The Diary - November 2001
- Chablis Monte de Tonerre 1995 (Duplessis)
Ripe fruit but mineral with lovely acidity. I've had this before but it sems particularly good from this (wax-sealed) magnum. Possibly even
- Beaune Greves blanc 1993 (Jadot )
Very honied, dark-coloured, (perhaps over-) evolved. Pleasant in its way, but I am not so keen. Might have been better a year or two ago.
- Beaune Greves blanc 1982 (Laligant Chameroy)
This was an alternative Jadot label at the time. A bit maderised, gracefully to some extent. Some interesting flavours and decent acidity, and perhaps as good as one might hope for given the vintage.
- Volnay 1988 (Lafarge)
Undergrowth nose. Refined, elegant, slightly austere, dry, intellectual sort of wine. Very classy for a village wine - I like this.
- Volnay Clos des Chenes 1990 (Lafarge)
Rich and concentrated, the concentrated fruit tending towards cooked, as with so many 90's. Seems slightly corked but probably four-star underneath.
- Volnay Clos des Chenes 1966 (Potinet-Ampeau)
Lovely mature old Burgundy, delicate, quite tight, the fruit slightly fresher than another bottle of this tasted recently. Coming back to this after the wines below it seems a little light, but still
- Volnay Santenots 1959 (Potinet-Ampeau)
Chestnut nose, with a lovely decadent hit of ripe fruit in the mid-palate. Not quite as fine as the 66 possibly, but weightier. Splendid again.
- Volnay Santenots 1955 (Potinet-Ampeau)
Combines the best of the two previous wines with a lovely undergrowth nose, fine balanced yet rich palate. The finish on the other hand is just a bit edgy, with a hint of volatility. I think I can forgive it that.
- Chateau Climens 1969
This has that attractive green rim of fine old Sauternes, Madeiras and similar things. Concentrated barley-sugar all the way through. Good concentration and length. I feel it lacks a little complexity because of having little botrytis, but still good.
- Chateau Climens 1967
Demonstrates the difference botrytis makes with a slightly oily texture and nut and apricot flavours mixing with the barley-sugar.
- Port 1970 (Fonseca)
Fantastic young colour. Scented floral nose. Amazing, long, concentrated palate and a slightly hot finish. Stunning, but a way off maturity. Whether this will be truly great depends on whether the whole package comes into really good balance at some point - probably it will.
- Port 1970 (Warre)
This makes an interesting comparison because the Warre is in balance now, rather lighter than the Fonseca (as most things would be), lovely brambley fruit and nice length. A very good port.
- Vouvray demi-sec petillant 1964 (Huet)
Still amazingly fresh, despite an ordinary cork trying to force its cage out. A light fizz, with honeyed chenin fruit. I would never guess this as being anywere close to this old. It isn't a hugely complex wine, nor would I guess that it has gained much in the last 30 years or so, but then again I don't think it has lost anything. Highly enjoyable - no rush to drink up! - perhaps worth more than
- Alban Vineyard Chardonnay 1997 (Au Bon Climat)
Good resiny acidity (I was guessing this as a semillon/sauvignon blend - it had the waxiness as well). Nicely balanced.
- Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 1983 (Hugel)
Medium weight and something not quite clean about the wine at the end. Disappointing. at most
- Hudson Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay 1998 (Ramey)
Parma violets on the nose - soft acidity nad good oak. plus
- Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett 1996 (Dr Thanisch)
Lovely grapefruit acidity, well made, needs time.
- Castello della Sala Chardonnay 1998 (Antinori)
Soft and easy. I thought it to be fairly basic Burgundy. Seemed to be over the hill already.
- Johannisberger Erntebringer Riesling Spatlese 1990 (Balthazar Ress)
Woody riesling with age. A touch dilute.
- Reserve Shiraz 1997 (Fox Creek)
Sinewy and modern initially, but with time a good quality tannic finish (almost Italian) shines through. Good. plus
- Basket Press Shiraz 1988 (Rockford)
Mature and more than ready - it has got to the stage where it's difficult to guess the grape.
