The Diary - June 2004
- Palmela 1999 (Alianca)
Portugese and made from a native variey. Rather modern-styled forward fruit of no very great density and with a bit of a tannic kick that sits rather oddly with that. OK, but nothing more. A bare
- Chateuneuf-du-Pape Reserve blanc 1989 (Rayas)
Lovely, engaging Souther-French nose of herbs warmed by the sun. Quite dry, initially slightly less engaging on the palate but there is in fact good length. Very fine. For the nose,
- Wehlehner Sonnenuhr kabinett 1999 (J-J Prum)
Good fruit, touch of CO2 but too much eggy sulphur. One hopes that will wear off
- Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon 1998 (Duplessis)
Very nice indeed - interesting to compare it to the Sechet 98 from Dauvissat tasted recently: that had a suave creamyness that this doesn't quite match, but there is an excellent chalky minerality here that makes the wines a close match in quality terms to me. This will be probably be even nicer in a year or two, but perhaps not to the extent of another star.
- Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 1987 (Lejeune)
I remember very clearly tasting this about ten years ago soon after I bought a few bottles - bold with in-your-face boiled-sweet fruit. I had some misgivings then but enjoyed it a lot in 1997 when it had mellowed nicely. I took a bottle to the SuperBOWL last year and hawked it around over dinner - it didn't show well but I was suspicious that it was just not the sort of thing to have hurriedly out of a small glass at the end of a day's tasting and so I didn't make a note. Coming back to it now it is not over the hill as I had half feared. It is delicious - takes a while to open out in the glass and show its ripe cherry fruit still with those cherry-menthol overtones that I remember from a decade ago. Some earthy Pommard character adds to the package too. Really nice, but I should probably try and drink the last bottle some time in the next year or so. A good .
- Erbacher Marcobrunn Spatlese trocken 2001 (Schloss Reinhartshausen)
Bone-dry with sherberty riesling nose and ripe fruit that suggests sweetness. Not mean like the trocken wines of even good growers a few years ago, but lean and even in this vintage which has led to a healthy (if that's the right word) 12% alcohol there is to my mind something about the overall balance that gives it a slight lack of presence. A fine wine though with a good finish. I guess the real question is how it will be in ten years - there is going to be some beneficial development at least for a few years anyway.
- Vacqueyras Les Clefs d'Or blanc 2001 (Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux)
Gutsy, mouthfilling, very drinkable white Rhone from the Wine Society. Worth a try at well the right side of ten quid. Scrapes even
- Cote Roannaise Les Vieilles Vignes 2002 (Robert Serol)
Lightweight picnic stuff with boiled-sweet fruit. Perhaps OK of its sort.
- Clos de Marquis 1983
The last bottle of a half case I purchased some years ago of Las Cases's second wine. I seem to have rated this ** recently but *** a few years ago. I wonder. Right now, it seems a completely resolved, very pleasant, balanced claret - a combination of scented fruit and cigar box. As I drink a few more glasses, a classy, dry minerality emerges too. Maybe this is a slightly better bottle than others or maybe it is entering a new phase. Maybe I am just in a good mode. This is pretty stylish and I go back to
- Puligny Montrachet Sous le Puits 1er cru 1996 (J-C Bachelet)
I bought a few bottles of this two or three years ago after rating it ***(*) when drinking in a restaurant. Last year I rated it **(**) - it has a lot of Puligny terroir about it - dry, oily hazelnuts - but also searing acidity. It is a bit of an enigma because I am not completely sure how it will turn out. It still takes a while to open up and the acidity does not seem to have mellowed much. I'm going to be more conservative this time and stick to a good
- Riesling Vom Stein Smaragd 1995 (Nikolaihof)
This has opened up a bit and the fruit is now to the fore - dried pineapple but the wine is bone-dry so there is no hint of cloying. There's a touch of underlying minerality and there may be some further positive evolution although the wine is beginning to seem quite resolved. It may yet rate the four stars I thought it would when I tasted it first in 1999 but for now I will stick to a more conservative
- Langenloiser Berg-Vogelsang Gruner Veltliner spatlese 1983 (Brundlmeyer)
Lemony - grassy. Demi-sec or sweeter with no great acidity. Decent fruit and finish. Impressive for the age. Bare
- Kiedricher Sandgrub 1983 (Robert Weil)
Gingery-edged keroseney fruit (not unpleasantly cheesy) - quite rich too. Some class. A touch off-dry and again no great acidity. Bare
- Latour Martillac blanc 2000
Very sulphury. Woody - a second bottle pure and rich so the first one faulty. Quite fat.
