A few 1997 Tuscans (mainly Chianti Classico) 24/05/2001 (RJB)
- Tenute Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 1997 (Antinori) I was expecting more from this wine given the vintage and so on. Medium weight, highish toned. Nice acidity and bitterness - well balanced. But is the fruit quality all it might be? I think I prefer the cheaper Villa Antinori from this vintage.
- Chianti Classico Riserva 1997 (Fonterutoli) Top Chianti. Absolutely superb stuff. Excellent firm acidity backed up by up-front crushed berry fruit. This wine really does need time to be at its best, but what a wine it should be when it gets there! It really isn't showing any signs of maturity at the moment. A joy to taste at present, and hopefully a complete joy to drink in five years or more. Easily
- Chianti Classico Castelpolo Riserva 1997 (San Polo in Rosso) Rather thin and simple. maybe
- Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 1997 (Felsina Berardenga) I have a feeling this bottle wasn't in top condition - it might possibly have had a touch of corkiness. Rather woody and lacking fruit.
- Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico 1997 (Barone Ricasoli) Fine Sangiovese with good acidity held in check by classy fruit. Give it a few years. plus
- Chianti Classico Riserva Rocca Guicciarda 1997 (Barone Ricasoli) Good Chianti from a top vintage. Almost a gamey maturing edge to the wine - perhaps hinting of joys to come. Warm depth of fruit. Lovely Chianti structure, but with unexpected richness. I would guess that in three to five years this will be delicious. [Had this wine again shortly after - showing younger - no gamey edge - and with good acidity.
- Casalferro 1997 (Barone Ricasoli) An IGT from a great vintage for Chianti, whose label states, rather mysteriously, that it is 'mainly produced with sangiovese grapes', as though the other grapes used were too disreputable to mention. Bitter cherries and well used wood - seemingly a bit high in alcohol to start with, but this disappeared with time.
- Pieve della Fontana 1997 (Avignonesi) A blend of Prugnolo Gentile, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in 'barrique and traditional oak casks'. I'm not quite sure what to make of this. On first opening it was rather unknit and one-dimensional (perhaps the site of a synthetic 'cork' coming out of the bottle rather put me off). A few hours later though the wine had really come round with fleshy fruit and soft tannins.
- Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1997 (Poliziano) Lush wine - silky smooth, but perhaps lacking the stuffing of greatness.
- Nipozzano Riserva 1997 Chianti Rufina (Frescobaldi) Rather undistinguisued Chianti. Lacking fruit and body - a weak effort. just
- Chianti Rufina Riserva 1997 (Villa di Vetrice) Leathery rustic stuff for drinking young.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/05/2001 Return to top
Syrah and Shiraz at Oddbins Fine Wine 22/05/2001 (TNB)
- Mclaren Vale Sparkling Shiraz A co-operative effort from local winemakers, apparently. Bubblegum fruit and fizz. Quite nice in its curious way, but it's not cheap and what do you drink it with? (49.99 per magnum)
- McRae Wood Shiraz 1997 (Jim Barry) Big, ripe, fruity, minty nose. Simple, jammy, cassis fruit - hot finish. A bare (14.99)
- Magill Estate 1997 (Penfolds) Smoky nose and palate. Nice balance although it still has that slightly sweet New World finish. (24.99)
- Stonewell Shiraz 1995 (Peter Lehman) Leafier, less over-ripe nose with an odd hint of mango! Mintyness emerges. Good length. Some well-integrated structure. A bit more French in its style than the other wines. (19.99)
- Grange 1995 (Penfolds) Heavyweight nose. Monolithic, long and increasingly port-like in the glass. Complexity hiding in all this and it will be very good in its way. Grange often tastes to me as though the winemaker is trying to produce the largest and most dramatic possible wine and it lacks a sense of character as a consequence. Impressive though! (99.99)
- St Joseph L'Amarybelle 1997 (Cuilleron) Slightly masked nose - by what I'm not sure. Reasonably long, balanced, concentrated palate. Scrapes (12.99)
- Cote Rotie 1998 (Bonnefond) Ripe nose, quite floral and elegant but diffuse and rather insubstantial. I suppose it might put on a bit of weight but for now (16.99)
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1998 (Jaboulet) Elegant red fruits and chocolate oranges nose. Savoury palate - so chocolatey. Medium weight but very, very stylish. (39.99)
- Cornas St Pierre 1998 (Jaboulet) Red fruits, meaty animal nose. Good balance and structure all the way through, but savage compared to La Chapelle's elegance. A good (29.99)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/05/2001 Return to top
Wine dinner at E.McC's 17/05/2001 (TNB)
- Riesling Herrenberg spatlese 1989 (Maximin Grunhaus) Fine, forward (for the estate), good concentration, rich and excellent acidity.
