Fine Wine Diary The Bailey brothers have now tasted 12016 wines in 22 years 1 months and 6 days
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Diary index

31/12/1997 (RJB)

- 29/12/1997 (TNB)

29/12/1997 (TNB)

27/12/1997 (TNB)

19/12/1997 (TNB)

18/12/1997 (RJB)

Dinner at St Bernard's Crescent with Dirk Niepoort, ZM, DL, JF, EMcC 14/12/1997 (TNB)

14/12/1997 (RJB)

The Edinburgh 77 Port tasting 13/12/1997 (TNB)

Claret at OFW 11/12/1997 (TNB)

10/12/1997 (TNB)

10/12/1997 (RJB)

Oddbins Xmas tasting 08/12/1997 (TNB)

07/12/1997 (TNB)

06/12/1997 (RJB)

03/12/1997 (RJB)

The Diary - December 1997

31/12/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 31/12/1997   Return to top

- 29/12/1997 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/12/1997   Return to top

29/12/1997 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 29/12/1997   Return to top

27/12/1997 (TNB)

  • St Veran 92 (Ch. Fuisse) Not one of this estate's better efforts: austere and a bit tired.
  • Champagne 82 (Joseph Perrier) Very nice, evolved fruit, with ever so slight hints of graceful maderisation. Better than the last bottle of this I remember.
  • Fombrague 82 I don't think this St Emilion is one of the Wine Society's better purchasees: thin, orange and fading!
  • Cantegril 81 (Barsac) Pleasant, if a bit simple. About what one might hope for.
  • Dow 77 Slightly corked, unfortunately.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/12/1997   Return to top

19/12/1997 (TNB)

  • Cadet Piola 88 Fruitcakey nose with hints of herbs and coffee. Nice acidity, very firmly structured, good concentration. Should age very well. From a half. 89(?+)
  • Spanna San Lorenzo 58 (Vallana) Astonishingly healthy looking. Rustic leathery nose. Plummy, sweet, red fruits. Good length. 92.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 19/12/1997   Return to top

18/12/1997 (RJB)

  • Basa 1996, Rueda Made from Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo and Malvasia (I think). Fairly dull dry white wine - not of the same class as it's red sibling: Baso. Hammy, rather like a cheap Bordeaux Blanc. 82
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 18/12/1997   Return to top

Dinner at St Bernard's Crescent with Dirk Niepoort, ZM, DL, JF, EMcC 14/12/1997 (TNB)

Slightly brief notes in places, owing to cooking!
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 14/12/1997   Return to top

14/12/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 14/12/1997   Return to top

The Edinburgh 77 Port tasting 13/12/1997 (TNB)

A blind tasting, organnised by Raeburn Fine Wines, partly with contributed bottles.

The verdict first: despite some views to the contarary recently, 77 is clearly an extremely good port vintage. It is notable for strong performances from the secondary houses.

Looking now, I feel the scores given underestimate the wines a bit. The cellars are quite col, and quite a severe environment for tasting.

