The Diary - June 2006
- Riesling Reserve Personelle 1997 (Weinbach)
Peachy, spicy, rounded, very elegant. Modest acidity. For drinking. Bare
- Riesling Cuvee Theo 1997 (Weinbach)
Richer, more mineral, slightly better grip.
- Riesling St Catherine 1997 (Weinbach)
Unforthcoming at first. Emerges - more mineral than above - altogether more substantial. A serious long-term wine.
- Riesling Schlossberg St Catherine 1995 (Weinbach)
- Tokay Pinot Gris Altenbourg Cuvee Laurence 1996 (Weinbach)
Pleasantly rich. Honied, intense. Very good. Bare
- Tokay Pinot Gris Cuvee St Catherine 1995 (Weinbach)
Exotic, rich, sweeter than just off-dry. Top
- Griotte Chambertin 1995 (Fourrier)
Cherries, high-oned chalky minerality. Very firm and very good - perhaps a touch less silkyily fine than more recent Fourrier vintages. Bare
- Corton Bressandes 1993 (Tollot-Beaut)
Soft, rounded touch of mint. fleshy. Very nice.
- Corton Bressandes 1990 (Tollot-Beaut)
rounded and ripe. soft and delicious. slightly more "cooked". Bare
- Corton Bressandes 1989 (Tollot-Beaut)
A touch lighter than the other two vintages but very fine and nicely wrought.
- Bastor Lamontagne 1983
Creamy apricots - very nice, if a bit simple. Bare
- Geisenheimer Klauserweg Auslese 1976 (Schamari-Muhle)
Fairly dry, a touch more complex than the Sauternes - rather fine
- Ferreira 1955
Rose-petals, touch of marzipan, lots of glycerol, creamy, very lovely.
- Grahams 1977
- Vintage Tunina 2002 (Jermann)
Very graceful, almondy nose - slightly floral, but pleasingly free of overt varietal statement. (I think it's a blend of various varieties, for what it's worth.) On the palate, completely balanced with perfect acidity and a touch of ripe lemon around a concentrated but understated palate. Very fine. even
- Champagne Chouilly Grand Cru, Cuvee des Crayeres 1999 (Simart-Moreau)
Seems quite oxidatively made. Stony, meaty rather than elegant. Pretty nice but not out of this world.
- Lafon Rochet 1990
Good colour, black-cherry nose. Fruit quite baked in character and at first it seems to have a hole in the mid-palate. But that seemed to fill in once the bottle had been open a while. Chunky and without the complexity to be really classy.
- Bandol Cabassaou 1990 (Tempier)
Dense young colour and intense black cherry and cough-sweet nose. Despite the concentration of fruit it's very silky on the palate with a background of ripe tannins. Very luscious. Seems almost less approachable the next day, which is a bit frightening. Top stuff.
- Gambellara Pico 2003 (La Biancara - Angiolino Maule)
A long maceration job, in the style of Gravner, but from Garganega from Gambellara just outside Soave. Deeply coloured but slightly cloudy, with a flat peachy nose. Slight spritz on the fruit. Interesting but slightly flawed I feel. I'll keep a look out for further vintages but just a good for now.
- Brunello Riserva 1990 (Col d'Orcia)
Creamy texture and hight-toned herby fruit. Very dry and quite stylish but perhaps it was better a few years ago - it does seem to be drying out a bit. Top
- Champagne Special Club 1996 (A. Jacquart)
Refined - mineral richness, nice balance all through. Pretty dry and clean. Good stuff.
- Chateau Gruaud Larose 1990
Healthy colour. Fragrant rose-garden nose with cedar and tobacco notes. The fruit quite sweet and ripe. This seems resolved but lasts well overnight. Rather good.
- Warre 1980
Quite chocolatey - fruit seems a touch attenuated at first but opens up to a delicious blueberry-raspberry mixture. From a half. Bare
- Champagne Grand Cru NV (P. Bara)
Apples, spices, quite exotic, rather rich fruit, high acidity. Pinot weightiness on the palate. Needs a couple of years in bottle.
- Cotes du Rhone Villages Les Laurentides 1998 (Gramenon)
Attractive, silky Grenache fruit. Very drinkable.
- Chateau Cissac 1996
Not a property I've drunk much recently and it used to be a bit of a joke for producing "Englishman's Claret". They've done quite well in this vintage though: quite powerful and structured, good fruit, drinkable now but probably more so in a couple of years. Good at the price.
- Champagne Brut Rose NV (A. Clouet)
Lovely, vibrant, deep pink colour. Once open for a quarter of an hour, a delicious nose of strawberry fruit. Quite vinous - like a substantial still rose rather than Champagne with a touch of colour. Long finish. Will probably benefit from a year or two in bottle. Top
- Cote Rotie 2001 (Jasmin)
Lead pencil nose - a fair amount of new oak I suspect. Fairly lightweight and elegant - perhaps to excess. Not like Jasmin of old. Bare
- Savenierres Vieilles Vignes 1993 (Closel)
Suspiciously deep colour. Really a bit overly oxidative but underneath there's nice honied fruit. Bare
- Vinas de Gain 2003 (Artadi)
Pure, pleasant. Top
- Merlot 2003 VdP (Domaine la Soumade)
Nice fruit - fruitcake - good structure. Could do with a year or two. Decent balance.
