- Santa Barbara Cabernet 1997, Parras Valley, Casa Madero, Mexico Rough and weedy. 68
- Shiraz Cabernet 1997, Rosemount Estate OK of its sort, but not good value at over six pounds and just so dull and boring. 81
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/07/1998 Return to top
Rhone varietals at OFW 30/07/1998 (TNB)Interesting tasting, with old world/new world pairs tasted blind. Always pretty clear which was which!
- Condrieu Les Chaillets Vielle vignes 94 (Cuilleron) Apricoty, slightly estery and quite oaky nose. Mouthfilling, but a bit heavy and oily in texture. A Parker-boosted producer whose style I do not really go for. 85. (20.00)
- Viognier Howell Mountain La Jota 95 Very pale colour, anonymous nose with floral hints. It fills the mouth, and lingers even, but in far too neutral a way for me. 80 (20.00)
- Underhill shiraz 95 (Yarra Yering) Sweet, ripe, round, cherry fruit with a spicy and minty edge. Tannic, in that New World way that sits oddly with the up-front sweetness of the fruit. Very clean, with none of the rusticity (and VA) the producer is famous for. 82 (20.00)
- Cote-Rotie Coteau de Bassenon 95 (Cuilleron) Slightly more interesting (maybe just not overly clean) nose, dry, tannic, impressive until one begins to suspect a slight mid-palate hollowness. 84 (17.00)
- St Henri Shiraz 93 (Penfolds) Like the YY, this too had a New World giveaway sweet nose. Fruit quite complex though: the whole impression like a top Californian "Rhone ranger". 85 (15.00)
- La Chapelle 91 (Jaboulet) Warm rubber nose, the whole wine is well-bred and balanced. I suspect I've had better bottles, but this one is fine. This really is an under-rated (if fairly early maturing) La Chapelle. 88 (25.00)
- Cairanne La Font d'Estevanas 95 (Alary) (Not paired.) Good, honest stuff - quite long and in balance - if not amazingly complex in the end. (8.49)
- Edmond St John Les Cotes Sauvage 94 Chateauneuf mix - seems very "lifted cherry" grenache, but apparently that is a small part of the blend. Good length, accessible. (13.00)
- Chateauneuf du Pape Clos des Pontifs 94 (Bois Dauphin) Quite evolved, decent balance, can't imagine it's going anywhere much, but pleasant. (15.00)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/07/1998 Return to top
Oddbins 28/07/1998 (TNB)Noted, not very carefully, at a crowded tasting.
- Cremant de Bourgogne NV (Cave de Lugny) Soft, round, and a slightly odd finish. It would cloy after a bit, I think. (6.99)
- Oddbins white 97 (Dom. de Joy) Quite Sauv-blancish, rather than the Cotes de Gascoigne grape I can never remember the name of. Decent. (3.99)
- La Baume Sauv Blanc 96 Languedoc-Rousillon, slightly more New worldy. Again, fairly decent. 4.99
- Chardopnnay 96 (James Herrick) Competent, fresh and fruity chardonnay. Pleasant drinking. 4.99
- Michel Lynch Rose 97 Nicely controlled (i.e. not too vulgar) , dry rose. Nice Summer drinking. (Shame about the Summer.). 5.99
- Boschkloof Chardonnay 97 Like an unreconstructed Ozzy chardonnay, back in the good old days where one got oak juice with subtle fruit nuances. Not bad of its type. 6.49
- Wild pig merlot 97 South of France somewhere - curious amaretto nose, dry finish. OK. 3.99
- Oddbins Red 96 Jau again. Another unremarkable but decently made 4 quid wine.
- La Baume Cab Sauv 96 Quite a pleasantly refined glass of wine. 4.99
- Mount Horrocks Cab/Merlot 95 Lifted Clare fruit, sweet New World nose. Enough complexity to make interesting drinking. 9.99.
- Megas Oenos 95 Characterful Greek wine with a gutsy nose like a Californian Cabernet. Plenty of fruit. 86 (8.99, or 17.99 for a magnum in a smart wooden box!)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/07/1998 Return to top
Dinner at St Bernard's Crescent 25/07/1998 (TNB)
- Kiedricher Sandgrub Spatlese 83 (Von Simmern) Pleasant, quite sweet for a spatlese. Probably not going anywhere in the long term though.
- Savenierres Clos du Papillon 90 (Baumard) Not quite as I remember - perhaps clashed with food a bit. Judgement reserved.
- Sociando Malet 78 Nicely mature, slightly leafy fruit with enough tobacco in the finish to be an enjoyable drink. At best.
- Rabaud Promis 94 Bags of oily nuttyness - seems quite forward and pleasant to drink even now. From a half.
- Martinez 70 Moderate weight, cherry fruit and some chocolate on the finish. Pretty pleasant.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 25/07/1998 Return to top
Dinner at Vintners Rooms with DL, NB, ZM 24/07/1998 (TNB)
- Beaujolais Village 91 (Ch D'Emergines) An experimental magnum. Muted nose, but silky in the mouth with good boiled-sweety fruit, not overdone with Cab-Mac. Decent stuff! (From a magnum.)
