This is still a work in progress as I upload tasting notes and wine labels from as far as 1999... Check back once in a while to get the updates.

January 31, 2002

88 Pichon Lalande

Drinking at Brown.

1988 Pichon Lalande - pretty typical Bordeaux with minerals, earth, cassis... Decent stuff but not overwhelming.

January 29, 2002

91 Pavie Decesse

Drinking at home.

1991 Pavie Decesse, en demi-bouteille - nose of glycerin, wet rag, smoke, coffee. Nose became sweeter after 1½ hours. Finish a bit short, with a light to medium body. Really not impressed.

Bought from Ponti for HKD 140.

January 25, 2002

95 Caymus SS

Drinking at a friend's house.

1995 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - this was decanted for about 2 hours before drinking. Color was dark purple, almost ink like, showing how concentrated it is. Tannins pretty strong, and this wine can age for some time to come. Nose was not so good at first, but gradually the sweet fruit core emerged, along with toffee, grilled meats, pain grillé, and glycerin extract thanks to the alcohol level. Finish a bit short other than the tannin. My friend liked the nose but was OK with the palate. A hint of pepper on the finish, and after 3½ hours, a bit of Chinese medicine in the nose. Sediment very, very fine and not much to be seen.

Bought from Farr Vintners for GBP 87.

January 24, 2002

MNSC dinner - Pineapple virgin

MNSC dinner at JW's California. Theme was wines that Pineapple has never had.

1996 Vinoce - a blend of 50% cab franc plus merlot and cab sauvignon. Color was a bit light, with nose of coconut, vanilla, and caramel.

1997 Clos Mimi Syrah - wow! The color was really dark, almost ink like. Nose was very jammy and sweet, with blackcurrant. Palate was very sweet and juicy, while tannins were pretty heavy. Gayliao remarked it was the sweetest dry red wine he's ever had. It's like alcoholic Ribena, only better. Both Dr. Poon and I really liked this wine.

1998 Vérité La Joie - very tannic. Nose not very open and smelled of wet rags. Finish was short. Not ready.

1997 Montallegro Cabernet Sauvignon - pretty tannic wine also, but this nose was very fragrant, with lots of jammy sweetness. A bit sharp. Pretty good.

Oliver Caldwell (presumably Cabernet Sauvignon, vintage unclear) - nose was very much peppery, with white pepper, Sichuan peppercorn. Palate was a bit acidic but also balanced by good sweetness in the nose.

1996 Three Rivers Shiraz - this was the one Parker gave 100 points to. Highlight of the evening. Nose smelled of shoe polish and plastic, a bit of chalk. After opening up red fruits came out, plus a bit of glycerin. Pretty disappointing given we spent USD 500 to bid on this wine.

January 21, 2002

Mondavi Moscato

Drinking at home.

1998 Robert Mondavi Moscato d'Oro, from half bottle - nose of pear, straw, apricot, semi-sweet and bubbly. Also a bit toasty oak in the nose. Not bad.

January 19, 2002


Drinking at home.

Opus One Overture - pretty typical Bordeaux meritage-type, but what do you expect from Opus One? Pretty oaky, cigar smoke, cloaking the sweet fruit core. Still pretty tannic, can use a few more years of aging.

Bought from the winery for USD 40.

January 13, 2002

Turley and Dalla Valle

Dinner at the Annexx.

1997 Turley Zinfandel Dogtown Vineyard - this was my first Turley and I was eager to see if it was as good as people say it is. And it was! What an amazing nose of jammy sweet fruit, a bit of toffee, vanilla, tannins are still strong but not overpowering. It's clear this wine will be able to last for a long time, while delicious to drink now.

1996 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon - this was not what I expected at all. I expected a typical Californian extracted fruit bomb. Instead I got a Bordeaux blend! While the nose was fruity enough, it wasn't jammy and overpoweringly sweet. Instead the typical mineral, smoke, oak was evident. Still pretty good, but maybe it has closed down or simply not ready?

Bought from Fine and Rare Wines for GBP 61.

January 11, 2002

1992 Sarget

Drinking at home.

1992 Sarget de Gruaud-Larose, en demi-bouteille - didn't breathe enough, so this wasn't as good as I remembered from last time. This was more oaky, classic Bordeaux, smoke and earthy/minerals. Not as sweet as before.

Bought from Ponti for HKD 134.

January 9, 2002

Louis Latour and Stonewell

Dinner at Morton's.

1995 Louis Latour Gevrey-Chambertin - a bit too warm, but OK. Typical Gevrey, classic Burgundian nose of mushrooms, black olives, cassis, acidity undertstandably high. It was OK but obviously not well-liked.

1993 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Stonewell - brought 3 bottles of this to clear out some inventory. It's drinking pretty well now. Nice nose of caramel, coffee mixed with berries, tobacco smoke. Medium to full bodied, with round tannins. We did not decant it at the restaurant and did not breath the wine much, but it was OK. It's not spectacular, but not a bad wine to keep around.

January 7, 2002

MNSC dinner - 97 Super Tuscans

MNSC dinner at Grissini. Theme was 97 Super Tuascans.

1997 Ornellaia - this was clearly one of the stars of the night. Color was a dark purple. Nose of sweet berries, jammy, thick, with minerals and slight hint of coffee. It died after a while to reveal earthiness and smoke. But second glass game back strong and better. It was fairly tannic and with a short finish at first, became better later.

1997 Frescobaldi Lamaione - the nose was slightly musty and oaky. The fruit was less jammy and sweet. Notes of acetone and tobacco. Palate was pretty tannic and peppery at first. It was much improved with the second glass.

1997 Argiano Solengo - the sangiovese / cab / syrah blend. This was not so good. Initially a very chalky, musty nose with lots of minerals. Later on the core of sweet fruit emerged, along with a smokey nose. Again the palate was tannic, especially the finish.

1997 Antinori Solaia - Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year for 2000. I think the Solaia has shut down a bit, while some others thought it was one of the night's best. I really couldn't get much out of the Solaia, even with the second glass. There was a bit of sweet fruit but it needed a lot of coaxing. Tannins were smooth and round, light-bodied. Finish was pretty short. After 3 to 3½ hours, much better as it opened up, with the sweet fruit coming out.

1997 Sassicaia - this was really good. By now the wines have been open about 3 hours. The nose was very jammy and sweet, with a hint of smoke. Very open and delicious. Full-bodied. Wow!

1997 Petrolo Galatrona - another 100% merlot. Just as powerful as the Sassicaia. Again you have the amazing sweet, jammy fruit, really like new world wines. But this has slightly more finesse and not just pure punch. Really good stuff.

1997 Ornellaia Masseto - as expected it was sweet and very jammy. What else would you expect from a Michel Rolland wine. Good stuff, gotta have more.

January 4, 2002

1996 Virginie de Valandraud

1996 Virginie de Valandraud - definitely a Thunevin wine... more sweet, fruity and forward in style.  I think it's good but for the price there are probably many New World wines which offer better value.

January 3, 2002

61 Ducru and Sbragia

Dinner at Brasserie on the Eighth.

1999 Beringer Chardonnay Sbragia-Limited Release - it was superb. Very rich and creamy, buttery, plus fruity citrus and almonds. Yummy.

1961 Ducru-Beaucaillou - peaked just around 4 hours after opening. As expected it did not drink well at first but improved over time. Tannins round and smooth but still present, showing that this wine can last even longer! Very rich red fruits and nose remains very sweet. Everyone liked the wine. Hint of roasted game. Initially finish was very short, gradually got longer. However the bottle did not drink as well as my earlier bottle.
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