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.

December 22, 2007

50s, 60 and 80s

Dinner at Amber.

1983 Dom Perignon - one of my favorite champagne vintages and the Dom is particularly good.

1985 JL Chave Hermitage Blanc - Dr. Poon brought this bottle, which normally can last 20+ years in good vintages, but it was clear that this bottle was over the hill. The color was copper gold, almost a bit reddish. The nose was still pretty nice, with a bit of pear and tropical fruit. However the wine was completely flat on the palate. We pass it up for the red wines.

1955 Cheval Blanc - we had high expectations of the wine. It was very, very smooth but the age is starting to show in the nose as well as the palate. We had another bottle at an MNSC dinner earlier this year, but this bottle is in much better condition.  Many thanks to Dr. Poon.

1961 Ducru Beaucaillou - I brought this bottle but was a bit apprehensive, as the last two bottles I had opened never measured up to my first experience with this wine. This bottle was drinking very nicely and showing classic traits of a Saint Julien - a bit green, grassy and "farmy". However, it was a bit muted and the sweet fruit never showed. This is the frustration that you get with Ducru. For the record, we drank this wine blind and Dr. Poon actually guessed correctly - even hitting the vintage.

1959 Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux -  I had hoped that this would be a sweeter wine than its cousin I opened a few years ago, but then again I have very little experience with Vouvray, especially old ones. The wine had a very nice nose of apricot, but there was a lot of acidity on the palate and not the sweet sticky I was expecting. It's a bit of a shame since 1959 was a superb vintage in the Loire Valley. I'm still looking for a bottle of aged Loire that is nice and sweet.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 20, 2007

The 100-year-old Champagne

MNSC dinner at the China Club, hosted by Pineapple.

Pineapple starts us off with some Champagne. Not just ANY Champagne. We were drinking the 1907 Heidsieck Monopole Goût Américain. This was one of the fabled bottles salvaged from a shipwreck off the Finnish coast, part of the cargo of the Jongpoking en route to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia when the ship was sunk by German U-boat in 1916. The wine had stayed at the bottom of the ocean for 81 years under constant temperature and pressure. I'm not sure how much Paulo paid for the bottle at auction, but recent reported prices were around USD 4,000 per bottle...

We were all curious to see if there was still life in the bottle. Paulo carefully removed the wiring around the cork, and pulled gently. We could hear a faint fizz as the cork was popped. We watched in anticipation as the waiter poured the champagne into flutes and served them to us.

The Champagne was lovely. Being goût Américain, it has a higher dosage of sugar than the Brut Champagnes we normally drink. The result, after years of aging, is a wonderful caramelized nose. There were still some bubbles in the Champagne flute, and there was still life left in the wine. The taste was very much that of aged Champagne, but more advanced. Very smooth and mellow, it was just delicious. We each poured ourselves a little more and savored this treasure from the sea.

The theme for the rest of the evening was 1976 horizontal - Pineapple's birth vintage.

1976 Ausone - we all thought this was classically Left Bank... 92 points.

1976 Rayas - the nose was a bit "funky" and we took it for a Bordeaux... 91 points.

1976 Comte de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes - half of us made the classic mistake of confusing between an old Rhone and an old Burgundy... 91 points.

1976 Lafite-Rothschild - half of us actually did well and thought it was a Pauillac, although no one guessed Lafite.  93 points.

1976 Paul Jaboulet La Chappelle - we all identified the wine as an Hermitage, although only one of us nailed it on the head.  92 points.

1976 DRC Grands Echezeaux - we all knew this was a Burgundy, and most people guessed Echezeaux. This was a classically delicious Burgundy.  96 points.

1976 Petrus - we all got it wrong and thought it was a Left Bank. 92 points.

1976 Guigal La Mouline - this was clearly the wine of the evening. It was very, very yummy and the Syrah clearly showed. But at least half of us knew it was a Syrah, despite guessing it was an Hermitage...  97 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 2, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC Dinner at Caprice, hosted by Juliano.

1983 Salon - even though many others had pooh-poohed it as being "acidic, mushroom piss", I actually thought that was just classic old Champagne, though it was a bit on the acidic side for my taste.

First flight:
1983 Mouton-Rothschild - classic left bank Bordeaux from the get go. I actually guessed it was Lynch-Bages, another Pauillac. 95 points.

1983 Rayas - I detected the perfumed nose, and given my very limited experience with Rayas, decided it was a muted bottle of Guigal La Mouline. 96 points.

