The Diary - June 2005
A welcome 'win' for a white Burgundy, and a good Swiss chardonnay. As for the Zinfandels, It confirmed my view that I don't want flashy vibrant stuff - I want something with more complexity along the Ridge lines.
- Champagne Cuvee Distinction (Duvaux)
Good if not dramatic fizz.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Chenevottes 2000 (Joseph Drouhin)
Nice acidity – honeyed with minor age. Lovely texture.
- Bien Nacido Chardonnay 1999 (Arcadian)
Butter and hazelnuts, but the age is showing possibly a bit more than is ideal.
- Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Clavoillons 2000 (Gerard Chavy)
Soft and dilute. All over the place.
- Chardonnay 1997 (Giaconda)
Soft, oldish, touch of sweetness. Possibly a bit corked.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Matanzas Creek)
Soft and buttery and a touch of banana. Slight spritz. Big, but balanced.
- Chardonnay 2003 (Gantenbein)
fragrant ‘modern’ nose – for early drinking. Clean and fresh.
- Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2001 (Rosenblum Cellars)
Big, vibrant and zingy, but a bit short. Became toffeed in the glass.
- Tom Feeney Ranch Zinfandel 2003 (Carlisle)
Vibrant and in a dry style – needs a bit more time possibly.
- Nervo Zinfandel 2001 (Ridge)
More complexity than the others, and to my mind a better style of wine for it – smooth rather than vibrant. A touch of volatility. just
- Pagani Ranch Reserve Zinfandel 1999 (St Francis)
Vegetal and astringent – all over the place. I think this wine had a synthetic cork. Poor.
- Moore Earthquake Vineyard Zinfandel (Turley Cellars) 2001
Leafy and some tannin. Simple and falls apart.
- Home Ranch Zinfandel 1999 (Seghesio)
Sweet, but a bit lacking in acidity. Some grip.
- Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2000 (Rocking Horse)
- Pagani Ranch Reserve Zinfandel 2000 (St Francis)
Opened after the disappointment of the 1999. Also seemed poor, but this was at the end of the evening so I won’t score, but there was debate about synthetic corks …
- Chateau Rieussec 1983
From a half. Not the best example of this. Showing too much age and sweetness on this showing.
- Oeil-de-Perdix Chevaliers du Valais 1996
Yeasty, quite fragrant. Slightly toffeed fruit. Quite decent length. Some might say tired but I find this rather good. Not often one has a Swiss wine!
- Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 1995 (Selbach-Ostler)
Tight, sherberty, riesling nose. The fruit quite forward but the excellent length suggests a good future. and rising
- Chassagne Montrachet Champgain 1993 (Niellon)
Quite intense. Oily hazelnuts. Good length. Top
- Chassagne Montrachet Caillerets 1993 (Amiot Guy et fils)
Over-charred wood. Gutsy palate - slight harshness on the finish. This does all moderate with time and there is good fruit. I'm not so keen on this. Bare
- Batard Montrachet 1993 (Fontaine-Gagnard)
- Nuits St George Boudots 2000 (Mugneret)
Unforthcoming nose. Forward pinot fruit - quite ripe - high-toned cranberry-edged fruit. Very nice.
- Chambolle Musigny Sentiers 2000 (Groffier)
A little richer and riper. Darker and deeper. Good length. Another top
- Cote Rotie 1985 (Delas)
Dry raspberry fruit. Dry palate - not insubstantial. Stylish terroir wine. A bit short but good.
- Cote Rotie 1988 (Champet)
Slightly sweeter, mineral, riper, palate. Complete wine - very good indeed.
- Cote Rotie 1990 (Jamet)
Soft fruit - slight spritz. Gets much better - white pepper nose. Silky fruit. A bit less characterful. Less sauvage than last two - almost soft. Some oak influence.
- Cote Rotie 1989 (Jamet)
Perhaps just the great vintage but drier and more terroir-driven. Very, very good. Possibly could do with another year or two.
- Cot du Layon Cuvee Alexandre Tete de Cave 1990 (Dom du Sauveroy)
Lots of botrytis. Nice balance. Lovely. plus
- Offley Boa Vista 1983
Baked fruits - refined, Bags of ripe fruit, sweet yet firmly structured - balanced, long. Excellent Port from a house that I don't usually pay much attention to.
- Champagne Carte Blanche 1er Cru NV (Andre Jacquart)
Quite fresh and nicely autolytic. Good balance. Very drinkable.
- Champagne Cuvee Speciale Grand Cru NV (Andre Jacquart)
Finer, more intense and more elegant. Pretty classy. Scrapes
- Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de blancs 1999 (Andre Jacquart)
Richer and a bit more structured than the previous wine. Quite serious. Needs a few years.
