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 30, 2009

Kistler, Vogüé and Delamotte

Dinner at Cafe Joli.

1997 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard - I bought this from and it was obviously stored poorly. Nose was heavily oxidized, sweet with nose of poached pear, marmalade, minerals, a hint of chalk and marshmallows. Color was a little deep and cloudy. The finish was a little tart at first.

1999 Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru - minty with sweet fruit, orange and forest notes. Very nice.

1999 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs - reasonably sweet on the palate, with a short finish.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 29, 2009

1995 Guigal La Mouline

1995 Guigal La Mouline - drank over dinner at Pierre. This is hands down my favorite wine in the world, and I bought a few bottles of this vintage in Tokyo 10 years ago. I always knew it was a little early to drink this wine, but I wanted to see how far along it has come in its evolution. The nose had lots of violet, pine needle, forest, caramel, toffee, smoked meats, very sweet fruit like ripe melon, mint and eucalyptus notes. Reasonable concentration, with a medium length finish that is slightly acidic. The alcohol was still very apparent. I wasn't disappointed at all.

Full post on dinner is here.

2001 Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin

2001 Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin - drank over lunch at Fook Lam Moon. This took a little time to open up. Smoky notes of grilled meats gave way to fragrant nose of eucalyptus and mildly sweet black fruits. Not spectacular but a decent food wine.

Full post on lunch is here.

December 28, 2009

Bordeaux and Riesling

Dinner at Manor Seafood Restaurant.

2000 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion - this was nice and simple, with classic notes of mint, eucalyptus, smoke and grilled meats on top of the fruit. 

2007 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett - this was equally classic, with typical nose of petrol, mineals and plastic over lemon and orange.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 27, 2009

MNSC Dinner - French Window

MNSC dinner at the French Window, hosted by Pineapple. Theme was 1969 horizontal.

1969 Dom Pérignon - this was a very, very beautiful wine - lots of straw, oxidized pear, orange marmalade, honey...the nose turned sooo sweet after a couple of hours. Color was deep golden, and the wine was initially slightly acidic but became much more so with aeration. 96 points. And I did guess the identity of this correctly.

1969 Penfolds Grange - nose was initially plastic and a bit chalky (this should have given me the hint as old Grange can be chalky), with sweet strawberry notes giving way to coffee and Asian spices. Pretty smooth on the palate with light tannins. 95 points.

1969 Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Georges de Latour - very strong polyurethane and burnt rubber nose, with mineral notes. Tannins a little firmer. 92 points.

1969 Michel Gaunoux Corton Renardes - fruity nose, clearly an old wine, lightly stewed fruit, minerals, and lots of button mushrooms. Sweet orange notes emerged later, and a little sharp in alcohol. 95 points.

1969 Louis Jadot Chambertin Clos de Beze - beautiful, openly decadent. Smoky nose with grilled meats, a bit plasticky, amazingly sweet, with lots of bacon and farmy notes. Very light on body with a slight aciic finish. 98 points and my wine of the evening. Who would have thought? A Jadot...

1969 Guigal La Mouline - initially a bit closed and steely, with a very sweet fruit core underneath. Amazing ripeness. Was there eucalyptus in the nose? More structure compared to the Jadot, with a slight acidic finish. 96 points. What a privilege it was to drink this wine! And I would have thought I'd pick this as my favorite...

1969 Charles Krug - nose was a bit funky, old and oxidized. Disqualified from the tasting.

1969 Latour - smoky, grilled meat notes with eucalyptus. Definitely a Cab. 92 points.

1969 Marey-Monge Romanée-Saint-Vivant - very ripe and sweet with lychee notes. Faded a little with time. 94 points.

1969 Jaboulet La Chapelle - notes of bacon, grilled meats and leather. Sweetness. 92 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 21, 2009

2007 De Villaine Bouzeron

2007 De Villaine Bouzeron - drank over dinner at Swiss Chalet.  The wine showed steely minerals with a good amount of acidity to cut through the richness of the cheese. There was some degree of ripeness on the palate, and the wine tasted a little "hot".

Full post on dinner is here.

December 13, 2009

2 Kokuryus

Dinner at Masa in Taipei.

Kokuryu Shizuku (黒龍 しずく) - a daiginjo (大吟醸) with semaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%.  This was nice and sharp, clearly much drier and spicier.  But as I noticed last time, the Shizuku isn't terribly complex...and was outclassed by No. 88 in this respect. 

Kokuryu No. 88 (黒龍 八十八号) - a daiginjo (大吟醸) with semaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%. This was smooth and sweet initially, before the ice bucket lowered the temperature significantly, and then turned drier as it got cold. This is a much better buy compared to the Shizuku.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 11, 2009

Cali Chard and Kiwi Pinot

Dinner at Manor Seafood Restaurant.

2001 Kistler Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard - this was not bad. The nose was initially muted (or was it because of my diminished olfactory function?), but opened up to reveal minerals, toasty oak and apricot. The palate was ripe with slightly high acidity, and a little alcoholic.

1999 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir - this was a total disaster. Not much in the nose, and body was a little on the light side. Not one of my better buys.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 4, 2009

Another mixed bag

Dinner at Sup 1.

1988 Pol Roger Brut Chardonnay - nose of toasty oak, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon apple, and slight minerals on the finish. Pretty flat as there weren't many bubbles left, and the acidity was pretty mild for a Chardonnay.

1988 Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Brut - I remember this wine well from another dinner earlier this year. This bottle was even better! Notes of apricot, minerals, toasty oak, caramel and that lovely oxidized nose coming from an old Champagne... A little more fizz than the Pol Roger with a hint of sweetness on the palate. This one won against the Pol Roger tonight.

1970 Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Marquis - nose of stewed prunes, a little bit of smoke, brett and sharp alcohol. Smooth on the palate with reasonable length on the finish.

1985 Nicolas Potel Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes - I brought this bottle tonight because I remember drinking this wine last year with Nicolas Potel, and it blew me away. Not quite the same performance tonight, but it got better after being "released from prison" - when we poured the wine from the original small Sauvignon Blanc glasses into the large red Burgundy glasses. Slightly oxidized nose of sweet grass, corn, citrus, minerals, beeswax and green nashi pear (水晶梨). Good acidity balance.

2003 Nicolas Potel Charmes-Chambertin - a beautiful wine with a very sweet and fruity nose. Slightly alcoholic. Very smooth on the palate.

1996 Pascal Doquet Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger - I carried this back from Reims earlier this year, and it was recommended to me by Fabrice, the owner of Les Caves du Forum. This was very, very nice. Nose of marshmallow, caramel, a little toasty oak, lots of yeast, citrus and a little oxidized. Coming from the great 1996 vintage, the wine was very vibrant and drank very well. Now why didn't I buy more bottles of this?!

2005 Marius - I was prejudiced against this wine as I've tried their first vintage (2004) and wasn't very impressed. The wine's pedigree is impeccable, however. This is the family winery of Frédéric Engerer, the Director and President of Château Latour who graciously hosted us this past April. The vine cuttings were from the Latour nursery, so one would expect this to be a pretty awesome Cab. The 2005 vintage is better than the 2004, with a sharp alcoholic nose, brett and smoke. The wine was sweet on the palate, and showed good concentration. I would expect this wine to improve with a little more age. But truth be told, I think there are better buys for the price...

2004 Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Chaupin - eucalyptus, sweet fruit, a little jammy, tangerine...really rich with very sharp alcohol in the nose.

2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli - smoky with good amount of sweet fruit. Sharp alcohol with good concentration.

2001 Pierre Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul - very alcoholic and sweet nose.

2004 Musar Rosé - this was surprisingly good, with nose of caramel and ripe fruit, and a reasonably good acidity balance.

2002 Drappier Cuvée Charles de Gaulle - oxidized with a bit of toast, yeast and citrus.

2001 Clos des Papes - sweet, smoky with a bit of alcohol. Reasonably smooth. Contribution from the restaurant's owner...

November 30, 2009

MNSC Dinner - Wagyu Kaiseki Den

MNSC dinner at Wagyu Kaiseki Den, hosted by Juliano.  The wines were all from St. Emilion.

1996 Salon - this was drinking much better than the bottle we had a few weeks ago. Yeasty nose, not too acidic on the palate with a very nice finish.

1982 Figeac - nose was very alcoholic, with smoke, black truffle, mint and sweet grass notes. A little bit of wet chalk after a while. A very beautiful wine. 96 points.

1982 Canon - nose was more medicinal yet at the same time very sweet, with some smoke and a bit of sharp alcohol. 92 points.

1983 Cheval Blanc - very sweet nose with some smoky notes. A pretty full-bodied wine, smooth on the palate but there were still lots of tannins. 95 points.

1983 Ausone - nose was very strange initially... Body was lighter compared to the Cheval, and it was definitely more acidic on the nose, with a bit of orange and sharp alcohol. Pretty flat on the palate. 95 points.

1990 Figeac - smoky, sweet and grassy nose, with sharp alcohol, a hint of chalk and a bit of brett. A little acidic on the palate. 95 points.

1990 Angelus - forest, pine needle, smoke and brett notes, with a bit of coffee grinds on top of a very ripe and sweet nose. A beautiful wine! 98 points.

1986 Canon - a little bit of ripe fruit on the nose but acidic on the palate. 90 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 28, 2009

2000 Cos and then some

Dinner at a friend's place.

1997 Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache Kangarilla Vineyard - this took a little time to aerate. In the end it was pretty fruity but a little light and acidic on the palate. 

