Tasting Note : Chateau Latour 1998

Chateau Latour 1998

A friend ask me once if he should purchase some of the Latour 1998. My first answer was no, but after the seller gave him an extra discount on the wine, he thought at this price, there's no arm. So, last night, he kindly brought a bottle for us to try and even though this was not the finest Latour ever made, I have once again realise, that with good company and good food, the first great growths are always (no matter the vintage) simply great wines.

The nose was slightly close at first, developing aromas of blackcurrant, tar, dark chocolate and coffee. The structure is fairly light and silky with tannins still a little dry, but well integrated. Alcohol levels are not overwhelming, but balanced with some acidity on the mid palate. More flavors of blackcurrant, dark cherries and coffee bean.

The length is short and probably the major disapointment on this wine, missing the impressive finish of Latour from greater vintages. A wine to enjoy now and for another 3 to 4 years.


Grape variety : Riesling


Originated from the Rhine region of Germany, Riesling can produce some of the greatest, most complex and fine white wines and still these wines are widely understated! And on top of this, most top Riesling have an amazing potential of ageing thanks to its great acidity and fruits. However, Riesling is also influenced by the Terroir where it is grown (especially weather) and one must be careful as all Riesling are not equal and Germany, France or the New World often produce average or below average quality wines.

Aromas of white flowers and fruits, fine acidity and just the perfect balance of sweetness.


Tasting Note : Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde 1996

Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde 1996

During a recent trip to Siem Reap (Cambodia) we had the pleasure to celebrate Darryll's birthday at the Raffles. A lovely hotel offering a nice range of local dishes as well as the western (especially French) classics. We started the dinner with a bottle of one of my favorite Champagne, Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs 1998. (see tasting notes in the Champagne label) Then we moved on to the red and even though I would drink the cote Rotie a little younger, the choice was an excellent one:

The nose was a complex mix of blackberries, black cherries and spice. On the palate, the alcohol was present but not overwhelming. The structure was very well balanced with still some acidity and fruits. More spice on the mid palate with leather, blackcurrant and more black cherries. The finish was not very long and slightly mineral.

I truly enjoy Rene Rostaing wines and Cote Blonde1996 was another great example of the great potential of Cote Rotie.


The legend of wine...

The Legend of Chambertin vineyard.

The legend of the Chambertin vineyard... The legend has it, a peasant by the name of Bertin was planting his Burgundian field (Champ in french) with vines. The grapes were so ripe and beautiful, they quickly were recognised as some of the finest of the all of the Burgundy and people were refering to the wines made from the Champ de Bertin. Slowly with time, the name was shorten and became Chambertin.


White Grapes : Chasselat

It has been discovered that Chasselat grape came from Egypt and was brought on the European continent by the Romans conquest. Although unknown to many, Chasselat is probably one of the oldest grape variety cultivated by man. Today, Chasselat is mainly a Swiss and French, where it is used in the Pouilly-sur-Loire blend to produce sweet wines. product, but has also been planted in California, New-Zealand and Australia.


White Grapes : Albarino

This is definitely the grape of sun with a citrus attack and a fresh after-taste. No surprising that it is widely planted in Portugal (known as Alvarinho) and Spain. More surprising is its origin supposed to be a clone of the Alsace Riesling (Northwestern France).


A great evening...

I received a text message a few days ago, sent by my boss, to tell me he had discovered in his cellar a couple of nice bottles. He kindly asked me if I wanted to join him for a little degustation and gratefully I accepted.
An hour later, I was poured my first glass of the evening and the show began...

Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes 1992
(see Tasting Notes : Burgundy - Puligny-Montrachet)

Paul Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage La Chapelle 1990 (in half bottle)
(see tasting notes : Rhone - Hermitage)

Domaine Groffier, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 1993
(see tasting notes : Burgundy - Bonnes Mares)

What I liked the most (after the wines of course!) is that there was no special occasion or celebration, just the pleasure of drinking beautiful wines and sharing them with people passionate about it.

This little story of life tells us that sometimes the special occasion of drinking beautiful wines, is simply to open them...

An evening my palate will definitely remember.


