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1993 Ch Latour, 2001 Ch Mouton Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild 2001 & 1985

September 12, 2020

Some recent talk amongst the few of us sparked this First Growth dinner at Imperial Treasure Great World on 03 September 2020 where, coincidentally, both whites hailed from the same vintage while we were able to pair the Lafite and Mouton of 2001.

1979 Champagne Drappier Réserve de l’Oenothèque, courtesy of LF. Deep dull golden. Dense mature nose of old yeast, apricot, cinnamon and aged honey underscored by caramelised nutty tones that imparted fabulous complexity. Still remarkably fresh with superb concentration and acidity that produced a highly refined dry intensity, mellowing with rounded elegance after some time. Still has the legs to last another generation.

20200903_195825.jpg2009 Domaine Leroy Puligny-Montrachet Sous le Puits 1er, courtesy of LF. Pale. White floral tones on the nose with some early complexity. Rather placid with very fine concentration of fruit, displaying good clarity with a restrained intensity. Turned a bit more creamy after some time, revealing some icy detail with a hint tropical fruit. Fleshed out with very fine intensity, taking on a gorgeous refined elegance as it finished with traces of spicy green chilli. Excellent.

2009 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron. Pale. Restrained characters of light morning dew and delicate white tones, glowing later with delectable crème de la crème that lit the palate with piercing crystalline clarity amid overtones of pomelo and white citrus, finishing well.

2001 Château Lafite Rothschild, aired in bottle for ninety minutes and then further decanted on-site. Deep garnet red. Delicious bouquet of red currants, cherries and dark roses that is simply quite lovely. Absolutely harmonious with superb freshness and supple intensity, subtly structured and fleshy. Developed greater depth with more of the smoky Pauillac tobacco character coming on, turning a bit cooler darker and more introspective over time. Drinking very well but may not have peaked.

2001 Château Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Kieron. Deep garnet red. Clearly imbued with excellent depth of red fruits and dark currants though unexpectedly restrained on the nose. Softly rounded, laced with very fine acidity that imparted a sense of distilled essence with a trained focus on the medium-bodied palate, fleshing out with a bolder velvety Pauillac presence late in the evening that threatened to upstage the Lafite of the same vintage though it remained a tad short.

1985 Château Lafite Rothschild, courtesy of Sir Robert. Deep crimson. Effusive in green capsicum and the hallowed glow of distilled red fruits. Rather fleshy. Softly rounded and open, gently layered with inviting characters of haw and camphor laid on austere earthy minerals, displaying great harmony and length though it remained rather subdued on the whole.

1993 Château Latour, courtesy of Vic. Deep crimson. Hint of earth and capsicum amid rosy hues, displaying good concentration and definition with its lively acidity still intact, tinged with a trace of burly green. Harmonious though not really your usual structured and layered Latour, missing that extra dimension of greatness as it finished short with a bit of spice.

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Aug 2020: 1999 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, 2017 Heitz-Lochardet Pommard Poutures, 2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos de la Roche, 1999 R Ampeau Auxey-Duresses Ecusseaux, 2017 Bentrock Sandhi Chardonnay…

September 7, 2020

20200822_204205.jpg2019 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, poured at home after three hours of aeration on 02 Aug 2020. Pale. Unmistakable soft tangy pungency of sauvignon blanc on the nose, producing excellent dry racy presence and transparency with notes of complex citrus, pomelo and a hint of peppermint. Very well-integrated with fine precision and layered with gentle intensity, finishing with good persistence. Great value.

Champagne Leon Launois Cuvée Réservée Brut NV, popped and poured at Crab at Bay, 07 Aug 2020. My second bottle in as many months. Excellent concentration of yellow citrus tinged with white smoke and pomelo that exerted very fine intensity and acidity within a sheen of smooth bubbles. Contrasted  very well against a relatively austere minerally base. Great value.

2009 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Reserva, drunk at home after a two-hour aeration with pork cheeks and foie gras, 09 Aug 2020. This wine has softened considerably, now a tad mellower and more open, revealing an abundance of red currants, dark plummy fruit and ripe wild berries with good inner detail, structured with pliant tannins that are almost velvety in tone as it finished with overtones of mocha and dark chocolate.

1999 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, decanted on-site over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 10 Aug 2020. Dull purple with a dusty rim, exuding a dark rosy-hued fragrance evoking ripe dark cherries, raspberries and mulberries with a laid back sur-maturite. Medium-full. Possesses very fine understated intensity and acidity, revealing fine inner detail of earthy gritty graphite minerals as it finished with traces of dried mushrooms and medicinal powder. Drinking very well, just missing in outright charm and opulence as expected for this vintage.

2017 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 15 Aug 2020. Intense white tones, vanillin and clear citrus on the nose amid diesel undertones. Shows excellent concentration, linearity and length with superb zest and freshness, developing lovely delicate intensity over time along with subtle characters of tropical fruits. Quite excellent.

2018 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthieres. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Lovely luminosity. Fairly sharp intense bouquet of white floral tones and chalk though only medium-bodied, displaying tight chalkiness and graphite minerals topped with a dash of crème on a backdrop of relaxed fruit that limited its expanse initially, eventually opening up to reveal subdued detail as it developed greater body with a rounded presence of delicate citrus. Not quite ready. I think the 2016 was better off the starting blocks.

2017 Hospices de Beaune Meursault-Charmes Cuvée Bahèzre de Lanlay 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Rich in fruit with an immediacy of coconut, bananas and frangipani. Medium-bodied. Very well layered with lovely depth and detailed nuances of tropical fruit that transcended the palate with good transparency and gentle intensity.

2014 Chateau de Puligny Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres 1er, courtesy of Grace. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Good clarity on the nose and palate with distinct minty overtones. Medium-full, imbued with refreshing citrus underscored by a dash of ferrous minerals that imparted subdued intensity throughout its length, finishing on a slightly spicy note.

2008 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Champs, courtesy of Vic. Poured from magnum at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Dryish nose of recessed chalk. Open with a light touch that conferred great clarity with a fleeting sense of intense citrus on a base of ferrous minerals, displaying cool rounded presence with some early maturity.

Champagne Grande Siècle NV at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Unusual minty nose of fluoride. Open with an evenly-toned minerally detail amid dry gentle bubbles within a narrow spectrum of flavours against a backdrop of understated yellow citrus.

