Thursday 30 August 2012

Crayfish & A Mature Chablis

I have found that crayfish and mature Chardonnay - preferable Burgundy - makes a nice pairing. And with a big bowl of these signal red crustaceans, I opened this bottle. It was no problem finishing the bowl or the bottle!

1989 Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume, Michel Vrignaud
The nose opens smooth, pure and with a lovely mature feeling. With some coaxing aromas of lemon cream, dried orange peel, yellow plums, dry fudge, minerals and some autumn leaves flows up from the glass. Not that intense, but gorgeously laid back and perfectly mature.
The taste is cool, mature and precise with fine notes of lemon cream, minerals, road dust, grape fruit juice and a touch of smoke. A very fine acidity. A medium long finish that ends almost bone dry. This is in a perfect drinking phase.
89p   (tasted 2012/08)

Tuesday 28 August 2012

An Evening With Wines From Mauro Veglio

A couple of days ago I was invited - thanks FV! - to a tasting of an array of wines from Mauro Veglio. The proprietors, Mauro and Daniela, was in Stockhom for a couple of days and this was a opportunity for some Barolo afficionados to taste their range of wines.

It was great meeting Mauro and Daniela, charming and passionate people, that are, rightfully so, proud over the wines they produce. For information about vineyards, cellar practises, vintages and so forth, check out -

We started with their Dolcetto and Barbera wines.
2011 Dolcetto d´Alba, Mauro Veglio
A fresh, young, upfront nose with lots of gorgeous lingon- and blueberries, licorice, dry resin and flowery notes. Very salivating.
The taste is as fresh and juicy as the nose lets on. Oodles of lingon- and blueberries, licorice, earth and a touch of metal (not in a negative way). A very salivating acidity. Very fresh and drinkable.
85p   (tasted 2012/08)

2011 Barbera d´Alba, Mauro Veglio
A cool, somewhat restrained nose with notes of not ripe rasberries, red apples, whole wheat biscuits and some chocolaty aromas. Good.
The taste is young, tight and a touch foursquare with lots of acidity and a medium sweet blueberry fruit. The middle taste is somewhat dry. A bit ungainly todat but there is fruit and structure here for something better in a year or so.
78p   (tasted 2012/08)

2010 Barbera d´Alba Cascina Nuova, Mauro Veglio
A fresh, young, pure nose with notes of blueberry pie, moist forest floor, leather and chocolate covered biscuits. A bit bushy, but in a good way. A fine sweetness to the fruit. Very good.
The taste is young, tight and a bit demanding with nice acidity and fine bluberry fruit. The finish is tight and nicely structured. Very good. Needs a year or two.
88p   (tasted 2012/08)

We continued with a fine serie of nebbiolos, first in the shape of a Langhe and then the whole line up of Barolis from 2008.
2010 Langhe Nebbiolo, Mauro Veglio
This is made from grapes from younger Barolo vineyards in La Morra and Monforte d´Alba. It has a fine, laid back, cool nose with notes of ripening red cherries, rose petals, minerals, almond paste and a fine floral note. Very fine in a unobtrusive way.
The taste is seedy, full of extract and firm with lots of sweet lingonberries, red currants, rose bushes and minerals. Pure and fine. A medium long finish. Very, very good. In 2-3 years time this should be a very fine bottle of wine. For 13 Euro at the cellar this is a bargain.
89p   (tasted 2012/08

2008 Barolo, Mauro Veglio
First out in the whole line up of the 2008 Baroli is the Normale. It starts out in a restrained way but with some coaxing nice aromas of red cherries, licorice, violets and a touch of smoke emerges. Very young.
The taste is young, tight and finely focused with notes of lingonberries, red cherries, licorice and the taste of a dusty summer road. A medium long finish taht ends with a fine dry note. Very good.
87p   (tasted 2012/08)

2008 Barolo Arborina, Mauro Veglio
Aaaah, there is something special about the wines from Arborina. At least for my nose and taste buds. This has a deep, gorgeous nose with lots and lots of crushed rose petals, red cherries, dried strawberries, a sweet, deep earthy note and a touch of chocolate. A wonderful nose!
The taste is young and tight but filled with lovely sweet fruit, strappy tannins and a minute long finish. A lovely note of rose petals fills the mouth in the finish. Very elegant. Still very young of course, but this is hard to resist today.
94p   (tasted 2012/08)

