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, 2011

Château Palmer tasting

Tasting of Château Palmer's wines at Hong Kong Wine Vault.  Bernard de Laage de Meux, the Marketing Director, was here to meet and greet.

2006 Alter Ego - sweet and ripe, smoky, oaky.  Sweet on the palate but turned a little dry on the finish.

2005 Alter Ego - nose was more open, with cedar, mint and sweet fruit.  Lovely and ripe on the palate.

2005 Palmer - nose was very lovely and open, with more cedar, dried herbs and not so ripe and sweet.  Smoky.  Very well-balanced on the palate.  A much more classic Bordeaux that is completely different in style to Alter Ego.

2000 Palmer - classic nose with smoke, dried leaves, grilled leaves and cedar.  Not too sweet on the palate.

1998 Palmer - nose was smoky, open and beautiful, with coffee notes.  Very smooth.  Drinking beautifully and a complete surprise.

1995 Palmer - smoky and minty.  Sweet on the palate with some tannins still detectable.

Historical XIXth Century Wine - this is another batch of Palmer's "experimental" wine, which adds Syrah from Northern Rhône into the blend... just like the way they used to back in the old days.  The designation of "L.20.07" means it was produced in 2007, making it the third release after 2004 and 2006.  Nose was very big, rich, ripe and jammy.  Minty, alcoholic and a little sharp with pine needle.  Pretty new world in style.

May 30, 2011

1990 Haut-Brion Blanc and then some

Sipping wine at Tastings.

2008 Pierre Bise Lune d'Anjou - a 4,000-bottle limited cuvée made for Caudalie Wines of Hong Kong.  Nose was very tropical, fruity and sweet, like peaches and apricot... also floral.  Surprisingly it is dry on the palate, despite the nose fooling one into thinking that it's a sweet wine.

2009 Bava Gavi Cor de Chasse - really sweet nose, with banana, bubble gum and a little flint.

2004 The Foundry Syrah - nose was savory and a little pruny.

2006 Teliani Valley Mukuzani - I was so surprised to see this bottle, and immediately got myself a pour.  I had a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon from this winery while in Almaty back in 2008, and thought it was pretty decent.  This particular wine is made from 100% Saperavi, native to Georgia.  Nose of Asian spices, oak, vanilla and a little smoked meats.  Sweet and ripe on the palate. 

2000 Musar Red - medicinal nose with spices.

Dinner at Gold.

1990 Haut-Brion Blanc - I gave the Specialist carte blanche and told her she could pick any bottle of white from my stash in the office.  Didn't take a genius to guess which bottle she was going to pick...  Nose was very sweet, like cotton candy, ripe orange rind and flint.  Later on notes of plastic and honey emerged, and the Specialist insisted that it was white flowers (and not just any floral notes) that came out as the wine opened up.  It took at least 2 hours in the decanter for this to really open up.  In the end it wasn't as big and explosive as the Specialist had hoped for, but I thought it was a very lovely and elegant wine... perfect to go with food.

2006 Paolo Scavino Barbera d'Alba - grass, forest, sweet, minty, ripe and a little jammy.  Later on a little green pepper and slightly vegetal.  A pretty easy-drinking wine.  Bought this off the restaurant's list so we could get the corkage waived.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 28, 2011

Drinking at Acker XV

2006 Quinault L'Enclos - ripe and sweet with mint and forest pine.  Sharp and alcoholic on the nose.  Tannic on the palate with a hot and spicy finish.

2005 Virginie de Valandraud en magnum - cedar, dried herbs, sweet, tobacco and cigar, coffee, and a little toasty on the nose.  Still pretty tannic.  A lovely wine.

1995 Mouton-Rothschild en magnum - smoky with dried herbs.  Very classic.

1964 Petrus - first whiff was really fishy and pungent, like fish that has been left out in the sun for a day without ice.  This cleared up quickly to reveal nose of soy sauce, smoke and dried herbs.  The nose itself was slightly acidic, somewhat like ponzu (ポン酢).  Slightly sweet aftertaste (囘甘), like the sensation from drinking some strong and bitter teas.