2004 Champagne Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rose, courtesy of MH at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. This offering from Maison Laurent-Perrier is rather deeply coloured, proffering a slightly burnished tone of tangerines that lit the dryish palate with a distilled orangey glow amid gentle minty and yeasty overtones, draped with very fine soft bubbles.

2008 Champagne Cassy Cuvée Sophistiquée, courtesy of C J at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Cool refreshing mint. Quite full on the palate with a predominance of white tones, displaying lovely dryness and integration with excellent concentration of fruit albeit within a narrow spectrum, exerting a silky smooth intensity.

1988 Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts 1er at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Rather opaque, almost murky, proffering good density of mature red fruits and dark plums on a medium-bodied palate. Still laced with fined acidity though the fruit is clearly fading.

20200816_203644.jpg2006 Champagne Perrier-Jouët Rosé, courtesy of LF at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Quite deeply coloured, delivering overtones of mandarins and orangey flavours delivered within a superbly rounded body that is beautifully soft and supple in spite of its fullness and intensity. Still youthful.

2017 Domaine Heitz-Lochardet Pommard Clos des Poutures 1er monopole, courtesy of Mr Hariyono at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Tasted blind. Classic pinot tint, proffering a full rounded gentle bouquet of red fruits and dark plums with traces of incense. Medium-bodied. Beautifully integrated with a lovely feminine warmth and softness, finishing with fine linearity. It’s relative lack of length implied a premier cru but I thought I was tasting a Chambolle-Musigny.

2007 Domaine Jacques Prieur Musigny Grand Cru, courtesy of  C J at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Darkly, appropriately imbued with dark fruits and plums that exude a slight herbal trace on the nose though this was more pronounced on the palate where some medicinal sweetness was discernible along with a sense of toughness, not helped by the lack of inner detail.

2015 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Échezeaux Grand Cru, courtesy of MH at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Closed. A big wine, tight and brooding now though the abundance of dark raspberries, wild berries and black currants beneath that unsmiling veneer is evident.

1979 Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé, courtesy of LF at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. Beautifully evolved in colour, exuding a well-defined accentuated bouquet of tangerines and orangey tones. Still imbued with excellent concentration and intensity within its cloak of dry bubbles, exerting superb freshness and vibrancy with cool refreshing zest that bounced off a bed of bright shiny minerals. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, courtesy of Sanjay at Tunglok Signatures, 16 Aug 2020. This wine opens with an abundance of red fruits and plums on a classic tarry floor laid with smoldering ember, medium-full, displaying some early evolution as it traversed the palate with fine detail and urgency, finishing with a bit of smoky incense. Drinking very well.

2007 Borgogno Barolo, popped and poured at Venue by Sebastian, 21 Aug 2020. Dark. Substantially weighty and burly, imbued with sweet dark currants and wild berries with a spicy tinge. Developed more plummy tones with better purity after some time, more open and inviting with a hint of red cherries even though its ground minerals imparted some persistent austerity. 

2016 S de Suduiraut Vieilles Vignes, popped and poured at Wah Lok, 22 Aug 2020. Dense, effusive white tones of crème, vanillin and icing from its superb concentration of fruit that recalled peaches with a trace of salinity, traipsing the palate with refined acidity and dry intensity. Settled down after some time with excellent clarity, becoming discernibly more relaxed and a little more minerally. I would drink this while the Ygrec of d’Yquem sleeps, though this wine itself is excellent in its own right. 

2005 Château Sociando-Mallet, aired in bottle for two hours to go with pizza at home, 23 Aug 2020. This wine exudes a classic Haut-Médoc character of dry earthy textures, dark fruits and wild berries. Rather stern and unsmiling, offering only an occasional glimpse of fresh black currants, missing the exuberance and verve of the 2000. 

2000 Château D’Issan, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 27 Aug 2020. Deep delicious bouquet of red currants, raspberries and ripe wild berries with a lovely lift, displaying excellent concentration, intensity and acidity that imparted superb freshness. Developed further notes of Chinese tea leaves after some time with a hint of capsicum and spice amid ferrous undertones, building up to a strong spicy finish with velvety biting detail. Excellent.

20200829_210217.jpg1999 Domaine Robert Ampeau Auxey-Duresses 1er Ecusseaux, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 29 Aug 2020. Clear deep ruby, exuding a precise very finely detailed bouquet of dark cherries and raspberries tinged with a bit of earthiness, fairly effusive and deep. Highly attractive. Medium-full. Superbly fresh and harmonious, gliding across the palate with very fine acidity that conferred silky smooth textures, developing great suppleness and detail with a wonderful purity of fruit on a base of distinct but subtle earthy minerals, finishing with a lovely bit of charred wood quality. Great stuff!

2017 Domaine de Montille Saint-Aubin En Remilly 1er, popped and poured at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Pale. Good clarity and freshness on the nose and medium-bodied palate with a rather understated delicacy and intensity. Great balance, beautifully placid and elegant. Very refined.

2017 Bentrock Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay, courtesy of LF, popped and poured at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Light golden. Gentle lift of distant yellow citrus. Medium-bodied at the first pour, striking a very refined rounded polite elegance that’s almost ethereal, beautifully proportioned and utterly Burgundian. Fleshed out over time, becoming a tad sweeter and creamier with greater fullness and intensity though still retaining good clarity. Excellent.

2011 Pauillac, courtesy of Kieron. Decanted on-site at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Tasted blind. Very deep purple, proffering dark currants within a bright sheen of vanillin and enamel on the nose with specks of bright minerals amid distant dark fruits on the medium-bodied palate, rather unconvincing on the whole. Gelled a lot better after some time as it fleshed out with soft purple fruits and currants tinged with dark plums and licorice, showing true Pauillac character with fair detail. The third wine of Château Latour. 

2009 Kistler Cuvée Catherine, courtesy of Sir Robert. Popped and poured at Crystal Jade Paragon, 29 Aug 2020. Purplish, tinged with a hint of early evolution. Quite effusive in gluey resinous hues with a lovely fragrance. Dark, fleshy and highly supple with a dominance of dark currants and black fruits, suitably intense but well balanced, still yet to shake off its trace of enamel.

2018 Coldstream Hills Chardonnay, drunk at home after being aired in bottle for two hours, 30 Aug 2020. Pale. Rather shy on the nose though there is a very fine concentration of delicate yellow citrus and crisp acidity that stings the medium-bodied palate with focused intensity within a fairly narrow spectrum of flavours balanced by a subtle ferrous tone, showing good transparency. 