Second flight:
1989 Rayas - I was the only one who did not like the "funky" nose of this wine, and gave it a relatively low score. But I did think it was a Rayas. 92 points.

1989 La Conseillante - again a classic Bordeaux from a seemingly ripe vintage, and definitely my wine of the evening. I was led astray by someone else's guess earlier and thought this could be a Margaux, even though the host gave me a very big hint by initially refusing to accept my guess. 98 points.

Third flight:
1996 Mouton-Rothschild - I initially guessed it was Margaux (to be consistent with the last flight) but finally changed to Pichon Lalande due to the smoky tobacco in the nose (should have been a tell tale sign that it was Mouton!) But at least I thought it was a Pauillac, which was better than most people...95 points.

1996 Rayas - the nose was incredibly perfumed, which strengthened my conviction that this was the Guigal La Mouline. Oops...I think I should drink more Rayas. 97 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 23, 2007

Rhône white + Cali reds

Dinner at San San Trois.

2003 Guigal Saint-Joseph Blanc "Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph" - a wonderful Rhone white. Although I did not find it so, my friends commented on the wine being "super dry." In any case, this is a wine that I love from my favorite winemaker in the region.

1999 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - although this is the entry-level Pinot from Kistler, I have always loved this wine and thought it was the perfect accompaniment to the chicken.

1995 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - classically full-bodied.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 21, 2007

Some interesting wines

Dinner at the Kimberley Chinese Restaurant (君怡閣),where I brought most of the wines and was introduced to the Kimberley Pig for the first time.

We started with 2 bottles of Californian white, because there was a request for "interesting white wine." They were already slightly chilled when I arrived at the restaurant, but were stuck into ice buckets (against my better judgement). The first wine was the 1998 Sine Qua Non Backward and Forward, which is an interesting blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Roussanne, and 30% Viognier. During our last gathering (a more intimate dinner for 4 instead of 9 tonight) a fellow diner had thoroughly enjoyed the 1996 Sine Qua Non Omadhaun & Poltron. She loved the funky label as well as the interesting blend of Roussanne and Chardonnay. So I figured the Backward and Forward would also be a hit. I wasn't wrong. Everyone thought the wine was very interesting, although it needed some time to warm up before the nose really developed in the glass. The nose was pretty buttery and nice, and typically Viognier.

2003 Kongsgaard Viognier/Roussanne - a blend of 55% Viognier and 45% Roussanne. This was amazing and actually more popular than the first wine, due to its explosive nose of tropical fruits and floral notes. Lots of pineapple, lychee, coconut notes. Wonderful.

1998 Sine Qua Non Veiled - this is a Pinot Noir from Oregon and was pretty well received. A few people were surprised that an American Pinot could have such a pleasant nose. But most people were more interested in the labels, where the front label depicted a pair of eyes peeking through a chador, and the back label had Arabic translations to the English text.

1999 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts - expectations were high for this wine as it comes from both a stellar vintage and a vineyard situated next to DRC's famed La Tâche. Unfortunately as we suspected, the wine was very closed - a condition quite a number of Burgundies from '99 suffer from.

1998 Dominio Pingus - this was meant to be the highlight of the evening. Most people at the table had never tasted this wine, with the exception of two of us (since I held a '98 Spanish tasting in 2003). The wine was opened at 7pm, stoppered until 8pm, and we started serving it around 10pm. However, it was never decanted and arguably was served in the wrong glass. So it was not surprising that the nose was fairly muted and hence a disappointment to me (as well as others). It eventually opened up in the glass around 11pm, just before we called it a night.

1995 Egon Muller Riesling Auslese Scharzhofberger - a request for a German sweet wine. This was my only bottle which fit the request, so I brought it despite the slightly protruding cork indicating a bit of heat damage. The nose was very nice, showing floral and lychee notes. But the acidity was higher than I expected, and it was clear that the wines was going downhill.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 18, 2007

Last dinner at Toscana

My last dinner at Toscana before it closed.

1999 Gaja Barbaresco - I had opened it half an hour before dinner and the restaurant decanted it when we arrived. As it is still a very young wine, it remained relatively closed through the dinner and not quite as good as I had hoped.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 17, 2007

Krug Champagne dinner

Dinner at Dynasty featuring Champagne from the house of Krug.

Krug Grand Cuvée - the non-vintage blend of the house. This has not only long been my favorite NV Champagne, but often my favorite offering from Krug. It is simply smooth and delicious. I'd be content if I could drink this daily.

