Sunday, April 23, 2006

Domaine Faiveley Tasting

I segue-ed into the weekend by attending a tasting of Faiveley wines, one of many Wine Master Classes that were part of World Gourmet Summit festivities here in Singapore. Other wineries presented included Chateau Cos D'Estournel, Chateau-Figeac, Domaine Bonneau du Martray, Domaine Michel Gros, and Luciano Sandrone.

Christophe Voisin, Export Director @ Faiveley, gave his spiel on the estate and their incredible range of wines, and also moderated the tasting that followed. It was interesting to hear that 80% of their vineyards are domaine owned, as I had always had the impression that Faiveley was primarily a negociant. Surprising to me also, was that they produce about 50 bottles of Le Musigny each year!

The Tasting

> Mercurey 1er Clos du Roy 2002 - Youthful, ruby color. Simple red fruit flavors with a touch of violets, but overwhelmed by a rather underwhelming greenness. Stems galore.

> Beaune 1er Clos de l'Ecu 2003 - Deep, full red. Viscous and rich with lots of "over the top", "chao tar" (read as burnt), aromas of black fruits, bubble gum and grilled meats. Almost Rhone like. Someone mentioned that this would be a very interesting wine to serve at a blind tasting.

> Nuits Saint Georges 1er Aux Chaignots 1998 - This wine showed softer, very flavorful red fruits, with lots of mother earth and minerals. A little austere for me, but at that point in the tasting, a definite step up in quality.

> Nuits Saint Georges 1er Aux Vignerondes 1996 - A light, purplish red showing sensory elements of smoked salmon, violets and cherries. Still a little closed and shy for me on this day.

> Nuits Saint Georges Clos de la Marechale 1995 - Now we're talking Burgundy. Smelly socks and farmyard, with very clean, cool, elegant fruit. Fine tannins frame this nicely. Liked this NSG the best.

> Mazis Chambertin 1995 - Dominated by very effusive caramelized, soy sauce aromas. High tone flavors of raspberries, century egg, oyster sauce and flowers. Superb on the finish. A great wine.

> Latricieres Chambertin 1993 - Medium red with a rim of rust. Very rustic aromas of truffles and mushrooms. On the palate, all farmyard, earth and chicken shit. Charming.

> Corton Clos des Corton 1990 - Very nuanced, mature oak entry introducing mouth-filling plum fruit, cool steel, wet stones, and pencil lead elements. Liked that the palate had a very clean, uplifted fruit profile and still tasted very fresh. Alive and kicking. Still some way to go yet. A fellow attendee at the tasting mentioned he had a case of this stowed away in his cellar. Lucky dude!

Faiveley wines are represented in Singapore by Culina which has 2 gourmet store locations, Culina Parkhouse (t 65-6735-8858) & Culina Bukit Timah (t 65-6468-5255), where the wines are available.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Domaine Bonneau du Martray Tasting - Corton Charlemagne Vertical & A Pair of Cortons

The week began with a bang! The World Gourmet Summit had just kicked off festivities, and I received an invitation to the Bonneau du Martray Vitner's dinner @ Equinox, Swissotel The Stamford. My thanks to my host, Simon Rock, Managing Director, Performance Motors Ltd, for a very enjoyable evening. Also in attendance, Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moriniere, Proprietor and Winemaker of the Domaine, who had flown in that very morning just for the event.

The juice flowed as follows:

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru - <1976><1987><1993><1996><2000><2002>

Corton Grand Cru - <1998><2001>

Sensory Perceptions

Corton-Charlemagne 1976 > The color of Manuka honey and maple syrup. Olfactorily, marmalade and a hint of cinnamon. Not quite as much lift for me because of a touch of acid atrophy, but otherwise displaying beguiling flavors of preserved olives, "seng buay" (chinese cracked seed), white peaches and caramel. The sum of all its parts delivered a wine of great distinction. The finish - a good 60+ secs! A treat.

Corton-Charlemagne 1987 > Toasty popcorn aromatics make their way to a fairly simple, 4 square palate of lemons and pears. Rather disjointed and probably my least favorite of the whites tonight.

