Wine group at E.O'N's 29/03/1999 (TNB)A word on the 83 clarets: served blind, these were hard to spot as claret, and knowing them to be claret, it was easy to guess they were younger. While they are quite soft and pleasant, I suspect this isn't an ideal time to be sampling them because the obvious fruit character has gone and the mature claret character not fully emerged. The classed growths all seemed good, but in need of at least a few years.
- Madeira Verdelho 1905 (No obvious producer) Brown sugar, nutty, still quite sweet, delicious. Gorgeous length.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1989 (Jadot) In your face fruity. Full and fat. Fairly simple.
- Puligny Montrachet Garenne 1989 (Duc de Magenta - Jadot) Warmish fruit. Nuttier. Mouthfilling, but fairly straightforward. Suggestion of poor cork.
- Chassagne Montrachet 1989 Caillerets (Jadot) Same sort of weight as village wine - a bit finer though.
- 1983 (Cousino Macul) Blackcurrant, smoky, slightly woody. Typical sense that there is something synthetic about the charred flavours.
- Pichon Lalande 1983 Crushed red fruits. Good length. Perfumed and soft. Very nice.
- La Lagune 1983 Round, fruity, solid claret.
- Chasse Spleen 1983 Toffeed, but a short. Clearly weaker than the competition - hard to believe the claims of those who think of this property as clear classed-growth standard.
- Leoville Poyferre 1983 Round, full, yet slightly green. Tea flavours. Another classy wine.
- Cantemerle 1983 Just developing cedariness. Good length. Excellent claret coming round to drinkability. A star in this vintage.
- Symphonie de Novembre, Jurancon 1996 (Domaine Cauhape) Vivid apricot fruit. Dense. Impressive.
- Gaillac, Grain de Folie, 1997 (Domaine de Causse Marines) Less full, lifted. Decent, but not so exciting.
- Delirese d'Automne, (Domaine de Causse Marines) Very, very rich - consequently a bit dull. Very smart designer bottle and no vintage indication.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/03/1999 Return to top
- Murray Valley Shiraz 1995 (Kingston Estate) Sweet, spicy chocolate nose, but lacking fruit. An acidic finish.
- Spitzer Pluris Grau-u.Weissburgunder 1994, Austria (Franz Hirtzberger) Good wine with mineral overtones and off-dry lushness.
- Select Chardonnay 1994, Austria (Wieninger) Mineral flavours, but a bit out of balance with its acidity.
- Domaine de Jalousie Cuvee Bois 1996, (Yves Grassa) Peach and oily flavours. Good value (can't remember how much, but not expensive).
- Beaune 1996, (Louis Josse) OK, but charmless and rather dilute.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/03/1999 Return to top
- Vouvray Aigle blanc 1986 (Poniatowski) Decent, dryish Vouvray. More or less mature. Had a very faint hint of woodiness, which I have noted before from this producer.
- Rioja Vina Ardanza 1990 (La Rioja Alta) Decent stuff -lots of fruit, not too much soft vanilla. Nice drink - could do with a year or two.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/03/1999 Return to top
Wine dinner at St Benard's Crescent 25/03/1999 (TNB)Briefish notes, because of cooking, etc!
- Conrieu Coteau de Chery 1997 (Perret) Restrained peachy/apricot notes. Classy, but lacking the best buzz of excitement that Condrieu can bring.
- Clos Floridene 1989 Rather better than the 90 of this white Graves, which I've sampled many times. This has similar, slightly tropical fruit but with better concentration and length. Drinking nicely, and will do for a while yet.
- Puligny Montrachet Combettes 1990 (Sauzet) Very fine, quite tight. Seemed a shade light, but opened up in the glass. Probably just too young. Very good length.
- Chassagne Montrachet Boudriotte 1992 (Ramonet) More voluptuous, not quite as fine, but with that delicious powerful gingeriness so characteristic of this producer. Lovely.
- Chateau Loudenne 1982 Nicely ripe - drinking fairly well now. This does seem to be a good bourgeois vintage.