1996 Krug - 1996 is probably the best Champagne vintage in the last 20 years or so, and the '96 has just been rated by Wine Spectator at 99 points and #10 of their Top 100 Wines of 2007 (literally just the day before the dinner). Anticipation was high as the golden liquid was poured into a glass that was smaller than our previous flute. This was met with protests from people at our table, and we proceeded to get ourselves a quick top-up.

Honestly, I thought that the nose of the '96 was very complex, and it would no doubt be a star. However, the acidity was quite sharp, especially on the finish. Clearly this is a wine that needs more time to age and is not really suited for drinking today. Better get my hands on some as people have been snapping it up.

Krug Rosérosés are always nice and easy to drink, and this one is no exception. We had lots of refills of the wine, and they started bringing out half bottles of it which supposedly are only available in 5 cities across the globe (excluding Paris). Very yummy. Very enjoyable. Very drunk.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 15, 2007

Dinner with potential investors

Dinner at Forchetta in Taipei, hosted by me.

2001 Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Caillerets - a smooth and delicious wine. I really loved the buttery nose and the minerals.

2001 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet - this village wine had a more complex and heavy nose, with minerals, smoke peat. But as a drinking wine, especially with food, I preferred the Pillot.

1999 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin - the wine was pretty good but a tad expensive for a village wine, a function of both the vintage and the producer. Lots of minerals on the nose.

1990 Certan de May - this drank pretty well and was silky smooth on the palate.  My friend Victor loved it so much (he's a Bordeaux lover so this is not a surprise) that he immediately called up the owner of the wine shop where I had bought the wine, and wanted to order 2 cases!

1994 Dominus - this was supposed to be a classic - probably the best Dominus ever. However it is also famous for bottle variation and this one was not quite as good as I had hoped. But the nose was pretty sweet with caramel a bit of tropical fruit.

1985 Stag's Leap Cask 23 - this is a legendary wine, and probably the favorite vintage of Warren Winiarski, Stag's Leap's owner. I had the pleasure of tasting through a vertical of Cask 23 with Warren in 2000 in Singapore, and I loved the '85 back then. This time I had bought 2 bottles from the wine shop, and the shop had sent the whole batch of wines to the restaurant. I meant to open ony 1 bottle for dinner and take the other bottle home. Before dinner, I called ahead to the restaurant and asked them to open all the reds. Unfortunately this meant that the spare bottle of the '85 Cask 23 was also among the opened bottles....anyway. The nose was pretty amazing, and I really had no regrets of buying the wine. Of course it had more than 2 decades to age, so it has now developed nicely.

1996 Chateau Guiraud - not a bad effort with typical tangerine and caramel on the nose.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 5, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Tuscany by H

MNSC dinner held at Tuscany by H, hosted by Lord Rayas.

Theme was a vertical of Paul Jaboulet's famed Hermitage La Chapelle, one of the greatest Hermitage around (if not THE Hermitage).

Flight 1:
1982 Jaboulet La Chapelle - clear winner of the evening as it was just absolutely beautiful.  98 points.

1983 Jaboulet La Chapelle - 92 points.

Flight 2:
1979 Jaboulet La Chapelle - 90 points.

1985 Jaboulet La Chapelle - 91 points.

Flight 3:
1989 Jaboulet La Chapelle - 92 points.

1990 Jaboulet La Chapelle - 92 points.

The 1989 and 1990 were very closed, and very disappointing.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 20, 2007

Two New World Syrahs

Dinner at Le Platane in Shanghai with Dr. Poon.

The first bottle we drank was a house Australian Syrah made for the restaurant. Incredibly, it tasted so much like a Côte-Rôtie I would never have guessed it was Aussie! The wine was drinking beautifully and I am sure that it would not have cost an arm and a leg.

The second bottle of the night was the 1999 Sine Qua Non The Marauder, which was part of the case that I shared with Dr. Poon. The wine had obviously softened quite a bit since I last drank it a few years ago, but it still packed a wallop of minerals (to me the nose is still full of iron and hence reminds me of blood...)

Full post on dinner is here.

October 19, 2007

Lynch-Bages dinner in Shanghai

Dinner at Allure, organized by the Commanderie du Bordeaux.  Sylvie Cazes was in attendance.

The pre-dinner tasting consisted of the lower-end wines made by the Cazes family, such as Villa Bel-Air in Graves and L'Ostal Cazes in Minervois. Interesting to taste but not exactly the reason why we were there.