2004 Goldeneye Pinot Noir - this was a very typical Californian Pinot, and drank pretty nicely. 

2000 Cos d'Estournel - it was beautiful and very classic St.-Estephe.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 27, 2009

Wines for cheese

Cheese dinner at Caprice.

Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru - I loooove NV Champagnes from Egly-Ouriet, and I carried back a few bottles of this from my trip to Reims earlier this year. Initially a bit acidic and sharp on the nose, but faded to a very vibrant nose with honey, straw, jujube and apricot notes. A beautiful wine with great acidity balance.

2008 Joseph Mellot Sancerre La Chatellenie - This monopole was very nice and refreshing, with notes of sweet pear, minerals that did not overpower, and a bit of green apple characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. Ripe on the palate with a tiny bit of acidity on the finish, giving the wine an overall nice acidity balance.

2006 Arlaud Gevrey-Chambertin - this had good amount of sweet fruit with the classic smoky and game meat nose. Tannins were pretty smooth.

2003 Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph Les Serines - coming from a blockbuster vintage for northern Rhone wines, this was very fruity, concentrated, with lots of iron and minerals in the nose, as well as eucalyptus and caramel. Pretty smooth on the palate.

2007 Albert Mann Gewurztraminer Furstentum Vieilles Vignes - this was absolutely fabulous. Tell-tale notes of lychee, flowers, orange blossom and some minerals. A sweet and ripe wine that is such a pleasure to drink.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 23, 2009

2001 Kongsgaard Syrah

2001 Kongsgaard Syrah - drank over dinner at Tuscany by H.  This drank pretty well, with nose of prunes, forest, pine needle, Christmas potpurri, orange...and the nose was sweet and jammy after it opened up. The tannins were round and smooth, and the wine was still pretty concentrated. Sweet on the palate with a hot and spicy finish. Not bad at all.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 16, 2009

Primum Familiae Vini Gala Dinner

Primum Familiae Vini Gala Dinner at the Island Shangri-La.

1998 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill - this was served during the cocktail preceeding dinner, and naturally it was gone by the time we sat down at the table. Hubert de Billy introduced the wine and mentioned how difficult it was to talk about a wine when the audience no longer has it in front of them... I didn't take notes but remembered it was a bit acidic on mid-palate, which is consistent with my memories of this wine.

2005 Hugel Riesling Jubilee - Hugel is one of my favorite producers and the Jubilee wines are among my favorites from this house. The 12th generation of the family is now running the business, and the wine was introduced by Etienne Hugel. Class nose of petrol, minerals, plastic, white flowers...beautifully sweet. Ripe on the palate but not too much, with good acidity balance. The only drawback is that it didn't pair well with the caviar.

2005 Joseph Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne - Wow! This was one of my wines of the evening, if not THE wine this evening. Nose of toasted oak, lemon, a hint of minerals at first as it was served too cold... nose was a little ripe but not overpowering as I expected... beautiful and subtle. When I warmed up the wine, a little cedar emerged, with honey, floral, flint and a bit of sweet corn notes. The wine was ripe on the palate, a bit acidic on mid-palate but interesting with a sweet finish - great acidic balance. With the second pour, the high alcohol level became very evident, especially when drunk with food. Introduction by Laurent Drouhin who joked about his height...

2004 Tignanello - I am usually not a big fan of this wine given the dominance by Sangiovese, but tonight the wine drank surprisingly like a Bordeaux. Smoky, sweet fruit with grilled meats, eucalyptus and coffee on the nose. The wine gained concentration with time, with tannins sooo smooth and round it took me by surprise. With more time in glass it finally started to turn acidic on the finish, and later died horribly and turned medicinal. But for a time it drank beautifully. Introduced byAlessia Antinori, who used to live in Hong Kong and is part of the 26th generation of the family in the business.

2003 Sassicaia - nose of mint, concentrated sweet fruit, toffee, smoke...the Cabernet was very evident. Sweet and tannic on the palate, but curiously the wine was tannic on mid-palate with a short and acidic finish. The alcohol was very obvious, and remained so with a fresh pour. The sweet nose got better with the second pour. Decanted for 3 hours prior to serving. Introduced by Sebastiano Rosa.

2001 Torres Grans Muralles - introduced by Juan-Maria Torres and probably my least favorite wine of the evening. This was soooo alcoholic, especially at the start. Nose was a bit chalky, smoky and plasticky, which surrounded the core of tangerine and mint. I felt the tannins on mid-palate but the finish was smooth. Later on the wine improved as the chalky nose faded.

1994 Vega Sicilia Unico - this very beautiful wine was introduced by Pablo Alvarez. Nose was sweet and grassy, with mint and a bit of smoke. The wine initially tasted a little thin and acidic on the palate, but improved later.

1995 Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin en magnum - just about my red wine of the evening... The nose was nice but a little closed at first. Eucalyptus, pine needle, a bit of smoke with game notes and a hint of white pepper. Initially a little alcoholic and sharp, but very smooth on palate. Introduced by Marc Perrin who is the current President of the PFV.

1989 Mouton-Rothschild - it's always a great honor to have Baroness Philippine de Rothschild in attendance, and she was very lively tonight - almost giddy like a little girl. I had little expectations for the wine, and therefore was pleasantly surprised. This was a classic Pauillac, with cigar smoke, fruit, a hint of medicine, mint, lead pencil and lots of coffee. Finish was acidic with round tannins.

2006 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Auslese Goldkapsel - what a privilege it was to be able to taste this wine, rare as it is on the market. Egon Müller himself was on hand to do the introductions, and joked about his family's preference for the name Egon. The wine itself was like sweet nectar of the gods, with a bit of orange, plastic, honey, orange blossom, marmalade, minerals and beautiful botrytis. Very sweet and viscous, with good acidity balance at the same time. Wow! On par with the Drouhin Corton-Charlemagne as my wines of the evening.

1994 Graham's - I'm still not a fan of vintage port, and much prefer my tawnys andcolheitas. This was just too alcholic and sharp for me. Very sweet nose of medjool dates and caramel. Introduced by Paul Symington.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 14, 2009

White wines for kimchi

Dinner at a friend's place.

2006 Grosset Chardonnay Piccadilly - this was a pretty typical Aussie Chardonnay - heavy oak, with lemon, minerals, flint and a ripe and honeyed nose.

2007 De Villaine Bouzeron - another lovely wine. I opened a bottle of the 2006 vintage earlier this year and was very pleasantly surprised. This humble Aligoté is made by the same winemaker who crafts the sought-after wines of DRC, and showed a nice nose of lemon, pear and honey, with a slightly acidic finish.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 13, 2009

Altaya Annual Tasting

Altaya's annual tasting at the Grand Hyatt Residence.

2006 Domaine des Lambrays Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières - a little ripe on the nose but with a certain metallic sharpness at the beginning, turning fragrant and sweet with notes of honey.

2006 Domaine des Lambrays Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Cailleret - nose was a bit closed at the beginning, with a bit citrus and white flowers, opening up to reveal honeyed notes. Ripe on the palate and the finish was not too acidic.

2006 Domaine des Lambrays Morey-St-Denis - this was one of the surprises of the evening. Wow! Lots and lots of sweet fruit here, very rich with tangerine, blood orange marmalade and muscat grape notes. Very open and nice! A surprisingly beautiful village wine. I gotta get me some of this...

2006 Domaine des Lambrays Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Les Loups - softer than the village, with nice sweet fruit, a bit of orange marmalade although not as strong as the village, and some smoky, grilled meats.

2006 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays - sweet and fruity, very ripe, with notes of game meat.

2007 Nicolas Potel Corton-Charlemagne - nose was very sweet and buttery, with plenty of oak and minerals. Very nice.

2005 Araujo Altagracia - made from declassified lots, this was a classic Cali Cab. Nose was very sweet, with caramel, chocolate and smoky notes. Not too tannic, actually.

2005 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - the flagship wine was in very good form, with nose of sweet fruit, marmalade, mint and eucalyptus. Powerful with a long finish.

2009 Rolf Binder Selection Chardonnay - very heavy on the vanilla from the oak, with green apple and flinty notes.

2007 Rolf Binder Helios Semillon - Whew! Definitely some cat pee ("pipi de chat" to the French), green apple and flint.

2008 Rolf Binder Selection Shiraz - a typical Aussie Shiraz. Very fruity and sweet with orange and a bit of mint.

2006 Rolf Binder Halcyon Cabernet Merlot - nose was pretty open and sweet, although less sweet as the Selection Shiraz. Alcoholic.

2006 Rolf Binder Hales Shiraz - nose was almost a bit floral (or did the glass just gather some air freshener from the room?). OK but not great.

2006 Rolf Binder Heinrich GSM - fruit nose with marmalade, caramel, eucalyptus notes. The wine was a bit acidic mid-palate, which was a bit surprising. But I guess it's the Grenache...

2004 Rolf Binder Heysen Shiraz - nose of coffee, sweet caramel and eucalyptus.

2005 Rolf Binder Hubris - sweet, jammy nose with caramel. A little smoother on the palate.

2004 Rolf Binder Hanisch Shiraz - what a welcome change from the rest of the range! Nose was pretty smoky and much more like a Rhone. Sweet fruit emerged a bit later. Very smooth on the palate. A very nice wine.

