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.

November 28, 2008

1994 Von Schubert Maximin Riesling Spätlese

1994 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese - drank over lunch at Pierre.  This was an aged bottle, and showed a big nose of urethane/plastic, acetone and petrol. Then lemon notes emerged with green apple following. Initially fairly dry, it gained a bit more sweetness as it opened up. A wonderful wine to drink at lunch.

Full post on lunch is here.

November 27, 2008

Riesling and Huadiao

Dinner at Tien Heung Lau (天香樓).

2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese - I thought this went down easy with Hangzhou food due to its sweetness.

We also enjoyed some Huadiao wine (花雕), which has been blended by the restaurant using something of a solera system employed by sherry producers. The oldest vintage dates back some 20-odd years. Wonderful stuff with served warm.
Full post on dinner is here.

November 25, 2008

An evening with 3 Burgundian winemakers

Dinner at Classified cheese room with Nicolas Potel, Henri Boillot, and Alain and Sophie Meunier (of Jean-Jacques Confuron).

2003 Jean Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère - toasty oak and minerals in the nose. The wine was ripe and sweet on the palate.

2000 Jean Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles en magnum - lots of classic minerals and was ripe and sweet on the nose. Initially it was a little acidic on the palate but improved in glass.

1985 Nicolas Potel Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes  - this was easily the wine of the evening for me - it was so beautiful that I wish my glass would never go empty... Lots of green apple, sweet grass, straw and honey in the nose. Oh-so-smooth on the palate due to its age. I need to get my hands on some of this...

2006 Nicolas Potel Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Hauts Jarrons - relatively big and full-on, with plenty of red fruits on the nose.

2004 Jean-Jacques Confuron Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru - comes from a couple of vineyards. It was silky smooth and velvety, with loads of fruit and a bit of grilled meats on the nose. Such fragrance! While tasting the wine, Paulo commented that it was "Unmistakably Chambolle-Musigny!" I reminded him of MNSC's general poor performace in blind tastings, and told him I would make sure to test him at a future blind tasting that we hold...

2000 Jean-Jacques Confuron Romanée-St-Vivant en magnum - the wine was still very fresh and young, with sweet caramel and a hint of grass on the nose. It was still a bit grippy with higher acidity than I anticipated. I think this wine actually needs more time to pull itself together.

Dow's 20 Year Tawny Port

Full post on dinner is here.

November 24, 2008

Altaya annual tasting

I attended the annual wine tasting hosted by Altaya Wines at the Grand Hyatt. Paulo is a friend and a member of our MNSC, so we all try to show our support, and get to taste some fantastic wines at the same time.

This was their biggest event so far - taking up the Residence area with two large tables serving finger food and the wonderful cheese selection from Classified - one of Paulo's other ventures. There were 24 tables serving wines from around the world, and many winemakers or family members of the winemaker were there to pour their wines for us. The familiar faces were Pierre Perrin from Chateau Beaucastel, Rob Fisher from Fisher Vineyards, Don Weaver from Harlan Estate... There was also a strong contingent from Burgundy, including Nicolas Potel, Henri Boillot (both in person), and Alain and Sophie Meunier from Jean-Jacques Confuron.

I spent more than 3 hours at the tasting, going through many wines and chatting with friends and winemakers. There were just too many wines so my notes are a bit simple and blurry...

2004 Harlan Estate - waaaay too early to drink

2005 Henri Boillot Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Vergelesses - loads of minerals, flint, oak and sweet butter in the nose.

2005 Henri Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets - nose of prunes, grilled meats and smoke. A bit acidic.

2004 BOND Melbury - minty, pruny, with lots of oak and high alcohol. Pretty tannic right now.

2006 Fisher Whitney's Vineyard Chardonnay - still as sweet and ripe as I remember. Lots of buttery and toasty oak here.

2006 Nicolas Potel: Bourgogne Rouge Cuvée Gerard Potel, Côtes de Nuits-Villages Rouge Vieilles Vignes, Nuits-St-Georges - while these were decent wines for everyday drinking, they weren't as impressive as the 4 wines that followed...obviously!

2006 Nicolas Potel: Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Hauts Jarrons, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes - these wines were obviously a class above the first three, and are amazing value for money.

2006 Nicolas Potel Grand Crus: Clos St.-Denis, Charmes-Chambertin - really, really nice wines, especially the silky smooth Charmes with the lengthy finish.

2004 Argiano Solengo - not that impressed. Still a bit tannic.

2005 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge - classic Beaucastel and good to drink now.

2005 Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - another beautiful Rhone white from Beaucastel that is accessible now.

