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Jan 2020: 1976 Ausone, 1989 Montrose, 1995 Domaine Louis Jadot Clos Saint-Denis, 1989 Domaine Lambrays Clos des Lambrays, 1990 Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny VV, 2009 Nicolas Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin, 2016 Penfolds Max’s The Promise…

February 8, 2020

2016 Maison Leroy Bourgogne Blanc, popped and poured over dimsum lunch at Asia Grand, 01 Jan 2020. Luminous light golden. Fairly dense minerally nose, displaying a clean chalky profile with sleek acidity whilst the light-medium palate is open with very fine presence and lovely deftness.

2015 Artadi Vinas di Gain Blanco, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Notes of gunmetal cordite and white citrus on the nose though the palate is dry with steely minerality. Bright and open with very good concentration of fruit, developing a mild salinity with time.

Krug Brut Rosé NV, courtesy of MH at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Magnum. Grapefruit, dates and aged tangerine skins dominate with an orangey bloom. Brightly lit and dry, subtly balanced with good concentration. Grew in sweet intensity over time with further tones of smouldering ember.

2017 Domaine Jean Chartron Saint-Aubin Murgers des Dents de Chien 1er, popped and poured from magnum at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Pale. Emerging notes of tropical fruits, highly attractive. Good open transparency and concentration with a deeper vein of white floral tone, highly subtle throughout as it tapered to a gentle expansive finish.

2014 Ch Cos D’Estournel Blanc, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Notes of seared icing, vanillin and lychee on the nose with a powerful white floral sheen, displaying bold intensity with a marked salinity on the palate amid diesel overtones. Not ready.

2014 Kistler McCrea Vineyard Chardonnay, courtesy of LF at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Superb clear luminosity. Rather full and forward in chalky characters and crème amid traces of salinity. Excellent open intensity, finishing with distinct vanillin and white floral tones.

2008 Champagne Pol Roger cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, courtesy of CJ at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Lifted yeasty earthiness, open with very fine concentration of white fruits and grassy elements, displaying dry intensity though yet to develop true complexity.

1979 Emile Bouley Volnay Santenots, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Magnum. Lifted earthy pungency with mature tones of plums and orangery tangerines while the passage of time has left just enough of recessed red fruits on the palate though its acidity is still intact, still imbued with fair intensity.

1990 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Grand Cru, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Still rather dark, proffering cedar, cinnamon and old leather on the nose. Deeply intense, fleshy and supple with vibrant plummy tones amid a very slight herbal trace, seamlessly integrated with very fine acidity, showing some early complexity though it still feels somewhat unresolved at the finish. Evolving at a glacial pace. May be a good idea to lay another ten years.

2003 Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne-Romanée Aux Brulees 1er, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Magnum. Dark with some early evolution. Sandy plummy medicinal nose with dryish overtones of malt and rye. Highly supple and fleshy palate, showing concentrated focus with very fine intensity amid earthy traces though a tad short, becoming more astringent with time.

2009 Domaine Nicolas Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of KG at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Dark with some evolution. Highly refined in delicate currants, mulberries and red fruits with a tangerine core, structured with understated elegant tannins that confer excellent open intensity with subtle feminine grace. Quite superb.

1998 Ch Cheval Blanc, courtesy of Dr Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Deep garnet core. This wine opens with a classic Bordeaux glow, promising maturing red fruits, raspberries, currants and haw that are delivered with excellent fullness on the palate, tinged with traces of graphite and bell pepper, structured with smooth rounded tannins. Still youthful.

1989 Ch Suduiraut, courtesy of Dr Natalie Ngoi at Crystal Jade Takashimaya, 04 Jan 2020. Magnum. Clear golden hue. Fine density of apricot, nectarine, smoke and diesel fumes on the nose while the medium-bodied palate has a certain aged feel, showing good transparency and concentration of fruit.

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Jacques Selosse Initial Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, courtesy of Vic, 08 Jan 2020 at Imperial Treasure Paragon. Good colour. Dense deep earthy and yeasty characters with a resinous tone. Brightly lit with excellent concentration and intensity, displaying plenty of zest within the sheen of very fine bubbles that teased the palate with infinite sparkle, finishing with a hint of ferrous minerals.

2001 Beucher Riesling Trocken, courtesy of Vic, 08 Jan 2020 at Imperial Treasure Paragon. Lovely luminosity. Poised elegant bouquet of complex tropical fruits with a very fine, lithe and supple quality. Good inner clarity in spite of its mild diesel overtones, revealing excellent depth of complex citrus, pomelo and grapefruit that conferred some degree of sternness.

1996 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny, courtesy of Sir Robert, 08 Jan 2020 at Imperial Treasure Paragon. Still deep ruby in colour, displaying deep dark plummy tones, red currants and cherries. Fleshy and supple, open with very fine intensity and acidity within a slim defined profile, a tad short. Excellent village.

1995 Domaine Louis Jadot Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru, courtesy of LF, 08 Jan 2020 at Imperial Treasure Paragon. Classic evolved pinot tint, exuding delicious soft aromas of red fruits and currants, highly enticing, matched by an open relaxed tone on the palate, displaying mild intensity and gentle depth with gritty earthy undertones. Excellent.

1989 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, courtesy of Sir Robert, 08 Jan 2020 at Imperial Treasure Paragon. Effusive bouquet of mature dark currants and berries. Still imbued with fleshy concentration of fruit and stern complex minerals, displaying fairly tight intensity that gradually opened up over time to reveal soft gentle aromas of sour plums. Caught at its peak. Excellent.

20200108_190659.jpg1989 Ch Montrose, decanted on-site at Imperial Treasure Paragon, 08 Jan 2020. Brilliant deep garnet red with a lifted teasing earthy pungency, very lovely. Open and fleshy, displaying supple depth of cool ripe fruit caught at its prime amid overtones of cedar and cinnamon. Utterly seamless. Almost delicate. Excellent.

1976 Ch Ausone, courtesy of Kieron, 08 Jan 2020 at Imperial Treasure Paragon. Still deep crimson in colour, proffering a very gentle earthy pungency on the nose with deeper notes of black berries and dark currants. Medium-bodied. Fleshy with good concentration of fruit with a lovely maturity, displaying complex characters amid tertiary tones of capsicum. Finished well with good linearity though it turned slightly dryish.

2002 Ch Cos D’Estournel, decanted on-site at Peach Garden, OCBC Centre, 11 Jan 2020. Deep garnet red with some evolution, exuding a deep glowing bouquet of dark plums and mulberries with traces of licorice. Excellent fullness and ripeness, underscored by dryish textures tea leaves, structured with smooth tannins. Very well integrated, turning more plummy over time with more blackcurrants to the fore, developing superb lively acidity that added exciting biting intensity. Quite excellent. Peach Garden now charges SGD30++ for corkage while food is fairly ordinary – not recommended.

