Fine Wine Diary The Bailey brothers have now tasted 12007 wines in 21 years 9 months and 14 days
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Diary index

Wine group Xmas dinner 29/12/2004 (TNB)

Christmas day Champagnes 25/12/2004 (RJB)

Running up to Christmas 24/12/2004 (TNB)

An early Christmas with friends 21/12/2004 (RJB)

At Kinnaird 14/12/2004 (TNB)

Two recent wines 11/12/2004 (RJB)

Noval at Oddbins Fine Wine 09/12/2004 (TNB)

Oddbins Fine Wine Xmas tasting 08/12/2004 (TNB)

Wine Group at E.O'N. 06/12/2004 (TNB)

Weekend wine 04/12/2004 (TNB)

Thursday evening 02/12/2004 (TNB)

The Diary - December 2004

Wine group Xmas dinner 29/12/2004 (TNB)

More late notes I'm afraid - but I am catching up!
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 02/04/2005   Return to top

Christmas day Champagnes 25/12/2004 (RJB)

Three Champagnes tasted single blind whilst the turkey was roasting. And three other bottles drunk a couple of days later
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/12/2004   Return to top

Running up to Christmas 24/12/2004 (TNB)

  • Tokay Vieille Vignes 1988 (Zind-Humbrecht) Z-H wines of this era seem to go a bit like this with age - gracefully alive but mellow and very quaffable. I feel perhaps this had more to it a couple of years ago, certainly I quite liked it in 1996. On the other hand it is less in-your-face now which is pleasant. Top **
  • Sociando Mallet 1978 Sociando can be a bit chunky I feel - long-lived but a bit short on fineness. This bottle really has developed nice cedary mature Claret character at what is surely towards the end of its life. Very pleasant. ***
  • Lytton Springs 1998 (Ridge) I do rather like Ridge wines, even if some say they are rather higher alcohol and extraction than in the past. Lovely fruit, probably mature but no hurry to drink. Top ***
  • Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Vergers 1990 (Colin-Deleger) Showing its age with really rather attractive cabbagey mature Chardonnay character. Needs drinking fairly soon but pretty good. Top ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/12/2004   Return to top

An early Christmas with friends 21/12/2004 (RJB)

After the swapping of presents, my children are now running around the house in 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' t-shirts and I am the proud owner of a wine bottle cover and hat made from steel and copper in the form of one of the three musketeers. Thing 1 has christened this Winestein (although, possibly, Port-hus would be more appropriate for a muscateer). Perhaps I will post a photo, it is a very fine object indeed.
  • Champagne Brut Tradition (Jacquart) This bottle, although recently purchased, was showing some oxidative quaility (OK now, but almost too much). A good weight on the palate. *** just
  • Champagne Brut 1998 (Chanoine) Elegant light to medium weight wine. Good fizz and presence in the glass (if you know what I mean). A pleasure to drink, but probably not too much of a keeper. Top ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/12/2004   Return to top

At Kinnaird 14/12/2004 (TNB)

Also a half of Noval Colheita that I will report on later.
  • Pol Roger NV A very fine half-bottle - been in cellar a while to judge by the compressed cork. ****
  • Soave Classico 2002 (Pieropan) Every time I taste Pieropan's wines I love that crystalline purity a little more. Lovely, fine and with surprising length. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/12/2004   Return to top

Two recent wines 11/12/2004 (RJB)

The Champagne, had as a 'freebie' at a Christmas lunch, was one of those glasses of wine which hits the right spot at the right moment. In good condition and at a perfect temperature and served after a brisk half hour, palate-refreshing, appetite-inducing walk with the thought of a plate of bivalves ahead of me, the wine sang. Perfect.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/12/2004   Return to top

Noval at Oddbins Fine Wine 09/12/2004 (TNB)

  • Champagne NV (Canard-Duchene) Quaffable fizz - a bit lacking in elegance and style. Improves a bit in the glass. A good **
  • Colheita 1974, bottled 2003 (Noval) Very chocolatey nose with underlying fruit and herbyness. Good fruit with moderate sweetness balanced by good acidity. Good length. A bit higher-toned than the 40-year old but less substantial. Scrapes ****
  • 40 year old Tawny (Noval) Good nose - if not particularly individual - the difference with Colheita, I guess. Very lovely thick texture. Lots of nuances - very fine. Nice fruity, chocolatey finish. Bare *****
  • Late Bottled Vintage 1998 (Noval) Very liquorice nose. Quite fresh, but doesn't seem so long. Pretty strong for the style. Bare **
  • Port 2000 (Noval) Very dense inky-red. Liquorice nose (an estate character). Amazingly soft - ripe tannins - surprisingly drinkable. Will this age as well as wines from the sixties? Very impressive with its concentration of dense blackberry fruit but I have some reservations about the softness - although the fruit is perhaps hiding some decent structure. With those reservations ***(*)
  • Port 1995 (Noval) Very liquorice again. Quite baked fruit. Again pretty easy-going but it seems young at just short of 10. A bit more classic than the 2000. A decent **(*)
And the same Colheita again (though from a half this time) drunk after dinner at Kinnaird a week or two later. It's worth buying if you see it around.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/03/2005   Return to top