2008 Barolo Gattera, Mauro Veglio
A big, warm, earthy nose with notes of red and black cherries, sun warm rocks, fresh mushrooms, licorice and tobacco. This has a lovely sweetness. More of a brute than the Arborina, but a kindhearted brute.
The taste is very tight, pure and concentrated with sweet cherry fruit, almost in the shape of cherry liqueur, and notes of tobacco, licorice and moist earth. Hard cherry candy shows up in the finish. Very warm but on the right side of things. Very, very good.
91p   (tasted 2012/08)

2008 Barolo Castelletto, Mauro Veglio
This is the only Barolo that doesn´t come from La Morra, but originates from Monforte d´Alba. On the nose it is darker, warmer and with more muscle than the two previous wines. More black than red cherries, a touch of blackberries with green raisins, dried strawberries and leather thrown in. A touch monolithic. Needs time.
The taste is very tight and concentrated with seedy black fruit and very noticable tannins. There is fine elements here and there but this needs to come together. A fine sweetness shines through. A very long finish with a fine warmth. Needs 5+ years.
86p   (tasted 2012/08)

2008 Barolo Rocche dell´Annunziata, Mauro Veglio
This, alongside the Arborina, was the star of the tasting. A hauntingly deep, concentrated , fresh nose with notes of sweet blueberries, chrushed summer flowers, dark chocolate, ski wax and sun warm rocks. Very, very deep and fine.
The taste is young, tight, focused and seemingly hard until the wealth of sweet blueberry fruit makes it mark. There is a taste like the essence of dried roses. Also there is notes of tobacco, pan fried spices and earth. The finish is over one minute long. Very, very young. Great wine!
94p   (tasted 2012/08)

Then there were a line up of five vintages of the Barbera Cascina Nuova. The 2004 has a fine nose of sweet/sour red fruit and a lively, fine taste that could use a year or two more in the cellar (87p). The 2003 was a telling example of that this kind of warm, upfront vintages of Barbera should be drunk sooner than later. Lots of rubber and paint on the nose and full of fiery, sweet fruit in the taste and the overall image is of a unbalanced wine (72p). The 2000 is also marked of the warmth of the vintage but holds everything together much, much better, and is very drinkable right now (85p). The 2001 and 1999 shows that when Barbera is done right it is a very fine, yummy kind of wine. Both wines has hedonistically sweet fruit paired with a fine structure and lip smacking acidity that drinks sooo weell. Both wines (90p).

We finished with a mini vertical of Castelletto.
2004 Barolo Castelletto, Mauro Veglio
A fine, intense and lovely nose with notes of lingonberries, red cherries, licorice and rosehips. A wrote "floral" three times, so it obviously has a fine note of flowers in different shapes! Deep and fine. Really elegant.
The taste is still on the young side with lots of sweet red cherry fruit paired with notes of undergrowth, mushrooms, licorice and dark chocolate. The tannins creep up on you in the finish. Needs another 3-5 years in the cellar. Very, very good.
92p   (tasted 2012/08)

2001 Barolo Castelletto, Mauro Veglio
A deep, cool, fine nose with notes of red cherries, dried strawberries, leather and christmas spices. With some air the fruit becomes very upfront in a fine way. On its way to maturity.
The taste is tighter and more intense than the nose leads you to believe. Fine notes of chocolate covered cherries, licorice, violets and earth. The finish is long and warm. Needs another 3+ years.
90p   (tasted 2012/08)

2000 Barolo Castelletto, Mauro Veglio
This has a more subdued nose than the other ones in this flight. With some coaxing, notes of cool lingonberries, dried spices, dry leather and road dust emerges from the glass. There is also a nice floral note after a while. Fine.
The taste on the other hand is somewhat of a masochist dream, with seedy, dry tannins, a high acidity and not nearly enough fruit to balance the tannins with. I´m sceptical that cellaring will help. Maybe a big steak could do wonders with it, but this is not for me. Nice nose though.
81p   (tasted 2012/08)

1999 Barolo Castelletto, Mauro Veglio
A warm, fine, rather big nose with lovely red and black cherry fruit, moist earth, spices, rosehips, pipe tobacco and balsamic vinegar. Deep and fine. There is some maturity here. Very, very good.
The taste is more tight than the nose with lovely purity, sweet fruit and nice structure. Notes of black cherries, rosehips, tobacco and asphalt fills the mouth. The finish is medium long, very well balanced and ends with a fine dry twist. This has come part on its way to maturity, but needs 2-3 years more. Very fine.
92p   (tasted 2012/08)

Saturday 25 August 2012

A Vermentino Special

Liguria, where we spend a couple of weeks this summer, is a white wine country, with some exceptions, notably the Rossese, which will get its own post soon. The major grapes for producing white wines are Vermentino, Pigato and Bosco.
Vermentino is said to have originated in the Middle East and was brought by the Greeks to Liguria around the sixth century BC.