2007 Burge Family Semillon - very strong pipi de chat, flint and lemon.

2008 Burge Family Shiraz Rosé - normally I pooh-pooh rosés because I have always found them to be neither here nor there, but this has got to be the first roséthat I really liked. Nose was very floral...dare I say rose? Red fruits, with a hint of pipi de chat but overall it's a very nice wine. Maybe it's time I stocked some rosé in my cellar...

2006 Burge Family Clochmerle - 60% Shiraz / 40% Grenache with no new oak. Nose was a bit alcoholic (15%), strangely violet with Asian spices. Not too heavy on the tannins.

2006 Burge Family Olive Hill GSM - 68% Shiraz with 1/3 new oak for the Grenache and Mourvèdre. This wine clearly had more concentration, a little more complexity with caramel notes.

2006 Burge Family Draycott Shiraz - almost 100% Shiraz now, with even more concentration and the alcohol was more noticeable (15%). Toffee nose.

2009 Sunshine Bay Sauvignon Blanc - nose of muscat grape and green apple, vanilla oak and minerals. A bit ripe on the palate. A very straightforward NZ Sauvignon Blanc.

2008 Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc - less like a classic NZ Sauvignon Blanc, with more flint and minerals in the nose.

2008 Wairau River Riesling - a classic Riesling with nose of petrol and minerals.

2006 Malartic-Lagravière Blanc - a little pipi de chat, lots of minerals, green apple, muscat and a bit smoky. Very open nose and a really nice wine.

2006 Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Les Fremiets - very fruity nose with smoky game meat.

2004 Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Les Taillepieds - this is probably my favorite 1er Cru from the Côte de Beaune, and I wasn't disappointed. Nose had lots of nice sweet fruit with rapsberries, but not overpowering. Yummy yummy.

Full post on the evening is here.

November 10, 2009

Krug Champagne dinner

Krug dinner at Grand Hyatt's Plateau. Margareth Henriquez, Président Directeur Général of the House of Krug, was in attendance.

Krug Grande Cuvée - this has always been one of my favorites. The nose was beautiful and open, full of toasty oak - a little heavy at first - along with limestone, minerals, and whole grain bread... The wine was ripe on the palate at first, and the finish was very long and slightly acidic.

1998 Krug - as I expected this was just way too young to drink. It was a year where there was more Chardonnay than Pinot in the blend, and it definitely showed. The nose was lighter than the Grande Cuvée - not as toasty. It was more round, ripe with a bit of oxidation and Anjou pears. The wine was pretty sharp on the palate with a yeasty attack.

1998 Clos du Mesnil - the clos was created in 1698 so this would be the 300th anniversary of the wall going up. Surprisingly sweet on the nose, which was ripe but a little more closed compared to the 1998 Vintage. Nose showed a bit more subtlety, again slightly oxidized with pear notes. The wine was ripe and full on the palate, but turned acidic fairly quickly on the finish - showing its characteristic as a blanc de blancs.

Krug Collection 1982 - this is Krug's version of late disgorgement, so naturally I would expect it to taste younger and fresher than an '82 released some years ago. Very nice and elegant - softer on the nose. Nicely oxidized as I would expect in an older vintage, with notes of straw dominating. Very sweet on the palate, well-rounded and not too sharp on the finish.

Krug Rosé - this was actually served alongside the Collection. The nose was very metallic and a little sharp. Pretty rich and full-bodied on the palate. I did not find it as appealing as I did at the Krug dinner two years ago.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 9, 2009

MNSC Dinner - Whisk

MNSC dinner at Whisk, hosted by Lord Rayas.

1996 Salon - served pre-dinner and accompanied the first course. Toasty, yeasty nose and fairly acidic on the palate. Needs time.

1973 Petrus - classic claret nose, a bit musty at first with grilled meats and a sweet fruit core. A hint of marmalade and a little smoky and spicy on the nose. Closed down for a little, then showed green peppers and vegetal notes. Pretty sweet on the palate. 91 points.

1973 DRC Echezeaux - Wow! Amazingly sweet, fruity nose. Obviously a Burg, with some bacon and floral notes. Finish was a bit short which led me to lower the score a little. 94 points.

1973 Beaucastel - nose was very fruity but initially overwhelmed by a burnt charcoal / rubber smell... Very farmy with bacon fat. Nose was very sweet and absolutely beautiful when the burnt rubber smell disappeared. Wine was very cloudy as it was not decanted. Died a horrible death in glass after the second pour...what happened? Only nose of black olive tapenade remained. 93 points.

1982 Jaboulet La Chapelle - Wow! The nose was very sweet with obvious floral / rose characters. Also showed grilled meats and orange notes. An amazing wine! 97 points. With the floral notes I thought it was a Côte-Rôtie with Viognier...likeGuigal's La Mouline. Who would have thought it was an Hermitage? Most definitely my wine of the evening.

1982 Penfolds Grange - nose was amazingly sweet and jammy, and a bit metallic at the same time. Also notes of caramel, cotton candy, vanilla and coffee. A classic Grange. 95 points.

1982 Vogüé Musigny VV - the weakest wine of the flight. Nose was pretty sweet, fruit and floral but the body was light. 89 points.

1990 La Conseillante - initially smelled of stinky cheese, toasted black sesame and smoke. I didn't like it quite as much as the others. 93 points.

1990 Henri Bonneau Marie Beurrier - nose of smoke, farmy, arm pit, a bit stinky...hint of wet chalk, cumin. Then sweetness emerged with orange and raspberry. A very good wine. 95 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 3, 2009

1994 Las Cases

1994 Léoville-Las Cases - mushroom, smoke, tobacco, black cherries, sweet fruit, cedar, coffee, caramel, cappuccino ice cream.  Beautiful!

November 1, 2009

1999 Gruaud Larose

1999 Gruaud Larose - drank over dinner at Fook Lam Moon. This was drinking pretty well. This was a classic claret, with a medicinal nose followed by notes of lead pencil, mint and smoke around a fruit core. Pretty damn good for casual drinking.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 31, 2009

2002 Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-du-Milieu

2002 Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-du-Milieu - drank over dinner at Island Tang.  This turned out to be a little disappointing. The nose was very muted initially, taking a good hour to open up in the decanter. Hint of caramel and a bit of fruit and game. Reasonable concentration with a slightly acidic finish.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 30, 2009

Bacio, Troplong and Meursault

1998 Bacio Divino - drank over lunch at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. This was pretty fruity and a little earthy. The Sangiovese was immediately apparent. Initially the nose was a little alcoholic, but this faded to reveal smoke, toasted nuts and sweet fruit. The tannins were soft and supple, with good concentration on the palate. A very nice wine to drink.

Dinner at Fook Lam Moon.

1996 Troplong Mondot - this was drinking well. Nose of coffee and smoke, and a bit alcoholic at the beginning. Good concentration but very smooth on the palate. Pretty classic Bordeaux.

2002 François et Antoine Jobard Meursault En La Barre - this turned out better than I expected, with ripe nose of sweet corn and butter that was pretty wonderful. Initially the finish was slightly acidic, but then turned into something that reminded me of the classic French candied soft citrus jelly.
Full post on lunch and dinner is here.

October 24, 2009

French country wines

Lunch at Caprice.

2004 La Courtade Blanc - this is made on the Ile de Porquerolles just off the Côte d'Azur. The wine is made from a local varietal called Rolle, and showed nose of lemon zest, mineral, flint and a bit of white flowers. Very aromatic and ripe on the nose. Acidity was pretty high mid-palate with a bit of tartness, with a ripe finish.

2005 Mas Amiel - I have always liked this wine in the past, but not today. It was "hot" and high in alcohol, with a bit of citrus notes. Not very sweet today. Short on the finish and quite disappointing.

2004 Pibarnon Rouge - made from Mourvèdre. It was fine to drink and the tannins blended with the cheese, but this time there was no "wow" from the marriage of the wine and cheese.

Full post on lunch is here.

October 20, 2009

1997 Pian delle Vigne

1997 Antinori Pian delle Vigne - drank over dinner at Tuscany by H. This was a bit smoky, with a good fruit core and concentration, and notes of ripe prunes and sous bois. At one point I thought I detected a good amount of perfumed, floral notes but I suspect that the glass was quietly collecting the air freshner used in the restaurant... The wine seemed to have gone downhill about two hours after opening, starting to turn acidic on the palate. This Brunello was a perfectly good wine to drink with the meal. Although it wasn't a knock-out, I wasn't going to complain too much given how little I paid for the wine on release.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 16, 2009

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 23%

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 23% (獺祭「純米大吟醸」磨き二割三分) - drank over dinner at Suzufuji (鈴籐) in Taipei. This has always been easy to drink since it's on the sweet side (甘口), but tonight I felt it was lacking a bit of complexity, as there wasn't anything very prominent in the nose other than banana...

Full post on dinner is here.

September 29, 2009

1998 Opus One

1998 Opus One - drank over dinner at Paris 1930 in Taipei.  A very nice wine with nose of sweet fruit, mint, vanilla, coffee and a bit of smoke. Opus has always been a solid wine, and while it may not always "wow" me, so far I've never been disappointed by it.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 28, 2009

Mixed bag in Taipei

Dinner at Abu in Taipei.

2004 Château de Fonsalette Côtes du Rhône Blanc - this wine did not disappoint, with a sweet and slightly oxidized nose and notes of pear and apricot. Surprisingly very ripe on the palate with a bit of butter and a slightly bitter finish.

