- Coudelet 86 (Red) Nicely mature, rich warm fruit with chesnutty/mushroom overtones. Simple but pleasant. 85.
- Chianti Ruffino 1995, Imbottigliato da Chianti Ruffino S.p.A A cheap Chianti drunk in an Italian restaurant in Cambridge. Not a great wine, but clean and with lightness, acidity and bitterness that went very well with a plate of fettucini al salmone afumicato - somehow a more complicated wine wouldn't have worked nearly as well. 83
- Woodcroft Estate 1990 Australian Semillon A wine bought for a party four or five years ago at 2.99 a bottle. I thought the wine should age well, as indeed it has. Lime butter with good acidity. Simple but pleasing. 85
- Savenieres Clos du Papillon 93 (Baumard) Dry, but quite concentrated, with (nice) sour apples on the palate. Needs a while. Good alterntaive to Chablis. 87.
- Gran Coronas Reserva 82 (Torres) Not complex, but the leafy blackcurrent fruit is holding up nicely. Pleasant mature wine. 85.
Pinot Noir Tasting, Oddbins Fine Wines Cambridge 27/09/1996 (RJB)
- Mumm Cuvee Pinot Noir OK red fizz, but rather lacking the concentration to make it any more than refreshing 82
- Vinas del Vero 1994, Somontano (4.99) A Spanish Pinot to start things off. Quite hot cherryish, and with a thin finish. Some grip, and coarse acidity. With time, however, fell to pieces. 75
- Cono Sur Reserve 1995, Rapel Valley (6.49) The much written about Chillean Pinot. Slightly stalky nose and out of balance palate. toffeed. It's almost on the verge of being good, but will the problems it's got prove insuperable in future vintages? 80
- Glen Carlou 1995, Paarl (6.99) Where's the bouquet? Thin with stalky end tannins. Bitter and metallic finish. 80
- Altura Pinot Nero 1994, Maculan, Breganze (9.99) Toasty smoked salmon. Thin with acidity and no depth and no length. 82
- Stonier's 1995, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria (9.99) At least this has some real Pinot qualities and some nicish acidity, even if it is rather simple and warm climate. 84
- Rutz Cellars, Quail Hill Vineyard 1993, Russian River Valley (17.99) Looks and smells a bit old for 1993, coffeeish aromas and flavours with a touch of controlled oxidative characteristics. Nice acidity, but a hot finish. 86
- Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune 1994, Jayer-Gilles (13.99) I would have liked to go back to this, but alas there was none left. Closed toasty nose, stalky (but nice for it), some tannins and excellent fruit. Pin-point definition, but lacking complexity, as one might expect at this level. Should age well over the next 4 years or so. 86
- Morey-Saint-Denis, 1990, Domaine Dujac (24.99) Light beetroot aromas with an astringent end. Lacks depth. Rather dull and lifeless. 85
- Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru 1992, Jean and Jean-Louis Trapet (29.99) Coffee and chocolate with an odd (drying out?) finish. 87?
- Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 1993, Meo Camuzet (34.99) At last! real Burgundy. Good depth, structure and acidity, which will need time to show at its best. Parker gives this 87 - I'll add five to that: 92
- Echezeaux Grand Cru 1992, Jayer-Gilles (46.00) Silky, but also a touch of dirt. Soft and not with great length. 87
- Richebourg Grand Cru 1991, Mongeard-Mugneret (84.99) Some depth and sweetness, also a touch dusty. Probably a wine that needs longer in the glass than a tasting allows - it gives the impression that it might open out into something special. Parker gives this 93 - but on this limited showing I'll stick to 88(+?)
- Nuits St George les Hauts Poirets 1993, Jayer-Gilles (24.99?) Stalky nose and a touch out of balance. Reasonable length. 86
- Recioto di Valpolicella 1993 Mezzarella, Masi (18.99) Quite refershingly different after all the Pinots. Apple skins, big but balanced. Difficult to judge. 88
Barolo dinner at Silvio's, and others 25/09/1996 (TNB)
- Barolo Riserva 67 (Borgogno) Healthy lightish colour, some "rustic" components with the still quite pleasant fruit. Dries a little on in the mouth. 87.
- Barolo Riserva 65 (Borgogno) Again a nice colour, but more concentrated with no off flavours, and a good finish without the drying. Not terribly complex, but quite fine. 90.
- Cornas 91 (Verset) Huge cassis overlying blackberries nose. Very concentrated fruit almost hides initially quite substantial tannic structure. Needs at least five years, but I think this will be very fine. 93.
