Jonathan visits Singapore

Pavilion Paradise, MBFC
Tasted Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by Paul S with 263 views


We gathered to welcome Jonathan back to Singapore, each bearing a blind bottle (or more). Some really interesting stuff, but we were let down with some mediocre food and rather haphazard service. Thank goodness the wines were interesting, falling coincidentally into nice pairs in most instances.

Flight 1 - BUBBLES (1 Note)

  • NV Thierry et Muriel Fournier (TMF) Crémant de Bourgogne F Blanc 88 Points

    France, Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne

    Still very pleasant, but this bottle does not seem to have travelled well. The lithe, elegant Champagne ringer that we had in Burgundy last year has been replaced by a very decent, but distinctly "cremant-like" cremant. It had a pretty neutral, but pleasant enough nose, with little bits of smoke and yeast alongside sweet pear and apple scents. The palate was once again very dry, with lemons and green apples at the fore married to some bright, zippy acidity. Really lovely balance here, which made it both a good aperitif as well as a nice foil for the fried appetisers on the table. It was just something about the sweetness on the fruit and the slightly more rustic mousse that marked it out as a non-Champers. It was rather on the simple side as well, with a touch of flat leaf parsley and basil and bit of earth on the finish to round off its more neutral white fruited notes. Pleasant, but I do hope that the other bottles will show better given how taken we were by this the last time round.

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Flight 2 - MIXED WHITES (2 Notes)

  • 2006 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Les Forêts 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru

    Decanted for 2 hours, I thought this was really nice indeed - an unusually forward Raveneau 1er Cru that still kept a lot of its Chablis character in spite of fleshiness of the vintage. It had a lovely nose, with a bit of smoke, some creme fraiche accents, bread fruit and some hot-stone and mineral notes. A knock-out nose, full of character. The palate was very much marked by that beautiful minerality as well. It was certainly ripe and fleshy, almost velvety textured, cosseting the mouth with beautiful layers of white pears, breadfruit and lemons, but these were lined with a wonderful lick of chalky mineral from start to finish. It was also very nicely integrated, so that there were no hard edges at all to its friendly 2006 richness and weight. It was perhaps not the most complex or compelling of the Raveneau Chablis that we have tasted, but this was an absolutely delicious wine all the way into a long, slightly saline finish, where seaspray nuances mingled with cream and mineral notes. One of my few favourite wines on the night.

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  • 1999 de Ladoucette Sancerre Grande Cuvée Comte Lafond 91 Points

    France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre

    I enjoyed this quite a bit. It had an ultra-minerally nose, with lots of chalk and seashelly inflections, a touch of grassiness, some white pear notes. Nice. I really liked the palate too. While very dry, with a stern backbone full of dry extract, there were also layered flavours of white fruit, pear and melon. In fact the was very rich, a bit beeswaxy, almost oily in texture, which made me think it was a Muscadet Sur Lie rather than a Sauvignon Blanc. The rich texture was lanced through on the midpalate with a wonderful chalky, seashelly minerality leading into really bright, zippy finish though, which helped to make the wine a lovely foil for our food though. A bit quirky, but certainly an enjoyable wine.

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Flight 3 - ETNA (2 Notes)

  • 2006 Graci Etna Rosso Quota 600 90 Points

    Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC

    I thought this was a pretty interesting wine with a nice ring of quality to it. Interesting stuff - unique enough alongside another bottle on the same flight to guess pick them out as a pair of Etnas, but quite difficult to put into words. Opened 8 hours before before serving, it semlt almost like a red Burgundy, with some earthy funk, some soil, some game meat, tripe almost, and a whiff of mountain cheese - a very funky nose - along with a little underlayer of wild berry fruit and perfumy flowers. Intriguing. The palate, if anything, was more akin to a Northern Rhone than anything else I could bring to mind, lined as it was bright, fresh acidity and firm but very fine tannins, almost powdery in its aspect, and tasting of fresh black cherries and berries, some umami mushrooms and a nice hint of bittersweet herb. With time in the glass, it took on nuances of cracked pepper and smoky spices drifting into a slightly flowery finish. Interesting wine, and pretty good given some time and air.

