The Diary - October 2005
- Vino de Pasto Old Dry Sherry (Cockburn and Campbell)
Quite fine - touch caramelly perhaps but good old sherry - lovely Oloroso like texture. Clearly been in bottle for decades. Good
- Unknown sherry bottled 1852 (Bell Rennie)
Even more luscious. Ethereal, nutty, long. Fascinating - even more so given the the lack of clarity about what it is.
- Albarino 2003 (Lager de Cervera)
Clean, dry, a bit leafy. Modern styled - could be anything.
- Gravonia Crianza blanco 1993 (Lopez de Heredia)
Very nice - less characterful than Tondonia and this seems only to be a Crianza. Still very drinkable. Top
- Champagne Grand Siecle NV (Laurent-Perrier)
Creamy, citric, long. Lovely fine texture. Needs a year or two. Lovely. Bare
- Tarragona Finca L'Argata1996 (Joan d'Angura)
Rich, wine gums, very tannic and structured. Rather bitter currently. Rather extracted. New oak? in its way.
- Tarragona Finca L'Argata1999 (Joan d'Angura)
Cough-sweets, concentrated, extracted, tiring. (But I don't much care for it.)
- Priorat Clos de l'Obac 1993 (Costers del Siurana)
Not unlike the previous wine but less overwrought. Fine. Good
- Priorat Miserere 1993 (Costers del Siurana)
Rather VAish - nice underlying fruit. Austere.
- Priorat Clos de l'Obac 1992 (Costers del Siurana)
Dumb, dry, woody, overwrought. A bit difficult. Bare
- Priorat Miserere 1992 (Costers del Siurana)
Woody again, extracted, big.
- Cos d'Estournel 1970
Tea nose, cedary fruitcake. Sweet palate, quite leafy Cab. Slightly chunky Cos style - but very good.
- Moscatel Oro NV (De Muller)
Spice and marmalade - intense - stands up to French examples very well. Very good indeed of its type.
- Palmella Superior 1918 (J M da Fonseca)
Lovely - hints at old Sherry and Madeira. Fantastically elegant and fine from appearance to finish. Stunning.
The usual zoo - bottles everywhere, great fun. The notes are consequently quite brief and impressionistic.
- Sercial 1978 (Barbeito)
Nice nose but rather off-dry on the palate - spoils a nice wine. Bare
- Bourgogne blanc Les Raverettes 1997 (Guillemot-Michel)
A domaine in Quintaine (Macon). Charming and easy - in the best sort of way. A great advert for basic Burgundy.
- Brauneburger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Spatlese 1986 (F. Haag)
Delightful. Time to drink this, I think.
- Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg Spatlese 1995 (von Schubert)
Intense, sherberty, rather closed - needs time. At least
- Romanee St Vivant 1983 (Hudelot-Noellat)
Alive, fishy-metallic old Burgundy - touch of 83 tannins. Could be better I suppose, given the terroir. Others weren't so keen but for me a top
- Rioja Ygay Reserva Especial 1978
High-toned, bright, delicious.
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Silex 1978 (Louis Arnaud)
Grenache - ripe - luscious (nice vintage, I suppose). Some complaints that it was light and Burgundian - but I thought it just proper Grenachey Chateauneuf. Pleasant but fading just a bit.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1988
Very fine indeed.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1995
Pure, structured, intense but unforced. Has the makings of a classic La Chapelle.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1999
Pure and elegant but very gutless and lacking complexity. Disappointing. A sign that Jaboulet is losing it?
- Riesling Schoenenberg SDGN 1994 (Deiss)
Kerosene, intense, OK but not huge acidity. Very nice.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 890 1970 (La Rioja Alta)
Not the best bottle - woody taint. Still fine. I'd give this three stars but I know it's an even better wine.
- Brunello Riserva 1998 (Soldera, Casse Base)
Ice-cream - lovely, dry, piquant palate - intense. Quite tannic. Perhaps
- Champagne Doux 1988 (Jacques Beaufort)
Luxury pudding wine - fresh (disgorged 2003 I believe). Complex and lovely though I wonder if it would be better Brut. A taste of how Champagne was a century ago. Top
- Maury Futs de Chene 1977 (Maurydore)
Pleasant old thing - without being particularly striking.
