The Diary - August 2000
- Champagne 1990 (Taittinger)
Very pinot, seems off-dry but perhaps just the ripeness of the vintage, excellent acidity. Soft mousse. Shows more age than one might expect.
- Champagne 1990 (Joseph Perrier)
Fruity, autolytic nose, elegant, medium weight. Rather fine.
- Champagne 1990 (Louis Roederer)
Closed now, quite large, dry and long. Some class here but needs a bit more time.
- Gracher Himmelreich spatlese 1989 (F.W. Gymnasium)
Garage forecourt nose, decent acidity, quite evolved.
- Niersteiner Krantzberg spatlese 1989 (Gessert)
Spicy, nice acidity, good length.
- Hochheimer Holle spatlese 1989 (Aschrott)
Fine, long, delicious, coming towards maturity.
- Geisenheimer Schlossgarten spatlese 1989 Schloss Schonborn
Deep colour, unctious texture. Beginning to drink well.
- Kallstadter Annaberg Scheurebe spatlese 1971 (Stumpf-Fitz)
Peach or apricot, quite high alcohol, very, very fresh. Long grapefruit finish. Very fine indeed, and a far cry from other Scheurebe I've had.
- Pommard Les Fremiers 1990 (Coste-Caumartin)
Lovely fresh ripe black-cherry fruit, bags of mouth-watering acidity. Lots of tannins. Lovely, just worth
- Nuits St Georges La Richemone 1990 (Pernin-Rossin)
Big, dense, black-cherry fruit. Very structured and excellent acidity. Long too - a good drink now but will be excellent. Perhaps even
- Branaire Ducru 1966
Raspberry nose and raspberry and cassis fruit. marked acidity. Cedary under-tones. Very fine - an easy
- Grand Puy Lacoste 1966
Blackcurrant, luscious, fruit. Creamy capsicums and tea emerge. Fresh raspberry fruit. Only a moderate finish so perhaps time to drink up. Still
- Malartic-Lagraviere 1966
Fresh blackcurrant, slightly smoky fruit. Plenty of acidity. Long fruity finish. Very fine.
- Soutard 1966
Very creamy, slightly toffeed nose. A slightly diffuse bubblegum palate. Possibly a bad bottle since others had had good experiences of this.
- Eltviller Sonnenberg auslese 1989 (von Simmern)
Barley-sugar nose with riesling spice. Slightly ill-defined. At least
- Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg auslese 1989 (Schloss Schonborn)
Barley-sugar and keroseney notes. Some length.
- Urziger Wurzgarten BA goldkapsul 1989 (Moenchof)
Rich and sweet apricot fruit. Seems a bit low in acidity. Not an exciting drink at the moment - perhaps a phase, but for now
- Champagne Brut (de Bracieux)
Drinkable clean fresh fizz with overdone acidity at the finish. Just makes
- Champagne Brut Royal (Pommery)
Pommery really should be making better wine at this level (I have had some perfectly acceptable vintage fizz from them after all). Very bready, yeasty nose. Lightweight Champagne lacking length.
- Erbacher Hoehnrain Riesling Spatlese 1969, Germany (Deinhard)
The cork in this wine was noticeably short (so short - 4.1cm - that I thought I must have left some in the bottle). The wine itself is fading into a dignified old age with loss of flavour evident. Still enjoyable (certainly not maderised).
- Clos Saint Urbain Rangen de Thann Riesling 1989, Alsace (Zind Humbrecht)
Ageing well and slowly - indeed looks more youthful than it is (what's the secret?). Acidity at first seemed down, but this is probably just masked by the touch of sweetness at the finish. Mineral flavours. It could still do with some bottle age.
- Haardter Herrenletten Riesling Spatlese 1990 (Muller-Catoir)
Interesting comparison with the previous wine - this sweeter as one might expect, but with similar floral and mineral flavours. Not quite the class of the Humbrecht wine, and not so clear where, if anywhere, it's going.
- Riesling Jubilee Hugel 1997 (Hugel)
(11.99 Oddbins) One of those wines that really does repay coming back to during the evening (or whenever). Initially a disappointing hint of sweetness at the finish, and a light mustiness clouding the flavours. But after a while the clouds lifted to reveal a full (almost chewy) Riesling palate, fine acidity, and good length. Just
- Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spatlese 1997 (Grans-Fassian)
This was recently highly recommended in Decanter magazine in a tasting of Spatleses - it's good, but not that good. Sherberty petrol nose, and sweet limey (not aggressively so) palate. Simple textbook Riesling Spatlese.
