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Dinner at Maison Joseph Drouhin

November 22, 2017

2017-11-20 18.56.01The Sales Director of Maison Joseph Drouhin, M. Jean-Paul Dumond, never fails to remind people that wine is meant to be shared amongst good company, something that surely strikes a chord with all wine lovers. It was with distinct pleasure that we had the opportunity to meet up with Jean-Paul once again in the extensive offices of Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune on the cold winter evening of 20 November 2017, exactly the same venue where we had first been introduced to him two years ago. This time, Jean-Paul has arranged for us to dine at the Maison itself, where chef Christophe Queant of Jean-Paul’s favourite restaurant Le Carmin had been summoned to prepare a delectable four-course menu.

First, of course, was the obligatory re-visit of the cellars which are the oldest in Burgundy, having been owned by the powerful Duke of Burgundy centuries ago, a part of which contained a wall dating back to 4th century Roman empire. We are reminded that the Maison plays a major role in vinifying many of the wines auctioned off for the Hospice de Beaune, evidenced by the presence of these barrels in the cellar.

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Returning back to the dining room, we began first with a tasting of three wines. First was the 2016 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er, showing aromas of delicate nutmeg, wild flowers in bloom and some green elements, quite lifted, showing good acidity and matching minerals with good precision, just a tad chalky but neither overbearing nor opulent. Needs to flesh out. Next was the 2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches Blanc that featured lemongrass, yellow citrus and other grassy elements on the nose and palate, replete with delicate crème de la crème, quite rich and  highly expressive, its tingling acidity conferring superb suppleness and mouthfeel, culminating in a lengthy finish of subtle minerals. Very fine indeed.

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The final wine for the brief tasting promenade came from an unmarked decanter that had been sitting in a quiet corner for several hours. From our previous experience with Jean-Paul whose generosity knows no boundaries, we guessed with certainty that this would be none other than a Montrachet Grand Cru itself, and we were spot on. The 2015 Montrachet Grand Cru Marquis de Laguiche sported a rich sheen of creme de la creme and white flowers in full bloom, full and fresh with great acidity though still tight, displaying lovely tension and linearity, growing in fabulous intensity but yet to reveal inner detail. Any Montrachet will need more than a decade to come through and clearly, this one shouldn’t be touched at all.

20171120_193915.jpgWe settled down to dinner where three wines have been listed to be served. First was the 2008 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er served from jeroboam, showing a deep golden hue, exuding a lovely bouquet of deep earthy pungency, full and fresh with a great minerally concentration, showing good linearity and intensity, growing fuller with more fruit over time, finishing with strong notes of mint and spice but yet to develop inner detail. Excellent.

Next, the 2009 Hospice de Beaune Beaune Cuvee Maurice Drouhin, served from magnum, was darkly tinted with dark cherries, ripe wild berries and some earth, displaying deeper notes of graphite and smouldering ember on the palate with a vegetal trace. Fleshy, showing more acidity than fruit, finishing with dark spicy tones. In contrast, the 2001 Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru displayed a deep delicious bouquet of ripe dark cherries, rose petals and camphor with good depth of fruit, showing superb acidity and concentration, dry in intensity with earthy minerals without much structure, just a tad short.

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Seeing that the party was going well and that we were enjoying every drop of wine, Jean-Paul brought up an additional impromptu red, a 2015 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru that boasted a deep glorious bouquet of fresh rose petals, camphor and bright cherries with a special whiff of cigar, open with lovely feminine elegance, poise and great balance, gently structured with sweet supple tannins, not showy at all. A great Clos de Beze.

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Finally, as is the custom always with Jean-Paul, a 1996 Ch D’Yquem was popped to round off the evening, displaying notes of smoke, nectarine, brioche and cassis with a lovely depth of aged tangerines, very fine in acidity and length with lasting intensity at the finish. This is probably the only time one drinks Bordeaux in Burgundy. Many thanks, Jean-Paul, for sharing so freely with us your generosity and friendship.

