Wine group, guest of ZM. 30/06/1997 (TNB)
- Zobinger Heiligenstein Riesling 95 (Brundelmayer) Very attractive floral, almost condrieu-like peachy nose. Quite sweet. Might or might not be going somewhere, but very pleasant now. 86.
- Riesling 90 (Malat-Brundelmeyer) Quite spicy/petrolly, half way from Alsace to Germany. Pretty decent. 85.
- Puligny-Montrachet Demoiselles 92, 89, 86, 83 (M. Colin) The 92 toffeed but fine, the 89 quite tight, but perhaps slightly thinner in the middle, the 86 a model Burgundy coming into its prime: powerful yet elegant, fruity yet still quite tightly wound in a way. The 83 similar, but slightly less balanced. These wines make a strong case for this vinyard (a tiny premier cru tucked in between the Montrachets) and this producer. All quite similar in style: lots of ripe fruit, but somehow very well-structured and not over-indulgent. 90(?+), 90(?+), 94, 92 respectively.
- Pesquera 82 Good long fruit, not showing its age. 88
- Vega Scicilia Unico 85, 75, 70 All showing quite young, the 85 more akin to the Pesquera, but I suspect it just needs time. Both the 75 and 70 have amazing concentration of ripe fruit and complex nuances. These wines justify a high reputation. 90 (?+), 94, 94 respectively.
- Vouvray Le Haut Lieu 1947 (Huet) Now medium dry, honeyed, and brown sugar (almost muscaty) flavours. Very long, complex and very much alive. 96.
- Vouvray Le Haut Lieu 1924 (Huet) Very citric, sour acid (not unpleasant) flavours, surrounding a core of fruit still. Perhaps no longer at its best, but intruiging flavours. 90.
- Niepoort 77 High-toned raspberry fruit, but carrying good fruit. Quite tannic, but very ripe tannins. 90(?+)
- Tokay Pinot Gris Reserve 1993, Trimbach Lovely floral, semi-fatty and peachy nose. Palatte similar but with an odd metallic edge that I hope will disappear with time. 87(+?)
- Sanford 1993 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County This winery's basic Pinot, and fairly impressive. Varietal fruit, aromas of coffee and chocolate and slightly rough edges make it Burgundian in style. Very interesting. It's good to have a New World Pinot that isn't all purity or jamminess. 88
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1993, Cornacchia Impressive colour as usual. Good concentration. 87
- La Cuvee Chouette 1993, Les Vignerons du Val d'Orbieu Pleasant enough cheap Languedoc red (3.99). Lacking some oomph, but developed with time in the glass. 84
- Chateau de Capitoul 1995, La Clape A mix of Rhone grapes (Grenache, Carignan, Mouverdre and Syrah from memory). Again cheap (3.99), but with reasonable concentration. Soft and with zingy fruit making the odd appearance. The back label says it will improve for 6 to 8 years, but I'm not sure that it has the structure for that. 86
- Riesling Saering 89 (Schlumberger) Fat fruit, but I thought this lay over quite a restrained structural core. Rather good, with a question mark attached to the length, which was OK, but not quite as one might hope. 87 (?+)
- Mumm Cordon Rouge 89 Twice recently, nice fruit, quite forward, drinking OK now. 88.
- Leoville Barton 75 Funny wine: it shows none of the 75 faults. Quite accessible, solid currenty fruit overlaid with a lot of (perhaps one-dimensional) smokeyness. 89.
European whites at OFW 26/06/1997 (TNB)
- Menetou Salon 96 (Pelle) Very ripe (the year, apparently), almost New Zealand fruiteness, without any vegetality. Quite pleasant. 84.