- Bourgoigne Rouge 90 (Barthod) Bags of ripe fruity pinot on the nose (like the 88 of this wine). In the mouth, quite a lot of tannin which may resolve, and to me a bitter component which I'm not keen on (possibly aftermath of cold(?)). Judgement reserved.
- Barbaglio 1993 Rosso del Salento, CA Santa Barbara (5.25 VW) Red wine of the year and gold medal winner at the IWC. Nutty oxidative nose that evolved into bitter cherry flavours. Quite pleasant eventually. Like Taurino's wines (I prefer his wines) a mix of Negroamaro and Primitivo. 84
- Mount Langi Ghiran, Langi Shiraz 1994 I believe Parker has rated this wine recently (92 or 94 points?). Initially closed (and I wondered what the fuss was about) it opened out into a classy wine: lightly chocolatey (perhaps the only thing giving it away as New World) with currant (Grenache-style) acidity and leathery flavours. Has the structure and depth to age well. It's nice to have an Oz Shiraz that isn't all upfront. 90
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1994, Cornacchia (4.29 Majestics) This vintage has now replaced the 1993. The first taste of this was disappointing - spritzy and very out of balance. Giving the bottle a big shake did the trick - a lot of gas came out of the wine. I hope this is just a symptom of recent bottling (and not renewed fermentation). The wine without the fizz was much more pleasing and had much better balance with good zingy acidity and good concentration. 88
Oddbins wine fair -- edited highlights 22/09/1996 (TNB)
Tasting with the aftermath of a severe cold, so notes brief, and probably untrustworthy. It is astonishing that one can have an event on this scale, and not feature a single near-serious claret, no red burgundy, and the merest handful of Rhone. Also not a single German!
- Chapagne A. Gratien NV Heavyweight, with (pleasant) wood characters. Good. 89.
- Deutz Marlborough Cuvee Bland New World fizz. 80 (I thought if I couldn't distinguish this from the above, I might as well go home!)
- Billecart-S NV Pleasant, elegant. 85
- Billecart-S 89 Quite long, quite up-front. 87.
- Billecart-S Rose Sophisticated, only gently rose. 85.
- Champagne Pannier NV A new house to me -- quite large apparantly, some sort of growers co-op, but mainly supplying to famous names before. A low dosage, very dry, medium weight style. Refreshing. 85.
- Champagne Pannier 89 Only just on the shelves. Not quite together. Style as above, but lots of extra flavour and length. Rather good. 90. (And quite cheap, I think.)
- Moet NV Straight down the middle, medium weight, well made. 87.
- Moet 90 Nothing wrong, but again I'm not wild about this 1990.
- Dom Perignon 88 Elegance and finesse, lovely small bubbles. Creamy. Lacks the ripeness and weight of the 85 though. 92.
- Green Point.... Tasted a load of these -- the blanc de noirs was the pick, as its quality isn't compromised by obvious new World Chardonnay.
- Sancerre Cuvee Pierre 95 (Balland-Chapuis) VT sancerre! Demi-sec, quite pleasant, but not 20 quid's worth!
- Pouilly Fuisse Hors Classe 93 (Ferret) Big toffeed, perhaps just to "serious" for the material. Would like to retaste though. 18.99.
- Chablis Montmains 94 (Michel) Slight youthful esteryness. Good steely fruit. (Michel uses no oak). Quite fine. 87. (11.49)
- Chablis Montee de Tonnerre 94 (Michel) As above, but definitely more concentrated. Rather good in a few years, I expect. 89. (11.99)
- Chablis Vaudesir 93 (Michel) As the Montee de Tonnerre, but makes that seem to have slight palate gaps. Very fine. 91. (18.49)
- Pinot blanc 19?? Schaetzel Very dull --- doesn't inspire me to experiment with this producer.
- Riesling tradition 90 (Hugel) Enormous nose of petrol, real garage forecourt, slightly plain in the mouth. I'm not keen.
- Vouvray Bouches demi-sec 93 (Fouqet) Quite tight, good concentration. Nice. 87.
- Wild ferment Chardonnay 95 (Errazuriz) An attempt at a pretty serious wine --- seemed quite good. Better than the (also fairly serious) . The is quite ambitious too.
- Colle Secco 92 Good value M d'Abruzzo -- aren't they all?
- Notapannaro 88 (Taurino) Finally arriving at Oddbins, but now its here I'm not so sure. Moderate concentration, leathery cherry fruit, but really a pretty simple wine. Must retry.
