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Diary index

A tasting of White Burgundy given by Berry Bros and Rudd for CUWS 31/10/1995 (RJB)

30/10/1995 (RJB)

A Tasting with the Cambridge University Blind Tasting Team 30/10/1995 (RJB)

29/10/1995 (TNB)

28/10/1995 (RJB)

A blind tasting of 5 whites and 5 reds - no theme 26/10/1995 (RJB)

A tasting of German Rieslings 25/10/1995 (RJB)

- a tasting for the Cambridge University Blind Tasting team 22/10/1995 (RJB)

21/10/1995 (TNB)

Oddbins purchases for SPC, (necessarily on the cheap side) 19/10/1995 (LJM)

A blind tasting of 3 Northern and 3 Sourthern Rhone wines 19/10/1995 (RJB)

A tasting of the wines of Montana with one of the wine makers (Andy Pritchard), Oddbin Fine Wines Cambridge. 18/10/1995 (RJB)

Anthony Byrne at New College 17/10/1995 (LJM)

Bibendum New World tasting - highlights and lowlights! 17/10/1995 (RJB)

at Oddbins Fine Wine 17/10/1995 (RJB)

15/10/1995 (TNB)

Morris and Verdin, New College 13/10/1995 (LJM)

12/10/1995 (RJB)

Antinori tasting with Derek Smedley at Valvona & Crolla 12/10/1995 (TNB)

With dinner at the Three Horse Shoes, Madingley 11/10/1995 (RJB)

Heyman, Barwell Jones Ltd at St Edmund Hall 09/10/1995 (LJM)

at Noel Young Wines 07/10/1995 (RJB)

07/10/1995 (RJB)

Misc. 07/10/1995 (TNB)

S.H.Jones & co. from Banbury at New College 06/10/1995 (LJM)

06/10/1995 (RJB)

Syrah/Shiraz at Oddbins Fine Wine, Cambridge 05/10/1995 (RJB)

Oddbins New World Tasting 04/10/1995 (TNB)

03/10/1995 (TNB)

The Diary - October 1995

A tasting of White Burgundy given by Berry Bros and Rudd for CUWS 31/10/1995 (RJB)

The speaker defied anyone to pick up any oak on any of these wines! OK so there won't be as much as appears in many 'Empire wines' (as the speaker liked to refer to New World wines), but . . .

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/10/1995   Return to top

30/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/10/1995   Return to top

A Tasting with the Cambridge University Blind Tasting Team 30/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 30/10/1995   Return to top

29/10/1995 (TNB)

  • Foxen Chardonnay 1993 Tried from a whole bottle, having had it at a tasting. Both times it struck me originally as a bit soft, toffeed, New Worldish, but seems to improve greatly on second taste. It has good structure, good tight (but tasty) Chardonnay fruit, and a fine finish. After the first impression, it is quite Burgundian. (89) (Oddbins FW 12.99)
  • Beaune Bucherottes 88 (Jadot) From a half. Vibrant red cherry and strawberry pinot fruit. A trace of "hotness". Mouthfilling fruit with good length and sufficient but not intrusive structure. Excellent balance. (88)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/10/1995   Return to top

28/10/1995 (RJB)

  • Durney Vineyard Chardonnay 1989, California Carmel Valley Not a greatly complex wine, but it has aged nicely. Honeyed and nutty with some acidity. 87
  • Mountadam Chardonnay 1990, Australia From a half bottle. An odd nose (maderised?) - buttery and showing more age than might be expected. Oily on the palate with fresher flavours than the nose suggests. Perhaps it's going through an odd phase between secondary and tertiary flavours. It seemed to get better during the evening. 85-89
  • Ch. Sociando-Mallet 1982 From a half bottle. Classic claret flavours and aromas. Cedar wood, with some fruity mintiness. Still lightly tannic but drinking very nicely. 90
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/10/1995   Return to top

A blind tasting of 5 whites and 5 reds - no theme 26/10/1995 (RJB)

