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.

June 30, 2010

40 again

Dinner at Paris 1930 in Taipei to celebrate my 40th on the lunar calendar.

2006 Schlumberger Riesling Les Princes Abbés - this was not bad at all... Nose of minerals, plastic, a little ripe and slightly sweet on the nose, floral and fragrant, eventually some petrol came out, along with something sweet and tropical, and finally some orange blossom.  Very balanced on the palate.

1970 Dom Pérignon - what a beautiful wine this was!  Loads of caramel, marmalade, apricot, preserved salty plum (話梅), toasty and a little smoky, with even a hint of coffee.  Later on honey, preserved orange rind (陳皮), and mushrooms.  After 3 hours, the finish turned a little weird and almost tasted a little like bleach.  Hmmm...  But the nose was just fabulous, and kept on giving.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 26, 2010

More birthday meals

Lunch at Golden Leaf (金葉庭).

2000 François Mikulski Meursault Les Poruzots - lots of toast, minerals, popcorn and lemon.  Very nice.

Dinner at a friend's place.

1996 Dom Perignon.  The wine was very nice.  Surprisingly I could taste a little age on the palate, as it was very smooth and a little ripe.

2000 Bouchard Corton-Charlemagne - a little disappointed with this.  There were subtle notes of toast and roasted corn, with some ripeness and sweetness on the palate.  But it was nothing like the bottle I had a few months ago, which was purchased at the same time as this one.

1995 Remírez de Ganuza Gran Reserva I brought.  It was very smoky, a little alcoholic on the nose, with sweet fruit, mint and pine needle.  I would never have guessed this was Tempranillo...  I actually carried this bottle back from the winery, which I visited on the trip we did together a few years ago.

Full post on the meals is here.

June 25, 2010

Mixing French and Japanese whites

Dinner at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).

2003 Moët et Chandon Grand Vintage - opened two bottles.
1996 Hugel Riesling Vendage Tardive en magnum - I finally brought out another one of these.  Pretty classic Riesling... lots of plastic, floral (osmanthus?) notes, sweet, orange and honey.  Sweet on the palate thanks to this being a late harvest wine.

There was also a bottle of Oka Ichirin (桜華一輪), a very nice daiginjo sake (大吟醸酒).  This offering from Sakura Masamune (櫻正宗) came with a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of only 37%, and was pretty fragrant and slightly dry and spicy finish, despite the slight sweetness mid-palate.

Full post on dinner is here.

2006 Boekenhoutskloof Semillon

2006 Boekenhoutskloof Semillon - opened in office in honor of the World Cup in South Africa.  Lots of white flowers, some acetone, a bit oaky and pretty ripe.

June 24, 2010

2 magnums

Another dinner to celebrate my 40th, at Cipriani.

1970 Bollinger R.D. en magnum - this has got to be the freshest, most vibrant example of Champagne from this vintage that I've ever tasted... the reason being very obvious once you remember that this is an RD - "recently disgorged".  There were lots of bubbles still... Nose of salty plum... you can smell the acidity and the saltiness.  Caramelized with peach notes.  A little acidic on the palate with some orange marmalade on the finish.  After an hour, the wine was really beautiful and a little toasty on the nose.

1998 Chateau Montelena in magnum - this wine is still very young, and it would have been better if I aged it for another 10 years...  But it was very enjoyable.  Nose of mint, pine needle, a bit smoky, ripe and sweet fruit with cedar.  I could still feel the sharpness of the alcohol.  Full-bodied and concentrated, but the tannins have started to soften so it was actually pretty smooth on the palate.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 22, 2010

1970 Latour

Dinner at Otto e Mezzo on my 40th.

1970 Latour - my last bottle of this wine drank pretty well.  It was so classic... smoke, spicy, peppery and minty on the nose.  Actually spicy on the palate, too, with a very long finish. 

Full notes on dinner is here.

June 21, 2010

MNSC Dinner - Caprice

MNSC dinner at Caprice, hosted by me on that last night as a thirtysomething.

1991 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses from the wine list to start us off.  This was an amazingly beautiful Champagne... Nose was very sweet, with lots of caramel, honey, a bit of citrus fruits, nutty and a little metallic. 

Of course I would serve wines from 1970 for the big birthday... but threw in a couple of 1990s just to throw people off a little.

