Grand Cru Claret and Burgundy (as well as Dom Perignon)

Le Reve, Carneros Sparkling Wine 1996 (Tattinger) ****

The title 'Carneros Sparkling Wine' does not do justice to this: still youthful in appearance with a fine,gentle mousse; quite soft and slightly sweet in style, the word 'soapy' came to mind on the first taste, fine blanc de blancs with a good, ripe wholemeal autolytic character, soft in style but still very fresh and well balanced, really very good indeed for its age. 17 

Dom Perignon 1996 ****

Fine youthful colour and good, lively mousse; restrained, lightly toasted aromas, I suspect not giving its all as yet; wholemeal toast and thinly spread butter, fine, gentle, still very fresh with well-defined acidity and toasty-savoury length. Lovely, plenty of life left and better on day 2. I expected more from this wine from a great vintage but I suspect this wine may still have some way to go. I still have one bottle left. 

Chambertin (Armand Rousseau) 1994 ****

Mid deep hue, looking quite mature on the rim; initially slightly lifted and high-toned but settled down with decanting to reveal supremely suave, scented, perfumed aromas; firm, quite lean initially but very suave, smooth fruit backed by crisp, mouthwatering acidity, still very fresh. Delicious wine with a beguiling scent from a very mixed vintage. 18

Chateau Cheval Blanc 1988 *****

Still deep and youthful in appearance, just a touch of browning on the rim; fully open and very forthcoming aromatic with a lovely leafy perfume (raspberry leaf), perhaps verging on green, Cabernet Franc dominating (apparently it made up 65% of the cepage in 1988); very fine, slightly herbal sweet fruit, supple, well defined with sinewy tannins, long and very fresh with plenty of life left in it. Overall very pure with near perfect balance and poise. I would expect this wine to develop for another ten to fifteen years. 19

Scoring

19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty