Almaviva 2000, Chile

Appearance: Deep garnet in the core, developing into brick-red with a slight brown-orange rim. Sediment present – needs decanting.

Nose: Pronounced oak, dark berries and cassis. Perfumed aromas abound.

Palate/ Flavour: Strong vanilla, oak and dark cherries on the palate with a medium (+) finish. Smooth tannins coated the mouth with a lingering cedar flavour. Still a little astringent but well balanced.

Comments: Paired this with pan seared herb crusted black angus beef. Wine still has potential to age as I feel it could use a few more years in the cellar before it will reach its peak – plenty of fruit coupled with strong tannins. Frankly, I was a little disappointed with this bottle but I guess I shouldn’t have set my expectations so high to begin with.

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Joseph Drouhin Chablis 1er cru Vaillons 2008, Chablis, France.

Appearance: Light gold colour with a pale rim (think bright meyer lemons).

Nose: Strong mineral notes with a very subtle oak (surprising really – wasn’t expecting it) and honeyed aroma.

Palate/ Flavour: Crisp, refreshing (high) acidity. Flinty, lemony and citrusy. Medium (+) finish with streaks of chalk.

Comments: Had this with some lovely crottin de chavignol (I was so happy to find it in Saigon), belle des champs, reblochon, heirloom tomatoes and dark rye bread. I later discovered that Drouhin actually aged this Chablis in old wood barrels for 12 months (0% new wood). I thought this wasn’t as good as their Chablis AOC (same vintage) from Vaudon though.

1998 Cuvée Louis Isidore, Louis Lequin, Santenay, Cote d’Or, France

Appearance: Brilliant ruby or brick-red with a tinge of brownish hues and rim.

Nose: Savoury aromas were very pronounced – meat, game, dried scallops. Whiffs of redberries present but not overpowering after the wine opened up a little. Dried red dates and mandarin peel present after decanting in the glass.

Palate/ Flavour: Medium acidity and body. Dried tea leaves and elements of oak/ wood were quite significant. Not a fruit forward wine at this point. Possessed savoury but ripe tannins – slightly astringent but not bitter. Had a pleasant aftertaste which reminded me of the lingering sweetness in the mouth after chewing on dried liquorice.

Comments: Drinking well now though it should last a few more years before taking a dip. Paired this with rashmi kebab, vegetable korma and plain naan.

Hans Lang Spatburgunder 2006, Rheingau, Germany

Appearance: Bright raspberry red with a pale ruby rim. Slight brownish hues can be seen.

Nose: Plenty of candy aromas on first sniff. Ripe strawberries with hints of leather and faint cigarbox scent after some swirling. Slight spiciness/ white pepper was detected.

Palate/ Flavour: Medium acidity.  Strong crushed raspberries and redcurrants on the palate.  Its aftertaste reminded me of the 山渣片 (hawthorn fruit snack) I used to eat when I was a child. Medium (+) finish and balanced levels of tannins to drink this on its own.

Comments: Wine was supposedly aged in wood barrels but i couldn’t really detect it. A well made pinot that’s easy to drink without costing a bomb.  Very approachable now.