The magnificent 1970 Trotanoy

1970 Chateau Trotanoy  (France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol)

Under the exceptional leadership of Moueix family (owner of Chateau Petrus and several top Chateaus in Pomerol), Trotanoy has become one of the greatest estates in Pomerol.

I am never disappointed by the consistent quality that Trotanoy can deliver. It can be backward in its youth, but when it is mature, it is hard to resist: refine, classy and pampering the palate withlushness and purity.

The core of this 1970 Trotanoy is still dark in color and full of energy that suggests this is a perfectly stored bottle. Constantly evolving and improving in the glass, silky smooth mouth feel with some super fine tannin kick in at the back which gives better dimension and grip. Ethereal finished. It will hold for at least another decade.

Tasting Note:

Opened for 60mins. Decanted and served. The color is absolutely showing much younger than a 42yrs old wine: dark garnet core with light brown hue. Stunning complex aromas with superb fragrance that is hard to dissect, everything is in a total harmony. Can the palate catch up? No when popped and poured but after decanted and have some aeration in the glass, this was gorgeous and every bit as great as the nose. Youthful, expansive and flirting with seductiveness, finesse and class. Light savory note on the entry bring out the sweet blackberry, blackcurrant and plummish fruits intermixed with dried herbs, earth, leather and crushed rock complexity with remarkable grip and tension. Very pure and concentrated, still a touch of firm tannin enhanced the grip that leads to the intense, detail finished that goes on and on. Incredible freshness. A complete wine that is in its peak and will easily last for at least another decade. Magnificence. 96pts
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Drinking Egon Muller with Egon Muller IV

I have attended Egon Muller‘s dinner two years ago and tasted some top class Rieslings and learned from the soft-spoken, charming Egon Muller IV. I’m glad that Mr. Egon Muller IV came back to Singapore and hosted another dinner to show us his Riesling from the 2010 vintage and also a Kab from 2004 and Spat from 1990 (special release from the cellar for this dinner).

I have only tasted a few 2010 so it is hard for me to say if this is a great vintage across the German region, but certainly one of the very great vintage for Egon Muller. The wines showed lovely purity, cleanliness, concentration and richness yet with amazing high but bright and ripe acidity and soft mineral for the right balance. Even the QBA is benefited in this vintage that offered incredible sap and weight. These wines will be really long live for sure.

Egon Muller

Egon Muller is a remarkable estate in Saar, holding 16 hectares of vineyard and out of 8.5 hectares are situated in the famous Scharzhofberger vineyard.

Slate soil and low yield is the key to produce one of the greatest Rieslings in the world. This soil is well-drained which is necessary for the weather (raining) and easy to heat up during the day (weather is cool in Germany) hence the healthier grapes and better ripeness. Wines from Egon Muller is not only complex and delicious, but also boosted with finesse and elegance. Did I mention they can age almost forever?

More often than not the wines are still taste fresh and dense after few days, seems never fade!

“The quality of a wine is 100% made in the vineyard. In the cellar it is not possible to arrive even at 101% but ti is no small achievement to be able to bring the full potential of the grapes into the bottle.” – Favorite saying of the late Egon Muller III.

Great vineyard delivers great raw material and plus the magical touch of Egon Muller, great wines are produce here.

Tasting Notes:

2010 Egon Müller Riesling QbA Scharzhof – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

  • Opened 30mins in advanced. Some sulphur note that blows away after some aeration and revealed surprisingly expressive aromas of grape fruits, white peaches, slate and soft mineral at the background. Very lively and refreshing on the palate with amazing weight, tension and sweetness level for a QBA, this could be easily mistaken as Kabinett in a colder vintage. The zesty acidity giving a good balance to the sweetness with good sense of raciness and leaving a clean, juicy medium length finish with sweet grapefruits and chalky mineral aftertate. Delicious. 87-88+

2010 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

  • Open 60mins in advanced. Broader and more serious on the nose compared to the QBA with lovely aromas of sweet lemon, grape fruits, pear and a touch of smokiness all wrapped with the elegant, seductive minerality and white floral scents. Lovely concentration of lemon, grapefruits, succulent on the intense palate with razor sharp focus and precision. The sweetness and acidity is well blended for the harmony and balance that giving the wine incredible sap and definition. I very much enjoy the purity and sappiness here. Long finish with remarkable tension and weight. The best Kabinett so far? 90-92+

2004 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

  • Alcohol :: 8.5%
    Opened for 75mins in advanced. Darker golden in the core with light green hue. It is always great to compare young and older Riesling from same producer. German Rieslings are so delicious with their lovely fruits when young that is hard to resist not to drink them young, hence it is very difficult to come across with aged German Rieslings in the market. This 7yrs old Kabinett has developed significant secondary note on both nose and palate, such as soft but expressive kerosene and smokiness with citrus, grapefruits and little touch of honey. The sweetness and primary fruits has mellowed down and revealed complex flavors and mineral on the palate. A little bit lean and smaller scale compared to the 2010 but still with great focus and tension. Medium length finished with earthy, almost nutty aftertaste. 88

2010 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese #4 – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

  • Opened for 2hrs. Wow, this is so delicious, definitely a one of the best Spatlese I have ever tasted. Surprisingly expressive on both nose and palate. The complex aromas is high tone, intense, broad yet focus. The nose loaded with perfume yellow and white floral scents along with sweet peaches, lemon, pear, melon complex with deep chalky mineral, smoke and herbs. The super intense palate is stunningly rich and concentrated that delivered immense depth and sappiness, yet wonderfully delineated with great purity, complexity and precision. Needless to say, the tension and harmony here is absolutely top class. The insanely long finish just goes on and on, with mandarin peel and soft elegant mineral aftertaste. Drop dead delicious. This has great future and will develop better nuances and complexity effortlessly for over a decade or more. 93-95

1990 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese #25 – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

  • Double decanted for 60mins. The initial funkiness right out of the bottle disappeared after double decanted. The high tone but soft Kerosene note dominated the matured bouquet. This is another reason why some people doesn’t like their Riesling being too aged as people is either hate or love this kind of aroma. However, I kinda like it and this showed the multi-faceted of Riesling. The primary sweetness has mostly subdued and revealed great complexity of mineral, kerosene, citrus fruits, crush stone, herbs and dried white flowers, so expressive and focus. The palate is almost bone dry now, only a little touch of sweet citrus lemon fruits that wrapped in a complex minerality package along with inner perfume of kerosene. Almost creamy mouth feel, with nut oil, orange peel bitterness and cheesy aftertaste that lingered at the medium length finish. Only thing to nail is the structured has mostly mellow down and lack a bit of tension to be really top outstanding. 90

2010 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese #6 – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer

  • Alcohol :: 8%
    Opened for 2.5hrs. The nose was painfully tight right out of the bottle but the palate is showing well, though a little bit restraint on the finish. The 2.5hrs of aeration certainly help, nose was far more expressive that loaded with tons of sweet peaches, dried apricot, lemon, a touch of Bortrytis spiciness and very refreshing still for such level of sweetness. Very deep and complex with huge chalky mineral, yellow flower at the background along with herbs, nut oil and honey. Fullish, expansive and almost explosive on the super intense palate that possess the weight of a BA and remained feather light on its feet. The wine flowed onto the palate with great depth, purity and detail layered. Wave after wave of sweet yellow fruits, honey, herbs, spices and almost oily mouth feel that immediately fill out the mouth together with tons of soft elegant mineral, bright acidity spine that formed this absolutely seductive, elegant Auslese. The length is incredible rich, long and persistent, most importantly, very clean and pure! This too has great future and will develop better nuances and complexity effortlessly for over 2decades or more. 94-96+
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Theme: Nothing but CDP’s Prestige Cuvee

Theme : Special Cuvee CDPs.

