Miscellaneous Tasting Notes 1987-2000

(most recently tasted at the top)

Last updated: 3 Jan 2008



1990 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne, 12% (ex cave)
A very attractive medium gold.  Excellent, if rather excited stream of bubbles.  Nice light nose: toasty and nutty with extracts of butter and vanilla, and just a hint of lime.  Very fine, long, thin legs.  Very creamy attack.  Not overly mousseux in the mouth.  Very crisp on the palate, with loads of fruit; and it's very creamy with just a nice hint of acidity towards the finish.  Finishes very cleanly and with great elegance.  Very Good Indeed +
(31/12/00 - 1/1/01)

1998 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Domaine des Bernardins, 15%, 375ml (Byrne's)
"Que bèn béura diéu veira", says the bottle.  Not sure whether that's southern French argot, Catalan or what, but it clearly translates as "whoever drinks well will see god".
A luscious bright orange - very brassy, like polished brass.  The nose is predictably grapey, but it is also very orangey with extracts of maquis herbs (thyme? rosemary? lavender?)  Rich, lush attack with marked sweetness.  Fills out very nicely across the palate with a nice streak of acidity.  The flavours more or less carry through the same notes as the nose: quite orangey and almost like a liqueur Cointreau.  There is some nice acidity on the palate that stops it becoming too cloying.  Very clean on the finish with great length.  Almost port-like after.  Very Good Indeed.

NV Alear Capataz Fino, Montilla-Moriles Den. de Origen, Spain, 15% (Laymont & Shaw)
A very pale, slightly greenish straw.  Light, slightly fragrant nose with sherry notes, but much lighter and more fragrant than most fino/amontillado sherries.  Very lightly flavoured.  Clean attack - quite light but fills enormously.  Very rich, but also very dry.  Cleans up nicely on the finish.
A couple of days later: possibly a little deeper straw colour, but there's still that greenish tinge.  Attractive, fruity dry sherry nose with smoky, tropical fruit, a light fragrance and some briny-ness.  Nice fresh attack.  Clean and fruity and light.  Very full on the middle, and very dry.  Incredible length.  Very clean after.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

NV Smith Woodhouse "Old Oporto Bicentennial 1984 Very Especial Rich Porto", (ex cave)
An attractive rich, tawny red.  A mature nose, largely dominated by alcohol at the first sniff.  But then some good, healthy fruit reveals itself too: quite plummy with some violets.  Soft and warming on the attack.  Fills very nicely: full, with some fruit, but a lot of alcohol on the middle.  Much better after, when there's lots of lasting fruit to chew on: great length and very attractive after.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1992 Tinto Valbuena 5°, Bodegas y Viñedos Vega Sicilia, D.O. Ribera del Duero, 13% (Bibendum)
An even, fairly bright mid ruby showing some signs of maturity.  Fast, thin legs.  Heavily smoky leather and hedgerow fruit on the nose - very serious stuff, with great depth.  Great attack - very fresh and really quite light and fruity with good acidity.  Fills well, but not enormously.  There's a real tobacco astringency (in a pleasant way) on the palate with some distinct seville orange notes.  This is lighter than I had expected it to be.  Great length and very fine and simply beautiful after.
The next day: an attractive bright ruby, fairly mature.  Fabulous nose with lots of smoky leather and grassy, hedgerow fruit scents.  Beautiful, light attack.  Then you get a sudden blast of tannin as it fills out enormously, but precisely and with great attraction.  Lots of tannins on the finish, but also very clean.  Very well balanced.  Extremely classy, well-made stuff.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1998 Tokay Pinot Gris Grand Cru Hengst Clos du Vicus Romain, Domaine Aimé Stentz, AC Alsace Grand Cru, (Booths)
Medium gold with a very slight pinkish tinge - bright and clear.  Very attractive pinot gris nose: more floral than some, and there are even some citrus notes.  Lighter on the nose than many Alsace pinot gris wines.  Very clean attack: light and fresh.  Then it fills very quickly and enormously.  Enormously rich and mouth-filling on the middle, with spice and buttery richness, yet it's bone dry.  Good finish - clean and very long.  Just a bit of a pinot gris/acid kick at the end.  Not a wine for a beginner with pinot gris.  Very Good Indeed.

1998 Grand Prébois Rouge, Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange, Domaines Perrin, 13% (The Wine Society)
A youngish Rhône colour.  Heavy meniscus and very slow, thin legs.  Good fruit on the nose with some spice.  Light.  Nice attack.  A bit heavy on the grenache maybe.  Very Good.

1990 Agramont Crianza, Bodegas Agronavarra, DO Navarra, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A mature ruby with brickish overtones, though it looks like it has plenty of life.  Rather mixed legs; mainly quite fat and fast.  Very flat nose: a bit of cabernet sauvignon fruit and some earthiness.  Light on the attack.  Very tannic on the middle and finish.  Quite deep flavours on the middle: initially reticent, but they come out in the mouth with aeration.  Great length.  Nice and clean after.  Real leather and spice flavours after.  Can't make up my mind whether this is at the end of it's life or whether it's going to continue for a few years and maybe open out again.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1997 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett, Max. Ferd. Richter, Mosel, Germany, 8.5% (ex cave)
A pale, slightly greenish gold.  Rather subdued apple and kerosene nose.  Very refreshing, very crisp, very dry appley flavours.  The next day the nose is very light and slightly fragrant, with apple and kerosene as before.  There is a real blast of apple on the attack, but coupled with a richness and elegant creaminess.  This has improved immensely overnight: it's much finer and rounder, though still very dry and almost mouth-puckering on the finish.  Very Good Indeed.

1997 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bodega Norton, Mendoza Argentina, 14% (The Wine Society)
A very dark, plummy red.  Not much fruit on the nose: some tannins, some leather, some green leaves and then finally some minty blackcurrant.  Very soft attack.  Fills well, but not a lot.  Very soft and smooth - rich and mouthfilling.  Trying hard to be serious stuff, but not achieving it.  A bit unbalanced on the finish, when there are some very bitter tannins and it's quite hot.  Lacking in fruit and lacking in character.  Needs food, but even with food, it's still disappointing.  OK.

1998 Reserve Selection Gewurztraminer, Hilltop Neszmely, Mór Region, Hungary, 11.5% (The Wine Society)
A fairly rich orangey gold.  Good gewurztraminer nose - very typical, but nothing special: not too heavily extracted though.  Quite thin on the attack, but then there's a very full full, slightly hard gewurztraminer blast.  Thins out on the finish.  Bit of a disappointing, rather average bottle of this.  Good(ish).

NV Sainsbury's Oak Aged Valencia, Den. de Origen, 12% (Sainsbury)
A palish, strawberry pink, almost verging on a rosé: attractive, if watery, to look at.  A fair nose with some fruit: cherries and leather with a hint of Bostik; some tannin evident on the nose too.  Long, thin legs.  A light fruity attack that goes on to fill well in the mouth.  There's some character in this.  Quite tannic on the finish with a hint of bitter orange/burnt caramel.  Light and easy, but lacks any real depth.  A bit unbalanced towards the finish, when it loses the initial fruit and becomes more bitter.  OK (just).

1982 Château Feytit Clinet, AC Pomerol, Bordeaux, no alcohol content shown (Byrne's)
The cork crumbled on opening.  An intense syrupy blackcurrant scent fills the room on decanting.  Fairly even, very mature brick red - quite brownish.  Very hefty, thick legs.  There's a deep core of blackcurrant fruit on the nose, but also plums and old leather, tobacco-scented chesterfields.  Soft and light on the attack: very clean with nice mature flavours.  A fairly light wine, but there's lots of character and style.  Good soft tannins plump out the finish.  Quite meaty on the finish with some minty notes.  This is really rather nice: a good mature Pomerol and undoubtedly worth its £35 cost.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1997 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett, Max. Ferd. Richter, Mosel, Germany, 8.5% (ex cave)
Very pale straw.  Rather pongy - bottle stink?  On the nose there are mouldy, musty apples.  It shouldn't be like this.  Very crisp apple fruit on the attack, but deeply unimpressive.  It's very dry indeed, and there are some sort of rather reductive straw/hay like dry flavours in there.  This isn't right, I think, but just to be on the safe side, I left it aside for 10-15 minutes to let the stink blow off.  But no, it didn't improve at all, and it's worse still with food, when you get the impression of sour, pappy, brown-fleshed apples.  Not nice.  Not corked, but obviously off.

1998 Sainsbury's Chianti DOCG, 12% (Sainsbury)
A very even, attractive garnet red.  Rather odd nose - a bit synthetic with quite a lot of vanilla, some alcohol, and just a bit of cherry fruit buried in there.  Ok on the attack: soft, with fair fruit.  Rather bitter on the finish.  Really extremely unexceptional.  A very poor wine, that you'd be hard pressed to guess was Chianti.  Dreadful.

1996 Pinot Gris Réserve, Trimbach, Alsace, 13% (The Wine Society)
A very even medium straw.  Pretty hefty legs.  Very good, slightly perfumed pinot gris nose with lots of tropical fruit (even a hint of bananas)  Very rich on the attack and then it goes on to fill enormously in the mouth.  Massively rich and buttery.  Actually, it seems just a touch on the sweet side, and perhaps there's a bit of late harvest fruit in this?  Very clean, though, and with a great depth of flavour.  I reckon this is worth three times the price of the Lurton pinot gris from Argentina (see this page passim).  Very Good Indeed.

1998 Grand Prébois Rouge, Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange, Domaines Perrin, 13% (The Wine Society)
An even bright ruby.  Big fat legs, but not many of them.  Warm, slightly spicy, very rounded nose with soft berry-cherry fruits.  Nice soft attack.  Lots of fruit and lots of character on the palate: very smooth and gentle, with just a touch of pepper and spice on the finish with a lingering aftertaste of pepper on the tip of the tongue.  Some light tannins on the finish, manifesting themselves in a slight bitterness after.  Very Good+.

1995 Sylvaner Réserve Millésime, Rolly Gassmann, Alsace, 12.5% (ex cave)
A bright light straw.  Lots and lots of thin legs.  Very herbaceous on the nose with hints of melon.  Clean, fresh attack.  fills just a little.  Quite creamy on the middle with a hint of pepperiness on the finish.  A bit flat on the finish.  Probably at the end of its life.  OK/Good.

1999  Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Domaine des Ratelles (Daniel & Gerard Vinet), 13%  (The Wine Society)
A greenish pale yellow.  Sharp green fruit with a hint of iodised scents on the nose.  Very clean and fairly fresh.  Not overly vibrant, and there's just a hint of pétillance.  Crisp and refreshing without falling into the trap of sourness.  Good fruit, balanced with acid.  There's a slight tendency towards harshness on the finish, but it's in check.  Great length.  Very Good Indeed.

1999 Pinot Gris, Bodega Jacques y Francois Lurton, Mendoza, Argentina, 13% (The Wine Society)
A slightly greenish pale-mid straw.  Lots of very pronounced legs.  A relatively standard pinot gris nose: spice with a sort of bready background; attractive but a bit dull.  Good attack, with some fresh acidity.  There's a very good mouthfeel: rich, buttery, spicy and quite full-flavoured, though not aggressively so.  Very good length.  Very clean.  Very good at the price (sub £4).  A good, archetypal, vaguely Alsatian-style pinot gris.  Very Good +.

1998 Mußbacher Eselshaut Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Müller-Catoir, Pfalz (Wine Time)
An even pale straw - quite yellow.  Some tartaric deposits evident.  The nose is nice, though perhaps a bit dull, with a nice delicate floral nature and a few hints of apple and petrol coming through.  Light on the attack with lots of apple flavour, counterbalanced by significant acidity giving a real prickle on the tongue.  I'm very disappointed by this wine: it's rather unbalanced and has little character and little style.  Disappointing.  OK.

1995 Bourgogne Pinot Gris, Domaine Robert Meslin, AC Bourgogne, 12.5% (Byrne's)
A really pinky medium gold: quite a vibrant colour.  Good legs.  Attractive nose: decent fruit with some creamy body; not aggressively pinot gris on the nose, but nice and attractive.  Rather light on the attack, with notable acidity.  Fills reasonably well.  It's a bit odd though, and doesn't have the richness of Alsace-type pinot gris.  Quite light and refined.  Quite a marked pinot gris kick on the finish and after.  Very clean throughout.  Probably a bit more to it than the simplest Alsace pinot gris wines: there's some depth and a few layers of flavour.  Much drier than the majority of Alsatian pinot gris.  This is more than just a curiosity and is actually rather good.  Very Good Indeed.

1997 Pinot Noir, Pepperwood Grove, California, 12.5% (Wine Time, Milnthorpe)
Very light-bodied appearance.  An even youngish, purplish garnet.  Lots of cherry and soft red fruit on the nose and a hint of wet leaves.  Very light attack - very soft and fruity.  doesn't fill much, but there is a bit of a spicy, peppery, slightly acid backbone in there.  Remarkably well-rounded.  Very pleasant, if a bit uni-dimensional maybe.  But a good example of a relatively pure pinot noir, and at a good price too (around £5-£6). Very Good +

1998 Reserve Selection Gewürztraminer, Mór Region, Hungary (The Wine Society)
Medium gold.  Very fat legs indeed.  Good gewurztraminer nose - spicy, with lots of tropical fruit; and not too over-extracted.  Nice attack with a bit of acidity.  Fills very quickly.  Very mouthfilling.  Really quite buttery and rich.  Good fruit throughout.  Very clean indeed.  Very clean, clear, crisp finish with a bit of a citrus flavour after.  Very Good Indeed.

1997 Dogajolo, IGT Toscano, Casa Vinicola Carpineto, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
A cabernet sauvignon-sangiovese blend.  Deep, deep ruby; almost a blackish purple.  thin, but very firm legs.  Slightly vegetal nose, apparently with lots of tannin.  Bitter cherries on the nose and some pears and cassis.  Very, very full favoured: very forthright on the attack.  Very powerful and incredibly serious.  Very complex.  quite a lot of fruit, together with some really nice chewy bitterness.  Very meaty and chewy, though with quite soft tannins.  Very clean, with a good finish, although there's a touch of alcohol after.  Great length, finishing with some pepperiness.  It just seems a bit pretentious.  Very Good Indeed.

NV Crémant d'Alsace Cuvée Julien, Dopff au Moulin, Alsace, 12% (The Wine Society)
Nice, slightly citrussy straw appearance.  Good, very even small bubbles.  Fairly citrussy nose with a trace of toastiness; some nice fresh yeast scents though.  Good, clean, nice mousse in the mouth: clean and crisp.  Vibrant even.  Very clean and fresh after.  Perhaps a little lacking in flavour, but it all tastes very natural.  Very Good Indeed.

1999 Vollreiflese Mädchentraube, Qualitätswein mit geografischer Herkunft, Chernomorski Rayon, Bulgaria, Abfüller Wein- und Sektkellerei Ostrau GmbH, 10.5%
The back label says that it's made from Mädchentraube grapes grown on the sunny slopes of the Black Sea coast.  Warm Indian summers ensure the grapes ripen fully.
An unexceptional, very pale straw.  The nose is very peculiar and rather closed (or just a very dull), perhaps with wet, musty hay.  Soft, light attack.  Fills quickly, but not to any great extent.  Medium sweet, but with a dry aftertaste.  Simple.  Lacks structure and elegance.  Tolerable.

1998  Le Grand Prébois Rouge, Domaines Perrin,  Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange,  (The Wine Society)
A youthful, bright ruby purple.  Warm, spicy nose with hints of pepper and nutmeg.  Very soft attack.  Lots of fruit.  Gentle, soft and rounded, with buckets of fruit.  Loads of character.  Fills nicely towards the finish with just a bit of tannic structure.  A nice light, quaffable Rhônesque wine.  Very Good Indeed.

1998 Albariño Burgans.  Bodegas Martin Codax, Rias Baixas, 12% (Oddbins)
Slightly muddy medium straw.  Good nose: quite serious with lots of depth - sort of grassy, greeny, slightly melony.  Fair legs.  Light, fresh attack, almost muscadet-like.  But fills, not overly, but well.  Quite rich and buttery on the palate.  Then some fresh, fruity acid on the finish and after.  No harshness on the finish.  Good length.  Very Good.

1997 Pinot Gris Réserve, Trimbach, AC Alsace, 13% (The Wine Society)
A pale, even slightly pinkish straw.  Very full, archetypal Alsace pinot gris nose - gorgeous with rich creamy fruit and hints of exotic spice.  Very fresh attack.  Fills beautifully.  Very rich and rounded on the palate.  Packed with gorgeous flavours.  Absolutely no harshness (which you sometimes find in basic level pinot gris in Alsace).  Very Good Indeed.

NV Champagne Taittinger, Brut Réserve
As excellent as ever.  Markedly superior to other marques in my view.  A great match for the canapés/amuses gueule.  Very Good Indeed.

1989 Oberemmeler Karlsberg Riesling Auslese, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt
Showing very well indeed, and exceeding previous bottles.  Possibly the merest bit sweeter than previous bottles I'd opened.  Worked well with a foie gras and artichoke terrine with duck rillettes and extremely well with a salmon tart with smoked salmon "pastry".  Isabel described it as like drinking liquid gold (which was going over the top a bit, I thought!).  Very Good Indeed.

1995 Clos-Vougeot Grand Cru, Domaine René Engel, magnum (Byrne's)
A youngish, even, cherry red.  Very good legs.  Beautiful, full soft red fruit nose.  Exceedingly attractive nose.  Lovely attack.  Fills a little, but while it's very elegant, it's perhaps a bit disappointingly light on the middle.  Fairly tannic on the finish.  Very distinguished, though really a bit too young, especially en magnum.  Much more balanced and open with food - it went very well with a classic osso bucco and risotto milanese.  Very Good Indeed +.

1991 Le XV du Président, Les Vignerons d'Opoul, AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages, (Sunday Times Wine Club/Laithwaites)
(with cheese)
Big and alcoholic (15%). But not terribly interesting. Good.

1997 Ch. Saint Estève d'Uchaux, AC Côtes du Rhône, 13%  (The Wine Society)
A bright strawberry red with clear signs of purplish youth at the core.  Very heavy meniscus with fairly fat legs.  Complex nose - spice with some (but not a lot) of fruit - possibly some cherries and vanilla.  Very nice feel to the attack.  Then it fills out nicely with lots of fruit; then some tannins start to kick in.  Finishes with lots of peppery vanilla, and there's very, very marked vanilla flavours after.  Great length.  The vanilla flavours are bizarrely strong - to the point that I wondered if some vanillin might have been added to simulate oaking - very strange.  Very Good +.

1996 Château La Tour Seguy, AC Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, 12%  (The Wine Society)
Pale to medium ruby in appearance, and it looks a bit thin.  Very thin, rather slow legs.  Nice nose with good red and black berry fruit with a fair amount of blackcurrant.  Ok on the attack.  Doesn't really fill out in the mouth and it's rather thin and rather astringent.  Not very nice at all.  I suppose it might be off or a duff bottle, but to me, it's the problem of much cheap Bordeaux and it just tastes like cheap red wine.  I didn't drink it.  Poor.

1994 Ch. Langoa Barton, AC St Julien, 12.5% (Byrne's)
A very deep ruby, still with some signs of youth.  Heavy meniscus, but with quite thin, fast legs.  Very reticent on the nose: ripe, cooked, red and black fruit with lots of vanilla deep down and a touch of licorice.  Nice attack - ripe, with plenty of fruit.  Develops very quickly and fills enormously.  There are some quite bitter tannins in there, and the palate is pretty much dominated by tannins, which last long after.  This feels like it's trying to be top-flight, but not quite making it.  Probably a bit disappointing really.  Very Good.

1990 Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG, Prunatelli, 12.5%  (The Wine Society)
Only a composite cork.  Nice, bright even garnet, just showing the odd sign of maturity.  Very slow, fat, lumpy legs.  Warm nose with some cherry fruit, but very reticent.  More leathery overtones.  Nice attack.  Still fresh and light, then it fills enormously and very rapidly.  Very full on the palate: rich, quite chewy and pretty serious, powerful stuff.  Quite bitter on the finish (there's also just a bit too much acidity showing on the finish and after), but the tannins feel quite soft.  An interesting wine with more character than the first impression would lead you to believe.  Much more leathery and oddly vegetal nose in a Riedel Chianti glass with much more elegant legs too, and more flavour on the attack.  Very Good Indeed.

1999 Pinot Gris, Bodega J & F Lurton, Mendoza, Argentina, 13%  (The Wine Society)
An attractive bright, almost lemon yellow.  Thin, very slow legs.  Good pinot gris nose - ripe, slightly spicy exotic fruit with a slightly fresh citric note in the background.  Rich and smooth on the palate.  Possibly feels a bit harsh on the attack, but fills and becomes really quite ripe and chewy.  Fairly well balanced, though it could perhaps do with a bit more acidity, though that would probably be to the detriment of the pure, clear PG flavours.  This is a good, satisfying wine, if rather simple.  Possibly it lacks depth and complexity, but it's a very good imitation of an Alsace PG at a fraction of the price.  Very Good Indeed.
I tried this in a couple of different glasses, as well as the original ISO: in the Riedel riesling/chianti glass it was all but unchanged; perhaps just a bit duller.  In the Riedel chardonnay glass, it lost a bit of its nose, but gained some finesse and roundness, smoothing off the edges.

1989 Agramont, Bodegas Príncipe de Viana, Navarra, 12.5% (Oddbins)
[A blend of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon.] A lovely, mature colour - a very even, quite bright ruby with hints of brickish redness.  Looks in better condition than the Musar a few days ago.  Very dull nose, but if you persevere with it, there's a really strong, concentrated blackcurrant blast.  Light on the attack, with rather  bit too much acidity.  Distinctly lacking in fruit.  Lots and lots of very soft tannins.  This is over the hill and fading.  It's still ok, but there's very little life left in it.

1997 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Studert-Prüm, Gutsabf., 8%, AP 2 576 537 4 98 (Tesco)
Extremely pale colour - just a hint of the palest straw.  Good, crisp riesling nose with fresh crisp apples, but also a lot more kerosene that one might expect.  Very nice attack: creamy fresh fruit.  Perhaps even almost buttery when the chill's off it.  Nice length.  This is like a nice straightforward Gutsriesling, but isn't really making it as a Wehlener Sonnenuhr kab.  But it is very nice, with few vices.  A lot of acidity, which gives a sense of pétillance at the back of the palate.  Nice length.  Very clean throughout.  Good, clean finish with no hardness.  I'd expect this to be under £6, and if it were it would rate Very Good.  In fact it was £6.99, so only Good (+?)
It's worth noting that this was much improved after it had been open two days.

1990 Chateau Musar, Lebanon, 13.5%
A bright mature ruby fading to a marked orange at the rim.  Light texture.  Fairly heavy legs, but even and consistent.  Warm nose, with an almost toasty character: boiled plums with hints of boiled sweets, wine gums and cedar.  Light, but satisfying on the attack.  Still the merest hint of fruit on the palate.  but it feels very mature and really rather thin on the palate.  Plenty of character and some nice soft tannins help it down nicely.  Quite serious - not an everyday wine by any means.  Good, with lots of character and a nice little streak of light acidity.  Seems very much à point.

1996 Chasselas Vieilles Vignes, Cave Vinicole Kientzheim-Kaysersberg, 12% (ex cave)
A bright mid straw with no legs.  Quite a deep, fragrant herbaceous nose.  A bit non-descript on the attack and a bit harsh on the finish, but that might be because it's straight from the fridge and a bit too cold.  Not terribly impressive, though I'd eaten something sweet not too long previously.
Re-tasted the next day.  Really quite a deep colour for a light wine.  Nice nose - attractive and fragrant with more than a hint of rose petals.  Nice, very full attack.  Lots of lush fruit.  This almost has the style of a gewurz or pinot gris (cf. the nose).  Very smooth, milky texture.  Nice fresh flavours.  Teeniest hint of harshness on the finish.  Very Good.  (Great at the price - FF 23,50 = c. £2.35)

1998 Epoch 1, Chapel Down, Kent, English Table Wine, 11% (Booths)
A bright, light ruby with the slightest hints of purple.  A bit watery round the edges, and no legs.  Very attractive, light, fruity nose with lots of slightly scented cherry fruit and hints of peppery spice.  good attack.  Light; clean; pleasant.  There's little development in the mouth and some tannins on the finish.  This is a pleasant, light and nicely quaffable wine.  It could well benefit from being served lightly chilled.  Very straightforward, light easy drinking.  Whether it's really "world class" as the label suggests is debatable, but it's nicely unpretentious.  Very Good+

1997 Black Ridge Vintner's Reserve Carignane/Grenache, California, 13% (Oddbins?)
Fast, heavy, lasting legs.  An attractive colour: bright, purplish burgundy.  Very jammy nose with intense stewed plum and damson nose with a streak of floral, violet-like notes.  Attractive initially on the nose, but is there a sort of chemical smell in there too?  Perhaps it's the alcohol.  Nice attack - full flavoured and very mouthfilling.  Very hot flavours with a slight harshness on the middle.  Lots of cherry flavours in the palate, though it then flattens out and finishes with a bit more fruit.  Very powerful stuff.   A bit unbalanced.  Quite different.  Enjoyable and a little challenging.  Very Good.
A Riedel Bordeaux glass softened it nicely.

