Saturday, 31 January 2015

Drinking Tonight - 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Lompoc Wine Co

Yesterday I attended a great BYOB dinner, were most of the bottles were from California (notes to follow). I got a taste for the grapes from the California soil, so I opened this.

2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Lompoc Wine Co
The nose is deep, decadent and just lovely with notes of ripe strawberries sprinkled with black pepper, liquorice, Asian spices and a warm forest floor. A lovely sweetness to the fruit. Very, very good.
The taste is velvety and ripe at first but then it tightens up and in the end it leaves the mouth dry and ready for the next (large) sip. Notes of sweet red currants, raspberries, liquorice and expensive leather are highly noticeable. Medium long, medium bodied and full of real enjoyment. The bottle just evaporate, what to open next?
91p   (tasted 2015/01)

Friday, 30 January 2015

2010 William Murdoch Syrah

This New Zeeland Syrah was opened to go along some grilled sausages.

2010 William Murdoch Syrah
A young, sligthly herbal and spicy nose with notes of blueberries, veal stock and new leather. A medium depth. With air some flowery scents appear. Very good but a tad anonymous. Maybe too young still.
The taste is cool and peppery with notes of blueberries, gravel, veal meat and red bell peppers. Fine, laid back tannins and a medium long finish. Again, very good, but it lacks a bit of character.
87p   (tasted 2015/01)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Melville - Architecture, Orchestration & Elaboration

I was invited by Divine to a tasting with Greg Brewer, Melville´s wine maker since 17 years. The theme of the tasting was to see how Soil, Selection and Stems effected the result of Pinot Noir.
We were presented with four flights. The three first highlighted the difference between Soil, Selection and Stems. All other parameters - yeast, barrels, alcohol etc - was the same, the only things setting them apart is noted on each wine below. A very interesting tasting indeed!
The three first flights were barrel samples from the 2014 vintage.
The last flight was a presentation of evolvement over time of finished wines.

Greg made the presentation with flair, humour and enthusiasm, using a lot of, and fascinating, parables - fish, school reunions, body sizes, pupils, books and more...:-)

Flight I - Soil
Glass I - Sand, Sandy´s Block, Clone 114, 33% stems
A light, fresh, herbal Pinot nose with cool red fruit and some peppery aromas. This site is close to the ocean and there is a whiff of salty rocks.
The taste is finely tuned, sandy (!) and pure with a nice warmth and peppery raspberries. Very promising.
~90p   (tasted 2015/01)

Glass II - Sandy Loam, Anna´s Block, Clone 114, 33% stems
The version from the sandy loam has more blue fruits streaks on the nose and the taste is tighter with a higher acidity and a more restrained character.
~88p   (tasted 2015/01)

Glass III - Clay Loam, M Block, Clone 114, 33% stems
The M Block Pinot from its clay soil is more voluptuous and sweeter with raspberry licorice and forest floor. The taste is broader and denser than the previous ones with a lovely sweet fruit.
~91p   (tasted 2015/01)

Flight II - Selection
Glass IV - Sandy´s Block Clone 90, no stems
Reminds me of glass I, with the same perkiness to the fruit, although this is a tad darker. The taste is young and light with sweet lingonberries and red apples. A touch metallic in the finish.
~87p   (tasted 2015/01)

Glass V - Sandy´s Block Clone 459, no stems
A young, more restrained nose than the two others with notes of lingonberries and asphalt. The taste is young and seedy with a high acidity. Good but lacks charm.
~86p   (tasted 2015/01)

Glass VI - Sandy´s Block Clone 37, no stems
There is 16 different clones in Melville´s vineyards, and even though we "only" got to taste three, the #37 must be one of the best. The nose is deep and creamy with a lovely peppery raspberry fruit and the taste is silky yet intense with spices, liquorice and wild strawberries. This should be bottled separately - for me at least! :-)
~93p   (tasted 2015/01)

Flight III - Stem Inclusion
Glass VII - Block M, Clone 115, 0 stems
The one without stems shows a deep, sweet, spicy Pinot nose with liquorice, raspberries and spices. The taste is tight and intense with lot of character and sweet raspberry fruit. Very, very good.
~91p   (tasted 2015/01)