- Ribolla, IGT Venezia Giulia 1999 (J. Gravner)
Like all the Gravner whites, a deep golden colour quite unlike most modern white wines. Jammy nectarine nose, rather red-wine-like. Grapey peach palate, long and honied. Striking and interesting. It has the structure (some tannins) and balance to improve. Lovely.
- Breg, IGT Venezia Giulia 1999 (J. Gravner)
A little diffuse on the nose by comparison - there's some extra complexity from the odd mix of grapes involved, but I feel that is superficial and I prefer the honied purity of the Ribolla. Excellent again.
- Ribolla, IGT Venezia Giulia 2000 (J. Gravner)
Honied nectarine again, excellent but lacking the depth of the 1999 - also perhaps a touch "flatter". Still exciting. Bare
- Breg, IGT Venezia Giulia 2000 (J. Gravner)
Interesting, fine flavours - again a lot less weighty than the 1999. Perhaps scrapes in at again.
- Ribolla, IGT Venezia Giulia 2001 (J. Gravner)
At first very closed, on nose and palate. Apples and pears emerge with time on the former and honey on the latter. Rather higher acidity. Very strong. I think this will turn out well. A good
- Breg, IGT Venezia Giulia 2001 (J. Gravner)
A touch closed again on the nose and quite tannic on the palate. Again I guess this will open up beautifully.
- Rosso Gravner, IGT Venezia Giulia 2000 (J. Gravner)
High-toned cherry fruit right through the palate. Charming, nice tannins, decent acidity. Very good.
- Rosso Gravner Riserva, IGT Venezia Giulia 1998 (J. Gravner)
Ripe, very pure, cherry-like again. Pretty exciting wine, needing a few years yet. Top
- Rujno Rosso, IGT Venezia Giulia 1994 (J. Gravner)
Fresh, complex, lovely balance, this does not seem heavily extracted with its graceful elegance. Very fine. Top
I don't seem to have tasted so much this year and the notes are hurried. Too much good conversation!
- Champagne Les Rachais (Boulard)
Vinous nose, floral and rich fruit. I Good length, but it does seem very wood-influenced. No dosage, I believe, but it seems well-balanced.
- Champagne Petrea NV (Boulard)
A "solera wine" I gather. Yeasty, rather good. I must try a bottle properly one day. Top at least.
- Oloroso Viejisimo VORS (Pedro Romero)
Tangy, salty, lovely old wine. Top again.
- Champagne Avize Grand Cru 1996 (Jacquesson)
Very fine and elegant with good intensity and length. Unless it fills out, it seems a little light on the mid-palate. Perhaps I am under-rating this - for now a top
- Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux 1993
Very elegant and fine - everything one could hope for from a second wine. About time to drink.
- Chateau La Lagune 1997
Medium weight and nicely resolved. Pleasant drinking. Bare
- Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras 1998 (Barthod)
A big rounded, fruity mouthful. Quite tannic and a touch awkward now, as this vintage often seems to be. Needs a bit of time still.
- Bandol Cabassaou 1996 (Tempier)
Fantastic texture and density, really good. So suave.
- Rasteau 2001 (Gourt de Mautens)
Difficult nose at first but opens out, showing silky-textured fruit with a lovely unforced concentration. Should try a bottle properly at some point. For now at least
- Unilar Reserva Perequita 1977
SA Portugese oddity - piquant, high-toned, rather interesting. even.
- Madeira Verdelho 1973 (d'Oliveiras)
Lovely - mouthwatering and delicious. Scrapes
- Bollinger Vieilles Vignes 1981
Seems rather evolved at first - takes time to open up. When it does it has amazing intensity and length. The flavours centre around mushrooms and slow-moving rivers. Lovely.
- Corton Charlemagne 1986 (R. Rollin)
Dry, intense, long. Benchmark wine, I feel.