2006 Lucien Le Moine Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets - from arguably the best plot of land in the appellation, this was a beautiful wine from a vintage that's overshadowed by the great 2005s. Reasonably sweet on the nose with farmy, bacon fat and Asian spice notes. Drinking pretty well now even without much aeration.

1989 Jaboulet La Chapelle - I've been waiting to open this bottle for some time now, and it wasn't bad. Initially a bit grassy and a hint of vegetal notes, it opened up to reveal lots of sweetness with ripe prunes, pine needles and a little "hot" and alcoholic. On the palate it was smooth but still full-bodied, although it faded and by the end the finish was somewhat acidic.

1989 Troplong Mondot - another wine I've been dying to open. Classic Bordeaux with peppery and smoky nose, a reasonable amount of fruit core with a full-blown palate and a long finish. Was this bottle deserving of the 96 points from Parker? Not quite.

2003 Sassicaia - a generous contribution from a fellow diner. The wine is still young but you can see the potential. Nose of sweet fruit, black cherries and smoke. Still a bit alcoholic. The captain actually knocked the bottle to the ground as he was opening another bottle... fortunately it didn't break.

2007 Mollydooker Carnival of Love - I was sure that the wine would be too young, but my friend was pretty set on opening this and sharing it with everyone. We opened the screw top, poured a bit of the wine out into a separate glass, then my friend proceeded to shake the bottle vigorously in an attempt to aerate the wine. Apparently this process - called the Mollydooker Shake - is recommended by Sparky and Sarah Marquis who are the proprietors of the winery. I can certainly understand why. These wines are total fruit bombs and people seem to want to drink them very young, so the only way to make these wines palatable was to be unconventional and shake things up a little! Well, as much as I have a preference for big wines, this was still too much for me. Huge, sweet nose with coffee, toffee, vanilla, caramel, cotton candy, tangerine, iron and mineral notes. Very alcoholic at 16%. I think people should wait a few more years for the edges to wear off a bit...

Full post on dinner is here.

September 23, 2009

Pinot and Riesling

Dinner at Nino's Cozinha.

2002 Kistler Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard - smooth on the palate with good concentration.

2006 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett - notes of lemon, minerals, a bit of plastic and was a little sweeter than I expected from a Kabinett.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 21, 2009

Burg, Champy and Cab

Dinner at Matsubishi.

2005 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres - pretty decent wine, with good ripeness but not over-powering like some Californians can be. 

1995 Dom Pérignon Œnothèque - this was excellent. 

2001 BOND Matriarch - this was ripe, fruity, sweet without being over the top.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 12, 2009

A bunch of 45-year olds

Dinner at Pierre.

1964 Bouchard Corton-Charlemagne Château de Beaune en magnum - this was the oldest dry white wine I've ever had, and I really didn't know what to expect even though the vintage was rated to be a decent one for white Burgundy.  This wine turned out to be the surprise of the evening. It was simply fantastic. Beautiful amber color. Initially nose of mushrooms, oxidized with a bit of sweet grass. Very, very long finish and the alcohol was very evident. A bit ripe on the palate as the acidity level has fallen. Later on notes of oxidized pear, figs, cotton candy. Hitting its peak around one and a half hours after opening, with rich, creamy vanilla ice cream, apple, straw and mineral notes. Awesome!

1964 DRC Richebourg - this was clearly the wine of the evening as we all expected. An explosive sweet nose with tons of fruit. A little bit minty almost, with some bacon fat, leather, red currant, prune and tangerine notes. Absolutely beautiful to the end.

1964 Haut-Brion - Dr. Poon kindly dug this out of his cellar to go with tonight's theme. This was a beautiful wine in its own right, with smoky, brett / medicinal nose along with notes of animal, game, pine, sous bois and a hint of grass. Unfortunately the wine followed the spectacular Richebourg, so it did pale a little in comparison.

1964 Noval Colheita - now this was also a real treat as one of the birthday boys is a real big fan of port. The colheita was harvested in 1964 and aged in cask until bottling in September 2008, and it spent more than 40 years oxidizing just like a regular tawny. Nose of hazelnut, grape, walnut, caramel, crème brûlée and prunes. Nose was initially a bit sharp but the alcohol dissipated a bit in glass. The finish was just wonderful, as the fragrance stays in your mouth long after you've swallowed the wine.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 5, 2009

2006 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc - drank at glass over dinner at Le Platane. Nose of green apple, muscat and minerals. Sweet and ripe on the palate.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 4, 2009

MNSC Dinner - Fook Lam Moon Shanghai

MNSC dinner at Fook Lam Moon in Shanghai, hosted by Dayliao.  Theme was 1995 horizontal.

1995 Ausone – sweet, fruity nose but a bit alcoholic. Notes of grilled meats. 93 points.

1995 Cheval Blanc – nose was very farmy, smoky and a bit minty. Light tannins. 94 points.

1995 Palmer – very smoky with lots of minerals and a bit of brett. 94 points.

1995 Margaux – minty and smoky nose. 94 points.

1995 Mouton-Rothschild – minty with a bit of smoke, lead pencil and a bit grassy. Pretty nice and powerful.

1995 Lafite-Rothschild – ripe, fruity nose with mint.

Grace Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Select (vintage unknown but probably 2005) – Our host - being ever the prankster - decided to pour this wine into an empty bottle which used to hold 1945 Cheval Blanc and aerated for 24 hours. We were deliberately shown the old, dusty bottle to mislead us into thinking we were drinking something very old. I thought there was lots of caramel, marshmellow, very sweet with apricot and orange notes, and I gave it 95 points while the others all put their scores in the 90s. While I refused to guess the identity of the wine, my fellow members thought it was a Cheval Blanc from the 1940s or 50s… Yes, we were off by 50-60 years in blind tasting…AGAIN.

Full post on dinner is here.

September 2, 2009

2001 Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux

2001 Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux - drank over dinner at Gusto. It was pretty nice, with typical lemon citrus and minerals notes while having a nice acidity balance.

Full post on dinner is here.

August 29, 2009

Good/bad pairing with Thai food

Dinner at a friend's house.

Moët & Chandon - as I expected the carbonation from the bubbly only served to turn up the heat that was already dancing on my tongue...  Not a good combo with spicy Thai food.

1999 Selbach-Oster Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese - this was exactly the wine to do the trick. This off-dry wine from the famous vineyard in Mosel always delivers, showing typical petrol, polyurethane, minerals as well as orange marmalade. The low alcohol level (8.5%) and relatively high sugar level helped neutralize the heat.

2003 Clos Mimi Etiquette Rose - this is a wine unlike any other. The late-harvest Syrah is vinified dry with an extended fermentation, resulting in an incredible 19% alcohol. It was this high alcohol level that worried it may completely clash with the spicy food. Well, my fears kinda came true.  Whatever this is, the Etiquette Rose is not a food wine in my opinion. Predictably it was very "hot" and alcoholic on the palate, with notes of acetone, floral/rose, strawberries, slightly metallic and a hint of caramelized sugar. The finish is decidedly bitter. I quickly realized that I was the only one at the table still drinking the wine. I think I'll follow winemaker Tim Spear's advice and open the next bottle with a cigar...

Full post on dinner is here.

August 21, 2009

Riesling and Merlot

Dinner at Fook Lam Moon.

2006 Keller Riesling Spätlese - classic German Riesling, with nose of plastic, polyurethane, minerals, petrol and a good amount of sweetness on the palate.

1997 Beringer Merlot Bancroft Ranch Private Reserve - generally smooth on the palate, but I thought the finish was a little short and perhaps even a little acidic. Is the wine starting its decline?

Full post on dinner is here.

August 11, 2009

2003 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill

2003 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard - drank over dinner at Dim Sum. I found it a bit too ripe so that after the medium-acidic mid-palate, the finish was slightly tart and bitter.

Full post on the evening is here.

July 31, 2009

Mizu no Eau

Dinner at Sushi U.

Mizu no Eau (水の王) - this has a seimaibuai of 50%. It's a little drier than the sake that I normally drink, but surprisingly light and watery in taste. Later we found out that it was called daiginjo light...

Full post on dinner is here.

July 22, 2009

Two Bordeaux

Dinner at Shanghai Fraternity Association.

2004 Blason d'Issan - this was pretty drinkable with some nice fruit and smooth tannins. 

1989 Talbot - the amber rim of the Talbot was very obvious, with very soft tannins and it was made in a much drier style.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 21, 2009

Cortesia di Morgassi

Cortesia di Morgassi - drank over lunch at a friend's house.  This was given to me by the winemaker during last year's Vinexpo. Aside from the typical orange marmalade notes, it was also a bit spicy, with chilli and peppery notes. Pretty interesting.

Full post on lunch is here.

July 20, 2009

MNSC Dinner - Pierre

MNSC dinner at Pierre, hosted by me.

2005 Didier Dagueneau Pur Sang - it was classic... nose of minerals, flint, muscat grapes and green apples. Later a hint of oak with a bit of creaminess. Definitely an acidic finish.

1983 Guigal Hermitage - I had no expectations for this wine so the surprise was on the upside, turning out to be fairly beautiful and rich. Lots of fruit here with the usual farmy plus a bit of violet/floral notes. A bit light-bodied.

1983 Chave Hermitage - this wine would always outperform the Guigal, and was much more concentrated and powerful. It was very floral and sweet, with tell-tale bacon fat notes.

1989 Bahans-Haut-Brion - smoky, farmy and a bit medicinal, with farmy, smoked meats and lead pencil all surrounding a core of sweet fruit. This was clearly the crowd favorite tonight.

