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2005 & 2006 Dominus, 1997 Joseph Phelps, 2008 Stag’s Leap Cask 23

February 5, 2021

Our small group met again soon after our first on 22 January 2021 at Origin Grill, Shangri-la Singapore, on a New World theme where we broke our own rule by bringing 2n+1 number of bottles. 

Champagne Ruinart NV, a bottle stored for more than twenty years by Sir Bob. Light golden. The benefits of extended cellaring, even for non-vintage champagne, shows in the very deep characters of toast, yeast, caramel and apricot that burst upon the palate with amazing freshness and attack, seamlessly integrated with subtle green fruits, clear citrus and ferrous shades, still blazing with dry intensity and superb length as it developed further overtones of burnt ends. A great calling card for Ruinart. 

2007 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, courtesy of Vic. Light golden, proffering a very lovely deep earthy pungency that contrasted beautifully against the full crisp minerally palate, imbued with excellent concentration of clear citrus, yielding fine clarity and dry intensity amidst the sheen of very fine bubbles. Excellent.

2014 Peter Michael Belle Côte Chardonnay, courtesy of Kieron. Light golden. Rich creamy textures dominate on the nose and palate amidst overtones of glycerin and caramel, rather forward with a trace of sweetness and a suggestion of lusciousness. Developed further minerally tones over time with a classic tinge of paraffin, exuding lovely complexity with gleaming intensity and length. Excellent.

2006 Aubert Lauren Vineyard Chardonnay, courtesy of LF. Dull golden. Complex bouquet of white tones, mint and crème de la crème. Richly layered with excellent concentration of white fruit topped with caramel, snapping into focus after some time with gleaming intensity and minty length, appreciably more forward as well. Quite sublime.

1994 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Vineyard, courtesy of LF. Musty red. Powerful deep plummy bouquet of unprecedented immediacy, leading to a full palate of dense ripe fruit infused with a certain salinity, finishing with minty overtones. I really can’t imagine this to be pinot noir. Very different from another bottle tasted in July 2019 that was beautifully delicate and fragrant.

1997 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, courtesy of Sir Bob. Deep garnet red. This wine opens with a hint of warm gravel on the nose while ripe red fruits dominate with excellent presence on the open velvety palate, fresh and forward though beautifully balanced with superbly integrated acidity, developing better length over time. Excellent.

2008 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23, courtesy of Kieron. Deep garnet red, exuding a deep floral fragrance from an abundance of dark currants and raspberries. Open with lovely depth and concentration with sweet rounded tannins that imparted lasting intensity all the way to its sweet minty finish though very subtly nuanced throughout, ensuring that it is never unduly hedonistic. Excellent.

2005 Mount Mary Quintet. Double-decanted for two hours prior. Open on the nose with a classic cabernet nose of dark currants, raspberries and deep plummy tones tinged with capsicum. Fleshy and softly rounded, ample in red fruits with a ferrous core though there is a distinct leafiness as well, structured with great suppleness and balance but its finish is short. Drinking very well but dwarfed on this occasion by the Americans.

2006 Dominus, courtesy of Vic. Opaque purple. Effusive in glycerin and vanillin on the nose amid crimson tones of camphor. Highly supple and fleshy with a quiet intensity, generously endowed with dark fruits and currants that showed great integration and freshness, betrayed by just a flash of alcoholic heat at the finish.

2005 Dominus, courtesy of Sir Bob. Deep garnet red. Ripe red fruits and currants dominate, laced with a distinct note of graphite. Beautifully lush and rounded. Highly refined and open though its overall demeanour is distinctly darkish. Very different in character from the 2006.

2009 Rockford Black Shiraz. Very fine presence of racy warm ripe Barossa shiraz with subtle nuances of licorice, cedar and dark currants adding a further savoury dash. Very smoothly contoured with refined tiny bubbles, displaying good length with an enticing liqueured depth. Very enjoyable. A classic Black Shiraz.


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