- Leoville Poyferre 1982 Big and ripe. Structured, but with the characteristic ripe fruit of the vintage. Liquoricey. Very good.
- Pichon Lalande 1982 As the Poyferre, but bigger framed. Perhaps no finer though. Excellent, but just an average for me and not the absolute super-star its reputation suggests.
- Canon 1966 Crisp, with mature cedaryness emerging. Lovely balance - my sort of Claret! Could do with a few more years.
- Mussbacher Eselshaut Riesling Auslese 1992 (Muller-Catoir) Typical of the producer - big, brash, dramatic, very good, but perhaps not going anywhere. Hard to pin down, tasted blind.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 25/03/1999 Return to top
Noel Young Wines Presents a Tasting of New Fine Wines 23/03/1999 (RJB)
- Chardonnay 1997, Australia (Chain of Ponds) (14.99) Lime and hazelnuts - oily nose. good acidity and a long oak-dominated finish. alcohol shows through a touch. good structure, but not for keeping for too long.
- Alta Chardonnay Luca Vineyard 1996, Argentina (Catena) (19.95) Butterscotch nose and peaches. Good acidity, but rough at the finish.
- Omadhaun and Poltroon 1996, California (Sine Qua Non) (32.00) 55% Rousanne, 45% Chardonnay. Quite high alcohol on the nose and the palate. Spicy.
- Merlot 1997, Australia (Fox Creek) Black cherry nose and spice. A touch short for its size.
- Alta Cabernet Sauvignon Tikal Vineyard, Argentina (Catena) (21.95) Gamey, meaty, Bovril nose. Rubbery, ungenerous finish.
- Reserve Shiraz 1996, Australia (Fox Creek) Spicy and peppery, and with a soft vanillin feel. Shortish finish and a metallic edge - lots of acidity.
- Against the Wall 1996, California (Sine Qua Non) (33.99) Cherries and spice. Good length, but strangely simple. Alcohol showing through.
- Chardonnay Nouvelle Vague 1996 TBA No. 8, Austria (Kracher) (30.00 per half). The nose on this wine just keeps on developing in the glass. Honey and grapefruit. Huge length and complexity. High class wine.
- Welschriesling Zwischen den Seen 1996 TBA No. 9, Austria (Kracher) (31.99 per half). Big (huge!) sweetness and glycerol. The acidity is technically big on this wine, but it doesn't come close to balancing the sweetness. A monster.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/03/1999 Return to top
- Champagne NV (Delbeck) Soft, a bit insipid, new-worldy. Not very good.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/03/1999 Return to top
- 1993 Cuvee Francis Courselle (Chateau Thieuly) Quite good with a touch of age - Sauvignon showing through.
- Old Vines Sauvignon 1997 (Rocioli) Light Sauvignon, but with a longish finish - showing its age.
- Tokay Pinot Gris VT 1985, Cuvee Jean Baptiste, (Adam) Slight stinky nose ? touch of ham. Some oily length, not bad.
- Chardonnay Reserve 1993 (Thelema) Custardy oak. Modern Burgundy in style but with a New World edge.
- Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys 1988, (Daniel Defaix) Dumb nose ? liquorice softness. Lacks depth.
- Chardonnay 1991 Moutere, (Neudorf) Soft vegetal edge, but with real acidity on the palate.
- Sauvignon Blanc 1993, Napa Valley (Philip Togni) Gooseberry / blackcurrant fruit.
- Viognier 1994, (Alban Vineyards) Soft and with a slight spritziness.
- Macon Clesse 1989 Domaine du Bongran Cuvee Tradition (Jean Thevenet) Past it.
- Meursault Charmes 1991 (Jadot) Good drinking - acidity and length.
- 1994 Singer-Riedel Smargad, Austria (Franz Hirtzberger) Off-dry and yeasty.
- Chardonnay 1991, Tasmania (Taltarni) Past it.
