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 27, 2011

75 Trotanoy, 90 Vogüé Amoureuses and more

Dinner at Paris 1930 in Taipei.

1998 Krug - a little yeasty, a little ripe, nice and very ready to drink.  Good acidity balance.  Opened up a lot  more with time, with some marmalade and Chinese licorice (甘草).

1990 Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses en demi-bouteille - meaty, slightly smoky, ripe and a little pruny.  A little sweet fruit, and perhaps a little burnt around the edges.  Nose was lovely but the body needed time to develop.  Still very youthful.

1975 Trotanoy - smoky, tea leaves, dried herbs, a bit alcoholic at first.  A little animal, brett and coffee.  Very fragrant.  Nice and sweet, very smooth on the palate.    A delicious wine.

1995 Gaja Costa Russi - smoky, minty, good amount of fruit.  Still pretty hard and took some time to open up.

Egly-Ouriet Brut Rosé Grand Cru (disgorged November 2009) - nice nose of strawberries.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 24, 2011

Sake and 2008 Bordeaux

Dinner at Gyodoike (魚道生) in Taipei.

Rihaku Daijinjo Tobingakoi (李白大吟釀斗瓶囲い) - one of my favorite sakes.  Sweet mid-palate, dry and spicy on the finish, but at the very end of the long finish one feels sweet again.  A pretty complex sake that took time to open up to reveal its tropical fruit and floral notes.

Drinks at Max Bordeaux/Wine Gallery and Cellar (美樽廊).

2008 Calon-Ségur - very sweet, with dates, oak, dried herbs, vanilla and coffee on the nose.  Pretty decent.

2008 La Lagune - smoky, dried herbs, vanilla and oak on the nose.  More classic claret and not as sweet.  Later I realized that I had actually tasted this wine at the UGC tasting in Hong Kong earlier this year.

2008 Ausone - Alain Vauthier was busy when we turned up at his door in April 2009, so I never got to taste this wine.  I decided that I owed it to myself to see what this tastes like.  The nose was very open and approachable, typically sweet fruit with vanilla and oaky notes.  Very fragrant.  Not quite ready on the palate but one can see greatness in the future.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 16, 2011

2001 Beaucastel

Dinner at Mr. and Mrs. Bund in Shanghai.

2001 Beaucastel - the nose took a few minutes to open up, and showed lots of ripe fruit, oak and other wood scents.  Sweet and lovely.

Full post on dinner is here.

December 9, 2011

47 La Fleur-Petrus and old Burgs

Late night tasting at a generous friend's home.

1947 La Fleur-Petrus - I literally drank the sediment from the bottle, as this was a leftover from the dinner my friend attended earlier in the evening.  The nose had plenty of salty minerals, soy sauce, along with plenty of fruit and some smoke.  My friend reported that this was a stunningly beautiful bottle.

1978 Roumier Bonnes Mares - another leftover bottle, but I didn't get the dregs this time.  Nose was initially dusty and dirty, but once that was gone the wine showed a beautiful fruit core.  Very elegant and feminine.

1966 Rousseau Charmes Chambertin - plenty of fruit.  Nice and ripe, a little prune.  With further aeration the floral characters emerged, making this a beautiful and elegant wine.  There was a little salty mineral on the palate.  Later on the nose suddenly turned medicinal like hospital disinfectant, but this faded.

The bottle of Rousseau was the reason why we had the late night tasting... The wine arrived via air shipment and apparently the change in air pressure pushed the cork in a little, causing some slight leakage.  My friend decided the bottle should be consumed right away.  The cork was indeed very loose, and dropped into the bottle with the slightest pressure in the attempt to extract it.  It was decided that wine would not be decanted, and the cork was left floating on the surface for the remainder of the evening.

November 26, 2011

Bordeaux and wannabes

Dinner at a friend's place.

2004 Louis Roederer Cristal - nose was a little yeasty, surprisingly a little pungent - sulfur?  Mineral.  Good acidity balance, though, and very approachable.  The nose turned a little metallic once the wine warmed up in glass.

1970 BV Georges de Latour in half bottle - my third time drinking this great wine from my vintage.  Nose was a little prune, a little smoky, with brett, dried herbs, tea and a little woody.  Very lovely, and pretty much what I expected of this wine.

