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Vintage: 2008 Larmandier-Bernier Levant, 2016 Alphonse Mellot Generation Dix-Neuf

September 13, 2019

The Vintage Club of Singapore held a private tasting on 11 September 2019 that showcased several less commonly encountered wines. Most so-called wine lovers are plain label drinkers who are likely to be put off by unfamiliar names or origins but the fact is there are so many wines that offer tremendous drinking and cerebral pleasure at far friendlier prices. These are the stuff that people ought to explore but, sadly, the low turnout that evening simply reinforces my point. Nevertheless, I’m glad that Vintage is leading the way. As a little game, at the end of the tasting, guests were invited to taste 4 wines blind from opaque black stemware with narrow apertures to guess what the wines (supposedly coming from the line-up) were. My previous experience with black wine glasses turned out badly (mistaking whites for reds!). However, I was on top form that evening, correctly guessing the de Montille Saint-Romain twice (Stephanie had wickedly poured me the same wine twice) as well as the Bruno Clair Marsannay, while I identified the fourth as a red burgundy which was about as far as I could go as it (the Domaine des Perdrix) didn’t feature in the line-up. Merci Christophe!

20190911_191333.jpg2008 Larmandier-Bernier Vielle Vigne du Levant Grand Cru. This blanc de blancs opens with a most alluring deep toasty nose, highly complex and persistent with intriguing overtones of burnt sugar and brioche. medium-bodied. Open, rounded and smooth, imbued with a generous expanse of delicate clear citrus and transparency that imparted a certain deftness on the palate, finishing with wonderful length. Quite superb, further affirming the excellence of 2008 for champagne. In business for eight generations with 45 hectares in the Cote des Blancs, this wine is made from old vines aged 35 years on average.

2012 Pascal Agrapart Avizoise Extra-Brut Grand Cru. This blanc de blancs exudes a marked earthy pungency that quickly evolved in the glass to reveal a tight focused bouquet of clear citrus and white fruits, displaying excellent fullness, precision and inner definition, finishing with great linearity and focus. Superb.

2017 Domaine du Roc des Boutires. Grassy characters with distinct aromas of nutmeg and Asian spices. Great body and concentration with clear inner crystalline tones, finishing well with understated intensity. Excellent quality and value. The domaine’s very limited Aux Bouthieres bottling is another notch higher but this base wine would serve perfectly well should you need an excellent house pour.

2016 Domaine de Montille Saint-Romain. Pale. Gentle creaminess on the nose amid clear citrus. Medium-bodied, showing delicate presence of white fruits with lively acidity and fine transparency, finishing with a minerally mouthfeel. Very fine. Great value.

20190911_190824.jpg2016 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Generation Dix-Neuf Blanc. Faintly sweet aromas with more than a whiff of nail varnish and enamel, undeniably attractive. Excellent concentration of clear citrus, still rather tight and intense though not overwhelming, imbued with excellent purity and fine balance that tapered to a gentle finish. Very elegant. This is a sauvignon blanc from very old vines. Not unlike a Didier Dagueneau. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay. Sharp attack of accentuated rose petals and red fruits on the nose. Open, fleshy and softly rounded, imbued with some earthiness and  haw flakes. Very focused with a very clean feel but lacking in depth and potential complexity.

2015 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Generation Dix-Neuf Rouge. Deeply coloured, exuding an alluring bouquet of red fruits and cherries. Medium-full. Open with very good concentration and presence, subtly intense, slightly austere at the finish.

2010 Domaine Comte Senard Corton Clos du Meix Grand Cru. Good color. Ample tone of evolved red fruits and raspberries amid earthy traces on both nose and palate. Medium-full. Fleshy and structured with a bit of bright minerally glare, still tight at its spicy finish. Lacks distinction for a 2010.

2011 Chateau Le Puy Barthelemey. Pronounced earthy pungency on the nose amid dark plums and tangerines. Medium-bodied. Softly rounded and supple. Very well integrated with understated acidity and soft tannins, underscored by a persistent tone raspberries and paraffin at the finish. Drinking well.

2016 Domaine de Montcalmes Terrasses du Larzac. A blend of 60% syrah, 20% mourvèdre and 20% grenache from 30-year-old vines. Deeply coloured, proffering intense dark fruits, graphite and enamel on the nose, replete with after tones of cigar ash on the nose. Most enticing. Big but not heavy, amply layered and structured with dark plums that oozed with sweet undertones. Very well balanced in spite of its masculine proportions. Excellent, but it really demands a good juicy steak to do it full justice.

2014 Alter Ego de Palmer. Dark, exuding a classic Bordeaux nose of dark plums and currants. Open and slightly dryish as it should rightly be, displaying very good presence and concentration with good inner detail though not profoundly deep. Highly seamless, traversing the palate with fine linearity. Drinking well though yet to evolve further.

2015 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Perdrix 1er. Monopole. Reticent on the nose. Medium-bodied. Open and fleshy with slightly sandy textures, displaying lovely feminine smoothness and easy presence but lacking in complexity. Quiet finish.

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