A tribute to Rhone’s God, Mr. A. After our Rhone dinner early this year, we continue with a CDP dinner which the line up is even more superior. 2000 Secret de Sabon was the WOTN for almost everyone, with 2000 Capo and 2000 Rayas followed closely. But hey, I’m splitting hair here as almost every single wine expressed well with top notch quality (after some really long preparation). This is one of the most memorable dinner for sure.

Flight 1: CDP Blancs I was surprised that the Pegau blanc was still so fresh and lively! However, the Beauscastel Roussanne VV was the real star of the night! 2001 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Réservée – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 13.5% Light golden that display refreshing aromas of honey, sea breeze, almond, pear and melon. A little bit oily at entry but quickly covered by the crisp acidity and elegant white and yellow fruits with lots of mineral at the background. Though small scale, but this has really good focus, freshness and transparency to it with gentle grip and energy. Long, detail finish with almond, mineral aftertaste. 89

2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 13.5% Dark golden. WOW, this is powerful! Compared to the more restraint Pegau Blanc, this is definitely a more sexy, open knit juice. So much depth and complexity on both nose and palate. Marmalade, honeycomb, honeysuckle, caramelize apple intermixed with perfume chrysanthemum, mineral and tons of yellow fruits that formed the superb complex, intense aromas that is almost impenetrable. Opulent and succulent on the palate that loaded with ripe yellow fruits, almond, dried herbs and mineral with excellent depth, power and lushness. Quite oily on the mid palate but this remain highly focus and delineated. I really like the purity and energy here, it coated the tongue gently and refuse to let go and move on to the incredibly long finish that is surprisingly clean with stunning persistent. This is no doubt the Montrachet of Southern France. Not at its peak yet, another 3-5yrs perhaps? 93-94+

Flight 2: 2000s

The 2000 is relatively more friendly compared to the rest hence the top-3 WOTN all from this flight.

Domaine Roger Sabon Secret des Sabon was the most approachable wine as well as offer most finesse.

Chateau Rayas was delicious but not as good as the previous bottle.

Domaine Pegau cuvee Capo was… amazing but not drinking at its peak yet, hence rank 2.

Domaine Beauscastel cuvee Hommage…. sigh….

2000 Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Secret des Sabon – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 15% Popped 3hrs in advanced. My first secret! Vibrant, medium ruby red. Nose is powerful and intense, slightly lower tone than the Rayas with herbs, spices, dark chocolate, charcoal, grill meat as well as cherry liquor and blackcurrant. Full bodied, highly concentrated sweet dark fruits along with spices, smoke meat, roasted herbs that is complex and wonderfully balance and flirting with impeccable precision and finesse. Very impact and expansive on the palate with good lushness, purity and freshness. The detail finished is stunningly long, almost endless with dried fig paste, lots of haw flakes aftertaste. This great juice is full of finesse and is hauntingly delicious and complete, so much so that almost everyone vote this as their WOTN, including myself. 94

2000 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 14% Popped 3hrs in advanced. Light bricking red. The nose is stunningly expressive and aromatic with perfume lavender and roses, sweet red cherry and raspberry, garrigue and spice box. It is always amazing why there is so much intensity and richness on this light brick red. Detail layer of sweet candy, candied red cherry, herbs, spices and mineral intermixed with the inner perfume of roses and lavender for the complex, lush mouth feel with incredible lift and vivacity. The low-medium level of very fine tannin lending good grip at the long finish. This is delicious for sure and I can’t help but keep sniffing the intoxicating aromas however the overall transition of the palate as well as depth is not as fantastic as the previous bottle. 93

2000 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 15.5% Popped 3hrs in advanced and decanted for 3hrs. My first capo. Some of my friend who had the 2007 earlier this year was rather disappointed. However, quoted by them, this is a much better wine in term of overall profile. Indeed, this is yet another stunning juice tonight. Dark ruby red with pink rim. Tons of herbs, garrigue, orange peel, kirsch liquor and licorice surrounded by smoke meat, charcoal, dried fig paste, raspberry and tons of dark fruits that added additional breadth and depth to the already complex aroma profile. Very sweet on the entry but with incredibly bright acid for the freshness and focus and continue to gain weight on the superb intense mid palate that bring out the depth and structured. The tannin is barely noticeable as the concentration here is enormous that completely buffer of the sweet tannin. Earth, mushroom with a little bit of heat at the super long, sweet and spicy infused finish. With time, the heat disappeared and offer even better precision and purity. While it is excellent now, this will need many years to really hit the peaks. 95-97

2000 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Sadly, this wine was corked. What a shame! Our planned was to compare this and the Capo. Duh!

Flight 3: 2006s

2006 is definitely a very good vintage in CDP, that’s all I can say:

– Henri Bonneau Celestins – Purity, stylish

Domaine de la Mordoree Reine des Bois – Power, balance

Clos des Papes  – Lush and more forward 2006 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 15.2% Decanted for 9hrs. Dark ruby red with purplish hue. Licorice, garrigue, dark fruits, crushed stone and spice box, this is quite complex but not really expressive. Full bodied but quite approachable thanks to the enormous concentration of sweet dark fruits as well as sweet tannin. This has very good depth but perhaps lack a little bit of complexity as well as dimension compare to some other wines tonight. I pretty enjoy the powerful, lush mouth feel with sweet taste along with incredible freshness and focus. Dried fig paste, sweet candy at the very long finish with herbs and spices. Though this is over-shadowed by some other wines tonight, this still will be an excellent juice if serve by itself. 91

2006 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Célestins – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 14.5% Popped one day in advanced and decanted for 3hrs. This vibrant medium ruby red reveal gorgeous aromas of licorice, pepper, garrigue, sweet cherry, kirsch and wrapped in a high tone floral and wildness. Very rich and intense, everything is wrapped in such as compact package. This is similar to the 2001, very powerful but with the sense of restraint and tension. The sweet dark fruits was pure along with herbs, mineral, tea leaves that covered by the massive level of very fine tannin at the moment. Despite of the massive structured and concentration, this large scale Celestine offer great depth, purity, energy as well as razor sharp precision that lead to the very long and fine finish. This is not really showing today despite the long aeration. With the materials, 10-15yrs down the road, this will surely turn into something truly astonishing. Patience is much needed. 93-95

2006 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 15% Popped for 5hrs. WOW, yet another power house. This has astonishing intensity that immediately coated the mouth. The powerful, tannic backbone formed the solid structured that is impossible to penetrate with the sweet dark fruits having buried underneath, as well as mushroom, herbs, kirsch and mineral. This has enormous power to it but relatively light on its feet with super long finish with bitter sweet cocoa aftertaste, thanks to the lively acidity as well as mineral for the freshness and lift. Wow! I”m really impress by the quality of this wine, even more so when the price is not going to break the bank like Beaucastel Hommage / Bonneau Celestin does. 92-94

Flight 4: 2007s

2007 is no a doubt a great vintage in CDP, but also some hit and miss here…..

Domaine Janasse cuvee VV – One of my all time favorite!

Chateau Simian cuvee d’Hippolyte – Consistently disappointing…

2007 Château Simian Châteauneuf-du-Pape les Grandes Grenachieres d’Hippolyte – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 16% Decanted for 8-9hrs. This wine just painfully sweet and alcoholic this round, despite being decanted for at least 9hrs. Kirsch liquor, overly sweet dark fruits and lots of roasted herbs all wrapped in a very alcoholic profile. It was highly concentrated on the palate with unbelievable sweet. Fleshy, opulent and voluptuous that lacks of the structured and acidity for a right balance and lift. This was rather rough and heavy when the tannin kick in right after mid palate, the worst of the night. Finished is long and powerful, as well as very alcoholic with heat. 98pts? Hmm…. 88?

2007 Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 15.5% Popped one day in advanced and decanted for 3hrs. Power and highly intense, but rather tight and shy which only reveal aromas of sweet dark cherry and licorice, but one can sense there is a lot material hiding underneath. Huge and sweet on the palate, but with amazing freshness, purity as well as firm structured for the balance. Quite light on its feet with finesse for a wine with such power and concentration. Endless layer of sweet dark fruits and licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, camphor and roasted meat on the mid palate with attractive inner perfume which really impressed me. The tannin is well control in silky form, and long massive finish that offer seductive juiciness and richness. This too will need at least 7-10yrs to really hit its drinking window. 94-96+

Flight 5: 2003 Some wines did extremely well in 2003 but some suffer from the heat. Sadly, the Cos Saint Jean cuvee Ex Machina is belong to the latter.

2003 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Deus-Ex Machina – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 14.5% Popped and poured and this reveal complex aromas of herbs, garrigue, spices as well as Kirsch. Sweet on the palate but with fine silky tannin and structured to support that leads to the very long finish with just a trace of alcohol heat, of which is acceptable. Poured into (with Vinturi) decanter with the wine rest in it for about 3hrs. The nose was rather alcoholic with powerful cherry liquor, roasted herbs and nail polished. Sweet and highly concentrated on the palate but this is rather lack of the structured and definition. Sweet, heavy and alcoholic that dominated the palate with sweet, alcoholic finish. 89?

Flight 6: 2005s 2005, backward, structured and power that need decades to come around. Both Hommage and Domaine Pierre Usseglio cuvee Deux Freres proved that….

2005 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol :: 14.5% Popped one day in advanced and decanted for 3.5hrs. Dark ruby with purplish hue. The nose is powerful and pretty tight still: soy sauce, licorice, garrigue and fruits that bury underneath. Massive on the palate with solid structured and that hiding the sweet dark fruits, smoke meat and roasted herbs. This monstrous wine possess immense power in it yet with such detail, layer, purity and focus along with excellent freshness and roundness that carry on to the very fine, intensely long finish. This stunning juice will need min 10yrs to really come around. Patience! 94-96+

2005 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • Alcohol : 15% WOW, what a behemoth like structured and unreal power that you must tasted to believe. Nose was superb intense and deep, coffee, dark chocolate, roasted meat and herbs with sweet dark cherry and blackcurrant fruits. This has massive concentration and richness that coated the entire mouth and tongue immediately with tons of sweet dark fruits and roasted herbs kick in later. Unreal power and concentration yet with very firm structured and tannin for the right balance and precision. This is driven by power yet well in-check. The finished is long and powerful, lingering. Definitely the most structured wine tonight and still a baby even after open for a day and decanted for 4hrs. This will need at least 15yrs……. 93-95

Flight 7: Royal Tokaji

A Royal Tokaji Aszu Essencia to end… lovely.

1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Aszú Essencia – Hungary, Hegyalja, Tokaji

  • Alcohol :: 7% Popped 5hrs in advanced. This deep golden liquid display intensely sweet aromas of honey coated dried apricot and peaches along with autumn leaves and Bortrytis note. Still rather primary on the palate, deeply concentrated with beautiful balance. However, this is actually quite monolithic now, not expressive and only offer sweet intense fruits on the palate that almost viscous in texture. The finish is long and clean though. I don’t know how long it needs to take to evolve, but for sure will be more than a decade. 90

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2011 – Wine Bash of the Year

Line Up

Wine bash 2011 organized by KT and Gary. KT has generously popped a few excellent aged wines for us with many more great wines from the wine kakis. YLB kindly help to arrange a special menu for tonight, excellent food indeed. Quoted from one of the kakis: I must have done something right to have the privilege to be included in this dinner and tasted so many great wines! Thanks everyone and Happy New year!

While I’m not sure if this is my last wine dinner in 2011, I’m confidence to say that tonight dinner is definitely the wine dinner of the year, and will stay in my memory for the rest of my life. Food was great, but even better was the company and wines. I have no regret to my wine journey in 2011 and hopefully in 2012 will be better, though will be tough…..

1970 Maison Leroy Musigny & 1976 Maison Leroy Romanee St-Vivant

Flight 1 – 70s Leroy

1970 Maison Leroy Musigny – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    Popped and poured. Cork was in perfect condition, no sign of leakage. Light brick red, light rim. The nose was pretty. Started off soft but seductive, complex and keep getting better with air. Kaleidoscopic is the word as the aromas keep emerging in the glass with sweet plum, brambly fruits and fig that intermixed with perfume dried floral, sandalwood, damp forest floor, mushroom and underlying caramel that wrapped in a superb perfume and complex package. Sweet and intense, in fact, super intense with incredible liveliness and velvety texture. This has complex layer of bright red cherry and blackberry fruits, mineral, mushroom, forest floor, autumn leaf and dried tea leave that goes on with a tiny touch of tannic grip that expand across the palate with amazing dimension, focus and precision with persistently long, driving finish with mocha like aftertaste that keep lingering and refuse to let go. This is so elegance, classy and in a total harmony that put one into contemplation to get what’s this wine could offer. Delicious. (93pts)

1976 Maison Leroy Romanée St. Vivant – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Popped and poured into decanter. Wine slipped through the cork. Very light ruby core with brown rim. This has higher tone aromas than the Musigny and equally complex: mineral, autumn leave, wild funkiness, green apple, dark cherry fruits, salted plum, old aromas but have this freshness in the core for the lift. Strangely, I didn’t get the spices from both nose and palate. On the palate this was tasted a little bit old at first, but with more air, the wine getting more energetic with brighter profile. Complex flavors of salted plum, sweet cherry, mushroom, tea leaves and saline note goes through palate along with some harsh tannin that bring out the bitterness and slight rough edge but also given better grip. This is a shiny wine that will grab your attention immediately, totally different profile compared to the quieter Musigny. Nevertheless, both were excellent wines. With even longer aeration, the palate become sweeter and able to buffer off (though not completely) some bitterness from the tannin for a better mouth feel. I believe this is the tannin character of 1976. Excellent finished with saline note and tea leaves aftertaste, though not as long and precise as the Musigny. Last sip, a mouthful one that is seriously good with almost explosive like finish. (92pts)

