Fournier, Thierry Brut Reserve

87 points

Champagne, France.

Very good quality for a low price (bought in French hyper-market). Great grower Champage. Highly recommended for the price.


Chateau Suduiraut 2002

93 points

Sauternes. 13.5%

Don’t drink with desserts. For the first few nights I thought this was a bit tired, sweet but a bit hard and simple. Lacking creamy lanolin, bortrytis, just not quintessentially Sauternes. Then on the 3rd night I paired it with sardines cooked in olive oil, lemon juice, shallots and capers. What a transformation.

And the wine clearly wasn’t oxidized as it drank well over the next 3 nights (under winesave argon).

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2002

88+? points

Pauillac. 13%

2002 was a vastly better vintage than is generally thought but only on the left bank Cabernet oriented vineyards. Yet this is pretty green. OK a green seam is part of the GPL style. I’m not sure if this is going to be a lean long distance runner or whether it deserves the damning with faint praise that a number of critics (eg Parker) have given it. My money is on this turning out better than expected. It’s dark, in no way extracted and the estate has the pedigree.

At the moment leave it. Buy it if you see it priced low (as I did) you can easily pay double or three times as much for younger vintages. Have faith.

Chateau Beaulieu comtes de tastes 2006

83 points

Bordeaux Superieur. 13%

A very superior Bordeaux Superieur but in this vintage they are trying too hard. It’s a dense dark concentrated and extracted. The first thing that struck me on the nose, as it were, was greenness. I’ve not tried many 2006, wasn’t really expecting this.

I suspect that 2006 is not unlike 2002 capable of producing some very good wines (on the right bank 2002) but also some unbalanced forced green wines.

Chateau Haut-Batailley 2001

90 points

Paulliac, Bordeaux. 13%

Starting to drink rather well now, this isn’t very concentrated, certainly not at all extracted. It reminded me of a good 1999.

Fresh acids and quite sweet tannins make this very appetising. Nice berry core. Good claret especially if you dislike heavier blockbusters.

Drink over the next 10 years.

This wine encouraged me to place an order for their 2009.

Wynn’s Oven’s Valley Shiraz Burgundy 1990

92 points


Once (perhaps) all the fruit for this came from Oven’s Valley (now usually called Alpine Valley) but this, one of the last few vintages of this wine, is probably a blend – perhaps with fruit from nearby Rutherglen, or elsewhere.  This area in Victoria is near Albury, half-way between Melbourne and Canberra.  Very continental climate, potentially cool (cool nights), but also some very hot days in Summer.

A piece of Australian wine history. Large old oak, restrain when it comes to added acid.

Bought at auction. Cheap cork but in perfect condition.

Aromas of age, leather (old furniture), warm, figgy. Sweet (more than expected) and very soft but with quite a bit of vitality for its age. Very good wine that won’t get any better. Amazing that a commercial wine like this, no tannic blockbuster, nothing ‘reserve’ about it, can age so gracefully.

And this is no fluke. I remember buying old bottles of this when I was a Uni student 20 years ago.

Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2005


Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 13.5%

This is svelte stylish classy, also brooding with (quality) oak dominating. It’s what I’d expect of a young classed growth Bordeaux. It’s easy to have doubts that the wine hasn’t enough stuffing to last the decade or so needed for the oak to subside into its proper background role, yet the best Bordeaux aren’t bold show-stoppers. I wonder how this would compare to something retrained like Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2005?

Don’t drink until 2015.

F and D Clair Santenay 1er Cru Clos Des Mouches 2002

90 points

Burgundy, France. 13%

The last bottle of a thoroughly enjoyable case of Burgundy. Nothing forced, nothing over-blown. Gentle but it put on weight over the years and comfortably aged to 8 years old.

Not a show pony but a few years back in a small competitive tasting against 1 or 2 good Australian pinots it showed its class.

Good value.