The Diary - January 2002
- Champagne 1988 (Krug)
Rich, pineapple fruit - concentrated but great finesse. Still quite tightly wound - this lives up to its reputation and will be really excellent.
- Rioja Blanco Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva 1962 (Murrieta)
Lovely complex fresh nose, nutty - really stunning. Lemony, mouthwatering, long palate - although the nose is probably the finer feature. A good match for a slice of Foie Gras, if you are in to food and wine matching. Easy
- Batard Montrachet 1962 (Bouchard Aine)
Slightly woody - genteely maderised, pleasant enough old wine, if one is in to that sort of thing.
- Chevalier Montrachet 1962 (Lebegue Bichot)
Very fresh on the nose and palate with a sort of green-pea vegatable component. On the palate, quite strong, characterful - I'm not sure whether it is more animal or mineral. Delicious.
- Beaune Theurons 1962 (Thomas Bassot)
Good healthy colour. Lovely fresh perfumed raspberry redcurrant fruit. Smoky - charred even - a character that runs almost to excess in it. Sweet fruit. In really good nick for an old Beaune. Possibly even
- Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1962 (Rousseau)
Delightful - more mineral than the Beaune - sweet fruit with that high-class Burgundy character that I think of as "metallic" - lovely aetherial wine.
- Chambertin Clos de Beze 1962 (Claire-Dau)
Rather good mature Burgundy - it has a shade more weight (but not more concentration perhaps) but lacks the minerality and complexity of the Rousseau.
- Chateau LaGaffeliere Naudes 1962
(The "Naudes" has been dropped from the name in recent vintages.) Healthy colour. Odd, sophisticated vinegary nose. Difficult wine - scented - quite austere - slightly volatile on the finish too. This could even improve. Hard to assess - I'll settle on
- Chateau Montrose 1962
Quite young-seeming - high acid - iron - quite tough - solid and chunky. Not so appealing right now.
- Chateau Calon Segur 1962
Quite berryish, chocolate, quite structured too but a little more generous than the Montrose. Very nice balanced old Claret. Scrapes (From a magnum)
- Lynch Bages 1962
- Leoville-Poyferre 1962
Moderate weight - lovely savoury, scented claret. Classical and very enjoyable. Always fun to enjoy a wine that Mr Parker rates at 67/100. Possibly even
- Barolo 1962 (Marchesi di Barolo)
- Cornas 1962 (Jaboulet)
Oxidised. From a half.
- Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1962 (Deinhard - Peter Prum)
- Chateau Rieussec 1962 (Wine Societ bottling)
Lovely botrytis good fruit. Perhaps not so long - nice, but I am told some other bottlings are better.
- Champagne Brut Reserve (Billecart-Salmon)
Elegant stuff - nicely put together with good balance and fine bubbles.
- Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2001 (Lawson Dry Hills)
Rather thin and non-varietal. Flowery. just
- Escherndorfer Lump Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2000 (Horst Sauer)
Deep wine, but elegant with it. Just off dry and with hints of apricots and peaches and a stony mineral cleanliness - perfect acidity with it.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Deakin Estate)
Reasonably made wine at the cheaper end of the market. Careful use of oak adds to the general pleasantness.
- Rioja Crianza 1998 (Navajas)
Not at all sure about this wine - it seems to be all there, and smoothly fruity with it, but it finishes short and not quite together.
- The Beak Grenache/Shiraz 2000 (Magpie Estate)
Its usual easy drinking, pleasant self. plus
- JSM 1999 (Fox Creek)
Marvellous again - and surely something of a bargain (£14.99) for wine of this class, especially when the previous vintage already seems to be commanding double the price. Lovely structured wine, that is good drinking now, but should improve. It's wonderful what a blend of Shiraz and the two Cabernets can do. plus
- Old Vine Zinfandel 1999 (Seghesio)
Had the Ridge Geyserville 1999 at a parallel tasting recently - this is more fruitily acidic, and more obviously a Zinfandel (even allowing for Geyserville's other varietals). Lovely crushed fruit and blackcurrant leaf nose, with depth of flavours to match.
- Loibner Riesling Beerenauslese 2000 (Knoll)
From a half. Perfectly balanced wine that gives the impression of lightness, but has tremendous depth. A joy to drink. An easy
- Cochemer Goldbaumchen Eiswein 1983 (J. Koll)
Not profound - I think one was still allowed to make Auslese-quality Eiswein in 83. Intense grapefruit flavours and good concentration though. At 10 per cent alcohol this makes ideal sipping as I reinstall all the software on my laptop. Just about
- Vouvray 1989 (Chateaux Gaudrelle)
Approximately demi-sec I would say (I think this property makes just one wine which is drier or sweeter according to the vintage.) Nice mature grass and Summer hay flavours and nice acidity. Very pleasant.