2005 Kilikanoon Killermans Run Shiraz - not a bad effort that is typically Aussie Shiraz

2005 Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz - aged in a mix of American and French oak, the vanilla and tropical fruit of the American oak really shows through here.

2004 Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz - nose is more subtle here as this is aged in French oak.

2003 Le Pupille Saffredi - a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this was only so-so...not quite sure why this is a famous wine...

Quinta do Noval Colheita Port 1995 - I love all tawny Port, so understandably I went back for a few more pours of this one. Lots of typical nuts, caramel and a bit sharp from the alcohol.

2002 Suduiraut - my favorite of the trio tonight. Nose of celery, straw, honey, apricot, orange marmalade. There is enough sweetness here to make it interesting.

1998 Suduiraut - a bit bland on the palate as there really wasn't enough sweetness. Nose of cotton candy, apricot and marmalade.

1982 Suduiraut - not sure why some people were so wowed by this wine. Maybe because they had heard that 1982 was a great year for Bordeaux, without realizing that it wasn't exactly a good year for Sauternes... There's not enough botrytis here, even though Suduiraut produced one of the best wines in this vintage due to early harvest. Nose of tangerine and acetone, but pretty dry on the palate.

November 23, 2008

Wine and Korean food

Dinner at a friend's.

2000 Chateau Musar Blanc - a favorite of the hosts, it is always easy to drink. The wine has had a few years of aging and now appears to be light orange in color, with a bit of honey in the nose.

2002 Hugel Riesling Jubilee - big, plasticky nose with lots of petrol. There was only a bit of sweetness on the palate, as Hugel's Rieslings are fermented drier compared to their Gewurztraminers.

1997 Napanook - a real pleasure to drink, with a hint of mint and classic red fruits on the nose. It was very ripe and sweet on the palate - not surprising considering the vintage - and the tannins were silky smooth. Considering the price I paid for the second wine from Dominus - the Napa outpost of Chateau Petrus' Christian Moueix - I couldn't have asked for anything more.

2005 Librandi Duca Sanfelice - made purely from the local varietal Gaglioppo, this would have easily passed for a New World wine. The nose was ripe and sweet, full of tropical fruits and vanilla, and eventually saw chili and spice emerge. The wine was smooth on the palate, almost a bit bland. It actually worked reasonably well with the homemade kimchi we had.

2005 Librandi Gravello - a different wine altogether, with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in with the Gaglioppo. The nose here wasn't as New World and sweet, but it did have the mint from the Cab and only a hint of sweetness. With a bit of kimchiaftertaste in my mouth, the wine tasted hot and spicy on the tongue.

2001 Cantenac Brown - a classic Bordeaux from a vintage that is great to drink now. Typical farmy nose with grilled meats. No surprises here but a solid wine.

2005 Clos du Mont Olivet Cuvée du Papet - this was such a good wine! The nose was really sweet with caramel notes, plus the classic grilled meat that comes from the Rhône. I kept drinking this wine instead of whisky after dinner, so I guess I'm showing my true colors...

November 14, 2008

Acker pre-auction tasting

2004 DRC Echezeaux - the very first wine I tasted this evening, and this set the bar high for the rest of the session. Wonderful open nose of smoked meats and prunes. A classic Burg through and through. A little acidic on the palate, but a wine that is drinking beautifully now.

2005 DRC Echezeaux - nose is much more closed compared to the '04, with a lot of smoke. You can sense the intensity but it's just too tight.

2004 Comte de Vogüé Bonnes Mares - nose was a bit smoky but otherwise not showing. Slightly acidic on the palate.

2004 Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Cuvee de Très Vielles Vignes - one of the best surprises of the evening. What an open, gorgeous nose with lots of bacon fat and grilled meats! It's drinking so well I had to go back towards the end of the evening to get additional pours!

2005 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays - nose had very high alcohol levels, with a bit of sweet fruit.

2005 Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot - smoky nose with slightly charred bacon and a bit of sweet fruit. Very tannic on the palate.

2005 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques - beautiful nose of sweet red fruits, smoked meats and sweet grass.

1996 Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Combottes - the first bottle was definitely cooked and smelled of stewed prunes. The second bottle was much better, with nice sweet nose of strawberries that was really enjoyable.

2005 Anne Gros Richebourg - nose was shut and I thought it was plasticky...a big disappointment.

2005 Bouchard Volnay Les Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot - pretty open nose, very sweet with animal fat and smoked meats. A nice wine.

1999 Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin - nose was funky and a bit vegetal, with some Oriental five-spice and stewed prunes.

1998 Guigal La Mouline - initial disappointing as there was not much on the nose and acidic on the palate. The second pour was much better. Third pour from the second bottle was amazing - sweet and classic Côte-Rôtie nose - and the wine is showing amber on the rims.