  • Clos de Bourg 1982 demi-sec, Huet Lovely mature chenin, showing a bit older than expected and getting close to being a sec in style. Lacking a bit of complexity. 87
  • Kistler Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 1992, California A big big big wine. Glorious full-powered oak and fruit nose with some lees character. Good length. Wonderful balance given the huge nature of this wine - not for the faint-hearted. 92
  • Rutz Cellars Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 1992 Coincidently another Russian River Valley Chardonnay from 1992. Subdued nose a bit too squeaky clean. Nice acidity on the palate but lacking the concentration of flavours I was expecting. Given that this is 14.5% alcohol it's suprisingly elegant. Maybe it's just closed up at the moment. 88
  • Gewurztraminer 1983 VT, Hugel Oily medium to full-bodied gewurz as one would expect. Not showing its age and still with time ahead of it. 89
  • Gewurztraminer 1983 VT, Ostertag Another coincidence that certainly added to the fun of the tasting. Lighter more elegant style than the Hugel. Would never guess it to be VT. Again not showing its age (I guessed it to be 1990ish). 88
  • Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 1980 Holding together well. Sweet tempranillo 'strawberry' nose. 84
  • Wynns John Riddoch Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1985 I wasn't so keen on this, but I was in the minority. It has held up well - minty vegetal nose. However, I found it too leafy, and the fruit mushy. I don't think it's going anywhere. 86
  • Langoa Barton 1983 Alas, corked.
  • Williams and Selyem 1993 Pinot Noir, California Impressive. Thin colour (but with Pinot, who cares!). Beautifully clear Pinot nose with a classy touch of toasted oak(?) - strawberries and plum skins. Lovely wine. 90
  • Hermitage 1983, G. Chave Gorgeous warm Northern Rhone nose - spices and tar. Palate a bit thin though given the bouquet. 89
  • Pinot Noir, Pockl 1991, Austria An extra wine cracked open. Caramel pinot nose - too soft. Not that pleasant a wine, but I've had worse from places supposedly famous for pinots. This is only from four-year-old vines - perhaps there is potential for Austrian pinot noirs. 81
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 26/10/1995   Return to top

A tasting of German Rieslings 25/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 25/10/1995   Return to top

- a tasting for the Cambridge University Blind Tasting team 22/10/1995 (RJB)

  • Foxen Chardonnay 1993, California Impressive. Good sharp chardonnay fruit with well integrated oak. Quite Burgundian - indeed, all those tasting it blind thought it so. At least couple of years development ahead of it I'd guess, but classy now. 92 (RP91)
  • Scoffitt Gewurztraminer 1993, Cuvee Caroline Rich oily wine with the usual Gewurz tones. Initially fine on the palate, but it becomes disjointed and watery, perhaps this is just a sign of its youth. 87
  • The Monterey Vineyards Pinot Noir 1993 thin and insipid, rough, but it does show some Pinot flavours. 78
  • Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 Thought to be a reasonable Claret by most - the only thing that points to South Africa is a slightly hot finish. Rustic leathery wine with goodish structure but a touch too sweet. Will continue to improve for five years. 86
  • Crozes Hermitage 1993, Graillot Colour good; nose fragrant, charming and peppery. Disappointingly thin on flavours at the moment. I'm not quite sure what to make of this wine. the colour and the nose promise much, biut the palate? 84-88
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 22/10/1995   Return to top

21/10/1995 (TNB)

  • Josephshofer 83 Auslese (von Kesselstadt) (J&B ~12.00) Mature riesling fruit, near peak. Quite large and sweet (for Mosel auslese) and fruity. 87.
  • Riesling Kappelweg 89 (Rolly-Gassman) (J&B ~12.00) Minerally, but very rich, with good complexity, excellent acidity and very striking length. Its the combination of richness with grip that impresses me. The next day, it seemed to have opened out more. A class act. 92
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/10/1995   Return to top

Oddbins purchases for SPC, (necessarily on the cheap side) 19/10/1995 (LJM)

  • Pacherenc Moelleux, Domaine de Diusse , 8.99. A Jurancon Moelleux lookalike that has much finer acidity than usual, good fruit and tarry flavours that lends it complexity (no botrytis). For current drinking. (89)
  • Messmer, Scheurebe Kabinett, 1993 , 5.99. A well balanced enjoyable Scheurebe with the usual pineapple and som mint. Good weight although not quite as fat as the Muller Catoir. Good value for current drinking. (89)
  • Pouilly Fuisse Les Vergere, Barraud, 9.99. Fine, well structured Pouilly Fuisse with good balance and weight. Will benefit from a couple of years ageing perhaps. (PS90)
  • Valdespino, Pedro Ximenez, 6.99. Very thick sweet chocolatey muscaty wine with extra weight. One might worry about the lack of balancing acidity but I thought all the caramel and stuff made up for it. (To be served in place of madeira.)86
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/10/1995   Return to top

A blind tasting of 3 Northern and 3 Sourthern Rhone wines 19/10/1995 (RJB)

