Thursday, 26 May 2016

Six Times Dönnhoff

At the last tasting we had in our tasting group, Håkan poured six wines that turned out to be from the same producer, the genius that is Helmut Dönnhoff.
Tasted double blind.
All wines displayed a trademark airy, cool yet focused and concentrated nose with vibrant lemon fruit and lots of minerals. The taste in all of them is mountain river pure with a hint of sweetness and a balancing, riveting acidity. All of them are great wines, below is their individual characteristics.

2005 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
There is a hint of saffron and candied fruit in this one, and the one that feels most developed. Drinking great now.
89p   (tasted 2016/05)

2005 Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
The Dellchen is more restrained, with great notes of fennel and a warm spring day. The restrained character goes through the taste as well. Really, really fine.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2006 Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
This one with its tongue-twisting name shows of nice aromas of almonds and cap gun smoke, a tight taste with a high acidity, the highest of the six wines. Needs more time.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2006 Felsentürmchen Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
A cooler, stonier part of Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg becomes Felsentürmchen, and this is a truly great wine! Lots of chrushed rocks mixed up with some dry melon and detergent scents that creates a fine complexity. The taste is more intense and more refined than the others. Just gorgeous.
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

2006 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
The Hermannshöhle is, as always, a beauty, with stunning notes of summer flowers and a petrol station in a distance. The taste is sturdy and racy and looong. Needs more time.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

2006 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
Lastly, the Brücke, offers up a deep, pure nose with some dry caramel and ginger. The taste is the biggest of the six but the stunning acidity keeps everything in place. Very, very long. Will also need some time in a cool cellar.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Lunch Tasting With Doug Shafer

Vinunic invited to lunch and a chance to meet Doug Shafer who is a larger than life personality with humour, focus and a strong driving force, making these Shafer wines so darn good!

2014 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay
This is the best Red Shoulder Ranch I have ever tasted. I have always liked its upfront, juicy style of a rich California Chardonnay. And it still got that, but with an added refinement.
The nose is open and lively with lovely notes of sweet lime. matchbox, yellow pears and a hint of coconut. Very deep and fine.
The taste is young and tight with notes of candied lemons, crushed rocks and summer flowers. A long, finely tuned finish with a gorgeous acidity. Even a tad restrained. Gonna get me some of these.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Merlot
The Merlot is big and fruity with lots of ripe plums and additional notes of clay, smoke and dark chocolate. Very, very good.
The taste is young and warm with notes of plums, scorched earth and raspberry liquorice. A long, tight finish. Needs 4-6 years. 84% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec,
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 One Point Five
This 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot (what does that microscopic part of Petit Verdot really do?) is a beauty. The nose is a mélange of ripe black currants, blueberries, spices and undergrowth. Some tobacco notes after a while. Really fine. Very, very deep.
The taste is tight and focused with notes of black currants, blackberies, cedar and smoke. A long, concentrated finish with ripe, polished tannins. This should age very well. Gotta love this!
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Relentless
The Relentless is a blend of 89% Syrah and 11% Petit Sirah. The nose is big, upfront and spicy with notes of meat, blackberries, melted asphalt and a bonfire in a distance. Very deep. Almost a bit frutal at this stage. Needs time. But very, very good.
The taste is big and broading with notes of charcoal, black- and blueberries, hot spices and dried flowers. Intense and long, long, long. Should evolve nicely, but give it 4-6 years before doing the deed.
Relentless is made in honour of Shafer´s long time wine maker Elias Fernandez. I can´t helping thinking of one of Slayer´s new tunes - Repentless - and maybe the Shafer´s would agree with these lyrics:
"No looking back, no regrets, no apologies
What you get is what you see"
Or taste in this case. Its great to hear Tom Araya angry is a video for Repentless (Warning! - graphic violence in this one...)
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