Glass VIII - Block M, Clone 115, 33% stems
The 33% stem inclusion shows that stems really contributes to the wine. This version has a denser, deeper nose and a taste with a tighter palate feel and more concentration. This is really, really good.
~93p   (tasted 2015/01)

Glass IX - Block M, Clone 115, 100% stems
But, as much as some stems can make a wine better, too much makes it worse. With 100% stems the nose becomes withdrawn and gravelly and the taste is very structured. Long, yes, but the fruit is muffled. Perhaps this version needs time to settle.
~87p   (tasted 2015/01)

Flight IV - Evolution

2012 Estate Pinot Noir
The nose is young and perky with notes of cool raspberries, forest floor, herbs and leather. A cool sense on the nose. Very, very good.
The taste is young, refreshing and kind of refined with notes of chocolate covered strawberries, gravel, herbs and liquorice. A medium long, finely tuned finish. Very fine.
92p   (tasted 2015/01)

2008 Estate Pinot Noir
Both the 08´s (see the Chardonnay below) didn´t perform. If it was an awkward moment in time for them, I don´t know. But the Pinot shows a (over)ripe nose with notes of very sweet, mashed strawberries, moist earth and raisiny aromas.
The taste is big, warm and meaty with strawberry jam, earth and tobacco. There is some warmth in the medium long finish. Not my cup of tea.
83p   (tasted 2015/01)

2004 Estate Pinot Noir
The stunning 04 made up for the 08. The nose is beautiful with some maturity and notes of wild strawberries, herbs, forest floor and root vegetables. Some perfumed scents after a while. Really good.
The taste is round, ripe and has a cool raspberry sweetness with notes of tobacco, forest floor, fresh herbs and leather. A fine complexity. This is good!
94p   (tasted 2015/01)

2013 Estate Chardonnay
A young, sprightly nose with notes of vanilla ice cream, white peaches, lemon peel and some grassy aromas. Needs time but this will be good.
The taste is young and fresh with notes of white currants, lemon cream and salty rocks. The finish is long and finely tuned. Very promising.
91p   (tasted2015/01)

2008 Estate Chardonnay
As with the Pinot above, the 08 Chardonnay didn´t perform well. The nose is big and buttery with notes of fish liver oil, apricots and old grass.
The taste is warm and creamy with notes of lemon cream, almond paste and mussels. Better on the palate than on the nose.
87p   (2015/01)

2004 Estate Chardonnay
The best wine on the table! This beauty has a deep, complex nose with notes of cold butter, cap gun smoke, hazel nuts and ripe peaches. Reminds me of an great, outgoing Puligny-Montrachet. Really fine.
The taste is tight and pure with notes of sweet limes, spices, lemon cream, white flowers and milk chocolate fudge. A long, persistent finish with a fine acidity. A great wine that will go on for years!
95p   (tasted 2015/01)

Monday, 26 January 2015

A Bottle Of Bubbly - 2008 Symphonie, Jean Comyn

In order to the fill a case before shipment I selected a bottle of this, for me, unknown producer. It came out as a very nice surprise!
Info here.

2008 Symphonie Brut, Jean Comyn
The blend is 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier. The nose is deep and a tad mature with notes of freshly baked bread, peaches, grapefruit, hard lemon candy and a hint of hand cream. Ripe fruit. Very, very good.
The taste is young and fresh with notes of ripe yellow apples, lemon candy, grapefruit and gravel. A long, creamy finish with a high, refreshing acidity. This could turn out even greater with 3-5 years in the cellar. Another fine 2008. For 37 Euro, this is steal. Guess another order will be on its way soon...
92p   (tasted 2015/01)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Taking Inventory

It was time to take inventory of the bottles of Riesling in the cellar, and lo and behold - I even found some bottles that I didn´t know I had - lucky me! :-)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Drinking Tonight - 2011 Vino Nobile Di Montepulziano, Poliziano

This has been a hellish week work wise, and this bottle was just pulled to get me some quick satisfaction when I got home tonight. Tomorrow it will be time for some more - hopefully - serious, mature bottles...