- Show Reserve Semillon 1988 (Rosemount) Past it.
- Chardonnay 1993 Spatlese Trocken (Kracher) Buttery toasty nose, some length, but dying a touch.
- Traminak Sampion 1991, Croatia (Vinoza Arkeno) Getting a bit past it, but still drinkable. Medium dry and perfumed. Like a chenin/muscat mix.
- Niersteiner Bergkirsche Riesling Auslese 1988, (Louis Guntrum) Medium Riesling. A bit musty.
- Botrytis Gewurztraminer 1994 (Seppelt) From a half. Very raisiny sweety.
- Nouvelle Vague Traminer Beerenauslese 1991 (Kracher) Delicious.
- Cabernet / Merlot 1989, Waiheke Island (Peninsula) Cigar box, but dying. VA.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 (Greenock Creek) Soft and mushy with an Oz mintiness.
- Mourvedre 1990 (Jade Mountain) Gummy nose and a drying tannic finish.
- 1994 Zinfandel (Edmund St John) Cherries, but a bit dilute.
- Zinfandel Old Vines Cuvee 1996 (Turley) Soft, lovely fruit (chocolatey and currants), good length and structure.
- Admiral 1992, Austria (Pockl) Dilute middle and finish.
- 1992 No. 2 Shiraz (Yarra Yerring) Vegetal nose and loads of VA.
- The Malcolm Shiraz 1996 (Magpie Estate) Last time I had this wine it had just arrived in the UK and was showing very disjointed (its big alcohol showing through). This, however, was completely together. Great length and balance. Superb. possibly more
- 1986 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Beringer) Rather dilute beginning (mind you, anything would after the previous wine). Some VA. in decline.
- 1996 Syrah, Russian River Valley (Hamel) Tannin and leathery rusticity - not keen.
- Campo Della Piorne Bo 1985 Loads of VA, past it.
- Reserve Pinot Noir 1991 (Martinborough Vineyards) Oxidised finish, rapsberry and strawberry fruit.
- Chateau La Pointe 1953, Pomerol Good mature claret, but a touch woody and bitter on the finish.
- Gevry Chambertin 1er Cru Cassetieres 1985 (Faively) Soft, easy, mature wine.
- Ca' del Solo Il Fiasco 1993 (Bonny Doon) A touch vegetal and with leathery tannins. Good though.
- Sito Moresco 1992 (Gaja) Cherry fruit, but a drying finish.
- Chateau de Beaucastel 1993 Odd metallic nose, leathery acidic finish.
- Chateau Fortia 1979 Softly mature sweet fruit.
- Morgon 1991 Cuvee Vielles Vignes (Domaine St Viege(?)) a la Cote du Py Tarry Marmite - past it.
- Cos d'Estournel 1984 Lacking fruit and cardboardy.
- Stonecroft Hawkes Bay Syrah 1993 Vegetal peppery nose - touch acidic at the finish.
- 1996 Mouvedre / Grenache (Magpie Estate) Elegant Rhone-ish texture. Sweetish nose.
- Pinot Noir 1994 (Hamilton Russel) I thought this to be old Burgundy - a touch short on the finish.
- Shiraz / Mourvedre Pressings 1992 (Magpie Estate) Charming nose - Rhone-ish Syrah feel to the wine.
- 1986 Gigondas (Domaine des Gouberts) . Lovely maturity, but a touch ragged at the finish.
- Vino Nobile de Montepulciano 1985 (Dei) Good balance of maturity, acidity and fruit. VA but balanced.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (Arrowood) Pencil shavings, and with good balance
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 (Mount Langi Ghiran) Violet nose, good length and balance.
- 1990 Angels Blend (Passing Clouds) Soft New Worldy wine.
- Big House Red 1992 (Bonny Doon) Thin and dilute.
- Ornellaia 1986 My notes for this: Old claret, but drying out. Very disappointing.
- Chateau Montrose 1982 Good mature claret - in a different class from the previous wine.