- Rioja Crianza 2002 (Javier San Pedro Randez)
Vanilla - weight of a traditional wine - but the fruit quite bright and fresh cherry. Pleasant. Worth
- Talento Metodo Classico Pas Dose 2000 (Bisol)
Talento is apparantly a trademark of a consortium of growers in Northern Italy making Methode Champenoise fizz from mainly Champagne grapes. This is made by Prosecco producer Bisol. It has the charcteristic yeasty character, fine fruit, it's dry but not over-austere. Nice - it might make an interesting ringer in a flight of growers Champagnes.
- Pape Clement 1997
Moderate weight, quite Burgundian quality, fairly high-toned. Very good drinking. Top
- Barolo Brunate 1995 (Marcarini)
Piercing tar and roses nose. Still a touch hard on the palate, bone dry with quite a lot of tannin. Drinkable but will improve a bit, I think. Bare
- Lindauer Brut NV
Grassy, slightly flabby fruit.
- Champagne Cuvee Royal Brut NV (Joseph Perrier)
Softly grassy, fruity, floury (Meunier, I guess) flowers. White bread. Pleasant finish. Good.
- Champagne Cuvee Royal Brut Rose NV (Joseph Perrier)
Slightly sicky edge to the fruit. Rather dominated by red wine characters. I'm not so keen.
- Champagne Brut 1998 (Joseph Perrier)
Rather soft, easy fruit - both nose and palate. Quite rich, briochey. To drink quite soon - but good. Bare
- Champagne Tradition Brut NV (P Mazet)
Red fruits, frothy, quite weighty. Good strawberry finish. Top
- Champagne Grand Reserve brut NV (P Mazet)
(A blend of 95 and 96) Creamy, gamy, rich, stewed apples and strawberries again. Rather good. Perhaps even
- Champagne Blanc-de-blancs Grand Cru Cuvee Reservee Brut NV (Launois Pere et Fils)
Reserved, pure, stony. Mineral, strawberries again. Medium-weight and excellent length.
- Champagne Blanc-de-blancs Brut 1999 (Launois Pere et Fils)
Very nice, quite creamy, mineral. Persistent. A good
- Champagne Pinot Reserve 2001 (Chapel Down)
Gingery fruit, pleasant but a bit dull.
- Cotes du Rhone blanc Vieilles Vignes 2000 (Les Grandes Vignes du Roy)
Now more evolved, rich, low-acid mature Rhone.
- Priorat Blanc de Botes 2002 (Clos Berenguer)
Rich, deep-coloured, rather new-oak influenced, seems oxidative. In danger of being overwrought - not clear where this is going. Has some character though.
- Rasteau blanc 1998 (Gourt de Mautens)
Again deep-coloured, ambitious. Not that exciting to drink now - but it might improve.
- Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 1991 (R and V Dauvissat)
creamy, minerals, delicious.
- Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Folatieres 1994 (J-M Boillot)
Very elegant, moderate weight, quite complex and an excellent finish for the vintage. even
- Chateau Soutard 1985
Chestnut, coffee, lovely ripe fruit. Quite fresh and fruity. Still well-structured but drinking well - no hurry to drink this.
- Chateau Soutard 1982
A little difficult at first. Then rounded Christmas-cake fruit. Less exotic than the 85 and more 1-dimensional. Top
- Chateau Soutard 1978
Two halves, the better nicely balanced, biscuity, digestible. Top (the other much weaker)
- Chateau Soutard 1970
Rather lovely, fresh, high-toned, dry and savoury. Top
- Chateau L'Arrosee 1990
Baked fruits. Balanced (12.5% a!), creamy. The finish suggests it needs drinking over the next few years.
- Coteaux de Saumur 1990 (J-C Bourdin)
Bags of botrytis but a bit coarse.
A sample sent by the winery
- English Rose 2004 (Chapel Down)
Fresh, strawberry and redcurrant flavours with good balancing acidity and a touch of eldeflower. Good, easy drinking for a summer's evening.
- Malvasia Collin Piacentini 2004 (Castello di Luzzano - Fugazza)
Frizzante, only 6.5% alcohol, pleasantly refreshing. Rather like a Moscato but floral rather than grapey. It says "dolce" on the corner of the label - it's about demi-sec and nicely in balance of rthe style. Ideal for sunny garden evenings. Well made.
- Morey St Denis 1er cru Ruchottes 2001 (Arlaud)
Rather good fruit, oak fairly evident on the palate but probably not excessive (although I must say I like less and less oak in my wines), quite mineral too. Could do with a bit longer in bottle but probably won't make four stars as it seems just a bit simple by the highest standards.
It's sad, but Waitrose is much better than any previous source of fruit and veg in the city.
- Macon Clesse Cuvee Tradition 1989 (Domaine de la Bon Gran - Thevenet)
Toffee and caramel, quite maderised and a bit vegetal but maintaining interest and drinkability despite being past its best. I oscillate between finding this too far-gone and admiring it. A reminder of what over-old white Burgundy should be like, as compared to the current rash of prematurely oxidised wines that are simply rotting. Some will find this unappetising but I'll settle on
- Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Champgains 1996 (Niellon)
Lively, high-toned, more suggestive of Puligny than Chassagne. Good acidity and quite mineral. Very nice - what I hoped rather more 96's would be like!