Birthday party for Mrs L (Wine Vault, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong): Wow it’s only been a year since I opened one of these, and it’s gone all brown on me! Dried figs, overripe honeydew, roasted pineapple, how different from what it used to be not too long ago. The crispy, zesty freshness of youth is gone; in its place is a rich, thick honeyed sweetness that would probably drive me nuts if I were a bear. But not being a big furry honey fan, I’m undecided as to whether I like where this is going, or if I prefer my sweet wines younger and fresher. But since I’m in no hurry to decide, I won’t.
Small (~2 oz pour) from a 1.5L format. This was poured pretty late in the evening, but fortunately I was still able to appreciate the wine's attributes and outstanding quality. Viscous, lavish, and rather unctuous with a nectar like profile of apricot, honey, marmalade, and caramel/vanilla bean. Love the interplay and balance between the acidity and sweetness. Long, penetrating finish. One of my wine highlights from Heyday's one year birthday/anniversary party.
2015 Napa Family Celebration (Chez nous, Napa Yacht Club): I had high expectations but it was disappointing. Classic sauterne vintage and presence: medium golden honey color, honey and dried apricots and vanilla. It just wasn't appealing, and somewhat disjointed. Definitely not corked but this bottle just didn't present itself well
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(Chateau Rieussec) From a half bottle. A gloriously deep and yet vibrant golden hue in the glass. First impressions are of honey drizzled over oranges, with stronger botrytis elements becoming apparent with a little air, including some fleeting touches of caramel, alongside pistachio nuts. The palate is divine, although rather soft at present it still seems to maintain a splendidly detached, lightfooted character as it dances across the palate. It has finesse, very nicely polished flavours of honey and nuts, backed up by a most wonderful bitterness and grip which lends the wine true status. Elegant, substantial yet harmonious, this is a superb effort, very stylish and also broad and fabulously long. Stunning; what a shame...I only have another ten halves left!
(Rieussec) A half-bottle of 2001 Rieussec rounded out our evening. I generally don’t do dessert or dessert wine, as I find the sugar too much for me after a big meal, but I do appreciate the sweet stuff even though my stomach does not. The Rieussec was such a baby. Candle wax was incredibly primary, along with ‘nougat, honeycomb and butterscotch.’ Orange marmelade and apricot flashed sweetness in the nose, along with ‘macadamia nuts,’ musk and more honeycomb. ‘Ocean sea salt and fish’ was the last descriptors to come out of my friend’s increasing comments, and I totally saw them all. In the mouth, the Rieussec was rich, balanced and oily without being cloying and heavy. One could feel the potential
(Rieussec) White flowers, honey, bright tangerine, marmalade and botrytis. The palate just had it all going on. Opulent and rich with unbelievable texture. Great acidity and explosive finish. Easily the class of these.
(Chateau Rieussec Sauternes) From a half bottle. Without doubt probably the most talked about wine of this vintage, thanks to an excess of pointy awards. Prices have rocketed. This has a glistening, honey-gold hue. The nose is very fine, with a palpable vibrancy, the freshness of oranges and blossom and freshly scraped vanilla pod, intermingled with chalky, minerally botrytis. Immediately apparent on the palate is a beautifully plump texture, its creamy weight infused with honey, mineral and botrytis richness. This has patent intensity, but also has a divine integration and is very finely poised. And it is very, very long. This is remarkable, and has amazing potential for the cellar. I understand completely why this wine has received such accolades, and I look forward to drinking the rest of my case over the ensuing years.
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