The Diary - September 2002
Brief notes because I was cooking too.
- Champagne 1982 (A. Gratien)
Evolved character but fine and long. Scrapes
- Champagne Ponsardin 1982 (Veuve Cliquot)
Younger seeming but perhaps less fine than the Gratien - substantial wine.
- Vouvray 1989 (Chateau Gaudrelle)
Quite sweet (probably the vintage), archetypical Vouvray. Bare
- Vouvray Le Haut Lieu demi-sec 1989 (Huet)
Fine and rich, sweet like the previous wine (again the vintage, I guess) but with a little more depth. Top
- Vouvray Clos Naudin demi-sec 1985 (Foreau)
Quite dry, austere, hard to taste after the rich 89s but good.
- Semillon 1989 (Henschke)
Kerosene like a riesling almost - intense and rather interesting.
- Nuits St George Les Damodes 1985 (Machard de Gramont)
Dry, meaty, tannic. Good.
- Clos de Ruchottes 1985 (Rousseau)
Oldish looking (sirprisingly evolved perhaps for a top wine), fine, irony mineral character.
- La Tour de Pin Figeac Moueix 1985
Sound, round, berry-flavoured - about what one might hope.
- Chateau Canon 1985
A bit of extra class here - deep fruitcake fruit. Has time in hand but probably won't get a lot better.
- La Tour de Pin Figeac Moueix 1970
Quite a drinkable old wine if perhaps a little past its best. Like a number of wines from this vintage it has not eased up and remains a bit awkward and austere. Good
- Cadet Piola 1985
High-toned, nice fruit, drinking pleasantly. From a magnum.
- Shiraz, Mount Edelstone 1988 (Henschke)
Sweet, scented, a bit of Australian eucalyptus, rather soft and cloying. Good in a certain way (and it has aged gracefully), but a bit disappointing. A bare
- Bastor Lamontagne 1988
For drinking - bags of botrytis - everything one could hope for from this reliable minor property.
- Rabaud Promis 1988
Fruity - less obvious than the previous wine - finer and with a way to go. Top
- Vouvray demi-sec sparkling Clos Naudin 1983 (Foreau)
Grassy, rich, in really good condition. Lovely with strawberries. Top
- Ferreira 1977
Two bottles, one dissapointing with tangeringe flavours and rather soft but not obviously faulty, the second clearly better with firmer fruit and chocolate character. For the better bottle: (the other two stars only)
- Savigny Les Vermots Dessus 1999 (Baron de La Charriere/Girardin)
Clean. Nutty hints. Very marked acidity. Orchard fruits. Good length. A decent white Burgundy at a reasonable price.
- Chassagne Montrache Chenevottes 2000 (Borgeot)
Richer oaky nose. Hefty style. A little less on the palate than the last wine. Drink soonish.
- Rully 2000 (Borgeot)
Slightly barnyard - possibly sulphur is subduing the fruit. Pineapple juice. Lower acidity. A shade short. Top
- Meursault 2000 (Mestre)
Fruit overpowered a bit by vanilla/toffeed oak. There's a bit of oily hazelnut hiding within. Not very French.
- Saint-Romain Sous Chateau 2000 (Baron de La Charriere/Girardin)
Complex - straw in Summer - perfumed nose. Very forward and a bit flabby. Slightly short finish. Not bad but I prefer the Savigny.
- Pesquera 1999
Huge in-your-face cherry nose with a lot of tofee on top. Dense fruit. Nice structure, if with a fairly "modern" balance. Top
- Chateau Lafite 1999
Slightly charred, burnt almost - excessively toasted oak? Dry and classy I guess - I didn't like this much at all and nobody else raved about it blind although not all were as negative as I was. It's just too much toast to my mind: possibly this will be brilliant in a few years but I have my doubts.
- Tarsus 98
Lifted cherry. Creamy tropical fruit - is it too much? Not so long perhpas. Fun in its way. Decent
- Pesguera Reserva 1998
Raisins, cedar and a hint of forrest floor. Dryish palate. Meaty, savoury, herby, stylish. A very pleasant surprise to see what this was.
