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.

May 30, 2008

MNSC Dinner - Amber

MNSC dinner at Amber, hosted by Dr. Poon.

Theme of the evening was to pair a grand vin with its second wine.

First flight:
1982 La Tour Haut-Brion - first impression was a hint of sweet grass, with plenty of alcohol in the nose, along with a bit of brett and smoke. With time the nose became a bit sweeter. I rated it 93 points while the Parker score was 99.

1982 La Mission Haut-Brion - nose was smoky, more open than the La Tour Haut-Brion. Good amount of sweet fruit on the nose, and there was more power here. Still plenty of tannins here but the finish became a bit acidic. I rated it 94 points against the 99-point Parker score. Quite disappointed in the wine, actually.

Second pair:
1986 Léoville-Las Cases - a very open wine with lots of sweet fruit on the nose. Powerful and concentrated. I rated this 94 points against the 98 points given by Parker. Oh and I did guess the wine's identity correctly...partly due to luck.

1986 Clos du Marquis - amazing amounts of sweet fruit, powerful and very open. There was good length on the finish, but after a while it was clearly fading in the glass. I rated this 96 points. No Parker score given.

Last pair:
1990 Montrose - what a wine! Amazing power and an explosion of sweet fruit. There was also a bit of smoky grilled meats and bacon fat. What else can you say about this wine? A few of us were able to immediately identify this wine from the memory of its sheer brilliance. This is a wine that never fails to impress. I rated it 96 points against its perfect Parker score, because the wine faded a little in glass at the end.

1990 La Dame de Montrose - I thought the Montrose was a great wine, but this was actually better! Once again an explosion of sweet fruit, with more smoky cigar and a large dose of "farmy" nose of grilled and gamey meats. This wine just blew me away. I rated it 98 points against Parker's score of 90.

We were utterly amazed by the result of this blind tasting. In general we preferred the second wines to their grand vin counterparts, and all of these wines have had enough time to evolve and reach their drinking plateau. In the case of the last flight, the two wines had a 10-point difference in Parker score, and we preferred the second wine that cost about 1/8 of the price of the grand vin!

May 28, 2008

2004 Frédéric Magnien Gevrey-Chambertin VV

2004 Frédéric Magnien Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes - drunk over lunch at Pierre.  Initially the wine was all sweet fruit, very forward and just the new style that I like. Gradually the wine softened a bit and the structure, complexity and acidity came out, making it more balanced and classic. Finish was a bit short but hey, it's only a village wine after all.

May 26, 2008

Meeting François Mauss

Dinner at the Fortune Room of the Jockey Club with François Mauss of Grand Jury Europeen and Cecilia Roger from Morgassi Superiore.

2001 Ramonet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champs Canet - a very elegant wine with toasty oak, sweet grass, sweet butter on the nose. Medium acidty on the palate. This wine is fresh and showed lots of finesse.

1983 Leroy Meursault Les Narvaux - another great wine. The nose was very sweet with honey, apricot and pear notes. The palate had a touch of sweetness and not much acidity compared to the Ramonet. The nose had clearly oxidized somewhat, like a pear that had been cut open and sat around. At the end of the dinner, the few drops left in our glasses showed what a truly amazing wine this was.

2004 Rollan de By - pretty delicious for a wine that costs EUR 8 a bottle...nose of sweet fruit, a bit of smoke, lead pencil and that medicinal/antiseptic nose that comes from brett. Drinks pretty well but finish a tad short.

2002 Haut Condissas - with a much sweeter nose, also a bit of smoke, pain grille and (dare I say) oriental spices. A more complex wine with a longer finish, this is again excellent value at only EUR 15.

May 25, 2008

2005 Guigal La Doriane

2005 Guigal La Doriane - drunk over dinner at the Pawn.  It showed a nose of minerals, citrus lemon and a bit of butter; with a medium sweet palate and a "hot" and spicy finish. It was a yummy wine, but disappointing to me because it did not taste like a Condrieu. Where was the overpowering floral nose that comes from the Viognier? Frankly this wine tasted like a Chardonnay from a ripe vintage - in fact it tastes like a 2005 white Burgundy. I cannot help but feel a little cheated.