2005 Chave Hermitage Rouge - powerful smoky nose with a hint of chalk.

1983 Jaboulet La Chapelle - a bit disappointment with nothing but wet chalk in the nose. I've had many bottles tat were much better .

2001 Abreu Madrona Ranch - massive concentration, nose of minerals, iron, vanilla, sweet fruit and a bit of caramel. Really chewy tannins with a long finish.

2003 Sine Qua Non Syrah Atlantis Fe 203 1A - I finally had a chance to taste this, and all I can say is "Wow!" Massively concentrated with oads of sweet fruit, vanilla, minerals, iron, Oriental spices. The nose was just really fragrant and eventually almost Rhone-like.

1995 Latour - smoky, a bit of chalk, and ended up with some sweet fruit. Good but clearly inferior to the '96.

1996 Latour - very powerful nose with classic grilled meats, smoke, a bit of brett and sweet fruit.

1996 Margaux - a very good and classic Bordeaux with smoky nose.

2003 Montrose - a very tannic wine at the moment.

1989 La Conseillante - minty, smoky and sweet nose.

1986 Lafleur - nose of sweet candy.

1982 Lynch-Bages - pretty good classic Bordeaux with smoke and grilled meats in the nose.

1988 Lafite-Rothschild - nose was totally green peppers, vegetal and smoky. Pretty poor...

2000 Angelus - classic nose of smoke and ripe fruits.

1983 Mouton-Rothschild - classic Mouton nose of cigar smoke.

1995 Vega Sicilia Unico - nose was a bit smoky but after a bit of time, the core sweet fruit emerged.

November 11, 2008

Gosset + Kistler

Lunch at Pierre.

Gosset Rosé - a very nice Champagne. Unfortunately I didn't get much of a nose out of it, despite drinking it out of a very nice flute. The wine was great on the palate, very round and nicely balanced without excessive acidity.

2001 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - this drank beautifully out of the Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru glasses. It was classic Kistler through and through, with lots of sweet fruit in the nose and a hint of the grilled meats. At 7 years of age the tannins are now silky smooth, and it's such a pleasure to drink.

November 10, 2008

Twelve disciples

Dinner at Kimberley Chinese Restaurant.

Jacquesson Cuvee No. 729 - this is technically a non-vintage wine but is based on the 2001 vintage. Toasty nose with citrus and a hint of caramel. Nicely balanced in mid-palate with a bit of a kick, and slightly acidic on the finish.

1996 Pol Roger Rosé - initially served too cold, nose showed some orange marmalade as it warmed up. Smooth on the palate with a nice, long finish.

2002 François Cotat La Grade Cote - this is technically a Sancerre, but this vintage was declassified by the authorities because of too much residual sugar/chaptalization. Without the Sancerre appellation printed on the label, we all thought this was a Chenin Blanc, and was very confused when I detected the trademark nose of green apples that screams Sauvignon Blanc... The pretty nose also had lots of muscat grapes, minerals and flint. A very refreshing wine that was ripe on the palate with a good balance between acidity and sweetness. I can see why the authorities worried about chaptalization...

2005 Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchere Monopole - nose of toasty oak, minerals, ripe fruit and a hint of wet chalk. The wine is still a bit too young, but eventually sweet grass emerged, and finally turned much more steely and flinty towards the end. For me this and the Cotat were the white wines of the evening.

2006 Peter Michael Chardonnay La Carriere - nose of sweet Anjou pear, lemon citrus, marshmellow, vanilla and a bit of toasty oak. Surprisingly the finish was a bit hot and bitter. The nose pretty much fell apart in glass with time...

2003 Dame de Coeur du Chateau Peyfaures - this is a Bordeaux Supérieur with a pretty label, and actually drank quite well. Nose was sweet blackcurrant and a bit jammy and stewed, with plenty of smoke to balance out.

1989 Jean Raphet Charmes-Chambertin - a beautiful classic Burgundy, with telltale farmy, smoky nose full of bacon and grilled meats. Lots of sweet fruit in the nose here. A very clear, light-colored wine due to its age.

1999 Landmark Pinot Noir Grand Detour - nose was classic Californian Pinot, a bit sweet, jammy and grapy with orange marmalade notes. Surprisingly cloudy in its appearance.

1998 Clos Erasmus - the last time I opened this wine was in 2003, and of course 5 years makes a lot of difference in the development of a young wine. I am no longer blown away by the fantastically sweetness of the nose, but the wine has matured and developed into something much more complex. Initially the nose was a bit funky, chalky and medicinal. But star anise, mint ad a bit of brett came out later. Interestingly tannic and acidic on the palate at the same time, this wine can do with a few more years of aging. Fortunately I still have a couple of bottles left...

