Wine Tasting: Winter Selection (17th Nov 1997)

A real treat here - the rain was falling and the temperature was dropping.. We needed something to cheer us up..

1. 1993 Hugel Riesling Jubilee

17th Nov 1997 GBP15 Alsace Table White

The Jubilee label represents some of this ancient producer's finest wines.
A weighty Riesling with a warm, well balanced feel.
Rich grapefruit and lemon fruit flavours are matched by high levels of acidity. A long, dry, mineral and citrus finish.
Still has room to develop but lovely now with trout or salmon.

2. 1995 Balland Chapuis Sancerre Cuvee Pierre

17th Nov 1997 GBP20 Loire Table White

A late harvest Sancerre from vines that are over 40 years old.
Fresh mown grass and a trace of oak on the nose.
Fresh, crisp gooseberry fruit matched with rich, toasty new oak and high levels of citrussy acidity. Medium-bodied and medium-sweet - ideal for sipping on its own as a treat.

3. 1995 Corteforte Amarone

17th Nov 1997 GBP19 Veneto Table Red

A powerful, pungent nose of stewed black fruits and raisins, violets and sweet alcohol.
A big, mouth-filling beast with spiced fruit flavours, hints of almond, high levels of alcohol, good acidity and plenty of underlying tannin.
A baby that could do with another 10 years, but glorious now if you're a fan of the style

4. 1990 Belair Bordeaux

17th Nov 1997 GBP29 Bordeaux Table Red

A deep, purple wine showing little sign of age.
A rich, inviting nose of mint, leather and oak.
Rich, dark, slightly burnt, dried plum fruit predominates on the palate but it still isn't giving much away. Well balanced with good levels of tannin but a wine that needs another few years to develop.

5. 1991 PJA Hermitage Chapelle

17th Nov 1997 GBP25 Rhone Table Red

Another wine that hasn't quite reached its peak - but what a difference.
Forward, complex, layered aromas of prunes, meat and leather with strong, barnyardy notes.
The nose carries through on a soft textured palate with great depth and concentration. A full bodied satisfying mouthful that lingers and develops in the mouth.
Very good now, fantastic in five or so years.

6. 1995 Yarra Yering No 1 Cabernet

17th Nov 1997 GBP20 Australia Table Red

Massive, black, opaque Australian Cab Sauv with a classic nose of cassis, mint and vanilla.
Fat, softly textured with chewy, ripe cassis fruit, a trace of fresh mint and lovely citrussy, lime acidity.
A joy to drink now but will develop for another decade or more.

7. 1992 Penfolds Grange

17th Nov 1997 GBP70 Australia Table Red

This had long disappeared but I managed to hold back a few bottles for tastings!
I can see why Grange is so highly rated but was amazed at how forward and approachable the wine was.
Another massive, almost black, opaque wine.
A warm, layered nose of nutmeg, almonds, cassis, allspice and alcohol.
Massively concentrated palate of cassis, raspberries and plums - an mixed basket of incredibly ripe, soft fruit with creamy, richly toasted oak.
I'm sure the tannins and acidity were there somewhere, but it was pretty difficult to find them under all that fruit! A long, long finish that didn't want to fade.

8. 1989 Yquem Sauternes

17th Nov 1997 GBP129 Bordeaux Dessert White

The second time I've tasted the 1989 - it's come a long way in the past year...
A deep, bright molten gold wine with layers and layers of marmalade, spice and orangey botrytis aromas and flavours.
A well judged dod of new oak and excellent acidity keep it in perfect balance and linger on the extremely long finish.
This was a joy to drink but probably a criminal waste of a wine that will develop over the next 3 to 4 decades and beyond.
Wines just don't get much better than this.