The Diary - September 2001
- Barolo Cannubi 1993 (Prunotto)
Quite deeply coloured and fleshy for a 93 (a bit of new oak, perhaps), with real "hot-road" tar and typical nebbiolo scentedness. Mushrooms too. Austere and dry with prominant tannins. Perhaps not at peak yet, but possibly never going to be worth more than a decent
- Barolo La Serra 1993 (Marcarini)
Very classic barolo: rose-scented over a tar base. This is earlier maturing than Marcarini's Brunate but it is still quite tannic, dry, yet florally scented and very attractive in a grown-up way. I think this is in its peak-drinking phase now.
- Primitivo Prima-Mano 1999 (Fusione)
A special selection bottling of the very popular (but I haven't tried it yet) A-Mano Primitivo. Bags of nicely textured, rich blackberry fruit and some new oak binding it together. Certainly good, but I would like to look at this a few years down the line. Probably worth an extra star in time but for now a conservative
- Nebbiolo d'Alba 1998 (Bruno Giacosa)
Weighty fruit, dry and perfumed with roses, pretty tannic. Good, but not quite the cheap way in to the fantastic wines of Giacosa that I had been hoping for. A bare
- Soave Classico Superiore, Vigneti di Foscarino 1998 (Inama)
A very different flavour-profile from the usual Chardonnay and Riesling that I find myself drinking - nutty, slightly bitter, good length. I like this.
- Chianto Classico 1998 (Isole e Olena)
Uncompromising, meaty, dry, slightly austere wine, has a bit of class about it - perhaps best with food right now, but good. From a half.
- Collio Piacentini Gutturnio, Romeo 1990 (Fugazza)
Smoky, bramble wine, slightly rustic and quite tannic. A pleasant drink.
- Fontalloro 1990 (Felsina Berardenga)
I have had this wine once or twice recently and I have some reservations about a rather "cooked" quality to the fruit and a general austerity that does not bode so well for the future. This particular bottle seems better than the last, with a rather fine, complex, scented nose but the doubts remain for what is a top wine in a highly regarded (perhaps over-highly except in Brunello) Tuscan vintage. I wonder if there has been a storage problem? Not really more than
- Selva d'Oro 1999 (Falchini)
Vernaccia and some Chardonnay - dry, clean, appetising, a bit of richness from the Chardonnay, good length. Nice lunchtime wine. Top
- Casalferro 1995 (Castello di Brolio)
Fragrant, rich nose. Lots of blackberry and fruitcake fruit backed by ripe tannins and really good acidity that shades in to a sort of green-pepper astringancy. I'm not sure how this last feature will evolve in an otherwise very good wine.
- Moscato d'Asti 1996 (Marcarini)
Marcarini's elegant Moscato needs a while in bottle to show its best, but this is getting a bit too old. It's OK but a bit more exuberant fresh fruit would be good.
- Semillon Sauvignon 1999 (Coriole Vineyards)
(7.49) 55% Semillon, 45% Sauvignon. Ripe grapefruit - touch of Semillon waxiness. Nicely balanced - rounded mid-palate but with good acidity. Drink now.
- Lalla Rookh Semillon 1998 (Coriole Vineyards)
(9.29) Toasty, nut oil nose. Touch of oak. Limey lanolin palate - fresh finish. Probably at peak or thereabouts. Drink over the next few years.
- Sangiovese 1998 (Coriole Vineyards)
(8.79) 76% Sangiovese, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot. Tiny bit of Cabernet in this also. Gummy smokey nose - cherry bitterness and acidity. Tight. Lovely stuff that would be fun to try against a good Chianti. Very much food wine.
- Lloyd Sangiovese Cabernet 1998 (Coriole Vineyards)
(14.99) Rounded cherry and violets. Bitterness at the end. With good structure and lovely tannins and acidity. An Australian super Tuscan.
- Redstone Shiraz/Grenache/Cabernet 1997 (Coriole Vineyards)
(8.49) 55% Shiraz, 26% Grenache, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Rather green and leathery. Oddly green finish. ?
- Lalla Rookh Grenache Shiraz 1997 (Coriole Vineyards)
(10.99) A bit flat and restrained on the nose - sweet palate, too sweet. Feels too alcoholic.
