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.

May 31, 2010

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC Dinner at Caprice, hosted by the Ox. Theme was '85 Burgundy horizontal.

2000 De Sousa Cuvée des Caudalies - I had a bottle of the NV blanc de blancs here last year and loved it. The 2000 vintage is even better. Nose was very sweet with a little caramel, some oxidized pear, minerals, honey and marshmallow... I could get used to drinking this...

1991 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne - A very beautiful wine. Lots of toast, minerals, popcorn, lemon, honey, smoke, sulfur... Nose was huge, fragrant and opulent, and the wine was incredibly smooth on the palate. 95 points.

1985 Jean Grivot Richebourg - this was struck off from scoring because it was a tiny bit corked. I thought it drank OK but with obvious vegetal notes, along with straw, smoke on top of the sweet fruit nose. Finish was pretty long.

1985 Gros Frère & Soeur Grands Echezeaux - easily my wine of the evening. I was blown away by the nose from the start. Sooooo perfumed, sweet, jammy but not overpowering... Totally, totally osmanthus (桂花) that kept on giving until the end of the evening when I finally finished the last sip. Also notes of orange, straw, and prunes. So smooth on the palate. An absolutely fantastic wine, and I'm going to get my hands on some of this! 99 points.

1985 Dujac Clos de la Roche - another beautiful and open wine, with cassis, floral, violet, black fruits and a little gamey. 95 points.

1985 Joseph Drouhin Musigny - much more closed than the Dujac, with more concentration. Fruit and sweet nose which opened up after a while, minty, smoky with some soy sauce. 93 points.

1985 DRC Romanée-Saint-Vivant - sweet nose with eucalyptus, spices, floral, gamey notes along with some mushrooms. Very lovely although at one point the sharpness of the alcohol became noticeable. 95 points.

1985 DRC Richebourg - another awesome wine, with smoked game meats, a littlesous bois and floral notes. 96 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 29, 2010

Awesome wines at Acker auction

Day 2 at Acker Hong Kong IX.

2000 Pichon-Lalande - classic nose of coffee, smoke, grilled meats and a little peppery. What you would expect from a Pauillac from this vintage.

1995 Gaja Costa Russi - smoky and coffee notes on top of a very sweet nose. What a wonderful wine... Finish was still kinda tannic, though... Drank from a second bottle later in the day which was also beautiful, with smoky and soy sauce notes.

1993 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux - sweet red fruits with a hint of smoke. Acidity was pretty high. Honestly...if I actually paid for this bottle I'd be pretty disappointed...

1999 Rouget Echezeaux - I didn't see the vintage on the bottle, but guess it was the '99 that I drank last night. Nose was very open with game meats, very sweet, fruity and smoky. Acidity was fairly high. Judging by the nose alone this blew the Jayer away... But then again, it is a much better vintage.

1982 La Mission Haut-Brion - it's been a long time since I last tasted this wine, and it was nothing like I remembered! The nose was huge, with loads of smoke, soy sauce, dried oysters, a hint of brett and a bit of fruit struggling to break free. The wine was almost salty on the palate... Finally, there was some rust and nori (のり) seaweed on the nose.

2000 Guigal La Mouline - beautiful sweet fruit, mint, orange, a little gamey, a hint of floral notes I would expect from La Mouline. What a beautiful wine... I'd be happy drinking this any day of the week.

2006 Ausone - finally! My friend remembered that I was dying to taste this, and made sure I got some in my glass... Huge, explosive nose that was so jammy, minty, vanilla, tropical fruit, marzipan, with a hint of smoke, toffee and cinnamon. I loooooove this stuff. Yes, I do like very extracted wines...

2007 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet - way too cold when it was poured... Nose of butter, oak and minerals. Acidity was pretty high.

Full post on the auction is here.

May 28, 2010

Kokuryu Shizuku

Kokuryu Shizuku (黒龍しずく) - drank at Sumi (澄). This daiginjo (大吟醸) with a semaibuai (精米歩合) of 35% drank beautifully. It was sweet and smooth, with tropical fruits like banana in the nose.

Drinking at Acker

Day 1 at Acker Hong Kong IX.

2003 Haut-Brion - smoked meats, mint, black fruits, sweet, almost honeydew. Still kinda tannic. After half an hour, it transformed into an amazing wine with a huge, sweet nose like toffee. I initially stopped by to visit my friend as they were drinking 2006 Ausone at her VIP table, but this was what she poured me instead of the Ausone...

