The Diary - December 2002
- Tokay Pinot Gris Kitterle 1989 (Schlumberger)
This wine, from my own cellar, seems to get better and better. After a period when it seemed a bit clumsy, the residual sweetness becomes less and less apparent and the fruit evolves beyond varietal characteristics. Now just very nicely balanced and fine, mouthfilling, lots of glycerol texture. Civilised drinking. Top
- Sancerre, La Grande Cote 2000 (F. Cotat)
Marked gooseberry on the nose with a sexy animal quality too (the famous "cat's pee" that one hears mentioned I suppose - it's not a quality I have noticed much from Sauvignon blanc). Quite rich, pure fruit with interesting complexity on the palate and a long finish. Classy. I have had older bottles of this wine and it tends to age very well. I think this will too.
- Gewurztraminer Herrenberg 1990 (Zind-Humbrecht)
Like the Z-H style or not, you have to admit this is a good drink now - good fruit concentration, lychees but not absurdly so, a touch of pepper. From a half.
- Muscadet sur Lie 2000 (Tesco)
Surprisingly decent, dry, with some richness and length. Perhaps scrapes
- Gewurztraminer Reserve Personelle 1999 (Weinbach)
Fine, balanced, stylish (not always an easy trick with this grape). A good effort for what I assume is one of the more basic cuvees in Weinbach's plethora of bottlings.
- Savenierres Clos du Papillon 1990 (Baumard)
This wine started fruity, then rather faded and I thought it was disappointingly short-lived. Now, most of the way through the handful of bottles I bought, it seems to be coming back to life as a honeyed, rather agreeable wine with those mature flavours that a hard to put a name to. Moral: if it seems far gone, forget about it for a year or two! Top at least.
- Prieure de St-Jean de Bebian 1994
Healthy colour with plum and blackberry fruit and a touch of menthol. Dry, savoury, a touch of minerality - good balance and a fairly long finish. There may even be scope for further positive evolution here. This has some real character - it is an AC Coteaux de Languedoc and there is no indication front or back about grape varieties and that sort of dull information. A wine of character - I have been meaning to try it for a few years and I am not disappointed. Top
- Rasteau 1999 (St. Gayan)
Nice silky old vine Grenache character - not overmade and very drinkable.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reservee 1989 (Pegau)
I bought a lot of this eight or nine years ago in a fit of enthusiasm. I am no longer sure it's my favourite style of Chateauneuf but it has kept well - good colour, large, slightly rustic, mouthfilling presence. There's a touch of something close to oxidation too when it has been open for a while - I'm not sure if it is just this bottle or a feature of the wine. If the former then other bottles probably merit
- Cairanne 2000 Laurus (G. Meffre)
Strong red fruits. Good country Rhone.
- Pinot Grigio 2001 (San Simone)
Clean fresh and some flavour.
- Bushvine Sauvignon 2002 (Kopland Estate)
Mouthfilling, no excessive vegetality. Pleasant.
- Sancerre 2001 (L. Crochet)
Clean, nice acidity. Would be good with seafood.
- Pouilly Fume 2000 (S. Dagueneau)
Richer - a real wine presence beyond that of the Sancerre. Well made.
- Albarino 2001 (Lagar de Fornelos)
Rich but lemony. Unusual and attractive. Albarino is a good source of cheaper white wine.
- Arneis 2001 (Matteo Corregia)
Lacks character compared to the last two. Really a bit neutral. Scrapes
- Frank and Fresh Rivaner 2001 (Horst Sauer)
Succulent, well made, very drinkable. A shame to see a top maker indulging in gimicky naming however. Top
- Chardonnay 2000 (Voyager Estate)
Ambitious but under control. Pretty typically New World but there is enough structure for it to develop for a year or two perhaps.
- Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 2000 (Laurent Tribut)
Clean, pure, rather good.
- St Aubin 1er Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chien 1999 (Prudhon)
Fine mid-range Burgundy. (A similar price to the Voyager and to my mind better if a little less showy.)
- Pouilly Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 1999 (Chateau Fuisse - Vincent)
A bit flat - of course a certain fatness is expected from this area but thsis seems rather unexciting. I wonder if this estate hasn't lost its way a bit.
- Gewurztraminer Reserve Personelle 2000 (Weinbach)
Very varietal but nicely balanced. One doesn't often get other than fine wine from this estate.
- Rosso di Tavola 1999 (Scavino)
Scavino class - sweet fruit, nice structure and balance. Very drinkable. (A good 8 pounds worth.)
- Coteaux de Languedoc Cuvee Bronzinelle 1997 (St Martin de la Garrigue)
Attractive mix of farmyard and herbs. A bargain for drinking now.
- Chateau Jonqueyres 1998
OK but dull - its hard to find value in Bordeaux at this price.
- Chateau Petit Bocq 1998
Characterful Bordeaux - not really singing right now but there is some quality here.
