The three Champagnes consumed on consecutive evenings, the first and third bought in the last month so no 'extra' bottle age - the Jacquesson of unknown source.
- Alfred Gratien Brut NV My first bottle of wine for 26 days - much needed! The first taste was rather odd, with oxidative flavours (reminding me of my disappointing sip of Krug earlier in the year). However, these disappeared to leave a well-structured fizz that has potential for further bottle age. An excellent wine to celebrate Emily's arrival. 90
- Jacquesson Perfection Brut Another lovely Champagne (it's best to wet the baby's head in style). Drinking slightly better than the Gratien at present with mineral flavours and good balance. 90
- Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial An easy Champagne without the greeness that Moet can have. Enjoyable, without ever quite matching the previous two wines. One of the best bottles of Moet I've had. 88
- Gevrey Chambertin Clos Prieur 1994, Frederic Esmon Good clean ready-to-drink Pinot. 85
- Zinfandel 1994 Zeigler Vineyard, Joseph Swann Leathery with some menthol. Interesting wine in a somewhat odd style. 88
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/12/1996 Return to top
- Bollinger NV Brut Typical Bolly, good fruit and heavyweight.
- Riesling 87 (Petaluma) Alive, spicy, but otherwise no great complexity. Not bad.
- Botrytised Riesling 88, Gold Capsule (Petaluma) Limey, but secondry characteristics overtaking fruit. Excellent BA weight with good acidity. Perhaps not going to improve though?
- Keyneton Estate 94 (Henschke) From a half. Deep concentrated fruit, wrapped around and almost obscuring excellent structure. What "Oz claret" ought to be like!
- Shiraz 94 (Mt. Langi) Hard to obtain in Oz. Rhone-like berry fruits, but softer (although not excessively so). Spicy and quite long, but not so complex perhaps. Lacks the taughtness to be great, but nice. 89.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/12/1996 Return to top
- Ch. Tahbilk Shiraz 91 Well-mannered cherry/blackberry shiraz. Well structured, but a bit simple in the end.
- Croser 88 Not aged very gracefully, at least in the finish. It was a half though.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/12/1996 Return to top
Oz 20/12/1996 (TNB)
- Show reserve riesling DWI16 1979 (Leo Buring) Petrolly, dry and austere. Most of the time it seemd to be drying out, but occasionally it hinted at more. Hard to assess.
- Ch. Tahbilk Cab Sauv Bin 71 1984 Blackcurrenty and toasty. Opened up in the glass. Quite impressive. 89.
- Seppelts Show reserve Oloroso Sherry Nicely balanced.
- Geisen Sauv Blanc 96 (NZ) Goosberry and melons. Not the usual NZ self-parody. Quite long and pretty good. 87.
- Chardonnay 90 (Petaluma) Bags of oak, but there is a solid core of ripe fruit lurking. May be OTT, but perhaps just needs time?
- Botrytised riesling 92, Petaluma (Red Capsule) Lacks the last word in concentration, but decent acidity (for once in an OZ sweety) and lovely long limey fruit. 90.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 20/12/1996 Return to top
in Oz 17/12/1996 (TNB)
- Ch. Tahbilk Shiraz 93 Classy rhonelike flavours. Will try again.
- Merlot Reserve 95 (Richard Hamilton) Fruity, structured, quite spicy, slightly hot finish. Not bad.
- Cab Sauv 94 (Pewsey Vale) Rather vegetal. Not keen.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/12/1996 Return to top
OFW Xmas tasting 12/12/1996 (TNB)
- Billecart-Salmon 89 Tight, apply pinot flavours, elegant. More impressed with this than last time. 90.
- Puligny-M Champ-Canet 94 (Carillon) New worldish banana and pineapple flavours. Large and a bit brash. Not my style. 86.
- Riesling Jubilee 88 (Hugel) Spicy riesling, quite austere and ageworthy in the Hugel style. 88.
- Carneros Pinot Noir 93 (Mondavi) Not bad (for New World pinot). Rather boiled-sweety. 83.
- Dom de Chevalier 88 (red) Nice balanced claret. Smokey. A bit less forthcoming than I remember - perhaps closing up a bit. Good though! 90.
- Pahlmeyer Proprietry Red 93 (Napa) Blackcurrents surrounded by plum and blackberry. Lots of structure submerged in ripe (mint-free) fruit. Rather exciting, and the best Californian red I've had for a while. 91.