1999 Rouget Echezeaux - sweet and honeyed with a little caramel, some orange, a little smoky and a little bit of moss. This was my second, subtle attempt at getting a glass of the 2006 Ausone, and I still failed to get one! Oh well...

1997 Masseto - my friend open this bottle in honor of the man who made this wine,Lodovico Antinori. Unfortunately it didn't turn out the way I expected. Nose was pretty funky, with smoke, black pepper, paprika and stewed fruit. I last tasted this wine back in early 2002, and it had been sweet and jammy.

1985 Solaia - again, this was drunk with Lodovico whose brother Piero made the wine. I liked this bottle much better... Nose was a little oxidized with street strawberries, smoke, a little vegetal with green pepper, herbs and soy sauce. I almost wanted to say dried bean curd (豆腐干)...

2005 Méo-Camuzet Morey-Saint-Denis - nose was a little muted at first, with mint, pine needle and red fruits.

1995 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Faletto di Serralunga d'Alba - a very interesting wine to drink. The color was now golden brown with amber rim, and very deceiving. The nose was a little high in alcohol, with lots of sweetness like honeydew and some light glycerin.

2007 George Vintage V Leras Family Vineyard Pinot Noir - I was so surprised when the guys at Acker brought this out... I love this wine! This was such a classic Cali Pinot, with lots of sweetness, caramel, toffee, cotton candy, raspberry, oxidized pear and mint. Beautiful and lovely.

2000 La Mondotte - drank pretty nicely after breathing for a long time. It was surprisingly old world... sweet but not too extracted, with mint, smoke, forest and a little floral.

2007 Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet - lots of minerals, citrus, cheese, straw, toast, popcorn, a little butter...ripe and sweet. A beautiful wine.

2000 Trotanoy - very classic and a great wine. Lots of smoke, pencil lead and soy sauce on top of the fruit.

Full post on the auction is here.

2007 and 2008 Bouchard

Tasting of Bouchard's 2007 and 2008 vintages.

2008 Meursault Genevrières - nose of mineral, toast, a little buttery, flint, a little ripe and almost tropical.

2007 Meursault Genevrières - nose was more shut with some citrus and toasty notes. After swirling in glass, the wine opened up and the ripeness was apparent.

2008 Corton-Charlemagne - beautiful and open, with lots of white flowers, perhaps a little musty, along with toast and sweet vanilla. The ripe nose was very nice, but the wine was a little short. Perhaps it was a little too warm?

2007 Corton-Charlemagne - flinty, toasty notes with a little citrus and a hint of ripeness. The acidity was coming through.

2008 Chevalier-Montrachet - nose of minerals, citrus, floral...ripeness was apparent and there was a little marmalade, almost a little oily with a hint of popcorn. Very soft on the palate. A feminine wine.

2007 Chevalier-Montrachet - still a bit closed, with some minerality showing through.

2007 Montrachet - acidic and closed. There was a little sweetness like marshmallow and some citrus.

2008 Montrachet - there was no doubt that this was the best wine of the entire tasting, and why should that come as a surprise to anyone? This was a beautiful and opulent wine, with sweet corn, toast, floral notes... Pretty sweet and ripe. Wow! This is everything I could ever want from a white wine!

2003 Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus - a huge nose...sweet with cassis, minerals and iron, a little gamey and musty. Drinking well now.

May 26, 2010

Champagne Deutz

Dinner at Gaddi's with Champagne Deutz.

Salon de Ning Rosé - this house Champagne at the Peninsula is actually made by Deutz. Lots of raspberry, red fruits and a little yeasty.

1999 Deutz Cuvée William Deutz - citrus, yeasty, toasty, a little caramel, honey and straw. Open and beautiful, although it was a little hot on the finish when paired with food. I left half my glass and tasted again after dessert - salty plum (話梅) came out in the nose, but the wine became too warm and the palate suffered and became tart and tangy.

1988 Deutz Cuvée William Deutz - oxidized/caramelized nose with honey, minerals, and a little bit of salty plum (話梅). Still very fresh and vibrant, with the slightest hint of tartness on the palate. A beautiful wine.

1999 Amour de Deutz - I don't think I'll get tired of drinking this. Yeast, citrus, toast and a little sweet. Light and elegant, while a little sweet on the palate. The pairing with the caviar, though, was a little disturbing. I honestly don't think this kind of caviar should be paired with any wines, including Champagne...

1993 Amour de Deutz - lots of caramel, orange, apricot and preserved orange rind (陳皮). Not as ripe and a little sharper. At the end of the dinner, toast and mineral notes came out.