Champagne Veuve Clicquot Rosé, popped and poured at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 31 Aug 2020. Light orangey hue. Good concentration of hazelnuts, dried apricot, orange peel and bark that blazed across the palate with bright dry intensity within a narrow spectrum. Softer and more relaxed after some time, fleshing out with a deeper burnished tone amid traces of austere minerals.

Dominus 2011, 2006, 1996 & 1991

August 30, 2020

Of all Napa wines, Dominus probably comes closest to matching true Bordeaux character measure-for-measure. Vines were first planted at the Napanook area in the early nineteenth century though the story of Dominus only began in 1982 when Christian Moueix teamed up with the owners there (the daughters of John Daniel Jr of Inglenook winery) to establish a Bordeaux blend. Moueix gained full control of the estate in 1995 and directed the winemaking there till 2008. Dominus truly needs more than twenty years in bottle to be at its best but once there, one is rewarded by a seamless elegant expression of fruit, terroir and craftsmanship of the highest order without calling attention to itself, perfectly balanced and proportioned, the sort of nirvana that all vignerons seek to attain but few succeed. Restaurant Ibid proved to be the fitting venue for this mini-vertical on 25 August 2020, where it was good to see Master Chef Woo Wai-Leong and his team doing well in the aftermath of Covid-19. Apart from the 1991 that was decanted, all wines were aired in bottle.

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2013 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs from the restaurant list. Displaying a slight greenish hue, this English sparkling wine exudes real class and sophistication with a complex bouquet of smoky light earthy pungency, yielding excellent clarity with subtle nuances of delicate lime and green fruits on an open supple palate laced with light toast and yellow citrus that exert gentle intensity with a trace of sweetness within a cloak of very fine translucent bubbles, finishing with a lovely delicate lift. Wonderfully harmonious.

2011 Dominus, courtesy of Dolly. Deep crimson. Distinct nose of green capsicum with more of incense coming on later. Medium-full. Rounded and fleshy, structured with pliant unobtrusive tannins that exert great suppleness with a relaxed quality, underscored by stony minerals that imparted a discernible trace of austerity before blossoming with a lovely velvety fullness of warm ripe fruit with recessed plummy tones, exuding great harmony. Destined for greatness. Will it turn out to be the new 1991?

2006 Dominus. Deep purple. Understated bouquet of raspberries, mulberries and currants. Medium-full, imbued with a controlled intensity of fruit within soft rounded tannins amid a hint of green capsicum with a spicy tinge, gaining in suppleness and intensity as it became more open over time. Less opulent than the 2011 and still a little unsettled at this stage.

1996 Dominus, courtesy of Marc. Deep crimson. Open and brightly lit with an inviting spread of mature red fruits and cherries, again with that signature trace of capsicum. Highly focused on the palate with a distilled essence, revealing a delicious deep gentle vein of blueberries, black currants and camphor as it settled with relaxed intensity and fine complexity, just a tad short. At its best.

1991 Dominus, courtesy of Russ. Dusky red. Fully mature with an open soft fleshiness, somewhat distant with an understated intensity of fruit though its harmony, refinement and elegance is never called into question as it tapered to a sweet delicious finish. A little more reserved and introspective than a previous bottle tasted earlier this month but what a privilege still.

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Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B

August 14, 2020

The Jürade de Saint-Émilion du Singapour met again within the space of a month on 04 August 2020 at Wah Lok (with proper safe-distancing) on a broader theme of Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé B. Unlike the Left Bank which underwent classification in 1855, Saint-Émilion had to wait a century later till 1955 for its wines to be classified. And whereas the former has become permanently fixed, the wines of Saint-Émilion are re-classified roughly every ten years where some are promoted in status while a few others are demoted. Inevitably, this sort of thing succeeds only in stirring up plenty of controversy such that, at the last classification in 2012, the adjudication was outsourced to a non-Bordeaux-related seven-person commission. As it turned out, Pavie and Angélus joined Ausone and Cheval Blanc at the top tier of Premier Grand Cru Classé A. Fourteen of the “best of the rest” formed Premier Grand Cru Classé B while sixty-three others formed Grand Cru Classé. However, with more than 1000 growers in the wider Saint-Émilion appellation, it is clear that the vast majority of estates are not classified which, itself, does not imply any kind of inadequacy, an instance probably best exemplified by Tertre Rotebouef which declined to be classified.

2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, courtesy of Russ. Pervasive cool vanillin is evident, exuding an icy coolness that imparted excellent freshness and fine concentration as it opened up to reveal detailed layers of white fruits and citrus that soothed the palate with creamy smoothness. Superb.

2006 Champagne Dom Perignon, courtesy of KC. Greenish hue. This wine opens with a wonderful complexity of fruit with an irresistibly rich creamy depth, displaying superb concentration and intensity on the palate  with some early complexity as well within a sheen of very fine bubbles, superbly layered with great presence. This is one of the finest efforts of Dom. Outstanding.

2017 Domaine Jean Chartron Saint-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er. Poured from magnum. Gentle notes of crème matched by excellent clarity on the palate, suitably crisp with very fine agility, developing greater fullness and presence underscored by a lovely floral intensity that only came on much later. Excellent value.

2007 Château Valandraud Blanc, courtesy of Stephen. Pale. Powerful racy bouquet of glue and resinous hues while pebbly tones, white fruits and jackfruit dominate on the busy palate, somewhat accentuated with a bright minerally shine. It gained further intensity over time, turning slightly austere at the finish though that same brightness remained.

2013 Château Valandraud Blanc, courtesy of Marc. Has that same exuberance as the 2007, exuding powerful hues of resin, glue and jackfruit that teased the palate with great detail and precision without being overwhelming, developing some creamy bright minerally tones as it finished with fine linearity.

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2008 Château Pavie Macquin, courtesy of Marc. Intense bouquet of wild berries and dark currants that exudes a surprising calming effect. Rather full, deeply flavoured with broad swathes of warm ripe fruit tinged with traces of green, almost velvety, though yet to develop inner detail. Plenty of promise.

2009 Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse, courtesy of Russ. Beautifully open, flooding the palate with an expanse of juicy fruit amid overtones of rose petals. Highly succulent and fleshy with poised refinement in spite of its underlying fine intensity, finishing with a tinge of sweetness.

2008 Château Larcis Ducasse, poured from magnum. Dark deep purple. Quite open, imbued with black fruits and dark currants that revealed fine detail with a bit of tarry quality. Very well-proportioned with fine acidity, betraying just a hint of burliness towards its finish that’s probably a characteristic of that vintage.