2011 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Poliziano
A young, forward, and with some time in the glass, fruity nose with notes of sour cherries, rosemary, cocoa, crushed rocks and a touch of bonfire. Some cigar ashes after a while. Quite upfront and yummy - a very lovely cherry nose.
The taste is tighter with sour/sweet cherries and additional notes of cool liquorice, rosemary, gravel and new leather. The tannins are pretty low keyed but there is a fine acidity. A medium, balanced finish. Very good.
88p   (tasted 2015/01)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Two Times 1987 Brunello di Montalcino

I recently bought a bunch of different Brunello´s from the 1987 vintage. Not the greatest of vintages, the Consorzio rates it three stars, but they were all from fine producers and seemed to be in excellent condition. The added bonus of buying the whole bunch for an attractive tariff, made me go for it.
Time to open two of them.

1987 Brunello di Montalcino, Caprili
This one has a soft, attractive, mature nose with notes of dried cherries, forest floor, boiled root vegetables, worn leather and dried herbs. Some streaks of violets after a while. Fully mature. A fine warmth to the fruit. Very good.
The taste is tighter and fuller than the nose leads you to believe, with lots of sweet black cherries, dried strawberries, warm gravel and herbs. The finish is long, warm and sturdy. In the very end of the taste there is some dry tannins, which are a perfect palate cleanser with food, but when drunk on its own it is a bit to dry at the end. Still very good.
87p   (tasted 2015/01)

1987 Brunello di Montalcino, Pertimali
The Pertimali is several steps up the quality ladder. The nose is mature but just so, with stunning notes of ripe black cherries, cocoa, bonfire, sweet rosemary, sugared coffee and a fine barnyardy scent. Deep, dark and beautiful.
The taste is broad over its shoulders yet precise, with lovely notes of chocolate covered cherries, tar, pipe tobacco, undergrowth and dried herbs. A long, creamy finish with an underlying wave of finely sanded tannins. A very fine structure. Perfectly mature. This is fine!
92p   (tasted 2015/01)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Castello Dei Rampolla - Mini Verticals Of Sammarco & Vigna d´Alceo

Sverker invited some of us to taste a couple of vintages of Sammarco and Vigna d´Alceo. It turned out to be another great evening - thanks!

But we started with two bottles of white wines, one with bubbles! Served blind.

2006 Felsen Türmchen Riesling Spätlese, Dönnhoff
A fresh, light on it feet kind of nose with notes of pear ice cream, freshly cut grass, slate and a touch of lavender soap. Very, very good. Feels very young still.
The taste is young and taut with notes of yellow pears, slate, gravel and the same lavender note as on the nose. The acidity is high and fresh and produces lots of saliva. A long, balanced finish that ends dry. This is very fine.
92p   (tasted 2015/01)

1996 Comtes de Champagne, Taittinger
What to say? What superlatives should I use to try to describe this beauty? Only January and already two candidates tasted for making the Most Memorable List when 2015 will be summed up. This is the first.
The nose evolves all night long and I saved the glass to see how it would perform when it had been standing in the glass for several hours and had reach room temperature. It was just stunning.
Some notes - among many - is perfectly ripe yellow apples, freshly washed clothes drying in a summer breeze, birch sap, salted caramel, cap gun smoke and many more.
The taste is like drinking liquid rocks with some caramel, flowers and lemons thrown in. The acidity is perfect. The finish is long, long, long and so balanced and creamy that the only thing you want to do is to take another large sip. And it still very young. We actually nailed it as Comtes de Champagne but I thought it to be younger than this. Will keep for a very long time.
98p   (tasted 2015/01)

From this great outset, four decanters were presented, and it was time for four vintages of Sammarco.
1986 Sammarco
The sixth vintage of Sammarco, the first one being 1980, performed very well. Sammarco is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Sangiovese thrown in, although the 2006 has some Merlot in the blend.
The 86 has a mature, round, barnyardy nose with notes of dried cherries and black currants, lead pencil, pipe tobacco and sweet autumn leaves. The nose is that of a 1985 Bordeaux from a fine Château. Very, very good.
The taste is mature and dry with notes of red and black currants, hard cherry candy, bakelite and some dry tobacco. More sweet and round on the nose than on the palate. A good warmth in the medium long finish where some tannins still are noticeable. If you have em, drink em.
92p   (tasted 2015/01)

