- Clos des Papes 1997 Lightish weight, and probably won't put on a lot. Lovely old-vin textured cough-sweet Grenache fruit though. A good drink but not a great Clos des Papes.
- Rose 1999 (Redoma) Niepoort's rose has a lovely rose-scented nose and a solid dry palate of delicious fruit. About as good as rose gets to my mind.
1993 and 1994 Claret 28/06/2000 (TNB)
Tasted blind, very much confirmed my prejudices, that the '93s usually have a streak of unripe tannins, making them a bit mean and unenjoyable as well as a bit thin , whereas the '94s are good classic claret
- Second vin de Mouton Rothschild 1993 Warmish, raspberry, plummy, ripe fruit. Slightly green tannins. Good acidity. Slightly lean and mean. Reasonable length.
- Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1993 Coffee and chocolate, soft and forward. Acidity there. Not over-made, and so circumvents the faults of the vintage. Excellent effort.
- Chateau Pichon Baron 1994 Soft plummy fruit. Some tannins hiding. It does have length but it seems that the fruit quality is too soft for seriousness. Not in the same league as the Lalande.
- Chateau Pichon Lalande 1994 Dense (closed?) nose, good balance and structure. Good finish. Rather good I think but needs time. , perhaps more.
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1993 Medium weight. Refined palate. Very 93 - the usual problems. Also not terribly Cos to my palate - I expect more weight and rusticity.
- Chateau Leoville Poyferre 1993 Austere, grippy tannins. Good acidity and structure. Ambitious. Some classic Bordeaux nose. Could be good if it works.
- Chateau Latour 1994 Harmonious, pencily, all the components. Long. Very serious indeed, but seems more Lafite than Latour to me at this stage. Lovely though.
- Chateau Lynch Bages 1994 Blackberry fruit and a big tannic hit. Seems disjointed at the moment and lacking in fineness. The latter seems a common problem with this estate. Perhaps fifth growth was right on the money.
- Sassicaia 1994 Blackberry liquor, big, short and odd. And those tannins. Spicy oak. Not my thing (unless it turns out stunning with age).
Wine group @ E.McC's 26/06/2000 (TNB)
Interesting to taste some Bourgeois '82 clarets together. They were of a very consistent high standard, and just starting to drink well. On this showing, for them (which is good going) in what is surely a claret vintage, whatever people have been saying recently.
- Piesporter Goldtropfchen Cabinet 1992 (R Haardt) Hint of sweetness (seems of Spatlese quality), some evolution, good acidity. Very good. At least
- Gracher Himmelreich Kabinett 1992 (J.J. Prum) Creamy, keroseney, interesting nose. Very spritzy (as often with this producer - it is present perhaps to an extreme in this wine). Seems shortish, but maybe just still tightly wound. I'd like to taste this again in a few years. For now
- Arley Blanc: Caves Jean Bourdy 1952. Honeyed, sherried, nutty, attractive old wine. Pleasant, oxidation showing a bit in the finish perhaps, but a nice drink if one likes old whites. (Apparently a wine from Ch. d'Arley in the Jura, imported by an enthusiast and bottled for him by Army and Navy!) Not everybody's taste, but for me
- Meursault 1986 (Jobard) Still tight (could do with a few years), hazelnutty, nice balance and length. First class, particularly for a village wine. At least
- Meursault Genevrieres 1985 (Hospices de Beaune) Good length and concentration, fattish, and a bit monolithic at least at the moment.
- Chardonnay 1983 (Hanzell) A Californian, quite fat, soft fruit, but age has brought it into nice balance.
- Chateau Haut Marbuzet 1982 Soft, merloty, mature Bordeaux, quite oak-influenced, a shade New-Worldy almost. A good, attention-grabbing drink.
- Chateau Poujeaux 1982 Lifted cherry and blackcurrant. Nice acidity. Well made.
- Chateau Tronquoy Lalande 1982 Fine old claret structure, good ripe fruit but pleasantly lean. Needs a year or two.
- Chateau Cissac 1982 Middle of the road claret, notable tannins, one of the weaker wines in this flight, but a goodish Cissac.
- Chateau Les Ormes de Pez 1982 Quite classy, complex fruit. Again, plenty of ripeness. Stands out from the competition a bit.
- Chateau Branaire Ducru 1982 Bags of ripe raspberry fruit. Good balance, delicious. Justifies its rating: just a bit more of everything than the Bourgeois.
- Moulin Touchais 1976 Very barley-sugar and honey. Sweetness mellowed by age. Rather finer than I expect from this property. Aged really well.
- Moulin Touchais 1959 Barley-sugar again. Rather fine wine from a brilliant vintage. Perhaps should be drunk rather than kept a lot longer.
- Taylor 1970 Bags of sweet, fruit-pastel (blackberry/raspberry) fruit. Youthful (we were guessing 85), has everything, already lovely, will be great!
- La Segreta Rosso 1999 (Planeta) Sicilian wine with a generous wine blended from Nero d'Avola, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps a bit jammy, but overall impressive, with Italian bitterness and food-matching structure.