2003 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, decanted on-site at Pasta Brava, 18 Jan 2020. Opaque purple. Effusive in menthol and liquorice with traces of graphite and smoky elements whilst the palate is imbued with dark plummy tones, tangerines, dried mushrooms and ferrous elements, open with fleshy suppleness and intensity on a cedary floor. Still youthful.

2009 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, popped and poured at an early reunion dinner at Mak Hong Kee, 21 Jan 2020. Opaque dark purple, featuring dusty tones, dark wood and bramble. The initial gruffness gave way to a sweeter note after an hour with a greater intensity of emerging ripe fruits, laced with lively acidity. Needs plenty of time.

20200124_135421.jpg2000 Dom Pérignon P2, popped and poured over Lunar New Year Eve lunch at Otto Ristorante, 24 Jan 2020. Lovely luminosity. Dense aromas of complex citrus, green fruits, melons and pomelo intertwined with a delicate chalkiness and understated creme. Quite full. Rounded and open with fine detail on a base of ferrous undertones. Not the most profound of Dom but this wine is very lively and well balanced, gaining a bit of biting intensity towards the end as it finished with a minerally tinge.

2016 Ch Peyrabon Lagravette, popped and poured from magnum (only SGD90!) at home on Lunar New Year, 25 Jan 2020. Red fruits, cherries and mulberries dominate with darkish tones, excellent in ripeness with a supple presence. Rounded with fine intensity and understated acidity amid ferrous undertones, tempered with a trace of minerally glare. Very good value.

2016 Penfolds Max’s The Promise, popped and poured at Dorothy’s place, 26 Jan 2020. Very dark. Excellent ripeness and concentration of blackcurrants and dark fruits tinged with early cedar amid subtle layers of liquorice and medicinal characters, displaying superb depth and lovely supple intensity. Great refinement, sophistication and balance, structured with rounded sweet tannins. Excellent, really.

2003 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, decanted on-site over lunch at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 27 Jan 2020. Deep red with some evolution. Distinctly rosy on the nose though dark fruits, blackberries, briar and wild berries dominate on the palate, its ripeness tempered with stern saline minerals. Opened up with lovely suppleness, developing gentle sweet structured tannins with a minty glow.

La Paulée de Singapour 2020

January 31, 2020

The fourth edition of the La Paulée de Singapour, organised by The Vintage Club, was held on 17 January 2020 at the Grand Hyatt, Singapore. This time, Christophe and his boys have nailed it down quite perfectly: the tasting hall was spacious enough, the ambient temperature was perfectly cool, the excellent Burgundian cuisine was authentic and ample (no need to order extra fried rice) while the participation by winemakers and wine lovers was superb. The only bit of downside was the lack of a proper stage (nobody could see who was leading the ban bourguignon) and a proper sound system (the hotel’s one is poor). It was very good to see Stephen Follin-Arlebet again and, for me personally, to welcome Gregory Gouges, who still recalled my visit to Domaine Henri Gouges two years ago, on his first trip to Singapore. In spite of dinner being pushed back to 2030h, I still could not complete the tasting promenade, a testament to the copious volume and range available. Dinner got off to a riotous start straightaway which is the way it ought to be. As the evening wore on, my note-taking rapidly deteriorated, meaning I have absolutely no recollection of several other wines tasted at dinner. What a glorious orgy. Stick with the Grand Hyatt again for 2021, Christophe. Merci beaucoup!

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Gregory Gouges (R)

2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Champs Claude. Pale. Good clarity. Pepper and nutmeg on the nose with overtones of wild flowers. Excellent fullness and concentration, producing superb mouthfeel.

2015 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Blanc. Pale. Great bouquet, an alluring complex of dense summer hay and white flowers. Good transparency and layering on a backdrop of classic Chassagne minerality. Great charm and easy balance. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Vieilles Vignes. Soft glow of delicate rose petals and red fruits with a lovely floral fragrance. Medium-bodied, displaying very fine transparency and sleek acidity. Produced from 70 year-old vines.

20200117_175154.jpg2016 Domaine Lucien Muzard et Fils Santenay Maladiere 1er Rouge. Alluring rose petals and cherries. Medium-bodied. Delicate balance, showing very good refinement and acidity. Has a certain femininity and controlled power. Very fine.

2016 Domaine Lucien Muzard Santenay Clos de Tavannes Rouge. Red fruits and strawberries dominate with lovely feminine charm, displaying delicate balance and great acidity though less layered.

2017 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault. Full bouquet of white floral tones, imbued with delicate flinty minerals and fine concentration of clear citrus on the palate. Good subtle intensity and transparency.  Quite excellent.

2017 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault-Charmes 1er. Lovely delicate bouquet of wild flowers, grassy elements and nutmeg, all very subtle with understated power. Has a very natural unforced balance. Great refinement. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault-Gouttes d’Or 1er. Pale. Powerful bouquet of complex yellow citrus and chalky minerals. Open with highly transparent textures that confer great delicacy.

2017 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault-Poruzots 1er. Pale. Closed on the nose though the palate is taut with tight intensity of wild grass and complex citrus, showing clear definition and delineation. Good finish.

2017 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Corton Clos des Fietres Grand Cru. Clear and yellow citrus dominate with glowing charm on the nose though the open palate is distinctly more minerally, imbued with sleek acidity and some sweetness at the side. Very fine.

20200117_181629.jpg2014 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru. Good colour. Powerful bouquet of cherries, raspberries, red fruits and roses. Open on the palate, beautifully ripe and supple. Gently layered with excellent refinement on a charcoal floor amid traces of earth, structured with highly refined understated tannins. Finished well with fine linearity. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges. Great colour. Effusive bouquet of rose petals and red fruits, showing good purity with subtle power and intensity. Laced with very fine acidity but not overly taut. Open finish. Highly refined.

2018 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges. Effusive nose of rose petals. Considerably tighter and fuller, displaying superb balance and acidity. Structured with supple pliant tannins. Very lively. Persistent finish. Distinctly better than than the 2017. Great potential. Excellent.

2018 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos Des Porrets 1er monopole. Great colour. Powerful exuberance of ripe cherries, red fruits and currants. Excellent presence with sublime acidity. Structured with seamlessly integrated supple tannins, showing very good definition and refinement. Excellent.

2018 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains 1er. Superb glow of delicious rose petals, cherries and strawberries, proffering a lovely perfumed fragrance. Open with refined suppleness, almost velvety, showing excellent depth and intensity of fruit with controlled power. Minerally finish. Excellent.

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The beautiful Aurore Monot-Devillard of Château de Chamirey

2018 Château de Chamirey Mercurey La Mission 1er. Lifted effusive bouquet of nutmeg, wild grass and complex citrus, very inviting. Softly rounded with an easy charm, showing great clarity and transparency, finishing with traces of white pepper. Consistently good, but the unbeatable 2014 and 2017 score better on the palate.

