Gang of Three at Mark's 29/05/1996 (RJB)
- Bonny Doon Sauvignon Blanc 1994, California (6.99 Oddbins FW) A dry, botrytised wine. Charming botyrtis (smokey apricots) nose with good acidity. A touch oily. Carries the 13.8% alcohol well. Not obviously Sauvignon. Interesting drinking, but judging by the way it behaved in the glass, not a keeper. Drink this summer (whichever day that falls on this year). 87
- Schoffit Chasselas Vielle Vignes 1994, Cuvee Caroline Obviously Alsace, spicey, touch of residual sugar. A light custard powder texture. Perhaps just a touch thin. 88+
- Petaluma Chardonnay 1989 Oak dominant, with buttery and resiny Semillon characters. Needs more time? 87
- Louis J Foppiano Petite Sirah 1976, Russian River Valley Superb. Slightly volatile, and a light brown tinge at the edges (although it looks as though it could be much younger than it is). Lovely leather and violets nose. Very Rhonish in character. Good balance, good fruit, and good structure. 90
- Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge 1993 Vibrant cherry and vanillin (cherry crumble) nose. Lots of tannin and some bitterness (we all guessed it to be Italian). 88
- Sassoalloro 1993, Vino de Tavola Rosso dei Colli Della Toscano Centrale, Biondi Santi Purple tinged youthfullness, with smokey Sangiovese fruit. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/05/1996 Return to top
- Vouvray, Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec 88 (Huet) From a half. Huge grass and honey nose, lovely weight in the mouth, long finish. Just starting to open out into maturity - deliciouss. If one had to criticise, it's a bit of a monolith. 90.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/05/1996 Return to top
- Schramsberg Blanc de Noir 1987 Drinking nicely. Toasty and medium bodied.88
- Chablis 1er Cru 1990, A. Parent Odd clothiness to begin with, but this soon disappeared. Elegant light weight Chablis. 84
- Vina Alberdi 1989, La Rioja Alta Beautifully balanced vanillin and strawberry nose. Some mineral notes.88
- Champagne Brut, A. J. Vincent A cheap growers Champagne, but good acidity and clean. Would benefit from some bottle age. 85
- Marques de Murrieta 1985, (white) Usual oxidative style with some butteriness creeping in with age. 85
- Mountadam 1990, Eden Valley Chardonnay From a half. Good of its sort (big New World Chardonnays) and the vegetal edge I remember from previous tastings of this wine is not so much in evidence. 87
- Montana Late Harvest Rhine Riesling 1987, Marlborough From a half. I've been dreading trying another one of these. The last one I had (last year) seemed flat and very past it. This one had a similar colour (amber brown), but the acidity and body of the wine were much better. Pleasant. 85
- Chateau Verdignan 1982 A touch of corkiness (so I'll resist scoring). Underneath it seemed what one would expect of an '82 Cru Bourgeois -- goodish fruit with a slight weediness.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/05/1996 Return to top
- Ch. Rousset (Cotes de Bourg) 83 Taken to a party, but turned out to be remarkably drinkable mature lightweight Bordeaux! 84.
- Bollinger NV At least five years in cellar. Nice mature flavours, heading slightly towards oxidative(?). Pleasant though. 87.
- Ch Coufrn 82 From a half, good plummy fruitcake fruit, but a shade one-dimensional. 86.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 26/05/1996 Return to top
- Barolo 1991, Giacomo Borgogno Light to medium weight Barolo with a beautifully vibrant orange-tinged colour. Light cherry, leather and wood aromas with flavours to match (although presently masked by tannin). It will never be stunning, but in five years or so it should be a very pleasant bottle. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/05/1996 Return to top
Oddbins FW Red burgundy tasting 23/05/1996 (TNB)
- Bourgogne Haut cotes de Beaune 94 (jayer-Gilles) Nice nose, but in the mouth some quite good fruit mixed with a bitter component which was particularly noticable in the finish. Very young, of course. 82 (14.00)
- Echezaux 92 (Jayer-Gilles) Good colour, very soft, forward and ready to drink. Pleasant. 85 (46.00)
- Latricieres-Chambertin, Chambertin and Chapelle Chambertin 92 (Trapet) All three very dissapointing: astringent, tannic and dilute. In order above of decreasing badness, but not worth a third of the 30 quid tag!