(En Magnum) 1990 Krug Clos du Mesnil & 1990 Salon

(En Magnum) 1990 Krug Clos du Mesnil & 1990 Salon

Flight 2 – 1990 Champagne en magnum

1990 Krug Champagne Clos du Mesnil – France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne

  • Alcohol :: 12%
    En magnum. Popped and poured. What should I say? Krug is krug, a superstar that can grab everyone attention immediately and effortlessly. This vibrant medium golden Champagne is still youthful, with persistent fine bubble. The nose is powerful, intense and restraint. Yeasty, honey, green apple, pear laced on a solid bed of mineral, crushed stone and herbs with high tone yellow floral on the background. With time, nut and sweet yellow fruits note emerged. Incredibly powerful and muscular for a Blanc de Blanc, it immediately coated the mouth and palate, along with fine bubbly bring out the explosive impact that leave a numb feeling on the palate. The wine is trying to tell me that he is still a baby, you drink me now, I bite you! However, the structured started to mellow down at the end of the dinner that revealed impressive complexity and purity with intense herbs, sweet yellow and white fruits and mineral all supported firmly by the solid, almost impenetrable ripe acidic backbone that formed the endless layer of immense, expansive mouth feel yet with great focus. The lush, sweet, massive finish has insane grip on the back palate. This will need at least another 15yrs to hit the peak. Oh my, the power of Krug. 95-97 (95pts)

1990 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs – France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne

  • Alcohol :: 12.5%
    En Magnum. Popped and poured. Compared to the immediately engaging Krug, the Salon really started slow….. Nose was ok, palate was tight and pretty tasteless. Your patience on this wine will return with great reward. Similar to Krug, the Salon unfolded herself after 2hrs in the glass. The only different was Salon gently removed her mysterious mask and reveal the perfect features, Krug was break through the hard shell with forced. Still painfully young, with soft but focus aromas of yeast, green apple, fresh white bread and rich mineral at the background. With time, perfume floral scent emerged and showed superb perfume and great complexity. The ultra fine bubble gently coated the palate and bring out the complex, detail layers with out of the chart focus and precision, immense richness and intensity but feather light on the palate, with seductiveness, finesse, elegance and polished texture. A little bit of nuttiness and salinity added better dimension and depth. The super long finish is very fine, detail and fresh with touch of restraint and incredible tension. I really enjoy this quiet, charming Salon. This will continue to develop in the bottle at least another decade if not two, effortlessly. 95-97 (95pts)

Flight 3 – 85 Clos de Tart and 78 DRC GE

1985 Clos de Tart

1985 Mommessin Clos de Tart – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de Tart Grand Cru

  • Bottle breath for 60mins. Color was bright ruby core with just a bit of brownish at the rim. First sniffed, sour cherry dominated the nose with sweetness underneath that needs time to surface. With time, sweet red and dark cherry aromas emerged with additional layer of high tone Asian spices that slowly soared from the glass along with forest floor, mineral, autumn leave and a touch of wildness that sum up the superb perfume and complex with unbelievable refreshing aromas for such an old wine. Still so youthful on the palate, in fact a little bit tight still. It is so silky in texture that flowed onto the palate with care, light on its feet despite the amazing intensity and depth. This has incredible grip, tension with razor sharp precision and harmony that showing off the top class purity and endless complexity (though not as much secondary nuances compared to the 61 Vogue Musigny, but this will eventually reach there, after another 10-15yrs of age) of sweet dark fruits, salinity, meatiness and explosively seductive spiciness. Lively, vibrant, succulent and super long finish that is unreal with a touch of dark chocolate, dried herbs and spices aftertaste. I’m in love. The wine continue to evolve in the glass even after 2hrs: better intensity, lushness. The deliciousness is off the chart. 96-97 (96pts)

1978 DRC Grands Echezeaux

1978 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru

  • Popped and poured, ullarge was a bit low but the condition of this bottle is absolutely pristine. Dark brownish in colour. This has very unique bouquet, complex aromas of assortment plum (salted, sweet preserve, sour) with secondary note of autumn leaves, mineral, tea leaves and a touch of funkiness that blew off with air. Similar to the 76 Leroy RSV, this tasted a little bit old and lean at first but continue to put on weight and brighten up with better intensity of fruits and liveliness. This has seductive dark fruits sweetness, salinity and meatiness sailing on the palate along with enticing secondary flavours that formed the complex and lush mouth feel. Long finish with sweet dark fruits, bitter sweet cocoa and creamy vanilla aftertaste. This is a outstanding wine but lack a bit of the finesse to be really extraordinary. (94pts)

1969 Chateau Margaux & 1982 Chateau Haut Brion

Flight 4 – duo 1st Growth

1969 Château Margaux – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

  • Popped and poured. Medium ruby core with brick rim. The level is good, corked was a bit soaked through, but generally the condition is excellent. Indeed, the wine showed really well, so much so that the quality of this wine from such a weak vintage impressed everyone. Lively, with the amazing perfume aromas that only Margaux is capable to offer: sweet cassis, violet, cedar, tobacco, soft cigar box all wrapped in a highly focus and captivating aromas profile. While this is a little bit lean, this is still bright and drinking very nicely. Elegance on the palate with amazing liveliness and medium complexity of blackberry, floral, earth, mushroom and salted plum with medium length, juicy finish. This showed surprisingly well. The magic of 1st growth Terroir? (91pts)

1982 Château Haut-Brion – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

  • Popped and poured. Dark ruby red with light brown hue, bright! The nose was awesome, palate showed good depth and complexity but the finished is clipped at first. Without any worried, the wine continued to gain weight with better transition between mid palate and finish after getting more air. Captivating aromas of gravel, scotch earth, sweet cigar box and tobacco perfectly intermixed with Asian spices, violet, dried roses, creme de cassis and touch of refreshing mineral for the lift, this was every bit as good as the Burgs tonight! Aged Bordeaux rock! Stunningly fresh and intense on the palate, with layer and layer of sweet cassis, blackberry, herbs, tobacco, spices intermixed with inner perfume of violet. The palate is getting lusher and silkier for the enticing, sappy mouth feel. There were still some very fine tannin for better grip as well as further development for the next 3-5yrs. The finish is full of succulent juicy sweet dark fruits and tobacco, very long and lingering. This is a top class Bordeaux, perhaps just a touch smaller scale than the very best one. Still, amazingly delicious. (94pts)

1980 & 1989 Guigal La Landonne

Flight 5 – The fame Guigal La Las

1980 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

  • Popped and poured. Milky dark ruby with brown rim. Seriously, the color is not really appetizing, but wow! What a nose and palate! Incredible perfume and complex, roasted herbs, dried fig, dark currant and plum fruits that added better breadth and depth with pepper, earth, roasted meat and a whiff of dried flower. The palate is even better: such intensity and richness, with sweet cassis and plum fruits expand on the palate along with complex spiciness, roasted meat, earthiness that went on to the palate with stunning drive and persistent. The sweetness melted in the mouth that is really touched my heart, so seductive! 1980 is not a great vintage but I have never had a Guigal La La from a normal vintage that didn’t impress me. I can’t believe this is aging so graciously and still so lively, for a 31yrs old wine, from a normal vintage. This classy juicy is getting sweeter and lusher yet remain ed highly focus and precise. This pair perfectly with the lamb shoulder too. While this doesn’t has the depth or scale of the 1989, the pedigree and harmony is all the same. Stunning!! (94pts)

