The Diary - April 2008
- Marlborough Riesling 2006 (Kim Crawford)
Dry, decent fruit, slightly green in an attractive way. Top
- Riesling Central Otago Target Gully 2006 (Mount Difficulty)
Keroseney, really quite sweet and without great acidity. A bit cloying.
- Macon-Grevilly Genievrieres 2002 (Domaine Guillot-Broux)
Quite high-toned and with good acidity. Nice Chardonnay fruit and decent length.
- Macon-Cruzille Perrieres 2002 (Domaine Guillot-Broux)
A touch more tropical fruit and pears. A strong effort. Bare
- Macon-Grevilly Genievrieres 2001 (Domaine Guillot-Broux)
A broad yet slightly short palate. Rather oaky and a touch odd, yet decently drinkable.
- Macon-Cruzille Perrieres 2001 (Domaine Guillot-Broux)
Decent Macon, but a bit straight and unengaging. Bare
- Macon-Grevilly Mollieres 2000 (Domaine Guillot-Broux)
More density and balance, a touch of aniseed too. Top
- Macon-Cruzille Perrieres 2000 (Domaine Guillot-Broux)
As good as any of this lineup (in which the 01's seem less good than the vintages either side. Good balance and weight. Bare
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1998 (Vina Mara)
Ripe fruit and a suggestion of new oak. Goodish wine but not the sort of thing I hope for from a Gran Reserva Rioja in a good year. Bare
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1998 (Torre Aldea)
Blackcurrant fruit - quite a modern-styled, international sort of wine. Quite good of its style. Bare
- Rioja Gran Reserva Ygay 1998 (Marques de Murrieta)
Seems quite oaky currently (but not faulty like the bottle of this the group tasted a couple of months ago). Good, but not ultimately compelling. Bare but wil perhaps improve.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 904 1995 (La Rioja Alta)
A touch of old-fashioned volatility and a fruit quality tending to raspberry liqueur, but very drinkable.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1994 (Bodegas Lan)
Leafy blackcurrant and raspberry. Very soft and easy. Not my sort of thing. In the most laughably overstated heavy bottle that I have ever seen. Top
- Passito de Pantelleria 2004 (Rallo)
Fresh and grapey, a pleasingly dry desert wine with ravishing fruit. Gorgeous rather than great perhaps, but lovely. Top
- Vin Santo 1994 (Castello de Paneretta)
Bitter almonds. Curiously characterless and faded otherwise. Rather disappointing.
- Taylors Port 1983
Red fruits, quite forward with a touch of chocolate. Largely resolved but some more time would help. Very nice Port but not very typically Taylors. Bare
- Soave Colli Scaligeri 2005 (Filippi)
Touch spritzy, honeysuckle fruit, quite rich in the mouth.
- Coteaux du Languedoc blanc La Clape 2004 (Chateau de la Negly)
Yeasty, floral, pleasantly dry. Very typically South of France. Pleasant. Bare
- Chateau La Gontrie 2005
That unfashionable thing, a wine from the Bordeaux fringes. Touch of capsicum, lifted blackcurrant fruit. Sensible, enjoyable wine. Bare
- Dolcetto d'Alba Fontanazza 1998 (Marcarini)
Rather mature blackberry fruit, the aged characteristic not unlike something Spanish. Curious in some ways, but enjoyable. Bare
- Dolcetto d'Alba Rocchettevino La Pria 2004 (G. Accomasso)
Great depth, lovely tannins. Excellent Dolcetto. Bare
- Chateau Faugeres 1998
Very fruitcake St Emilion, a bit gummy (something I just noticed that I said last time I tried this too). There's a bit of minerality too on the fruit. Pretty strong effort without being captivating.
- Champagne Cuvee William Deutz 1996
White bread, passion fruit, possibly the touch of gin on the nose that I noted last time. This seems a slightly better bottle than that - nice feel in the mouth too. Very pretty, creamy wine, now drinking very nicely. Excellent balance, that I think means it will still improve. Bare
- Chablis 1990 (Daniel Defaix)
Perhaps just on the way out, but still a big oily and gently nutty wine which is pleasurable to drink. Lacking some acidity, but with a good length.
- Chateau La Lagune 1990
Completely brilliant. A wonderfully fragrant nose of violets and berries that just exudes class, and a perfectly balanced palate which combines elegance and depth. This is drinking beautifully now, but it will last. One of those wines you could seemingly drink for ever without getting bored. I just wish I could get the chance to test that theory out. A very easy
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine 1994 (M. Chapoutier)
It was always going to be difficult for a wine to follow the La Lagune, but even so this seemed rather feeble. Dilute and unforthcoming with seemingly little stuffing.
