Monday, 15 January 2018

Two Bottles Of Rioja - 1998 Rioja Reserva, Marqués De Riscal & 2010 Rioja Reserva, Remelluri

1998 Rioja Reserva, Marqués de Riscal
This old estate, established in 1860, has turned out a very good Reserva in 1998. The nose is deep, soft, mature and round with a dried up sweetness from strawberries and lingonberries. There are additional notes of cooked root vegetables, red tea, moist earth and a hint of dry vanilla. Very good. If this was handed to me blind I would have guessed a maturing Burgundy given this nose.
The taste is mature, velvety and dry with notes of dried strawberries, undergrowth, chocolate biscuits and dry licorice. A fine mouthfeel, very smooth and drinkable. Maybe a tad soo, there isn´t much resistence here, no contrasts. But drinking very nicely with a light flavoured chicken dish.
87p   (tasted 2018/01)


2010 Rioja Reserva, Remelluri
The younger Rioja from a much younger Bodega, established 1970, offers up that opposition that I missed in the wine above. The nose is deep and concentrated with notes of black cherries, smoke, leather, violets and mocka. Deep and refined.
The taste is young, focused and very fine with notes of ripe cherries, raspberry licorice, bakelite, smoke and tobacco. Lots of ripe, sweet fruit arund a firm tannin structure. One for aging 5+ years. Very fine. Long and lingering. Fine stuff indeed.
93p   (tasted 2018/01)

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2017

Another year have passed. As always lots of good, great and gorgeous bottles.
982 bottles tasted and drunk during the year (204 Baroli...), and it always hard to narrow it down to the ten that have made the most lasting impression on me. But with a glass of 2014 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Village, Domaine des Tilleuls is becomes a tad more easy :-)

Here they are, in vintage order.
A toast to a equally great 2018!

1934 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)
Interesting enough, given the fact that I don´t drink much Bordeuax nowadays, when I do, they seem to make this list every year. Three bottles this year. Go figure...
This bottle was a chance buy, no label and the seller announced it as a Branaire-Ducru from an unknown vintage. I always think that kind of setup is fun, and given the modest price, I bought it.
And glad I did, for this turned out, not only being a 1934, but a perfectly mature Bordeuax from the time when they produced wine for their children, not for drinking right out of the gate. A marvel.
96p   (tasted 2017/03)


1947 Barolo, Marchesi di Barolo
A half bottle of an old Barolo, what could one hope for? It had a good level and it came from one of the greatest Barolo vintage ever, so I had some hopes.
Did it fulfill them? Oooh yes, and then some. An ethereal, beautiful, complex nose that oozes class, perfect maturity and layer upon layer of the most lovely old school Nebbiolo fruit.
When visiting Marchesi di Barolo this summer I noticed that they had a large stack of this wine but they didn´t wanted to part with any of them...
97p   (tasted 2017/06)


1959 Château Haut-Bailly
Haut-Bailly is one of my favourite Château and given the opportunity to taste a perfectly mature specimen was really a treat. It was tasted blind and I thought it was much younger than a 59.
Bordeaux doesn´t get much better than this. Thanks Peter!
98p   (tasted 2017/04)


"1964 Richebourg, DRC"
This was fun. And a bottle that is hard to forget, even though it was a fake.
Having read all 168 pages on WineBerserkers about Rudy Kurniawan and his forgery business and watching the movie Sour Grapes about him, I thought, how hard can it be? And will my friends be fooled?
It turned out great - I may have a new career ahead of me...
93p   (tasted 2017/08)


1982 Château Laville Haut-Brion
1982 is famous for its red wines, but this example proves that its white wines is a force to be reckoned with. There is a special something special about a mature white Bordeaux, with its deep haunting notes of such things as rubber, Seville oranges, nuts and, in this case, some dried up botrytis. Something really special.
98p   (tasted 2017/04)


1989 Barolo, Bartolo Mascarello
A truly great memory from 2017 - drinking a perfectly mature Barolo from Bartolo Mascarelllo with Maria Teresa over dinner, just her and The Barolo Boys, four of us downing this gem at our favourite restaurant in Piedmont - La Coccinella. Life doesn´t get better than that. Thanks Maria Teresa!
97p   (tasted 2017/10)