- Meurault 1985 (Coche-Dury)
Fragrant, dry, a mid-palate hole but with time in the glass, lovely.
- Brauneberger Juffer Auslese 1976 (Licht-Bergweiler)
Classic old Mosel sweety -in pretty good condition. A good
- Riesling Clos St Hune VT 1989 (Trimbach)
Dry, keroseney, long. Pretty much dry, in the Trimbach style. Excellent.
- Hermitage 1991 (J-L Chave)
Ravishing, fragrant nose. Middle-weight - balanced, long, lovely. A top
- Cote Rotie 1991 (Gentaz-Dervieux)
More sauvage, with bright fruit. Still quite tannic - could do with a couple of year. It won't be quite as graceful as the Chave, but it's very, very good.
- Chateau Ausone 1962
Porty - needs time - dry and flavoursome. Top
- Dominus 1990
Very fine, dry, ripe but not overblown. Classic Cabernet cedaryness too. Top
- Vouvray Brut 1987 (Huet)
Nice rich, grassy, good.
- Nacional 1964 (Noval)
Fine, elegant, possibly a touch spirity. Very classy but it perhaps needs to be studied carefully on a fairly clean palate. Still, I think
- Les Hauts de Smith 2000
A bit sulphury. Sauvignon dominated - like an oaked NZ wine. Banana-like fruit. Bare
- Smith Haut Lafite blanc 2000
Much richer and better-textured. Rounded, moderate acidity. Quite impressive.
- Les Hauts de Maujan 2001
Very immediate hit of warm-climate-like cab. Easy-going - fine for a BBQ. No great finish. Bare
- Smith Haut Lafite 2000
Ripe nose - touch of tobacco. Soft - yet not overstated. Tannins and oak evident on the finish. Not the sort of wine I personally want to buy, but rather good in its way. A good
- Smith Haut Lafite 1999
Quite forward - elegant - tannins resolved - dry finish - not so long. Bare
- Smith Haut Lafite 1998
Lighter, but with some extra spice. A bit grippier than the 2000. Quite complex and structured - drinking quite nicely. Top
- Smith Haut Lafite 1996
Black cherry, high-toned, tannic, some doubts about the underlying concentration. Top
With dinner, alongside the 98 SHL:
- Coulee de Serrant 1991
Very closed. Becomes honeyed and delicious - needs decanting. Provence herbs - bags of character.
- Champagne blanc-de-blancs Grand Cru Cuvee St Vincent 1990 (Legras)
Fine, attractive nose but the fruit while initially exciting is marred by a bitter twist towards the finish. This defect seems less evident a day later - while the wine seems quite mature, I wonder if it might benefit from more time. Pretty good.
- Champagne 1996 (H. Billiot)
Cashews, yeasty bread, honey, creamy fruit - a different character on returning each time. Taught acidity and good length. Really fine - perhaps even
- Champagne 1999 (Andre Clouet)
Brioche and honey nose, quite citric (lemon and grapefruit) palate. A little disjointed still but time will draw it together nicely. Softly frothy now, as one might expect from its youth. Very good.
- Champagne Brut Grande Reserve NV (Gosset)
Most of my recent notes of this wine have been from a single case bought at auction a while ago. I have since discovered from the nice people at Gosset that it is a 93+94+95 blend. Lovely honey and apples with yeasty undertones. Some will say it is showing a touch of oxidative character and I suppose it is although I don't find it remotely a problem. Very rich but now in perfect balance.
- Champagne NV "R" de Ruinart
Quitelarge-framed, a bit coarse and difficult towards the finish - perhaps a year in bottle would help. Ok, but I'm not wild about this. From a half. Bare
- Champagne Cuvee Speciale Grand Cru NV (Andre Jacquart)
Doughy but floral nose, quite tight, dry and precise, elegant palate - decent length but with a touch of hardness that needs a year or two. Very good. Bare
Lost in my filing system - this is from dinner at a BYO restaurant a few months ago, but I can't recall when.