The Diary - July 2001
- Riesling 2000 (Nepenthe)
Bright but very pale colour. Apricot and peach floral nose. Nearly dry, fresh, decent finish. I don't feel this is going anywhere interesting but it is reasonably good. (8.99)
- Riesling Reserve1995 (Peter Lehmann)
Very evolved kerosene nose. Limey fruit, slightly dull finish. Improves a shade in the glass. I am never convinced by these wines that go really "garage forecourt" petrolly early in their lives.
- Chardonnay Diamond Creek 1997 (Talbott)
In-your-face tropical fruit nose with an odd, sharp musty component. Lots of oak. Fat and vulgar! A fellow taster was spot on tasting blind: "A wine as unbalanced as this is bound to be very expensive." (43.00)
- Chardonnay Vat 47, 1999 (Tyrells)
Ripe melony nose. Pleasant fruit, good acidity. Decent length mand balance. I prefer this to the Talbott wine. (19.99)
- Semillon Vat 1, 1994 (Tyrells)
Attractive nut and grass nose. Lemony, good acidity, not unlike a decent Rioja. Reasonable length. An old-fashioned wine with a modest 11.5 alcohol. Of course this has had some bottle age but I suspect that at any age it was more interesting than the identikit Chardonnays that are so widely produced. Real wine! (19.99)
- Pinot Noir 1999 (Nepenthe)
Moderately deep colour, orange rim. Jammy cassis nose. On return, slightly corked. (12.99)
- Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1998 (Vidal)
Deep colour, rich plummy, berry fruit. Follows through a bit monolithically. Reasonable balance at a reasonable price. (14.99)
- Matthews 1998
Deep, plummy cherry nose. Curious slightly leafy, vegetal palate - but coffee and spices too on return. (27.99)
- Michael Shiraz 1991 (Wynns)
Forward, ripe blackcurrant nose, smoky with perfumed complexity. Bags of fruit but fine too. Tremendous given age. I remember having a flight of top Ozzy 91's a while ago but none were as good as this. A top (29.99)
- Zinfandel Grandpere 1998 (Renwood)
Nutty mushrooms and ripe fruit nose. A luscious, sexy mouthful. It has the appeal of good Burgundy in the hedonistic style in a way that New World Pinot Noir never seems to have: is there a lesson here? (23.99)
- Ribera del Duero Tinto Roble 1999 (Briego)
Pure mulberry fruit, with just enough structure to stop it cloying. Easy drinking wine, very well-made. Top
- Ribera del Duero Crianza 1997 (Briego)
Nice deep fruity nose, lovely silky Burgundian texture. Good length. Top
- Ribera del Duero Crianza 1996 (Briego)
More concentrated than the 97, but quite closed now - reserved - challenging finish. Nice balance.
- Ribera del Duero Reserva 1997 (Briego)
Attractive fruit on the nose but a little thin in mouth - all tannins. I am not sure I don't prefer the Crianza in this vintage. Just
- Ribera del Duero Reserva 1996 (Briego)
Reserved again - quite aggressive tannins - a solid core of fruit but less ripe. A little austere but will probably turn out well in a couple of years.
- Ribera del Duero Reserva 1995 (Briego)
Charred, smoky, fruity nose. Plenty of ripe fruit, but an underlying structure that may well see it improve. A really good drink. Perhaps even
- Ribera del Duero Reserva "Fiel" 1994 (Briego)
Lovely herby, ripe, fruity nose. Complex, mineraly, silky, long. Super. Has a few years of positive evolution. A very good
- Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva 1995 (Briego)
Reserved nose again like a wound up version of the Reservas. A good core of fruit and a long finish but a bit monolithic at present. Hard to assess but I think this will come good:
- Hochheimer Koniginvictoriaberg Auslese 1971 (Pabstmann)
Another rather nice bottle of this from my own cellar.
- Scharzhofberger Spatlese 1989 (E.Muller)
Lovely nettle and maturing riesling nose. Forward (as 89's tend to be) but still only just starting to drink. Long and rather fine.
- Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot 1991 (Raveneau)
Very like the other bottle of this I had recently: characterful and oozing class.
- Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 1991 (Dauvissat-Camus)
Showier, fruitier and with more acidity than the Raveneau wine, slightly less fine too perhaps but still very, very good.
- Colares 1973 (Real Vinicola)
Interesting old Portugese wine: Reasonably fresh but rather rustic on the nose, decent fruit but drying slightly in the finish.
- Corton 1959 (Adolphe Fougeres)
A bit gamey and metallic (in the wrong way): alive, but not really very pleasant. Almost worth a star.
- Vosne Romane Cros Parentoux 1986 (Meo-Camuzet)
Difficult to put ones finger on what is wrong here: there is some fruit but it soon began to resemble the previous wine. Apparently this usually shows better than this, the excellent grower and vineyard making up for the poor vintage.
- Monthelie Premier Cru Le Clos Gauthey (P. Garaudet) 1997
Very nice pure fruit. Forward (the vintage as much as anything I expect) but reasonably concentrated and properly structured. I would like to try some more wines from this grower. Easy
- Langoa Barton 1970, bottled by Berry Bros
Blackcurrant nose, cedary, smoky palate. Plenty of fruit but a slightly harsh tannic finish. Good, but slightly suspect balance to my mind. This usually shows better than this, I was told. Still scrapes
- Raymond Lafon 1985
There is a nice quality of fruit here but like most 85's there is little or no botrytis and so the wine lacks real complexity and is a bit cloying. A decent effort for the vintage.
- Valpolicella Amarone 1994 (Dal Forno)
Nutty nose - very rich, deep and amazingly long. The nuttyness, lovely prune fruit and a slight bitterness are typically Valpolicella, but this is an attempt to make a very serious wine indeed. It certainly wears its four years in one hundered per cent new oak very lightly. The prices are already enormous for this but only time will tell whether it is truly great - I suspect this will be extraordinary in a few years.
- Croft 1963 (English bottled)
Slightly green rim. Really quite evolved (people guessing fifties or sixties when so often one underestimates the age of a port), fine fruit, chocolatey finish. Very nice.
- Champagne Noble Cuvee 1988 (Lanson)
Good nose but rather hard acidity, very marked in the fimish. It's difficult to see whether there is really good fruit here and even if it is it seems a bit lacking in finesse for a prestige cuvee. I bought a couple of these at auction having had excellent bottles of the 81 Special Cuvee recently but I don't think this (or the recently tasted 89) really quite makes it. No more than