2011 Hillside Select
Three vintages of Hillside Select followed - life is hard... The 2011 shows why vintage charts are useless when it comes to individual wines. Supposedly from a really bad vintage this lovely wine displays a deep, creamy nose with notes of ripe black currants, graphite, dusty earth and some fine tobacco. Fine dry floral aromas. Very, very good.
The taste is pure and focused with notes of ripe black currants, expensive leather, earth and some tobacco notes. Long and fine, but maybe not stuffing for the long term. But I would drink it anyday.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2007 Hillside Select
I would like to dive in a pool, filled with 2007 Hillside Select, taking big sips while floating around :-) The nose of this stunner is full of ripe red and black currants, red beets, expensive leather, coffee grounds and dried flowers. Just stunning. A touch of maturity. Very, very deep.
The taste is refined and just delicious with notes of the best black currants available combined with espresso, graphite and forest floor. Very focused. Long and lingering, This is the real stuff. Drink now and the coming 10+ years.
97p   (tasted 2016/05)

2004 Hillside Select
The 04 Hillside Select is a bruiser - big, deep and warm with notes of spicy black currants, bonfire, warm herbs and dusty earth. A touch of VA. A bit too big for my liking.
The taste is big and steady with notes of black currant jam, cigarr, leather and sugared coffee. A very long, concentrated finish. A fine warmth. A very good wine but a tad marked by a hotness that I really don´t go for.
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

Monday, 23 May 2016

A 21 Bottle Sunday Dinner...

When M invites you over, there are always some surprises to be had. This time, unannounced, Johannes Haart from Weingut Reinhold Haart greats you at the door. He and his lovely wife Sarah stays for the whole dinner and holds an impromptu wine tasting to start with. A great experience!
All wines, except for the last four sweet wines, were tasted double blind.

While waiting for all guests we got to sip on this
2014 Fröhlich Trocken, Schaefer-Fröhlich
No one saw yhis Mûller-Thurgau coming - we were all sure it was a Riesling... The nose is young and cool with notes of nettles, grey pears and melon. Very good.
The taste is light and refreshing with a fine acidity and notes of pears, grass and gravel. Medium long.
86p   (tasted 2016/05)

Johannes then poured the following wine and explained his philosophy regarding winemaking and talked about the vintages. This is the best experience, tasting the wines and talking to the wine maker, having the chance to ask all those silly questions!
2008 Piesporter Goldtröpchen Riesling GG, Reinhold Haart
A still young, serious nose with notes of lemoncello, dry honey, chrushed rocks and some dried tropical fruits. A nice weight on the nose. Ripe and fine.
The taste is tight and refined with notes of lemon/vanilla ice cream, ripe pears and slate. A long, lingering finish. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

2008 Piesporter Goldtröpchen Riesling Spätlese, Reinhold Haart
This is a beauty! The nose is deep and pure with notes of summer flowers, smoke, wet asphalt and white and red currants. Just lovely. A hint of petroleum.
The taste is a gorgeous combvination of purity and intensity, with notes of candied lemons, wet asphalt and lots of minerals. A long, long finish with a cleansing acidity. Great wine.
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

1991 Winstricher Ohligsberg Riesling Spätlese, Reinhold Haart
A 91! I guessed it to be from 97 or thereabout. It has a nose which is deep and lively, with notes of dried tropical fruits, ash, diesel oil and a hint of a moist cellar (in a positive sense).
The taste is tight and somewhat mature with notes of dried lemons, asphalt and dry grass. A long lasting finish with a fine acidity. I am guessing that this will not get better but there is no hurry to drink it either.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2010 Piesporter Goldtröpchen Riesling Kabinett, Reinhold Haart
A fresh, salivating nose with notes of lemons and limes together with smoke, crushed rocks and a hint of wild strawberries. Very fine.
The taste is still young and tight with notes of lemon peel, grey pears, slate and smoke. Very, very long and intense. Great acidity. Pure and refreshing. Lovely.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

