On a recent trip to London 30/12/2003 (TNB)
- Champagne Grand Cru NV (Selosse) Quite deep-coloured and with a mature, honey nose. Vinous and weighty like a substantial white Burgundy with bubbles. Lots of depth. Lovely food wine. From a half.
- Coteaux du Layon SDGN 2000 (Delesvaux) Deep-coloured raisiny - lots of botrytis. Luxurious, unctuous texture. I wonder how it will age? Nice acidity so perhaps well but I wouldn't bank on it.
- Malmsey 1977 (Cossart-Gordon) Burnt marmalade fine acidity - nice mature Madeira. So drinkable! Top
- Chianti Classico 2000 (Isole e Olena) A very forward fruity easy-going wine. Elegant though and completely drinkable. Very attractive.
- Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett 2000 (J-J Prum) Rich, mouthwatering, pretty accessible (slightly to my surpise). Very fine. Ideal at lunch!
- Chablis 2000 Domaine de la Pauliere (Durup) Authentically mineral - I shy away from village Chablis but this is quite good. Top
- Sancerre Cuvee Flores 2002 (Pinard) Very solid authentic village wine.
- Chateau Dutruch-Grand-Poujeaux 1990 Pleasantly cigar-boxy. Fruit a touch baked but savoury. Scrapes
- Chateau La Garde 1989 Earthy - maybe a touch woody.
- Chateau Beau Site 1989 Pleasant mature Claret. Unexciting. Bare
- Haut Bages Monpelou 1989 Savoury, attractive, high-toned, matured nicely.
- Chateauneuf du Pape blanc 1995 (Dom La Milliere) Marzipan and grass like an old Ozzy. Curious but not unattractive.
- Champagne brut 1979 (Leclerc) Lovely honied grassy old fizz. Scrapes
- Champagne Brut NV (de Castellane) Mature and honied. Must have been in cellar. plus
Oddbins Fine Wine Burgundy 30/12/2003 (TNB)
- Puligny Montrachet 2001 (Carillon) Forward fruity melon nose. Seems a touch thin on the palate - crisp but a touch of minerals. Very disappointing - an odd bottle perhaps? Bare
- Saint-Veran Hauts de Leynes 2002 (Verget) Unforthcoming, soft-fruit nose with a vanilla touch - longer palate. Could do with a year or two. Decent.
- Chablis Terroir de Fleys 2002 (Verget) Nectarine nose - leesy (someone said). Tight high-acid palate - touch of minerality. Decent concentration.
- St Aubin 1er Cru 2001 (Pierre Morey) Opens after a few minutes - petrol, peach kernels - then ginger. Fine stylish palate. Could do with a year or two.
- Chassagne Montrachet Les Chenevottes 2001 (Borgeot) Toasty. Weighty unctious palate. Needs time to come together.
- Aloxe Corton 1er Cru 2001 (Pierre Morey) A touch cloudy. Big jammy blueberry nose. Hollow palate - highly extracted. Not very pleasant.
- Morey St Denis 2000 (Maison Folly) A bit meatier - red fruits. Elegant nose. Mainstream Burgundy - decent balance but no great complexity.
- Nuits St George 1er Cru Chaignots 2000 (Maison Folly) Big - quite dense nose. Fairly heavily oaked. Thin palate but strong aftertaste. Oddly unbalanced. Possibly something is hidden but for now
- Santenay 1er Crui Gravieres 2001 (Borgeot) Reductive nose - hard to penetrate. Palate too is impossible. Just sharp and no amount of air seems to help. If there is fruit it's cranberry. Rather odd.
- Volnay 2001 (Pierre Morey) Big crowd-pleasing strawberry jam nose. Easy drinking, but a bit dull.
Yuletide fizz 30/12/2003 (TNB)
- Champagne Grand Cru Brut Millesime 1996 (Pommery) Gamy, quite forward. A very good
- Champagne Grand Millesime 1996 (Gosset) Lovely - fine, nicely textured, tightly wound and with good length. Just what one hopes for from a classic vintage - this will be lovely in ten or twenty years.
- Champagne Grand Rose NV (Gosset) Just a very fine Champagne with a touch of red wine flavours and grip. Very well-judged and excellent with Xmas turkey.
A few French wines and a couple of Sherries 17/12/2003 (TNB)
- Savennieres 2000 (Ch de Varennes) I have had a few wines like this recently - deep coloured, perhaps from time in (probably old) wood. Old-fashioned in a way, but I am not sure they have recaptured what makes this sort of wine age. A rich, interesting mouthful but I am not sure it is going anywhere. (This note dates from a week or two before the note from Oddbins Wine Fair below - see that for a further opinion.) Bare
- Prieure de St Jean de Bebian 1991, Coteaux du Languedoc Good colour, attractive bramble and cherry nose. On the palate a touch dry and quite tannic with a liquorice character, becoming quite meaty with a bit of air.
- Cornas Terres Brulees 1995 (Columbo) New-style certainly: fruit-driven, a touch of cassis, some underlying structure but basically ready. Good in its way but is it cornas?.