- Chablis Premie Cru Butteaux 1998 (Raveneau) Creamy texture, very mineral, long finish. Fairly approachable but will be excellent - perhaps even
- Puligny Montrachet Combettes 1994 (Boillot) Rich Grand Cru quality Burgundy (good vineyard and great producer more than offsetting an average vintage). Lovely texture. Very fine indeed.
- Corton Charlemagne 1990 (Rollin) Still very tight and backward. Fine, but needs time. Probably
- Pinot Noir 1999 (Dry Gully) Authentic pinot flavours but rather simple picnic stuff. Scrapes
- Cotes du Rhone, Ceps Centenaire 1999 (Gramenon) Crushed red fruits. Long and seductive. This doesn't have quite the super-star quality of the 98 but will be very good. It is guessing rather but this may well rate four stars in time.
- Pascal 1999 (Gramenon) Slightly sweeter darker fruits and a sweeter finish too in this late-harvested Grenache. Raisiny. You might rate this very highly if you like the style - I am a bit less keen.
- Leoville Barton 1985 Very classic cedary claret. Beginning to drink, but this will benefit from a few more years.
- Lafaurie Peyraguey 1986 Fruity, decadent, luscious and bold. This is now drinking rather well. From a half, probably scrapes
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/05/2001 Return to top
- St Veran 1998 (Louis Jadot) Basic stuff - lacking any really distinct fruit (could be just about anything). just I guess
- Pinot Blanc 1998 (Felix Meyer) Basic Alsace, OK. Just
- Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru Les Vergers 1998 (Michel Colin-Deleger) Showing its age rather more than might be expected - a touch of oxidation. Perhaps a bad bottle, so I won't score it.
- Periquita Classico 1994 (Jose Maria da Fonseca) (12.50 Harvey's of Lewes) Lovely leathery fragrant stuff - good depth of maturing, pleasantly rustic flavours. Easy
- Champagne Brut (Devilliers) (12.99 at Noel Young) Good party/celebration fizz that doesn't deserve too much thought, but is perfectly pleasant light drinking.
- Corton-Charlemagne 1992 (Bonneau du Martray) A touch flabby and lacking the tightness one might expect. Goodish fruit and oak, but with a vegetal/oxidised finish. At an in between phase? Or is it beginning to fall apart? Disappointing, but still
- Vosne-Romanee Aux Brulees 1987 (Meo-Camuzet) Plum skin Pinot nose, and with good acidity. It could still do with a few more years to be at its best. Colour suggests its age more than the palate which is structured and has good balance and a tight finish.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/05/2001 Return to top
An Alsace dinner at Plaisir du Chocolat with Rolly-Gassmann wines 09/05/2001 (TNB)
- Muscat Moenchreben 1994 (Rolly-Gassmann) Floral, quite rich but in good balance, with more to it than the simple grapeyness that Muscat often has. Quite old for a Muscat, this seems to be about at peak. A good
- Riesling Pflaenzereben 1993 (Rolly-Gassmann) Showing a little evolution, with mineral notes and good acidity. Very nice, classic, balanced wine.