Oddbins Fine Wine Xmas tasting 08/12/2004 (TNB)

  • Champagne Grand Siecle NV (Laurent Perrier) Bready nose with a hint of vanilla. Apple fruit, refined mousse. Very elegant. Worth **** I think.
  • Sancerre Le MD 2003 (Bourgeois) In your face gooseberry. Low acidity and a slightly nasty bitter vegetal finish. *
  • Puligny Montrachet Pucelles 2002 (Girardin) Very forward - tropical character - lots of oak. Good long finish but soft and forward. Surely not for long-term keeping. Good but may not ever merit a fourth star. ***
  • Alteserre Monferrato Bianco 2000 (Bava) Fairly unforthcoming nose. Heavy, almost oily vanilla palate. Quite different and interesting - if a bit too oak-influenced. I might tire of this but for now **
  • Chardonnay Reserve Bin 00A (Penfolds) Peachy, coconut, exotic, not terribly long but good of its type. Top **
  • Tom 2000 (Montana) Earthy, scented, lifted nose. Slightly hollow finish with residual bitterness. It might be closed and come a bit better? Apparently this is sought after, but even if it is better than it seems now I can't see why. **
  • Leoville Poyferre 1994 Gutsy, seems a bit younger than it is - complex and developing well. Will it rate another star - last time I tasted it I said yes but this time I am feeling slightly more conservative. ***
  • The Malleea 2001 (Majella) Lifted fresh fruit - silky, which is nice, but really wine for people who would prefer to be on Coca-Cola. (That sounds a bit mean in the cold light of morning, but you know what I mean.) *
  • Le Clos des Fees 2001 (Bizeul) All three bottles slightly tainted - worrying! Presumably not corked although that is what it seems like. Could there be a problem with this? Not Rated
  • Recioto di Soave 2002 (Suavia) Understated but rich. Very nicely done. Decent ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/03/2005   Return to top

Wine Group at E.O'N. 06/12/2004 (TNB)

  • Chardonnay Brut 1995 (Nyetimber) Exotic nose. Big, rich, rounded, Chardonnay palate - oak evident too. Touch coarse perhaps. Real Champagne-like dryness but lacks the finnesse of a good one. Still, ***
  • Classic Blend Brut 1995 (Nyetimber) Soft and honied, drier than the other. A bit maderised possibly, it gives an impression in some ways of being older than it is and it seems a bit dull. It could be a slightly dodgy bottle - if not then **
  • Rasteau blanc 1998 (Gourt de Mautens - Bressy) Weighty, some say clumsy, very south of France, gluey, warm-straw, thick-textured white. I like it. ***
  • Le Soula 2001 (Gauby) Rich - but a bit fizzy. Probably good underneath - it surely shouldn't be like this. Not Rated
  • Finca Terrerazo 2000 (Mustiguillo) Big blackcurrant soft fruit - oddly fizzy finish. A bit cloying - sweet. *
  • Quincha Corral 2000 (Mustiguillo) Big, soft mouthful. Slightly more complex nose. Slightly sweet again **
  • Rioja El Pison 2000 (Lacalle y Laorden) Quite silky-textured and classy - if a bit soft. Modern Rioja, not unlike Artadi's El Pison in style but perhas a touch less interesting. ***
  • Rioja Gran Reserva 904 1982 (La Rioja Alta) Sudden change of character - leafy blackcurrant but still quite soft. Very pleasantly mature. Vanilla notes - should have been possible to identify this - it seems easy now I can see the label. This is always such a good, drinkable wine. Scrapes ****
  • Vina Pederosa 1998 Is this drying a bit? Perhaps its not easy to follow the softer wines. I'm having trouble getting to grips with this but it is probably quite good. ***
  • Valbuena 1998 (Vega Sicilia) Back to the silky fruit - intense, interesting. On further tasting, quite meaty and a touch volatile too - quite old-fashioned and rather good. ***(*) even?
  • Quarts de Chaume 2003 (des Forges) Worthy but dull - at least now. I think it's difficult coming to a young unbotrytised dessert wine after weighty reds. This is pretty long and concentrated and will surely develop. **(*)
  • Coteaux du Layon Harmonie 2003 (Cady) This on the other hand really did seem a bit light to me. Pleasant enough though. **
  • Malvasia Reserva 20 year old (Barbieto) It could be palate-fatigue at the end of a long evening but I thought this was a bit short on weight and grip for a 20-year old. **
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/03/2005   Return to top

Weekend wine 04/12/2004 (TNB)

  • Cotes du Rhone La Sagesse 1999 (Domaine Gramenon) Lovely silky texture, fantastic ripe cherry fruit - lifted, giving an impression of cranberry and cough mixture. Fantastic drinking from a favourite estate - close to peak but wines with this sort of balance don't fall apart quickly and this will be fine for a few years yet. It's Grenache from old vines and for me illustrates perfectly that you don't need Syrah to make a top Rhone wine. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/12/2004   Return to top

Thursday evening 02/12/2004 (TNB)

  • Volnay Les Caillerets 1987 (J.-M. Bouley) Nice colour, strawberry nose, dry, quite savoury with a really good mouthful of fruit. Best with food really but pretty good. Fades a little after an hour or two but still a good ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 02/12/2004   Return to top