Friday, 30 May 2014

The Glass Battle - Riedel vs Zalto - Round One

Vinum, Extreme, Zalto
It had to be done - a celebrity death match over which glass that is the ultimate Pinot glass. I have for years tasted from three different Riedel glasses:
Vinum Pinot Noir
Vinum Extreme Pinot Noir
Sommeliers Burgundy Grand Cru
And while the Sommeliers glass is impressive, my conclusions are that the Vinum usually fits older Pinot (and Nebbiolo) best, while the Extreme glass usually is best suited for younger versions of Pinot (and Nebbiolo).

But I have been reading about a new player in town - the Zalto Burgundy. And people have been saying good things about it too. Up to now I haven´t tried it for myself. But thanks to David I did last night - thanks!

Round One - a New Zealand favourite of mine - Ata Rangi Pinot Noir. Here are tasting notes for the 2009 and for the 2010. But last night Riedel and Zalto battled with the 2011 vintage.

2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir - in Riedel Vinum
From the Vinum glass a fine, spicy nose oozes up with notes of ripe raspberries, forest floor, red apple skin, rhubarb and a fine perfumed scent. Very, very good. Elegant.
The taste is young, cool and healthy with notes of raspberries, licorice, balsa wood and forest floor. A long, fresh finish with a fine acidity. This is really good although its not really up there with the previous vintages.

2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir - in Riedel Vinum Extreme
My previous conclusions on the best glass didn't fit the bill in this case. The Ata Rangi didn't perform at all well in the Extreme glass. The nose is duller, darker and doesn't have the vigour that is shown in the Vinum glass.
The taste is also heavier, and not in a good way, and it ends dryer. There is not the same Pinot lightness as in the Vinum glass. Still good but without the refinement shown in the previous glass.

2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir - in Zalto Burgundy
Lo and behold - the contender sweeps in and defeat the tag team duo from Riedel. The nose is that of the Vinum glass but with a added depth and structure. A very fine sweetness to the fruit. Really good.
The taste is also the best, with added purity, balance and definition, and the raspberries comes out sweeter and riper. Most definitely the winner.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

Well, well, it seems that I have to get me some more Zalto glasses. The only downside is that I think that the Zalto glass is not as balanced in the hand as the Riedels. It is a bit wobbly when you swirl the glass. And the stem is so thin you are constantly afraid you're gonna break it. :-)

Lets see what Zalto can offer up in Round Two - a mature Burgundy from the best vintage ever...- stay tuned!

For a earlier glass test with a Barolo - check this out.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Barone Ricasoli - Beyond Zoning

I was invited to this interesting tasting by Wineworld.  Barone Ricasoli have been conducting a three years study at Castello di Brolio together with a group of researchers from various institutes. Baron Francesco Ricasoli was in Stockholm and he presented the wines below with enthusiasm and charm.
Read more here.

First we got to taste four different Sangiovese wines from the 2013 vintage. All have been aged in older barriques.
All four got the typical Sangiovese characteristics - so I won´t jot down them below - but showed very different characters and structures. I will try to describe the difference between them, which derives directly from the soil. The information of the soil types are from the material we got from the estate.

2013 Zona Macigno del Chianti, Arenarie
Very stony soil, silty-clayely texture (15% clay), low calcium carbonate, rich in potassium-bearing minerals. Well drained and moderate amount of available water (130-150 mm/m).
This wine is the lightest in colour and the lightest on the nose, although it showes a nice concentration and has some smoky notes on the nose that the others don´t have. The taste is elegant and with a fine salty note. The most withdrawn of the four.
88p   (tasted 2014/05)

2013 Zona Montemorello, Alberese
Very stony soil, loamy-clayely texture (30-33% clay), quite calcareous with a high active calcite content (80-120 g/Kg). Well drained with a moderate amount of available water (130-150 mm/m).
This one is a bit darker in colour than the previous one and has a beautiful floral note that the others don´t have. Very elegant. The taste is very red fruity and with the same floral note. Long and intense.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

