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.

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

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.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Léoville-Las Cases

Visit to Léoville-Las Cases.

2008 La Chapelle de Potensac - red and tropical fruits on the nose. Tannins a little grippy on the finish

2008 Fugue de Nenin - alcoholic and fruity with a bit of smoke. Sweet on the palate

2008 Nenin - minty and alcoholic, with a bit of smoke. Not as forward as the others

2008 Potensac - not very open with only a bit of fruit

2008 Clos du Marquis - vanilla and sweet fruit nose with a bit of mint. A bit acidic

2008 Léoville-Las Cases - inky color showing the concentration, with vanilla, sweet fruit, a bit of smoked meats and a grippy finish

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Pichon-Lalande

Visit to Pichon-Lalande.

2008 Bernadotte - fruity and not much tannins

2008 Reserve de la Comtesse - fruity and minty

2008 Pichon Lalande - minty and tannins were relatively round

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Mouton-Rothschild

Visit to Mouton-Rothschild.

2008 d'Armailhac - floral and fruity, where tannins are not too bad

2008 Clerc-Milon - fruity nose with a bit of vanilla

2008 Le Petit Mouton de Mouton-Rothschild - a bit smoky, farmy and sweet fruits

2008 Mouton-Rothschild - there's that trademark soy sauce again...even a bit stinky...smoky, chocolate and a bit violet/floral on the finish

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Lafite-Rothschild

Visit to Lafite-Rothschild.

2008 Carruades de Lafite - vanilla and sweet fruit nose

2008 Duhart-Milon - a bit smoky

2008 Lafite-Rothschild - nose was not very open. A bit of smoke, mint but hard to get to the fruit. Very tannic. I have no doubt that the wine has loads of potential, but an amateur like myself just can't be a good judge right now

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Montrose

Visit to Montrose. 

2008 Tronquoy de Sainte Anne - sharp nose with ripe fruits. Pretty tannic with a really spicy finish

2008 Tronquoy-Lalande - spicy and peppery nose, with red fruits and vanilla notes. Very tart and tannic

2008 La Dame de Montrose - peppery nose with grippy tannins

2008 Montrose - sooooo tannic! beautiful bouquet with very forward fruit with toasty oak and vanilla

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Pichon-Baron

Visit to Pichon-Baron.


2008 Les Tourelles de Longueville - very sweet and concentrated fruity nose, with vanilla and coconut notes. Body is a bit lighter thanks to the higher percentage of Merlot

2008 Pichon Baron - minty, alcoholic and fruit-forward with vanilla notes

2007 Pichon Baron - much more classic than the 2008, with smoky, vanilla and lead pencil notes

2004 Pichon Baron - farmy and a bit of stewed fruits with very smooth tannins

2008 S de Suduiraut - what a beautiful wine! Pear, honey, green apple, toasty oak, vanilla and mineral notes. I asked to buy some of this wine, but alas there were none for sale...

2008 Suduiraut - nose of honey, apricot and orange marmalade

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Pontet-Canet

Visit and lunch at Pontet-Canet, where we were warmly received by Alfred Tesseron.


2008 Pontet-Canet - nose of ripe fruits and mint, with very smooth tannins to make an enjoyable wine.

2000 Dom Perignon en magnum - this was beautiful.

2003 Pontet-Canet – nose still a bit closed, very concentrated fruit with a bit of metallic and iron rust, turning a bit alcoholic later.

2000 Pontet-Canet – nose also concentrated but more accessible than the 2003. Ripe fruit with a bit of coffee, and smoke emerging later. Nice and long finish.

1995 Pontet-Canet – very apparent sous bois, very smooth and lovely on the palate.

Full post on lunch is here.

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Lynch-Bages

Visit to Lynch-Bages, where we were received by Jean-Charles Cazes.

2008 Les Ormes de Pez - smoky, minty nose with coffee. Grippy but ripe tannins

2008 Echo de Lynch-Bages - this is the rebranded Haut-Bages Averous, the second wine of Lynch-Bages. Nose of toffee and mint

2008 Lynch-Bages - fragrant nose of mint and red fruits

2008 Blanc de Lynch-Bages - beautiful perfumed nose with white flowers, orange, banana and pineapple notes

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 2: Cos d'Estournel

Visit to Cos d'Estournel, where we were received by Jean-Guillaume Prats.