- Malartic - Lagraviere 2000
Clean, gooseberry fruit. A touch light but quite intense on the finish.
- Laville Haut Brion 2000
Rich, full, nutty and complex. Lovely. Surprisingly evolved.
- Etiqueta blanca 1967 (Murrieta)
Bandages, iodide, forest floor. Piquant fruit, high acidity. Still worth
- Nuits St George Les Boudots 1997 (Tardy)
High-toned, crunchy fruit.
- Nuits St George Murgers 1997 (B. Rion)
Intense, gummy. A bit overdone, I feel but time may prove me wrong. Not quite my style. A bare
- Chambolle Musigny Combe d'Orveaux 1997 (Perrot-Minot)
Elegant, dry, scented. Mouthwatering. Very nice.
- Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Feusselottes 1997 (Mugneret-Gibourg)
Forest floor nose. Pleasant palate. Pretty good. A top
- Gevrey Chambertin Les Corbeaux 1997 (Serafin)
Fine, elegant, complex and long. Maybe even
- Offley Boa Vista 1983
Baked fruit, fairly straightforward. Bare
A rather late submission for these notes.
- Frostline Riesling 2003
Pale, floral, dry. Nice fruit intensity, a touch sharp perhaps - solid, dry finish dominated rather by the acidity. Savoury though. Bare
- Sauvignon blanc 2003 (De Martino)
Pineapple but also vegetal nose and palate. Rich but not excessively so - goosberry and greengage. More obvious fruit than the previous wine.
- Semillon, Green on Green 2001 (Jack and Knox)
Nut and mushroom over ripe exotic fruit nose. Almond palate. A bit oaky - a touch charred. Ripe fruit.
- Vire-Clesse 2002 (Rijckaert)
Closed nose and palate - touch of peach as it opens out. Palate is savoury, quite long and refined.
- Tiers Chardonnay 2000 (Petaluma)
Fat tropical nose, touch of cinnamon from the oak - seems a bit insubstantial at first but it is quite fine and there is genuine concentration. A decent
- Sangiovese 1997 (Fetzer - Bonterra)
Orangey rim. Gamy, tarry, cassis, scented nose. Sweet, dried fruit, decent length. Maybe a bargain at nine pounds.
- Norfolk Pinot Noir 2000 (Scotchmans Hill)
Rich blackberry liquor nose - beetroot, meaty - in-your-face New World Pinot and good of its sort. A decent
- Orion Syrah 2000 (Thackeray)
Deep young colour - minty nose, luxurious texture, nice acidity and everything. Top wine and pretty serious kit - but a bit too minty for me. (or even more if you like mint).
- The Outsider Shiraz 2002
Soft, smoky, slightly nondescript fruit - touch of lavender may be. Angostura bitters finish.
- La Petite Siberie 2001 (Domaine du Clos des Fees)
Ripe cooked Amarone-like dried fruits. Lots of fruit - all cooked. Fine - I'd like to have a proper drink of this. plus
Circa Fish is a newish venture set up by Circa (previously reviewed on this site). It is well worth a visit if you are in the vicinity, and I hope to go again soon and give a review. If you are also lucky with the weather and can sit outside with a glass of pre-prandial wine, then I recommend facing the castle rather than the car park. And I can also recommend the Nyetimber.
I finished with a glass of Recioto di Soave and a Grappa also from Fasoli Gino. I have singularly failed to note further details, but both were of a good quality.