- Lyton Springs 1990 (Ridge) Too sweet at the finish for balance.
- The Growers Grenache 1994, Clare Valley (Mitchell) Sick nose - out of condition.
- Durif 1991 (Morris) Sweet late harvest type wine - or Amarone-ish. Good stuff though.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/03/1999 Return to top
- Riserva 1993, Chianti Rufina (Villa di Vetrice) Not as good as I remember from previous tastings - losing its grip. Just
- Pinotage/Merlot 1997, Coastal Region, South Africa (Oak Village) Like quite a lot of South African reds: almost quite nice. Plummy chocolate fruit, but with a raggedness.
- Pinot Grigio 1997 (Villa del Borgo) Quite pleasant crisp white with light peachy flavours.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 14/03/1999 Return to top
- Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 1995 (Chateau de Maligny - Durup) Solid, some steel, some vanilla custard notes. Not at all bad!
- St Aubin Charmois 1990 (O. Leflaive) Drinking pretty well at present - melony, large framed fruit in a reasonably tight package.
- Cru de Coudelet 1986 Very farmyardy - stinky in fact. An off bottle, I suspect.
- Prieure de Meyney 1985 Starting to decline a shade - showing the slight thinness of 85 at some levels. Pleasant though.
- Nuits St George Les Porets St George 1995 (R. Dubois) Crushed red fruits. Goodish palate - a fair amount of oak I feel. (I suppose the producers name......) Goodish value (15 quid at OFW) but a shade lacking in guts to be really exciting.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 14/03/1999 Return to top
Wines from Spain, Noel Young Wines 11/03/1999 (RJB)
- Clasico 1998 (Marques de Alella) (5.99) Gentle unripe melon nose, slight spritz. Falls a bit flat.
- Albarino, Rias Baixas 1998 (Pazo de Senorans) (10.99) Quite a lot of green acidity - needs time to come out.
- Rueda 1996 (Belondrades Y Lurton) (9.99) Spicy dry nose. Lightly toffeed, lemony flavours. Ragged finish.
- Garnacha, Catalayud 1998 (Marques de Aragon) (4.29) Good value red - peppery, raspberry fruit. Soft and easy.
- Toro 1995 (Vina Bajoz) (6.99) Sweetish plum fruit - alcoholic rusticity.
- Finca Allende Rioja 1996 (12.99) Bigger, deeper wine than the previous. Juicy, but not very together at the finish.
- Pesquera, Ribera del Duero 1996 (12.99) The best wine at the tasting. Rich fruit - cherry with some leathery tannins. Just
- Clos de l'Obac, Priorat 1996 (Costers del Siurana) (27.99) Cherry and liquorice flavours, but disappointing.
- , Dolce, Jumilla 1996 (Bodegas Olivares Monastrell) (15.49) Berries and rose petals, and an earthy sweetness. Soft acidity, lovely sweetness.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/03/1999 Return to top
- 1998 Unwooded Chardonnay (Cape Jaffa) Rather too vegetal for my taste, and lacking class.
- Esparail Macabeo-Chardonnay 1998, Somontano Modern peachy fragrance. Not bad, but too simple.
- Rioja Reserva 1994 (Campo Viejo) Lacking fruit and charm - almost as though it is drying out.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/03/1999 Return to top
Dinner at St Bernard's Crescent - Southern Rhone evening 06/03/1999 (TNB)
- Bernkasteler Doktor spatlese 1979 (Deinhard) Appley, almost grapefruit - nice acidity.
- Blanc Reserve 1995 (Chateau de Fonsalette) Rayas's other label - honey, minerals. Fine, chablis-like. Needs a fair few years.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc Vielle Vignes 1989 (Beaucastel) Honey, oak, lovely soft wine. For early drinking at first sight, but it firms up a bit in the glass. Very striking.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 1978 (Rayas) Unfortunately corked, offering only glimpses of what a fabulous wine this is.