- Pouilly Fume Les Coques 2004 (Coulbois)
Pure, balanced, nice food wine. Easy
- Sancerre Cuvee GC 2003 (J-M Roger)
Bone dry, pleasant, a little light beside the Pouilly.
- Sancerre Cuvee CM 2003 (J-M Roger)
Softer and fruitier on the palate than the GC - two patches of vines that are quite close together. They are quite different but I wonder if one could or should blend them.
- Chablis 1er cru Fourchaume 2002 (Domaine du Colombier)
Clean, dry, but with underlying richness and some minerality. Good.
- Chablis Grand cru Bougros 2002 (Domaine du Colombier)
A decent step up to real grand cru quality. Good length. Top
- Chablis 1er cru Vaucoupin 2003 (Picq)
A bit soft and unfocussed beside the Colombier wines but I find it hard to say whether it is producer-style or the dreaded hot vintage syndrome striking again. A good
- Chablis Montmain 1er Cru 2002 (D. Race)
Straightforward clean, dry, decent Chablis. Top
- Chablis Montmain 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes 2002 (D. Race)
Confusion marketing I feel. This wine sells for a tiny bit more and has quite a lot of added richness. I'd pay the extra every time.
- Saint Veran La Grande Bussiere 1998 (O. Merlin)
Extravagantly rich and mouthfilling, oak-influenced. I need to have a proper drink of this sometime to decide whether it carries it off. It quite possibly does, in which case
- Puligny Montrachet 2002 (Carillon)
Full and rich - tending towards a fatness which while clearly in balance I sometimes find too much in Carillon's wines. Scrapes
- Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Perrieres 2002 (Carillon)
Understated, dry (none of that fatness the village wine has) lots of Puligny character. Good balance and excellent length.
- Puligny Montrachet 2002 1er Cru Combettes(Carillon)
Rounder and more easy-going than the Perrieres. Still good balance and a fine wine, but this can happily be drunk now although surely it will improve a touch.
- Meursault Les Tillets 2002 (Javillier)
Nicely made Meursault, nice balance, although perhaps with an air of being what it is: a very good village wine and without 1er cru distinction. Bare
- Meursault Clos du Cromin 2002 (Javillier)
Charcterful, gutsy Meursuault with a bit of bitterness on the finish that I'm not sure I like so much. Perhaps this will depart with a year or two in bottle. For now, judgement reserved.
- Meursault Les Clous 2002 (Javillier)
A bit richer and broader with good length. Very nice. just about.
- Meursault Cuvee Tets de Murger 2002 (Javillier)
A special selection, I think and notably more expensive. Quite serious, concentrated fruit and good structure and so you get what you pay for. and improving.
- Fixin 2002 (Meo-Camuzet)
A bit clarety - fruit tending toward cassis and some wood influence, I think. Pleasant enough.
- Monferrato Bianco Alteserre 2000 (Bava)
Quite large and broad, a food wine I think, and it will take a few years aging quite well. A Cortese and Chardonnay blend. At least a top
- Barbera d'Asti Libera 2001 (Bava)
Pleasant forward fruit with a twist of bitterness. Not bad at all. Top
- Giulio Cocchi Alta Langa 2000 (Bava)
Method Champenois from Chardonnay and Pinot - idiosynchratic wine with a touch of pink and some high-toned red wine aromas. I'd like to try some more. At least a top
- Briccoserra 2001 (Cigliuti)
Nebbiolo Barbera blend quite heavily oaked. Quite good of its sort.
- Barbaresco Serraboella 2000 (Cigliuti)
Fragrant, elegant fruit - lots of underlying tannins. Fairly modern-styled. Needs a few years and on the way up but perhaps not beyond a good
- Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggiore 1999 (Sandrone)
Rounded, suave fruit, some tannins but would be fine with food. Top
- Barolo La Vigne 2000 (Sandrone)
Silky, Burgundian but structured. Very fine but I sometimes feel Sandrone's wines are a bit of a trick - almost too polished. Bare
- Barolo Cannubi Boschis 2000 (Sandrone)
A touch larger and richer I think. Like the La Vigne, modern-style but without excessive oak influence.
- Tocai Friulano Fiore di Campo 2004 (Lis Neris)
Nicely poised, splendid balance, clean and pure. Sophisticated wine.
- Pinot Grigio Gris 2003 (Lis Neris)
Nicely done, although to my taste it might be better without the barriques.
- Sauvignon blanc 2004 (Lis Neris)
Pure, very restrained varietal statement (a plus point). Nice. Top
- Sauvignon blanc 2003 (Lis Neris)
Richer - 2003 was very warm here too I think. Similar quality. Top
- Lis Venezia Giulia Bianco 2002 (Lis Neris)
An exotic blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Pinot Grigio I think - rather nicely constructed. A wine that I would like to sit down and try properly - I suspect it would repay scrutiny and so let's say
- Tal Luc Vino Passito Bianco 2002 (Lis Neris)
Lovely texture, lovely fruit, nice acidity and length. Very fine. Top plus
- Tokaji 5 putts 1999 (Oremus)
I don't taste a lot of young Tokaji - this though seems very promising.