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  • 2008 Fattorie Romeo Del Castello Etna Vigo 90 Points

    Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC

    Interesting. This had also been decanted for several hours, but was still a little tight when served. It had a very herby, with both root herbs and dried Italian leafy-herb aromas, along with some earthy, porcini mushroom accents, more perfumy flowers and some wild black berries. Indeed, this was a wilder, more unusual nose than the pinot-like mix of funk and flowers on the other Etna on the same fligth. The palate was a lot more structured with this wine too, with fine but firm tannins at the forefront. However, the wine was blessed with well-integrated acidity and a nice depth of black fruited notes, pulling away into a still very tight finish with stony, earthy, minerally nuances. A serious wine with quite a bit of character, in fact it showed more nobility and structrue than the previous wine. However, this was far from ready. Something to try again in 10 years perhaps.

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Flight 4 - SPAIN (2 Notes)

  • 2001 Rotllan Torra Priorat Tirant 93 Points

    Spain, Catalunya, Priorat

    This was a hugely impressive wine - one of my favourite Priorats to date. It had an intriguing nose, with warm slate, curls of smoke, subtle black fruited aromas, earth and wild herbs. Complex stuff, yet rather understated at the same time. The palate was very elegant for wine carrying 14% ABV, with lovely silken tannins and juicy, almost tomato-ish acidity framing ripe flavours of black cherries, black berries and blackcurrants, with a little touch of leather at the edges. Indeed, this was so superbly balanced and finely structured that one did not feel the alcohol at all. A lovely long finish rounded the wine off - it was almost Bordeaux-like here, with touches of mineral, tea leaves and tobacco pulling off alongside sweet blackcurrant notes. Beautiful stuff. While good now, it should continue improving in the short to mid-term. I have found youngish Priorats sometimes a bit difficult to appreciate in their heavy depth and, when not perfectly crafted, their tendency towards rusticity in certain cases, and overt modernity in others. This was something else entirely though. A wine that spoke eloquently of its terroir and was still elegant, balanced and most of all, a delicious drink. Kudos.

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  • 1975 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5° 92 Points

    Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero

    This was very nice, and a great hit around the table, but I thought it was just a little out-matched by the (far younger) Pirorat that was served just before it. This started smelling just like a Bordeaux, with leafy tobacco notes, before opening up into some American oak notes chased by sweet red cherries and berries, loamy earth and undergrowth aromas and a beautiful waft of cigar smoke. The palate was very yummy, still marked as it was by fresh acidity, velvety tannins, and juicy flavours of red cherries and almost dried cranberries ringed with a nice waft of spice and smoke. Lovely stuff, especially as it drifted a long, fragrant finish with more than a hint of fruit tea to it. I would have rated this quite a bit higher except for the fact that it felt a bit soft on the finish, losing some stucture along the way, and that it was not the most complex wine for something so a mature. No Unico for sure, but it was very yummy for what it is. I enjoyed this very much. It is perhaps closing in on the end of its best drinking window, but it should hold fo a little time yet.

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Flight 5 - BURGUNDY (2 Notes)

  • 2002 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Mazoyères-Chambertin 91 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru

    This was another pretty good yet rather disappointing wine, especially given the strength of the vintage and how good the past few bottles of the domaine's Mazoyères that we have had have been. It perhaps shows how far they have come over the past 8 vintages or so. The nose here was a bit strange, with a very funky ring to it, almost like a mix of wet leaves, damp cloth, dusty earth and a little manure. Only after awhile could I get past that to distinctly prettier aromas of cherries and plums. The palate was a bit better. It was certainly a lot cleaner in feel than the nose had led on, with some pure flavours of dark fruit - blackberry and black cherry I thought - leading into minerally, limestone inflected finish, with a nice spicy length at its tail. Somehow though, for all its pleasing qualities, the palate seemed a bit dumbed down, lacking both the depth and complexity, and even the vibrancy that I have come to associate with Taupenot-Merme's Mazoyères-Chambertin. It did seem a bit more rustic and less elegant than usual as well. If anything I would have pegged this at the level of a decently good 1er Cru. It was difficult to tell if the wine would improve - it had a bit of the obdurate opagueness that still inflicts many 2002 Grand Crus, maybe even more than most - but it should be interesting to try this again in three to four years.