1997 Sammarco
This 97 proves that this vintage still is a force to be reckon with (check out 40 bottles of Tuscan 1997 tasted during 2012/2013 for more proof of that statement - here).
The nose shows some signs of maturity but the fruit is still bright, sweet and perky, with notes of black currants, cherry syrup, chocolate wafers, warm tiles and some tobacco aromas. It has depth and refinement. Lovely.
The taste is a class act with a fine black currant and cherry fruit with additional notes of liquorice, lead pencil shavings, black currant leaves and warm tiles. There still is a fair amount of sandy tannins in the long finish. Very vital.
95p   (tasted 2015/01)

1998 Sammarco
The one year younger version displays very much the same character and notes as the 1997, but in a bit more restrained way. The fruit is a tad cooler and it behaves itself with a bit more grace, but I like the exuberance of the 97 more. Still a very, very fine bottle of wine.
92p   (tasted 2015/01)

1999 Sammarco
Corked #¤%&¤#"#¤&!!!!

The next flight appeared on the table in the shape of three decanters. Vigna d´Alceo is, as Sammarco, almost all about Cabernet Sauvignon but here the rest is Petit Verdot.
1996 Vigna d´Alceo
I tasted this, the debut vintage of d´Alceo, this summer, and was not that impressed. This bottle was better, even though it had to sit in the shadow of the masterpiece that is the 1999 (see below).
The nose is tight and fairly intense with notes of sweet/sour black cherries, black currants, gravel and a touch of coconut flakes. Rather dense. A fine warmth.
The taste is broad and ripe with warm black fruit, some unresolved tannins and notes of warm gravel, tobacco ashes and black currants leaves. A long, structured finish that ends a tad foursquare. Again, better than the previous bottle but the character is that of a slightly grumpy one.
89p   (tasted 2015/01)

1997 Vigna d´Alceo
Corked #¤%&¤#"#¤&!!!! Two bottles corked out of seven  - that is not a great batting average for Castello dei Rampolla...

1999 Vigna d´Alceo
This almost perfect specimen showcases a gorgeous nose with notes of ripe black currants, hard cherry candy, violets, forest floor, rosemary and a hint of a Cohiba cigar, that is being smoked in a distance. Utterly captivating, deep, layered and refined. Pure pleasure.
The taste is, as boring it may sound, the proverbial "iron fist in a velvet glove". It has muscles and backbone, all wrapped in sweet black currant fruit and sandy tannins. Additional notes of forest floor, liquorice, warm tiles and rosemary. The finish is over one minute long and is beautifully balanced. No need to hurry an drink any remaining bottles, this will go on for many years. A real treat.
99p   (tasted 2015/01)

1997 Sassicaia
This was kindly opened as a replacement for the corked 97 d´Alceo. I have been fortunate to taste this four times over the last couple of years and it has behaved great every times (note - this is NOT a 87p wine...).
The nose is a tad mature, deep and intoxicating with notes of red and black currants, leather, tobacco, dried herbs and forest floor. With air there is a hint of green peppers, leading us to guess Bordeaux before the bottle is revealed. Very, very good.
The taste is expressive and taut with notes of black currants, freshly grounded coffee, leather, forest floor and expensive leather. A long, finely tuned finish with lots of life still. This is really fine.
94p   (tasted 2015/01)

Then it was time for liquid desserts!
2008 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese Auction, Willi Schaefer
A young, sprightly nose with gorgeous notes of grey pears, lemon and lime peel, oyster shells, white peaches and boatloads of sweet minerals. Upfront, but with a great depth and focus.
The taste is pure and fresh as a mountain river with notes of sweet lime, flint, salt covered rocks, white peaches and grey pears. The acidity is crystal clear and just stunning. The finish goes on and on and on. A really, really fine bottle of Riesling.
95p   (tasted 2015/01)

