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, 2011

Remirez de Ganuza dinner

Dinner at Steak House Winebar + Grill, with the wines of Remirez de Ganuza.  Fernando himself was in town with his team.

2009 Remirez de Ganuza Erre Punto Blanco - Fernando says that this is a much better wine than the 2005 vintage which I had purchased back in 2006, as he has gained a few more years' of experience making white wine.  A very lovely wine to drink on a warm day, with prominent notes of white flowers, honey and some white pepper.  Definitely a wine to drink young as the floral notes start to disappear once it has put on some age.

2004 Remirez de Ganuza Reserva - forest and herbs, smoke, sweet fruit and vanilla.  Finally opened up nicely after 2½ to 3 hours.

2001 Remirez de Ganuza Reserva - still very big and tannic.  Nose wasn't very open at first, with a light amount of smoke and kinda sweet.

2001 Remirez de Ganuza Transnocho - a much more concentrated wine thanks to the cake being pressed to extract more juice after the initial free-run press.  Interestingly, the skins of the Viura and Malvasia grapes used to produce the white wine are also used.  Minty, herbs, alcoholic, exotic spices and a little plastic.  I could definitely feel the oak.  Big and concentrated.

2006 Remirez de Ganuza Transnocho - loads of sweet fruit, vanilla, herbs, big and huge with lots of coconut butter.  Stylistically very different from the other wines - much more forward and delivering fruit flavors upfront.  The only red of the evening whose nose was open throughout.

1994 Remirez de Ganuza Gran Reserva in magnum - minty, lots of grass, a little alcoholic, concentrated fruit, a hint of smoke, salty with soy sauce.  This took a little time but opened up nicely at the end of the evening.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 29, 2011

1985 pink bubbly and 1995 Cali Cab

Dinner at the Ho residence.

1985 Veuve Clicquot Rare Vintage Rosé - as the label as "Rare Vintage" I'm assuming that this wasn't actually released onto the market years ago, but was disgorged only recently.  Nose was nice and slightly mineral, fruity with salty plum, caramelized sugar and honey.  The nose was still somewhat fresh which supported my guess that this was an "RD".

1995 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - I had just had the 1997 vintage last night, and was curious to compare the two vintages.  Decanted for about 3 hours before we got to drinking it.  Nose was very grassy, pretty sweet, still pretty alcoholic, smoky, minty with strong notes of herbs.  Still a pretty full-bodied wine with good concentration.  This wine could easily last another 15-20 years.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 28, 2011

2003 Chard and then some

Dinner at Aroma Cuisine. 

Jacques Selosse Contraste (disgorged Oct 27 2009) - a wine that's no longer made.  A combination of the 2002 and 2003 vintages, made with only Pinot Noir from Ay and Ambonnay.  Color was kinda dark.  Nose was classic Selosse... very oxidized and lovely, a little salty with minerals, yeasty, a little toasty.  Notes of honey became more prominent with time. 

2003 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - the last time I opened up a bottle of this wine was with this group two years ago.  Knowing that this is a big wine, I decanted it about 90 minutes before dinner.  Turns out it was the right decision.  The wine had opened up well by the time we poured it into our glasses, with a huge toasty nose, lots of smoke, a little popcorn, loads and loads of vanilla, lemon, apricot, and very sweet like marshmallow and nougat.  Pretty ripe and sweet on the palate.  A monster of a wine that could use a few more years of aging to mellow out a little.  Not for anyone who's looking for subtlety...

2003 d'Auvenay Meursault Les Narvaux - a pure coincidence that we matched up two Chards from the same vintage...  This was completely different in style.  With my first whiff of the nose I thought I was smelling a briney oyster from Brittany...  Definitely salty and mineral, with toasty corn and prominent notes of grass and straw.  Kinda ripe and hot on the palate, too.  I could feel the alcohol (13.5%)...  What a treat to taste this together with the Judge!

1997 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - sweet, minty, very lovely nose with a hint of grass, potpourri, lots of fruit and grilled meat.  Definitely can still feel the concentration even after all these years.  What a great wine!  Caymus SS is pretty under-rated these days.

