Gang of Six 'Claret and Claret Lookalike' 30/09/1997 (RJB)
A disappointing tasting given the theme. Much talk about today's wine consumer thinking they ought to like claret, when they really pefer syrah/shiraz wines, both as young wines and mature wines. I'm not sure that I completely subscribe to this myself, but this tasting didn't do much for the counter argument. A syrah tasting at a similar supposed level of wine would have been more enjoyable. Number in brackets indicate the position in the tasting taken as an average of the six tasters' scores.
- Chateau La Tour de By 1985 (8) Thin and past its best. A slightly woody nose. 84
- Chateau Cadet Piola 1982 (6=) Nice mature nose. Dusty tannins showing through fading fruit. It seemed to get better as the evening progressed. 85
- Chateau Gloria 1986 (11) Dried out, thin and dilute. Sappy. 80
- Les Pavots 1990, Peter Michael (2) Youthful colour, gummy oak nose. Nice fruit. 87
- The Red 1994, Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, Mountadam (1) Bizarre toffeed nose which came and went throughout the evening. A touch minty , but with structure and good tannins. I think that everyone else scored it in the 90s, but I found the odd nose off-putting. 85-89
- Chateau La Pointe 1989 (5) Flashy toasty oak nose, but the fruit rather thin. 87
- Jean Leon 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon (12) Past it. Volatile. 75
- Chateau Gloria 1982 (9) Good mature claret. 89
- Chateau Pavie Decasse 1985 (10) Cheesey nose. Rather rustic and coarse. 85
- Cuvaison Napa Valley Merlot 1992 (6=) Green sappy nose, but reasonable wine underneath. 82
- Chateau Grande Mayne 1990 (3) Good toasty oak nose. Nicely maturing claret. 89
- Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1987 (4) Good depth of colour, and tertiary aromas developing well. Dusty on the finish. 88
Wine group at J.Mc. 29/09/1997 (TNB)
- Tokay Pinot Gris Furstentum 95 (A. Mann) Goodish length, quite varietal "bacon-fat" nose. Quite sweet, and maybe just a bit slack. 87.
- Tokay Pinot Gris St Catherine 95 (Weinbach) Again quite varietal, with some young wine esteryness. Much drier, and really quite long. I thinkl this will be good. 91.
- Riesling 94 (Meyer-Fonne) Throat-catchingly spicy, but really a bit thin. 82.
- Riesling Princes Abbes 94 (Schlumberger) Again, very petrolly, quite scented, but no great amount of fruit. 83.
- Riesling Schlossberg 94 (A. Mann) Reasonable concentration of lemony fruit. Again, some residual sweetness, and a suggestion of slackness - but then sometimes it seemed quite promising! 86.
- Riesling Gueberschwihr 94 (Zind-Humbrecht) Finer and at least as concentrated as the previous wine. Zesty. 87.
- Leoville Poyferre 86 Classic claret, pretty tannic, didn't seem to have filled out much to me, so I wonder if it isn't just a bit hollow? 86.
- Haut Brion 86 Not the monster I remember, but big, structured, perhaps a shade dumb at the moment? 89(?+)
- Leoville Poyferre 75 Quite good, moderate weight, not enough body to be really desirable. 87.
- Haut Brion 75 Rather fine, quite tannic, and needs some attention to reveal its excellence. Perhaps at peak. 90.
- Chevalier Montrachet Demoiselles 93 (Jadot) I'm a bit baffled by the nomenclature - I thought Demoiseles was a separate Puligny Premier Cru? The wine is quite caramely - seems older than 93 - in the glass it does reveal many layers of interest. 91.
- Toaky Vielle Vignes 96 (A. Mann) Hard to assess very young, but seems to have good fruit, and a certain tightness. Could be quite good?
- Gewurtztraminer Kessler 89 (Schlumberger) Another rather luscious, very drinkable bottle of this!