  • Smith Woodhouse 77 Quite high toned, coffee and chocolate. Long, balanced. 88.
  • Fonseca 77 Quite blackberryish, leafy fruit. Decent length, but nothing special. (A major suprise, gioven this is the highest rated wine of the vintage!)
  • Calem 77 Attractive mulberry fruit. I liked this, but I wonder if it isn't a bit of a flatterer. 88.
  • Quarles Harris 77 (Berry's own selection) Lovely blackberry fruit, all the components. First rate. 90.
  • Royal Oporto 77 Odd marzipan nose. Rather light. A failure. 80.
  • Taylors 77 The first bottle corked, but the second compact with a peppery merlot nose. Concentrated and backward. Very good indeed. 92.
  • Grahams 77 Lots of fruit, but I found it a bit one-dimensional. Others thought it rather good. 88 (?+)
  • Delaforce 77 Slightly smokey, correct but not very exciting. 85.
  • Croft 77 Quite easy going - unremarkable again. 84.
  • Quarles Harris 77 Quite winey nose, well balanced, chocolatey, good length. 89.
  • Rozes 77 Decent enough - but didn't really sing for me. 85.
  • Factory House Jubillee 77 Some odd mixture of casks of curious provenance. Very light! 82.
  • Niepoort 77 Fascinating cigarette tobacco nose - rather fine - good length. 90.
  • Messias 77 Seemed to be a Colhieta, but not labelled as such. A pretty decent tawny. 86.
  • Warre 77 Complex smokey, excellent 91.
  • Dow 77 Seemed a bit closed to me, but its length suggested a good wine. 88(?+).
  • Offley 77 Odd slightly sherryish nose. Curious, but not so good. 83.
  • Ferreira 77 Good acidity, nice fruit. 88 (?+)
  • Gould Campbell 77 Brooding merlotish nose, serious and long. 92.
  • Sandeman 77 Chocolatey, dense. Another excellent 77.
  • Quinta do Passadouro 95 A late decision to bottle this as a vintage. Liquoricey fruit, and an odd mixture of sweetness and severity in the tannins. Not at all bad though.
Dinner afterwards at the Vintners Rooms:
  • Champagne NV Fleury Fine, floral champagne. Apparently a Blanc de Noirs, six years in bottle. Pretty appealing.
  • Chablis Monte de Tonerre 89 (Duplessis) Old-fashioned, austere, slightly woody on the nose at first in a not-unpleasant way. Hard to assess. (Magnums)
  • Riesling Abtsberg Kabinet 95 (von Schubert) Excellent fruit, balanced, long, very gluggable. 88(?+) (Magnums)
  • Dufort Vivens 67 One of those old fashioned wines completely preserved (in some sense) by very high acidity. One can be impressed that it's alive at all, but it has just very limited compact fruit and citric (as I think of it) acidity. It had it's followers, but it's not my sort of thing. (Magnums)
  • Smith Haut Lafite 61 Smokey, slightly corrupt Graves tobacco flavours. Concentrated, intense and long. Gorgeous wine, suprising from a property supposedly in a long run of mediocrity at the time. 92.
  • Rabaud Promis 76 Barley sugar and brown sugar, overlaying some nice old Sauternes oilyness. Seems old beyond its years, but very pleasant. 88 (Magnums)
  • Colheita 83 (Niepoort) Lovely sparkling balanced old tawney. Very good, but this wine doesn't seem quite to recapture the flavours I remember the very first time I had it. (Magnums)
  • Niepoort 83 Blackberries and mulberries, Niepoort refinement and good length. A very good year for them. 90.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 13/12/1997   Return to top

Claret at OFW 11/12/1997 (TNB)

  • Sirene de Giscours 95 That slight insubstantiality that I often find in young Bordeaux - presumably it will fill out a bit. Perfumed, balanced, quite forward. Good effort for a second wine. 83 (11.99)
  • Belair 90 Good colour, fruitcakey, toasty, medium weight, quite tannic. 86. (28.99)
  • Talbot 89 Deeply coloured, hints of raw wood, gutsy, quite sexy, longish. A rather good Talbot. 90 (28.99)
  • Branaire Ducru 89 Slightly elusive ion the nose, but balanced, well-bred claret with a good finish. 89. (32.99)
  • Gruad Larose 88 Very serious colour, deep slightly spicy, fruity nose. Long in the mouth. 90(?+) 29.99
  • Gruad Larose 85 Cigar-boxy, beautifully balanced. 91. (36.99)
  • Dom de Chevalier 88 Tobacco flavours, elegant fruit, but dissapointingly a bit less concentrated than I remember. Perhaps just a phase? 87 (29.99)
  • Dome de Chevalier 85 Again very Chevalier, but really a bit light. Not one of this property's better efforts. 85 (34.99)
  • Mouton Rothschild 83 Rich, exotic, tannic. All those coffee flavours. Not great however 90. (95.00)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 11/12/1997   Return to top

10/12/1997 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/12/1997   Return to top

10/12/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 10/12/1997   Return to top

Oddbins Xmas tasting 08/12/1997 (TNB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 08/12/1997   Return to top

07/12/1997 (TNB)

Party time: Real time:
  • Chablis Montee de Tonerre 89 (Vaubourg) Same wine as Michel: clean, dry fruit, good chablis, steely, slightly honeyed, but my memory is the Vaillons is better in this vintage.
  • Meursault Blagny 89 (Jadot) Larger, honeyed, oaky. Decent stuff, if a shade obvious. Falls away a shade on the palate - should probably be drunk. (Bin-ended at half price by Threshers recently - fine at 14.99!)
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 07/12/1997   Return to top

06/12/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 06/12/1997   Return to top

03/12/1997 (RJB)

Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 03/12/1997   Return to top