- Chateau Branaire (Duluc Ducru), Saint Julien 1982
Ready to drink (but certainly no rush to drink up) medium weight claret with the cedarwood and mature fruit nose one might expect from such.
- Grande Cuvee Beerenauslese 1991, Austria (Kracher)
From a half. How great a wine is this? When tasted on its own, it's clearly very classy (but how often do sweet wines flatter to deceive?) - one day, I'd like to try it against some great Sauternes. This has long, long sweet apricot flavours that are balanced by fine acidity. Ageing well, with some potential. I'll stick my neck out and say it is bound for greatness
- Champagne Grand Millesime 1989 (Gosset)
Again a disappointing tasting of this without quite the evolution or brilliance it showed in its youth. Showing almost coarse and tired.
A splendid line-up of wines. What is one to make of this property? There is a discussion in the first edition of the FWD Newletter
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1997 (Jaboulet)
Fantastic density of red fruits (strawberries perhaps). Very young at the moment, but lots of promise. A very good La Chapelle.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1996 (Jaboulet)
Lighter than the 97, but perhaps finer (with really good acidity) and just as good a long term prospect.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1991 (Jaboulet)
Forward, ripe and rounded. A good, even very good La Chapelle, but relatively forward for this property.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1990 (Jaboulet)
An absolute monster with all sorts of flavours on the nose. Relatively forward, as young wines with wonderful ripeness can be, although this will last and last. There is something very special about this wine, beyond even the famed 78.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1989 (Jaboulet)
Big, big, cassis nose. Great length. Still entirely "primary" flavours. Very backwards, needs years.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1988 (Jaboulet)
Excellent, balanced and long, not showing well yet. Super acidity. May well turn out as well as the more obvious 89. I'll stick my neck out and rate it
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1986 (Jaboulet)
Leathery, sweet, berry fruit. Fine palate, marked tannins. Should be a lovely drink in a few more years. A successful wine from a difficult vintage.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1985 (Jaboulet)
Quite easy drinking (as the property goes). Good, but softish. May have suffered a little by being tasted with the cheese and other younger wines. (but I suspect I am under-rating it).
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1984 (Jaboulet)
Sweet and ripe, but fairly simple compared to other vintages. Holding OK, better than many clarets from this vintage, for example. Modest weight.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1983 (Jaboulet)
Hints of provencal herbs. Lots of tannins, and it still seems a disjointed wine. My feeling is that this is coming together, and will be first-rate in a few years, although the balance might never be perfect.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1982 (Jaboulet)
Those provencal herbs very noticable again. Long chocolatey palate. Probably around peak, and very enjoyable.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1980 (Jaboulet)
Interesting nose, fruit and those herbs that seem to feature in a number of vintages. Smoky too. Very good balance. An insiders wine, that is far better than one might guess.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1979 (Jaboulet)
Good colour, quite concentrated, a shade stewed and a bit unfocused. Doesn't live up to its reputation (which is quite high in some quarters).
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1978 (Jaboulet)
Slightly cedary secondary flavours. Inky, and a bit closed at the moment, but the texture and length indicate greatness. This seems less ready for drinking than I remember it!
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1977 (Jaboulet)
Provencal herbs, like a fine old Bandol. Lightish weight and only moderately long, but a really nice drink. This has aged so well. Easily
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1972 (Jaboulet)
Provencal herbs, gorgeous tertiary flavours. Fine and long. Love it! At least
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1961 (Jaboulet)
Smoky, charred even, dry and very fine. Lovely "great old wine" texture. While this is clearly great, it doesn't quite sing for me as loudly as I was expecting, and I don't start feeling a need for more than five stars!
- Local Growers Semillon 1990 (Rockford)
Resiny with a coarsish acidity at the finish. Lemony, good big length, but the coarse acidity worries. Just
- Nine Popes 1992 (Charles Melton)
Biggish, jammy, gummy Shiraz nose. Good, surprisingly youthful colour. Dry and over the top.
