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Diary index

19/12/2001 (RJB)

18/12/2001 (TNB)

Rhone wines and some "Party Wines" 16/12/2001 (TNB)

Christmas Tasting at Noel Young Wines 12/12/2001 (RJB)

Chave at Raeburn Fine Wines 08/12/2001 (TNB)

Roederer Champagne 05/12/2001 (RJB)

Wine Group at D.L.'s 02/12/2001 (TNB)

Gang of Six 02/12/2001 (RJB)

The Diary - December 2001

19/12/2001 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/12/2001   Return to top

18/12/2001 (TNB)

With Claude Kolm from Fine Wine Review - the German wines as a pre-dinner tasting. Young dry whites are hard to assess and I haven't tasted that much Franken Silvaner but these convinced me that these two producers (particularly Wirsching) are worth watching out for. Of the following, the first two were drunk in California and the others as "follow-ups" since I have been back.
  • Colheita 86 Niepoort Quite an elegant vintage of this - but good chocolate fruit as usual ***
  • Mc Ilroy Cellars Chardonnay Aquarius Ranch 1999 Pretty fat, fairly oaky dramatic Californian Chardonnay. Just about **
  • Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 (Joseph Swan) Another very healthy-coloured wine with nice cedary blackcurrant Cabernet nose and lively fruit - old-fashined style with prominant acidity. Evolving very nicely and perhpas even not yet at peak. ***
  • Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1983 (Joseph Swan) Healthy colour. There's a very earthy component on the nose that reminds me of this estate's Wolfspierre Chardonnay, and blackcurrant fruit. In the mouth it is quite high-toned, notable acidity and tannins still, gamey, decent length although with a hint of volatility giving an air of living dangerously. I had a better bottle of this a few years ago. I hope it is not going down hill. **
  • Zinfandel Zeigler 1995 (Joseph Swan) I think I had a bottle of this from the winery that was faulty (oxidised). This is fine however: blackberry and apple fruit, quite dry and tannic, long, unevolved and even severe at the moment. Earthy, characterful finish that engages the attention. Serious and potentially excellent: ***(*)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/12/2001   Return to top

Rhone wines and some "Party Wines" 16/12/2001 (TNB)

Recent Rhone and similar:
  • Cotes du Rhone 1983 (Guigal) Whatever you think of him, Guigal does make wines with some staying power. This has aged very gracefully for its appelation and is pleasantly fruity and smoky with animal syrah character - probably still worth **
  • Beaucastel 1989 Very Beaucastel gamy mushroom rustic nose with plenty of ripe cooked-berry fruit. Coming towards peak drinking. A very good Beaucastel. ****
  • Shiraz 1995 (Langi Ghiran) Rich, oaky blackberry and black cherry fruit. Long, quite sexy oak-influenced palate, a little soft perhaps but with a decently dry finish. Not quite my sort of thing - I'm tempted by two stars but for once I will go with what I guess the crowd will say: ***
  • Cornas 1991 (Verset) Blackberry fruit, tinged with cassis, quite leafy, almost medicinal. There are still substantial tannins but the fruit is developing nicely. It might make four stars in time but for now a good ***
  • Rousanne 2000 (Dom de Montmarin) Varietal, pleasant. Decent *
  • Clos d'Arbalestrier blanc 1995 (Dr.Florentin) Authentic Rhone nose of wet stones and a slight glueyness. This is a pleasant wine evolving very well - perhaps not even at peak yet. This old-fashioned estate (no new oak, no sulphur) really does make interesting wine. ***
A quick look at some "party wines" at around 3.50 - 5.00 from Oddbins. Portugal is the source of the best white and the best red from this little group. The Chileans were the cheapest but still a bit disappointing.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 16/12/2001   Return to top

Christmas Tasting at Noel Young Wines 12/12/2001 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 12/12/2001   Return to top

Chave at Raeburn Fine Wines 08/12/2001 (TNB)

  • Hermitage Blanc 1999 (J.L. Chave) Rich, buttery nose, hints of custard from the oak apparent now but will integrate completely very soon. Mineral, lovely balance, decent acidity and excellent length. This will probably close up like the 96 and have a 2-star period before reaching its peak. Our system wasn't designed for that! ***(*)
  • Hermitage Blanc 1996 (J.L. Chave) Closed by comparison with the 99 - mineral hints when you dig a little. Similarly on the palate - oily, almost fat, in a lusciously enjoyable way but with more to come. **(**)
  • Hermitage Blanc 1995 (J.L. Chave) Slightly higher-toned at the moment than the 96 with marzipan character (something hinted at in others). Fantastic long complex finish. ***(*)
  • Hermitage Blanc 1988 (J.L. Chave) Responds very well to a little aeration. (Jean-Louis recommends decanting the whites.) Splendid stony, waxy palate and lovely finish. ****
  • St Joseph Rouge Offerus 2000 (J.L. Chave selection) Peppery, forward - "minor appelation" wine, but a good one. **
  • St Joseph Rouge Offerus 1999 (J.L. Chave selection) A little drier and tannic - possibly better than above, certainly with food. Very Syrah. **
  • Hermitage Rouge 1999 (J.L. Chave) Big, plummy nose - intriguingly complex. Red fruits - Jean-Louis seemed to feel that this was a step forward because of its exceptional purity. Seems quite accessible at the moment but probably only because it is so soon after bottling. ***(*)
  • Hermitage Rouge 1998 (J.L. Chave) A little difficult until it is aired (possibly a bit reductive). Raspberry, and cranberry - tight, structured, very classic. Will be brilliant. ***(**)
  • Hermitage Rouge 1995 (J.L. Chave) Quite tight, high-toned, ripe tannins all through to the finish. Lots of class - at least ***(*)
  • Hermitage Rouge 1991 (J.L. Chave) Leafy, almost cassis-like fruit (Jean-Louis described this as a "pinot-like" character). Certainly quite Burgundian. Lovely ripe fruit. Classy - the press will give more plaudits to the big vintages like 1990, but for drinkability this is first-class. ****
  • Hermitage Rouge 1988 (J.L. Chave) A little more firm and more concentrated than the 91 (just closing down for first time according to Jean-Louis). So savoury though - at least ***(*)
  • Hermitage Rouge 1982 (J.L. Chave) A bit of that leafyness, notable tannins - good drinking now, but not for me the classiest of this fantastic line-up. Famously a difficult vintage because of the heat - apparently they were suspending bags of ice cubes in the fermenting vats! These days it's just a question of pushing a switch. ***
  • Hermitage Rouge 1971 (J.L. Chave) Good fruit - hint of mushrooms/nuts. Delightful drinkable old wine - perfectly fresh. High-toned. Possibly top ***
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 08/12/2001   Return to top

Roederer Champagne 05/12/2001 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 05/12/2001   Return to top

Wine Group at D.L.'s 02/12/2001 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 02/12/2001   Return to top

Gang of Six 02/12/2001 (RJB)

Mislaid my full notes for the last few wines I'm afraid!

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 02/12/2001   Return to top