1966 Petrus - much better than the '64.  Smoky, dried herbs and coffee grounds on the nose.  The same sweet Chinese licorice (甘草) aftertaste like the '64, too.

2000 Figeac - smoke, cedar, coffee and potpourri.  Sweet on the palate. A very nice wine.  Nose of green peppers showed up later.

1988 Armand Rousseau Chambertin - nose was lovely and floral, with raspeberries and a hint of leather.  Very soft and light.  Second pour was more animal, with sour plum notes.  A lovely wine to drink now.

2000 Valandraud - smoky with black fruits and coffee.  Actually very similar in style to the L'Interdit de Clos Badon I've had... more classic and less garagiste than I expected.

2001 Clos des Papes - initially the nose showed very strong nose of kelp like Japanese wakame (わかめ), and interestingly we got the same nose from 2 different bottles.  It was definitely something from the sea...almost like squid ink.  Smoky, salty with sharp alcohol. There was also a hint of lychees buried deep down which took time to emerge as the nose got better.

Krug Grande Cuvée - yeasty with rubber, lemon and minerals.  The annoying rubber notes disappeared with a new pour from a second bottle.

1984 Petrus - smoky, minty, a little bit of straw and sweetness.  This comes from a famously poor and disastrous vintage in Bordeaux, and since we had zero expectations for this wine it actually outperformed...

May 27, 2011

1995 La Tâche and 2000 Les Forts

Drinking at the Christie's Latour auction.

2000 Les Forts de Latour en magnum - served at the auction.  Lots of dried herbs, cedar, smoke, nutmeg and chocolate.  A lovely wine, but not for the prices buyers paid at the auction...

1995 DRC La Tâche - opened at the Grand Cafe.  Initially the nose was very muted with notes of dried herbs, and we had only one pour during dinner.  The second pour was at the auction 4 hours later.  Opened up nicely with lovely nose of dried fruits, prunes, dried herbs and potpourri.  A little acidic on the palate.  We decided not to finish the wine in the auction room but brought it back to my friend's place.  Turned out to be a mistake, as either the decanter or the glasses - or both - had that wooden cabinet smell which got to the wine.  5½ hours after opening, the wine smelled tired, old and dusty - like we were drinking cloudy sediment from a very old bottle.  A shame.

Full post on the auction is here.

Drinking with James Suckling

Lunch at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) with James Suckling.

1970 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spälese - this bottle came from a lot that I bid on behalf of my friend at Acker earlier in the year, after securing a case for myself.  Classic nose of minerals and petrol, along with clean, sharp lemon rind.  On the palate it was clearly off-dry, but with only a little bit of detectable sweetness.  I had fairly low expectation for this wine, having little experience with the ageability of spälese, so I was pleasantly surprised.  I'm looking forward to opening more bottles of this!

1995 Leroy Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes - minty, fruity, plummy with dried fruits and dried herbs.  Very smooth on the palate.  Very elegant and not the powerful, big wines that we sometimes get from Madame Leroy.  Went very well with the soya chicken.

Full post on lunch is here.

May 26, 2011

Acker pre-auction tasting

1985 Haut-Brion - smoky, mint and fruit.

1996 Pichon-Lalande - lots of smoke with minerals.

1996 Palmer - minty and mineral notes.  A softer wine compared to the Pichon, and dry on the palate with plenty of tannins left.

2003 Cheval Blanc - a bit more green on the nose than the others, smoky.

Peter Sisseck - the man behind famed Spanish winery Dominio de Pingus - was here to share his wines with us.  I have long been a fan of his wines, ever since I drank a bottle of 1996 Pingus at Postrio in 2001...  It's great to finally meet the guy, but I couldn't help thinking that he looked like a blonde Austin Powers with good teeth... Must have been the hairstyle and the glasses!

2008 Flor de Pingus - big nose with smoky, dried fruits, a bit of herbs, tropical coconut and vanilla notes.  Very sweet on the palate.  Peter said this was more a "cool climate" vintage, and I could kinda see that.

2008 Pingus - tons of sweet fruit, caramel, smoke, vanilla and mint.  A richer wine and definitely in another league compared to Flor de Pingus.