This will make a great read!
2013 Zona Depositi Marini
Gentle slopes, rather reddish,, loamy texture (25% clay), moderately calcareus, moderate gravel. Slow draining, moderate available water (130-150 mm/m).
A deeper, heavier nose with a definitely salty note - from the sea deposit soil? The mouth feel was that of a heavy wine with sweet tannins and a cherry bitterness in the end. The one I like the least, although it is a good wine.
87p   (tasted 2014/05)

2013 Zona Antiche Terrazze Fluviali
Slope quite steep, fine loamy texture (40% silt, 30% clay), moderately calcareous. Well drained, moderately available water (110-130 mm/m).
This is the most aristocratic of the four wines, a thoroughbred from start to finish. Very young of course but this would make a beautiful single vineyard wine in my view. According to Francesco Ricasoli the thought of making a single vineyard wine have been on the drawing table but for now these different soils goes into making a even better Castello di Brolio.
93p   (tasted 2014/05)

This was a really interesting tasting and it would have been fun toying with the glasses and trying to make my own perfect blend, but alas, the food was on its way in we got four new wines to taste, so the glasses had to be emptied.

2010 Brolio Riserva
The debut vintage of this Riserva offers up a big, warm, fruity nose with notes of cherry compote, dried flowers, dark chocolate and some vanilla pod aromas. A little in-your-face character but I really enjoy that in this wine.
The taste is young, tight and more finely tuned than the nose, with notes of ripe black cherries, violets, gravel and dark chocolate. A long, balanced finish with noticeable tannins. Give this baby 3-5 years. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Casalferro
A upfront, warm, fine nose with notes of Christmas spices, black cherries, violet pastilles and sweet fennel. Very good. It has a very fine warmth to the fruit. Deep.
The taste is young, taut and warm with notes of black cherries, corinthians, orange peel and dark chocolate. There are some steady tannins in the long finish. Give this 4-6 years to mellow. !00 % Merlot since 2007.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Colledilá
The first vintage of this "super" Sangiovese was 2007. The 2010 version shows a deep, concentrated, tight nose with notes of red and black cherries, rosemary, violets, dark chocolate and a Tuscan dirt road. Has a low keyed intensity. Very fine.
The taste is young and powerful with notes of black cherry compote, pickled cherries, dried flowers, tobacco and gravel. Aristocratic. Very, very good. This will surely be something else in 6-8 years time.
93p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Castello di Brolio
This wine is a long time favourite of mine, see a note on the 1997 here, and this vintage joined the ranks of great Castello di Brolio's. The nose is deep, refined and utterly gorgeous with notes of cool red cherry fruit, licorice, dried flowers, Zegna leather, violet pastilles and gravel. Light on its feet, yet packing some real power. Great!
The taste is young, intense, pure and elegant with beautiful cherry fruit and notes of rosemary, salted licorice, rosemary, violets and minerals. The finiish goes of for over a minute and ends with a bite from those finely grained tannins. For real pleasure, wait at least 6 years, but this baby is irresistible even today. For 36 Euro you get a world class wine - I will surely get some.
95p   (tasted 2014/05)

We then got the opportunity to try out the new vintages of some of the rest of Barone Ricasoli's portfolio.
2013 Chianti del Barone Ricasoli
A light, cool, fresh nose with notes of red cherries, licorice, sandelwood and some gravel. Nice and easy going.
The taste is light, pure and nice with good lingonberry and cherry fruit alongside some notes of licorice, gravel and tobacco ashes. Good.
83p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Terra del Brolio
The Terra del Brolio is made out of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, and is a stunner for the 11 Euro it costs. The nose is medium deep, warm and spicy with notes of black currants, black cherries, tobacco, gravel and a fine flowery aroma. Really good.
The taste is young, warm and taut with notes of red and black currants, tobacco, gravel and some chocolate. A fine mouth feel. A medium long, warm finish. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Brolio Chianti Classico
The regular Chianti Classico displays a light, elegant nose with notes of cherry pips, licorice, tobacco, iron and violets. Very nice.
The taste is young and fresh with cool cherry fruit and notes of licorice, gravel and chocolate. A fine drinkability. Very good.
85p   (tasted 2014/05)

