The Diary - July 2002
- Mussbacher Eselhaut Riesling Auslese 1992 (Muller-Catoir)
Apricot fruit and a touch of botrytis. This has become more graceful as it ages (it was rather "in-your-face" a year or two ago). I wonder where it is going - not falling a part in a hurry, but perhaps not going to get any better than this. Good rather than stunning.
- Port 1967 (Martinez)
Almondy nose (slightly odd - but it seems to dissipate). Ripe cherry fruit and chocolate. Quite good, particularly for the vintage.
- Bastor-Lamontagne 1988
It is amazing how good wines from "minor" producers in classic regions can be. Perhaps the fact that Sauternes is unfashionble helps. Lovely golden colour with green hints (always a good sign) - rich and nutty, unctious yet savoury, the sweetness less evident at this age. A really nice drink.
- Tokaji Aszu, 5 Puttonyos1993 (Diszonoko)
A hint of green on the rim, a good sign in a sweet white generally, but perhaps the norm with Tokaji. Apricot fruit, reasonably sweet but with excellent acidity. Pleasant, but the fruit quality seemed a bit simple on close study.
- Ciro Bianco 2001 (Librandi)
Perfumed, slightly oily nose (not unpleasantly so). Clean, dry, unassuming, slightly marzipan fruit with banana finish - probably young wine esteryness. Good
- Gravina 2001 (Botromagno)
Intriguing fruit-cake nose - a character that carries on to the palate. Restrained fruit but quite decent concentration and length. Nice acid. A very top
- Ciro Rosato 2001 (Librandi)
Slightly toffee nose - pleasant scented fruit but a bit more bite of some sort would be welcome. Bare
- Ciro Rosso 2000 (Librandi)
Fairly light colour, in-your-face red fruit with a rustic edge. Cherry fruit, a bit of tannin. BBQ wine - Summer drinking.
- Salento Rosso 2001 (Aliante)
More serious - suitable for indoors! Attractive blackberry fruit. Good balance all the way. Good for a modestly priced wine.
- Negroamaro 2001 (Aliante)
The grape seems to have a darker, gamier character. Fairly modern perhaps - fruit driven - but very drinkable.
- Primitivo 2001 (A Mano)
Slightly closed - perhaps a touch of sulphur. Juicy fruit. It seems a shade lacking in the mid-palate. Possibly a bit over-made or maybe it will fill in after a few months.
- Primitivo 1999 (Botromagno)
A bit of complexity on the nose here. The palate good but not quite up to the nose. I think I prefer the A Mano wine.
- Salice Salentino Riserva 1998 (Candido)
High-toned, crushed red fruits. Interesting fruit and good balance. Scrapes
- Copertina Riserva 1997 (Cantine Sociale Copertino)
There's a fleeting something on the nose, but otherwise a bit straight down the middle.
- Capello di Prete 1998 (Candido)
Stewed, fizzy and odd. Coming back to it the bottles seem a bit different: certainly a baked quality. Just old-fashioned? I would like to try this again - I find it hard to decide about it.
- Ciro Riserva 1998 (Librandi)
Curious farmyard character - odd - perhaps over-ambitious. I am not convinced.
- Gravello 1998 (Librandi)
Difficult to put a name to the flavours, but this has some real quality - good balance. Maybe
- Duca di Aragona 1996 (Candido)
Is there a touch of ripasso or something? It has that air about it. Cherry fruit. High-toned. Just
- Coteaux Varois Belles Bastilles 1999 (Ch de l'Escarelle)
Red house wine, served cool at La Merenda. Gamey and wild - not at all bad. Good
- Bandol Rose 2000 (Pibarnon)
One treads a thin line with Rose between vulgarity and vacuuity. This tends a bit towards the latter: decent concentration etc, but a bit flat. Could possibly be a dodgy bottle - if not,
- Bandol Rose 2001 (Rouviere)
Scented. Nice fruit - Summer evening drinking!
- Bandol Rose NV (Ch. Vannieres)
Apparently, half bottles are not vintage dated. The fírst one corked the second making a play at fineness - scented but not at all vulgar. Roses. Very pleasant.
- Champagne Cuvee Diamant Brut NV (Trouillard)
Not a house I've seen before, and not one I'll seek out again. Dull.
- Cotes de Provence, Cuvee de L'Oratoire Rose 2001 (Chateau Minuty)
There's only so much one can say about most Rose. This is honeyed, floral, nice balance all through, but doesn't really hold my attention. (It's not designed to perhaps, but it does cost close to 10 pounds even in France.)
- Bandol blanc Cuvee Prestige blanc 2000 (Domaine de l'Hermitage)
This has that slightly flat, low-acid quality of many Southern French whites. Pleasant honeysuckle grapey quality and decent length. A top
- Cassis Clos d'Albizzi NV (1/2)
Another non-vintage-dated half. Pleasant curranty quality to the fruit. Drinkable.
- Palette blanc 1999 (Chateau Simone)
Interesting herby nose - thyme or something, grown in the sun. Stony, mineral fruit and decent length. Moderate acidity and a good texture suggest it will probably improve for a few years at least. Easy
- Cotes de Provence Rose 2000 (Domaines Ott)
Reasonable fruit but caramel overtones (possibly age or storage?) that I am not keen on.