1990 Vega Sicilia Unico - still young after 20 years... Lovely and elegant, with grass, gamey, smoky, minty and exotic spices.  Very enjoyable now, but I wonder when it will really develop and reach its peak.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 23, 2011

Chave Hermitage and Cuvée Madame

Dinner at Otto e Mezzo.

1979 Chave Hermitage Rouge - lots of leather, smoke, a little floral, very ripe and plummy.  Acidity was a little high, but the wine was still fairly enjoyable.

1995 Tirecul La Gravière Cuvée Madame - lovely orange zest, a little acetone, pretty sweet on the palate without being overboard.  A pleasure to drink such a rare wine.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 21, 2011

The wines of Lucien Le Moine

Dinner at Mirror showcasing the wines of Lucien Le Moine.  Mounir Saouma was in town for the dinner.

2006 Lucien Le Moine Bourgogne Blanc - very buttery, a little toasty, some corn, flint, a hint of plastic, a little smoke, and sweet grass.  Caramelized sugar on the nose at the end.  Decent balance for an obviously ripe vintage, with noticeable acidity.  A very pleasant drinking wine and surprisingly good for this level.

2006 Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières - very heavy toast on the nose, almost pungent at first like a smelly armpit... lots of minerals.  After a while the sweetness emerged, but subsequently the wine closed down and didn't give much at the very end.  Ripeness was apparent on the palate.  Actually worked well with the eggplant sauce to neutralize the slightly bitter flavor profile.

2006 Lucien Le Moine Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets - lots of toasty corn in the big and powerful nose, with mineral notes.  A bit sweeter on the palate than the Puligny.  

2007 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes - nose was still avery closed, with mint, potpourri, a little smoke and some fruit.  A little sharp in terms of alcohol.  Good concentration here, with obvious tannins well-balanced by the acidity.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Chambertin Clos de Beze - mint, iron, blood, red fruits, a little smoke, a little of that animal smell along with minerals.  Smoother on the palate, and not bad after a while.  To be honest this wine just wasn't very accessible tonight, given the shortened aeration period.

2007 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes Mares - nose was more open than the Clos de Beze, and much more of the leather and meaty notes, along with forest, herbs, chocolate, toast and definitely some corn.  A big and massive wine.  Like the Clos de Beze, this wasn't very accesible and would benefit from more aging and/or more aeration before drinking.

2006 Lucien Le Moine Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Clos des Ormes - lovely and open nose, with floral, violet notes along with leather, smoke, toast and sweet fruit... a little jammy like  strawberry.  This was much more accessible and my favorite red during dinner.

2008 Lucien Le Moine Clos Saint Denis - Wow!  I had a pour of this wine from a bottle that had been opened and decanted some 12 hours earlier, and it just blew me away.  Sooo silky and smooth... and the nose was amazingly floral, full of violets.  In my slightly tipsy state, I kept wondering if I were drinking a Viognier-laced Côte-Rôtie... I wish there were more of this nectar in the bottle, but alas my glass contained the very last drops...

Full post on dinner is here.

April 20, 2011

Tohoku sake

Dinner at Sushi Fuku-Suke.

Hiroki Junmai Ginjo (飛露喜 純米吟醸 生詰) - this sake made by Hiroki Brewery (広木酒造) in Fukushima Prefecture (福島県) was brought by my friend to toast the "Fukushima 50".  A hint of banana with a dry and spicy mid-palate.

Juyondai Junmai Daiginjo Shichitare Nijikkan (十四代 純米大吟醸 七垂二十貫) - made by Takagi Brewery (高木酒造) in Yamagata Prefecture (山形県), Juyondai is one of the top sake brands of Japan.  The bottle I brought was noticeably smoother, and also much sweeter on the palate, with a slightly dry and long, spicy finish.  More full-bodied.

2009 Hakurakusei Zankyo "Super 9" (伯楽星 残響 "Super 9") - made by Shinzawa Brewery (新澤醸造店) in Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県), this sake with a limited production of just 100 bottles is somewhat of a freak.  We've seen many premium sake producers mill the rice grains down to below the statutory requirement of 50% for a daiginjo (大吟醸), and 35% is a pretty common level for some of the very top sake.  This particular sake, however, takes the cake when it comes to overkill on seimaibuai (精米歩合).