2011 Rocca Guicciarda Riserva
This usually is a good value Riserva and the 2011 is no exception. The nose is young and sprightly with notes of red cherries, salt licorice, veal stock, gravel and lavender soap. Cool and fine.
The taste is young, taut and rather elegant with notes of red cherries, sandelwood, rosemary and gravel. A cool character. Very good.
87p   (tasted 2014/05)

2006 Castello di Brolio Vin Santo
A big, deep, sweet nose with notes of saffron cake, salted almonds, rhubarb, dried fruits and some smoke. Very good. A hint of detergent (in a positive way). Deep and fine.
The taste is big, warm and concentrated with notes of dried apricots, blood orange juice, saffron and smoke. The finish goes on for over a minute. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2014/05)

We also tasted the 2012 Torricella - I really liked the quick taste of this Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend and will get back to it later - and 2013 Albia Rosé which striked me a young, light, fresh rosé that would work well as an aperitif.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Bottle Of Bubbly - 2006 Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut

Home early - thankfully! - from a hellish day and I need some immediate satisfaction. I thought that this bottle would do the trick.
I got this bottle as a gift - thanks Ulf! I have tasted some vintages of Iron Horse, but that was many years ago so this should be fun!

2006 Iron Horse Vineyards Classic Vintage Brut
A medium deep, low keyed nose with interesting notes of lemon cream, pickled ginger, red apples, raspberry truffles, smoke and some clay. A fine sweetness to the fruit. Very, very good. A tad soft but it has a fine purity to it.
The taste is gentle, fresh and very gulpable with notes of red apples, ginger, butter fried nuts, clay and a perfumed note. A fine underlying acidity. The finish is medium long and ends with a nice dry twist. This 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay blend is drinking great today and I can´t really see any upsides cellaring it longer. Just down the hatch!
90p   (tasted 2014/05)

And it would of course be a misconduct on my part if I didn´t recommend another Iron Horse...

Monday, 26 May 2014

Wines I Drink To Seldom - Six Bottles Of White Bordeaux

Last week I was lucky when G arranged our latest tasting group get together and opened 6 bottles of white Bordeaux - its been too long!.
Expect for the first, corked bottle, all wines came from the 2008 vintage. And all felt younger than the 6 years they are. They could, and should, be cellared for at least 6 more years before they start to show some maturity.
Tasted double blind.

2011 Château Carbonnieux
It didn´t start out that good though - corked "#%¤#"¤%#!!

2008 Domaine de Chevalier
A young, spicy, fresh nose with notes of white currants, blood orange peel, salmiak, green leaves and lots of crushed rocks. Very good. A slightly oily character. Some subdued oak notes.
The taste is young, grassy and dry with notes of almond paste, hard lemon candy, grass and wet stones. Still young. Very good but I have to admit I was a tad disappointed when the bottle was revealed - my taste buds are usually very found of the white Domaine de Chevalier. Good but not great. 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon.
86p   (tasted 2014/05)

2008 Château Couhins-Lurton
A young and pure nose with notes of gooseberries, grass, cat pee and minerals. The only one that showed the obviously Sauvignon characters, not surprsingly so since Couhins-Lurton is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Very good, fresh and upfront.
The taste is young, sprightly and gulpable with notes of goose berries, star fruit, grass and lime peel. A fine acdity. A medium long finish with a nice pure ending. Very good.
88p   (tasted 2014/05)

2008 Château de Fieuzal
A young, deep, lightly smoky nose with notes of lemon juice, dry fudge, melon and vanilla ice cream. Very, very good. A lot of minerals beneath the fruit. Refined. Evolves nicely in the glass. This is good.
The taste is young and taut with notes of hard lemon candy, dry caramell, almonds and warm grass. The finish is long and persistent. A very fine intensity. Really fine. de Fieuzal consists of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon. Best in the line up.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