1989 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne – France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Bottle breath for 5hrs. Very dark ruby core with light brick red. The nose is truly sweet and seductive, intoxicating! Very intense and high tone, stunningly perfume, complex and airy: blackcurrant, plum, earth, star anise, cloves and perfume floral all wrapped in a harmonious package. This 22yrs old La Ladonne still pretty tight on the palate, with incredible concentration and depth all cloaked in a massive structured and absolutely polished, silky texture. Even more incredible is this wine has the perfect balance and precision for the power without weight mouth feel. Fresh, vibrant, lots of concentrated sweet dark fruits with soft, elegant mineral for the lift. The long finish goes on and on, unstoppable with sweet cocoa, dark chocolate and mineral that keep lingering at the end. Still youthful yet so complete. Extraordinary. This has long life ahead. 95-97 (95pts)

1961 Vogue Musigny

Flight 6 – The lone 61 Vogue (Georges Roumier) Musigny

1961 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru 

  • Popped and poured. Slightly milky brownish with light core. The level is a bit low but I believe this is acceptable for a 50yrs old wine. 1st sniffed and sipped confirmed the wine is in perfect shape. High tone, fragrance dried floral aroma began the memorable journey, astonishing complexity all wrapped in a perfectly harmonious package that is hard to dissect: nuttiness, fresh herbs, blackcurrant, pear and a lots more! Still amazingly rich and bright with great mid palate sap, stunning depth and wonderfully structured and layered. The tannin is still there, but refine and silky all integrated together with the sweet red and dark fruits, bitter sweet cocoa, dried herbs, matured secondary flavors and nuances to form the luscious, elegant and classy mouth feel. This still possess the material to go further though I’m really enjoy what it is now. Super long finish with great persistent and tension. 50yrs old? Oh my, Magnificent! (96pts)

1989 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Brand Vendange Tardive

Flight 7 – Aged Zind Humbrecht Brand

1989 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Brand Vendange Tardive – France, Alsace, Turckheim, Alsace Grand Cru AOC 

  • Always a pleasure to end a wine dinner with a glass of sweet wine. I think this is my very first old Alsace Brand. The nose is expressive and complex, with soft petroleum note dominating the nose with peaches, tea leaves and mineral earthiness. The sweetness has mellowed down with aged but with better nuances. A little bit sweet on the entry but quickly turn into dry, clean intense at the mid palate that offer white peach, lemon and a touch of herbs. Very clean on the finish with touch of spiciness. This is good, but obviously overwhelming by all the previous wines. (89 pts.)
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Chateau Montrose vertical tasting with Nicolas Glumineau

Chateau Montrose – Line Up
Chateau Montrose – Line Up

Bordeaux is in south west of France and divided into left and right bank by Gironde river. Right bank has lots of clay in the soil so mainly planted with Merlot and left bank has lots of gravel, which is coming from the mountain from thousands years ago that is perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chateau Montrose, classified as 2nd growth in 1855 Bordeaux classification, is located at St-Estephe, is one of the greatest appellations in Bordeaux left bank along with Margaux, Pauillac and St-Julien.

The usual blend of Montrose consisted 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet France and 1% Petit Verdot. One can expect with such high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, Montrose is a muscular wine with great structured that needed decades to get fully matured and one it does, you will expect nothing but a great wine in the glass.

NIcolas Glumineau

I’m glad to join this vertical tasting of Chateau Montrose, from vintage 2003 – 2009, conducting by with the new technical director, Nicolas Glumineau (a charming, humble and knowledgeable gentleman). This is simply the most comprehensive, educational tasting to understand the wines of Chateau Montrose. Nicolas Glumineau taken over this role in 2006 and 2007 is his 1st vintage in here. Therefore, this is also a great chance to compare the style and quality of the wines pre and current Nicolas Glumineau era.

1989, 1990, 2003 & 2005 are the best vintages in 1980s and 2000s. It is definitely a tough job for Nicolas for the role of technical director of this great Chateau, could he remains the exceptional quality of Montrose and surpass these great vintages? The answer is positive.

I’ve the opportunity to have a short conversation with Nicolas Glumineau on how he maintains the consistent quality of the wines in Montrose and the trend of Biodynamic practice inBordeaux. Nicolas Glumineau commented that the winemaking is pretty much the same here. In order to produce great wine, he spends more time in the vineyard as he believes that great wine is made from the vineyard. He is especially obsessed on the quality of the tannin. In order to have silky, sweet tannin (optimum ripeness of fruits is a must ) instead of massive but rough or green, astringent tannin.

NIcolas Glumineau

Biodynamic or Organic wise, Nicolas Glumineau commented that it is hard to achieve in Bordeaux and he has no intension to apply to his vines, yet. This is mainly because Bordeaux is having Atlantic micro climate. It is pretty wet and cold here which resulted in rot, mildew etc easily hence treatment is necessary according to the situation. In a great year like 2009, 2010, this approach is possible but not a problem vintage like 2004, 2007.

In contrast to Burgundy, it is easier as Burgundy enjoy continental climate which is drier than Bordeaux hence rot, mildew etc is less prominent hence Biodynanic or Organic can be done here.

Chateau Montrose 2004 & 2006

Flight 1: Pre Nicolas Glumineau era – 2004 & 2006

Both 2004 & 2006 are good but not great vintages, yet both showing very good quality. The 2004 is drinking beautifully now while the 2006 is showing well today, it needs at least another 5yrs to be in its drinking window.

1. 2004 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol :: 13%
  • Beautiful dak ruby red with light purplish rim, not a sign of bricking or brownish. Quite powerful nose with smoke, pencil lead, tobacco, cedar, ash, blackcurrant, blackberry and touch of spiciness, this is indeed very expressive. High acid entry with good dose of new wood but quickly buffered by sweet dark fruits at the background. A little bit lean but this has lots of power beneath. Light to medium level of fine grained, but a little bit hard tannin for better grip with dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean bitterness toward the long lingering finish with spicy aftertaste. With time, this wine showing more lushness and completeness. Good to drink now and will last at least another decade or more. (88pts)

2. 2006 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol :: 12.5%
  • The aroma profile here is a little bit tighter and darker. Intense aromas of savoury meatiness and mint intermixed with blackberry, tobacco and ink. This has better intensity and concentration than the 2004 with bright acidity and firm but very fine tannin backbone. Overall this is more complete wine that the 2004 with decent depth and scale. This too has very good acid grip and lushness on the long finish with mineral, touch of spiciness, bitter sweet cocoa and dark chocolate. Yet another beautiful wine that is drinking well, though not as well as the 04 now but the material here is more complete and will eventually surpass the 2004 in years to come. 90-92+ (90pts)

Chateau Montrose 2007 & 2008

Flight 2: Nicolas Glumineau era – 2007 & 2008

Ok, now let’s taste how the wines under the leadership of Nicolas Glumineau are. I would say the style is pretty much the same but perhaps the tannin and overall texture is finer. Even for a weak vintage like 2007 and apparently the 1st vintage of Nicolas, showing off the great quality, thanks to the strict work in the vineyard and attention to detail winemaking process.

