Dinner with DL, EMcC, ZM at St Bernard's Crescent 28/01/1997 (TNB)
- Wachenheimer Gerumpel Spatlese 83 (Burklin-Wolf) Nice structure -- just entering maturity, well balanced.
- Hermitage blanc 86 (Chave) Gloriously honeyed minerally wine. Drinking beautifully.
- Barabaresco Riserva 58 (Borgogno) Nice rose-petal nose, fruit holding well, but not quite as good in the mouh as the nose promises.
- Le Pergole Torte 83 (Monte Vetine) Classy sangiovese supertuscan with lovely integrated oak. Has years in it. 91.
- Rayas 86 Very dissapointing - tired farmyardy flavours over sweet fruit. Not good.
- Cornas 71 (Clape) Grassy, metallic, not at all pleasant. (From a batch of DL's which has shown much bottle variation.)
- La Lagune 78 Young seeming round fruitcakey merlot. Very nice claret.
- Leoville Barton 75 Dry, meduium weight, but nicely balanced. Still going strong.
- Bastor Lamontagne 88 From a half, mainly for cooking. Good fruit, but not very Sauterney!
- Clos des Ortinieres, Dom Ambinos, Coteaux de Layon 76 Pleasant botrytised old loire, a bit one-dimensional and shortish in the finish.
- Champagne NV (Bruno Paillard) Bottled may 96, but seemed to be overlayed with a touch of maderisation. Underneath, lightweight elegant champagne. Bad storage?
- Gewurtz Furstentum 90 VT (P. Blanck) From a half, an honest VT wine, lacking any real "zip".
- Lamaione 93 (Castelgiacondo) Good value supertuscan -- bags of fruitcakey merlot with nicely integrated oak. Impressive length. Better than the 92.
Two white Burgundies tasted beside each other over two nights - the Meo-Camuzet clearly better for present drinking (but also more evolved).
- Bourgognes Hautes-Cotes de Nuits 1993, Clos Saint-Philibert, Meo-Camuzet Hazelnut oil nose, with maturing buttery flavours balanced by firm acidity and oak. Very drinkable. 88
- Bourgogne Blanc 1992, Francois Jobard Austere and green - a fair amount of acidity. Tightly knit, but difficult to know whether there's anything that will unravel. Disappointing on the first night, but signs of more going on, and more structure, on the second night. 83-86
The Three Muscateers Cabernet Tasting 23/01/1997 (RJB)
Tasted blind and scored out of 100 - numbers in brackets indicate position in tasting taken from the average for the three score for each wine. My score after that.
- Cousino Macul Finis Terrae 1993 Gummy oak nose with zingy currant fruit. Good tannin and structure. A touch 'hot' perhaps. I thought it good Californian - the others thought it good Bordeaux (as has also been the case in trade tastings apparently). The best Chillean wine I've had. Difficult to judge its aging potential. (1=) 90
- Brown Brothers Milawa Classic Vintage Release Cabernet Sauvignon 1971 Warm colour with a touch of browning. Very fragrant violets and vanillin nose. A touch too sweet and porty. (3) 88?
- Gruaud Larose 1982 Some maturity in the colour. Gorgeous sweet mushroom and toast - classic '82 nose. Sandy tannins, slightly drying and disappointing on the palate. (1=) 90?
- La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 Youthful blackberry colour. Subdued nose. A touch of oaky volatility - clearly New World. Perhaps a bit wrapped up in itself at the moment. (4) 90
- Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 Thin and undistinguished with some cedarwood. (5) 85
- Chateau Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 1987 Liquorice and gum. Medicinal overtones. Simple cherry flavours. (6) 83
OFW 94 Port samples 22/01/1997 (TNB)
- Martinez 94 Elegant, good acidity,nice cherry fruit.
- Smith Woodhouse 94 Soft, warm berryish, a bit short on acidity.
- Quinta de Crasto 94 Concentrated, but a bit rustic and 1-dimensional
- Niepoort 94 I do like this style -- as the Martinez only more of everything. Excellent.
- Dow 94 Enormous, with liquorice finish. Impressive in its way, but I prefer Niepoort.
- Warre 94 Dow's but toned down. perhaps more elegant? Possibly just a bit weaker. Good.
- Grahams 94 Big, rather sweeter than the others. Impressive.
- Quinta do Vesuvio 94 Prestigious single vinyard from grahams, made in much the same style. Possibly slightly more interesting than Grahams itself.
