A few random tasting notes from New Year. Not very detailed and from memory:
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Clos des Papes 1996
Nice rich red colour, showing age. Nose has a touch of volatility that I've found with a lot of southern Rhone wines from Magdalen, but not to the level of taint here. Gets richer with time open, really delivering on the whole rich, smoked strawberry and leather character. Palate is pretty soft now, reasonably round but not huge; perhaps slightly disappointing in the mouth after the very beguiling aromas on the nose. A better stored bottle of this would probably be lovely.
Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 1998
Took a little time to open, but then came out with the trademark rich, rounded nose. Caramel and butterscotch as well as deeper Pinot notes. A lot of zesty citrus as well and a nice underlying yeasty character. Very impressive indeed. The palate suggests that this wine is not yet ready - the citrus notes dominate, and the acidity is quite marked; while delicious it seems leaner than one might expect from the nose. This assessment is reinforced by the finish which opens out again to reveal some of those richer flavours. I don't think it's ever quite going to compete with the 1996, but I'm pretty certain that this will be improved by a couple of years in bottle.
Palo Cortado Muy Viejo, Hidalgo
Not much to say here that I haven't already said in the past. Still one of the most stunningly intense and captivating flavour experiences you're ever likely to have. Layer upon layer of nutty, carmel-ey, dried-fruit, fig-ey, date-ey interwoven liquid magic. Mesmerisingly good, but not for the faint of heart; this is an Extreme Flavour Experience.
Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu, Domaine Billaud-Simon 2002
Colour beginning to age a bit, but still fairly fresh looking. Nose is quite rich with a surprising exuberance of really quite ripe fruits - definitely up in the red apple spectrum, and at times even hinting at tropicality. Counter-balanced by a really nice mineral and savoury, creamy note. Palate is very nicely balanced, with the beginnings of a biscuity richness overlaying refreshing ripe apple fruit, all held together by a nice streak of mineral acidity. Finish is long, creamy and satisfying. It's not going to set the world on fire, but this is a lovely, well balanced Chablis beginning to show some nice secondary character.
Chateau La Pointe, Pomerol, 1998
Good deep colour still. Lovely rich Pomerol nose - lots of lush fruit there, but not in a blowsy way - this still has a discernably clarety backbone even on the nose, with some nice secondary characteristics beginning to show through - cigar box etc. Palate is smooth and rich with a satisfyingly long and full finish. Lovely stuff.
Chateau Montrose, St. Estephe 1991
Nose noticeably more austere after the Pomerol, but actually not as earthy as I was expecting, and also not as lean. Still a decent amount of fruit there. Palate isn't huge, and the tannins are light by Montrose standards, but it's still got a decent depth and grip to it. Drinking pretty well now, wouldn't want to keep it a huge amount longer. Very pleasant.
Coteaux du Layon Chaume, Domaine des Forges 2005
Golden colour. Rich honey, wax and apricot nose with evident botrytis. Palate is rich and full bodied and very sweet, but, as expected, cut through by huge acidity. Long, rich toffee and apricot finish. Gorgeous. Could quaff this all day.
Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Le Couroulu 2001
Deepish red colour. Strawberry fruit mixes with an intruiging slightly medicinal note that's also slightly peppery and cardamom-ey. Beginnings of some slightly more animal character as well -a bit of leather. Palate is medium weight, a little bit spiky on the alcohol, quite soft tannin-wise but with typically dry finish, surprisingly crisp acidity; finish is a pleasant combination of that peppery/spicy/medicinal note with the crisp strawberry fruit. Very nice, not amazing.