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Ric visits Domaine Prieure-Roch

November 21, 2017

Compared with many other domaines in Burgundy, Domaine Prieure-Roch must surely be one of the youngest, having been established in 1988. To me, this estate appears to run against the grain as well with an almost rebellious streak, practising biodynamic management, vinifying with stems, having different ageing periods for different wines, totally unfiltered and unfined, of course, and managing only a select few vineyards, all purely reds. DSC_1065Locating this domaine within Nuits-Saint-Georges is also no easy matter, the nondescript building being totally unmarked along the main road. When we arrived on the morning of 20 November 2017, its young co-owner and winemaker M. Yannick Champ was ready to welcome us. Even though we’d meet about twice a year at FICOFI events, it was really good to see him once again on his home turf. Recalling that Yannick had previously welcomed us with freshly stained hands after a very early morning harvest two years ago, he appeared far more relaxed this time, but it is clear he’d been up much earlier in the morning to prepare for our visit, evidenced by the fact that the wines we were about to taste had been carefully aired in advance. But first was the obligatory trip down the steep stairwell into its cellars, where the smaller old cellar had been present since 1862 whilst a brand-new facility had just been carved recently adjacent to it, capable of housing up to three recent harvests. It was clear that Domaine Prieure-Roch runs on a lean management with Yannick himself being very hands-on in the winemaking. When we returned to its main hall, which resembled a living room-cum-workshop-cum-kitchen, Yannick proceed to pour us bottle after bottle of his wines. What struck me most was that his drive, passion and individuality can be felt in each of his wines, made with a personal vision while always abiding by his own principles and that of Mother nature. The terroir comes through very well but they all need plenty of time to express themselves properly. These aren’t made to please the palate. They are made to pay respect and thanks for what nature has endowed us. Many thanks, Yannick, for the wonderful friendship and thanks too to FICOFI.

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2015 Domaine Prieure-Roch Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Lovely colour, exuding complex aromas of red currants and dark plums with a deep tinge of licorice. Open and seamless with lovely acidity and lift, displaying great freshness, linearity, length and tension across the palate. Possibly the best example of this much maligned plot I’ve ever had.

2015 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Deep colour. Deep as well in aromas of dark cherries, earth and ripe wild berries with tones of red plums and orangey tangerines, medium-bodied, showing good lift, tone and tension. Very well balanced and integrated but this wine is all about its wonderful bouquet, deeply alluring and seductive.

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2010 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Evolved in colour with a beautiful bouquet that is most expressive, yielding red plums with some tobacco leaves, open and fleshy with just the right degree of supportive acidity. Highly elegant and sophisticated.

2014 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Slightly darker tint than the 2015, showing delicious plums and currants with excellent lift, rather minerally in concentration with good tension from the higher acidity though the fruit itself is rather backward, finishing on a stern note. Again, it’s the nose that is quite special.

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2014 Domaine Prieure Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Great colour. Stunning deep bouquet of dark currants, red fruits, dark plums and cedar, structured with lovely tension and full acidity, more minerally than outright fruity opulence, seemingly a hallmark of the estate’s 2014.

2001 Domaine Prieure Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru PURE. Poured from magnum. Fully evolved. Delicious sweet gentle bouquet of earth and aged plums. Very open with wonderful freshness and great purity from the melted tannins, showing great linearity without any distraction, becoming more expressive with time. Truly a revelation. As explained before, PURE indicates that the wine has been bottled straight from the barrel without any oxygen contact, preserving its integrity and freshness. Yannick demonstrated the simple two-way tap used for this laborious process that requires three persons to operate, taking three hours to manually bottle a barrel whereas conventional bottling methods can do the job in five minutes. A real labour of love, for Yannick truly heeds his passion.

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Ric re-visits Bouchard Pere et Fils: 2016 wines

November 20, 2017

Having barely recovered from the evening at the La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin dinner, we arrived on time at Bouchard Pere et Fils this morning, 19 November 2017 to re-visit its wonderful cellars. Bouchard has the most extensive series of underground cellars in all of Burgundy, located 10 metres below ground and spanning 4 kilometres in total length, with walls that are 5-7 metres thick. In the old days, they were used by the military as its ammunition store before the Bouchard family took over the property in the early 19th century. The temperature here is always consistently between 13-15 °C with a humidity of 80%, ensuring that the corks do not shrink from dessication. It was good, once again, to see the special section holding the estate’s oldest bottles (1846 Meursault) that had been walled behind four false walls during the Second World War to prevent the Nazis from looting.

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After the tour, we were joined by M. Luc Bouchard, who appeared amazingly fresh in spite of the previous night’s exertion, for an extensive tasting of the 2016 line-up, helmed by its Technical Director M. PPhilippe Prost, who exuded great knowledge and expertise about each individual wine: its terroir, individual characteristics and limitations. I have never attended such a precise and masterful discourse of such an extensive line-up within the space of an hour, M. Prost making it clear right from the outset that we’d have to keep pace. And indeed we did so. These days, there are still people who tend to view the wines of Bouchard with some condescension as a negociant producer when the fact is it is now largely a domaine with its own holdings in many regions. 2016 was a difficult growing season dominated by the problems of frost in the early part but the grapes were eventually picked under cool conditions.