The wines served for dinner were the 2005 Blanc de Lynch-Bages (always an excellent dry white), the 2004 Cordeillan-Bages (glad to have finally drunk this wine), the 2003 Ormes de Pez (not a bad effort), and finally the 2001 Lynch-Bages and the 1996 Lynch-Bages. The 2001 was still a bit tight, but the 1996 was just beautiful to drink now and is a classic Pauillac.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 6, 2007

1940 Haut-Brion

Dinner at Paris 1930 in Taipei to celebrate dad's birthday.

1940 Haut-Brion - the nose was reminiscent of the last bottle that we drank, and of the other older wines from similar era. The fruit was still there, but this time the preserved plums was very evident. Mom loved this wine. I have never seen her so eager to drink anything with alcohol as she did tonight. She commented that this was "her type of wine" because she liked the acidity and the maturity. Since we drank the wine without decanting (for fear of the wine collapsing in the decanter), the wine was fairly acidic on the palate at the beginning. Of course we knew she really, really liked all types of Chinese preserved plums (酸梅湯) so this is definitely up her alley. As aeration occurred in the bottle, the tannins gathered strengh and the acidity faded on the palate. This, of course, meant that mom enjoyed the wine less as time went on.

Since the wine had been knocked around a bit and we didn't decant it (hence no chance to run it thru the usual coffee filter), it was fairly cloudy. As we neared the bottom, I stopped pouring because we were obviously going to get the sediement. Wouldn't you believe it, mom insisted on emptying the bottle! She waited until the sediment had time to settle in the glass, then drank the clear (if you can call it that) wine in one quick swoop before the sediment had time to move.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 10, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Amber

MNSC dinner at Amber, hosted by Dr. Poon.

First flight:
1970 Lynch-Bages - 93 points.

1970 Ducru-Beaucaillou - 95 points.

Second flight:
1970 Palmer - 98 points.

1970 Cos d'Estournel - 93 points.

Third flight:
1959 Calon-Ségur - 93 points.

1959 Gruaud Larose - 92 points.

August 13, 2007

1998 Smith Haut Lafitte

1998 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge - drank a half-bottle at Ukai-tei Ginza (うかい亭 銀座). Classically French and ready to drink.

Full post on dinner is here.

August 10, 2007

Dinner at Brian's

In Tokyo staying with Brian and Cow, and Brian cooked dinner for us again. 

Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label NV - something to get us started

1996 Peter Michael Belle Cote - now mature with a nose of sweet, buttery flavor

1967 Marey-Monges Romanee-Saint-Vivant - initially we found it a bit "cooked" since I smelled stewed prunes in the nose.  Gradually opened up and became pretty amazing after a little more aeration.
1993 Domaine d'Auvenay Bonnes Mares - opened up very nicely and drank very well.

I was very drunk by this time, but we finally opened up the half bottle of 1999 Guigal Condrieu Luminescence, the first vintage of the wine that Guigal made in the traditional way. I smelled overripe melons, citrus and pears, and absolutely loved it.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 16, 2007

MNSC Dinner - San San Trois

MNSC dinner at San San Trois, hosted by Lord Rayas.  Theme was 1997 horizontal.

Flight 1:
1997 Jacques Prieur Clos de Vougeot - 92 points.

1997 Rayas - 93 points.

Flight 2:
1997 Cheval Blanc - 93 points.

1997 Lafleur - 93 points.

1997 Pahlmeyer - 95 points.

Flight 3:
1997 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele - 91 points.

1997 Lokoya Mount Veeder - 93 points.

1997 Villa Cafaggio Cortaccio - 88 points.

June 30, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Paris 1930

MNSC dinner at Paris 1930 in Taipei, hosted by me.

First flight: featuring two wines from my birth vintage which were part of the 1976 Paris Tasting.
1970 Mouton-Rothschild

1970 Heitz Martha's Vineyard

Second flight:
1975 Haut-Brion

1975 Léoville-Las Cases

Third flight:
1986 Cos d'Estournel

1986 Lynch-Bages

June 22, 2007

1970 BV Georges de Latour

I opened a bottle of 1970 BV Georges de Latour at home and decanted it. The last time I had this was 5 years ago with a bottle purchased while tasting at BV. That was a great bottle and fulfilled all my expectations. Would this bottle be the same, even though I bought it from

The verdict was positive. The wine remained rather closed in the beginning while it was sitting in bottle and later in the closed decanter, but once we started drinking it gradually opened up. At its peak about 2 1/2 hours after opening, the wine was drinking beautifully, with a full-blown nose of sweet red fruits and a hint of smokiness.

