The Diary - December 2006
- Champagne 1996 (Alfred Gratien)
Rich vanilla fruit, excellent concentration. Not the last word in elegance and the mousse is a bit coarse - but overall a splendid wine. At least a good
- Chateau Sociando Mallet 1986
Fruitcakey Claret, quite big and robust - seems a little woody at first but returning a day later it's clean, nicely-toned mature wine. Chunky and in the final analysis not that complex, but good.
- Champagne Grande Siecle 1990 (Laurent-Perrier)
Vanillan, lovely mousse, very elegant. Understated class.
- Riesling Furstetum 1996 (A. Mann)
Rich, good riesling character, quite a lot of residual sugar. Good in its way.
- Vina Cubillo 1975 (Tondonia - Lopez de Heredia)
Lovely fresh fruit. Complex, delicate nose. Falls off a bit in the mouth. Opens out with some air and holds up well on returning after the other wines. This is one of their lesser wines - it's a credit to the property.
- Rioja 1970 Vina Lanciano (Bodegas Lan)
Rich, lively, smoky, very nice. Less fine than the Cubillo but richer. (From a half.)
- Leoville Barton 1990
Inky, tannic, plummy, a bit baked. Lovely secondary characters merging.
- Pichon Baron 1990
Suaver, rounder, suggestive of Pomerol. Pure and a touch higher-toned than the Barton. Not ready but a bit shorter-term too. Top
- Pichon Lalande 1983
Terribly refined, mature Claret. Great breed and balance. I sometimes find Pichon just a little too suave and lacking edge for my tastes, but this is a super wine.
- Brunello 1977 (Il Poggione)
Nice old nose. A touch of tea - good but doesn't develop on the palate. Creamy vanilla. Just a bit rubbery but that becomes less noticeable as it opens in the glass.
- Hermitage 1983 (J-L Chave)
Gamy,mineral yet edgy and unbalanced. Interesting yet also slightly flawed. Possibly a dodgy bottle. Top
- Bonnezeaux 1980 (Chateau de Fesle)
Rich, limey fruit. Young-seeming. Apple finish. Excellent - marred ever so slightly by a raw woody background. Top
- Taylor 1955
A touch pruney and hard - opens up a bit but remains a bit unsatifyingly remote. I would expect more.
- Warre 1963
Fresh, fragrant raspberry nose. Fine, elegany, light palate. Joyfully lovely.
- Chateauneuf-du-Papes Clos des Papes 1998 (Avril)
Elegant as always, silky-testured drinking wine. but I don't feel this has the power for long-term evolution that (say) the 1990 has. Drinking nicely now. Top
- Lafaurie Peyraguey 1986
Drinking (from a half) really beautifully now. A delight.
- Chateau Cadet Piola 1985
I recall being a bit disappointed last time I drank one of these magnums. This one however is delightful, mature, berryish St Emilion. Breed and balance to the fore. Very good drinking. Top
- Barolo Rocche 1999 (Accomasso)
Fragrant nose with a tar underlay. High-toned, pure yet quite gutsy tannins too. Persistent on the finish with chocolatey notes. It's pretty tightly wound still and a bit enigmatic. My guess is a bare
- Nebbiolo Langhe Il Balordo 2004 (Giovanni Canonica)
Very pure, high-toned yet silky fruit. Somewhat in the Burgundian style but with roses, tar and chocolate and noticable but ripe Nebbiolo tannins. On the other hand it has that floral scentedness of proper old-fashioned Bordeaux. Doubtless worth keeping a few years but it is so well-made it is a pleasure to drink now. Top (I can't wait to try his Barolo.)
- Pol Roger White Foil NV
Yeasty, quite meaty. Rich. Needs a few years. I haven't had a recently purchased bottle of Pol for a while and was surprised by its weight. Good though.
- Auru 2001 (Quinta do Portal)
Lovely sous-bois and blackberry nose, silky fruit, ripe (in the modern style) with succulent, tannins. Rather classy in a fairly modern way. (A quick thrash onGoogle reveals this one some sort of IWC trophy - I can understand that.) Not entirely my sort of thing but still perhaps worth a bare
- Latour a Pomerol 1983
Iodine and iron, rich, decadent, fleshy. Fruitcake fruit. Good, and time to drink. Bare
- Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Sous Les Puits 1996 (J-C Bachelet)
Tight acidity, fine and intense. I've been a bit up-and-down about this wine but I'm sure I like this bottle. Perhaps even
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Chenevottes 1997 (Marc Morey)
Quite big, a touch flabby, rather evolved and vegetal. I'm not sure what combination of producer, vintage and possibly premature oxidation accounts for this, being unfamiliar with the first two factors in this case. Still pretty drinkable. Bare
- Volnay 1er cru Clos des Ducs 1997 (d'Angerville)
Lightweight, feminine and fragrant although with quite a hard core running through it that suggests drinking with food. Modest acidity, and so I am not sure how long this is for keeping. Very pleasant but without real distinction at the highest level. Top
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Caillerets 2004 (P. Pillot)
Not very striking.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Chenevottes 2003 (M. Morey)
Herby nose, quite tight and nicely balanced for the vintage.
- Gevrey Chambertin En Pallud 1996 (Maume)
Juicy, succulent, a touch of minerality. Very good: drinking but will probably improve a bit yet.
