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Diary index

Recent Burgundies 29/10/2001 (TNB)

Barossa Wines, Noel Young for the Cambridge Food and Wine Society 22/10/2001 (RJB)

More from California (Joseph Swan and Rochioli) 21/10/2001 (TNB)

Some 98 Bordeauxs from Oddbins Fine Wine 15/10/2001 (TNB)

15/10/2001 (RJB)

A visit to California 07/10/2001 (TNB)

The Diary - October 2001

Recent Burgundies 29/10/2001 (TNB)

  • Rully 1er Cru Preaux 1995 (de Suremain) Pure, crushed red fruits, plenty of tannins, oddly remeniscent of cranberry juice. This will probably always be a bit tannic (some combination of the producer and the vintage), but very enjoyable particularly with food. Scrapes ***
  • Chassagne Montrachet Champ Gains 1992 (Neillon) Classy, creamy Burgundy, but just a bit fat and blowsy compared to the stunning Chenevottes 90 I had from this producer recently. Not everybody agrees, but I prefer the 90's to the 92's generally. A good ***
  • Chablis Blanchot 1991 (Raveneau) Quite mineral, very long, but possibly a little flat compared to other bottles of this. ***
  • Nuits St Georges Les Damodes 1989 (Jayer-Gilles) Good colour, nose of raspberries and something scented. On the palate, plenty of fruit, but so much wood to the extent that it dominates any sense of terroir. There is a lot to admire, but I my enjoyment is of this style is limited - for me **
  • Bourgogne blanc, Cotes d'Auxerre 1999 (Goisot) Attractive, buttery, flavourful but not overwrought Chardonnay from a less fashionable piece of Burgundy. A bargain. **
  • Chablis Vaillons 1998 (Long-Depaquit) Toffee at first, but that dissapates leaving a fine, balanced, mineral, honeyed Chablis with good length. **(*)
  • Echezeaux Grand Cru 1991 (E. Rouget) Strawberries and red fruits nose with a gamey edge. Medium weight, mouthwatering. Good Burgundy at peak. Very top ***
  • Pommard Fremiers 1er Cru 1990 (Coste-Caumartin) The nose hints at cassis and cherries. Quite a severe, tannic palate: one of those that doesn't shout Burgundy to me at least. Still, there is a lot of good fruit and I think this just needs a year or two to soften those grippy tannins. Scrapes ***(*)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/10/2001   Return to top

Barossa Wines, Noel Young for the Cambridge Food and Wine Society 22/10/2001 (RJB)

  • Block 62 Semillon 2000 (J. J. Hahn) (8.49) A wine made by Veritas, but using the grower's name. A gooseberry nose with light oak - good limey acidity. Touch of waxiness at the finish that needs time to come through a bit more. **
  • The Beak Shiraz-Grenache 2000 (Magpie Estate) (5.99) Specially made for the UK from 70% Shiraz and 30% Grenache and designed for early drinking. Plum skins and light American oak. Easy, but with gentle tannins at the end. Slightly burnt finish. *
  • The Fakir Grenache 2000 (Magpie Estate) (8.99) This also has 13% Eden Valley Shiraz. This wine was called 'The Faker' in 1997. Lightly toasted vanillin - more held together than the Beak, and more concentration. Plummy flavours. Smooth. Good length with fruit re-emerging on the finish. Needs a year or two. Excellent value. **(*)
  • Moppa Springs 1998 (Rockford) (11.99) 69% Grenache, 20% Shiraz, 11% Mataro all in used oak. Medicinal cherry nose - good balanced blend but alcohol is showing on the finish. A touch short, or is it closed? *(*) maybe
  • The Gomersal Grenache 1999 (Magpie Estate) (20.00) The debut release of this wine from Magpie. 50% new oak (French, used American for the rest). 2-3% Shiraz. Spicey soft cherry nose with slightly too much vanillin showing through. Soft complex wine with length. Will it age? As Noel Young says, it has no track record - perhaps two to five years. ***(*)
  • Barossa Shiraz 1998 (Yalumba) (7.99) For this wine the grapes are cold soaked (unlike me). Tarry simple wine with gummy oak. **
  • Ben's Wine - aka The Black Sock - Shiraz Mourvedre 1998 (Magpie Estate) This spent two and a half years in 55% new French and American oak. Oakily balanced wine - easy but with fruit and structure underneath. Perhaps a bit heavy on US oak. **(*)
  • Farms Shiraz 1998 (Yaldara) (15.99) Alas a touch of corkiness. Not Rated
  • Museum Release Old Sweet White (Yalumba) (7.99 for a half) Made from Muscadelle in a 40 year solera whose average age is 12. Nicely nutty with good toffeed balance. Some Mocha on the nose. ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/10/2001   Return to top

More from California (Joseph Swan and Rochioli) 21/10/2001 (TNB)

