The Diary - November 2002
- Shiraz 1999 (Galah)
I bought a few bottles of this (first Ozzy wine for a few years) recently and then a bottle seemed very woody drunk from a restaurant list. I thought it was a corked bottle but others disagreed. I am sure now that I was right - this bottle has a good nose of baked fruit and coffee with herbal notes and a long, concentrated palate which is quite dry, savoury and long. Succulent quality tannins. A very top Ozzy as one might expect since this is made with Wendouree fruit. Sticking my neck out a bit on future evolution it probably just about merits
- Museum Release Old Sweet Wine (Yalumba)
Thick old fortified job - burnt flavours like a Madeira but a bit flabby. Intruiging but a single glass job. just
- Lytton Springs 1997 (Ridge)
This is 80 per cent Zinfandel and has the characteristic richly fruity blackberry nose - with an intense, essence of fruit effect almost in this case. There are some pleasantly ripe tannins and reasonable acidity too, but the overall effect is just a touch to sweet to be ideal for me right now. With luck the balance will improve a bit in another year or two when it might well merit an extra star.
- Les Cotes Sauvage 1996 (Edmund St John)
At first I thought buying a bottle or two of this had been a mistake: it is quite challenging on the palate - astringent even. But with a while in the glass it seemed more like an interesting terroir asserting itself and this is an interesting, more or less mature wine. I note that the Californian winemaker does not even tell us what grape vairieties are represented in his "red table wine": this is making a statement I think, but not one I disagree with. Still just makes
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 (Moss Wood)
Leafy, cigar-boxy old Cabernet - recognizably New World but decent for its age. A sulpherous stink becomes (oddly) more noticable the longer its open. Scrapes
- Grecanico 2001 (Mandrarossa)
Clean and fragrant nose. Pleasant fruit, lowish acidity (fine for the style), decent length. Top
- Regaleali Bianco 2001 (Tasca D'Alemerita)
Slightly anonymous on the nose but an intriguing palate - wet stones, hints of Northern Rhone to me - a nice luxurious texture. Good length too.
- Vermentino Villa Solais 2001 (Santadi)
A floral touch but again an unforthcoming wine reveals a nice rounded palate. Top
- La Segreta Bianco 2001 (Planeta)
A big whack of mixed fruits on the nose (reflecting the mix of Greciano, Sauvignon and Viognier, I guess). Reasonable palate too. Fine if it lasts with some sort of balance for a year or two but it is a bit showy.
- Chardonnay 2001 (Mandrarossa)
Very decent modern Chardonnay at a very reasonable price. I'd sooner have the Greciano myself, for variety.
- Carignanodel Sulcis Tre Torri 2001 (Santadi)
A bit toffeed - a problem with Rose sometimes and unattractive to my palate. Not keen.
- Monica Antigua 2001 (Santadi)
Lightish colour, fragrant cherry fruit, moderate weight on the palate. Not overambitious and so pretty drinkable. Scrapes
- Regaleali Rosso 2000 (Tasca D'Almerita)
Plumskin nose, nicely textured sweet fruit and a touch of tannins. Good.
- Carignano Grotta Rosa 2000 (Santadi)
Fruitcake nose - gluggable, nice fruit quality but lacks the character of the previous wine. Top
- Merlot 2001 (Mandrarossa)
Pretty varietal, I guess but a bit dull. Bare
- La Segreta Rosso 2001 (Planeta)
Plenty on the nose, but a bit too much warm-climate softness for me.
- Nero d'Avola 2001 (Mandrarossa)
Pretty gluggable - very typical of a wine made to emphasise varietal character (a bad idea perhaps - discuss). At least it's a different variety and a good drink at a low price.
- Syrah 2001 (Mandrarossa)
Well yes - raspberry and leather I suppose but it exposes the fact that grape variety of itself doesn't generate much interest at least for me.
- Carignano Riserva Rocca Rubia 1999 (Santadi)
A touch of bacon or something. The first ambitiously made wine and a bit older too. Good winemaking - nice balance. Good
- Burdese 1999 (Planeta)
Well, it's cabernet but a bit simple. You wonder if the winemaker thinks the variety (and a whack of oak) is enough. I prefer the previous, much cheaper wine. Bare
- Rosso del Conte 1998 (Conte Tasca)
Ineresting nose and Burgundian raspberry fruit - good quality, but it is a 20 pound wine and that is the least one can expect.
- Champagne extra dry NV (celebrating J∓B's aniversary in 1999)
A little faded I think - I remember rather a good but well-priced fizz and while this is nice enough it's not what it was.