My friend Colin just had his birthday a few weeks ago and I realized that he was also born in my year, and had never had anything from his vintage, so this was a nice treat for him. We have both read Taber's Judgement in Paris so he also knew a little about the history of BV and the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff. The 1970 would still have been made by Andre and his son Dmitri.

June 21, 2007

Dagueneau and Jayer-Gilles

Dinner at San San Trois.

Drank 1999 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Pur Sang, and the 1990 Jayer-Gilles Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Hauts Poirets.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 11, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC dinner at Caprice, hosted by Alexandre.  Pierre Perrin from Beaucastel attended as guest.

First flight:
1991 DRC Echezeaux - 91 points.

1991 DRC Richebourg - 90 points.

Second flight:
1991 DRC La Tâche - 94 points.

1991 DRC Grands-Echezeaux - 95 points.

Third flight:
1989 Guigal La Landonne - 95 points.

1989 Guigal La Turque - 97 points.

June 3, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Tim's Kitchen Macau

MNSC dinner at Tim's Kitchen (桃花源) in Macau, hosted by Dayliao.

First flight:
1976 Penfolds Grange - 91 points.

1976 Penfolds Bin 766 - disqualified.

Second flight:
1996 Leroy Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts - 94 points.

1996 Rouget Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux - 91 points.

Third flight:
1996 Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache Kangarilla - 90 points.

1996 Clarendon Hills Astralis - 94 points.

Fourth flight:
2002 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele - 96 points.

2002 Dominus - 98 points.

May 15, 2007

Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle

Dinner at H One. The Harlan Estate team was represented by Bill Harlan himself, as well as Don Weaver, the marketing Executive Director and Will Harlan, Bill's young son who looked like he was being groomed to take over in the future. I felt quite privileged to meet Bill, who is often cited as a visionary and I think can be compared to the likes of Robert Mondavi.

The Screaming Eagle team was represented by Ursula Hermacinski, the famous wine auctioneer who apparently was lured to Screaming Eagle by the new owners, Charles Banks and Stanley Kroenke. Banks and Kroenke were part of the Asian tour, but had left yesterday during the day so did not attend our dinner.

The lineup of wines were quite interesting, and I believe that most of the guests had never tasted Screaming Eagle, after all the hubbab we had heard for the last 10+ years, so it was a rare treat for us.

El Alma de Jonata 2004 - "the soul", this was a smooth, easy-drinking Cabernet Franc

El Desafio de Jonata 2004 - "the defiance", this is their Cabernet Sauvignon that would be one of the stars of the vineyard. Much more tannic and concentrated than the El Alma

El Corazon de Jonata 2004 - "the heart", this was curiously a blend of every varietal from the vineyards, which include Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, among others. The nose was quite funky since this is a jumble of both red and white grapes...I was left with the question: "What were you thinking?!"

La Sangre de Jonata 2004 - "the blood", this was a ripe, sweet and powerful Syrah which I think will do well

Jonata is a project in the Central Coast owned by Banks and Kroenke, and the vines were planted in 2001 so they are extremely young.

BOND St Eden 2003 - this was clearly superior to the Jonata wines, and as well it should since the quality/price/target market is completely different. Much more complex and very open.

BOND is the project Harlan started a few years ago in cooperation with several growers, and shares the same winemaking team and style with Harlan Estate.

Harlan Estate 2000 - this was not a particularly good year in California but Harlan felt that this was one of the wines of the vintage. Still very closed and tannic

Harlan Estate 2001 - this is one of the wines Robert Parker rated 100. This is still very closed today but you can see the potential for this wine to go to great heights

Harlan Estate 2002 - this was one of the wines of the evening. Robert Parker also rated it 100, and I can see why! This is very ripe and forward, and already drinking very well compared to the 2001

Harlan Estate 2003 - this was also very forward and ripe, although some in the crowd quiet complained that it was too ripe and again the comment of being "madeirized"

The highlight of the evening was no doubt the Screaming Eagle 2003, which was quite interesting. It was clearly very ripe and the nose was very sweet. Fairly concentrated as it is still a very young wine. I would not say that this was the best Californian I have ever tasted, but it is nevertheless a very good effort. Whether I would pay the USD 500 release price from the winery...well, I can probably turn around and flip it in the market if I didn't like it enough.

I think most of us appreciated the chance to finally drink Screaming Eagle, but I don't think any of us were really wowed...not at these prices. The similarly-rated 1998 vintage is now being offered on for USD 1,100 - before premium and taxes. For that price, I can think of many, many legendary wines in the world I would prefer to drink...

