Will be using this thread to consolidate my tasting notes from my trip for greater coherence, hopefully will be useful to the folks here. Any recommendations for Provence are welcome too - wanted to do Pegau / Beaucastel but they are unavailable, thinking of St Cosme as we are doing the bistrot at l’Oustalet.
First off, went to Noble Rot for dinner after landing.
NV Emmanuel Brochet Champagne Rosé de Saignée- France, Champagne
Typical Saignée colour, but more dark pink than the dark red of the Marie Courtin tried last week. Saignées can usually be strict without much fruit but wasn’t the case here, plenty of strawberries and red apples. Very balanced and a fine finish but became a little natty with air. Probably not worth the secondary market price but interesting to try. (92 pts.)
2012 Lorenzo Accomasso Barolo- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I think there is huge bottle variation with his wines but this was an exceptional bottle - fresh and not advanced at all. From my experience 2012 Barolos are in the zone and this proved to be the case, had the ethereal quality of Mascarellos with very pretty dark red fruit, but just a little more rustic and rough tannins, and more old-school than the Mascarellos. (94 pts.)
1985 Marc Sorrel Hermitage Le Gréal- France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Mostly tertiary notes of mushroom and truffle now and the nose and palate could be easily mistaken for a Bordeaux with dark and dense red fruit save for a hint of pepper. In great shape for its age. (92 pts.)
1996 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese- Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Dark golden in colour, in a good place with the complexity that comes with secondary development. The sweetness is fading but acidity and fruit are still very much intact, quite an elegant and understated expression for an Auslese, probably a cooler vintage? Not too heavy or cloying, went well with chocolate mousse cake. (92 pts.)
2015 Louis Jadot Bâtard-Montrachet- France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
Powerful and made in an old-school style, creamy oak on the nose and the palate, very Batard. Nowhere near its full potential but very good now nonetheless.
2005 Louis Jadot Clos St. Denis- France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos St. Denis Grand Cru
Unfortunately not the domaine bottling. Silky on the palate, quite elegant for a 2005 especially compared to the Bruno Clair. Fine tannins, dark red fruits, lingering finish. Classy expression of CSD but seemed to shutdown with air.
2013 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Put on weight since the last time I tried it, seemed a little more shutdown as the tannin was more obvious than the fruit which was nowhere to be found.
1999 Château d’Yquem- France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
A little dilute and less depth compared to the best vintages, but still an excellent example of Sauternes.
2010 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot- France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
More open that the 2014 Reynard I opened last year. Lovely silky tannins and more red than blue fruit. Very linear and cohesive wine, and in a good spot at the moment.
Also had a disappointing experience an event for Californian wines by Eureka (https://www.eventarena.co.uk/california-wines/eureka-2022/wines). I was under the impression that at least a number of the producers that were listed would be featured even if understandably not all was possible In reality it was less than 20 producers (most of which did not interest me in the least), and when I gave this feedback to the organisers present I was brushed aside that it wasn’t promised under the consumer tickets section, but from what I could see here it clearly was. Was deeply unimpressed by the professionalism of a number of staff that was present who mentioned that I should have been happy with being able to taste such a number of wines for 30 quid and that some producers may be trade only, but I think that was not the point as I was there to seek out producers that I thought were interesting such as Arnot-Roberts, Rhys, Ramey and many more. And besides, ‘more than 200 producers being represented’ was clearly promised under the consumer tickets section as I mentioned. Normally I do try to give people in the industry a chance as I believe most are truly trying their best, but this was just unacceptable I feel.
All great - 67 Pall Mall’s menu was similar to Singapore’s so I was familiar, everything from the Josper oven is great. Noble Rot had a shorter menu but all that we had were good as well. The Soho Noble Rot had a more interesting menu so we only had food there, the Lamb Conduit branch was more British in style.
Visited Planque, an interesting wine bar with an excellent wine list focusing on natural wines in east London, would definitely have signed up for their membership if I was here permanently.
2019 Les Horées Bourgogne-Aligoté En Coulezain- France, Burgundy, Bourgogne-Aligoté (10/6/2022)
Can see why this producer has been gaining traction. For an aligoté this is impeccably balanced, none of that strange melange of green and exotic fruits in poor examples. Slightly reductive on opening but opened up to vibrant tropical fruits with air. Texturally very weighty, impressive precision and finish for the classification. (94 pts.)
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels is in the middle of tourist town where probably nobody bothers to scour the wine list but it actually has quite a few gems. Slightly disappointed that they raised the prices on the Mugneret-Gibourg from the online wine list but these were still well-priced.
1995 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia- Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (11/6/2022)
Nose of tobacco, earth and sweet liquorice that reminded me a little of an Italian. Very silky with impressive power that bore a resemblance to a grand cru Burgundy of similar age, but the fruit was a little less fresh than I would have liked. Became a little plummy and raisined with air. Probably not the best bottle of this. (90 pts.)