- Beaune 1er cru Greves 2000 (Lafarge)
An attractive combionation of piquant high-toned fruit with a lovely rounded ripeness. Very good - for drinking over the next few years, I think. Top
- Macon Cuvee Tradition 1999
(Domaine de la Bon Gran) Rather rich, touch of botrytis probably, pretty good.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Les Embrazees 1996 (B. Morey)
Really nice - quite forward as the producers wines tend to be, quite big but in balance. No hint of the problems of the vintage. Top
- Chambolle Musigny 1er cru Les Baudes 2000 (H. Lignier)
The second bottle of H. Lignier 1er cru from this vintage I have tried recently. This is so pure, digestible and generally fine, but understated - it doesn't shout and it doesn't have a particular note of individuality for me. Yet it is a complete wine that I like a lot. Beginning to drink well, but not a long-haul wine. Top
- Trittenheimer Apotheke Auslese 1988 (Grans-Fassien)
Notably off-dry still, very fresh with rounded, attractive fruit. Good.
- Champagne Grand Reserve NV (Gosset)
Lovely apple and cream nose, slightly honied and a touch of yeast. Fine mousse too. Lovely. A 93/94/95 blend I believe. Top
- Rioja Gran Reserva 904 1985 (La Rioja Alta)
That old Rioja nose of nuts and mushrooms and something slightly medical - lovely. Very fresh, nicely rounded fruit. Ultimately I suppose not complex enough to be a great wine but rather good. Bare
- Champagne Brut Grand Cru, Cuvee Reservee NV (Launois Pere et Fils)
Good intensity, the fruit has a distinct character: mineral, not fruit-driven, something almost secondary about what is surely primary fruit. Very engaging. Top
- Gewurztraminer Kesseler 1989 (Schlumberger)
Very gentle, completely resolved, pleasantly enjoyable.
- Soave La Rocca 2002 (Pieropan)
All very lovely, but despite the deftness of the touch of new barriques, I feel it lacks the crystaline purity of his other wines.
- Bandol blanc 2001 (Tempier)
An enigma: that slightly "flat" souuthern-French palate, but with air an engaging herby nose. Is it going anywhere? I'm not sure. Top
- Maury 15 year-old (Mas Amiel)
Lovely cherry fruit. Very attractive.
- Shiraz 2003 (Cederberg)
Good Syrah character, fruit-driven but not to the point of undrinkability. Pleasant. Scrapes
- Coteaux du Layon, Les Quatres Villages 2004 (Jo Pithon)
Substantial and weighty, notable botrytis, interesting palate but perhaps tending towards rustic. This was just a taste -I'd be interested to try more.
- Chateau Lafon Rochet 1990
Fruit still has a lot of primary blackcurrant but the structure seems resolved so I guess this is for drinking now. Creamy, some cigar-box, all in all attractive fruit, but a little too undemanding to rate a really high score. Top
- Erbacher Marcobrunn Spatlese trocken 2001 (Schloss Reinharthausen)
I guess I could get used to this trocken business: this has good fruit and is bone-dry without being harsh. Still fairly moderate alcohol at 12%, the overall balance is good. A year or two short of its peak, I suspect.
- Barbera d'asti Ceppi Storici 2003 (Araldici)
Blackberry fruit, some oak I think - quite tannic perhaps from the oak. Modern-style.
- Langhe Quartetto 2000 (A. Conterno)
An interesting expression of the Langhe, if with a modern tinge of new oak. Everything Conterno makes iselegan and drinkable and this is no exception. On the other hand I can't feel it is ultimately distinguished in the way that his Barolos are. A mix of four grape varietoes including Nebbiolo. Bare
- Gressier Grand Poujeaux 1982
Round berry fruit, quite a lot of blackcurrant, some tobacco. Very nice mature Claret, if tending slightly towards the rustic - lacks the fineness of a top wine. Good though.
- Soave Classico Monte Fiorentine 2005 (Ca Rugate)
Quite spritzy initially but the next day that had dissipated and the honeysuckle Soave charcter and pure fruit very evident. Good length too. Top
- Champagne Blanc-de-blancs Grand Cru Brut, Cuvee Speciale NV (A. Jacquart)
This is better every time I try it - class will out and I think it is Le Mesnil fruit that is giving it such minerality and complexity. Delicious.
- Tokay Pinot Gris Vieilles Vignes 1994 (A. Mann)
My last bottle of this. It's really a relaxed, fully mature, attractive and balanced wine. Enough complexity to be interesting and the primary fruit that I remember being rather excessive years ago is now nicely in balance. Very good. I notice in passing that it is a relativel modest 12.5% alcohol.
- Dolcetto d'Alba Rocchettevino La Pria 2001 (Accomasso)
Very classy, pure, blackberry and apple fruit. Demanding but ripe tannins, very succulent. Really good Dolcetto.
- Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese GK Fuder 09, 2002 (F. Haag)
Spritzy from dissolved CO2 I guess. Excellent richness of fruit, intensity and length. Nice sweetness balanced by really good acidity. At least
- Erdener Treppchen Spatlese 1990 (Monchhof - Eymael)
Lovely bright appetising Mosel wine, yet with a rich fruitiness. Very attractive. Top
- Domaine de Trevallon 1992
The second time I've tried this recently. It's an Ozzie-like Cabernet Syrah blend but with a very unozzie dry palate. Seems to get better the longer it is open. Fine wine.
- Palo Cortado Regente (Sanchez Romate)
A dry dark Oloroso-like palate - what a P.C. ought to have I guess but I often find them more Amontillado there too as well as on the nose. Rather good. 15 years old according to their web site. Top