It takes 250 hours to polish the rice grains down to just 9% of the original size, resulting in these tiny, round pellets.  Even the rice is special - not your usual Yamada Nishiki (山田錦) but 蔵の華 which has been specially grown in Miyagi for the brewery.

I must admit that I was more than a little tipsy by the time I got to this bottle... but it was even more complex than the Juyondai, very sweet and with a very long finish.  A privilege indeed to have picked up this bottle in Tokyo last year and to be able to drink it.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 18, 2011

French and Italian mix

Dinner at Sup 1.

Egly-Ouriet "Les Vignes de Vrigny" 1er Cru (disgorged Nov 2009) - made from Pinot Meunier and aged on lees for 40 months.  Nose was yeasty, a little oxidized and salty with minerals.  Quite well-balanced on the palate and not really acidic.

2001 Lucien Le Moine Echezeaux - a bit grassy and the first pour was a little too warm.  Second pour after chilling revealed a little smoke, iron, minerals and sweet fruit.  Not bad at all.

1997 Argiano Solengo - sweet fruit and mint in the nose.  Lovely wine, but still amazingly tannic for something that's almost 14 years old... even more than 4 hours after I double-decanted the bottle.  Needs more aging.

1998 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Rocche dell'Annunziata - opened almost 2 hours before dinner started.  Huge, concentrated nose with mint, forest, sweet fruit and lost of alcohol (14.5%).  Sooo much tannin here I was looking for something to scrape them off my tongue...  Last time I was in this situation was during Bordeaux en primeur tasting in 2009.  Keep this in your cellar for another 10 years.

1996 Denis Mortet Clos de Vougeot - sweet fruit with lots of toast and pop corn.  Acidity a little on the high side.  Pretty nice.

1990 Beringer Nightingale - the color was dark caramel, with a very sweet nose of honey, medjool dates, prunes, raisins and acetone.  Very, very sweet on the palate.  Very happy I brought this bottle along.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 17, 2011

2007 Keller Riesling R

2007 Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Spätlese ~R~ - drank over dinner at Susan's.  Very typical German Riesling, with reasonable sweetness on the palate, some minerals, petrol and floral/lychee notes.

April 16, 2011

From Cos d'Estournel

Wines served at the ASC auction at Aberdeen Marina Club.

2009 Goulée Blanc - nose of pipi de chat and toasty oak.

2005 Goulée Rouge - huge, sweet nose of strawberries, vanilla, mint and a hint of smoke.

2010 Cos d'Estournel - Jean-Guillaume was kind enough to ship over bottles of barrel samples from apparently yet another "vintage of the millennium".  After the waiter poured the wine into my glass, I could smell it from half a meter away!  A huge nose, with loads of mint, very alcoholic, very sweet, notes of forest, smoke, vanilla and cedar.  Obviously not fully integrated but reasonably accessible for what it is.

2004 Les Pagodes de Cos - smoky, ripe, woody and meaty.

2004 Cos d'Estournel - sweet fruit, smoke, with some sweetness on the palate.  Very classic.

2005 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon - smoky, big, concentrated and tannic.  Not very interesting.

Full post on auction is here.

April 14, 2011

MNSC Dinner - Yung's Club

MNSC annual dinner at Yung's Club.  Theme was 1991 Burgundy horizontal.

1990 Louis Roederer Cristal - the Champagne almost stole for show... it was THAT good.  Lovely nose of salty plum (話梅), very yeasty, sweet like sugar cane, fleshy and plump on the nose with salty minerals.  Yes, the nose was oxidized and I loved it.  Still some crisp acidity on the palate.  One of my last remaining bottles which I bought from Tokyo more than 10 years ago, this was definitely an amazing wine.  96 points.

First flight:
1991 Armand Rousseau Chambertin - Wow!  Sweet, grassy, a little smoky, with some animal notes and some herbs, and a hint of roasted corn.  Very light, well-balanced and the epitome of elegance.  This is a classic example of why some of us love Burgundies so much... Everything was just so nicely balanced and silky smooth.  With all the sediment in my glass, a huge nose of toast came out.  I bought this in Taipei over 10 years ago, together with the Chambertin Clos de Beze that I drank almost immediately.  97 points.

