Saturday, December 29, 2007

10 Year Old Boal Reserve, Barbeito

God I love Madeira. Really. Well, Barbeito's Madeiras certainly - I think other houses may be ruined for me as Barbeito's wines are just so bloody good. They set the bar so high that I doubt any of their wines that I've tasted would get less that 4 stars. So without further ado...

The colour is a mix of polished amber and brass. It seems to glow from within, but not in a creepy unnatural way.

The nose is incredibly nutty, with a touch of smoke and a hint of honey, maple syrup and dried fruit.

Maple syrup, pecans and almonds pervade the palate with quince jelly and a dusty saddlewood mouthfeel. There's a touch of the coast on the edges - a hint of salt. It is beautifully balanced - sweet but never cloying. Delightful.


Tasted at Luvians Bottleshop

End of Year Dinner @ Naughton

It's been a year of not-enough-fine-wine. In order to address this imbalance myself and some friends ate and drank some brilliant drops last night.

Taittinger Comte de Champagne 1971

Colour's a light brass with gold highlights. Still remarkably youthful with lively streamers of tiny, pinpoint perfect bubbles rising to the surface.

The nose is full of candied peaches and apricots with a spicy darkness on the edges - allspice, cloves and a touch of nutmeg.

The candied apricots really come through on the palate - it's a remarkable and lovely fruitiness. The mousse guides the structure of the palate beautifully. This definitely 'older' than when tasted last, but wiser too. A brilliant example of well-aged champagne. There's still an incredible lifting freshness at its core. Particularly suited to the exceptional recording of Gerschwin's Rhapsody in Blue playing in the background. Further air brings on a malty oatiness and fantastic texture with luxurious mouthfeel - rich, butter roasted chestnuts. The finish goes on and on.


Disaster - sommelier series vintage champagne glass loses fight with a Breitling and the kitchen table, criminally taking almost a full glass of this wonderful wine with it. Tragedy.

Musigny Grand Cru, JF Mugnier, 1995

Colour is pale ruby, pure to its core and truly brilliant,

The nose is heavenly - aromatic, perfumed and pervading - heady and sensuous. Classically something that you just can't put your finger on...

The palate starts quite big and boisterous - loud even, trumpeting away with vibrant, high tensile red fruit that gives way entirely to mouthfeel and sensuous sexiness. It coats the mouth and finishes with a gentle grip. As it opens it achieves harmony and balance - the opening no longer boisterous but beautiful. There's elegance, earth and beauty all rolled into one and as they all come together it is true vinous glory.


Ducru Beaucaillou 1983

Colour is SO dark for the age - deep purple with not fading on the rim.

The nose is tight - when it does open it's big but lacking definition. A faceful of black fruit and tar. 

The palate is much the same - big and brash with a tight tannic background that trips towards green. Sweet fruit and forest floor but not a lot in between. The fruit's a bit stewed. Nice, but not going to get any better from the taste of things. Outclassed this evening.


Taylor's 1963

Colour is tawny with a touch of rust. 

The nose is welcoming and more-ish - little fruit but lots of peripheries: mint, eucalyptus, damsons and sloes. Autumn fruit.

The palate is incredible - it lasts forever and there's much that goes on in the meantime. Luscious, silky, long and incredible. Bit hot on the end though.


Tasted at Naughton 28/12/2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2001

Colour - The perfect ruby of young-ish nebbiolo, still translucent at the core.

Nose - Heady and rustic with piercing red and black cherries surrounded in tar and rain on hot asphalt. Brooding. Brilliant.

Palate - Everything the nose promised and more. Still incredibly rustic but at the same time beautifully structured. The mouthfeel is leather and tar with woodspice and a bit of creaminess as well. Brilliant acidity and bright, clean fruit coming through more and more. Fantastic with the meal (Roast Mediterranean veg and sausage casserole) and just kept getting better as the night went on.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

A bit of a break and Louis Jadot Moulin-a-Vent Chateau Des Jacques 2004

There's no excuse for my long absence from tasting notes. I certainly haven't stopped drinking wine. I just haven't been writing it down. Apologies.

I recently tried a cheap Argentinian white - a Chenin- Semillon blend bottled under stelvin. It was corked. Well, it was tainted with TCA. I suppose it's not technically corked if it doesn't have a cork in it. I've been pondering that for awhile and will have a rather long rant about it in the near future.

In the meantime, I'm delighted to say that the Chateau des Jacques 2004 is tasting spectacular and should be drunk at every available opportunity. It's a perfect roast chicken wine. Soft raspberry and strawberry fruit with a nice earthy backbone. Rustic and elegant - certainly not your average Beaujolais.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques 2000 Domaine Denis Mortet

There's a touch of rust on the rim but the core is deep Burgundy - fantastic actually.

The nose is heady, meaty with a touch of blood before the strawberries come through, with a hint of cherries and black forest gateaux, cocoa shavings on the finish.

My goodness I love good Burgundy. All the fine aspects of the nose come through beautifully, the strawberries turning to cherry, fleshing out into the gateaux and cocoa - the structure is perfect, and almost imperceptible its so good. Very good acidity. Tannins are incredibly supple. Wonderful - drink now and for the next 5-10 years. In large quantities.

Sometimes I really miss Luvians.


Tasted 12/5/07 at Luvians Bottleshop, St Andrews

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Palandri Estate Merlot 2002

The colour's saturated purple. It's not soupy, but seems like it should be. Does that make sense? It's dense basically - big extraction.