- Champagne Extra Dry 1988 (Pol Roger)
Great farmyard straw nose and palate. (Where does this character come from in Champagne, I wonder?) Pretty rich and flavoursome, becoming honeyed with time in the glass. From a magnum. Bare
- Chateau Laville Haut Brion Blanc 2000
Very graceful, lanolin and wax, lovely fruit. Quite forward (from the vintage I guess) but it has the balance to improve at least over the medium term. Very lovely.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Vergers 1992 (Ramonet)
Bandagey poultice nose initially. Slightly oily, lemony fruit. Plenty of richness, creamy and good length. Gets more complex with time in the glass.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Ruchottes 1992 (Ramonet)
Ripe peachy nose with Ramonet ginger on the very classy fruit. A little higher-toned than the Vergers and a little more stylish. Bare
- Grands Echezeaux 1983 (DRC)
Slightly metallic, "smell of the sea" sort of Burgundy nose - really gorgeous. The palate is complex and delicious - quite smoky - yet there is the slight edginess so common in this vintage from the rot problems. Bare
- La Tache 1983 (DRC)
More exotic than the Grands Echezeaux, deeper and with a slightly burnt edge to the fruit. Sexy, silky, and only the merest hint of 83 edginess. A touch longer than the G.E. also. Very fine. Top
- Chateau Leoville Barton 1966
Excellent colour, classic Claret nose, cedary, a touch of iodine. Nice density with sweet, ripe fruit. Just exactly as a good mature Claret should be - but I doubt many (or even any) of today's wines will be this good at 40 years old. From a magnum Top
- Chateau Latour 1970
Fantastic walnut and fruit nose. On the palate, great minerality and an astonishing sense of great power without the slightest heaviness. This is just coming round to drinking well I would guess, but will improve. Great wine. Top
- Chateau Suduiraut 1967
Slightly green rim. The palate centres around barley-sugar, but with great complexity and a lovely nutty character. Top Sauternes.
- Bual 1934 (Rutherford and Miles)
Slightly smoky with more richness on the palate than a lot of Madeiras - bananas and Rum ("a West Indian wine" according to one of us) and a touch of coffee. Very fine Madeira.
- Roederer Cristal 1981
Apricot nose. Quite dry. Rounded suave wine, very elegant and poised. Rather lovely - it repays attention and time in the glass. Bare
- Krug 1981
Still a touch of brioche on the nose. Dry, and there is a sense that there is a bit more to give here - it just hints at the mint-chocolate of older Krug. Very sophisticated and lovely.
- Champagne Special Club 2000 (Launois P & F)
Lemony fruit with a touch of yeast and an underlying stonyness - quite rich and still a touch hard on the palate with good persistence. Very nice and will get better. A good
Chateau d'Estoublon also make some lovely Olive Oils, including some fascinating single variety ones.
- VdP Les Alpilles blanc 2006 (Chateau d'Estoublon)
Rich, Chateauneuf-like white with some exotic fruity touches and a hint of oak about it. Striking wine - very good.
- Jeunes Vignes Rouge Les Baux de Provence 2004 (Chateau d'Estoublon)
Piquant, quite a lot of gamy Mourvedre character, very nicely made, very drinkable medium-bodied wine. Very attractive. Bare even.
- Rouge Les Baux de Provence 2004 (Chateau d'Estoublon)
Rather grander, structured and tannic with 10 percent Cabernet and the (one, two and three year old) oak giving a framework to the high-quality pure fruit. Quite hard still, but will be interesting in a couple of years. A good
- Perrier Jouet NV
In good condition, autolytic, quite elegant, frothy fizz. Nice easy-going balance.
- Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 1999
A touch of that wet straw character that D.P. has in this vintage. More richness than the NV as you would expect, but still nicely balanced. Starting to drink - probably not a keeping vintage. Very nice.
- Bandol Rose 2006 (Le Galantin)
Synthetic cork, which I don't much like. Quite deep, sweetly ripe rose-petal fruit. Quite dry and a touch of tannin makes it a grown-up wine rather than just a Summers day crowd pleaser. Good wine.
- Bandol 2002 (Le Galantin)
Silky fruited, well-made wine with characterful fruit. It tastes as though it has been in barrique though and over all the effect is a bit "modern" for my palate. Others will like it more. Of its type it is quite good value. Top
Just finished last night's Galantin Bandol. It seems less anonymous with pure fruit and a bit higher toned than yesterday. I may have been a bit mean to it when suggesting it was tending to international style.
- Cotes de Provence, Villars-sur-Var blanc 2006 (Clos Saint-Joseph)
Recommended by the excellent Cave de Mougins, this comes from just north of Nice. Very South of France, with the usual mix of grapes: a hint of elderflower on the nose and a broad palate with lots of interest and substantial texture. Good concentration too. I really enjoyed this and it would hold up well to not being drunk on a sunny balcony. Perhaps even makes