Fine Wine Diary The Bailey brothers have now tasted 12016 wines in 21 years 11 months and 10 days
... search our archive of tasting notes ... read our articles on tastings and dinners

Diary index

- 29/11/1997 (TNB)

29/11/1997 (RJB)

Castello Banfi at Valvona and Crolla 26/11/1997 (TNB)

26/11/1997 (RJB)

23/11/1997 (RJB)

23/11/1997 (TNB)

23/11/1997 (RJB)

Dinner at Vintners Rooms hosted by ZM 21/11/1997 (TNB)

19/11/1997 (RJB)

18/11/1997 (RJB)

At V&C for the "Prawn Cocktail Years" dinner 18/11/1997 (TNB)

18/11/1997 (RJB)

16/11/1997 (TNB)

16/11/1997 (RJB)

White Burgundy at OFW 13/11/1997 (TNB)

13/11/1997 (RJB)

12/11/1997 (RJB)

Wine dinner at St Bernard's Crescent (with DL, EMcC, MD, JMcI, ZM) 11/11/1997 (TNB)

10/11/1997 (RJB)

05/11/1997 (RJB)

02/11/1997 (RJB)

The Diary - November 1997

- 29/11/1997 (TNB)

A couple of wines, not noted very carefully:
  • Chablis 95 (Brocard) "Domaine something" but not premier cru, if I remember rightly. From a half at Nick Nairn's new place in Glasgow (strongly recommended, by the way). Perfectly decent young chablis.
  • Mountadam chardonnay 90 My impression is that these vary in the extent to which they've gone cheesy and vegetal. This one was not particularly attractive. Write out 100 times "I will drink all the (small quantity of) New World Chardonnay I buy within one month of purchase"! (One might possibly make an exception for Petaluma, which can age gracefully.)
  • Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Vigna Coste 95 (Cornacchia) Very blackberry, brutally tannic still. Might amount to something in a few years - I wonder?
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/11/1997   Return to top

29/11/1997 (RJB)

  • Vinas del Vero Cabernet Sauvignon 1995, Somontano I was so impressed with this cheap (4.99 Oddbins) Spanish wine earlier in the week that I thought I would give it another go; I wasn't disappointed. This wine has fruit and structure that would put many wines at double the price to shame. Only time will tell whether it ages harmoniously, but it certainly is well balanced and possesses good tannin. 88+
  • Onix Vi Negre 1996, Vinicola del Priorat Umm, not so sure about this wine - simple and hot climate heavy. RP rates this highly I believe, but my bottle didn't have the saturated black/purple colour he writes about. 85
  • Les Clos de Paulilles, Rimage Mise Tardive, 1993, Banyuls Sweet raisiny red that could do with more grip for my taste. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/11/1997   Return to top

Castello Banfi at Valvona and Crolla 26/11/1997 (TNB)

Banfi is apparantly a fairly new, large operation built with American money. The Brunello is a fairly average old-fashioned style, that spends far too long in wood. This works (up to a point) in concentrated vintages, but is a bit of a disaster in average ones. We were wondering if we might lauch a "Save the 94" campaign to get it put in the bottle before it fades completely. It's probably too late, and it might be better to work on the 95! The Summus is some sort of Sangiovese - Bordeaux blend. New oak, etc., but despite that, there are hints of "oxidative handling" that makes it more similar to the Brunello than one might guess.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 26/11/1997   Return to top

26/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 26/11/1997   Return to top

23/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/11/1997   Return to top

23/11/1997 (TNB)

  • Corton Bressandes 87 (Tollot-Beaut) An initial impression of slight thinness is replaced as it opens out by a a lean, stylish, moderate weight wine with quite sweet burgundian fruit and grand cru sophistication. Not bad. 87.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/11/1997   Return to top

23/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/11/1997   Return to top

Dinner at Vintners Rooms hosted by ZM 21/11/1997 (TNB)

  • Pommery 55 Gracefully maderised, creamy, biscuity, and a sufficient core of fruit. Rather pleasant!
  • Corton Charlemagne 84 (Tollot-Beaut) Slightly austere front, but quite reasonably long melony fruit. Definite grand cru refinedness. From a magnum.
  • Echezaux 87 (J. Jayer) Slightly "metallic" in the way good burgundy is. Refined, sweet fruit. Fine interesting nose that one keeps wanting to come back to.
  • Echezaux 87 (Rouget) Fresh fruity, extrovert yet balanced, almost sweet, not very typically 87, luscious, oaked, "H. Jayer style" burgundy. Very accessible, but it has taken a few years to get to this stage! Most preferred this, but I slightly prefer the J. Jayer of these two first rate wines for its grip.
  • Annaburger Scheurebe spatlese 71 (Stump-Fitz) Vineyard not recalled. This apparently great grower dissapeared some years ago. This is about as good as one could imagine scheurebe getting: floral, grapefruity (in moderation), balanced, long, very much alive.
Also a charming Marsala, 62 vintage, otherwise details not recalled!
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/11/1997   Return to top

19/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/11/1997   Return to top

18/11/1997 (RJB)

  • Monica di Sardegna, Cantina Sociale Dolianova The bird-watching school of wine tasting - another grape variety ticked off. Cheap supermarket wine that is slightly rough and ready. Although there are signs that Monica could make more serious Iberian-style wine. 80
  • Moet & Chandon Premiere Cuvee As I have mentioned on these pages before, Moet with bottle age can be very enjoyable. This has had about ten years in a private cellar. The fizz is fading, but the base wine is gloriously honeyed and elegant. 90
  • Mountadam 1989 Eden Valley Chardonnay Big alcoholic wine that is all buttered vegetables at present. It doesn't seem to have changed much in the last few years. 84
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/11/1997   Return to top

