Tuesday 18 September 2012

A Hedonistic Night With American Beauties

I was invited to M & J a couple of days ago with a promise that we were going to drink some good wines. And that we really did! Great food, wine and company - thanks!!
All wines tasted blind.

This starter was poured while we were helping out with the food preparations.
2002 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese*, Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben
A very fine, deep, maturing nose with notes of lemon cream, dried apricots, mango and some gas station aromas. After a while notes of warm spices and elder berry emerge. Very fine.
The taste is smooth, fine and gentle with notes of wet stones, dried apricots, lemon candy and hints of rubber. A long, nice finish. Not that high acidity. This is drinking extremely well at the moment.
90p   (tasted 2012/09)

Then we were served some antipasti with two great bottles of Champagne.
2005 Avizoise Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Agrapart
Aaaaah, what a elegant, precise and deep nose that greets you when you put your nose in the glass. Stunning aromas of stone baked bread, warm hay, fennel, sea weed, freshly washed clothes and madeleine cakes. Just wonderful. Very, very elegant.
The taste is young, tight and expressive with pure scents of lime, lemon, star fruit, licorice and freshly baked bread. The acidity is high pitched and truly great. Lots and lots of minerals and rocks in the long, long finish. Great wine.
95p   (tasted 2012/09)

1996 Cuvée Nicolas Francois, Billecart-Salmon
A fruity, open, fine nose with notes of yellow apples, almond paste, dried fruit and flowers, and wet rocks. A nice touch of maturity. Very clean and good. Lots of sweet fruit.
The taste is cool, fresh and with a gorgeous purity with notes of red and yellow apples, almonds, warm grass and a touch of dry licorice. The finish is long, dry and very nice. Very balanced.
92p   (tasted 2012/09)

With a yummy Jerusalem artichoke soup with prawns we were served what we thought were three different grapes...enough said.
2010 Hamon Chardonnay, Diatom
My experience with the wines from Diatom have been up and down, but it has on those two occasions at least behaved like a Chardonnay. This one didn´t...
The nose is deep, elegant and a tad withdrawn with notes of lemon peel, smoke, wet rocks, rubber and a touch of wet dog fur (in a positive way!). I was gravitating towards a Austrian Riesling.
The taste is tight, energetic and vibrant with lots of sweet lemon fruit, lots of rocks and slate, and a fairly high acidity. Very long and fine. I like this a lot, but a Chardonnay from Diatom?? The problems with miss-labelling keeps on increases...
92p   (tasted 2012/09)

2002 Mount Carmel Chardonnay, Brewer-Clifton
I think this bottle have not been properly handled somewhere up to this night. The nose is big, open, mature and round with lots of warm fruit, red apples, almond paste, grass and some oaky notes. Good but somewhat suppressed.
The taste is big, mature, warm and a touch monolithic with notes of dried apricots, mature red apples, earth, and smoke. Big and warm. I think this is heat damaged. But funny enough it was the best match with the soup.
76p   (tasted 2012/09)

2008 Lower Rim Chardonnay, Stonestreet
This on the other hand is the real thing! A wonderful pure, big, tight and concentrated nose with notes of melon, cold butter, summer flowers, lime peel and a whole herbal garden. Very impressive. Dried strawberries after a while. A lovely sweetness and raciness.
The taste is as good as the nose promises, with beautiful yellow fruit, clear as a whistle acidity and a long, intense finish. Notes of matchbox, honey candy, almonds and lemon cream. Just beautiful. Reminded me of the Varner Chardonnay´s that I have tasted before.
94p   (tasted 2012/09)

Next up was a trio of American Pinot´s and this turned out to be an awesome line up!
2005 Little Hill Block Pinot Noir, J. Rochioli
A gorgeously pure, fresh and complex nose with oodles of the sweetest lingon- and strawberries mixed up with notes of red licorice, rosehips, milk chocolate and herbs. Utterly delicious. This has a hint of maturation but still has a long way to go. Lovely fruit. Moist forest floor.
The taste is younger and tighter than the nose with beautiful sweet rasberry- and strawberry fruit alongside notes of burning autumn leaves, rosehips, leather, herbs and some cold coffee. The finish goes of for minutes. A stunning structure adds to the complexity. Great, great wine.
96p   (tasted 2012/09)