2006 Château La Gaffelière, courtesy of KP. Deep garnet red. Dark plummy tones and red currants dominate, fleshy and highly supple with a lovely fullness. Poised with quiet controlled elegance and intensity with a deeper vein of fruit, not showy at all, opening up well to reveal further velvety detail. Excellent.

2000 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, courtesy of KP. Deep garnet red. Open with superb suppleness, displaying tremendous harmony with a smooth quiet intensity as it exuded overtones of soy and Chinese tea leaves tinged with capsicum. Distinctly feminine with an understated regal intensity, yielding further detail and red fruits to the fore as it grew in further intensity through the evening. Outstanding.

2002 Château La Mondotte, courtesy of Melvin. Deep garnet red. Essentially shut on the nose though there is a subtle glow of black and red plums amid overtones of varnish and enamel. Surprisingly open on the medium-full palate with very good concentration of fruit without being overwhelming.

2000 Château Troplong Mondot, courtesy of KC. Deep purple. Was there a trace of cork taint on the nose? Undoubtedly beautiful, though, on the open palate, wonderfully supple with excellent verve and intensity, finishing with great persistence that lingered with an effusive glow. Distinctly 2000.

2001 Château Troplong Mondot, courtesy of Kieron. Poured from magnum. Gentle glow of complex red fruits tinged with incense. Medium-full. Open with a certain relaxed feel. Doesn’t quite possess the opulence of the 2000 though its distinct menthol lift eventually developed with superb intensity into a glowing finish.

2003 Château Troplong Mondot, courtesy of Choon Lai. Crimson. Open with a smooth expanse of red fruits. Fleshy and well-endowed though there is a hint of unresolved alcohol that betrayed the excessive heat of the vintage.

1989 Château Canon La-Gaffelière, courtesy of Stephen. Dark. Still rather full even as it has reached full maturity with tertiary characters of cedar, mahogany and ember. Beautifully balanced with good refinement and resolution on the palate, finishing with an attractive sweetness.

1989 Château Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of Russ. Outside of theme but who can refuse anything from this estate? Wonderful depth of tangerines on the nose that led to mature fleshy savoury characters on the palate, showing a bit of its age though the great open intensity that came through more than made up for it, finishing with a dash of roasted sweet meat.

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1990: Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Cos D’Estournel, Opus One & 1991 Dominus & 1962 Montrose

August 7, 2020

CHS threw a wonderful birthday dinner at Otto Ristorante on 30 July 2020 for a few of the usual suspects from Gleneagles under socially-distanced conditions. A 1990 line-up was mooted which also threw up a couple of other lovely surprises. Thank you and many happy returns, big bro!

2016 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthires. Poured from magnum. Light delicate citrus and fresh dew on the nose, drawing one in with gentle seductiveness. Displays tremendous mouthfeel right off the blocks, exuding a tingling teasing acidity that imparted lovely presence, developing greater weight and agility with understated intensity by the end of the evening, topped with refined crème de la crème. Most satisfying. Excellent.

Franciacorta Satèn Brut, a magnum from the restaurant list. Pale. Produced from 100% chardonnay from the Franciacorta region and bottled at lower pressure (5 bars instead of 6 for champagne), supposedly to produce a sense of silkiness (hence “satèn”), this wine lived up to expectations with quite an effusive bouquet of yellow citrus replete with sexy dense smoky overtones whilst the fullish palate is endowed with a lovely expanse of sophisticated fruit laced with very fine acidity amid highly understated minerals, evoking a smooth dryness with an enticing sweetness. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to tell apart from champagne. Very lovely.

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1990 Château Cos D’Estournel, a pair courtesy of CHS and Vic. Dark crimson, exuding a superb glow of mature red fruits and cherries amid earthy tones. Medium-bodied. Rounded with fleshy chewy pliant tannins, supremely harmonious. Almost velvety in its lovely layering with a deep tangerine core, displaying seamless transition between the fruit, acidity and intensity across every dimension as it coasted to a confident finish with a bit of charred overtones. Consistent with another tasting note last year. Truly Cos at it’s best. Outstanding.

1990 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, a pair courtesy of John and moi. Dusky red. This wine is supremely open with very fine presence of red fruits on a bed of ferrous tones that exert understated intensity. Highly harmonious, traversing the palate with fine linearity to its lasting finish, developing greater immediacy over time though it appeared somewhat feminine and diminutive beside the more structured Cos D’Estournel.

1990 Opus One, courtesy of MH. Soft focus of rose petals and cherries. Medium-full, exuding a measured intense fragrance with a lovely velvety warmth. Superbly harmonious, finishing with traces of green capsicum.

1991 Dominus, courtesy of LF. Tasted blind. Deep garnet red, proffering notes of mature red fruits and dark currants with a gentle fragrance. Medium-bodied. Open, softly rounded and fleshy. Highly harmonious and elegant, teasing the palate with fleeting intensity. Not flashy at all. Finished quietly, again with that lingering perfumed fragrance. This wine was so Bordeaux-like in every aspect that I thought it was a 1990 La Conseillante. I was close…in a way. Superb!

1962 Château Montrose, courtesy of Sanjay. Still rather darkly coloured. There was some funkiness on the nose that blew away, revealing characters of mahogany, cedar and dark plums with a tangerine core, still imbued with superb acidity and fine detail with a lovely suppleness. Holding on well though notably a notch below the 1961 Château Montrose tasted last month. Nevertheless, what a privilege!

2015 Allegrini Amarone Classico Della Valpolicelia Classico, courtesy of Jimmy. Very dark in colour and tone. Undoubtedly a big wine, still shut and tightly coiled though burnt ember and charred elements are discernible from the intense depth and concentration of dark fruits.

July 2020: 2016 Château Valandraud Blanc, 1999 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin, 2004 Pichon Longueville Comtesse Lalande, 1996 Robert Ampeau Meursault-Charmes, 2012 Drouhin Folatières, 2018 Clos Tillet, 1982 Nenin, 1961 Chasse-Spleen…

August 1, 2020

2017 Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes, popped and poured at Crab At Bay, 01 July 2020, and again at Yoshi on 16 July 2020. Pale luminosity. Medium-bodied at first, displaying moderate intensity of citrus, lime and jackfruit, highly harmonious with delicate transparency. Gained increasing intensity and acidity with emerging notes of raw nutmeg amid bold chalky tones, eventually fleshing out with great body and inner detail as it finished with excellent length and linearity. Very well-endowed for a bourgogne and could easily have passed off as premier cru given enough aeration and class-leading stemware.