After this interesting tasting we got back to the regular program, with some whites with the starters.
2004 Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, Jacques Prieur
Big and bold, two words to describe this bottle. So big and bold that I ventured that it was from California... Fine notes of ripe peaches, burned sugar, summer flowers and fried sweetbreads. Very nice in its opulent way.
The taste is big and concentrated with notes of lemon cream, butter cookies and dried flowers. The finish is long and warm. A lot of body on this, but it holds things together nicely. Very, very good.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2012 Nierstein -P- Riseling Kabinett, Keller
Tasted a year ago, it performed (almost) on the same level on this night. A fantastic wine.
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

2015 Nierstein -H- Riesling Kabinett, Keller
If the 12 Pettenthal was great, what can I say about the 15 Hipping? Marvellous? World Class? Yes, and then some. M kept going on about the wines energy, and I can see what he means. This wine oozes out of the glass with stunning notes of the freshest and ripest pears, fennel, rhubarb and lots and lots of slate. Clean as a mountain river. Just great.
It flows over your tongue with and intensity and nerve that has to be tasted to be believed. This has everything in place, except some maturity. Simply ripping!
97p   (tasted 2016/05)

2005 Piesporter Goldtröpchen Riesling Auslese, St. Urbans-Hof
Now for something more sweetish. It was meant to go along some hot shrimps, but it was a tad to sweet for that assignment (the next wine was far better). The nose is open and spicy with notes of matchbox, ripe lemons and candied yellow apples. A fine depth and some maturity.
The taste is semi sweet to begin with but ends semi dry when the acidity have done it job. Notes of dried apricots, minerals and a hint of saffron. A good length. Very good.
88p   (tasted 2016/05)

2007 Piesporter Domherr Riesling Spätlese, Reinhold Haart
This shows a ligth, airy nose with fine notes of spicy lemons, wet asphalt and a hint of gun powder. Very refined. A slight hint of maturity, but this has a long way to go. Very, very fine.
The taste is elegant and intense with notes of candied lemons, crushed rocks and warm grass. A long finish with a lovely, cleansing acidity with a hint of sweetness. Some spicy elements. This is fine.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

Then we changed pace and went on to the red wines.
1970 Barolo, Paolo Scavino
This aged beauty displays a soft, mature, warm nose with notes of dried ceps, old leather, dried cranberries and soya. A very fine warmth.
The taste is round, mature and a bit dry in the end, but gives away fine notes of dried cherries, forest floor and some balsamic notes. A long, dry finish with a fine tightness. With food, a great wine, on its own, a tad dry.
88p   (tasted 2016/05)

1990 Barolo Cannubi, Paolo Scavino
The 90 Cannubi performed great on this evening, the best Cannubi from Scavino I have ever had. The nose is deep, somewhat mature, sweet and fantastic, with notes of rosehips, sweet red cherries, a whole mushroom forest and dry liquorice. This is in a great state of maturity now. Just lovely.
The taste is more tight and focused than the nose and shows fine notes of ripe red and black cherries, dried mushrooms, rose petals and dusty earth. The finish goes on and on and displays some sturdy tannins yet. A great mouthfeel. A great wine that will go on being great for another 10+ years. Wish I had some...
95p   (tasted 2016/05)

1990 Barolo Bric dël Fiasc, Paolo Scavino
Last time I tasted the 90 Bric dël Fiasc was three years ago, and I then pegged it as "semi mature" but requiring 5+ more years (and scoring it almost perfect). Ok then, things should have happened in three years time, right? What has happened is that it has went backwards in time...
This bottle must have been in some sort of time warp. The nose is upfront, spicy and deep with lots of ripe black cherries and notes of fresh mushrooms, rosehips and sugared coffee. Powerful and young (!). Very, very good.
The taste is broadshouldered and concentrated with notes of ripening black cherries, raspberry liquorice, mushrooms and asphalt. The finish goes on for over a minute. Still backward and young, this bottle would need 10+ years to reach maturity. This is one of the many fun aspects of wine, no two bottles of the same wine - at least with age - behaves the same way.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2005 Gravel Hill Syrah, Hartenberg
We were told that the next three bottles would be different - no s...t! The nose explodes from the glass with big, ripe notes of blueberry suryp, rubber tires, iodine and dark chocolate. There is much going on here. Some salty liquorice. Very deep. Smoky scents after a while. Impressive.
The taste is massive and intense with notes of ripe blueberries, smoke, bakelite and dark chocolate. A one minute finish with some bracing tannins showing themselves. Even at eleven years this will need 5+ years more to come around. Very, very good.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

