The Diary - January 2001
- Brut 1993 (Boschendal)
Impressive, fairly classy classic nose, but the palate reveals a simple wine.
- Semillon/Sauvignon 2000 (Cape Mentelle)
Aggresively herby and grassy - acidic green finish. just
- Chardonnay Vielles Vignes 1998 (Antonin Rodet)
Soft toffeed simple wine.
- Saint Veran 1998 (Antonin Rodet)
Sweet blackcurrant nose, green dilute palate.
- Pinot Noir 1999 (Nepenthe)
Fairly cultured smoky nose , alcohol showing through on the palate.
- Signature Shiraz 1997 (Charles Cimicky)
Chocolatey easy wine. Smoky and with a slight green edge.
- Classic Merlot 1997 (Charles Cimicky)
Again a green edge to this wine. Soft and warm.
- Champagne Brut Premiere (Bruno Paillard)
Quite good, slightly toffeed at the finish. Nicish fizz with elegance and balance.
- LBV 1995 (Niepoort)
Perhaps a touch too much alcohol showing through, but otherwise a good wine at this level of production. Real grip. Put the other ports (the next four wines) at this tasting to shame
- LBV 1995 (Dows)
- LBV 1994 (Grahams)
Goodish wine with the typical Graham's sweetness.
- Malvedos 1987 (Grahams)
Disappointing wine - ready to drink, but soft and lacking depth.
- Vintage Port 1991 (Krohn)
From a half. Mature ready to drink Port without any real depth or grip.
- Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 1995 (Lancelot)
Ripe strawberry nose (I think I'd be heading toward pink Champagne if I had this blind). Good acidity. This wine still needs a couple more years. plus
- Viognier 1999 (Domaine de Cabriac)
OK Vine de Pays d'Oc Viognier with some of the peaches etc. one expects from this grape.
- Bianco di Custoza 'Bosca del Gal' 1999 (Tommasi)
Spritzy, dilute and woody.
- Sancerre Vielles Vignes 'Le Clos de Chaudenay' 1999 (Domaine Daulny)
Slightly cheesey nose, but otherwise good acidity and fruit. ?
- Coteaux de Languedoc Rouge 1998 (Borie la Vitarele)
Rather weak in fruit and depth. Sandy tannins.
- Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 'Chateldon' 1996, Penedes (Bodegas Pinord)
Stalky jammy nose - goodish palate - needs time.
- Pemberton Pinot Noir 1999 (Lost Lake Winery)
Jammy, minty and short.
- Gigondas 'Cuvee de Beauchamp' 1996 (Chateau de Montmirail)
Tarry, leathery, liquorice nose. A touch dilute.
- Pinot Gris 1999, Pfalz (Villa Wolf)
Oddly soft non-descript wine.
- Semillon 1998 (Margan)
Resiny with a powdery finish.
- Chardonnay 1998 (Glazebrook)
Soft and musty.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 (Margan)
Rather dull dumb nose, gently eucalyptal.
- Champagne (Bauget-Jouette)
OK fizz but short.
- Rioja Reserva 1996 (Ondarre)
Oaky Rioja sweet nose and flavours.
- Syrah la Sommeliere 1998 (Campuget)
A wine that promises, but lacks depth.
- Chardonnay 1999 (Planeta)
Too oaky for balance - a shame because it has the feeling that it could be quite good.
- Sangiovese 1997, California (Noceto)
15 % alcohol, but hidden well. Big soft styled wine with plums ant tobacco.
- Clos de L'Escandil 1998 Minervois
Liquorice nose and reasonable depth.
- Falasco Amarone della Valpolicella 1995 (Cantina Valpantena)
Dry bitter cherries, but lacks depth.
- Champagne Grand Siecle 1988 (Laurent Perrier)
the first of two 1988 Champagnes. Nicely put together and with good balance. A touch greener/coarser than the Krug if anything, but still an excellent wine which should benefit from further bottle age.
- Champagne Clos de Mesnil 1988 (Krug)
Lovely stuff with a creamy elegance that pushes it just ahead of the Grand Siecle above. Again, this would benefit from further bottle age. Hints of peaches and a touch of yeast. Easily
- Clos St Urbain Riesling 1988 (Zind Humbrecht)
Fine Alsace Riesling. Elegance and depth with minerality and hints of apricot. Classy stuff. Good now, but should do nothing but improve for the next five years.
- Rousanne Vielles Vignes 1995 (Beaucastel)
White Rhone so often disappoints. And this wine is no exception. As is so often said with these wines, perhaps it's in an odd phase. Anyhow, this isn't a bad wine at present, just that one expects better. Light custard powder texture with white peaches. Seems rather lightweight. For now
- Tokay Pinot Gris Cuvee Clarisse 1989 (Schlumberger)
Delicious stuff. Lovely oily depth and bacon fat without being overweight. White fruits and wet stone.
- Cote Rotie La Landonne 1996 (Rostaing)
Poor wine for the appellation. Weedy and relatively thin. Will it pull round?