- Mary Kathleen Cabernet Merlot 1995 (Coriole Vineyards)
(14.99) New World plumminess. Gumminess showing over length. Touch green at the finish.
- Mary Kathleen Cabernet Merlot 1998 (Coriole Vineyards)
(14.99) 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc. Mintiness and some pencil lead. Palate being masked by biggish (but good) tannins. Will it come through? Probably, yes. Could be very good. possibly more
- Shiraz 1998 (Coriole Vineyards)
(10.99) Some spiciness, and a slight bitterness to the big tannins. 'Drink it on its own, especially if you know dinner is on its way' according to Mark. Richness coming through with time in the glass. Give it 5 years or so
- Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 1998 (Coriole Vineyards)
(20.99) Good structure of fruit against tannins. Rather alcoholic finish - teeth coating
- Champagne 1982 (A. Gratien)
A "Celebration" bottling for the Wine Society. Nicely mature flavours - at peak but no hurry to drink. Top
- L'Argile 1993 (Domaine de La Rectorie)
A white wine made from Grenache gris. Interesting and unusual flavours somewhere in the almond-marzipan area - individual, characterful. A good
- Riesling Kitterle 1986 (Schlumberger)
Fine, delicate, mineral Riesling. Very good - probably at peak.
- Roc d'Anglade 1999, Coteaux du Languedoc (Pedreno et Rostaing)
A new estate. Silky, hovering between Rhone and Burgundy. Ripe tannins, bags of fruit, finishes well. Serious wine.
- Cuvee d'En Auger 1999, VdP des Coteaux d'Enserune (Domaine Perdiguier)
Mainly Cabernet. Good balance, enough fruit to absorb the oak it has been given. Perhaps a bit light and leafy but maybe that is just tasting it after the previous wine.
- Echezeaux 1971 (Bissey-Maret)
In good condition: slightly metallic/seaside nose, pleasant palate. Beginning a slow decline perhaps.
- Beaune Greves 1983 (Lafarge)
Splendidly concentrated, pure fruit with a savoury finish. It would be worth another star but the nose, at least at the moment, is unforthcoming.
- Port 1977 (Ferreira)
Solid core of rich, nutty fruit. Portuguese-style. A pretty good, if not absolutely top 77.
- Kanzemer Altenberg spatlese 1985 (Kanzemer Berg)
Quite rich, mature, bone-dry finish. Pleasant.
- Spanna 1964 (Nervi)
Lovely rose-petal old nebbiolo. Fresh fruit and nice dry finish.
- Sociando Mallet 1982
Deep colour showing little age, berry and plum fruit with suggestions of forrest floor and cigar box on the nose, dense, concentrated fruit on the palate. Having had the 85 recently (pleasant mature claret) this just shows what a serously great vintage 82 is!
- Chateau des Trois Chardons 1994
Closed nose at first, but a lovely, floral, Turkish delight aroma emerges. Elegant, old-fashioned, medium-weight, good acidity, structured and balanced with a dry finish. A good
- Chateau des Trois Chardons 1989
Some bottle stink and when that blew off, leafy fruit and after some air that perfume again. The same dry, elegant style with good acidity and integrated tannins (not unripe like so many 89's).
- Chateau St Pierre 1978
Good colour, attractive, leafy blackcurrant fruit and lots of good cigar-box flavours. This is a rather fine 78 and worth looking out for. At peak.
- Leoville Las Cases 1978
Very similarly styled to the St Pierre, but with a bit more of everything and lovely savoury fruit. Again, at peak but this wine in particular has years ahead of it. Lovely.
- Poujeaux 1997
Interesting to have a look at this in comfort having enthused about it at a tasting. It's pretty forward, with attractive blackcurrant fruit and notable complexity on the nose from well-judged oak use. A nice balanced palate that will develop gracefully for a decade or so probably, without ever being a lot better than it is now.
- Phelan-Segur 1997
Another forwardly fruity 97 claret, perhaps a little more chunky in style than is ideal for the vintage and a shade weedy.