  • Gigondas 1990 Domaine St Gayan Subdued fragrant toasty nose. Nice sweetness but looks and tastes older than expected. On first tasting not very impressed, but it seemed to be getting better later in the tasting. Difficult to make a decision. 83-88
  • Clos du Papes 1986, Chateauneuf Disappointing. Dying on the nose. faintly peppery but sweetness showing through mostly. Colour made it look about 20 years old! 82
  • Cotes Rotie Brune et Blonde 1985, Guigal From a half bottle. Very clearly the best of the tasting. Lovely violet fragrance - so elegant but yet so big. Nice tertiary aromas beginning to show. At its peak (in half bottle) in a couple of years? 91
  • Chateau Maucoil 1985 Reserve Suzeraine much the same as my previous note (7/10/95) for this wine. Not going anywhere and not greatly pleasant now. 83
  • Thalabert 1983, Crozes-Hermitage, Jaboulet Aine Bought from Adnams. I've never been a Thalabert fan. This was quite mushroomy, some liquorice and showing at peak or a bit beyond. 83
  • Thalabert 1983 Yes, the same wine! This time from a Cambridge college cellar. A different wine! Much better structure and showing younger than the above - still seemed to need some time to be at its peak. These last two wines certainly show the fun of blind tasting. 87
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/10/1995   Return to top

A tasting of the wines of Montana with one of the wine makers (Andy Pritchard), Oddbin Fine Wines Cambridge. 18/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/10/1995   Return to top

Anthony Byrne at New College 17/10/1995 (LJM)

The usual mediocre plonks but also the following.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/10/1995   Return to top

Bibendum New World tasting - highlights and lowlights! 17/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/10/1995   Return to top

at Oddbins Fine Wine 17/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/10/1995   Return to top

15/10/1995 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/10/1995   Return to top

Morris and Verdin, New College 13/10/1995 (LJM)

The best of the SCR tastings so far. Even some of the plonks had character. Prices are all by the case.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 13/10/1995   Return to top

12/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/10/1995   Return to top

Antinori tasting with Derek Smedley at Valvona & Crolla 12/10/1995 (TNB)

Some typical, thin, characterless (particularly the whites) Italian plonks (4.99 a bottle, amazingly enough). Then: And with dinner,
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/10/1995   Return to top

With dinner at the Three Horse Shoes, Madingley 11/10/1995 (RJB)

  • Pommery NV From a half bottle, medium bodied with a nutty nose. Good acidity with fullness in the mouth. 88
  • Gigondas 1990, Guigal From a half bottle, lovely raspberry nose, but a bit clumsy on the palate - the fruit subdued by the wines heaviness. Probably just needs time to open up. 89
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/10/1995   Return to top

Heyman, Barwell Jones Ltd at St Edmund Hall 09/10/1995 (LJM)

51 wines, mostly plonks at various prices. Generally dont do less than 5 cases. I only include those that one might drink for pleasure.
  • Pannier Brut tradition Champagne A correct and enjoyable champagne with the usual biscuity yeasty flavours, 86. Good value. (Also a less good and more expensive Rose.)
  • Meursault, 1993 Laboure-Roi A pleasant mouthfilling chardonnay that has good vanilla oak etc. The only white of theirs that would be a pleasure to drink. (The others were all harder without fruit.) (87)
  • Wente Brothers Chardonnay 1993 This was a pleasant creamy soft chardonnay. Might get boring after the first few mouthfuls but seemed good value. (84)
  • Wente brothers Cab Sauv 93 This had good intense (perhaps a little manufactured) cabernet flavours. Not much structure. (85)
  • Laboure-Roi, Syrah d'Oc 93 Good varietal character and structure. Lacking in fat and fruit so only (84) but to get personality at this price is good.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/10/1995   Return to top

at Noel Young Wines 07/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/10/1995   Return to top

07/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/10/1995   Return to top

Misc. 07/10/1995 (TNB)

  • Coudelet de Beaucastel Blanc 1992 Lovely apricot/peach kernel nose. Good acidity. Drinking well. (86)
  • Coteaux de Layon (Baumard) 1989 Not the St. Catherine, but has a peacock on the bottle. If this is a "second wine" it is quite good. Suprising quantity of well-integrated botrytis (given the pale colour). Good concentration and length. Suprisingly evolved. (85).
  • Pinot Noir Carneros 1986 (Saintsbury) Good healthy maturing colour. Red cherry and redcurrenty, slightly medicinal (in a good way) pinot fruit. Warm and mouthfilling. Probably at peak. (86)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/10/1995   Return to top

