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Apr 2021: 2014 Thibert Pouilly-Fuissé Cras, 2016 Ponsot Meursault Charmes Centaureé, 1976 Adrien Belland Chambertin Grand Cru, 1993 Robert Ampeau Volnay-Santenots 1er, 1975 Lynch-Bages, 1990 Leoville Las-Cases, 1995 Latour, 1993 Ridge Monte Bello

April 30, 2021

2002 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz. Aired in bottle for four hours prior to dinner at Ka Soh, 04 April 2021. Classic Barossa nose of dark plums and currants tinged with menthol amid a subtle savoury earthiness. Fairly rounded and full, underpinned by a distinct acidity that marked its presence with youthful intensity, structured with seamless finely-grained tannins. Gelled very well after another hour, developing velvety warmth with a layered depth of red plums, mocha and licorice soaked in crimson tones. Excellent, but still not quite ready.

2009 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva. Double-decanted for 60 minutes followed by further aeration in bottle at Otto Ristorante, 06 Apr 2021. Deep purple. Faintly delicious on the nose though there is an abundance of blackcurrants, dark plums and raspberries with a dash of capsicum and earth on the highly supple medium-full palate, nicely rounded with a warm seamless presence, rather understated at first, developing growing intensity after some time amid saline elements. Quite excellent.

2020 Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay. Aired in bottle for 60 minutes prior to dinner at home, 07 April 2021. Clean white fruits dominate with some chalky density laced with overtones of nutmeg, green capsicum and white pepper, offering good presence and clarity with fine intensity. Well proportioned and quite naturally balanced. Doesn’t try too hard. Drinks well, even though it is a supermarket wine.

2016 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes Blanche at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021. Pale greenish tint, coating the medium-full palate with a faint creamy sweetness, eventually developing a lovely expanse of delicate clear citrus that is quite sharply delineated, almost flinty. Opened up with fine detail and concentration. Quite fine.

2014 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021. Rather pale, but the palate is exceedingly refined with a smooth delicate creaminess, imbued with a full expanse of clear ripe citrus that exert gentle understated intensity as it traversed the palate with excellent length and linearity. Great stuff but far from peaking.

2016 Domaine Roger Belland Santenay-Gravières 1er at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021. Deep crimson. Effusive in dark plums, red fruits, currants and peaches that produced an immediate impact with its soft fleshiness still laced with vanillin, displaying controlled intensity with some trailing spiciness at the sides, opening up over time with lovely suppleness.

2010 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021. Early evolution. Rather reticent and reluctant on this occasion. Quite resolutely shut although the medium-full palate is layered with fine abundance of red fruits on a warm gravelly base that exert a classic NSG character, fleshing out quite quickly with lovely weight and understated intensity but still a tad austere. Needs time. 

1993 Domaine Robert Ampeau Volnay-Santenots 1er at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021. Evolved crimson. Lifted in rosy hues and notes of delicate red fruits, showing fine presence and dry intensity on an earthy floor, still imbued with amazing freshness.

1976 Adrien Belland Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Mr Huang at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021. Evolved rosy hues. Generously scented and elegant on the medium-bodied palate. Fully mature with autumnal characters though it is still amazingly fresh and agile, showing very good presence and linearity with superb seamless integration.

1998 Château Montrose. Aired in bottle for ninety minutes prior at Jade Palace, 09 April 2021, courtesy of Mr Woo. Deep garnet core with a hint of vermillion. Superb complexity of warm earthy tones amid dark fruits, black currants, violets and anise that exude a classic velvety fullness, wonderfully supple and lithe, imbued with great verve and intensity without any of the gruff herbaceousness sometimes noted in the wines of this vintage. Excellent. 

2018 Meerlust Chardonnay. Popped and poured at home, 12 April 2021. This wine has put on considerable fat since a previous tasting late last year, showing more warmth and buttery characters alongside a generous expanse of white tones, sharpening up with fine definition and inner detail after some aeration but, at the same time, losing some of that lean precision which I had found to be so appealing. Perhaps best to let it develop further.

2009 Château Sociando-Mallet. Aired in bottle for more than two hours prior before dinner at Venue by Sebastian, 19 Apr 2021. Dark currants and raspberries dominate, displaying excellent ripeness and concentration with lean definition and controlled intensity, framed by a masculine tannin structure that oozed with a trace of sweetness. Developed further overtones of early cedar, tobacco and burnt ends over time. Still far from peaking. Great potential.

2016 Serafini & Vidotto Il Rosso dell’Abazia. Drunk over three days at home 18-20 Apr 2021. Consistent with a previous bottle tasted last month, displaying a lovely balance of supple red fruits and crushed raspberries by the third day with tame tannins and some fine detail. Distinctly feminine in character. Drinking well but it really needs plenty of time.

Origin Grill

2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Maladière 1er Blanc. Aired in bottle for an hour prior at Imperial Treasure Shanghai, 21 Apr 2021. Delicate clear citrus of fair intensity, gently layered with a dash of crème. Medium-full. Well integrated with refined acidity, fleshing out with a bit of early complexity tinged with nutmeg and glowing white tones amid understated chalkiness. Excellent potential.