1970 Heitz Martha's Vineyard - mint, a little oxidized, prunes, a little pine needle and definitely soy sauce.  I served it at another MNSC tasting 3 years ago, and that bottle also drank pretty well.  This was part of the Californian contingent at the now infamous 1976 "Judgement of Paris". 92 points.
1970 Chapoutier Hermitage - nose was clearly oxidized, with orange and sweetness.  A little flat on the palate.  88 points.
1970 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle - mint, a little green and vegetal, followed by sweetness, smoke and a little brett.  Even though I knew which wines were in each pair, I actually thought this was the Petrus... 95 points.

1970 Petrus - nose was a little stewed, ripe, smoky, really sweet with honey, syrupy and cotton candy, later on orange, coconut butter, mushroom and wet sous bois.  Very smooth on the palate.  A beautiful wine.  97 points.
1990 Voguë Musigny Vieilles Vignes - mint, sweet fruit, some oxidation, concentrated and ripe.  93 points. 

1990 DRC Echezeaux - wow! Nose was explosive, with lots of smoke and toasted/grilled corn on top of the core of sweet fruit.  95 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

June 17, 2010

A round of American Pinot

Wine tasting organized by Altruistic Boutique Wines.

2006 Bjørnstad Chardonnay Porter-Bass Vineyard - lots of toasty oak here... pretty ripe on the nose, kinda aromatic with some minerals. Medium acidity. Pretty good.

2007 Rex Hill Pinot Gris - nose of green apple, pear, sweet caramel and a little flint. Very light and aromatic... great to drink on a hot summer day.

2006 Rex Hill Pinot Noir Reserve - pretty sweet and fruity nose, with a little mint and kinda alcoholic. Definitely felt some of that 14.4%...

2007 de Lancellotti Pinot Noir - first whiff of the nose made me to a double-take... it was so Old World... with lots of farmy, smoky notes, plus mint and a bit of orange. Eventually the sweetness of the nose came through. Smooth on the palate but the finish was slightly hot and spicy.

2008 Westrey Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard - really sweet with lots of fruit. Sooo typical for an American Pinot. Some mint here. Definitely a little hot on the palate.

2007 Lucia Pinot Noir - lots of very ripe fruit, spices, pretty extracted and sweet with some apricot. A little sharp on the nose, and actually burns a little going down...

2007 Bjørnstad Pinot Noir Hellenthal - from a bottle that was opened late, so the nose was a little muted at first. A little mint with some fruit, some farmy notes and game meats. Opened up with time and got better.

June 11, 2010

Birthday party mix

Birthday dinner at a friend's house.

1999 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill - yeasty and toasty nose, a little sweet and later a little funky. Pretty nice.

NV Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru (disgorged August 2009) - I looove this wine from Egly-Ouriet, and in fact anything from this house. This is a delicious Champagne... a poor man's Vieilles Vignes Français. Lovely oxidized nose of cotton candy, caramel and lemon... The acidity is a little higher here.

1999 Leroy Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes - the nose was clearly oxidized, but I like them like that. Pretty sweet nose with a light touch of oak and lots of caramel.

1999 Chave Hermitage Blanc - pretty oxidized nose of cotton candy and a hint of minerals. There was slight ripeness on the palate. A beautiful wine.

1999 Leroy Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot - this just blew the Meursault away... A very powerful and huge nose of toasty oak, popcorn, with lots of sweetness. This is what a 10-year old Chardonnay should be!

1994 Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc De l'Orée en magnum - I brought this big baby to the party, but it had just come out of the office fridge and was too cold to drink. After letting it warm up a little, I took a sip and was surprised at what I found. The nose was dominated by plastic and petrol. Was I drinking a German Riesling? There was also some lemon, and the nose was a little alcoholic. A second pour much later continued to show lots of plastic, with enough ripeness and honey. The palate was pretty well-balanced, but it was still a weird wine. Not what I expected at all.

1996 Les Forts de Latour - classic claret nose of smoke, mint, sweet fruit and cedar... Very fragrant with a little rose and floral notes.

2001 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard - I'd be happy drinking any Marcassin wine on any given day, and this one was a winner. Very sweet nose as expected, with a little pine needle, very fragrant - almost floral. Pretty sweet on the palate but there was some acidity to balance it out. A little alcoholic.

1996 René Engel Clos Vougeot en magnum - very open and beautiful nose, with farmy, toasty oak notes along with sweet, black fruits.

2003 Bouchard Corton-Charlemagne - kinda sweet, toasty with minerals and some popcorn. Good balance between the acidity and ripeness.