- Chianti Classico Riserva 1997 Villa Pomoma (Bandini)
Tannin and green astringency. Maturity. plus
- Pavillon Rouge 1988 (Chateau Margaux)
Very cabernet franc leafy nose. Cardboard and a touch of VA. perhaps
- The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2000 (D'Arenberg)
Sinewy and weedy, showing more age than it should. Dull. (But others were rather more keen.)
- McLaren Vale Shiraz 2000 (Two Hands)
Good Grenache style fruit, good concentration. Lovely.
- Mount Edelstone Shiraz 1992 (Henschke)
Leathery style Shiraz - good age, drinking well. plus
- Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve 1985 (Domaine du Pegau)
Clearly old Rhone - touch of VA, getting rather past it. Disappointing, I thought this would be drinking rather well.
These are from winery visits -
the Ridge wines tasted at Lytton Springs and the notes are brief because conditions were not the best.
- Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 1999 (Ridge)
Dry, quite focussed yet with good body. Well made. At least
- Zinfandel Paso Robles 1996 (Ridge)
Brambley, with an almost blackberry liquer character, quite weighty.
- Zinfandel Nervo 1996 (Ridge)
Similar to the Paso Robles but generally less depth.
- Zinfandel Lytton Estate 1996 (Ridge)
Available at the winery only I believe but very good: herby, tight and ageworthy.
- York Creek Petite Sirah 1992 (Ridge)
Very structured wine, rather like an ageworthy Northern Rhone. At the moment still a bit large and possibly not quite in balance. Easy
- Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc 2000 (Simi)
Nice balance, well made, drinkable wine.
- Sendal 1999 (Simi)
Sauvignon blanc with a reasonable slug of Semillon - I think the latter adds quite a lot to the wine. Quite classy, herby and pretty complex for a Sauvignon blanc base. Rather good.
- Sonoma County Chardonnay 1999 (Simi)
Heavily toffeed, California-style up-front fruit, but made with restraint.
- Estate bottled Reserve Chardonnay 1998 (Simi)
Refined, slightly nutty, reasonably tight, decent acidity. A well-made premium Chardonnay.
- Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (Simi)
Nice varietal character, solid fruit without minty or leafy notes. Decent wine.
- Sonoma County Shiraz 1999 (Simi)
One of their less successful efforts I felt: well enough made but a bit devoid of character.
- Alexander Valley Merlot 1999 (Simi)
Berries and chocolate, herby notes, reasonable length.
- Dry Creek Zinfandel 1999 (Simi)
Black cherry and brambles, like many of the Simi wines a very nice rendering of the variety - lots of character but restrained. Good
- Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (Simi)
Lovely, ripe, warm berry fruit, accessible but with the underlying structure to age gracefully. Exciting to taste at the winery by I downgraded it a shade on drinking a bottle with dinner later - it's a little too soft and easy for my taste. Others might give more but for me a top
- Late Harvest Chardonnay 1997 (Simi)
A well-made botrytised dessert wine with pleasant apricot fruit. Good
Other Ridge wines tasted on the trip.
- York Creek Petite Sirah 1985 (Ridge)
There is debate about Petite Sirah - is it anything to do with Syrah, is it Durif, etc. This wine certainly had an air of the Northern Rhone about it to me, blackberry fruit, some plum, refined quality and good length. It has certainly aged very well, this had the air of just coming to its peak drinking time and I am sure it will last a while. Top
- Geyserville 91 (Ridge)
Lovely complex nose. Sous-bois, brambles, goot acidity, great length. Close to peak but no hurry to dink.
- Monte Bello 1993 (Ridge)
Lots of smoke and tobacco Time ahead - good tannins and length. Quite big too, at the expense of fineness to some extent - I wonder if that will wear off with age.
- Zinfandel Jimsomare 1990 (Ridge)
A pleasant mature Zinfandel - nice blackberry fruit - but not quite in the class of a couple of good Ridge Zins from 91 tasted recently. Savoury finish though.
A friend hosting my Wine Group took the opportunity of my absence
in the USA to open a stack of his best bottles. I interrogated
the culprits on my return and here are their brief notes on what
was drunk. We don't usually include ratings from other people but
we thought the wines here were worth recording.