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Technical Director of Bouchard Pere et Fils, M. Prost.

At this tasting, I found the quality of the reds to be highly consistentl, showing good color, ripeness, power and balance, perhaps even a couple of notches higher than the reds of 2012 which I tasted during my last visit here two years ago. The whites, expectedly from Bouchard, are truly outstanding, combining fruit, acidity and balance with utter precision, harmony and detail. Absolutely stunning. One understand why Bouchard always opens its tastings with reds before the whites. I’ll have to load up on these when the offer comes around next year.

 

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Bouchard Pere et Fils used to make La Romanee Grand Cru before it became a monopole of Liger-Belair from 2002

 

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Monthelie. Darker tint. Shy but there’s plenty of cool raspberries and dark cherries on the palate with some attractive earthiness, showing good levels of ripeness, acidity and concentration.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune du Chateau 1er. Blend of 17 premier cru. Good colour. Cool fruit with notes of dark cherries, forest floor and light ember, showing gentle acidity and good integration, finishing with mild sweet tannins and fine acidity.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Clos de La Mousse 1er. Dark tint. Medium-bodied. Raspberries and dark wild berries dominate with a mild vegetal tinge, showing good acidity but unremarkable.

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2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’enfant Jesus 1er. Good colour. Lovely floral fragrance of red fruits and dark roses. Fleshy, open with good detail, showing gentle sweet subdued tannins, fine acidity and understated minerals with good balance. Gentle dryish finish. Very fine.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Volnay Les Caillerets 1er. Significantly darker hue and tone. Generous in dark cherries and licorice. Dry with good levels of ripeness and acidity supported by an understated ferrous base. Good overall delicacy.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Le Corton Grand Cru. Appropriately dark with abundant red fruits and currants. Fleshy with excellent acidity and silky tannins, showing good sophistication and great balance. From soils with less clay and more of limestone, explaining for its good overall delicacy and feminine poise in spite of its proportions. Very fine.

20171119_111125.jpg2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Cailles 1er. Raspberries, dark cherries, dry ash and mushrooms replicate the classic Nuits-Saint-Georges character, deft with good acidity and freshness.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Echezeaux Grand Cru. Good fragrance recalling dark roses, ripe raspberries and wild berries. Rather full, showing great acidity, definition and linearity though not opulent, finishing with a vegetal trace.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Excellent colour. Excellent depth of red fruits and dark berries. Robust with very good levels of ripeness. Highly supple and fleshy, showing a deeper vein of rich dark cherries. Open with fine detail, structured with subtle tannins amidst fine understated acidity. Great potential here. Highly successful.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Bourgogne chardonnay. Highly aromatic with srong grassy elements, lemongrass and malt. Delicates tones of creme with a dash of raw nutmeg on the gentle palate, finishing with great acidity and a touch of sweetness. Good complexity. I’m happy to drink this anytime.

 

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault Les Clous. Perfumed with lifted aromas of white flowers and clear citrus. Has a minerally feel, slightly crisp in its fresh delicate minerals.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Beaune Clos Saint-Landry 1er. Good aromas. Chalky tone with green fruits, understated acidity and minerals. Great tone, rounded and smooth. Finishing well.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault Genevieres 1er. Lifted with delicate notes of nutmeg, clear citrus and earthy minerals. Rounded, showing excellent presence, detail and linearity with superb mouthfeel.

20171119_115435.jpg2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault Perrieres 1er. Deep complex bouquet of white flowers. Rather full. Gentle on the palate with great acidity, depth and minerality with superb definition and integration. Finishing with great length amidst traces of sweet. Excellent.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Cool ripe fruit. Open with great delicacy of lovely clear citrus, showing excellent presence, acidity and integration. Very fresh, finishing with exotic spices amidst mild lovely intensity on the back palate. Superb.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Great delicacy with complex creme de la crème, some nutmeg and chalkiness with complex early minerals. Great acidity. Very well integrated but tight. Not showing too much now but it’s richness, sophistication and potential is unmistakable. Excellent.

2016 Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru. Lovely tones of crème de la crème and chalk with gentle deep aromas of white flowers and morning dew. Deeply aromatic with lovely delicacy, almost ethereal, already showing some very early complexity. Full, sophisticated and elegant. So much promise here.