1971 Biondi-Santi Riserva - lots of sweet grass and herbs... Would have guessed this was a Bordeaux... perhaps a Saint Julien.  Herbs, a little coffee grinds, and perhaps a hint of soy sauce.  Don't have much experience with old Brunellos so didn't know what to expect.  My surprise contribution.

1990 Troplong Mondot - from a stellar vintage with a near-perfect Parker score.  Expectations were high, thanks to the generosity of BFF who brought it on account of me.  Nose of green peppers, tea, a little smoky, minty.  Definitely pretty alcoholic.  Honestly pretty disappointing...

Full post on dinner is here.

November 22, 2011

Dassai 50

Dinner at Gyotoike in Taipei.

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50 (獺祭 純米大吟醸 50) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 50%.  Didn't pay much attention to this tonight, but noticed it was a little on the dry side.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 21, 2011

1997 Corton-Charlemagne

Dinner at Pearl Liang Seafood in Taipei.

1997 Hospices de Beaune Corton-Charlemagne Cuvée François de Salins par Louis Max - nose was extremely oxidized and sweet, with Chinese licorice (甘草), sweet grass, straw and plum (梅子).  Kinda metallic on the palate, especially when drunk with food.

Full post on dinner is here.

November 17, 2011

2006 Paracombe Shiraz Viognier

Dinner at Azie Grand Cafe in Taipei.

2006 Paracombe Shiraz Viognier - really sweet, minty, a little forest pine, a little violet.  Soapy and not very pleasant on the palate... almost a little bitter.  It's a screwcap, so it couldn't possibly be corked?!

November 2, 2011

83 La Mouline, Selosse Exquise and more

Dinner at Fan Tang in Hong Kong.

Jacques Selosse Exquise - a bit acidic on the nose, a little fruity.  Definitely a sec and not a brut, very round and voluptuous on the palate.  The finished seemed slightly bitter at first.  Nose of dried straw.  Much better after 15 minutes.  30 minutes after opening, the nose really opened up to show minerals and salty plum (話梅).  I chose this for our lady who prefers Champagnes that are not so "aggressive" and more like wine, and this seemed to have done the trick.

1983 Guigal La Mouline - double decanted at home.  A little brett and medicinal at first, which was surprising.  Slightly mineral.  The second pour after 2.5 hours was very sweet, plummy, a bit smoky, gamey, and a little dirty.  Sweet on palate with very silky tannins.  The finish was a little short.  Black olive and savory.  Pretty disappointing considering this is my favorite vintage of my favorite wine, although perhaps I had allowed it to over-breathe.  Seems that the last bottle I had from my cellar also underperformed...

After dinner drinks at a friend's place.

2003 Lascombes - very sweet and ripe, with coconut butter, smoke, dried herbs, a little woodsy and coffee notes.  Drinking pretty well despite the young age.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 31, 2011

Faiveley Mercurey and Colombo Condrieu

Lunch at Chez Flottes in Paris.

2006 Faiveley Mercurey Clos des Myglands - some fruit with a little mineral.  Chewy tannins.

Dinner at Le Violon d'Ingres in Paris.

Vranken Cuvée Diamant - honestly, nothing really special...

2010 Jean-Luc Colombo Condrieu Amour de Dieu - floral, fragrant and ripe.  Exactly what I wanted out of a Condrieu.

Full post on lunch and dinner is here.

October 30, 2011

Wine pairing in Paris

Lunch at Le Grande Café Capucines in Paris.

2006 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet - nose was a little muted, with some minerals.

Dinner at Pur' in Paris.

Jacques Lassaigne Le Cotet - an extra brut blanc de blancs.  This was pretty yeasty and metallic.

2008 de Vénus L'Effrontée - a little mineral, almost no nose.  Definitely no palate except the alcohol...

2008 Georges Jayer Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits - strawberry, jammy, mineral.  Very surprisingly did not clash with the salmon at all... perhaps thanks to the sesame.  Made by Laurent Rouget.

2008 Catena Zapata Malbec - sweet, ripe, mint and forest.  Still very tannic, but thankfully the heavy sauce of the pigeon was able to stand up to it.