2009 Flor de Pingus - loads of potpourri, forest, herbs... a huge, sweet nose.  Very tannic.  The 2009s are still barrel samples that will be bottled in the near future.

2009 Pingus - sweet and ripe, with dates, dried fruits and caramel notes.  Lovely.  Supposed to be a bigger vintage than 2008 but I think the 2008 is drinking better tonight.

Comte Louis-Michel Liger-Belair was here and we tasted a few wines from the 2008 vintage of Liger-Belair.

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château - lovely nose of leather, animal, fresh and dried fruits.  Beautiful and lively.

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Reignots - lots of toasty, roasted corn, oaky and smoky.

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots - riper and sweeter, a little toasty.

2008 Liger-Belair Echezeaux - very smooth and lovely, with lots of fruit.  Obviously better than the 1er Crus...

Jean-Luc Thunevin was also here, and I actually had missed a dinner featuring his wines on Monday.  I was totally the groupie, telling him that one of my best buys ever was the L'Interdit de Clos Badon.  Jean-Luc thinks - quite rightly - that it is actually better than the classified wine and would last longer.

2009 Valandraud - huge nose, very ripe, smoky and very rich. 

2010 Valandraud - minty, a little greener compared to the 2009, with mineral notes.

1999 Soldera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva - rubber, alcoholic, a little fruit, acidic on the nose like lemon juice...smells like rubbing alcohol.  Totally not pleasant at all.

1996 Masseto - smoky, ripe, sweet fruit, tangerine, oak and vanilla.  Very nice.

2000 Léoville-Barton - smoky, minty, a classic claret, a bit fruity but crappy on the palate.

1999 Cheval Blanc - smoky, oaky with brett.

May 24, 2011

Kongsgaard The Judge and Opus One

Dinner at Brasserie on the Eighth.

2004 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - this is the reason for meeting up... to drink one of California's most expensive Chardonnays with a very small production production.  Once again I decanted the wine in the office, but as dinner was moved up a little, the wine had only spent about 45 minutes in the decanter itself before being poured back into the bottle.  When we finally poured it into glass and started drinking some 1½ hours after I pulled the cork, my friends liked the nose but I found it to be still very tight.  I kept complaining that the wine hadn't opened up but my friends thought the nose was showing pretty well...  Two hours into dinner, the nose finally blossomed and revealed its beauty, and my friends finally understood why I had been unhappy for the last two hours!  Sweet, very ripe, smooth and buttery, with toasty oak, lemon, straw and honey.  Alcoholic on the finish.  Still going very strong more than 4 hours after opening.  Not as good as the 2003 that blew me away last month, but still an incredibly good wine.  Next time I'll decant it for at least 2 hours...and yes, this is a white wine we're talking about!

1991 Opus One - I remember drinking this a few years ago, and it trumped a bunch of Bordeaux in a blind tasting.  One of us even thought it was a Petrus... Tonight the nose was all French, with didn't surprise me at all.  Lots of brett, smoke, mint hiding the fruit underneath, along with lead pencil, salty minerals which was almost like soy sauce.  Very open and lovely, but I would have guessed it to be Bordeaux in a blind tasting.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 21, 2011

2005 Pur Sang

2005 Didier Dagueneau Pur Sang - drank over dinner at Wagyu Kaiseki Den.  Very typical of this wine as well as the varietal. Minerals and flint, green apple, muscat, pipi de chat. Crisp acidity.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 20, 2011

1900 to 1990

Dinner at 8½ Otto e Mezzo.

1990 Marc Colin Montrachet - sweet, buttery, toasty oak, flint, a little nutty, fragrant and lovely nose.  Very well-balanced on the palate, which is what makes this such a great wine.  The palate might taste lighter or flatter compared to the Chevalier-Montrachet, but its smoothness makes it a better food wine... although I'd suggest not drinking it with tuna or bottarga...

1988 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet - sweeter and riper on the nose, but this was a little tight at first.  Nose of toasty oak, a little straw and slightly sharp.  Fairly well-balanced on the palate but a teeny bit more acidic compared to the Montrachet.  Another lovely wine.