- Bandol 1998 (Tempier) A lot of ripe fruit here - a great Bandol vintage - quite gamey, rustic almost. Good length and balance with a healthy dose of ripe tannins. This is not yet at peak by any means but it is probably a case of low three stars to high three stars. From a half.
- Amontillado (Jose de Soto) Reasonable intensity and complexity for a relatively inexpensive wine but I think it has been sweetened just a touch and with the low sherry acidity it tends a bit towards cloying for me.
- Amontillado Viejo Pastrana (Vinicola Hidalgo) Bone-dry and with a lovely salty tang. Unassertive but with a good depth and length of flavour too. Very good.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/12/2003 Return to top
Valli Pinot Noir at Raeburn Fine Wines 15/12/2003 (TNB)
- Pinot Noir Colleen's Vineyard, Gibbston 1998 (Valli) Gamy raspberry fruit - a touch of jammyness - slightly sweet but has a long finish. Top
- Pinot Noir Colleen's Vineyard, Gibbston 1999 (Valli) A weaker vintage I believe - herbier - still gamy- in fact a bit more luxurious - good finish again. Scrapes
- Pinot Noir Colleen's Vineyard, Gibbston 2000 (Valli) More concentrated, herby, some tannins, drier. Not quite as long but I like the dryness.
- Pinot Noir Colleen's Vineyard, Gibbston 2001 (Valli) Nice pure fruit - silky - some oak evident - a bit closed particularly on the nose.
- Pinot Noir Bald Hills Vineyard, Bannockburn 2001 (Valli) Much plummier than the Gibbston wines. Jammier but nice silky fruit.
- Pinot Noir Gibbston 2002 (Valli) This was called Coleen's Vineyard in earlier vintages. Very interesting savoury nose - more concentration and richness - rather good but there is a hint of sweetness that I'm not so keen on. Still
- Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2002 (Valli) Slightly sweet fruit again - like the 2001 Bannockburn. I prefer the drier Gibbston wines but this is still good.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/12/2003 Return to top
Oddbins Wine Fair 10/12/2003 (TNB)
- Champagne NV (Perrier-Jouet) Quite autolyic - pleasant. Bare
- Champagne Belle-Epoque 1996 (Perrier-Jouet) Soft and forward for 96 - nice texture. Prett good. Scrapes
- Champagne NV (Taittinger) Light, elegant, floral. Good.
- Champagne Rose NV (Taittinger) OK but a bit coarse. Another "addition-method" rose and I am just not convinced about this as a proccess.
- Champagne 1998 (Moet & Chandon) Quite vinous, forward, fairly intense. It has that oddly flat Moet palate but seems quite good. Needs time. A good
- Savennieres 2001 (Chateau de Varennes) Had this a while ago and found it hard to understand. The reason is that while dry it has about 20% botrytis. Low acid too. There was talk from the representative of making more accessible Savennieres for today's market. Well, it's not closed, high-acid and needing years but it is not altogether popular styled either in its rather different way. Curious. A decent
- Chateau Charron 2001 A modern-style Cote de Blaye white. Rather oaky.
- Minervois Cuvee Aude 2002 (Borie de Maurel) Very Marsanne - rich gluey. Rather nice and not expensive.
- Manzanilla (Barbadillo) So lovely, salty and mouthwatering. What a lot of wine for less than six quid. Maybe even
- Chianti Classico 2000 (Villa Cafaggio) Fruity, attractive, not over-made.
- Primitivo Virtuoso 2000 (Casa Girelli) Bags of fruit, fairly complex, unashamedly modern but good of its sort. Good value
- Possessioni Rosso 2001 (Serego Alighieri - Masi) Very gluggable blend of Valpolicella grapes with international varieties. Top
- Vitiano 2002 (Falesco) Umbrian Sangiovese plus Bordeaux blend. Silky, quite concentrated, a touch internationally styled perhaps but good. A bargain.
- Rioja Reserva Conde de Valdemar 1997 (Martinez Bujanda) High-toned silky fruit, perhaps a bit gutless. A top
- Rioja Finca Valpiedra Reserva 1997 (Martinez Bujanda) Silky again and with a bit more substance and length. This is attractive drinking, but is it a bit lacking in depth and interest?
- Grange 1997 (Penfolds) Big leathery nose - quite elegant and soft on the palate. Very good wine but insubstantial for Grange and I wonder if there are hidden depths. Odd. Top
- Minervois Esprit dAutomne 2002 (Borie de Maurel) Weighty yet elegant and spicy - no wood apparantly - just pure fruit.
- Minervois La Feline 2001 (Borie de Maurel) Spicier - touch of wood. A slightly more manipulated wine but nicely made - rich but balanced. Top
- Minervois Cuvee Sylla 2001 (Borie de Maurel) We are heading in to seriously fine wine territory here - pure fruit with little or no wood. Worth sitting down to try a bottle properly - for now
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/12/2003 Return to top
Recent Claret - mainly drunk at home from my own cellar 05/12/2003 (TNB)
- Chateau Poujeaux 1997 This has a slightly corrupt edge at first - smoky too, but with time a gentle fragrance emerges. Good food wine - young claret is always a bit problematical on its own. A good 97.