2014 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Clos du Roi 1er. Dense powerful bouquet of sweet red fruits and glycerine. Medium-bodied, carrying very good concentration and acidity with open transparency and refined elegance.

2015 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Les Cinq 1er. A blend of the best five premier cru sites of Mercurey, hence its name. This wine opens with a sweet nose of glycerine, tightly structured with very good concentration and layering. Not at all overwhelming. Good refinement.

2018 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Les Cinq 1er. Great colour and clarity, exuding rose petals and raspberries with a hint of malt and rye. Imbued with great power though this wine is distinctly more restrained with a controlled intensity compared with the 2015. Highly refined delicate balance, finishing well.

20200117_193046.jpg2017 Domaine de la Ferte Givry. Effusive in red fruits and cherries with a forward easy balance, though somewhat thin on the palate.

2017 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé. Pale. Effusive in grassy elements, morning dew and clear citrus with overtones of raw nutmeg. Remarkably lithe and delicate with fine presence, poised with sleek refinement and great elegance. Good finish. Highly attractive.

2018 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthieres. Great bouquet of complex fruit and lifted floral tones, highly detailed in spite of the dense aromas. Medium-full. Imbued with excellent concentration of fruit that seemed to impart oily textures with a white peppery glowing mouthfeel, very evenly toned with controlled power. Great balance. Lengthy finish. As good as the 2016, if not better. Excellent.

2018 Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé En Bertilione. Dense full bouquet of white flowers and citrus, imbued with a delicate chalkiness amidst ample concentration of fruit, yielding fine definition and cutting acidity that seemed just a little sharp at the edges.

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The Dean getting a pour from Stephen Follin-Arlebet

2017 Domaine du Château de Meursault Meursault Les Charmes Dessus 1er. Jeroboam. Mint, icing and white pepper dominate with good lift whilst the palate is imbued with a distinct salinity amid excellent presence of raw nutmeg and citrus, imparting great verve with superb racy tension, minerally depth and intensity. Excellent.

2017 Domaine du Château de Meursault Meursault-Perrieres 1er. Lovely nose of saline minerals, white flowers and delicate chalk matched with excellent concentration and superb acidity that conferred taut tension and intensity. Highly exuberant and racy, finishing with great persistence. Excellent.

2017 Domaine de Montille Puligny-Montrachet Le Cailleret 1er. Cool refined aristocratic nose of complex white fruits, tangy citrus and grassy elements with a suggestion of depth. Very fine concentration of fruit with a distinct salinity, fullness, layering and depth that add up to a very correct sense of plumpness, revealing fine inner detail. Great balance and lasting finish. A wine of impeccable pedigree which is, perhaps, not surprising as Le Cailleret directly abuts Montrachet Grand Cru along the same longitude (just separated by a small lane), and Montille’s plot is sited nearest.

2017 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Chorey-les-Beaune. Red fruits dominate on the nose with a forward balance. Has good concentration, acidity and intensity but still very tightly wound. Not ready.

2017 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Corton Bressandes Grand Cru. Powerful layered bouquet of red fruits and summer hay. Open with intense concentration of fruit on a base of ferrous minerals, structured with pliant tannins.

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2018 Domaine Bruno Clair Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. Deep ruby. Open with lovely suppleness, displaying very fine concentration and intensity of fruit with sleek acidity. Slightly forward and exuberant though quite seamlessly integrated. Gentle finish.

2018 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin Clos-Saint-Jacques 1er. Bright crimson, proffering a distilled essence of red fruits and cherries with superb purity. Open with highly refined concentration and intensity. Poised with supple elegance. Good integration but a tad short.

2018 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 1er. Red fruits and dark cherries dominate with fine concentration and taut acidity, brimming with bright intensity as it tapered to a linear finish.

2014 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Kok Hong. Pale. Restrained on the nose but the palate is imbued with fabulous concentration of white fruits and white floral tones, openly layered with excellent depth though rather understated in intensity. Superbly poised with refined elegance. Excellent.

1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau Puligny-Montrachet Les Combottes 1er, courtesy of Vic. Deep golden lustre. Very good concentration of citrus and white fruits, still laced with great acidity that ensured a lithe presence with remarkable freshness, poised with elegant complexity. Superb.

2009 Joseph Drouhin Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of David Tan. Rather full. Great concentration of citrus fruits showing a bit of early maturity that danced across the palate with lovely deftness on a velvety backdrop of chalky crème de la crème, exuding tremendous but controlled power. Still youthful. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Arnaud Ente Meursault. Closed. Delicate. Great presence of white fruits and chalky minerals poised with delicate balance, displaying great clarity and lift.

20200117_220435.jpg2010 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er. Good colour, showing some early evolution. Great concentration of serious dark fruits and currants that convey wonderful verve and biting intensity against a backdrop of velvety textures, delightfully deft. Excellent.

2006 Domaine Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of LF. Jeroboam. Dark. Great presence of warm dark fruits and currants, showing excellent ripeness and great tension across the palate, yet rather lithe in spite of its fullness. Excellent.

2009 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, courtesy of David Tan. Dense warm bouquet of delicious red fruits, beautifully ripe with excellent concentration. Rounded and fleshy, imbued with a certain salinity, very seamlessly integrated. Superb.

2011 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Saint Georges 1er, courtesy of Kieron. Lovely abundance of cool dark fruits, ripe and rounded with excellent fullness and great acidity, deeply layered with subtle saline ferrous elements. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Pierre Damoy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Tamisot, courtesy of Akhil. This over-achieving village exudes a distinct plumminess within an even tone of red fruits tinted with ferrous minerals. Structured but accommodating. Very fine.

1949 Domaine Chanson Beaune Clos des Mouche 1er. Beautiful bouquet, distinctly mature with a refined sweetness, imbued with velvety red fruits. Still amazingly fresh with superb sleek acidity. Receded a little after some time but still astonishingly present and alive, finishing well. Amazing!

20200117_212505.jpg2010 Domaine Meo Camuzet Vosne-Romanée, courtesy of Sanjay. Dark. Effusive in sweet red fruits and cherries on the nose though the fruit is surprisingly backward on the palate within a narrow spectrum, dominated more by sleek acidity and saline minerals.

2012 Domaine Michel Noellat Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er, courtesy of CHS. Dark. Sleek. Effusive in red cherries and mulberries, excellent in concentration with a youthful intensity though not the opulent sort.

1996 Domaine Trapet Pere et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru, courtesy of Sir Robert. Dark. Excellent presence of sweet dark currants and tangerines, rounded with lovely depth. Delicious.

1998 Domaine Louis Jadot Corton Grand Cru, courtesy of Sandy. Magnum. General reductive tone of aged tangerines, apples and pears with an overall chalkiness though the fruit has receded far too much. Rustic and somewhat gruff.