2016 Château Valandraud Blanc, popped and poured after hours on 02 July 2020. Pale. Rather unyielding at first, tightly coiled with white fruits, pears and fig that eventually fleshed out with layers of fruit and white floral tones on a subdued chalky base, traversing the palate with lovely density and subtle acidity as it opened up further in a blaze of stunning detail amid overtones of raw nutmeg. Excellent but cannot be hurried.

2015 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras, courtesy of Vic. Popped and poured over dimsum at Asia Grand, 04 July 2020. Pale. Good intensity of citrus and lime, quite richly layered with fine concentration of fruit on a backdrop of subdued chalkiness that soothed the palate with an easy smoothness, transparency and agility, developing more body and velvety depth over time. Quite excellent though I feel the 2014 still holds sway.

2012 Rockford Black Shiraz, popped and poured over dimsum at Asia Grand, 04 July 2020. Australia’s top sparkling shiraz shines again with beautifully ripe luxuriant Barossa fruit that recalls sweet dark berries and currants tinged with ferrous earthy elements and mild medicinal tones amid faint overtones of cordite, highly harmonious and elegant even as it grew in gentle intensity and complexity over time towards the character of Rockford’s Basket Press Shiraz upon which it is based. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Maladière 1er Blanc, tasted at home after two hours of aeration in bottle, 05 July 2020. My third bottle in as many months. Displaying a pale greenish hue, this grossly under-rated wine displays a powerful bouquet of pomelo, lime and raw nutmeg with a bit of early complexity. Medium-full, superbly integrated with understated intensity and sublime acidity as it finished with fine linearity. Great value.

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2018 Domaine A-F Gros Bourgogne, popped and poured at Mak Hon Kee, 09 July 2020. Gentle sweet fragrance of dark cherries and ripe wild berries with a trace of earthiness. Quite full and creamy smooth on the palate, showing good density with very well-managed tannins, subtle acidity and ground minerals, developing greater open intensity as it finished with good linearity amid savoury characters and sweet incense. Lots going on here for a bourgogne. Good value at SGD58.

2018 Sierra Cantabria Tinto Seleccion, at SGD72++ from the restaurant list of Gaig, 10 July 2020. Popped and poured. Fairly deep in colour, exuding a slightly forward balance of red plums and tangerines. Rounded with lovely suppleness and fullness, displaying good definition and refined acidity, structured with very fine exciting tannins against a backdrop of sweet cedary characters. Finished well with a bit of spiciness.

Champagne Leon Launois Cuvée Réservée Brut NV, popped and poured over dimsum at Jade Palace, 11 July 2020. Gentle notes of brioche, honeysuckle and yeast on the nose, leading to a full palate of dense citrus supported by bright graphite minerals that imparted excellent acidity and intensity without being too dry. Excellent value at SGD39. Gives the usual maisons a good run for the money.

2006 Fontanafredda Barolo La Rosa, aired in bottle for three hours prior at home, 12 July 2020. Notes of dark plums and black currants dominate, tinged with licorice. 20200719_171903.jpgRather full and rounded, supple enough with a medicinal trace though it is a tad too heavy, rather unyielding as it grew bolder in tone over time.

1999 Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Russ at Yoshi, 16 July 2020. Popped and poured. Lifted bouquet of red fruits and cherries. Clearly a big wine, still tight and slightly acidic at first. Turned more supple over time, exuding darkish tones with a rich body of austere minerals, becoming sweeter and more lifted as more of evolving red fruits imbued with a deep  core of tangerines came into focus, opening up with lovely depth, definition and acidity. Still yet to peak. Excellent.

1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau Meursault-Charmes 1er, popped and poured at Yoshi, 16 July 2020. Controlled glow of apricot, mandarins and honeysuckle matched by delicate citrus that exude gentle intensity of fruit, displaying excellent focus, agility and freshness with a lovely velvety presence. Distinctly feminine. Quite superb, and may not even have peaked.

2004 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, decanted on-site at Gattopardo, 21 July 2020. Deep inky purple. Generous nose of cedar, cinnamon, bananas with some earthy pungency, displaying a lithe highly agile medium-bodied palate laced with supple sexy tannins that exerted superb mouthfeel with an open intensity, turning more sharply accentuated after some time with a discernible tinge of petit verdot green, finishing well. Distinctly feminine, yet to peak. Quite excellent. Do note that Gattopardo has shifted its BYO to Wednesday; otherwise it’s a hefty corkage of SGD80++.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Folatières 1er, popped and poured over lunch at Otto Ristorante, 23 July 2020. Generous lift of delicate yellow citrus and sorbet that exuded an exciting acute intensity, opening up rapidly with fine tension and superb concentration. More rounded over time as it settled with an emerging hint of wild flowers and nutmeg against a backdrop of chiseled chalky minerals, displaying great balance and purity with lovely length and linearity as it transformed into an elegant beauty. Far more expressive than a bottle from the same case tasted earlier this year. Excellent.

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2018 Château Clos Tillet, aired in bottle for 2-3 hours prior over dinner at home, 26 July 2020. This bright purple Saint-Émilion exudes a forward balance of ripe raspberries, cherries and currants, fresh and vibrant on the medium-full palate, carrying good weight with subtle detail within an understated tannin structure that’s almost silky smooth. Highly harmonious and balanced. Excellent quality for only SGD29. Ought to flesh out further with another 3-4 years of cellaring.

2000 Champagne Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, courtesy of Sir Robert, 28 July 2020. Clear luminous gold. Pine, fig and walnuts on the nose. Medium-bodied, displaying a lovely expanse of fresh citrus supported by subtle chalkiness and ferrous minerals within a sheen of smooth bubbles though missing in real detail and complexity expected of a Winston Churchill. Rather placid.

1961 Château Chasse-Spleen, courtesy of Sir Robert, 28 July 2020. Though the cork has degenerated completely, this wine is still showing quite well, exuding a mild earthy funkiness from its dark opaque recesses, still imbued with good presence of mature dark plums and raspberries that exert fine acidity and intensity with further overtones of warm gravel and marmite. Still reasonably fresh but clearly past its best.

