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Happy birthday Professor!! 2001 Margaux, 1995 Haut-Brion, 1990 Lafite Rothschild, 1996 & 2002 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1985 Latour & 1997 Gaja Darmagi

March 18, 2019

IMG-20190318-WA0003.jpgHow do you celebrate the life of someone who has looked after you very well, without whom you wouldn’t have achieved today’s success? The Professor needs no introduction to those whose paths have crossed. As brilliant as Moriarty but infinitely kinder, he has righted many wrongs, saved countless souls, put people in their respective places when necessary and helped his country win the fight against SARS. The man loves Bordeaux, and we were only too happy to roll out an entire First Growth line-up to celebrate his big round number at Silk@SICC on 15 March 2019, even though nobody really knows when the red-letter day actually is. With the exception of the Lafite, all wines were aired on-site. Many happy returns Professor! We shall always remain indebted to you.

1996 Dom Perignon, courtesy of Kieron. There was a distinct cork taint on the nose that pervaded slightly onto the palate, obscuring somewhat the soft yeasty pungency of this well-aged champagne warhorse that’s still holding well with crisp acidity and controlled intensity of clear and yellow citrus on a bed of recessed chalkiness, imbued with gentle dryness.

2001 Ch Margaux, courtesy of WCY. Surprisingly shy on the nose, proffering only faint aromas of dark cherries and dark currants though this wine is glowing with fresh mulberries and dark fruits on the palate, fleshy and rounded, suffused with sublime acidity amid traces of ferrous minerals that yielded transparent tertiary textures, finishing with peppery traces. Superbly balanced and proportioned. A classic Margaux.

1995 Ch Haut-Brion, courtesy of Kieron. More effusive than the preceding Margaux, this lynchpin of Pessac-Leognan exudes a gentle earthy pungency along with plummy tones, kumquat and tangerines at its core with greater immediacy, utterly seamless in its mellowed elegance as it dressed the palate in svelte tannins and lovely acidity. Doesn’t quite plumb the depths (not a hallmark of 1995) but makes up for it with its overall sublimity, culminating in a long glowing finish. Reflects very well the vintage characteristics.

2002 Ch Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of KP. Deeply coloured. Darkly flavoured with a bolder extraction of cool ripe mulberries, raspberries and black currants, still rather tightly coiled with an acidic spine though never astringent, opening up with greater transparency over time, revealing a hint of vegetal trace but it remained cloaked in dark tones.

1996 Ch Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Hiok. Deep dark garnet core. Surprisingly reticent, though there’s never any doubt about the abundance of dark fruit lurking beneath, proffering dark chocolates, complex smoke and incense as the wine became more mellow and relaxed over time, quite seamlessly integrated with very refined acidity but it could do with more layering.

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The Professor’s men and lady from Changi

1990 Ch Lafite Rothschild. Aired in bottle for five hours prior, this wine opens with aromas of dark berries, mulberries and dark currants with a soft feminine fragrance, eminently elegant as it opened up with a deeper mentholic vein, still displaying very good presence and fine acidity, gaining further intensity with more velvety textures as it sat in the glass, just a tad short as it finished with a gentle ferrous trace. Quite the quintessential Lafite, still holding well even though its cork had turned too friable. From an OWC of 12.

1985 Ch Latour, courtesy of Vic. This Latour at 34 years is still darkly coloured, full and masculine, opening with a great lift of dark currants, ripe black fruits and violets that leapt from the glass, very open and fleshy, still imbued with an abundance of cool ripe fruit with after notes of tobacco leaves, structured with detailed velvety tannins that deliver power and smooth elegance in equal measure. Caught truly at its absolute peak. Very lovely. Superb!

1997 Gaja Darmagi Langhe courtesy of the Professor, a blend of 96% cabernet sauvignon and 4% cabernet franc. This wine from Piemonte displays a deep garnet core, superbly layered with a racy intensity of toffee, mocha and ripe raspberries within a highly supple tannin structure suffused with sublime acidity. Open and highly inviting, traversing the palate with great linearity all the way to its lengthy glowing finish. Outstanding.

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