2006 Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Auslese Goldcap, Dönnhoff
It was interesting to get to taste these three different Goldcap wines from Dönnhoff, all from the same vintage. The Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube was the lightest one on the nose but still showed nice aromas of peaches, rubber, warm grass and wet asphalt.
The taste is medium sweet with a great concentration and notes of white flowers, apricots, blood oranges and grass. A very fine acidity. Very, very good.
91p   (tasted 2015/01)

2006 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese Goldcap, Dönnhoff
The Brücke was my favourite, and the nose with scents of peaches, diesel, vanilla ice cream and a touch banana peel oozed up from the glass. Lots and lots of sweet minerals. Very deep.
The taste is a lection in purity and class with notes of white flowers, grapefruit, crushed slate and a hint of a vanilla pod. A lot of salty rocks in the long, long finish. A fine cleansing acidity. Great!
94p   (tasted 2015/01)

2006 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Auslese Goldcap, Dönnhoff
The Hermannshöhle is the most restrained of the three. The nose is cool and elegant and displays notes of oranges, white peaches, sweet minerals and a touch of band aid.
The taste is also restrained but beneath the surface there is a sweet, laser focused fruit with notes of grapefruit, yellow beets, sugared lemon cream and lavender honey. The acidity is the highest of the three. Very, very long. I would venture that this has a very long life ahead of itself.
93p   (tasted 2015/01)

Friday, 16 January 2015

2012 Bourgogne, Henri Boillot

With a creamy fish soup this generic white Burgundy from Henri Boillot worked wonders.

2012 Bourgogne, Henri Boillot
After some air gently aromas of dried apricots, candle grease, lemon cream and cap gun smoke arises from the glass. Very good. Soft, nice and with a fine core of sweet yellow fruit, and with a fine nerve. Young.
The taste is young, creamy and gulpable with notes of flint, white peaches, some dried pine apples and warm gravel. The acidity is not that high but compliment the fruit perfectly. A medium long finish that ends bone dry. I want to take another sip right away. Very good and I will bet it will get even better with 2-3 years in the cellar.
88p   (tasted 2015/01)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

1990 Château Le Castelot, St Emilion

Sometimes you get lucky. I bought a parcel a while back of minor Bordeaux bottles from the great vintage 1990. The first was Château Dauzac, which I knew of.
This estate I knew nothing about.
Apparently it consists of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the bottles will turn out...

1990 Château Le Castelot
It opens a bit funky but with some air it evolves in the glass into a mature, fairly elegant, cool nose with notes of caramelized red currants, some dried plums, sugared coffee, old leather and a fine soapy note. Not that much depth but a fine character. Very good.
The taste is mature and tight with notes of mocha, red currants, red cherries, leather and grounded coffee powder. A medium long, fine finish. It actually evolves all night and should have been decanted for 2-3 hours. Mature but not on the downhill slope.
And the horror! I paired it when some home made pizza with truffle salami, and guess what - it worked really well!
86p   (tasted 2015/01)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Bottle Of Bubbly - 2000 Blanc de Blancs, José Michel

Sometimes you just need a glass or two or more....of Champagne. As the other day when I opened this.

2000 Blanc de Blancs, José Michel
A still young, steely, sprightly nose with notes of lemon peel, white peaches, lemon candy and crushed flint. With some air it becomes softer with some lemon sponge cake notes. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and fresh with a fine acidity and notes of lemon cream, crushed seas shells, fresh ginger, minerals and a tiny amount of cigarette ashes. A medium long, fine finish. More structured than outgoing. This is very good and has many more years to go. It kept well in the fridge and was thoroughly enjoyed over three days.
90p   (tasted 2015/01)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Last Years Last Tasting

Miran called out for a tasting dinner between Christmas and New Years celebrations. Great fun - as always!
All wines tasted double blind.

1989 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett Auction, Ziliken
A mature, cool nose with notes of petrol, rubber boots, dry nuts and dried flowers. Some elderberries after a while. Quite subdued.
The taste is mature and dry with notes of dried apricots, earth, rubber and dried flowers. A high acidity. A bit hollow in the middle. Good.
83p   (tasted 2014/12)

1979 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese**, Jos, Cristoffel Jr.
A round, fine nose with notes of lavender honey, diesel, hyacinth and lots of minerals. Very expressive and fine.
The taste is mature and tight with a more dried up sweetness than on the nose. Notes of dry honey, dried melon and moist earth. A long, perky finish. Mature but not overly so. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2014/12)

Next line up was a tricky one. Guesses were all over the place in form of different vintages, different producers, different cepages and so forth. And then - all from the same producer, the same vintage and the same grape, all that separate them is from which Grand Cru village they come from... Go figure.

