The Diary - November 2000
- Blanc de Blanc 1999 (Van Loveren)
Standard cheepy youthfull stuff.
- Riesling 1998 (David Wynn)
Good Oz petrolley Riesling. Needs time. Goodish Length.
- Riesling 1997 (Katnook Estate)
Nicely musty leesish nose. Green and slight tannins. Not so obviously Riesling. In between phase? for now
- Windy Peak Riesling 1998 (De Bortoli)
A touch of sweetness does nothing for this wine. Out of kilter, chewy.
- Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 1999 (Steenberg)
Slightly vegetal with a soft finish.
- Sauvignon Blanc 1999 (Wairau River)
Soft nose, but with a harsh acidic finish.
- Sauvignon Blanc 1999 (Fairhall Downs)
Sulphur on the nose, soft and mushy fruit.
- Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc NV (Mulderbosch)
Sulphurous, soft lychee fruit. A one-off blend apparently due to the reduced crop in 1998, and the excellent quality of the 1997 (am I missing something here? Wouldn't it have been better to stick with the 1997?)
- Chardonnay 1997 (Shale Ridge)
Heavily oaked and without the quality of fruit.
- Overlook Chardonnay 1998 (Landmark)
Toasty oak. Hazelnut nose, but perhaps too alcoholic at the finish.
- Chatemp Rouge 2541 1997 (Siam Winery)
My first Thai wine, and probably my first wine harvested by boat (the rows of vines are separated by water channels). For the record 70% Pok Dum (I'm not sure what this is, but I might order it as a starter), 20% Muscat de Hamburg and Lambrusco, 10% Syrah and Grenache Noir. Colour looks oddly orange. Lacks just about everything other than curiosity value.
- Oregon Pinot Noir 1997 (Lorane Valley)
Weak colour, stalky nose. Aggresively green tannins. Poor wine.
- Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Vineyards 1998 (De Bortoli)
Better! Jammy and minty plumminess. Tastes heavilly oaked. just
- Sangiovese 1996 (Lockwood)
Interesting stuff. Juicy and with light Sangiovese bitterness. Perhaps lack of structure. plus?
- Anubis Syrah Bonarda, Argentina 1999
Good blackcurrant nose. Good colour and structure. Sandy tannins. Perhaps a touch green.
- Merlot 1999, Argentina (Finca el Retiro)
Smoky dumb on the nose, but good juicy depth on the palate. Tannins at finish (a trifle harsh).
- Shiraz 1998 (Boveli)
Lightweight blackcurrant nose. Harsh stalky tannins.
- Vintner's Blend Zinfandel 1997 (Ravenswood)
Light bitter cherry nose, and a rather bitter woody finish.
- Zinfandel 1997 (Ravenswood)
Charming lifted nose. Tarry big mouthful. Lovely wine for drinking now. On retasting an odd solvent based glue aroma. ?
- Durif Vat 1 1998 (De Bortoli)
Goodish style, but lacks real depth.
- Pinotage 1998 (Bouwland)
Thin. Where's the fruit?
- Pinotage 1997 (Kanonkop)
Good deep colour. Leathery stalky wine.
- Merlot 1996 (Shale Ridge)
Disconcerting bouquet of anchovies! (Something fishy?)
- Vintner's Blend Merlot 1997 (Ravenswood)
Dumb on the nose. Not a lot going on. Dilute.
- Merlot 1999, Chile (Chateau los Boldos)
Mushroomy leather mature nose. Slight spritz (a worry).
- Family Merlot 1996 (Niebaum-Coppola)
Classy sweety, plummy, oak, mocha nose. Easily the best red so far. Not quite showing on the palate, but needs time (a few years).
- Cabernet Merlot 1997 (Hogue)
Stalky subdued. Slight spritz. Thin.
- Cabernet/Merlot 1995 (Hollick)
Thin stalky VA nose. Past it? I think so.
- Cabernet/Merlot 1996 (Koppamurra)
Plummy, mushy rose petal nose. Past it.
- Alexander Valley Cabernet Franc 1996 (Hank Wetzel)
Fresh (although just about anything would seem so after the last two wines) fruity nose. Plumped up Cabernet Franc - good of its kind.