Full post on dinner is here.

May 5, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

Part 2 of Dr. Poon's 40th celebration - the MNSC dinner at Caprice.  Another bunch of really old wines...

First flight:
1945 Grand-Puy-Lacoste - a very good wine from this stellar vintage, and demonstrates why GPL holds such a special place among lovers of Bordeaux

1945 Beychevelle - also a wonderful wine and we scored it slightly higher than the GPL

Second flight:
1947 Margaux - we knew this was a step up from the last flight, and really enjoyed this pair. I noted the hint of grass in the nose so I was able to guess that this was a Margaux

1947 Palmer - as enjoyable as the Margaux

Third flight:
1953 Figeac, ex-chateau - this was an awesome wine and all of us loved it. Wine of the evening for the group as a whole with an average score of 97 points

1953 Angelus, ex-chateau - I thought this was even better than the Figeac and gave it 98 points. These wines just taste incredibly fresh and you would never guess they are 50 years old

Fourth flight:
1981 Sassicaia - I thought this was an awesome wine with lots of rich, sweet fruit. I never would have guess this was an '81...and scored it 98 points

1985 Sassicaia - I was glad to have finally tasted the legendary '85, which is now going for around GBP 900 a bottle. As delicious as this was, I actually rated the '81 better! And to think that the '81 cost less than 1/10 of the '85...guess I'll be buying lots of the '81!!!

Full post on dinner is here.

May 4, 2007

40th birthday celebration

Dr. Poon hosted his big birthday dinner for 60 of his friends at Azure, and brought a few of his cult Californian wines to share before dinner. I arrived late and missed most of it, but did manage to taste the Fisher Millenium (vintage 1997 released for 2000) as well as the 1997 HL (Herb Lamb Vineyard, the source for Colgin's first wine). Both were quite interesting and kinda made up for the 1996 Harlan Estate, 1997 Dalla Valle Maya, 1997 Araujo Cab Eisele Vineyard...that I missed.

During dinner, Kevin served the Mer Soleil Chardonnay, followed by both the Cab and the Merlot from Blankiet Vineyards, all from magnums (don't remember the vintages). To top it all, there was an imperial of 1988 Mouton-Rothschild. I must say I much preferred the Blankiet to the Mouton...

April 30, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Classified

Paulo hosted his MNSC Dinner in the private cellar at Classified.  We were served a bunch of old wines from around the world, which are always much harder to blind-taste...

First flight:
1967 Gaja Barbaresco - this was OK but we were not impressed, scoring it below 90 points.

1967 Latour - this was slightly better but again not a great wine.

Second flight:
1953 Marques de Riscal Riserva - most of the others complained about this being "madeira-ed" and felt it was off, but I, being a great fan of Madeira, actually really loved it. By popular demand we excluded this from our normal scoring.

1953 Canon - we could tell that this wine was fully mature as well, and scored it a bit above the '67 Latour.

Third flight:
1955 Inglenook Cab - none of us had any idea what this was and we all guessed it was Spanish...

1955 Cheval Blanc - this was certainly the wine of the evening! We gave it an average of 95 points

Fourth flight:
1969 Charles Noellat Romanée-Saint-Vivant - it's always nice to drink a very old Burgundy, especially one from a great vintage such as '69. Surprisingly the color was not as light as I would expect. This property was subsequently sold to Domaine Leroy.

1969 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle - this is the oldest La Chapelle I've ever had, and very enjoyable.

April 20, 2007

Le Palais des Grands Crus 2007

I had the good fortune of attending the Deutsche Bank wine tasting for the third year. From the wine list it seems that we are getting cheaper compared to previous years, as there were fewer "stellar" wines around this year. Or maybe it is because wine prices have soared in the last year, and for the same amount of cash spent, we cannot afford the same wines we tasted last year. In any event, there is never any plonk or average wines at these tastings so I should not complain...

As usual the Grand Hyatt Ballroom is set up with tables with specific themes, with either sommeliers or representatives from the wineries pouring the wines. Based on past experience, the plan is to prioritize and hit the best wines before it is gone.