1996 Brut Millesimé, Nicolas Feuillatte

Chouilly - The Chouilly has a upfront, fine nose with signs of maturity and notes of day old bread, ripe yellow apples, apple juice, fudge and a warm smoky note.
The taste is round and somewhat mature with notes of yellow apples, milk chocolate fudge and minerals. A medium long, fine finish. Very good.
87p   (tasted 2014/12)

Le Mesnil - Corked #"#%&/%¤!

Ay - The Ay is as mature as the Chouilly but displays a warmer nose with notes of Tarte Tatin, autumn leaves and some chocolate wafers. A little deeper.
The taste is also warmer but at the same time more refined with lots od sweet minerals. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2014/12)

Cramant - The three following wines felt much younger than the two previous ones. The Cramant has a wonderful nose, full of dark lemon cream, summer flowers, lychee and spices. Cool and refined. Lovely.
The taste is tight and focused with notes of lemon cream, lychee, spices and dark fudge. The finish is long and intense. A high, cleansing acidity. A still young wine with lots of potential.
92p   (2014/12)

Ambonnay - The Ambonnay has the same spiciness as the Cramant, only with added intensity, with additional notes of barely ripe red apples and lots of crushed rocks.
The taste is young, intense and spicy with notes of red apples, summer flowers, wet rocks and dark fudge. A long, crisp finish with a high acidity. Very fine.
92p   (tasted 2014/12)

Verzy - The Verzy steals the show with its stunning nose, full of sweet lemon cream, cap gun smoke, crushed rocks, elderberries and a hint of fresh ginger. Deep and satisfying.
The taste is young, tight and complex with notes of spicy lemon cream, elderberries, dry liquorice, wet asphalt and minerals. The finish is long and precise. Very balanced. This is gooood!
93p   (tasted 2014/12)

We were then presented with 6 decanters that contained, according to Miran, "thin and weedy Pinot". As it turned out, Miran had got it wrong, again...:-)

2002 Pommard Clos des Epeneaux, Comte Armand
Usually one of my favourite Pommards, this was very good but as good as it was four years ago. The nose is spicy and medium deep with notes of beetroots, veal stock, black fruits and even a lightly peppery note, someone said sausages.
The taste is big and somewhat brawny with notes of sweet lingon- and blueberries, warm earth, leather and cooked root vegetables. It has a underlying firm structure. Needs more time.
89p   (tasted 2014/12)

2002 Givry 1er Cru Clos du Cellier Aux Moines, Domaine Joblot
Almost always a fine wine, this vintage was no exception. The nose is meaty, warm and concentrated with notes of sweet red belly peppers, forest floor, dried raspberries and spices. From time to time it has a Cabernet Franc feeling. Very good.
The taste is younger than the nose leads on, with fine notes of raspberries, lingonberries, forest floor, spices and veal meat. Very good tannins. Red cherry seeds in the end of the finish. There is no hurry drinking this one.
91p   (tasted 2014/12)

2002 Nuits St Georges Clos des Porrets, Henri Gouges
This very fine wine sports a concentrated, still young nose with notes of cool raspberries, licorice, tobacco and root vegetables. Very elegant.
The taste is tight, intense and seedy with notes of sweet lingonberries, tobacco, beet roots and warm earth. A very fine acidity. Long and lingering. Not as great as the 1964 but almost.
93p   (tasted 2014/12)

2010 Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots, Lucien le Moine
I don´t think I have ever tasted a disappointing or even a mediocre wine from Lucien Le Moine, and this stunner was no exception from the rule. The nose is deep and beautiful with notes of wild strawberries, rose petals, freshly grounded spices, warm tiles and expenisve leather. Penetrating and focused. Just great.
The taste is handsomely elegant and precise with notes of ripe raspberries, spices, rose petals and some deep flowery notes. The finish is long and refined. This is as good as it gets, and with age it will become even greater.
96p   (tasted 2014/12)