- Cassis Blanc de Blancs 2000 (E. Bodin)
I wonder if this sort of herby, dry, decently made if unassertive (we are not far from Italy) wine has a future in the post-modern ABC (anything but Chardonnay) world. Perhaps, but it will never become a brand (thank goodness). Good finish puts it at the top of
- Marsanne 1999 (Qupe)
Almondy-resinous. A bit rough in the mouth like old-fashioned country wine. Something does emerge from this after a while in the glass. This grape can be a bit of a surprise to the palate and one can misjudge it. It may even improve.
- Marsanne Los Carneros 1996 (Cline)
Big, forward new-world style chardonnayish fruit. Mothball and honey as it opens. Oaked and fat - some thought excessively so, but I find it a pleasant drink.
- Viognier 2000 (Fairview - South Africa)
Neutral nose and a slightly new-world-chardonnay feel on the palate - it's Viognier-like if you know but it doesn't leap out of the glass. There is something just a shade woody about it. Decent. Top
- Viognier 1998 (Heggies)
Thin, dry, austere - unsuccessful or perhaps just faded.
- Viognier Virgilius 1998 (Yalumba)
Nice, fat, scented nose. A bit thin in the mouth after that but not at all bad. plus
- Viognier Los Carneros 1997 (Cline)
The best of the Viogniers by a way - floral, mouthfilling, but not cloying. A very good effort.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 904 1990 (La Rioja Alta)
Red berries, lifted, slightly creamy, dry. Lots of acidity. Old-fashioned wine and very good. Seems young still.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1995 (Glorioso - Bodegas Palacio)
Red fruits, attractive, nice balance.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1994 (Glorioso - Bodegas Palacio)
More tannic, quite dry and serious with a good finish. Top
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1978 (Glorioso - Bodegas Palacio)
Warm and ripe, fine, mature wine - Slightly toffeed even. Shows what a good vintage this is. Easy
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1976 (Tondonio)
Combination of prune and redcurrant. Mature resolved and smoky. Quite light in colour and texture now but rather fine. Time to drink it though. A good
- Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea 1991 (Muga)
This slightly more modern but perhaps it is just that it is younger. Splendid acidity and fruit. Easy
- Rioja Gran Reserva Ygay 1989 (Murrieta)
Berries, berries, more berries! Classy, high-toned fruit and good acidity - another good old-fashioned wine. This is probably not the best Rioja vintage or the best vintage for this wine. plus
- Tokaji Aszu, 4 Put, 1990 (Crown Estate)
Green colur. Dry brown sugar - very high acid. Has a similar appeal to a fairly dry Madeira in some ways - it might even make a good aperetif.
- Tokajske Vybe, 4 Put 1990, (Galafruit & Co)
Apricots and other fruit on the nose - just off-dry and searing acidity, lovely apple character. Very top
- Tokajske Vybe, 5 Put 1990, (Galafruit & Co)
Nutty, slightly sweeter, brown sugar. Delicious, but in some ways I like the 4 Put as much.
And after at the Vintners Rooms, as well as drinking rather than tasting the first two Torbreck wines:
- Sancerre Cul de Beaujeu 2000 (Cotat)
Herby, refined Sauvignon blanc - like many of Cotat's wines this is not yet at its best and may even rate another star in time.
- Shiraz 1997 (Dry River)
Interesting wine from this excellent New Zealand estate - tasted briefly: leafy blackcurrant Northern Rhone style fruit - and chocolate. I would like to taste this properly, but I feel it probably rates around
- Cote Rotie 1983 (Gentaz-Dervieux)
A quick taste again: exciting smoky fruit, quite dry on the palate, tannins still quite assertive although it probably won't improve now. (I feel 83 Northern Rhones can be a bit like that.) A very classy drink!
- Shiraz 1999 (Galah Wines)
A bit woody, although opinion was divided over whether it was corked. I think it was a faulty bottle since last time I tried this I liked it enough to buy a few!
- Champagne Carte d'Or 1983 (Drappier)
Very honeyed and grassy. Evolved yet fresh. Nutty and a lively sparkle. At peak - just about worth
- Laville Haut Brion blanc 1980
Stinky. Blows off to be very mineral. Lightweight gooseberry fruit. Engaging in its way - more out of interest than real enjoyability. Being realistic, probably worth only
- Ruchottes Chambertin, Clos des Ruchottes 1989 (Rousseau)
Soft, ripe, yet animal. Forward as this vintage tends to be, this is for drinking over the next few years. This is very enjoyable.
- Canon 1978
In very good condition - irony, lean, nice acidity, savoury, smoky, hints of the sea. What a splendid wine - and the best 78 I've had for a while. Peaking, but no hurry to drink. Good
- Raymond Lafon 1980
Very apricot. Resolved, lovely botrytis, good length. At peak. Top
- Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese 1983 (Moenchof)
Bit of spice, grapey, intense, fair amount of residual sugar (it seems to be the Moenchof style). Pleasant.