- Tokaji 5 putts 1999 (Oremus)
As above but added richness. Top
- Port 1996 (Quinta de la Rosa)
Raspberry and chocolate fruit - a lesser vintage that you could almost drink now. Pretty good.
- Port 2003 (Quinta de la Rosa)
Aniseed, baked fruit, very dense. I hardly ever drink young port but I am sure this will be very good.
- Calvario 2001 (Finca Allende)
Intense, sweet blackberry nose and concentrated palate. Very much new-wave Rioja. Good, yes (very good in its way) - interesting, less so at least to me. (but I don't really covet it).
- Aurus 1997 (Finca Allende)
Higher toned and with very evident tannins, but very much in the same style. Seriously pricey - same as a bottle of Rioja Alta's famous 890. Give me the latter any day. Top (others will like this more)
- Alion 1999 (Bodegas Alion)
Curious - it seems to have old-fashioned touches of volatility but generally a modern style. Pretty good. Bare
- Geyserville 2001 (Ridge)
Reliable Ridge - pretty good. Bare
- Monte Bello 1998 (Ridge)
Classic - quite Bordeaux on the nose but with an extra ripeness even more evident on the palate. Still, quite classically styled and very fine.
At Nahm Restaurant at the Halkin Hotel in London (very good food by the way) with a Thai meal.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1996 (Niellon)
Pleasant but slightly flat-textured. Bare
- ChassagneMontrachet 1er cru Baudines 1996 (Morey)
Touch of sulphur evident. Good, gutsy, big. Top
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot 1996 (Ramonet)
Dark colour. V flat and odd.
- Puligny Montrachet 1996 (Sauzet)
Sound, Clear, high-toned - quite Pulignyish. Actually rather intense and long. Good
- Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Champ Canet 1996 (Carillon)
Yuk! Unpleasant nose of a really odd and undescribable sort. Blows off to a large extent, but still
- Meursault 1er cru Charmes 1996 (Morey-Blanc)
Slightly sulphury - clean palate tight, quite long. A bit thin at first - certainly less than the other Meursaults Good
- Meursault 1er cru Perrieres 1996 (Jadot)
Dry austere long. More intense. Opens up dramatically - peaches, minerals. Very nice. Bare
- Meursault 1er cru Charmes 1996 (Jobard)
Intense Very long. Just what one might hope for. Top
- Nuits St Geoorge 1er cru Perrieres 1996 (Chauvenet)
Gamy, rustic, mentholy, liquorice, high-toned. Earthy. Others liked this a bit more but I'd say just pretty good.
- Nuits St Geoorge 1er cru Les Saint-Georges 1995 (Chicotot)
A bit fizzy - wears off. High-toned, cherry fruit. Very attractive.
- Clos Vougeot 1996 (Chateau de La Tour)
Intense, dry, balanced, earthy, structured. Very nice indeed.
- Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut NV
Bone-dry, nutty nose, slightly gluey palate. Pretty fine but I have reservations about the gluey component. Could do with a year or two. (Might make another star in time.)
- Nivole Moscato d'Asti 2004 (Chiarlo)
Slightly sweeter style (dessert rather than aperetif) - but reasonable acid balance. Nice grapey fruit.
- Chateau Suduiraut 1996
Apricot jam - quite a lot of botrytis - modest acidity. Decent rather than excellent length. Perfectly nice but a bit simple for a top wine - unless it is in a quiet phase. A bare
- Recioto di Soave 2002 (Suavia)
Very honey and orange peel - pretty sweet - modest acidity - and so a little cloying. Might come in to better balance in time but I'm not sure. May be just a bit overdone. Not quite my style, but
- Chateau Yquem 1996
Lots of apricot, coconut, banana, and exotic fruit. Big and rich yet so complex. Lovely and will be great.
- Bonnezeaux 2001 (Chateau de Fesles)
Limey - seems lightweight at first but that's probably just following Yquem. Good intensity and length. Lovely complexity too.
- Noble One 2002 (de Bertoli)
Apples, cinnamon and bananas (someone said). Disjointed acidity. A gentle but in fact quite persistent finish. A touch towards cloying but very good of its type. Others will like this more.
All wines drunk at Crantock Bay Hotel overlooking the bay during an enjoyable family holiday. An intersting wine list - just the sort of things after those long days surfing the Atlantic rollers. (OK, body-boarding on my four-year-olds Mickey Mouse body board.)