1989 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Pavillon - explosive sweet nose with orange, tangerine and even rubber notes, but the nose became more muted with time. Body was lighter than I expected and the tannins were silky soft. Once again a 100-point Le Pavillon failed to wow me, but it did better than I expected.

1999 Sine Qua Non the Marauder - this was exactly as I expected it... a huge, sharp and alcoholic nose with lots of iron and minerals. Explosively sweet with lots of orange and a hint of grilled meats. This wine needs a lot more cellaring time and it was just waaaay too early to open this. It's my kind of wine but not exactly appreciated by the crowd.

1999 Torbreck Run Rig - it was obvious that this was also a New World Syrah, but it was softer than the Californian. Nice sweet nose of orange and strawberries. This is also one of my favorite Aussie Shiraz.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 16, 2009

Kokuryu Shizuku

Kokuryu Daiginjo Shizuku (黒龍大吟醸しずく) - drank over dinner at Irori.  The sake is collected not from pressing the sacks of rice, but letting it drip naturally from the hanging sacks. In winemaking terms it's equivalent of using only free-run juice. My expectation were high as this was a Kokuryu limited edition bottling, with a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%. It was very smooth on the palate, a little sweet even, with a finish that suddenly turns dry and spicy. The nose was pleasant but not particularly complex. Maybe I had cellared this for too long?

Full post on dinner is here.

July 11, 2009

1971 Camille Giroud Clos de Vougeot

1971 Camille Giroud Clos de Vougeot - drank over dinner at home.  I had very little expectation for the wine, for although 1971 was a good year in Burgundy and we were drinking a Grand Cru, I really wasn't sure about the winemaking at Camille Giroud all those years ago. But the wine was actually pretty nice once it opened up. Initially there was a bit of chalk, then the core of sweet fruit came out, with smoky, grilled meat notes. Later on the classic bacon fat and farmy nose really showed. Not bad.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 10, 2009

1995 Etude Cabernet

1995 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon - drank over dinner at the Green Mouse. The wine has now become pretty mellow, with a smoky nose, a bit of mint and a hint of green pepper. There's a solid fruit core but not overly sweet. Very smooth on the palate.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 9, 2009

Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Spéciale Jean-Paul Gaultier

Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Spéciale Jean-Paul Gaultier - drank over dinner at Fu Sing.  This comes with the special red corset that just screams JPG... The curvaceous lines of the Champagne bottle is wrapped with the red PVC corset, tied with a very long, black string... very sexy. The Champagne itself is not too shabby, either.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 6, 2009

2005 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2005 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley - drank over dinner at the Drawing Room. This just couldn't get any more Californian... huge nose of iron & minerals, orange, tropical fruits, very sweet and jammy, extremely ripe both on the nose and the palate. The nose was also very alcoholic, although it weighs in at just under 15%. A very different beast from the likes of Kistler and Marcassin.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 5, 2009

1989 Margaux

1989 Margaux - drank over dinner at the Dining Room of the Park Hyatt Shanghai.  It was a beautiful wine, and I'm sure that it was every bit as good as the bottles that Paul Pontallier served us back in April.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 4, 2009

2004 Château de Fuissé Pouilly-Fuissé Tête du Cru

2004 Château de Fuissé Pouilly-Fuissé Tête du Cru - drank over dinner at Villa du Lac in Shanghai. Mineral and flinty nose, with lemon, oily and buttery notes. Kinda ripe on the nose and the palate. Not bad at all.

Full post on dinner is here.

July 3, 2009

2004 Lascombes

2004 Lascombes - drank at a friend's house. I thought it was French from a weaker recent vintage like 2004, and those two answers alone got me 3 points - higher than your average MNSC score... Pretty smoky nose and soft tannins.

Full post on the evening is here.

June 27, 2009

Riesling and Barolo

Dinner at Tuscany by H.

2004 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese - smoky nose with minerals, petrol and lemon notes. It's a nice and easy wine to drink, with a slightly sweet palate like a Spätlese.

1996 E. Pira & Figli Barolo Cannubi - decanted and drank pretty well, with a fruity, strawberry nose that was a little stewed, with a bit of brett and distinctive forest notes. Still a little tannic on the palate.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 26, 2009

1999 horizontal

Dinner at Kimberley Chinese Restaurant.

2004 d'Auvenay Bourgogne Aligoté Sous Chatelet - very toasty nose like roasted corn, minerals, then giving way to something pungent akin to smelly armpits or BO... then it hits's peepee de chat!

1966 Perrier-Jouët Blason de France - caramelized cane sugar, very much like Chinese drink of sugar cane and water chestnut (竹蔗馬蹄), honey, a bit plummy, toffee. Still some acidity left, but almost no bubbles left in this one. Delicious!

1999 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé - nose of vanilla, caramel and toffee.

1999 Bollinger Grande Année Rosé - very nice mousse, good acidity balance and it's not too sharp. Finish was a little bitter.

1999 Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Millésimé - I bought this in Reims on my second trip to France in May. Wonderful mousse, still very fresh and vibrant. Big, sweet nose with lemon notes. Wonderful on the palate.

1999 Comtes Lafon Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru - a bit of straw, minerals and sweet corn nose. Beautiful and ripe.

1999 Laville Haut-Brion - pretty sweet nose with flint, straw and a hint of corn. Palate was a bit ripe, and the finish was a bit acidic and spicy hot

1999 Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons - I was disappointed in this bottle I brought. A couple of other friends had the same comment - this doesn't smell like Pinot Noir! Why are we pouring Bordeaux out from this Burgundian bottle?! Nose was very medicinal with brett, alcoholic, green peppers, eucalyptus...nothing says Pinot Noir or Burgundy. Still a bit tannic on the finish.

1999 Méo-Camuzet Corton Clos Rognet - beautiful nose, fruity, a bit minty, a bit of ripe prunes. Now THIS is a real Corton!

1999 Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Charmes-Chambertin - what a beautiful wine! Classic farmy nose and roast meats, with ripe fruit, orange, floral/violet notes.

2001 Armand Rousseau Chambertin - very elegant and light-bodied, with lots of orange and tangerine notes. Sweet and exotic. A lovely wine but completely different from what I expected.

1999 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Cerretalto - medicinal and brett nose, smoky and alcoholic with some fruit, grilled meats and eucalyptus notes. I decided to bring this so that it wasn't an all-Burg night for the reds.

1920 Cossart Gordon Malmsey - everyone raved about the last Madeira I brought, so I decided to bring another bottle tonight. Lots of orange marmalade, sweet vanilla, toffee, honeydew melon, caramel and nutty notes. Very, very sweet on the nose. Very lovely.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 22, 2009

1970 Veuve Cliquot Brut Reserve

1970 Veuve Cliquot Brut Reserve - drank over dinner at Bo Innovation.  I love old Champagne, and this bottle was no exception. Nose of caramelized sugar, brown cane sugar, orange marmalade and of course the Chinese salty plum (話梅). To be precise, it's salty plum that has been dipped into Shaoxing wine (紹興酒). Very fine bubbles and the wine was surprisingly sweet on the palate for a Champagne.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 18, 2009

2002 Kongsgaard Chardonnay

2002 Kongsgaard Chardonnay - drank over dinner at Gvsto. What a beautiful wine! This was probably the sweetest Chardonnay I can remember, with an explosive nose full of ripe honeydew melon, straw, lemon, sweet corn, butter, a bit of vanilla and some minerals. The color was a beautiful gold, and the wine was very ripe and sweet on the palate. No wonder Parker gave it 95 points...I whole-heartedly agree and probably would add a point or two on top.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 11, 2009

Mixed bag

Dinner at Sup 1.

1999 Leroy Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot - wonderful nose of minerals, toast was like toasted popcorn kernals. A beautiful wine.

1989 Charles Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux - farmy manure, grass, sweet fruit. Later sharp nose of nail polish remover and a bit smoky. A bit cloudy and very smooth on the palate. One of the last vintages before the domaine was split up between the brothers.

1995 Dom Pérignon Œnothèque - a very beautiful wine. Toasy and a bit yeasty, with notes of straw and sweetness. Very good acidity balance and very fine bubbles. I've never disliked a bottle of this wine. I got a big pour of this, and kinda got me buzzed early on.

1969 Perrier-Jouët Rose Extra Brut Reserve Cuvée - there's only one word to describe the nose - 話梅 - or Chinese salty plums. OK so maybe it also smells a bit like Fino Sherry, but it's salty plum all the way. There are no bubbles left by now.

2005 Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru - Wow! The nose was sooo sweet and sugary, like cane sugar or even Japanese black sugar (黒飴). It was a bit flat on the palate, though...

1993 Thomas Moillard Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de Thorey - alcoholic nose with sweet fruit notes and a bit minty.

1996 Sassicaia - I knew there'd be a lot of Burgs tonight so I brought something a bit different. Nose was sweet and a bit smoky. Smooth on the palate with a slightly acidic finish.

2000 Anne Gros Richebourg - nose was sweet with a bit of forest and kinda alcoholic. Still pretty full-bodied.

2003 La Feuilleraie - an unknown Pomerol, this was classic modern day Right Bank with smoke, toasty oak and sweet vanilla notes.

1979 Charles Heidsieck Brut - yeasty with sweet corn, a little salty with notes of salty plum (話梅).

1990 Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs - toasty and yeasty.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 8, 2009

MNSC Dinner - Drawing Room

MNSC dinner at the Drawing Room, hosted by the Ox. Theme was 1975 horizontal.