- Valpolicella 93 (Masi) Three wines: the has typical Italian cherryish fruit, with interesting concentration; the a lovely concentrated sweet dessert wine; as before, probably a shade more interesting. I'd like to try these again.
- Cosme Palacio y Hermandos Cosecha 94 Modern rioja made with french oak under supervision of M. Rolland. Substantial wine. Approx 6.50. (94 and 95 apparantly first-class in rioja).
- Glorioso 93 (Bodega Palacio) Traditional style from the above. Rather dull.
- La Nerthe 94 (Chateauneuf) Seemed clean, but a bit one-dimensional. Dull.
- Crozes-Hermitage Thalabert 91 (Jaboulet) Again dull -- not dissimilar from the above.
- John Riddoch Cab-S 93 (Wynns) Just one of a number of Oz's tasted. Characteristic "red ink" colour. Concentrated, perhaps will be good, but now 25 quid!! Give me a good Second Growth claret any day.
- Magill Estate 92 (Penfolds) The last vintage ever. A rather pleasantly European style of Shiraz, that I have a soft spot for.
- Seppelt Fino DP117 Always a lovely Oz sherry, dry with loads of character.
- Seppelt Rutherglen Muscat DP63 Always one of the best of the Rutherglen Muscats, very "brown sugar" finish.
- Grahams Malvedos 82 Good, quite forward. Not real character of vintage though?
- Banyuls Clos de Paulilles 93 Moderately sweet, chocolatey, with a lovely citric finish that prevents cloying. Very nice! 90. (10.99)
- Coudoulet de Beaucastel Blanc 1994 A darker colour than I would have expected, and some oxidative characteristics - I'd guess badly stored
- Paraiso Springs Vineyard 1991 Pinot Noir, Carneros (2.99 Majestics) Swedish government clear out stock - and it doesn't surprise me that they wanted to get rid of it! Out of balance with a rough, hot finish. The next day it showed some discernible Pinot fruit, but this didn't stop most of the bottle being used for coq au vin. 65
- Balbas Tradicion 1994, Ribera del Duero Velvety, medium weight, simple wine. Pleasant, easy, juicy drinking. 84
- Wiltinger braune Kupp Riesling Kabinett 1994, Egon Muller (9.99 Majestics) Lovely wine with superb acidity and just a hint of sweetness. Seems very good (but suffereing from allergenic rhinitis isn't the best time to taste). 90?
Misc 14/09/1996 (TNB)
- Ch Rousset 82 (Cotes de Bourg) Simple but pleasant mature fruit, at peak probably. 85. (Old Wine Soc purchase.)
- Champagne Pommery 89 On special at Oddbins, so sampling: straighforward middle-weight champagne, pleasant enough, were it not for a very faint hint of rotton eggs underlying. 84.
- La Lagune 86 Initially austere in the glass, but opens out into a plummy wine with lots of oak. Has that lovely orangy lead-pencil nose I remember from Leoville-Barton (and, wonderfully, Lafite) in this vintage. A lot of underlying tannin, but this is almost hidden under the fruit. Needs years, of course, but suprisingly pleasurable now. 92.
- Pinot Blanc 1994, Schlumberger Lacking fruit and weight, but not elegant either. Coarse acidity. Perhaps a bad bottle.
Moet tasting at SWS 10/09/1996 (TNB)
- Torre del Gall 92 Moet's cava. Modern fruit, a bit thin, acidic and short. (Perhaps OK for Cava?) 78.
- Green point brut 93 Round chardonnay fruit, slightly toffeed. Reasonably elegant for Oz, but didn't leave me thirsty for more. 82.
- Moet Brut Imperial NV Reasonable apply chardonnay nose, slightly coarse bubbles, a reasonable mid-weight NV. 85.
- Moet Brut Imperial 90 Larger and rounder than the NV, probably greater fruit ripeness. Needs a bit of age, but good rather than brilliant, I think. 87.
- Moet Brut Imperial Rose 88 Unremarkable -- champagne with a bit of red wine thrown in to give boring rose flavours. Not very keen. 83.
- Saran, Coteaux Champenois Still wine made from Dom Perignon chardonnay grapes. Like an old fashioned chablis, bone dry and steely. A mix of 85 and 88 vintages apparently. OK in a way, but the champagne makers don't like it because making a bottle of this stops two bottles of Dom P being made. I see their point! 85.
