Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And then the Champagnes

Bollinger R.D. 1982

A deep burnt gold that catches the sun gloriously.

There's a bit of smokiness & richness with a bit of cooked peaches of all things.

Big & boisterous palate with quite a hyper mousse. Very dry, some really nice, earthy mushroomy flavours. Might need food. Good long finish.


Louis Roederer Cristal 1979

Molten gold and luminous in the late afternoon light. Active tiny bubbles.

Custard creams on the nose with citrus edges - burnt orange as well. Very creamy.

The palate is enhanced by the finest mousse of any champagne I have ever experienced - a beautiful, elegant, tickle - an amazing sensory experience. The fruit is perfumed, almost like orange flower water, it's elegant and balanced in the true sense of the words. There's loads of sweet incense & bits of smoke - sort of like good pinot gris. All coated in rich devon clotted cream. The finish lingers on - an amazing wine.


Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1976

The colour is polished brass with gold flecks

Nose is very creamy with good floral notes. Slight hints of creamy cheese as well.

Palate has a wonderful, rich, sweet creaminess - very sexy. The fruit has edges of mango chutney. Amazing length - both luscious and fun and much better than the last time tasted.


All tasted at Naughton 23/4/06

Barolo Pio Cesare 1977

Colour's lovely rust & amber with a still-crimson core - classic aged Barolo.

Nose is leather and tar with a bit of smoke and dried cherries.

The palate's impressive cherry fruit is laced by dark, supple tannins. Very dry and splendid with the roe deer.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Vougeot 1er Cru Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot Monopole

Nose has lovely pastel notes with aromatic smoke on the edges; must be the miniscule Pinot Gris & Blanc that go into the cuvée.

Palate is lovely, with well-balanced oak and lemon and melon notes lingering on the palate. Most impressive, especially as it followed 7 vintages of port.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Graham’s 2000

Impenetrable crimson with purple rim.

The nose is meat, blood & violets.

The palate is extraordinarily balanced - this has a wonderful future ahead.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Graham’s 1994

Colour opaque purple with a violet rim, clearly still youthful

Nose very meaty and gamey.

Palate is very forward and quite sexy. Hugely approachable, making me a tad suspicious. I’m not sure if it will have the staying power of the ’55 or even the ’70. But a lovely drop nonetheless. Sometimes you need a porno wine.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Graham’s 1985

Colour – Still opaque but not for much longer

Nose – slightly dead; I think there may be some form of taint.

Palate – as muted as the nose. I think there’s something wrong with this and it’s a shame, for I have many fond and beautiful memories of this wine. When it’s on form, it’s *****, sadly, it gets nary a star today.

No stars

Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Tasted again 24/4/06 - the extra time had done wonders and once again it was **** or *****. Weird, huh? Of course, sadly, it had been open a bit too long at that point.

Graham’s 1970

Deep, dark crimson with a shade of purple at the core – very sexy looking

Nose – There is a dark, deep brooding to this nose – dark forest fruits, earth and maybe a bit of sweet candied brambles. There’s a hint of slight heat on the end.

Palate – quite enormous, rambunctious fruit, the sweetness beautiful and pure, the tannins supple and elegant. There is a touch of heat but it’s still a favourite and the heat is tamed by food.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Graham’s 1966

Colour is light crimson with hints of rust

Nose- quite hot and a bit syrupy

Palate – bit too simple for my liking and there seems to be something out of kilter between the tannins and the fruit. Slightly disjointed but still pleasant.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Graham’s 1960

Colour similar to the ’55 but less pink

The nose is simple, broody with real meaty notes

The palate is slightly more sweet and a tad simple compared to the 55 – more pure fruit, less tannin, less complexity. Possibly more fun, but loses something with air. Any other time it would have delighted. In this company it’s a bit of a disappointment.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Graham’s 1955

The colour of crushed strawberries

The nose is tremendously elegant – strawberries, forest floor, rustic notes and then something deeper, darker, and slightly spicy with a touch of licorice

The palate is remarkable, vigorous, intense and with focused fruit. The tannins still grip but have a lithe quality. As it develops a dark backbone emerges, deep spices and black licorice serve as a foil to the fruit, balancing the sweetness and bringing remarkable length and complexity. A monumental wine.


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Dom Perignon 1988

Colour – pale gold with small, fast bubbles and hints of green at the edges

Nose – intense lemon nose with effervescent minerality on the edges, coated by light butterscotch notes as well

Palate – intensely juicy with tight citrus fruit. There is a mineral backbone that gives great structure and lends a bit of seriousness to the proceedings. There’s fun there as well – loads going on, in fact. Will become more luscious with time. Wonderful!