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La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin 2017

November 19, 2017

This week marks the start of my week-long annual pilgrimmage to France with the usual suspects, this time to partake in festivities surrounding the annual Hospice de Beaune wine auction that takes place on the third Sunday of every November. Having arrived from Singapore, we drove straight to Beaune, making good time. This year, the weather has turned really cold much earlier than usual and everywhere, the vines stand in forlorn nakedness, awaiting the imminent harsh winter to turn over the 2017 season.

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Beaune, from the higher grounds of the Cote de Beaune

The game plan for the Saturday of 18th November 2017 was to participate in the famous dinner of the La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin at the Chateau du Clos du Vougeot, made possible for us through FICOFI which had arranged for us to be hosted by the affable M. Luc Bouchard of Bouchard Pere et Fils, always a major participant in the proceedings of the auction. Founded in 1934, this organisation, now boasting some 12,000 persons worldwide, serves to promote Burgundy to the world though I feel this is far less imperative now that Burgundy is so highly coveted by wine lovers around the world.

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Arriving in black tie in the evening in near-freezing temperatures, the grand Chateau du Clos du Vougeot still appeared youthful and eager to continue its long tradition. About 600 guests had arrived, a significant number having specially flown in from around the world. The Americans were prominent and I’m proud that Singapore was well represented, not just by ourselves, but by the presence of the venerable Dr N K Yong, still looking well in his advanced years. As we gathered in the anteroom before dinner, it was good to bump into M. Pierre-Henry Gagey, owner of Louis Jadot, who still remembered well our dinner with him a couple of years ago at Lameloise.

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As the room swelled with guests, canapes and wine were served freely. The 2014 Ch du Clos de Vougeot Macon-Lugny was light-medium with gentle clear citrus and good acidity, somewhat backward in tone, making it an easy drinking wine to pace oneself for the long evening ahead. Short but agreeable. The Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé was more substantial, proffering light tones of rose petals, strawberries and grapefruit, well proportioned with a bit of lift and understated sweetness, not too dry.

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When the doors to the dining room were finally thrown open, we were greeted by the sight of long rows of tables packed within, each immaculately laid out for a long night of feasting and wining. In fact, it was similar to a La Pauleé, save for the overall formality. We took our places at a corner that provided us with a vantage view of the entire hall and stage. Our kind host M. Luc Bouchard looked every bit his relaxed and genial self. The dinner opened with great fanfare from the Chevaliers, and I am truly amazed by the great quality of the traditional Burgundian fare that came from the Chateau’s old kitchen, served by an entire company of highly proficient wait staff who fussed around us within the tight confines with great efficiency. Most importantly, the wines were free flow without one even having to ask for it. Unless stated, the wines are largely labelled under the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. Hence, it is unclear who vinified these wines.

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20171118_203535.jpg2012 Meursault Santenots 1er. Clear notes of crème de la crème and crisp citrus. Very clean and precise with light floral tones, turning more minerally towards the finish with good linearity of fruit, evoking icing and mint at its finish. Very successful effort.

2014 Marsannay. Clear ruby. Ripe strawberries, cherries and raspberries are evident with traces of ember. Fleshy with good concentration and true pinot character but straightforward.

20171118_230719.jpg2005 Hospice de Beaune Beaune 1er Dames Hospitalieres. Served from magnum, this wine is deep in colour and bouquet, showing excellent concentration of dark plums, dark cherries and currants. with overtones of Asian spices, a touch astringent as it finished with dry intensity. Needs more time to settle but should evolve well.

2010 Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Good colour. Very well integrated and balanced, proffering a generous tone of red fruits, ember and incense framed by smooth tannins and spice at the finish, showing good refinement but lacks true distinction.

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And so the feasting went on and on, interrupted on occasion by the necessary speeches (M. Laurent Ponsot taking the trouble to promote the 2017 vintage in English), the famous ban bourguignon that would recur several times, the pat-a-backs amongst existing chevaliers and the induction of new members, the merry-making and the songs, including sing-a-longs, which naturally grew louder and louder through the evening. By the time we left past midnight, the party was still going strong but we’d been properly hammered by the long flight and lack of sleep. Luc Bouchard took pity on us and bade us bon nuit, but not before reminding us that we were to be at his domaine next morning before 1000h to go through the pre-auction tasting before the actual event. This has, indeed, been a most memorable evening that will not be forgotten. Many thanks, FICOFI, and to M. Luc Bouchard for the generous hospitality.