2014 Domaine du Château de Meursault Pommard Clos des Epenots 1er. Jeroboam. Dark. Ripe wild berries and dark currants dominate with great concentration and striking acidity, conjuring up a finish of searing intensity. Far from ready.

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2011 Bouchard Chev-Montrachet La Cabotte, 2003 Château Rayas, 1978 Château Latour, 1999 Romanée-Conti Romanée- St-Vivant

January 23, 2020

I had the distinct privilege of being invited by Wendy to dinner on 19 January 2020 at her amazing residence. I thought I had arrived at an Aman resort. No theme was set but the line-up turned out to be quite superlative and, to my surprise, went very well with the exquisite Indonesian cuisine that was never heavy on the palate. All wines were popped on site and aired in bottle, with the exception of the Rayas that Wendy had popped earlier as well as the D.R.C. that required decanting as we thought there wouldn’t be sufficient time for aeration. All wines came courtesy of the wonderful hostess herself, unless otherwise stated. Terima kasih banyak banyak Wendy, and to everyone else for your generous contributions. I can’t wait for the next dinner.

2003 Dom Perignon Rosé. Deeply coloured, proffering deep yeasty tones on the nose amid grapefruit and tangerines that extend to the palate with smooth presence, displaying fine concentration and depth with a bit of minerally shine, finishing well with gentle ferrous undertones.

2011 Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron. This monopole hits the correct notes right from the outset, exuding a gleaming crystalline tone of white flowers and crème de la crème matched by a subtle expanse of refined chalkiness and complex citrus that traverse the palate with superb open sleek acidity, displaying great presence and balance in spite of its understated elegance. Developed a fuller tone over time with further notes of white pepper whilst maintaining its regal poise, supremely confident. Entirely consistent with what one would expect of Chevalier-Montrachet, particularly from the very special 0.21 ha of La Cabotte that, in the old days, was actually classified as part of Montrachet itself. One of the very best efforts of Bouchard. Outstanding.

2003 Château Rayas. Unique lift of tangerines, mature red fruits, plums, cherries and rose petals on the nose, beautifully seductive. Softly rounded and delicious with earthy tones and textures reminiscent of oxide, open with excellent detail, finishing in a mentholic glow amid traces of spice. Distinctly feminine. One drinks the distilled essence of Nature. Outstanding.

1999 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, courtesy of Trijono. Still darkly coloured. Somewhat restrained initially, proffering just enamel before snapping into focus with a sharp lift of dark currants, raspberries and mulberries, opening up further on the palate with a deep core of supple tangerines (always a hallmark of this estate) amid an even spread of wild berries, maintaining an overall darkish demeanour. Still imbued with excellent concentration and lively acidity, perhaps even yet to really hit its peak, a testimony to the longevity of this stellar vintage.

1978 Château Latour, courtesy of Keith. Still showing an opaque deep garnet core, exuding a distinctly mature nose of green capsicum with a gentle earthiness marked by forest characters and bramble. Open with great suppleness, revealing excellent concentration of delicious red fruits and currants within soft pliant melted tannins, still amazingly fresh with lively acidity. Absolutely harmonious, finishing very well.

1999 Weingut Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Auslese. From a half bottle. Classic characters of diesel and petroleum fumes dominate on the nose. Medium-bodied. Rounded with a subdued presence of apricot and modest nectarine, showing good transparency but missing the density and depth of the best examples of Egon Müller, a tad short as well.

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Dec 2019: 1991 Leflaive Bâtard-Bienvenues, 1979 Veuve Cliquot Rosé, 1969 Vega Sicilia, 1990 Cos D’Estournel, 2004 La Conseillante, 2007 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche VV, 2017 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Blanc…

January 21, 2020

2004 Ch Latour-a-Pomerol, popped and poured at Ka Soh, 01 Dec 2019. Dark cherries and ripe wild berries dominate with very good concentration and presence against a backdrop of dusty textures, structured with sweet tannins. Darkly delicious, finishing with very fine acidity and intensity.

1991 Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, courtesy of Sir Robert at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Tasted blind. Deep dull golden hue. Restrained, almost shut on the nose though there is a fine presence of delicate lithe citrus on the palate amidst dominant graphite minerals, almost stern. Became even more minerally over time as the fruit became more recessed, softening with an emerging white floral tone glow with traces of mint and capsicum, showing fine acidity. I hit the absolute bull’s eye. Perfect to drink up now.

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Iggy’s

1979 Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Rosé, courtesy of Sir Robert at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Very dark orangey hue, proffering burnt toast, aged grapefruit and dried mushrooms amid Chinese medicinal tones and ferrous elements. Still rather full, imbued with excellent concentration of distant red fruits, acidity and dry intensity within a body of very fine bubbles that tapered to a firm confident finish. Still astonishingly youthful. Excellent.

1999 Domaine du Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Aged tint. Reticent in recessed chalk. Equally reserved with distant fruit on the medium-bodied palate, displaying more overtones of green capsicum and white pepper, seamlessly integrated with subtle intensity as it finished with white floral tones.

2001 Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, courtesy of Sir Robert at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Tasted blind. Darker shade, delivering delicious ripe dark cherries and currants with a fleshy juicy presence, displaying very fine acidity and intensity, slightly more forwardly balanced, underscored by a deeper streak of dark fruits and glycerol. Just a tad short. Again I guessed it correctly.

1990 Domaine Jacques Prieur Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, courtesy of LF at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Beautiful crimson hue, exuding a gentle earthy pungency. Medium-bodied, displaying very fine fruit quality with some gritty inner detail and subtle acidity but not distinctive enough. Bit short.

2007 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru, courtesy of Kieron at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Great colour. Superb presence of red cherries that display great purity and transparency, medium-full, very subtly concentrated and lithe with a bit of smoky intensity, revealing great inner detail though still fairly tight. Absolutely harmonious. Delicious.

1969 Vega Sicilia Unico, courtesy of Vic at Iggy’s, 03 Dec 2019. Glorious deep crimson. Astonishing freshness and purity of red fruits, mulberries and currant. Rounded and fleshy with lovely velvety textures, still imbued with excellent concentration and layering. Open with superb detail, traversing the palate with great linearity to its long persistent finish amid traces of charcoal. Outstanding.

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Labyrinth

De Bortoli Family Selection Semillon Chardonnay, tasted at Changi Airport T3 Gold Lounge, 05 Dec 2019. Generous attractive bouquet of peaches, lime and tropical fruits. Good presence and transparency, underscored by chalky ferrous minerals. Slightly stern. Very decent.

2005 Ch D’Aiguilhe, popped and poured at Asia Grand, 12 Dec 2019. Very deep impenetrable purple. Dense bouquet of dark plums, black currants and liquorice with mild medicinal and menthol tones. Full-bodied, displaying great concentration of black fruits with overtones of bush, briar and bramble on a rich cedary floor, structured with well-managed sweet tannins. Imbued with superb acidity and sleek graphite minerals, developing some early complexity. Finally becoming approachable.