Tasted at Naughton 22/4/06

Moet & Chandon 1943

– last vintage that Moet & Dom Perignon were the same cuvee

Colour – unpolished brass with lingering sediment.

Nose – sherried

Palate – Weird; there are some notes of dry, aged Riesling – still technically wine but well passed its best. Oddly, the structure is still rigid and tight, it’s just everything else has fallen down around it. Would have been interesting to add some current vintage to give it a bit of mousse.

No stars

Tasted at Naughton 21/4/06

Chateau Ausone 1988

Colour is deep & bloody, but no amber on the edges, rather crimson

Nose has pure perfumed elegance, sweet herbs, cherries & blackberries

Palate – silk & velvet texture in perfect harmony with the quite luscious though elegant fruit – great mineral backbone to it – elegant structure with a whispering dovetail finish that lingers beautifully.

Very happy I have 2 more bottles.


Tasted at Naughton 21/4/06

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 1988

Colour – Pure gold, amazing brilliance with tiny, fast bubbles

Nose – Vibrant, slightly floral notes – light heather & hint of mint with a core of honeyed butter

Palate – Delightful, luscious, compelling juicy fruit – reminiscent of its blended sibling. Manages to be both serious & fun at the same time – great depth with a good, rich, mouth-filling finish. Will mature gracefully, but I fantastic now.


Tasted at Naughton 21/4/06

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Veuve Clicquot 1961

Colour: Tarnished brass with brilliant flecks of gold. Slow bubbles rise lazily from the bottom of the glass. A wine relaxed in its maturity.

Nose: A bit heady and dare I say past it? Quiet notes of mushroom but there's something a bit too aged about it.

Palate: Quite remarkable considering the nose. Rich, butter-fried wild mushrooms with hints of caramel and butterscotch. This is rich and mouth-filling and quite fantastic. Sadly, the finish shows too much age with some strange acidity kick-back coming through, though this may have been contained by food. When good, exceptional, but there are balance issues.

***(**) Probably 5 stars 10 years ago

Tasted 14/4/06 at Naughton

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ch Lagrange 1995

Bloody corked bloody bottle. Somewhere beneath the musty rubbish was probably a very good wine.

(taster grumbles to himself and pours an uncorked pint of Fuller's ESB)

Tasted 6/4/06 at Staithe House

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hermitage La Chapelle Jaboulet 1994

Nose has sweet cedar with a bit of smoke and deep, brooding cherry notes that fade slowly to a pot pourri of red fruit with a hint of dark chocolate.

The palate is both massive and elegant. Big, beautiful luscious juicy fruit balanced by a backbone of subtle, soft tannins - the purity of fruit is reminiscent of fine Burgundy, though the Rhone comes through in the focused finish that lasts for ages. With air loads of secondaries start coming through; roasted herbs, meat, licorice, all tightly knit and well structured. Pure, clean and elegant and quite wonderful with the lamb. I'm very, very happy I have another bottle.


Tasted 4/4/06 at Staithe House

Monday, April 03, 2006

Chateau Guiraud 1999

Nose - burnt honey & lime on the nose with rich, nose-filling caramel notes. There's a hint of summer hay as well.

Palate - An eclectic mixture of honey & burnt caramel with roast lime - good mid-palate richness and a lot of depth. Well balanced but unctuous and decadent to boot. Finish is long and more elegent than the mid-palate suggests


Tasted 1/4/06 at Staithe House

Chateau Domaine de L'Eglise 1995

Nose - bit of smoke on the nose with nice, plummy blackcurrant & forest floor and sweet herbs on the end.

Palate - there's a bit of acidity at the back - tamed by the food and really quite nice; classic claret and more left bank than right bank. Good backbone; the fruit seems a bit lean to start but opens up, especially with food. Goes from being rather good to fantastic. Second bottle opened seemed a bit more harmonious. Long finish with the tannins just beginning to soften. Long life


Tasted 1/4/06 at Staithe House

Chateau Coutet 1994

Nose has a real lemon sherbert tang with a dash of botrytis dirtiness and a touch of eucalyptus.

Palate has nicely balanced sugar and acidity - tangy lemon and lime notes with a bit of acacia honey sweetness - really good minerality running through it as well. Nice long finish - hints of spiciness. Good layered complexities; not overly unctuous, possibly a bit thin?


PS Really enjoyed it but my critical palate may be astray at the moment - 4 star enjoyment, 3 if I'm being strict.

Tasted 31/3/06 at Staithe House