2008 Château le G de Château Guiraud
The dry white wine from Guiraud is made out of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. The nose is young and fresh with notes of pear ice cream, lemon peel, grass and flint. Medium deep. Upfront and juicy.
The taste is young and highly drinkable with notes of lime peel, grass, white curants and crushed rocks. A fine acidity. Medium bodied and with a good structure. A fine warmth. Very good.
87p   (tasted 2014/05)

2008 Château La Louviére
I have always liked La Louviére and when the bottle was revealed it was like meeting and old friend that I have not met in a long time. The nose is young, pure and intense with notes of gooseberries, white currants, pickled ginger and cap gun smoke. Deep and fine.
The taste is fresh and pure with notes of not yet ripe pears, lime, white currants, grass and flint. A long finish with a fine acidity. A very good mouthfeel. This I like! 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

One White & One Red From Château Haut-Gléon

I received both of these bottles as tasting samples. The etstate is located in Durban in Languedoc-Roussillon and produce an array of wines - see more info here.

2012 Château Haut-Gléon (white)
This young wine from the south of France has a salivating nose with notes of white peaches, summer flowers, hand cream, candied lemons and wet stones. The cepage consist of 70% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc and 10% Marsanne. It has seen 6 months inside new barrels and there is a hint of milk chocolate fudge that adds dimensions to the fine nose.
The taste is young, fresh and juicy with notes of grilled lemons, dried honey, peaches and a fine oilcloth note. There is a silky texture supported by a fine acidity. Easy to gulp down yet with a fine character and some complexity.
89p   (tasted 2014/05)

2008 Château Haut-Gléon (red)
The slightly older red version displays a warm, smoky, fine nose with notes of spicy blueberries, resin, bay leaves, veal meat and a touch of bonfire. There is also a touch of dog fur here. A medium depth. A fine balance. This is good.
The taste is younger than the nose leads me to believe, with notes of blueberries, rosehips, balsa wood, wood smoke and a fine peppery note. The cepage is 45% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 25% Carignan V.V. The finish is medium long with a fine note of fried rosemary. Very, very good. Drinkable now but I would guess that it could be cellared for 8+ years.
90p   (tasted 2014/05)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Some Pics & Comments From Dinner Last Night At Friends

Me & C were invited to friends for a casual Friday dinner. No notebook, no hard core tasting crap, (well, a little blind tasting - we can´t help our selves...) good food and great company. Thanks!

A very fresh, satisfying Cider
A very good Carricante from Sicily - guesses were all over the place...
Light on its feet, mature and yummy
Vintage 2006 - still very young but with some time in the glass a really fine Pinot
The nose was the textbook of great Nebbiolo but the taste wasn´t as harmonious

Thursday, 22 May 2014

My 500th Post - Gotta Have Me Some Latour

When I reached 100 posts, I celebrated with a bottle of 1999 Château Latour. I guess that the 500th post also need a bottle of Latour. This was opened at my recent Ceretto dinner.

I thought it was worthy of a post of its own. Not that it was a great wine - just look at my score below. But scores are not all that makes a wine, right? :-)

Broadbent lovingly describes the 1931 Latour like this:
"Despite its reputation for making the best of a bad job, three notes consigned it to oblivion. Varnishy, skinny, unbalanced."
And the last tasting note was from 1981...
33 year have passed. It should have improved since then, don´t you think? Well, let pull the cork, and find out.

1931 Château Latour
Since I knew what it was and the rest didn´t, my expectations was kind of low. And I was pleasantly surprised. So were they. As far from a blockbuster you could get, this 83 year old Latour showed of some character.
The nose was like a fragile old lady with still a spark in her eyes. Interesting notes of green peppers, cassis, dry fudge, tobacco ashes and some glue. Very old but not over that well known hill.
The taste is old, frail and dry but still manage to make a statement through the notes of dry black currants, old leather, pencil shavings and tobacco it delivered. The finish is rather short though. Too old to be frank but far away from the train wreck that Broadbent described it to be.
78p   (tasted 2014/05)