- Clos Vougeot 92 (Meo-Camuzet) Real wine at last. Nervous, highly strung and fine. Could do with a year or two to resolve itself. 88+ (37.00)
- Morey St Denis 90 (Dujac) A sort of ripe cheese nose, complex and interesting. Mouthfilling fruit -- a village wine that makes me lust after the higher levels. Lovely. (25.00)
- Echezaux 89 (Dujac) Sheer class. Lightish colour, but a wonderful dose of pure yet fascinating fruit. Gorgeous length, but above all, wonderful balance. 93.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/05/1996 Return to top
- Barbera d'Alba 93 (Sandrone) Crushed blackberries and something animal -- lamb fat perhaps. Reasonable concentration. I'd like to taste this in a first rate vintage. 86.
- Mas de Daumas Gassac 93 I remember wines from this property as quite fat and sweet. In fact, it strikes me know as very claret like, quite dry, pure Cabernet fruit with cigarry overtones. Nice structure without harshness. Like a reasonable second growth from a goodish vintage, rather good value at about a tenner! 89+
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/05/1996 Return to top
Lay and Wheeler Californian tasting at Noel Young Wines 18/05/1996 (RJB)
Also tasted a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Frog's Leap, but failed to take a note of exactly what. It smelt of bacon.
- Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc 1994 Rather rough and green, and not showing much varietal character. 83
- Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc 1994 A nicely oaked, melony Sauvignon. Well-made in a restrained fruit style. 86
- Frog's Leap Chardonnay 1994, Carneros Liquorice, flabby fruit - oxidative. 80
- Schramsberg Blanc de Noir 1987 Toasty, and an excellent balance of maturity, fruit and autolytic characters. I'm not usually a fan of Schramsberg, but this was showing well. 88
- Frog's Leap Zinfandel 1993 Spicey, brambly toffeed style. Lacks definition. 85
- Duckhorn Decoy Migration 1993 Pleasant wine for early drinking. Nicely balanced with a mushroomy edge and slight (but beneficial) volatility. 87
- Frog's Leap Merlot 1993 Again toffeed (it seems to be a style at Frog's Leap - which I don't think helps the wines). Rather mushy fruit. 84
- Duckhorn Merlot 1993 Gummy oak nose with high tannin finish. Some plummy fruit, but a touch hollow. 87
- Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 Soft and predictable. 85
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/05/1996 Return to top
At Lionel's 18/05/1996 (RJB)
- Pouilly Fuisse Tete de Cru, Feret. 1992 Oily and Alsace-like in weight. A certain sweetness to the nose (touch of botrytis?). Pretty good, I think, but not quite what is expected of a Pouilly Fuisse. Probably deserves more than: 88?
- Sancerre Blanc de Blanc 1979, Clos de la Poussie, Cordier More for interest than anything else. However, it turned out to be rather a pleasant drink. Distinct (and relatively fresh) Sauvignon nose - leafy and stalky. 85
- Lynch Bages 1981 Drinking very nicely. Everything one would expect of a medium weight Pauillac (cigar box, blackcurrant and a touch of austerity). 89
- Ruchottes Chambertin 1985, Armand Rousseau This always seems to have a browner colour than might be expected. A touch of volatility and austere fruit. 87
- De Bortolli Botrytis Semillon 1986, Australia Quite brown, but very much alive. big raisiny nose and full flavours. 88
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/05/1996 Return to top
Noel Young Wines presents a tasting of Simi Wines with Zelma Long 15/05/1996 (RJB)As Zelma Long said, Simi try to make wines that can be drunk straight from the shop, and, to me, this results in a style of wine (especially with the reds) that I'm not particularly fond of - soft and medium bodied.
- Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, 1992 (Simi) (8.29) Not overtly Sauvignon, a touch of lees characteristics, thin (or is it elegant?), gentle oak. 81
- Chardonnay, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa 1987 (Simi) Limey, oily and honeyed. Holding together well. Light to medium bodied. 86
- Chardonnay, North Coast, 1991 (Simi) (10.99) A touch vegetal, soft and slight tannins. Vanillin finish rather takes it out of balance. 86
- Chardonnay, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa 1993 (Simi) (10.99) Slight spiciness, light to medium bodied, goodish structure. Although the '87 is holding up well, I think this convinces me to drink these Chardonnays young. 87
- Chardonnay Reserve, Sonoma 1990 (Simi) (17.99) Nutty, oily and toasty. Medium bodied. Lacks excitement. 87
- Chardonnay Reserve, Sonoma 1992 (Simi) (17.99) Soft (too soft). Rather simple and lacking structure. 85
- Altaire, North Coast 1993 (Simi) (6.59) A blend of two Pinots (Noir and Meunier) and Cabernet Franc. A wine designed to be easy for those new to wine. Light colour, dull, simple drinking. A wine to be put in the chiller . . . and left there. 80
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 1986 (Simi) A touch maderised, and drying out. However, still some life in it - some mintiness and some tannins. 85
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma 1990 (Simi) (11.59) I found the fruit rather mushy (like overripe strawberries). Lacks structure. 83
- Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Alexander Valley, 1991 (Simi) (17.99) Rose petals, and again 'mushy'. Soft. Many people at the tasting thought much higher of this wine - It's not a style I enjoy. 85
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/05/1996 Return to top
- Gewurtztraminer Pfersigberg 88 (Keuntz-Bas) Pleasant maturing gewurtz -- lost the fresh fruity edge, but plenty of length. 89.