Maria Teresa opening the 1989

2007 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
Two friends arranged a fantastic tasting of the Syrah´s from Simon Maye. Lots of truly great wines, but the one that rose above the others, was the 2007 Vieilles Vignes. Proof that world class Syrah can come from Switzerland. Too bad that they are hard to get hold of. Thanks Mikke and Sverker!
97p   (2017/11)


The next three are from the great Barolo vintage of 2013. Having tasted 112 different Baroli from this vintage, I could say that I have a clue.
After our visit to Piedmont in May I wrote this:
What to say about the vintage then? The one thing that striked us when tasting these wines is that - even though there are minor and major differences between for example the wines from La Morra compared to the ones from Serralunga or the differences between upbringing in old Slavonian oak or barriques (although the major part of the producers that have been using barriques are cutting down on the time the wines spends in them or abandoning them altogether) - all wines showed a racy, energetic freshness.
They are more floral than usual, the red fruits are more forward (especially strawberries - some are almost Burgundian like), there is a sweet/sour sensation to the fruit that is really fine, the tannins are sappy and very silky, and they are very fresh, lively, vibrant and almost gulpable.

Are these wines for the short term then? They will not need as much time as the 2006 or 2010 to come around, but make no mistake, even though they seem almost ligth and airy there are more stuffing to them than are immediate noticable. I must confess being smitten by this vintage and will buy plenty (update - I have...).

After tasting even more bottles on our visit in November I am certain that this is a great vintage across the board, one of those vintages that you could buy without tasting (compared to 2014 where tasting is mandatory before buying).

But on to the ones that have made a long lasting impression.

2013 Barolo Romirasco, Aldo Conterno
An almost perfect specimen that will hit that three digit mark when it have got some bottle maturity. All of the 13 Baroli from Aldo Conterno is stellar but there is something special (as in 12 and 14 as well) with the Romirasco. A breathtaking wine.
99p   (tasted 2017/05)

2013 Barolo Cannubi, Burlotto
Visiting Fabio for the first time was something special and tasting the 13 lineup put a big smile on our faces. The Acclivi and Monvigliero was lovely but the Cannubi towered above them. Tasting it again on New Years Eve confirmed my impressions. Glad that I have some bottles.
97p   (tasted 2017/05)

2013 Barolo Monfortino, Giacomo Conterno
I thought the 2010 was great when we visited in November of 2016, but that Monfortino have to take the backseat to the 2013. Perfection from start to finish, when we tasted the 13 with Roberto we just shook our heads in awe. Too bad the price have gone stratospheric. Ah well, at least lucky to have tasted it on location with Roberto.
100p   (tasted 2017/11)

Romirasco with Giacomo at the estate

Fabio with the great 2013 lineup

2013 Monfortino...

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2016

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2015

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2014

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2013

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2012

The Ten Most Memorable Wines Of 2011

Friday, 12 January 2018

2015 Chianti Classico, Quercia Al Poggio


A tasting sample from Valid Wines.

2015 Chianti Classico, Quercia al Poggio
This Chianti consists mostly of Sangviose but local grapes Ciligeiolo, Canaiolo and Colorino are also a part of the blend. The nose is at first rather shy but with some time aromas of sweet/sour cherries, almond paste, rosemary and Tuscan gravel arises from the glass. Very nice.
The taste is medium bodied and finely tuned with fine cherry, licorice, herbs and gravel flavours. A fine dryness at the end. Very, very good. Drink now and the coming 5+ years.
88p   (tasted 2018/01)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Lunch & Dinners In Piedmont - Part Three

You just don´t drink the greatest wines in this world when you are in Nebbiolo land, you eat the greatest too. My love for Carne Cruda, Tajarin, Plin, Coniglio etc is endless.

Saturday Lunch - Barolo friends   (http://www.barolofriends.it/)
A new place for us, in the middle of the Barolo village. Nice food and lots of wines by the glass. We tasted the following over lunch.

