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Diary index

Dinner at Ewen's 31/10/1996 (TNB)

Misc 29/10/1996 (TNB)

A Suffolk Sojourn 28/10/1996 (RJB)

24/10/1996 (TNB)

21/10/1996 (RJB)

London 21/10/1996 (TNB)

20/10/1996 (RJB)

IWC medal winners tasting for CF&WS 18/10/1996 (RJB)

Vintage Champagne at OFW 17/10/1996 (TNB)

Tasting Techniques, Cambridge University Wine Society - tutored by Richard Bailey 15/10/1996 (RJB)

13/10/1996 (RJB)

12/10/1996 (TNB)

Italian Wine at V&C 10/10/1996 (TNB)

09/10/1996 (TNB)

Gang of Five -- Syrah/Shiraz, 03/10/1996 (RJB)

The Diary - October 1996

Dinner at Ewen's 31/10/1996 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/10/1996   Return to top

Misc 29/10/1996 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/10/1996   Return to top

A Suffolk Sojourn 28/10/1996 (RJB)

  • Shafer 1992 Merlot With an excellent lunch at Martha's Vineyard, Nayland. Lovely fragrant plum (but not plum skin) flavours with judiciously balanced sweetish oak. Full-flavoured yet elegant enough for lunchtime. Nicely made. 90
  • Muscat Vin de Glaciere 1995, Bonny Doon A glass from a recently opened half bottle. Rather sweet and obvious. Reports seem to suggest this wine is not a keeper and somehow it's possible to see that from its lack of structure. 84
  • Hollick's Botrytis Riesling 1994 From a freshly opened half bottle. Very obvious Riesling, although the high acidity feels coarse and out of balance. 85
  • Henschke Eden Valley Semillon 1993 With dinner at the Angel Inn, Stoke-by-Nayland. Resiny and citric, but the flavours disappear to leave a plasticy taste at the finish. Disappointing, but it is a Semillon so perhaps it just needs time for flavours to emerge. 83?
  • Durkheimer Fronhof Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese 1993, Kurt Darting A glass from a recently opened half bottle at the White Hart, Great Yedham Essence of grapefruit and with fine balance. Difficult to judge how complex it is, but I'd guess it will age beautifully. Enough acidity to be a pudding wine that actually goes with pudding (a praline parfait in this instance).90
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 28/10/1996   Return to top

24/10/1996 (TNB)

  • Lamaione 92 (Frescobaldi) Reasonably priced merlot "supertuscan". Good colour, suprisingly blackcurrenty nose, gutsy with good acid and quite a lot of decent oak. Good effort for a dodgy vinatge. I look forward to trying the 1993. 86.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/10/1996   Return to top

21/10/1996 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/10/1996   Return to top

London 21/10/1996 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/10/1996   Return to top

20/10/1996 (RJB)

  • Penfolds 1992 South Australian Chardonnay The slight nuttiness of age has made this a more balanced, less overblown wine than past Penfold Chardonnays I've tasted. I doubt it would benefit from any more age though. 84
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 20/10/1996   Return to top

IWC medal winners tasting for CF&WS 18/10/1996 (RJB)

  • Seaview Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut 1993 (7.99) Nice enough but fairly standard Oz fizz. Pineapple fruit with some autolytic nuances. 83
  • KWV Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 1995 (4.49) Thin fruit with large doses of sulphur - yum! 75
  • L Grande Cuvee 1995 Chardonnay, Laroche, Languedoc (4.99) Good value as an introduction to the flavours of (quite classy) oak. However, there seems to be a lack of fruit and the wine finishes very short. With time the wine smelt more like marzipan. 81
  • Beringer Vineyards 1994 Chardonnay (9.99) Clearly superior to the Laroche. Buttery and with some structure and mineral flavours. A bit obvious. 86
  • Rioja 1994 Marques de Grinon (4.99) "An innovative varietal wine" according to the back label. Rioja made from Tempranillo - maybe this is innovative for M. de G. Lovely clean strawberry nose, with a touch of smokiness and balancing tannins at the end. Simple but pleasing. I need to try this again in more controlled conditions. 88+
  • Notarpanaro 1988, Taurino (4.99) Showing quite nicely, but some debate about whether it was drying out slightly. Not the best bottles I've had of this. It really does need food to show at its best. Many people thought this the best value wine of the tasting - I'd go for the Rioja on this showing. 87
  • Chateau Cantemerle 1990 (18.99) Classic mature claret nose - cedar wood and cigar box. Fairly lush ready-to-drink wine. No rush to drink up, but I can't see it getting any better. A slightly odd green olive flavour at the end which I couldn't decide whether I liked or not. 89?
  • Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 1993 (16.99) Very classy Syrah. Inky, but with the structure that is often lacking in the New World. Big but balanced. Should age well. 92
  • Chateau Rieussec 1989 (29.90) Lovely Sauternes, perhaps a bit lacking in botrytis to be really great (some people guessed it to be Muscat). Needs time to show at its best. 90
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/10/1996   Return to top