2005 Ch Les Carmes Haut Brion, decanted on-site at Bedrock Bar & Grill, 16 Dec 2019. Deep garnet red. Some initial bottle stink that, thankfully, gave way to glowing dark plums, ember, pine and other savoury characters. Medium-bodied, displaying clean and controlled presence of dark fruits with fine acidity, fairly open and supple with a bit of gentle biting intensity, fleshing out with more Pessac character of earthy forest floor over time although it could not quite totally expel that bit of funkiness that still pervaded. Not quite the most pristine of bottles, I’m afraid.

Champagne Louis Roederer NV, a pair from the list of Labyrinth, 20 Dec 2019. Dense bouquet of smoky characters and yeast. Imbued with excellent concentration of lime and citrus that imparted great intensity, zest and freshness, finishing with notes of pomelo, bitter lemon and firm graphite elements. Very fine.

2008 Domaine Jean & Jean-Louis Trapet Gevrey-Chambertin, popped and poured at Labyrinth, 20 Dec 2019. Evolved orangey crimson that exuded tangerines, soft red fruits and cherries. Medium-bodied. Bright and supple with clean focused acidity, gently layered with ferrous minerals. Good intensity, linearity and finish. Still youthful.

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Limited edition label of 2004 La Conseillante

2004 Ch La Conseillante, a pair from the list of Labyrinth, 20 Dec 2019. Glorious deep garnet red, proffering a luxuriant dark plummy glow with overtones of soy, dark cherries and currants. Great concentration and suppleness, layered with sublime acidity and delicious depth on a floor of subtle ferrous elements, showing some early complexity at the finish. This wine has fleshed out with more presence, depth and character than previous encounters in 2010, 2012 and 2015. Still far from peaking. Excellent.

2017 Château de Chamirey Mercurey Blanc, popped and poured at Gattopardo, 23 Dec 2019. Flinty gentle minerally characters on the nose and palate. Lovely delicate tones, becoming more lifted and brighter over time as it fleshed out with greater intensity of clear citrus. Very good acidity and refinement, fanning out with expansive white floral tone and chalk along with emerging apricot, pineapples and tropical fruits before tapering to a finish of green capsicum, nutmeg and exotic spices. Hard to believe this is just village. Outstanding value.

Champagne Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru, popped and poured over lunch at Otto Ristorante, 24 Dec 2019. Gentle attractive yeasty bouquet. Excellent fullness and concentration, layered with complex citrus and pomelo with an attractive minerally depth, fleshing out with dry intensity.

2011 Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay, popped and poured over lunch at Crab At Bay, 25 Dec 2019. Pale. Good presence of lean citrus, very cleanly delineated with sharp precision on the palate, layered with stony minerals and dry ferrous elements that added further austerity.

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Bak chor-mee by Labyrinth

2008 Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz, popped and poured over dinner, 25 Dec 2019. Dark impenetrable red. Open, fleshy and supple with a predominance of warm ripe dark plummy fruit, currants and liquorice that impart mild medicinal tones. Grew tighter with greater intensity over time, laced with ripe cedary characters. Not ready.

2002 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er, courtesy of MH at Tang Yun, 27 Dec 2019. Luminous, proffering a hint of old leather and recessed chalk on the nose though open with sweet expanse on the palate, very lively in its sublime acidity with controlled zest that imparted excellent mouth-puckering excitement, mellowing after some time with gentle white floral tones. Lovely.

2012 Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de La Maréchale 1er Rouge at Tang Yun, 27 Dec 2019. Dark in colour and tone with characters of taut dark cherries and earthy dusty textures. Open with lovely suppleness though still rather intense, underscored by stern ferrous minerals, relaxing a little over time as it developed a glowing minty finish.

2000 Ch Branaire-Ducru, courtesy of Vic at Tang Yun, 27 Dec 2019. Deep garnet red. Great bouquet of dark red plums. Fleshy with a glowing concentration of fruit amid characters of tea leaves. Well-layered. Very sleek and lithe, not the opulent sort. Caught at its drinking peak. Lovely.

1995 Ch Calon Segur, courtesy of MH at Tang Yun, 27 Dec 2019. Deep garnet red. Rather laconic in feel even as it exudes dense characters of petroleum fumes on the nose. Medium-full. Very good presence of fruit with warm plummy tones. Quite rich, almost succulent, developing a superb earthy pungency amid traces of smoke as it opened up with good tannin detail.

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Labyrinth

1999 Ch Clos L’Eglise, courtesy of Sanjay at Tang Yun, 27 Dec 2019. Dense bouquet of dark fruits with a bit of medicinal characters marked by deeper undertones of soy. Medium-bodied. Highly fleshy and supple. Drinking well.

1986 Ch Cos D’Estournel, courtesy of John Law over lunch at The Vineyard, 29 Dec 2019. Deep crimson core. Darkish in tone, imbued with wild berries, dusty tannins and a distinct earthiness amid oxidative traces. Rather backward in fruit though its acidity is still quite fine. A little gruff. Time to drink up.

1990 Ch Cos D’Estournel, courtesy of John Law over lunch at The Vineyard, 29 Dec 2019. Opaque red with a dusky tinge but don’t let the colour fool you for this wine is drinking superbly, proffering a complex of earth, cedar, dark plums and currants within a sleek seamless body of very good concentration and depth, displaying lively acidity and great balance as it traversed the palate with superb confidence, poise and complexity. This is Cos at its very best. Outstanding.

1995 Ch Cos D’Estournel, courtesy of John Law over lunch at The Vineyard, 29 Dec 2019.  Deep garnet red, exuding a classic glow of mature claret. Still quite richly endowed with fresh vibrant fruit and sleek intense acidity with cedary overtones, structured with svelte tannins. Drinking very well.

2009 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets-St Georges 1er monopole, popped and poured at Mak Hong Kee, 29 Dec 2019. Dull red with some evolution, displaying a full palate of ripe raspberries, dark cherries and currants. Structured with intense acidity though without the plumpness nor succulence of Les Pruliers or Vaucrains. Still far from ready though.

2003 Ch Lagrange, popped and poured at Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew, 30 Dec 2019. Superb supple concentration of dark cherries, currants and raspberries with overtones of tobacco and dry earth, open with fine acidity, lovely intensity and detail, quite seamless. Very harmonious and balanced. Developed richer tones of ripe blackberries over time, cloaked within svelte sophisticated sweet tannins. Highly successful.