And now to some boring stats. After 500 post and 32 months of blogging:
* As of today, I have had a total of 153.913 page views
* Swedes stands for 53% of the views, followed by USA, Denmark and Norway for the largest percentages of views
* The last 24 hours I have even have visitors from China, Australia, Brazil and Surinam!
* There have been a total of 679 comments during these 32 months
* The post with the most views, so far, have been A Midsummers Feast with 1.078 views

Ok then - when I reach 1000 posts - which Latour should I open...? :-)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Ceretto Tasting Dinner

Last saturday I had invited some friends to a tasting dinner with Barolis from Ceretto as the main event. But we managed to drink a few other bottles as well. A fun night - thanks all!

We started with a truffled Jerusalem artichoke puree and a grilled scallop. It went well with a bottle of
1989 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Joh. Jos. Prüm
A gorgeously mature, soft, elegant nose with notes of dried fruits, rubber tires, candied orange peel, peach lemonade and that wonderful after-the-rain aroma that mature Riesling can show of. In a perfect state of maturity. Very fine.
The taste is cool, refined and graceful with notes of dried apricots, sweet/sour lemons, smoke and some rubbery notes, to add to the complexity. The finish is long with a stunning acidity. I remember drinking this 10 years ago and then it was ungainly, but this bottle displays the virtues of cellaring great Riesling. A lovely bottle.
93p   (tasted 2014/05)

I love sweetbreads! And for this dinner I made a Christmas cracker variant with a chive sauce to go with two white Burgundies.
1996 Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume, Verget
Premox - baaaah! I have come across some premoxed 96 Burgundy´s, but reading various forums it would seem that at least 50% of 1996 were affected. Not in my experience, at most 1 in 10. And never one from Verget.
The Fourchaume has a big, fresh, potent nose with lots of smoke, sweet summer flowers, burnt butter, almond paste and dried tropical fruits. Great depth. This is really fine. There is some mature notes but this one has far to go.
The taste is big, tight and intense with a great structure, stunning fruit and a beautiful balance. The finish goes on for over a minute. Lemoncream, melted butter and crushed rocks are just some of the many notes in the mouth. Great wine!
94p   (tasted 2014/05)

1996 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons, Verget
The Vaillons has a more restrained character and displays notes of yellow apples, slate, cold butter and almonds on the nose. Medium deep and elegant. Very, very good. Evolves all night in the glass.
The taste is medium bodied and intense with notes of white pears, gravel, summer flowers and some smoky notes. A long, elegant finish. Not as direct as the Fouchaume but almost as good in its more backward way. And both wines should perform on this level for 6-8 years to come.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

It was now time for the first of several mini flights of Ceretto´s. First up, two bottles of Brunate. I served slices of a quail and cep terrine to go along.
1982 Barolo Brunate, Ceretto
The first of the Ceretto´s is a gorgeously mature Barolo. The nose is the perfect autumn walk in a forest where lots of mushrooms grows and there is a bonfire burning somewhere in a distance. Then throw in some licorice and (over)ripe black cherries and you got this nose. Lovely.
The taste is pure, mature and fresh with notes of undergrowth, licorice, dried mushrooms and rose petals. A long, warm finish with just the right amount of taninns left to clean the palate. I could drink this every day and never get tired.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

1985 Barolo Brunate, Ceretto
The three year younger version actually feels older. The nose is riper and softer with more moist undergrowth than the 82. The black cherries are a bit more sweet also and there are som pipe tobacco here as well. But the sweetness of the fruit is very yummy. But it lacks the nerve that the 82 has.
The taste follows the nose with warm fruit, a soft backbone and a meaty structure. The finish is long and fine but ends with a dry note. This has maybe passed its zenit by a bit but is drinking fine all the same. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2014/05)