- Riesling Jubilee 88 (Hugel) Extravagently keroseney, to the extent of its being a fault. Decent, but unremarkable core of fruit. Not very keen. 84. (14.99)
- Gewurtztraminer Jubilee 85 (Hugel) Says "VT" on the cork - it narrowly missed the grade. Fine, restrained, quite long, smokey. 88. (14.99)
- Condrieu La Bonnette 95 (Rostaing) Lovely fragrent peach/apricot, with a hint of kernely astringency. Nice balance too, with oak (if any) very restrained. 92. (24.99)
- Riesling Jubilee 93 (Hugel) Recognisably similar to the 88, but more spicy than keroseney (and I would guess it's not just the age). Better concentration than the 88 too. 87.
- Riesling VT 94 (Schaetzel) Near desert style, good weight of fruit and noticable botrytis. Critics thought it perhaps a bit simple. I'm not so sure. 90 (?) (19.99)
- Vouvray Le Marigny, Molleaux 95 (Fouquet) Very honeyed, botryitised, grassy flavours. Pinapply fruit. Very good. 92.
- Gewurtztraminer VT 94 (Schaetzel) Again desert-style. Rose petals. Good follow through and smokey finish. 90.
- Rieussec 88 Pretty over the top, even for Rieussec! Lots of botrytis, bags of fruit, quite oily. Pretty good! 93.
- Champagne Drappier Brut Carte D'Or From a half. A good reliable medium bodied Champagne without the intensity to be really good. Judging from the cork this had had some bottle age. 88
- St Aubin En Remilly 95 (Ch de Puligny) Mouthfilling melony fruit, nice weight. If one has to complain, it lacks subtlety. A bargain at about 12.50 from OFW. This seems to be an estate/negociant (does anybody know) on the way up. 88.
- Barbaresco Feyles 79 Bin-end from Raeburn. Excellent healthy colour, decent fruit, but perhaps nothing really exciting. 86.
- Petrognano 1994, Pomino A Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend. A medium bodied wine with pleasant balancing acidity. Good cherry fruit. 85
- La Cuvee Mythique 1994, Les Vignerons du Val d'Orbieu
A good Languedoc red from this co-op that Parker has rated highly in the latest Advocate. A mushroom and herb bouquet and zingy fruit. Very good value at 5.99 from Victoria Wine. 88+
Cava Caveat. Some friends bought some Cava round, so an informal tasting ensued. This is not something I would recommend. I know Cava is not supposed to be at the top level of sparkling wine, and these are cheap versions, but in today's world I would expect the wines to be better than this.
- Castellblanch Brut Extra Cava Pretty awful. Odd earthy dull flavours - if you have to drink this, then drink it very cold or mix with orange juice. Better still, just drink the juice. 68
- Cava, Coniusa Brut A step up, but again dull. 75
- Sainsbury's Cava Better, with refreshing acidity and light buttery flavours. 79
- Tesco's Cava The winner! More zing and less flavour (which in this tasting was a good thing). 80
- Brauneberger Juffer Auslese 83 (Licht-Bergweiler) A particularly good bottle of this -- fine Mosel just coming into some sort of maturity. 87.
- Gewurtztraminer Kessler 89 (Schlumberger) As before, bold, dramatic, quite sweet. Very pleasant 88.
- Bricco Del Ucellone 93 (Braida) Lovely acidity, very stylish, quite complex, great with food. 90.
- Croser 9? Had better bottles of Croser, but even those aren't really champagne!
- Wieninger Riesling Select 1995, Austria Not nearly as good as his Chardonnay. This is dry, but lacking depth. I've had Austrian Rieslings that open up after a few months dumbness, but I don't think this will be one of those. 80
- Chateau de Campuget 1995, Tradition de Campuget, Costieres de Nimes The white wine dry with an attractive floral nose and a textured finish - a pleasant light bodied wine. 84. The red soft and lacking concentration - no real character. 81
A Tasting at Bacchanalia, Cambridge 14/06/1997 (RJB)
The tasting was held on a fairly humid day, so the wines may not have been giving their all.
