Thursday 28 February 2013

A Châteauneuf-du-Pape Duo From Domaine de la Solitude

Domained de la Solitude is one of the oldest estates in the area. It has been making wine since 1604! The estate did an estate bottling prior to the French Revolution, really amazing given the fact that Lafite-Rothschild did not estate bottle until 1797, after the Revolution.
But I´m tasting some vintages a bit younger - this time...

The white 1993 Châteauneuf consists of 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, 20% Clairette and 10% Bourbolenc. The Roussanne have been fermented and aged in 100% new oak and the other varietals in stainless steel tanks. I have taken the cepage percentages from Parkers Wines from the Rhone Valley, publiced in 1997.
In comparison, the 2010 consists of  50% Clairette, 10% Grenache blanc, 20% Roussanne, 20% Bourboulenc, according to the estate.

The red 1998 Châteauneuf consist, according to Parker, of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault. When we get to the 2009 vintage, the cepage is 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, according to the estate.

As you can see from the pictures I experimented a bit with the glasses, to see which glass, of the choosen two, would behave best with these Châteauneuf´s? Lets find out!

1993 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de la Solitude
From the Riesling glass (Riedel Extreme) this has a big, mature nose that reminds of a mature, dry Riesling with notes of dried apricots, grilles lemons, warm grass and a touch of saffron.
In the Burgundy glass (Riedel Vinum) it broadens on the nose and the grass and saffron notes disappear and instead there are lovely scents of creamy apricot fruit, dry honey, oatmeal cookies, fennel and a touch of an eraser. More deep and complex in this glass. Very good.
From the Riesling glass the taste is big, round and creamy with notes of almond paste, lemon and olive oil mixed, dried herbs and a touch of alcohol.
Drinking from the Burgundy glass there is more warmth and a broader feeling. A very good warmth. Reminds me of a mature Chardonnay. The acidity is a tad low, but this is a very good mouthful.
I prefer the Burgundy glass.
87p   (tasted 2013/02)

1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de la Solitude
From the Bordeaux glass (Riedel Vinum) this Châteauneuf displays a mature nose with notes of red currants, some rasberries, old leather, pine forest and paint, in a fine old fashioned way. Medium deep. This is fully mature. Very good.
In the Burgundy glass (Riedel Extreme) the nose becomes sweeter with a touch of alcohol. More rasberries and warm herbs. Bigger but a tad fatty.
From the Bordeaux glass the taste is mature, tight and pure with lots of red fruit, undergrowth, herbs, pine forest, resin and a fine warmth. Stern in a good way. Really good. In a perfect drinking stage.
The Burgundy glass gives an impression of a bigger, sweeter wine and the fine stern quality is mostly gone. The finish is warmer. Fine from this glass too but I prefer the Bordeaux glass.
88p    (tasted 2013/02)

Tuesday 26 February 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XVI

Time for another vintage from the master Salvioni. The previous tasted - the 1993 and the 2006 - have been truly great wines, so I had high expectations when I pulled the cork...

2004 Brunello di Montalcino La Cerbaiola, Salvioni
At first the nose it pretty much closed, with some high scents of ripe red cherries and gravel, so I left it for two hours in an decanter. Upon returning, things have happened! Now the nose it deep, profound and sweet with gorgeous notes of sweet and sour cherries, licorice, pine forest, dried flowers, chcocolate covered cherries and a summer Tuscan gravel road. Very, very fine. It opens up and changes all night long, but always stunning! Very floral. Stunning wine!
The taste is very young, intense and concentrated with massive, sweet, young fruit. At first its all over the place but as the evening goes along it transforms to a structured, complex, laser focused creature full of beautiful cherry fruit and notes of violets, licorice, plums, cold coffee and hot gravel. The finish goes on for minutes. The last sip is, of course, the best... This needs 7+ years and then I´m sure it will be pretty close to perfection.
96p   (tasted 2013/02)

Sunday 24 February 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XV

Yesterday I tasted these three youngsters from Col d´Orcia, as a prelude too a tasting of the estates 1975, 1977, 1980 Riserva and 1985 which we are going to carry through within a few weeks time.

