Recent Burgundies 27/03/2003 (TNB)
- Givry Champ-Lalot 1999 (Faiveley) Lemony, succulent basic white Burgundy. There's a touch of mineral quality too. Pleasant drinking. Just about rates
- Savigny Les Vermots Dessus 1999 (Baron de la Charriere - Girardin) Trying this properly for the second time after a tasting it remains a mouthwatering young white Burgundy - nutty, with good acidity. It will keep for a while too. Top
- Romanee St Vivant 1993 (DRC) Meaty. Savoury. Rich, dry and long. Tasted when I had the remnants of a cold but I think it did not sing that loudly mainly because this is just a bit young and the style requies time. A conservative
- Puligny Montrachet Combettes 1993 (J.M. Boillot) As lovely as I remember it - lovely acidity and very fine fruit. Top
- Volnay Vendage Selectione 1997 (Lafarge) Intense strawberry and beetroot pinot, quite dry and savoury, which makes the Pinot sweetness of the fruit on the finish all the more captivating. I feel this still needs a couple of years to show at its best. Top
- Gevrey Chambertin En Pallud 1995 (Maume) Not so forthcoming on the nose, raspberry fruit, dry and savoury with a meaty, tannic finish. I think it needs a bit of time.
- Nuits St George 1er Cru Clos des Forets 1990 (Domaine d'Arlot) Plumskin Pinot with a bit of cooked fruit on the finish. Plausible Burgundy, but not so remarkable. Scrapes
- Chassagne Les Embrazees 1992 (B.Morey) Custard powder character with an impression of slightly faded fruit - not bad but not as good as I remember my last bottle of this wine. I suppose 92 is not a long-lived vintage. Bare
- Savigny-les-Beaube Les Guettes 1970 (Doudet-Naudin) A very odd wine: solid colour, good condition, gamy nose and a very weighty palate. Fairly fresh. On that basis it ought to be wonderful but the palate is quite coarse and rustic and unusual for Pinot. Is this one of those old-fashioned Burgundies owing something to the South of France? Pleasant in its way. Top
- Gevrey Chambertin Les Eteloies 1999 (B. Maume) Spicy and smoky, crushed red fruits, good finish. Pretty dry and despite the ripeness a bit austere at the moment. This needs a bit of time to open out. Excellent village wine.
- Meursault 1988 (Jean Germain) Richard picked up some of this for a song years ago and it has aged very well. Some will say it should have been drunk a while ago, but if you like older wine it is very drinkable now. Fresh from the cellar it seemed a bit mean but as it warmed towards room temperature and breathed a bit it became a pleasing old dry-honied vegetal-influenced mature Chardonnay. Still, time to drimk up. A decent
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/03/2003 Return to top
Wine Group Xmas Dinner 16/03/2003 (TNB)
- Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg Spatlese 2001 (von Schubert) So rich and big - exceptionally so for the level and property. I suppose it may close up at some stage but it is still surprising. It seems to have less than the usual acidity too but that may be a misperception caused by the astonishing fruit. Whatever, it is an easy
- Corton Charlemagne 1994 (Jadot) Refined, nicely mineral - drinking well. A very good
- Beaucastel blanc 1988 Nutty, fresh but with lots of evolved flavours. Delicious mature wine.
- Santenay Beaurepaire 2000 (J-M Vincent) Quite earthy - lots of red fruits - carries it's new oak easily. It will certainly benefit from a few years but is almost worth a straight three stars for drinking now.
- Corton Grand Cru 1997 (Follin-Arbelet) Very high-toned, crushed red fruits. Elegant, fine, beautifully constructed wine. Top
- Chambolle-Musigny Charmes 1987 (Barthod) Dry, savoury, meaty, yet fragrant. Possibly beginning to fade a shade on the finish but very good drinking.
- La Lagune 1978 Smoky, intense, quite big, not so refined. A bit rough and edgy. Good but finishes a shade sharp.
- Barolo Cascina Francia 1982 (G. Conterno) Savoury, meaty, closed at first with some unclean flavours that blow off. (I almost wondered whether this bottle had been stored in over-warm conditions at some stage - or is it just a bit reductive?) Pretty tannic and difficult too but with loads of fruit. Seriously old-fashioned kit that needs another ten years at least! There is some "benefit of the doubt" here, but I'll hazard
- Vin Santo 1988 (Selvapiana) Green rim, Madeira-like nose. Touch of chocolate. Very attractive.
- Offley Boa Vista 1966 Opens up to a stylish, chocolatey, high-toned, elegant fruit. Lovely. Even
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/03/2003 Return to top
Recent fortified wines 16/03/2003 (TNB)
- Tokaji 5 Put 1993 (Crown Estates) Attractive, fairly dry, nice fruit.
- Colheita 1985 (Niepoort) Lighter weight than some but a lovely dark chocolate finish. Good
- Madeira Verdelho Reserva 1977 (d'Oliveiras) Burnt marmalade. Already drinking well.
- Palo Cortado Obispo Gascon (Barbadillo) Lovely colour, green edge. Fantastic, savoury, rancio, mature sherry nose. Tangy, salty palate and great length. A really splendid drink. Possibly even
- Oloroso Viejo Almacenista 1/138 (E. Lustau) Should one take a half bottle of one of Lustau's generally splendid sherrys and leave it forgotten in the depths of ones cellar for six years? To judge from this, received wisdom is right and one should not - this seems to have lost freshness and interest as well as developing a substantial sediment. It is still perfectly drinkable and I wouldn't grudge it a star or two, but perhaps it is fairer to leave it unrated.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/03/2003 Return to top
The Australian tasting in Edinburgh 09/03/2003 (TNB)Brief notes from a rather large, crowded tasting!