1999 Côte-Rôtie Château D´Ampuis, Guigal
This beauty displays a deep, focused nose with stunning notes of peppered meat, cranberries, sweet violets and, of course, iron and blood. We were pretty close guessing this correctly. Great wine. Kept on evolving all night, more forest and undergrowth notes after some time. A tad mature but has a long way to go still.
The taste is polished and structured with notes of ripening blueberries, fir, violets and some rubbery notes. The finish is long, long and with a great texture. I would give this 7+ more years to reach full maturity but I would drink this any day of the week.
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

2002 G3, Burge Family
This 52% Grenache, 42% Shiraz and 6% Mourvedre blend comes of as big, blowsy and sweet, with notes of blueberry- and raspberry jam, tapenade and melted asphalt. Very grapey. Too big for my taste.
The taste is more harmonious than the nose, with notes of ripe blackberries, scorched earth and some mint. The finish is long, warm and a bit on the hot side. Well, cleanly made but not up my alley.
84p   (tasted 2016/05)

NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, Ulysse Collin
Someone thought we needed some refreshment before the sweeties (we did...). The nose is very elegant and finely tuned, with notes of white currants, slate, nettles and smoke. Cool and fresh. Very young.
The taste is very pure, high and refined with notes of tangerines, lemon peel and gravel. Almost ascetic. Very tight and precise. Needs time. A great palate cleanser at this time of the evening.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

The notes on these four sweeties should be taken with a healthy grain of salt. Although spitting frequently all evening, the wines starts to get to my head, surprisngly...
All from half bottles.
1998 Gewûrztraminer Sonnenglanz SGN, Bott-Geyl
This is what I don´t like about Gewürz - oily, over the top with decaying sweet flowers and honey, with not much freshness to be had.
The taste is the same, with added botrytis and alcohol. This is not my cup of tea.
73p   (tasted 2016/05)

1997 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese, Dr. Loosen
Things got better! This has a high, pure, semi sweet nose with notes of apricots, ripe yellow pears, warm grass and flint. Very good.
The taste is tight and complex with notes of sweet yellow fruit and a high, cleansing acidity. Long and finely balanced. This is really good.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

1997 Quarts de Chaume, Pierre Bise
This is a perfect example of what Chenin Blanc can achieve when sweet. The nose is marvellous in its intensity and purity, with notes of oil cloth, white peaches, candied nuts and a hint of hay. Gorgeous!
The taste is a stunning combination between sweetness and acidity, with notes of dried yellow fruit, hay, gun powder and rubber. Really intriguing and charming, just a lovely wine.
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

1996 Vin de Paille, Chapoutier
We were not in consensus here, I thought that there were something of with this bottle. Granted, this kind of wine is a bit odd, but I have tasted this wine (not this vintage though) and it has not appeared like this. No judgement from me. But even more heartbreaking this eveningwas the horribly corked 1994 Grange...:-(
Other than that - a lovely evening with lots of great wines and a real treat to meet Johannes and Sarah Haart!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

1985 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, GastelGiocondo

1985 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, GastelGiocondo
It is always very satisfying when a mature Brunello deliver the goods. And this 85 CastelGiocondo did just that.
The nose is deep, compact yet lively with notes of cherries marinated in balsamico vinegar and rosemary, warm tiles, rose petals and chocolate biscuits. Very deep and fine. A fine velvety character that only can come from bottle age. Really good.
The taste is warm, mature and with a tight core of ripe cherry fruit and additional notes of root vegetables, sugared coffee, sweet liquorice and lots of warm Tuscan gravel. The finish is long and structured. Drinking great on this night but good bottles should drink well for the coming 6+ years. Almost as great as the 1979 Riserva (and that label was also more striking!).
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

CastelGiocondo is the second largest Brunello producer with its 152 hectares devoted to Brunello. Marchesi dé Frescobaldi bought the estate in 1989, so this bottle was made by the previous owners, a group of European investors that bought the estate in the 70´s, and their first vintage was the 1975.