2016 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Acclivi- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (11/6/2022)
Didn’t show well at all at first when opened at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. Very jammy and cherry cola-ish that appeared to be a cross between a Bojo and a new-world Pinot. Left it for a day and brought it to Harwood Arms for dinner, the jamminess was still there but the floral elements were more evident. The palate showed signs of coming together with more strawberry and plum fruit, and the tannins seemed more integrated even if they were still rather fierce. Don’t open these for a while yet if you have any.
Also finally got to try Harwood Arms after hearing so much (and not being able to afford it back when I was a student), glad it didn’t disappoint.
Cheers Mike, happy to help where I can in terms offering data points / travel tips after all the knowledge I have gained here from you and the others
Visited Blacklock after having read about the friendly BYO policy here, good quality chophouse and the damage was very reasonable.
NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Premier Cru Brut Rosé- France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru (14/6/2022)
Disgorged July 2020, 2018 base. A strawberries and cream sort of rose champagne, not much complexity but easy going and perfect for summer. (88 pts.)
Off the list at Andrew Edmund’s, a true institution and well-priced wine list.
2017 Dureuil-Janthial Bourgogne Blanc- France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Blanc (13/6/2022)
Interesting that there are two versions of this - I had the Celine et Vincent Dureuil bottling which is supposed to be Rully fruit and better than the other bottling with Puligny fruit. Similar to the Meix Cadot that I tried a couple of months ago, this is a rich, old-school Burg with a healthy amount of oak even at this level. Very enjoyable and wish more producers made white burgundy in this more overt style without going over the top. (91 pts.)
Great lunch at Les 110 de Taillevent London - traditional cooking that doesn’t push any boundaries but very well-executed, which let the wines take centre stage. Top-notch service as well. Had a hard time choosing a wine off the list but eventually plumped for the Prevost.
2012 Jérôme Prévost La Closerie Fac-Simile- France, Champagne
Prévost can be quite divisive but I am a big fan. Couldn’t resist when I saw a Fac-Simile with some age as I only have one that is way too young, and this experience confirmed my suspicions that this is a wine that needs time. Some nascent secondary flavours, ripe red berries that had a certain wildness to it, the mouthfeel was quite interesting with umami characteristics that I don’t think I have gotten so strongly in a champagne before. Fruit was a little shy compared to the salinity, slightly candied finish. Much better in a Zalto universal compared to a champagne glass. Quite a singular wine but probably not worth the secondary market pricing. (94 pts.)
And two BTG - I think restaurants in Singapore can take a cue from London restaurants in terms of putting such wines on the BTG list as the selection here is quite incredible and allows more people to have a taste of top producers.
2011 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre- France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
My first Raveneau and I can see why this transcends the region, this was completely unlike Chablis that I have encountered before. From previous notes this seemed like a weaker vintage with green notes but luckily mine only had the merest hint if you looked hard enough for it. Such incredible weight to this and even though the oak influence was quite palpable, in no way this could have been mistaken for a CdB white with its distinctive seabreeze character. Drinking well now. (93 pts.)
2012 Georges Noellat Vosne-Romanée- France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée
Interesting to try this producer with some age as I do have my doubts whether such new-school Burgs can age as gracefully as those from yesteryear. Unmistakably Vosne on the nose and the palate, pretty floral and spicy nose, attractive dark fruits on the palate. In a good spot and probably at peak. (91 pts.)
Both as Sarah mentioned! They have different wines by the glass so stopped by both as I am around in London for a couple of weeks, and they refresh the BTG list quite often. Corkage for Harwood Arms is 30 quid if that helps, brought my own as I bought too many wines from Lay and Wheeler to take back home!
Apologies just got back from Provence where I didn’t have much time to come on here!
Indeed there are always Raveneau offers but they are about 1.5 times of what this restaurant was selling for! From my experience up and down the hierachy they have a similar style so would expect more of the same, shame that they are so allocated now as you mentioned!
I travelled to the villages such as Rousillon, Aix-en-Provence, Oppede-le-Vieux as well as the lavender fields before spending a little time in Marseille where we flew into / out from. Also managed to squeeze in a visit in CDP at Clos de Caillou, will update more when I post my notes from the trip
Decided to spend the afternoon working and polishing off some BTG wines at 67PM. They have refreshed the list since last week and got to try some rarities that can’t be found in Singapore.
A pair of Donatsch that I was surprised to see going at an affordable price so took a tasting portion of each, followed by a mini-Chardonnay shootout.
2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard- USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County
A serious Zinfandel without much overt sweetness, better than the Ridge I tried last month. Very balanced with lovely plum fruit and despite the lack of acidity there was a surprising amount of earth rather than sweetness that reminded me of an Italian red. Imagine this would be superb with burgers. (92 pts.)