Krug Grande Cuvée - trademark toasty oak and lemon citrus notes.

1975 Latour - nose of sweet fruit but also a little bit stewed at the same time. A little smoky and medium-full body. Not quite open. 93 points.

1975 Haut-Brion - tangerine and fruity, a bit smoky and slightly farmy. High alcohol. A beautiful wine. The nose completely changed with the second pour, as it was more muted and grassy, and a little chalky towards the end. 94 points.

1975 Cheval Blanc - sweet grass nose, green peppers and a bit of brett makes this a classic Left Bank claret - or so I thought... Sweet on the palate and even a bit "hot". 92 points.

1975 Vieux Chateau Certan - sweet and a bit grassy with a hint of orange. Finish was slightly tart but very long. 94 points.

1975 L'Evangile - nose was very sweet and a bit smoky. 95 points.

1975 La Fleur Petrus - very ripe, sweet and stewed fruits, with orange and smoky notes. Very gorgeous and my wine of the evening. 97 points.

As usual, we were way off on our guesses. We got the idea that the wines would be from the 1989 or 1990 vintage...and ended up being around 15 years off. The MNSC tradition continues!

1973 Yquem - a gorgeous wine with melon, orange marmalade, honey, acetone and plastic notes. Sweet but with a good acidity balance so it isn't just all sticky. From the birthday boy's birth vintage.

1985 Léoville-Las Cases - a classic claret with smoke and brett.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 3, 2009

2001 Antinori Pian delle Vigne

2001 Antinori Pian delle Vigne - drank over dinner at Yung Kee's VIP 4th floor.  Drank very well.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 2, 2009

Chard and Pinot

Dinner at Cepage.

1993 Marcassin Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard - initially the wine was on the warm side, but was already showing a beautiful nose of toasty oak, lemon citrus, flint, minerals, butter and sweet corn. The wine was ripe and mature on the palate, with a finish that was sweet and turned slightly bitter right at the end. After a bit of cooling down the wine was even better, showing very sweet nose like cotton candy, marshmellow and caramel. How I love old Chardonnays!

2004 Leroy Vosne-Romanée - as I mentioned before, 2004 was the extraordinary vintage when all Leroy wines were declassified, so what is being labeled as a village wine actually contained grapes from 1er cru as well as the grand cru vineyards of Richebourg and Romanée St. Vivant. The wine was just absolutely gorgeous! Loads of tangerine, sweet black cherries, grilled bacon and smoked meats in the nose. It was just so explosive and sweet...such a pleasure to drink. Despite being a very young wine, it's definitely accessible now. What else can I say other than "Wow"?

Full post on dinner is here.

May 31, 2009

Rhone, Aussie and Bordeaux

Dinner at Gong Guan.

2005 Bannockburn Chardonnay - this was not bad at all. Nose of lemon citrus, honey and butter. A little ripe on the palate with a "hot" and long, spicy finish. Quite a big wine on the palate.

2005 Guigal La Doriane - I wanted to give this wine one last try, but it still wasn't what I wanted out of a Condrieu. Color was golden and indicated advanced age, but the wine is less than 4 years old. Nose of straw, paraffin, a bit burnt and clearly oxidized. A little spicy and ripe on the palate, but surprisingly not sweet and a little metallic. Waaaay too ripe for a Viognier. What happened to the crispy freshness, and beautiful floral notes I was supposed to get out of this wine?

2003 Kirwan - this was a surprise. Nose of lovely tangerine on top of classic smoky and brett notes. The wine is still young but the tannins are already very silky on the tongue.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 29, 2009

1998 Denis Mortet and 2007 Viura

Dinner at Olé.

2007 Marqués de Cáceres Blanco - made from Viura, the wine was a bit minerally, oaky, and smelled even a little of cheese mold.

1998 Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Combe-du-Dessus -this was beautiful as always. Minty nose with grilled meats, smoke, bacon and other smoked meats, chocolate, a bit of forest and sweet fruit.

Pedro Ximenez - wonderfully sweet and grapey.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 28, 2009

2001 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Rochioli Riverblock

2001 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Rochioli Riverblock - drank over dinner at the Green Mouse.  This was a little disappointing. Nose was metallic with iron rust, mint, a bit of caramel and some red fruits. Finish was pretty short.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 22, 2009

Wines with cheese

Cheese dinner at Caprice.

NV De Sousa Brut Réserve - the blanc de blancs has lots of smooth little bubbles, a slightly yeasty nose and surprisingly low acidity despite being 100% Chardonnay.

2003 L'Esprit de Chevalier Blanc - ripe nose of minerals, a bit nutty, citrus, chalky and gravel. The ripeness of the vintage shows through, especially in the alcohol...

2005 Albert Mann Pinot Gris Hengst - very fragrant nose of sweet grass, apricot, minerals and gravel. Ripe and sweet on the palate. Very classic pairing with the cheese.

Harvey's Bristol Cream - nutty and creamy as one would expect.

2007 Pierre-Bise Savennières Roche aux Moines - now in its third vintage, the wine showed nose of sweet grass, a little citrus, orange rind and minerals.

2006 André Perret Condrieu Chéry - nose of lychee, orange, apricot, osmanthus...incredibly floral. Ripe with a slightly bitter finish.

2004 Auguste Clape Cornas Renaissance - made from younger vines, this wine was a perfect partner for the cheese, with a bit of sweet grass on the nose.

2006 Lunzer Golser Strohwein Vin de Paille Cabernet Sauvignon - this is the second time that Jeremy has served me this wine with cheese. This is really liquid strawberry jam with some orange marmalade, figs and straw. The combination turned out to be really amazing! Sipping the wine with a bit of the blue in the mouth, I swirled the wine around the cheese on my tongue, waiting as the two gradually blended together. The strong, salty taste of the blue really highlighted the strawberry flavors of the wine. It was really, really awesome and definitely eclipsed the Mimolette/Hoegaarden combination from last time.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 21, 2009

'82 and '94

Dinner at Tuscany by H.

1994 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc - it's not often that I get to drink an old, dry Bordeaux white, so I was kinda looking forward to it. Oxidized nose of pear, honey, a hint of chalk, butter, toasty oak and even pollen. Once it opened up the nose was very ripe and sweet, but the wine had a long, acidic finish.

1982 Gazin - this was not the Gazin from Pomerol, but the one with the same name from Graves. The nose was very smoky, with classic brett, black pepper, a bit of sweet grass and - I'm very serious - smelly armpits... A medium-bodied wine with a short finish. Definitely a bit over the hill so it's good that the bottle was opened and drunk.

1982 Pichon Lalande - this was totally unexpected, and was the second bottle of this wine that I would drink in the space of 6 weeks, and a much better bottle than the last. Classic nose of red fruits, smoke and sweet grass. A beautiful wine.
Full post on dinner is here.

May 17, 2009

1969 DRC Grands Echezeaux

1969 DRC Grands Echezeaux, Reserve Nicolas  - drank at Paris 1930 in Taipei for parents' ruby anniversary.  Expectations were high, and I had the bottle chilled for a bit before serving to ensure optimum temperature.

The wine was superb. Loads of fruit like raspberries and black cherries, with lots of sweetness in the nose. Farmy with lots of smoked meats and bacon fat. A little bit plummy with some floral and rose notes. Despite using the Schott Diva Burgundy glasses instead of the Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru, the full-blown experience of the beautiful nose was still amazing. The wine was just so elegant, with enough concentration and power yet not overwhelming. One of the best bottles of red Burgundy I've had recently.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 14, 2009

MNSC Dinner - Amber

MNSC dinner at Amber, hosted by Dr. Poon.

1969 Veuve Cliquot Brut Rosé - what a beautiful wine...the nose was at once both sweet and salty, which calls to mind immediately Chinese preserved plums (話梅). The oxidized nose was just wonderful, and the wine was nicely balanced on the palate in terms of acidity and sweetness.

The first pair of wines could not have been anything but Left Bank Bordeaux, but the MNSC members kept trying to bluff each other at the outset, mentioning regions such as Rhône due to tonight's menu. I chose to stick to my guns, though, and went with my guesses of Bordeaux.

1953 Pichon Lalande (Nicolas bottling) - sweet and grassy nose with smoke, lead pencil and green peppers. A very nice and elegant wine. 92 points.

1953 Grand-Puy-Lacoste - very sweet and grassy with a bit of smoke. 92 points.

The second pair was where we were totally led astray by our leader, although to be fair there was a bottle of Rhone here...inserted by our host as a ringer.

1959 Angelus - very sweet and concentrated, with a bit of forest and a hint of medicine. Orange notes emerged later.

1959 Chapoutier Hermitage - fruity, a bit of orange and smoked meats. The elements were there, but just a bit closed and weren't coming out. 94 points.

We continued to lose ourselves in the wrong region for the third pair, even though I thought the Las Cases should have been a Left Bank wine with grassy character... Guess I was too chicken to stick my neck out...

1961 Beychevelle - what a beautiful wine! Very farmy with big nose of bacon fat, smoke, a bit minty, a bit orange, peppery and very sweet. 97 points.

1961 Léoville-Las Cases - very vegetal and full of green peppers, with some cooked fruit and smoke. Sweetness emerged in the nose later. Dry and acidic on the palate. 88 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 8, 2009

A mixed pile

Dinner at Luk Yu Teahouse.