- Reserve de la Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 1995, Chile (De Martino)
Jam on the nose, but also some weediness. Finishes a touch short with sandy tannins.
- Alexander Valley Cabernet sauvignon 1996 (Hank Wetzel)
Liquorice violet nose emerging. Juicy, and with a delicate touch of VA. Goodish.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (Katnook Estate)
Overly jammy vegetal nose. Palate hollow and short (if that's possible).
- Trilogy 1995 (Flora Springs)
Lovely warm nose emerging with time - violets and berry fruits, and with gummy oak. Needs more time, but I'm not completely convinced by the depth. Went back to this wine - easily
- Custodian Grenache 1997 (d'Arenberg)
High toned Grenache that needs a few years. Simple, but drinkable.
- The Footbolt Old Vine Shiraz 1998 (d'Arenberg)
Berry and spicey, but with astringent tannins.
- Grand Brut (Korbel)
Is it meant to have the sweetness? Out of balance, not at all keen.
- Eliza Sparkling Brut 1996 (Padthaway Estate)
Pineapple, but again out of balance. Soft finish.
- Brut Tachi (Daniel le Brun)
Onion skin colour. Doughy nose. Short and slightly sulphury.
- Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 1997 (Ravenswood)
From a half. Mandarin nose. Barley sugar palate. Sweet soft finish.
These wines had mainly been obtained directly from Drappier and the old Carte d'Or's were recently disgorged.
- Champagne Rose Val des Demoiselles NV (Drappier)
Rose-perfumed nose, delicate, ripe fruit. Good creamy soft mousse. Made properly, I think, rather than by blending with red wine after fermentation. An excellent rose. Perhaps even
- Champagne Cuvee 2000 IIIeme millenaire 1995 (Drappier)
Nice, rounded, slightly tropical fruit. Soft mousse. Fine. Nice ripe fruit.
- Champagne Grande Sendree 1995 (Drappier)
Intruigingly complex nose. Soft at first taste, but I suspect this will be rather good. More exciting than the millennium cuvee. At least
- Champagne Grande Sendree 1990 (Drappier)
Nutty, autolytic, ripe nose. The lovely fruit of this vintage very evident. Good acidity and balance.
- Champagne Grande Sendree 1989 (Drappier)
Closed nose. Straightforward with a charred, almost burnt wood finish. Odd. Possibly a dodgy bottle, but if not then
- Champagne Grande Sendree 1988 (Drappier)
Quiet but concentrated nose. Good acidity. Long finish. This required some attention, but it opened up in the glass and I think it is a first-class wine still rather tightly wound.
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1983 (Drappier)
This cuvee is 90% Pinot Noir and I like the grippy, appley acidity this gives. Lovely taught, concentrated fruit. Needs a year or two still. This is my sort of Champagne. Perhaps even
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1982 (Drappier)
Farmyardy, creamy, rather exotic (nutty coffee perhaps). Larger, more forward, but perhaps less fine than the 83.
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1978 (Drappier)
Slight maderisation - this was the only wine with that sort of traditional old champagne character. This has a good mousse and finish and is a tremendous effort in a poor vintage. Maybe
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1970 (Drappier)
Nice, mature nose, but beautifuly fresh, seems almost sweet - probably it's just mellowed acidity.
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1979 (Drappier)
Nutty, fine, dry, balanced, reasonably long. Another lovely wine.
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1969 (Drappier)
Quite evolved, but not at all maderised. Attractive smoky finish.
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut 1959 (Drappier)
A sort of rustic richness (I suppose it's that same farmyardy character one gets from Pinot Noir in red Burgundy), but fine and long after some exposure in glass. A treat!
- Champagne, Pint Noir Brut nature zero dosage (Drappier)
Excellent. Bone-dry, fruity.
- Chateau Cantemerle 1970
A sort of red berry fruit, mouthwatering acidity. Decent claret around peak.
- Jurancon Novembre 1997 (Domaine Cauhaupe)
Nicely concentrated desert wine. Decent acidity. I've had this a couple of times recently and if you're in the mood it's probably worth
- Cinque Terre 1998 (Co-op)
Chalky, dry, sherberty. Rich yet dry. Decent length.