If you like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, then Vermentino should be for you too. It has, in the best examples, a fresh acidity, a crisp yellow fruit character with a spicy element that is really enjoyable. Salivating, fresh and pure; when Vermentino is done right, it is a joy to drink. Especialy it you have a plate of calamari fritti right beside you!
And a bottle of Vermentino will not ruin you either, the Maria Donato Bianchi below, the best of the bunch, cost me 12 Euro.
Below are the Vermentino´s I tasted during the summer.

2010 Golfo Dei Poeti Bianco
A fine, low tuned nose with notes of summer flowers, dry honey, melon and some spices. A touch anonymous but nice enough.
The taste is fresh, light and salivating with notes of tea leaves, buttercup flowers, dry honey and some waxy elements. A fresh acidity. Very easy and gulpable.
82p   (tasted 2012/07)

2011 Vermentino Vigna Sori, Poggio Dei Gorleri
A light, fresh, flowery nose with notes of cantaloupe melon, lemon, road dust and a fine spicyness. Medium deep. Fine and fresh.
The taste is cool, fresh and with more substance than the nose with notes of lemon, summer flowers, oranges, minerals and dried spices. A very fresh acidity. Very, very god.
88p   (tasted 2012/07)

2010 Vermentino, Maria Donato Bianchi
A fine, medium deep, fresh nose with notes of ripe lemons, flint, dried apricots, banana peel and flowers. Very interesting and on its toes. Salivating. This har character and finesse.
The taste is racy, fresh and just lovely with cristal clear acidity and gorgeous fruit, in the shape of melon, lemon and yellow apples. Some grassy notes and minerals follows. This is a really fine bottle of wine.
91p   (tasted 2012/07)

2010 Vermentino Serre, Lupi
A spicy, flinty, open nose with notes of lemon icecream, dried flowers, matchbox and some buttery notes. More opulent than the previous Vermentiono´s.
The taste is fresh, dry and pure with a nice body and notes of dried apricots, lime juice, dry honey and a buttery touch here as well. Medium long, dry finish. A good wine but it lacks a bit of nerve.
86p   (tasted 2012/07)

2011 Vermentino, La Felce
A light, fresh and elusive nose with whiffs of lemon, minerals and dried flowers. Some serious swirling is needed to get some respons from this wine.
The taste is nice and fresh but there isn´t much more to it. Some notes of lemon, minerals and grass can be detected. Nothing wrong but nothing really right either.
76p   (tasted 2012/08)

2009 Carlaz, Primaterra
This is something else! The nose is big, broad and mature with notes of moist forest floor, orange peel, dried apricots and a distinctive note of spontaneous fermented beer. Interesting but I don´t know if I like it that much.
The taste is big, tight and impressive with lots of yellow fruit - oranges, lemons and lime, with notes of moist earth, wet wool and a touch of wet dog. A tight structure. Good acidity. More interesting than good.
78p   (tasted 2012/08)

Thursday 23 August 2012

A Couple of 2001 Barolo & Barbaresco

These were poured at a tasting at H - thanks! First we were served a bottle of bubbly to get us in mood - but I´m afraid this bottle didn´t... But the following bottles did! :-)
All wines tasted double blind.

1996 Henriot
Last time I tasted the 1996 Henriot I found it to be a great bottle of Champgane, although a bit more mature than many other 1996´s. But this bottle was very awkward.
The nose is deep and fine at first but soon becomes one dimensional with notes of almond paste, mature pears, earth and that lovely scent of wet dog...
The taste is big, steady and warm with rather coarse mousse and notes of burnt toast, almond paste, tangerines and earth. It has a grape fruit acidity that doesn´t interact with the fruit. Not corked, not cooked, just a strange bottle.
78p   (tasted 2012/08)

2001 Barolo Vigna Lazzarito, Fontanafredda
A fine, cool, elegant nose with notes of sweet red cherries, rosehips, dried flowers and a touch of beef broth. Very fine. A lovely sweetness to the fruit.
The taste is young, energetic and fresh with young perky tannins and good lingonberry and red currant fruit. The tannins really make an impact in the finish. Still very young. This should surely turn into something really nice along the line, but it is too young today.
The Lazzarito is the best of Fontanafredda´s vineyards and have, in my opion, always been, which this tasting from 2010 shows.
89p   (tasted 2012/08)