- Shiraz Reserve 2000 (Plunkett Winery) Elegant and complex - a pleasant surprise. Might possibly be a bit short - I would be interested to try it again. At least
- Sauvignon/Semillon 2001 (Suckfizzle) Very lees-influenced, not too fruit-driven. Interesting.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 (Suckfizzle) Seemed rather four-square. Might be more but for now
- Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1999 (Fermoy Estate) Ripe e d forward but balanced and quite classy. plus
- Shiraz 2001 (Ferngrove Vineyards) Seemed a bit warm-climate diffuse.
- King Malbec 2001, Orchid Series Reserve (Ferngrove Vineyards) Attractive brambly fruit, forward perhaps but quite dry and reasonably tight. This stood out from the crowd rather. plus
- Shiraz 2000 (Heartland Wirrega) Bright and piercing nose but a bit of a fruit bomb and with hints of bitterness.
- Mitolo GAM McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001 (Heartland Wirrega) Expensive nose and palate - no oak spared. Not too overstated as these things go but not my glass of wine. It will have its admirers.
- Jester McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001 (Heartland Wirrega) Very soft and rather a fruit drink. I am not surprised that this has been chosen for screw-cap closure.
- Adelaide Hills Purple Patch Riesling 2001 (Chain of Ponds) Clean, quite dry in style with good if slightly disjointed acidity (not artificial, I am told). Probably scrapes
- Old Broke Block Semillon 2002 (Glenguin) Easy going, fairly low alcohol, lunch-time dry white - and none the worse for it!
- Christina Semillon 1997 (Glenguin) This just oozes charcter: green peas, lemon, petrol. I think I would need to drink a bottle to come to a real conclusion about this, but it is certainly interesting. For now a good
- Chardonnay 2000 (Glenguin) Rich fruit, but a bit of grip too. Not expensive I think and so perhaps a bargain. Top
- Schoolhouse Block Shiraz 2000 (Glenguin) Warm rubber, raspberry and pepper - not at all cloying. Another interesting wine from this estate. Good
- Arneis Gary Crittenden 2002 (Dromana Estate) This has a certain richness but otherwise lacks features. Not so unlike many Italian versions!
- Dolcetto Gary Crittenden 2000 (Dromana Estate) Boiled sweet nose and rather light fruit. Not a great success.
- Nebbiolo Gary Crittenden 1999 (Dromana Estate) Pale colour and authentically floral but this has a bitter finish and I don't think it has really worked. A bare
- Riesling 2002 (Petaluma) Some attractive minerality.
- Chardonnay 2000 (Petaluma) Fairly short-term.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Stonier) Drier than some - quite pleasant.
- Reserve Chardonnay 2001 (Stonier) A star at the Wine Challenge apparently: quite big, rich and serious - but reasonably stylish. Might rate in its way.
- Art Series Riesling 2001 (Leeuwin Estate) Nicely tight - quite interesting. Easy
- Art Series Sauvignon blanc 2001 (Leeuwin Estate) Grassy - not to excess. Decent.
- Art Series Chardonnay 1999 (Leeuwin Estate) Very closed on the nose but excellent intensity and length. The wine of the evening by a way. Possibly even
- Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (Leeuwin Estate) Quite refined and stylish - blackcurrant fruit.
- Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay 2001 (Leeuwin Estate) Much more rounded and less ambitious than the Art Series wine. Good though.
- Prelude Vineyards Cabernet/Merlot 1998 (Leeuwin Estate) A bit leafy for me.
- Riesling 2002 (Chrismont) Slightly coarse finish.
- Verdelho 2002 (Bremerton) Makes a change! Very drinkable.
- Mesh Eden Valley Riesling 2002 (Grosset Hill-Smith) Dry, fine, clean and with good length. I am told that Grosset and Hill-Smith pick and vinify alternate rows from the vineyard and blend.
- Hand Picked Riesling 2001 (Wirra Wirra) Characteristic Ozzy flavour - is it a touch of mint? A good wine.
- Shiraz/Cabernet Bin 389 1999 (Penfolds) Substantial and meaty as always. One of my favourites from the Penfolds range.
- St Henri Shiraz 1999 (Penfolds) I am never quite sure about this wine, made unusually with no new oak. Today it seems to have pure, ripe, creamy raspberry fruit and nice supporting acidity. At least
- Orange Vineyard Chardonnay 2001 (Rosemount Estate) Given to me on the "if you like European weines you will like this" ticket. If the nose is restrained, the fruit is still dreadfully fat.
- John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (Wynns) Big soft fruit with a minty edge. Impressive in a way, but not my cup of tea (or glass of Ribena).
- Michael Shiraz 1998 (Wynns) Rounded and ripe, but the fruit has much more edge than the Riddoch. Rather good.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Coldstream Hills) Very middle-of-the-road.
- Semillon Sauvignon blanc 2002 (Cape Mentelle) Leafy, to excess perhaps.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Cape Mentelle) Seems very rich and Australian-styled. Maybe
- Chardonnay 1998 (Mountadam) Green pea, grassy, touch of lime. There is a very Australian note (a touch of mint even) that I noticed as well in the Wirra Wirra above that took me back to times tasting in Australia. This has quite a lot of style but is a fairly early-drinking wine. Very good
- Chardonnay 2001 (Mountadam) Seems likely to evolve as the 98 has - it suggests these wines drink at their best about 3-5 years from the vintage date.
- Sauvignon blanc 2001 (Nepenthe) Very nicely constructed, rich but restrained.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/03/2003 Return to top