- Chateauneuf-du-pape 1986 (Chateau de Beaucastel)
I've heard bad things about this vintage since its decline from Parker's favour. Whilst not great, I found this surprisingly drinkable. Lightish weight, but typical Beaucastel maturing flavours (mushroom compost).
- Nine Popes 1998 (Charles Melton)
Soft and plummy - obviously Australian even though it has a Tempranillo-like edge to it. Oaky, custard finish.
- Cote Rotie 1991 (Bernard Burgaud)
- York Creek Zinfandel 1991 (Ridge)
Initially seeming faded in the glass, but with time, very much alive. Not too dissimilar in many ways, funnily enough, to aged claret.
- Pauillac 1990
The third(?) wine of Chateau Latour apparently - could be the twenty-third for all I care. Why anyone would want to drink claret that could be cheap Loire red (so leafy and earthy), I don't know.
- Champagne Brut Mosaique (Jacquart)
Standard NV Champagne - goodish acidity, but with a coarse mousse.
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1998 (Barone Cornacchia )
Good Montepulciano, but perhaps not to the standard of previous vintages from this producer. Fruit there, but not as extracted as it might be - powdery texture to the wine.
- Riesling 1997 (Graf Hardegg, Austria)
Goodish Riesling, too heavy to be German and not quite Alsatian either. Musty (lees?) character to the finish.
- Viognier 'V' 1999 (Graf Hardegg)
Not as good as the last time I tried this (strangely, since last time I tasted this was outside on a humid evening when wines often don't show their best). Rather fat, and showing its alcoholic weight more than it should. Down then two stars since last time.
- Gewurztraminer Clos des Capucins Cuvee Laurence 1988 (Domaine Weinbach, Faller)
One of this estates numerous confusing bottlings, this is long, perfumed, deliciously smoky, and just about avoiding that flabbyness that Gewurz can develop.
- Champagne Grand Cellier NV (Vilmart)
Nicely autolytic. Rich chardonnay dominated fruit and oak. Almost like a good Burgundy.
- Gewurztraminer Herrenweg 1992 (Zind-Humbrecht)
Dry, fading a shade, nicely smoky and perfumed though.
- Port 1977 (Quarles Harris)
Raspberry and chocolate, plummy fruit, moderately long. Almost ready
- Clos Floridene Graves blanc 1990
Peach fruit, fading a bit but pleasant. Just still.
- Lamaione 1993 (Castelgiocondo)
Oaky fruitcake. All the components, aging pleasantly.
- St. Veran 1997 (Vincent, Ch. Fuisse)
Estery, forward fruit. Relaxed, well-made, basic Burgundy with a decent finish.
- Chianti Classico 1141, 1997 (Ricasoli)
Splendid, crunchy, blackberry fruit. Very well made wine from this tremendous vintage.
- Bourgogne Aligote 1988 (Tim Marshall)
High-toned, almost grapey, unknit I suppose it's just that sort of grape), high acidity, quite long. Pretty good - remarkable given what it is.
- Condrieu 1997 (Gangloff)
Rich, luscious, peachy fruit following quite a complex nose. Lovely. The kick one is always looking for but only sometimes finds from Viognier.
- Chablis Montee de Tonnerre 1993 (F. Raveneau)
Very mineral, taught, mouth-watering and very, very long. Easily
- Grands-Echezaux 1976 (Lamarche)
Healthy colour, fresh strawberry fruit. Nose of undergrowth with that slightly metallic edge of good mature Burgundy. Long too. This is first-class, and from a time this property was supposedly under-performing.
- Barbaresco Riserva Speciale 1964 (Nicolello)
- Spanna Castello di Montalbano 1957 (Vallana)
Curious, complex, almondy nose. Very sweet, cooked (rather than fresh) fruit all the way through to the finish. Opens up even more in the glass. Splendid wine.
- Cote-Rotie 1983 (Barge)
Provencal herbs and cassis style of Syrah, an excellent wine but not as silky as I hope for from Cote-Rotie perhaps. Everything there though.
- Quarts de Chaume 1986 (Baumard)
Grassy, honeyed, some botrytis, resolved (but there might even be more to come). Very good. Easily
- Port 1980 (Dow)
Very dense, raspberry and hints of chocolate. Nice texture and acidity. First class port - every time I taste an 80 my opinion of the vintage goes up! At least , perhaps more.