Recent birthday celebrations with a friend saw a wide ranging selection of bottles opened –

1990 Bollinger Champagne R.D. Extra Brut (Magnum – Disgorged 5th March 2002):
Pastry, apples, toast and lemony nose. Good intensity and full mouthfeel to the palate, but fades away a little bit sooner than expected. Balanced but quite simple, lacking complexity. Very, very good rather than great.

1990 Krug Champagne Brut:
Cheesy, ginger, brioche and nutty nose. Palate is very powerful, but it is classy, balanced power so that it is part of the whole structure rather than dominating. Excellent length. The funky characters on the nose were a little bit odd, but I still thought this excellent.

2005 Domaine des Souterrains Sauvignon Blanc Jacky Goumin:
Pineapple lollies, passionfruit, apricot and some floral aromas. Palate is fresh but unremarkable and uninteresting to me.

1998 Gyorgykovacs Imre Somlo Olaszrizling:
Aromas of smoke, citrus, slate, honey and petrol. There is almost a somehow floral lift to the palate. Very good length and lots of interesting things going on here. Towards its peak I though. Was great to try this and the next wine as I have read about this producer a number of times but have not been able to experience for myself.

2003 Gyorgykovacs Imre Somlo Furmint:
Honey, spice and lemon rind aromas. The palate shows off spicy characteristics as well with richness and power but also some restraint. Very good now and has the potential to get better in the next 5-7 years.

2002 Max Ferd Richter Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese:
Slate, floral and some honey character starting to develop. Superb balance to the palate, not very complex yet but I could drink this all day, every day. So easy to like.

2001 Savaterre Chardonnay:
Butterscotch (butter menthols), nutty and honeyed. Smelling and tasting unexpectedly developed. Palate is on the edge of falling over, just holding on. I had a lovely bottle of this a year and a half prior, hopefully this was just a bad bottle and it hasn’t taken such a dramatic downward turn.

2002 Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Grande Montagne:
Banana, matchstick, lemon and some cheesy characters. Clean palate with a good core of acid. Medium body and length. Very nice.

2002 Domaine Rémi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Le Poruzot-Dessus:
Very tight nose, slate, citrus and minerally characters. Very classy palate with a well maintained balance between richness and raciness. Good length. A good wine.

1999 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus:
Musk, raspberry, a bit of smoke and stalk. Medium bodied, youthful and tight -with the tannins standing out and lacking some texture and depth right now.

2000 Faiveley Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées:
An appealing deeply seated nose on this wine of chocolate, red berries, smoked meats and some florals undertones. The palate is bold, with tannins standing out initially but they are tamed by food. Good texture and lovely depth to this wine.

1996 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques:
Such amazing lifted perfume on the nose along with earth, cherry and some blood. So pure, classy, balanced and long on the palate. Has taken on some palate complexity and will be closing in on its peak over the next 5 years.

1960 Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet:
Leather, spice, violets and tobacco form the nose. Structurally this is sound on the palate, with components having resolved and integrated well and there still being enough fruit to hold it up. In great condition and very good to drink.

1964 Mildara Cabernet Shiraz Bin 33:
An amazing nose, with honeycomb dominating as well as violets, chocolate and some earth in the background. Sweet fruit across the good length of the palate. Deep and interesting, another delicious wine from this source.

1982 Chateau Pavie (St Emillion):
Wispy smoke, tobacco, blackcurrant, cedar and some briary characters. This bottle was right at its peak for my taste, it is balanced with soft but long intensity of flavour. This was great, although I would be drinking any remaining bottles over the next couple of years.

1988 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle:
Blackberry, cherry and earthy aromas. Acid presents itself on the palate and leaves a slightly tart sensation. Medium length. Not bad, better than our last bottle of this (which was corked!) but looking a bit tired.

1998 Prunotto Barbaresco Bric Turot:
Young but very forward nose of cedar, licorice, blackberry, black cherry and tar. Weighty palate, tannins are there but balanced by the weight of deep fruit. Long and intense, this is looking good now, but should be better in another 5 years or so.

1999 Beni di Batasiolo Barolo Vigneto Bofani:
Chocolate, tobacco, spice and cherry on the nose. Bit more approachable than the Prunotto with the intense fruit taking centre stage. Medium length and the potential to develop further in the bottle.

1997 Dalwhinnie Shiraz Eagle:
Ripe nose (especially after the Italians) of blueberry, chocolate, pepper and spice. Lots of ripe medium weighted fruit on the palate as well but it is well balanced with the good tannin structure. Needs some time to develop complexity.

1983 Chateau Palmer (Margaux):
Beautifully complex nose of tobacco, red berries, chocolate, briar, gunflint and truffles. Some at the table suspected some brett influence, but I didn’t see it. The palate is structurally excellent with long, complex and superbly balanced flavour. It lived up to both reputation and expectations for me, this was my wine of the night among some excellent company.

1996 Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Shiraz:
Lots of cedar aromas prominent, there is also blackberry and mint. Medium bodied, needs time for the oak to recede, I think it has enough fruit for this to happen in the next 5 years. Very good apart from the oak, but was always going to struggle coming after the Palmer.

1988 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey (Sauterne):
Sun gold colour. Raisins, toffee, marmalade and nuttiness. The sweetness is refined with medium acidity and medium length. Very nice and ready to drink.

1989 Hugel et Fils Riesling Vendange Tardive (Alsace):
Honey, botrytis, spice, mango and pineapple and on the nose. There is an initial rush of sweetness, but it finishes nicely crisp and dry. Not overly complex, but it was still a good way to end an excellent day.

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