- Dom Perignon 88 Classy fizz, with gingery notes like a top class burgundy. Nice wine, but lighter weight than the 85 -- perhaps not such a good vintage. 90.
The first bottle of Dom P was midly corked -- nose of wet dish-cloth over the fruit. Not very good, but not clearly faulty until put beside the good bottle.
Wine dinner at E. McCague's, 08/09/1996 (TNB)
- Bernkasteler Doktor Spatlese 79 (Deinhard) Fragrent, beautifully lively fruit, long, with an attractive streak of apply sourness which it was claimed is characteristic of the vinyard. 92.
- Domaine de Chevalier 84 (white) Nice mature wine, with a nose of good creme anglais. A wine with a lot of oak for the fruit which has evolved into something very drinkable. 90.
- Condrieu 91 (Niero-Pinchon) Delicate fragrant unoaked condrieu. Understated, but holding well. 88.
- Palmer 79 Bags of cedary fruit. Very unevolved colour, with stunning concentration for the vintage. Needs time. 92+
- du Tertre 78 Classic mature claret. Elegant, moderate concentration. No great complexity, but very drinkable. 86.
- Giscours 61 From a half, CB. Healthy colour, Fragrant floral nose with nutty notes. Disjointed in the mouth, with fruit suddenly giving way to substantial tannins in the midpalate. 88.
- Leoville Poyferre 64 From a half. Colour tending to chestnut, nose not very forthcoming. Quite a lot of fleshy round fruit, pleasant to drink, but of that slightly tiring brown sort. 88.
- Pichon Lalande 64 From a half. Beautifully balanced mature claret, with some complexity. Lovely. 90.
- Vouvray 59 (Bredif) Heavily botrytised fruit, but fresh alive honeyed chenin fruit. 91.
Also tasted the dregs of the 5/9/96 tasting - Kitterle falling to bits (perhaps a bad bottle); the other Tokays had all opened out and were showing better than on the actual night.
- Delatite Late Picked Rhine Riesling 1985 This could so easily be from the Mosel. Petrolly auslese weight, perhaps lacking acidity. 87
- Meursault 1988, Jean Germain Probably the best bottle I've had of this. Toffeed aniseed with perfectly balanced steely acidity. 88
Krug tasting (Bottoms Up(!)) 06/09/1996 (TNB)
- Krug Grand Cuvee Gorgeous creamy long. Exquisite balance and a sort of mellow oldness (lots of reserve wine, probably). Everything that Champagne ought to be! 94.
- Krug 85 More bready and autolytic, nutty, fantasic finish, fine burgundy with apply overlay and soft tiny bubbles that you feel in your throat. Still quite tight and youthful, but a joy to drink now anyway. 97.
- Krug Rose The perfect rose champagne. Apple pie nose with cinammon spicyness. The slightest hint of roses. Again delicious balance. Olivier Krug says to drink rather than keep. 93.
And after dinner:
- Cote Rotie Landonne 90 (Rostaing) A concentrated well made wine with lots of oak. Not very typically syrah, and particularly none of the smokey violets of Cote-Rotie. Perhaps this will emerge, or perhaps it is too much an "international" wine, and in particular too much oak. Not really what I want from Cote Rotie. 89.
Gang of Six, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris 05/09/1996 (RJB)
Anyone who thinks that Gewurz is easy to spot in a blind tasting should try a tasting such as this!
- Gewurztraminer 1994 Cuvee de Prestige, Pierre et Jean Pierre Rietsch Obviously Gewurz, with a touch of residual sugar. Slight cheesiness on opening. 85
- Gewurztraminer 1989 Kessler, Schlumberger Lovely balance, with a touch of sweetness and slight spritz. 90
- Neethlingshof 1995 Gewurztraminer Initially rather like a young Alsace. However, it soon became clear that not much was going on. 81
- Gewurztraminer 1991 Mandelberg, Selig thin and seemingly youthful - I thought it a Tokay. 84
- Gewurztraminer 1994 Brand, Boxler (50 cl) Big style Gewurz, with residual sugar and big full flavours. Good wine. 90
- Durkheimer Nonnengarten Gewurztraminer Spatlese 1994, Kurt Darting (6.49 Oddbins) Good value for a wine with very much an Alsatian feel to it. Spicey and oily. 88
- Tokay Vielle Vignes 1995, Albert Mann Lovely grapefruit acidity, but its varietal identity rather unclear 88?