- Pigatoa Riviera Ligure di Ponente 1998 (Aschero)
Ripe, custardy full-bodied. Well made. Some interesting and unusual flavours from the grape variety. A rather good
- Sancerre 1994 (Crochet)
Up your nose fruitiness - barley sugar. Grapey fruit, perhaps a shade neutral. Sauvignon Blanc evident more in the finish (it took ages for anybody to identify the grape variety). Fading a shade perhaps, but still a pleasant drink. A good
- Sancerre Harmonie 1995 (Pinard)
Another wine where the variety was not so evident. Steady, elegant, well-balanced . Again, a good
- Sancerre 1995 Cuve Prestige (Crochet)
Melony fruit. Nice length. Time to drink, but rather fine.
- Shiraz 1991 Eileen Hardy
Gamey but very sweet (not just ripe) fruit. Others will like this, but I find it just tiring to drink.
- Basket Press Shiraz 1991 (Rockford)
Sickly sweet again - there's plenty of fruit there but I find it just far too much like ribena.
- Shiraz Show Reserve 1991 (Rosemount)
A bit less sweet. Slightly suspect - highish acid and a faint suggestion of a spritz. Unattractive. Could be a bad bottle.
- Hermitage 1994 (Chave)
Like night and day: immediately picked from the seven wines blind as being French as opposed to New World. Balanced, peppery, bacon-fat Rhone nose. Savoury. Good acidity. At least
- Olb Block Shiraz 1991 (St Hallets)
Very soft again. Syrupy - sweet finish. Undistinguished, but not as cloying as the first two wines in this flight. A decent
- Black Pepper Shiraz 1991 (E&E)
Slightly better balance. Above that, what can one say - the usual fat fruit and burnt rubber flavours. Scrapes
- Shiraz 1991 Meshach (Grant Burge)
The only one of the six Ozzy wines in this flight to have a bit of class about it: still lots of fruit, but reasonable acidity and a dry finish. Possibly even
- Vouvray Molleaux Le Marigny 1996 (Fouquet)
Lightweight, barley-sugar nose. Balanced, but not built to last.
- Vendage de Novembre 1997 (H. Pelle)
A Menetou Salon wine - it lacks weight a bit to my mind. Slightly sour-appley fruit (not unpleasant). Decent length. At most
Interesting to have a look at three 1978's from around France. The
Burgundy and Claret certainly in lovely condition, the St Joseph
interesting but rather clearly past its best.
A selection of bottles at about six to eight pounds supplied for a
party. All are interesting, the Lirac and the Redoma rose really
good and with the Erdener Treppchen you are getting real fine wine from
a top vineyard at a very low price. One day people will start to
realise how undervalued German riesling is!
Hurried notes from a quick canter round a J&B tasting.
- Chardonnay 1999 (Domaine Montrose)
Plain country wine from l'Herault. Scrapes (4.75)
- Chateau Lacroix 1998
Fresh, herbaceous Bordeaux white, not too vegetal. (6.50)
- Chateau Tour des Gendres 1999 Cuvee des Conti Sur Lie
Dry country wine from bergerac. Nice herby finish. A good (6.45)
- Viognier 1999 (Moulin de Ciffre)
Slight sulphur evident. Good fruit. I suspect some wood. (7.95)
- Vernaccia di San Gimignano Casanova 1997 (Fontaleoni)
Ripe, dry, plain. Typical. (7.50)
- Sancerre 1998 (Crochet)
Very characteristic, and ripe with a good finish. (8.50)
- Sauvignon Chenin 1997 (Kopland, SA)
Very toffeed and big, if you like the style it's worth (4.95)
- Semillon Sauvignon 1998 (Hotham Valley Estate, WA)
That vegetal grassy green-pea nose takes me back to tasting in Oz. Won't age, I suspect. A good (7.90)
- Chardonnay 1998 (Pencarrow Estate, NZ)
Very spicy (cinnamon, I think) dominates all. Not keen. A bare (7.95)
- Chablis 1998 (Laurent Tribut)
Restrained nose. Good body. Will be a peasant drink. Perhaps (8.90)
- St Romain Sous le Chateau 1997 (Coste-Caumartin)
Very decent basic white Burgundy. Maybe (10.50)