May 16, 2008

Mixing things up for a Chinese meal

Dinner at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).

2005 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheim - everyone identified the intense lychee nose immediately, and there was also a hint of minerals. The wine was so sweet on the palate, more than I expected, and tasted a bit "hot". I checked the bottle and found that it was 15% alcohol. No wonder! But given that this came from 2005 I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. They obviously picked from very, very ripe fruit.

1999 Clos Mogador - the first whiff of the nose showed lots of power, with sweet vanilla and fruit. Taking the first sip, however, I was a little disappointed. The acidity struck me, and I thought that this wine would turn out to be more traditionally Spanish than I had hoped for. Fortunately the acidity faded, but the wine was still tannic on the palate with a long finish. Not what I had hoped for.

2003 Hugel Gewurztraminer Jubilee - this was much lighter and more floral than the Zind, and still with a hint of lychee.

1997 Pahlmeyer Red - plenty of sweet fruit and vanilla in the nose. The tannins were round and smooth on the palate, and I liked it better than the Mogador.

May 12, 2008

Rounding up investors

Dinner at Forchetta in Taipei.

2001 Jean Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Caillerets -  I took the Pillot because we had it here last time, and I felt that it went better with food. This time, the first pour from the bottle was a little suspect, and I thought the nose indicated a bit of heat damage. It gradually opened up and improved, but the acidity was still higher than I remembered.

2003 Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Perrieres - this was in a different class altogether. Powerful nose of toasted oak and minerals, this was very beautiful wine on its own. Once again, my friend decided to call the wine merchant in the middle of dinner to place an order for this wine. I should extract some commission from the guy...

2000 BOND Matriarch - for a second wine, I really do like this one although it may not measure up to the Harlan Maiden. It's a nice, classic Californian which will not disappoint you with its typically vanilla, tropical-fruit nose from the toasted new oak barrels. But the wine had plenty of detractors at the table, who preferred the Pichon instead.

1998 Pichon Lalande - for Bordeaux lovers, this was a classic, box-standard Pauillac through and through. My friend picked up sous bois in the nose, and I think he was absolutely right. Of course the classic cigar smoke and pain grillé notes were also in abundance, and I would probably have marked it as a Pauillac in a blind tasting.

1990 Rausan-Segla - a classic Margaux, and the nose of sweet grass and herbs were immediately apparent. The wine was smooth on the palate as a lot of the tannins had been shed over the years, and I really liked it. 

1990 Lynch-Bages - another classic Pauillac, although the nose was more subtle compared to the 1998 Pichon. The fruit was more evident here, and the finish was reasonably long. A very good wine matching my expectations.

1990 Coutet - another classic, this didn't stray far from the standard notes of apricot, honey, orange blossom that is typically found in sweet Bordeaux. The wine was very sweet on the palate, which for some people may overwhelm all the subtle notes and hence lack complexity. Nevertheless the wine was very enjoyable.

May 10, 2008

Classic notes and terroir

Dinner at Bonheur.

2005 de Ladoucette Pouilly-Fumé - with floral, perfumed nose and notes of Anjou pear, minerals and a bit of toasty oak. Medium acidity.

2000 Andreas - this showed all the classic Bordeaux traits but the reason why I originally bought the wine was because it was so "New World". It's got classic notes of smoky, pain grille and red fruits. Tannins are round and smooth, and the finish is pretty long. A nice Bordeaux.

2004 Penfolds Bin 707 - a bit of infanticide. This is also classic, with typical Aussie nose of cotton candy, strawberries and sweet caramel. There is no mistaking where this wine came from.

May 8, 2008

1996 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon

1996 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon - drunk over dinner at Panevino.  This was not bad. The wine had shed its tannins so it was smooth on the palate, with a typically Cali Cab nose. But somehow it was a slight disappointment as I had expected a lot from this bottle. Maybe it was the sediment, or my foul mood thanks to the manager, or the fact that I had just drunk a fabulous bottle of '97 Cali Cab the night before. Oh well...

May 7, 2008

Champagnes and Californians

Dinner at Cipriani.