At Joseph Swan Other wines from Swan and Rochioli
  • Angelo's Old Vine White 1997 (Joseph Swan) Nobody knows what the grapes are. Neutral nose, nicely perfumed palate, bitter almond hints. How much more pleasant than that dire "modern" chardonnay I had the other night. **
  • Pinot Noir Estate 1995 (Joseph Swan) Hints at Strawberry jam, more or less acceptably - particularly because of the pleasing silkyness. Not Burgundy but a good mouthful. Possibly even ***
  • Zinfandel Zeigler 1995 (Joseph Swan) Volatile, stained bottle top. Flawed (I hope). Not Rated
  • Chardonnay Wolfspierre Vineyard 1995 (Joseph Swan) Interesting nose of earth and straw, not at all in the modern fruit-driven style. I note that I have had older bottles of this before and not been so keen. Tasting it a bit younger like this helps to put those in context and makes me more interested by the wine - knowing that it doesn't start with obvious Chardonnay fruit makes it easier to understand and enjoy what it becomes. I can see I might get to like this more still, but for now **
  • Pinot Noir Barrel Select 2000 (Rochioli) Good colour, bags of red fruits, silky texture. Richer and fruitier than Burgundy but not jammy. I note that last time I had the basic Rochioli Pinot I described it as "simple" and I guess this is more like village wine than Grand Cru. Good though. **
  • Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000 (Rochioli) Good intensity, quite fine (from old vines), well balanced. Top **
  • Barrel Select Chardonnay 2000 (Rochioli) Tropical fruit character, toffeed (will wear off probably), reasonable acidity. **
  • Estate Gamay 2000 (Rochiloi) Juicy, boiled sweets. Very much like a good Beaujolais! *
  • Ranch Red 1999 (Rochioli) Mainly Zinfandel with some Carignane all from old vines. Strawberry and bramble flavours, quite savoury, nice acidity. Rather impressive for a relatively inexpensive wine. Top **
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/10/2001   Return to top

Some 98 Bordeauxs from Oddbins Fine Wine 15/10/2001 (TNB)

  • Duhart Milon 1998 Plummy cassis nose. Ripe, quite forward and soft. Some good Paulliac character in a modest way. Might rate another star in time but for now a good ** (17.99)
  • Lynch Bages 1998 Berries, hints of cedar. Ripe again, some underlying structure. Pleasant dry finish. **(*) (29.99)
  • Ducru Beaucaillou 1998 Restrained but classy strawberry nose. Good palate, pure fruit, more high-toned with something in reserve. Nice acidity and a good finish, but more than anything very elegant. ***(*) (44.99)
  • Rauzan Segla 1998 Slightly stinky - too much sulphur. Lots of ripe fruit but sulphur is masking a lot - it seems dense and structured underneath. Rose-scented fruit. Quite classy, I suspect. **(*) (34.99)
  • Cantenac Brown 1998 Straightforward cabernet nose. Simple palate. Decent claret but not very special. ** (18.99)
  • La Gomerie 1998 Spicy fruitcake nose. Good taut palate. Nice wine **(*) (69.99)
  • Canon La Gaffeliere 1998 Slightly rhone-like leafy blackcurrant nose. A bit shocking - tight and complex but all in a rush now. Very savoury finish, this will be rather good, I think - perhaps even **(**) (39.99)
  • Clos du Clocher 1998 Warm and soft caramel nose. Soft, silky fruit of a slightly cooked character. Drink young. Top ** (18.99)
  • Grand Mayne 1998 Seems a bit simpler than some of the wines, meaty though (Bovril perhaps) well-structured too. Am I being a bit mean? ** (34.99)
  • Barde-Haut 1998 Sexy, pencily, mouthwatering fruit - suggests Pomerol to me rather than St Emilion. Not so amazingly long perhaps but very attractive. *** (18.99)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/10/2001   Return to top

15/10/2001 (RJB)

  • Lamaione 1991 (Frescobaldi) The fruit has rather deserted this wine (in its youth it was deeply fruity and seemed also to have the structure for aging). It may still turn out to rurn into a good mature mouthful, but my guess is that it's on the way down. **
  • Lytton Springs 1997 (Ridge) From a half. Not as good a wine as the 1999 - possibly the Zinfandel is raher giving up the ghost at this age. Simple wine lacking complexity. *
  • Lytton Springs 1999 (Ridge) From a half. Typical zingy fruit - cherries and plum skins. Good acidity, but not a big keeper (how many Zinfandels are?). **
  • Condrieu Clos Chanson 1993 (Andre Perret) From a half. Getting distinctly past it, with the oiliness that the wine might once have had degenerating into a nutty buttery flavour. No Stars
  • Selva Torta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1998 (Umani Ronchi) Fairly standard Montepulciano - goodish easy drinking. *
  • Diva Sangiovese Cabernet 1996 (Coriole) A well put together blend that has aged well and is probably at peak. Some fleshiness, but also the cherries and acidity from the Sangiovese. ***
  • GSM 1998 (Rosemount) A wine that doesn't hold its alcohol (15%) well. The quality of fruit is good - and the blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre is in balance. But the wine feels heavy, especially at the end. **
  • Champagne Grand Cuvee (Krug) From a half. Its usual full-bodied, oxidative, wood-influenced characters. Good acidity. **** just
  • Barrel Select Pinot Noir 1998 (Fetzer) A full silky Pinot - more like a Zinfandel in many ways (the fruit and the concentration). Almost on the verge of jamminess. Good wine as long as you forget it's a Pinot. ** plus
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/10/2001   Return to top

A visit to California 07/10/2001 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/10/2001   Return to top