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Diary index

27/02/1998 (RJB)

Italy and Spain at OFW 25/02/1998 (TNB)

An Argentine Selection 25/02/1998 (RJB)

Wine group at MM 23/02/1998 (TNB)

22/02/1998 (TNB)

22/02/1998 (RJB)

19/02/1998 (RJB)

1996 Burgundies at J&B 17/02/1998 (TNB)

15/02/1998 (RJB)

15/02/1998 (TNB)

Dinner at MD's, with DL. 12/02/1998 (TNB)

95 Claret at OFW Glasgow 09/02/1998 (TNB)

Tuscany tasting by Valvona & Crolla 08/02/1998 (TNB)

05/02/1998 (TNB)

04/02/1998 (TNB)

A Portuguese selection 04/02/1998 (RJB)

The Diary - February 1998

27/02/1998 (RJB)

  • Crozes Hermitage 1995, Caves de Tain L'Hermitage Reasonable, early drinking Crozes with sweetish leathery flavours and a slight coarseness. **
  • Maglieri Shiraz 1995, McLaren Vale Is it me, or is there a trend to Oz Shiraz becoming less sweet and more structured? This wine has good balance and some of the usual chocolatey, cherry fruit, but it also has more refined, Rhonish flavours waiting to emerge. **(*)
  • Meursault 1984, Jean Germain The colour (almost amber) suggests the wine is completely passed it. However, a firm acidity has held it together better than one might expect and the wine has a musty honeyed flavour. This Chardonnay has behaved more like a Riesling. * just
  • Beaune-Boucherottes 1988, Louis Jadot From a half. This was almost New Worldy when young, but it has now settled down into a respectable Pinot - probably at peak. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/02/1998   Return to top

Italy and Spain at OFW 25/02/1998 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 25/02/1998   Return to top

An Argentine Selection 25/02/1998 (RJB)

Argentina is (again!) being widely proclaimed as the new Chile, probably because it's in South America and the two countries are, well, sort of close together. To my mind, however, Argentina would be better described as the new Iberia: similar grape varieties are used and similarly styled wines produced.

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 25/02/1998   Return to top

Wine group at MM 23/02/1998 (TNB)

  • Crozes Hermitage, Mule Blanche 1995 (Jaboulet) Quite oily, seems relatively evolved. Not very exciting. *
  • Michelton III, 1995 Quite citric, fairly acidic (with a slightly contrived feeling). Oaky, new world style. *
  • Ch La Grave 1996 Pale, dry, relatively thin Graves. *
  • La Tourte des Graves 1996 Refined Sauv blanc flavours. Richer and generally more exciting than the previous wine: decent basic Graves. **
  • Vieux Ch Gaubert 1996 Good fruit with nicely integrated oak. A bargain from the Wine Society. **
  • Ch L'Hospital 1995 Decent, but a bit flat beside the previous wine. Fairly low acidity: drink soonish. **
  • Ch Mazeris 1988 Very "confectionary" nose at first, but settles down as a good medium-weight, sweet-fruited claret. **
  • Ch Poujeaux 1988 Quite dry, slightly cedary, pretty good. **
  • Branaire Ducru 1985 Slightly woody (some dispute as to what sort of fault this might be, or even if it was a fault). Quite decent underneath, but no grEat weight. Not Rated
  • Vasse Felix Cab Sauv 1985 The ringer in the claret flight that nobody spotted: in fact a very Bordeauxish, pencily, cedary wine with good weight. Fruit just slightly on the leafy side. The best Oz Cab Sauv (at least in a classical style) that I can remember for a long while. ***
  • Ch. Mazeris 1985 Fruitcakey, lightish, dry - perhaps drying out a bit. **
  • Vin Santo 1979 (Villa Vetrice) Delightful balanced nutty dessert wine. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/02/1998   Return to top

22/02/1998 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/02/1998   Return to top

22/02/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/02/1998   Return to top

19/02/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/02/1998   Return to top

1996 Burgundies at J&B 17/02/1998 (TNB)

These were cask samples, a selection from the major showing a day or two earlier in London. It is not clear their conditions were all 100% reliable, so I will not attempt a wine-by-wine analysis.

There were not an enormous number of whites on show, but what there were looked pretty seriously good - in line with the very high opinion that many commentators seem to have.

The reds had good fruit, seemingly very healthy and a nice structure. Serious wines with good aging potential.