1999 Brunello di Montalcino, Col d´Orcia
A seedy, tight, somewhat mature nose with notes of red currants, lingonberries, dried flowers, violet pastills and a touch of tobacco. A little withdrawn in character. Cool. Good but no more.
The taste is cool, seedy and tight with a lukewarm lingonberry fruit with notes of dry licorice, balsa wood, gravel and tobacco ashes. It is good but lacks charm. Drink now for this is going to become more dry with time.
83p   (tasted 2013/02)

2004 Brunello di Montalcino, Col d´Orcia
A young, warm, upfront fruity nose with notes of dark cherries, licorice, violets, burning autumn leaves and bay leaves. A touch of oak. Very fine. Needs some time to open up.
The taste is young, tight and seedy with a warm, herbal Sangiovese fruit. Notes of red cherries, lingonberries, licorice, rosehip and gravel. The taste is a bit more foursquare than the nose. Needs time. The tannins are nicely integrated. A medium long, dry finish. I guess that this could evolve into something nice but give it 3-5 years, at least.
88p   (tasted 2013/02)

2007 Brunello di Montalcino, Col d´Orcia
The 2007 vintage keeps impressing me. I didn´t think that Col d´Orcias 2006 was much to write home about, but this is something else. The nose jumps out of the glass with a lovely sweet fruit and a bold character. There are notes of sweet lingonberries, red cherries, licorice, sweet flowers, bonfire and new leather. The sweetness of the fruit is really amazing. Medium deep. Very, very good.
The taste is medium big, young, fresh and dazzling, with gorgeous notes of blueberry bushes, black cherries, thyme, a hot Tuscan dirt road and a touch of dark chocolate. More black than the more "red" nose. A medium long, fresh finish with a fine cleansing acidity. This is a very promising creature. And for 30 Euro a bottle, I´m loading up!
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

Thursday 21 February 2013

A Great Start On The Week - Six Burgundy´s

This monday it was time for a get together in out tasting group. Håkan poured the six wines below and served a delicious coq au vin that went along perfectly - thanks!
Usually guesses are all over the place, at least mine...., but this time we pretty much nailed it, nice when that happens...:-)
All tasted double blind.

2002 Chambertin, Domaine Tortochot
A semi mature, open, light but nice nose with notes of almost ripe rasberries, cranberries, herbs and touch of white peppar. Nice enough, but a Chambertin?
The taste is medium bodied with some nice red fruit, a fresh acidity and a medium long, dry finish. But there is a linear structure in the wine, it doesn´t show much joie de vivre. Someone guessed a Savigny-les-Beaune, and that should have been closer than a Grand Cru. Nice for drinking now, won´t get any better.
85p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Pommard, Jean-Marc Boillot
An open, nice, warm nose with notes of sweet lingonberries, dried rasberries, herbs, rotten vegetables and there is an interesting scent of horse turds that comes and goes... Very good.
The taste is tight, cool and good with a nice combination of lingonberries, licorice, herbs and a touch of saw dust. There is a fine warmth in the finish. This gets better and better with air. A long, balanced finish. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Beaune Clos de Ursules, Louis Jadot
A warm, mature, open nose with notes of rasberries, cranberries, undergrowth, bonfire and ski wax. It has a moderate depth. Open for business. Good.
The taste is tighter and more intense than the nose leads on, with sweet lingonberry fruit, red apples, dry fudge and warm earth. A fine acidity. The finish is a tad short though. This is for drinking soon.
86p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Volnay Les Chevrets, Jean Boillot
A dark, deep, complex nose with notes of sweet rasberries, hard cherry candy, a touch of chocolate, moist earth and a satisfying scent of burnt rubber - yes, very nice! :-) This is fine. A lovely perfumed note emerges with air.
The taste is seedy, intense and tight with young, fresh, ripe Pinot fruit, firm tannins and a long, lovely finish. Notes of rasberries, licorice, herbs and a touch of dark chocolate. A very fine warmth. This will evolve over the coming 5-8 years. A hefty Volnay!
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Corton Renardes, Domaine Maillard
A big, round, sweet nose with notes of red currants, rasberries and cherry candy with some burnt toast, wet earth, herbs and a diminutive note of wet dog. Open and fine. A very fine warmth to the fruit.
The taste is tighter and more intense than the nose with lots of sweet, concentrated rasberry and cherry fruit with some additional notes of licorice, root vegetables, herbs and leather. A very fine acidity. Long and fine. This on the verge of maturity and I would wait another 2-3 years before open the next bottle.
90p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Pommard Grand Clos des Epeneaux, Domaine de Courcel
We hade the 10 year older brother in a Pommard dinner a couple of months ago. The 1989 performed great back then and so did the 1999 on this evening.
The nose is deep, intense, still young and very impressive with its firm structure, although still showing what the fruit will really do in 10+ years time. The rasberries is chocolate covered, there is a great note of parsnips and then there is aromas of cranberries, cap gun smoke, christmas spices and forest floor. Very, very deep. The sweetness of the fruit is stunning.
The taste is very expressive, tight and concentrated with lovely perfumed sweet rasberry and cherry fruit. The brute tannins sweeps through over the palate and leaves a distinctive mark in the mouth. The finish goes on for over a minute. This is still very young and should be hidden in a dark corner of the cellar for 8-10+ years.
94p   (tasted 2013/02)