2001 Barolo Gramolere, Fratelli Alessandria
A somewhat mature, round, evasive nose with notes of dried red cherries, licorice, forest floor and a touch of smoke. After a while a note of sawdust comes forward, that doesn´t add any complexity, rather the opposite.
The taste is tight, cool and young with notes of lingonberries, red apples, dry earth and licorice. Hard tannins - I wrote "a masochist dream" at the end. This needs time but I´m not convinced that it will turn out great.
81p   (tasted 2012/08)

2001 Barbaresco Coparossa, Bruno Rocca
A deep, decadent, gorgeous nose with notes of red cherries, lingonberrybushes, tobacco, fried herbs and a touch of bonfire. Very deep and fine. A lovely perfumed note ermerges after a while. Lovely stuff.
The taste is young, tight and concentrated with warm, sweet, yummy fruit, strappy tannins and a minute long finish. Very, very good. Notes of red cherries, licorice, dried mushrooms and cigarette ashes. Still very primary but great today and, I think, greater in 4-6 years.
93p   (tasted 2012/08)

2001 Barbaresco Basarin, Moccagatta
A big, intense and pure nose with notes of red and black cherries, modelling clay, licorice, smoke and dark chocolate. Very deep and fine. There is some new wood here but in the background.
The taste is very young, very concentrated and with tight, tight tannins, almost on the verge of hurting me... Cool lingonberry and red currant fruit with notes of smoke, earth, licorice and leather. The finish is very long and ends very dry. This needs food. The tannins are quite something else, but I have hope for this wine in 10+ years. Impressive and somewhat scary...
88p   (tasted 2012/08)

Monday 20 August 2012

The Perfect Ones - Part 16

In 2001 I arranged a head to head tasting of Taylor vs Fonseca. The vintages were 1992, 1985, 1977, 1970, 1963 and 1955.
The 1977 Taylor was corked but other than that it was an impressive line up. And one bottle was the perfection of mature Port - the 1955 Taylor. The best bottle of Port I have ever drunk.

1955 Taylor´s Vintage Port
A stunningly gorgeous scent just oozes from the glass with aromas of pan fried nuts, milk chocolate mousse, fresh rasberries, balsa wood, white raisins and a touh of linoleum. This can´t possibly be 46 years old?! Fresh as a daisy. A wonderful concentration. A class act. With a small deposit in the glass, I wrote - 110p...:-)
The taste is breathtakingly perfect with sweetness, tannins, acidity and structure in utter harmony. Notes of chocolate covered orange peels, assorted nuts, figs, dades, leather and moist earth. The finish goes on for several minutes. A glorious warmth. This is as good as it gets.
100p   (tasted 2001/12)

The other bottles at this tasting:
1992 Fonseca´s Vintage Port   (91p)
1992 Taylor´s Vintage Port   (96p)
1985 Fonseca´s Vintage Port   (93p)
1985 Taylor´s Vintage Port   (96p)
1977 Fonseca´s Vintage Port   (96p)
1977 Taylor´s Vintage Port   (corked)
1970 Fonseca´s Vintage Port   (98p)
1970 Taylor´s Vintage Port   (88p)
1963 Fonseca´s Vintage Port   (97p)
1963 Taylor´s Vintage Port   (96p)
1955 Fonseca´s Vintage Port   (88p)

Saturday 18 August 2012

Longing For Italy...

We have been home for almost two weeks and not a day have passed when we not wished we were back in Italy instead. Last night we tried to at least eat our way back. :-)

We munched on prosciutto crudo, fennochio, truffle salami, felino, taleggio, pecorino and parmeggiano, red pesto and washed it all down with a bottle of

2008 Vino Nobile di Montelpulciano Vigna Nuove, Poliziano
The Vigna Nouve stands for grapes from new vines. The nose is big and open for business right out of the bottle with fine notes of sweet/sour cherries, thyme, road dust and some meaty notes, just like raw veal. Some dry herbs as well. A little ungainly but after some time in the decanter it was more harmonious.
The taste is young, tight and fine with more structure and concentration than on the nose. A nice warmth. Notes of chocolate covered cherries, bluberry bushes, thyme and nicely polished tannins. Medium long finish with a warm ending. Not a great wine but it has its charm. Definitely worth the 16 Euro it cost at the state monopoly.
87p   (tasted 2012/08)

Thursday 16 August 2012

Examining Two 1993 Barolo

1993 is a vintage that have lived its life mostly under the radar, sandwiched between the great vintages of 1989/1990 and the string of fine vintages starting with the 1995. I find the 1993´s to be a fine, useful vintage that doesn´t excel in complexity but well in drinkability, especially for a Barolo vintage. Most 1993´s have now matured but they still offer some real drinking pleasure.
Two 1993´s that really are magnificent wines are the Bric dël Fiasc from Scavino and the Arborina from Altare.
Some days ago I opened two more 1993`s that proved the point on drinkability.