Earthy, cooked plums dominate the nose but there's a touch of cassis there as well. Very sweet and a bit cloying.

Very juicy fruit on the palate - sweet plums and blackcurrant - dense and unctuous. The tannins are there, but not aggressive: they're soft but not delicate. It's mouthfilling and almost flabby but not. I actually really like it. And I don't generally like merlot unless it's from Pomerol and, well, expensive. But this isn't bad. And it's Australian. Weird.


Tasted 4/5/07 at Edinburgh Wine Merchants

Friday, May 04, 2007

Beaune 1er Cru Les Gréves 2002 Nicholas Potel

Classic Burgundian colour with a hint of lavender purple in the right light.

The nose is feminine, floral to start then juicy red fruit, crushed raspberries and cranberries followed by a touch of earth.

The palate is classic Beaune - fresh, luscious red summer fruits knit with tight structure - the fruit is all mid-palate, then there's the backbone - a bit of soft wood, supple tannins and a bit of green (cherry pips?) leading into a nice, though slightly short, finish. Good, but not great - expected more from the vintage.


Tasted at Edinburgh Wine Merchants 4/5/07

Monday, April 30, 2007

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997 Conti Constanti

Colour is brilliant crimson, giving off vivid light that dances on the table beneath it. Honest.

The nose is rose water, cherries and hot tar - it's a beguiling nose - there's a hint of bloodiness about it. It's an incredible mixture of rustic and elegant.

The palate is more of the same - ephemeral herbal and floral notes dancing around a pure, almost juicy, cherry and cranberry fruit with plenty of zing. There's tight acidity there as well with a good tannic backbone that's just beginning to soften. Amazing with the pasta (which was amazing itself if I'm totally honest).

It's interesting to mark the development of this wine. The first time I tried it was summer of '03, and it was awesome but rambunctious, needing time. The second time was in '05, and the palate was beautiful but the nose confused and almost unpleasant. This last time was delightful but I couldn't help but feel it was about to go to sleep for a wee while. I'll come back to it in '09.


Tasted at Naughton 28/4/07

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chateau Les Ormes de Pez 2003

Colour: Saturated, opaque purple, almost impenetrable.

Nose: Ripe fruit with a smoky edge. There's a hint of jam and heat.

Palate: Typical of the vintage. Incredibly ripe fruit knit well with the tannins and then the heat kicks in, burnt charcoal and toast ruins the finish. It's almost as though someone set fire to green tannins. I don't see those burnt edges toning down at all - the fruit may settle and the tannins may soften, but that burnt aspect, like green tannins, just won't go away.

Tasted 15/4/07 at Edinburgh Wine Merchants

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1996

Colour: Shows almost no sign of age. Intense brilliance through the crimson/black core.

Nose: Unlike anything I'm familiar with - INTENSE cassis and mint (blind - Mouton perhaps?) with wild fresh herbs, fresh chopped cedar - everything about it is alive, breathing.

Palate: Everything the nose promises and more - the fruit is remarkably pure and intense - cassis and blackberry in sweet harmony, backed by the mint, herbs and cedar. Such power and elegance. Behind it all is a blind spot - a darkness that needs time to open, as it matures the perfume and saddle leather and glories of age will arrive. One of the finest young wines I have ever drunk. One of the finest wines I've ever drunk.

Yes, that's a potential six stars. If Broadbent can do it, so can I.

Tasted at Naughton 03/07

Pol Roger Chardonnay 1996

Colour: vibrant gold with just a hint of green and rapid, tiny bubbles.

Nose: Apples, lime and clotted cream - there's a slight hint of toast and honey.

Palate: Fresh, youthful and vivacious, crisp fruit - apples with a touch of lemon. The mousse is exceptional, filling the mouth entirely with its fruit. There's a touch of minerality and toast on the edges leading to a long finish, excellent acidity and structure. A long and fantastic life ahead of it.


Tasted 03/07 at Naughton

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tinto da Anfora 2005

The colour is deep, a brooding, bruised purple with a touch of ruby on the rim.

The nose is brambles and forest floor with edges of roasted herbs and a hint of chocolate.

The palate is the best of the nose - this is an exceptionally well-rounded wine for the price. Rustic and mouthfilling without being overbearing. The bramble and cassis fruit are pure and juicy, without confection, held up by good acidity while backed by fantastic dark tones and well-rounded tannins. That dark edge seems to be a hallmark of well-made Portuguese reds, much like chocolate cherries mark well-made Italians.
The finish lingers - all for £7.25? Bargain.

Tasted several times at Bonnytoun Cottages over the last few weeks.


No, I have not stopped drinking wine. I just keep losing my tasting notes. Fortunately (or not) I've found a few kicking about and will have some updates later today.

On a side note, I'd just like to say that almost every 2003 vintage wine from the entire Eurasian continent suffered from the heat, and any smartarse wine writer that tries to tell you different is lying. The reds taste like burnt toast (honest - Italy, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône, you name it - burnt toast), and the whites taste like someone dropped a vodka depth charge in a glass of 5 Alive (or whatever fruit juice that particular varietal or blend most resembles). There are a few exceptions (Jadot), but it's such a minefield and the wines are so expensive that I don't think it's worth it. 01s are a bargain, as are 02s (be careful with Italy on the latter) and 04s are proving pleasant. Fuck 03. Overhyped and overpriced - a perennial disappointment.