2007 Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese - Alois Kracher died in 2007, so this would have been the first Kracher vintage without him.  Nose of honey, white flowers and orange blossom.  Delicious.  We were supposed to get a glass of Pedro Ximenez with dessert, but the waiter very kindly substituted this one...

Full post on dinner is here.

October 29, 2011

Mixed lot at Rochat

Lunch at Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Crissier.

2009 Comtesse Eldegarde Sauvignon Gris - mineral, a little green apple, muscat.  Acidity a little high.  Guess it's kinda similar to Sauvignon Blanc...

2008 Marc Morey Puligny-Montrachet - toasty, sweet, buttery.  Lots of acidity here.

2008 Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes - very ripe and sweet, mint, forest. alcoholic.  Nice body with soft and chewy tannins.

2010 La Colombe La Grive - very sharp nose, with mineral, flint, forest and sous bois.  Ripe and sweet both on the nose and the palate.

Full post on lunch is here.

Dinner at Mr. and Mrs. B's.

1999 Léoville-Las Cases - this was smoky, a little chalky, dirty, wet cardboard on top of some sweet fruit.  I can't help but think the bottle was a little corked.

October 28, 2011

1998 Rayas

Dinner at La Mere Brazier in Lyon.

1998 Rayas - a little muted at first with some red fruits.  Long finish.  Mint, forest and ripeness really came out after 45 minutes, and body developed further.  After an hour the nose was sweet and like strawberry jam.  Good tannins here, and this wine will last for a long time.  Black plum notes. Two hours later the wine was big, ripe and sweet.  Clearly not hitting its peak yet.

Full post on dinner is here.

October 27, 2011

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 5: drinking Châteauneuf

Lunch at Restaurant L'Oustalet in Gigondas.

2009 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu La Petite Côte - very ripe, sweet, honey, marmalade and straw.  Good acidity but I thought it was too ripe on the palate.

2009 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - beeswax notes.  Good balance between acidity and ripeness.  Sipping this wine after eating the deep-fried ravioles turned it into something that was really hot and ripe on the palate.

2009 Clos Saouma Châteauneuf-du-Pape - nose was a little sharp, minty, and very sweet.

2000 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins - black olives, black fruits, smoky, very salty and mineral.

1989 Beaucastel Rouge - rubber, leather, farmy and sharp.  Drank beautifully with some Reblochon, which turned the wine into a sweet, jammy nectar.

Dinner at Numéro 75 in Avignon.

2000 Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin - nose was pretty open, showy, with animal, leather, spices, mint and prunes. Later on there was lots of toast. So big and fragrant. Wow!

1995 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins - lovely nose with ripe fruit and mint.  Good acidity balance.

1998 Roger Sabon Le Secret des Sabon - nose was a little muted at first.  Very ripe and sweet on the palate.  Very alcoholic and burns the back of my throat going down.  Tannins still very big.  Obviously a Parker wine, which explains the very high scores given for this first vintage.  Three and a half hours later, nose was much more open, with ripe and a little cooked fruit, a little mineral and savory.  Really sharp and alcoholic now.

Drinks at La Mirande in Avignon.

1959 Palmer - lots of sweet grass, a little smoky, a little mineral, plenty of toast.  Sweet fruit.  Lovely.

Full post on lunch and dinner is here.

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 5: Henri Bonneau

For some of us who are lovers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, there is one name that stands out above all others: Henri Bonneau.  Wines from this legendary winemaker are highly sought after by wine lovers and collectors, and the boys of MNSC are certainly big fans.  We featured all 3 of his cuvées at our horizontal tasting of 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Pape last year.

He is also well-known to be somewhat reclusive, and appointments with the great man is hard to come by.  Therefore we were all the more fortunate and privileged to have been able to call on him today.  We are told that it is rare to find him descending into the cellars for tastings - as he suffers from arthritis and going up and down stairs is understandably painful and difficult - but he accompanied us today while son Marcel made sure that our glasses were never empty.

The one thing I had heard about - perhaps from reading Parker's book on Rhône or one of his newsletters - is that the conditions of the cellars are, shall we say, not exactly hospital grade.  Many people have often wondered in amazement at the profoundness of the wines that have come from such a cellar.  Therefore I was not in the least bit surprised to find truth in what I had heard.