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle - a bit of green apple, toast with a hint of sweet grass.

1996 Jacquesson Signature - clearly a step up from the last wine, with huge nose of straw, toast, sweet grass, very wheaty and yeasty. A very lovely wine with a slightly more acidic attack.

2002 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne - sweet grass, anise, lemon with a touch of sweetness. Ripe on the palate with good acidity balance.

2004 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - I've been buying this wine since I joined the mailing list, and this was the first time I'd crack open a bottle to try it out. It's young but pretty damn good... A classic Cali Chard and typical of Kongsgaard style, with loads of toasty oak and vanilla. With the second pour came lots of sweet butter, tropical fruit and smoke. Very ripe on the palate with a slightly spicy finish.

2000 Anne Gros Richebourg - very powerful nose with mint and iron notes upfront. Very elegant on the palate with a long finish. Unfortunately the wine died in the glass pretty quickly.

2005 Comte de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru - lots of sweet fruit and iron in the nose. Acidic on the palate. Disappointing.

1995 Angelus - a classic Bordeaux with smoky, medicinal and farmy nose.

1998 Harlan Maiden - this is the oldest vintage of the Maiden that I own, and it's certainly nice to drink it after 10 years of cellaring. Lots of orange tangerine, a huge, sweet nose with lots of ripeness and slightly high in alcohol. I thought it was a beautiful wine.

1996 Clos Mimi Syrah Shell Creek - I've always loved Clos Mimi for being really quirky. My first experience 7 years ago with this wine - same vintage - yields notes like "tangerine orange, alcoholic Ribena"... and it did not disappoint today. Nose of mushrooms, smoky, grilled bacon, soy sauce, grilled meats, wax, orange and sweet fruits. A lot more mature and toned down since my last bottle, but very interesting nonetheless.

1990 Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel - huge petrol nose with orange rind plastic. Kinda sweet but has an acidic finish. A perfect way to finish.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 4, 2009

2007 Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 1er cru La Forest

2007 Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 1er cru La Forest - drank over dinner at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris. The wine was a little disappointing. Lots of oak and very ripe, with some lemon citrus. A little acidic on the palate.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 3, 2009

1973 Trimbach Riesling Clos Saint-Hune

1973 Trimbach Riesling Clos Saint-Hune - drank over dinner at Le Cinq in Paris.  This is France's single best Riesling. I wanted to see what this wine tastes like after aging. It was so elegant and subtle, not overpowering as I expected. Nose of minerals, lemon, petrol, plastic and honey - all typical Riesling elements - came at you with a velvet glove and gradually opened up. What a wonderful wine.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 1, 2009

Wedding in Reims

Wedding banquet at Les Crayères in Reims, both lunch and dinner.

1999 Amour de Deutz - this was the wedding couple's favorite Champagne. Nose of toast, toffee and slight oxidation. Pretty nice to drink.

2006 Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Blanc de Blancs - very floral with white flowers, anjou pear, ripeness and a bit of honey on the nose. Very good mid-palate with an acidic finish.

2007 Mas Amiel Muscat de Rivesaltes - a bit of orange, rose and floral nose.

2000 Blain-Gagnard Batard-Montrachet – buttery, toasty, sweet grass, tangerine, lemon and white pepper. Ripe on the palate.

2000 Pichon Baron – what a beautiful wine. Mint, eucalyptus, ripe stewed fruit, smoke, forest…all coming together for a wonderfully sweet nose.

1988 Yquem – wonderful nose of orange marmalade and honey. It’s a pity that we didn’t stick around to finish the wine.

Jacques Selosse Brut Initiale NV - lots of bubbles and a nose of oxidized iron, pear and lemon citrus. It's a bit more on the dry side. Good stuff but I ended up with only one glass... boohoo...

Full post on the day is here.

April 30, 2009

Champy and Burg

Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.

Jacquesson Cuvée N° 733 - this was smooth on the palate if slightly flat, with lemon citrus nose and not too dry on the palate.

2003 Coche-Dury Meursault - it was reasonably priced. Wow! This wine just blew me away. Very heavy toast on the nose with sweet, buttery popcorn. A little sweet on the palate. This was just an amazing wine that just kept giving. I can't believe that this was just a village wine! It's easy to see why everyone begs Jean-François for more allocation...

2003 Roumier Chambolle-Musigny - big nose of mint, eucalyptus and black fruits. My mistake was not ordering this earlier, so the wine didn't have too much time to breathe before we drank it. But it did well under the circumstances.

Full post on lunch is here.

April 29, 2009

Champagne day

Tasting at Dom Perignon in Epernay.

2000 Dom Pérignon - pretty decent and open, with a bit of toast and some minerals in the nose. The acidity balance was pretty good mid-palate, although it turned slightly acidic on the finish. 

1998 Dom Pérignon Rosé - by comparison this was much less interesting. It was smoother on the palate, but the nose was pretty shut.

Dinner at La Grillade Gourmande in Epernay.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs - this is an NV Champagne because two different vintages are used in the blend. A very toasty nose with a bit of honey and lemon citrus notes. Pretty decent but no "wow" factor. 

Vranken Demoiselle Cuvée 21 - this was more interesting, and tastes like aged Champagne - or aged white wine for that matter! Distinct nose of sweet grass, orange blossom, green apple and minerals. The bubbles were very fine and came up slowly, making the wine nice and smooth. Yummy stuff.

Full post on the day is here.

April 28, 2009

2005 Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz

2005 Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz - drank over dinner at Juveniles in Paris.  This was the winery's first release, and reminded me completely of Torbreck's Juveniles... meaning it was a lot more Rhone than Aussie. Nose of eucalyptus, mint, bacon fat, smoked meats, concentrated minerals and iron. A good wine but slightly oxidized, no doubt because this is being served by the glass and not poured from a fresh bottle.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 24, 2009

Magnum Krug + Imperial d'Armaihac

Dinner at the Mandarin, with food from Man Wah.

Krug Grand Cuvée en magnum - magnums like this are rare, especially this one - I snapped this up just around the time when Krug changed their labels, as a rumor was going around that the older stock was actually better. Of course anyone from Krug would vehemently deny this...

My only regret was that I didn't arrive early enough, and only ended up with one glass of this nectar...but it was so delicious! From the very first whiff a big toasty nose hits you, with plenty of yeast and caramel and toffee notes. There's just a slight tilt towards acidity on the palate. I am now going to hang on to my remaining magnum and save it for a special occasion...

2004 d'Armailhac en imperial - it was decanted into four magnum decanters. The nose was classic Bordeaux, with mint, a bit of ripe fruit, a bit of smoke and even a hint of soy sauce on the nose. It was a bit alcoholic at first. Not many of us were big drinkers, and some of us who were unfortunately couldn't step up. I was getting a bit sleepy for some reason, and we ended up struggling to finish three decanters... As I expected, we were beaten by the big imperial.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 22, 2009

1996 Cristal

1996 Cristal - drank at Mandarin Grill + Bar.  What a beautiful Champagne! I didn't know the vintage at first, but felt that the wine was just giving up so much... Quite pleasant on the nose, with plenty of oxidation, that wonderful caramel, nice toasty oak... slight acidic on the palate at first, but mid-palate you find it's actually quite balanced with a bit of sweetness. An amazing Champagne for this age.

Full post on lunch is here.

April 21, 2009

2003 Haut-Brisson

2003 Haut-Brisson - soy sauce, smoked duck, coffee, a bit of sweet fruit.

April 8, 2009

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 4: Cheval Blanc

Visit to Cheval Blanc, where General Manager Pierre Lurton kindly treated us to lunch.

2008 La Tour du Pin – tannins were rougher than the other wines this morning. The wine was more extracted and alcoholic. Decent acidity on finish.

2008 Le Petit Cheval – nose of ripe fruit and a bit of smoke, with a spicy finish. More concentration here and tannins were more evident.

2008 Cheval Blanc – nose was more open than the other two wines, with mint, vanilla and caramel notes. Good acidity on the palate but a very grippy finish.

2000 Dom Perignon - this was amazing, and better than the magnum we had at Pontet-Canet… But one would expect that the condition of the Champagne would be excellent, of course, given that Mr. Arnault is Chairman of LVMH which produces Dom Perignon… The Champagne was very fresh with lots of bubbles. Good balance between ripeness and acidity, with toasty and yeasty notes.

2000 Le Petit Cheval – a really beautiful wine, with nose of smoke meats, brett, very ripe fruits and coffee. Good acidity and smooth on the palate, it’s a great wine to drink right now.

1989 Cheval Blanc – nose of green pepper, smoke, bacon, sweet red fruits and truffles. Very beautiful and open, so soft and beautiful on the palate with good acidity. Wow!

1995 Yquem – for a vintage like 1995, this was an awesome wine! Loads of honey, marmalade, acetone and sweet honeydew melon in the nose. This wine was so unctuous and sweet, yet with enough acidity to make everything balanced. Wow!

Full post on lunch is here.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 4: Petrus

Visit to Petrus - the only visit where I did not spit and drank every drop...

2008 Pétrus – nose of red fruits and mint, with a little vanilla, forest and coffee. Very soft tannins and slightly sweet on the palate. Quite a long finish, or as the French would call it – caudalie.

2006 Pétrus – Wow! What a wine! The nose was totally open, with red fruits, smoke, marmalade and mint. It was a bit sharp and alcoholic, but the tannins were so soft. A little sweet on the palate. Totally yummy, and I’m not saying this just because I know I’m drinking Petrus!