2007 Delas St Joseph Les Challeys - actually pretty approachable and enjoyable now... very open nose of mint, eucalyptus, violet, floral and smoke.

2006 Delas Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette - eucalyptus, a hint of floral notes, black fruits and the nose was in general a little sweet. More powerful on the palate.

1986 Doisy-Védrines - loads of polyurethane and turpentine at first. When it cleared a little, the fruit underneath emerged, showing apricot and honeydew. The wine was a little strange on the palate, as it was way too light and short at the beginning. The body firmed up a little with further aeration in glass. Just a little disappointing for this wine.

Full post on dinner is here.

Vinexpo pit-stop

Stopped by Vinexpo to taste some wines.

2008 Guigal Condrieu - this drank very nicely.

2008 Guigal Hermitage Blanc 

2006 Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde - this was a complete surprise... it was soooo extracted, exploding with sweet strawberries... completely not the Guigal style that I'm used to. 

2006 Guigal Château d'Ampuis - now we're talking! It was a little too cold at first, coming from a fridge, but I warmed it up with my hands. What a beautiful wine... the floral notes came out and I was in heaven.

2007 Louis Jadot Meursault Genevrières - I found the heavy oak too overpowering to be enjoyable. In fact I thought it smelled like old Comté..

Louis Roederer Brut Premier - this was light and always drank well. 

2004 Cristal - this hasn't been released yet. This was very nice... surprisingly open for something this young.

Full post on the pit-stop is here.

May 25, 2010

Tasting 2009 Bordeaux

Tasting of 2009 Bordeaux organized by Bordeaux Index.

2009 Malartic-Lagravière Blanc - Jean-Jacques Bonnie was here to pour the wines. Very refreshing and fruity, with a highly perfumed and floral nose along with green apples. Acidity was a little high, perhaps due to the warm temperature of the wine. Later on the vanilla oak emerged. Very soft and elegant.

2009 Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc - much more perfumed and powerful, with toasty oak, minerals, flint, pipi de chat and a bit of muscat. Very nice.

2009 Malartic-Lagravière Rouge - lots of sweet fruit upfront, with blackcurrant, a little potpurri... so ripe it almost seemed like the fruit was cooked... more caramel, eucalyptus with a hint of alcohol. Lots of tannins but they weren't too rough. Very nice...

2009 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge - nose was much more muted at first, with some eucalyptus and forest. Fruit came out but not as sweet. Tannins are pretty soft.

2009 Brane-Cantenac - Henri Lurton was here pouring the wines. Nose of green and black peppers, with some fruit but very muted. Acidity was noticeably high and balanced out the tannins.

2009 Léoville Poyferré - Didier Cuvelier came into the club with me, carrying his wines. The wine was lively, fruity and sweet, with a little caramel, a bit alcoholic on the nose and a little tannic.

2009 Langoa Barton - fruity with some minerality, pretty open... a simple and straightforward wine. Nothing to complain about. The defining moment came when I closed my eyes and was concentrating too much on smelling the wine...when I realized that my glass had been tipped too far and the wine was now flooding into my left nostril...and also down the lapel of my suit and my dress shirt. You know there's something wrong with someone when you see wine stains on their shirt at 11am...

2009 Léoville Barton - smoky and fruity...interestingly I could smell the acidity.

2009 Grand-Puy-Lacoste - Laurence Borie Castéja poured the wine for us. Nose of sweet fruit and a bit of eucalyptus. Another straightforward wine.

2009 Clinet - I finally met Ronan Laborde after having drunk some of their wines, including the amazing 1993 Château Pajzos Esszencia. Nose of spices, a little smoke, a hint of orange along with coffee and mint. Tannins were lovely. 14.5% alcohol and I couldn't feel it at all...

2009 La Conseillante - Jean-Valmy Nicolas was worried that his wines didn't travel well, but I thought they drank well enough. Nose was fruity with mint, a little orange and a bit of smoke. A very enjoyable wine.

2009 Grand Mayne - one of the surprises of today... Nose was pretty funky - very sweet but I swear there was plenty of borgata there...that smell of the sea was unmistakeable. Also some orange and smoky notes, with some sharpness.

2009 Clos Floridène Rouge - Fabrice Dubourdieu was here to introduce the wines, impressing us with his ability to speak Mandarin. He explained that the name Floridene was simply the combination of the names of his parents - Florence and Denis. I never knew about this estate in Graves but am pleasantly surprised by the wines. Nose was sweet and open, with mint and a hint of medicine and a little sharpness. Was there also a little violet?