3. 2007 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol ::12.5%
  • Bright and delicate on the nose with more direct aromatic, very different compared to the previous bottle. Pencil shaving, red and dark fruits, floral, brown sugar and mineral, not big scale but intense. This is delicious! Good freshness, transparency, sweetness of red and dark fruits for the light lush mouth feel. This has better complexity and concentration than 04 and noticeably silkier tannin. The medium level of silky, firm tannin already integrated well together with the fine acid backbone. Finished is long with mineral, milk chocolate and cocoa aftertaste. Pretty! This still needs several years to reach full maturity. 90-92+ (90pts)

Nicolas Glumineau – Wines from right bank (Merlot) apply more new oak for extract more tannin, flavours and aromas while left bank (Cabernet Sauvignon) has a lot of tannin and aromatic so don’t need to apply high % of new oak.

4. 2008 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol :: 13%
  • The nose is tighter with intense spiciness at the background, sweet dark and red fruits in the core accompany by smoke, pencil leads all wrapped in a serious, mocha like package. Full bodied, tannic and structured but very fine and not intrusive at all. Not perfectly polish but this has good roundness with endless layer of sweet dark fruits, tobacco, sandalwood and mineral. I especially like the transparency and freshness of this juice. This is a delicious, well made juice that offers very long finish with finesse. The harmony here is better than the last showing, lovely! 91-93 (91pts)

The legendary trio of Chateau Montrose - 2003, 2005 & 2009

Flight 3 – The legendary trio – 2003,2005 & 2009

5. 2009 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol :: 14%
  • Wow wow wow! This is absolutely gorgeous. The finest, most seductive Montrose I have ever had (the best young Bordeaux and definitely one of the best Bordeaux too!), simply off the chart. To emphasize that, this is a complete wine even at this age with incredibly finesse and class and most of us thought this was a better wine than both 2003 & 2005. As expected the nose is still pretty tight but deep and complex: mineral, tobacco, cigar box, sandalwood with underlying sweet dark fruits and violet. Full bodied, incredible depth and complexity bring out by endless layer of succulent sweet dark fruits, cheese, sandalwood, mocca, mineral and tobacco. Everything is in the right place for the best harmony. This is so lush and exotic in the mouth with stunning richness, purity and inner perfume of violet and roses, yet doesn’t lack of the freshness, elegance and finesse. The long finish is unreal! I can’t help but ask for more. 96-97+ (96pts)

Nicolas Glumineau – No press wine has added in 2009 as the wine is really healthy and full of juiciness, punch, charm and exotic.

6. 2005 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol :: 13%
  • I was surprised how expressive the nose was: the aroma is nothing but exotic and complex:  tobacco, sandalwood, smoke meat, leather, creme de cassis, blackcurrant liquor, mushroom and floral at the background. Structured, highly intense and powerful but well delineated and refine. This has superb sappiness on the palate with endless layer of sweet dark fruits, mineral and dry extract all wrapped in an ultra fine package. Massive level of tannin here, but the tannin is chewy, sweet along with firm polished structured that will permit it to continue evolve for the next 2decades. The finish was a little bit tight but offer better juiciness and great length when it opened up more. 94-95 (94pts)

7. 2003 Château Montrose (France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe)

  • Alcohol :: 13%
  • The nose is sweet and seductive the complex aromas of mocha, blackcurrant liquor, perfume violet and lily, graphite, smoke meat and tobacco leaf. 2003 is a really hot year hence some of the wines suffered from high alcohol and lack of freshness. However, this is not the case for Montrose. The 2003 has massive concentration of succulent sweet ripe fruits but has this incredible purity and freshness for the lift and definition. The palate is superb intense, powerful but well rounded and lush. The tannin here is massive but it is sweet and polished that expand across the palate with incredible grip and dimension. The finish is a bit disjointed and turned a little bit softer than 05 & 09 which also display charming sweetness of dark fruits and mocha like aftertaste. This will need decade in the bottle to develop. 92-94+? (92pts)
After the tasting with Nicolas Glumineau, I’m confidcence to say that  he does a great job in Chateau Montrose and Montrose will only seen a better future. Bravo!

Nicolas Glumineau & Lawrence

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~ 1998 Chambolle Musignys & 2005 Montrachet ~

A friend who planning a simple dinner with 6bottles of 98s Chambolle turned out to have 8bottles with a young vine Musigny from Vogue and a Musigny from Drouhin. Food was consistently great in Imperial Super Peking Duck @ Paragon, Orchard with excellent stemware. While the Chambolles were really great, the 2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet no doubt stole the show, what a night!

Full line up

Let’s talk about vintage 1998 in Burgundy (Extracted from various reports):

This is a good vintage, but a difficult one, a winemaker vintage! The vintage started off cold and suffered from frost in April that delayed the vegetation circle, particularly the 1er Cru of Meursault and Puligny (more on lower slope). Followed by hail that limited the yield at this point but also contributed to the chance for better concentration and sugar level. Everything seemed pretty alright in May but the weather turned a bit out of control in July (cool, dry) and August (grapes could be burnt due to the very hot weather) and early September (Rains that left a high chance for rotting).

However, the weather in late September was ideal throughout the harvesting period with north wind that concentrated the grapes and rescued the vintage! The best reds are well structured, intense with good purity of red fruits, volume and fine tannin. The lesser wines could be harsh as the tannin could be very aggressive. White in this vintage is delicate, fresh and crisp but doesn’t have the intensity, acid backbone  for the long term.

Clive Coates rated the red 16pts (very good) and white 14.5pts (quite good – good) with the following comment: The red wines are quite tannic but they are balance and thoroughly satisfactory. Chambolle Musigny to Volnay are consistent and not so for Gevrey Chambertin.

The whites are fruity, attractive when young but you shouldn’t hold on to them for the long term as they tend to evolve rapidly.

I pretty much agree with Clive that the quality of red wines from Chambolle Musigny in this vintage is very consistent, at least from what I tasted today. All are delicious wines with admirable concentration, volume and aroma.

Chambolle Musigny: the most seductive wines in Burgundy?

Chambolle Musigny probably produces the most seductive red wines in Burgundy, or perhaps in the world. The best wines are highly aromatic with seductive red fruits, floral and forest floor and the intensity is incredible yet the wines are so weightless. The seductive inner perfume that wrapped in an elegance, feminine package with velvety texture offers great sense of finesse and grace. The 2005 Joseph Drouhin Musigny Grand Cru2002 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Musigny Grand Cru & Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru1995 Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes Mares are few of the best Burgundy I have ever tasted. Musigny from Georges Roumier is one of the very few dream wines that I wanted to taste!

Flight 1: Chambolle Musigny Les Fuees 1er Cru

J.F Mugnier Chambolle Musigny Les Fuees

Les Fuees, located just southward of the Bonnes Mares slope and produces wines with good concentration of fruits, firm backbone but yet lacking no elegance.

Barthod produces good Fuees and Mugnier produces great ones.