- The Armagh 93 (Jim Barry) Overcame my anti-Barry prejudice with astonishing concentration and individual flavours. Very serious. 90.
- Noble One 93 (de Bertoli) Cloying glass of botrytis. 85.
- Campbells Old Rutherglen Muscat Brown sugar and lots of figs. Nice example. 87.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/12/1996 Return to top
CU Blind tasting team 11/12/1996 (RJB)
- Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 1995, Stellenbosch Another impressive effort from Thelema. Clean Loire style fruit with a bit more oomph. A top Sauv Blanc. 87
- Durkheimer Fronhof Riesling Kabinet 1994, Kurt Darting Sulphury nose to start with, but this disappeared with swirling. Could almost be a spatlese, ripe fruit but lacking zip. 85
- Tokay Pinot Gris 1994, Pierre Frick OK, but lacking concentration and class. Bready. 84
- Cotes du Rhone 1994, Vendange Clavelle, Laurent Brusset Made from Viognier, but with this much bound sulphur who cares!
- Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay 1993 Again showing its class, though perhaps a bit subdued. 91
- Aldridge Estate 1995 Chardonnay, SE Australia Clean oak juice. 82
- Dolcetto d'Alba 1994, Gianni Gagliardo Sweet bread yeast nose, not dissimilar to walking through a beery pub the morning after. Dull wine, lacking fruit but with Italian acidity. 83
- Uiterwyk Pinotage 1992 Dull and earthy and jammy. 84
- Savigny-les-Beaunes 1986, Reine Pedanque Corked (which together with its being an '86 Burgundy made it quite a mouthful).
- Ch. Haut Faugeres 1990 good colour and developing flavours. Colour would suggest a better concentration than it actually seemed to have. 87
- Cornas 1986, Jaboulet-Aine Pretty good but with a touch of volatility showing through. Classic mature Northern Rhone nose. 88
- Rothbury Estate, Mudgee Estate Merlot 1993 Typical Oz red with sweet oak dominance. Difficult to pick out the fruit element (though it is there). Perhaps a bit more elegant than a Shiraz would have been. Unsure about the quality. 88?
- Clos de Vougeot 1983, Charles Vienot Wine like this comes only from Jerez. Heavily oxidised and stinky (and from a college cellar I believe). The '86 Savigny was more drinkable. I'm not sure that it even merits the 50 points for turning up.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/12/1996 Return to top
- Gewurtz Steingrubler VT 94 (A. Mann) Rich fruit, lychees and rose-petals, rather good length. Near pudding-wine sweetness, with good acidity. 92 (50 cl bottles -- OFW, 15 quid approx)
- Domaine Bon Gran 89 (Thevenet) Large stylish chardonnay. Close attention required to convince oneself this is distinguishable from a top Puligny or similar!
- Barolo Cannubi Boschis 92 (Sandrone) Very un-nebiollo. Good colour density, notable (but well-integrated) vanilla oak. Concentrated fruit, but no obvious varietal characteristic. Tannins there when you look, but not intrusive. Probably for earlyish drinking. A class act in an iffy vintage, but so atypical. 89 (?+)
- Diedesheimer Hohenmorgen Auslese 89 (Bassermann-Jordan) Petrolly in a slightly woody way (the way that gives it a bad name). More or less kabinet dryness. Austere. I'm not very keen. 83.
- Roederer NV Been in cellar six years. Lovely eveolved biscuity chardonnay notes. Roederer does keep well! 91.
- Moet & Chandon NV Glass at theatre. Seemed very green. Is Moet not giving enough bottle age?
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/12/1996 Return to top
CU Tasting Team 01/12/1996 (RJB)
- Teroldego Rotaliano 1995 Commercial - carbonic maceration. 78
- Pinotage 1996 Diemersdal Earthy, and with a touch of oxidation. 80
- Saint Aubin 1989, Jadot A bit woody and drying out. Probably quite pleasant a few years back. 82
- Chateau Sargent 1990, Lalande-de-Pomerol Mature, dying claret with a vegetal edge and little charm. 80
- Chateau de Remejeune 1994, Genevriers On the whole a fairly well made Cotes-du-Rhone. Stalky and floral on the nose, with good acidity and tannins. 85
- Hardy's Bankside Shiraz 1993 Sweet American oak, but rather lacking concentration. 83
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 01/12/1996 Return to top