2013 Barolo San Giovanni, Gianfranco Alessandria
A nice, deep, open nose with notes of Christmas spices, cream cooked cherries, tobacco and gravel. A fine sweetness to the fruit. Highly likeable.
The taste is more seedy and tight than the nose with notes of hard cherry candy, violets, herbs and forest floor. Long and fine with an energetic finish. 6+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/11)



2013 Barolo, Oddero
A high, fine nose with notes of ripening cherries, dried flowers, asphalt and rosehips. Laid back and fine.
The taste is young and tight with notes of sweet/sour cherries, tomatoe paste, rosehips and gravel. Some high strung tannins that will need 5+ years. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Dagromis, Gaja
A rich, concentrated nose with notes of ripe black cherries, licorice, fir wood and spices. Very deep and finely balanced.
The taste is young, tight and concentrated with notes of black cherries, charcoal, asphalt and warm spices. A very long, structured finish. A very good grip. Really fine. 10+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)


2011 Barolo Bric dël Fiasc, Scavino
The 11 Bric dël Fiasc is a beauty. The nose is deep and focused with notes of morello cherries, dark roses, raspberry licorice, mushroom paste and undergrowth. Refined. Lovely.
The taste is pure and concentrated with notes of ripe cherries, sugared coffee, forest floor, tobacco, ceps and rosehips. The finish goes on for minutes. Great wine. 5+ years.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

Saturday Dinner - Il Centro   (https://www.ristoranteilcentro.com/)
For the last dinner of our trip we headed to Priocca and Il Centro. We started with a bottle of 2006 Alfred Gratien which had a fine nerve and mouthfeel (91p).
The food at Il Centro is traditional (of course) with new versions of old classics, often with various intestines, from the time when the whole animal was used. But this time I opted for the coniglio!


2007 Barolo Bricco Rocche, Azelia
The nose is open for business with a hint of maturity and lovely notes of ripe cherries, licorice, tobacco, mushrooms and a hint of mint. Deep and very fine.
The taste is warm, round and generous with notes of cherries, dried strawberries, earth and tobacco. A long, balanced finish with some still perky tannins at the end. 3+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

Barolo & Coniglio!

This decanter requires some pouring skills...


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Some Port To Finish The 2017 Tasting Season

"Port is not for the very young, the vain and the active. It is the comfort of age and the companion of the scholar and the philosopher."
(Evelyn Waugh)

In our monthly tasting group we always ends the tasting season with fortified wines. This time it was M that was in charge and he poured the following wines.
All wines tasted double blind.

?, Borges
We don´t know the ages and what kind of Port it is, but we happily drank it all the same. It has a very mature, ripe, sweet nose with notes of figs, green raisins, burning autumn leaves, wet ashes and old apple confit. Still hanging in there, but on the verge on being too old.
The taste is semi sweet and a touch loose around the edges with notes of dry licorice, fried nuts, bonfire notes and raisins. A medium long finish with a dried up warmth.
86p   (tasted 2017/12)


1961 Colheita, Calem
A deep, sweet, mature nose with notes of raspberry liquor, bakelite, moist earth, walnuts and white chocolate. A fine maturity and intensity. Very, very good.
The taste is deep, fine and high with notes of figs, dried mushrooms, green tea and minerals. A fine, dried up sweetness. Long and really fine. Bottled in 2016.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)


1966 Colheita, Krohn
Yet again, Krohn delivers the goods. The nose is stunning with a great mix of green olives, Islay whisky, ripe raspberries, asphalt and fried almonds. Very deep and intoxicating.
The taste is big, tight and concentrated with notes of cooked raspberries, figs, fried nuts, sweet balsamico vinegar and dark fudge. Very, very long with a very fine warmth. Great wine.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

1970 Vintage Port, Cockburn
From a usually dependable and yummy vintage, this Cockburn is a tad boring. The nose is a bit foursquare with notes of dried red berries, bakelite, rosehips and plywood.
The taste is medium dry with dried up fruit, some smoky and earthy notes leading up to a short, vapid finish.
76p   (tasted 2017/12)


1975 Colheita, Feist
Bottled 1994. The nose is round, generous and very good with notes of raisins, dried apricots, Seville oranges, fir smoke and walnuts. A creamy character.
The taste is tight and warm with notes of dark almonds, raisins, asphalt, fried nuts and dry chocolate. More power than the nose leads you to believe. Long and firm. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2017/12)


20 Year Old Tawny, Quinta de Prelada
A deep, dark, spicy nose with notes of ripe blueberries, black tea, violets, fire smoke and sweet tobacco. Very, very good. A fine depth.
The taste is big and bold with notes of figs, blueberry pie, violet pastilles and dark chocolate. A long, lingering finish with a fine warmth and a lovely sweetness. A great Tawny.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Barolo At Pappa Grappa, Linköping

A couple of weeks ago me and C were in Linköping for the weekend. One night we ate at Pappa Grappa, a mostly Italian inspired restaurant (we have also been to its sister restaurant in Norrköping - both highly recommended).