- Palliser Estaste Martinborough Riesling 1996 (8.69) Goodish with a fair amount of body and grassy acidity. It will probably improve for a few years. 85
- Riesling Gueberschwir 1995, Zind-Humbrecht (12.29) Residual sweetness, buttery and a bit untogether. Too sweet to make it that pleasurable at the moment, but time may well show it to be a pretty good wine. 86-89
- Montagny Premier Cru 1995, Bouchard Pere et Fils (8.69) Straightforward liquorice fruit. Some oaky texture. 83
- Chateau Civrac-Lagrange 1995, Graves (7.59) Four-fifths Semillon and the rest oak-aged Sauvignon. Semillon waxiness fairly obvious. Perhaps lacking concentration, but a good Graves for the price. It may well age fairly well for a few years. I hope to try this again soon. 86-88
- Chateau Val Joanis 1996 Cotes du Luberon (rose) (5.99) Coarse and lacking charm. 78
- Champagne Henriot (18.99) Rather light and short. 82
- Pinot Noir 1992, J. B. Adam, Alsace (7.99) One-dimenional, dull, toffeed and fading.
- Bourgogne 1994, Domaine de L'Arlot (9.69) Clean textbook Pinot. Good for this level, but . . . 84
- Chateau Chenaie les Douves 1994, Faugeres (8.99) Slightly weedy nose, but goodish full flavours. Well balanced, but a bit hot. 83
- Domaine Dohin Le Roy 1994, Corbieres (8.99) Minty with old oak structure. Easy. 84
- Clos Saint Jean 1990, Chateauneuf du Pape (12.59) Rather stalky and sulphury, but seemed a decentish wine underneath this.
Australian Shiraz at 5 St Bernard's Crescent 13/06/1997 (TNB)Are Ozzy reds as bad as we tend to think? The following wines were tasted in geographical flights, blind to everybody except me (partially blind) and ZM.
- Leasingham Shiraz 94 Lifted varietal fruit - very raspberryish. Nice, but fairly simple.
- McCray Wood shiraz 94 (Barry) Second wine of The Armagh. Closed, but hints of class. Quite pleasant.
- Armagh 94 (Barry) I'm coming round to this, it's deep, long, silky and fruity. 90.
- Wendouree Shiraz/Mataro 94 Very serious, with mushroomy Mouvedre notes. It seems a bit hollow at the moment, and without the length that sometimes gives away excellence in a classy young wine. Will it fill out?
- Rymill Shiraz 93 Good blackberryish fruit, and quite long.
- Normans Old vine shiraz 95 Nondescript fruit. Not so interesting.
- Normans Chais Clarendon 94 Rather more complexity, but lacks interest.
- Maglieri 94 Herby/spicy - some said vomity. Eccentric, pehaps of some interest?
- Maglieri Maglieri reserve 94 One dimensional and very sweet. Very dull.
- Ch. Reynella 94 Raspberry fruit, good structure, some class. Excellent for a cheapish wine! 87.
- E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 94 Nice fruit, good balance and length. 88.
- Creek block shiraz (Greenock Creek) 94 High-tomned, quite long, liquoricey flavours. Rather nice. 90.
- Ebenezer shiraz 92 Corked.
- Commander shiraz 92 (Elderton) Long, lush and fleshy, but good underlying structure. A "Parker" wine! 92.
- Dom Peyre Rose, Clos Raphail 90, Languedoc Ringer introduced by ZM. Very Grenachy nose, lovely nose of herbs in hot earth. Nice cherry fruit, good but not great length. 90.
- La Chapelle 91 (Jaboulet) Medium weight, showing a slightly animal character tonight. A good La Chapelle. 88.
- Hill of Grace 88 (Henschke) Lovely long silky liquoricey fruit. Great balance. Very comparable to a great Northern Rhone 91.
- Yarra Yering Dry Red No2 87 Lovely fruit, and interesting complexity, but oh so volatile. Once you notice that, it becomes less and less pleasurable to drink.