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2001 Georges Comte de Vogue Musigny, 2010 Peter Michael Belle Cote, 2012 Aubert…

November 17, 2017

These are notes from a very generous promenade hosted by Dr Kieron Lim on 08 Nov 2017 to celebrate his move to The Mountain. Reserved exclusively for members of Bacchus and special guests that included the great Dr Ngoi, Iggy himself and Tim Goh, Kieron has pushed the boat out for the line-up, complete with canapés, cheeseboard, exquisite stemware and the professional services of FICOFI’s preferred sommelier Kok Hong. I must say the whites have been lined up in perfect order, while the reds easily sorted themselves out. What a great way to ease into a great evening of wining and dining after a long day…

1996 Dom Perignon Enotheque. Light golden in hue, this wine exudes an effortless floral bouquet with a perfumed fragrance that was quite ethereal, leading to delicate tones of clear citrus and pomelo with faint traces of icing, highly subtle in grassy elements and gentle sweet minerals, open and poised with supreme elegance, the fine bubbles and density of fruit producing superb texture and mouthfeel. Still youthful. Outstanding.

2012 Aubert. Fleshy, just a tad forward in nutmeg, crème de la crème, chalky elements with a trace of sweetness, yet remaining gentle with superb integration, highly poised and enticing, glowing inexorably towards a finish of exotic spices. Yet to develop but will be fascinating to track its development.

2010 Peter Michael Belle Cote Chardonnay. Significantly bolder than the preceding Aubert, this wine exudes bold aromas most lovely on the nose, richly endowed in creme and green fruits, opening up well with great definition though still tight with gentle intensity, finishing with traces of mint. Almost like a Corton-Charlemagne. Excellent.

2010 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er. Luscious gold with a mesmerising glow of morning dew, sweet wild flowers and malt. the palate is distinctly minerally there is a rich tone of clear citrus beneath the sheen of icing and great acidity that imparted a touch of crispness, highly harmonious, finishing with excellent linearity. Superb.

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2007 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er. Delicious abundance of red fruits and red cherries, medium-full with further notes of earth and camphor, lovely in intensity and acidity, finishing well on a note of mint but not entirely distinctive on the whole.

2007 Domaine Faiveley Echezeaux Grand Cru. Very correct in pinot tint with a lovely fragrance, awashed in red fruits of superb freshness and acidity with further notes of camphor and earth. Highly delicious and attractive, showing great character. Trumps the preceding Comte de Vogue Chambolle-Musigny 1er of the same vintage by some margin.

2009 Christophe Roumier Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru. Notes of pepper, Asian spices and dry red fruits dominate on the nose, displaying great sophistication on the palate where its glorious fruit has begun developing early secondary nuances of cedar, earth and ember, replete with silky tannins and sublime acidity that confer great elegance and finesse, superbly integrated, just a tad dry at the finish. Quite glorious.

2001 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru. Great color. Beautifully delicate on the nose where red fruits, dark cherries and rose petals dominate with overtones of incense, displaying some early complexity on the open palate with a deep core of tangerines amidst some earthiness, gentle and seamless, suffused with sublime acidity and lovely tension that lingered on and on  long after the wine had left the palate. A complete wine.

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Morey Saint-Denis Grand Cru

November 13, 2017

These are faint recollections of a most memorable outing of Bacchus on 23 March 2017 at Tunglok Signatures, Orchard Parade Hotel, for all the wrong reasons. Thinking that we should set the bar higher henceforth, we decided to precede dinner with a free-for-all promenade a la FICOFI style. Packed into a tiny private room (in spite of me having borrowed Dr Ngoi’s name), we decided to walk around the table tasting every wine available, the restaurant offering only miserable plates of appetitisers. In no time at all, we were hopelessly inebriated such that even those sitting outside in the main hall could hear the mayhem within. By the time we sat down for dinner proper with an outstanding set of wines based on the theme of Morey-Saint-Denis Grand Cru, we were already terribly drunk. A few of us began deconstructing their main courses and dessert eaten earlier right on the table itself, whilst another few just barely  managed to keep the lid down until they had staggered to the toilet. The rest couldn’t remember how they reached home. Not surprisingly, my recollection of the wines drunk was vague. But here’s the lot…

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2010 Valentin Zusslin Pfingstberg Grand Cru. Bouquet of classic diesel fumes, absolutely intoxicating, quite full and generous in green fruits and yellow citrus stuffed with chalky minerals, developing fine tension across the palate. Excellent.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. Great nose of pineapples and tropical fruits, medium-bodied and soft, dry and resinous, displaying good presence and acidity, finishing well with subdued intensity. Lovely.

2002 Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal. Luscious golden hue with lovely tones of earth and some yeasty pungency, generous in tangerines and yellow citrus against a backdrop of dry ferrous minerals, finishing well with traces of sweet.

