Having just drunk a lovely Billecart-Salmon brut rose NV with our New Year's lobster, my wife asked for another bottle of Champagne, and I opened this bottle of Pol Roger 1996 brut. The wine had a lovely golden color with nice bubbles. It had a bouquet and flavor that mixed toasty notes with very dilute balsamic vinegar. It had good definition and balance and quite a long finish. It was a very nice match for its pink companion, as well as the lobster.
Champagne - BYO blind: Not sure whether the bottle was flawed or not. Few bubbles, nose of buck-wheat, mushrooms, yellow plums, certainly mature. Still high accidity on the palate. Somewhat disjointed and certainly not on the level other TN made me expect it to be. 85-87 if the bottle was good though.
Gaja Charity Dinner & Tasting for HealthServe (Taberna, Bukit Merah): Very good - this was much more pleasurable than the last bottle I had a couple of years ago, but still needs a bit of time yet. While it was still not as rounded and ready as the 1998 Pol Roger that we had alongside, I thought this was clearly the superior wine on the night, and had better bones for aging. It had a lovely nose, fresher than the slightly oxidative 1998, with sweet apples and a whiff of stone fruit aromas at the fore and a little shade of spicy scents chasing behind. On the palate, a great vigorous mousse and bright acidity formed a beautifully energetic frame for more of those apple and stone fruited notes, all seasoned with a dash of spice and mineral. There was a lovely depth and presence and energy to the wine from attack all the way into its long finish. It was still very structured and zippy, with a few rough, brightly citrus edges sticking out, but this is becoming a very good Champagne. Give it 3-4 more years and it should really hit its stride.
From Magnum. Excellent classic champagne. Very fine line of clean acidity, but with plenty of fruit and matter on the palate. Great persistence and length. This will continue to evolve for another 10+ years
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(Pol Roger Brut) A good intensity to the colour here, but still a restrained rather than an evolved hue, and a moderately fine bead. Very well honed on the nose, with nicely defined aromas, ground almonds among fresh apple and pear fruit with a lemony edge, with just the barest hint of mushroom. But this still seems very youthful and linear on the nose, and it comes across the same on the palate, although it does broaden and soften in the middle, revealing lightly nutty fruit and baked lemon with a tangy citrus character. It is very lightly autolytic, lightly honeyed, maturing and it shows this more with a slightly higher temperature in the glass. This is deliciously approachable now, although it still has a long way to go yet before it reaches real maturity. Great acidity and a very fine, crisp mousse too, giving this savoury, meaty wine a great lift. Very fine.
(Pol Roger Brut) A pale golden colour, showing a little depth of hue, but not at all deep or obviously mature. The bead starts off a little fat, but then calms down to a moderately small size. Very open and welcoming on the nose, starting off with some fresh citrus fruit before it slowly reveals a little early complexity in the shape of some gently nutty praline, with some biscuit and apple notes from the Pinot. Beautifully poised palate, with a wonderful balance of creamy, welcoming texture with well defined acidity and some sherbet-tinged bready flavour. A lovely, delicate, prickly mousse which gives a lot of brightness and should last well in the cellar. There's also a meatiness which I often associate with Pinot-dominate wines. A gently fading finish. Overall really very good indeed, with the structure for future development over the coming years.
(Pol Roger Brut) A moderate colour with a plentiful bead. Rich nose, dripping with cream and smoky-stony-cordite white fruit, and a leafy minerality. Gorgeous. Creamy palate, with bready-lemony fruit and a correct texture enveloping great acidity, with a little caramel twist. Beautiful wine, with stunning potential. Needs ten years to show its best I think.
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