The Diary - May 2003
- Vina Tondonia Rioja blanco 1957 (Lopez de Heredia)
Golden, dry, nutty, unassertive, very fresh. Vanillan notes beautifully integrated. Length OK but not huge. Top
- Rioja Reserva blanco 1956 (Marques de Murrieta)
Deep colour. Very rich and honied - almost sweet. Slightly heavier and clumsier than the Tondonia blanco 57 above.
- Vina Tondonio Rioja red 1962 (Lopez de Heredia)
Good healthy almost young colour. Lovely high-toned red fruits - good length.
- Marqes de Riscal Reserve 1958
Leafier than the Tondonia - a touch of cabernet - refined - a bit more claret-like. Again very fresh and extremely drinkable.
- Rioja Reserve 890 1955 (La Rioja Alta)
Lovely scented old wine - beautifully fresh - so entirely lovely.
- Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 1947 (CVNE)
More depth and complexity than the previous Riojas - very fresh (with a touch of hospital bandages) - absolutely lovely.
- Vina Tondonia 1942 (Lopez de Heredia)
A little coarser than the last two - but stlll lovely, mature, slightly nutty, ripe but dry and savoury.
- Rioja Reserva Prado Enea 1970 (Muga)
Beautifully high-toned cranberry fruit. Fresh, complex. Delicious.
- Vega Sicilia Unico 1966
Warm berries - a touch of VA. Germolene. Long and rich. Excellent.
- Rioja Reserve Especial 1928 (Martinez Lacuesta)
Healthy but lightish colour. Lovely fragrant nose. The palate is fading a bit and has volatile hints. For the nose
- Rioja Gran Reserva Conde de Los Andes 1964 (Paternina)
Floral, nutty, fresh bread, forrest floor. Lovely fragrant sweet fruit. Others less positive but for me
- Rioja Reserva 890 1968 (La Rioja Alta)
Fresh fruit but a bit varnishy and drying a touch. Is this very slightly faulty?
- Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 1952
Rich - more claret than Burgundy - a touch of cream. Not as grand as the 47.
- Rioja Reserva 890 1964 (La Rioja Alta)
Quite deep healthy colour. Varnishy hints - but it shades into kirsch as it opens up. Beautifully fragrant, warm and ripe. An acceptable touch of volatility (that becomes just a touch intrusive after a while). Lovely.
The last two from a bottle shop that may well have had poor storage:
- Beaune-Bressandes 1er cru 1995 (Albert Morot)
Light delicate nose – quite dry and nicely mature (but I did think it was older than it turned out to be). Drying a touch.
- Beaune Cuvee Cyrot-Chaudron 1985 (B ∓ JM Delauney)
Lovely mature tertiary flavours. Dry finish with a touch of leather and cedar. Some VA at the end but OK. possibly.
- Pommards-Epenots 1949 (A ∓ R Barriere Freres)
Sweetly mature, slightly gummy nose. Touch volatile. Going.
- Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 1988 (Dom. De Vogue)
Beetroot and astringent tannins. Possibly good, but is it going to die without integrating? ?
- Chateau Giscours 1970
Mature nose and with a very old colour. Some oaky tannins at the finish. The colour is odd (but the lighting wasn’t ideal so I won’t worry about that too much). I think this still has room for improvement. plus
- Chateau Courant 1964
A wine from my birth year. This was stewy, oxidised and past it. I won’t draw any parallels.
- Chateau Pontet Canet 1961
Lovely nose, but leathery and rustic at the finish. Pleasant but beginning to dry out.
- Chateau Haut-Batailley 1972
Oh the surprises that claret can spring! Not a great wine – dilute. But the balance is there, and it’s a good drink. Nothing wrong with this. I’m tempted to give this more stars just because it’s from a ‘cataclysmic vintage’. But I think it’s definitely worth and I would happily drink it again.
- Chateau Gruaud Larose 1937
Acetone and sweetness. Gone.
- Chateau Smith Haut-Lafite 1955
Wet coffee granules (not my descriptor, but it sums it up well). Dry mineral complexity, but some VA.
- Chateau Haut-Mazeris 1961 , Canon-Fronsac
Leathery and oxidised.
- Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases 1992
Good colour, well toned fruit. Balanced.
- Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 1985
Well balanced and with soft fruit.
- Chateau Lafite 1979
Maturing tertiary nose. More acidity than the Ducru above. Fine dry finish.
- Chateau Margaux 1992
Delightful. Lovely aged claret nose with pencil lead structure.
- Chateau Branaire-Ducru 1975
- Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases 1978
I found this gone and oxidised. A poorly stored bottle at some point?
- Chateau Margaux 1983
A slight stink to start with, but then a big, so, so youthful and structured wine. Stunning (although the 1992 will be better in the medium term for drinking). Classic. But just how much time does it need?
- Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982
Not a bad way to finish the evening – and there aren’t that many wines that could show well after the Margaux. Young oak, tannins, depth and balance.