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1992 & 2007 Georges de Vogüé Musigny VV, 2009 Armand Rousseau Chambertin GC, 2004 JF Mugnier Musigny, 2009 Sapience, JC Ramonet Batard 2007 & Chevalier 2011, 2006 Anne Gros Richebourg…

January 14, 2020

Alvin pulled out all the stops for his big round number bash at Jade Palace on 17 November 2019, hosting three tables and providing all the wines as well. From a large pool of top wines, guests drew lots to decide which wines would be popped at their table. But, for my table, Alvin had taken care of things, arranging a line-up that was initially blinded with foil, but what a fabulous line-up it turned out to be when the wraps were removed at the start of dinner. In the face of such generosity and mouth-watering abundance, you don’t say what’s good and what wasn’t. One is simply thankful for having Alvin as a friend. Many happy returns, Alvin, and may the drops of God continue to nourish you always.

20191117_213629.jpg2007 Champagne Agrapart Minéral Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut. Closed. Faint notes of gun smoke and yeast. Great tone of clear and yellow citrus on the palate, richly layered with a sharp accentuated lift and fine acidity on a dry minerally floor, yielding good definition. Refreshing zest, finishing with bitter lemon and pomelo.

2009 Champagne Marguet Sapience Brut Nature, courtesy of Clarence. Gorgeous bouquet of highly developed oxidative characters that suggest deep yeasty pungency, spiced pear and toast with a sharp lift. Open, bright and minerally, its vivacious nature easily apparent through the sheen of very fine bubbles. Quite excellent.

2007 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Lovely luminosity. Lifted bouquet of mint, icing and vanillin. Great concentration of white fruits, carrying tremendous energy with sharp acidity, focus and definition without the plumpness. Finished with traces of white flowers, white pepper and minerals. Excellent.

2011 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru. Tasted blind (a clean skin bottle). Pale golden. Warm enticing bouquet of buttery creaminess and smouldering ember. Wonderfully layered with superb presence, freshness and sublime acidity, very evenly toned, revealing some early complexity as the classic Ramonet signature of mint and icing emerged after some time along with more minerally tones. Still youthful. I guessed its origin correctly although I’d thought it to be the 2013. Excellent.

2007 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Les Cras 1er. Slightly darker shade of pinot, exuding an evolved tone of mulberries, raspberries, dark plums and currants with lovely purity and ripeness. Medium-full. Rather darkish in character. Very evenly-toned and supple, taking its time to reveal fine depth of highly detailed graphite minerals. Quite excellent.

20191117_204739.jpg2003 Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny Les Fuees 1er. Good colour. Shy at first, proffering just glimpses of cherries, ash, red fruits and some earthiness. Became more pronounced over time, developing an almost savoury character within softly structured tannins, culminating in a sweet finish. Needs more time.

2004 Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Musigny Grand Cru. Opaque dull red with some evolution, proffering a bouquet of sweet wild berries and currants. Medium-bodied. Quite placid on the palate with subtle refined acidity but not yielding much detail, perhaps even slightly gruff. Took a really long time to open up with good expanse and layering, finally yielding fine detail with distant tones of tangerines. Not the greatest Musigny but I’ll happily drink it.

2006 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg Grand Cru. Good colour. Dominant mentholic lift on the nose, giving way to very dark fruits with overtones of ash over time, becoming deeper and more effusive with a minerally note. Similar characters on a palate dominated by dark fruits, perhaps a tad more plummy but still rather tight and intense with a dry forward balance, structured with lithe supple tannins. Needs many more years of cellaring.

2009 Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru. Classic pinot tone and colour. Rather reserved, exuding warm gravelly tones amid dark cherries and plums. Tight but supple, showing traces of early complexity but still largely primal. Very finely balanced with an even tone of subtle acidity and intensity, layered with minerally depth. Somewhat aloof at this stage, yet to develop.

2007 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru. Good colour. Imbued with remarkable density and concentration of dark plums and blackberries. Still tight with marked intensity, as if to make up for the vintage’s deficiency. Distinctly sullen, not yielding much detail. Best to lay down.

2010 Château De La Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, poured from magnum. Slightly darker shade, proffering deep generous aromas of dark cherries and currants amid overtones of incense. Medium-bodied. Lovely fragrance, freshness and intensity of fruit. Delicious.

1992 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru, a magnum courtesy of Jade Palace’s Mr Ho from the restaurant’s library stock, literally popped and poured at the spur of the moment. Deep effusive bouquet of dark fruits currants with overtones of old leather. Forwardly balanced, displaying excellent presence of savoury characters that conferred great acidity and verve, structured with masculine tones. Highly attractive.

2010 Weingut Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Trockenbeerenauslese. Superb bouquet, exuding a classic diesel quality underscored by intense tropical fruits, pineapples and nectarines Quite full. Open with wonderful depth of intensity as it stretched out smoothly with great linearity all the way to its lasting finish.

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Robert Ampeau, JC Ramonet, JM Pillot, Bertagna, Seguin-Manuel, Georges Lignier, Arnoux-Lachaux, Arlaud, de L’Arlot…

January 8, 2020

20191124_142600.jpgDomaine Wines organised a day-long Burgundy seminar on 24 November 2019 at Jade Palace, Singapore, that lasted from 1030h to 1800h tutored by arguably the doyen of Burgundy wines Monsieur Jean-Pierre Renard. The line-up was meant to explore the range of soils, unusual styles (whites of Côte-de-Nuits, Chassagne reds), mature wines and the extra dimension that comes from old vines, traversing village to premier cru to grand cru. I must say every bottle was drinking really well, proving that value exists at all price points, while the mature stuff from Robert Ampeau was truly outstanding.

2016 Domaine Thibert Pouilly-Fuissé Les Cras. From vines grown on limestone soils where 2016 was an excellent but low-yielding vintage due to stormy weather, mildew and frost. Showing a lovely luminosity, this wine opens with an effusive bouquet of green apples, melons and aromatic tropical fruit, rather impressive in its rich chromatic tone, excellent presence and concentration. Structured with crisp acidity, displaying very clean precision, clarity and transparency, a tad more minerally at its glowing expansive finish. Pouilly-Fuissé, probably the best known commune of the Mâconnais, will soon have 22 premier crus in its inaugural classification that is likely to begin with the 2019 vintage. That means prices will skyrocket very soon. Buy now.

2017 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Pernand-Vergelesses Les Belles Filles Blanc. Grown on limestone soils near Corton-Charlemagne. From an outstanding vintage where early budding inspired early harvest, this wine opens with a smooth gentle reductive nose, just a tad forward as it hinted at papaya and tropical fruits. The palate is considerably deeper with darker shades amid signs of early complexity, displaying great freshness with a distinctive well-defined dry chalkiness that shone with an almost chiselled quality, very well integrated with fine linearity as it finished with a lovely white floral glow. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères. From a site just beneath Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, dominated by limestone soils without much clay that offer good drainage. Pale yellow greenish hue. Closed on the nose, proffering just faint glimpses of morning dew and traces of green elements. Equally restrained on the palate in spite of its fullish tone, dominated by white characters that impart understated dry chalkiness with excellent subtle acidity, superbly balanced and harmonious, finishing with a refined elegance that lingered with great persistence. Superb.