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 4: Vieux Château Certan

Visit to Vieux Château Certan, where we were received by owner Alexandre Thienpont.

2008 Vieux Château Certan, from Sylvain barrel – beautiful with soft tannins and good acidity balance. Fruity nose with coffee and toasty oak notes.

2008 Vieux Château Certan, from Seguin Moreau barrel – this glass was much more open and forward, which justifies Alexandre’s choice of having 80% of barrels from Seguin Moreau.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 4: La Conseillante

Visit to La Conseillante, where we were received by the Director, Jean-Michel Laporte.

2008 Conseillante – a very soft wine with a full body. Fruity and minty nose with vanilla notes.

2004 Conseillante – sweet fruit and farmy nose with smoked meats. Lots of soft tannins and drinking very nicely right now.

2006 Conseillante – more sweet and ripe black fruits, with a bit of smoke and bacon fat. A racy and sexy wine, with soft tannins. Lovely.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 4: L'Evangile

Visit to L'Evangile.

2008 Blason de l’Evangile – minty nose with soft fruit and very round tannins. Acidity was a bit high.

2008 L’Evangile – richer and more concentrated than the Blason, with mint notes. There were more tannins here but very soft and silky.

April 7, 2009

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: La Tupiña

Dinner at La Tupiña.

1986 Mouton-Rothschild - nose of sweet grass, soy sauce and smoke...tell-tale Mouton. The wine was still dark around the rim so it still looked very young.

1990 Cheval Blanc - nose of red fruits, orange and a bit of smoke. Nice and smooth to drink, but not mind-blowing.

1990 Lafleur - minty nose with a bit of orange. Finish was a little short, and I wasn't wowed by this wine...

1998 Le Pin - Wow! Explosive nose of orange marmalade, strawberries, exotic fruits, mint, brandied cherry, kirsch and apricot. I know this isn't exactly the classic Bordeaux in the same vein as the other three wines, but it was definitely my wine of the evening.

Full post on dinner is here.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Haut-Bailly

Visit to Haut-Bailly.

2008 Haut-Bailly - floral and sweet fruit, with coffee, mint and a bit of smoke. Round and smooth tannins.

2006 Haut-Bailly - smoky and a bit farmy with red fruits. Everything was nicely balanced, but slightly tannic on the finish.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Haut-Brion

Visit to Haut-Brion.

2008 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion - this has been the name of the second wine since the 2007 vintage, replacing Bahans Haut-Brion. Nose of vanilla, orange, red fruits and mint. Good acidity but tannins were slightly grippy.

2008 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion - earthy, smoky nose with sweet fruit and mint. Good acidity balance.

2008 La Mission Haut-Brion - smoky nose with mint and vanilla notes. A bit tannic but nicely balanced.

2008 Haut-Brion - much more concentration here, with lots of fruit, mint, smoke and a hint of coffee. Very tannic on the palate.

2008 Laville Haut-Brion - fatty, buttery with lemon citrus, green apple and toasty oak.

2008 Haut-Brion Blanc - minerals and flint combined with lemon citrus, a bit of butter and toasty oak. Wow! There is a reason why this is the most sought-after dry white in Bordeaux.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Margaux

Visit to Margaux, where we were received by Paul Pontallier and his wife and treated to lunch at the château.

2008 Pavillon Rouge - beautifully aromatic. Fruit forward with mint, licorice, smoky, grassy and coffee notes. Very smooth on the palate.

2008 Margaux - black cherries, chocolate, mint, toasty oak, vanilla and exotic spices. Very smooth on the palate.

2006 Margaux - farmy nose with smoked meats, bacon, chocolate, smoke, ripe fruits and coffee. Already coming together very well.

2008 Pavillon Blanc - lots of green apple, wih good acidity balance.

2006 Pavillon Blanc - smooth and ripe on the palate. A bit of toasty oak on the nose with a little spicy finish. Beautiful wine.

1989 Margaux - classic Bordeaux with smoke and brett on the nose. Silky smooth.

1959 Margaux - what a beautiful wine from a great vintage in Bordeaux. Nose of sweet grass, brett, sweet fruit and a bit of smoked meats. Sooo smooth and silky. Wow!

Full post on lunch is here.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Palmer

Visit to Palmer, where we were hosted by Bernard de Laage de Meux, the Marketing Director.

2008 Alter Ego - mint with a bit of fruit. Tannins were round, nice and soft...not too aggressive.

2008 Palmer - minty with exotic spices. Good concentration with round tannins.

2001 Alter Ego - farmy nose with smoked meats, spiciness, leather and cedar wood notes. A bit sweet on the palate with good acidity. A wine that has come together well.

1996 Palmer - lovely, farmy nose with peppery, smoky and leather notes. Very smooth on the palate. Delicious.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Ducru-Beaucaillou

Visit to Ducru-Beaucaillou, where the affable Bruno Borie received us.

2008 Ducluzeau - fruity and minty nose. Very soft on the palate.

2008 Lalande-Borie - a bit harder than the Ducluzeau.

2008 La Croix de Beaucaillou - floral nose with toasty oak notes.

2008 Ducru-Beaucaillou - floral and violet notes. Much softer than the other wines.

2005 Ducru-Beaucaillou - smoky nose with red fruits and a bit of pepper. Sweet on the finish. A beautiful wine!

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Léoville Barton

Visit to Léoville Barton.

2008 Langoa Barton - sweet and forward nose of tropical fruit and vanilla. Still pretty tannic.

2008 Léoville Barton - powerful nose of vanilla and fruit. Very tannic and alcoholic.

2007 Langoa Barton - a bit smoky with spices. Softer on the palate.

2007 Léoville Barton - nose of smoked meats.

2006 Langoa Barton - nose not open at all with only a bit of smoked meats.

2006 Léoville Barton - nose of smoked meats and tannic on the palate.

2008 Rauzan-Ségla - very open nose with sweet fruits and vanilla.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 3: Branaire-Ducru

Visit to Branaire-Ducru, where we were received by the Président Patrick Maroteaux and Manager Jean-Dominique Videau.

2008 Branaire-Ducru - forward and fruity with a hint of smoke. Not too tannic as the acidity was a bit higher.

2007 Branaire-Ducru - softer and more complex than the 2008. Nose of tropical fruit, mint and forest with a spicy finish.

2006 Branaire-Ducru - farmy nose with smoked meats, not as fruity. A nice wine that has come together with a good finish.

2005 Branaire-Ducru - toasty oak, mint and smoked meat nose. Pretty round tannin.

2004 Branaire-Ducru - nose of smoked meats is more prominent. Smooth and not too tannic on the palate.

April 6, 2009

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Latour

Visit and dinner at Latour, where Frédéric Engerer was exceedingly kind and treated us to dinner at the château.

2008 Pauillac – the nose of the generic production was not very open, with a bit of fruit and slightly spicy.

2008 Les Forts de Latour – a bit smoky and grilled meat notes, with a tart finish.

2008 Latour – nose was not very open and tannins were pretty grippy.

2004 Les Forts de Latour – classic Bordeaux nose with smoke and a bit of coffee. A bit sweet on the palate.

2002 Latour – again a classic Bordeaux with smoky nose. A bit acidic on the palate.

2007 Latour – nose was a bit sweet like cotton candy, and a little smoky.

2006 Latour – open nose with smoke with grilled meats, still a bit tannic.

Wines served with canapes and dinner:
1988 Salon Le Mesnil – nose was a bit acidic, with iron rust, honey and oxidized pear notes. On the palate it was sweet and a bit metallic. I don’t get many chances to drink Salon, so this was a real treat.

1976 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc – nose of chalk, flint, lemon, a little sweet honey, oxidation and pineapple. Really wonderful stuff.  Pineapple's birth vintage.
We were served three pairs of wines from the birth vintages of MNSC members. The theme was that one wine from each pair would be a Latour, while the other wine would be of equivalent stature (i.e. a First Growth) but selected to ensure that the Latour would be the winner of the pair… Of course all the wines are ex-château – even if they weren’t Latour, they have been lying in the château library since release – so we could not hope for better conditions.

First pair – the Ox, Lord Rayas and Juliano's birth vintage
1973 Cheval Blanc – smooth on the palate, with smoke, grilled meat notes. Orange and amber rim from the age. On the palate it was a bit watery but sweet.

1973 Latour – classic Bordeaux with smoke, lead pencil over a core of sweet fruit. Beautiful wine.

Second pair – Dr. Poon's birth vintage
1967 Latour – a bit of stewed fruit on the nose, with sweet grass and a little plasticky.

1967 Ausone – sweet, exotic and a bit funky nose.

Third pair – my birth vintage
1970 Latour – classic Bordeaux nose with smoke and sweet fruits. Quite a powerful wine after almost 40 years of age. I’ve had this wine a few times before – including last year – and recognized it immediately.

1970 Mouton – smoky, minty and a bit more ripe and open than the Latour. A beautiful wine. This was a surprise as I’ve had this wine a half dozen times – including last year – and I’ve never had a bottle as good as this one. This is where provenance really shows…

1953 Latour – Dr. Poon brought this bottle for Frédéric to taste and “authenticate.” Big nose of iron, rust and minerals, with sweet fruit, orange, grassy and a bit of smoke.

1975 Yquem – golden honey color, with nose of orange marmalade, plastic and acetone from the botrytis. This wine was sooooo rich! What a great way to end the meal!

Full post on dinner is here.
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