Grower by grower:

  • Suremain/Ch. de Monthelie 1996 Monthelie and 1er cru Sur la Velle seemed pretty good.
  • H. Prudhon 1996 St Aubin 1er Cru Frionnes is a good value.
  • M. Prunier 1996 Didn't sing for me!
  • R. Rollin 1996 Corton Charlemagne long with lovely acidity - tight and elegant. The Pernand-Vergelesses a bit light beside it. The reds quite fine and balanced, particularly the Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru, Ile de Vergelesses.
  • Tollot-Beaut 1996 Some real "Beauts" here as they say in Oz. This estate seems to be outperforming its reputation (which isn't bad anyway). Chorey Les Beaune is good value basic, Savigny 1er Cru Les Lavieres quite good, Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Fournieres excellent, Beaune Greves pretty good too. (A slightly toffeed but basically sound Bourgogne blanc was quite good too.)
  • Coste-Caumartin 1996 Showed a lot of basic stuff. The Pommard 1er cru Boucherottes was OK.
  • J-N. Gagnard 1996 That oaky, traditional style. Three Premier cru Chassagne: Masures the cheapest and a little dull; Caillerets weightier - typical Gagnard; Chenevottes longest and very serious, although it seemed to have a streak of bitterness in the finish to me (nobody else seemed to find this problem).
  • Sauzet 1996 Very impressive: even the vilage Puligny seemd to have genuine oily-hazelnut character. Champ canet long refined and delicious.
  • Marquis D'Angerville 1996 Another non-singer, at least for me.
  • Bruno Clair 1996 A slightly dull line up of sound wines. Even the Savigny Dominode (often said to be his best wine) didn't really stand out.
  • R. Chevillon 1996 Three Premier Cru Nuits St Georges, all large-framed, rustic, even Pommard-like, gutsy, rich wines. Chaignots good, Les Cailles perhaps a shade better. Les Pruliers a shade tougher - some thought a very slightly flawed sample. Good wines.
  • Ghislaine Barthod 1996 The basic Bourgogne from this estate was excellent in 88, but has not been quite the same since. The village Chambolle Musigny was a bit light too, but the 1er Cru les Veroilles was a nice refined wine.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/02/1998   Return to top

15/02/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/02/1998   Return to top

15/02/1998 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/02/1998   Return to top

Dinner at MD's, with DL. 12/02/1998 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/02/1998   Return to top

95 Claret at OFW Glasgow 09/02/1998 (TNB)

I haven't tasted more than an occasional young bordeaux for a while, and not had a proper look at a single vintage since the 1990's. I always find it difficult to assess since I find they fill out, and often seem a bit thin early on. My general impression though is that 95 is a good vintage, probably not a great vintage. Good colour (generally), ripe and quite a lot of reasonably ripe tannins. A lot of solid wines heading for thre stars, with the Lagrange and Clerc-Milon looking as good as the more expensive bottles.
  • Talbot 1995 Pure elegant scented raspberry fruit. Nice, but a shade light on the palate. (Also a little pale towards the rim.) **(*)
  • Lagrange 1995 Dense colour, deep fruity nose with a good dose of oak and hints of lead pencily complexity. Rather good. **(*) (16.99)
  • Clerc Milon 1995 A shade lighter than Lagrange, but very well-bred. Nice balance. **(*) (18.99)
  • Lynch Bages 1995 Slightly higher toned than Clerc-Milon, a bit more evolved and a shade lighter. Good, but not a great L-B. **(*) (24.99)
  • Palmer 1995 Dumb, slightly raisiny fruit. Some admired its concentration and smooth roundness. I'm not sure this is the best Palmer. **(*) (26.99)
  • Bourgneuf 1995 Nice big fruitcakey Pomerol, but finishes a bit shorter than one might hope. Early maturing. **
  • Petit Village 1995 One bottle clearly corked. Had a small taste of the other - seemed goodish. *** (28.99)
  • La Couspaude 1995 Chestnut colour like old-fashioned Brunello - everybody was guessing this was an 83. (We knew there was an older wine in the line-up.) Quite pleasant in a mushroomy/leathery way, but a very odd state for a young claret to be in! I fear for its future! * (18.99)
  • Grande Mayne 1995 Elegant, balanced, good weight. Not quite what I was expecting, but good. *** (24.99)
  • Troplong Mondot 1995 Inky colour, refined nose, quite extracted. Good, but fades on the palate a little faster than I hoped. **(*) (34.99)
And the ringers:
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/02/1998   Return to top

Tuscany tasting by Valvona & Crolla 08/02/1998 (TNB)

A pretty impressive selection of wines here, with somepleasant good-value drinking. The 97 vintage, now on the way, seems to be a winner. The growers say the best since 90.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 08/02/1998   Return to top

05/02/1998 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/02/1998   Return to top

04/02/1998 (TNB)

  • Ch. Beaumont 1994 Haut-medoc of a slightly "new-worldy" type. Decent fruit, bit of oak, pretty drinkable. **
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/02/1998   Return to top

A Portuguese selection 04/02/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/02/1998   Return to top