Earlier vintages tasted:
1994 & 2006

Friday, 20 May 2016

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, Jordan

Another California Cabernet? Why not, when they are so yummy!

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, Jordan
A young, tight, fine nose with notes of red and black currants, graphite, black tea and some aromas of grilled meat in a distance. A bit laid back in a very fine way. Some dark clay. When Bordeaux nowadays trying to be California....this could actually be mistaken for a Bordeaux, and a restrained one at that. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and expressive with lots of ripe black currant fruit, some blueberry pie notes and cocoa, all wrapped up in a distinct tannin coat. The finish is long and structured with lots of mineral elements. This is good. Still young. Would love to have a go on another bottle in 6-8 years time. Really fine.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

1992 Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series, Kenwood

The Astist Series was concived with the 1975 vintage. I vividly remember some impressing bottles of the 1984 and 1985 vintages when they were about 10 years old. After that I have not tasted anything from Kenwood. Found two bottles of the 1992 vintage in a mixed case I bought recently.
Time for a test drive!

1992 Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series, Kenwood
This opens a bit restrained right out of the bottle, but only after 20 minutes it starts to come around, giving of some nice aromas of red currants, cranberries, dry leather and a few dry vanilla pods. Cool and nice. A fine maturity. Actually grows over the couple of hours it takes to finish the bottle, the currants are more black than red when the last glass is poured. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and dry with fine notes of dried red and black currants, charcoal, dry herbs and a touch of dry wood. The finish is long, rather persintent and finely polished. Perfectly mature and drinking well, especially with the veal roulades and a mushroom sauce, that I made to go along. Guess I shouldn´t save the other bottle for that long.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

The artist behind the label is Henry Miller, more known as author than a painter. This painting is from 1973 and a named "Clown".

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A Bottle Of Bubbly - 2004 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, Pol Roger

I tasted the 2002 a couple of days ago and was eager to open the lonely bottle of 2004 that was lying in the fridge, tempting me, Calling my name...

2004 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, Pol Roger
A lovely creamy texture greets me when I put my nose in the glass, exposing fine notes of roasted hazelnuts, white peach, silky perfume and lots of crushed rocks. High and pure. As with the 2002 it displays more Chardonnay characteristics than Pinot. Lovely. On day two it is even more buttery and velvety. Great now but will become even better with time.
The taste is young, finely tuned and creamy with notes of summer flowers, white currants and peach, and lots of minerals. A long, slender finish with a fine acidity. Very, very good. Almost identical on day two. Give this beauty 4-6 years in the cellar. I´m sure that the 02 will outlive this and become a greater wine in time but today there isn´t much that differs between these two fine examples of Winston Churchill.
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

Monday, 16 May 2016

Just Bought

Perfect 12 years ago and hopefully still perfect this autumn, when it will be tasted as part of an interesting line up...

Friday, 13 May 2016

Divine Pours Divine Wines

Yes, I know, I have used that heding before - but it is a good one! It and this case, a appropriate one.
Divine invited, I showed up and tasted this beauties.