- Clos Vougeot 1993 (Rene Engel)
Good Burgundy that still needs plenty of time to be at its best. Some tannins and good acidity on the finish. Tightly sensuous fruit. An easy
- Chateau Lynch Bages 1961
On the way down judging from this bottle - signs of the diluteness that some wines get with age - but still drinking fairly well. Slightly burnt feel to it with a lack of sweetness. Too easy, though, to be critical of the wine rather than just sitting back and enjoying it.
- Chateau Pichon Lalande 1986
Had this about ten years ago when it was showing as a beautiful wine with cascades of flavours. This time, however, the wine was in a closed phase. Good structure evident - it just needs time. Probably
- Chateau Leoville Las Cases 1982
This should be a great wine, but as with many of the 1982s it is closed and unforthcoming at present. As with the 1986 Lalande, it just needs tlme. but I suspect that it will deserve higher.
- Chateau Latour 1953
Gorgeous if not really brilliant. Lovely mature soft-to-mid toned wine.
- Grange 1981 (Penfolds)
Lovely stuff, that is fairly drinkable now, but still needs loads of time. Easily
- Chateau Sudairat 1983
Sweet wine - a touch woody and unrefined
- Chateau Rieussec 1953
Deepish amber - tarry, slightly burnt sugar nose. Not as sweet as one might expect (I think I might have placed this an oldish German spatlese). plus
- Port 1963 (Taylors)
Joyous! Great wine. Structure and sweetness combined in a massive yet balanced whole. No rush to drink up (in fact, it will probably still improve).
- Champagne blanc-de-blancs 1990 (Pol Roger)
Nice bready, lemony nose, taut chardonnay fruit. Good length. Very satisfying, as so often from Pol Roger.
- Riesling reserve 1999 (Villa Maria)
Spicy ripe fruit, quite full, almost oily (a problem sometimes with New World riesling, I find). Weighty, lots of acidity. Might even improve a little. Scrapes
- Sauvignon/Semillon 1999 (Cullen)
Candied fruits nose, smoky palate, reasonable length and integrated acidity. Notable oak. Might be worth more if it matures well for a year or two. A good
- Pouilly-Fuisse 1998 Les Vignes Blanches (Cordier)
Closed nose. Ripe, slightly tropical palate. A bit oaky. Just about
- Chardonnay Belle Cotes 1998 (Peter Michael)
Quiet nose. Greengage fruit with ginger. Nice balance. Not totally clean. In some ways (not just the unclean bit) this is quite Burgundian. Probably not a long-term keeper.
- Rioja Gran Reserva 1978 (Glorioso, Bodegas Palacio)
Orange rim. Raspberry jam, but slightly burnt, nose. High acid blackberry fruit. Vanilla hints. Not bad in its way, if you like the style. A good
- Chateaux Bourgneuf, Pomerol 1997
Black cherry/cassis nose. Nice textured concentrated chocolate fruit.
- La Fleur Petrus 1997
Slightly corked. Nice palate underneath. Likely at least three stars.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (Mount Eden)
Warm climate cherry and plum. Some capsicum. Very drinkable, but won't go anywhere further. Slightly sweet seeming.
- Cabernet Sauvignon Les Pavots 1997 (Peter Michael)
Monolithic dense fruit, something lifted on the nose, tannic palate. Quite good, and a bit more will emerge I suspect, but not a great deal. Who on earth is paying first-growth prices (78 pounds) for this? I'm baffled. Might just rate
- Shiraz/Cab/Merlot Specialized 1998 (Pennys Hill)
Ribena fruit, menthol hints. Chocolate, fruit. Very decent quaffing wine at a sensible price.
- Port 1985 (Dow)
Blackberry, lots of chocolate. Coming round nicely. Doubtless will be fine in 15 years but this is quite forward. Could be more, but for now
- Champagne 1990 (Laurent Perrier)
Had this blind, and for some reason I wasn't absolutely convinced that it was Champagne. Perhaps it was the slight esteriness the wine showed, or the Chenin like coarseness. This bottle possibly hadn't been stored ideally earlier in its life, so it might not have been in the best of condition (and I won't score it).
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 (Vasse Felix)
Stalky cardboardy nose, but then opening out into a lovely gummy fragrance. Quite woody, almost rancio.
- Chateau Pichon Baron 1986
Fairly deep colour, good berry nose. Watery and with tannins at the end - really rather nasty.
- Grifi 1990 (Avignonesi)
Gummy parma violets Italian. Some structure with tannins showing.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 (Mount Langi Ghiran)
oaky, watery nose with a little violet fragrance. Beginning to dry out. VA
- Odyssey 1994 (Katnook Estate)
Deep colour, but very Bordeaux nose. Goodish quality Cabernet that needs time.
- Chateau d'Angludet 1990
Thin bacony nose. Dried out, past it.
- York Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 1980 (Ridge)
Maturing mushroomy flavours. 'Bream slime in a landing net' was suggested on the nose - this disappeared with time.
- Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 (Mount Langi Ghiran)
Thinnish gummy oaky claret. Goodish, but with an astringent edge.
- Madiran 1995 (Chateau Montus)
Liquorice menthol. Ungenerous. Might just improve with time (after all it is young for this style of wine) maybe.