Gosset Excellence Brut - despite all the fun we poked at our friend for bringing a "cheapy" Champagne, the Gosset was actually a decent drink. But of course it paled next to the Krug in comparison...

Krug Grande Cuvée - more mature, refined notes in the nose.

Chateau St Jean Fume Blanc, vintage unknown - someone remarked that this was fine as a drinking wine. 

2001 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - I brought 2 bottles of this. These were actually drinking very well, although still a bit young and probably need a couple of more years to completely round out the edges. The nose was classic pinot, but none of the farmy, barnyard notes of Burgundy. Sweet, powerful and concentrated, I thought it did very well for Kistler's generic cuvee.

1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia from magnum - I was a little apprehensive before the wine was poured from the decanter, as this would be my first experience for this vintage of Insignia. I need not have worried. The nose was full of sweet red fruits and powerful, and the wine was full-bodied on the palate. Enough of the tannins had been shed to make the wine rounded and smooth, and I let the wine swirl around my tongue to feel and chew on the tannins. Wonderful stuff. I don't think the wine has reached its peak yet, so I can probably wait a couple more years before pulling the cork on my other bottles.

May 3, 2008

White Burg and Bordeaux varietals

Dinner at Legend Concept.

2005 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot - very ripe, sweet with chewy fat on the palate. Classic toasty oak and minerals on the nose, with a medium long finish. This wine is ready to drink now, given the power of this awesome vintage.

1998 Hacienda Monasterio Reserva Especial - now this was an interesting wine, made by Peter Sissek of Pingus fame. The nose was classic Right Bank Bordeaux, sweet and ripe, with familiar farmy, gamey notes. It was a full-boded wine and the tannins were still pretty heavy. Very delish for a Bordeaux blend from the Ribera del Duoro.

1995 Shafer Hillside Select - ripe fruit in the nose as one would expect from a Californian, but after a while the wine was actually more like a Left Bank Bordeaux. A very full-bodied wine, but a little disappointed.

2004 Suduiraut en demi-bouteille - lots of ripe apricot, melon, orange and honey. A little young but already delicious, and a perfect way to end the evening.

May 1, 2008

Dinner at the Pawn

Dinner at the Pawn with the owners.

1995 Louis Jadot Bâtard-Montrachet - powerful, pungent nose of flint, minerals and petrol. As time went on, the nose softened and became more pleasant, but the toasty oak was still there. Acidity on the palate was a bit high. I could easily see this wine drinking better in another few years.

1990 Fontaine-Gagnard Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes - with the memory of an earlier bottle of 1990 Volnay 1er Cru still in my mind, I really looked forward to tasting this wine. It turned out to be quite interesting, with a nose of sweet, stewed prunes and smokiness. If I had tasted this blind, I would have guessed it was a Right Bank Bordeaux by its nose...but the acidity on the palate would have made me question my guess.

1979 Jaboulet La Chapelle - the nose was classic Hermitage, very wonderful and I enjoyed it very much. But the finish was short, and we were a bit disappointed in this respect. Still, it was a pleasure to drink this wine.

A pair of Condrieu

Hanging out at a friend's house in the afternoon.

2000 Guigal Condrieu La Doriane - when I had this wine last year, I was disappointed coz it was over the hill. Judging from the color of the wine in bottle, I felt it was probably gonna be the same this time. And sure enough, after pulling the cork and pouring the wine into glass, it was exactly the same as last time. It's quite a full-bodied wine and had a lot of depth and complexity, but it just wasn't fresh anymore. The fresh, floral nose that is typical of Condrieu and Viognier had vanished. With time, the nose improved and I definitely found Anjou pear, a hint of lychee as well as honey in the nose. The finish was reasonaly long and you could tell that once upon a time it had been a great wine.

2005 Chapoutier Condrieu Invitare - this was a fresh vintage and there was no way that it would be over the hill. And indeed, the nose was fresh and floral as I had expected. But alas, the whole package just wasn't there. The acidity was a bit more apparent, and there simply was no depth and complexity to the wine. Other than being fresh - which the girls clearly preferred - the wine just wasn't exciting. Pretty soon I went back to drinking the La Doriane...

Lesson learned? Stick to La Doriane but next time, drink it within a couple of years after release.
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