1997 Santenay La Comme Dessus, Domaine Amiot Guy, Burgundy, 13.5% (Bibendum)
Good, bright, fairly even cherry red.  Very attractive appearance.  Ok legs that appear and fade quickly.  Soft red fruits on the nose, with a bit of vanilla and some cedary tannins.  Nice light attack.  Plenty of very soft fruit.  Then it deepens and gains complexity and power.  Stronger flavours with developing tannins.  Powerful finish with a few hints of raw spice.  Surprisingly little difference in a Riedel Burgundy glass over an ISO: it's just a bit softer.  This is too young to be drinking at the moment.  Try again in five years?  Very Good Indeed.

1998 Albariño Burgans.  Bodegas Martin Codax, Rias Baixas, 12% (Oddbins)
Iffy.  No off.

1996 Muscat d'Alsace, Sigille Qualité Confrérie Saint-Etienne, Kuentz-Bas, Alsace, France, 12.5% (ex cave)
A pale to medium straw, almost clear at the centre, with a marked greenness towards the edge.  Not an overpoweringly muscat nose, though it's very nice and very attractive, with slightly perfumed hedgerow fruits and the merest hint of grapiness.  Very marked legs: long and thin.  Nice attack.  There are almost gewurztraminer hints on the middle, building all the time from a fresh, though intense and solid attack to a real richness on the finish.  Just a hint of harshness after.  Almost a buttery feel and taste.  Very complex on the middle and end.  Lots of structure, power and intensity.  Quite a heavyweight really.  But it would be difficult to guess it was muscat if you didn't know.  Very Good Indeed.

1997 Black Ridge Vintner's Reserve Barbera/Cabernet, California, 13% (Oddbins?)
Cheapo cork.  An even cherry-ruby colour, maybe with just a little youth evident.  Interesting nose: soft berry fruits - a bit of cherry, a bit of blackcurrant, a bit of alcohol.  Nice attack: soft fruit.  Very powerful middle, but quickly becomes unbalanced.  Too much tannin and alcohol, though some soft cherry fruits just about battle through.  Good.

1997 Dr L. Riesling QbA, Dr Loosen, Mosel, Germany, 9% (Bottoms Up)
A mid gold with orange tinges and a marked greenness towards the edge.  A pleasant nose: soft riesling fruit with some freshness with just the slightest soft, apple-y fruit.  Clean and fresh (though it does need to be chilled properly).  Smooth, almost buttery on the palate, but finishes with a nice tart granny smith pucker.  Really not at all bad and great at the price.  Very Good +

1997 The Society's Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmen Vineyards, Central Valley, Chile, 13.5% (The Wine Society)
A fairly bright, very even, fairly mature ruby.  Long thin legs.  Powerful nose, but virtually no fruit - a tannic nose with some mint, leather and alcohol.  If you look really hard, there's some very intense blackcurrant fruit tucked away (unless that's just the power of suggestion).  Nice attack:  clean and full-flavoured.  Fills quickly with strong tannins that make it really quite bitter and point towards over-extraction in the winery.  This is powerful stuff, and while the tannins are very evident, they are under control.  There what seems to be a tingle of alcohol on the tongue on the finish.  Strong flavours after.  This is a powerful, heavy wine, but with no real finesse or style.  It's fine, but not great by any means.  Not one to buy again.  OK.

1999 Pinot Gris, Bodega Jacques y François Lurton, Mendoza, Argentina, 13% (The Wine Society)
A remarkable pale yellow-gold appearance.  Slow, fat legs.  A good, soft, fairly fruity pinot gris nose, that's not overly intense.  Nice attack.  Clean and fairly fresh.  Very mouthfilling, with a distinct pinot gris richness, and there's almost a hint of orange caramel on the finish.  Fills to a very full-bodied, rich middle with a nice streak of acidity.  Very, very long and a really quite powerful PG flavour lingers long after.  Finishes as well as it starts.  Very Good, especially at the price.

1998 Villa Maria Private Bin Gewürztraminer, Eastern Bays, New Zealand, 12.5% (Byrne's)
Medium yellow gold.  A lovely fragrant nose that doesn't strike me instantly and obviously as being gewürztraminer: it's a very light, fresh, fragrant gewurz with no trace of overpressing on the nose.  Very powerful attack.  Lots of spicy and peppery gewurz tones.  Fills quickly.  Strong gewurz flavours.  Very rich and full in the mouth.  Finishes with loads of exotic spice, vanilla and coriander seed.  Perhaps a bit too aggressive on the middle and finish.  Good.

1998 The Society's Merlot Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
An attractive merlot mauve colour, though perhaps a bit muddy looking.  Good soft merlot nose with lots of soft berry fruits, though perhaps slightly cooked.  Good attack.  Plenty of fruit.  Nice and soft.  Just fills a little and finishes with some nice tannins.  Some nice hints of spice in there.  Good.

1998 Riesling, Tim Adams, Clare Valley, Australia, 12% (Tesco)
A very even, pale greenish straw.  No legs.  Nice nose: melony with some kerosene notes - very rounded, but quite subtle.  Very nice attack.  Good, fresh, rounded riesling fruit.  A little harshness on the middle, but it finishes ok and with great length.  But also incredibly dry on the finish: really puckering.  Also, there's virtually no fruit on the finish, which makes it feel rather hollow and a bit odd.  In comparison to the attack, it's rather unbalanced on the finish - and in fact, it loses a little all the time it's in the mouth.  But still attractive and pleasant enough, though.  Good.

1999 Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Domaine des Ratelles (Daniel & Gerard Vinet), 12% (The Wine Society)
Very light, attractive pale yellow.  Little legs.  Very light nose: fruity, but very light.  Very clean and crisp on the attack.  Very fresh and limey.  Good flavours.  Some depth.  Rather nice hints of richness on the middle.  Very nice, very clean finish.  Very Good.

1997 Tokay Pinot Gris, AC Alsace, Felix Meyer, 13% (Lay & Wheeler)
A fairly rich gold tinged with pink.  Some fairly powerful legs.  Fairly full nose - slightly spicy, though perhaps a bit subdued.  Very powerful on the palate.  Extremely intense.  Quite remarkable.  Too strong a flavour really.  Incredibly rich and full in the mouth.  Quite a lot of spice, with a distinct pepperiness on the finish.  Quite remarkable, but I'm not really convinced.  It's not really at all enjoyable to drink - it's just too powerful.  Good.

1994 Riddoch Cabernet Shiraz, Coonawarra, South Australia, 13.5% (Bibendum)
Decanted as there was some sediment evident.  Gave off an intense blackcurrant scent while being decanted.  A purple-ish ruby fading to Accrington brick red at the rim.  Hefty legs.  Berry fruits, particularly blackcurrants on the nose, together with a hint of peppery spice.  Nice attack.  A good mouthfeel from the alcohol.  Very pleasant, but not particularly dramatic.  Very spicy on the finish.  Somewhat lacking in fruit.  Either coming to the end of its life or entering a dormant period.  The next day, it was clear that it was over the hill.

1997 Ch. Saint Estève d'Uchaux, Côtes du Rhône, 13% (The Wine Society)
Some seepage from the cork.  Very spongey cork.  Powerful legs. A fairly bright ruby with some signs of maturity.  Nice Côtes du Rhône nose with cherry and some quite intense strawberry: a very ripe nose.  Lovely attack.  Intense flavours.  Very full and very alcoholic feeling.  Some rather bitter tannins and a slight harshness on the finish.  Very ripe flavours: almost cooked. This is a powerful wine, but in a rather rough and ready way.  Lacks elegance.  Very Good.

1997 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, 9% (Oddbins)
A very pale green with yellow tinges.  Some small bubbles at the base of the glass.  Strong gasoline nose with the merest hint of apple.  Slight pétillance detectable on the palate.  Very dull flavours and lacking no fruit and with virtually no character.  A very duff bottle.  There's no apparent oxidation: it's just completely flat.
Same bottle, next day: A tiny little bit better.  There's still that slight pétillance and it's actually not so bad on the palate now.  But it's still not right.  Rather flat flavours.  There is some fruit there now, but it's hardly showing off.
And the day after: This is amazing - it has dramatically improved now.  It's really quite impressive now, with good fruit, well-balanced by a fine acidity, and it almost seems to have a spätlese sort of quality to it.

NV Three Choirs United Kingdom Table Wine Dry, 10.5% (The Wine Society)
This is actually made from the Phoenix grape, which at the time was not permitted by the EU for wine production, and as UK Table Wine, they aren't allowed to state the vintage either (I think it was probably the 1998).
A pale gold perhaps with a greenish tinge: very bright and clear.  Some legs, but nothing worthy of mention.  Fragrant, green hedgerow nose.  A very nice attack: very fresh and refreshing.  Lots of dry, green fruit.  Very clean and crisp.  Very nice on the finish, still with lots of fruit.  Quite exotic fruit (dragon fruit?).  Very Good Indeed.

NV The Society's French Full Red, Vin de Table Français, bottled by Pierre Lapascal, 13% (The Wine Society)
A nice attractive bright ruby; a strong meniscus with heavy fat legs.  Fair nose.  Some fruit, but initially lots of alcohol.  A bit dull perhaps, and there's no particular gruit/grape evident.  Possibly some merlot? Nice, round, mouthfilling attack.  Some tannins, becoming a bit bitter on the finish.  A hint of acid on the middle.  Quite light flavours, but also a bit of a bite.  No better than tolerable.

1998 Gewürztraminer Reserve Selection, Mór Region, Hungary, Hilltop Neszmély (The Wine Society)
Perhaps a little more concentrated on the nose than usual.  Ditto on the palate.  More concentrated rose perfumes/flavours and a slight pepperiness on the palate.  Very Good.

NV Crémant d'Alsace Brut Cuvée Julien, Dopff au Moulin, 12% (The Wine Society)
A mid, slightly greenish straw.  Not exactly packed with bubbles (the mousse quickly disappears) and not particularly evenly sized bubbles.  A good clean attack.  Very mousseux on the palate.  fills well and has lots of good strong flavour.  Finishes nice and cleanly with notable length.  Very Good despite the disappointing nose and bubbles.

1997 Maso Lodron, DOC Trentino Rosso, Letrari, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
A Bordeaux blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.  Deep, deep ruby purple, looking a bit young on the edges.  Slow, heavy legs.  Very intense nose.  Very leathery with super-concentrated blackcurrants; but the leather predominates.  Very good attack - full and forward.  Soft and packed with fruit.  Very full and a bit alcoholic.  Finishes with some bitterness.  Just sufficiently different to hold one's interest.  Very well-balanced.  Very ripe flavours.  Very Good.

1998 Reserve Selection Gewurztraminer, Mór Region, Hungary, Hilltop Neszmély, 11.5%, (The Wine Society)
A fairly deep, yellow gold.  No discernable legs.  Lovely fragrant, gewurztraminer nose., just tending towards turkish delight.  Nice, rich attack.  Fills well.  Bundles of gewurz flavour with plenty of fruit character still.  Finishes very cleanly and with great length.  Pure essence of gewurztraminer all the way.  Very Good Indeed.

1997 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken, Reinhold Haart, 10.5%, (ex cave)
A very pale green with yellow tinges.  An attractive nose - quite rounded and full and creamy.  Some apples; some petrol.  Some dullness.  Some sharp green apples on the palate, together with some waxiness.  Fairly full.  Not as fresh and crisp and refreshing as a proper Kabinett.  Fairly attractive, but hardly stunning.  Good/Very Good.

1998 Sessel 'La Taconnière', AC Seyssell, Maison Mollex, Savoie, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
A wine from Savoie in France; made from the altesse grape grown on an exposed slope above the river Rhône.  A slightly orangey mid gold.  Rather thin legs.  Fairly fruity nose with some fragrance.  Quite light and delicate.  good attack, with body and a depth of flavour.  Interesting flavours.  Nicely rounded, almost buttery.  Quite a striking finish.  Really good length and very clean.  Very light drinking, but powerful flavours on the finish.  Possibly a hint of nuttiness on the finish.  Very Good Indeed.

1998 La Goudie Rosé, Vin de Pays de la Côte Vermeille, Domaine de la Rectoire, Parcé Frères, 14% (The Wine Society)
A fairly deep strawberry pink - almost a tomato flesh colour.  Pronounced, substantial legs.  A nice nose - very attractive - light and fragrant and not too aggressively fruity.  A scented soft red berry nose.  Very mouthfilling on the attack.  Wow!  What a humdinger!  This is a big boy.  Very full and with really rather heavy flavours.  Lots of soft red fruit with a hint of acid, but none of the harshness that I'd often associate with southern French rosés.  Very lush in the mouth (no doubt connected to the whopping alcohol content!).  Very, very long.  Finishes with a very concentrated strawberry juice scent that lasts in the mouth for minutes after.  Very Good Indeed+.

1989 Oberemmeler Karlsberg Riesling Auslese Goldcap, Reichsgraf v. Kesselstatt, 8.5% (The Wine Society)
Opened as I'd noticed the cork was leaking, something that has been relatively common with this wine.  Huge amount of tartaric deposits in the bottle.  Luscious medium gold.  Very fat legs which fade quickly.  Rather reticent nose.  Only really the honeyed notes coming through.  Possibly some malic riesling fruit trying to break out.  Smooth, mouthfilling and rich, but with some acid and fruit too.  Definitely not the best bottle of this.  Possibly/probably suffereing some oxidation or other effects from the leaking cork.  A bit unbalanced, lighter and with more acid than previous bottles.  Disappointing.  Good.

1999 Pinot Gris, Bodegas Jacques y François Lurton, Mendoza, Argentina, 13% (The Wine Society)
A good even yellow straw with a hint of pink.  Some legs, but quite thin and fast fading.  Good full pinot gris nose with some spice and fragrance.  Quite an intense attack: pure pinot gris flavours; full, rich and with some spice.  Quite an even mouthful.  No great sense of depth, but it does finish very well - very cleanly and with very good length. A good straightforward pinot gris.  Perhaps a little simple.  Good.

1997 White Cloud, Nobilo, New Zealand, 11% (Sainsbury)
A blend of Müller Thurgau and Sauvignon Blanc.  A fairly rich gold.  quite a lot of slow, rather thin legs.  Not a bad nose - some fruit (especially from the sauvignon blanc) showing through, but a bit dull.  Reasonable attack, still quite fresh with some acid, but doesn't fill much, if at all.  A bit plain and simple.  Poorer than previous bottles of this, though I think this had been on the shelf for a long time, as I picked up some of the 1998 at the same time.  OK.

1997 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett, Robert Eymael, Mönchhof, Gutsabfüllung, 8.5% (The Wine Society)
Extremely pale, slightly greenish lemon-y gold.  Fabulous nose - lots of creamy green apples with a blast of almost gas-like petrol and a hint of sulphur.  Beautiful, fruit-packed attack.  Really mouthfilling, but very pure Riesling elegance.  Quite complex on the palate, and finishes with a great chunk of crisp Cox apple that's slightly under-ripe and puckering.  A gorgeous wine.  Excellent.

1998 Chapel Down Bacchus, English Vineyards Quality Wine PSR, bottled by Chapel Down Wines Ltd, Tenterden, 12% (The Wine Society)
"Best English wine of 1998.  Gore-Brown trophy; Jack Wood Silver Salver and Dudley Quirk trophy"
A pale, slightly lemony straw.  Nice fresh nose - grassy and herbaceous, possibly slightly floral.  Very light attack.  Clean and crisp with fresh herbaceous green fruit, even maybe a bit lettuce-y flavours.  Clean and fresh all the way through.  No great depth or complexity.  But very fresh and clean and it has plenty of charm.  Lighter tasting than a 12%.  Very Good.

1999 Pinot Gris, Mendoza, Argentina, Bodega Jacques y François Lurton, 13% (The Wine Society)
Medium yellow straw.  Very good pinot gris nose - pure varietal.  But not a lot else.  Clean, fruity, light attack. But fills quickly into an intense and powerful pure pinot gris.  Simple and direct.  Essence of Pinot Gris.  Very Good.

1998 Tokay Pinot Gris Hengst, Clos du Vicus Romaine, AC Alsace Grand Cru, Domaine Aimé Stentz, 13% (Booths)
Mid to really rather rich gold, plenty of quite fat looking legs, but a rather watery meniscus.  Very attractive nose.  Lots of rich spicy fruit - mellow and ripe, but also a grassy backbone.  still a bit immature probably.  Very rich attack, and then it fills even more.  Young, but really quite attractive.  A bit of a blast of soft acidity and alcohol on the finish.  Very Good.

1997 Canterbury House Show Reserve Riesling, Estate Bottled, Waipara, New Zealand, 12% (Morrisons?)
Bottled with a plastic cork.  A marked gold, with almost orangey hints.  Lots of fruit on the nose.  A slightly grapey, slightly apple-y nose with some kerosene hints.  Rather unbalanced on the palate.  Fairly fresh fruit flavours with plenty of acidity, but not very clear or well-defined.  quite unusual and more than a little odd.  There are some clear riesling characteristics, but it's very much an in-your-face new world style rendition, and certainly more Australian in style than Kiwi.

1999 Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Araldica, 5% (The Wine Society)
A marked pétillance, and almost a hint of a mousse.  Pale-medium straw with green tinges.  Full, fruity nose, but not a heavy muscat nose - almost a bit more complex than in-yer-face muscat.  Light and fragrant though.  Good grapey, full fruit.  Very nicely balanced.  Good depth of flavours.  Very attractive with absolutely no harsh or even slightly jarring tones.  Not too sweet.  Very Good.

1998 Tokay Pinot Gris, Albert Mann, 13.5% (Lay & Wheeler)
Nice, fairly rich gold with marked pinkish hints.  Rather fat, very uneven legs.  Lovely pinot gris nose - rich and deep, slightly spicy and fragrant.  Very filling attack.  Extremely smooth, and not particularly dry.  Very mouthfilling with extremely marked pinot gris varietal flavours.  Really shows off the full flavour of pinot gris.  Great depth of flavour, though perhaps lacking a bit in complexity - but to be fair, it is Albert Mann's basic cuvée.  Very Good Indeed.

1998 Grand Prébois Rouge, Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange , Domaines Perrin, 12% (The Wine Society)
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and a dash of Counoise.
A very attractive, bright, young ruby red, with no violet purples.  Slow, quite fat legs.  A rather reticent nose, and I had to search around a bit to find a slightly leather, slightly perfumed and maybe even violet-scented blast of fruit.  Nice soft attack with a good blast of acid accompanying it.  Fills quickly and well.  Slightly odd on the middle, with an almost citrussey bitterness and a certain nuttiness.  Quite bitter, very chewy tannins on the finish.  Unusual and interesting, but I wonder if this is really an entirely sound bottle?  Good/Very Good.

1989 Kaseler Nies'chen Riesling Auslese, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Ruwer, 9% (Frank Stainton)
A bright lemony gold with a very pronounced meniscus with some good, if quite thin legs.  A rich, very attractive, riesling nose with intense dried apple, though no apparent petrol notes yet.  Beautiful attack: lush, rich fruitcake.  Then it fills with very intense flavours.  Really quite sweet and lush, but very elegant too.  Just enough soft acidity to give a really noble, elegant character.  Finishes with distinction and great length.  Nice flavours after.  Shows much more character in a Riedel Riesling glass.  Excellent.

1997 Marcillac AOC, Les Vignerons du Vallon, 12% (Booths)
Deep, young looking purple: a very deep colour.  Rather dull nose, lacking in fruit, but quite hot with some spiciness.  Light, fresh attack.  Fills ok.  Quite nice on the palate with some fruit coming through  Not bad at all.  A lot of soft tannins come through on the finish.  Not bad, but unexciting and lacking in any character at all.  Good.

1997 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois Cuvée Caroline, Schoffit, Alsace, 13% (Oddbins)
An attractive pale, lemony yellow.  Great fat legs.  Good fruits on the nose and a bit grassy and herbaceous, but very balanced and even - and possibly a little dull.  Nice attack: fresh and fruity, then it fills with real richness and body.  Some spice and hints of citrus flavours.  Really good body and texture.  Very good length and very good after.  No harshness at all, just lingering flavours and a slightly puckering great character.  Very Good.

1997 Ch. Saint Estève d'Uchaux, AC Côtes du Rhône, 13% (The Wine Society)
A nice attractive, fairly even garnet red.  Maybe just a hint of age.  Good legs.  Lovely nose: rich ripe fruit with a real backbone and character.  Very soft on the attack.  Fills nicely.  Plenty of fruit.  Finishes with a little alcohol and spice.  Quite meaty and full.  Very attractive cherry and pepper flavours.  Excellent and smooth length.  Very Good Indeed.

1998 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Michel Bernard, 13% (Sainsbury)
A deep purple, just turning to a dense ruby; a thick meniscus with fairly powerful legs.  The nose is OK, but a bit nondescript: a bit of fruit and the merest hint of spice; some alcohol too.  All in all, the nose is very dull really and perhaps a bit over-extracted.  Nice attack - very young tasting wine.  Very mouthfilling.  Not identifiably a Côtes du Rhône though (perhaps a bit low on Syrah in the blend?), though there's quite a peppery tang afterwards.  A bit unbalanced on the middle, going through to the finish, with acid and tannin and dull fruit.  Tolerable.

1996 Muscat d'Alsace Réserve Personnelle, Kuentz-Bas, Sigille de qualité - Confrerie St Etienne, 12.5% (ex cave)
A bright light gold.  Lots of very marked legs.  Very elegant, floral nose - not especially light - with good body and depth.  Nice, clean attack with quite fresh flavours with some acid; then it fills into something somewhere between light and rich.  Quite creamy on the middle, but with quite a powerful fragrance and almost hints of lavender on the palate.  There's an interesting little hint of pepper on the finish.  Remarkable length, with only the very slightest hint of hardness.  Very Good Indeed.

1996 Tokay Pinot Gris Réserve Personelle, Kuentz-Bas, 13% (The Wine Society)
A deep medium gold. Good nose with hints of gewurztraminer like tropical fruit, though overall it's quite muted. Fairly rich, yet remarkably fresh attack. Very butter and rich on the palate with a hint of spice, especially on the finish. Very dry, with a slight hint of acidity. Well developed and rounded, but perhaps a bit lacking in fruit and varietal character. Very Good.

1996 Azienda Agriola La Prendina, Vigneto del Falcone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garda DOC, prodotto ed imbottigliato da Giulietto Pirna, viticoltore a Monzambano, 13% (Booths)
Very deep, very intense ruby with a few hints of youth at the edge. Quite a tannic nose with alcohol and hints of leather: lacing in fruit and any definite cabernet sauvignon character. Very nice attack, with lots of flavour, a slight hint of bitter orange and more than a hint of mintiness. Tannins develop on the palate, and it's very full in the mouth. There are some slightly bitter tannins on the finish, but it's pretty fine after. This is really quite a noble brew and shows quite superbly in a Riedel cabernet glass. Very Good Indeed.

1997 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, 9%, AP Nr. 356 1077 37 98 (Oddbins)
A very pale greeny yellow. Slightly subdued riesling nose, but still with lots of apple-greenness coming through, but a few years has just knocked the edges off this and it's starting to develop more complex notes, though some of them are rather odd spray polish notes. Lovely attack. Very fresh, with lots of fruit. Nicely balanced with good acidity. Finishes vry well. This is a nice all-rounder: not especially brilliant and perhaps a little lacking in finesse, especially on the finish. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

NV Rioja Den de Origen Certificada, bottled for The Wine Society by Cosecheros Alaveses SA, 12.5% (The Wine Society 28/11/99 £6.50)
Fairly good even ruby with a few hints of maturity on the rim. Very attractive nose with lots of cherries and ripe fruit and a slightly roasted character. Nice soft attack. A bit discordant on the palate and a bit harsh on the finish. Lots of character though, and it improves with a bit of air, though it doesn't repay being kept in the mouth too long. OK/Good. Hugely overpriced: £6.50 for a NV basic Rioja???

