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.

August 29, 2008

Burgs and a Riesling

Dinner at Legend Concept.

1999 J.J. Prüm Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese - the wine was very sweet on the palate - definitely late harvest. And the nose was full of toasty oak, minerals, and petrol - classic Riesling. 

1990 Nicolas Potel Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles - unbelievably, there was massive amounts of tannins for a wine this age, and unfortunately the finish was short. The nose was reasonably elegant, with a bit of fruit still evident. The wine improved with time, but unfortunately it was still my least favorite bottle of the evening.

1994 Leroy Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Vigneronds - a classic Leroy. There was amazing amounts of sweet fruit in the nose, along with obvious notes of leather. A very powerful wine with a good balance between acidity and tannin. Still going strong after a few hours.

1990 Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche - Rousseau wines are known for their elegance and not power, so I thought this would be overshadowed by some of the other wines of the evening. In the end I was pretty happy, as the wine turned out to beat my expectations, especially considering the source of the bottle. This was a classic, elegant Burgundy through and through, with a nose of leather, grilled meats, good amount of sweet fruit (although not powerful like the Leroy), plum and even a hint of mint I thought. There was a good amount of acidity on the palate, but initially the wine faded quickly in the glass. Towards the end, a bit of smoke emerged from the nose. A very enjoyable wine.

1996 Robert Groffier Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses - a very big wine, my first whiff of the nose showed plenty of sweet caramel, then gradually came a bit of leather. The wine has lots of oomph! and has such concentration and finish. After a couple of hours it did soften a little, but was still going strong. A tough choice between this and the Leroy for the wine of the evening.

2004 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Ayguets en demi-bouteille - this was a big dessert wine, with loads of orange marmalade, apricot, honey and a hint of ripe melon. Very, very enjoyable.

August 23, 2008

1997 Arietta Red

1997 Arietta Red - drunk over dinner at Brasserie on the Eighth.  As I expected, I was blown away by the nose of this wine. It was just so amazingly sweet through and through, with strawberries, cotton candy, and a hint of leather. The wine was very, very sweet on the palate, and I was frankly surprised by the strong presence of tannins in this wine. Being from 1997 and at over 10 years of age, I naturally expected the wine to have soft and lovely tannins on the palate. Well, there was still enough tannins for me to chew on, and the wine has been poured from a decanter! Definitely a powerful, full-bodied wine that was still drinking well more than 3 hours after opening.

August 18, 2008

MNSC Dinner - Highcliff

MNSC Dinner hosted by Lord Rayas at his temporary abode of Highcliff.

2000 Dom Pérignon - the first time all of us had tried this vintage. The nose was very toasty, and the wine was a little "heady" and vibrant due to its young age.

First flight:
1988 Beaucastel - smoky nose of grilled meats, bacon fat but the wine was a bit short on the finish. There was no sweetness at all on the palate, and in fact was a bit acidic while there was still a good amount of tannins you can chew on. 93 points.

1988 Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin - the first whiff presented a very explosive sweet nose which disappeared pretty quickly. Afterwards a bit vegetal with distinct nose of green peppers. 90 points.

Second flight:
1989 La Fleur de Gay - nose very sweet, a bit medicinal with acetone notes. The combination pointed to a right bank Bordeaux. Caramel emerged later on. 92 points.

1989 Le Gay - sweet nose but again distinctively right bank Bordeaux. Notes of chocolate emerged with time. 92 points.

1989 La Fleur-Pétrus - nose was a bit funky with distinct notes of preserved lemon peel (陳皮), a bit sweet on the palate and tannins were pretty evident. 90 points.

Third flight:
1998 Rayas - an explosive sweet nose, with lychees all over and clearing up your sinus...lots of tropical fruit. Sweet on the palate, too. If this weren't the telltale combination for a Rayas, I would wonder if we were served a red dessert wine... Color was surprisingly light and the rim was already orange, misleading us about its age. 99 points for this wonderful bottle.

1998 Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin - very farmy with nose of smoky, grilled meats. Tannins very firm. Very distinctively Beaucastel. Delicious now but I'm sure it would only improve with age. 98 points.

August 8, 2008

Wines to watch Olympics with

Dinner at Kimberley Chinese Restaurant (君怡閣).

1999 Moet & Chandon - very nice and easy to drink.

Jacques Selosse Brut Initiale - a very nice Blanc de Blancs Champagne. I had never heard of this producer before, but was very pleasantly surprised by the quality. The wine tasted yeasty and a bit sweet on the palate, but at the same time very crisp. The nose was a little toasty, and reminds me of aged Champagne that I love so much.

2003 Comtes Lafon Meursault Charmes 1er Cru - this had the sweet and ripe nose of Japanese pear, with straw, buttery corn and hints of minerals and melon. A beautiful wine. However, it was blown away by its elder sibling...

2001 Comtes Lafon Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru - a knockout, explosive sweet nose, with tons of caramel, marshmellow and a hint of sweet corn. Despite the nose being so sweet, the wine was surprisingly acidic on the palate. What an amazing wine!