Corton-Charlemagne 1993 > Rather tight and closed. Tried coaxing it out over the course of dinner, but it still remained about as tight as a vacuum seal. Kept thinking that there was definitely something there, but overall felt the fruit and mid palate - lacking. Bottle variation?

Corton-Charlemagne 1996 > Initially, a blast of aromas - sweaty socks, honeysuckle and toasty oak. What followed was a well delineated flavor profile that included freshly baked dough, hazelnuts, ripe pears, white flowers and alas, lots of minerals, gravel, and wet stones. The sensory equivalent of walking around a tide pool along the California Coast on the edge of the Pacific O. A great wine!

Corton-Charlemagne 2000 > Very clean, fresh fruit profile with nuanced pear, candied apple, curry spice flavors. All the components in this wine were deftly balanced, and there was an uncanny focus to the way it was delivered. Surprisingly good.

Corton-Charlemagne 2002 > Nubile and young. Obviously great stuffing - hazelnuts, ripe fruit, fresh acid. Felt we were drinking this kinda young. Would be lovely to come back to this in a couple of years.

Corton 1998 > An austere nose of flower petals and iron shavings, the palate showed simple black fruits, spice, white pepper and a touch of chalkiness. Quite good, but not quite grand cru good.

Corton 2001 > Liked this better than the '98. Charming farmyard aromas of root, earth, game and fowl. The mid-palate stuffed with black fruits and mince pie. Tannins were soft and velvety; the finish - exemplary. A great finish to an awesome tasting. Fantastico!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Klein Optenhorst Pinot Noir 2003

T-notes > Nose & palate exhibit simple red fruit flavors, cola, and a touch of spice. Quite straightforward and not the most complex creature this wine. The mid palate somewhat lacking, and the backend rather short. Having said that, there is typicity, which makes for a pleasant, albeit simple glass of Pinot Noir.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pouring Pinotage

First created in 1920s South Africa, Pinotage is the resultant cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The hope was to create a varietal that had the best characteristics of both grape types - classic elegant Pinot flavors married with the rugged Cinsault grape (spelt Cinsaut in the Cape). Initial results were patchy. It's only been in the last 10-15 years that the quality of Pinotage has improved and the wines have gained popularity from increased coverage in the international wine press.

As mentioned in my previous post, The Wine Company has an extensive array of wines from South Africa, and I was duly impressed by a bottle of Pinotage from Durbanville Hills that I chanced upon on a recent visit.

T-notes > Bright, ruby red. On the nose, distinct aromas of banana nut loaf and ash from a fine Cuban. Palate staining flavors incorporated fresh raspberries, fruit cake, cinnamon and clove. Really liked that the fruit tasted very clean, very cool, almost like you could taste/feel a fine, cool mist enveloping the vineyard. A very suave, persistent finish. My wife, T was really enjoying this, her only comment being simply, "Oishii ne". Ditto the sentiment.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Embrace Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2005

The Wine Company in the Dempsey Road area and more recently @ Evans Road, are purveyors of some very interesting bottles of wine from South Africa.

A recent impromptu visit led to the discovery of a lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that is offered by the glass @ The Wine Co.

T-notes > Color - Pale, straw yellow. Aromas of nutmeg seguing to the palate with bright, clean passion fruit flavors framed by a crisp acidity. The dryness is almost aloof, yet is comforting and lends an elegance to the wine. Almost like licking evening dew off a rose petal. A very good food wine or just perfect on its own. Amazing value. Much prefer this delicato style of Savvy as opposed to the rather green, stemmy, "over the top" style, typical of some examples of this varietal from New Zealand.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chateau Guiot, Costieres de Nimes 2004

This has got to be one of the best value wines available -anywhere. The quality far outstrips the price, making the price-quality proposition literally, a no brainer.

Proprietors Francois and Sylvia Cornut make wine from this relatively unknown appellation of Costieres de Nimes in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of Southern France. The wine is predominantly Grenache based but with some Syrah.

T-notes > Deep full red with a purplish tinge on the edge. Very precocious, the nose espouses smoke, spice and lots of delicious dirt. Palate staining flavors of stewed cherries, fur, animal and bark. Tannins are a little sharp but that eases off with a bit of aeration. Quite impressive for the price point.

In Singapore, available @ Tanglin Marketplace. Stateside, a Robert Kacher Selection.