- Coudelet 86 Probably at its best -- nice spicy fruit, medium weight. 85.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/05/1996 Return to top
- Domaine des Baumelles 1992, Cotes du Luberon Not a complicated wine, but it does have good berry fruit and balance. Surprisingly drinkable at this level. 83
- Gewurztraminer Herrenweg 1990, Zind-Humbrecht From a half. A huge wine that has lost some of its extrovert fruit. At present it gives the impression of being too big for its own good. It will be interesting to see how it ages, and whether this is just a slightly disappointing stage in its evolution. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/05/1996 Return to top
Riesling tutored by John Hoskins, Cambridge Food & Wine Society 09/05/1996 (RJB)
- Langhi Riesling 1995, Victoria Simple pleasant youthfully musty Riesling. 84
- Henschke Riesling 1989, Eden Valley Lovely lemony colour. Kerosene nose, oily and dried apricots. Time ahead. 88+
- Riesling Alte Reben 1994, Brundlmayer, Zobinger Heiligenstein, Austria Slightly bready nose (probably a sign of its youth), opened out in the glass. Dry with some body developing. A style distinct to itself. Could be very good, but I'll give it a cautious 87
- Riesling Grand Cru Wiebelsberg 1990, Kreydenweiss, Alsace Slight lanolin, touch of sweetness. Not obviosly Riesling. Honeyed and toffeed, and nicely balanced. Should age well, but into what? 89
- Riesling Vendange Tardive 1983, Grand Cru Brand, Zind-Humbrecht Touch of liquorice, and surprisingly little petrolly Riesling (This, apparently, is a feature of this particular Grand Cru). Dry, but disappointing. A slight dirtiness to it. 87
- 1988 Serriger Herrenberg Riesling Spatlese, Bert Simon, Saar At peak (or over it), rather out of balance with the fruit decaying. A lot of tartrate crystals in both bottles. 83
- 1983 Bernkasteler Badstube Spatlese, J. J. Prum Joyous. Excellent acidity and balance, showing quite young. Textbook Spatlese. Still needs time. 91
- 1989 Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Auslese (F24), Von Schubert Stunning. Initially very full with an exotic fruit salad nose, but it closed up in the glass to become a gloriously tight wine with excellent acidity and purity. Razor sharp definition. 95
- 1985 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese, Dr Loosen A trifle woody, A bit of petrol. Not quite together. Possibly slightly corked.
- Hollick Botrytis Riesling 1994, Coonawarra From a half. Almost too much acidity. A simple sweetie for early drinking. 85
- Long Vineyards Botrytis Riesling 1994, Napa Valley From a two-third (i.e. 50cl). Lanolin richness with good balance. More like Sauterne in style and should age well. Seems classy. 90
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/05/1996 Return to top
- Nuits St George Premier Cru 87 (Chauvenet) Pleasant enough fruit, but becoming a little dry and austere for my tastes. 85.
- Colli Piacentini Gutterno Riserva "Romeo" 90 (Fugazza) Somewhat obscure offering from Zubair, previously tasted. A barbera and something blend -- bags of acidity, a mixture of flavours, a bit patchy on the palate, but fun. 85.
- Montepuliciano d'Abruzzo vigne le coste 94 (Cornacchia) With lunch at V&C, plenty of fruit and structure, could be very fine in a year or two. RP raves about the previous vintage, and I see his point. 88+ (approx 7 pounds).
- Barbera d'Alba Vignarey 90 (Gaja) Fascinating nose of raspberry, blackberry and chocolate, on the palate weighty, long, gorgeous. Has years ahead of it. I see what the fuss is about with Gaja! 93 (V&C 22 pounds).
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/05/1996 Return to top
- Semillon 1990, Berlin Vineyard Sonoma Mountains, Joseph Swan Vineyard Big resiny, buttery nose. Drinking close to peak, with full flavours. 88
- Pesquera Crianza 1985 Leathery Rhone-style tertiary aromas and flavours with a charming Tempranillo cherriness to it which makes it appear lighter bodied than it is. Ready to drink. 90
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/05/1996 Return to top