- Barbera d'Asti 1998 (Ca' Bianca) Biggish fruity red with enough structure and texture to last for a few years.
- Cotes-du-Rhone 1988 (Guigal) Showing signs of being on the way down, but still with mature mushroomy flavours.
- Gran Sangro de Toro 1997 (Torres) Smokey and softly fruity. Not for keeping, but good glugging wine.
- Bairrada Reserva 1991 (Faria) Lots of fruit, with some real meaty depth. Lots of structure, marked tannins, ripe but quite severe. Lots of character. Rather good but needs a few years yet. Perhaps even
- Riesling Herrenweg 1989 (Zind-Humbrecht) Pleasant keroseney flavours, but seems very simple now. A bit past it, perhaps.
Wine dinner @ DL's 18/06/2000 (TNB)
- Condrieu La Petite Cote 1997 (Cuilleron) Good Viognier, but a shade fat, as usual for this producer.
- Champagne 1990 (Roederer) Very rich & ripe (the vintage, I suspect) and autolytic. Pretty good, as one might expect.
- Meursault Charmes 1984 (Coche-Dury) Green-pea vegetal - in just the right sort of way. Mature, long, rather fine. Delicious.
- Chateau Ripeau 1964 (St Emilion) An estate nobody seemed to know much of, this was simple perhaps, yet very well preserved: fresh and with decent fruit.
- Chateau de Pez 1964 Hopelessly oxidised.
- Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou 1961 From a half: completely shot. Second dog on the trot!
- Chateau Soutard 1970 Slightly iodiney (a touch of class there), ripe yet very dry. Not immensely concentrated, but very good.
- Cote-Rotie 1996 (Gangloff) I think this is the Vieilles Vignes Cuvee. Very pure, very fine, peppery blackberry fruit. My first experience of the producer - I can see why there is a bandwagon developing.
- Old Vine Grenache 1995 (Clarendon Hills) Very dark cherry, chocolatey, nice ripe tannins, integrated acidity, concentrated, but finishes a shade short. Very good indeed for New World, but not quite of the class suggested by its price!
- Grand Cuvee 1991 (Kracher) Fashionable Austrian estate: striking concentration, tastes expensive, but very much for sipping rather than drinking.
Noel Young Wines tasting of Veritas and Magpie Estate Wines with Rolf Binder 14/06/2000 (RJB)
- Western Ridge Semillon-Chardonnay 1999 Easy white, with a yeasty character and zesty edge. I'd guess this would go well with seafood. (5.99)
- 'The Thief' Mourvedre-Grenache 1999 (Magpie Estate) The back label says 'Neither red nor pink'; Rolf Binder says 'I tried to make a rose but couldn't'; Noel Young says 'The body of a white with the flavour of a red'. Full flavours of strawberries, dark fruits and a toffee edge. I don't usually go for chilled red wine, but it worked well in this instance. (6.99)
- Mourvedre-Grenache 1999 (Magpie Estate) Lifted cherry and herbs nose, Excellent texture and good soft tannins. A wine for now, or for keeping over the medium term.
- Mourvedre-Grenache 1996 (Magpie Estate) Tarry dark fruit, good length and good acidity - like a heavy Southern Rhone.
- Cabernet-Merlot 1998 (Veritas) Big jammy, touch vegetal nose. Too sweet on the finish and without the acid to balance. (8.99)
- Christa-Rolf Shiraz-Grenache 1999 (Veritas) goodish, but lacking complexity and depth. Goodish acid and soft tannins. (8.99)
- Shiraz-Mourvedre 1998 (Magpie Estate) Excellent deep colour - prickly nose. Soft and with a minty edge. Needs beefing up in the mid-palate, but might fill out with time. ?
- Shiraz-Mourvedre Pressings 1998 (Veritas) Minty and herby, and green peas. Some sweetness. Odd. Rolf Binder thought perhaps travel sick. (14.99)
- Heysen Shiraz 1998 (Veritas) Deep, deep colour. Big, deep Oz Shiraz. together and with long chocolatey flavours and goodish structure. For drinking young. (11.99)
- Liquer Tawny (Veritas) From a half. Oloroso nutty nose and citrus flavours. A bit more acidity needed at the finish. (5.99)
- Sancerre Domaine des Implipeaux 1995 (Jacques Fleuriet) Good old Sancerre (preferable to young Sancerre and New Zealand Sauvignons to my mind). Mineral, grassy, and an almost stagnant character (not dissimilar to that acquired by old Champagne on occasion). Just
- Champagne NV Cuvee Rubis Brut (Vilmart) Lovely pink Champagne with darker forest fruits (rather than the usual strawberry and raspberry flavours). Good body.
- Chateau Verdignan 1982 Nice fruit, in quite a leafy way, with some pleasant tertiary claret notes. Probably a shade past peak, but drinking nicely enough. (My last remaining bottle of a small amount of wine bought in my misguided youth from a French supermarket. It's turned out quite well, considering the provenance - the vintage does it, I suppose. I rather fancy that's my last bottle of wine from any supermarket anywhere, and good riddance!)