While checking the wine list (while C inspects the menu...) I had a glass of Louis Roederer Brut, fine as always.


Before choosing what to eat I always choose the wine I will drink - the right order of things, right?! I opted for the 2012 Monvigliero from Scavino and a side glass of 13 Normale from Massolino. When ordered it may have been noticed my keen interest of the wines from Piedmont, so when the wines were served I was poured an additional glass of 2013 Serralunga from Fontanafredda - talk about service, hospitality and class!


For starter I had ravioli filled with slow cooked oxtail, consommé and marrow - delicious!

2013 Barolo Serralunga, Fontanafredda
Tasted a couple of months ago and when served from a magnum as in this case it appeared a bit denser with sweeter fruit and tighter structure. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2017/12)

2012 Barolo Monvigliero, Paolo Scavino
The Monvigliero shows of a deep, warm nose with notes of ripe cherries, rosehips, tobacco, fried mushrooms and asphalt. Rather big on the nose but it keeps it together beautifully.
The taste is rich, warm and concentrated with notes of hard cherry candy, tobacco, dried flowers, gravel and violets. Very long and focused. For drinking now and the coming 10 years. A great mouthful of Nebbiolo.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)


My main course - flanksteak with fried parsley and grated duck liver - yummy!

2013 Barolo, Massolino
Tasted five months ago, this Normale seems to have closed up a bit, it took some serious swirling to get some fruit out of the glass. Ripe and tight on the palate with a good balance. Wait 5+ years.
89p   (tasted 2017/12)

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Quaffable´s Three Year Birthday Bash

Quaffable Wines recently turned three year as an importer and I was invited to celebrate the occasion with a tasting of some of their wines.

2008 Grande Cuvée Brut, Collin-Guillaume
As fresh and fine as tasted earlier this year.
~90p   (tasted 2017/11)



2013 Teardrop Riesling, Snake + Herring
An oily, upfront nose with dried fruits and hay.
The taste is creamy and dry with notes of resin, petrol and dried fruits.
~86p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Rockbreak Chardonnay, Kesner Wines
A fine, smoky nose with notes of grilled lemons, apricots and butter cookies. Deep and fine.
The taste is luscious and fine with notes of lemon cream, white flowers and cap gun smoke. A fine intensity. Really, really good.
~93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Haynes Chardonnay, Failla Wines
Smoke, tangerines, pear and almond paste makes up the nose of this beauty. Broad and delicious.
The taste is chalky and cool with notes of grey pears, gravel, lime and hay. Long. Very, very good.
~91p   (tasted 2017/11)


2014 864 Chardonnay, Oakridge Wines
Tasted recently, it performed the same on this occasion.
~91p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Pinot Noir, Kesner Wines
A spicy, earthy nose with notes of rosehips, dried figs and raspberries. Laid back and highly likeable.
The taste is tight and seedy with notes of ripening raspberries, forest floor and beet roots. A fine acidity. Very fine.
~92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2015 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir, Failla Wines
A deep, herbal nose with notes of wild strawberries, sweet lingonberries, forest floor and dark flowers. Refined.
The taste is handsome and rich with notes of raspberries, damp earth, spices and dried flowers. A long, lingering finish. Lovely.
~94p   (tasted 2017/11)


2014 864 Pinot Noir, Oakridge Wines
A deep, outgoing nose with notes of dried strawberries, raspberry vinegar, bakelite and warm gravel. Rich and fine.
The taste is big and steady with notes of dried raspberries, gravel, root vegetables and dried herbs. Long and warm.
~90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Côte de Nuits-Villages, Domaine de Tilleuls
A fine earthy, low keyed nose with notes of ripening raspberries and balsamic aromas. Very nice.
The taste is tight and cool with notes of lingonberries, forest floor and spices. Very, vey good.
~88p   (tasted 2017/11)


2014 Fixin, Domaine de Tilleuls
This has an old fashioned Pinot sense about it, with notes of herbs, earth, lingonberries, root vegetables and some balsamic scents. Deep and fine.
The taste is young and tight with notes of ripe lingonberries, forest floor, herbs and bakelite. A very fine acidity. Long and fine. This is gooood.
~92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Village, Domaine de Tilleuls
Tasting this wine I was transported back in time when I worked at the state monopoly and got to taste the new vintages of Dujac, Trapet, Comte de Vogüé, Pousse d´Or, Rousseau etc. I am not saying that this is equally good, or will be, but it has that old fashioned, hauntingly beautiful and even decadent Pinot style that I adore. I´m buying.
~95p   (tasted 2017/11)