1975 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Rosé - loads of salty plum (話梅) which is something I love from old Champagne, especially rosés.  In fact, I think this smells like the result of dipping salty plum into Chinese Huadiao (花雕) wine , and my friends agreed with me.  Plenty of salty minerals, too.  Very nice.

1980 DRC La Tâche - lovely floral nose, roses, sweet fruit, a bit of leather, orange, a hint of herbal medicine.  A voluptuous and opulent wine.  Well, it IS La Tâche, after all!

1980 Ponsot Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vielles Vignes - initially pretty closed.  A bit oxidized and plummy, with smoked meats.  Smooth on the palate but more concentrated than the La Tâche.  Opened up later and softened, showing lovely raspberry notes.

1990 Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin - well, I remember telling George that his wine "smells like shit"... but if there ever were a wine that perennially smells of manure, Hommage would be it.  In addition to that lovely fragrance, which can be described somewhat diplomatically as "barnyard", the nose was also a little medicinal with brett.  Pretty sharp and alcoholic.  There was plenty of sweet fruit underneath the cloak of barnyard, with herbs, pine needle and tobacco emerging gradually.

1900 D'Oliveiras Moscatel - I volunteered to bring something from the "dessert" category, and I thought I'd pull this one out of the cellar.  It's not often that I get to open an old Madeira, as you need people who would really appreciate it, and I thought it'd be a treat to open something from the start of the last century.  As it was being decanted before dinner, the fragrance of prunes and nuts traveled the distance to reach me and I reveled in it.  Some 3 hours later, I was hit by an initial dose of sharp alcohol - as expected - followed by notes of ripe rock melon, pine needle, potpourri, raisins, prunes, Medjool dates and nuts.  I think the rest of the crew found it interesting...

Full post on dinner is here.

May 19, 2011

Bunch of Grand Cru Burgs

Drinking at Wine Vault with old and new friends.

1990 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques - lovely nose with plenty of fruit and herbs.

1993 Leroy Clos de Vougeot - a little faded, a little pruny, pretty dusty with a little bit of leather.  Acidity is slightly higher on the palate.

1989 Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze - lots of toasted corn, plenty of sweetness from the fruit.  Beautiful wine.  Definitely a class above the others.

2002 J.M. Boillot Bâtard-Montrachet - lots of toast, but a little dusty.

1996 Jamet Côte-Rôtie - loads of violet, very open and beautiful, and smells like freshly steamed corn on the cob.  What a lovely wine!

1996 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Turkheim Clos Jebsal - lots of apricot, honey, peach and nutty notes.  Very ripe and sweet on the palate.

1993 d'Auvenay Bonnes-Mares - lots of fruit, a little bit raw and a little sharp.

2001 Anne Gros Richebourg - the Specialist joined us and contributed this bottle.  Very sweet and concentrated, with mint, forest and animal notes.  Quite lovely at the end once it opened up.

1992 Leroy Richebourg - a bit smoky, a little floral and plummy.

1993 Méo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot - very heavy toast, smoky with animal and leather notes.

1971 Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Mont - honey, floral, pollen, a hint of grass, marmalade notes.  Medium sweetness with obvious acidity on the palate.

May 18, 2011

Peter Michael tasting

Tasting of wines from Peter Michael, organized by Altaya.  Tom Eakin - General Manager - and Peter Kay - Director of Sales and Marketing - were on hand.

2009 Peter Michael L'Après-Midi - a Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend that was very refreshing, with mineral and floral notes.  A little high in alcohol, it weighs in at a hefty 15%.

2008 Peter Michael Ma Belle-Fille - from Chardonnay planted up to almost 2,000 ft up and facing South.  Nose was buttery, sweet, mineral... very ripe and hot with lots of alcohol.  Another 15%-er...

2008 Peter Michael Belle Côte - from Chardonnay at a slightly lower elevation compared to Ma Belle-Fille, facing South-East.  Very ripe, sweet and big.  Nose was a little more closed, but on the palate the wine was just a lot more showy and opulent.  15%...hic.