S.H.Jones & co. from Banbury at New College 06/10/1995 (LJM)

The focus was mostly on plonks but some excellent values.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 06/10/1995   Return to top

06/10/1995 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 06/10/1995   Return to top

Syrah/Shiraz at Oddbins Fine Wine, Cambridge 05/10/1995 (RJB)

  • Cape Mentelle Shiraz 1992 Soft cherryish nose (too much oak?), leathery, harsh and rather short. (8.99)
  • Crozes-Hermitage La Guiraude 1991, A. Graillot Light sweet cherry nose, well made, with good structure and mineral overtones. However, it lacks the concentration to be great. (10.99)
  • E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 1992 Eucalyptus, big and with sweet oak. Good for this style. Easy to drink, but has it much complexity. Interesting to see whether this will age well - I tend to think it will not. (12.49)
  • Les Eglantieres Syrah1993, Domaine la Remejeune, Cotes-du-Rhone Stalky syrah nose with good tangy fruit on palatte, however, it finishes too soft at the end. A shame because initially it promises more. (9.99)
  • The Armagh Shiraz 1992, Jim Barry Wines Written up in the media as the poor man's Grange (!), A classier version of the E&E - quite closed, good acid, with clear aging potential and not so oak dominant. Not really for drinking now. Could be very good with time. (24.99)
  • Cornas Les Ruchets 1991, Jean-Luc Colombo I've heard good reports of this wine, but both times I've had it it disappoints. The fruit is flabby and the whole wine soft and dull. (15.99)
  • Orion Syrah 1989, Sean Thackrey Soft spicy nose, herby. A bit soft and mushy. Actually tasted after the Armagh - perhaps it suffered. (24.99)
  • Hermitage La Chapelle 1986 The best of the French. Some maturity, good balance but a slightly harsh finish. OK but not really a top vintage. (19.99)
  • Grange 1979 Yes, the star of the tasting. Maturing mint and oak nose with lovely sweetness and length. Perhaps a touch musty and lacking the power of some Granges but still a pleasure to taste. (54.99)
  • E&E Sparkling Shiraz NV Good of its sort - clean fresh fruit, and not trying to be more than it is - but not a style I particularly enjoy, especially at this price. (13.49)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/10/1995   Return to top

Oddbins New World Tasting 04/10/1995 (TNB)

  • Foxen Chardonnay 93 (California) High quality melony fruit. Really impressive length. Slightly lacking in structure, so perhaps not a keeper. (13.99)
  • Chardonnay Clos du Ciel 92 (Peter Michael) Had this twice recently. Toffee plus spicy/gingery nose. Quite a lot of structure in the mouth. Seems complex. Returning to it, I had doubts about the quality and concentration of fruit. (15.99)
  • Chardonnay Russian river 92 (Rutz) Seemed a bit "dirty". Definately the least good of the 3 California Chardonnays. (15.99)
  • La Sophiste (Bonny Doon) Rousanne/Marsanne. Perhaps a fine wine, but it didn't really sing (at least to me). (16.99)
  • Cuvee Napa Pinot Noir Sparkling red. Disgusting! (8.99)
  • Alta Rangi Pinot Noir 93 (Martinborough NZ) Genuine Pinot red/black cherry fruit with decent concentration and gamey overtones. Wouldn't want to have to pick this blind as "New World"! Nice. (14.99)
  • Yarra Yering #1, 1991 Odd nose with something volatile that "catches" in the throat. In the mouth, blackcurrenty but very soft. Not keen. (16.99)
  • Penfolds 707, 1992 So exactly as one expects. Good concentration married well with slightly over-obvious oak. Plenty of structure, but drinkable early too. Fruit a bit leafy. Boring! (16.99)
  • Orion 89 (Sean Thackeray) Rhone grapes. Very striking complex nose. In the mouth, plenty of old-fashioned structure. Very fine wine! (23.99)
  • Grange 79 Young looking. Loads of structure. Impressive almost port-like concentration. Needs time still. Really good, but perhaps not one of the top Grange's? (55.00)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 04/10/1995   Return to top

03/10/1995 (TNB)

  • Nuits St Georges 1987 (J. Chauvenet) Nice colour, and good red/black cherry Pinot fruit. Lacks much complexity, and has the high acidity and prominant tannins of the vintage. Good for a village wine though -- perhaps best with food.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 03/10/1995   Return to top