1993 Barolo, Fratelli Revello
A broad, mature, sweet nose with notes of ripe cherries, pipe tobacco, muscovado sugar, old leather and autumn leaves. Round and fine. Fully mature on the nose.
The taste is at that nice maturity level where the fruit is sweet and round, the tannins have nicely melted and the acidity keeps everything in check. In short, a lovely mouthful. Notes of cherry candy, balsamic vinegar, dry chocolate and earth. What it lacks is complexity. A lovely drinking wine but it doesn´t offer up a multidimensional character. But what the heck, sometimes is just about pleasure, right...:-)
86p   (tasted 2012/08)

1993 Barolo Vigna Rocche, Rocche Dei Manzoni
This, on the other hand, have complexity, and a winning personality. The nose is big, mature and lovely with notes of ripe red cherries, lingonberries, bucketfulls of rosehips and dried mushrooms, licorice and moist undergrowth. Deep and intoxicating. After a while a gorgeous note of cherry jam with bay leaves reveals itself. Stunning to just sit and sniff.
The taste can almost match the great nose but the structure in the mouth is a little more foursquare. There are fine notes of cherry pie, dried mushrooms, rosehips and leather, but the tannins haven´t melted into the fruit in the same way as in the Revello, and are a bit "on the side". The finish is long, warm and fine. I think that this one isn´t going to get any better, so it was high time drinking it.
91p   (tasted 2012/08)

Monday 13 August 2012

Just Bought

A package arrived today - six bottles of 1964 Rioja. My first "what, can wine taste this good!" moment was with a 1964 Rioja some 27 years ago. I don´t remember the producer, I just remember that I thought that I have to get a closer look into wine.
Well, 27 years and thousands and thousands of bottles later, it is a little emotional to unwrap these bottles, they bring back memories.

Saturday 11 August 2012

A Bottle of Bubbly

Some days I really yearn to grab a bottle of champagne, slowly ease out the cork, pour myself a glass and delight in that first sip. And that first sip always gets 100p. :-)
And this was one of those days. And today the bottle was

2005 Brut Chardonnay, Nicolas Feuillatte
The nose is a tad shy at first, but there are some nice notes of minerals, yellow apples, gravel and a touch of mint. With air it becomes sweeter and notes of lemon fudge and oatmeal cookise emerge. Very nice but it lacks a bit of stuffing to be great.
The taste is young, fresh and lively with notes of lemon peel, yellow apples, dried up bread, gravel and a petty note of metal. A medium long and very dry finish. Very young. Could surely develop into something even nicer, but I don´t think it will become great with age.
I noted that the label said Brut Chardonnay, not Blanc de Blancs. Destined for markets that don´t understand what Blanc de Blancs stands for?
87p   (tasted 2012/08)

Friday 10 August 2012

Sancerre & Barolo

Last night I opened these two bottles for dinner. With some fresh fried fish and vegetables I was craving a fresh, vibrant white wine. The 09 Sancerre from was Henri Bourgeois was emptied on many occasions last summer. Lets check out the 2010.

2010 Sancerre, Henri Bourgeois
The nose is young, fresh and outgoing with notes of nettles, freshly cut grass, wet rocks and gooseberries. Good but the 09 had some more stuffing.
The taste is fresh and salivating with nice notes of nettles, cap gun powder, wet asphalt and grass. The finish is a tad short but it delivered the goods with the fish.
84p   (tasted 2012/08)

I had opened this bottle of Barolo two hours before dinner and decanted it. And it needed it, it got better and better in the glass all evening. Drank it with a pastadish with salsiccia and ceps.

2001 Barolo Ornato, Pio Cesare
A deep, powerful, warm and intense nose greats you when you put the nose in the glass. There are gorgeous notes of black cherries, rosehips, balsamic vinegar, hard cherry candy and a touch of bonfire smoke. With more air it becomes sweeter with a touch of vanilla pod. Very, very fine.
The taste is still big, tight and a bit brawny. The fruit is sweet and hedonistic. Lots and lots of black cherries, leather, balsa wood, bay leaves and smoke. The finish is long and structured. This still needs another 5+ years to get it all together but with a couple of hours decanting, this is drinking great now.
93p   (tasted 2012/08)

Thursday 9 August 2012

Some Impressions From Summer - Part II

Som more pictures from the weeks in Italy.

Now - what to open for tonight...?