Tasting Note : Domaine Groffier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 1993

Domaine Robert Groffier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 1993

A beautiful nose of ripe fruits and hints of leathery aromas. The palate is complex and powerful, but not explosive. Flavours of red berries and rotten vegetables gives a rustic style on the palate. Slowly as the wine unfold in the glass, the aromas become more delicate but the wine keep is muscular style. the length is quite long and well balanced.


Tasting Note : Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 1990

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 1990

Well, well, well. I have add a few La Chapelle in my life, but it was the first time I had the chance to taste the 1990. Decanted from a half bottle, the wine was only open twenty minutes before I tasted it. The colour is still opaque and even after 19 years, it seems the wine has not even started to change in colour! On the nose, a complexity of layers : Blackcurrant, dark cherry, leathery, smoky and spicy. But what surprise me the most, is the freshness of the fruits still developing. On the palate the wine is generous and concentrated with tannins well integrated in the structure, but still in their youth though. More aromas of black berries and spice with round flavours of toasted wood. The acidity lifts the wine and gives it balance. It has great power, but no heaviness. The finish is long and dense. I was hoping for a slightly more explosive finish, but this will come with many more years of cellaring...

Tasting Note : Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes 1992

Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes 1992

For me a great Combettes is when they offer a round structure and at the same time minerality. And the 1992 Domaine Leflaive is no exception. The nose is attractive with a nutty character and plenty of white fruits. Round and generous on the palate it offers delicate flavours of peach and apricot with oak and honey towards the mid palate. The minerality is in perfect balance with the fruits and leads to a nutty finish.


Tasting Note : Les Vins de Vienne, Chateauneuf-Du-Pape "Les Oteliees" 2005

Les Vins de Vienne, Chateauneuf-Du-Pape "Les Oteliees" 2005

The nose is fairly complex with chocolate, leather and wood tones. On the palate a well structured wine with balance. This 2005 develops red berries, tobacco and chestnuts flavours with a classic blackpepper spice. Medium tannins and a good acidity that seem to be fading slightly after half an hour of opening. The length was persistent and quite round.


Tasting Note : Chateau Haut-Brion 1995

Chateau Haut-Brion 1995

Dark ruby colour. I have tasted this wine along the other four 1st great growth and Haut-Brion seems rounder with more vanilla extract. On the palate it is lightly spicy and presents flavours of balckberries, dark cherry and toasted wood. The acidity is still high but well integrated with the fruits. The wine posses great balance with soft tannins and lingering finish.

Tasting Note : Chateau Mouton-Rothchild 1995

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1995

Deep purple colour. The nose is very impressive! Truffles, coffee and liquorice, it was all over... On the palate, even more impressive with great finesse and yet power. Plenty of black and red berries, more truffles and a rich texture. The wine is full bodied and gives a beautiful long length. Can be enjoyed already, but will go for quite some time! A great wine!


Tasting Note : Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1995

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1995

Ruby colour. The nose was made of a large aromatic bouquet. On the palate, the acidity was a little high at first, once settled in the glass for a few minutes, the wine start to show some exceptional flavours of cassis, wood and roasted nuts. It is much more balanced than the first time I tried it. It is now developing slowly a mineral style which gives a wonderful texture to the wine. A classic Lafite. Beautiful.

Tasting Note : Chateau Latour 1995

Chateau Latour 1995

I have tasted this wine after one hour of decanting. Dark Ruby colour. Shy on the nose at first, it came to life after a few minutes in the glass. Plum, cherry and a rich texture it was well balanced but might need some more time to develop. The palate was elegant and the tannins not overwhelming. I am convince this Chateau Latour will have much more to say in the next 5 years. (tasted in August 2008)

Tasting Note : Domaine Rene Rostaing Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge of Domaine Puech Chaud 2003

Domaine Rene Rostaing Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge of Domaine du Puech Chaud 2003

A deep ruby colour; it already tells you how muscular this wine is going to be. Full of dark cherries, cassis and bull's skin on the nose with a good presence of alcohol. On the palate the wine is smoky, spicy with undertones of leather. This is a fine example of how good a wine can be even in the entry level appelation.

