Fine Wine Diary The Bailey brothers have now tasted 12016 wines in 22 years 2 months and 29 days
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Diary index

31/10/2000 (RJB)

French wines from Oddbins Fine Wine 29/10/2000 (TNB)

On tasting at Oddbins one day 29/10/2000 (TNB)

The Rhone in 98 by Yapp Brothers at the Scottish Wine Society 24/10/2000 (TNB)

23/10/2000 (TNB)

19/10/2000 (RJB)

19/10/2000 (RJB)

Still wines from Oddbins Wine Fair 16/10/2000 (TNB)

Cabernet Sauvignon tasting at the Three Horseshoes, Madingley 10/10/2000 (RJB)

A New World selection from Oddbins Fine Wine 08/10/2000 (TNB)

05/10/2000 (RJB)

Champagnes from the Oddbins Wine Fair 01/10/2000 (TNB)

The Diary - October 2000

31/10/2000 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/10/2000   Return to top

French wines from Oddbins Fine Wine 29/10/2000 (TNB)

  • Pouilly-Loche 1998 (Domaine Cordier) Melony, almost new-world style, Chardonnay nose. Good balance, but fat rather than fine. ** (12.49)
  • Meursault Les Narvaux 1998 (Dom. Borgeot) Sulphur dioxide masked nose. Tropical fruit palate with excellent acidity. Fairly classy. Could develop OK but might age quite quickly. ** perhaps more. (22.99)
  • Corton Charlemagne 1997 (Chapuis) So much sulphur dioxide on the nose it is completely impenetrable to me. Why do they do it - is there somethig about white Burgundy that needs more sulphur or are they just careless? Underneath there is a lean and gingery wine. Classy for the vintage. **(*) (35.99)
  • Saumur Champigny Marginale 1997 Lead pencils, lots of tannins, moderately good finish. Good, but I'm not sure where this will go. ** (13.99)
  • Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune 1998 (Jayer-Gilles) Basic, raspberry fruit overlayed with bags of new oak. Tasting blind, once we had penetrated to the fact that it was Burgundy it was easy to guess the grower. To my taste you need fruit twice as good as this to take even half this new oak. * (14.99)
  • Beaune Clos du Rois 1996 (Rapet) Strawberry nose. Firmly structured, not so complex, but it will doubtless improve a bit in a year or two. Infinitely preferable to the last wine in my opinion. ** (17.99)
  • Cote Rotie Les Rochains 1998 (Bonnefond) Very ripe cherry fruit. Nicely balanced, but over the top in a way - perhaps the vintage. Good, but a shade soft perhaps. **(*) (19.99)
  • Les Tourelles de Longueville 1996 Very ripe, capsicum all the way. Forward, cunningly made, accessible but not lacking grip. What you might hope for from a second wine (this is Pichon Baron's) in a good vintage. Scrapes *** perhpas. (17.99)
  • Haut Bages Averoux 1996 The second wine of Lynch Bages. Quite reserved, hard to assess, backwards or just a shade light? ** (17.99)
  • Tokay Pinot Gris Vendages Tardives 1997 (Schoffit) Quite sweet, straw-flavoured, pleasant but not so long. ** (19.99)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/10/2000   Return to top

On tasting at Oddbins one day 29/10/2000 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/10/2000   Return to top

The Rhone in 98 by Yapp Brothers at the Scottish Wine Society 24/10/2000 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/10/2000   Return to top

23/10/2000 (TNB)

