The Diary - April 2004
- Rully 2001 (Dureuil-Janthial)
Quite bold, rich wine - could easily be a village Chassagne. Not over-ambitious - just very good drinking Burgundy. This producer has some more prestigious bottlings that I would be interested to try.
- Corton 1er Cru Les Vercots 1999 (Follin-Arbelet)
Crushed red fruits, high-toned cranberry fruit. Nice concentration and length. I first noted this at J & B's en primeur tasting three years ago and rated it as three stars in the long run - it's there already and still improving. It will be at least a very good three stars at peak.
- Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 1989 (Michel)
At first taste a bit faded, but with further attention (and perhaps some opening out) it has lovely citric fruit, mineral and not lacking concentration. Some will say this should have been drunk a year or two ago but I like it still. Top
- Beaucastel Rouge 1989
Pretty soft and easy-going with mushroomy/gamy notes. Very Beaucastel. I've enjoyed this more before - this time I'll stick to a top
- Corton Charlemagne 1992 (Bonneau de Matray)
Pleasingly mineral and fairly intense, but lacking the extra buzz you might hope for from a Grand Cru. No more than a decent effort.
- Savennieres La Jalousie 2000 (Domaine du Closel)
Concentrated, approachable without being simple or soft and with a lovely minerality and sense of terroir. Not really a keeping style I guess but very nice indeed. Good
- Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour 1989 (Beaulieu)
I last remember tasting this wine in a range of vintages in about 1986 in a tasting event at a wine store in Houston, Texas. I liked them then and I like this now - completely ready for drinking with lovely mature fruit, quite forward but one might have trouble spotting it as not Claret blind, with a nice touch of tobacco and ciogar box. Very nice drinking. Maybe even
- Nottage Hill Chardonnay 2001 (Hardy)
Grassy, fat and somewhat harsh. Decent in its way
- Corse Calvi Rose 2002 (Domaine Cardi)
A bit rough and lacking freshness - flat rose character. Decent
- Chardonnay 2003 (Weinmanufaktur Krems)
Clean dry fresh chablis-like - even slightly mineral. A strong
- Chardonnay 2000 (Mulderbosch)
Pleasant melony chardonnay fruit. Fresh sherberty palate. A bargain if one likes the fairly up-front style.
- Les Hauts de Pontet Canet 2000
Dense fruit, quite baked on nose. Dry palate, hints of blackcurrant but too cooked to be clear. Slightly stalky and green on finish - rather highly extracted. A bit overdone.
- Clos Canon 2000
Creamy, camphor, in-your-face nose. Creamy on the palate too. Sexy and nice drinking. Top
- Connetable de Talbot 2000
Subdued but pleasant nose. Very middle-of-the-road at first taste but it follows through very strongly.
- Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild 2000
Classic capsicum and privet nose. Smoky palate - gorgeous mineral finish. Very good indeed - perhaps even
- Lacoste Borie 2000
Cinnamon (lots) and fruitcake nose. Morello cherries - sexy style again. Top
- Chateau Malescot St Expury 1995
Classic blackcurrant - dry - nice sweet fruit and a strong finish. Drinking nicely.
- Chateau Pontensac 1996
Varnishy shoe-polish nose. Meaty palate. Interesting old-fashioned wine. Structured. Still improving but not to the extent of another star, I feel.
- Chateau Leoville Poyferre 1994
A bit of smoke on the nose (dead fireworks in the dew the morning after, someone said). Dry, tannic, the structure perhaps obscuring the length. On returning - just very good classic Claret.
- Rayne--Vigneau 1988
Rhubarb and cream - quite restrained - long creme brulee palate. Quite Barsac in style. Very good.
- Soave La Rocca 2001 (Pieropan)
Honeysuckle nose and big but refined peachy garganega fruit. Opens out in the glass. Very fine and long.
- Viognier Podere di Montalupa 2000 (Ascheri)
Big wine with fat Viognier fruit. A bit of oak gracefully carried. Interesting. Just
- Friuli Vintage Tunina 2001 (Jermann)
Ambiguous nose - hard to put a name to any component but intruiging. Dry, very precise, intense fruit. Top
- Chianti Classico 2000 (La Massa)
Blackberry fruit - dense for chianti. Ripe. Solid tannins - quite ambitious. Needs 4-5 years an will be rather good drinking then I suspect. Conservatively, a top
- Monsordo Langhe Rosso 2000 (Ceretto)
Blackcurrant nose (the Cabernet component of a mix of grapes dominant). Nice acidity. High-toned, good tannins. Food wine. The cocktail of grape varieties is a bit too evident currently but I expect they will meld and despite the modern style there is an authentic sense of place about it. Say a top
- Brunello 1998 (Sesti)
Tarry nose - farmyardy fruit. Gamy - quite sexy. I sense the winemaking here is OK but not quite in the class of the other wines. Will get better probably, but maybe not to the extent of more stars.
- Rosso di Montalcino 2001 (Sesti)
A bit rustic again, like the Brunello, but a fruity very drinkable mouthful!
Brief notes, made the day after.
- Chablis Vaillons 2000 (Michel)
Very pure and mineral - as often with this producers wines each glass seems more rewarding than the last. Very nice.
- Champagne Brut Premier (Roederer)
Mature - lovely and rich with a beautifully textured mousse. Cashew nuts. I suspect this half had been in the cellar tor a year or two. even
- Soave Classico 2002 (Pieropan)
Completely drinkable - very pure and while unassertive it has a lot of character if you stop and think about it.
- Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg Spatlese 2002 (J. Leitz)
Floral peachy nose - pink grapefruit. Sweet palate seems a bit short on acidity right now - is this just young riesling's trick of seeming a bit simple? I suspect this will be at least rather good. At least
- Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Spatlese 2002 (J. Leitz)
More slatey - sherberty and mouthwatering than the previous wine - more obvious quality at this stage. Easy
- Chardonnay 2001 (Voyager Estate)
In-your-face tinned fruit and vanilla. Very limey and oak-dominated palate. If this is your sort of thing you might want to give it
- Puligny Montrachet 1997 (Drouhin)
Waxy, hints of marzipan. Flat but broad palate. Curious wine (I was wondering blind if it might be Rhone) but rather nice.
- Beaucastel blanc 2002
Neutral nose with gamy hints. Acacia palate. This really does not seem so interesting - I hope this excellent estate aren't losing the plot.
- Syrah 2001 (Boekenhotskloof)
Intense blackberry fruit, highly extracted, slightly bitter. I'm not at all keen on this.
- Chateau Fieuzal 2000
Blackcurrant and cedar with those funky/smoky Graves notes. Pretty tannic but rather good - will be fine in ten years or so - possibly even
- Roda I 1999
Green peppercorns and solvents - curious but not unattractive nose. Stylish, creamy, new-wave wine with a bit of earthy minerality. Nice length. .
- Fusion V 2001 (De Torren)
Crushed mint, reasonably balanced, dry, quite meaty. Nicely structured. Good if you don't mind the mint.
- Beaucastel rouge 2001
Burnt raisiny nose, silky fruit. Very fine but I'm not sure at this stage that this is going to be a great Beaucastel. At least
- Amontillado del Puerto (Lustau)
Good - fine with a long finish. Easy
- Brunello Riserva 1980 (Mastrojanni)
Showing its age with a touch of oxidation that seems to blow off. In remarkably good condition if with a slightly rustic fruit quality. Very good drinking. I've not tried this producer's wines before that I remember but this is pretty good, even given that this was apparently a reasonably good Brunello vintage. Top
- Lamothe-Guignard 1989
Rich, sweet, good botrytis but possibly a bit heavy overall.