1999 Sine Qua Non Tarantella - this interesting blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier always produces interesting results. With the first pour, the Chardonnay was more evident and you get loads of minerals, toasty oak, as well as honey and some of the floral notes from the Viognier. Later on beeswax and sweet corn emerged, and as the wine developed further the Viognier became dominant, and it was floral all the way. The color was now golden and I must say that I really enjoyed this wine, and it's a much better showing than the last bottle I had 4 years ago.

1991 Kistler Cabernet Sauvignon - this turned out to be much, much better than any of us had expected. In a blind tasting many of us would have marked it as a Left Bank Bordeaux, and probably a Pauillac! The nose was classic Pauillac with lots of smoke and a bit of grilled meats. There was no hint of the concentrated sweet fruit that would give it away as a Californian, except of the minty nose which would have pegged it as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Given the bottle age, the tannins have now become very smooth and yummy. This could have just been an off-vintage Bordeaux classed growth. I think most of the crowd really enjoyed this one.

2002 Red Car Sugar Daddy - opened around 7pm and only got to taste after more than 3 hours. It was without question a Californian Syrah - the nose was totally sweet and sugary, like alcoholic Ribena as I like to say. There was tons of minerals, again to the point of smelling like blood, and lots of sweet strawberries. Even after being put into a decanter, there was very little softening of its massive concentration. Not sure that this is the style of wine that this group enjoys, so maybe I should refrain from similar types of wines in the future...

August 4, 2008

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC dinner at Caprice, hosted by me.

The theme I chose for the evening was a '70 horizontal, across 6 different regions and 4 different grape varietals. I had been collecting some of these wines for the last few years, and had been eager to organize this tasting for my friends. I would be tasting some of the wines for the first time along with them.
1990 Dom Perignon - this tasted very young for a Champagne of its age, with notes of straw and toasty oak. I haven't had a '90 for a while so it was nice to be reminded just how lovely this wine is...and the fact that replacement cost is now triple of what it was worth a few years back.

First pair:
1970 Gros F&S Vosne-Romanée - plenty of bacon fat, grilled meats in the nose. Thought I also detected a bit of wet rag but it faded quickly. There was certainly a core of sweet fruits, but showed inconsistently because it was being masked by the meats. Even though this was only a village wine, the storage conditions seemed excellent when I picked it up a few months ago.

1970 Guigal La Mouline - I've been waiting to taste this wine for a few years since I acquired it. La Mouline is probably my favorite wine, and this older vintage certainly did not disappoint! Totally smoky, again with a lot of bacon fat, mint, espresso bean grinds and at the same time lots of sweet fruit comes through. Very awesome. Because of the age, the acidity did show through a little on the palate. Definitely the wine of the evening with an average score above 96 pts by the group.

Second pair:
1970 Musar - classic nose of sweet grass and brett as well as sweet fruit. I had this wine a few years ago and have been wanting to serve it at an MNSC tasting. Funnily enough I have been seeing younger vintages of this wine show up in the last month at friendly gathering.

1970 Vega Sicilia Unico - nose was sweet but a bit funky, with some wet chalk emerging in the middle only to fade away. I served this wine for my birthday at an MNSC dinner in 2002, when it was very well received. This bottle was the biggest disappointment of the evening.

Third pair:
1970 Latour - classic Left Bank Bordeaux, with mint and enough sweet fruit but not overpowering. A bit smoky. Good balance with acidity and tannins. This bottle showed much better than the one I served in 2002.

1970 Sassicaia - very powerful nose of strawberry jam, plenty of oak. Acidity was reasonably high. This was another wine for which I had high hopes, and it didn't fare well in my book.

To compensate for accidentally leaking the identity of Sassicaia before the blind tasting started, the manager kindly offered each of us a glass of 1971 Cognac. I am by no means a fan of this drink, but what I had in my hand was just incredibly aromatic - lots of toasty caramel and sweet grass.

August 2, 2008

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 23%

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 23% (獺祭「純米大吟醸」磨き二割三分) - drunk over dinner at Sushi Hiro. This fruity and slightly sweet (甘口) sake is one of my favorites, with the rice grains having been grown down to only 23% of the original weight. The nose was very fragrant with notes of banana and apricot. At a rating of +5 (日本酒度) it was nicely balanced between sweet and dry on the palate.

August 1, 2008

Two ripe Viogniers

Dinner at Da Domenico.

2003 Kongsgaard Viognier/Roussanne - this was a delicious wine. A very floral nose that was just classic Viognier, with notes of almond marzipan, minerals and sweet corn. The wine was very ripe and sweet on the palate, and with 14.1% alcohol it certainly also tasted very "hot". I loved it and couldn't have enough of this wine.

2005 Guigal La Doriane - it was so different from my last bottle. The wine was explosively ripe both on the nose and the palate. Coming from 2005, it was understandably "hot" with a spicy after palate. It was pretty atypical for a Condrieu, since the floral notes were not very evident. We went through about half the bottle and I save the rest for another day.

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