1998 Coriole Growers' Chenin, Mclaren Vale Chenin Blanc, 13% (Wine Society)
Pale to medium yellow. Nice nose: quite herbaceous, but not exactly laden with fruit. Good, fresh attack. Fills well. A little buttery, but very dry and almost tannic. Perhaps a little thin and lacking interest. Good/Very Good.

1997 The Society's Red Burgundy Bin Four, La Cave des Vignerons de Buxy, 13.5% (Wine Society)
Pretty bog standard. A bit overpriced. Good.

1997 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois, Albert Mann, AC Alsace, 12% (Oddbins)
A very even, bright medium straw. Very powerful nose: very herbaceous and green on the first impression, then develops into an intense, very fresh, very concentrated granny smith and kiwi nose. What a surprise on the palate! Not at all green and fresh, but instead very rounded, though there are still occasional malic hints. All these apples are bit odd in an Alsatian wine, and served blind, you would easily be fooled into thinking this might be German riesling. Very odd, and you can't help but think it's a fault, but it does result in a quite unusual and rather distinguished wine. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

NV The Society's Claret, AC Bordeaux, Peter Sichel, 12% (Wine Society)
A rather uneven, but quite bright ruby, with some marked young tinges. The nose is a bit poor, with very little fruit, some alcohol and some odd biscuity notes. Fair attack. Slightly acid and overall rather thin and dull with very little fruit and very little character. Poor and overpriced.

1988 Tokay d'Alsace, Eugène Meyer, 13.5% (Ramsbottom Victuallers)
The label proudly proclaims the wine's biodynamic production. Medium to deep gold, nice, bright appearance. Rich, heavy, rounded pinot gris nose, that's actually quite sweet: very attractive with some mature tones and a slight vanilla-y solidity. Quite light on the attack, even watery, but it quickly fills on the palate: lots of body, with an interesting dried fruit character. Quite concentrated, especially on the finish; almost a bit too concentrated, making this not a bottle to drink on its own. Perhaps lacks a bit of complexity? Very rounded flavours and Very Good Indeed overall, but it does need food.

1995 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Fritz Haag, 7%, AP Nr. 2 577 050 6 96 (Lay & Wheeler)
Pale to medium gold with greenish tinges. Not a very impressive nose - a bit dull, but really rather creamy, with buttery apples and some paraffiny notes behind - pretty archetypal Mosel riesling nose, but just rather dull. Nice celan attack with good fruit. Nice riesling fruit on the palate, though it's marred by a very slight petillance (also visible in a few bubbles at the bottom of the glass. Clean and fairly refreshing on the finish. Seems more Kabinett than Auslese, and a bit dull overall. It could be a bit of a duff bottle, but I suspect it's going through a dumb phase. Very Good -

NV Traditional Method English Sparkling Wine Brut, Halfpenny Green Vineyards, Bobbington, Staffordshire, 12% (ex cave, Manchester Farmer's Market)
The first half acre of vines were planted at Halfpenny Green in 1983, and by 1991 a further 22 acres had been added.  In 2005 a further 3 acres of Bacchus were added, so the vineyards now cover some 25.5 acres.  The vineyards are situated at 250 feet above sea level on well-sheltered south facing slopes on a light, sandy, free-draining soil.  The original winery was built in 1994, but a new winery was built in 2005 and now produced 50-60,000 bottles per year.
This sparkling wine (bought ex cave in 2000) is a blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and seyval blanc. Quite lively, though not a great deal of mousse in the glass. Steady stream of bubbles, which vary considerably in size. Quite a deep colour: a very marked deep gold. Very good nose with deep, rich, buttery, biscuity nose. Very full flavour, with the pinot noir fruit noticeable on the palate. Just a little scented. Powerful flavours, but very clean. Finishes very nicely. Really quite satisfying. Perhaps lacks finesse, but it has a freshness and brightness. Very Good+.

1997 Chapel Hill Irsai Oliver, Balatonboglár, Dry White Quality Wine, Balatonboglár Winery, 12% (Sainsbury)
Very, very pale gold. Fascinating nose: quite citrussy, but there are also hints of fruit cake on the first impression. There's definitely a cakiness to the nose - very odd -, maybe more like madeleines. The attack is equally fascinating, though a bit light. Lots of fruit on the palate. Rounded and full-bodied. A slight hint of acid, especially on the finish: again slightly citrussy. Very interesting. Very Good+.

NV Colombard Chardonnay, Western Cape, Landema Falls, 12.5% (Booths)
Very pale straw, though a bit cloudy. Not a bad nose: fairly interesting with some nice fragrant melony notes in there. Nice attack. Medium weight. Good clean freshness, but a rather heavy note beating its way through and upstage. Good.

1998 La Piazza Bianco, Sicilia IGT, Casalbaio, 11.5% (Booths)
Medium gold. Lovely nose like a big fresh bouquet of flowers. Lots of delicate, fragrant fruit. Very light, almost watery attack, but then it fills nicely. rounded and very refreshing. Good fruit. Good length. Very good after. Very Good.

NV Sainsbury's AC Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, V.N. à F44150, 12% (Sainsbury)
A rather yellow pale straw. Pretty good grassy, green fruit nose, slightly scented with melon. Thin attack Really quite mouthfilling and not too acid. Good+

1998 Sainsbury's Castillo de Alhambra Tempranillo, La Mancha Den. de Origen, Vinicola de Castilla SA, 12% (Sainsbury)
A rather insipid, fairly young colour. Very closed nose. Very flat and almost unattractive. Light attack. Dull and characterless. Poor.

1999 Viña Alarba tinto, Calatyud Den. de Origen, Spain, 13% (Booths)
A fairly attractive raspberry red, blending into a young purple at the edge. Very attractive, very young, very fruity nose with a slight scent. Nice light, fresh attack. Good light, fruity flavour that follows through onto the palate. Attractive and fresh with a fair amount of tannin after. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

NV Sainsbury's Do Campo Tinto, Vinho Regional Terras do Sado (Setubal peninsula), JP Vinhos SA, 12% (Sainsbury)
Made by Australian winemaker Peter Bright. Good colour, not too young looking: a light ruby. Rather dull nose with some fruit coming through, but a bit dominated by a generic cheap red wine smell. Rather hot on the nose. Quite light attack. Decent palate with very warm flavours, though with a touch of hardness. Rather flabby and insipid after. OK.

1996 Tokay Pinot Gris clos du Vicus Romain, AC Alsace Grand Cru Hengst, Domaine Aimé Stentz, Wettolsheim, 13.5% (Booths)
A nice medium gold with slight green tinges. An interesting nose - scented and, in fact, really quite deeply perfumed. Very concentrated nose, almost gewurzy with gassy overtones. Very good attack, clean with that rich dryness of pinot gris. Fills very nicely. Plenty of pinot gris flavour - nice and rich. Slight perfume, but very dry and very full on the finish. Very clean finish with remarkable length. Very Good Indeed.

1998 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Fritz Haag, 8% (Lay & Wheeler)
A very pale, greenish colour Markedly paler than the Max Ferd. Richter 97 Kabinett. Very fresh nose: slightly malic, perhaps a bit lacking in fruit. Very light, fresh nose. Much more appley than the 97 Richter. Nice, fresh, appley attack. Quite filling, yet still fresh and light. More acidity and definitely more austere on the palate than the 97 Richter Kabinett, though it is a year younger of course, and there's vintage variation to take into account. The acidity almost gives an impression of pétillance. Very fine, distinguished finish with remarkable length. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1997 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett, Max Ferd. Richter, 8.5%, AP Nr. 2 593 049 25 98 (ex cave)
A pale, greeny gold. Very full, fruity nose with good, creamy, rich fruit. Fresh but not excessively so. The attack is spot on: fresh, crisp, clean, bright with good fruit. Then it fills quickly with lots of perfumed appley notes. Excellent balance. Clean and fresh on the finish, with just a hint of racy fresh acidity. Very Good Indeed.

1996 Lone Redwood Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Joseph Swan Vineyards, 13.7% (Byrne's)
An attractive, very deep burgundy colour. Very even. Fantastic, deep, fruity nose with violets and lots of deep berry fruits. The nose is so intense! Nice attack, somewhat lighter than I'd expected. Clean with good fruit and it's lifted by a touch of acidity. Much lighter in the mouth that would be expected. Very nice, but perhaps a little simple in comparison with the 1996 Ridge Lytton Springs. Very Good Indeed.

NV Moët & chandon Brut Impérial, 12%
I'd been cellaring this bottle for around five years. Very this, very straight-sided cork. Good mousse on pouring. Fairly large bubbles in a steady but slow stream. Nice yeasty nose with quite marked citrus notes. Faintly reminiscent on the nose of a white wheat beer. Nice, rich, full-bodied palate, with very rounded, plush flavours. Very clean with some depth and complexity. Very good finish and great length. A very comfortable, comforting champagne, showing the clear benefit of ageing mass market non vintage champagne. Very Good Indeed(+)

1990 AC Château Chalon, Jean Bourdy, 620ml, 13% (Wine Society)
A bright, clear, very yellow gold appearance. Very powerful, sherry-like nose, but also with some honeyed raisins; and there's a lot of flor-like scents on the nose. Very odd flavours and very intense. There is some fruit on the attack, then it dries out and fills intensely. There's an almost whisky-like hint of flavour on the palate. Most unusual and certainly not something you'd want every day. Very Good Indeed.

NV Lustau Solera Reserva Manzanilla Papirusa, 15.5% (Byrne's )
A fairly ordinary palish straw appearance. Nice, attractive nose: quite forward fruit with a really salty background. Nice and light on the palate. Clean, crisp attack. Reasonably rich palate, but still very attractively lean. Very salty finish. This has more to it than La Gitana. Very Good Indeed.

NV The Society's Côtes du Rhône, AC CdR, Henry Bouachon, 12.5% (Wine Society 28/11/99, £3.95)
An attractive, fairly light cherry red, and fairly young looking. Good, very pleasant fruit on the nose: hints of strawberry and vanilla with some spice. Good rounded, very attractive attack. Wonderfully fruity palate and then finishes with some nice tannins and a fair bit of style. Bit of alcohol roughs out the finish. Very Good though, especially at the price.

1997 Santenay "La Comme Dessus", AC Santenay, Domaine Amiot Guy et Fils, 13.5% (Bibendum)
A nice even, bright cherry red with strawberry tones and no signs of youth. Gorgeous, slightly scented nose, full of rich red berry fruit with great depth and intensity. Fairly innocuous, light attack. Lots of fruit and body on the palate: this has considerable depth, but still, despite having been decanted for two hours, it feels a bit closed and probably needs more time. Much fuller, rounder and just a bit more open in a Riedel Burgundy glass.

1998 Riesling Kabinett, Fritz Haag, 8%, AP Nr. 2 577 050 3 99 (Lay & Wheeler)
A very, very pale appearance, almost colourless, with just a slight greenish tinge. Very fresh, appley nose - crisp green apples, cut by a hint of creaminess. There's a very definite pétillance on the palate. Very lgith attack. Very clean and crisp throughout, despite the pétillance, which actually just adds to the freshness. Not at all too light. Just a hint off-dry. Perhaps slightly hard on the finish. Very Good+

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons)
Attractive colour: greenish with yellow gold tones. Slightly flat nose, but with apples and kerosene coming through. Light attack, fills with some fruit, but not exactly marvellous. Finishes with nice appley flavours. Bit of a duff bottle.

1996 Lytton Springs, Ridge Vineyards, 14.5% (Ramsbottom Victuallers)
78% Zinfandel. Pretty much a textbook red wine colour in the glass: a deep ruby fading to a slight hint of purple at the rim. I might perhaps have expected a bit more maturity on the colour. Killer nose - absolutely fabulous: there's lots of blackcurrant and blackberry, and all very concentrated. Then there are herby, spearmint tones, with a bit of vanilla and tannin. Also a streak of alcohol. Nice, good fruit on the attack, then it fills enormously. Really fat and mouthfilling. Powerful stuff. There's a real streak of berry fruit on the palate. Good length with slightly bitter tannins.
Much improved in a Riedel Bordeaux glass, though the nose and flavour comes across more dilute.
A Riedel Chianti/Riesling glass brings out much warmer tones in the nose. There's less fruit, more roasted tones. The glass seems to bring out a bitter tannin note a little.
The Riedel Burgundy glass really concentrates the fruit and greatly enhances all the background herbaceousness, and cuts down the alcohol. On the palate, it's essentially similar to when in an ISO glass. Overall the Burgundy glass is the best.

1998 La Piazza Rosso, IGT Sicilia, Casalbaio, 12.5% (Booths)
Nice, even slightly youthful cherry red. Fair nose: nice soft fruit, but a bit too rough round the edges with more than a hint of alcohol. Nice attack. Fresh, with bundles of fruit. Fills nicely. Lots of soft red fruit with slight tannins and some alcohol holding it together. Soft tannins with a bit of harsh acidity on the finish. Not at all bad, and markedly more palatable than the Sainsbury own-label Chianti.

1998 Sainsbury's Chianti DOCG, Casa vinicola Luigi Cecchi & Figli, 12% (Sainsbury)
Nice even, fairly rich ruby red, without any particular signs of youth. Round nose; a bit lacking in fruit, with some tannins and a bit of alcohol evident. Quite a warming, comforting nose. Decent attack - a bit lacking in fruit. Hardly any development in the mouth. This is just a very anonymous, innocuous Chianti. Very unremarkable. OK/Good.

1998 The Society's Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Casa Vinicola Roxan, 13.5% (Wine Society)
A deep garnet red with more than a hint of youth. Fair nose, with some fruit, though it's a bit subdued and reticent: there's some nice cherry fruit in there and leather and hay. Nice attack. Rather youthful and a bit rough round the edges. Quite filling and warming on the palate, with a rich fruitiness. Fairly soft tannins develop after. Not at all bad at the price. Very Good.

NV Manzanilla San Leon, Herederos de Argüeso, 15% (Wine Society)
Salty, caramelly nose - very full. Quite heavy on the palate and slightly salty. Very full flavoured. Interesting, but I much prefer Hidalgo's La Gitana. This lacks the clarity of La Gitana, though it's perhaps more complex, though there's an impression that it is a little muddy. Very Good(+)

1989 Oberemmeler Karlsberg Riesling Auslese, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, 8.5%, AP Nr. 356 1077-103-90 (Wine Society)
A very green gold. Quite light colour. Nice mature riesling nose: plenty of creamy apples and just a faint hint of petrol. Very rich attack: very full and rich. Fills enormously on the palate, then some residual acidity kicks in and it finishes with some finesse. There is lots of green, slightly honeyed appley fruit with just the slightest hint of raisins. Very concentrated flavours and great depth. But far from being persistently sweet, just very rich. There was a massive tartaric deposit in the bottle. Excellent.

1992 Les Cyprès de Climens, Sauternes-Barsac, AC Barsac, 14%, 500ml (Bibendum)
A rich, very yellow deep gold - quite unctuous looking. Incredibly intense nose: deep, deep, multi-layered, with some hone, some sweet citrus, raisiny and creamy, like bread and butter pudding in a way. Nice, bright, fruity attack. Then it explodes with flavour. Rich; very rich. Great depth of complex flavours. Very rounded. Slightly marmaladey flavours, with rich orangey, orange-zesty flavours. Just a touch of rather odd bitter orange fruit on the finish. Very Good Indeed+.

1996 Rasteau Les Peyrières, AC Côtes du Rhône Villages, Cave de Rasteau, 13% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very even ruby red with no signs of youth. Lovely fruity nose, perfumed with violets. Very soft attack with lots of fruit and some nice soft tannins. Finishes with marked spice and pepper. Excellent in all respects.

1988 Chambertin Grand Cru, AC Chambertin, Domaine Jacques Prieur, 12.5% (Willoughby's)
A fair sediment was evident, so this was decanted. It could probably have done with just a bit longer left with the bottle vertical first. An even, mature brick red - pale with faint hints of orange. Powerful nose, though there's little fruit: warm and rounded with roasty, toasty hints and depth and complexity. Fairly soft attack. Rather flat and even on the palate. Maybe it's a little past it (it was a half price bin end)? In a Riedel Burgundy glass there's much more character on the nose, with mushroomy and leathery scents, though still rather flat and even. Quite a bit of tannin, but lacking in character on the palate. Disappointing.
5-10 minutes later: I'll take that back. This is improving dramatically and turning into a really meaty Burgundy with some hidden depths that are only just beginning to show themselves. There's a roast game side to the nose starting to show. Actually, now it's beginning to seem a bit too young, and the tannins are really coming forward. Very Good(+?)

1996 Chapel Hill, Rheinriesling, Dry White Quality Wine, Balatgonbaglár Winery, Hungary, 11.5% (Booths, 18/2/99, £2.99)
A slightly dull medium pale yellow gold. Not a bad, fruity riesling nose: slightly floral with just a hint of waxiness. Rather indistinct attack. Fills to a rather rough-round-the-edges riesling. More dry than medium, though a bit lacking in acidity. But it finishes cleanly. Absolutely fine, if undistinguished. There's a rather air-freshener scentedness on the finish. OK.

1997 Fleurie, Cuvèe du Cardinal Bienfaiteur, AC Fleurie, Cave des Producteurs des Grands Vins de Fleurie, 12.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
An even, slightly purplish ruby: a bit average looking. Evidently gamay on the nose, but it's not exactly fruity. Nice, clean attack. There are some rather odd, acid streaks running through the palate and the finish. It feels a bit unbalanced and rather odd. Presumably a bit of a duff bottle. Rather sharp tannins on the finish.

1998 The Society's Crozes Hermitage, Cave de Tain l'Hermitage, 12.5% (Wine Society, 28/11/99, £6.25)
A rather even, bright, quite young-looking ruby/burgundy red. Pretty powerful, fairly archetypal syrah nose with some young tannins and some pleasant violet floral scented notes. Very nice attack: full and rounded. Plenty of fruit on the palate, though much lighter than you'd expect. Very low on tannins. Quite fresh tasting, with lots of fruit. A bit characterless actually. Tasted blind, I'd guess rather at a Languedoc syrah-grenache blend, or equally I could easily be fooled into thinking it was Argentinian. Ok, but disappointing.

1997 Peperino, Rosso di Toscana IGT, Terruzi & Puthod, 13%
100% Sangiovese, aged for six months in barrique. A lovely, bright vibrant plum red. Very light looking with some signs of youth. Nice soft nose, with lots of soft rd fruit - cherries and strawberries. Very attractive nose. Nice light attack, with loads and loads of fruit. Really powerful, slightly scented cherry fruit forces the light tannins into the background. Really incredible fruit, and it continues through the immense length and long after. Excellent.

1992 Les Cyprès de Climens, Sauternes-Barsac, AC Barsac, 14%, 500ml (Bibendum)
Medium yellow gold, perhaps with some orange tinges. An intense, deep concentrated nose, perhaps a bit closed. Citrus - especially orange - and also hints of pine coming through together with a blast of sweetness, which knocks away any real elegance. Beautiful attack; the wine explodes with lots of flavours: predominantly citrus and a light honey. Quite lush, but not cloying. Very nice balance of acidity. Some complex flavours on the palate and finish, with the sort of tartness that some plums have. Very Good Indeed.

1997 Santenay "La Comme Dessus", AC Santenay, Domaine Amiot Guy et Fils, 13.5% (Bibendum)
Delightful, fairly even strawberry red. A warm, welcoming nose: not a great deal of fruit, but clearly pinot noir and with a hint of tannin. Quite rounded, open attack, almost with some orangey hints. Fairly mouthfilling, but in a light way. Good length, but slightly bitter at the end. Comes into its own much more in Riedel Burgundy glass: the nose opens up and it loses the bitter note on the finish. A very nice, light, but very satisfying Burgundy.

1998 The Society's Beaujolais Villages, Jacques Depagneux, 12.5% (Wine Society)
An attractive, bright, very even strawberry-cherry red. Doesn't look too young. Bags of fruit on the nose: fairly simple, but really quite soft nose - not aggressively gamay. Very nice, soft attack. Full and fruity on the palate with a nice gentle spiciness. This is a light, fairly simple Beaujolais: it's ok but not exactly stunning. There's a rather odd, slightly astringent note that develops on the palate and continues through to the finish, making it seem just a little off and just a tad unsatisfactory. Good.

1991 Gewurztraminer Oberer Weingarten de Rohrschwihr, Rolly Gassmann, 13.5% (ex cave)
Really rather pale straw. Very attractive, fragrant gewurz nose with nicely rounded scents, but very evidently lychee fruity rather than rosewater. Very rich attack. Very full on the palate. Really rich, rounded, fat, almost buttery. There's a spiciness that really develops in the mouth and continues to develop long after. Just a slight streak of acidity comes across just at the start of the finish. This is a really rich, powerful gewurztraminer, almost with hints of a vendanges tardives. Very Good Indeed +.
One day later: a very even pale-mid straw. Nice gewurztraminer nose, though perhaps a touch flat. Good, very rich gewurz character on the palate - remarkable richness. Very clean flavours. Not too mouthfilling and not too aggressive. Good character. Finishes well, with great length. Very Good Indeed.

1992 Les Cyprès de Climens, Sauternes-Barsac, AC Barsac, 14%, 500ml (Bibendum)
A medium yellow gold fading to almost clear at the rim. Very intense nose, but with very, very closed botrytised notes: very concentrated, raisiny, orangey, slightly cooked, slightly smoky nose. Interesting on the palate. Very intense attack: very rich and concentrated. You could almost say this was a bit over-concentrated. Feels a bit reticent on the palate, yet very powerful and really quite complex, but doesn't seem to want to "give". Not at all too sweet, though there's no particularly noticeable acidity. Very Good Indeed.
One day later, there's virtually no change in colour. Good, interesting nose, perahps a bit fuller and more open now. Still very cocentrated and intense, with a slight smokiness, but less raisiny than before. The nose has very, very concentrated, light orange flower water scented sort of orangey notes. Very good attack, then it explodes with fruit on the palate; rich condensed fruit. There's a pleasant streak of acidity across the tongue. Very far from cloying. This could probably still open up rather more. Very intense finish, rounded with enormous length. There's just something a little odd about it.
And on the third day ...
A bright medium yellow gold. Intense nose, quite perfumed: very rich, almost citrussy with quite a streak of squashed sultanas. Very ripe attack, but balanced by an interesting acidity. Very mouthfilling. Lots of interesting flavours. Not at all cloying, even just, perhaps, not entirely sweet. Really quite a unique flavour. Lots of ripe fruit. Stunning length after an intriguing finish.

1996 Chasselas Vieilles Vignes, AC Alsace, Cave Vinicole de Kientzheim-Kaysersberg, 12% (ex cave)
A nice rich golden straw appearance. Interesting nose with slightly earthy, grassy tones, and very rounded. Full-flavoured attack. Nicely rounded on the palate with really quite ripe fruit flavours. Finishes reasonably well with a strong flavour and just a hint of harsh-ish acidity. Very Good+

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons)
A nice pale straw with greenish tinges. Very interesting nose: complex with lots of layers. At first there is some apple-y riesling fruit, then some fresh green tones, then a delicate hint of petrol. Very nice attack, with clean, crisp fruit. Good roundness on the palate with some richness, but also a fine balance of acidity. Perhaps just a little too much acid on the finish. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1996 Pinot Gris Réserve, AC Alsace, Trimbach, 13% (Wine Society)
A slightly dull, pale gold. Good, very typical pinot gris nose, with rich and rounded spiciness. Very odd flavour: this is a bit of a duff bottle. Lacking in body. Tastes a bit dilute overall, with a rather odd essence of Tokay Pinot Gris in the background. OK. Just a poor bottle.

NV Champagne Mercier Demi-Sec, 12%

NV Alfred Gratien, The Wine Society's Private Cuvée Champagne Rich, 12% (Wine Society)
Fairly full and very fruity. Really quite classy and working very well with a home made cassata. Very Good+.

1976 Château La Tour de Ségur, AC Lussac-St. Emilion, Alcohol not shown, 1480ml
A fairly heavy sediment, but decanted only one hour previously owing to fears for its longevity, or lack of it. Quite a pale orangety red. A rather flat, dull nose. Very uninteresting on the palate: dull and lakcing in fruit or anything much. After another 30/40 minutes, it starts to come round and open up. After an hour, it's much improved - opening up and improving markedly. But it's till not over-inspiring. Good, fairly light flavour. A moderately interesting, if unexciting wine. Good.

1947 Côtes du Jura Rouge, Jean Bourdy, Arlay-Jura, 12% (Wine Society)
The capsule is made of a thin, red, foil, and the bottle was very dirty, with lots of black cobwebs! The wine has a very even brick red appearance. The nose is quite remarkable - and was immediately apparent on opening the bottle (which had a very new cork) - with hints of Seville oranges and red fruit. Very, very interesting attack. Fills beautifully with very interesting sort of dried fruit flavours. Very good length. Very clean. This wasn't decanted, and we discovered that 52 years had given it time to throw a heavy sediment. Very Good Indeed.