- Chablis Montmains 83 (Duplessis) Quite rich, grassy and honeyed, and slightly woody in a not unpleasant way. Seems to be a good producer.
- Corton Charlemagne 83 (Rollin) Almost peach/apricot flavours over a long and lovely minerally base. Gorgeous! 92.
- Pernand Vergelesses Ile de Vergelesses 90, 89 and 76 (Rollin) The 90 has sweet, ripe fruit, good length and is quite fleshy (perhaps the vintage). The 89 slightly lighter in the mid-palate, making the tannins more evident. Again a good wine. The 76 is amazing: very tannic (but basically ripe tannins) and almost medicinal. Excellent length. Really first class. The 90 (and 89) while good, I find it hard to imagine their turning out quite this well!
- Sandemanns 55 Slightly short and with a peppery finish. Good, but more like a successful old wine from a more moderate vintage.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/07/1998 Return to top
- Laurent Perrier NV Characteristically "rounded" light-medium weight. Very decent. From a half.
- Rully Gresigny 96 (Jacquesson) Quite zippy, not over-ambitious. Could do with a year or so, when a good basic white Burgundy might well emerge.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/07/1998 Return to top
A Riesling Tasting at Noel Young Wines 21/07/1998 (RJB)
- Hocheimer Holle Kabinett, Weingut Kunstler und Aschrott 1996 (9.29) Mineral and peach nose, slight spritz, pineapple and some sweetness (more than I usually expect at this level). Good balancing acidity. Good modern Riesling. 88
- Riesling 1995, Domaine Mittnacht Freres, Alsace (7.29) Liquorice nose, spices and mineral elements. Not as vibrant as it might be. 84
- Riesling Grand Cru Furstentum 1996, Albert Mann, Alsace (16.49) A touch sulphury to start with, but then ripe melon and tropical fruit nose. Real depth and texture. excellent wine. 91
- Riesling 1997, Allan Scott, Marlborough, New Zealand (6.99) Citric, but soft and disjoint on the finish. 84
- Green's Hill Lenswood Riesling 1996, Henschke, Australia (9.99) Soft and gentle - mineral. It might come round and open out, but subdued at present. 87
- Riesling Select Trocken 1996, Wieninger, Vienna (9.99) Honeyed botrytis nose, but bone dry. Complexity and length. Tasted less good later - need to try again. 90?
- Riesling Alte Reben Zobinger Heiliogenstein, Kamptal 1996, Brundlmayer (16.99) Not showing as well as the other Austrian, nor indeed as previous vintages. Honeyed nose, golden colour, goodish youthful fruit, but maturing fruit. 88
- Winninger Bruckstuck Riesling Auslese 1996, Freiher von Heddesdorff (9.99 per 50cl) Light peach, bit of sweetness, but rather one-dimensional. 84
- Noble Riesling 1996, Vasse Felix, Australia (8.49 per half) Marmalade, wax and lanolin. Too big for more than the first glass to be a pleasure, and a slightly astringent finish. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/07/1998 Return to top
- Meursault 88 (J. Germain) I haven't tried this for a long time - it seems to be very evolved in a gracefully oily and nutty way. A good drink. 86.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/07/1998 Return to top
- Il Querciolaia 88 (Castello di Querceto) Cab/sangiovese blend super-Tuscan. Good colour, intense raspberry/blackberry fruit, good length. There seems not to be much more to emerge, but a good drink. 87.
- Beaune Boucherottes 88 (Jadot) Pleasantly evolved balanced strawberry Burgundy. Drinking nicely. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/07/1998 Return to top
- Chateau Tahbilk 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon Just about holding up, but age is showing through and it is clearly on the way down.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/07/1998 Return to top
- Pinot Noir Carneros 86 (Saintsbury) Very much past it - disturbing compost heap aromas and no fruit. Possibly a bad bottle I suppose - I can't remember when I last had one.
- Mercurey Croix Jacquelet 90 (Faively) Rather austere, light fruit and little charm. Seems to have faded fast.
- Notapanaro 93 (Taurino) Leathery fruit, as usual. Quite pleaant, but doesn't merit the hype!
- Angas Brut White and Rose - the white a bit sickly, the rose (oddly enough) less so.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/07/1998 Return to top
- Bourgogne Rouge 88 (G. Barthod) Superb, smokey fruit, not even beginning to fade. Excellent for the level of wine. I don't think other vintages of this are comparable, although this is a good producer. 87
- L'Arrosee 88 Almost meaty, good ripeness and balance. Good, but perhaps a bit less than one might hope. From a half. 87.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 14/07/1998 Return to top
- Douro 1994 Terrible stuff from Tesco. 70
- JP Barrel Selection 1992, J. P. Vinhos, Portugal Much better stuff from Tesco (good value at 3.99). Flavours of maturity well intergrated with oak and fruit. 86
- Gandia NV Tempranillo Merlot Hoya Valley, Spain Dull wine. 78
- Marques de Grinon 1996 Rioja Not bad, but showing more age than I would have expected. 84
- Masia Barril Tipico 1993, Priorato Out of balance and rather sweet and leathery. 83
- Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut I haven't had this Champagne for a while. Good fizz, but this bottle was showing a displeasing sweetness (but this might have been due to the fact that it had that very day had a rough Channel crossing and had not travelled well).