2017 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé, drunk over two days at home, 25-26 Apr 2021. Displaying a fairly deep luminosity tinged with green, this wine opens with a fullish tone of lime and clear citrus that veers towards delicate intensity rather than plump opulence, cutting a well-delineated chiseled presence with fine clarity and well-integrated sleek acidity. Developed further notes of jackfruit over time whilst retaining its youthful freshness. Drinking well but worth cellaring further.

2018 DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay, at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Aired for 3-4 hours prior. Pale with a tinge of green, proffering distant white floral aromas, fresh morning dew and light melons. Medium-full, layered with a smooth gentle creaminess that gleamed with warm understated intensity, taking its time to yield some fine inner detail as it traipsed the palate with excellent linearity to a lingering finish of spicy nutmeg. This estate believes in the power of classical music in nurturing the vines. When I visited in December 2019, the Brahms First Piano Concerto (by Nelson Freires/Ricardo Chailly/Leipzig Gewandhaus) was blasting from outdoor loudspeakers over the beautifully manicured vineyards.

2011 Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne du Levant, courtesy of CJ at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. This blanc de blancs Grand Cru opens with a pronounced reductive pungent earthiness, sharply contrasted against the refreshing rounded fullness on the palate, imbued with a concentrated dry intensity of clear citrus and pomelo that exert tremendous verve and cutting acidity. Great potential, but needs time to settle.

2012 Champagne Agrapart Avizoise Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, courtesy of CJ at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Lifted rounded tones of delicate minerals and gunmetal, displaying some early complexity in its warm gentle fullness marked by very fine bubbles that impart excellent clarity and soft intensity, very evenly toned throughout its length as it developed further glowing fragrance. Excellent.

2017 Sandhi Bentrock Santa Rita Chardonnay, courtesy of LF at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Light recessed nose of delicate citrus, displaying a very lovely fluidity on the medium-bodied palate. Very well balanced with slick intensity and sleek acidity.

2012 Marcassin Pinot Noir, courtesy of LF at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Copious ripe dark cherries and raspberries dominate with sweet overtones, leading to a warm full-bodied palate still coated with fresh layers of enamel and vanillin, brimming with youthful intensity. Still primal.

2003 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Marie Beurrier, courtesy of CHS at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Some evolution in colour. Classic darkish earthy nose of southern Rhône still tinged with youthful traces of enamel. Full-bodied, exuding fragrant dark plums and currants on a dense ferrous minerally base. Gelled together very well after some time but it really needs another decade of cellaring.

2018 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, courtesy of Jimmy at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Deep opaque purple. In spite of its infancy, this Napa wine manages to stay in absolute control, proffering very ripe black fruits, wild berries, mulberries and peaches with a lovely rounded depth. Predictably full and intense, coating the palate with warm succulence but never hedonistic, its tannins and acidity expertly managed. Huge potential ahead.

1990 Château Leoville Las-Cases at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Aired in bottle for five hours prior to tasting. Displaying a deep garnet core with a purplish rim, this wine boasts an arresting fragrance and complexity of fruit and terroir tinged with a mild pungency, matched by a delicious ripe supple fleshiness infused with traces of medicinal powder and the classic herbaceous tone of a mature claret, still fairly robust with youthful intensity. At its best and will hold for many more years. Superb.

1995 Château Latour, courtesy of Vic at Origin Grill, 27 Apr 2021. Deep garnet red. There is a hint of warm gravel that overlay the expanse of dark fruits and currants tinged with green capsicum, beautifully relaxed and supple, structured with sleek understated intensity that convey a certain seamless masculinity. At its best.

The ArdeaSeal closure favoured by Ponsot. Very tough to pull.

2016 Laurent Ponsot Meursault Charmes Cuvée de la Centaureé. Aired in bottle for two hours prior to dinner at Tang Yun, 29 Apr 2021. Gently perfumed nose of dense white floral tones with darker shades. Rather plump with a very ripe warmth, laced with very sleek acidity that drew out lengthy understated intensity. Kept changing in the glass, becoming more relaxed and a tad more minerally with a hint of sour plum at the unresolved finish before developing more of oyster shells with a chalky transparency, eventually unfurling distilled white tones with impressive breadth and depth. Laurent Ponsot’s new line appears to draw polarising opinions. Clearly not quite ready at this stage as it really tests your patience but it is set for greatness.

1975 Château Lynch-Bages, courtesy of Kieron at Tang Yun, 29 Apr 2021. Reticent at first though the palate is undeniably superb in its lithe agility and delightful presence of mature fruit and currants underpinned by traces of iron filings. Became astonishingly richer in sweet red fruits over time, softer and more beguiling yet more densely layered, exuding a lovely feminine fragrance. Outstanding!

1993 Ridge Monte Bello, courtesy of Vic at Tang Yun, 29 Apr 2021. Dark purple. A wine of large proportions, imbued with an abundance of ripe dark fruits and currants that glowed with a bit of sweet bright outer tone, still laced with vanillin. Softly contoured and just a tad forward on the medium-full palate that still retains amazing youthful freshness and intensity, morphing into a more seamless whole of dark plums and soy without quite revealing inner detail. Yet to peak!

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