However, the 03 must be drunk within the next few months.


Tasting Note : Kofererhof Muller-Thurgau Valle Isarco 2006

Kofererhof Muller-Thurgau Valle Isarco 2006

Fresh and quite intense on the nose, it has a nice perfumed bouquet. On the palate the wine is well balanced with subtle acidity and a lovely round and aromatic style. Flavours of peach, white flowers and citrus, it is a perfect wine for lunch time.


Red grape : Tempranillo

Arguably Spain's most noble grape, Tempranillo produces complex wines with scented bouquet. It can be responsible for wines of great structure and power when young with dark berries and leathery flavour, to smooth and lingering wines with age. It is often said that Tempranillo is for Spain, what Pinot Noir is for France.


Tasting Note : Domaine Louis Moreau chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2005

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2005

A complex nose of white fruits and subtle aromas of seaweed. On the palate, the Valmur shows all of its aristocratic style. A well built structure, with a strong character. Complex, with a mid palate of apples and pears, it develops flavors of shellfish and sea water. This is a beautiful trademark from this vineyard and this is a very good representation of its terroir. This wine will need probably another year to fine tune itself in the bottle and be ready for drinking.


Tasting Note : Seghesio Barolo La Villa 2004

Seghesio Barolo La Villa 2004

La Villa 04 is one of the most elegant Barolo we have tasted. Still young, it showed great finesse and purity. Floral on the nose, it develop a marked toasted wood and spicy style. The red berries come on the mid palate with grace, giving the wine great complexity and finesse. A great effort from Seghesio!


Tasting Note : Marengo Barolo Le Brunate Vecchie Vigne 2004

Marengo Barolo Le Brunate Vecchie Vigne 2004

The Vecchie Vigne Brunate 04 has very similar flavours to the straight Brunate but with a more concentrated style. The minerality is therefore lower than the latter. The finish is pure & the lenght fairly long. First vintage.


Tasting Note : Marengo Barolo Le Brunate 2004

Marengo Barolo Le Brunate 2004

Impressive on the nose, this wine is opulent & well structured. Spice, menthol, dark cherries & hints of cumin, it is still at its very early stage of development. This wine should go a long way & will be superb after some cellaring.

Tasting Note : Marengo Barolo 2004

Marengo Barolo 2004

This lighter style of Barolo comes as a real surprise & is very well done! Elegant with a balanced acidity, it is also slightly mineral on the mid palate. The length is medium with floral tones. Great value Barolo!


Tasting Note : Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo Le Coste 2004

Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo Le Coste 2004

Attractive nose with wood & spice. The earthy style of this medium to full bodied Barolo is elegant and layered with dark fruits, taosted oak & herbs. Superb wines with silky tannins & extended length!


Tasting Note : Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo 2004

Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo 2004

The nose is pure with fruits & floral notes. The palate is sweet, with marked acidity. A wine that opens up quickly and will be perfect drinking for some time.

Tasting Note : Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi 2004

Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi 2004

The nose is full of menthol and ripe fruits. On the palate a much sweeter style is accompanied by some round flavours of dark cherries. The acidity is well maintained all the way giving the wine a certain purity. Beautiful finish!


Tasting Note : Paolo Scavino Barolo Bricco Ambrogio 2004

Paolo Scavino Barolo Bricco Ambrogio 2004

After a few minutes of opening the Ambrogio develops & soften. Plenty of fruit with some spice. Violet flavours are persistent & continue on the mid palate. The length is medium.


Tasting Note : Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc 2004

Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc 2004

Big, big, big! Plums, licorice, dark fruits, the wine is very muscular on the palate! Full bodied, yet super elegant, the acidity & minerality gives this wine a superb texture. Great length with a superb lingering finish!


Tasting Note : Paolo Scavino Barolo Carobric 2004

Paolo Scavino Barolo Carobric 2004

Cherries, violet & herbs on the nose. The typicity of the Carobric is well represented here, with a muscular style. Leather & toasted oak with well integrated minerality. Will age very well!


Tasting Note : Paolo Scavino Barolo 2004

Paolo Scavino Barolo 2004

Well develop nose with blackcurrant and dark cherries tones. Firm on the palate with present tannins. The acidity is lifting up the wine towards the end. The finish is quite silky with a long length.