2008 Upper Picnic Spring Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Neely
The only American bottle in the line up doesn´t convince. The nose is spicy and fine in the beginning but soon evolve some dirty, earthy beet root, coca-cola notes. Warm. Chocolate biscuits.
The taste is warm, concentrated and a touch flabby with notes of raspberry jam, fennel, sweet licorice and moist earth. The taste is more harmonious than the nose. Good.
85p   (tasted 2014/12)

2009 Bürgel Spätburgunder, Keller
A fine, young, seedy nose with blue- and raspberry fruit intermingled with notes of asphalt, dried flowers, dried spices and earth. A cool sweetness to the fruit. Very good. A bit seedy.
The taste is young, fresh and seedy with notes of a raspberry and blueberry smoothie, asphalt, licorice and gravel. A long and finely tuned finish. This is fine.
92p   (tasted 2014/12)

2007 Barolo Marenca, Luigi Pira (magnum)
I obviosuly prefer the top of a magnum... This was not kind of Miran. Two decanters presented as two different wines, but in fact just a magnum split in two decanters. Did the two glasses differ? Yes, they did... Even after it was revealed, they did. At least, in my mind...
Anyway, the nose (in the better, first glass) is deep, meaty and earthy with notes of fresh mushrooms, ripe red cherries, rosehips and pipe tobacco. A lovely warmth to the fruit. Very, very good.
The taste is young, tight and concentrated with notes of hard cherry candy, rosheips, tobacco ashes, dusty earth and some leather. A very long finish with some distinctive tannins. This will turn out even greater with 5+ years in the cellar. Before we knew what it was I scored glass 1 - 95p, and glass 2 - 93p, so if you mix them together you get...
94p   (tasted 2014/12)

2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Clos des Papes
This had been opened the day before and we got a taste of what was left. The nose is big and warm with notes of raspberry jam, raspberry liquorice, dark cookie dough, resin and fried herbs. Good.
The taste is broad and warm with notes of black cherries, raspberry jam, garrigue and meat stock. A long, very good finish.
88p   (tasted 2014/12)

2003 Quarts de Chaume, Baumard
I had this pegged as a Vouvray from Huet, but alas... It has a deep, penetrating nose with lovely notes of oil cloth, hay, white peaches, dried apricots and rubber. Some earthy notes after a while. Very, very good.
The taste is big, sweet and concentrated with notes of lemon cream, hard candy, oil cloth, hay and some rubber. A long, fine finish with a cleansing acidity. Still young.
91p   (tasted 2014/12)

1992 Vesuvio Vintage Port
Last up was this Port. The nose is young and slightly peppery with notes of bakelite, black cherries, figs, fried nuts and moist earth. Very tight and a bit unyielding. Needs time.
The taste is broad shouldered and steady with notes of sweet liquorice, figs, green raisins, dark chocolate and bakelite. A long, warm, generous finish. I think that this will need another 8+ years to reach some sort of maturity.
90p   (tasted 2014/12)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Drinking Tonight - 1985 Barolo Riserva Rocche Di Castiglione, Michele Chiarlo

On this last night of almost three weeks vacation I needed something mature yet sturdy to go along a plate of braised beef. I opted for this, hopefully, mature bottle from Michele Chiarlo. This was bottle 2.326 out of 2.800 produced. Would love to have one or two of the 100 magnums produced...

1985 Barolo Riserva Rocche Di Castiglione, Michele Chiarlo
Upon opening the bottle the nose was locked tight and I decanted it two hours before dinner. And it needed that time. In fact it got better and better all evening.
The nose slowly evolves into a old fashioned Barolo with wonderful notes of warm rosehips, dried cherries, rose petals, red tea, hot gravel, a mushroom forest and coffee grounds. Very expressive yet firm. Very, very good.
The taste is mature, solid and steadfast with fine red fruit and notes of rosehips, lingonberries, bakelite, mushrooms and gravel. There are some old style, a tad foursquare tannins lurking in the background. A long, warm finish that ends dry. I liked this a lot and it was a perfect match with the beef.
91p   (tasted 2015/01)