Vintage Champagne at OFW 17/10/1996 (TNB)

  • H. Blin 89 Neutral on nose, odd flavours, bubbles like soda water. 78 (15.00)
  • Rose 88 Pol Roger Gutsy structured wine. Probably best with vood. No hint of vulgarity. Perhaps needs time? 90 (32.99)
  • Rose 89 (Billecart-Salmon) Much more elegantl wrought. Pleasant. 88.
  • Pommery 89 Fruity, straight-forward, bit one-dimensional. (From a magnum. Not quite as interesting as the bottle tasted a few weeks ago, but not slightly flawed either.) 85
  • Blanc de blanc 86 (Pol Roger) Nose like good mature burgundy. Quite fine, but perhaps not a great vintage. Probably at peak. 89.
  • Veuve Cliquot 89 Medium weight, needs a bit of time. Quite good. 88.
  • Pol Roger 88/89 Noted afterwards that our first taste was 89, but the refil 88! Both put the widow in the shade. Lovely young champagnes, medium weight. Will be good, especially the 88. 1988, 92 --- 1989 90
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 17/10/1996   Return to top

Tasting Techniques, Cambridge University Wine Society - tutored by Richard Bailey 15/10/1996 (RJB)

I found myself agreeing with a lot of what the speaker said.

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 15/10/1996   Return to top

13/10/1996 (RJB)

  • Lafon Rochet 1967 (6.79 OFW) Some stock found by Oddbins in a cellar in France. Holding up suprisingly well with ethereal fruit. Slightly dusty, but overall a pleasant lightweight wine. Not nearly as bad as one might expect and worth it for its interest value. 83
  • Marques de Grinon Dominio de Valdepusa Syrah 1993 Good colour and fair structure with juicy fruit on the palate. Slight stalkiness on the nose which might just be it youthfulness. A hot finish (14% alcohol), but otherwise a promising wine. 86
  • Rosemount Show Reserve Chardonnay 1989 The nutty acidity it once had has disappeared to leave a rather bloated buttery wine. Nothing really wrong with it apart from this lack of balance. 83
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 13/10/1996   Return to top

12/10/1996 (TNB)

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 85 (Moss Wood) Lugged back from Oz years ago. Excellent youthful colour, round sweet plummy fruit perhaps hinting at vegetalness) with some nice secondary cab/s aromas. Will still improve a bit perhaps. 87.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/10/1996   Return to top

Italian Wine at V&C 10/10/1996 (TNB)

Phillip Contini says that one can survive in any wine tasting circles once you have realised that fruit comes in one of five basic categories: citrus, tree (apple, pear, etc), berries, exotic (Lychee, banana, etc) and preserved.

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/10/1996   Return to top

09/10/1996 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 09/10/1996   Return to top

Gang of Five -- Syrah/Shiraz, 03/10/1996 (RJB)

Numbers in brackets refer to the overall ranking in the tasting decided by the average of the five tasters scores for each wine. Each taster brought along two wines -- the ten wines were tasted blind in a random order.

  • Crozes Hermitage 1989, Graillot (4) Leathery mature overtones - perhaps a touch too vegetal. Well made but a bit hot and on the way down. 85
  • Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde 1985, Guigal (8) Light and maybe a touch volatile. Dry finish and obviously French Syrah. The worst bottle I've had of this - I hope it's just this particular bottle. 87
  • Grand Heritage Syrah 1993, Edmunds St John (3) Reminded me more of a Grenache style wine. Clearly New World with good fruity acidity. Perhaps more structure than its youthfullness is allowing to show through at present, but I don't think it's worth the 92 or 93 points that Parker has given it. 89
  • Domaine Gramenon 1992, Cuvee Syrah (6) Classy Northern Rhone nose - like a goodish Cote Rotie. Less convincing on the depth of palate, but I though still pretty good. 90
  • Qupe Bien Nacido 1993 Syrah (1) Fairly consistent scores for this wine. Initially not showing much, but it opened out to reveal excellent fruit and structure, without being overblown. Excellent wine that should age well. Very clearly the wine of the tasting. 92
  • Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz 1993 (2) Excellent concentration - liquorice and vanilla. Big chewy wine. Too extrovert? 90
  • Hermitage 1990, Le Vignon, Sorrel (9) Closed, thin, gummy old oak. Drying out. Some debate about which Sorrel this was - also this bottle seemed to be a merchant's sample so might not be the most reliable. 82
  • Yarra Yerring Dry Red No. 2 1992 (7) Maturing mushroomy overtones. Some sweetness and an out of balance, toffeed finish. Initially it seemed quite good. 84
  • Brown Brothers Koombahla Shiraz 1990 (10) Drying out - watery and overly minty. 78
  • Taltarni Shiraz 1988 (5) Closed, but with big colour and goodish structure. 89
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 03/10/1996   Return to top