- La Mission Haut Brion 1999
Spicy berries, raspberry, scented. Dry palate, graphite (somebody said). I think the length is there and it will improve. Better than the Lafite in my view at the moment.
- Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot 1992 (B. Morey)
Toffee and mothballs. Refined, tending a touch to blowsy perhaps. Shows more age as it sits in the glass. Fairly evolved. Drink up. Possibly scrapes if drunk reasonably soon after opening!
- Chassagne Montrachet Caillerets 1992 (Jadot)
A touch eggy. Better acidity than the Morey, longer, but a bit awkward with an unattractive finish. Dubious
- Chassagne Montrachet Ruchottes 1992 (Ramonet)
A bit green-pea, touch of ginger. Quite high-toned. Long, classy - it may even develop interestingly although it might be safer to drink it reasonably soon.
- Chassagne Montrachet Champgains 1992 (Neillon)
Much less flash than the Ramonet, fine understated Burgundy with a hint of that lovely creamy texture Neillon often has.
- Chateaux des Trois Chardons 1998
Berryish fruit - a fair amount of merlot apparent (about 40 per cent when I looked it up later). Old-fashioned, quite high-toned. Fragrant. Good
- Chateau Rouget 1998
Smoky (slightly burnt even), savoury, richly fruity, modern. The more I tried this, the more the charred wood notes dominated and the less I liked it. Others rated it rather higher!
- Chateaux des Trois Chardons 1997
Slightly minty, leafy, high-toned fruit. Suave in a way. I find the style of this, or perhaps its current stage of evolution, a bit difficult - but perhaps one should just say it is a good try at making an interesting wine from a lesser vintage.
- Chateaux des Trois Chardons 1994
Pleasantly rounded maturing claret. This bottle had been open overnight but was still rather fine.
- Chateauneuf du Pape Bernadine 1990 (Chapoutier)
Gamey. Sweet edge. Rustic. Old style Chapoutier, perhaps no better than the new, but possibly more interesting.
- Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 1983 (Beaucastel)
Oranging colour - quite moderate weight of attractively textured fruit. I was surprised how Burgundian this was. Very nice.
- Shiraz 1986 (Chateau Tahbilk)
Jammy and almost gritty in the mouth (like good Parmesan). In great condition too, I wonder if it is still going anywhere? A good
- Fino Sherry Pando (Williams and Humbert)
Savoury, salty, appetising. Amazing what 6.99 buys you in Sherry still.
- Manzanilla Pasada - Pastrana (Hidalgo)
Fresh and yeasty, fruity undertones and a hint of pepper. Nice complexity and length in the mouth, dry and savoury, salty. You can get a lot of quality from sherry for less than a tenner. An easy
- Rioja Reserva Vina Ardanza 1995 (La Rioja Alta)
Soft vanilla, mellow, quite evolved but probably just because of its large cask aging - I expect it will hold in this attractive, drinkable state for a good few years.
- Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea 1994 (Muga)
Moderate depth of colour and hints of orange (typical of long wood aging - this was bottles in 98). At first mainly rustic, gamey notes but as it opens up hints of spices and coffee and a solid meatyness emerge. On the palate, ripe mulberry fruit and that underlay of mild, warm vanilla that ought to give good traditional Rioja away in blind tastings every time (but doesn't). Nice complexity, good acidity and a long finish. Drinkanble now but it will improve with a while in bottle I feel. I bought a few of these on the basis that it was a good property in a good vintage and I don't regret it. Probably scrapes a
- Rioja Reserva 1998 (Marques de Riscal)
Ripe, soft mulberry fruit. Nutty. Seems to finish a bit hot and lacks a little focus, perhaps because it was tasted a bit too warm. Might be more but for now
- Chablis Blanchot 1991 (Raveneau)
Fine, nutty, marzipan, oily almost in a nice way. Good length. Lovely.
