The Diary - February 1997
- Barbera d'Alba 93 (Sandrone)
Lacks the slightly cheesy nose I remember last time. Just lots of nice blackberry fruit, with good length. Nice food wine. 88
- Alteni di Brassica, Sauv. Blanc 94 (Gaja)
Gooseberry nose, concentrated fruit, New worldish vanillan flavours, but plenty of grip and good length. 87. (22.50)
- Gaja & Rey Chardonnay 94 (Gaja)
Slightly melony - again, New worldy. Good acidity. 89 (44.95)
- Promis Vino de Tavola 93 (Gaja)
Tuscan - 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cab sauv. Freshly sawn planks type of oakyness (seems to be a Gaja speciality). Medium weight - quite dry, austere. 84 (14.65)
- Sitorey 93 Vino de Tavola (Gaja)
100% Barbera. Quite tannic for the grape. Fruity, longish, and again that "planky" edge. 86 (16.94)
- Sito Moresco 92 (Gaja)
85% Nebbiolo, 10% Merlot, 5% Barbera. Another accessible medium priced wine for the restaurant trade. Round fruit, quite a lot of tannins. Good food wine perhaps. 85. (14.95)
- Darmagi Cab Sauv 93 (Gaja)
Good dense colour, slightly leafy blackcurrent fruit. Finish not that strong. Apparantly, not the best vintage. 86
- Barabaresco 93 (Gaja)
Good healthy colour, tar and roses nose, but not forthcoming. Full flavoured, but quite dry. Good length and fruit. 91 (44.95)
- Brunello di Montalcino 90 (Gaja)
Made by previous owners (Gaja purchased this estate in 94. Full fruit, bt a bit one-dimensional perhaps. 87 (36.95)
- Barolo Sperss 91 (Gaja)
Again, good colour and quite long, a bit anonymous, to me at least. 89. (46.75)
- Barbaresco 61 (Gaja)
Amazingly good colour and fruit. Slightly rustic bacon fat, and plenty of floral scents. Is aging very gracefully, but perhaps "very good" more than "great".
- Madiran, Domaine Pichard, 85
Smokey, leafy blackcurrent fruit. Good healthy youngish colour. Quite acidic, not so tannic. Quite pleasant, but not overwhelming. 84.
- Gewurtztraminer Kessler 89 (Schlumberger)
Substantial wine, definitely at least "demi-sec", with bags of rose petal fruit. Finish perhaps seems only moderate because the mid-palate is so strong. Easily mistaken for a VT. Seems ready to drink. 89.
- Champagne 89 Pannier
Co-op champagne from Oddbins -- quite weighty -- really fairly good!
- Pommard Rugiens 87 (Lejeune)
Lovely ripe sweet fruit - rustic rather than elegant - the amazingly "boiled sweet" flavours I remember from a bottle a few years ago have matured into something extremely drinkable. 90.
- Le Pergole Torte 88 (Monte Vertine)
Another vintage of this rather classy Sangiovese supertuscan. Almost honeyed overlay on the first class brambley fruit. Not quite the weight of the 83, but classy. 90.
- Coteaux de Layon 70 (Ravoin-Cesbron)
From the Wine Society - almost dry, honeyed grapefruit. Pleasant but fairly straightforward drinking. 86.
- Wiltinger braune Kupp Riesling Kabinett 1994, Egon Muller
Slight spritz, good acidity but rather unknit flavours. 86
- Vouvray 1995, Jean Dumont
Cheap wine (3.99) with varietal characteristics after the initial dose of acetone. 82
- Richmond Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 1995, Wairu River
Typical vegetal New Zealand Sauv. Blanc. Dull. 81
- Riesling Mandelberg 1994 Bott-Geyl
Odd hammy nose, but palate exhibits some restrained class. I'm unsure about this one, but could be good.
- Grand Ardeche Chardonnay 1995 Louis Latour, Coteaux de l'Ardeche
Classy toasty oak with hints of aniseed. Where's the fruit? 84
- Clos du Val Le Clos Chardonnay 1993
Flabby Napa Chardonnay with little to recommend it. 78
- Chinon Les Garous 1995, Couly-Dutheil
Easy typical Cabernet Franc. 83
- Regnie 1995, Georges Duboeuf
Well made Beaujolais. 84
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1994, Cornacchia
Rose petals and bitter cherries. Good concentration. 88
- Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 1995
American oak nicely balanced with chocolatey and vibrant Shiraz. 86+
- Cornas 1991, Jean-Luc Colombo
Lovely Northern Rhone nose. Silky with gentle newly polished leather and bacon fat aromas. 89
- Chateau Cantemerle 1990
Green Capsicum nose with sweet mature fruit. Enjoyable. 88
- Saint Veran Le Cras 94 (Lasserat)
Honeyed, heavily oaked, quite long, bit macony (or New-worldy). 84.
- Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne 94 (Sauzet)
Austere, hazlenutty, a bit dilute - quite long, but weak in the mid-palate. 86.
- Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 94 (Ramonet)
Some Ramonet gingeryness, but very light. Improved a bit in the glass, but still dissapointing. 83.
- Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne 94 (Sauzet)
Much fuller and longer than the Garenne, if a shade less elegant. I guess the elegance will come. 89.
- Puligny-Montrachet La Garenne 94 (Carillon)
Apricots and peaches up front, but then down hill all the way. 84.
- Batard-Montrachet 94 (Sauzet)
Sawn planks oakyness, but genuine grand cru concentration. Tight and long. Will be excellent. 91.
- Mer Soleil 93
Put in blind. Tropical fruit up front gave it away as New World. Pretty good though. 86.
- Corton-Charlamagne 92 (Bonneau de Matray)
Again blind. Slight sulphury stink gave away that we were back in Burgundy, as did the really great concentration with excellent acidity and balance. Very classy. 93.
- Cru de Coudoulet 1986
Rather hot and lacking fruit - signs of something a bit more interesting underneath, but is it hidden forever? 84
- Chateau Musar 1980
Some liquorice and floral aromas. Simple, mature wine that's not going anywhere (although Musar does have a reputation for coming back from the grave). 85
- Delatite Late Picked Rhine Riesling 1985
Woody petrol, with shades of browning apple. Not as good as previous bottles, but pleasant enough. 85