2009 Doisy-Daëne Sec - lots of minerals, with pear, a hint of pipi de chat, floral and perfumed with a little muscat. Palate was acidic on the attack but the finish was pretty ripe. An absolutely lovely dry white.

2009 Clos Floridène Blanc - nose of minerals and lots of floral notes, with muscat, a little pipi de chat, lemon and almost oily and buttery.

2009 Doisy-Daëne - wow! Lots of honey, beeswax and orange marmalade. The wine was explosive, unctuous and magnificent, with a long finish that was very hot. An amazing wine.

May 22, 2010

Drinking with Lodovico Antinori

Dinner at Otto e Mezzo with Marchese Lodovico Antinori.

1996 Sine Qua Non Omadhaun & Poltroon - I've always loved this interesting blend of Roussanne and Chardonnay, and it drank very well tonight. Floral notes with honey, caramel, flint and a little metallic. Amazing that at 15.1% alcohol, you can't really smell the alcohol... although the finish was a little hot. There was also some toasty oak and a little bit of smoke, along with some sweet grass. At the end of the dinner, the remaining wine in the glass showed classic notes of butter and sweet corn, as the Chardonnay finally broke free from the repression of the Roussanne. I loved it.

2007 Lodovico - this is the inaugural vintage due to be released in September. This was fantastic. I could tell it was a young wine, but it was already very delicious. Nose was very sweet, a little smoky, somewhat medicinal but it definitely wasn't brett...and a little pine needle. Still lots of tannins in the wine, but they were beginning to round out. Later on there was some cotton candy and a hint of green peppers (not bell peppers, more like jalapeños) in the nose. I can only imagine what this wine would be in another 10 years.

1996 Masseto - admittedly not one of the best vintages, the wine nevertheless drank beautifully. In a blind tasting, there was no way I would have guessed it wasn't from Bordeaux. Smoky nose with a little brett, sous bois over the core of red fruits, and a little pencil lead. Tannins were very smooth. A yummy wine to drink now.

1973 Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé - this was a great way to finish. The nose was very oxidized as we all expected, with caramel, honey, marmalade, apricot and a little salty plum (話梅). Very fine bubbles.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 20, 2010

Gewurz and Syrah

Dinner at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).

1998 Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive en magnum - exactly what I expected and wanted out of a Gewurz... loads of lychee and fragrant floral notes upfront, with a little bit of acetone on the nose. There was lots of sweetness on the palate, with a slightly tart finish like orange rind. A vendage tardivemay be a little too sweet for some people as a food wine, but I always thought that sweet wines go well with Chinese food. Very lovely.

2003 Fisher Syrah Hidden Terrace Vineyard from magnum - pretty much the same as the other magnum I opened last month. So Cali... tons of sweet, tropical fruit like coconut, caramel, and a bit of smoked meats.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 18, 2010

1996 Gaja Sperss

1996 Gaja Sperss - drank at Otto e Mezzo. Lots of fruit right from the start, with a little mint, a hint of floral and some forest notes. Very sweet on the nose, and it just kept on giving... Full-bodied, elegant and smooth on the palate, but gained weight after aeration and became a little tart on the finish. The alcohol level became pretty apparent after about 2 hours. A very beautiful wine, which can only get better with another 10 years of aging.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 17, 2010

1969 Leroy Echezeaux

1969 Leroy Echezeaux - drank at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Taipei for the parents' anniversary.  This was my last bottle and it drank better than I expected.  I had it dunked in some cold water when I arrived to cool it down, and we decided not to decant the bottle (or pass the wine through paper coffee filters, as I have done in the past).  The sweet grass in the nose was upfront and center, and it was there all evening.  There was also a little bit of wet dirt, damp cellar, mushrooms... the question of whether the wine was lightly corked cross my mind.  Otherwise the nose was very sweet, and plummy notes emerged about 2 hours later.  Not quite the perserved plum drink (酸梅湯) that mom loves, but not bad.  Most importantly, the palate was still there and didn't turn acidic all night. 

Full post on dinner is here.

May 13, 2010

2003 Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé

2003 Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé - drank with Resident Froggie on her birthday before dinner.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 11, 2010

Araujo vertical

Tasting of Araujo wines at Summer Palace (夏宮) with Bart and Daphne Araujo.

2000 Pol Roger Brut

2009 Araujo Estate Sauvignon Blanc - lots of green apple in the nose, on top of minerals, sweet vanilla and tropical fruits like bananas. This is actually made with both Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Musqué - a more perfumed clone of Sauvignon Blanc - with a little bit of Viognier. Daphne says they only use around 25% oak, and the oak is not toasted but immersed in water. This is an awesome wine, and one of the best values around I believe.