1976 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese, Weingut St. Johannishof Dr Loosen, Zach. Bergweiler-Prüm Erben, no alcohol shown, 375ml, AP Nr. 2 576 162 020 78 (ex cave)
A deep, deep yellow gold. Immensely powerful nose, with lots of botrytis/honey blended with just a little petrol. On the palate ... Nectar! It has lots of fruit - dried fruits, apricots. Rich, rich, rich, yet with huge finesse. Just the right hint of acidity on the finish. Pretty, bloody good. Excellent.

1976 Riesling Vendanges Tardives, Hugel, 13%, 700ml, (The Wine Society; recorked by Hugel 1989)
A rich, deep, lush, honeyed gold with almost orange tinges. Very pronounced legs. Fruit cake and petrol on the nose. Rich, mineral-laden attack with lots of rich, ripe fruit with honeyed hints of botrytis. Remarkably dry. This is a powerful, dominant wine. Very upfront, but finishes with remarkable clarity. Very Good Indeed+.

1983 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese, Dr Loosen, 8.5%, AP Nr. 2 576 162 24 85 (ex cave)
Pale gold with just the odd hint of green-ness. Fairly powerful riesling nose. Beautiful attack. Fills marvellously. Lots of creamy riesling fruit, like whipped cream on apple pie. Beautiful ultra-clean finish. Again a little more acidity would lift it into the sublime. Excellent.

1988 Riesling Jubilee Réserve Personelle Hugel, 12% (The Wine Society)
Really quite a pale colour, but with a more yellow tinge. Quite a fragrant nose, developing clear petrolly tones. Very interesting palate with marked older, riesling notes. Really quite full with much richer fruit flavours than the Germans. Nicely rounded. Finishes well with marked length. Quite distinguished. Slightly smoky. Very Good Indeed+

1997 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken, Reinhold Haart, 10.5%, AP Nr. 2 596 429 2 98 (ex cave)
Pretty much the same, but improved by being a bit colder. There's a more marked colour than the Loosen 97 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett. It improves considerably with a lot of exposure to air, which makes me think it's perhaps in a bit of a dumb phase. This is a richer, much less austere wine than the Loosen Sonnenuhr Kabinett, but completely lacking the latter's elegance and finesse. Very Good.

1997 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken, Reinhold Haart, 10.5%, AP Nr. 2 596 429 2 98 (ex cave)
A very shy nose, lacking in fruit. Rather dull on the palate: rounded with a bit of acid on the finish. Not very impressive. OK.

1997 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Dr Loosen, 8.5%, AP Nr. 2 576 162 03 98 (ex cave)
An extremely pale, almost clear appearance with the merest hints of green tinges. Fairly fresh nose with hints of malic green-ness. Very good attack. Very fresh, with lots of fruit. There's a nice richness on the palate. This is somewhat richer than you might expect from a Kabinett. Finishes very cleanly with nice fruit and style. Very elegant. Perhaps a bit more acidity might help give it more finesse. Very Good Indeed.

NV "R" de Ruinart, Brut, 12% (Oddbins)
The cork was quite straight-sided, so it's not unlikely that this has some bottle age. An attractive colour - a nice pale gold - and there's a fairly even stream of bubbles, though there's a marked variation in size. Very strong nose: toasty, but also with lots of fruit. Fairly light on the attack, but fills quickly and is very full flavoured on the palate. There are some cassis hints, plus some mushroominess. Nice length with the same strong flavours, with a bit of acidity on the finish. Very Good Indeed

1957 Taylors
Pale, thin brown colour. Not a lot of nose, though this has been open for quite a while. Still some life. Dried fruit and a certain syrup of figs note on the palate. Suffering a bit from having been open too long. Very Good.

1991 Chablis 1er Cru Grande Cuvée, La Chablisienne, 13%, 375ml (The Wine Society)
A pale to medium, noticeably yellow straw: a very even, bright colour. Rather unusual nose, quite foresty with wet green vegetation and hints of mushrooms. Quite vigorous on the palate. A bit dull on the attack, but very full on the palate, with nice acidity. Finishes clearly with remarkable length. Very interesting, but probably not really much more than a curiosity. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1998 Reserve Selection Gewürztraminer, Mór Region, Hungary, Hilltop Neszmély, 11.5%, (Wine Society)
An attractive nose - slightly spicy with lots of fruit, and not overtly/overpoweringly gewurzy. There's a great explosion of flavour on the attack. Lots of rich, spicy fruit. Very full and really quite rich. Nice and clean all the way through. Finishes with good intensity of gewurz flavours and notable length. Really an exceptionally good drink. Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1983 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese, Peter Jos. Hauth, 700ml, no alcohol shown, AP Nr. 2 583 012 3 84 (Willoughby's)
A deep, bright yellow gold. Quite a powerful nose, though somewhat lacking in fruit: there are a few hints of pepper and a dominant, rather oxidised smokey diesel nose with hints of honey and botrytis. Very full and very concentrated on the attack: lots of fruit; almost raisiny. But then miraculously there's a streak of appley acidity tempering the richness. Absolutely bone dry and very clean on the finish. Very Good Indeed.

1998 Brown Brothers Tarrango, 12% (Booths)
A soft cherry red colour with a tinge of youthful purple on the rim. Nice soft red fruits on the nose. There are slight hints of gamay together with some tobacco on the nose, which is very soft and fruity. Soft, light, fruity attack. Good fruit on the palate, with some very soft tannins. Perhaps lacking a bit in complexity, but it's reasonably satisfying. Good/Very Good.

1998 Reserve Selection Gewürztraminer, Mór Region, Hungary, Hilltop Neszmély, 11.5%, (Wine Society)
A deepish straw, perhaps looking a little muddy. Very attractive gewurztraminer nose - very rounded, quite soft, but with very marked gewurz fruit in abundance. Nice, clean attack. Good fruit. Very clean. Finishes very well. Gentle and not at all overpowering. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1983 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese, Peter Jos. Hauth, 700ml, no alcohol shown, AP Nr. 2 583 012 3 84 (Willoughby's)
A deep, luscious gold. Very full, very ripe riesling nose, but oddly lacking any strong petrolly notes. Very odd attack. Very ripe, almost overripe flavour. This is a bit over the hill and appears as a very mature riesling. Quite concentrated and smoky. Good/Very Good.

1990 Prunatelli Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva, imbottigliato da Bati Sorelle, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
An excellent, fairly even rich ruby colour with some signs of maturity. Good rich nose; very even, though there's not a great deal of fruit. Very nice attack, very rounded and very full. Fills well, and there's good fruit on the palate, with some tannic structure. Finishes well and has good length. Very Good +.

NV Txomin Etxaniz Denominacion de Origen, Getariako Txakolina, 10.5% (The Wine Society)
"Este txakoli ha sido elaborado exclusivamente con las variedades autóctonas Hondarrabi cultivadas en nuestros vinedos de Getaria."
Apparently a Basque sur lie wine. An even mid straw. Nice fresh, fruity nose with lots of greenness, but tempered with a bit of pepperiness. Marked petillance on the tongue. Very fresh and very crisp. Finishes very well. Lots of fresh, green flavours and quite rounded. Very clean, fresh and refreshing. Very Good +.

1989 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Max Ferd. Richter, 7.5%, AP Nr. 2 593 049 23 90 (Byrne's)
Very good riesling nose with lots of fruit and also some rather reticent petrol notes. Very soft attack with lots and lots of fruit. Very rounded, very full, but with a good streak of acidity at the front of the palate. Finishes with a slightly different acidity at the rear of the mouth. Very fine and elegant. Very Good Indeed.

1998 Edelzwicker, Aimé Stentz et Fils, Wettolsheim, AC Alsace, 11% (Booths - replacement for 29/10 bottle)
A pale to medium, fairly bright straw. Very deep nose with a fair amount of fruit, but notable mainly for its remarkably mature tones. Very strong flavoured attack. Very full in the mouth, but then it tails off dramatically. Quite earthy, but also full and rich, though somewhat lacking in acidity. OK.

NV Cuvée Prestige Extra Brut, AC Crémant d'Alsace, Aimé Stentz et Fils, 12% (Booths)
Very mousse-y. Good pale to medium straw. Good stream of consistent small bubbles. Quite a powerful nose with lots of biscuity notes and lots of nice firm fruit. Clean attack, with lots of mousse on the palate. Very dry, with fair acidity: quite refreshing. Doesn't really develop in the mouth. Finishes cleanly, but not over excitingly. A bit light on flavour. Very Good.

1998 Edelzwicker, Aimé Stentz et Fils, Wettolsheim, AC Alsace, 11% (Booths)
Pale to mid straw - quite bright and clear. very odd nose, with some fruit, but very dull earthy tones. Dull attack, with rather stinky flavours. Very odd and very probably off. Distinctly unpleasant. Returned and replaced.

1997 Pinot Blanc Cuvée Tradition, AC Alsace, Cave de Turckheim, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
An even pale straw. Interesting nose with lots of fruit, but also lots of fresh acidity. Rather flat on the attack, then it fills enormously. Remarkably (and a bit oddly) rich. Really a bit odd and unusual for an Alsace pinot blanc - not at all what I'd expected. Very full and rich. Improves a bit with food. Surprisingly good for a Cave de Turckheim wine. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

NV Cuvée Julien, AC Crémant d'Alsace, Dopff au Moulin, 12% (Wine Society)
A fairly attractive pale straw with much gradation of colour. Fairly thin nose with just a hint of toasty-biscuity tones. Nice steady bubbles, but there's a fair variation in size. Nice mouthfilling attack. Good firm mousse. Lots of flavour in the mouth with good length. Clean, but also nice, rich, rounded flavours. Clearly has some interest and repays attention, especially at the price. Very Good Indeed.

1998 Reserve Selection Gewürztraminer, Mór Region, Hungary, Hilltop Neszmély, 11.5%, (The Wine Society)
A remarkably deep gold. Attractive nose - fairly light gewurztraminer, but nicely rounded with only the very slightest hint of rosewater. Very good attack: fresh with lots of fruit. Fairly light gewurz taste, not at all overpowering. Finishes extremely well and cleanly, with just that faint hint of turkish delight kicking in at the end. Very Good/Very Good Indeed and exceptional at the price.

1985 Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives, AC Alsace, Louis Sipp, 12.5% (Willoughby's)
An attractive, bright, fairly deep gold. Deep, luscious, scented nose with distinct gewurztraminer tones up front, then lots of honeyed richness: with time in the glass, the nose loses some of the gewurz tones. Rather thin on the attack. Fills nicely, with lots of power, though markedly short on flavour. If you try hard, you can get some gewurztraminer character coming through - very concentrated. Far from brilliant and much below expectations. Also remarkably dry. Good.
Though it was much improved with being open a bit and with cheese (some Munster and Lord of the Hundreds), but still it doesn't quite live up to expectations and is vastly inferior to the 1996 Tokay Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives Clos des Capucins, AC Alsace, Domaine Weinbach, Colette Faller et ses filles, 10.5% drunk a day or two earlier, but for which I don't have a proper note.

1997 Burgans Albariño, Bodegas Martin Codex, DO Rias Baixas, 12% (Oddbins, £6, Nov 98)
100% albariño. A very bright medium gold fading to very pale at the rim. Very fruity, quite rounded nose with a slight hint of honey, but overwhelmingly redolent of fresh green fruits. Very nice attack - very attractive. Just a little unusual. Fresh, clean flavours, with lots of body. A remarkable mix of fresh fruit and body. Good length. Very Good (+).

1986 Riesling Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé, cuvée particulière de nos vignobles, AC Alsace Grand Cru, Louis Sipp, 700ml, 13% (Willoughby's)
An even gold with just a few tinges of green. A nice, reasonably mature riesling nose with just a few minerally tones, perhaps just a bit dull. Very full attack. Rich and full on the palate. Just a hint of pepper on the finish. Very rounded, but a bit unexciting. Finishes with remarkable length. Good/Very Good.

1997 Fleurie, Cuvée du Cardinal Bienfaiteur, AC Fleurie, Cave des Producteurs des Grands Vins de Fleurie, 12.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Nice attractive bright pale ruby with hints of purple youth and cherry red. A rich luscious, well-rounded nose with lots of plummy red fruits: nice and rounded, but only some hints of gamay. Ok on the attack, but not overly exciting. Fills greatly with lots of firm body. Fairly complex. Finishes with great length. Good+

1987 Riesling, AC Alsace, Louis Sipp, 12.5% (Willoughby's)
A very deep gold. Very odd nose with only very slight riesling tones. Rather peppery, rather flat, honeyed tones. Really quite vile on the palate. Completely off. Yeuch.

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons)
A mid gold. The nose is a bit thin on this bottle. This bottle doesn't seem as good as some others - a bit lacking in character. Quite thin on the attack. In a way, it has a bit more finesse than some other examples of the same. Good length. Remarkably different to other bottles. Very Good Indeed.

1998 Riesling Gewurztraminer Medium Dry White, Hardy Stamp of Australia, South Australia, 12% (Sainsbury)
A very pale colour with a slight greenish tinge. Lovely fragrant nose, the gewurz tones softened with hints of riesling. Nice clean attack. Hint of acidity. Really quite full on the palate. Works well. Very Good.

1983 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese, Cardinal Cusanus Stiftswein, Erzeugerabf. St. Nikolaus Hospital, 8.5% (Willoughby's)
A rather mucky, gunky top of the cork on removing the capsule, but there's no sign of ullage and the cork's in good condition. A very marked, quite intense yellow-gold, but bright and clear. A very intense nose, blending lots of honey scents with a fairly strong petrolly structure. Very smooth on the attack. Fills dramatically, with good, very marked riesling character. Lots and lots of flavour and depth of flavours. Just a slight trace of very elegant acidity on the finish. A nice example of a fairly mature Mosel riesling. Perhaps a bit sweeter and flabbier than the norm, lacking some of the elegance of the finest examples. But it's still a fine wine of notable rarity, especially at the price (£11.55 reduced to £4.95!). The colour is quite remarkable and the honeyed, sweet scents on the nose are more than balanced by the acidity of the basic wine. Very well rounded, clean, long and attractive. Very Good Indeed.

1997 Château La Perriere, AC Bordeaux, 11.5% [white Bordeaux] (Wine Society)
Bright and clear mid straw. Nice, fresh nose with lots of fruit - nicely rounded. The sauvignon blanc is very noticeable on the nose, rounded and softened by the semillon (50:50). Nice clean attack with lots of fruit. Fills well with good round, rich middle. But then it goes a bit strange and scented, finishing with a very odd almost rosewater taste. Not unpleasant, but very, very odd - probably a bit off. Never had anything quite like it, though it's actually rather good. Very Good.

1997 Tokay Pinot Gris "Le Fromenteau", AC Alsace, Josmeyer & Fils, 14% (Wine Society)
A very attractive colour - pale gold with a few green tinges. Good nose with lots of depth and very marked pinot gris fruit. Very full on the attack. Rich and almost chewy on the palate with a quick blast of acidity. Finishes with good length and character. Markedly more complex than the Trimbach and better than the Kuentz-Bas. Very Good Indeed.

1996 Tokay Pinot Gris, Reserve Personelle, Kuentz-Bas, AC Alsace, 13% (Wine Society)
A fairly deep straw. Nice nose - quite complex, but perhaps a bit muddied. An even, clean attack. Plenty of fruit with hints of sweetness. Quite a strong streak of acidity, making it just a little hard on the finish. Rather lacking in fruit. A bit unsatisfying. Good/Very Good.

1996 Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve, 13%, (Wine Society)
A very even pale straw. A better than average pinot gris nose with a bit of fruit coming through with a nice bit of fruit coming through with nice hints of warm spice: a really quite attractive, nice, open nose. Nice attack: plenty of fruit, fills nicely to a good rich pinot gris. Good round richness, but also a nice fruity acidity. Finishes very well - very clean with no harshness at all. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1996 Clos La Coutale, AC Cahors, 12% (Wine Society)
A very rich garnet cum ruby red with just the merest hints of youth. A pleasant clean nose - perhaps a bit on the dull side. Very pleasant attack: clean and rounded. Fills with some tannin, then finishes with lots of tannin, some of it remarkably bitter. But the fruit does just about fight through. A fairly old fashioned Cahors. Pretty good all round, but without any particular distinction. Very chewy. Very Good.

1998 White Cloud, Medium Dry White Wine, North Island, New Zealand, Nobilo Vintners, 11% (Sainsbury)
A pale straw with marked green tinges. Very fresh nose - distinctly herbaceous. Reasonable attack with lots of fruit but without any great complexity. A little bit sweet. Very unexciting palate; just a bit fragrant. Not a patch on the 1997. OK/Good.

1996 Chardonnay, Deakin Estate, Victoria, Australia, 14% (Bibendum)
Fantastic, very rich deep gold - odd, but a very pure colour, almost as golden as trockenbeerenauslese. Very full nose, very rich, with lots of Ozzie chardonnay character with just a hint of oak. Very clean on the attack. Very pungent on the palate, followed by a quite a crisp, buttery. biscuity finish. Definitely on the turn and maybe a bit oxidised, but still perfectly ok. A very interesting drink, oozing character. Very Good+

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons)
Lovely, very full and rich riesling nose with some hints of apple. Showing more distinct keroseney notes with a bit of exposure to air. Fine attack. Quite full. Very well balanced fruit and acidity, just tending slightly to off-dry fruit maybe. Reasonable length. Perhaps lacking some finesse, but not a bad example of a fairly mature riesling.

1999 Tramontane Viognier, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12.5% (Asda)
A pale gold, but with a very yellow edge. A pleasant, fruity nose - quite fresh and rounded, but pleasantly simple. Pleasant, nice-flavoured palate that's quite fresh and fruity. Uncomplicated, but the viognier character comes through to maintain the interest. Finishes very cleanly and smoothly. Not at all bad. Assuming it's in the £3-£4 range, it represents good value. Very Good.

1994 Salice Salentino DOC, Rosso Riserva, Azienda Vitivinicola Francesco Candido, 13% (Wine Society)
A blend of negroamaro and malvasia nera. A fair, very even ruby appearance with no noticeable youth. Not a bad nose: there's some fruit and some alcohol: a bit like it looks - the nose is just a bit uninteresting. Good attack - plenty of fruit with a streak of acidity. Then tannins come to the fore. But it finishes feeling a bit thin.

1997 White Cloud, Müller Thurgau-Sauvignon Blanc, Nobilo Vintners, Gisborne, NZ., 11% (Bibendum)
An attractive, glistening goldy mid-straw. Attractive nose with lots of fruit and some complexity: quite rich and buttery with hints of mango and fresh-cut grass. Nice attack: well rounded and quite rich. Plenty of good flavour and a nice streak of acidity to balance it. Decent, fresh length. Very Good+.

NV Asda Tempranillo, DO Jumilla, Bodegas 1890 SA, 12.5% (Asda)
Plastic cork. A very even mid-ruby. The nose is fine, but really rather dull. Attractive attack - smooth and rounded, but without much in the way of fruit. A bit dull on the palate. Bitter tannins after. Barely tolerable plonk. OK.

1993 Merlot Cellar Reserve, Suhindol Region, Bulgaria, produced and bottled by Lovico Suhindol, 12% (The Wine Society)
Still remarkably young looking, with no sign of ageing at all. A fairly bog-standard merlot nose: decent fruit; perhaps a bit muddied. Very nice attack: plenty of fruit. Fills nicely on the palate. Finishes softly, but with quite marked tannins after. Very average. OK.

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons)
Pale to mid gold with hints of green apple flesh. Very petrolly nose, but with an undertone of fruit and elegant acidity. Quite light on the attack, but it fills greatly and is really quite rich and rounded on the palate. Finishes with a hit of acidity, but it's a little muddied after. There was some damage to the capsule on this bottle and it seems it might have affected the contents. Good/Very Good.

1997 Lindemans Coonawarra Botrytis Riesling, 11.5%, 375ml (Oddbins)
A nice pale to water gold. Powerful honeyed apricots and tropical fruit on the nose with a very slight hint of paraffin. A rich attack: very full, and very, very, very intense and luscious. Great body, with quite an elegant sweetness, but nowhere near as refined as equivalents from the Mosel. Unlike you would find in the Mosel, there is virtually no acidity. There are some almost apricot and banana flavours on the finish. Good, but not great. Might be interesting to see how it ages. Very Good.

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons)
A pale gold, fading to very, very pale at the edge of the glass. A nice rounded riesling nose with lots of refined fruit: the nose has riesling fruit rather than petrol minerality. Nice, very clean attack with good fruit flavours. Quite full on the attack, but almost completely dry on the finish.

1992 Preece Cabernet Sauvignon, Mitchelton Wines, SE Australia, 13% (Possibly from Oddbins?)
A deep, reasonably mature ruby.  Slow, but quite thin legs.  Fantastic nose: loads of mature fruit; some oak; rich cassis background.  Good clean attack.  A real powerhouse on the middle; and it develops very quickly in the mouth.  Very full, very rounded, very satisfying.  Really meaty character (but not bretty).  Powerful flavours, but very smooth and rich.  A little peppery spice on the finish.  Very Good.

1997 Elstree Brut Reserve Riesling, Highfield Estate, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.5% (Tesco)
An attractive pale gold with a hint of pinkishness. Gorgeous fruity nose. Hints of apples and spirity notes, with just a trace of petrol. Nice clean attack: fairly full with good fruit. Quite rich and mouthfilling on the palate. There's a bit of spice on the finish, but unfortunately also a rather hard acidic streak that really catches the back of the throat. Improves dramatically with being open 15 minutes, and after a while it all but loses that harshness on the finish. Good/Very Good.

1995 Xinomavro, Appellation of Origin Naoussa, Boutari, 12.5% (Morrisons)
From vineyards at Filia, Marina, Trilofos and Lefkadia. The vineyards are at an altitude of 350-400 metres above sea level. The vines are all around 21 years old, and yield about 2kg of grapes per vine. The grapes were harvested 15th-16th September 1995 and after vinification, the wine spent two years in French oak, followed by a further six months in bottle before release.
A lightish garnet colour, with a fairly mature rim. Reasonably attractive nose, but not especially distinguished: there are rustic, earthy tones with just a bit of fruit. Quite an interesting attack: there's a bit of fruit, then it's very mouthfilling. There are a lot of very dry tannins, which make the wine feel quite drying, but it's not unnecessarily harsh. Finishes with a hint of acidity and it's long and dry after. A reasonably solid wine, if a bit overpriced. I wonder if it might not be an entirely good bottle. OK.

1997 Romanian Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, vinari de calitate superiore su denumine de origine controllata Recas, Unknown producer, 12% (Asda)
An attractive, fairly even strawberry red. Very fruity nose with lots of red berry notes with some interesting earthy notes with a leathery undertone. Nice clean attack with plenty of fruit, then very dry indeed, but with quite soft, attractive tannins. Perhaps a hint of acidity on the finish. Not bad at all. Good/Very Good.

NV NYX Vin de liqueur, AC Mavrodaphne of Patras, BG Spiliopoulos, 19%, 500ml (Oddbins)
A blend of mavrodaphne and korinthiaki grapes from the hills of Patras. An odd brown colour with a hint of dark ruby at the centre: the appearance is slightly reminiscent of a very old Burgundy. The nose is quite unusual with hints of coffee, spice, meths and other miscellaneous, unidentifiable scents. Very smooth attack. Remarkably clean. Very rich and unctuous on the palate with lots of raisiny tones. Finishes with some pepper, some acidity and hints of port.

1993 Auxerrois, Rolly Gassmann, AC Alsace, 11.5% (Byrne's)
An interesting, rathery lemony mid straw appearance. Attractive, interesting, full nose with quite forward fruit and a vegetal backbone. Very interesting attack: lots of fruit, but it quickly fills dramatically and has really full honey-caramel notes on the palate. Very full, very round, slightly off dry. Some odd, slightly peppery notes. Not noticeably sweet, but it feels as if it should be. Perhaps a bit odd. But Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1998 Monastrell, Bodegas 1890 SA, DO Jumilla, 13% (Asda)
85% monastrell, 15% tempranillo. Plastic cork.
A reasonably attractive, pale ruby, fading to pinkiness on the rim. Quite a heady nose, full of hints of spice, leather and vanilla. Quite light on the attack, but full-flavoured. Very much a red soft fruit sort of taste and texture. This has almost the air of a very young pinot noir. There's quite an acidic streak, which lightens it nicely, and gives a slight prickles on the tongue. Very creditable, especially at the price. Very Good.

