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I hope you will forgive me, but many of the TNs are rather brief. This year, I concentrated more on enjoying the wines rather than write about them.
Thoughts on the walk round
Far better quality than 2003 wines, and some absolute gems. The Bordeaux wines were varied and almost uniformly excellent. Less Rhone this year than before, and at the absolute top end, less outstanding wines. I recall Ridge Montebello from 2003, and Vega Sicilia Unico from 2002.
Interesting to note that the “others” section offered some of the best wines, but were largely ignored in favour of the bigger names / regions. Shame – many of you missed some absolute belters.
One thing that struck me was the quality of the second wines from Bordeaux. Many of us were commenting that there are no real references to the second wines – the obsession is with les grand vins. A shame, as on the basis of this showing, the seond labels offer excellent QPR
My highlights of the walkround would be the 1991 Penfolds 707, the 1983 Clos de Marquis and the 1978 Trefethen. Disappointments were the 1994 Mouton, the 1990 Swan Cab and the 1987 Masia Priorato.
Finally, I have rated many of the wines as excellent. This is not an A level-esque erosion in standards, but more a reflection of the quality of the wines on show. I bet the Decanter walkround is not quite the same…
1990 Volnay 1er Cru Pousse D’Or (Potel)
Gamey, complex, earthy tannin, soft lon warm length. Smooth and opulent. Excellent.
1971 Corton, Doudet-Naudin
Very deep rust/orange in colour. Soft and elegant, with soft fading fruit. Lovely old burgundy. VGI
1978 Hermitage Sizeranne, Chapoutier
Soft, quite tannic, long length with good fruit. VGI
1994 Mouton Rothschild
Deep purple in colour. Slightly dirty nose. Dry and tannic, with very smoky flavours. Somewhat lacking in fruit and a bit dried out. Not impressed. First Growth? I think not. Very Good.
2002 Kopar, Attila Gere, Villany (Hungary)
Lovely expansive cherry fruit nose. Very youmg, with sweet vanilla oak predominant on the nose and leading through to the palate. Lovely fruit, with grippy but integrated tannin and long complex length. VGI / Excellent
1964 Chianti Nipozzano, Frescobaldi
Orange/brown in colour. Very raisined nose, and expansive with it. Soft but not hollow. Fading a bit, but very interesting. Good.
2000 Chateau Gris, Nuits St George, Lupe-Cholet
Pale red, fresh strawberry fruit and soft oak overlay. Tannin is present but balanced with a good streak of acidity. Fruit is well integrated and does not dominate. Good long length. VGI
1978 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
Pale, clear red with softening orange rim. High intensity nose showing evolved secondary aromas and good residual fruit. Soft with little tannin, and very elegant. Complex layers in a light style, but lovely balance and a real treat. Excellent.
1990 Joseph Swan Steiner Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Cab Sauvignon
Slightly opaque deep red. Slightly minty nose of medium intensity. Sweet attack, too confected for me. The quality is undoubtedly there, but I can’t get over the confected edge. For me, undrinkable. Good.
1971 Bernkastler Kurfurstlay Riesling Spatlese, Carl Reh
Soft slightly oxidised nose, with lovely gentle sweetness. Long flavours,. Low acidity. Excellent.
1991 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep purple. Huge open smoky nose, with a hint of evolving secondary flavours and aromas, with coffee and mocha in there somewhere. Tannin still has grip, but softening and not obtrusive. Lovely balance with really high quality fruit core and some acidity. Long, long length. Beautiful. Excellent / outstanding.
1993 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
Closed nose, not giving away much. Soft, slightly bitter edge. Good quality fruit, but in a smaller scale to the 1991. Nonetheless, the wine remains in balance. Quite evolved, and relatively subtle. VGI
1999 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
Big nose, very smoky bacon fat. Very tannic at this point, wrapping youthful blackcurrant fruit. Full bodied palate, with the tannin really overwhelming all, and coating the mouth. This is not ready yet, with the constituent parts not really melding and the fierce tannin not compensated by the chunky fruit. Long warm length. High quality, yes, but I’d leave it 5 years. Excellent.