NV Brut Esprit Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, Michel Genet
From a half bottle it shows some evolvement and nice notes of lemon cream, warm grass and summer flowers. Very fine.
The taste is fresh and creamy with a fine acidity and a long, seedy finish with lots of ripe yellow fruit and crushed rocks. Its even so that I today like this more than the regular bottle size, some maturity in a wine does that for me.
90p   (tasted 2016/05

2014 Kick On Ranch Riesling, Ojai
A new acquaintance for me (the wine, not the producer) and a very nice one at that. The nose is young and floral with notes of peaches, grapefruit and crushed minerals. A fine balance.
The taste is cool, structured and pure with notes of yellow apples, grapefruit and some gun powder. A very fine acidity. Very, very good.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2014 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Brewer-Clifton
Two Sta. Rita Hills Pinot wines followed. The one fron Brewer-Clifton shows of a deep, dark nose witn notes of smoke, dried raspberries and moist earth. Good but a bit subdued today.
The taste is tight and darkly fruity with notes of ripe raspberries, liquorice and damp earth. Some stemmy notes. A bit locked up, give it time.
87p   (tasted 2016/05)

2014 Sta. Rita Hills Block M Pinot Noir, Melville
The Melville is definitely better on this day. The nose is young, spicy and detailed with notes of ripe raspberries, cherries, liquorice and leather. A very fine depth. I really like the spicy elements. Very, very good.
The taste is structured yet refined with lovely notes of red cherries, cranberries and forest floor. A long, sandy finish. This is good. I tasted some of the parts of what would become this wine last year when Greg Brewer was here and held a very interesting tasting.
92p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Obelin Pinot Noir, Antica Terra
Being the first of its kind, the 2013 Obelin is a work of art. Its hard to describe the components that meet you when you put the nose in the glass, but safe to say, this is a world class Pinot. Truly magnificent.
The taste is the same as the nose, a wonderful thing of beauty. The depth, focus and purity must be tasted to be believed. It carries quite a tarif, but this is a easy buy. Perfection in the making.
97p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Los Topos Garnacha, Ledge
Eased in between the Pinot´s and the Syrah´s is this blend of 82% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre and 4% Counoise, that makes a nice showing of its self, with a nose that is rich and plummy with some hot spices. Very good.
The taste is big (compared with the previous Pinot´s but light in comparison with the upcoming wines...) and round with generous black fruit and notes of fried spices, fir and damsons. Should work wonders with a grilled steak.
89p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Syrah, Lilian
The 13 Lilian Syrah sports a deep, big nose with notes of crushed black peppers, seared meat, violets and veal stock. Very fine. Deep and intoxicating.
The taste is ripe and upfront with peppery notes and some asphalt and violets. A long, sturdy finish with a fine warmth and structured tannins. Not on pair with the 2012 but along the line of the 2011. Really fine stuff.
93p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Syrah No 2, Andremily
This is a new player for me, and this is apparently only the second wine made, hence the name. But it seems they got it right from the start, for this is impressive. The nose is very deep and very floral, with a lovely balance between sweet fruit and high, refined notes. Some tapenade and dark chocolate among other things. Great wine.
The taste is massive yet refined and almost airy, with gorgeous notes of blackberries, violets, bacon fat and minerals. The finish is counted in minutes. This is just stunning and will probably get even better after 5+ years in the cellar.
95p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Old Bastard, Kaesler
In comparison with the two previous Syrah´s, this comes of as heavier and not as light on its feet. But there is a fine, sweet, dense fruit here, and notes of bloody meat, mint and scorched earth.
The taste is big and broading with lots of everything - fruit, tannins, alcohol and structure. Very, very good but I prefer the American versions.
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Male Syrah, SQN
And now this. Sometimes words are so inadequate and this is one of those moments. The balance is perfect, its momentum is perfect, the framework is perfect, the fruit must have been polished by angels before being fermented. Enough said, the only thing it lacks is a bit of maturity. But hey, in 10+ years time this is an easy 100p wine, and that´s only because the scale stops there.
98p   (tasted 2016/05)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Changing Face Of Casalferro - 1983-2013

This Supertuscan (I still love that name!) was concived in 1993 and then it was made out of 100% Sangiovese. Fast forward to the latest release - 2013 - and now it is 100% Merlot.

Well, it has been a slippery slope. As early as in 1997 some Merlot was added, according to the Baron himself it was about 5%. During the late 90´s and the early 2000´s it contained more Merlot, ca 20%, but in 2007 a complete shift was done and since then the Casalferro has been a 100% Merlot wine.