A Riesling tasting at the Three Horse Shoes, Madingley 27/09/1997 (RJB)
- Alan Scott Riesling 1996, Marlborough Easy, but rather dull. a touch vegetal and a touch grassy. 81
- Leeuwin Estate Reisling 1995, Margaret River Restrained nose. Soft acidity for Riesling. 83
- Reisling Alte Reben 1995, Brundlmayer, Zobinger Heiligenstein Restrained nose, not obviosly Riesling. Weighty and tight in the mouth. It seemed to be opening out. It clearly needs time. 90+
- Riesling Thann 1992, Zind Humbrecht Residual sweetness, but seems flabby. Disappointing on this showing. 86
- Henschke Riesling 1989, Eden Valley Nose of crystalised fruit, but the palate is mainly acidity. 85
- Riesling Frederic Emile 1990, Trimbach Difficult to judge. The nose isn't showing a lot, but the acidity is very fine. Just so tight at present. 92+?
- Riesling Clos Hauserer Vendange Tardive 1989, Zind Humbrecht Lovely wine. Perfect balance with a touch of sweetness and maturing Riesling flavours. 91
- Wiltinger Braune Kupp Spatlese 1989, Egon Muller Disappointing sugar-water nose, but fairly classy under this. Mineral flavours. 87
- Graacher Domprost Auslese 1983, Richter Good wine, but just a touch woody. A bit more acidity to balance the sweetness would help. 87
- Winkeler Jesuitengarten Spatlese 1976, Henner-Hupfeld This had been in the grower's cellar until about a couple of weeks ago. Lovely mature Riesling, with good acidity. Very much alive. 89
- Yarra Valley Hills Riesling 1996 Rather dull, typical young Oz Riesling. However, it took on a new lease of life when partnered with food (seared tuna with daikon, soy and wasabi). The combination worked extraordinarily well. 81
- Riesling Cuvee Albert 95, Albert Mann Good Riesling in an elegant medium-weight style. 90
- Hollick Late Harvest Riesling 1994, Coonawarra From a half. Fruit and acidity, but lacking complexity. 84
- Ch. Verdignan 82 Holding up pretty nicely - decent "luncheon claret" of no great complexity.
- Volnay Caillerets 87 (J-M Bouley) Quite deeply coloured, plenty of nice toasty oak, but not too much for the fruit. Quite tannic, but starting to drink quite well. A good 87.
- Bourgogne Aligote 1996, Chislaine and Jean Hugues Goisot Interesting style but thin. Resinous. 80
- Muscat Sec 1996, Domaine Piquemal, Cotes Catalanes Dry, youthful grape juice. 81
- David Wynn Unwooded Chardonnay 1996 Clean, melon flavours. 84
- Penfold's Koonunga Hill Chardonnay 1996 Oak dominated. nothing to get excited about. 83
- Weltevrede Estate Gewurztraminer 1996, South Africa Damp straw nose and some unbalanced sweetness. 78
- Fleurie 1996, Les Roches du Vivier, Domaine Berrod Good straightforward Gamay. This should age well over the next few years. 85
- Vina Ardanza Reserva 1987, La Rioja Alta Charming. Lovely sweet fruit with pleasant compost overtones. Very pleasant mature drinking. Just a touch of volatlity at the end. It's at times like this that I wish I had more Rioja in my cellar. 89
- Cotes-du-Rhone 1994, Guigal Leathery and peppery, with good tannins. This should age well. I think I had this a while back and wasn't very impressed, but this bottle is much better. 87
- Mitchelton III 1993, Goulbourn Valley Spicey and chocolatey, with a distinct aroma of Worcester Sauce! Well made, and not as obvious as many wines of this sort. 86
- Sanford Pinot Noir 1993, Santa Barbara County Good fruit, with balancing tertiary flavours. 89
- Domaine de la Ferrandiere 1996 Viognier, Vin de Pays d'Oc Fresh, easy drinking. Or is it subtle and ethereal? I incline towards the former. 84
- Carrascal 1989, Weinert, Mendoza Volatility showing through, but flavoursome wine underneath. In decline?
- Chateau Patache d'Aux 1992 Lightweight claret with cedarwood and pencil shavings nose. 83
- Bergerac 1994, Les Caves St-Germain Undrinkable, rough and volatile. Not even worth keeping for salad dressing.
- Krug NV Lovely texture, moderate to full bodied, and yet so elegant. Long. From a half.
- Malartic Lagraviere 59 A half from the depths of the Peat Inn's excellent list. Alive, but more acidity than fruit. No great complexity evident - perhaps there never was - but a pleasant drink.