Tasting Note : Elio Altare Barolo La Morra 2004

Elio Altare Barolo La Morra 2004

At first, the wine shows dark fruits and menthol flavours, giving it an unexpected lightness. Then on the mid palate, the richness, spice, oak & silky tannins surface to give a full wine superbely done!


Tasting Note : E. Pira Barolo Cannubi 2004

E. Pira Barolo Cannubi 2004

Chiara Boschis is one of the few female winemaker at this level in the Barolo area. Her wines are of great elegance and finesse, especially from her parcel of the Cannubi Cru. The 2004 has a great concentrated bouquet on the nose with fruits, spice & oak. Rich, yet well defined with a classic Character from the Cannubi vineyard. Silky tannins & long finish... A wine for the long run.


Tasting Note : Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana 2004

Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana 2004

Ample on the nose with perfume of spice & dark fruit, Pajana actually shows great finesse and superb acidity that gives great balance to the wine.


Tasting Note : Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2004

Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2004

The nose is intense with dark cherries & chocolate. On the palate, the finesse is very well defined, with deep spicy flavors and menthol on the finish. Beautiful!


Tasting Note : Giovanni Corino Barolo Vigna Giachini 2004

Giovanni Corino Barolo Vigna Giachini 2004

Great elegance again for this wine. Pure and well define with spice, liquorice and some oak on the mid palate. The finish is lingering with silky tannins.


Tasting Note : Giovanni Corino Barolo Arborina 2004

Giovanni Corino Barolo Arborina 2004

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The terroir is very well represented in this Arborina, with concentred spice, chocolate, dark fruits and hints of toasted oak. A wine for the longer term, yet already showing really well.


Tasting Note : Azelia Barolo Margheria 2004

Azelia Barolo Margheria 2004

I have tasted the whole range of Azelia Barolos upon release in Arpil 2008 and Margheria is no exception to the excellence of Luigi Scavino's work. The wine is opulent & shows superb aromates on the nose. Liquorice, blackcurrant, leathery style at first it continues on the mid palate with plums and more violet. Present tannins with a beautiful menthol fresh finish.

Tasting Note : Azelia Barolo San Rocco 2004

Azelia Barolo San Rocco 2004

Blasting on the nose, this wine has plenty of red berries, liquorice, violet & spice. Fruits, acidity and tannins are all very well balanced! A great effort!


Tasting Note : Azelia Barolo Bricco Fiasco 2004

Azelia Barolo Bricco Fiasco 2004

Spicy and aromatic on the nose. The palate is muscular, yet not overwhelming. Superb acidity and silky tannins. This wine will last for a long time!


Tasting Note : Azelia Barolo 2004

Azelia Barolo 2004

The Colour is deep and opaque. Intense on the nose with plenty of fruits. Black cherries & violet flavours. Present acidity with great balance. Firm & opulent with a medium finish.


White Grape : Chardonnay

Chardonnay is definitely the most widespread and famous grape in the world today. The wine connoisseurs are so in love with wines produced from this grape that Burgundy winemakers have to allocate their chardonnay Grand Crus rather than to sell them. Easy to grow and robust grapes, Chardonnay is suitable for any weather conditions and for any countries. Rich in sugar, it yields alcoholic wines with either a crisp and mineral style such as the Champagne region or a buttery, almost sweet style from the Burgundy region. Chardonnay is the white grape which suit the most with oak barrel ageing and its home, Burgundy is probably where we can find the finest examples. Its golden skin gives a natural wonderful dress to the white wines. This is indubitably a noble grape and produces arguably the finest white wines in the world. In cool climate, it may lack aromatic strength and piercing flavor. As a result it is used as a base for the blend of others wines.


Red grape : Cabernet-Franc

Loire valley is its home but you can find it now everywhere in the world. Some will say that it is a less prestigious clone of Cabernet Sauvignon but in fact it succeeds in developing its own identity, and one of the greatest example will be the renown Chateau Cheval Blanc which uses on average 60% of Cabernet Franc in its Blend.
Lower in tannins it is supple and perfumed with raspberry and blackcurrant aromas. In the northern part of France the wines tend to be more herbaceous. Nicolas de Bourgueil or Saumur Champigny are good example of the quality of this grape.