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  • 1986 Domaine Felettig Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru 90 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

    A strange thing - this was a very decent Chambolle from a maker that no one had ever heard about. The nose here was rather pretty, with a typical Chambolle mixture of red cherries, flowers and earth touched by just a hint of herbiness. After that, the palate was very much as one would expect, with bright acidity framing red fruited flavours of cherries and raspberries and some flowery nuances. It was not altogether fleshy, but still well-knitted, with fine tannins and a bright, pleasing balance. There was some length on the finish as well, lingering as it did with more herbal touches drifting out alongside some dried earth and mineral notes. Nothing altogether special, but it was actually a very decent wine that gave quite a bit of pleasure.

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Flight 6 - BORDEAUX (2 Notes)

  • 1983 Château d'Issan 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    We caught this delicious wine right at the end of its peak drinking window. While it was never going to a great wine, this showed as a lovely, mature claret, with all the attractive lushness you would expect from an aged Margaux. It had a really nice nose, with a ring of tobacco and flowers notes floating around a core of sweet plums, cassis and dried cherry aromas, with a touch of blood and guts bringing up the rear. Very pretty. The palate, like so many 1983s, had a lovely feminine velvetiness to its gently sweet flavours of cassis and dark cherries - lovely pure fruit, and nicely met by more tobacco and flower nuances on the midpalate. Some juicy acidity kept the wine on its feet and made it such a joy to drink. While not the most complex of wines, this was simply delicious and was very much enjoyed by all. For all the Burgundy we drink, a nice mature Claret can still warm the heart.

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  • 1969 Château Montrose 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Pretty good. This was still clearly on its last legs, but it was definitely far, far better than the last bottle we had towards the end of last year. While that probably had one foot in the grave, there was no mistaking the quality on this wine. It still had a distinctly left-bank bouquet, with classic notes of tobacco, cassis and earth showing alongside a touch of more mature orange peel and dried floral notes. A lovely nose. The palate started out pretty well, with nice floating nuances of black cherry and some pure cassis notes welded to fine tannins that still provided a touch of firmness. However, this did fade rather alarmingly in the glass, with the flesh dropping off and the wine starting to its ribs in the remaining tannins and lingering touches of iron mineral and tobacco. Still though, tired though it may be, fading though it was, at least for the first 15 minutes, it was quite a treat, easily matching a 1996 Poujeaux that was served alongside - a real testament to how long-lasting a Montrose can be.

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Flight 7 - AN OUTLIER (1 Note)

  • 2005 Terrazas de Los Andes Cheval des Andes 90 Points

    Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo, Vistalba

    This was kindly popped for us by the sommlier at the end of the dinner. The only new world wine on show, it kinda stood out like a sore thumb, but it was certainly no slouch. This was a good example of what classic wine-making nous can bring to a young wine-growing area like Mendoza. With 60% Malbec, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, the nose showed a nice mix of ripely sweet berries and plums augmented with some new oak aromas, with a touch of earth and a twist of herbs. The palate was very modern, with more vanillin-laced oak accents framing a rich, ripe mouthful of berries and cherries. What made the wine stand out though was a nice freshness that carried the wine all the way through to a nice, long finish where the fruit was kissed by smoky, spicey accent and a little touch of sultanas. This was a well-made wine that should age nicely as well. While a bit out of place at the end of a long Chinese dinner packed with aged old world wines, this would certainly be welcome with a nice juicy steak.

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Flight 8 - SWEET (1 Note)

  • 2009 Equipo Navazos Montilla-Moriles Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez 92 Points

    Spain, Andalucía, Montilla-Moriles

    This was an enjoyable end to the dinner. It had a really unusual nose, with sultanas at the fore, some dried prunes, so far so good, and then an unsual lift of slightly green notes, mustard leaves almost, along with a savoury whiff of salted Chinese vegetables. Very intriguing. The palate was less unusual though. It was richly viscous, with a huge depth of dark raisins and prunes, yet it was so well-balanced that it actually seemed lighter, more lithe perhaps than a usual PX - in fact, one could barely feel the 15 percent on it. This was actually a young PX that was balanced enough to have more than one glass off, which is quite remarkable. The finish tailed off splendidly, with a nice malted, honey tone. A delicious wine, but definitely one for those with a sweet-tooth. While a bit young and primary now, this should be very interesting in the years to come.

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