- Volnay 1er Cru Les Fremiets 1999 (d'Angerville)
Hard at this stage of the evening after some heavy wins. It seems a shade light but that may be misleading. It has some length though and is in balance. Pretty good I think.
- Vina Pedrosa Crianza 1994
Minty, rustic, interesting. Perhaps
- Chateau Laforge 1998
This seems to be a St Emilion - where do these wines come from that I have never heard of and suddenly sell for forty plus pounds? Anyway, it has a charred nose - I do find this extravagently toasty character that I have had in a number of Bordeaux recently rather offputting. Hugely ambitious and not to my mind successful although without the charred character I suppose I would have to say it was an impressive wine.
- Chateau Laforge 1999
The balance in what is generally a lesser vintage seems much better to me.
- Chateau Teyssier 1999
Decent balance. Pleasant middle of the road claret.
- Chateau Teyssier 2000
Nice fruit - ripe and sweet. This may be my first 2000 claret and this certainly seems to come from one of those attractively ripe vintages. We will see! A good
- Savennieres Clos du Papillon 1999 (Baumard)
Gutsy in-your-face. Nice acidity. Toffee emerges. Nutty. Mature seeming.
- Savennieres 1981 (Coulee de Serrant)
Gamey almost.Touch of gooseberry. Dry and savoury. Very marked acidity. Grassy and a touch angular. A curious wine, not so easy to appreciate, that seemed younger (yes, really) than the Baumard - surely it can't be not yet at its best?
- Beaune Clos de Mouche 1992 (Drouhin)
Very rich, full-bodied - adequate structure and acidity. Creamy and long.
- Puligny-Montrachet Combettes 1992 (J.-M. Boillot)
Richer, creamier, a bit earthy, long and balanced.
- Chassagne Champgains 1992 (Verget)
Nuts, hint of the forrest. Deep. I'm not always a fan of this producer but this is pretty good.
- Grands Echezaux 1980 (Mongeard-Mugneret)
Pale coloured but healthy. That metallic old Burgundy character stands out and the fruit is sweet and reasonably long.
- Volnay Champans 1972 (Comte Lafon )
Again pale, but such lovely fruit - long, sweet and lacey. Absolutely gorgeous.
- Barolo Riserva 1967 (Borgogno)
Dry, savoury, mature. A pleasant surprise - not all old Borgogno is this decent.
- Barolo 1961 (Bersano)
A touch raw-woody but decent fruit under, a taste of tea - I'm not keen and suspect there is a slight fault.
- Barolo 1958 (Bersano)
Warm, meaty, rounded - not quite as good fruit as the Borgogno wine.
- Jurancon Vendage Tardive 1995 (Clos Guirouilh)
Touch of brown sugar. Pleasantly drinkable. A bare
- Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive 1997 (Schleret)
Grapey and pleasant - is it just a bit young or is it a shade insubstantial. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.
- Quinta da Noval 1963 (Oporto bottled)
Baked, curranty, deep and fruity, with high-acidity. Drinking nicely but possibly a bit spirity. Good, but perhaps no better than it ought to be. Top
- Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 1983 (Deinhard)
Fresh, apples and sherbert, medium weight. Nicely mature. Probably even worth
- Rauenthaler Baiken Spatlese 1983 (Staat Domain - Eltville)
A bit more weight and fineness. Less obvious but ultimately a touch more rewarding. This and the last an interesting pair for Mosel/Rhinegau comparison. Top
- Nuits Clos d'Arlot blanc 92 (Domaine d'Arlot)
A bit eggy on the nose. I remember tasting this 7 or so years ago and it was very sulphury - odd perhaps to remember a fault so clearly after this length of time. It still taints a rather fine mineral fruit. I guess that eggy quality is often a remnant of careless sulphur use.
- Batard Montrachet 1992 (Gagnard-Delagrange)
Complex smoky fruit. Bags of glycerol, moderate acidity, good length. The Grand Cru difference I guess. The 92 style evident and for drinking reasonably soon but very good.
- Rubesco 1971 (Lungarotti)
Healthy orange tinge. Lovely Bovril meaty nose, very animal. Sweet, ripe raspberry fruit.
- Rubesco 1968 (Lungarotti)
Voluptuous ripe fruit. touch of meat. Great length. A bit more time in hand.
- Fiorano 1982 (Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa)
Very pure blackberry fruit. High-toned and a touch citric. Finish not its best feature so best to drink up.
- Leoville Las Cases 1970
Meat and iron. Dry, long, savoury, lots of acidity. Old-fashioned. Where is it going? Certainly it will develop and there is a chance those cedary hints might emerge a bit more. Still, it's worth four stars now and it's asking a lot to hope it will make a fifth.
- Palmer 1978
A bit leafy, quite mineral - easy going (at least compared to Las Cases). Liquorice. Modearate weight and given that a persistent finish. Lovely again.
- Dow 1983
Intense blackberry (Dubonnet almost). Creamy. Young and fruity. Easy balance. A bit sweet yet but will be excellent. From a half
Interesting to see what this sort of budget buys these days - these were for a student party.