Red grape : Barbera

One of the most widely planted grape in Italy, Barbera is well known for it's high acidity and cabernet-like fruit character. Mainly planted in the northern part of Italy in the Piedmont area, it yields simple, light wines to be enjoyed in their youth. Barbera has been widely exported to the New World wine regions now where it is used in blends for its acidity, especially in hot regions.


White Grape : Airen

In Spain, it is the most widely cultivated grape used to lighten some dark red wine grapes. This grape is in fact perfectly adapted to hot and sunny weather conditions such as the one in spain and produces fresh and lively white wine made to be drunk young.


The origins of Champagne : Le dejeuner d'Huitres

Le Dejeuner d'Huitres
(the oyster's lunch)

This painting was ordered by Louis XV to Jean-Francois de Troy in 1735. The King of France wanted it for the main dining room of the apartments at Versailles Palace in Paris. It was there that the King would eat in privacy, often coming back from hunting.
On the left hand side, the domestics are watching the Champagne cork flying (left column) whilst the Gentleman around the table are eating Oysters served with garlic, butter, salt & pepper. It was amongst the favorite dish at the end of the XVIIIth century. Henri the fourth was known to eat up to 300 of them in one dinner!
The painting shows us some of the customs of the time. The table was dressed with a white table cloth. It was round to avoid any etiquette... The cutlery was made of solid silver and the tableware of fine porcelain probably from China or Japan. The bottles of Champagne were kept cold in cool water (at the front).

The story of Fouche and Talleyrand's cognac experience...

Napoleon 1er's ministers. Fouche and Talleyrand.

It is the end of the dinner and Talleyrand serve a nice glass of Cognac to Fouche whom drinks the precious liquid in one single motion. Tayllerand surprised, intervene : "allow me, it is not the correct way to drink Cognac. Please let me show you. We take the glass in the palm of our hand and warm it up slowly. We swirl the Cognac in a nice circular motion in order to release its perfume. Then we take it to our nostrils and smell the aromas...
"and then?" ask Fouche.
"Then..." replies Talleyrand. "We put it back on the table and talk about it."


Tasting Note : Domaine de la Mordoree Lirac Blanc Cuvee La Reine des Bois 2008

Domaine de la Mordoree Lirac Blanc Cuvee La Reine des Bois 2008

This wine is a blend of Viognier, Roussane, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Clear and light lemon colour. Young and intense on the nose, it is a complex mix of almond, caramelised sugar and a good presence of the alcohol. (14%) 25% of the wine is fermented in oak barrel, which gives a lively and complex palate of white peach, violette and apricot. The toasted wood flavours are well integrated and give a round finish.


Tasting Note : Pierre Andre St Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes 2007

Pierre Andre St Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes 2007

Light yellow straw colour. The nose is round with aromas of chestnuts and toasted wood. On the palate, the wine is well balance with a good acidity and well integrated wood flavours of vanilla. A medium bodied chardonnay that develop some roasted oak character and an almost lemon-sweet finish. Very enjoyable indeed.


Tasting Note : Domaine David Duband Nuit St Georges 1er Cru Aux Thorey 2004

Domaine David Duband Nuit St Georges 1er Cru Aux Thorey 2004

I double decanted this bottle before tasting it, as I prefer this type of Burgundies to have some air first to get rid off any "sharp edges". The nose is complex and full of ripe fruits. The wine is very attractive on the palate with subtle acidity and tannins, well integrated to the flavours of herbs and red berries. The finish is round and generous with a medium length.

Tasting Note : Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel Rose La Dame Rousse 2008

Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel Rose La Dame Rousse 2008

Deep rose colour. Intense and rich on the nose, with plenty of candied aromas. "Zesty" on the palate, this rose is a classic Tavel, with a full bodied structure, good presence of alcohol (14.5%) and great flavours of strawberries, raspberries and roses. The finish is soft and long.

Drink this wine well chilled for optimum pleasure.