- Savennieres Clos du Papillon 1990 (Baumard)
I have not been impressed by the way this wine has aged - it seems just to have gone a bit flabby and dull at the stage you would hope good Loire Chenin would be coming round to drinking. This is a good producer of sweet wines, but while this was pleasant in its youth it has deteriorated.
- Riesling Herrenberg Kabinett 1998 (Maximin Grunhaus)
Dry, slightly closed at present, lemony, a splendid apperetif at 7.5 per cent alcohol.
- Riesling Steiner Hund 1997 Spatlese (Nikolaihof)
Lemony fruit, bone-dry, quite taught and focussed but a touch of rich more tropical fruit is emerging that bodes well for the future. Good length. Stylish wine. This Austrian wine will probably be a very top three stars in time.
- Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 1993 (Dr. Loosen)
Spicy kerosene honied nose, rich (for spatlese), ripe, sherberty, decent acidity. Quite evolved and forward - for fairly short-term drinking. A good
- Saarburger Rausch Spatlese 1993 (Zilliken)
Rich, herby, nettle-like fruit. Splendid acidity but the whole package will in this vintage be relatively early maturing.
- Erbacher Hohenrain Spatlse 1964 (Lamm-Jung - Deinhard selection)
Fading a little and quiet lightweight but the fruit is still fresh - attractive drinking in a modest way.
- Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 1990 (Trimbach)
Lovely, refined spicy nose that I am reluctant to describe as "kerosene", dry, long, ripe and rich and yet a citric side to the fruit gives it a tightly restrained elegance. I suspect this is just starting to emerge from tightly-wound youthfullness. Excellent.
- Soave Classico Superiore Vigneto du Lot 1998 (Inama)
This makes an interesting pair with the Foscarino below: at first gulp this is more modern, a shade international in style - there is a suggestion of quite a lot of oak and an almost Chardonnay character. After a while though the fruit became more almond and peach-stone, rather fine if still a bit more forward and in-your-face than the Foscarino. Another strong wine but I prefer the restraint of the (slightly cheaper) Foscarino.
- Soave Classico Superiore Vigneti di Foscarino 1998 (Inama)
Gentle honeysuckle nose, intensely honied but restrained palate with a touch of spice from new oak. Indeed, I think there is a bit more oak than one immediately notices. Good length, nice acid, all in all very well-balanced. May even improve a shade. A good
- Falanghina 2000, Taburno (Cantina del Tuburno)
Falanghina is an ancient variety, perhaps responsible (along with the interesting Aglianico) for the "Falernian" revered in Ancient Rome. My New Year's resolution is to get to understand Italian whites a bit better, but this is a bit neutral to my mind while being a pleasant enough dry white.
- Champagne Cordon Rouge NV (Mumm)
Reasonably nice yeasty nose. Big, slightly sweet, slightly clothy palate. A move to a heavier dosage has been going on for a while apparently. No more than
- Sauvignon blanc 2000 (Katnook)
Peach, hints of asparagus, quite "full" on the nose. Lowish acidity - green fruit - potentially a bit flabby. Not for keeping - might go a bit vegetal. A good
- Meursault Premier Cru Charmes 1998 (Baron de la Charriere)
Burnt toast (a touch too much "toasty oak"?), heavy fruit. But the oak is nicely integrated on the palate. Good perhaps, but I am not wild. This is Girarden's "other label". just.
- Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot 1999 (Baron de la Charriere)
Perfumed, vanilla, a hint of dishcloth on the nose (someone said, and I knew what they meant). Lowish acidity, a bit of grapefruit on an otherwise slightly anonymous palate. There's a lot of richness too - perhaps in an awkward phase.
- Beaucastel blanc 2000
Grapey. Full and waxy. Thick texture, lowish acid. Biscuits. Interesting wine - probably rather young.
- Pinot Noir 1999 (Tunnel Hill)
Appley, beetroot, big, gamy, cooked-fruit, in-your-face mouthful. Quite dry. I'm not sure about this. But an interesting bottle of wine at the price (9.99).
- Cotes de Beaune Village 99 (Carillon)
Slightly unripe-seeming, red fruits, very dry, slightly simple. Needs food - awkward finish.
- Clos de Vougeot 1997 (Bertagna)
Refined red fruits. Ripe yet dry, balanced palate.
- Les Cotes Sauvages 1996 (Edmund St John)
Scented, almost white wine character, liquorice, quite soft but dry and balanced. A rather curious balance of tannins though. Slightly hot finish. A combination of stewed fruit and acidity. A good
- Cote-Rotie 1999 (Bonnefond)
Refined, smooth, New worldy sort of character but with some of the "bacon-fat" of the appelation. Round enough, big enough, but a little bit dull.