1997 Chardonnay, Azienda Agricola Cantele, IGT Salento, 12.5% (The wine Society)
A very pale gold; quite bright. Full, raw Chardonnay nose with the merest hint of oak. Quite fresh and full on the attack. Rather flat on the palate and finishes with rather too much harsh acidity, which really lingers. Good.

1997 Grenache Shiraz [rosé], Stamps of Australia, Hardy's (Thomas Hardy & Sons), South Eastern Australia, 11.5% (Bibendum)
A very attractive, bright colour somewhere between strawberry pink and salmon pink - actually quite an artificial tint to it. A light, fresh nose with lots of soft strawberry fruit. Also very attractive on the palate: slightly off-dry and with the same strawberry tones as on the nose, together with some cherry and orange flavours. Very smooth and nicely rounded. Very Good.

1994 AC Béarn, Domaine Guilhemas, 12% (Bibendum)
Quite a powerful, rather vegetal nose, with some hints of melon. Nice attack with a fair amount of fruit and character, but it hardens on the palate and finishes without any real interest, just a rather harsh, drying note. Evidently past its best.

1992 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Mönchhof Robert Eymael, 8%, AP Nr. 2 602 029 019 93 (Morrisons, 6/3/99??, £4.99)
A good, attractive pale gold. A powerful nose with lots of keroseney tones. Nice clean attack with good fruit. Clean and rounded, with an attractive fruity richness on the palate. A very clean, refreshing finish, followed by good length. Not at all a bad example of a reasonably mature Mosel riesling. Very Good+

1998 Asda Argentinian Syrah, Famatina Valley, Argentina, Unknown Producer, 13% (Asda)
A very even, young purple-raspberry colour. A full, fruity nose that smells fairly young. Plenty of fruit - cherries and a hint of pepper spice. Quite light and mouthfilling at the same time: very clean and fruity on the attack. Very young and tough on the palate, but with some varietal character coming through. Quite chewy and with just a bit too much acidity and tannin on the finish. Good.

1994 Late Harvest Orange Muscat and Flora, Brown Brothers, Milawa, Victoria, Mystic Park Vineyard, 10%, 375ml (Booths)
An interesting colour - a sort of orangey pale caramel; but quite a deep colour overall. Very attractive nose: quite scented and with lots of honey aromas and hints of raisins. Very clean attack. Fills to a nice full richness on the palate, but avoids being cloying, and there's a nice bit of acidity on the finish. Very elegant. Nice complex flavours. Very Good Indeed.

1995 Las Campanas Crianza, DO Navarra, Vinicola Navarra SA, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
Apparently a blend of 80% tempranillo and 20% cabernet sauvignon, this is an attractive, fairly young bright ruby colour. The nose is pleasant with nice fruit, but not exactly thrilling, and with a hint of oak. Very soft attack. Quite light on the palate, with lots of soft fruit. Fairly solid tannic finish. Pleasant if innocuous. Good.

1997 Le Petit Bosc, Blanc de Blancs, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault, Pierre Besinet, 11.5% (The Wine Society)
Quite a deep straw - very bright, clear and attractive. Lovely nose with bags of fruit. Light, crisp and refreshing. Not at all complex, but very attractive and clean. Very Good(+)

1997 Cuvée de l'Arjolle, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thongues, Prosper et Louis-Marie Teisserenc, Charles Duby et Guilhem de Foxières, 12.5% (The Wine Society)
A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot.
A pale ruby appearance with some youth. Young berry fruit on the nose: there's reasonably attractive fruit, but it's far from exciting. Nice smooth attack. Fills nicely, though perhaps lacking in fruit a bit on the palate. Finishes with lots of tannin and an acidic harshness. Tolerable. It improves dramatically with being open: better fruit and less harshness.

1988 Jubilee Hugel, Riesling "Hugel", Réserve Personnelle, AC Alsace, Selected and Shipped by The Wine Society, 12% (The Wine Society)
A very, very pale straw. Very full nose - deep and rich, distinctly riesling, though not over-keroseney. Quite fresh on the attack. Very full on the palate, rich and almost creamy. Nice length with hints of acidity. Very well rounded and balanced - balanced to the extent that it could be described as a bit one-dimensional. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1994 Tannat Cuna de Piedra, Vino Tinto de Calidad Preferente Costas del San Juan-Colonia Los Cerros de San Juan, Uruguay, 12% (Byrne's)
Gorgeous deep, almost black plum colour with attractive brightness. A rather undistinguished, dull nose with some soft fruit. Very smooth attack, rich and full and quite a treacly texture. Finishes with a hint of lightness, but then a rather bitter aftertaste. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1991 Vine Vale Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Peter Lehmann, 12.5%
This had thrown a sizeable sediment. Quite an attractive, bright ruby, but with very clear gradation down to a browny orange at the rim. A very odd toasty nose with acid tones. This is surely an off bottle. Thin, musty flavours and thoroughly nasty.

1996 Tramontane Viognier, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12.5% (Asda)
A fairly deep medium gold. Very green, herbaceous nose with buttery tones: full and attractive.
Thin, but not unattractive attack. Innocuous palate. Rather hard on the finish and very hard after. Tolerable, but not really worth the effort. OK/Good.

1991 Château d'Opoul, AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages, La Cave des Vignerons d'Opoul, 13% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very grubby cork, with considerable tartaric crystallisation on its base. The wine has a very attractive, deep ruby colour - fairly even, just a bit paler at the rim. The nose is extremely attractive: absolutely full of ripe, plummy fruit, but also a slight hint of acidity. Very full, and full of fruit, on the attack, again with the same rich plummy ripeness, with hints of strawberry and citrus flavours, which gives it an odd freshness. Nice and clean on the palate. Good soft character, with a blast of really dry tannins on the finish. Mouthfilling and rich, yet curiously also quite light bodied and fresh in the mouth. Oddly elegant in a rustic sort of way. Quite unusual. Very good length. Very Good Indeed.

1996 Gewurztraminer Cuvée Particulière, AC Alsace, Paul Zinck, 13% (STWC)
A very pale, crisp clear yellow. Nice, attractive, light floral nose with definite turkish delight tones. Good clean attack. Fills quickly, but has some rather harsh tones on the palate. Quite rounded and full, but distinctly marred by the harshness. A bit over-extracted, probably. Possibly trying a bit too hard to be floral and ends up lacking elegance. Good.

1993 Gewurztraminer Kappelweg de Rohrschwihr, AC Alsace, Rolly Gassmann, 14% (Byrne's)
A deeper colour than the '96 Zinck: a bright clear, crisp, pale gold. Very full nose - rich and complex, with hints of rosewater, but much fuller and rounder than just that; also some hints of herbaceousness. Very full attack, with marked richness. Considerable depth on the palate, though perhaps not quite as complex as it first seems. Interestingly, it's bone dry, though it's sufficiently full-bodied for it not to appear lean. Nice hint of acidity on the finish. Very Good Indeed.

1997 White Cloud, Müller Thurgau-Sauvignon Blanc, Nobilo Vintners, Gisborne, NZ., (Bibendum)
Attractive, if a little murky pale gold. Rather dull, unexpressive nose with very little fruit and little varietal character - just a little greenish on the nose. Nice clean attack - quite full. Good fruit on the palate: very ripe and open. Finishes a little oddly with noticeable acidity. Not at all bad for an industrial wine. Good/Very Good.

1996 Pinot Noir, Domaine Pont, AC Bourgogne , 12.5% (Asda)
(Opened for cooking) A very light, bright strawberry red colour with more than a hint of youthful purple. Soft berry fruits on the nose, though not excessively varietal. Nice soft attack: full and round and very soft. Then there's a real blast of tannins which drown out the fruit. Finishes with great length and a reasonable structure. Not bad. Good+

1973 Hermitage, Paul Jaboulet Ainé, abv not shown
A very attractive colour, mature, but not overly so. Very full nose: remarkably fruity and soft. A good, full, mature nose: really very attractive. Very clean, light attack. Really good fruit on the palate. Quite a complex finish with lots of spicy peppery tones and some nice soft tannins. Very meaty and powerful, but with a sort of soft feminine underbelly. Lovely syrah character on the finish. The overall impression is of a very fine, mature softness with well rounded meatiness. Excellent.

1994 AC Béarn, Domaine Guilhemas, 12% (Bibendum)
A light to medium yellow, with green tinges again. A fairly full nose, perhaps a bit vegetal and muddied. A faint hint of polish behind. Not especially fruity. Bit hard and austere on the attack, but quickly softens, leaving some peppery tones behind. Quite flat and dull and only just about OK. Evidently a faulty bottle.

1994 AC Béarn, Domaine Guilhemas, 12% (Bibendum)
Quite pale yellow with green hints. Very full, fruity nose with marked melon notes. Clean attack, then fills well. Full on the palate with some quite vegetal tones, with slight hints of pepper. A touch hard on the finish.

1993 Riesling, AC Alsace, Rolly Gassmann, 12% (Byrne's)
Very sparkling, clear, crystal clear, pale to medium straw with greenish tinges. Very attractive, full nose, though a bit lacking in varietal character. Remarkably fresh and green on the nose. A stunning attack - really fruity, and showing lovely varietal character - and then it fills enormously and very quickly. Very rounded on the palate, with a hint of peppery spice on the finish. Finishes with a bit of acidic harshness, which just unbalances it a bit. Perhaps it still needs time. Good/Very Good.

1993 Disznóko Tokaji Furmint, Dry white Quality Wine, Hungary, 13%
A fairly deep yellow with goldish tinges. Very rich nose, with lots of fruit and a nice scented character, almost with a hint of riesling. The label says it's dry, but it doesn't smell dry! Quite unusual on the palate: a fairly rich attack, then lots of fruit, but with very raisiny hints. Dry on the finish with marked length. Perhaps not quite dry on the finish. Very odd, and certainly on the evidence of this bottle, not entirely attractive. Avoid.

1997 White Cloud Müller Thurgau-Sauvignon Blanc, Gisborne, NZ, Nobilo Vintners, 11% (Bibendum)
A medium straw colour fading to a watery rim. Very dull nose with vegetal tones and no freshness at all, though it is quite rounded and full. Fairly clean attack, and it goes on to fill out very quickly. Very mouthfilling with great length. Bit of harsh acidity on the finish. Fairly interesting flavours, and not at all bad for such a commercial wine. Quite fat and full and rather unusual. Just a touch off dry. Good/Very Good.

NV Moët & Chandon Brut Impériale, 12% Bottled Spring 1991, says the back label.
A fairly deep, bronzey gold. Fairly even bubblestream. Fairly full nose, that's a bit biscuity, but overall a bit undistinguished and dull. Good mouthfilling attack. Nice, creamy and rich on the palate. Fair depth and there's nice length, with a very clean, soft finish. A clear example of why it's best to keep NV grandes marques for a few years. Very Good Indeed.

NV Matusalem Oloroso Dulce Muy Viejo, Gonzalez Byass
A browny orange colour, fading to yellow-brown at the rim. A deep burnt caramel nose: very orangey and nutty. Smooth on the attack, full and quite rich. There's quite a streak of acidity to balance as well, and there's the bittersweet of burnt caramel. Not at all cloying. Very Good Indeed.

1995 Pinot Gris Bergheim, Domaine Marcel Deiss, AC Alsace, 12% (ex cave)
A very attractive deep very yellow straw, though markedly lighter than the 1997 Kientzheim-Kaysersberg pinot gris. Very rich on the nose: quite smoky with nice rich fruit and hints of honey. A lovely deep, rich attack, full of fruit. Then there's quite a lot sweetness, but balanced by a very attractive acidity. Very full and rounded with great richness, and almost hints of botrytis. Quite scented and concentrated on the finish, with good length. Finishes with a notable elegance. Excellent.

1971 Château Talbot Grand Cru Classé, AC St Julien, no abv shown
No noticeable ullage. The cork was in very good condition. The wine gave off intense blackcurrant scents on decanting. It had a very attractive colour: a bright, clean, very mature ruby with a very marked orange rim. Bright and clear appearance. The legs are very slow to develop, but don't last. On the nose, despite the blast of fruit on decanting, this seems just a bit over the hill: there is still a lot of blackcurrant fruit, but it's not a particularly fresh blackcurrant smell. In fact, the nose is quite heady, very open and with hints of orange and spice and quite a bit of alcohol. Rather thin on the palate, with very little fruit left, though there are still some tannins. The finish shows a bit of acidity, with some alcohol showing through. Unfortunately, this bottle had not been kept well and is now well past its best, and is nowhere near as good as the last bottle of this I had on 23rd March 1985. You can still see the class though.

1997 Tokay Pinot Gris Réserve, AC Alsace, Cave Vinicole de Kientzheim-Kaysersberg, 13% (ex cave)
An attractive, fairly deep gold. Quite a powerful nose, though not especially rich in fruit: in fact it's almost got an oaky weight to it, along with some freshness. A very nice, rich attack. Very full on the palate. Remarkably rich. I wonder what it would be like a few year - pretty damn good, I expect. All in all, it has a very mature outlook: a rich colour; rich flavours and a touch of acidity on the finish. There's really quite a bit of spice too, particularly brought out by a slice of pâté de foie gras. Very Good Indeed +.

1993 Guelbenzu, D.O. Navarra, Bodegas Guelbenzu, 13% (Byrnes, 1996, £6.35)
A blend of 50% tempranillo, 35% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, that spends one year in French oak.
Good quality cork. This has a very nice, very even, very deep ruby red with a hint of maturity on the rim. Very good nose: there's a blast of tempranillo, but with some cabernet sauvignon blackcurrant fruit evident too, alongside some oak and spiciness. Very mouthfilling, with a fair amount of fruit. Lots of tannin on the finish, that should fade with food.
After 24 hours, this is much improved: the nose shows more merlot and the harsh spiciness present earlier has gone. Much softer on the palate. Very nice flavours, much rounder and less aggressive than yesterday. Still a bit of tannic structure, but there's lots more fruit now. Very Good Indeed.

1996 La Domecque Tête de Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12% (Asda)
A blend of roussanne, marsanne and muscat. A fairly even medium gold that's reasonably bright and clean looking. Rather subdued, distinctly muddy nose: there's some fruit at first, then very dull: an almost thudding vegetal nose with all the attractiveness of a visit to the dentist. Very hard attack. Fairly full, but very hard and nasty. There's nothing wrong with it: just a very poor wine.

1994 Satinella de Marqués de Caceres, Medium-Sweet, Rioja Den de origen, 12% (Oddbins)
This is a medium sweet white Rioja made from late harvested viura and malvasia. This has a fairly bright medium gold appearance. The nose is very full with lots of fruit and good concentration: there are hints of honey and even a vaguely petrolly-riesling hint. On the nose, at a first impression, you could be excused for thinking of a mid-rate riesling Spätlese. But there's also a greasy undertone on the nose and some stray vague suggestions of oak. Quite a clean attack. Then there are concentrated, rich flavours. It is medium sweet, but not cloying. Slightly perfumed, fairly elegant, this is an easy wine, just spoiled a bit by some hardness on the finish. Very Good Indeed.
It's interesting to compare this to my note on the same wine of 13/8/95: evidently it has improved much in three years.

1995 La Domecque Tête de Cuvée Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12% (Asda)
A nice bright ruby with just the slightest hints of youth. Quite a bit of fruit on the nose, displaying more merlot characteristics than syrah. Nice attack: clean and smooth, then some fruit comes along, then it finishes with a great blast of peppery spice and tannin with great length. Just a slight hint of acidity on the finish. Quite acceptable, if rather powerful. Very Good

1995 Albor by Campo Viejo tempranillo, Rioja Den de Origen, 12% (Oddbins)
A very even colour: pale ruby with a watery-pinky rim. A rather dull tannic nose with hints of alcohol and virtually no fruit. Seems likely this is off. Biting acidity and long musty flavours on the palate. Off.

1994 Viura Albor by Campo Viejo, Rioja Den de Origen, 11.5% (Oddbins)
Quite a deep colour. Very indistinct, muddy nose. Off.

1964 Brauneberger Juffer feine Spätlese, Max Ferd. Richter, abv not shown. (Ramsbottom Victuallers)
The cork shows clear signs of age, but is still sound. A medium to deep rich gold, fading to transparency at the edge of the glass. The nose is a bit odd - very strong and intense, with paraffin and pepper, hints of honey and a lovely smokiness. The nose has overtones of a light Islay malt whisky. Quite light on the attack, but it quickly fills out. Very dry - almost tannic, like peatsmoke. The flavours on the palate, pretty much reflect the nose: very intense, without much in the way of fruit, though with hints of pepper and spice. You definitely wonder whether this might not be entirely riesling. Very full on the palate, and showing clear finesse and breeding. Massive length.

1983 Oppenheimer Herrenberg Riesling Eiswein, Rheinhessen, Louis Guntrum, AP Nr. 4 907 187 123 86, 9%, 250ml (Harrods c. 1990)
A dinky little 250ml bottle, sealed with a screwcap under a metal capsule. A fairly deep gold. The nose is very raisiny with a hint of acidity. Rather sweet on the attack. Very full and rounded with intense flavours. Only a hint of acidity though. This is quite remarkably different to Richter's Eiswein. This is much, much sweeter and doesn't have the searing purity of Richter's, nor the refined elegance.

1995 Mülheimer Helenenkloster Riesling Eiswein, Weingut Max Ferd. Richter, AP Nr. 2 593 049 12 96, 8.5%, 375ml (Ramsbottom Victuallers, £31)
A remarkably pale appearance: very pale gold with a watery rim. A real wow! of a nose: quite unlike what you'd expect from the colour. Very rich nose with loads of fruit; and very smooth. The nose doesn't suggest any great sweetness. A real nectar essenced of riesling attack. Incredibly intense and not really very sweet at all. Very clean, with a massive blast of rich fruit on the finish. Great purity elegance. Excellent.

1997 Asda Hungarian Merlot Private Reserve, Szekszárd Region, Száraz Minöségi Bor, Produced and Bottled by Interconsult Ltd, 12% (Asda)
Immediately a rather acidic smell on drawing the cork. The colour is a fairly even, deep strawberry red with distinct signs of purplish youth. A young nose of soft fruit and some depth. Decent palate. Soft and fruity. A bit characterless. Rather acidic on the finish. OK.

1990 Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Selection, Rosemount, SE Australia, 12.5%
65% shiraz; 35% cabernet sauvignon. This has an even bright ruby appearance with mature edges. Very, very solid, slow legs. Very full, very fruity nose, with plenty of spicy notes and an alcoholic backbone. Reasonable attack, then you get a hit of tannins. This feels remarkably powerful and fairly serious: there's a big backbone and lots of tannin. Great length. But overall, I don't find this especially remarkable. Good+.

1992 Mussbacher Eselshaut Rieslaner Trockenbeerenauslese, Weingut Müller-Catoir, Pfalz, 9.5%, 375ml, AP Nr 5 174 079 13 93 (Oddbins)
Significant tartaric deposits. A deep honeyed yellow, though not especially sticky looking. Gorgeous ripe, honeyed nose with scents of perfumed raisins. Very interesting on the palate. Quite sweet on the attack, but not overwhelmingly so. Very elegant with nice fruits and a nice backbone with good acidity. Very full on the palate, with a heavy, quite syrupy texture, but it's by no means too sweet or cloying. There's quite a perfumed note on the palate, with some tropical fruit flavours. The overall impression is of elegance. Very Good Indeed ++

1995 Auxerrois Moenchreben de Rohrschwihr, AC Alsace, Rolly Gassmann, 11.5% (ex cave)
Very pale appearance, indeed almost colourless, with just a hint of pale yellow at the rim. Very attractive nose with lots going on: fruity and very herbaceous, with almost a hint of sauvignon blanc to it. Very nice attack: full with a hint of richness. Very fruity, very rounded and filling. Great length, finishing with finesse. Continues to grow and develop on the palate long after. Maybe an extra hint of acidity would help with food, but it's absolutely stunning on its own. Excellent.

NV Moscato del Piemonte, mosto d'uva parzialmente fermentato, Cantine Gemma, 5.5% (probably bought 94/95, Oddbins??)
Good petillance with uneven bubbles. Attractive straw yellow. Rather flat, dull nose: sort of murky, musty, melony, lemony. Markedly sweet on the attack and really a bit sugary. Very little character, and indeed you'd be forgiven for not recognising it as wine. Poor.

1995 Albor Red, Albor by Campo Viejo, Rioja (Oddbins)
An even, rich ruby red colour with no signs of youth and some hints of maturity. The nose is a bit dull and flat. Clean attack: fairly mouthfilling. Quite distinct. There's a hint of acidity, but also some tannic depth. But overall just a bit past it. OK.

1994 Rosemount Estate Shiraz Cabernet, SE Australia
A very even colour in the glass: an attractive berry red. Initially there's a blast of fruit on the nose, but then the nose becomes rather indistinct and rather musty. Thin, watery and sour. Quite definitely off, seemingly with a combination of bacterial infection and a touch of TCA.

NV Prestige Rosé, Taittinger
A delicate strawberry pink. The nose is sweeter and flashier than the Brut Reserve, with hints of berry fruits. Some fruit on the palate, but quite a hard finish. Really lacks character. Distinctly unsatisfying.
(3/10/98 at Taittinger in Reims)

NV Brut Réserve, Taittinger
A nice creamy nose. Fine flavours on the palate, though without anything particularly dominant. Very nice flavours on the palate which pale to a fresh crispness. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.
(3/10/98 at Taittinger in Reims)

1997 Tokay Pinot Gris Réserve, Cave Vinicole de Kientzheim-Kaysersberg, Alsace
A good example. Clean, with nice rich tones. Very Good Indeed.
(1/10/98 in a restaurant next door to the co-op's shop in Kaysersberg)

1990 Macon La Roche-Vineuse, AC Macon - La Roche-Vineuse, Domaine du Vieux Saint-Sorlin, 12.5% (Bibendum)
Very attractive bright cherry red with a markedly mature rim. Very attractive nose with nice ripe pinot noir fruit. Nice clean attack. Fills out nicely. Very smooth and rounded. Slight traces of an alcoholic backbone. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1997 Whitecliff Sauvignon Blanc, Hawkes Bay, Sacred Hill Winery, New Zealand, 12.5%
A very, very pale straw indeed. Very dull, flat nose. Soft attack, but overall this has very little character and little flavour. A bit watery? OK.

1994 Antoure, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12.5% (Bibendum)
An attractive ruby with hints of youth. Very nice, fruity nose, though not especially full of cabernet sauvignon character, but very soft and rounded. Very soft and pleasant on the palate. Nice, long, clean finish. Very little tannin. Good/Very Good.

1997 AC Pouilly Fumé, Sainsbury's Classic Selection, Fouassier Père et Fils, 13% (Sainsbury)
Remarkably deep straw colour. A fairly standard greeny, grassy nose. Nice clean attack, then fills out enormously. Really quite rich and full. Very long and pleasant after. Very Good+

1996 La Domecque Tête de Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 12% (Asda)
A blend of roussanne, marsanne and muscat from near Carcassone. Pale gold. Fruity, rather fragrant nose. Good attack, and then fills out fairly well. Fairly dull on the palate. More than a little harshness on the finish. Quite full and round, but it doesn't live up to the promise of the blend of grapes or the fragrant nose.

1994 Albor by Campo Viejo, DOc Rioja, 11.5% (Oddbins)
A white Rioja from the viura grape. An even, very, very pale gold. The nose is interesting and quite complex. Nice clean, fruity attack. Fills very nicely. Well rounded with good full flavour. Very Good.

NV Sainsbury's Romanian Merlot Rosé, DOC Medgidia, bottled by D-RP 342 899, shipped by St Laurens Weinkellerei GmbH, 13% (Sainsbury)
A very attractive, bright, pale strawberry juice colour with sort of orangey tinges: a nice depth of colour. The nose is very flat, with very little character, just a touch of fruit. Nice and clean on the attack, with bags of fruit. Good rounded, full flavour, with no harshness. Good, easy summer drinking. Very Good.

1992 Crianza Palacio de la Vega, Navarra Den. de Origen, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% tempranillo, this has a nice even rich burgundy-ruby colour, looking rather mature. Very attractive nose, with the cabernet fruit very evident alongside some leather and a bit of oak. The attack is reasonable, with some vibrancy, but overall, it's disappointingly thin, without any marked character. There's very little fruit on the palate, though there are still some tannins. Probably this bottle is a bit over the hill.

1995 Chardonnay, Caliterra Estate, Casablanca Valley, 13.5% (Bibendum)
A nice bright, pale gold. Very solid legs. The nose is very intense and rich with peachy melon hints. Very smooth on the attack, filling out very quickly. This appears to be characterised primarily by really quite harsh, rough notes. Decent length, but very hard. Good.