- Riesling St Catherine 1997 (Weinbach)
Mineral, ripe, some pleasing nervosity (somebody else's word, but correct I think), stylish. Time in hand, certainly.
- Riesling Cuvee Theo 1997 (Weinbach)
A touch of honey too on this one - similar to the St Catherine but less substance. A low
- Riesling Frederic Emile 1990 (Trimbach)
Big nose - apples and other things but an unattractive spritz. Good under it - I won't rate this bottle which is at least slightly faulty.
- Riesling SDGN 1983 (Trimbach)
Big, sweetish petroly, gunpowder - there's enough acidity but I would like a touch more myself. Very elegant but given the elevated classification you could argue that it doesn't absolutely stand out. Very Trimbach, what it lacks in drama it makes up in elegance. A very good wine -
- Ceparello 1990 (Isole e Olena)
Austere - touch of VA perhaps. Blackberry. Meaty. Chocolate. Severe tannins. This is really old-fashioned gear and I like it!
- Sul Bric 1990 (Martinetti)
Riper and rounder - a bit more modern than the Ceparello (which is not saying much). Lots of acidity. This Cabernet/Barbera is very good but lack the fineness of the Tuscan. I
- Pontet Canet 1970 (Not Chateau Bottled)
Scented, elegant, fine. A nice old claret and a pleasant surprise when the label was revealed.
- Grand Puy Lacoste 1970
A shade more bite, but possibly through age showing a bit less obvious fruit than the Pontet Canet. Less fruit. Fine - bit austere - drying a shade perhaps.
- Cos d'Estournel 1970
Again, attractive scented old-Bordeaux nose of roses. Very fine, herby, complex.
- Branaire Ducru 1970
More developed - austere finish. Awkward. A bare
- Chateau Lagrange (St Julien) 1970
Dry and berryish. Refined old wine but like the Branaire less generous. Scrapes
- Ducru Beaucaillou 1970
High-toned acidity. Long and fine - close between this and the Cos for the top of the flight.
- Bonnezeaux 1989 (de Fesles)
Almost dry - pleasantly oily - lovely fruit. Top
- Bonnezeaux 1983 (de Fesles)
Toffee - odd an slightly hollow. Could be an off bottle,but if not only
- Vin de Constance (Klein Constantia) 1997
Burnt sugar. Concentrated. Interesting but not so drinkable. This probably deserves more attention than my palate has left to give tonight!
From the walk around tasting (most of the wines had previously travelled and wines of all sorts were tasted in no particular order, so notes are a bit vague).
And after all that, an enjoyable dinner with:
- Champagen Charles VII blanc de noirs NV (Canard-Duchene)
Rich - almost heavy, certainly a bit clumsy. Also a touch green. A big step up from this house's rather poor basic NV but I am still not that keen.
- Riesling Abtsberg Fuder 88, 1983 (Maximin Grunhaus)
Stunning riesling approaching maturity.
- St Aubin blanc 1997 (Jadot)
Very sound attractive white Burgundy. It would be interesting to taste against non-French competitors at a similar price. plus
- Gevrey Chambertin Coeur de Roy 1997 (Dugat-Py)
Lovely pure silky beetroot fruit. I can see from this village wine why this has become a sought-after producer! Easy
- Echezeaux 1991 (Rouget)
Meaty, deep nose. Long spicy palate. Top stuff.
- Shiraz Mount Edelstone 1994 (Henschke)
Going a bit soft and slightly vegetal - bags of character. Good acidity and the fruit is lively in a way. Touch of oxidation-goes rubbery in the glass. Needs the right food.
- "Top of the Hill" Pinotage 1997 (Uiterwyk)
Interesting wine, except it has that bitter finish again - for me, it's flawed, I'm afraid.
- Campo dei Gigli Amarone 1996 (Tenuta Sant' Antonio)
Very pleasant refined pruney amarone. Nice texture.
- Khamma moscato passito di Pantelleria 1997 (Salvatore Murana)
Rather pleasant apricoty sweet dessert wine.
- Cote-Rotie 1994 (Rostaing)
Quite elegant and silky. Not what I expected - good.
- Champagne Priv des Moins NV (Gobillard)
Dry, savoury, austere, decent length. Good
- Champagne 1992 (Esterlin)
Dry, clean, savoury. Not a crowd-pleaser but pretty decent.
- Riesling VT 1997 (Rolly-Gassmann)
Very restrained - seems insubstantial now but it is young and it is the end of a long evening. I suspect I am under-rating this owing to palate shock. At least