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.

January 10, 2009

Jacques Selosse, BV and very old Madeira

Dinner at Celebrity Cuisine (名人坊) at Hotel Lan Kwai Fong.

Jacques Selosse Brut Initiale NV, mis en bouteilles Novembre 2007 - wonderful mousse. A hint of caramel on top of lemon citrus in the nose. Very fresh and crisp acidity. Pretty dry finish.

Jacques Selosse Brut Initiale NV, mis en bouteilles Juillet 2007 - what a difference 4 months can make! The color here is darker, more mature than the first bottle, with lots of caramel, oaky and marmalade notes. Also much smoother on the palate and not as fresh.

Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs Substance NV, mis en bouteilles November 2007 - by far the best of the three bottles of Champagne (duh...) Wow! The carbonation from the bubbles just go shooting up my nose... Lots of caramel, marmalade and honey. The color is golden honey here. After leaving it in the flute to breath for a while, the nose was even more amazing.

2003 Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Pucelles - initially not very open, with some minerals and a hint of lemon citrus. Later some sweet butter came out. Very smooth on the palate with a slight bitter finish.

2004 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne - lots of lemon citrus and banana on the nose with a hint of sweetness. Acidic on the palate. A little disappointed.

2002 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne - amazing jasmine and floral nose, with a bit of white pepper and minerals. More acidic on the palate with a long finish. A great wine.

1998 Cheval Blanc - explosive nose, classic Bordeaux with brett, sweet fruits and a bit of smoked meats. Surprisingly a hint of mint despite no Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend.

I brought the following pair of Cabs from BV. These are two different clones of the varietal made by the same winery in the same year, which makes for an interesting side-by-side comparison. Unfortunately they weren't served in the same types of glasses so it wasn't 100% accurate. I was also worried that the wines may be corked, since it is well known that BV had issues with TCA in their cellars for the 1997 vintage, and had to recall a large chunk of their wines.

Fortunately as well pulled the corks out, we did not detect any problems with these two bottles.

1997 Beaulieu Vineyard Clone 6 - smoky, wet chalk and sweet red fruits. Very Bordeaux-like. The crowd was surprised by how "French" the wine is, but I have always tasted the French roots of BV wines in the past. Georges de Latour was French after all...

1997 Beaulieu Vineyard Clone 4 - very alcoholic nose, with a bit of smoke and red fruits, plus vanilla and caramel. More concentrated and New World-like.

1999 Sine Qua Non the Ox - an Oregon Pinot Noir from one of my favorite Californian wineries. The first thought that came to my wine when I took a whiff of this was Cantonese liver sausage. Yes, it smelled just like the Chinese rose wine (玫瑰露) used in the production of the sausage. The nose was very sweet and alcoholic, with caramel and a bit of grilled meats. This was a very American Pinot, and exactly what I would expect from Sine Qua Non.

1863 Leacock's Malmsey - this was the highly anticipated finale, as most of the crowd have not tasted anything this old. I loooooove Madeiras, and what an amazing wine! After four hours in a big-bottomed decanter, the wine still smelled a little closed (!) Amazing nose of caramel, sweet fruits, vanilla, coffee, preserved orange rind (not marmalade but 陳皮). This wine just kept going on and on, and it was obvious that it was still in the prime of its life, despite being more than 145-years old... Time to collect more Madeiras...

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