2013 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Blanc 1er. Beautiful luminosity. Its bouquet is somewhat elusive, slightly buttery with a hint of creme. Good presence, dominated by white fruits and chalk with a slim sleek profile, showing very fine acidity and structure with overtones of nutmeg though the finish could do with better resolution.

2013 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Rouge 1er. Coming from the same kind of soil as Gevrey, this pinot of Chassagne displays a slightly darker shade of red, boasting a fresh generous bouquet of rose petals and dark cherries with a delicious lift, matched by sleek refined acidity with a vegetal hint amid raw darkish undertones, structured with understated tannins at its dryish finish.

CÔTE DE NUITS BLANC

2013 Domaine Bertagna Vougeot Les Cras 1er. Lovely luminosity. Restrained gentle bouquet of yellow citrus and chalk, slightly warm, featuring dense white fruits on the palate with excellent fullness, structured with fine acidity and subtle minerals that yielded good detail. Very well balanced with refined intensity, finishing with clean white tones.

2011 Domaine De L’Arlot Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de L’Arlot Blanc 1er. This monopole is laced with a tiny bit of pinot gris, showing deep luminosity with an unique nutty bouquet underscored with pineapples and jackfruit, forward with an attractive delicious lift. Softly rounded on the palate with highly subtle white fruits that reveal open delicate intensity, distinctly feminine as it finished with a certain restrain and excellent refinement.

CÔTE DE BEAUNE ROUGE

2015 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Beaune Champimonts 1er. Dark fruits, wild berries and dark cherries dominate with quite a delicious glow. Structured with very good concentration and refined supple tannins that reveal soft inner detail, possessing good acidity and balance without any burliness sometimes associated with Cote de Beaune, just a tad short.

2013 Domaine Pavelot Savigny-les-Beaune Aux Guettes 1er. Very good colour. Rich delicious bouquet of dark cherries, quite effusive, along with other darkish vegetal undertones while the palate is marked by understated red fruits and bright minerals, rounded with good concentration at just the right acidity. Not much depth here but still very fine on the whole, finishing well.

2014 Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Pommard Chaponnieres 1er. Darkish colour. Exudes a very warm earthy pungency that is undoubtedly attractive. Rounded, fleshy and open. Imbued with excellent presence and fullness, displaying sleek acidity with some fleeting intensity though it was never the opulent sort. Drinking well.

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CÔTE DE NUITS 1er

2011 Domaine de L’Arlot Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Forets 1er. Monopole. Good colour. Not much coming through on the nose though the palate shows lovely suppleness and acidity, structured with subdued tannins. Open with an attractive mild intensity that goes well with its easy relaxed feel, finishing very gently, maintaining great balance throughout but just a tad short.

2011 Domaine Bertagna Vougeot Clos de la Perriere 1er. Good colour. Restrained. Gently perfumed. Structured with plummy dark fruit with some bright spots. Exudes very fine presence and understated acidity, highly supple, opening up with mild intensity towards its finish.

2014 Domaine Arlaud Morey-Saint-Denis Les Ruchots 1er. Good colour. Richly endowed with red fruits, dark currants and cherries that imparted excellent fullness and depth. Open with very fine detail, precision and suppleness. Very delicate balance. Plenty of finesse. Superb.

2013 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee Les Maizieres 1er. Deep crimson. Reticent, proffering just glimpses of rose petals and cherries. The palate, though, is open and highly supple with good presence and very fine gentle intensity, imparting a highly attractive delicate quality but there isn’t much layering here. Finished with understated well-managed fine biting tannins, just a bit short.

2015 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er. Lovely crimson hue, exuding bright red fruits with a superb delicate presence. Very fleshy and supple, beautifully open with elegant understated tannins. Great refinement and integration. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Georges Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes 1er. Classic pinot tint, proffering attractive aromas of red fruits. Still a little tight and narrow on the palate with undertones of stern ferrous minerals though there is excellent fullness and intensity. Needs time to unravel and flesh out.

GRAND CRU

2014 Domaine Georges Lignier Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru. Classic pinot tint. Ripe red fruits, recessed oak with some cherries and peaches dominate with delicious lift. Highly refined. Structured with svelte tannins that yielded great definition and detail. Very well balanced, just a tad short.

2013 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Echezeaux Grand Cru. Darker shade of pinot. Sharper on the nose though the fruit is surprisingly restrained. Gloriously ripe on the palate, open with very good balance and smooth intensity. Good refinement.

2013 Domaine Seguin-Manuel Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Deep purple, proffering sweet dark berries that appear somewhat restrained. Rather full and supple, structured with very fine acidity. Vivacious with plenty of zest, seemingly a bit too eager to please but drinking well.

2012 Domaine Bertagna Corton Les Grandes Lolieres Grand Cru. Deep garnet red, exuding a restrained warmth with characters of ripe plums and haw. Open and fleshy, displaying great suppleness on a backdrop of very subtle dry understated tannins. Superbly integrated with a lovely feminine presence. Excellent.

2010 Domaine Bouchard Pere at Fils Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Classic pinot tint with some crimson. Quite glorious on the nose with a suggestion of warm red fruits. Medium-full. Distinctly feminine in its rounded suppleness and excellent ripeness, seamlessly integrated with very smooth understated tannins. Great refinement and elegance. Excellent.

2008 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru. Deep crimson, showing some early complexity on the nose. Softly supple, laced with sublime acidity that imparted teasing fleeting intensity of dark cherries, currants and dark roses amid overtones of glycerine that betrayed its youth, underscored by subdued earthy details and ferrous minerals. Rounded with good integration. Dry finish. Excellent potential.

2010 Domaine Francois Lamarche La Grande Rue Grand Cru. Classic pinot tint. Glorious bouquet of ripe cherries, rose petals, dark berries and violets that evoke warm hues with delicious lift. Brightly lit and open with svelte velvety tannins, softly supple, superbly integrated with understated but exciting tannins. Lovely charm, finishing with regal elegance. Outstanding.

OLD WINES

1976 Domaine Robert Ampeau Volnay Santenots 1er. Dark brownish hue, proffering notes of ash, ember and plummy tones with a delicious trace that culminated in lovely complex aromas. Surprisingly fresh and full, imbued with ample volume of ripe dark fruits and currants that exude sweet intensity. Still holding up very well. Amazing!

1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau Volnay Santenots 1er. Dark brown, still deeply coloured. Delicious nose of glycerine and complex mature fruit, greatly lifted. Still rather full and remarkably fresh, carrying a deeper streak of dark fruit. Has tremendous verve and concentration. Highly seamless with a distinct feminine character. Feels like it’s yet to peak. Superb!