My first stop was at the Red Burgundies table since there usually are several offerings from DRC. I tried a couple of 2003 grand and premier cru wines from Prieure-Roch, but was less than impressed. The Romanee-Saint-Vivant 2001 from DRC was much better (duh...), and the 2000 DRC Echezeaux was drinking very, very well - shows the power and concentration from a DRC grand cru. After seeing one person after another asking for the La Tache (most probably have no idea what it is, but have been told that it is an expensive wine so they must drink it...), I finally worked up to it...but was very disappointed. The 1988 La Tache (served from methuselah no less) was definitely over the hill...a bit of stewed prunes and higher acidity than I expected. Certainly the biggest disappointment of the evening.

Next stop was the Jaboulet table. The 1998 La Chapelle was not bad but not outstanding. The 1983 La Chapelle was drinking quite well, although it never was a stellar wine. The highlight of course was the 1990 La Chapelle served from magnum. Wow! This was my wine of the evening...everything I expected. There is enough concentration and fruit to last for a long time, and no question why Parker and others gave it 100 pts. Wonderful stuff!

I stopped by the Angelus table to greet Coralie de Bouard, Hubert's daughter. She had hosted their table at last year's tasting and I thanked her for participating again. I tried the 1998 Angelus, 2003 Angelus and 1983 Angelus in that order. '98 was drinking alright but did not perform up to its potential. The 2003 was drinking better than I expected, and the '83 was beautiful. Missed out on the 1970 Angelus because I waited too long.

Finally to the whites. The 2004 Chablis Les Clos from William Fevre from jeroboam was a good starting point. The pair of 2004 Domane Leflaives - the Meursault Sous le Dos d'Ane and the Puligny-Montrachet Clavoillon - showed powerful nose of petrol and minerals, a bit too much for my taste, especially the Meursault. The 2000 Bouchard Meursault Charmes was more elegant. The 2002 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne from jeroboam was very, very nice.

And I spent a long time hanging around the sweet wine table. I started with the 1924 Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu - this was really wonderful. The pair of 1978 and 1979 Rieussec was great, as was the 1985 Suduiraut. These are wines I would drink any day after a nice dinner. Of course, everyone goes for the Yquem, this one the 1999 Yquem from imperial. You will never have a bad Yquem, but this one was a little too young. Tonight, the winner was definitely the '24 Huet, and I managed to get the last pour out of the bottle.

It was a very good evening, and I finally went home some 4 hours after I started.

March 19, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Toscana

My turn to host an MNSC dinner, this time at Toscana.  The theme was 1992 horizontal around the world, with each flight being Old World vs. New World. 

1995 Tattinger Comte de Champagne - bought this from the restaurant so that they would waive the corkage. Pretty delicious but we only had half the bottle before moving onto the reds.

First flight:
1992 Philip Togni - this was drinking very nicely without too much aeration, with a big nose of fruit. Interesting the wine died fairly quickly in the glass, but each fresh pour from decanter brought out the incredible nose.

1992 Leoville Barton - I was expected this to be a dud with no fruit whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised although I can't say this was the best wine of the evening. At one point we were talking about "sugar water" in the nose

Second flight:
1992 Mouton-Rothschild - this was almost the biggest surprise of the evening, that a wine from a famously weak vintage would be drinking as well as it did. Lots of coffee and classic pencil lead in the nose.

1992 Colgin Herb Lamb Vineyard - I always expected this to be the wine of the evening, and it did not disappoint. A huge nose, lots of sweet fruit, a blockbuster of a wine.

Third flight:
1992 Penfolds Grange - how could this wine be anything other than a Grange? It's got the classic knockout punch nose that you get from just about every bottle of Grange...tons of sweet red fruit, almost cotton candy...

1992 Guigal La Mouline - I think this was the biggest surprise for the night. No one expected the '92 La Mouline to drink this beautifully and everyone put high scores on it. For the price this is a very good La Mouline!

Full post on the dinner is here.

March 16, 2007

La Conseillante wine dinner

A dinner at Aberdeen Marina Club featuring the wines of Château La Conseillante, with both the owner as well as the winemaker in attendance.

2004 La Conseillante - actually very new world/Californian in style. Very fruit-forward and a departure from the classic Pomerol. Pretty enjoyable.

2001 La Conseillante - an underrated vintage and very classic Pomerol. Not as forward but I can see this drinking really well in a few years.

2000 La Conseillante - One of the stellar vintages in recent years, but this is still very tannic and closed. There is potential for this to develop beautifully but surprisingly not as accessible as the other 2000's.

1995 La Conseillante - very drinkable today...classic Pomerol and fantastic nose.

1989 La Conseillante en magnum - definitely wine fo the evening. This wine is soooo beautiful. The nose just hits you and very smooth on the palate. Most of us would prefer this over the celebrated '90.