2008 J L Chave Sélection Hermitage Blanche, courtesy of Sir Robert, 28 July 2020. This wine opens with a gentle bouquet of vanilla, white flowers and high-toned crème de la crème that led to a rich oily density, laced with great acidity and intensity of white tones that is almost icy, revealing lovely detail and developing complexity as it traversed the palate with controlled linearity to a persistent finish. Distinctly not chardonnay and would have been very hard to place if blinded. Truly lovely, proving that it’s the producer that matters most.

2000 La Petite Eglise, courtesy of Sir Robert, 28 July 2020. Second label of Château L’Eglise-Clinet. There is a lovely earthiness on the nose amid gentle aromas of dark cherries and plums with a lingering trace of sweet currants. Medium-bodied. Open with understated intensity, finely balanced with a hint of ember at the finish. Drinking well.

1982 Château Nenin, courtesy of Sir Robert, 28 July 2020. Still rather dark, proffering earthy tones with a dash of medicinal powder. Soft, slightly velvety, imbued with a core of tangerines amid dark currants and fine acidity, developing better definition and layering with further notes of cedar and white smoke. Very fine.

2014 Domaine Fourrier Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Sir Robert, 28 July 2020. Deep subtle dark cherries, tangerines and plums on the nose. Still tightly wound with unresolved tannins, rather firm and acerbic, slightly austere as it developed a certain tarry quality on the floor that is a classic characteristic of that vintage. Excellent potential but needs many more years of cellaring.

1996 Château Léoville Poyferré, popped and poured at Putien Kitchener Rd, 31 July 2020. Deep garnet red. Supremely open with a superb lift of red currants, cedar, mahogany and plums amid a hint of dried mushrooms. Medium-bodied. Rounded and utterly seamless with very fine acidity and transparent tannins. Distinctly feminine. Drinking very well, just lacking in real depth and that extra dimension of complexity that’s easily present in a Las-Cases.

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Château Figeac: 2016, 2009, 2000, 1995, 1990, 1988, 1985 & 1982

July 20, 2020

The Jürade de Saint-Émilion du Singapour was able to meet again on 14 July 2020 (Bastille Day!) at Shang Palace, Shangri-la Singapore, under socially-distanced conditions to enjoy a vertical of Château Figeac, fronted by a mini promenade of burgundy whites and champagne. The wines of this Right Bank maverick are actually seldom encountered in retail shops and prices nowadays are distinctly higher than ever, even for en primeur. The line-up that evening turned out to be quite stunning, for almost all the milestone vintages of the past forty years are represented. Many thanks, everyone, for your contributions.

Champagne Forget-Brimont Brut Premier NV, courtesy of Sandy. Attractive bouquet of intense white fruits with a minty effervescence though the palate is surprisingly relaxed with an easy feel, layered with yellow citrus and smooth bubbles that yielded fine transparency.

Champagne Möet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV, courtesy of Marc. Surprisingly alluring in its bouquet of walnuts, toast, smoldering  ember and yeasty tones. Equally well-endowed  on the palate, showing fine presence and definition with subtly layered nuances.

20200714_193244.jpg2012 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Pucelles 1er. Dull light golden. Notes of brioche and honeysuckle on the nose amidst a dash of crème de la crème and recessed chalk, developing more of white floral fragrance over time while the medium-bodied palate has a certain relaxed feel, displaying delicate lime and citrus fruits of lovely depth and intensity, yielding subtle detail and obscure minerals. Very fine but definitely a step behind the 2014.

2015 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault Les Narvaux, courtesy of Kieron. More pronounced bouquet of brioche with a perfumed fragrance, quite beguiling. Medium-bodied, beautifully transparent in texture with rounded white tones that display gentle intensity with an equally gentle depth of focused fruit, all very subtly shaded with superb harmony, painting the palate with Impressionist strokes as it finished with good persistence and linearity. This is not your usual densely chiseled PYCM. Excellent.

2015 Domaine Francois Mikulski Meursault Poruzots 1er, courtesy of Russ. Pale but very correct at once in its tonal balance of white floral characters and crème, marked by a superbly controlled focus and intensity on the entry, never ever threatening to overwhelm the lovely delicacy and transparency of the medium-bodied palate. Finished very well in a splash of olives and tangy citrus, nuanced with great subtlety. Excellent.

2016 Château Figeac, courtesy of Sandy. Bright purple. Some earthiness is evident, shrouding the abundance of red fruits and currants lurking beneath, resulting in some restraint on the nose. Medium-bodied. Surprisingly open, highly supple and fleshy, still laced with discernible vanillin though superbly harmonious and utterly seamless in its layering of fruit, acidity and tannins, exerting tremendous control and precision as it traversed the palate with great linearity to a quiet finish. Great potential.

2009 Château Figeac, courtesy of KC. Deep garnet red. Superb on the nose, evoking ripe dark plums, currants and red fruits with some early complexity. Deeply nuanced as well on the medium-full palate, characterised by chocolate, mocha and capsicum that exude great suppleness and harmony throughout its length, revealing fine detail. Still youthful. Excellent.

2000 Château Figeac. Open with superb transparency, ease and suppleness, displaying a lovely complex of dark currants, plums, red fruits, haw and cinnamon that exude fabulous shades and subtle nuances in its layers, supremely agile with a teasing quality. Doesn’t quite truly plumb the depths but its mesmerizing multi-dimensional profile is most compelling.

1995 Château Figeac, courtesy of Melvin. Crimson. Great feminine bouquet of mature red fruits amidst overtones of incense and ash. Fully developed, displaying gentle complexity as it traversed the palate with supreme grace and elegance, glowing with an alluring lift of tertiary characters all the way to its lasting finish. Outstanding. This fiftieth vintage of Manoncourt is marked by a special label.

1990 Château Figeac, courtesy of Kieron. Crimson. Superb perfumed fragrance of rose petals that exerted tremendous lift. Softly rounded, layered with superb complexity of fruit with a deep tangerine core that yielded great detail amid a distinct note of capsicum. Subtly structured with superb length, finishing with a trace of sweetness. Caught at its absolute peak.

1988 Château Figeac, courtesy of Marc. Lovely lift of evolved tertiary characters. Poised with great harmony and regal elegance, almost ethereal, displaying infinite dimension with a seemingly unfathomable depth. Outstanding.

1985 Château Figeac, courtesy of Stephen. Outstanding feminine fragrance of rose petals and mature fruit. Wonderfully supple, displaying a most unexpected exuberance of red fruits that still imparted exciting intensity and freshness, traversing the palate with great swagger and linearity as it finished with traces of capsicum. Outstanding.