- Haut Bages Liberal 1975 Oranging rim but healthy colour, savoury tobacco nose and palate - just to my mind what a cellared claret should be like. An example of a 75 that is coming round to drinking very nicely in its maturity.
- Clos de Marquis 1983 The second wine of Las Cases, this is pleasantly "cedar and cigar" on the nose and if a little light on the palate now, it hints too at scented class and has aged pretty gracefully. Top
- Chateau Larmande 1997 Quite high-toned scented fruitcake nose, dry savoury and with decent length. Nice Claret, with a bit of structure and nice acidity too. Two years ago I predicted a 3-star future for this and I think it has just about made it:
- Chateau de Sales 1978 Oh, the things that lurk at the back of the cellar - I remember drinking my penultimate bottle of this minor Pomerol a while before Fine Wine Diary started and perhaps before the web was a household word. Then it was richly fruity and now it is a bit past it. But if you like older wines there are things to admire - a tobacco dominated nose and sweet if attenuated fruit. On the down side it seems to have a slightly soapy texture. Still, I drank several glasses with pleasure: just about merits
- Brane Cantenac 1996 I just noticed I have a few bottles of this and opened one, worrying that I might have bought them while the balance of my mind was disturbed - the property had a low reputation a while ago. I am relieved to find I made a reasonable decision (after a tasting, I think it was) - this is good Claret albeit quite forward in style. I just looked in Broadbent and he too likes this wine, finding the excellent description of "privet" for its attractive, dry, slightly green-edged fruit. For drinking in the next few years I guess but still
- Sociando Malet 1986 The fruit is pretty much ready although there are still some tannins around - but not enough to make it less than very pleasant to drink. It seems to have matured in the rose-scented direction with little cedaryness. Quite stylish mature Claret if a touch four-square. Probably close to peak although with its structure there copuld still be a pleasant surprise lurking. Top
- La Tour de Pin Figeac Miouex 1970 Healthy colour, cedary nose and a reasonable helping of fruitcakey merlot fruit, albeit with some of the ungenerous side of the 70 vintage. I guess the fruit is fading a bit - this was probably at its best a few years ago. It is not at all bad however and better than I remember - I don't know if this is a better bottle or whether it is just that the other bottle I had among some good kit. Decent
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/12/2003 Return to top
The wine group at my place 05/12/2003 (TNB)
- Cotes du Rhone blanc Reserve 1989 (Chateau de Fonsalette) Characteristic Marsanne - soft, beautifully textured, low acidity with a touch of something close to marzipan. Very attractive.
- Cotes du Rhone blanc Reserve 1988 (Chateau de Fonsalette) Intense touch of honied marzipan and a touch more zip than the 89. Really lovely.
- Pape Clement blanc 1994 Ruined by impenetrable sulphur. What a shame - is it just careless winemaking?
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers 1996 (Colin-Deleger) Quite forward for a 96 but showing the acidity of the vintage. A luscious creamy texture - very good.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers 1992 (Colin-Deleger) A touch thinner than the surrounding wines - good but overshadowed.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers 1990 (Colin-Deleger) Creamy - completely evolved drinking very nicely.
- Barolo Monprivato 1993 (G. Mascarello) Fairly light weight but with a stunningly fragrant, scented nose. A pleasure to drink - so much so that I will stretch to
- Barolo Brunate 1993 (Marcarini) The least forthcoming of the three Barolos from this vintage but the one that might have a way to go yet - certainly it has some unresolved structure. It may merit another star but for now .
- Barolo Cannubi Boschis 1993 (Sandrone) This has a fantastic depth of ripe, sweet fruit. Resolved, but no hurry to drink. Lovely.
- Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia 1990 (Felsina Berardenga) Deep coloured. Very good Chianti, drinking nicely now. A good
- Tignaello 1990 (Marchesi Antinori) Dry and savoury - but not terribly remarkable. Most of those present preferred the previous wine. A bare
- Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggio 1985 (Monsanto) Herby, quite complex, drying a shade. An interesting wine - I could imagine there might be better bottles.
- Vouvray Moelleux Vieilles Vignes Tri de Grains Nobles 1990 (Domaine des Aubuisieres - Fouquet) Plenty of botrytis, good but light.
- Vouvray Moelleux 1ere Trie Clos du Bourg 1990 (Huet) Intense barley-sugar. Richer and more powerful than the previous wine - quite evolved (the vintage perhaps) but being Vouvray no hurry to drink. Misidentified as Sauternes at first by some of the company - not entirely suprisingly. Very good indeed.
- Gould Campbell 1977 A highly thought of 77 generally. Gritty texture and a touch rustic and hard - my rating assumes it will harmonise a bit as it matures.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/12/2003 Return to top