1991 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche - the color was darker compared to the Chambertin.  The nose was very sweet, a bit more meaty, minty with black fruits.  93 points.

Second flight:
1991 Leroy Musigny - pretty sweet with a hint of smoke.  Still a bit alcoholic but in general the nose was pretty tight.  I think we just needed to let it breathe more... 92 points.

1991 Emmuanuel Rouget Echezeaux - smoky and a little tight at first.  Opened up and was very lovely, sweet and opulent.  There's that little sharpness of alcohol again... 95 points.

Third flight:
1991 DRC La Tâche - very high expectations, naturally, which were not fully met...  Initially the nose was reasonably open, with a little leather and quite animalistic.  The wine was clearly very concentrated and powerful, with noticeable alcohol.  But I think the wine would have benefitted from additional aeration to open up fully.  Pity.  93 points.

1991 DRC Romanée-Saint-Vivant - leather, farmy, a hint of smoke, some sweet fruit.  Lovely but kind of light.  92 points.

1991 DRC Richebourg - nose was very open and beautiful.  A bit salty, with minerals, sous bois, a little toast, leather and animal.  The body was lighter than La Tâche but the nose was much lovelier.  I couldn't remember where I bought this... but most likely in Singapore years ago.  95 points.

Full post on dinner is here.

April 10, 2011

A Chocolate Block

Lunch at Froggie's.

2006 Domaine A Pinot Noir - nose of grilled meats, mint and kinda alcoholic.  Sweet on the palate, and worked well with the cheese and jamon.

2009 Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block - I've never had this wine and was kinda blown away by it.  An eclectic mix of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier.  The nose reminds me of Côte-Rôtie thanks to the Syrah plus Viognier.  Smoky, grilled meats, alcoholic, floral, sweet and yes, chocolate!  Very nice!

Full post on lunch is here.

April 9, 2011

French, Scotch and Italian

Drinks at Angel's Share.

2000 de Fonbel - mint, a bit of smoke, and in general fairly classic Bordeaux that was drinking reasonably well.

2001 Loch Lomond Craiglodge - a little peaty and medicinal on the nose, but sweet on the palate.  I think this was only aged 4 years.

Adjourned to Angelini's for a late-night drink.

2005 Argiolas Turriga - very concentrated, minty, really sweet on the nose with coffee, coconut and pine needle.

April 8, 2011

Bodega Chacra tasting

2008 Chacra Maniqué - nose of black fruits, very sweet on the nose, plenty of vanilla and coconut, mint.  Rich and concentrated.  Pretty alcoholic and burns as it goes down, but surprisingly was only 13.5%.  Not a fan of this Merlot.

2009 Chacra Barda - a blend of the two older vineyards plus very young vines.  For some reason this was poured into my glass without rinsing away the Merlot, so there was some "contamination" for the first pour.  Some wood notes, medium-bodied.  OK but not very interesting.  Second pour was better, with a little grilled meats, a hint of sweetness and perhaps even a little floral.  Not a fan of this either.

2009 Chacra Cincuenta y Cinco - from old Pinot Noir vines planted in 1955.  Wow!  Now that's what I want from Pinot Noir!  This was sooo far above the Barda in terms of class...  The cork was pulled more than 5 hours before I got to drink this, and the result was absolutely stunning.  A very lovely, silky, velvety wine... Very fragrant, sweet like bubblegum, minty with a little forest.  Sooo soft and luscious it was like a fluffy pillow with a satin pillowcase that I just wanted to hug and fall asleep with...  I had to have a second pour as I couldn't get enough.

2007 Chacra Treinta y Dos - from old Pinot Noir vines planted in 1923 (!)  This was opened at the same time as the Cincuenta y Cinco, but decanted instead of being left in the bottle.  Much more closed compared to the last wine despite being in the decanter, with gamey notes and exotic spices, sweet fruit.  Lovely but really needs time to soften.
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