1996 Merlot, Bodegas La Rural, Mendoza, Argentina, 13% (Bibendum)
A very even, attractive, young cherry red colour. Very attractive nose with bags of fruit and quite a sweet scent. Very smooth, clean attack. Then there is loads of fruit. then a real punch of backbone. The tannins are very much kept in control, though there are plenty of them. Long, very long finish. Very well structured and very well balanced. This has plenty of life and potential for keeping. Very Good Indeed.

1996 Domain Pont, Pinot Noir, AC Bourgogne, 12.5% (Asda)
A fairly even, rather young purple. An intensely fruity nose, markedly pinot noir, with a bit of rough alcohol at the end. Slightly dull, undistinguished attack. It then fills out rather well. Good flavours, though a bit lean and not exactly mouthfilling, but a decent example. Considerable length. Good.

1992 Crianza Palacio de la Vega, Navarra Den. de Origen, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% tempranillo, this has a nice rounded, even ruby colour, looking fairly mature. Powerful legs. The nose is very full: thick and rich with peppery vanilla. Very nice attack: clean and fruity. Very well balanced on the palate, with all the tannins smoothed out and no particularly out-standing flavour. Very, very long, the aftertaste developing from an initial pepperiness, then slowly rounding out. A Riedel cabernet glass brings out a distinct earthy, mushroomy aroma.

1994 Domaine Seigneurie de Pardailhan, Elevé en futs de chêne, AC Saint-Chinian, 12.5% (Sunday Times Wine Club)
A bright, sparkling red colour. Young with touches of purple. Very firm, syrupy legs. The nose is very attractive with lots of young, crisp fruit. Nice, pleasant attack, showing youth. Fills out fairly well, but overall it's hampered by its youth and young tannins. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1995 Colombard Domaine d'Espérance, Vin de Pays des Landes, Comte et Comtesse J.L. de Montesquieu Fezensac, 11% (Bibendum)
A pale, bright straw. Very clean, vegetal nose with hints of peppery spice, though perhaps a little muddied. Nice and clean, yet firm on the attack. Rounds out nicely on the palate. Very full and not over-dry. Quite rich and mouthfilling. Good length. Very Good Indeed.

1996 Sauvignon Blanc, Deakin Estate, Victoria, Australia, 12.5% (Bibendum)
A bright sparkling gold colour. The nose is full, and not especially redolent of sauvignon blanc: rather it's very ripe with very clear overtones of mango on the nose. Full on the attack. Quite rich and oddly buttery: not all what you'd expect from a bottle labelled as sauvignon blanc, other than some nice, clean freshness. Very Good+.

1995 Bianco di Torgiano DOC, Azienda Agricola Vignabaldo, Umbria 11.5% (Bibendum)
Very, very pale, almost watery colour, with just a slight tinge of greeny yellow. A very clean, crisp nose that's slightly fragrant and slightly vegetal. A very nice, crisp, fresh attack. It then fills quickly into a very rich, vaguely buttery mouthful. Well, maybe not buttery: the fruit has a dense appley-mango-pea flavour. Good length with very slight traces of hardness on the finish. Very Good+

1996 Chenin Blanc, Libertad, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.5% (Bibendum)
A vivid pale straw. The nose is very attractive with good herby tones. Nice clean attack. Good crisp fruit. Full and attractive Clean, crisp flavours. Great length. Nice after too. Very Good Indeed+.

1996 Hárslevelü Estate wine, Lemberg Estate, Lemberg, Tulbagh, South Africa, 13% (Ramsbottom Victuallers)
Night-harvested grapes. A pale to medium straw. The nose is full, though not expecially fruity, and has some hard tones, alongside vanilla and citrus. Full and open on the attack. Initially fairly attractive, but the flavours become very muddied and unclear. Great length, but following a very hard finish. Quite interesting, but not overly enjoyable. Good.

1993 Recioto amabile degli angeli, DOC Recioto della Valpolicella Classico, Masi (Byrne's)
An interesting, very rich ruby colour with hints of youth, but also others of maturity. A very rich colour. Very strong, firm legs. Extremely full nose - again very rich: very concentrated and intense with several layers. There's fruit initially on the nose, then it's almost smoky, almost redolent of a timber-yard. Very rich, very full attack. Then it fills out and lengthens amazingly. Great depth of flavour. Very attractive. Very rich. Great length. Rich and velvety rather than sweet, and with hints of pepper. Very Good Indeed.

1994 Pinot Bianco, Vino da tavola della bergamasca, Produttori Riuniti dai Cantina Sociale Bergamasca, 11.5% (Bibendum)
Clear, pale gold. Quite a full nose with decent fruit and some citrussy undertones. A bit hard on the attack, but fills very nicely in the mouth. Smooth and rich on the palate. Good length. Good/Very Good.

1995 Sangiovese dell' Umbria, Brogal Vini (Bibendum)
A nice mature, cherry red: quite a vibrant and sparkling colour. Nice, pleasant nose, if fairly simple. Good fruit, though by no means heavy or jammy. Very clean attack with some fruit. Light, but full textured with great length. There's a fair amount of tannin on the finish together with some spice. Good/Very Good.

1996 Wolf Blass Chardonnay, barrel-fermented, South Australia, 13.5% (Morrisons)
A medium to deep gold. Rich nose: biscuity and buttery. Very full on the palate. Round and very nicely balanced on the palate. Not too much oak. Great length. Very rich and very slightly spicy. Very Good.

1995 Nagyréde Estate Zenit, Hungary, 11.5%
A very pale straw. No legs. Fresh, floral nose. Very nice attack: crisp and fresh. It then fills out to a certain creaminess. Clean and fresh. Very Good+

1976 Erbes-Rüdesheimer Vogelsang Gewürztraminer Auslese, Rheinhessen, Haus Thiel, AP Nr. 4 277 143 011 77, 11.5% (Ramsbottom Victuallers, £23.50)
Labelled as an organic wine. A gorgeous deep gold: very rich looking. No discernible length. Very full nose: rich, creamy and buttery with some gewurz hints, but not much. Very rounded nose. Very clean on the palate. Very mouthfilling and rich. Very rich rather than sweet, though definitely is sweetish. But remarkably clean and rounded. Very Good Indeed.

1996 Aconcagua First Release, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.5% (Sunday Times Wine Club)
A superb nose: some fruit, but lots of warm spice. A good, clean attack. Very full, smooth and rounded on the palate. Quite a fruity backbone of flavour. Develops very well with a building pepperiness. Reminiscent of a Navarra tempranillo blend. Very good length. Very Good+

1994 Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, Clare Valley/Lenswood, Tim Knappstein, 13% (Oddbins)
A blend of 77% sauvignon blanc and 23% semillon; 40% of the wine was fermented in French oak. A thin, hard nose. Nice fruity attack. Fills out quite a lot. Complex flavours, but really quite hard and steely with some slightly unpleasant tones, though I don't think there's anything wrong. OK.
(March 1997)

1992 Preece Cabernet Sauvignon, SE Australia, Mitchelton Wines, 13%
A very deep, fairly mature ruby colour. Great nose with loads of frit, but noticeable green twigginess. A nice clean attack with good fruit. A mouthfilling wine that's not over-tannic, just a nice backbone. Great length on the finish. Very Good.

1993 Preece Chardonnay, SE Australia, Mitchelton Wines, 13%
A very yellow gold with no discernible legs. Quite a full nose - not especially fruity, but very well developed and complex. Very smooth attack, then really mouth-filling. Nice, fresh, and fruity. A bit hard on the finish, especially after. Good.

NV Sainsbury's Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon, Navarra Denominacion de Origen, Bodegas Agronavarra, 12% (Sainsbury)
A nice gradation of reasonably mature colour with a good ruby red at the centre. Noticeable, but not over-firm legs. Good nose, fairly complex, with a good amount of fruit. Clean, neat attack. Quite mouthfilling. There's a hint of roughness after, developing into a long, fairly fruit finish. OK/Good.

1995 Le Tallaron, Syrah & Gamay, Vin de Pays des Côteaux de l'Ardèche, 12% (Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very young purple colour - actually a very nice cherry colour. Loads of fruit on the nose, but still with very young tones. Nice mouthfilling fruit. Fairly high tannins. Good length. Nice and clean after. Very Good.

1992 Palacia de la Vega Merlot, Navarra den. de Origen, 13% (Oddbins)
A youngish (very young on the rim) colour, just starting to mature. Very full merlot nose: soft and fruity, very soft scents with a slight spiciness. Nice soft attack. Good flavours, if rather subdued. But also very full. Good length. A slight hint of harshness on the late finish. Good.

NV Feteasca Negra & Cabernet Sauvignon, Cellarmasters Selection, Murfatler Wine Region, 12%
An even, quite young cherry colour. Very smooth, if unremarkable nose with slight scents of tannin and alcohol. Very smooth, silky attack. Fairly full. Fairly pleasant, verging on the innocuous. A bit hard after. OK/Good.

1991 Palacio de la Vega Cabernet Sauvignon, Navarra Denominacion de Origen, 12% (Oddbins)
An even, fairly mature colour - quite bright. A nice vanilla nose with the cabernet fruit a little subdued, but overall attractive. Good attack. Clean, quite fresh and fairly full. Quite tannic after, when it has considerable length. Very well rounded. Very Good.

NV Tesco Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon, Navarra Denominacion de Origen, Luis Gurpegui Muga, 12.5%
A fairly young, bright red with some vague signs of maturing at the rim. Quite powerful legs. The nose is fairly rich with decent fruit, though a strong background of alcohol. Decent attack. Quite crisp and there's not much fruit, though there is the same alcoholic power as on the nose (which is odd, given that it's a mere 12.5%). Fills out well in the mouth and has good length. Not bad. OK/Good.

1993 Brothers Vineyards Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, New Zealand, 10.5%
Quite a deep gold colour with greenish tinges. A very rich nose that has buttery tones with hints of green fruit. Very fresh on the attack, with lots of green fruit on the palate. There's also the same sort of buttery notes on the palate as on the nose. Very Good.

1994 Satinella de Marqués de Cáceres, Rioja, 12% (Oddbins?)
[A blend of late harvest viura and malvasia]. A very pale, slightly pinkish straw. A full, rich nose with sweet vanilla tones. Very full on the palate. Sweetish (and indeed, clearly medium sweet), but very clean on the attack. Good length. Nice and attractive, though it could do with a bit more acidity. Good/Very Good.

1991 Palacio de la Vega Cabernet Sauvignon, Navarra Den. do Origen, 12% (Oddbins)
A very deep mature colour with strong legs. Very deep blackcurrant nose with some depth and hints of leather and mint. A bit up front and obvious on the palate. Quite full and a bit brash. This has a remarkably thin character given the nose and the colour. Good.

1994 Rosemount Estate Shiraz Cabernet, 12%
A young, vibrant colour. Very full nose with lots of complex fruit, including some cherries. Very clean attack. Then it's quite spicy, and fills out well in the mouth. Smooth finish with good length. Distinctly lacking in tannic structure. Very Good.

1989 Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Kabinett, Schloss Schönborn, Rheingau, AP Nr 31 052 008 92, 9% (Sunday Times Wine Club)
Pale straw: quite clear. A fairly dull, flat nose with rather subdued riesling fruit. Nice clean attack, and there's good ripe and rich fruit on the palate. Very smooth. Very nice, but not especially distinguished. Very Good. 85/100

1994 Albor by Campo Viejo. Selected Cuvée of tempranillo grapes. Rioja DOC, 12% (Oddbins)
A very young, nicely vibrant colour: good raspberry colour, with a depth of colour at the core, thinning out to a crisper slightly more mature colour at the edges. A decent nose, clearly fairly young. This isn't overwhelmingly fruity, but there is very little tannin too. Very clean attack: fresh and fruity. Quite light but not entirely lacking structure. Some slighly harsh tones just before the - lengthy - finish. Good+ 83/100

1993 Château Paul Blanc, AC Costières de Nîmes, 12.5% (Oddbins)
An attractive, deep colour with some fairly young hues. Good strong legs. The nose is very fruity initially, then it fills out with some tannins and perhaps a bit of alcohol. Good, clean, fresh attack. Very full on the palate. Considerable structure. Quite smooth. Good length. Good+ 84/100

1993 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, The Brothers Vineyards, Marlborough, New Zealand, 10.5% (Oddbins)
An attractive deep straw. No discernible legs. Very full nose: quite strange with a fair amount of smokiness, though very smooth and rich, perhaps with a bit of nuttiness. Quite fresh on the attack. Fills out to an extremely smooth, flavoursome palate. Remarkable length. Very distinctive. Very Good.

1992 Alsace Pinot Blanc, AC Alsace, Cave des vignerons à Turckheim, 12%
A full fragrant, elegant, floral nose. Very hard on the palate. OK.

1993 Côtes du Rhône, Barton & Guestier, 12% (Oddbins)
A very attractive colour - really quite mature. No legs. Dull nose without fruit. Very dull hard taste. Off, though it doesn't seem corked.

1991 Dürkheimer Spielberg Scheurebe Kabinett Halbtrocken, Weingut Johannes Karst & Söhne, Pfalz, AP Nr 5 160 164 19 92, 10% (Sunday Times Wine Club)
A pale gold with hints of green. Fresh, slightly appley nose. A bit unbalanced on the palate, with some harshness and some smoothness. Not a great deal of flavour, though after being open a while, some hints of melon come through on the palate. Very dull and unimpressive. OK.

1989 Dürkheimer Fuchsmantel Scheurebe Auslese, Weingut Johannes Karst & Söhne, Pfalz, AP Nr 5 160 164 16 90, 11.5% (Sunday Times Wine Club)
A fairly deep straw. Incredibly fresh, fruity, deep nose. Clean attack. Very full on the palate. Just a bit too sweetish. Great length. Very clean. Good/Very Good.

1989 José Maria da Fonseca, Quinta de Camarate, Vinho Regional Terras do Sado, Portugal, 12%
Attractive, very bright ruby red with signs of maturity on the rim. Rather twiggy nose with some oak and very little fruit. Good attack, with decent fruit. Decent palate - full with decent structure. Fair length, but with a hint of astringency on the finish. Good.

1994 Albor by Campo Viejo Vino Joven, Rioja DOC, Bodegas Camp Viejo, 11.5% (Oddbins)
A pale gold. Very full, markedly appley nose. good crisp attack. Very mouthfilling and very fresh. Good/Very Good.

1990 Costières de Nîmes, Barton & Guestier, 12% (Oddbins)
A nice mature colour, with a good depth of colour in the glass. Rather astringent, slightly spicy nose. Fresh and fruity on the attack. Fills out enormously, though this doesn't really feel full-bodied, just self important. The astringency continues throughout and into the considerable length. Good+.

1991 Palacio de la Vega Crianza, Navarra, 12% (Oddbins)
An attractive, just mature ruby.  Great oaky, vanilla nose - very full.  Good legs.  Nice attack: decent fruit.  Very mouthfilling, with tannins coming through, together with a bit of alcohol on the finish.  Good+.

1988 Brauneberger Klostergarten Riesling Spätlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, P. Licht-Bergweiler Erben, 8% (Laithwaites)
Pale gold.  Very full riesling nose: herby and slightly spicy.  Very nice attack.  Clean, yet with rich undertones.  Velvety smooth.  Fills out beautifully in the mouth.  Very good depth of flavour.  Very nice after.  Great length.  Very Good Indeed.

1993 Domaine de Saint-Launes, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne, Michel Duffour, 11% (Morrisons?)
An attractive goldy-yellow appearance.  Nice, attractive rounded nose with herby overtones.  Very attractive on the palate.  Very rounded and smooth.  Clean and fresh.  Very well formed and balanced.  Nice length after.  Very Good Indeed.

1993 Cimislia de Moldova Merlot, Vin de Calitate de la rejiunia Cimislia, 12.5% (Morrisons)
Not too young in appearance, though it's a bit murky looking.  A very odd, very powerful nose: heavy, with strange fruit aromas.  Very smooth on the palate.  Not particularly flavoursome.  Quite decent.  There's a slight hint of harshness towards the finish.  Decent length.  Good.

1993 Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, Rosemount Estate, 10.5% (Tesco)
Quite a fair gold colour.  Very nice, freshy, fruity nose.  Fairly thin attack: clean and crisp.  Fills out well on the palate and ends up quite full and rich.  Very balanced.  Considerable length, and very good after.  Perhaps a bit lacking in character, but very sound.  Good/Very Good.

1989 Chivite Reserva, Navarra, Denominacion de Origen, Bodegas Julián Chivite, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A bright, crystal clear red with hints of strawberry and a touch of maturity.  Lots of fresh vanilla on the nose, which has some complexity.  Nice attack.  Full palate, with some odd hints of lemon and a nice kiss of oak.  Good/Very Good.

1993 Château Paul Blanc, AC Costières de Nîmes, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A very deep mauve, showing considerable youth round the edges.  Very deep, full nose with quite a lot of fruit initially, but then showing more serious signs of structure.  Decent attack, but with little of the fruit that was on the nose.  Slightly pepper on the palate with some alcohol evident.  Very firm and full, and very long.  Unusual.  Good/Very Good.

1992 Corbières Rouge, Les Vignerons du Val D'Orbieu, Narbonne, 11.5% (Morrisons)
A very dark colour, still rather young at the edges.  Fair legs.  Full nose: a bit odd with slightly astringent notes, and some strong hints of alcohol.  Rather thin on the palate, and what flavour there is, quickly gives way to tannins.  It really tastes exactly how it smells.  Very undistinguished.  OK

1992 Bernkasteler Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Graf von Spee'sche Weinkellerei, 9% (Laithwaites)
Pale gold appearance.  Very good nose: fresh, fruity with hints of apples.  Nice smooth attack.  Light, but full of flavour.  Really quite rich and complex on the palate.  Considerable length.  Extremely pleasant.  Very Good Indeed.

1986 Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling und Ruländer Auslese, Rheinhessen, Weingut Dr. Alex Senfter, 10.1% (Laithwaites)
A very tall bottle.  Pale gold colour.  Attractive, luscious nose with multi-layered creamy fruit.  Full attack, with heavy, creamy rich fruit flavours.  There's a hint of an acidic backbone, but it's fairly faint.  Creamy and full and with a pleasing sweetness.  Fair length.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed

1993 Le Meunier, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Californian Red Wine, 13.5% (Oddbins)
Made from the pinot meunier grape, helpfully described on the label as "pinot noir's rustic cousin."  A young, bright raspberry red.  Attractive nose: fruity with some structure and depth.  Decent legs.  Fairly fresh attack, then very mouthfilling on the palate with a surprisingly large amount of tannins.  Rather odd, rather harsh finish, followed by considerable length.  An unusual wine, for sure, but I'm not sure how attractive it ultimately is.  Good?

1992 Bechtheimer Pilgerpfad Spätlese, QmP, Weinkellerei am Klostergarten, 9.5% (Morrisons)
A very pale gold.   Quite a full nose: fairly rich and attractive.  Smooth, rich attack.  Fairly full on the palate: pleasant with very slight hints of spiciness.  Good finish.  Decent length.  Just a tad sweet?  Good/Very Good.

1990 Fondation 1725 (red), AC Bordeaux, Barton & Guestier, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A mature, fairly even colour.  Good firm legs.  Nice nose, with plenty of vanilla, but not overloading some mature fruit character which forces its way through.  There is some evidence of a firm structure.  Reasonable attack - there's even a hint of fresh fruit.  Firm, if a little odd on the palate.  Perhaps rather thinner and more insipid that you would initially think.  Good-ish.

1993 Chardonnay Barrel Fermented, South Australia, Wolf Blass, 12.5%
An unexciting pale gold.  Very full, rich nose, with good depth and some slight spicy overtones and hints of oak.  Nice fresh attack. Very full and rich on the palate with a hint of pepper.  Very rich, smoothing and filling.  Very Good.

1992 Riddoch Sauvignon Blanc, Coonawarra, Katnook Estate, 12.5% (Oddbins)
Quite a remarkably deep gold.  Lovely nose: very full, herby and slightly scented sauvignon nose.  Good legs.  Thin, fresh attack.  Good depth, but no so fresh on the finish.  Fair length.  Some rather harsh tones appear on the finish.  Good+.

1993 Preece Chardonnay, Mitchelton Wines, South Eastern Australia, 13% (Oddbins)
A pale gold with few discernable legs.  A fairly subdued, immediately obvious oaky Ozzie chardonnay nose.  Very nice fresh attack, which instantly fills out into something quite rich. some acidity appears on the finish. Very long.  Very Good.

1989 Navarra Reserva, Bodegas Julián Chivite, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A nice colour, still with some signs of youth.  Very good nose: very full fresh and clean with fruit and vanilla aromas.  On the palate, it's actually a bit standard, but that doesn't stand against it.  Very even and quite mouthfilling; smooth and clean.  The use of oak is spot on.  I have to say I rather like this.  Very Good.

NV Vin de Pays de Gironde Selected for Tesco, Cheval Quancard, 11.5% (Tesco)
A very thin appearance, not especially young-looking.  This has a very full nose that is not unattractive, though a bit twiggy maybe.  Nice smooth attack.  Some slightly unintegrated notes dominate the palate, with an overall of impression of harshness.  It has fair length, but there's nothing you would particularly want to linger in the mouth.  Very innocuous and very, very uninteresting.  OK.

NV Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauvignon, Navarra Denominacion de Origen, Tesco (probably Bodegas Agronavarra) , 12.5% (Tesco)
A very attractive bright, clear colour - very youthful, but not very purple.  Not a wonderfully attractive nose.  Nice crisp attack.  This has a good, full, young texture and is fairly mouthfilling.  There are some hard notes, but they disappear after.  OK.

1990 Costières de Nîmes, Barton & Guestier (Oddbins)
An attractive, even colour that's not too young.  Good nose - not too heavy, with decent fruit.  Good attack; quite fresh really and with nice fruit.  Develops a bit of a hard feel if left in the mouth for more than a moment and is a bit odd after.  While having a relatively full flavour, it's has an overall feeling of lightness, even of being a bit thin.  Goodish length though.  Good/Very Good.

NV Gamay, Havenscourt, California, 12.5% (Oddbins)
The Havenscourt range of wines were selected by Jason Korman for Oddbins, essentially from winery surpluses, allowing him to hit a UK price point (in the mid 1990s) of £3 to £6.  Korman supplied different ranges from similar sources to Fullers under the name "Thornhill" and to Sainsbury's under the name "South Bay".  So much for the history.
This has a young to very young purple colour, looking clear and crisp.  It has a full, slightly twiggy gamay nose.  Nice attack, but there's nothing particularly distinctive about it.  It rounds out well and is fuller on the palate: fresh, and fairly fruity, thouh with a hint of hardness on the finish.  Good length after, but overall it feels very light, and it wouldn't have surprised me if it were less than 12.5% abv.  A nice, drinkable wine.  Good+.

1992 Riddoch Sauvignon Blanc, Coonawarra, Katnook Estate, 12.5% (Oddbins)
Quite a rich golden colour.  Decent legs.  Very full nose: very fresh and green.  Nice fresh attack.  Full and smooth with a good depth of flavour.  Very Good Indeed.

1990 Ralph's Shiraz, Coonawarra, Penfolds, 14% (Oddbins)
A very deep, even purple, with very firm legs - an incredilby deep colour.  Matur-ish nose, with oak and spicy woody tones predominant.  Good smooth attack. Full and rich on the palate.  Nice.  Very Good.

1991 Riesling Trocken, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Weingut Grans-Fassian, 11% (Oddbins)
A clear pale gold.  Nice clean riesling nose with some depth.  Nice sharp clean attack.  full, fruity and refreshing with fair length.  An attractive wine.  Very Good.

NV Codru Cabernet-Merlot de Cricova, Cricova, Moldova, Vin de Calitate de la Rejiunia, Mont Royal Barois Kellerei GmbH, 12% (Sainsbury's)
A young cherry red, but not too young.  Good fruity, clean nose with plenty of blackcurrant fruit and hints of tannin.  Unclear attack.  There's not much fruit on the palate, but it's not bad.  Nice follow through with some tannins, some structure, some peppery spice.  Not brilliant, but perfectly ok.  OK/Good.

1990 Fondation 1725, AC Bordeaux, Barton & Guestier, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A fairly even colour: quite a vibrant, fruity mature red.  Fair legs.  Fairly standard nose; nothing out of the very ordinary, with some twigginess and some alcohol.  Very harsh attack.  This is just like essence of tannins.  Odd and harsh.  Probably a dodgy bottle, though I don't think it's off.  OK.

