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1995 & 1996 Pichon Lalande, 1975 Palmer, 1996 Lynch-Bages

August 21, 2018

Kieron threw a surprise party at the Shang Palace of the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, on 16 Aug 2018 for reasons best known to himself and a few close friends. As usual with Kieron, the arrangements were absolutely impeccable and he had also generously supplied most of the wine (unless otherwise specified) in large bottle format whenever possible. The Shang Palace knew perfectly well Kieron’s exact needs, ensuring that a fresh glass was produced for each wine. As we waited for everyone to arrive, a magnum of 2007 Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs was liberally poured, a champagne that is unfairly under-rated, no thanks to it being forever in the shadow of its famous sister estate Salon. 20180816_193046.jpgOn this occasion, the Delamotte displayed an abundance of green fruits and zesty citrus within a body of chiseled minerality, dry but not too brazen, softening a little over time with further notes of bitter lemon at the finish.

As we sat down to for dinner, the 2005 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs was served. Compared with the Delamotte, the Taittinger was rather shy and reserved though it proffers a lovely density of white fruits and citrus on the palate, superbly balanced, made gentle by its very fine bubbles topped with icing and vanillin with just a trace of sweetness at the sides. Very elegant.

We carried on with a pair from Domaine Leflaive. The 2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Clavoillon 1er exuded a superb complexity of aged chalk and crème de la crème on the nose with a lifted floral bloom, very lovely in depth and acidity though the fruit is set a little backward, more minerally and minty with a fair bit of oiliness on the mid-palate, finishing with great persistence at its long glowing finish. In contrast, the 2000 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet, courtesy of David Tan, was expectedly denser in color but the nose was still quite effusive, typically burgundian with a good deal of earthiness, aged chalk and floral notes, still boasting fine concentration and presence upon its superb entry though it simply cannot muster the complexity and layering of a premier cru.


We kicked off the reds with a classic pairing. The 1995 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, poured from magnum, displayed a deep clear crimson, opening with a fabulous bouquet of gentle earthy pungency and Chinese tea leaves, rounded and fleshy, showing great refinement in its fullness, layering and structure, turning just a tad minty as it finished with a flourish of juicy dark plums and cherries. Drinking very well and probably at its very best. Next to it, the 1996 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, also from magnum, was very similar in style and character to the 1995, its bouquet just a tad deeper and tighter, better defined in its layering of dark cherries and blackcurrants, more minerally as well, imparting some leathery tones amidst velvety tannins. Highly delicious but yet to peak. This little exercise simply confirmed the superiority of the 1996 over the 1995, amply demonstrated by an unplanned 1996 Château Lynch Bages that Daniel Tan shoved into the line-up. This Pauillac classic ticked all the right boxes, displaying a beautiful complex bouquet with a deep glow of seductive ripe berries whilst the palate oozed with a wonderful concentration of warm succulent ripe fruit layered with great velvety intensity amidst open textures, displaying great linearity and definition as it tapered to a lasting finish with overtones of residual tea leaves. Still far from its peak. Superb.

20180816_223321.jpgFinally, as the pièce de résistance, the 1975 Château Palmer was poured from magnum, still showing well in color and palatal tone of dark cherries and dark plums, superbly proportioned and balanced with soft rounded sweet tannins, gently layered, highly subtle in its nuances. Highly attractive still without any indication of drying out. Excellent. Many thanks, Kieron !!


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