- Sauv. blanc (Spanish - details to follow) Genuinely varietal, but not absurdly so, in the way of some! Very good value. (Oddbins 3.49)
- Marsannay Longerois 90 (Bruno Clair) Well-balanced, good fruit, but no great complexity. 87.
- Champagne Louis Kremer Brut Good acidity, fairly elegant. 86
- Domaine Gramenon 1992 Cotes-du-Rhone A good bottle of this, with leather and mushroom maturity. It seems to be at its peak. 89
- Champagne Antoine le Vaillant Unbalanced cheap fizz. 80
- Hermitage La Chapelle 1979, Jaboulet-Aine Good, but not great La Chapelle. Smokey, but also a touch weedy. The Gramenon above is the better wine, but I can't see it lasting almost twenty years as this has. 88
- Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese 1994, Shipped by Adolph Huesgen (4.29 at the Co-op) Good wine for the price. Textbook Riesling nose with a fine streak of acidity. Lacking the definition of top Riesling but it should age well. 87
- Joseph Phelps Los Carneros Chardonnay 1993 Lumbering Chardonnay. Flabby, nutty butterscotch. 83
- Amarone della Valpolicella 1992, Villa Cerro Cantina di Soave 7.99 from Tesco. A second go at this wine after an impressive bottle at the weekend. It possesses 14% alcohol, but you would never guess it. Soft and well balanced. 89
- Bernkasteler Doktor Auslese 69 (Deinhard) Lively, fruity, mature Mosel - although no really great complexity. 88.
- Ch. Pradeaux 85 (Bandol) Good dense, youngish colour. Lots of fruit with mushroomy mouvedre overtones. Some "provencal herb" character. Quite tannic - clearly has a way to go. 90.
- Champagne Philippe de Aubancourt Brut Goodish cheap Champagne. Full-bodied, but a touch too sweet for balance. 83
- Gran Don Darias Tinto NV Non-vintage, but it has had roughly four or more years bottle age since purchase. I had this blind and thought it to be a reasonable Rioja. Good sweet fruit with balancing oak. A real surprise. 85
- Amarone della Valpolicella 1992, Villa Cerro Cantina di Soave Lovely, perfumed rose-petal fragrance. Sweetish fruit balanced by just sufficient acidity and structure. Delightfully different. Not for keeping I'd guess. 90
- Cascinacastle't Moscato d'Asti 1996 Parker has given this 92 points in the latest Advocate, so I thought it would be worth trying again under more controlled conditions than last week. It certainly is a more complex wine than many Moscatos, with the usual grapey flavours combined with some marmalade and yeastiness. Perhaps it has too much body for its low alcohol content (5.5%) and needs more power to bring its many flavours to the fore. 89
Pol Roger with H. de Billy and OFW 05/09/1997 (TNB)
- Pol Roger White foil NV Sound, if hinting at unripeness, and no great length. Base wine is 92 at the moment (apparently to be a vintage year). 84.
- Pol Roger Extra Dry 88 Creamy, with refined chardonnay nose, and lots of guts. They made an excellent champagne in 88 that will clearly age splendidly. 92.
- Pol Roger Extra Dry 89 Much lighter, to the point of being a bit thin. "Elegant", if you are being kind, "dilute" otherwise. Has an almost reasonable length though. (De Billy says this is to the French taste, as opposed to the English style of the 88 - in less guarded moments he more or less admitted that it is not so exciting.) Not for keeping anyway. 86.
- Pol Roger Extra Dry 90 Pre-release tasting. Lacks the weight of the 88, but has a great deal of charm, and a lovely sweet ripeness to the fruit. A bit more forward than the 88, and I suspect not quite as great. 89(?+).
- Pol Roger Blanc de Chardonnay 88 Nicely buttery, moderate weight, elegant. Very nice, but I prefer the straight vintage. 89.
- Pol Roger Rose 90 Apparently the same base as the 90 extra dry vintage, with a bit of Bouzy Rouge or similar tipped in. Pleasant enough, and avoids vulgarity, but it seems a waste. It's not cheap either! 86.