1982 La Conseillante en magnum - a close second to the 1989. Needed more time to open up, but still very enjoyable and cannot complain.

Full post on dinner is here.

March 11, 2007

The wines of Kay Brothers

A dinner and tasting of Kay Brothers' wines, held at Classified and hosted by Colin Rayment, the General Manager of the winery.

2002 Kay Brothers Shiraz - fairly smooth and nice to drink, but nothing to write home about

2002 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz - this was much more interesting. Planted in 1982 using Block 6 cuttings to celebrate the centennary of the original Block 6, this was much more fruit-driven, vanilla and typical of Aussie shiraz

2003 Kay Brothers Cabernet - actually pretty smooth and drinking pretty well

2001 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz - again, very nice to drink although less interesting than the 2002

1998 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz - this was a wine from a top vintage, has aged a few years and is now drinking extremely well

2002 Kay Brothers Block 6 - it's easy to see why this is their top wine, made in fairly small quantities (1,000 cases in good years and 500 or so in poor years like 2007). This is much more powerful and concentrated, and the good to drink now

2003 Kay Brothers Block 6 - good but less interesting than the 2002

2004 Kay Brothers Block 6 - this was THE wine. It's just been released and obviously very young, and the alcohol is showing a little. Full of vanilla and red fruits, this powerful wine is actually approachable now with enough decanting time. Definitely should buy some and save for later.

2004 Kay Brothers Late Harvest Frontignac - a sweet wine to go with dessert. I felt that the nose was a bit too sharp and not exactly to my liking

Kay Brothers Liquer Muscat - other than the 04 Block 6, this was definitely the wine for me. It's got an amazing nose that I could smell from 3 feet away. It was very viscous and sweet, with a deep brown color and a nose of caramel and figs.

Full post on dinner is here.

March 4, 2007

Two white wines at Pierre

2004 Sigalas Santorini - drunk at Pierre.  With the taste of the scallops still on my tongue, a sip of the wine is first amazingly sweet on the palate (the wine is vinified dry) followed by a hint of bitter finish.

2003 Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet - absolutely beautiful...sweet, creamy butter mixed with toasty oak and minerals.

Full post on dinner is here.

February 28, 2007

BYO dinner

A BYO dinner at the China Club, hosted by Bordeaux Index.

Billetcart-Salmon NV Brut Blanc de Blancs - reasonably easy to drink

Dom Perignon 1996 - always a pleasure to drink and the color remains incredibly light

Grosset Polish Hill Riesling (forget which vintage) - a bit harsh I thought and overly oaky, not made in the Alsace/German style which I enjoy

Grand Puy Lacoste 1996 - classic Bordeaux claret which the brokers described as the most underrated Pauillac on the market, along with Pontet-Canet. I think they are probably right but it's not made in the style that I really like

Mouton Rothschild 1996 - this is much more to my liking as it was a bit more opulent and open

Leoville Las Cases 1990 - not bad but didn't make as much of an impression on me. We discussed our common disappointment with the '82 (how could Parker rate it as a 100 pt wine?) and that we both liked the '85 as a good value wine

Araujo Eisele Vineyard 2000 - this was very elegant and opened up well, very French with grassy overtones

Pahlmeyer Red 1995 - I brought this bottle to dinner and was very much disappointed, as it clearly did not open up like my previous bottles

DRC Romanee Saint Vivant 1991 - this was nice but a bit disappointing, as I felt the nose had a bit of cooked fruit and indicated perhaps poor storage conditions? The label was stained

Emanuel Rouget Echezeaux 2000 - honestly a bit disappointing as the nose faded fairly quickly and the alcohol/minerals became a bit sharp

JL Chave Hermitage Rouge 1983 - this was clearly the wine of the evening for me. The nose was gorgeous and it really showed what a good Rhone should be

Full post on dinner is here.

February 21, 2007

1997 Troplong Mondot

1997 Troplong Mondot - half bottle drunk at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong.  Beautiful wine...

Full post on dinner is here.

January 25, 2007

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC dinner at Caprice, hosted by Alexandre.  Theme was Dominus vertical.

Flight 1:
1986 Dominus - 93 points.

1985 Dominus - 91 points.

1987 Dominus - 90 points.

Flight 2:
1994 Dominus - 96 points.

1999 Dominus - 95 points.

2000 Sassicaia - thrown in as a ringer, and as a testament to his palate Dr. Poon guessed correctly.  95 points.
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