Next up I served two Ceretto´s from the greatest vintage ever! :-)
To go along them some finger food in the shape of the legs of the quails, which I had melted to perfection in duck fat for two hours.
1964 Barolo Riserva, Ceretto
Most of the tasters thought (all but me tasted double blind) that this was about the same vintage that the previous two... This masterpiece is still brimming with life and performed in a stunning manner. The nose is deep and profound with notes of mushrooms, black cherries, sugared coffee, dried rose petals and cigarr smoke. Just beautiful. Very, very floral. And some white mold, like in cheese (in a positive way!).
The taste is ripe, mature and complex with notes of sweet red and black cherries, dried mushrooms, licorice, rose petals and gravel. Very long. A lovely warmth in the finish. Perfectly mature. This bottle must have been in a time warp, a bottle tasted 10 year ago from the same stash wasn´t as fresh as this one was. The beauty of wine drinking!
96p   (tasted 2014/05)

1964 Barolo Vigneto Zonchetta 1a Brunate, Ceretto
The 64 with the long name wasn´t as fine as the Riserva. This one displayed its age with notes of ripe plums, dried orange peel, rhum raisins and dried mushrooms on the nose. Molasses after a while. Big and brawny but a little past its best.
The taste is big and sweet with notes of plums, raisins, rosehips and old chocolate. Black tea in the finish which ends on a dry note. Worked with the food but a bit too old on its own.
83p   (tasted 2014/05)

For main course I prepared a pasta dish with rabbit meat, ceps, tarragon and pancetta. These great Bricco Rocche bottles needed some more substantial food.
1982 Barolo Bricco Rocche, Ceretto
I was looking forward to taste this wine again - 6 years ago it was a perfect wine. On this night it didn´t reach that height, but boy, was it a good drink! The nose is hauntingly deep, ethereal and complex with notes of black cherries, dried mushrooms, rose petals and licorice. Very, very fine. Maybe a tad more mature than the bottle for 6 years ago, but not much so.
The taste is ripe, mature and intense with lovely red and black cherries alongside notes of licorice, chocolate, beetroot juice and ceps. The finish goes on for over a minute and there are sandy tannins that leaves support. Great juice!
96p   (tasted 2014/05)

1985 Barolo Bricco Rocche, Ceretto
As with the Brunate´s, the 85 version feels more mature and warm. The 85 Bricco Rocche displays a warm, deep nose with notes of ripe black cherries, mushrooms, forest floor, pipe tobacco and some molasses. A fine warmth. Very, very good.
The taste is big and steady with a fine black cherry fruit and notes of licorice, fried mushrooms, autumn leaves and chocolate. Perfectly mature and with a good structure, this is drinking great this evening, but if I had any remaining bottles I wouldn´t save them for much longer.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

1990 Barolo Bricco Rocche, Ceretto
Lo and behold - only 5 respectively 8 years younger than the two previous wines, the 90 Bricco Rocche feels like it was 20 years younger! A very concentrated, ripe, almost forceful nose oozes up from the glass with aromas of black cherries, roses, beet roots, tobacco and ceps. A meaty character. Very intense and deep.
The taste is as forceful as the nose leads you to believe - masses of black, ripe fruit, a wall of sandy tannins and a taut, young structure. Absolutely magnificent, but when will this be ready? 2030? Time will tell, but I will surely get back to this creature in, say, 10 years time.
95p   (tasted 2014/05)

Three magnums for six people? Sounds about right! :-) Now it was time for the cheese platter.
1988 Barolo Brunate, Ceretto (magnum)
This 1988 was a bit tired - it showed some restrained plummy fruit and notes of licorice and autumn leaves but there was no real energy in the wine.
The taste confirmed that, a gentle, mature taste with notes of cooked red cherries, undergrowth and some tobacco. With the cheeses it behaved fine but on its own it was a bit hollow and short.
81p   (tasted 2014/05)

1989 Barolo Brunate, Ceretto (magnum)
Good at first, but evolved some cork like taint, although I think it was something else wrong with than TCA. Anyway, not enjoyable.
Not rated   (tasted 2014/05)

