Quite a brick fade at the rim; dark mineral nose with remnants of blackcurrant leaf. Quite cool, not a huge amount of ripeness; light to medium weight palate. Pretty but lacking in concentration and has some unresolved drying tannins on the finish. Probably better 10-15 years ago.
Mini-Montrose Vertical - 1973, '85, '94, '95, '96 (Nicolas Restaurant, Teck Lim Street, Singapore): Pretty nice, quite different from the 1973 in profile, but like the older wine, this was also starting to slip. The nose was markedly sweet and ripe, even a bit roasted, with sweet cherries and cassis aromas coming out most of all. A few swirls and some game and earth and a streak of iron came running through the bouquet along with a touch of herby tobacco. This was set apart from almost all the other wines in the line-up with that exuberant sweetness on the nose – it was actually quite nice. The palate seemed a lot more advanced than the bouquet and even a bit tired though, even more so than the quietly fading 1973. It was soft and silky, lacking some grip, just gliding across the mouth in a quick flow of ripe cherries and dark berries. It was very friendly, and there was again a pleasant sweetness to the fruit, but I thought it lacked some oomph. The finish needed a bit more length too, dropping off quickly with a bit of toast and spice and a last blush of tobacco smoke. Quite delicious, but this just lacks a bit of substance. To be fair, I should note that I got to the wine only about an hour after it was opened. I was told it was a bit better, more structured when first popped. However, on this evidence, I would say drink up now.
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(Montrose) had a gorgeous nose: forward, fragrant and seductive. There was plump cassis, plum, chocolate, nut, caramel, cedar, minerals, pencil, bread and earth all dancing in unison in its nose. Steve called it 'rich, especially compared to 1986,' and the palate was just delicious with its round and rich flavors, with more of the earth and mineral shades exerting themselves. The saltiness of St. Estephe seemed to be taking charge, and there were more tannins and acidity than I expected on the palate; it was still less dry and tannic than the 1986 but just as good if not slightly better at this stage. Bipin, right on cue, went into his 1985 vs. 1986 spiel, which is how 1985 is superior to 1986 and that the two vintages are similar to 1953 vs. 1952. For this wine and this moment, the case could be made, although I thought the 1985 lost its focus more over time in the glass, but it was certainly the most enjoyable of the first flight at the moment. James called it 'softer, rounder and more ready, but I like the more austere quality of 1986'
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