2015 Dolcetto d´Alba, Bruno Giacosa
Also tasted recently with the same impression.
~88p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barbaresco, Bruno Giacosa
A cool, elegant, laid back nose with notes of hard cherry candy, forest floor and rose petals. Very fine.
The taste is young, pure and tight with notes of red cherries, almonds, chrushed rocks and dried flowers. Very long with silky tannins.
~91p   (tasted 2017/11)


2013 Barolo Le Rocche, Bruno Giacosa
A deep, restrained, aristocratic nose with notes of spices, hard licorice, ripe red and black cherries, tar and earth. Refined.
The taste is structured and old fashioned with lovely notes of hard cherry candy, rosehips, mushrooms and asphalt. Very, very long. Needs time, lots of it.
~93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Shiraz Viognier, Clonakilla
When I tasted this earlier this year, I was deeply impressed. This bottle performed on the same level. Glad I have some.
~96p   (tasted 2017/11)

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Alpha, Montes Wines
Big and mature on the nose with notes of graphite, motor oil, blackberries and burnt rubber. Large.
The taste is big and concentrated with notes of tar, cooked blueberries, black olives and hot gravel. Big and bold.
~88p   (tasted 2017/11)


2014 Purple Angel, Montes Wines
A very deep, complex, gorgeous nose with notes of ripe blueberries, dark chocolate, violets and cigar smoke. Very, very fine.
The taste is concentrated and broad shouldered but with an elegance and balance. Sweet fruit, polished tannins and a gorgeous mid palate. Great wine.
~95p   (tasted 2017/11)

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

1997 & 2004 Barbaresco Vigna Rongallo, Orlando Abrigo

Only produced in the best vintages, the grapes come from the MGA Merruzano, a 155,98 ha large vineyard which is planted with only 18% Nebbiolo.
Nowadays this wine is called Rongalio, why I don´t know or why it was called Rongallo in the past, when it came from Merruzano?

1997 Barbaresco Vigna Rongallo, Orlando Abrigo
A mature, round nose with notes of canned mushrooms, damp earth, violets and veal stock. A fine maurity and a nice dried up warmth. Some fir wood with air.
The taste is dry and mature with notes of dried red cherries, asphalt, bakelite and violets. A medium long, dry finish. Very good with food but a tad too dry on its own.
87p   (tasted 2018/01)


2004 Barbaresco Vigna Rongallo, Orlando Abrigo
The 04 has a gorgeous, refined nose with notes of hard cherry candy, rosehips, cool tobacco aromas and forest floor. This is really good. Light but very fragrant. Lovely.
The taste is light and high yet focused and concentrated with notes of dried flowers, hard cherry candy, forest floor and chrushed rocks. Perfectly polished tannins. Entering maturity but there is no hurry drinking this gem. Great stuff.
93p   (tasted 2018/01)

Friday, 29 December 2017

2013 California Cabernet - Part Seven

It has been a while since the last Part. The state monopoly doesn´t seem to release any bottles any more, or at least very long between.
I could of course buy from other places but lately there have been bottles of Barolo delivered from seemingly everywhere...forgetting the joys of California Cabernet - that has to be rectified!

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Eden   (Santa Cruz)
A very deep and at the same time a tad stifled nose with notes of charcoal, ripe black currants, plums, expensive leather and Cohiba cigars. Tight and concentrated. Very deep and laid back with a stern black fruit experience. Needs plenty of time.
The taste is tight, concentrated and ample with notes of black cherries, black currants, lead pencil shavings and sun baked rocks. A very long, rich taste with a notes of chestnuts and scorched earth. Very focused. Not as open and immediately rewarding as the 2012 tasted a year ago. This will need at least 8 years in the cellar. Very, very promising in a strict, backward way.
78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
94p   (tasted 2017/12)



2013 Napanook, Dominus Estate   (Napa Valley)
The 13 Napanook cepage is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The nose is deep and inviting with notes of ripe black currants, fir smoke, dark fudge, charcoal and dark flowers. Intense, high and fine. Very deep.
The taste is tight and refined with notes of sweet red and black currants, tobacco, dusty earth and dark violets. Long, distinct and dry. Classy. Drinking great in 3+ years and the coming 10 years.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

2013 Buttafuoco Fajro, Cà Del Gé

A tasting sample from Divinum Wine.
To my memory I have never tasted anything from the region of Oltrepo Pavese. This estate was founded in 1985 by Enzo Padroggi, and today it is run by his children Stephanie, Sara and Carlo. More info here.