1990 Barolo Brunate, Ceretto (magnum)
A deep, mature, warm and inviting nose with notes of creamy black currants, sweet licorice, tobacco, dried mushrooms and forest floor. A very fine warmth. This seems to be in a perfectly mature stage but I would say that is no hurry to drink any remaining bottles.
The taste is big, warm and complex with notes of ripe black cherries, violets, rose petals, mushrooms and tobacco. A very long, intense finish. There is still some perky tannins in the finish. Very, very good.
93p   (tasted 2014/05)

There is something special about old Madeira, and the combination with some good chocolate is magical.
1880 Malmsey, Companiha Vinicola XXX
I had this wine 12 years ago and then it was an almost perfect specimen. The bottle tonight was great but, as with the 82 Bricco Rocche above, it didn´t reach the heights of the previous bottle. The nose is very deep and ethereal with notes of dades, salted nuts, dried caramell, old tobacco and tea leaves. A note of an unwashed dog comes and goes, interesting but not that yummy...
The taste is tight, intense and semi sweet with notes of pan fried nuts, ripe bananas, wet tobacco, licorice and sugared coffe. Very, very, very long with a searing acidity. The taste is more impressive than the nose.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

I left all decanted bottles as they were in the cellar and tasted them the day after and everyone was the same, in some cases even slightly better - a testament of the keeping power of Barolo.

Check out some other thoughts & fantastic pictures - here.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Tasting With Xavier Vignon

I got invited by Vinovativa to a tasting dinner with Xavier Vignon, an oenologist based in Rhone. He works with almost 200 domains besides managing a large laboratory.
Xavier was enthusiastic and very charming to talk with over dinner. A great evening - thanks!
We tasted the following.

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Xavier
This Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc blend offers up a young, fruity, spicy nose with notes of white currants, summer flowers, banana peel and eraser. Very floral. Upfront and fine. Very good.
The taste is cool, fresh and juicy with notes of white peaches, summer flowers and a hint of ginger. A good acidity. The finish trails of a bit. But this is drinking fine in the short term.
86p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Anonyme Blanc, Xavier
This is another creature altogether. Deeper, tighter and with a gorgeous yellow fruit. Fine notes of white currants, William pears, grilled lemons and a lovely salty note. Lots of minerals. Very, very good.
The taste is young, tight and intense with notes of white currants, sweet/sour lemons, a hint of liquorice and ginger. The finish is very long and complex. A gorgeous mouth feel. This I would love to drink again. Apparently the first vintage of this cuvee.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

2011 Grenache Vieilles Vignes, Xavier
A friendly, easy going nose with notes of dark berries, spice, liquorice and some burned rubber. Not that deep but good in its forward way.
The taste is pure, gentle and fine with notes of blueberries, liquorice, earth and black pepper. A good warmth in the end of the rather short finish. This is ok for what it is and cost (9 Euro).
82p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Xavier
A young, mute and a bit foursquare nose with notes of dried raspberries, garrigue, resin and dried flowers. Dried up raspberry jam after a while. Opens up a bit in the glass.
The taste is as mute as the nose with some notes of raspberries, blueberries, dry chocolate and resin. A medium long, warm finish. Good but in a closed stage?
85p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Xavier
The younger version is much livelier and fresh with notes of sweet raspberries, liquorice, leather, rosemary and warm flowers. A fine meaty aroma in this one. Deep. This is good.
The taste is big, tight and intense with notes of raspberries, root vegetables, meat, resin and forest floor. A long, warm, juicy finish. Very, very good. Still very young of course. Really fine.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

NV Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Réserve, Xavier
This beauty is a blend of three vintages - 2007 (43%), 2009 (21%) and 2010 (36%). The nose is profound with a stunning depth and concentration. Gorgeous notes of raspberry truffles, ripe blueberries, garrigue, expensive leather, veal stock and dried flowers. A old vine complexity. Very, very deep and refined. Great!
The taste is young, tight and focused with an array of red and black fruits alongside some notes of liquorice, resin, rosemary and leather. The finish goes on for over a minute. Very balanced. This is a very fine wine. Would love to have a couple of bottles to follow over the next 10-15 years.
94p   (tasted 2014/05)