1997 Masi Amarone Costasera - a very alcoholic wine with acetone notes, nose is a bit minty and stewed. Like the Clos Erasmus, this was acidic and a bit tannic on the palate at the same time.

1998 Sine Qua Non E-raised - it's been 6 years since I last opened a bottle of this wine, and it still exemplifies what I love about SQN. The nose had lots of minerals, iron/blood, orange, and vanilla, coffee and caramel from the oak. Very smooth on the palate now, I can see this wine developing much further with age. I guess I will keep my remaining bottles in the cellar for now. Definitely my red wine of the evening.

1977 Taylor's - being a fortified wine, you would expect this to be alcholic but I was still taken aback. Nose of wet chalk and ripe fruit like Ribena, a bit sharp. I haven't had a lot of vintage Ports but do prefer my Madeiras...

Full post on dinner is here.

November 7, 2008

1997 Cos d'Estournel

1997 Cos d'Estournel - drank at L'Idiot in Taipei.  Decanted for about an hour before serving. This was a classic Bordeaux, with a bit of smoke wrapped around the red fruit core of the nose. The wine was very silky smooth on the palate. A very enjoyable wine.

November 3, 2008

An evening with Matthew Jukes

Dinner at Crown Wine Cellars with Matthew Jukes from Quintessentially Wine.

NV Ayala Brut Majeur 'Extra Age' - toasty, yeasty and a bit acidic on the palate. I would have liked to have tasted this a bit more, but needed to switch over to the whites... Should pit this special cuvée against some other NV Champagnes to see the difference.

2003 Ostertag Pinot Gris Zellberg - nose was initially muted as th wines were just too cold. Floral, bananas with a hint of wet chalk. A little ripe on the palate with a sharp alcohol finish. As the wine warmed up and opened there were also mineral notes on the nose.

2006 Taille Aux Loups Montlouis Sec Rémus - lots of tropical fruits like coconut, banana and a little toasty - with a surprising dry finish given how hot the nose is. A nice Chenin Blanc.

2005 Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume - huge and punchy nose, very steely, smoky and flinty...kinda not what I was expecting. On the palate, it was interesting that there was a start and a finish, but pretty much nothing in the middle!

2005 Lis Neris Fiore di Campo - a very funky wine, with a big, pungent nose of blue cheese and plastic. There is a lot of heavy, toasty oak here with a hint of sweetness and lemon. Not really what I was looking for in a white. Matthew suggested that there is some durian in the nose, but myself and a Singaporean guest beg to differ.

2004 Lusco do Miño Albariño Pazo Pineiro - lots of tropical fruit like tangerine, pineapple and a bit of green apple. A little bit tart on the finish, but a very enjoyable wine.

2004 Domaine des Saumades Châteauneuf-du-Pape - nose of ripe prunes, black cherries and very sweet. Stewed prunes and sweet dates emerged later. Tannins are firm here and I think this wine needs another few years of aging, which is quite surprising for something that is 100% Grenache.

2004 Cigliuti Barbera d'Alba Campass - an explosive nose of sweet fruits that kept on giving. Grippy on the palate with firm tannins. This was my second favorite red but needs a couple of more years in bottle.

2004 Jorge Moreira Poeira - made by the winemaker at Quinta de la Rosa (which I visited in 2006), the wine had tons of minerals, iron, chocolate and red fruits in the nose.

2004 Giaconda Shiraz Warner Vineyard - what a surprise! Here is an Aussie shiraz that, in a blind tasting, I would place as a Côte-Rôtie any day of the week. Classic Côte-Rôtie nose with only the faintest hint of the floral nose from the Viognier, with grilled meats, smoke and bit of that farmy nose. Very smooth and round tannins on the palate. Definitely my favorite wine of the evening.

2004 Frog's Leap Merlot - an interesting wine as I wouldn't have pegged it for a Californian Merlot. Sweet, red fruit nose with lots of smoke, almost Bordeaux-like. Only slightly sweet on palate which is deceptive.

2005 Larredya Jurançon Moelleux Cuvée "a Capcèu" - nose of mandarins, orange marmalade, ripe melon, acetone and honey.

November 2, 2008

2006 Selbach-Oster Riesling Fish

2006 Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett "Fish" - drunk at the Press Room. It's easy to drink during the day...a touch of sweetness nicely balanced with the acidity, and some minerals in the nose. It was kept a tad too cold so the nose didn't show fully, but's a casual wine.

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