2013 Buttafuoco Fajro, Cà Del Gé
This interesting blend of 50% Croatina, 40% Barbera and 10% Uva Rara and Vespolina (the grapes derives from the Montespinato cru in the commune of Cigognola) displays a large scaled, spicy nose with notes of ripe plums, violets, rubber and fire smoke. With air it takes on more Syrah like notes - pepper, asphalt dark flowers. Rich and very good. A fine depth.
The taste is fresh and direct with spicy and sweet/sour cherries and plums with  additional notes of black peppers, earth, violets and ink. A very long, distinct finish with fine, dry tannins. A very fine warmth. Very, very good. Still young, needs 3+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

Monday, 25 December 2017

2009 & 2010 Château La Tour Carnet & A Pomerol Backup

The day after Christmas Eve it is tradition that we finish the Christmas ham of with a Pommes Dauphine, a sallad and some wine of course!
I opted for a dynamic duo from La Tour Carnet, but it turned out to be a solo performance because of the ugly cork monster. I backup was needed and I found a mature Pomerol.

2009 Château La Tour Carnet
Corked%&#"/(&%¤#!!!


2010 Château La Tour Carnet
This 60% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot blend needs a couple of hours to really show it stuff. Then it displays a deep, concentrated nose with notes of graphite, ink, ripe black currants and blueberries, plums and dark flowers. Rich and promising, still very young.
The taste is tight and intense with notes of blood and iron, minerals, plums, violets and cherry seeds. A long, distinct finish with broad shouldered tannins. A fine concentration. Needs at least 8 years. Very promising.
La Tour Carnet actually had a Swedish owner during the 18th century and half of the 19th.
92p   (tasted 2017/12)

1996 Château Ferrand
A mature, deep, inviting nose with notes of dried plums, fir wood, wet dog and Christmas spices. A hint of green peppers. Very nice.
The taste is dry, cool and spicy with notes of dried red and black currants, plums, cigarette ashes and dried flowers. A fine, dry ending. Fully mature and maybe then some but a nice mouthful of mature Pomerol.
87p   (tasted 2017/12)


Friday, 22 December 2017

A Christmas Pelaverga Shoot-Out

After a day spent in the kitchen preparing for Christmas, it was time for some light food - Serrano, Truffle salami, Fennochio, Gruyere, Tomme and Pecorino, and two bottles of Pelaverga - a perfect match to this kind of food.

2015 Pelaverga Speciale, Fratelli Alessandria
We tasted the 2016 at the estate when we visited in the beginning of November (notes are on their way...).
The 2015 shows of a high spirited, light and refreshing nose with notes of lingonberries, clay, eraser, herbs and ripening raspberries. Highly likeable, upfront and juicy.
The taste is light and attractive with a fine, salivating acidity and notes of lingonberries, hard cherry candy, gravel, white peppers and assorted spices. Direct and gulpable. Very, very good.
88p   (tasted 2017/12)

Two Pelaverga´s in front of our 2017 Christmas gingerbread house - Pippi Longstocking´s home - a wish from our grandchild...
2013 Pelaverga, Burlotto
When we visited Fabio in May we tasted the 2016. Time to draw the cork out of a three year older bottle and see how Pelaverga ages. Very well I can say.
The nose is medium deep and spicy with notes of matchbox, dried strawberries, dusty earth, candle grease and white pepper. Full of life and character.
The taste is fresh, lively and spicy with notes of lingonberries, chrushed rocks, white peppers and a hint of licorice. Ends dry and refined. Lovely.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

Monday, 18 December 2017

A Bottle Of Bubbly - NV Brut Réserve, Charles Heidsieck

Sometimes you just get an unstoppable craving for some bubbly.