2015 Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Volnay Santenots 1er. Dark impenetrable crimson. Sweet savoury tones amidst ripe mulberries and raspberries on the nose. Deeply layered in rich dark fruits and refined minerals that carried plenty of energy and fine intensity, exuding great tone. Rounded with sophisticated tannins. Huge potential.

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1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau Meursault-Perrieres 1er. Lovely luminosity. Wonderful delicate lift of tangerines, yellow citrus and cool icing matched with a vibrant palate of chiselled chalky minerals, nutty almonds and aged olives. Still imbued with excellent fullness, youthful intensity and freshness. Finished well with a bit of glazed quality. Great sophistication. Superb.

1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau Meursault-Charmes 1er. Lovely luminosity. Fleeting delicate bouquet, quite seductive with some lovely complexity. The palate is still incredibly vibrant and youthful in spite of the presence of mature tangerines and citrus, displaying great sublime acidity and freshness, finishing with an expansive white floral tone. Truly fabulous.

1996 Domaine Robert Ampeau Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1er. Superb luminosity, proffering green capsicum on the nose while white and yellow citrus dominate with lovely gentle intensity, beautifully balanced with subtle open intensity. Excellent.

VIEILLES VIGNES

2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Vergers 1er. Pale. Lovely nose of nutmeg and green fruits, excellent in density yet delicate with overtones of ash. Quite full and chalky with a burnished tone, carrying good energy with a lovely open intensity, displaying great balance and easy charm. Superb.

2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Vergers 1er Clos Saint Marc. From 100 year-old vines. This special bottling opens with a wonderful depth of fruit that’s already glowing with some gentle complexity, beautifully open with superb unwavering concentration that possessed even greater depth and presence than the standard bottling above, exuding great delicacy and regal elegance. Wonderfully balanced and proportioned. Highly cerebral. Outstanding.

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Baron vs Lalande: 2003, 1996 and others…

January 1, 2020

One of the most wonderful sights when heading up north on the D2 highway in Bordeaux must be the view from the gentle hilltop just after passing the lion’s gate of Château Leoville Las-Cases, where its vines merge seamlessly with those of Château Latour on the right, followed by the sight of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande yonder while its “sibling” Château Pichon Longueville Baron lies directly opposite across the road. To see such great estates within such close proximity to one another really sets the pulse racing. The greater wonder is the fact that the grand vin of each of these estates is still able to exert its own unique identity even though they share virtually the same microclimate. In fact, I remembered during a visit to Pichon Lalande in 2008 that a small plot of vines within the estate right in front of its office actually belonged to neighbouring Latour! An intriguing theme, therefore, would be a comparison of these estates side-by-side vintage-for-vintage, and we hit upon Baron versus Lalande across the road at a dinner of the Jürade de Saint-Emilion du Singapour on 31 October 2019 held at the private dining of Karl and Eugenia at Kheam Hock. In spite of advanced planning, though, it turned out when the line-up unfolded that evening that we had only two vintages – 1996 and 2003 – that fit the plan, for a proposed pairing of 2000 failed to materialise when a Leoville Barton (!) was brought instead of a Baron. And, incredibly, there was another Barton on the table as well. Nevertheless, in spite of having been blinded, it was almost always possible to correctly identify a Baron from a Lalande, the former more masculine, structured and denser while the latter was consistently softer with a vegetal touch from its petit verdot. My thanks to everyone for their generosity.

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2007 Champagne Henriot Millesime, poured from magnum. Gentle notes of cream, icing and green melons. Good crisp fullness with traces of dry toast at the sides. Dry with fine acidity and tension, finishing with a faint white floral bloom.

2006 Le Sillage de Malartic (courtesy of Stephen). Tasted blind. Light greenish hue. Deep bouquet of diesel petroleum. Distinctly lighter on the palate with a deep streak of white fruits, showing good density of fruit with some minerally glow. Excellent freshness. Exuded more floral bloom on the nose after some time, developing a brighter minerally tone at the same time. Excellent.

2004 Vintage Tunina (courtesy of Stephen). Light greenish hue, proffering tangerines and citrus on the nose with fair complexity on the palate, slightly forward in characters of aged nectarine and incense. Highly aromatic with a sappy quality, layered with fine depth. Finished with a touch of sternness. Very fine.

2015 Domaine de L’Arlot Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Clos de L’Arlot, courtesy of Russ. Quite full. Exudes a perfumed floral fragrance, distinctively feminine, textured with lovely depth. Very fine presence and elegance, displaying excellent depth and transparency with a faint minerally glow amidst overtones of tropical fruit, becoming more minerally over time.

2008 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Deep purple core. Lovely floral bloom and fragrance tinted with a hint of soy, snuff and haw on the nose. Excellent presence, intensity of fruit and linearity, finishing well with a touch of green. Still quite primal.

1997 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, courtesy of Marc. More evolved but still dark. Quite effusive and open on the nose, featuring capsicum with some dark cherries. Surprisingly full and open with lovely suppleness. Distinctly feminine and fleshy with a certain deftness, developing further notes of soy with overtones of green pepper, finishing with lasting intensity and persistent afterglow. Quite superb!

2003 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Deep garnet core, exuding a gentle deep perfumed fragrance. Supple with taut acidity and intensity though open enough to reveal excellent depth. Quite sensuous, finishing with a vegetal trace from the petit verdot that is the hallmark of this estate.

2003 Pichon Longueville Baron. Deep crimson, glowing with deep dark plums. Open with lovely suppleness and intensity, amply endowed with ripe raspberries amid discernible traces of varnish and enamel that added to its sweet lengthy finish. Still highly youthful.

1996 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, courtesy of Kieron. Poured from magnum. Deep crimson, proffering a classic Pauillac nose of tobacco and snuff. Good density on the palate with a dryish quality, imbued with red plums, gentle dark currants, cherries and capsicum. Very rounded and wonderfully supple with very well-integarted acidity, finishing with a bit of earthiness. Delicious.

1996 Pichon Longueville Baron. Deep crimson, slightly evolved. Distinctly dryish with a predominance of snuff on both nose and palate. Medium-bodied. Rather fleshy, generously imbued with fruit that is considerably darker in tone and more structured than Lalande of the same vintage, underscored by a deeper vein of currants.

2000 Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, courtesy of Sandy. Bright crimson. Seductive feminine bouquet with some capsicum, slightly spicy. Open and supple, displaying excellent fruit quality with faint overtones of snuff tinged with a dash of Pauillac dryness, dressed in velvety tannins. Still youthful.

2000 Ch Leoville Barton, courtesy of Melvin. Deep crimson. Closed on the nose though the palate is generously proportioned with mulberries, violets and wild berries framed within a velvety tannin structure. Still not quite ready.

2003 Ch Leoville Barton, courtesy of Baron. Dark, dense and tight. Reluctant. Not ready.

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