1992 Kéfrankos, Dry Red Quality Wine, Villány Region, Hungary, 10.5% (Asda)
A very young, rather thin, bright cherry red appearance.  Nice, very fresh fruity nose with a strong blackberry presence.  Rather muddy attack.  Very little on the palate: there's some tannin, but not a great deal else.  Slightly peppery after.  Avoidable.  OK.

1993 Deidesheimer Hofstück, Pfalz, QmP, St. Ursula Weinkellerei GmbH, 9.5% (Asda)
A very pale straw.  Deep, quite complex nose: herby, grassy, with a hint of spice.  Really quite mouthfilling.  Clean, full, rich, creamy smooth.  Clean and really quite long after.  Very Good.

1992 Dienheimer Tafelstein Scheurebe Kabinett, Weingut Brüder Dr. Becker, Rheinhessen, 10.5%
A very pale straw appearance.  Full nose, though a bit muddy.  Quite rich and almost a bit buttery.  Nice attack, well-rounded with a slight hint of acidity.  A touch sweet, and it could do with a little more acidity.  Fairly clean.  Bit of an odd finish, but it's not unpleasant, and is very long.  Good/Very Good.

NV Aveleda Vinho Verde Branco, Quinta da Aveleda, 8.5% (Plato Harrison)
There's a marked petillance in the glass and it's a very pale straw colour.  A pleasant nose with decent fruit, and also quite rich, almost buttery.  Nice attack.  Clean and fresh.  Maybe a bit insipid, but still quite mouthfilling.  Very creditable length.  Good+

NV Rocks Elderflower Wine, 9.5%
A pale gooseberry green.  Very, very fragrant nose, with lots of muscat scent.  Nice attack, with a very scented, fragrant flavour.  Rather confused on the palate and a bit hard, the harshness lingering onto the fair length.  Good

NV Blanc de Blancs, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault, medium white wine, mis en bouteille par Union de Grands Chais, Sète, France, 11% (Asda)
A clean pale gold with slight legs.  Strange nose - quite herby.  Clean attack, though it's slightly confused on the palate.  Fairly full and very much medium in sweetness terms, but there is some acidity to give it a bit of structure.  Not bad really.  OK/Good.

1984 Morgon Appellation Contrôlée, les producteurs réunis Cellier des Samsons, alcohol content not shown
This had thrown a very heavy sediment.  A very mature appearance; almost too brown.  Wonderfully full, fruity nose: very rich and strong, but still with some fresh fruit.  Very clean attack.  There are some quite peppery flavours on the palate; it's thin after and almost a bit dish-watery.  A bit odd.  Past it.

1992 Mendoza Blanc, Tesco International Winemaker Selection, Argentina, (Tesco)
A good deep straw.  Full, fruity nose: rich and rounded.  Very full, rich, creamy palate with very good length.  Good soft finish.  Good.

1991 Sauvignon Blanc, Willow Grove Vineyards, Sonoma County, California, 13.5% (Laithwaites)
Quite a full straw colour.  Very full nose with some typical sauvignon aromas of green fruit and grass.  Strong attack, with a real backbone.  There's quite a sharp tang in the middle of the mouth.  This is not a clean or fresh sauvignon blanc.  Full in the mouth with good to very good length.  Good.

1991 Agramont Navarra Den. de Origen, Bodegas Cenalsa, 11% (Laithwaites)
Good gold.  Little legs.  Strong nose with a hint of sour cream. Off.

1992 Semillon-Riesling Barossa Valley, Tesco International Wine Maker Selection - Jacques Lurton, produce of Australia, bottled by Jean Borel, St Hilaire, St Florent France, 12.5% (Tesco)
Quite a deep straw.  Very full, complex nose with the butter semillon to the fore and some riesling fragrance breaking through.  Nice clean attack.  Very mouthfilling.  Full, rich and smooth on the palate and with a full, long finish.  Slightly hard long after.  Very Good.

1989 Marques de Caceres White Rioja Crianza, 12% (Oddbins)
A fairly rich gold.  Full, fruity, okay nose.  Very mouthfilling.  Very Good.

1992 Domaine de la Huperie Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, 12% (Tesco)
A very pale golden colour.   Fresh, grassy nose.  Good clean, fresh attack.  Quite full flavoured.  Good length.  Not especially exciting.  Good.

1991 Moravenka Palava, Znojmo Winery, Czechoslovakia, 11.5% (Laithwaites)
A fairly rich gold.  Very full aromatic nose: spicy, with honeyed overtones.  Clean attack.  Full and fruity on the palate: smooth, rich and mouthfilling, with a nice spiciness.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1991 Tahbilk Marsanne, Victoria, Australia, 13% (Oddbins)
Quite a deep straw colour, and quite strong legs.  Very, very full, fruity nose: very buttery, raisiny and a bit nutty, with some floral undertones.  Firm attack.  Very full on the palate, but not really fruity.  A bit hard towards and on the finish.  Great length.  Very Good.

1967 Grand Vin de Chateau Latour, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac
Decanted at 18:20.  There was remarkably little sediment apparent and the cork was in good condition.  It has a good colour, shading from a very respectable, quite fresh-looking red to a mature pale orange.  Pleasant nose, with a balance of vanilla and fruit.  Perhaps not very much fruit, though.  Quite a clean, almost fresh attack.  It then fills out wonderfully and is quite spicy/peppery on the finish.  There are still traces of tannins.  Good, but not great length.
By 19:25 the nose was fuller and rounder with more vanilla.  Good clean attack, followed by some very solid structure.  Very mouthfilling.  Peppery finish, followed by some length.
The next day, at 13:40, the colour has deepened and it has a more even, mature port-like appearance.  There are some legs on the glass, though they aren't particularly striking.  The nose is rather fuller now, and more even.  Decent fruit on the attack.  This is now nice and mouthfilling with quite a bit of tannic structure.  The spiciness has lessened.  There's good, but not extraordinary length.
By 20:50 on the second day, it's showing a good, attractive, mature colour, though not an old colour.  The nose is ok, but is now receding, with just plenty of oaky vanilla and very little fruit indeed.  Nice clean attack: it's not noticeably fruity, but is well-rounded.  It has a decent tannic backbone, though feels a bit thin.
Very Good Indeed.

1991 Rhine Riesling Reserve, Danie de Wet, Wine of Origin Robertson, South Africa, 8% (Asda)
Medium straw appearance.  Fairly full nose: quite rich.  Smooth, fruity and clean on the palate, but also very raisiny.  A bit on the sweet side.  OK.

1992 Semillon-Riesling Barossa Valley, Tesco International Wine Maker - Jacques Lurton, produce of Australia, bottled by Jean Borel, St Hilaire, St Florent France, 12.5% (Tesco)
A pale gold.  Very full nose with hints of citrus.  Very full, mature flavours.  Great length.  Very smooth and well rounded.  This has quite a bit of character for a wine that's been bulk imported into Europe.

NV Moscato del Piemonte, partially fermented grape must, sweet semi-sparkling, produced & bottled by Salero SpA, Santo Stefano, Belbo, Italy, 5% (Victoria Wine)
There are some bubbles in the glass, but no stream of bubbles.  An aromatic muscat nose - not overpowering.  Very pétillant on the tongue and quite foamy.  Nice, clean, fresh fruit.  Very little length.  Good.

1992 Barossa Valley Estates Gewürztraminer Premium Selection, South Eastern Australia, 11% (Oddbins)
A very pale, clear straw.  Fairly full nose: quite pleasant - not notably spicy or sweet.  Clean, fresh attack.  There's some depth on the palate followed up by decent length.  Smooth and fairly well rounded.  A tad sweet perhaps.  There's a slight harshness on the finish.  Not the world's best gewurz, but it's quite adequate.  Good.

1989 Tenterden Cinque Port Classic, Medium, English Table Wine, Estate Grown & Bottled by Tenterden Vineyards, Kent, UK, 11% (Asda)
A very pale colour with only the slightest green tinge.  Some legs.  This has a reasonably full nose: quite rich, but a bit muddy, with a slight scent.  Is there a touch of oak on this too?  There's some acidity on the attack, which is followed up by some sweetness.  Quite mouthfilling.  Pleasant and easy.  Not bad.

1982 Chateau Saint Estève d'Uchaux, AC Côtes du Rhône, 13.8% (Fields, Sloane Avenue, c. 1984)
There was quite a bit of sediment in the bottle, so it was decanted.  In the glass it showed a fully mature brownish red with an ochre rim.  Very full nose - remarkably fruity with some oaky backbone.  There are also some hints of alcohol on the nose.  Very full and rounded on the palate, with some fruit, but this is a very mature wine.  Quite a bite after and great length.  Very Good+.

NV Jeunes Vignes Cuvée Personelle, Vin de Table Français, 12.5% (Marks & Spencer)
This was a chablis made from vines too young for the appellation.  A medium straw with a slight green tinge.  Good nose - young, fresh and very crisp.  Very mouthfilling.  Smooth and remarkably rich and buttery with a good acidic structure coming through at the end.  Very Good+

1990 Archioni Reserve Rhine Riesling, Mikulov Znojmo, Estate Bottled, Czechoslovakia, 12% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A rather deep straw colour.  No legs to speak of.  Very full nose: not markedly riesling, and a bit grassy with some sweetish scents behind. Very full on the palate, very smooth and very nicely rounded and quite mouthfilling.  Some length.  Good+ 

N.V. Sainsbury's Winemaker's Choice Vino da Tavola, Barone Ricasoli, Tuscany, Italy, 12.5% (Sainsbury)
An almost clear appearance, with the slightest green tinge.  Good, full, fruity nose with some buttery notes.  Probably chardonnay, possibly with some Sauvignon or similar.  Quite full on the attack - firm and rounded with a slight acidic backbone.  A bit odd on the finish.  OK.

1987  Fronton, AC Côtes du Frontonnais, Mis en bouteilles par Küntz père et fils viticulteurs à Castelanu d'Estretefonds, 12.5% (Asda)
Fairly mature appearance with some legs.  Decent nose, if undistinguished, with some fruit and some vanilla.  Good clean attack.  Moderately mouthfilling.  Smooth and moderately fruity in the mouth, with some structure.  Great length.  Quite Good.

1991 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California, Willow Grove Vineyards, 13.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A good, full, fairly scented, grassy nose.  Incredibly rich and butter on the attack, with hints of pepper.  This has a very solid backbone and probably need a bit of time to soften.  Very Good.

1991 Moravenka Moravian Müller-Thurgau, Estate Bottles, Znovin Salov Winery, Znojmo, Czechoslovakia, 11% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A remarkably rich straw colour for a Müller-Thurgau.  Full, very fruity, almost Riesling-like nose - rich, sweet and a bit scented.  Very rich and full and rounded on the attack.  Fresh and clean on the palate, but with really good depth and great length too. Quite refreshing too.  Very Good Indeed.

1990 Preece Chardonnay, Mitchelton Vintners, Goulburn Valley, Australia, 12.5% (Oddbins)
A good deep golden colour.  Rich, powerful nose, though not especially redolent of chardonnay.  Very smooth, creamy and rich on the palate, with a slight hint of peppery spice.  There's a nice line of acidity towards and on the finish.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1991 Cortese del Piemonte, vino da tavola bianco, Viticoltori dell'Acquese, Piedmont, Italy, 11% (Oddbins)
Pale green appearance.  Full, herby nose.  Smooth attack.  Quite mouthfilling, with a good depth of flavour.  Very Good.

1990 Archioni Reserve Rhine Riesling, Mikulov Znojmo, Estate Bottled, Saldorf Cellars, Novy Saldorf, Moravia, Czechoslovakia, 12% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
There's a marked bold tinge to the appearance.  Very, very, rich full nose, and remarkably very buttery too.  Nice clean attack.  Fresh follow-up.  Toasty finish.  Some acidity, though of the hard variety, showing after.  Very full and rich.  Very Good.

1990 Gewürztraminer, Barossa Valley, Tolley, 13.5% (Oddbins)
Quite a rich gold.  Nice fragrant gewurztraminer nose: not too scented; perhaps even a bit reticent.  Very full on the attack.  Lacks freshness on the palate.  Rather hard finish.  OK.

1988 Cuvée Réservé, AC Côtes du Rhône Villages, Cellier des Dauphins, 12.5% (Tesco?)
A fairly even, fairly mature colour with a slight hint of raspberry.  Full nose, but very undistinguished and with little fruit.  Strong legs.  good, very smooth attack.  Nice rounded.  There's enough body to satisfy and some tannins.  But overall, it's very unexciting.  Good.

1989 Dienheimer Tafelstein Scheurebe Kabinett, Rheinhessen, Weingut Brüder Dr. Becker, 9.5% (Safeway)
From organically cultivated vineyards.  Very pale colour, with just a slight green tinge.  Very full Cox's orange pippin nose.  Appley and very smooth on the palate, though there's the slightest hint of cloying.  Very good length.  There's a slight hardness at the top of the palate long after.  Very well rounded and decently balanced wine.  Very Good.

1990 St Ursula Organic Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, 9.5% (Safeway)
A clear, even pale straw.  The nose is okay, but nothing special.  Clean attack.  Quite full-flavoured.  Fair length.  Clean and fairly fresh.  A bit average overall.  OK/Good.

NV Tesco Argentinian White Wine, Mendoza, Argentina, bottled by Argrivin in France, 11.5% (Tesco)
A fairly deep straw colour.  Full nose - really quite fragrant.  Thinly textured on the palate, but very full-flavoured.  Very powerful, and almost raisiny.  I'd suspect there's a good proportion of viognier in this.  Good length.  Very different, and it seems a bit challenging for the absolute base level supermarket non-vintage white.  Very Good.

1989  Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Grans-Fassian, 7.5% AP Nr. 3 529 042 10 90 (Oddbins)
Clean and clear appearance with a  greenish yellow colour.  Very full nose; quite complex, minerally and a touch herbaceous, and showing some age.  Hmm, this has an interesting bunch of flavours - "bunch" to the point of feeling a bit mixed up and muddied.  Very good length, with an apple cordial/concentrate aftertaste that's really rather bizarre.  My impression is that it's serious stuff, but on balance it's not really doing it for me.  Very Good.

1991 Moscato d'Asti DOC, Viticoltori Dell'Acquese, 5.5% (Oddbins)
Quite a golden appearance.  Very full, fruity muscat nose - nice and fragrant.  Only a slight pétillance.  Very fresh.  Just a touch sweet.  Lovely and fresh.  Very Good Indeed.

1990 Douro Branco, Vinhos Sogrape (according to the cork), 12% (Asda)
Pale straw colour.  Quite full on the nose, feeling rather dry, but with an artificial household cleaner scent behind.  Decent attack.  Fairly full in the mouth.  Rather hard, with an odd finish.  Fine, but totally unexceptional.  Good.

1989 Dienheimer Paterhof Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken, Rheinhessen, Weingut Brüder Dr. Becker, 10%, AP Nr. 4 371018 13 90 (Oddbins)
Produced organically.
Pale gold, but definitely golden.  Very full nose with apples and gooseberries.  Very good, fruity attack.  Very smooth.  A bit sweeter than you'd expect for a halbtrocken, which does it no harm whatsoever.  Rich and very full on the palate, making a very enjoyable glass.  Very Good Indeed.

1989 Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, Hunter Valley, Rosemount Estate, 11.5%
A light straw colour, with some legs.  Full nose - rich and fruity, perhaps with a bit of spice.  Clean, crisp attack.  It has an acidic backbone, but is decently balanced.  rich and smooth, quite dry.  Good length.  Just slightly muddied.  Very Good.

1971 Château Moulin Pey-Labrie, AC Canon Fronsac, alcohol content and bottle size not shown
Very pure and clean looking. Decently mature, and with a markedly orange rim. Quite a thin appearance. Nice nose - well-structured and very mature, fairly spicy and complex. Very smooth. Full-flavoured, with good-great length. Unfortunately, this has just gone over the hill and is probably a bit past its best. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1990 La Cigüeña, DO Navarra, 11.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Pale but attractive deep straw.  Nice, slightly herby, garriquey nose with good, full fruit.  Nice attack - sharp and fresh.  Mouthfilling and very long.  Very Good.

1987  Fronton, AC Côtes du Frontonnais, Mis en bouteilles par Küntz père et fils viticulteurs à Castelanu d'Estretefonds, 12.5% (Asda)
Quite mature looking, going to thin strawberry juice at the edge.  Decent, but unexciting nose, and with something a bit odd behind.  Quite full on the palate, with a nice fruity attack.  good length, rather dry, but not over-tannic.  Slightly hard finish and after.  Very long and lingering, with unfamiliarity of the negrette coming across as a bit odd.  OK/Good.

N.V. Sangiovese dell'Emilia, Vino di Tavola, Wisco Crocetta del Montello, 10% (Tesco)
This has the appearance of strawberry juice with a rather young purple tinge and little in the way of legs.  Young, light and very pleasant on the nose.  Light and inoffensive on the palate.  Not much length, but smooth and soft.  Good+

Unknown Vintage (probably 1991 or 1990), Villany Cabernet Franc
This was an unlabelled bottle from Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club.
Very heavy appearance with plenty of youth.  Great thick, globular legs - really glass coating.  Sweet, winey nose - it's good, but difficult to pin down the exact scents.  Very mouthfilling.  Good attack, with the vigour of youth very evident.  Plenty of tannic structure, though it's not overdone.  Very long.  Very Good+

NV The Society's French Country Red, AC Corbières (The Wine Society), 11.5%
A bottle that was given to me.  Spicy nose with some acidity behind.  Young, thin purple appearance.  Good attack with plenty of flavour.  Smooth, simple and rather thin and innocuous.  Fair length I suppose.  This is ok, but I wouldn't want to be spending more than £2.50 (1991 prices) a bottle on it.  Develops a bit of a hard note long after.  OK.

1990 Los Becerros, DO Navarra, 12.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
18,000 bottles produced.  Quite a young, youthful purple.  The nose is a little twiggy, but there lots more of interest in there with some quite fruit, counterpointed by a fair amount of vanilla.  Fruity attack.  Good palate - the tannins aren't as dominant as the nose suggested they might be.  Good length.  Complex, but not heavy.  Very Good Indeed.

1989 Moravenka Moravian Rulander, Znojmo Winery, Czechoslovakia, 12% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Remarkable, very full golden appearance.  Very full nose - quite grassy, but clean and sharp, though unfortunately I'm serving it a bit too cold.  Very dry.  Great length.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1988 Estate Grown Muller-Gutenborner Dry, English Table Wine, Tenterden Vineyards, 11% (from the winery)
A very pale, thin-looking yellow.  Powerful nose - a bit odd and not overly inviting: there's musky grass in front of a greenish fruit background.  Ugh.  It's ok, not spoiled, but it's just not a good wine at all.  And that "Dry" is a bit of lie - it's not very dry at all.  Good length though.  Very unimpressive.  OK.

1990 Moravenka Moravian Palava, Produced & bottled by Znojmo Winery, Czechoslovakia, 11% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A nice, rich goldy straw - little in the way of legs, though it does look to have quite a firm texture.  Very full, forthright, fruity nose that's slightly scented.  Nice clean attack.  Very fresh on the palate.  Incredibly long.  Jolly good.  Very Good Indeed+

(Unknown vintage, probably early-mid '70s) Morgon, Louis Latour
Good cork.  Very little sediment.  Very clean and thin looking, but with an attractive orangey red colour.  Very good mature, full, fruity nose.  Nice smooth attack.  Fairly mouthfilling.  Very smooth.  Very long.  Very pleasant after.  Very nice indeed.  Who says Beaujolais doesn't age?  Very Good Indeed.

1987 Drayton's Estate Bottled Chardonnay Semillon, Lower Hunter Valley, Australia, 11%
Nice golden colour.  Good, very full nose: fruity with a buttery richness.  A bit odd on the palate: rather thin attack, a touch off dry.  Very long, but rather unpleasant finish with a hint of bad eggs.  All very smooth though.  OK.

1988 Tenterden Rosé, Fine English Table Wine, Estate Grown & bottled at Tenterden Vineyards, Spots Farm, Tenterden, Kent, 11% (direct from the producers)
Pale, thin salmon pink.  Nice, fully, fruity nose.  Very smooth, nice, fruity attack.  Good balance.  Good length.  Nice after.  Very Good.

1986 Château Menate, AC Sauternes, 375ml, alcohol content not shown (?Tesco/Sainsbury's?)
Pale gold colour.  Full nose with some interest.  Not bad.  Nothing special.  Not too sweet.  Slightly harsh after.  Good.

1987 Balgownie Premier Cuvée, South Eastern Australian Shiraz Cabernet Series One, 12% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very nice, even ruby colour, though it looks a bit thin.  Very nice, complex nose - very peppery, but with a distinct blackcurrant background.  Smooth and deep.  This has a bit of something about it.  Distinctive, powerful flavours; full and elegant.  Very Good Indeed.

1984 Juliénas, Georges Duboeuf, alcohol content not shown (Whynot Wine Warehouse)
A nice, even orangey ruby, looking a bit thin and matured.   Mature nose: rich and complex, but not much fruit left.  Nice, pleasant and smooth attack.  Very mouthfilling.  Great length.  Past its best, but interesting to try. Very Good.

1987 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Les Arnevels, Jerome Quiot, 13% (Tesco?)
An attractive pale gold.  solid legs.  Attractive nose: quite complex and nicely rounded, with a hint of fresh appley fruit.  Nice and mouthfilling.  Good, sharp, focussed attack.  Full-bodied, with a nice weighty richness.  Very long, but with a touch of hardness after.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1987 Grain Sauvage Blanc de Blancs, AC Jurançon Sec, Cave des Producteurs de Jurançon, 12.5%, 700ml (Tesco?)
A pale, even, lemon yellow colour.  Good legs.  Nice fruity nose with real depth: there's grass, fruit and a bit of spice.  Nice attack, but then really rather hard on the palate, and very sulphorous on the finish.  Tastes of sulphur after.  Not especially pleasant.  Poor.

1985 Eastwood Cabernet Sauvignon, Eden Valley, Australia, 12.8% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A good mature ruby colour.  Very strong, sticky legs.  Very fully nose: oaky, twiggy, with lots of vanilla.  Sharp and hard on the attack.  A little bitter and astringent.  A bit odd initially, but it did improve as it was exposed to air.  Good.  81/100

1987 Vin de Pays des Côteaux de la Cité de Carcassonne, mis en bouteilles par les Producteurs Réunis, 11% (Tesco)
A blend of grenache, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.  Rather think looking: a pale strawberry red.  Very nice nose: really fruity with lots of berry fruit and a hint of blackcurrants.  Ok.  A bit acid.  Rather sulphurous.  A bit hard.  But it's nice and fruity, with medium length.  Good.  82/100

1985 Brown Brothers Victoria Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, 13%
A deep, but rather young colour.  Straightforward cabernet nose, though without too much blackcurrant.  Rather sharp.  Needed time to breathe, but was fine given that time.  Good.  84/100

1986 Cave de Saint-Exupéry Vin de Pays de Côtes de Pérignan (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very deep and even red with just a touch of purple.  Good legs.  Strong nose: very powerful and quite herbaceous.  Nice attack.  Fairly mouthfilling.  Very good length.  Nicely balanced with medium tanins.  Good+. 86/100

1986 Marcillac VDQS, Vin de Rouergue, La Cave des vignerons du Vallon Valady (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Very deep colour, with a rather young purple appearance.  Strong legs.  Heavy fruit nose.  Good clean attack.  Nice and rounded on the palate.  A bit hot.  Very long.  Good/Very Good.

1985er Grauer Burgunder Kabinett, Bereich Südliche Weinstrasse, Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, Erzeugerabfüllung Gebiets-Winzergenossenschaft Deutsches Weintor, 10.5%, AP Nr 5 042 092 187 88 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Pale gold.  Very full, very fruity nose: rather scented.  Good, full-flavoured attack.  Very well rounded.  A bit thin on the finish, but there's good length.  Bit of acidity and a bit of sulphur evident.  Quite nice.  Very Good(+)

1985 Kiedricher Sandgrub Riesling Kabinett, Schloss Groenestyn, Rheingau, 375ml, AP Nr. 34016 012 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Very pale, with a greenish tinge.  Complex nose: starts very nice, but becomes almost overwhelmingly complex.  Nice attack, and fairly complex on the palate, but my overall impression is that it's a bit thin. Very short on the finish.  Very Good.

1985 Erbacher Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Schloss Reinhartshausen, Rheingau, 375ml, alcohol content not shown, AP Nr. 32 071 028 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A nice bright, golden appearance.  I'm suffering from hayfever, so can't report on the nose much, though it's clear there's some fruit there.  Nice, round, smooth and clean on the palate with lots of fruit.  Very long.  Very Good Indeed.