- Hermitage blanc 1991 (Chave)
Stunning nose - herbs, creamy - fantastic, complex, very fine. Mineral.
- Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 1992 (La Jota)
Quite chunky, European-styled, dry, tannic. I wonder where its going?
- Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 (Joseph Swan)
Very minty, classy mint but mint all the same! Still fresh but awkward. Good
- Chateau Cap de Mourlin 1990
This St Emilion is a bit of a soft toffee job.
- Chateau Magdelaine 1978
Dry mineral, classic claret. Savoury. Top
- Chateau Lascombes 1961
Completely oxidised. The cork seemed weak and loose so perhaps not a surprise.
- Quarts de Chaume 1986 (Baumard)
Grassy. Quite dry now on the palate . Nice mature dessert Chenin.
- Tokaji Aszu 5 Put 1993 (Disznoko)
Luxurious, orangy, very high acid. Again quite a dry palate impression.
- Smith Woodhouse 1977
Very easy drinking - bags of fruit and chocolate. Relatively forward - but doubtless there is no greathurry to drink this.
- Pernand Vergelesses blanc 1997 (Rollin)
What a splendid wine from a less glamorous appelation in an average vintage: quite rich yet bone-dry, mineral and appetising. Just merits
- Chassagne Montrachet Les Embrazees 1992 (B. Morey)
I had a bottle of this a few months ago that was disappointing: vanilla custard oak and over-evolved fruit. This one is much better - still quite evolved with a herby, vegetable character to a decent core of fruit and pleasant spicy oak.
- Pinot Noir 1998 (Knights Valley Winery)
I was told this was from the Peter Michael stable, but there is no mention of that on the label. Be that as it may, I decided to have a proper drink of this after giving it good reports at a couple of recent tastings. I think this wine's best friends would have to say it tends a little towards the jammy, but it is a grown-up beetrooty jam and I think it carries it off. Earthy, with something of mulberry about it. Good acidity and structure - probably for drinking soon, but then it held up very well over night which suggests there can't be a hurry to drink it. Very good for New World Pinot, and decently priced. Scrapes
- Rully Preaux 1er Cru 1995 (Eric de Suremain)
Redcurrent fruit, high-toned and meaty on the palate. Quite austere - a food wine certainly, the style of the vintage perhaps. Maybe this will mellow a little but it is a good drink now. An interesting contrast to the far richer and fruitier 98 Pinot from Knights Valley that I was drinking the other night.
- Macon Chardonnay 1999 (Domaine Cordier)
Ripe yet restrained nose with a hint of yeasty lees character. Clean, wood-free I guess, decent balance and persistence. Pretty drinkable basic Burgundy. Top
- Bourgogne Rouge 1993 (Meo-Camuzet)
I had a dreadful oxidised bottle of this, but this is fine: dry, meaty, savoury Burgundy. Probably a shade past its best and for drinking but the class (producer and vintage) shows. Top
- Meursault 1988 (Jean Germain)
Richard bought this quite cheaply some years ago and it has been interesting to follow its evolution to what is definately old Chardonnay now: honey and vegetables, quite dry and savoury, still fresh with a core of fruit. Top almost more.
- Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Vermots Dessus blanc 1999 (Baron de La Charriere - Girardin)
I had this recently at a tasting and it is interesting to study it more carefully. Quite mouthwatering - high acidity - a fair amount of oak I suspect but decent oak, well integrated. It's hard to be sure quite how much fruit there is, but it is at least pretty good Burgundy, especially when you consider the fairly modest appelation. It might make another star in time but for now a conservative
- Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1990 (Esmonin)
Attractive high-toned juicy red fruits on the nose. In the mouth, classic fruit that makes me remember that we are back in the game season: it manages that Burgundian trick of being stylish and savoury and a fruit drink at the same time - very drinkable. Mind you, considering the vineyard and the vintage it is no better than it ought to be.