1998 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Light ruby red, brown hue. Very expressive and high tone: sweet raspberry, red plum, caramel, brown sugar, forest floor, that wrapped up with attractive floral scents. This is quite powerful on the palate with very good concentration of sweet dark and red cherry fruits that cloaked in a feminine package and showing a little bit of finesse. Though a bit rough on the tannin, it lends better grip to the palate and leads to the very sappy, slight rubbery finish that lingers with sweet strawberry and a touch of fresh wood, with a slight bitterness. Despite the lack of a bit of lift, this is still a delicious juice. (87 pts.)

1998 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Wow! Such a seductive nose, so fragrant and complex, still very very young but showing great potential and class. Vibrant medium ruby red, so lively! Only very light brown hue. This has intense core of sweet raspberry, strawberry fruits with mint, mild spices, chalky and touch of caramel, very pure and the underlying power is perfectly integrated into the perfume aromatic profile. Very pure and polished, lots of uderlying power but the grace is there. Fresh, concentrated, elegantly structured with oustanding vibrancy and underlying fine, mouth watering acidity for a soft but solid backbone, that leads to the very chalky, juicy detail and complex finish. A great wine! (91pts)

Flight 2: Chambolle Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru

Les Cras, also located just southward of the Bonne Mares slope, along with Les Fuees is the top 1er Cru vineyard in Chambolle Musigny, just second to the great Les Amoureuses. Cras is no doubt the best wine of Barthod, a close fight against the great Roumier Cras.

1998 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny Les Cras 1er Cru

1998 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Lighter in ruby, with touch if brownish. Highly expressive and complex on the nose: star anise, Asian spices surrounded beautifully with perfume lavender, violet as well as mint, red cherry fruits and orange, Wow! Really silky, elegant, seamless and complex on the palate showing great finesse, purity and energy. Very intense, sappy yet so weightless and the tannin is so fine! This is a truly delicious wine. Still frightfully young but the harmony is absolutely gorgeous. Very long finish with great persistence. From nose, entry-mid-finish, everything was perfect but I noticed there is a little bitterness at the very end which created a little distraction as well as took a bit of finesse and purity away. Nevertheless, this is still a breathtaking wine. (91pts)

1998 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle Musigny Les Cras

1998 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Vibrant medium ruby red, much livelier than the Fuees. Intense and even more high tone than the Fuees, but also darker with blackberry, blackcurrant as well as violet and touch of perfume roses, little spices, peppermint, forest floor, very complex and seductive! Rich, vibrant and well defined, though not as lifted as mugnier, this is easily a step up of the Fuees. Very tasty with raspberry, blackberry and touch of plum that move on to the very intense and sappy mid palate, with ripe acid as well as chalky, refreshing mineral for the backbone. There is this inner perfume floral scent that I really like. Long, tasty finish that is mouthful mouthful and layer of good focus and precision. This gets better and better in the glass: juicier sweeter, more seductive, and almost seamless only if the acid is a little bit more lively for better lift to be outstanding. (89pts)

1998 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes

Flight 3: Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru

The 9.53ha Les Charmes is the largest 1er Cru vineyard in Chambolle Musigny, therefore this is relatively easier to find on the shelf from many different growers but it also means that the quality would be more variable. While this doesn’t possess the intensity of Amoureuses and structured of Les Fuees or Cras, the top example is charming with it’s softer structured with generous of fruits and elegant texture.

1998 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod / Barthod-Noëllat Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol : 13%
    Slightly cloudy medium garnet. As with previous 2 Barthod’s wines, this too has very attractive sweet core of strawberry, red cherry as well as raspberry, perhaps a little bit more spicy along with forest floor and mineral that is a little bit more lifted and showy with hint of brown sugar like sweetness. Very seamless, sweet and seductive, with touch of tannin that bring out the light rubbery grip, but with excellent chalky liquid mineral that flow on elegantly toward the very fine finish that is real juicy and sappy. While this is slightly smaller scale than the Cras, this actually offer better sense of Chambolle feminine character. (88pts)

1998 Joseph Drouhin Musigny & Amoureuses

Flight 4: Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1er Cru

Les Amoureuses (The lover, romantic eh?!), located just down the slope of Musigny Grand Cru is the best 1er Cru in Chambolle Musigny and along with Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St-Jacques, Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Cros Parantoux are the best 1er Cru in Burgundy. The best Amoureuses offer Grand Cru quality and harmony with finesse, intensity but never come across as muscular.

1998 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    Vibrant medium ruby, brick rim. My 2nd Amoureuses (1st bottle was a 2002) from Drouhin this year. While the 2002 is really stubborn that refuse to show herself, the 1998 is almost naked in front of you, oh, so seductive with it’s nearly perfect body! Soft, fragrance, elegance, with deep spices, forest floor, blackberry, red cherry and assortment of mineral, sea shell, chalk, very complex and intense with super focus. A little bit acidic at the entry, but quickly rounded up with soft, sweet mineral that introduce to the very refreshing, very very deep and intense mid palate that goes on with blackberry and red cherry sweetness that underpinned by the really fine acidity all culminate to the long and lovely finish that filled with intense inner perfume. This is still a teenager and with the potential, she will surely turn to be a gorgeous lady. 91-93 (91pts)

Flight 5: Musigny Grand Cru and young vines Musigny

Musigny Grand Cru, one of the most prestigious vineyards in Burgundy and share this fame together with Romanee Conti, La Tache, Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Beze. The seductive, sexy aromas is highly perfume, gorgeous and complex. With immense intensity on the palate that is pure and elegance. The finish is nothing short of brilliant that is full of finesse and grace. Quoted from Clive Coates: A great Musigny is heaven in the glass!

1998 Joseph Drouhin Musigny – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13%
    The youngest showing today, still tight and restraint. While this is not as expressive as the Amoureuses but one can sense the underlying complexity and depth, quite similar but perhaps with better intensity and broader with darker fruits profile. Structured, big scale and almost mouth coating intensity on the palate. Again, this is rather tight but beautifully delineated and balance. Very juicy as well as spicy with huge sweet tannin grip. Seamless with endless finish that show off it’s class, finesse and grace with bitter sweet cocoa aftertaste. While this is overwhelmed by the Vogue and Amoureuses today, this will eventually be a better wine with another 10yrs of age as this possess better substance for the long term. 92-94 (92pts)

1998 Comte Georges de Vogue Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru

1998 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    This vibrant, youthful ruby red juice offer absolutely stunning seductive bouquet that is airy, high tone, focus with super breadth and depth: blueberry, black and red cherry with sense of underlying ripeness that distinct herself from the rest of the wines tonight. All of this sweet tones intermixed perfectly with violet, rose petal with mineral and spice that added better depth. This is real showy, firework! I had some wines from Vogue but never got myself impressed, as their wines are always highly extracted that seems a bit too heavy for such delicate grape. However, this stunning juice had me said that, and I hate to say so, this is my red WOTN after my very 1st sip. Power and grace is what I had in mind. Seamless, impeccable balance, highly complex and pure mouth feel with incredible intensity that just keep expanding gracefully and gorgeously on the palate along with super inner perfume that immediately fill in the mouth and lasted for mins. Long long lingering finish that is sweet and succulent, with mineral, orange and red cherry aftertaste. WOW! (93pts)

2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet Grand Cru

Flight 6: The great Montrachet Grand Cru

Montrachet, the best white wine in Burgundy or simply the best white wine in the world. While Batard Montrachet Grand Cru offer immense power, richness and more openly exotic but sometime lacks of the elegance of a great Chevalier that offer stunning depth but not necessary power and have this restraint and coldness that I really love.