- Auxerrois Reserve 1990 (Rolly-Gassmann) Subdued nose and concentrated fruit - quite remarkably fresh and full-bodied. This might even open out a shade, but for now lets say just a rather good
- Gewurztraminer Oberer Weingarten VT 1990 (Rolly-Gassmann) Attractive smoky roses nose, quite fine and not so far from dry on the palate. Elegant for Gewurztraminer and another good wine.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/05/2001 Return to top
A Scattering of Recent Rhones 09/05/2001 (RJB)
- Cotes-du-Rhone 1998 (Guigal) Two top Cotes-du-Rhones here from Guigal and Beaucastel. This wine has more obvious primary fruit, but lacks the rather classy fungal character of the Coudoulet. This took some time to open out fully. plus
- Coudoulet de Beaucastel 1998 Lovely stuff at this level - this puts many a wine in higher classifications to shame. Fungal and with good fruit combined in a textured whole. Probably needs at least five to eight years to be at its best. Easily
- Chateauneuf du Pape 1998 (Chateau Mont Redon) Thinnish seeming and with a rather alcoholic feel to it. Will it come together? It's certainly a bit clumsy at the moment and I can't see it really improving much. maybe
- Chateauneuf du Pape 1999 (Domaine des Senechaux) Reasonable, but hardly dramatic. Alcohol showing through a simple structure.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards 1999 (Domaines Perrin) Out of balance with alcohol showing through and not enough fruit. May just be young and odd, but for now just
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998 (Domaine Lucien Barrot et Fils) Violet and rose petal fragrance, but soft and with out of kilter alcohol.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reserve 1998 (Domaine du Pegau) Not the closed powerhouse I was expecting, in fact fairly approachable now with that lovely cherry blossom sweetness that Chateauneuf so often has. Real depth. I'd guess this wine will probably close up soon for a while.
- Cornas 1993 (Noel Verset) Highly strung wine. Is the VA holding it together? Or is it just going to dry out? Could still be fairly pleasurable in a few year, or past it. Goodish fruit in the background.
- Cote-Rotie La Landonne 1991 (R. Rostaing) Disappointing - it seems to have given up the ghost. The fruit has disappeared with no very interesting secondary or tertiary flavours to replace it. A weedy watery finish. just on this showing.
- Gigondas 1997 (Domaine Sainte Lucie) Fairly standard Rhone red. Lacks concentration.
- Gigondas Les Hauts de Montmirail 1998 (Domaine Brusset) big lush wine with ripe tannic structure. Not a charmer, rather a muscular powerful wine that should repay keeping.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/05/2001 Return to top
With dinner at Martin Wishart 05/05/2001 (TNB)
- Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot 1991 (Raveneau) Honey and minerals with lovely slightly vegetal character. Very fine, concentrated and long. Opened up so well in the glass that it was almost worth five stars.
- Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Sous le Puits 1996 (J-C Bachelet) Very tight hazelnut Puligny nose. Fantastic acidity, excellent concentration and impressive length. An excellent long-term prospect.
- Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes 1989 (Lafarge) Stunning, almost Jayer-like voluptuous fruit. It explodes and fills the mouth with fruit in the mid-palate, without being brash. Really lovely and at peak now.
- Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes 1966 (Potinet-Ampeau) Gamey, pretty fresh, silky, graceful old wine. Very easy to enjoy. Objectively perhaps worth a star less, but I will go with
- Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Beerenauslese 1998 (Knoll) Spicy, rich and long, not very sweet and with very fine acidity, like a top Alsace VT (or even SGN), this Austrian dessert wine is a class act.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/05/2001 Return to top
- Waitrose Champagne 1990 Good supermarket stuff from the Daniel Thibaut stable (Heidsieck, Bonnet' etc.). Creamy and with good balance.
- Nottage Hill Chardonnay 1999 (Hardys) Dull stuff. Bland Chardonnay.
- Forster Pechstein Riesling Spatlese Trocken 1998, Pfalz (J. L. Wolf) Touch sulphury. Not showing well on the night according to people who'd had it a few months back.
- Casa La Joya Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva 1998 (Bisquertt) South American Cabernet Sauvignon with some jamminess. Lacks structure.
- Barossa Shiraz 1998 (Peter Lehmann) Run of the mill Australian Shiraz. Sweetness and chocolate, but in need of structure.
- Langi Shiraz 1998 (Mount Langi Ghiran) As regular visitors will know, Langi Shiraz is often one of my favourite Australian wines. This doesn't seem a top effort, but good nonetheless. Sweetish oak integration and the usual tight berry fruit.
- 'La Poja' Monovitigno Corvina Veronese 1996 (Allegrini) Wine totally made from Corvina. 18 months in French oak. Light to medium weight stuff with bitter cherry fruit.
- Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 1993 (Oremus) Good stuff. Dried apricots and good sweetness. Lovely.
- Apostoles Palo Cortado Muy Viejo (Gonzales Byass) From a half. Good Sherry, with nutty complexity. Perhaps a bit formulaic as this sort of brand has to be. But good stuff nonetheless.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/05/2001 Return to top