I was lucky to get invited by Wineworld, and got a chance to meet the ever so charming Baron Ricasoli. Here are the notes from one of the Swedish juror...

1993 Casalferro
From magnum. The four first vintages was presented in magnums, as it should be! The Baron himself seemed to think that the 93 had gone a bit to far. But not yours truly! The nose is big and a bit brawny with notes of dried plums, Christmas spices, old chocolate biscuits and leather. Given this blind I would have placed it in St Emilion or Pomerol. Very, very good. Actually caught some momentum with air. Fully mature, yes, but not in the least over the hill.
The taste is warm and friendly with everything blended together in a yummy mix. The finish is medium long, harmonious and uder friendly. Maybe a tad dry in the finish to be drinking on its own, but with the food it performed great. I wouldn´t mind having a stash of these magnums...
89p   (tasted 2016/05)

1997 Casalferro
From magnum. The 97 shows the treat of the vintage - broad, warm and forward. The nose is full of ripe black fruit, scorched earth, hot gravel and some chocolate. Broadshouldered, and maybe a tad so. It doesn´t have the charm of the 93, even though it got more muscles.
The taste is full bodied, warm and mature with ripe black cherries, sweet violets, chocolate mousse and dusty earth. The finish is long, warm and a tad clumsy. Very good but I prefer the 93.
88p   (tasted 2016/05)

2003 Casalferro
From magnum. From another hot vintage, this 13 year old wine displays a nose that is deep, warm and concentrated with notes of ripe plums, sugared coffee, tobacco and scorched earth. Very good but on the burly side of things.
The taste is big, warm and creamy with lots of ripe black cherries and notes of tapenade, sweet tobacco and hot, moist earth. The finish is long and sturdy with a warm ending. This is good in its warm appearance but still is the weakest link in this line up.
85p   (tasted 2016/05)

2005 Casalferro
From magnum. The second to last vintage with Sangiovese as the dominant part. And this is good! The nose is still young, focused and on fire with lovely notes of sweet red and black cherries, liquorice, rosemary and a lingering scent of expensive tobacco. Young but harmonious. This is goood.
The taste is young, seedy and nicely put together with notes of ripe cherries, hard cherry candy, raspberry liquorice and warm gravel. The finish is long, intense and with a nice dry finish. One just want to take another sip, and wait....I will!
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2007 Casalferro
The first 100% Merlot vintage. It is a great debut. The nose is ripe, outgoing and focused with notes of ripe plums, dark chocolate, Christmas spices and a moist forest floor. Rich and rewarding. This is fine. A very, very good fruit.
The taste is large and luscious with fine notes of plume, rosehips, crushed rocks and black tea. The finish goes on for over a minute and shows a fine retrained warmth. This will need 4-6 years in the cellar and will be even better after that.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2010 Casalferro
Aaaaah! The 10 Casalferro is a head and shoulder above the rest. With its stunning nose, full of ripe black cherries, plum compotte, bay leaves and a touch of mint, it really delivers the goods. Very deep and utterly refined. Young of course, but oooh so fine.
The taste is young, tight and intense with notes of ripe cherries, tobacco, graphite and the finest herbs in the garden. The finish is long, long and complex. This is very, very fine. Let this rest in the cellar for 3-5 years and you will be richly rewarded. This I´m buying!
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Casalferro
The 20th anniversary vintage of Casalferro is no slouch, but it is till very primary and in fact, a touch difiicult to evaluate. The nose is big and almost fiery with notes of ripe blueberries, warm flowers, new leather and earth. A bit all over the place. But there is a good concentration here. Just wait.
The taste is tight and intense with notes of ripe plums, violets, matchbox and warm tiles. Very, very long. A fine warmth in the finish. Very, very good. The mouth feel is better than the nose today. Wait at least 4-6 years. This should turn out great.
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

My earlier Barone Ricasoli encounters:
Barone Ricasoli In The House
Barone Ricasoli - Beyond Zoning