NV Brut Réserve, Charles Heidsieck
Based on the great 2008 vintage it shows a fine, chalky nose with notes of smoke, red currants, lemon cream, hand cream and a touch of white pepper. Very racy and fine. Salivating.
The taste is deep, rich and dry with notes of grilled lemons, freshly cut grass, dry fudge, yellow plums and lots of sweet minerals. A long, finely tuned finish with a cleansing acidity.
40% is reserve wine with an age between 5-15 years. Really fine.
92p   (tasted 2017/12)


Saturday, 16 December 2017

Birthday Wines - Three Bottles From The Greatest Vintage Ever

What to drink when it is your birthday and you happen to be born in The Greatest Vintage Ever? Three bottles from the year in question seems adequate. And a bottle of 739 Jacquesson to start with - great as ever (93p).


1964 Château Houissant
This St Estephe displays a mature, rough-around-the-corner nose with notes of dried black currants, cranberries, scorched earth and dry tobacco. Stilll hanging in there but a tad hollow in the middle.
The taste is dry and linear with notes of tobacco, leather, autumn leaves and earth. A sturdy backbone, still delivering a fine mouthfeel. Went well with the food.
83p   (tasted 2017/11)

1964 Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria Poggio Alle Mura
I have had great bottles from Poggio Alle Mura, the 74 and 75 for example (Banfi bought the estate in 1983). This bottle however wont join those ranks. I am pretty sure that this bottle have been stored too warm for too long, resulting in notes of cooked fruit and a dry, one dimensional finish.
70p   (tasted 2017/11)

1964 Barolo Cascina Luciani, Alessio Grasso
From Annunziata, La Morra, this Grasso saves the day. It needs some time in the decanter and glass to wake from its 53 year slumber but when it does it delivers a great, deep nose filled with scents of dark roses, dried up strawberry jam, licorice and sweet tobacco. Very, very fine. Still lots of sweet fruit. A very fine intensity and warmth.
The taste is mature of course but with a tight core of ripe red fruit and notes of sugared coffee, mushrooms, undergrowth, raspberry licorice and roses en masse. A long, structured finish with velvety tannins. Really, really good.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

Friday, 15 December 2017

Simon Maye Syrah / A Vertical / 2005-2013


Two friends of mine, M and S, had pulled together an impressive line up of Syrah´s from Simon Maye and they invited some wine nerds to taste them. I was thrilled to be asked!

Zum Bären is to be thanked for supplying some of the bottles. The Simon Maye Syrah´s are hard to come by and that makes this in depth tasting even more impressing.
Info here.

All wines tasted single blind, the whites double blind.

Warm Up
2011 Petite Arvine, Simon Maye
Some Swiss whites to warm up the taste buds. The first one has a maturing, dried up nose with notes of dried orange peel, honey, wool and peach. A tad oily in character. Good.
The taste is medium bodied with a good acidity and notes of tangerines, wet rocks and almond paste. Went perfectly with the accompanying pumpkin soup.
87p   (tasted 2017/11)



2013 Grain Arvine La Louye, Therése Chappaz
The other Arvine (as we found out later that it was) displays a high, fine nose with notes of candied lemon peel, smoke, white flowers and lots of chrushed rocks. Very, very good.
The taste is dry and fine with notes of dry biscuits, dry lemons, oyster broth and chrushed rocks. Very fresh and very good.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

Flight 1
2011 Syrah, Simon Maye
A balanced, lightly meaty and smoky nose with notes of bakelite, dried flowers and gravel. A hint of green leaves in the background. Herbal. Very good.
The taste is cool and medium bodied with notes of rowan berries, blueberries, green pepper and a hint of rubber. A dry finish. Drinking perfect now, not for the lang haul.
88p   (tasted 2017/11)


2010 Syrah, Simon Maye
The 2010 is a stunner, on the level and sometimes above the V.V. bottlings, see below. The nose soars up from the glass with notes of ripe blackberries, peppered meat, dark flowers, bacon fat and sweet violets. There is even a sweaty horse trotting in the background. Very deep, pure, brilliant.
The taste is mouth coating in the best sense of the word with stunning black fruit, a fine acidity, polished tannins and a lovely balance. Still on the young side of things, this beauty could be drunk now and the coming 8+ years.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

Flight 2
2008 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The first Vieilles Vignes sports a high, intense nose with notes of veal meat, violet pastilles, charcoal and freshly fallen snow! Luscious and fine.
The taste is cool, seedy and fine with sweet red currants, blueberries, veal meat and minerals. A lovely texture. Very long and pure. 4+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)