- Champagne Grande Reserve NV (Gosset)
Bread and apple nose, moderate richness, creamy texture, good body, nice length. If there is a weakness then at the moment the mousse is a shade coarse. Still very good Champagne, just worth
- Champagne NV (L. Roederer)
This bottle had been in a cellar for at least six months. Fine, fairly weighty, complex, balanced Champagne with a nicely-textured mousse. Tempting to give this four stars but perhaps just a top
- Champagne Celebris 1990 (Gosset)
Lots of complexity, but also a slightly edgy note and over all a bit muted perhaps compared to what I was hoping for from Gosset's top wine. This was being sold cheaply as a bin-end by a large retail chain, and I do wonder if there may be just a slight storage problem. Probably very good.
- Champagne Brut Reserve, Mise en Cave 1995 (Charles Heidsieck)
Floral nose with cashew hints. Slightly blowsy fruit and coarse mousse. OK, but not the best of these dated NV wines unless like the Gosset above it is a storage problem.
- Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot 1996 (Ramonet)
Gingery, herby nose, quite characteristic of Ramonet. Slightly subdued at least at the moment: I could worry a bit, but I think it will gain a bit in time.
- Ygay Reserva Especial 1996 (Marques de Murietta)
high-toned stuff with a raspberry and lightly oaky bouquet. Probably needs a couple of years.
- Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-du-Beaune 1996 (Rollin)
Good acidity and nicely put together. Clearly Pinot on the nose and palate. Good short term drinking.
- Gressier Grand Poujeux 1970
This wine is getting tired - the fruit is fading. Drink up.
- Chateau Meyney 1986
From a half. Lovely wine - rich and with real backbone. Beginning to drink well now but needs more time to be at its best.
- Champagne Grand Millesime Brut 1993 (Gosset)
A good 1993, with minerality, elegance and balance. A slight chalkiness to the wine also.
- Corton-Charlemagne 1989 (Rollin)
From a half. Bad bottle - almost indistinguishable from Fino Sherry (fine, indeed, if you thought of it as that). It would be unfair to score this bottle.
- Touriga Nacional Tinta Roriz 1999 (Manta Preta)
Goodish value (I believe) Portugese red. Berry fruit. Short term drinking.
- Vin Sec de Chateau Coutet 1996
Reasonable dry white Bordeaux - waxy and with a balancing acidity. Could do with more weight.
- Trio Merlot 1998 (Concha y Toro)
Basic stuff - drinkable, but no excitement.
- Chardonnay 1989 (Petaluma)
Towards the end of its life, but holding on well. Acidity and nuttiness, and a buttery finish.
- Champagne Grand Rose (Gosset)
From a half. Lovely balanced lightly pink Champagne. Raspberry/strawberry nose, elegantly balanced.
- Tokay Pinot Gris Hengst 1998 Clos de Vicus Romain (Domaine Aime Stentz)
Goodish Pinot Gris, with bacon fat and fatness. Medium bodied wine, but not a keeper I'd guess.
- Erdener Treppchen Auslese 1985 (Moenchof)
Distracting toffeed quality to the nose at first, but it blows off. Fine fruit, quite forward, nice balance. Coming close to drinking time.
- Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile VT 1989 (Trimbach)
Restrained is the word here: on the nose, of the sweetness of the long, fine grapefruity palate. This is rather lovely and I prefer elegance to drama in wines, but is this a shade too far that way? From a half, this doesn't give the impression of having a long life ahead of it, but there's no hurry to drink. Feeling generous, it scrapes
- Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 1978
Good colour showing a bit of age, lovely smoky nose, ripe blackcurrant and cedar fruit, nice dry finish. Classic claret, but for drinking over the next five years or so I suspect. A very good 78.
- Champagne Grand Cellier d'Or 1990, disgorged 1999 (Vilmart)
Nuts and apples, medium weight palate but quite rich. Lovely creamy mousse. A class act that will probably improve a bit yet.
- Amarone Classico 1997 (Brigaldara)
Powerful cherry nose, deep plummy fruit, good acidity and tannins. Might even improve.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1987 (Chateau Tahbilk)
This has certainly aged gracefully, retaining good colour and lively berry fruit. I suppose as it has melowed it has become apparent that the fruit is not that complex, but it makes a pleasant drink that it would be interesting to taste beside (say) a 1986 Bourgeois claret. I am pleasantly surprised by this! A decent