Having just returned from a two week Asian tour which saw me in Hong Kong for just over a week and then Singapore for five days, my jet-lagged thoughts are still reminiscing about some of the wines which were shared with me by clients and friends in Asia.
I was treated to a number of delicious and notable bottles in the course of the two weeks and, being something of a spod, whipped out my notebook to scribble my thoughts. With huge thanks to my generous benefactors, here are the notes from my trip:
Consumed over a fabulous meal at Ichu
Ichu is a new-ish Peruvian restaurant in Hong Kong. (Excellent food, by the way.)
2009 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, William Fèvre
Lovely colour: a pale, positive lemon ‘n’ lime. Nose is all about broad, ripe melon fruit. There’s a touch of pepper about it…then the palate offers a hint of pepper on entry. Interesting. There’s really decent apple tang. Fruit is ripe and there is late spice: peppery grip. I find a touch of pine needle about this and a dry core of structure held within. With air this becomes a touch toasty. There’s decent acid grip at the core. More-ish and delicious. This is very fine Chablis at the ripe end of the spectrum.
1999 Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux, Domaine des Epeneaux
Very deep appearance. The nose, one can only think, has attained maximum complexity. It is dark and really quite high-toned with lots of almond nuance to the dark, damson, cherry-black fruit. And there’s pepper spice, too, along with a floral rose/violet scent. Palate comes across as a touch high-toned as well and there’s very quick pepper spice. A very, very mineral – almost saline – structure. Big tannins are melded to the fruit density.
Later – a hint of dried fruit (prune) emerges, as well as an almond earthiness. The aromas add leaf litter. This remains taut with grip; very long and adding a graphite minerality, as well as an aroma of clove and other Asian spices. A fascination.
Drunk at the American Club grill in Central
With oysters and wagyu beef.
1995 Cristal, Louis Roederer
A bold appearance in the glass: positive greenish gold. A very fine bead rises sparsely. Aromas are complex and include smoke. This is clearly fully mature. I find spice and fresh mushroom skins, plus touches of toast and gingerbread. This is both vinous and very fine, with a mellow mousse, but still with a fine, firm core. Nutty, mineral and profound. Easy grip accelerates through. A very, very long wine; rich, with big mineral grip. Improved steadily throughout, proving that these mature champagnes really do need to breathe. Delicious!
2004 Château Margaux, Margaux
A very deeply coloured and young-looking wine, then a fabulous young nose of great snap and definition. Fruit aromas are all about dew-fresh blackcurrants and plums touched by the wood. There’s a graphite scent. Almond wood and mulberry fruit. This offers a beautiful dark entry, controlled and classy. Structure is resolved, but it still shows a little of the wood. Low-ish acidity and a very mineral structure. Completely bonded tannins; beautifully defined finish. A cool and very elegant wine of enormous class. Delicious. Later it produced spring flowers out of a hat, and a touch of liquorice. A great treat.
At a mate’s house before heading to the airport
2002 Semillon Vat 1, Tyrell
Really very pale, pretty lemon colour with a green tinge. Nose is beautifully defined and gains hints of wax and mint with time and there’s an interesting white chocolate praline scent as it warms. There’s great definition on the palate and superb lemon thrust to a very long finish. Then, finally, a mildly mineral, slightly chalky texture. It dies of lemon: fresh juice. And there’s lime juice within. Grip is sustained and energetic. I wasn’t sure whether this wasn’t the very slightest bit corked, but it was a fleeting thought and didn’t detract from high levels of enjoyment. Superb wine of a style made nowhere else.
2008 Pinot Noir, Dry River
Deeply coloured. The nose fines up as it breathes from a rich and broad bramble aroma to smoky bacon-inflected aromas that include dried oats. There’s whisper of something high-toned here, plus a bay leaf herbal quality. A dense, dark and snappy wine. Dark plum cool, pure fruit, along with very fine, resolved and integrated tannins. Nicely fresh grip. A long wine becoming juicy. One of those wines that changes character almost every time one goes back to it. Bay leaf and walnuts never very far away. Superb.
2013 Pinot Noir, Forager
Made in barrels that are buried in the vineyard, apparently.
This had been open a day. Screw cap. Very very high-toned nose of dark fruit, although the whole thing is not that aromatic. Dark cherry purity. Palate is high-toned as well. Very cool, very dark fruit. Snappy. Easy and funky wine of some volatility. Nice length. Interesting drinking.
There were, of course, many more bottles consumed whilst on my Asian tour but the bottles above are those which were so generously donated by others.