Browse Wines

Big Day For the Buds

Something to do with tomatoes. In a test tube.

The timing for my trip to Asia was dictated by a very kind invitation to the joint 50th birthday party of a client and his wife. There was a proviso: that I would introduce the wines on the evening in question. 

We planned to meet up earlier in the day and talk through the plans for that night's event and I was offered the opportunity to be picked up from my hotel and ferried off to Dempsey for lunch. Perhaps I wont mention the name of the restaurant in which we lunched as they don't allow BYO in the course of normal business, but they waived their prohibition for my client, who had hand carried a bottle of champagne and another of red burgundy thus:

2000 Comtesse Marie de France, Paul Bara (100% Pinot)
Lovely colour: a full yellow. Nose is rich and nutty, of lemons and cooked apple fruit and a touch and saline minerality. Lovely integrated mousse adds structure, is quite firm. There's a core of firm slatiness. Lovely zippy lemon acidity. Very long wine. Wonderfully firm, structured, juicy finish. Fabulous and very long.

2003 Charmes Chambertin, Armand Rousseau

Colour is just a little smudgy. Nose is quite creamy, with no sign of the heat; there are even some floral aromas here. And Parma violet. Entry is plush, concentrated, soft. Preserved red cherry fruit. Decent length and a hint of warmth. A real vin de plaisir and a great deal easier to like than many '03s.

After lunch we headed for coffee at my benefactor's house (in fact that should be benefactors', as his charming wife was present). Coffee ensued, plus a rummage around the extraordinary wine cellar in which I spotted a great many stellar liquids residing.

Reaching into one case and producing a bottle, I was told that I could have said bottle as long as it was understood that it was to be drunk with the chairman AKA Mrs Bowes. I glanced at the label. 1959 Léoville-Lascases. Phew! Chuffed doesn't come into it.

A taxi took me back to my hotel where I doused the lights and closed my eyes. 40 winks was about all I managed before it was time to get up and head out to the restaurant that had been taken by my client for his birthday bash. Forty of us were to sit down at Nicolas in Teck Lim Road.

This place is the real deal and I recommend it wholeheartedly. We ate fabulously well, a meal that was accompanied by a flight of interesting wines from my client's cellar.

We started with 1996 Gardet champagne from jeroboam and in which bottling I could see lasting for a very long time. It was delicious.

A white burgundy followed: the '05 Puligny Folatières from Michelot mother and daughter. It was just ready, subtle and delicious. Why wasn't I writing notes already?!?

Then, the reds:
2003 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru, Drouhin-Laroze
No heat, but spice and rich red fruits. Some breadth. This is nicely fresh. And the tannins are very well judged and nicely integrated. Something distinctly limestone here. A long wine. This is a touch brutal at the finish yet; needs more time perhaps. Really quite firm, with masculine, geological grip. With breathing, this becomes richer still and fresher-seeming too. Red cherry and spice. This is a little high toned and a touch orange-y.

1996 Château l'Evangile, Pomerol
Very deeply coloured. Dark and brooding nose, smoky from the wood. Entry is silken, then quickly loaded with almond, quite firm tannins. Really fresh acidity contributes to the grip. Finish is dry and rich with tannin and the wood is quite evident here. But the fruit has admirable purity. This is a structured food wine and will possibly benefit from further ageing (judging by the colour and the slightly unintegrated wood).

1995 Château La Conseillante, Pomerol
Deeply coloured with a really interesting nose. There are hints of pine resin and a smell like fresh cowpat. Complex scents that include black cherry and spice. This is medium weight and very mineral-fresh. Consistent, nutty wine with upright, fresh tannins well integrated. Elegant, burgundian wine.

I was already in a state of advanced happiness when the sweet wine was rolled out. Happiness ratcheted up a notch:
1942 Château Doisy Daene, Barsac
Lovely pink copper colour. The nose encompasses caramel and salted walnuts, orange marmalade, burnt ginger. Something umami here. Milky coffee with a veil of botrytis. Just lovely: rich and really fresh and dense and very nutty. Sweet and clean and there's an almost tannic dryness at the core that extends into the finish. Then very long and compact. One lovely experience.

What a stunning day, all courtesy of an extremely kind client and his wife. Happy birthday, Mr and Mrs F. You are the most generous of hosts!
Copyright © 2022 Bowes Wine Ltd  |  All Rights Reserved
17 Market Place
SN10 1HT

t: 01380 827291