The cellar conditions are the exact opposite of what we had just seen at Beaucastel.  The floor was wet so there's a little sludge going around after mixing with the dirt.  The air is dank and circulation seems non-existent.  Mold is everywhere, as are the cobwebs between the barrels and on the walls.  Henri doesn't believe in new oak, and his barrels certainly show it.  We are told that he takes second-hand barrels from friends that have been used for 4-5 years, which he will then use to age his vin de table...  After being used for the vin de table for a few more years, the same barrel is then used to age Cuvée Marie Beurrier.  Not sure how many more years it will take for the same barrel to graduate to Cuvée Célestins...

I don't know how old the fermentation tanks are, but it is possible that they were made just after WWII.  Having seen how each and single stainless steel, oak or cement tank at every single winery is religiously scrubbed clean, the five tanks in the room look like they've been neglected for the last few decades.

2010 Henri Bonneau Cuvée Marie Beurrier - sweet, jammy, a little stinky.  Good and chewy tannins, with acidity showing mid-palate.

2010 Henri Bonneau (Réserve des Célestins) -  the Grenache fruit from La Crau will go into Célestins.  Sweet and jammy, it's a lovely wine.  Tannins were bigger on the finish.

2009 Henri Bonneau "G" - my understanding is that "g" stands for "grand", and is the code for Marie Beurrier...  This was so rich and full of strawberry jam.  Amazing.  Light on the body but with long length.

2009 Henri Bonneau "P" - similarly, "p" stands for "petit" and represents Célestins.  Rich and sweet, this is a big wine with structure.

2008 Henri Bonneau "G" - bigger nose, smoky, animal and leather notes.

2008 Henri Bonneau "P" - loads of leather, game meat, smoke, stewed fruit.  Big tannins here.

2007 Henri Bonneau "G" - good acidity here.  Lovely nose with stewed prunes and lots of black fruits.  Alcohol was very obvious.

2007 Henri Bonneau "P" - very jammy, sweet and lovely on the palate.  Alcoholic with a long finish.

Henri Bonneau Les Rouliers - this vin de table is a blend of the 2005 and 2007 vintages.  Smoky, sweet fruit and animal notes.  Clearly a big step down from the other wines, but amazing quality for a VdT...

2006 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins - forest, dried herbs, a little smoke.  Tannins are there but not overpowering.  Good acidity balance.

2005 Henri Bonneau "G" - savory, mineral, black olive, ripe and stewed fruit.  Tannic on the finish.

2005 Henri Bonneau "P" - more black olive and mineral, which were masking fruity notes like prunes.

Almost all the wines we tasted today were still in barrels or tanks.  Henri does not have a set timetable for bottling and releasing his wines.  The famous saying - which he repeated when asked today - is that he'll bottle and sell some wine when he feels he needs money.  This will free up some barrels, which will enable him to move some wine from the tanks into barrel.

We are told that these days Henri rarely drinks wine as he suffers from diabetes, but he tasted the 2007s today and was happy with them.

This was truly a very special visit, being able to meet the great winemaker and (indirectly) converse with him.  Yes, we all have the potential to be groupies, and I don't have any problem admitting that I'm a big Henri Bonneau fan.

We knew our time was up when the smell of lunch came from the kitchen, and we bid our farewells to Madame, Henri and Marcel.  I caught a glimpse of one of their beautiful tabby cats curled up on a table by the door, and hope to have the opportunity to see it again someday.

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 5: Beaucastel

Visit to Château de Beaucastel in Courthézon.  Pierre Perrin is a friend of the gang, and we got a very warm welcome.

We were given a tour of the vast winery and cellar, including the new addition.  The cellars look like something one would see in Champagne... just vast, snaking corridors lined with endless bottles on either side.  The fermentation area is temperature controlled, with huge air-conditioning units to ensure proper air flow even between the fermentation tanks.  The entire place just looks brand spanking new, and squeaky clean.

We tasted through 3 separate cépages with the cellar master as they were checking the progress of the 2011s.  I believe each came from a separate parcel of land.

2011 Syrah - still a little pungent, minty with some fruit.  The wine isn't finished since malolactic hasn't taken place.  Tannins are soft and chewy.