2020 Donatsch Pinot Noir Unique- Switzerland, Eastern Switzerland, Bündner Herrschaft, Malans
Wow this was what I imagined an ideal cross between a new-world and Burg Pinot would taste like. Pure silk and so velvety in texture, a good mix of earth and sweet fruit. Incredibly fresh, and the acidity, tannins and fruit were in perfect harmony despite being so young. (94 pts.)
2020 Donatsch Chardonnay Unique- Switzerland, Eastern Switzerland
While I thought that the Pinot was a halfway house between Burg and new-world, I would placed this as a grand cru Burg without question. Highest quality among the three Chardonnays that I tasted by far, combined an impressive salinity and weighty mouthfeel which can be tough to achieve. Finish was effortlessly long. (94 pts.)
2018 Ceritas Chardonnay Marena- USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Stood out from the other two as being distinctly new-world but I enjoyed this. Lower acid and sweeter fruit, the oak on this was not as integrated as I would have liked. Otherwise it had appealing citrus fruit and a nutty character to it, just lacking a detail especially in comparison to the other two wines. (90 pts.)
2017 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne- France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
My first time trying this producer, think they have changed style after being a poster-child for premox. Very new-school in style in terms of the reductiveness and leanness, green fruit that had enough weight to compensate for the style nevertheless. Still very young. (91 pts.)
Met Chris, Ian (many thanks for putting the reservation together), Nick and Rohit for dinner. Wonderful company and a truly stunning line-up of wines, including a revisit of old favourites as well as new discoveries. Top 3 were the Palmer 99, Cappellano and the Marcoux in a photo-finish.
2004 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos Clos des Hospices dans Les Clos- France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
Similar to my previous experiences with this producer, was mentioning to those present that I was fooled by this to be a Meursault a couple of times before and they were in agreement. Rich and creamy but the the oak was fully integrated, some woolly notes on the nose and palate. So pale and fresh for its age, haven’t had any issues with this producer for premox. (93 pts.)
2012 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Ruchottes- France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru
This was in a grumpy mood - oak was rather disjointed and the wine seemed rather heavy without much tension. Not the first Ramonet that I have had whose oak stuck out in a bad way, and I am not sure if it will ever integrate. A pleasure to have a Ramonet with some age though so am grateful to Nick for bringing this. (89 pts.)
1999 Château Palmer- France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
Well what I can say, one of my WOTYs last year and an absolute pleasure to have it again. Similar impressions to before but this bottle was less seductive on the nose and the tannins were a little rougher, but still such a complete wine that would win over any Bordeaux sceptic. (95 pts.)
2010 Château Palmer- France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
Showed better than the tasting sample that I had before. Less monolithic and some signs that the wine is re-emerging from its slumber. Will never be as seductive as the 1999 but those who prefer a more concentrated, powerful expression of Bordeaux will love this. Thanks to Rohit for bringing this. (93 pts.)
2011 Cappellano Barolo Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin (Gabutti)- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Glad this showed much better than the bottle I opened at the start of the year. Not advanced at all and in fact it felt rather youthful. Ripe and plummy but in a good way, contributed to its appeal as a big-boned wine without ever going over the top. Dark red fruit with delineation despite the evident alcohol present, not usually my kind of wine but the clarity and elegance together with the heady fruit made it such a distinctive wine. (95 pts.)
2011 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Similar impressions to the 2016 Acclivi I had last week, over-ripe and jammy nose that never dissipated. Didn’t find any evidence of the elegant, stemmy style of the Monvigliero that was supposed to be unique. Still glad to have tried this from Ian who generously brought this and the Palmer 99.
1990 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
An absolutely stunning wine, not a producer that I am familiar with so many thanks to Chris for bringing this to share. This had the best nose on the night by far, only a select few wines elicited a stop in your tracks kind of reaction from me and this was one of them. Quite similar to an aged Bordeaux with tertiary aromas but with much more elegance and lift. Palate was fresh with cool red fruit, had a depth and complexity that could only come with extended ageing. (95 pts.)
2009 Pian dell’Orino Brunello di Montalcino- Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
First time trying this producer and I do get the hype on this one. A floral, red-fruited nose and the palate was burgundian in style save for the grippy tannins. If you like Soldera and Stella this will be for you. For a much-maligned vintage this was stunning and held its own against the big hitters. (93 pts.)
1999 Château Tirecul La Gravière Monbazillac Cuvée Madame- France, Southwest France, Dordogne, Monbazillac
I haven’t heard of this producer before but this could compete with the best Sauternes. Deep orange / golden colour, some honey and marmalade similar to a Sauternes. Excellent lingering finish, one of those wines that can live forever. (92 pts.)
Again, very nice Melvin. I have loved C. Moreau Chablis for a long time, great to hear the 04 was in good shape. Also glad to see you tried the Tirecuil Cuvee Madame–indeed, the good bottles can compete with top Sauternes.