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2011 William Fevre Le Clos Chablis Grand Cru. Closed, proffering only faint traces of raw nutmeg, similarly underwhelming on the medium palate where chalky tones dominate with a bit of mint and creaminess. Going through an awkward stage.

2012 Aubert. Good concentration of white fruits amidst stern minerals with overtones of creme de la crème and paraffin, medium-bodied, nicely rounded with quiet intensity, a little short at its finish. Would have been difficult to place if tasted blind.

2012 Ch Pape Clement blanc. Generous in icing, licorice and vanilla, displaying good concentration and depth but unresolved on the mid-palate, finishing a little short.

2014 Beaux Freres Willamette Valley pinot noir. Intense bouquet of rose petals, quite lovely, suffused with raspberries and bright cherries on the palate, rather full with subtle acidity, coming across with a very clean feel, finishing with stern minerals. Very attractive.

2012 Cristom Vineyards Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley “Eileen Vineyard” pinot noir. Deep red with an abundance of raspberries, dark roses and redcurrants with traces of earth and vanilla, very fine in depth and acidity, displaying good linearity through to its finish. Excellent.

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Dinner of Morey Saint-Denis Grand Cru:

2002 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru (courtesy of Pipin). Fairly evolved in color, evoking lovely concentration of red fruits with a delicate core of tangerines, open and elegant, just a tad short but its feminine poise is quite irresistible.

2005 Domaine Georges Comtes De Vogue Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru (courtesy of Victor). Notably darker in tone and colour which is a hallmark of this esteemed producer, displaying wonderful depth of glorious fruit with a delicate pungency, nicely open, layered with complex tangerines at its core, exuding complex wondrous aromas throughout the whole evening. Superb!

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1996 Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (courtesy of Andre). Well evolved, very open and highly seamless, still showing superbly with good concentration of ripe strawberries and red fruits with overtones of grapefruit that produced a lovely tensile tone across the palate. Excellent.

1999 Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos de La Roche Grand Cru (courtesy of David Tan). Showing good evolution as well though clearly a wine that is richer and deeper than the preceding 1996, proffering vanilla with lovely red fruits, currants and tangerines, notably darker in tone with a quiet intensity, finishing with great linearity and persistence. Excellent.

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2006 Louis Jadot Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru (courtesy of KP). Good color, very correct in its pinot tone (as always with great domaine/negociant), displaying great acidity and concentration of fruit with a lovely subtle intensity, still youthful with traces of vanilla, very clean and crisp in its finish. Excellent.

2006 Domaine Dujac Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru (courtesy of Kieron). Lovely gentle nose., very beautiful in its presentation of glorious rose petals and raspberries with rich tones of camphor, poised with subtle intensity and concentration, still showing traces of vanilla, yet to peak.

2002 Domaine Dujac Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru (courtesy of LF). Beautifully crafted, utterly seamless and beguiling in its gentle intensity with lovely complex of ripe red cherries, strawberries and rose floral, absolutely elegant, developing seemingly at a glacial pace. Great stuff.

IMG-20170323-WA0003.jpg2001 Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart Grand Cru (courtesy of David Ong). Showing some vermillion, this wine is beautifully poised with an elegant spread of evolved red fruits and cherries with a deep core of orangey fruit, slightly plummy, seamless with excellent acidity, producing good tone and tension across the palate, utterly feminine. Excellent.

2002 Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart Grand Cru. Very similar in character to the 2001 but reaping the advantages of a stellar vintage, showing better ripeness and definition of red fruits and cherries with a much deeper core of delicate tangerines, equally seamless and highly elegant as well but clearly more opulent and delicious. Superb, and will hold for many more years.

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Oct 2017: 1996 Comte de Vogue Musigny, 1982 Beychevelle, 2012 Peccavi chardonnay, 1982 Leo-Poyferre, 2013 Ridge Monte Bello…

November 8, 2017

2015 Donnhoff Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett (courtesy of MH) at Mr Thu’s residence, 02 Oct 2017. Gentle aromas of peaches and melons with good presence on the palate, oozing controlled sweetness with a light touch, tapering to a long cool finish. Very fine.

1975 Macarini Brunate Barolo (courtesy of LF) at Otto Ristorante, 03 Oct 2017. Bouquet of gentle aged tangerines and soft rose petals, open and seamless, still retaining good acidity, fleshing out well though the fruit has begun to recede, still holding up pretty well but short. Time to drink up.

2006 Robert Arnoux Echezeaux (courtesy of Hsiang Sui) at Otto Ristorante, 03 Oct 2017. Delicious aromas of cherries, red fruits and strawberries with a deeper vein of darker fruit on the palate, opening up well with excellent presence amidst a tinge of saline minerals, never overbearing. Very fine.