- Gewurtraminer 1981, Joseph Phelps Vineyards Very obviously New World - dry and bird-seedy. 80
- Tokay 1994, Reserve St-Urbain, Meyer-Fonne Light bodied tokay with nice acidity - good. 89
- Delatites Gewurztraminer 1985 More like a Riesling - quite acidic. Clean, but past it. 78
- Pinot Gris 1989 Kitterle, Schlumberger Burnt sugar nose with a lovely weight of flavour. Slightly dirty?. 89
- Tokay 1994 Cuvee Caroline, Schoffit A touch of botrytis? - nice length and weight, but tastes older than it is. 90
- Castello della Sala Sauvignon 1995, Marchesi Antinori (7.99) Like a thinnish Sancerre - salty and bone dry. 83
- Basa 1995, Rueda (4.49) Well made commercial wine - a blend of Verdejo, Viura and Sauvignon. 83
- Wieninger Chardonnay Select 1994 (11.99?) Made in Vienna. Opened out more since last tasting with the oak showing through. I still think it quite classy. 88+
- Mont Gras Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (4.99) Ok (for the price) warm Chillean red. Big easy cherry nose. 84
- Broadley Vineyards Oregon Reserve Pinot Noir 1994 (11.29?) I can understand why Parker has given this a "90?". A huge (definitely non-Burgundian) late-harvest Pinot, with hints of an Oz Shiraz. A wine that is hard to evaluate - clearly good, but a style in its own right! Should age very well. 87-91?
- Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1993, Les Cailloux, Brunel (11.99) Ok, how was I to know that this should have gone before the Pinot Noir?. Not showing well - but I will resist saying too much until I get a chance to taste it under more controlled conditions.
- Nine Popes 1994, Charles Melton (11.99) Very definitely New World, but good structure and acidity with it. Big chocolatey fruit with mushroomy and leathery overtones. 88+
- Bouvier Beerenauslese 1992, Alois Kracher From a half (9.99). Drinking welll with no hints of the breadiness that Bouvier sometimes has. good balance with apricot and peaches fruit. 89
Guest at D.L.'s wine group 03/09/1996 (TNB)
- Oestricher Lenchen Auslese 66 (Deinhard) Pleasant old riesling, inclined a little to flabbiness. Still quite petrolly.
- Oestricher Lenchen Auslese Eiswein 79 (Deinhard) Would not be legal now -- what a loss! Lovely wel-defined orangy fruit, more than usual auslese sweetness and nice acidity.
- Oestricher Lenchen Eiswein 79 (Deinhard) A fascinating comparison with the above. Nose more complex, quite nutty. In the mouth delicious blockbuster, rather like a super-refined version of a Rutherglen fortified Muscat! Gorgeous.
- Tokay Vielle vignes 89 (Zind-Humbrecht) Initially seemed thin, but later revealed depth. Curious custard powder and peach-stone nose, almost viognier-like. Suprisingly "tight" for Z-H. Needs time?
- Tokay Vielle vignes 88 (Zind-Humbrecht) Amazing contrast, this is the usual Z-H, highly extracted, slight residual sugar, concentrated peachy/pineaplley fruit following bacon-fat nose. Seems to be drinking well now.
- Gewurtztraminer Hengst 92 (Zind-Humbrecht) Round fruit, quite easy and accessible -- the vintage perhaps. More peaches than lychees.
- Gewurtztraminer Clos Winbuhl 92 (Zind-Humbrecht) Rather longer, quite classy, but still "easy drinking".
- Muscat 83 (Zind-Humbrecht) Nose somewhere between fruit and flowers. Thin in the mouth, with oily grape flavours.
- Crozes Hermitage Thalabert 90 (Jaboulet) Deep colour, nose of mushrooms and blackberries and lots of oak. Tannic and long. Perhaps will be very good.
- Orion 90 (Sean Thackeray) Very tannic, with blackberry fruit which is heavily "minty". Might come good if the mintyness wears off.
- Hermitage La Chapelle 79 (Jaboulet) Seems quite light and blackcurrenty this time. Pleasant, but not showing so well.
- Hermitage 79 (Guigal) Nutty nose, lovely balance in the mouth. A class act!
- Chateauneuf Les Cailloux 78 From a magnum. Medicinal notes and apricots on the nose. Quite long, very drinkable.
- Pignan 78 A little overawed by the above, but quite classy lifted tangy cherryish Grenache fruit.
- Ch. La Rame reserve 90 (St Croix de Mont) Less overblown than I remember -- one dimensional, but pleasant.
- Ch. Climens 75 Yummy coconut and orange. As usual, quite elegant, and just very nice to drink.