Prime of Life Dinner (Yan, National Gallery, Singapore): A real charmer of a CDP and (from a magnum) at a perfect place for drinking now. It started out with a wonderful nose, with meaty, earthy tones - roast beef I thought – shading a core of black cherries and sweet plums seasoned with warm, fragrant spices and fresh herb. There were some bretty, gym sock hints at the sides, but these added interest rather than distracted from what was otherwise a lovely bouquet. The brettiness came out again on the palate, but again not in large enough doses to distract from the wine’s better qualities. Here, fine-boned, ever-so-slightly powdery tannins and gentle acidity framed pure, expressive flavours of cassis, blackberries on the attack and midpalate, and then a lovely earthy minerality as the wine glided into a succulent finish. Neither the most powerful nor the most complex, but this was a real charmer, perfectly balanced and nicely elegant, showing all of the dialed-back presence and classic styling that I always enjoy in Vieux Telegraphe wines. A great drink, especially in the context of the weaker vintage.
Tasted blind. Difficult to put this as a CdP and felt more like an off vintage Bordeaux if nothing else. Had a few dark cherry notes too. Light fruit, well evolved earthy character, decent tannin still albeit a touch on the overly round and simple side. Provides for happy drinking and it has a nice light touch but not better than an 89-90. Drink now
Chateauneuf du Pape (Bronte, Sydney): rich rusty red. Clean, pure and not very expressive fragrance. Youthful dark fruits, lovely sweet leather and hint of earth. Softer but still with notable tannnins.
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(Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau) Group's #1 (my #3) – 47 pts; 6 firsts, 2 seconds, 1 third, 0 last places – medium dark red color; garrigue, anise, a little brett, lovely herbs, cigar box nose; tightish, nice herbs, garrigue, anise, tart cherry palate, needs another 3 to 4 years; medium-plus finish
(Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau) Bright light medium red color; herbal, tart cherry, horehound and spicy cherry nose; very tasty, complex, tart and spicy cherry, black fruit and horseradish palate; medium-plus finish
(Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape) Together with the Beaucastel this is one of the two most youthful looking wines in this flight. The nose is packed with smoke, plenty of fruit, game, spices, pepper and sensibly applied oak. Sweet and round fruit on the palate, with ripe though prominent tannins. There is some strong acidity destined to carry this wine into the future. Clearly a wine on the way up.
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