Fine Wine Diary The Bailey brothers have now tasted 12016 wines in 21 years 11 months and 10 days
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Diary index

31/01/1998 (RJB)

Wine group dinner 31/01/1998 (TNB)

29/01/1998 (TNB)

28/01/1998 (TNB)

28/01/1998 (RJB)

25/01/1998 (RJB)

22/01/1998 (TNB)

Chardonnay and Zinfandel, Gang of Six 22/01/1998 (RJB)

21/01/1998 (RJB)

18/01/1998 (RJB)

18/01/1998 (TNB)

14/01/1998 (RJB)

11/01/1998 (RJB)

Dinner at EMcC's, with DL, ZM 10/01/1998 (TNB)

07/01/1998 (RJB)

04/01/1998 (RJB)

The Diary - January 1998

31/01/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/01/1998   Return to top

Wine group dinner 31/01/1998 (TNB)

  • R de Ruinart 1982 Drinking well - nicely maturing fizz. (First of two magnums was slightly woody - maybe slightly corked.) For the good one: ***
  • Pernand Vergeleses, Ile de Vergeleses 1988 (Rollin) Young seeming, and made in an old-fashioned demanding style. Quite good. At least a good **
  • Winninger Uhlen 1993 Spatlese, Freiherr von Heddesdorf I wasn't really attending, but seemed a promising young riesling. At least *(*)
  • Chateau Cissac 1970 Very young looking, but having got over that, it was a bit of an empty shell. Kept alive by acidity mainly. Possibly still worth **
  • Cadet Piola 1985 Not very 85: quite austere and structured. Decent, but one could ask for more fruit. I worry that it is drying out. From a magnum. **
  • Suduirat 1983 Big fruity nose. In the mouth, refined, elegant, but surprisingly dry and not so persistent. Almost an aperitif wine. ***
  • Sandeman 1980 Elegant, lightweight, mature port. Pleasant rather than exceptional. ***
  • Sandeman 1963 Surprisingly similar to the 80! (Hope there wasn't a decanter mix-up!) I should try this again soe time. ***
  • Champagne Grand Cuve (Krug) Quite a lot of bottle age, (not actually known how much), fine, mature flavours hinting at maderisation. Excellent lively but refined mousse. ****
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/01/1998   Return to top

29/01/1998 (TNB)

  • Domaine de L'Hortus 1991 (Languedoc) I remember this a few years ago as quite jammy, almost boiled sweets. Now coming round to drinking well. Balanced, with flavours of warm climate herbs. A good **
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/01/1998   Return to top

28/01/1998 (TNB)

  • Barbera 1996 (A. Oberto) Not as exciting as the 95 Gaida Barbera from this producer tasted recently. Pretty basic, but correct. *
  • Dolecetta 1996 (A. Oberto) Correct enough, but lacking excitement. *
  • 1920 Shiraz 1993 (Baileys) Big, structured, Ozzy shiraz. Probably too ripe and not fine enough to age very interestingly. *
  • Bollinger Brut Appley, autolytic, weighty, probably needs a bit more time in bottle although I wouldn't criticise it for being released too early. Good stuff. ***
  • Mercurey Crois Jacquelet 1990 (Faively) I must have liked this when I bought a few bottles a couple of years ago. It's now quite smoky (very charred barrels?), austere, and while there is still fruit it is a bit charmless. I'm not convinced this is going anywhere. For now, *
  • Cote Rotie 1989 (B. Burgaud) Very weighty and structured, needs a few more years in bottle - at the moment it seems a bit closed. Very good, but it doesn't seem terribly typical (no violets and bacon fat) at least at the moment. **(*)
  • Le Grotte, Vermentino di Sardegno 1996 (Mauritania) A Sardinian white seemed at least a novelty from the wine list, but a taste revealed all: we had fooled ourselves into buying an Italian white wine! The sort of thing that causes enthusiastic salesmen (who seem to feel compelled to put one or two whites at the beginning of a tasting of proper Italian reds) to start talking about how Italians don't like their whites to be too assertive, in case they compete with the taste of the food. This one would be hard pushed to compete with the mineral water. Clean, correct and featureless. No Stars
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/01/1998   Return to top

28/01/1998 (RJB)

Eight Spanish wines, the first seven from Noel Young Wines, the last from Oddbin Fine Wines