2006 Catena Zapata Malbec Adrianna Vineyard - really sweet fruit, a little ripe, with some forest, mint, coffee and vanilla. Acidity was a bit high with reasonably soft tannins for a wine this young.

2006 Numanthia - funky nose, really much that it burned my nostrils. Pretty ripe and sweet, with coffee, smoke and coconut butter. Surprisingly soft on the palate.

2004 Leroy Bourgogne - what a treat... the gang rushed for the bottle as soon as the cork was popped, and I managed to get the very last few drops. Beautiful and explosive nose. Smoky, farmy, a little sweet and floral, and slight acidity on the palate. The wine was so ready it didn't need any time to aerate. Our hostess was kind enough to bring out a second bottle since not everyone had enough of this.

Passopisciaro Bianco Dolce - a little ripe, grapey, honey, orange and botrytis.

1985 Noval - a little forest, ripe fruit, a little medicinal, medjool dates, a little nutty, preserved longan (桂圓), and alcoholic. Naturally the port was sweet on the palate. Very nice.

1996 Lignier Clos de la Roche - sweet, ripe, a little farmy and minty. Very elegant and nice.

Full post on dinner is here.

2004 Kongsgaard VioRus

2004 Kongsgaard Viognier/Roussanne - opened in the office.  55/45 blend.  Nose of honey, straw, apricot, a bit of oak, clearly oxidized from being "too old" but I love it.  Very lovely.

June 4, 2010

Chassagne and Shiraz

Dinner at On Lot 10.

2001 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet - this drank very well, with nose of lemon, toast, minerals...very ripe nose and a little buttery.

2007 Torbreck the Struie - this was drunk way too young, but it was pretty much what I expected from David Powell. Huge sweet nose, with lots of minerals, oak, orange, a hint of smoke, vanilla and caramel. Really a lot like American Syrah...

Full post on dinner is here.

2002 Les Carmes Haut-Brion

2002 Les Carmes Haut-Brion - opened in the office.  Really smoky, a little chalky, some sweet fruit later, coffee, still a little alcoholic... very straightforward Bordeaux.

June 3, 2010

Solaia vertical

A vertical tasting of Solaia hosted by Marchese Piero Antinori.

1978 Solaia - this was the very first vintage of Solaia, made with vines which were 3 years old. I have a bottle of this and almost opened it a few weeks ago, but I'm glad I kept it. This was an amazing wine - most certainly my favorite of the tasting. The nose was classically claret, with smoke, grilled meats, sweet black fruits, mint, maybe a hint of orange and apricot. After a little while the nose evolved into something different and just blew me away... lots of bacon fat, sweet and a little floral. Even later, nose of green peppers, heavy cigar smoke, farmy, dare I say braised beef (紅燒牛肉)? Absolutely beautiful! On the palate it was still a little tannic and grippy, despite the high acidity. The finish was very long, and a little hot and alcoholic.

1988 Solaia - the nose was much more ripe, open and hot, with strewed prunes, sweet, cigar smoke, a little medicinal and brett. After a while the sweetness really came through, which then developed into an overripe, cooked nose. Finally the nose was dominated by burnt rubber and Chinese medicinal herbs. The acidity of the wine was evident, but again the finish was a little grippy.

1994 Solaia - sweet fruit, a little plastic, burnt rubber, caramel and pine needle. A hint of ripeness and a little floral. Light smoke and obvious coffee. A very nice and elegant wine. Medium-high acidity, with reasonably soft tannins and a very long finish.

1997 Solaia - kinda disappointed in this wine from the blockbuster vintage. The nose was still closed, with some brett, smoke, limited amount of sweet fruit and a little apricot. There were still some chewy tannins. My last encounter with this wine was 8 years ago, and even back then it was relatively shut against a lineup of other 1997 Super Tuscans and required more than 3 hours to open up.

2004 Solaia - more concentration here, with forest and smoke. The wine opened up more with a little time. Smooth and silky on the palate.

2006 Solaia - nose was very sweet and pretty extracted, a little "hot", with mint, tropical fruit, toffee, and a little alcoholic. This was a young wine and you can see that the new oak hasn't quite integrated with the wine. Stylistically one would even suspect this was more "New World"... But nose was beautiful and toffee and caramel dominated later. The tannins of this wine were surprisingly soft for something so young.

2007 Solaia - this was another blockbuster vintage, and the wine has yet to be released. Nose was more concentrated, with blackcurrant, oak, vanilla, some spices like cardamom, sweet and alcoholic. Let's see how this wine turns out in another 10 years.
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