At V&C for the "Prawn Cocktail Years" dinner 18/11/1997 (TNB)

Some astonishingly lightweight Italian fizz whose name (and tastes, if any) escape me, and also a Lungarotti "Beaujolais". In between:
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/11/1997   Return to top

18/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/11/1997   Return to top

16/11/1997 (TNB)

  • Meursault Poruzots 95 (Ch. de Puligny) Chateau de Puligny made an excellent P-Montrachet Folatieres in 95, and a good St Aubin En Remilly, but this is a bit mean and one dimensional. Quite cheap (approx 18.00) at Oddbins Fine Wine, but nonetheless not really a bargain.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/11/1997   Return to top

16/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/11/1997   Return to top

White Burgundy at OFW 13/11/1997 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 13/11/1997   Return to top

13/11/1997 (RJB)

  • Muscat de Rivesaltes 1996, M. Chapoutier From a half (4.49 Majestics). Very fine Muscat with flavours of yeast and tangerines. Elegant yet powerful (15% alchohol), but not overblown and not aggressively sweet, this probably needs a few more months to be at its best and may even age well in the longer term. This goes very well with soft cheese. 90+
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 13/11/1997   Return to top

12/11/1997 (RJB)

  • Syrah 1996, Vin de Pays d'Oc I'm not too sure who makes this wine, but it's 2.99 at Majestic. Thin, but with noticeable Syrah fruit. 79
  • Correas Syrah 1996, Mendoza Reasonable black cherry style Syrah. 84
  • Crozes-Hermitage La Petite Ruche 1995, M. Chapoutier Initially showing some lightly maturing berry fruit and some volatility on the palate. Later in the evening, the wine became pretty feeble. 83
  • Crozes-Hermitage Petite Ruche 1996, M. Chapoutier Presumably the same wine from a different vintage, although the 'La' in the title has disappeared. This wine is clearly younger than the 1995, with a pronounced purple to the colour and an odd stalky youthful nose. This still seems a bit thin. I am afraid that these Chapoutier wines do not impress. 81
  • Mas des Bressades 1995, Costieres de Nimes Serious wine at a good price (6.99 at Majestics) - a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault (I think). Real structure, with leathery overtones and gently maturing fruits. This should continue to age well. Think of it as Chateauneuf at two-thirds the price - it even boasts an embossed bottle, although why it should appear to be a crocodile having a splash I don't know. 90
  • Mas des Bressades 1995 Cabernet / Syrah Perhaps more elegant than the Nimes, but on this showing not quite so successful - perhaps just going through a alightly unknit stage. 87
  • Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 1995 As expected initially, with biggish sweet flavours. However, there is a nasty green/astringent tannic finish. 80
  • Marietta Cellars California Syrah 1994 Good colour and a subdued nose. The flavours are very good - juicy, silky and leathery. Rhone structure, but with New World fruit. This is the most impressed I've been by a Marietta wine. 89
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/11/1997   Return to top

Wine dinner at St Bernard's Crescent (with DL, EMcC, MD, JMcI, ZM) 11/11/1997 (TNB)

  • Champagne Grande Millesme 85 (Gosset) Lean but long, classy, medium weight (not quite as full bodied as one might expect). possibly needs time. 91.
  • Macon Clesse 96, 95, 94 (fut de chene), (R. Michel) The 96 has good apricoty fruit (old vines apparently). The 95 is oilier, more striking, but perhaps a bit much. The 94 (the only oaked one) was pretty good too, with quite hefty use of wood more or less integrated. Over all, quite a good showing for the producer.
  • Macon Clesse, Bon Gran 89 (Thevenet) Served blind, people were groping around in Chassagne. Possibly at peak. 87.
  • Romany St Vivant 95 (Dom de Forges) Lovely young burgundy with that slight hint of smoked fish. Long and dry. From Dieter Boermann's negociant business. 90+.
  • Beaune Theurons 62 (T. Bassot) According to ZM, Bassot's old burgundies are often good. Others differ. This had a lovely smokeyness with light, but nice quality fruit. Pleasant to drink, but seemed to die a bit in the glass. 89.
  • Beaune 1er cru 62 (Moingeon) More or less dead.
  • Gevrey Chambertin En Pallud 83 (Maume) A good 83, with plenty of fruit, but still that slight harshness in the mid-to-late palate. 87.
  • Barbera 61 (Pio Cesare) Alive, but quite one dimensional. Pleasant enough. (Possibly shaken up a bit in transport.)
  • Sassicia 80 Nice cabernet, a bit Loireish perhaps, not so terribly long.
  • Trincadeira 1995, Herade Do Esporao Lifted redcurrenty fruit. Possibly slightly bitter. A bit of a compromise perhaps between traditional Portugal and the (doubtless on the whole disasterous) invasion of "modern winemaking". Good value though. (6.99 Oddbins Fine Wine)
  • Beaucastel 79 Lovely rustic mushroomy farmyardyness. Delicious. 90.
  • Liewener Laurentiaslay BA 71 (Rey) Bright colour, searing acidity, lovely balance. Gorgeous drinking, but if I were to criticise, is it quite as concentrated as BA suggests? 91.
  • Rieussec 86 From a half, the usual almost OTT oily nuttyness. nice to drink, of course!
  • Dow 70 Pruney, liquoricey, chocolatey. Rather good the next day, but my first impression the night before was that it was a bit unbalanced. In retrospect, I think it's just quite lean, in a good way. 91(?+)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/11/1997   Return to top

10/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/11/1997   Return to top

05/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/11/1997   Return to top

02/11/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 02/11/1997   Return to top