2011 Grenache - soooo sweet like blueberry jam and Medjool dates.  Long length.

2011 Mourvèdre - more like forest pine, minty.  Soft tannins with good structure.

2010 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - very ripe with beeswax, honey, sweet but not over ripe.  Lively.  A little on the lean side.

1992 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes - what a treat to drink something like this!  Huge nose with honey, glycerin, marmalade, mineral, apricot.  An awesome wine.  Dry on the palate, and would be perfect with some foie gras...

2001 Beaucastel Hommage á Jacques Perrin - a little stinky, which is so typical of this wine.  Farmy, ripe and rich, mint, forest.  Nose was just so amazingly lovely and elegant.  Perfect acidity balance at 10 years old.

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 5: Clos Saouma

Visit to newly-established Clos Saouma, and I was surprised to find that Rotem had come down from Beaune along with husband Mounir Saouma. They are the proprietors behind Burgundy's Lucien Le Moine.  I also didn’t realize that they had bought land in this part of France, and had been making wine for the last couple of years.

Mounir’s philosophy here is to do as little as possible. He uses cold maceration for the grapes, and the wines are aged with ALL the lees in the barrel, with no racking whatsoever until the wines are actually bottled.

2011 Clos Saouma Omnia Rouge – planted on sandy soil. Minty and a little chalky.

2011 Clos Saouma (unnamed Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from Pignan) – bigger nose with more tannins. Sweet fruit and mineral.

2010 Clos Saouma Omnia Rouge - much bigger wine, with leather, toast, oak, exotic spices.  Nice acidity  balance and tannins.

2010 Clos Saouma (unnamed Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from Pignan) - toasty, lively and cold (not overripe) fruit.  Pretty high acidity and less tannins here.

2009 Clos Saouma (unnamed Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from Pignan) - once again, cold (not hot and ripe) fruit, sweet.  Acidity is there and the tannins are good.

2010 Clos Saouma (Omnia) Blanc - made with 70% Grenache Blanc.  Huge and heavy nose of toast, corn, like Chardonnay from Burgundy.  Sweet on the attack with a slightly acidic finish and very long length.

2011 Clos Saouma (Omnia) Blanc - flinty, sweeter nose, toasty and mineral.  Still going through alcoholic fermentation.

October 26, 2011

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 4: 1929 La Chapelle and more

Dinner at Restaurant La Beaugravière in Mondragon.

1990 Clos des Papes – ripe, a little stewed, smoky, savory minerals, black olive, and a little dusty on the nose. 93 points.

1990 Guigal La Mouline – sweet nose with coconut butter, animal, bacon fat, a little mineral and savory, a little smoky with grilled meats. What a beautiful wine! 98 points.

1929 Jaboulet La Chapelle – Wow! What a treat and privilege to be able to drink this! Savory, mineral, dusty, chalky at first. Gradually opened up to reveal a beautiful sweet and fruity nose. Amazing!

Full post on dinner is here.

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 4: Beaucastel VV + du Caillou Quartz

Lunch at La Mirande in Avignon.

2008 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes – really big and rich, with intense ripeness, glycerin, beeswax.  Really ripe and alcoholic on the palate.

2009 du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Quartz – good sweet fruit, intense, with forest and pine notes.

Full post on lunch is here.

MNSC Rhone Trip Day 4: de la Mordorée

Visit to Domaine de la Mordorée in Tavel, where we were received by Fabrice Delorme.

2010 la Mordorée Lirac Blanc La Reine des Bois – floral, fresh, tropical fruits like musk melon, pear and minerals.

(2011?) la Mordorée Lirac Blanc – really fruity, Anjou pear, flint, a little sharp but not from the alcohol.

2010 la Mordorée Tavel Rosé – ripe on the palate, a little alcoholic. Mineral notes. Pretty good.

2009 la Mordorée Lirac Rouge – forest, potpourri, some fruit, mint. Some chewy tannins.

2009 la Mordorée Lirac Rouge La Reine des Bois – a bigger wine, with some fruit and still a lot of tannins.

2009 la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge La Reine des Bois – lots of mint, forest, very sweet mid-palate but loads of tannins.

2010 la Mordorée Lirac Rouge La Reine des Bois, trial blend – leaner with forest notes.

2010 la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge La Reine des Bois – minty, forest. Nice. Sweet on the palate, with very big tannins.
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