2006 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
A deep, tight nose which opens up fine in the glass and reveals notes of damsons, red beets, mulled wine spices, bakelite and iron. A fine, rugged backbone.
The taste is broad and steady with notes of dark flowers, charcoal, chrushed black pepper and tapenade. Long and distinct. A very fine warmth. 7+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2006 Syrah, Denis Mercier
The first dark horse, and in hindsight it was a tad different than the others. The nose is somewhat sweeter with notes of vanilla powdered blackberries, scorched earth, smoke and sugared coffee. Deep and fine but a bit more upfront and juicy.
The taste is warm, herbal and direct with notes of violets, warm bay leaves, smoke and dried up blackberry jam. Long, warm and fine.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)


2007 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
Is ethereal meaty a understandably description? That´s what I have written, alongside ripe blueberries, both white and black pepper, Christmas spices, raspberries and dry licorice. Very deep,  complex and utterly gorgeous.
The taste is pure and brilliant with notes of sweet violets, dark coffee, fresh herbs, white pepper and veal stock. Very long, concentrated and truly, truly fine. 6+ years.
97p   (tasted 2017/11)



2005 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The nose is very fine with notes of ripe flowers, blackberries, charcoal and fresh herbs. A fine complexity. A fine smoky note emerges with air.
But the taste isn´t as fine as the nose. It is concentrated and deep but it has an element of masonite in the finish, leaving it a bit dry and not as harmonious as the others. Drink now.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

Flight 3
2009 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
There is violets on this nose, and then violets and have I mentioned violets? If not, they are there. After some swirling some additional aromas of Lily of the Valley, tender meat, white pepper and gravel emerges from the glass. A very handsome wine. Refined. Classy.
The taste is tight and complex with notes of chrushed slate, veal stock, blueberries, smoke and a hint of dark chocolate. And violets. The finish goes on for one minute plus. Really fine. 6+ year.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)


2010 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
We all concured that there must be something wrong with this bottle. No one had ever tasted it before so no references. But given how stunning the regular Syrah is, see above, this can´t be a true impression of the 2010 V.V.
Not a bad wine per se, but it lacks all characteristics of the other V.V. wines, the nose is subdued and a bit blunt with notes of ripe lingonberries, dry herbs and rubber.
The taste is seedy and narrow with notes of cool blueberry fruit, dry licorice, gravel and smoke. A bit foursquare in the finish. ?
83p   (tasted 2017/11)

2011 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The 11 is all that one would have thought that the 10 should be. A spine tingling nose that shows of beautiful notes of ripe strawberries with some blackberries tossed in, Christmas spices, a hint of tar, sweet red peppers, smoke and fresh flowers. A stunning nose, vibrant and refined.
Balance, energy and intensity is the hallmarks of this beauty, with notes of sweet violets, white peppers, dried flowers, chrushed rocks and spices. Very long and full of finesse and restrained power. 8+ years.
96p   (tasted 2017/11)

2011 Syrah, Didier Joris
A dark horse in third flight too. And this is goood! The nose is deep and complex with notes of dark candle grease, fir wood, ripe red currants, blueberries and a hint of chocolate. A very fine sweetness to the fruit. Really fine.
The taste is deep and dark with notes of ripe blueberries, dark licorice, violets and meat stock. Some sturdy tannins in the finish, not the fine polished tannins that the Maye wines has, that should have been a give away... A fine wine nevertheless.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)


2012 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
A fine, deep, complex nose with notes of violets, roses, red currants, veal stock and red peppers. A very fine red note, some dried strawberries after a while. Cool and fresh. Really fine.
The taste is tight, balanced and lovely with notes of red beets, roses, gravel, dried meat and bakelite. Long and lingering. A laid back character with charm and delicacy. Aristocratic. 6+ years.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The youngster in the line up displays a deep, tight nose with notes of forest floor, fir wood, blueberries, veal stock and beet roots. A very fine sweetness. High and fine.
The taste is young and taut with notes of cranberries, scorched earth, violets, spices and a hint of bacon. The finish is long and slightly peppery. Will need time, at least 8 years. Great potential.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2005 Côte-Rôtie, Jamet
The evening finished with a surprise bottle from one of the tasters. Popped and poured. The nose is deep and a tad mature with notes of sweet black cherries, warm gravel, violets and tapenade. Very, very good.
The taste is dry and tight with notes of dry violets, earth, dried meat, herbs and gravel. The nose shows more sweetness to the fruit than the palate, but long lasting, warm and fine. For drinking sooner than later.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)