- Pouilly Fuisse 1997 (Chateau de Fuisse)
Reasonable length and balance but not much more. Just (15.00)
- Meursault 1997 (A. Grivault)
Nice texture - unctious but balanced. Mouthfilling. A rather good (24.00)
- Chardonnay 1996 (Scotchmas Hill)
Syrupy-sweet, tropical fruit. Superficially concentrated. Not my sort of thing. (11.50)
- Sauvignon blanc 1999 (Palliser Estate, NZ)
A little soft and quite vegetal. (9.95)
- Crozes Hermitage blanc 1997 (E. Pochon)
A little neutral. Stony fruit. (6.95)
- Scharzhof Riesling 1997 (E. Muller)
Interesting - a top German Estate clearly going for something a little more early-maturing. Already evolved and spicy. Full-bodied. Decent acidity. Not a long-term keeper I think, but probably the white on show I would most enjoy drinking. An easy (9.00)
- Riesling 1998 (Crawford River)
Prematurely petroly and no real depth - this is shown up badly by the previous wine, as I suspect most New World riesling would be. A bare (9.90)
- Champagne Premier Cru NV (Forget Brimont)
Seems quite a rich style from this quick taste. Quite good, but could cloy a little perhaps. (15.50)
- Weingebirge Honifogl Gruner Veltliner 1986 (Nikolaihof)
Spicey, very fresh, bone-dry, good length. Lovely with food. (50cl)
- Weingebirge Riesling Spatlese 1986 (Nikolaihof)
Delicate, spicy, fresh, Still quite tight, but mouthfilling. Very impressive. I thought this producer's wines would age, and it's nice to see these older wines verifying that.
- Chateau Pape Clement blanc 1970
Much fresher than the last bottle I had (from the same source): fruity nose, very smoky (charred) palate, gooseberry finish. Some will think this past it anyway, but to me at least it scrapes
- Chateau Pape Clement 1988
Berries and smoke. Lovely dry palate, the smoky Graves notes even more prominent. Nice structure and finish. Classic young claret. One of the best wines I've tasted from a favourite vintage. Probably even
- Chateau Pape Clement 1962
Delicate, perfumed, smoky wine. Fresh, very sweet fruit. Slight iodine. Not a heavyweight, but very fine.
- Chateau Pape Clement 1955
Live colour, meaty yet fragrant. Less complex perhaps than the 62, but a little fuller and better balanced. Lovely.
- Chateau Pape Clement 1953
The sea, the sea! This has that lovely iodine seaweed tang to the smoky graves fruit, but so fresh and such a finish! All the complexity of the 62 and the balance of the 55. A delight.
- Fine Old Oloroso, bottled 1949 (Justerini & Brooks)
Tawny colour, concentrated chocolate and orange nose. Weaker on the palate perhaps, with old rancio flavours. Still a very enjoyable drink.
- Erbacher Marcobrunn BA 1976 (Schloss Schonborn)
Nice deep colour, slight green rim. Rich, honeyed caramel, heading fast to dry with good acidity. Luxurious and has an air of distinction about it, while not absolutely exceptional.
- Dogoli 1997 (Guerrieri - Rizzardi)
Floral, interesting flavours, not just grapey (it's muscat-based, I think). Dry, nice balance and length.
- Brauneberger Juffer spatlese 1989 (Max Ferd. Richter)
Seemed slightly corked. From a half.
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Mountain Range 1991 (Sterling Vineyard)
Deep, young red colour. Substantial, slightly leafy blackcurrant nose. Quite structured, good acidity. Hard to see whether the finish promises more to come. Perhaps
- Valduero Reserva 1991
A Ribera del Duero wine. Good colour, fresh blackberry fruit. Nice acidity, no great length. For drinking now.
- Wehlener Sonnenuhr spatlese 1983 (Baumler, Hallgarten Selection)
Rather nice, good fruit and acidity, about at peak.
- Savigny Lavieres 1996 (Tollot-Beaut)
Juicy, redcurrent, almost tomato (is one allowed to say that) fruit. Grippy, lovely acidity, but drinking well. I think this house did well in 96.