2006 Peter Michael L'Esprit des Pavots - a nice little Bordeaux blend.  Nose was still kinda tight, but it was obviously ripe and minty.  Very concentrated on the palate.

2007 Peter Michael Les Pavots - the flagship wine from a stellar vintage.  Unfortunately I thought this was pretty tight, too... even more than the L'Esprit.

May 17, 2011

1969 Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet

1969 Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche - drank over dinner at Paris 1930 in Taipei.  Decanted about half an hour before dinner, this wine kept improving until hitting a plateau about 2 hours later.  A big nose with lots of toast, sweet like shredded coconut, straw, Chinese licorice, lots of ripeness, tobacco, buttery, sweet corn, nutty with a hint of coffee.  Slightly acidic on the palate.  Very, very good.  Extremely happy with this wine, and certainly a privilege to drink it! 

Full post on dinner is here.

May 16, 2011

Two Albariños

Dinner at DN innovacíon, Taipei.

2006 Santiago Ruiz - this bottle was opened the evening before, and we were poured a little of the leftovers.  Nose of minerals, flint and toasty oak.  Not bad, but the slight oxidation is evident.  The interesting label comes from a drawing made by Isabel, the daughter of Santiago Ruiz, who wanted to give her guests instructions to get to her wedding at their house.

2008 Pazo Barrantes Albariño - nose of lemon, flint, toast, sweet and ripe, pear, a little floral, peach, sweet like caramelized sugar, and almost a little bit of petrol.  Slightly acidic but pretty smooth on the palate.  Lovely to drink on a summer day.

Full post on dinner is here.

May 12, 2011

Louis Roederer dinner

Dinner at Golden Leaf.  Michel Janneau, Executive Vice President of Champagne Louis Roederer, presided over dinner.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier - the first whiff was very yeasty, to the point I thought I was drinking bread!  Mineral, flint, toasty oak and a little sweet on the nose.  Turned very acidic together with the vegetable roll in my mouth.

2004 Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs - very acidic on the nose, with minerals and toast.  Surprisingly not that acidic on the palate, and very drinkable.  Made from the "leftover" Chardonnay after deciding the blend for Cristal...

2004 Louis Roederer Cristal - Michel talked a little about the history behind this famed cuvée, and elaborated on the origin of the shape and appearance of the bottle.  It's always been one of my favorite Champagnes, and the bottle of 1990 I drank last month blew me away.  The current vintage showed toast, minerals, was a little sweet and caramelized.  Actually this was very well-balanced on the palate, and I was pretty surprised to find that in a wine this young.  This was the wine of the evening for the Specialist.

1997 Louis Roederer Cristal - this may not be the best vintage around, but I have a soft spot for older Champagnes...  The age difference is obvious and I just loved that caramelized nose, with prominent notes of sugar cane, straw and a bit of citrus.

2000 Pichon Lalande - purchased in 2006 by Champagne Louis Roederer from the iconic Madame de Lencquesaing.  The Specialist and I were very surprised to see Sylvie Cazes manning the Pichon table at the UGC 2008 tasting a couple of months ago, and even more surprised to see her handing out her new business card.  I was curious enough to ask Michel regarding how they came about recruiting her, and Michel very kindly shed some light on the backdrop.  Very interesting indeed.  The nose was very alcoholic, with lots of oak, a little sweet, coconut and smoke.  Very hot and spicy on the palate.  Actually I was a little disappointed as I found the palate a little flat afterwards.  After spending more time in the glass, the wine died horribly and tasted like bleach.

2009 Domaine Ott Rosé Cœur de Grain Château de Selle - I have always liked the wines from Domaine Ott, and this was an easy-drinking wine.  Loads of floral notes, with white flowers, a hint of toast, a little white pepper.  Slightly bitter finish.  Michel, ever the ladies' man, charmed the Specialist by quoting her remarks ("I feel like I walked into a garden") in front of the entire room.

2006 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé - nice, lovely mousse with lots of red fruits.

1982 Ramos-Pinto Port - very nutty, a little sharp, a bit herbal, sweet, exotic Asian spices, a little mineral and savory on the nose.

Full post on dinner is here.
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