  • Albor 1996,Campo Viejo, Rioja (white) (3.99) Clean, fresh bananas - could be any grape variety from anywhere in the world when wine is made in this modern way. No Stars
  • Basa 1996, Rueda (4.39) Citrus fruits and melons (say the bells of St Clement's). Modern style, but at least it has some character and varietal overtones. *
  • Baso 1996, Navarra (4.39) A goodish Garnacha based wine, but is this really the same as the 'Alma' that Parker raves about? *
  • Remelluri 1996, Rioja (10.99) Good (perhaps very good) wine, with well integrated new oak and charming Tempranillo strawberry flavours. Should age well, but I would like to try it again before committing myself to just how good it is. **(*) plus?
  • Onix 1996, Priorat (6.99) The second time I've had this wine, and it still bears little resemblance to Parker's tasting note for it. This has subdued fruit and feels a bit heavy, plodding and lacking. *(*)
  • Abadia Retuerta Primicia 1996, Sardon de Duero (6.49) 60% Tempranillo, 20% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Delightful soft, easy, juicy wine. For drinking now (although it could do with a few months to open out a touch more). ***
  • Abadia Retuerta Rivola 1996, Sardon de Duero (7.99) 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unlike the above (I think), this has some new oak. Good smoky, cherry and cassis - soft but with structure. **(*)
  • Oloroso Viejo Dulce Solera 1842, Valdespino (8.49) Complex nose of nuts, treacle and lemons - similar (almost too much, in fact) on the palate, with a fine acidity. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/01/1998   Return to top

25/01/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 25/01/1998   Return to top

22/01/1998 (TNB)

  • Giada Barbera d'Alba 1995 (A. Oberto) Good concentrated fruit, but a rather flashy use of oak. It's more or less integrated, and it's a good wine. One wonders if there is an element of chasing Parker points here. Still, *** (Oddbins Fine Wine - about 13 pounds.)
Five E. Lustau sherries, tasted in passing at OFW: All at 20 pounds, except the slightly less interesting interesting Oloroso at about 13.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/01/1998   Return to top

Chardonnay and Zinfandel, Gang of Six 22/01/1998 (RJB)

Not a good evening for Burgundy! All wines tasted blind.

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/01/1998   Return to top

21/01/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/01/1998   Return to top

18/01/1998 (RJB)

  • Syrah 1988, Luigi Bosca, Mendoza This has lost the zingy fruit it had a couple of years back, and initially I thought it was fading quite seriously. However, with a bit of warmth it opened out to reveal its gently maturing fruit. It just goes to show how important getting the right temperature is. **
  • Meursault 1988, Jean Germain This has lost some of its austerity and is beginning to show its age. It will be interesting to see whether it pulls round, or is now in a slow decline. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/01/1998   Return to top

18/01/1998 (TNB)

  • St Aubin 1er Cru Perrieres 1990 (Prudhon) Very pleasantly toffeed nose (not a character I always like), evolved chardonnay fruit. Good, but probably not going anywhere now. (Confirmed by the way it collapsed into a dull vegetal wine overnight.) ***
  • Redoma 1991 (Niepoort) Structured, gutsy wine, very drinkable and yet still needs time. It has a bitter streak late on the palate, which I'm a bit unsure about. **(*)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/01/1998   Return to top

14/01/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 14/01/1998   Return to top

11/01/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/01/1998   Return to top

Dinner at EMcC's, with DL, ZM 10/01/1998 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/01/1998   Return to top

07/01/1998 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/01/1998   Return to top

04/01/1998 (RJB)

  • Champagne Michel Loriot Brut The first drink of 1998 (actually some Armagnac 18 hours earlier, but that doesn't really count). Good medium-weight fizz. Apples and honey. **
  • Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel Contra Costa County 1995 Spicey, but also lightly toffeed (not something I really like in a wine). *
  • Muscat de Rivesaltes 1996, Chapoutier From a half. Good Muscat with a candied orange nose and some lees flavours. ***
  • Ridge 1995 Lytton Springs Ridge really do make good wine, although this isn't up to the standard of the Geyserville. It should age well. **(*) perhaps more
  • Bailey's Classic Style Shiraz 1986 Part of the joy of wine tasting are the surprises that it throws up. A couple of years back I had this and it was deeply disappointing and I've been wondering what to do with my remaining bottle since. Well, I wish I had left it longer because it is beginning to drink beautifully. Rather like a gutsy, meaty Rhone in style with a violet fragrance emerging. Before tasting this I simply wouldn't have believed this wine could be this good. If anyone has some of this, then I would suggest keeping it for a few more years yet. ***(*)
  • Jekel Vineyards 1994 Sanctuary Cabernet Sauvignon , Monterey County Reasonably good, slightly vegetal wine. **
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/01/1998   Return to top