1982 Château Figeac, courtesy of Russ. Evolved crimson. Great lift of tertiary characters, a heady complex of currants, cinnamon, dark plums, tangerines and violets tinged with crème that’s almost hedonistic. Open, highly supple with an elegant understated intensity and acidity, superbly balanced though a tad short. Great stuff, at its best.

2002 Alois Kracher Trockenbeerenauslese No. 10, courtesy of Melvin. Rather full. Suitably mature with a great expanse of nectarines and apricot that exerted a controlled sweetness amid overtones of ember, imbued with lovely depth and velvety textures. Excellent.

2007 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Auslese, courtesy of Stephen. Pale. Dominant bouquet of diesel tones and black earth, almost peaty in character though this wine is astonishingly agile, highly engaging in spite of its delicate tread on the palate. Quite excellent.

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June 2020: 2009 Rockford Black Shiraz, 1996 Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 1999 Palmer…

July 6, 2020

2008 Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs. Popped and poured, 01 June 2020. Faint greenish hue. Reticent, proffering just distant notes of green fruits, lime and clear citrus though the palate is brightly lit with great concentration and intensity of fruit amid overtones of almonds and walnuts supported by firm minerally elements. Crisp but a shade austere. Not ready.

2005 Château Malartic-Lagravière Rouge, decanted for 120 minutes prior on 03 June 2020. Darkly coloured, delivering its promise of dark fruits and ripe wild berries laced with some vegetal trace. Still tight with great concentration and intensity, taking its time to slowly unravel, revealing gentle sweet dark currants underscored by firm but well integrated acidity. Very fine but it really needs 3-4 hours of coaxing at this stage.

2017 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Blanc, aired in bottle for 90 minutes on 05 June 2020. Excellent concentration of clear and yellow citrus, exuding overtones of brioche and honeysuckle. Superbly integrated with sublime acidity and stony minerals, displaying lovely expanse and intensity with crisp definition, finishing with good length and verve. Very confidently poised. Hard to believe it is just village. Runs its bigger sibling, the Mercurey La Mission monopole, very close. Incredible value.

20200620_191506.jpg2015 Domaine Thibert Père et Fils Saint-Véran Champ Rond, aired in bottle for 90 minutes prior on 08 June 2020. Superb concentration of pomelo and clear citrus with bit of lift, open with lovely intensity and well-integrated acidity on a base of distinct ferrous minerals that imparted darker tones, yielding good detail and subtle power in spite of the density of fruit, never at all heavy. Settled down with more transparency and focus, turning a little more austere with more dominant minerals even as it finished with juicy intensity. Still not quite ready. Keep.

1999 Château Palmer, decanted for 30 minutes prior on our Anniversary, 11 June 2020. Deep garnet red, exuding notes of gentle toast, taking its time to develop a deep plummy glow with a certain sur-maturité. Highly supple and open with very good concentration and fine intensity of darker fruits and currants, yielding fine detail aided by fully-resolved tannins as it finished with refined elegance amid traces of soy and earthy elements. Absolutely harmonious. A feminine Palmer, rather than one with outright power. Still remarkably fresh. At its peak.

2005 Mount Mary Quintet. Decanted for five hours prior on 13 June 2020 to go with a juicy home-cooked steak. Subdued tones of black fruits and currants on the nose though there is no doubting the excellent concentration of fruit on the palate that shone with brilliant intensity, revealing good definition with a firm graphite spine but still somewhat tight and reluctant, neither plump nor opulent. Still not ready?

2016 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Maladière 1er Rouge, 14 June 2020. In spite of advanced aeration of more than two hours in bottle, this wine was still rather tight, stuffed with abundant dark cherries, raspberries and mulberries that exuded whiffs of delicious fragrance with a plush rounded mouthfeel, though its depth appeared to be attenuated by a certain minerally brightness. The wine did finally open up after another ninety minutes with very fine velvety detail and juicy intensity, literally at the last pour, a case of too little too late. One for the long haul, I guess.

2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Maladière 1er Blanc, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 19 June 2020. Attractive bouquet of fresh white floral tones, vanillin, icing and crème. Medium-full. Very well layered with transparent textures that yielded good clarity just beneath the faintest sheen of paraffin. Shut down a little after some time before re-emerging with further intensity of clear citrus and bitter lemon. Deserves more time in bottle for secondary development.

1996 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, popped and poured at Otto Ristorante, 20 June 2020. Deep garnet core with a crimson rim. Exudes a lovely earthy glow of a mature claret with a soft delicious fragrance of ripe red fruits and currants. Still rather fullish, imbued with very fine concentration of fruit with early tertiary characters of sweet cedar, haw and camphor. Open with supple intensity and gorgeous acidity on a bed of subtle earthy minerals, developing a masculine spine over time as it commanded great presence with an exciting mouthfeel. Caught at its peak. Excellent.

2019 Giant Steps Chardonnay, aired in bottle for 90 minutes prior on 23 June 2020. Attractive bouquet of morning dew, olives, grassy elements and raw nutmeg that conjured some rusticity. Medium-full. Layered with good concentration of lemon and clear citrus that yielded good presence and fine inner definition, its sleek acidity imparting energetic freshness. Good value.

2009 Rockford Black Shiraz, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 27 June 2020. Unmistakable warm ripe velvety Barossa shiraz tinged with licorice on the nose and palate, rounded with lovely fullness, depth and measured intensity. Lively with very well-integrated acidity, developing a broader sweet velvety expanse coated with very fine bubbles as it finished on a subtle liqueured note with good complexity without any pretension, Excellent.

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1961 Montrose, 1997 Mouton Rothschild, 1995 Latour, 1997 Drouhin Montrachet MdL, 1990 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut, 1995 Haut-Brion, 1994 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne

June 29, 2020

This dinner at Jade Palace, Singapore, on 25 June 2020 marks the end of more than two months of state-imposed dine-in restriction in the wake of Covid-19. Such a memorable occasion mandated no less than a First Growth line-up, plus the rarity of a 1961 claret. It was very good to see, once again, the familiar faces of the restaurant staff and to know that everyone has remained safe and healthy.

1990 Champagne Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Brut, courtesy of LF. Deeply coloured, proffering oxidative notes with a prominent minerally tone. A similar whiff of pungent earthiness is also evident of the palate, still imbued with excellent fullness of clear citrus underscored by a controlled dry intensity and steely depth amid overtones of gun smoke cordite. Excellent.