1996 Savigny-Les-Beaune, 1er Dominode, Jean-Marc Pavelode
Evolved farmyard aromas with some smoke and game nuances. Surprisingly tannic but good fruit also. Good length. VGI
1998 Countacc, Monferatto, Michele Chiarlo
Youthful purple colour. Very aromatic nose, with great fruit showing cherry and smoke. Similar palate, great acidity and grippy tannin. Lots of layers and complexity already despite the youth, and long length. Approachable, but will improve. I really like this wine! Excellent
1981 Muga Prado Enea Rioja Reserva
Browning in colour, with a wonderful soft evolved oaky nose. Aged flavours, with the wine coming across as very soft and gentle. Elegant and still complex, but starting to fade away a bit. Very Good.
1990 Vouvray SdGN (grower?)
Gold, lovely sweetness, sweet honeyed nose, soft acidity, long length. VGI
1990 Chateauneuf de Paper Dom de Grand Tinel
Cherry red, orange edge. Wild intense feral nose, with very gamey / manure scents. Soft grainy tannin, evolved fruit. Not quite as expansive as the nose but still very flavoursome with long length. VGI
1988 Leoville Barton, St Julien
Medium intensity nose showing cedar and some fruit. Gentle, elegant, quite light in style and not giving much away. Long length. Two hours later, much more open with lovely fruit and balance. The wine really started to sing. Excellent.
1967 Chateau La Lagune, Haut Medoc
Soft, still with fruit in there somewhere. Elegant, woody – a lovely old wine. VGI.
1985 Pichon Baron, Pauillac
Deep red. Open, and already quite fruity nose. Grainy tannin. The fruit carried on, with the wine being very approachable and drinking well. Long length amd smoky / cedary edge to the fruit. Excellent.
1983 Clos de Marquis, Leoville–Las Cases
Lovely opulent youthful nose, smoky. Amazing fruit bounded by soft tannin. Long, profound length. So drinkable – this is amazing stuff. Excellent
1993 Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac
Clear, red. Youthful nose, slightly smoky oak. Similar flavour with reasonable fruit and tannin present but not obtrusive. Good length. VGI
1995 Reserve de la Comtesse, Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
Dark colour. Slightly youthful nose, with some woody smoky tones. Good levels of both tannin and acidity giving great structure and balance. Long length and very drinkable. Excellent. [NOTE: I had the 1996 last year; the 1995 is the better drinking wine at this stage IMO]
[I went off for a Bordeaux Break. Not for that long, though….]
1994 Castillo Ygay, Marques de Murietta
Raisined and pruney nose, medium intensity. Evolved fruit, again with a pruney edge to it, and a hint of bitterness. Tannin quite evident. Still young, and will age. Not quite what I’d hoped for given the year, but nonetheless VGI
1990 Savigny-Les-Beaune [grower unknown]
Very fruity with soft tannin. Evolving gently, with long length and a warm finish. VGI / Excellent
1987 Masia Priorato
Porty, confected, yuch.
1985 Rauzan-Segla, Margaux
Closed, woody nose. Opens up in mouth. Very cedary, expansive palate. Loveley elegance, good length. Excellent.
1988 Chateau D’Issan, Margaux
Deep red with dark core. Fruit & oak in balance. Smooth, quality fruit core. Woody flavours abound with soft velvety tannin. Good complex length. VGI / excellent
2001 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz
Deep purple. Huge black berry and leather nose. Grippy balanced tannin gives backbone to the very youthful fruit. Big, complex, but oh so young. VGI/Excellent.
1997 Clos du Bois
Clear, cherry / ruby red. Odd nose – can't quite describe it. Quite elegant in the mouth. Lovely body, with balanced acid / tannin. Neither is obtrusive. A well-rounded wine. VGI/Excellent
1996 Contratto Solus, Barbera D’Asti
Medium nose. Quality fleshy fruit at the core, with soft tannins. Very good length, but drying out a bit. VGI
2000 Vergelegen Estate “Vergelegen”
Deep red/purple core. Intense nose with brambly fruit. Huge tannin. Very complex with leather and spice. Excellent.