- Lanson Black Label Brut As with the Veuve Clicquot it rather lacks drama - rather sterile. 85
- Herrenweg Turckheim Gewurztraminer 1992, Zind-Humbrecht Reasonable Gewurz., but no more than that. 83
- Bourgueil Vielles Vignes 1989, Domaine des Forges, Jean Yves Billet Lovely wine at peak. Chocolate and light leafiness. One of the best old Loire reds I can remember tasting. 88
- Abadia Retuerta Rivola 1996, Sardon de Duero The fruity youthfulness is beginning to fade a touch - it will be interesting to see how it ages, but I guess young is the best time for this wine. 88
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 13/07/1998 Return to top
Noel Young Wines presents 'The Best of California' 07/07/1998 (RJB)
- Chardonnay McRea Vineyard 1995, Kistler Nutty and fat, but with a lean streak of acidity. Alcohol finish. 88
- Chardonnay 1995, Pahlmeyer (39.00) Subdued honeysuckle and butter nose. A shortish mineral finish and, as with the Kistler, the fruit shows more age than one might expect. 87
- Merlot Howell Mountain, Bancroft Ranch 1994, Beringer (29.00) Closed to start with, but then a blackberry jam nose (but not jammy). Plum skins and chocolate and balancing acidity. 91
- Merlot 1995, Pahlmeyer (39.00) Closed to start with, but then a deep black cherry nose. Good fruit, good finish, but perhaps a shade too juicy. 91+
- 'Legacy' Stonestreet 1995 (33.99) A Bordeaux blend, this is opulent and leathery. Slightly short with oak dominating at the finish. 89
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1995, Philip Togni (43.00) Closed nose, but opens to cassis. Perhaps the most structured of the reds on offer in that it has sufficient tannic backbone to age. A slight greeness to the tannins. 90?
- Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select 1993, Shafer (40.00) Closed reduced nose. Smokey cassis fruit. A cardboardy finish worries me. 87-90
- Monte Bello 1990, Ridge Vineyards Open mature nose - olives and cough medicine. Rather simple for its reputation. 89
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/07/1998 Return to top
- Brunello Riserva 90 Col D'Orca Tried twice since the last note - I think this is a fine wine - can seem slightly light in the wrong circumstances, but high-toned with good length and complex fruit. RP's dismal review gets this one wrong, I think! 91.
- Marsannay Longerois 90 (B. Clair) Nice sweet fruit - piercing raspberry and cherry. Basically fairly simple, and at peak. 85.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/07/1998 Return to top
Simon and Hannah's Wedding, Riccall 04/07/1998 (RJB)Some at the Drum and Monkey, Harrogate (a simple seafood menu, but the fish is cooked beautifully Well worth a lunch.)
At Middlethorpe Hall, York, for the reception, but all wines from Majestic
- Gossett Grande Reserve Brut Superb Champagne, surely the best non-vintage at present. This has had a year or two of cellarage since purchase. Drinking superbly well - it has depth, flavour and elegance. 93+
- Roland Bauchet Selection Brut Champagne Rather difficult after the Gossett. Reasonable fizz. 84
- Sancerre Chavignol 1996, Paul Thomas Easy Loire wine, without too much excitement. 83
- Chateau La Croix de Millorit 1975, Cotes de Bourg Easy drinking mature claret. Somehow the lesser wines often age better in the big tannin vintages (the 'better' wines have too much tannin?). One of the better '75s I've tasted. 87
- Clos de Nouys Vouvray Sec 1996 Seemed corked (or very woody).
- Mas des Bressades Costieres de Nimes 1994 Lovely maturing wine. I've noted this wine before and the 1995 (see 6 wines later) seems even better. 88
- Chateau Cadet Piola 1983 At peak. Lovely walnut and cigar box tertiary aromas. 88
- Bruno Paillard Premier Cuvee Champagne Good fizz, but a touch coarse. 87
- Cote de Rouiffach 1996 Gewurztraminer Nothing special - showing aged fruit. 80
- Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique Light bodied elegance. Good summertime Champagne. 90
- Chablis 1996, Caves des Viticultures Excellent value (4.99?) Chardonnay with hints of class. 86
- Mas des Bressades 1995 Costieres des Nimes Lovely wine for the price (6.99), it should age well and match many a more expensive Rhone wine. 91
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/07/1998 Return to top