  • Marquis de Terme 1983 Good colour, slightly floral blackberry and blackcurrant nose. Chocolatey palate, in a rather chunky way that lacks real fineness. Quite tannic and young looking, but I suspect it's not really going anywhere. **
  • Champagne Grand Cellier NV (Vilmart) Yeasty nose, ripe fruity, chardonnay dominated palate, but with good acidity. Lots of bubbles, but foamy rather than prickley, so pleasant. Decent finish. ***
  • Madeira Bual 15 year old (Henriques & Henriques) Old enough to have that attractive green rim. Pleasantly medicinal, nutty, off-dry but with lots of acidity. A good thing to have in the cupboard since it keeps for ages after opening. Perhaps even ***
  • Bandol 1985 (Ch. Pradeaux) Good, herby blackberry fruit. Still quite tannic, but the fruit seems fully mature. Bags of acidity. Quite a stern, old-fashioned wine, best with food. For drinking fairly soon. **
  • Vouvray 1989 (Chateau Gaudrelle) I believe this property makes a single basic wine that comes out sec or demi-sec, as the vintage dictates. This is a rich demi-sec just emerging into a good full-bodied, honeyed maturity. I worried initially that it was over-mature but I changed my mind when it had been open a while. A top **
  • Monthelie Sur la Velle 1993 (Chateau de Monthelie, de Suremain) Healthy colour, crushed red fruits nose with earthy undertones. Dry, quite tannic, good acidity, nice texture. For drinking in the next few years though. ***
  • Cornas 1994 (Verset) Very pure, peppery, raspberry fruit. A slightly austere wine with a dry finish. Will improve a bit too, I suspect. It may well turn out better, but for now **(*)
  • Champagne 1982 (R de Ruinart) Honeyed, fairly evolved, finish a shade dull. Good, but not a strong 82 ***
  • Gewurztraminer Herrenberg 1990 (Zind-Humbrecht) Spicy, peppery, rich nose. Unctious but reasonably balanced in the mouth with good length. A bit OTT of course, but impressive in its way. **
  • Haardter Herrenletten Grauburgunder spatlese trocken 1993 (Muller-Catoir) Zesty fruit, but losing it a bit, I think. The last of a few bottles bought a while ago. *
  • Gewurztraminer Pfersigberg 1988 (Keuntz-Bas) Hints of pepper on a charming fruity nose. Nice texture, weight and balance. It's too easy to forget this house. (Although I've not tried anything younger than this, so I don't know if this sort of quality is still in evidence here.) ***
  • Fourcas Hosten 1983 I bought a few bottles of this very cheaply ten or so years ago. Approaching it now with some trepidation I find a wine with good colour and a fruitcakey nose. Nice acidity and notable tannins still, but this won't improve - it is a rustic wine that will never be in perfect balance. This is a pleasant wine that easily rates **
  • Puligny Montrachet Folatieres 1995 (Chateau de Puligny) The last of a few bottles bought a couple of years ago. Now very evolved and unlikely to improve although there is no great hurry to drink. It has a real Puligny character of oily, buttery nuts and it is in good balance. It has evolved very quickly though and like most such wines it is a bit simple. I suppose this is about what the winemakers are trying to do when making Burgundy to a price for a mass market. Just worth ***
  • Barbera 1993 (Sandrone) Oak still fairly obvious, nice blackberry fruit with good texture and finish. Probably for drinking now. ***
  • Rioja Gran Reserva Castillo Ygay white 1986 (Murrieta) Pleasantly floral and fresh, medium-weight, perhaps not a great Ygay but nice. *** (almost more)
  • Savigny-Les-Beaune les Guettes 1969 (Doudet-Naudin) Well-preserved, quite deep colour. Alive, but rather coarse and rustic fruit. I can't help wondering whether this is one of those older Burgundies spiced up with a bit of wine from further South! *
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 23/10/2000   Return to top

19/10/2000 (RJB)

  • Sarget de Gruaud-Larose 1983 The first of two St Julien 1983 second wines tasted together (strangely the Clos du Marquis tasted colder, even though both bottles had been treated identically). This wine developed a typical St Julien violets and cedar nose with time in the glass - more so than the slightly inferior Clos Du Marquis. The palate, with its dilute edge, indicates this wine is on the way down. Time to drink up, but still fairly pleasurable. Just***
  • Clos du Marquis 1983 Not as good as the Sarget, and not holding up quite as well (although blind I doubt I'd be able easily to pick which one was which) Signs of drying out. **
  • Riesling Pfaenzerreben 1990 (Rolly Gassmann) Grapefruit, not chewy - but fine acidity. Slight (yeasty?) mustiness. Touch of cloves. **(*)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/10/2000   Return to top