- Pol Roger Winston Churchill 86 Only made in the best vintages, we are told - so why 86? Not so weighty, but it does have a certain refinement. 90.
Noel Young Wines Presents a Tasting of Fine Wines 04/09/1997 (RJB)
- Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 1995, Sanford and Benedict Vineyard (25.99) Honeyed and lightly toasted. Long wine with good acidity. A slight hollowness at present, but I think this will fill out. Top Chardonnay. 91
- Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay 1994, Art Series (24.79) Pineapple aromas and a streak of acidity. Good wine, but it seemed simple and short compared with the ABC. 88
- Volnay Santenots 1982, Robert Ampeau (35.29) Tarry and some oxidation. Some sweetness and rusticity. On the edge (or just over). 84
- Dominus 1983, John Daniels Society (51.99) The debut vintage of this wine. Warm, sweet nose and palate. A toch of mint. Elegant but brooding. Holding together well. difficult to know where it's going. 90
- Penfold's Shiraz, Magill Estate 1986 (49.50) Berry fruit and nicely handled VA. A bit simple and light. 88
- Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon 1992 (31.99) Light violets, mint and leafy aromas. The fruit a bit mushy and with flavours of rose-water. It reminded me more of Italian wine than Californian. 88
- Penfold's Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 (32.99) Blackcurrant, oak and balancing VA, but none of them really integrated at present. Should be good if it all comes together.
- Durkheimer Schenkenbohl Huxelrebe Trockenbeerenauslese 1983, Winzergenossenschaft Vier Jahreszeiten Kloster Limburg (35.00) Dark amber (Madeira) colour, but the wine in top condition. Treacle and lanolin nose with big acidity. The sweetness and acidity perhaps not quite in perfect harmony, but none-the-less excellent wine. 90
D.L.'s Wine group dinner 01/09/1997 (TNB)
- Winkeler Hassensprung Kabinett 68 (Deinhard) Not bad, considering, but a bit "flat". In decline. 81.
- Oestricher Lenchen Auslese 66 (Deinhard) Lovely, nutty, quite sweet, rich old riesling. 90.
- Erbacher Hohenrain Spatlese 64 (Deinhard) Nutty, almost vanillan notes. Dry, elegant, balanced, drinking nicely. 88.
- Chablis Vaillons 89 (de La Tour Vaubourg) Almondy, oily aromas. Quite classy. 86.
- Rully Chaume 89 (J. Dury) Pleasant, but quite light compared to the Chablis.
- Sancerre Chavignol 89 (Cotat) Austere, slightly woody character. I'm not convinced about this as an aging wine.
- Le Haut Lieu Demi Sec 89 (Huet) Rich apply chenin. Quite luscious, with less acidity than I would expect. 89.
- Barolo 89 (Cavalotto) Mushromy, high acidity. Not bad. 87
- Barolo Brunate 89 (Rinaldi) Deeply coloured and flavoured, with a blackberry or even blackcurrent component. Impressive. 90
- Barolo Petorchino 89 (Cogno) Quite lightweight and elegant. Pleasant, but didn't compare with the surrounding wines. 86.
- Barolo 89 (Giacosa) Round, fruity, and quite long. One of the stars of the flight. 90(?+)
- Barolo Bussia Soprano 89 (A. Conterno) Another deeply fruity well-structured wine. Excellent. 90(?+)
- Barolo Gran Bussia 89 (A. Conterno) A bit soft. Perhaps too long in wood, but this lacks a bit of freshness. 88(?+)
- Barolo Bricco Roche Brunate 89 (Ceretto) Quite austere, perhaps will evolve? 86(?+)
- Barolo Bricco Roche Brunate 90 (Ceretto) Richer and fruitier than the 89, but still well-structured. 90
- Casal dei Ronchi, reciotto amabile 88 (Alegheri) Mushroomy, fairly typical of the style. Quite pleasant.
- Savenierres Roche aux moins 90 (Buhard) Sweet bottrytised Savenierres! Goodish length, but not otherwise terribly striking.
- Bonnezaux 89 (Fesles) Lovely depth of bottrytised fruit. Delicious.
- Taylor 80 Quite high-toned. Medium weight and follow through, nice port but not very "Taylors" to my mind. 86