significant bottle age, this wine has snapped into sharp focus, proffering a pointed earthy pungency from its glorious depth of dark rose petals and dark cherries, open with fleshy detail and very fine gritty tannins on a palate swathed in velvety textures, finishing again with superb linearity and glowing persistence. Beautiful, but still yet to peak, I think.

2011 Promontory, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Promontory is a young label made by Harlan Estate since 2008 from a 900-acre plot in Napa Valley situated at an elevation of 500-1200 feet that features cool micro-climates with metamorphic rocks, comprising a blend of cabernet sauvignon with some malbec and petit verdot. Boasting deep dark tones and rich minerals, this wine exudes a lovely open hallowed glow of warm ripe raspberries and dark cherries amidst some mild earthiness, rich with creamy textures amidst spicy tones, yet amazingly transparent in spite of the concentration and density of fruit, imbued with great supple freshness, never overly extracted nor hedonistic. Superb.

20180428_205311.jpg2009 Domaine d’Eugenie Echezeaux Grand Cru, courtesy of Winfred. Good colour, displaying some early evolution with an open full palate of cool ripe fruit, structured with supple pliant tannins and fine acidity, featuring darkish tones within a relatively narrow spectrum. Made with a modern feel but undeniably delicious, though it still needs plenty of time in the cellar.

2010 Ch Guiraud, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Notes of nectarine, ember and cider dominate on the nose and palate, gently structured with a lovely luminosity, already quite seamlessly integrated at this stage, rounded with excellent presence and finishing with great length.

 

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