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On a recent trip to London 30/12/2003 (TNB)

Oddbins Fine Wine Burgundy 30/12/2003 (TNB)

Yuletide fizz 30/12/2003 (TNB)

A few French wines and a couple of Sherries 17/12/2003 (TNB)

Valli Pinot Noir at Raeburn Fine Wines 15/12/2003 (TNB)

Oddbins Wine Fair 10/12/2003 (TNB)

Recent Claret - mainly drunk at home from my own cellar 05/12/2003 (TNB)

The wine group at my place 05/12/2003 (TNB)

The Diary - December 2003

On a recent trip to London 30/12/2003 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/12/2003   Return to top

Oddbins Fine Wine Burgundy 30/12/2003 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/12/2003   Return to top

Yuletide fizz 30/12/2003 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/12/2003   Return to top

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)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/12/2003   Return to top

Oddbins Wine Fair 10/12/2003 (TNB)

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)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/12/2003   Return to top