2008 Goulée - tart, with a minty, New World nose.

2008 Les Pagodes de Cos - minty, perfumed nose with concentrated fruit and vanilla.

2008 Cos d'Estournel - perfumed nose with coffee, vanilla and a bit of smoke. Much smoother on the palate than the others.

April 5, 2009

MNSC Bordeaux Trip Day 1: Thierry Marx

Dinner at Château Cordeillan-Bages.

NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Les Crayéres à Ambonnay - this was a real treat as it's not easy to come across wines from small producers like this in Hong Kong. The wine is made from old vines Pinot Noir, and costs a fraction of the price of the most famous of all blanc de noirs - Bollinger Vieille Vignes Françaises. Wonderful nose of caramel, toast, oxidized pear not unlike the wines of Jacques Selosse. Very smooth on the palate. Lovely stuff.

1998 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune - probably the most sought after of the Alsatian Rieslings and comes from a single enclosed vineyard. Unlike most of its German and French cousins, this is fermented dry. Lots of petrol and minerals in the nose, with a bit of sweetness on the nose. Beautiful stuff and a rare chance to drink something with a little age on it.

2005 Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Le Clos - very enjoyable. Classic minerals, butter, lemon citrus and toasty oak in the nose. Actually quite a nice acidity balance despite the ripe vintage.

1982 Pichon Lalande - funky nose with braised beef and beef jerky (the ones from Taiwan) notes. Definitely smoky and soy sauce was very prominent, with a bit of sweet fruit. Most of the group thought this was the Mouton but I knew it wasn't so...

1982 Mouton-Rothschild - beautiful nose...right off the bat I picked up the smoke and lead pencil notes and that usually points to Mouton. The additional hint of soy sauce pretty much confirmed it for me. Oh and of course there was red fruit and a bit of brett. A classic and the crowd loved it.
1982 Latour - Wow! This was sooo beautiful! Sweet fruit, a bit of sweet grass, smoky with a hint of coffee. Definitely everyone's wine of the evening and we all knew it had to be Latour.

1982 Cheval Blanc - it was clear that this wine was a little different from the rest. Nose was smoky and sweet, but the presence of exotic and tropical fruits gave it away...it had to be the Cabernet Franc from the Cheval.

1982 Léoville-Las Cases - once again this wine manages to disppoint. The nose was pretty shut and didn't reveal much. Green and a bit vegetal, with smoky, rubber and a little stinky... We continue to be baffled by the 100-point score on this one.

2001 DRC La Tâche. Beautiful wine! Nose was very sweet with red fruits, a little bit farmy, with smoked meats and orange. Awesome stuff.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 4, 2009

Aus / NZ Pinot

Dinner at Island Tang (港島廳).

1999 Bass Philip Old Cellar Pinot Noir – the color was very light and translucent, and because the wine was unfiltered and no decanting was done, it got to be very cloudy. The nose was very, very sweet, with lots of strawberries, bubblegum and a bit of grass. Really nice and elegant.

1999 Dry River Pinot Noir Amaranth – a completely different wine with darker colors. Huge nose of buttery toffee, caramel, tropical fruits like pineapple and orange – even a bit farmy. Smells and tastes a lot like some Californian Pinot Noirs. Nose was very powerful but the finish was short.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 3, 2009

2004 Rollan de By

2004 Rollan de By - drank at Caprice. This is the wine that was introduced to me last year by François Mauss of Grand Jury Europeen. I always thought that this wine made by Jean Guyon was delicious. Today it showed a nose of sous bois, brett, smoked meats and a hint of coffee. Classic Bordeaux that was smooth on the palate. Very nice.

Full post on lunch is here.

April 2, 2009

Matsu No Tsukasa 2002 Special

Matsu No Tsukasa 2002 Special (松の司) from Seto Seizaburo (瀬戸清三郎) - drank at Ishiyama (石山).  This is a junmai daiginjo koshu (純米大吟醸古酒), which is aged before being bottled and released. It's a limited bottling of 1,150 with a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%, which is very low. The wine is reasonably sweet on the palate - Nihonshudo (日本酒度) of +4 - with a spicy after finish. It's also very smooth, a result of the aging process (released June 2007). It's actually very delicious and I'm definitely going to look for more of this on my next trip to Japan.

Full post on dinner is here.
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