- Hermitage 91 (Desmeure) Dense, long and concentrated. Showing very well indeed. 91.
- Rockfords Basket Press Shiraz 85 Impressive in a way, but like a dry port. I'm not sure about this!
- Cabernet/shiraz 81 (Brokenwood) Quite French in style, cedary fruit. Nice old wine, dries a little in the mouth, and the "clarety" character is a shade 1-dimensional. 89.
- Grange 78 Dry, complex, very deep. Extremely impressive, if a shade soulless. (Interesting to see volatility handled much better too!) 94.
Reynella excepted (and that does seem a bargain), the "McLaren Vale and surroundings" flight was pretty dull!
The Barossa flight was a step up, but sad that everybody stops dead on the French wine and says "this can't be Ozzy -- it's such a pleasure to drink!". (Mind you, it was a couple of years older.)
Grange is Grange - a great wine - all it lack is a sense of terroir, I think. Hill of Grace can hold its head up in any circles too. So can one or two of the other Barossa Shiraz's, at least if the circles don't get too high!
- Chardonnay 89 (Petaluma) Coming towards maturity, nicely balanced, quite Burgundian. 88.
- Petersen's Sauternes 87 From a half. Typical Ozzy Bottrytis bomb, lacking acidity.
- Riesling 88 Gold capsule (Petaluma) Limey Oz riesling. Pretty pleasant.
- Lafaurie Peyreguay 86 From a half. Lovely medium weight Sauternes, developing beautifully. 91.
Two wines from Bacchanalia - a new wine shop in Cambridge
- Mitchelton III 1993, Goulbourn Valley A good Oz Shiraz/Mourvedre/Grenache blend with balance and zingy fruit. Needs a couple of years. Seemed thin at first but opened up. 87(+?)
- Gosset Excellence Brut Champagne Superb fullish-bodied Champagne. Excellent balance and good acidity. Lovely apple nose with just a slight oxidative character. I could drink a lot of this. 93
On holiday in Staithes 07/06/1997 (RJB)
- Sancerre Domaines des Implipeaux 1995, Jaques Fleuriet Good Loire Sauvignon. Taut. 86
- Sainsbury's Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut Medium weight and complexity. 85
- Cbablis Premier Cru Beauroy 1988, Domaine Fromont Moindrot Toffeed old Chardonnay. 86
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1979 Good, but not great. Touch of vegetalness and lacking dimension, but also some lovely maturing Syrah flavours. 87
- Sainsbury's Spatlese 1994, Dexheimer Doktor Mainly for cooking (added to a crab and pasta dish), but OKish German with decent balance and fruit. 83
- Bad Tempered Cyril, Tempranillo Syrah, Vins de Pays d'Oc Terrible pun (if that's not too strong a word for it) for an obvious commercial wine which starts well, but is very boring. 79
- Chateau Picque Caillou 1989 Pessac Leognan Past it. Vegetal and weedy.
- Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial Not the green Moet of old (which used to keep fairly well). Easy drinking. 87
- Chablis 1995 Saint Michele, Domaine Laroche Drunk with a good meal at the Endeavour restaurant at Staithes (good fish soup, excellent locally caught lobster and fairly classy puddings). Well made wine, but lacking real class. I like a bit more acidity and tightness in Chablis. Not a keeper. 88
- Gewurztraminer 1995 Louis Sipp Rather odd metallic (faulty) finish. Poor wine.