- Zinfandel 1998 (Morrison) More or less indistinguishable from Beaujolais style zinfandel at 2.99 a bottle, with all the benefits of "modern winemaking" (boiled-sweet fruit, almost no tannins) that the Wine Press so like. (Made from grape juice concentrate - Richard Morrison is a final year student at the University of Edinburgh.)
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1990 (Beaucastel) Quite fine - mushroom and leather well integrated into a finely wrought wine of excellent length.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1990 (Domaine de Pegau) Good fruit, and not quite the inky monster I remember. Good but seems to finish a bit too quickly to be really top-notch. Some more complexity emerges with some time in the glass, so may become pretty good.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1984 (Rayas) An enormous Burgundian hit of ripe red fruits. Lifted cherry grenache. Just slightly dry on the finish. Very good.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1983 Clos de Papes Ripe cherry fruit. Gamey hints in perfect balance. Long. Excellent.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cedres 1976 (Jaboulet) Warm, iodiney, lovely. Perfectly mature.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cedres 1978 (Jaboulet) Dense, blackcurranty. Needs five years. I thought this rather excellent - some thought it a shade simple. say
- Gigondas 1976 (Jaboulet) Fruit juicey. Pleasant. Pretty decent.
- Gigondas 1978 (Jaboulet) Hopelessly oxidised.
- Gigondas 1978 (Domaine Raspail) Very blackberryish. Shade dirty. Unbalanced. Not very nice.
- Hochheimer KonigenViktoriaberg Hochfeine spatlese 1953 (Pabstmann) Striking greenish edge. Nearly bone dry. Orange-flower water. Delicious.
- Piesporter Goldtropfchen Auslese 1989 (von Kesselstat) Hints of maturity. Pretty strong effort. A very reliable estate.
- Port 1962 (Offley) Vanilla caramel. Decent port of about 60 quality.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 06/03/1999 Return to top
Wine group at ZM's 01/03/1999 (TNB)
- Erbaluce di Caluso 1995 (Ferrando) Pale colour. High-toned, scented nose. Marzipan and minerals. Nice acidity and length. Pretty light-weight.
- Orvietto Classico 1986 (Decugnano dei Barbi) Striking, slightly unclean(?) Slightly retsina-ish nose. Corked.
- Orvietto Classico 1990 (Decugnano dei Barbi) 90 Scented. Shade neutral.
- Orvietto Classico 1996 (Decugnano dei Barbi) Pleasantly grapey. Fairly neutral.
- Orvietto Classico 1997 (Decugnano dei Barbi) Slightly grapey, rounded - seemed almost more mature.
- Barolo Brunate 1994 (Marcarini) Pale. Cherry fruit. Dry. Slightly toffeed. Quite long.
- Barolo Brunate 1991 (Marcarini) Decent colour. Roses nose. Marked tannins. A complete wine, needing time. Strong for the vintage.
- Barolo Brunate 1986 (Marcarini) Perfumed depth. Lovely ripeness. Astonishing complex wine from what is supposed to be a moderate vintage.
- Barolo Brunate 1982 (Marcarini) As the 86 but slightly subdued. I suspect this is an a closed phase at the moment. Certainly needs years.
- Barolo Brunate 1973 (Marcarini) Fine, rose-petals. At peak. Under-rated vintage.
- Barolo Brunate 1964 (Marcarini) Fine old wine, silver polish. Opens out. Clearly on the brink a bit, but rather enjoyable if you like these things. (I do.)
- Vin Santo 1991 (Falchini) Orangey, dry-sherryish. Pretty nice.
- Vin Santo 1977 (Falchini) Very dry burnt sugar. Intriguing. Very drinkable, perhaps best as an aperitif. Not universally admired, but I liked it.
- Vin Santo 1978 (Falchini) Bone dry, sherryish. Delightful hint of sweetness. Another attractive wine.
- Valpolicella Recioto Classico 1980 (Quintarelli) Extraordinarily leafy, blackberry fruit. Lots of CO2. A very striking wine. I love it!
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 01/03/1999 Return to top