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1996 Rousseau Chambertin-Clos de Beze, 1976 Bouchard Pere et Fils La Romanée, 2005 Leflaive Bien-Batard-Montrachet

March 30, 2019

I had the distinct privilege of adjourning straight to one of those super-exclusive bungalows in Sentosa, Singapore, immediately after work on 23 March 2019 (yes…we work on Saturdays too) for an exquisite private lunch of steamboat specially prepared by my hosts. Their generosity extended to the wine line-up as well that blew me away. Needless to say, after such a fulfilling long afternoon, I didn’t need to be fed for the rest of the weekend. Short notes will suffice for the wines, rare and outstanding as they are, for words fail when the table is overflowing with so much sublimity. Thank you very much for such a fabulous and unforgettable experience, my dear hosts, and may you enjoy many many more happy returns.

20190323_125618.jpg2005 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Clear intense luminosity in the glass, very quiet and brooding at first with the faintest whiff of cork taint that seemed to have pervaded onto the palate with resulting dullness and fatigue. Just as I thought all was lost, this wine sprang to life 90 minutes later, the mustiness having blown off completely to reveal quite a glorious bright gleaming tone of deep dense chalky graphite minerals and distilled crème de la crème laced with crisp acidity that imparted a certain austerity, distinctly stern in demeanour even as it opened up with greater intensity and deftness.

1976 Bouchard Pere et Fils La Romanée Grand Cru. Great clarity of colour in spite of its age. Slightly reductive initially with some earthiness and mild yeasty pungency which I find highly attractive, leading to a very open mellow palate imbued with lovely purity of red plums that confer seamless smooth silky elegance, gentle and feminine, still retaining superb acidity and good concentration of fruit amid a slightly deeper vein of dark currants whilst its tannins have long melted away. Poised with quiet confidence, just a tad short but not at all dry or fragile. What a great privilege! One of only six monopole grand crus in Burgundy (if one excludes Chablis), La Romanée at 0.84 ha is the smallest appellation of all Burgundy. The wine used to be vinified and sold under Bouchard’s label as a negociant service. The estate’s owner Domaine Comte Liger-Belair began bottling the wine under its own label from 2002 onward. However, between 2002-2005, the wine of La Romanée, quite confusingly and for reasons unclear, could be found on both labels! This ceased completely from the 2006 vintage onward.

1996 Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. This stalwart of the Cote de Nuits lived up fully to its lofty reputation, exuding a great lifted purity of bright red fruits with a lovely rosy fragrance, displaying superb depth of glorious fruit that oozed sublime definition and acidity with quiet intensity, utterly seamless as it finished with glowing persistence. Outstanding.

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