19/10/2000 (RJB)

  • Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Damodes 1985 (Machard de Gramont) Eventually this wine is starting to come round for drinking. When I poured the first glass a lovely berry fruit bouquet filled the room, but then the wine closed in on itself. Smoky 'burnt' nose and well balanced on the palate. Still needs another five years or so I would guess, by which time it should be glorious. An easy **(**)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/10/2000   Return to top

Still wines from Oddbins Wine Fair 16/10/2000 (TNB)

I didn't have the energy, and the surroundings weren't really right for thoughtful tasting, so these are really brief impressions.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/10/2000   Return to top

Cabernet Sauvignon tasting at the Three Horseshoes, Madingley 10/10/2000 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/10/2000   Return to top

A New World selection from Oddbins Fine Wine 08/10/2000 (TNB)

  • Chardonnay 1997 (Slaley, Stellenbosch) Sweet, ripe, melon, coconut icecream. Decent, integrated acidity. reasonable finish. A bit of a bargain. ** (6.99)
  • Chardonnay Damaris Reserve 1997 (Landmark, Sonoma) Huge, ultra-ripe, slightly fat, pineapple fruit. Lots of unintegrated oak. A bit vulgar. Highly rated by Parker I believe, and others will give this more, but for me ** (19.99)
  • Margaret River Chardonnay 1998 (Cullen) Unforthcoming nose with hazelnuts and a hint of sulphur. Actually quite concentrated, but closed. Promising finish. This is quite a French style to my mind. Hard to assess, but this might be quite good in a year or two. **(*) (18.99)
  • Pinot Noir 1998 (Bannockburn) Minty nose of cooked blackcurrants. Herby, light fruit. Sweet finish. Quite unusual. Made from donated grapes apparently after severe hail had wiped out the vineyards. One shouldn't judge the Estate on this. Others might give more, but for me * (17.99)
  • Zinfandel 1997 (Marietta Cellars) Soft, treacley, brambley fruit. Blackberry palate. Rather sweet finish for me. Almost more, but I'll stick to * (10.99)
  • Orion Old Vine Red 1997 (Sean Thackery) A very rich concentrated nose, a distilled essence of something exotic. Some liquorice too. A striking wine of real substance. Less minty than some older vintages of this wine and hence better to my mind. Perhaps ***(*) (39.99)
  • Command Shiraz 1996 (Elderton) Soft fruit, very expensive tasting (but harsh) oak finish. This is terribly "international" to my mind and lacks character. ** (24.99)
  • Cabernet Private Collection 1996 (Saxenburg, Stellenbosch) Rather leafy blackcurrant. Good acidity, smoky palate. I think this is quite classy. **(*) (16.99)
  • Unison Selection Red 1998 A slight sulphur mask. Rubbery? Austere and dry. I'm not sure what to make of this - it's fairly recently shipped. For now *(*). (15.99)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 08/10/2000   Return to top

05/10/2000 (RJB)

  • Pelorus 1995 (Cloudy Bay) Oddly disjointed - trying to find an identity. Old World 'sourness' and some oxidative character. But New World fruit. Almost completely lacking elegance (something which is surely needed for a great fizz) *
  • Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets 'Clos des 60 Ouvrees' 1996 (La Pousse d'Or) Lovely beetroot Pinot nose with the light hint of stalky tannins. Light to medium weight Burgundy that needs time. Could be very good, but a difficult style of wine to judge at this stage. Just **(**)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/10/2000   Return to top

Champagnes from the Oddbins Wine Fair 01/10/2000 (TNB)

Some quick notes here from a hurried trip around the stands. The main discovery for me was that Charles Heidsieck is really making top-class wine these days. I know people have been saying this for a year or two now, but this is the first time I've sampled them for quite a while.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 01/10/2000   Return to top