- Woodstock McLaren Vale Grenache 1995 Cherries and Eucalyptus. Light. 83
95 Puligny at OFW 05/06/1997 (TNB)
- P-M 95 (Pascal) Estery, no more than pleasant. 82 (16.99)
- P-M 95 (Ch de P-M) Hint of Puligny nuttyness, light, but balanced. 83. (16.99)
- P-M 95 (Carillon) Very dull. Perhaps bottle variation - some around the room liked it. Our bottle: 80. (17.99)
- P-M 95 (Sauzet) Just a bit more class, but not that striking. 84. (22.99)
- P-M Folatieres 95 (Pascal) Genuine burgundy - more concentrated than the village wines, but not so striking. 85. (19.99)
- P-M Folatieres 95 (Ch. de P-M) At last a real wine: limey notes, a good core of fruit and a nice dose of oak that should integrate well. Tempting! 91 (20.99)
- P-M Referts 95 (Carillon) New worldish, big, fruity, but to me not so interesting. 87. (23.99)
- P-M Referts 95 (Sauzet) Tightly wound, seems quite classy, but hard to judge. The length suggest it's probably rather good. 87-92 (33.99)
- P-M Champ canet 95 (Carillon) A bit more restrained, and to my taste better than most Carillon. Again, could be quite good 88(?+) (23.99)
Misc 05/06/1997 (TNB)
- Chablis Vaillons 89 (Tour Vaubourg) Rich for chablis, but drinking nicely.
- St Aubin Perrieres 90 (O. Leflaive) Pleasant enough - decent burgundy.
- Barolo Delizea 82 (Fontanafredda) Good colour, gamey nose, loads of tannins. Good for a while yet.
- Mussbacher Esselhaut Rieslaner Auslese 92 (Muller-Catoir) Big and rich, but it seems slowly to be losing some of its drama. I wonder if there's anything here for the long haul.
Generic port 03/06/1997 (TNB)
- Calem 70 Nice medium weight raspberry fruit. 88.
- Smith Woodhouse 77 Dry and winey: a nice but not great 77.
- 80 vintage: All showing well: quite dry, more extrovertly fruity, sweeter and large scale, with lots of fruit but classic - dry and excellent.
- 83 vintage: large scale, and very good. Ramos Pinto also fruity, but a bit dull.
- 85 vintage: A lighter, elegant vintage: rather good, but a bit light. quite Portugese and pleasant, as was . quite classy too.
- 91 vintage: unexciting.
- 92 vintage: and both pretty classy, with the Niepoort looking better set for the long haul now.
- Colheita 83: from excellent again, and from not bad, but less complex and a bit cloying.
- Colheita 67 (Pocas) was perhaps the wine of the evening - lovely dark colour and cherry/wood flavours. Unfortunately they are "seeking an importer".
- 20 year old tawney: Many pretty pleasant examples: and in a more elegant style and particularly good . On the other hand, a bit dull. is quite impressive too, but is a bit weak.
Wine Society's Chateauneuf-du-Pape 02/06/1997 (TNB)Class will tell!
- Beaucastel Blanc 95 Honeyed, intense, long. 92
- Beaucastel 95 Currenty "lifted" fruit. Balanced, quite long. seems less concentrated than the 94, but Pierre Perrin says this is only because it has just been bottled. 90(?+)
- Beaucastel 94 Gamey, mushroomy, classic Beaucastel. 93.
- Beaucastel 86 Minor vintage showing very nicely - just coming to some sort of maturity. 88.
- Font de Michelle Blanc 95 Light, unexciting. 80.
- Font de Michelle 95, 94, 93 The 95 very Beaujolaisish, but perhaps hiding a decent wine. The 94 and 93 sound, but not really exciting. 82-85ish.
- Mont Redon blanc 96 Very estery and dull. 80.
- Mont Redon 95, 94, 90, 89 The 95 OK (perhaps), the 94 dull and slightly metallic, the 90 good but not special, the 89 lacking fruit, and perhaps tiring.
- Clos des Papes 95, 94, 93, 90, 88 95 and 94 both big, serious wines, a bit unforthcoming at the moment: 90(?+). The 93 similar, but clearly lighter: 87. The 90 is very serious indeed, a great monster. How long does one have to wait for something to emerge though? 92 (?+). The 88 a shade lighter, but pretty good again: 89.