- Nebbiolo Langhe 2000 (Produttori del Barbaresco)
The lighter side of Nebbiolo: very attractive, intensely cherry flavoured, medium weight wine. A nice touch of tannins gives succulence. Feeling generous over a good lunch:
- Vin Santo 1996 (Isole e Olena)
Very intense burnt marmalade and straw with caramel overtones. Nice acidity and very drinkable but perhaps just a bit over the top at the moment. I feel this could do with a few years to mellow and it might even up even improve. For now though I think it makes
- Rubesco Rosso di Torgiano 1999 (Lungarotti)
Very fruity with some tannins - like a good dolcetto. A good
- Barolo Vigneto Rocchette 1996 (Accomasso)
Healthy colour, nose very tarry - cooked almost burnt fruit with meaty depths. The fruit is quite closed at the moment, plummy with hints of nuts and rather long. Lots of tannins (but ripe) and good acidity. Built for the long haul. Old-fashioned wine and very good too.
- Casalferro 1995 (Castello di Brolio - Ricasoli)
Looking back at my last note on this a year ago (we started Fine Wine Diary for ourselves just so we could do this), I liked this 18 months ago but had some reservations about its astringancy - something I didn't pick up on until I read that note again - so I think it is easing off. A juicy, perhaps fairly modern-styled sangiovese drinking rather nicely at the moment.
- Soave Classico San Michele 2002 (Ca'Rugate)
Light, bright, green-gold. Restrained, floral mothball nose. Clean, dry, fresh, nicely balanced. Needs a while to open out.
- Soave Classico San Michele 2001 (Ca'Rugate)
Slightly deeper colour and more open nose - a touch of honied peach. Richer palate. (The vintage or the extra year?) Nice length. Top
- Soave Classico Superiore Monte Fiorentine 2001 (Ca'Rugate)
Healthy light gold. A touch of sulphur that dissipates but obsures a tropical, floral and nose. Mouthfilling but completely fresh, pure fruit. Nice length. A rather good
- Soave Classico Superiore Monte Alto 2001 (Ca'Rugate)
Healthy yellow colour. Spicy, vanilla oak-influenced nose. Some tough astringancy on the late palate from the oak - but perhaps that will mellow.
- Soave Classico Superiore Monte Alto 2000 (Ca'Rugate)
Sparkling gold. Again quite marked by the oak - but the fruit comes through with some air. peachy and delicious!
- Bucciato 2000 (Ca'Rugate)
Very deep gold. Rich nose of bananas and a touch of red fruit. Dry, tannic, over-ripe fruit palate. Striking.
- Valpolicella Rio Albo 2001 (Ca'Rugate)
Healthy lightish red. Light cherry fruit. Not so interesting, but this is inended to be basic Valpolicella.
- Recioto di Soave La Perlara 1999 (Ca'Rugate)
Deep gold. A touch of oak on concentrated peachy fruit. Pretty sweet - with reasonable balancing acidity. Rich, fine in its way - not unremeniscent of a fat Austrian dessert wine. plus
- Brut 1990 (Brudlmeyer)
Fresh, mineral nose and a lightly honeyed finish. This fizz is showing well and not showing its age.
- Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV (Jacques Selosse)
This was disgorged on 4/1/1996. Good ‘woody’ nose and rich maturity. Big wine. Good acid. plus
- Gruner Veltliner Smaragd ‘M’ 2001 (F. X. Pichler)
A spicy, pepper nose which clearly tagged it as one of the evening’s GVs. Good acidity, a touch of oiliness, and balanced (so no need for a HGV licence). plus
- Pluris Grau und Weissburgunder Smaragd 1994 (Frans Hirtzberger)
Light butterscotch and citrus. Good mature wine.
- Omadhaum ∓ Poltroon Alban Vineyard 1996 (Sine Qua Non)
60% Rousanne and 40% Chardonnay. Over oaked to my mind, and hot. Good behind all that. And Rousanne does often seem to accentuate the oaky feel of a wine. Probably
- Gruner Veltliner Von den Terrassen Smaragd 1996 (F. X. Pichler)
Slightly metallic nose – a bit of spritz. Rather dead. At most on this bottle’s showing.
- Hengst Pinot Gris 2000 (A. Mann)
Fresh and young, but sweet and simple. It might gain in stature, but I’m not convinced.
- Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer 1989 (Zind-Humbrecht)
(Two half bottles combined). Fat, oily lychee nose and a touch of grapefruit.
- Cohn Vineyard Pinot Noir 2000 (Deer Field Winery)
Dry, plum skin pinot – well put together.
- Isabelle Pinot Noir 1994 (Au Bon Climat)
Spirity beetroot nose – dry, but out of balance.
- Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2001 (Bouchard Finalyson)
Rather heavy and overmade.
- Sanford ∓ Benedict Pinot Noir 1992 (Sanford)
Lovely mature pinot (I liked this, others were less keen). Sweet fruit with a hint of mineral. Good balance.
- Pinot Noir 1999 (Dry River)
I thought this possibly a Super Tuscan – certainly it was the least obvious of the Pinots. Slightly bitter fruit, but with sweetness.
- Sassicaia 1994
Leafy Cabernet Franc type wine. Not showing well.