2007 Mount Carmel Pinot Noir, Brewer-Clifton
A big, fresh, impressive nose with notes of rasberries, warm wet earth, red licorice, fried herbs and a touch of veal stock. More outwardly than the Rochioli but it has depth, character and very fine fruit.
The taste is tight, warm and mouthfilling with lots of sweet lingonberries, leather, bakelite and warm herbs. Still very young. There is a lot going on in the glass but it´s not really coherent today. Give this 3+ years and I´m sure it will be really fine.
90p   (tasted 2012/09)

2009 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir, Littorai
A very intense, deep and concentrated nose with notes of sweet lingonberries, rosehips, hard cherry candy, licorice, milk chocolate and some nice rubbery notes. Very deep and captivating. A lovely sweetness to the fruit. Still very young, but what a wine!
The taste is young, tight and focused with a great harmony between the fruit, acidity and tannins. Notes of lingon- and blueberries, dry chocolate, leather, warm herbs and pan fried root vegetables. A long, fine finish with a great grip. This has a splendid future!
95p   (tasted 2012/09)

With some nice fillet of beef and oven baked root vegetables we were served three big brutes of the Syrah origin.
2009 Upslope Syrah, Jaffurs
A deep, peppery, fine nose with notes of blueberries, raw meat, violets, beef broth, dried flowers and dark chocolate. A very fine depth. After a while there is a gorgeous perfumed note together with the sweet fruit. Complex and yummy!
The taste is big, warm and full of extract with notes of blueberry pie, dark chocolate, black peppered meat and moist forest floor. The finish goes on for two minutes. Very, very impressive.
94p   (tasted 2012/09)

2002 Castelli Knight Ranch Syrah, Pax
A hedonistic, deep and complex nose with notes of overripe rasberries, bay leaves, black peppered meat, beef broth, asphalt and eraser rubber. Waves and waves of sweet red and black fruit oozes up from the glass. Sooo sweet and fine.
The taste is big, sweet and tight as a brick with lovely notes of blueberries, rasberries, rosehip marmelade, licorice, dark chocolate and wet asphalt. A long, long finish. Compact and concentrated. Lovely stuff!
94p   (tasted 2012/09)

1998 Reva Syrah, Alban Vineayrds
Yes! This is it! Every time I taste the 98 Reva it sends shivers up my spine. The nose is to die for, with its gorgeously sweet fruit in the shape of wild rasberries, blueberries and some blackberries. The there is bay leaves, licorice, hand pounded meat, root vegetables, leather and herbs to add to the complexity. Sooo stunning! An still very young.
The taste is the quintessential "iron fist in a velvet glove", with a glorius sweet fruit wrapped around a tight, intense structure. Notes of violets, rasberries, rowanberries, licorice, warm herbs and peppery aromas flows over the palate. This is really strutting its stuff!
97p   (tasted 2012/09)

There were two sweet wines to finish this sweet night of.
1994 Taylor´s Vintage Port
A young, deep, concentrated nose with notes of pan fried nuts, dried figs, dark chocolate, old leather and some candied orange peel. Very deep and powerful. This needs time in the decanter and glass to really come forward, but when it does - yummy stuff!
The taste is big, sweet and fills every crane and nook in the mouth with sweet black fruit, nuts, chocolate and leather. The finish is of the +2 minutes kind. Still very young, this needs another 10 years in the cellar.
93p   (tasted 2012/09)

1990 Vouvray Moelleux Clos de Bourg, Huet
A deep, sweet, balanced nose with lovely notes of dried fruit, banana peel, oil cloth, dried honey and orange peel. Very, very deep. Some warm grassy notes after a while. A marvelous sweetness.
The taste is profound in its complexity with every yellow fruit there is mixed in with honey, oli cloth, hay and slate. The finish goes on forever and ends semi dry. Great acidity. Very complex and fine. This has been on this level of maturity for 10 years, will it ever budge? Great wine!
95p   (tasted 2012/09)


  1. And remember...you were not even treated to a final vertical of Ports. ;-)