2008 Domaine Coche-Dury Auxey-Duresses (courtesy of Vic) at Otto Ristorante, 03 Oct 2017. Good color with just a hint of evolution, rather reticent, though the palate is open with red fruits and light raspberries amidst a hint of clear citrus, producng some attractive deftness, very well balanced and fleshy with good tone but lacking in opulence. Very fine.

2004 Weingut Fritz Haag Brauneberger Wehlenur Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkap at Otto Ristorante, 03 Oct 2017. Intoxicating bouquet of diesel fumes amidst delicate tones of peaches, melons and other tropical fruits, highly aromatic, its outstanding concentration and sublime acidity producing superb mouthfeel. Delicious and lengthy. Still youthful. Outstanding.

1998 Gaja Barbaresco (courtesy of LF) at Otto Ristorante, 03 Oct 2017. Shy at first, becoming more profusely aromatic in dark cherries and redcurrants. Medium-full, still rather tight with crisp acidity, turning slightly stern towards the finish.

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1996 Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru (courtesy of MH), at Otto Ristorante, 03 Oct 2017. Very correct in its pinot tint with intoxicating beauty, proffering ripe cherries and red fruits with earthy tones, opening up beautifully with fabulous intensity and great sublime acidity, producing further lifted plummy notes, displaying great balance and verve. A complete wine, still with decades of life ahead. Outstanding.

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2011 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1er, popped and poured at Yan, National Gallery Singapore, on 05 Oct 2017. Very correct in its pinot tint, displaying an abundance of camphor, cherries and dark strawberries with a trace of earthiness from its saline minerals, showing good purity and intensity with lovely acidity, its lack of structure conferring a distinct feminity.

1982 Ch Branaire-Ducru (courtesy of LF) at Yan, National Gallery Singapore, on 05 Oct 2017. Highly delicious aromas of mature dark berries, glowing with beautiful earthy tones, rounded and feminine, opening up well with attractive glowing pungency and subtle acidity though there was a distinct fade-off towards the back palate, ending short.

1982 Ch Leoville Poyferre (courtesy of LF) at Yan, National Gallery Singapore, on 05 Oct 2017. Considerably broader and deeper in bouquet compared with the preceding Branaire-Ducru, glowing in red fruits with an attractive earthy pungency glowing red fruits, more minerally on the palate where it imparted a distinct ferric tone with lovely acidity, producing excellent mouthfeel.

1982 Ch Beychevelle (courtesy of LF) at Yan, National Gallery Singapore, on 05 Oct 2017. Brilliant burst of violets, dark fruits, spice, menthol and vanilla on the bouquet led to a great deep vein of redcurrants and dark fruits on the palate, oozing with sweet dark tannins and fine acidity, well-evolved with further notes of tangerines, still holding well at its peak. Excellent.

20171011_205309.jpg2005 J P Belle-Terroir, at the Singapore Recreation Club, 11 Oct 2017. Made by the legendary Chris Ringland, it seems, with its characteristic rich smooth opulence, loaded with mocha, vanilla and dark ripe plummy fruit with mild overtones of prunes and licorice and an after note of ember, displaying good linearity all through to its lengthy finish.

2000 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er, courtesy of Kieron at his residence, 13 Oct 2017. Minerally, well-balanced and deft with an alluring lightness, displaying notes of aged citrus and some caramel, a bit short.

2008 Domaine Faiveley Latriceres-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron at his residence, 13 Oct 2017. Lovely notes of fresh cherries and red fruits with a prominent base of earth and saline minerals, tinged with camphor. Drinking well, but I fancy Faiveley’s latter-day Latriceres is far better than those of last decade.

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2013 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Goldkap, a half-bottle courtesy of Kieron at his residence, 13 Oct 2017. Great abundance of  tropical fruits and lychees with an after note of burnt cider, all laid out with lovely freshness and gorgeous supple acidity, yet to develop but I’d imagine this will turn out very well in another 7-8 years.

20171017_202034.jpg2005 Ch Du Tertre, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 17 Oct 2017. Dark cherries, raspberries and sweet dark currants dominate on the nose with good levels of ripeness, slightly assertive at first, gradually gaining in richness and velvety textures over time, developing supple tannins with lovely acidity, more plummy and feminine over time. Very fine.