- Champagne NV (Moet et Chandon)
Third of each grape roughly. Softish slight apple doughy nose. A touch of sweetness showing through. Decent.
- Champagne 1995 (Moet et Chandon)
Good balanced wine, raspberry fruit - touch short and dilute on the finish. Drinking well now, and , I'd guess, not for keeping too long.
- Il Favot 1997 (Aldo Conterno)
A barique-aged nebbiolo: great fruit, quite sexy from the oak, good finish. The combination of nebbiolo tannins and wood tannins not entirely happy perhaps. It's really "one plus one" stars for me because I don't find the style so interesting, but trying to be more objective I'll go for
- Barolo Monprivato 1993 (G. Mascarello)
High-toned tar and roses nose, lovely sweet fruit on the palate that contrasts nicely with the pronounced tannins. Reasonable length. This is not a heavyweight, but it is fine, traditional Barolo. It might even improve a bit.
- Sherry, Palo Cortado Viejisimo (Colosia)
Attractive green rim, Bone-dry, explosive on the palate - perhaps could do with a bit longer to settle in the bottle. Madeira-like with bags of acidity. A rather good drink.
- Pavillon Rouge de Chateau Margaux 1985
Quite a big blackcurrant nose, surprisingly (for the vintage) structured palate. Nice mature claret, lacking the real complexity of the very best.
- Champagne NV "D de Devaux" (de Devaux)
Hints of yeastyness, appley Pinot nose. Ripe fruit, nice balance and length. Good mousse. On this evidence, a house worth noting.
- Gewurztraminer Steingrubler VT 1994 (Mann)
Thick, fruity nose, unctious palate, some botrytis, I suspect. Moderately sweet with adequate acidity (just), this sits a shade short of desert wine for me and lands in the "impressive, but when do you drink it" category.
- Gressier Grand-Poujeaux 1982
Good colour, showing some maturity. Marked scented raspberry overlying blackcurrant on the nose. Good fruit but a harsh note is slightly troubling. Rather structured, but I don't think it will get that much better.
- Krug Grande Cuvee NV
Wood influenced nose that I think of as (fancifully) remeniscent of brandy and oranges. Very lush, creamy palate. Long. From a half.
- Gruner Veltliner Hundsleiten Sandtal 1998 Trocken Qualitatswein (Pfaffl)
Nose mainly a young esteryness. Lots of pepper on the palate (typical Gruner Veltliner). Reasonable length of what I sometimes call green-pea fruit: vegetal in a way but not unpleasantly so. Attractive - perhaps even worth (9.99)
- Riesling Terrassen Sonnleiten 1998 Trocken Qualitatswein (Pfaffl)
Quite tight, clean, flavoury fruit. Nice acidity, good length suggests more to come. There's a bit of class about this. (9.99)
- Sauvignon blanc 1998 Trocken Qualitatswein (Pfaffl)
Herbaceous rather than vegetal. Good balance, nicely integrated touch of oak. Possibly scrapes (9.99)
- Blauer Zweigelt Trocken Qualitatswein (Pfaffl)
Light cherry fruit, low tannins, decent picnic stuff. Demand for red wine in Austria is high and so the price of this is perhaps a bit ahead of the quality. Well made though. (8.99)
- Soave Classico Superiore 1998 (Inama)
Floral, minerally, fresh, reasonable length. Very good indeed for Soave - this must be the best producer. Scrapes (7.99)
- Orvieto Classico Superiore 1997 (Ducugnano Dei Barbi)
Herby, vermouth nose, pleasant palate. Very good for the appelation. A decent (7.50)
- Sangiovese Pojo dei Ruspo 1997 (IGT)
Warm cherry fruit, mouthwatering, glugable fruit. A decent (5.99)
- Chianti Classico 1994 (Monte Bernardi)
Raspberry and cherry fruit. Silky attractive palate. A good (14.99)
- Dolcetto D'Alba 1996 (Sandrone)
A good example of the thinking man's Beaujolais. Slightly curious old socks note that I've noticed before in young Sandrone wines. Otherwise delicious. (9.99)
- Barbera D'Alba Ciabot Camerano 1996 (Marcarini)
Blackberry fruit, quite dense with decent length, acidity nicely controlled and well judged oak. Pretty good. (8.99)
- Bricco del Drago 1995 (Cascine Drago, Poderi Colla)
Piercing, classy fruit. Very tannic but quite long, and with potential I think. This is mainly Dolcetto with a bit of Nebbiolo from a vineyard with a fine reputation for long-lived wines. An oddity, but one I would like to get to know a bit better. Will probably be rather interesting. For now (13.99)
- Franconia Rosso Venezia Giulia 1996 (Romco della Betulle)
Rich blackberry fruit. Another unusual and intereresting wine. It won't appeal to everyone, and I'd like to try a bottle and think some more about it. Let's say (9.75)
- Castello di Luzzano Malvasia Dolce Frizzante 1999
Grapey, attractive, refreshing, slightly sweet (and so doubtless unfashioable), gluggable (just 6.5% alcohol), light fizz. I like good examples of this style, and this is one! (6.99)