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Pol Roger, Bret, Havens, Atalon, 7 Hills, Meerlust


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Some notes from holiday doings:

1998 Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de la Reserve – haven’t tasted any 1998 champers yet and was prepared to be lukewarm about a vintage reputed to be below average, but this wine surprised me. Good mousse, decent nose of apples and biscuits, quite dry and crisp at the end. Good match with sushi.

2003 Bret Brothers St. Veran ‘Climat En Combe’ – St. Veran is normally a modest but serviceable white burg at a reasonable price. This example was out of the ordinary in terms of price, but lived up to expectation as something special as well. Nice clean minerally nose with some cantaloupe, long sweet smooth finish, went well with a scallop and prawn course.

1994 Havens Reserve Merlot – the theme was generally ‘anti-Sideways’, or bring out your merlots, so I hauled out this one. Slightly warm, ripe cocoa nose, sweet in the mouth and quite full with excellent mouth feel. Good length and structure, the tannins still reasonably firm, with a reprise of chocolate in the finish. This may not yet be at peak.

1998 Seven Hills Walla Walla Merlot Reserve – the odd one out – more Bordeaux like than the California twins, and it suffered a little as such wines often do in comparison, until we buckled down and gave it full attention. Not as much happening in the nose, but less ripe and more Bordeaux like. More acidic on palate, medium body, medium length, but tasty.

1997 Atalon Mountain Estates Merlot – for those that do not know this producer, this was their first vintage of merlot. A refined cocoa nose, slightly warm, but clean, and the wine was more forward than the Havens in the mouth, with a few seconds of soft slide before the tannins kicked in. They were also softer than the Havens, and the finish was commendably long. While this wine showed as more forward, I think the Havens will ultimately prove the slightly better wine.

The foregoing were all served with rack of lamb.

1999 Meerlust Merlot – you don’t see the merlot from this Cape producer very much in this market. It had a chalky cocoa nose with nice berry fruit, was warm and clean and forward initially until the tannins made themselves known (less tannin than the Havens, and readier to drink), and it finished with good length. Served with cheese.

1983 Ch. d’Arche – not the most familiar of Sauternes to many, this apricot coloured wine had honey and orange in the nose, but not particularly much botrytis, and was only medium sweet, which I rather liked. Nice finish to a great meal.

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Some notes from holiday doings:

1998 Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de la Reserve – haven’t tasted any 1998 champers yet and was prepared to be lukewarm about a vintage reputed to be below average, but this wine surprised me.  Good mousse, decent nose of apples and biscuits, quite dry and crisp at the end.  Good match with sushi.

I tasted the 1998 range at Pol Roger this summer and really really liked them. It struck me that they probably will all be drinking sooner than their 1996 equivalents. What did you think about the 'age-abilty' of the '98?

BTW, The 1998 blanc de Chardonnay is lovely - even when we had it standing around cars on the Eurotunnel crossing out of plastic glasses, it was Heaven -even more apples than the regular 98 and ever so sprightly!! :biggrin:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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