Last night we celebrated the birthday of one of our neighbours; such lovely people.
Vintage Champagne 1998, Pol Roger
The nose has a lot of fruit, redcurrants and raspberries. There is also a good rich, doughy character. It smells reasonably complex. The palate is quite linear, with powerful acidity and lemon fruit. Oddly, the nose smells more of red Burgundy whilst the palate is more white Burgundy. It is not terribly long, though. A perfectly good vintage Champagne, but after the wild excitement of the 1996s it does seem just a bit pedestrian.
Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Cloudy Bay
I’ve always hated Cloudy Bay, so it’ll be difficult to keep an open mind. Here goes: A powerful nose of fresh crushed blackcurrants, there is some over-ripe gooseberry fruit there as well. An almost dairy-like aroma is there too. The nose may be expressive, but it is hardly complex and doesn’t really show anything original. The palate has good acidity and lots of fruit, but it seems like there is a bit of residual sugar on the finish which is not terribly flattering. Happily, I don’t hate it. I am not a big fan, but I’ll be happy to try future bottles once a year to see if there is any development of the style.
Pommard Premier Cru Les Rugiens 2004, Domaine de Courcel
A bright nose of fresh fruit, strawberries, with a strong mineral tang. It is quite pretty, but perhaps lacks a bit of concentration. On the palate there are some quite severe tannins, some of which display a hint of greenness. These are distinctly on the edge of being too drying. Good fruit, though, and despite the tannins it seems reasonably elegant. There is not as much complexity as I might have hoped for. I feel this is going through an awkward stage and I should keep my remaining bottle for several years to give it time to open again. Not bad, but hardly the best de Courcel I’ve had.
Shiraz 2002, Cape Mentelle
A rich nose of slightly jammy dark fruits. It smells quite peppery, too, with hints of leather. The palate is very big and ripe, but there are some good ripe tannins there which stop it from becoming too stewed. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Cape Mentelle Shiraz and, even though this is not a complex or refined drink, it does not disappoint.