1985 Johannisberger Mittelhölle Riesling Spätlese, G.H. v. Mumm, Rheingau, 375ml, AP Nr. 26 032 021 86, alcohol content not shown (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A crystal clear pale gold.  Very full nose: fruity and complex with good minerality.  Good, clean fruity attack.  Rather mouthfilling and well rounded.  Off-dry, but not very sweet.  Nice after, with good length.  Very Good Indeed.

1982 Château St. Estève d'Uchaux, Tradition, AC Côtes du Rhône, 13.8% (Fields)
A nice even mature colour - very deep.  Strong nose - well balanced and mature with hints of vanilla.  Peppery attack.  Good, smooth and well-rounded on the palate.  Quite serious stuff.  Medium tannins. Great length.  Very Good Indeed.

1986 Marquis d'Effiat, AC Touraine, 11.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Quite a mature colour, almost orangey strawberry.  Very powerful, forceful nose; with loads of fruit.  Very concentrated nose.  Nice smooth attack.  This has a good round fruitiness.  Not heavy bodied, but with just enough tannic structure to give it something noticeable.  Pleasant palate, but a touch hard at the finish.  Very Good.

NV? Hochheim, Deinhard Heritage Selection, Deinhard & Co, 11.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Rather pale, but with an appealing gold tinge.  Pronounced legs.  Complex riesling nose - very full, quite sweet, with loads of fruit.  Nice attack.  Very mouthfilling.  Not bone dry, but nowhere near even medium sweet.  Very smooth and rounded.  Good fruit, but this is a very nicely balanced wine with great length.

1987 Château de Calissanne Cuvée Tradition, AC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, 12% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A fairly even colour, but some maturing tones along the hint of youthful purple.  Tolerable nose - very twiggy with some acidity.  Thin and unexciting on the palate. Very good length, but a bit rough on the finish.  Good.

1987 Montravel "La Chapelle", AC Montravel Sec, Semillon, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A rather pale straw yellow.  Great nose - really fruity.  Good length.  Nice fruity attack.  Maybe a bit harsh at the end?  Good/Very Good.

1985er Grauer Burgunder Kabinett, Bereich Südliche Weinstrasse, Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, Erzeugerabfüllung Gebiets-Winzergenossenschaft Deutsches Weintor, 10.5%, AP Nr 5 042 092 187 88 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
This has a nice, pale goldishness.  Nice nose: fruity and spicy.  Good, fruity, mouthfilling.  Great length.  Very smooth.  Excellent.

1987 Montravel "La Chapelle", AC Montravel Sec, Semillon, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Pale straw.  Good full nose.  Good fruit.  Smooth, round and mouthfilling and a touch buttery.  Good length.  Nice balance.  Very Good Indeed.

1985 Rüdesheimer Bischofsberg Riesling Kabinett, G.H. von Mumm, 375ml, no alcohol content shown, AP Nr. 26 032 022 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Nice colour - quite golden.  There's plenty of fruit on the nose, but some lovely freshness too.  Very smooth, mouthfilling, though a bit short on the finish.  Nicely balanced with good character.  Very Good Indeed.

1987 Montravel "La Chapelle", AC Montravel Sec, Semillon, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Consistent with other bottles.  Perhaps a bit acidic.  Very Good.

NV Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut, Champagne, 375ml, alcohol content not shown (Selfridges)
Good bubbles; some very fine, others medium sized.  Goldish-straw colour.  Good nose; nice fruit.  Good clean taste; quite distinctive.  Good length.  Very Good.

1985 Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese, Verwaltung der Staatsweingüter, 375ml, AP Nr. 33 050 028 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Pale, but marked yellow tinge.  Very nice, rich, fruity nose.  Very smooth, mouthfilling, well-rounded.  Good length.  Rather nice.

1966 Château Le Breuil, AC Médoc, Selected and bottled by Grants of St. James's Ltd
Good tight-fitting cork that broke during extraction.  Gave off a gorgeous blackberry smell on decanting.  It has a good rich, ruby colour.  Nice and clear.  Looks properly matured, with just a hint of bricking.  On the nose there are strong blackcurrants, but also some citrus freshness and some vanilla.  Good attack; if rather thin.  There are fullish tannins on the palate; lacks character in a way.  Fair length.  After ten minutes, the flavour is beginning to develop.  After 12 hours, the nose is still redolent of blackcurrants, but there's also a touch of treacle now.  Not a great deal of improvement on the palate.

1985 Domaine de l'abbaye de Valfernière, AC Côteaux du Languedoc La Clape, Mûri en fûts de chêne, mis en bouteilles au Domaine par Jean Demolombe, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
The colour suggests it's just past its youth, with only a vague hint of purple and rounding off well.  Fairly even, woody nose.  Quite well-rounded.  Good character.  Quite mouthfilling.  Medium tannin.  Not bad.

NV Fortnum & Mason Champagne Reserve Extra Dry, 375ml, alcohol content not shown
A mid golden appearance.  There's a good flow of fairly small, even bubbles.  Rich nose, with an nondescript aroma of chardonnay.  Very clean with good flavour.  Very marked length, though it didn't feel particularly mouthfilling.  Pleasantly dry, but not so much so that you need a drink.  Very clean, crisp finish.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1986 Rosé de Saignée Cave d'Embres et Castelmaure, AC Corbières, Société Cooperative Castelmaure, Alcohol content not shown (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Salmon pink with a hint of orange: quite a good colour really.  Very clean nose: warm with good berry fruit.  Clean palate with refreshing acidity and decent length.  But a bit nondescript really.  Good+

1985er Grauer Burgunder Kabinett, Bereich Südliche Weinstrasse, Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, Erzeugerabfüllung Gebiets-Winzergenossenschaft Deutsches Weintor, 10.5%, AP Nr 5 042 092 187 88 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
An extremely pale appearance, with just the merest hint of golden yellow.  No legs.  Nice, full nose with a hint of melon.  Quite thin on the palate with a remarkably high level of acidity for pinot gris.  More medium dry than dry.  Good with patés.  Good/Very Good.

1985 Brown Brothers Late Harvest Orange Muscat and Flora, 375ml, 8.5% (Selfridges)
Mid straw-gold.  Nice nose: there really does seem to be muscat with a distinct hint of orange flowers.  Very well balanced.  Not at all over-sweet.  There's a nice citrussy tange to counteract some of the sweetness, together with a lovely touch of acidity.  Very Good Indeed.

1985 Domaine de l'abbaye de Valfernière, AC Côteaux du Languedoc La Clape, Mûri en fûts de chêne, mis en bouteilles au Domaine par Jean Demolombe, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A fairly even deep, not young purple: looks to have some maturity to it.  Fairly flattish nose - not particularly fruity - more grassy with a hint of tobacco.  Quite heavy tannins on the palate.  This is a serious, well-made wine with good flavours and great balance.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1985 Fitou Cuvée exceptionelle, Cave des Producteurs Tuchan, no alcohol content shown (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
An even colour, looking fairly mature.  Pretty nondescript on the nose, and a bit musty and lacking in fruit  Thin, weedy with the tannins being the only notably feature.  Corked.

1985 Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC, Allegrini, 12.5% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Very thin looking: a very even red colour, almost a strawberry red.  Rather nice nose, full of fruit, but perhaps with a slight hint of musty tannin.  But I don't think there's anything wrong with this.  A bit light on the attack, but there's some very nice, almost sweet-ish fruit.  Very slight tannins.  Quite mouthfilling.  Very drinkable.  Very Good.

1987 Rosemount Estate Chardonnay, Hunter Valley, Australia, 12.5% (Tesco)
Very pale appearance, with a greenish tinge fading to clear at the edge.  Good, strong, buttery nose.  Very distinctive.  Good length.  But there seems to be a slight pétillance.  There's also rather too much oak, though it does manage to retain a sharp freshness too.  Good.

1985 Domaine de Saint-Julien, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault, no alcohol shown (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A good, fairly even colour, looking not too young, but with a shade of youth still showing through.  good fruity nose, but not just blackcurrants (there's not much blackcurrant in fact).  Pleasant, light and lively on the palate.  Good length.  Good/Very Good.

1985 Domaine de l'abbaye de Valfernière, La Clape, AC Côteaux du Languedoc, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very rich, almost ruby colour.  Quite mild on the nose, with nice fruit, evenly balanced.  Somewhat unusual.  Rather heavy tannins.  Very mouthfilling and with great length.  Rather good.  Very Good(+)

1986 Chablis Cuvée René Defert, 375ml (Fortnum & Mason)
A pale apple-green colour.  Full nose with a hint of oak.  Certainly not one of the more steely chablis, this has a nice richness in the mouth.  Quite pleasant.  Good length, with quite a bit of fruit lingering on the aftertaste.  Very Good.

1985 Château du Grand Caumont, Cuvée Louis Rigal, AC Corbières (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A nice, rather rich velvety deep purple, with only a hint of youth.  Not very impressive on the nose: rather dull, with little hint of any fruit or any distinctive features.  Very well rounded on the palate with a substantial tannic structure.  Somewhat unusual.  Rather mouthfilling, and I suspect this will improve with age.  Good+

1985 Rüdesheimer Bischofsberg Riesling Kabinett, G.H. v. Mumm, Rheingau, 375ml, no alcohol content shown, AP Nr. 26 032 022 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Good colour.  Nice riesling nose.  Very clean on the palate, with just a hint of sweetness.  Very nice.  Very Good Indeed.

1985 Brown Brothers Semillon, Victoria, Australia, 12.5% (Selfridges)
A pale golden straw appearance.  Good, clean fruity nose.  Rather dry on the palate, with a lot of acidity.  Very long.  Not one of Brown Bros better efforts.  Good.

1986 Marcillac VDQS, Vin de Rouergue, La Cave des vignerons du Vallon Valady (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
This looks youthful and vigorous, yet also rather attractive.  There are tons of fruit on the nose - with a hint of blackcurrants in there too.  Nice and well-rounded on the palate.  Quite full tannins, which make it very mouthfilling.  Good finish.  Very Good.

1987 Montravel La Chapelle Semillon, AC Montravel Sec, Cave de St. Vivien et Bonneville, Dordogne, 11.7% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Pale colour, with a greenish tinge.  Really heavy, fruity nose with lots of apples.  There also seems to be a very distinct golden-delicious apple flavour to it too.  Maybe a hint of banana too.  Lovely and refreshing, if not exactly screaming Semillon at you.  Very Good.

1986 Marcillac VDQS, Vin de Rouergue, La Cave des vignerons du Vallon Valady (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very even young purple.  Thin legs.  Good fruity nose.  A good, well-rounded drinking wine.  Very Good.

1986 Dry Muscat Blanc, Brown Brothers, Victoria, Australia, 12% (Selfridges)
A mid straw yellow colour.  Very distinctive, flowery mucat nose - very flowery and scented.  Really mouthfilling and with good length.  Just a bit off dry.  Very Good Indeed.

1986 Rosé de Saignée, Société Cave Vinicole Castelmaure, AC Corbières (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A pale salmon-pink - almost uncannily pink.  Very good, fruity nose with a hint of orange.  Thinnish on the palate, though quite mouthfilling.  Not especially dry, and there's a hint of sulphur floating around.  Not as clean and fresh as it could be.  Decent length.  Not bad.  Good summer weather garden wine.  But not worth going out of one's way for.  Good.

1986 Blanc de noir, Domaine de l'abbaye de Valfernière, Vin de Pays des Côteaux de Narbonne, Vin de Table, 12% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A very pale, steely straw colour.  Very unpleasant and definitely off.

1985 Schloss Groenesteyn Kiedricher Sandgrub Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau, Reichsfreiherr von Ritter zu Groenesteyn, Alcohol content not shown, AP Nr. 34016 012 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A pale yellow/sand colour.  Nice nose.  Very good.

1986 Chablis Cuvée René Defert, 375ml (Fortnum & Mason)
There's a pale greenish tinge to the straw appearance.  Nice full nose with a curious hint of apples.  Decent body with some richness, but also rather a lot of acid.  Not particularly good.  OK.

1982 Rosso Conero DOC, Azienda Agricola Dott. Mario Marchetti, 13% (Tesco)
A good, even ruby colour: quite mature looking really, with an orangey tinge at the edge of the glass.  Quite peppery on the nose, which feels very rounded.  On the palate this is overwhelmingly and savagely tannic.  Not really very nice.  Perhaps a bit off?  I'm not sure though, and it does improve slightly as it's open.  OK.

1986 Estate Selection Late Picked Muscat Blanc, Milawa Estate, Brown Brothers, Australia, 10% (Selfridges)
A pale apple-greenish yellow.  Good muscat nose.  Very clean.  This is actually a very nicely made little muscat.  Very clean, and not at all too sweet.  Very Good+.

NV, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, 700ml, 12% (Tesco)
A young purple.  Good firm legs.  Good fruity nose, with a slight hint of currants.  Remarkably smooth and deep with fair length.  Not bad at all.  Very Good.

1982 Bricco Manzoni, Podere Rocche dei Manzoni, Vino da Tavola, 14%
This is a blend of nebbiolo and barbera.  Following the instructions on the bottle, I decanted this.  It gave off a fabulous, full, rich blackcurranty bouquet during decanting.  It has a good, even, ripe colour and heavy legs.  The nose is incredibly rich and fruity.  On the palate, it's really mouthfilling.  There's quite a lot of tannin, and also a faint trace of acidity.  This is a nice, well-rounded, powerful wine.  Probably just about entering its drinking window.  Worked superbly with food (what food, unfortunately, isn't recorded!).  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.

1985 Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC, Allegrini, 12.5%, (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A pale strawberry colour, with just a touch of youthful purple at the centre.  Thin legs.  Really good, fruity nose.  Smooth, fairly easy drinking.  Very long on the finish, but still feels a bit thin.  Good/Very Good.

1985 Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spätlese, Verwaltung der Staatsweingüter, 375ml, AP Nr. 33 050 028 86 (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
A nice golden straw colour.  Perfumed, if rather thin on the nose.  Nice and smooth with good fruit.  Not very long.  A good afternoon wine.   Very Good+

1984 Brown Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon Koombahla, 12% (Selfridges)
A very good even colour with no trace of youth remaining.  Nice nose, though it's not especially distinctive; some blackcurrant scents develops, and overall it's slightly scented.  Very well-balanced.  Very smooth  Medium to low tannins provide soft balance to a long, rather delicate, fruity flavour.  Very Good Indeed.

1985 Domaine de Saint-Julien Cabernet Sauvignon, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
Purplish, but on the whole not too young looking.  Good blackcurrant and bilberry nose: very deep.  Very thin attack, with a slight trace of tannin.  Goodish flavour, but very short.  Really comes into its own with food.
The next day, this had a good full flavour, having been open some time.  Well balanced with just enough structure to make you take the wine seriously, though it remains nice and fruity too.  Very Good+.

1967 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Cèdres, Paul Jaboulet Aîné, alcohol content not shown
No proper note on this, as it was drunk with a meal at Harvey's, Marco Pierre White's first restaurant, in Wandsworth.  The note just says that it was at the peak of its maturity.

1985 Mildara Coonawarra C.S. Malbec, 12.3% (Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club)
55% cabernet, 35% shiraz, 10% malbec.
This has an even, but quite youthful, purplish red colour.  Initially there are strong blackcurrants on the nose, though some secondary twiggy-spiciness comes along later.  Very forward on the palate.  Well-balanced, with light tannins.  Though the tannins develop with exposure to air.  Pretty serious stuff. Very Good+

NV Cahors, Produced and bottled par CCO pour la Vinicole du Lot Parnac, 700ml, 12% (Tesco)
A fairly even young, bright clear red with just a hint of youthful purple.  The nose is markedly unexceptional, with a hint of blackcurrants and a hint of alcohol.  Pleasant and youthful on the palate.  A bit thin maybe.  But it has some character, and although it's non-vintage, may repay being kept a while.  Significant tannins.  Very Good.

1986 Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Valfieri, imbott. nelle Cantine di Costigliole, 12% (Tesco)
A thin, brownish red.  Very powerful, rich nose with heavy blackcurrant fruit.  Light and pleasant on the palate with medium to full tannins.  Quite lively.  Good/Very Good.

1982 Château Fontaine Royale, AC Listrac-Medoc, alcohol content not shown (Tesco)
The colour varies across the width of the glass from a reddish ochre garnet to strawberry red to a tinge of mauve.  The nose is powerful and fruit with berry fruits and blackcurrants.  Lots of tannins.  A bit rough maybe.  Good Length.  Good.

1986 Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC, Medium Dry Rosé Wine Selected for Tesco, Cantina Sociale di Soave, 700ml, 11.5% (Tesco)
An extremely pale orange colour.  The nose is very rich, fruity and slightly scented - there's a definite hint of orange flower water.  Unfortunately the palate doesn't live up to the nose in the slightest and it's just weak and rather acidic.  Innocuous.  OK.

1986 Gran Feudo Rosé, D.O. Navarra, Bodegas Julián Chivite, 700ml, 12% (Tesco)
A pale watermelon red.  Remarkably rich, fruity nose, also with citrus fruits and a touch of cattiness.  Not very well balanced on the palate.  Fair to good length.  Some middlin tannins.  A bit peppery and has a slight prickle from some acidity, which keeps it really rather dry.  Catches the back of the throat a bit.  Probably best served very cold.  Acceptable.

1981 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Amarone DOC, Cantine Sociale di Soave, 14% (Tesco)
Dating back to a time before the Italian authorities decided that having Recioto Amabile and Recioto Amarone was too complicated.  A good colour, showing some signs of decent age.  Nice fruity nose with good berry fruits, though there's a hint of mustiness.  Very thin and unremarkable on the palate, particularly thin for an Amarone.  High tannins.  Good length.  Good.

1982 AC Vosne-Romanée, Grand Vin de Bourgogne, mis en bouteille par Moillard, alcohol content not shown (Tesco)
A rather thin colour: very pale and rather orangey, looking a bit prematurely aged.  The nose, however, is very rich and penetrating, with notably sweet strawberry fruit.  Gentle fruit and spice on the palate, but all in all a bit thin and with no great distinction.  Very tannic.  OK/Good.

NV Vin de Pays de l'Aude Selected for Tesco, 10.5%, 700ml (Tesco - for the princely sum of £1.89!)
A good, rich, ruby colour that doesn't look too young.  Good legs.  Super, rich, fruity nose with some nice pepperiness.  Soft on the palate with gentle tannins and good fruit, plus a touch of pepper on the tongue.  Good+

1986 Tesco Cabernet de Saumur Rosé, 12%, 700ml (Tesco)
A rosé from the cabernet franc grape.  Extremely pale, orangey pink appearance  Very fruity on the nose with orange, plums and blackcurrants.  Very clean taste.  A touch odd, but not unpleasant.  OK/Good.

NV Tesco Syrah Vin de Table Français, medium dry red wine, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Produced & bottled by Mathieu Vignon, 700ml, 11.5% (Tesco)
A youngish purple, just starting to mature.  Very strong, rich, fruity nose, that's slightly spicy and has some stewed raspberries too.  Very smooth, with a good tannic structure and decent fruit and peppery spice.  Good.

NV Casal Garcia Vinho Verde  (Harrods)
A pronounced visible pétillance in the glass.  Extremely pale with a slight greenish-goldish tinge.  Good fruit, but with some raw green leaves too, giving it a dry air.  Very dry on the palate, where there's the same pronounced pétillance.  A bit acidic, and seems to be suffering a bit from excess sulphur.

1983 Cuvée des Pompadours, AC Corbières, S.C.V. Castelmaure (ex cave)
A good ruby colour with orange tinges around the edges.  This has a good fruity nose; slightly spicy.  This has been aged in oak and it shows with lots of tannins on the palate.  Quite a spicy flavour.  This is a much better bottle than the first of the two I bought direct from the cooperative in Embres & Castelmaure.  Very smooth, and really opening up in the glass.  Very Good Indeed.

1983 Brouilly, Georges Duboeuf (Whynot Wine Warehouse)
A purplish ruby centre fading to almost orange at the edge of the glass.  Good fruit, but it's a bit over the hill.

1985 Château La Forêt St. Hilaire, AC Bordeaux (Tesco)
I pulled this one as I noticed the cork was leaking slightly.  A youngish ruby colour with very little gradation.  Cabernet blackcurrants on the nose, but a bit woody and musty, not boding well for the wine's health.  On the palate, it seemed distinctly unhealthy.  Probably corked.

1982 Logis de la Giraudière, rouge de cépage cabernet, AC Anjou (Whynot Wine Warehouse)
A good ripe, almost old ruby tinged with plum colour, though without any great depth.  Very intense blackcurrant and wet twiggy nose, with more than a hint of mustiness.  This is going to be corked, I think.  Thin and weedy on the palate with lots of acidity.  With exposure to air, this showed itself definitely to be corked.

1983 Beaujolais Villages, producer unknown, though it was in an unusual dumbbell shaped 50cl bottle (Whynot Wine Warehouse)
Very good, super fruit on the nose and plate.  Very pleasant and very drinkable.  Very Good+

1983 Cuvée Latour Bourgogne Blanc, Maison Louis Latour (Whynot Wine Warehouse)
This has a very pale colour, with the greenish tinge of the flesh of an underripe golden delicious.  Extremely good, fruity nose.  Nice hint of freshness on the palate to go with a general feeling of being very well rounded.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.

1985 Brolio Rosé, Barone Ricasoli, Vino da tavola di Toscana, 11.5% (Delmonico)
An orangey rosé colour.  Good fruit on the nose; very fresh and zingy.  Very clean palate though not exactly overladen with fruit.  Good.

NV Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, Vin de Table, Selected for Tesco, les Chais St. Gallant, 12%, 700ml (Tesco)
A young, ruby red colour with a deeper purple at the centre.  Rich, fruity, slightly spicy nose with some immaturity evident.  Feels slightly sulphurous on the palate.  Low tannin.  Plain and very unexceptional.

NV Listel Gris, Gris de Gris, Vin de Pays des Sables du Golfe du Lion, les domaines C.S.M. à Villeroy propriétaire récoltant, 11.5% (Delmonico)
A very pale, watery salmon pink.  Fruity, acidic nose.  Dry and slightly acidic on the palate with no length whatsoever.  A bit odd.  Slightly rough at the back of the palate and rather hard. 
After a day open, this was smoother, but still absolutely nothing remarkable.  Quite a subtle taste: slightly peppery, vaguely reminiscent of a watered down Côtes du Rhône.  Slightly odd and not worthy of interest.

1985 Cuvée des Campagnons Rosé, AC Côtes du Rhône, La Cave des Vignerons de Rasteau (Whynot Wine Warehouse)
A good strawberry red colour with rich, long-lasting legs.  Very fruity and quite rich on the nose with strawberries and passion fruit.  On the palate, initially there is some fruit, but there's no really pronounced flavours.  Interesting flavour though.  A bit of acidity keeps it nice and fresh, and this would be good summer drinking on its own, though it also has enough character to handle most lighter foods.

NV Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Branco, 9%, 700ml (Harrods)
This is a good clean vinho verde, which actually does have a greenish colour (though that's nothing to do with the name of course!)  There's a pronounced pétillance and acidity. Good.

NV Blanc de Blancs, Spécial Fruits de Mer, Vin de Table de France, bottled by Louis Barrault à St-Hilaire-St-Florent (Maine & Loire), 11% (La Réserve)
A very pale colour, with a slight greenish tinge, like the colour of the flesh of a green apple.  A fairly rich nose, but it's difficult to pin it down - possibly apples?  A light, medium, dry-ish palate.  Some fruit, put perhaps after its best (it was bought in 1984).

1986 Kapellener Kloster Liebfrauenberg Dornfelder Rotwein Trocken, Qualitätswein, Erzeugerabfüllung, Gebiets-Winzergenossenschaft Deutsches Weintor e.G., Ilbesheim, Südl. Weinstrasse, Rheinpfalz, AP Nr. 5 042 092 016 87, 12% (Tesco)
The colour is a reddish purple with an immature purple edge and there's an apparent slight sparkle in the glass.  A fruity bouquet, yet feels a bit immature. On the palate there's a well-balanced/innocuous level of sweetness and medium tannins.  There's a slight trace of pétillance right at the front of the tongue.  Slightly odd, but not unpleasant after.  This may become interesting after a couple of years, but I can't at the moment think it's likely to become anything more than average.  Good.

1985 Tenterden Rosé, Tenterden Vineyards, Spots Farm, Tenterden, Kent (bought at the winery)
A pale orangey-pink with good clarity. Light and fruity on the nose - slightly orangey. There's a slight prickle on the tongue from the acidity, and maybe from a very slight petillance. This has a good light taste, is slightly sweet, and all in all is a good summer rosé. After being open a day, what was left in the bottle showed little change - it had just lost a bit of its freshness on the palate. Good.


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Last updated: 16 July 2007