Keith's Blind Challenge 2015

The Medlar, London

Tasted September 11, 2015 by SimonG with 599 views

Flight 1 (22 notes)

White - Sparkling
1996 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses France, Champagne
91 points
Blind. Mid to full straw. Quite an oxidative evolved nose with a touch of aldehyde. Good acidity, nice and bracing despite the evolution. Think this is a Pinot-rich 96 starting to creak. The room seems sceptical about 96 putting it older, but Ray volunteers C de G if that is the vintage, and adds the disgorgement date for good measure. ****
White - Sparkling
1994 Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs Brut South Africa, Coastal Region
84 points
Blind. Magnum. Significantly paler colour. Quite a lifted floral note on the nose. Light and frothy.a bit inconsequential. No idea where it's from, but not Champagne. **. Apparently a special release for Mandela's inauguration.
White
2000 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
91 points
Blind. Mid straw. Classy white burgundy nose. Nicely struck match nose. Quite dense but nicely mineral and focused through the mid palate. A touch if mint makes me think this might be a repeat of the 06 Rammonet BBM, but no. **** Not as impressive as the same wine six years ago, though still lovely.
White
2011 Sandhi Wines Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
92 points
Slightly deeper colour. Nose a little more lifted. Denser and noticeably more viscous on the palate. A touch of citrus too. Very grippy mineral with a Coche-line feel. Lovely. ****
White
1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
92 points
Blind. Deep straw. Very floral nose. Roses. A slightly off-dry feel to the attack. Very floral, almost Muscat or Gewurtztraminer. Possibly a touch of bruised apple that points to Chenin. No, more herbal with air and apricot stone. Northern Rhone. Needs time in the glass to really open and show its class. ****
White
2013 Rall White South Africa, Coastal Region
90 points
Blind. Another quite rich Gewurtztraminer-like nose and palate. Quite high alcohol. Something floral and exotic. Grippy mineral finish. Ah, of course, the lift comes from Viognier. ***1/2
Red
2005 Calera Pinot Noir 30th Anniversary Mills Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Mount Harlan
90 points
Blind. Dense, very cherry nose. Opens up with a touch of citrus. Quite sweet-fruited. Very leggy in the glass. Quite distinctive. A savoury sweetness and starting to show some breadth. Lacks a bit of poise and focus cf the glass alongside. ***1/2
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Red
1999 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
95 points
Blind. Dense, smokey nose. Lighter on the palate. Younger Pinot. Classy burgundy. This is the real deal. Plush cherry depth with a bright silky texture. Good vintage Rousseau or Dujac. *****
Red
1942 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
96 points
Blind. Fairly dense garnet. Quite a raisined, meaty quality to the nose. Lovely acidity. Old Rioja from a good vintage. Puts on weight in the glass. 64? More weight than Tondo. A touch of balsamic. Gorgeous and complete. *****
Red
1990 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Bonnes Mares France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
94 points
Blind. Quite fine. Dusty feel to the nose. Floral but very mineral . Classic iron fist etc. very mineral and structured. Serious wine but it does need time. Bonnes Mares? 90 apparently. ***(*1/2?)
Red
1990 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707 Australia, South Australia
91 points
Blind. Dense, quite leggy, nicely dense and mineral. Cherry confiture. New world Cab Sauv. Alcoholic and leggy. Dense Coonawara. Not to my taste,but a good wine. ***(*)
Red
1990 Château Haut-Brion France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
93 points
Blind. Lovely, bretty, slightly smokey nose. A sweetness too. Quite broad. Really surprised to discover what it is — not nearly as focused and together as a previous bottle. Presumably the Brett. Had guessed 85/78 LMHB. Still lovely, but a shade below previous experience. ****
Red
1986 Château Mouton Rothschild France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Blind. Dense ruby. Herbaceous. Very left bank. A touch of Brett but more heft and surliness than anything else. 86 and Mouton? It does start to relax but still so dense and unyielding. **(**1/2)?
Red
1996 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
88 points
Blind. Sweet nose. Superficial sweetness and then a finely chalky base. Two tiered. Not sure about this. ***? A poor shadow of a couple of previous bottles.
Red
1999 Noël Verset Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
95 points
Blind. Very polished and glossy Syrah. A fresh vegetal edge to it. Somehow combines smoothness with a slightly feral quality (in a classy way!). Plush, dense, long, plenty of interest. Really super wine. *****
Red
2002 Giaconda Shiraz Warner Vineyard Australia, Victoria, North East, Beechworth
94 points
Blind. Denser and darker. Very classy Syrah. A touch of sweetness but great poise and line. Keith mentions it did well in a tasting a few years back, so must be 02 Giaconda Warner. Starts to tighten a little wth air. A class act that still needs time. ****1/2
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Red
1997 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
92 points
Blind. Full garnet. Quite mellow. Very smooth and nuanced. Lots of interest here though not the depth or complexity for top flight. Delicious. Rounded with bright red fruit and some lift. ****
Red
2010 Lagier Meredith Syrah USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
88 points
Blind. Very dark. Sweet and dense with a minty lift. A touch of wet soil too. A bit too much after the class that's preceded it. Probably well made but not my thing. ***?
Red
2010 Mullineux Syrah Schist South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland
93 points
Blind. Dense dark red. A slightly pruney and quite evolved feel to it. Dense. Lots here; plush and classy. A touch tighter and a little less opulent than two years ago. ****
Red
2005 Le Macchiole Scrio Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
86 points
Blind. Young. Vibrant vanilla. De trop. (***)?
White - Sweet/Dessert
1988 Château Climens France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
94 points
Blind. Lovely light amber colour. Lovely nose of marmalade and orange blossom. Sweet. Good spine of acidity and nice shape. Classic line. I think this is 88 and probably Climens. ****1/2
White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Château Climens France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
93 points
Blind. Similar light Amber. Sweet, marmalade, but a touch more exotic with hints of lavender too. More medicinal too. Too exotic? ****

Closing

An embarrassment of riches, and one of those evenings where one is pinching oneself to see of it really happened, only to find there are another dozen top wines to come. Huge thanks to Keith for his generosity in hosting this. Special mention to the Medlar team and Clement for their handling of the event, the 200 plus glasses, the service, and the food — one's always well fed, but this was a sustained high (special mention to the cod's cheeks with girolles). Amongst a number of stunning wines, the 42 Ygay stood out for its richness and complexity, but there were wonderful bottles galore. Hail Malcom!

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