Montrachet is the only wine that possess the intensity, richness and underlying power of a Batard and at the same time the elegance and depth of the Chevalier, try to imagine it, eh? A complete wine! Red wine of the night is unquestionably the 1998 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru but without any debate that the overall wine of the night is clearly the 2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet, enough said (well, maybe this is unfair as 2005 is the legendary vintage for Burgundy, but, who care? this is a great great wine!)

2005 Henri Boillot Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru

  • Alcohol :: 14%
    Light golden, very soft but complex elegantly formed aromas of ginger spice, mint, honey, liquid mineralite, sea shell, almond, wow, so complex and layers. This classy juice continues to evolve for the night that showed lemon custard, melon, pear as well as brown sugar and touch of caramel. A 6yrs old Montrachet, expected to be very tight and structured up front. Indeed, very young but this has the prefect balance of each element that allow us to access even at this young age. Super silky, gorgeously texture, so elegance with great sense of harmonious, it flowed through the palate gracefully with intensive care and go on to the mid palate with better intensity and depth, yet so seamless and graceful. The finish is explosive, yet so quiet and calm, with super complex flavors that just sail on and on forever with the soft, juicy sweet mineral aftertaste….. I’m floored…. 95-96+ (95 pts.)
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Reward (20110527)

Warning: You may stop reading this post if you’re allergic to blood as this post is truly bloody! In fact some of the photos are so bloody that I didn’t show them here. :p

Reward, we having company dinner after the sales and this round we headed to Yazawa @ Robertson Walk, a Yakiniku Restaurant in town that well-known of their Wagyu Beef selection, directly flown from Japan. I’m a beef person, I love beef and I had my best experience last year when I visited Kobe, the taste of the Wagyu is still…. lingering in my memory.

I’m really expected the dinner today and my palate has been satisfied by the food here, definitely premium quality for their meat: flavorful, tender, sweet, juicy, fresh etc etc (even the chicken and pork are very good too).  Tonight I’m fond to the thin slice selection instead of the thick cut Sirloin, dun get me wrong, it was good but with the size, it simply too oily. IMHO, it will be even better if the cut is smaller……)

After all, this is absolutely a divine spot in town for grilled beef but beware, to pamper your palate with such premium selection of meats, you’ll need to break the bank. OKOK, not that bad, but best with the budget of at least $80/pax.

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I ever had wine from Frederic Magnien, for once: 2004 Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses. While the Amoureuses wasn’t at the same level of Drouhin (the top level will be G.Roumier, J.F.Mugnier and Vogue), this is a serious wine, especially for a challenging vintage like 2004. Thus I feel that this is quite a good producer and dinner today reinforced my thought.

I’m not particularly like the profile of the 2006 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot (for the sheer power without refinement). The 2005 Meursault 1er Cru Charmes wasn’t show well at first, it slowly opened up and show powerful palate but remained balance and fine. 2006 Clos Vougeot is even better, firm structured and complex, still young and will only benefit with age.

I pretty much enjoyed the wines from Frederic Magnien today but the star of tonight has to go to the Trotanoy. 2002 is a pretty normal vintage in Bordeaux but the 2002 Trotanoy is a very tasty & sexy wine, total harmony and cashmere like texture, absolutely singing tonight. The 1999 Trotanoy is a wine with more structured and intensity, drinking well now but additional bottle age will certainly help (min 3yrs).

Flight 1: Frederic Magnien

2006 Frédéric Magnien Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru

  • Medium golden that seems a little bit advance. Focus and expressive on the nose that that aromas of flint, gun powder, smoky oak with citrus, mineral and iron. Bitter sweet entry with bitter orange peel and quite heavy dose of oak infused flavor that coated the mouth with slightly toasted factor leads to heavy, long finish. This is a powerful wine though not necessary refine and tasted quite fat for a Chassagne and quite advance.

2005 Frédéric Magnien Meursault 1er Cru Charmes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru

  • Wow, very powerful nose of smoke, gun powder, pineapple and spices that remain fresh and focus, still a bit tight. The power from the nose also reflected on the palate with good dosage of oak infused mineral, citrus fruits, lemon. Firm acid backbone give a good cut to the power and everything remain good balance hence while this is a much powerful wine than the Morgeot, this is not heavy and finer with dry, clean mineral finish that is quite long. When this pair with the ox-tongue, it is amazing as it display even rounder and creamier mouth feel, oak has mellow down and offer more complex flavors of preserve plum, lemon, butter that is sweet and juicy, long finish. Well Done. Buy – Maybe – Yes.

2006 Frédéric Magnien Clos Vougeot – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    Opps, this is rather backward and austere but show good depth and complexity on the nose with stemmy, spice and roasted herb note dominated the aromatic profile with underlying raspberry, black cherry and earth. Rich on the palate but also a tad lean and reserve that the medium level of very firm tannin bury the fruits underneath hence the tannic mouth feel. This is quite fine with oak infuse flavor, grounded coffee bean and long spicy finish and earthy undertone. Still a baby, leave it un-touch for at least 8-10yrs.

Flight 2: Trotanoy

2002 Château Trotanoy – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    Medium ruby core with just a touch of brownish rim. Complex, expressive aromas of roasted herb intermixed with sweet blackcurrant fruits, cigar box, ash and smoke meat that added more complexity and depth with the leathery tone. Wow, what a smooth, velvety mouth feel, harmonious and complete is the word, though not the top. Very rich and concentrated, with cashmere like silky tannin that almost fully integrated and blend perfectly with the savory meatiness, sweet dark plum and blackcurrant that form the juicy background and mouth feel. This is so elegance and lighter in style compare to some of the good vintages Trotanoy, but delicious all the same. Long finish with ash and mineral, sweet tones. Drinking beautifully now yet have a little bit upside potential still. Buy – Yes.

1999 Château Trotanoy – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

  • Alcohol :: 13.5%
    This is slight edgy compared to the 2002 but also having better substances and depth that will age gracefully in the next 5yrs and this is a better wine compare to the 2002. Similar aromatic profile to the 2002 but it is deeper and more complex with roasted herb, green capsicum, ash, smoke with sweet currant and blackberry fruits. Low-medium level of firm tannin coated the palate, especially the side along with higher level of lively acidity that formed a firm backbone with bigger scale and structure. Quite juicy with medium complexity and depth, juicy sweet plum on the long, firm finish that linger with roasted herb, mineral, sweet currant aftertaste with additional blackberry and spices complexity compare to the 2002. This is good but still not fully open for business yet. Give it another 5-7yrs and it will be evolved into something special. P/s: there were two bottles in the dinner, one is showing better freshness, tension and more complete than another. Buy – Yes.

Flight 3: The celebration!

1999 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon – France, Champagne

  • Pop and Poured and as expected, this pale golden color Champagne is some what unyielding and backward. Pretty, vigorous and very fine beads that display toasted oak, hazelnut, white flower, mineral and lightly honey coated white fruits that bring on to the very rich, with explosive fine beads that glide through the palate with intense ripe yellow and white fruits on the butter white bread with earthy, honey finish. Very good but still too young.
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