2004 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, popped and poured over a dimsum lunch at Jade Palace, 18 Oct 2017. This wine exudes a deep minerally glow amidst luscious crisp citrus and exotic Asian spices, developing more chalky elements over time. I’ve not had Leeuwin Estate chardonnay aged beyond ten years but this wine is still remarkably youthful, displaying great vigour and verve, highly burgundian, not unlike a Chassagne-Montrachet.

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20171021_132328.jpg2001 Ch Musar, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Well evolved in colour with prominent minty tones while red fruits and aged plums fill the palate with overtones of camphor, showing  very fine presence and acidity, still quite full. Very fine.

2012 Podernuovo A Palazzine, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Medium-full, oozing with deep dark fruits and black currants with fine acidity, very good in concentration, dryish with splashes of spice.

2010 Podernuovo A Palazzine, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. A 100% cabernet franc, this wine was closed, revealing only glimpses of blueberries and dark currants on the nose and palate, rounded with good acidity though streamlined in profile, slightly racy.

2013 Petrolo Galatrona, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. A wine of great concentration, acidity and intensity, loaded with fresh dark cherries though without much opulence, dryish in texture and finish.

2013 Petrolo Campo Lusso, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Dark, earthy and gravelly, quite full and spicy, structured with stern minerals that imparted a certain austerity at the finish.

2012 Peccavi chardonnay, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Not officially listed at this event but, knowing that Peccavi makes a gorgeous chardonnay, I asked for it and the rep duly reached below the table. I wasn’t disappointed. A lovely gentle floral bouquet of subtle complexity greeted the nose, opening up with generous tones of white flowers, delicate citrus, crème and earthy minerals amidst great acidity that produced superb tension and excellent mouthfeel, balanced with great ease and verve. Almost sublime. Buy.

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2007 Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Powerful medicinal tones with licorice and a hint of mint, almost port-like, rather full, displaying good weight and layering with subtle acidity.

2015 Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Generous in sweet red fruits, currants and ripe wild berries of excellent concentration, intensity and structure, not overwhelming, surprisingly approachable, rounded with a deep minerally streak, finishing with splashes of spice.

2015 Cullen Diana Madeline, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Notes of plums and tea leaves with a fair degree of earthiness, medium-bodied, surprisingly open with good delicacy, displaying fine concentration, subtlety and acidity.

2014 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Big racy wine, displaying good levels of ripeness, cedar and earth, quite full with fine acidity, not too tight but unsettled at this early stage.

2013 Mas de Daumas Gassac rouge, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. This wine from Languedoc Rousillon has a delicious open bouquet of dark berries and mushrooms, medium-full, showing very good concentration and linearity with very fine acidity and attractive subtlety at the finish.

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2006 Ch Nenin, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Delicious ripe berries, exuding lovely colour and freshness with good detailand some early complexity, plush and slightly racy, finishing wellon a minty note.

2016 Ch Valandraud, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Intense bouquet, leading to notes of dark berries, red fruits, dark plums and some earth on the palate, surprisingly open with subtle acidity and sophisticated tannins, very well-balanced.

2009 Ch Siran, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Generous aromas of dark fruits, earth and undergrowth, seamlessly rounded with ripe dark berries, subtly structured with smooth sweet tannins, superbly balanced. Good stuff.

2011 Ch Valandraud, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Dark inky red with a deep bouquet of ripe dark berries, rather full and rounded with earthy tones and sublime acidity that burned with lively intensity, finishing with just a hint of green.

20171021_143936.jpg2009 Les Trois Maria, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. From the Cotes de Rousillon Villages,  this wine exudes a glorious deep purple with a stunning brilliance, delicious in ripe wild berries and dark currants amidst attractive earthy tones, stuffed with great presence and acidity, finishing with exciting tannins. A great buy that would belong to any table.

2010 Casanova di Neri Pietra Donice, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Excellent fullness, minty with notes of licorice and stern earthy minerals.

2013 Tua Rita Redigraffi, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Deep in red fruits, rather intense and concentrated, stuffed with exciting tannins with traces of burnt and hot stones, a bit too assertive now. Good potential ahead for those who like their reds full on.

2013 Ridge Monte Bello, at the Matter Of Taste event, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 21 Oct 2017. Rich in redcurrants and ripe berries. Bright, open and plummy with a deeper streak of tangerines, quite open, finishing with overtones of tobacco leaves and cedar. Lovely potential.

2013 Brokenwood Wade Block 2 Shiraz, tasted at Wine Fiesta, 28 Oct 2017, in ambient temperatures that are far too warm. Very bright tones of red fruits and currants with fruit that is typically warm, ripe and assertive, almost astringent on the back palate, lacking depth, finishing with generous splashes of licorice, spice and mint.

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