Gang of 6 Champagne and Pinot Noir tasting 08/06/2000 (RJB)
As usual for these events, the wines tasted blind.
- Champagne Grande Millesime 1989 (Gosset) A touch of age, a bit short - goes quickly flat and dull. Disappointing, but others who had had this recently weren't surprised.
- Champagne Grand Siecle NV (Laurent Perrier) Slightly unclean bitter finish. Acidic and woody.
- Champagne 1982 (Ayala) Old maderised nose, softly toffeed.
- Champagne White Foil NV (Pol Roger) I think it is at least 10 years since I bought this. Oldish, good flavoursome Champagne.
- Champagne NV Blancs de Blanc (Bruno Paillard) Reasonable, but heavily Chardonnayish (as one might expect, I guess!).
- Volnay Santenots 1983 (Domaine Comte Lafon) Cloudy - this bottle unfit for drinking.
- Pinot Noir 1996 (Dry River) Simple palate, texture and nose.
- Corton Grand Cru Clos Ronee 1989 (Domaine Meo Camuzet) Dry (compared with New World in hindsight), but elegant.
- Nuits-St-Georges Clos de Foret 1992 (Domaine d'Arlot) Coffee nose, I thought it Californian. Dryish finish.
- Pinot Noir 1997 (Gantenbein) Is this the first Swiss wine on these pages? If not, I bet it's the best Swiss wine on these pages. Coffee and herbs and toastiness. Really good, perhaps more than
- Little Hill Block Pinot Noir 1995 (Rochioli) Minty, smoky and rather obvious.
- Savigny-les-Beaune La Dominode 1985 (Domaine Bruno Clair) Vegetal, some age - drying up.
- Pemberton Pinot Noir 1996 (Salinger) Smoky, but short and fairly Burgundian.
- Tokay St Catherine Clos des Capucins 1994 (Weinbach) I remember this as quite funky a couple of years ago when I bought it. Now big, intense, long, nearly dry with good acidity. The fruit is difficult to put a name to. I think it's just a bit closed. Will be excellent. At least
- Cote-du-Rhone blanc Vieilles Vignes 1999 (Les Grandes Vignes du Roy) Pleasant fruity, slightly floral nose with distinct smoky overtones. Rosehips? Dry, good balance and length. Just about all you can hope for from French country wine.
- Couhins Lurton 1988 (Pessac-Leognan) From a half, full-bodied, but a bit varnishy. Attractive in some ways, but this doesn't seem to have aged terribly gracefully.
- Crozes-Hermitage Guiraude 1991 (Graillot) This is in rather good nick 9 years down the line, very fresh yet pleasantly evolved fruit, classical Syrah, all in balance. Will drink happily for a year or two yet even.
The Rhone at OFW 01/06/2000 (TNB)
- Crozes-Hermitage blanc 1997 (Jaboulet-Aine) Floral, wet stones, very Marsanne, fat, concentrated. No very great length or prospects. Not bad. (14.99)
- Viognier 1997 (Heggie - Yalumba) Peachy Viognier, apricots, low acid, a shade simple. Not Condrieu, but enjoyable. (12.99)
- Condrieu VT Ayguets 1997 (Cuilleron) Very honeyed, caramelised, Jaffa cakes. I think these sweet Viogniers that this producer makes are a mistake because they are so cloying with the very low acidity of the grape. Also not cheap! (27.99 - 50cl)
- Cote-Rotie Bassenon 1997 (Cuilleron) Slightly peppery. Tannins, but little acidity and finishes a shade short. I find this producer's whites a bit heavy and his reds often of no great quality. The estate has been heavily Parkerised. (23.99)
- Cote-Rotie Les Jumelles 1997 (Jaboulet-Aine) Figgy, burnt rubber nose. Cooked fruit palate. Northern Rhone style, but not particularly Cote-Rotie to me. I think it is a long time since the general run of Jaboulet's reds (apart from the La Chapelle, St Pierre and Thalabert that is) were better than just goodish. (25.99)
- St Joseph Serines 1997 (Cuilleron) Blackberry fruit, quite fine. Decent acidity, reasonable length. Way above Cuilleron's usual quality. (29.99 - a record for the appellation?)
- Cornas St Pierre 1997 (Jaboulet-Aine) Blackberry liqueur fruit, very leafy. Striking density. Not a great drink to my mind at the moment, but I expect it's going somewhere. It may even be brilliant in a few years. (29.99) At least
- Crozes-Hermitage Raymond Roure 1997 (Jaboulet-Aine) Very nicely balanced classic blackberry fruit with decent concentration. This new vineyard of PJA probably has potential. (14.99)
- RSW Shiraz 1997 (Wirra Wirra) Eucalyptus, slight pencil notes, a bit soft and anonymous. Pretty Ozzy! (14.99)
- Chateau de Beaucastel 1997 Seems very Grenache influenced (cherry fruit) for Beaucastel, fine and attractive, medium weight, but I suspect it will put on a bit more in the bottle. Not a great Beaucastel, but classy as usual.