20200625_193703.jpg1994 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, courtesy of LF. Still relatively pale with a bright minerally shine on the nose. Rather restrained and tight initially, gradually loosening up to reveal fresh clean lines that enhanced its purity of fruit, displaying excellent depth and agility with a light minty glow that kept up its apparent youthfulness whilst maintaining a subdued intensity throughout. Fairly consistent with a previous tasting at a FICOFI event in October 2019. Quite excellent.

1997 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru, courtesy of Vic. Decanted for three hours prior. Deep golden lustre, exuding a deep bouquet of mature tangerines and white floral overtones that extended well onto the palate with excellent density of citrus fruits, glowing with mature crème de la crème on a backdrop of subdued chalkiness. Interestingly, it became more delicate and agile over time whilst gaining further exciting intensity, developing towards a more ethereal presence. Still has the legs for the long haul, despite the vintage. Excellent.

1961 Château Montrose, courtesy of Sir Robert. Displaying a deep brownish red with some bricking, this wine still seems incredibly youthful in appearance and on the palate, proffering a remarkably fresh glow of red fruits and tangerines that grew in intensity over time with overtones of ground pepper. Medium-bodied, still imbued with fine presence of mature wild dark berries, absolutely harmonious with a lovely suppleness as it finished with a terrific glow amid traces of soy and dusty tannins. Held up very well throughout the whole evening. What a privilege!

20200625_211304.jpg1995 Château Haut-Brion. Decanted on-site. Deep garnet core with a highly attractive bouquet of deep currants, ripe berries and incense. Medium-full. Fleshy with excellent concentration and fullness, quite richly layered with fruit that is approaching maturity amid traces of capsicum and tangerines within a very well-defined structure, displaying lovely length and intensity. Excellent.

1997 Château Mouton Rothschild, courtesy of Sir Robert. Still darkly coloured, this wine exudes a captivating glow of wild berries, raspberries and mulberries amid traces of capsicum and ground pepper, rounded with supple freshness and succulence of delicious red fruits tinged with dried mushrooms though without the outright opulence of the best years, developing lovely intensity as it finished with good length. Quite superb. Seems all the 1997 clarets are having the last laugh.

1995 Château Latour, courtesy of Kieron. Still darkly coloured, exuding a deep mesmerising bouquet of ripe dark berries and currants along with a savoury note, displaying very fine presence and acidity as it caressed the palate with a luxurious velvety smoothness before settling down with great transparency and linearity. Characteristically aristocratic. Excellent.

 

 

2019 Bordeaux En Primeur: Châteaux Olivier, La Gaffelière, Lamarque, Meyney, Grand-Puy Ducasse, Pichon Lalande, Guiraud, Bastor-Lamontagne.

June 5, 2020

The good guys at Vintage Club, Singapore, were kind enough to invite me to a tasting of selected 2019 Bordeaux across Zoom on the evening of 04 June 2020. A set of miniature glass bottles (the châteaux have requested no photographs of these on social media), each filled with 30 mL of wine, essentially barrel samples, had been couriered to my residence the day before. The wines were aired for 30 minutes prior to tasting at the ambient temperature of 20°C. The year 2019 was essentially a hot vintage, though not to the extent of 2003. I remembered being in the blistering 40°C heat of Saint-Émilion on the last week of June 2019, the start of the hot spell (following cold and wet weather from April to mid-June) that lasted until the rains of late September. Some have commented that the tendency towards excessive sugar ripeness caused by the heat has resulted in wines of uneven quality on both Banks. Indeed, throughout the tasting, one can sense each estate trying to tame the alcohol, some more successfully than others. One of the estates (which I cannot name) withdrew its wine from the evening’s line-up at the eleventh hour even though its sample had reached us. Little wonder: the alcohol in that wine could not be controlled, pervading the entire palate and obscuring the fruit. Perhaps the best kept secret of 2019 are actually the Bordeaux whites (including Sauternes), generously flavoured and very naturally balanced with real depth, layering and sleek acidity. These are the real gems of 2019. Merci Gilles!

Saint-Émilion, 25 June 2019

2019 Château Olivier Blanc. Generous nose of floral notes, distinct diesel tones and fresh morning dew, quite gorgeous. Very good in concentration with a clean feel, displaying great clarity and acidity. Fleshed out with some degree of oiliness, rather sleek and slick, remaining highly harmonious. Excellent.

2019 Château Olivier Rouge. Somewhat reductive, a tad austere, with quite a bit of funkiness on the nose. Rounded and fleshy on the medium-bodied palate, showing very good concentration of raspberries and ripe wild berries, structured with highly supple tannins. Finished with good linearity. Very fine and elegant.

2019 Château La Gaffelière. Attractive but restrained perfumed fragrance. Rather slim on the medium-bodied palate, displaying good concentration and harmony with focused definition and rounded suppleness, revealing just a hint of vegetal undertones along with a discernible bit of alcoholic trail.

2019 Château Lamarque. Rather fruit forward on the nose with a distinct sweetness. Medium-bodied, imbued with very good presence of ripe black berries and dark cherries that almost imparted a sense of opulence. Subtly structured with quite an open silkiness, laced with fine acidity. Surprisingly fine from the Haut-Médoc. Drinking very well already!

2019 Château Meyney. Not much on the nose though the medium-bodied palate is imbued with good concentration of dark fruits and currants, structured with good acidity. Somewhat short. Not distinctive.

2019 Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. Closed, proffering just a whiff of dark currants. Quite fleshy and open on the medium-bodied palate, displaying good concentration of dark fruits that brought about some warm biting intensity with fine acidity though lacking in ultimate distinction and length.

2019 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Discernible bit of warm vegetal hint on the nose that is classic of Lalande, though essentially closed. Fleshy, medium-full, imbued with very fine concentration of fruit cushioned with some velvety tones though not truly opulent. Good depth and layering, finishing with restrained elegance and subtle tannins. Very fine. Good potential.

2019 Château Bastor-Lamontagne. Gentle nose of nectarine. Medium-bodied. Good clean concentration of peaches and apricot, exuding controlled sweetness as it tapered to a quiet finish. Distinctly feminine. A successful Sauternes.

2019 Château Guiraud. Attractive bouquet of fresh green apples amidst apricot and tropical fruit, already hinting at some early complexity. Has weight, depth and layering, displaying some attractive intensity with lovely balance and controlled sweetness. Finished very well. Shows real class and pedigree. Excellent.