2004 Araujo Estate Syrah Eisele Vineyard - exotic tropical fruit, sweet and very ripe fruit, a little smoky with forest and pine needle notes. Still reasonably tannic but starting to soften and becoming silky. The Viognier is co-fermented with the Syrah, as Guigal does with its La Mouline.

2005 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - Wow! I never expected a wine this young to be so elegant, silky and ready to drink. A little smoke and cedar and forest in the nose. Sweet on the palate with a lovely finish. Towards the end there were coconut butter and tea leaves notes. Such a pleasure to drink... but my last two drops - after about 3 hours - saw the wine dive off a steep cliff and died... I guess the wine can stay in glass for only so long...

2002 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - nose of roast duck, really ripe and sweet...even a little chocolate? Some eucalyptus later. It's from a big and hot vintage, and you can still feel the tannins but you know it's just going to get better with age.

1997 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - initially a huge nose of menthol, with Asian spices, game meat and smoke. Very, very smooth now, with a wonderful acidity balance. I've always known that Araujo wines are elegant, but for a wine from this blockbuster vintage this has to be an outlier. I do remember that my last bottle drunk in NYC more than 3 years ago was also really elegant and understated.

1992 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - my favorite wine of the evening. Initially some star anise, with sweet fruit, cedar/sandalwood, pencil lead and mint/eucalyptus. What a wonderful wine, and more elegant and open now than the '97. Acidity is higher on the finish, but soooo lovely. What a great effort for the winery's second vintage!

Araujo Estate Grappa - not being on Araujo's mailing list, I never heard about the existence of this. I asked Bart about it and he simply said that he loves grappa, so they decided to make one. I've had some pretty rough grappas out there, but this was very, very smooth. Nose of pear, a little medicinal and white grape raisins. Very enjoyable to drink. Gotta get myself a couple of bottles, and re-evaluate my opinion of grappas altogether...

Full post on dinner is here.

May 8, 2010

Three whites for a summer lunch

Lunch at Chez Les Copains.

1988 Jacquesson (disgorged July 2006) - woody, toasty nose with honey, lemon citrus, smoky notes with a hint of straw. Kind of sweet on the palate, which is surprising given there was no dosage added. Brought by a friend.

2004 Kongsgaard VioRus - I was a little worried when I pulled the cork, because the cork was a little musty and, well, I was afraid that the wine would be corked. But the wine turned out to be fine. Lots of honey and apricot, with some minerals and metallic notes. Sweet on the palate with the slightest hint of tartness on the finish. The wine has been aged for a few years, so the fresh, floral scents one normally gets from Viognier is gone. But I love aged white wines for their oxidized nose, and especially this one for the sweetness.

2006 Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes - I started drinking this about 2 hours after pulling the cork, and initially was very disappointed. I thought I had breathed it a little too long and the wine was flat. I ended up dunking it in the ice bucket for a while to cool it down, and sure enough, there was significant improvement. Sweet nose of strawberries and minerals. Still a little tannic on the palate.

Full post on lunch is here.

May 4, 2010

Cali, Aussie and Kiwi

Dinner at Tim's Kitchen (桃花源).

1999 Beringer Chardonnay Sbragia Limited Release - I bought the wine at the winery years ago, and it has now turned a deep golden hue. As I expected, the wine has gone through much oxidation, and the nose was sweet with honey, grass, marmalade and apricot notes. Kinda disappointed at first. Palate was ripe but dry, with a long finish. After an hour, the sweet corn notes that I love it wasn't a total loss after all.

1997 Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz - still very concentrated, with mint, minerals and a little smoke in the nose on top of lots of fruit. Reasonably smooth on the palate with a finish that was a little spicy. You could cellar this wine for years to come.

After dinner drinks at Sevva.

2006 Cloudy Bay Te Koko - this is one of my preferred Sauvignon Blancs. It was pretty good, with classic nose of muscat and flint. It was surprisingly a little tart on the palate, and pretty ripe. I think that this wine was a little less complex than the previous vintages I've had, but still enjoyable to drink.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 1, 2010

1997 Kistler Chardonnay Cuvée Cathleen

1997 Kistler Chardonnay Cuvée Cathleen - drank at Da Domenico. This was very disappointing, as the wine was clearly too oxidized and over the hill. Nose was sweet with notes of corn, but was way too ripe on the palate with the usual marmalade. I guess Kistler Chards just have their age limit...

Full post on dinner is here.
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