Haut Brion Pessac Leognan 1988
31 Dec 2020
Randomly picked a bottle of good wine for my New Years’ Eve drink, to pair with lamb. I was sufficiently impressed with some 1988 Bordeaux, although definitely not comprehensive, as I think 1988 was a relatively poor vintage for Bordeaux. However, my experience has been very mixed, Mouton Rothschild 1988 was totally hopeless, but I do have good luck with all other first growths like Lafite Rothschild, a totally stunning wine, Latour 1988 never fail to disappoint, Margaux 1988 performed extremely well in a blind tasting of vertical Margaux. Thus, I picked something that I have never tasted before, and I must admit, it would have gone any direction. I decanted it for at least an hour before tasting a sip before my dinner, felt that it was slightly diluted, despite very elegant smoke on the bouquet. It possessed a bit of the Graves character of earthy notes, however, primarily red fruits driven. When I had my lamb dish, at the mark of about 1.5 hours of decanting, everything was off the chart! Haut Brion 1988 suddenly became so feminine, soft and approachable that was totally beyond my description! I really enjoyed the content when I had some food, I was not persuaded it was the lamb that ticked the magic, I’m sure given sufficient decanting time, the content of this stunning wine changed sufficiently to be very impressive. Try it to believe yourself!
Agrapat & Fils lAvizoise Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Extra Brut 2012
25 Dec 2020
I wasn’t exposed to Agrapat champagne although I’ve heard of the big name often times, so I decided to try a bottle today for Christmas, pairing it with my Avocado salad. Unashamedly, it lived up to it’s reputation of the King of Grower Champagne. Bouquet was filled with lemon zest bundled with lemon custard. I really enjoyed the content, huge minerality (in fact, almost steely) without any harshness nor austerity, with a good amount of zestiness companied with sharp and precise focus, one of the best grower champagnes I’ve come across in 2020, something new for me!
Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan 1998
26 Nov 2020
There were two great appellations in Bordeaux for 1998 vintage – Right bank (both St Emilion and Pomerol), as well as Graves (Pessac Leognan). I have come across numerous wines from these two appellations that produced stunning content. I can give you a safe advice, skip most of the left bank, as even a non-classified right bank wine can easily outperform a left bank second growth (I quote an example, Chateau Laroze 1998 easily outperformed Leoville Las Cases 1998, I’m sure not many people heard of Laroze). Smith Haut Lafitte has been on an ascending performance since the Carthiard family bought over the vineyard in 1990. I can safely assure you this 1998 vintage will be one of the best after 1990. The content was smooth, soft, feminine and even to the extend of being sexy. The red fruited content was extremely hedonistic, I can drink this wine forever without getting sick of it! I can see the trend of how Smith Haut Lafitte style keeps improving over time, and the epic vintage would be 2009. Hopefully we get to host a vertical tasting of this up and coming vineyard!
Troplong Mondot St Emilion 1985
14 Nov 2020
I wasn’t sure of this label coming from 1985, although 1985 was one of my all time favourite vintages from Bordeaux. I hopped over to wine-searcher to look at some comments, not too encouraging at 90.9 points, I still decided to go ahead and purchase a case to try, as I really trust my instinct about the vintage. Lo and behold, this wine punched way above my expectations, easily one of the best 1985 Bordeaux I’ve ever had for a long time! Bouquet of fully matured red fruits, at the borderline of over-ripe. A sip and I told myself I hit on a pot of gold; the palate was so matured, and the softness of the texture was on the extreme scale, with multiple dimensions of flavour, truly hedonistic. It was at a borderline of 9.75 stars but I decided to “downgrade” it, not that I can find any fault with the wine, probably Troplong Mondot back in the 80s was not a big-name wine. Just don’t label me as a label drinker!
Sassicaia Bolgheri 2008
7 Nov 2020
I arranged a vertical flight of very decent vintages of Sassicaia 1990, 1997, 2004 and 2008 in a blind tasting. 9 tasters were all very experienced wine connoisseurs, and my theme was to throw them off, as I requested them to guess the grape blend and varietal. Nobody was closed to guessing this as a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, not to mentioning naming the label being Sassicaia. I chose to report the 2008 vintage, as I think so far it’s best of the flight. Bouquet was quite muted with slight band aid, clinical nose. I really enjoyed the palate, as it was very red fruit dominated, which was very unlike the characters of the duo Cabernet varietals. The content was lively, the wine was dancing on my palate, extremely enjoyable. The tannins were not so obvious, more muted and soft in the background, however, it’s still a wine with definitive long aging potential. Do expect to enjoy this wine in 2050.