- Domaine de L'Hortus 1991 Drinking well. Black cherries with leather. 88
- Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge 1987 Hollow and simple - I always seem to be disappointed with Daumas Gassac. Part of the fruit has faded. 83
- Mountadam Chardonnay 1989 OK, but rather monolithic. Soft peach flavours with glycerol - and has lost its agressive butteriness. 84
- Vouvray Sec 1980, A. Foreau Lovely. Grass, honey and apples with cutting, mouth-watering acidity. Probably needs a few more years yet to be at its best. 90
- Chorley les Beaune 88 (Tollot-Beaut) A relief to get some decent pinot after a month in Oz! Pleasant, but unremarkable.
- Tokay Vielle Vignes 94 (Mann) Luscious texture, very long, but not OTT to the extent of Z-H or Schoffit. The mid-palate wateryness seems to have filled out, giving an impressive wine. A little monolithic, but perhaps there is more to come?
- Chianti Classico Riserva 90 (San Leonino) Oddbins invades Italy. Good colour, plenty of structure, good density of fruit. I'm not really grabbed though -- it didn't hold my interest.
- Valpolicella Classico Superiore 90 (Quintarelli) With lunch at V&C - an ideal lunch wine - lightish, but a lovely cherry nose with gamey overtones. A pleasure to drink! 88 (14.95 V&C).
- Cousino Macul Antiguas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 1984 For a cheapish wine, holding up well to twelve years of age. Not so 'rancio' or as concentrated as other vintages. Unexciting, but interesting that its not really showing its age. 83
Round the Barossa 11/01/1997 (TNB)Henschke do really make good wine. Very fine reds, and very sound underrated whites.
- Louis Eden Valley Semillon (Henschke) Long, spicy, good.
- Semillon/sauv blanc 96 (Henschke Also nice.
- Riesling Greens hill 95 (Henschke Fruity, good length.
- Julius Eden Valley riesling 96 (Henschke More austere, and perhaps better than the Lenswood example. Interesting contrast.
- Joseph's Hill Gewurtz 96 (Henschke Quite good (for New world gewurtz).
- Mt Edelstone 94 (Henschke Just released, old viney, raspberries, delicious. Excellent year.
- Abbots prayer 94 (Henschke Slightly leafy but classy claret-like stuff. Worth a try.
Rockfords are producing the usual honest stuff, Charlie Melton sold out except a pleasant grenache. Greenock Creek have some good shiraz also.
- Crozes Hermitage 1991, Alain Graillot OK silky Rhone flavours, but falling apart with some volatility. 84
- Penfolds Clare Estate Chardonnay 1993 Fairly standard buttery Oz Chardonnay. 83
- Savennieres 1985, Domaine de La Bizoliere, Pierre Frain I'm never very sure about this wine. Apple skin, woody nose (that on some wines might be considered a fault). Good acidity. If the cheap corks last, then it may well continue to age well and improve. Good food wine. 85?
- Pinot d'Alsace 1990, Zind-Humbrecht From a half. Lovely, with the residual sugar being balanced by hazelnut and peach flavours. 89
- Chateau Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 1985 Maturing well, with some more time needed for it to peak. Sweet berry fruit with an underlying soft, and softening, tannic backbone. 89
- Petaluma 1986 Chardonnay Loosing the vegetal stage it went through (when I lost faith in it somewhat), Lovely nutty maturing flavours developing, and the acidity more prominent. Time will tell, but I quite like old Chardonnay when it begins to behave like this. 86
At Bridgewater Mill 03/01/1997 (TNB)
- Chardonnay 95 (Bridgewater Mill) Restrained Oz Chardonnay -- not bad.
- Sharefarmers Blend 94 Bordeaux grapes. Excessively leafy fruit. Not very keen.
- Millstone Shiraz 94 Trad Ozzy shiraz - leathery heavyweight. Not bad.
- Croser 94 Quite autolytic, fruity, dry, with fine mousse. Doesn't seem to demand age.
- Riesling 96 (Petaluma) That hybrid Alsace/German style -- quite dry, restrained, but without quite alsace weight. Quite good at about 8 quid a bottle.
- Chardonnay 95 (Petaluma) Croser likes this vintage. Quite quiet and hard to assess at this stage. Are they always like this young?
- Coonawarra 94 (Petaluma) Slightly leafy fruit, warm cabernet in the mouth. Could be quite good.
- Coonawarra 88 (Petaluma) Best slightly older Coonawarra I've had from Petaluma. Good colour, and opened up in the glass to produce some orangy pencil flavours. Quite good, perhaps drinking at best? (I've always been a bit suspicious of how these age - this ones going nicley though.)
- Cab Sauv 92 (Leuwin Estate) Slightly leafy, but quite complex cigar-boxy cabernet flavours. Lacks a bit of mid-palate weight. Not bad!
- Padthaway Noble Riesling 93 (Hardys) Unctious, sweet, not terribly complex, but with enough acidity. Nice.