Wednesday 20 February 2013

A Bottle of Bubbly - NV L Brut, Victor Lejeune

There is always a rigth moment to open a bottle of Champagne, isn´t it? We just bought a new car, and why not celebrate the fact that I won´t be able to buy as much wine as I used too for a while...:-)
Then a relative cheap bottle of Champagne would be perfect, right?

NV L Brut, Victor Lejeune
A fairly light, fresh nose with notes of red apples, lemon peel, dry bread and some mineral. It actually fattens up in the glass in a positive way, with more mature apples and some road dust after a while. Not complex but nice.
The taste is fresh and light with a good red apple, lemon and mineral taste. The acidity is nice and cleans the palate effectively. The taste also gets better with some air. Medium long with a clean finish.
84p   (tasted 2013/02)

Tuesday 19 February 2013

22 Vintages of Wines From Alain Brumont - Part II

In Part I of this massive tasting I posted notes on the vertical of Cuvée Prestige and two other bottles that were presented.
Now it is time to comment on the 9 bottle vertical of La Tyre that also was poured. The La Tyre cuvée comes from a strict selection of grapes from a small parcel at the highest hill in the Madiran appellation. It consists of 100% Tannat that are fermented in oak casks and then gets 16-18 months in 100% new oak barrels.

2000 Château Montus La Tyre
A deep, fine, elegant nose with lovely notes of sweet lingonberries, cranberries, rosehip, smoke and leather. Very mineral driven nose. Deep and fine. This is cool and elegant. Lovely laid back fruit.
The taste is all about finesse, with sweet red fruit paired with finely polished tannins and a long, balanced finish. Lots of minerals in the finish. Pure and focused, this has entered its drinking phase but I wouldn´t hesitate to keep this for 8+ years. Real fine stuff.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

2001 Château Montus La Tyre
In this vintage Alain Brumont really excelled - the Cuvée Prestige is fantastic - and this is truly a piece of art. The nose is bottomless deep and hauntingly beautiful with notes of ripe lingonberry and blueberry fruit, rosehip, dried flowers, black currant leaves, expensive lather, and a touch of a Cohiba cigarr. Very, very refined. A very fine warmth.
The taste is pure, elegant and sweet but with a tough core of sweet tannins, of which you can get a real sense of in the minute long finish. Gorgeous lingonberry fruit, warm tiles, cigarr ashes and leather are some of many flavors. Really, really fine. This is still young and I guess it could get even better with 6-8 years in the cellar.
96p   (tasted 2013/02)

2002 Château Montus La Tyre
The 2002 La Tyre is a much bigger success than the Cuvée Prestige of the same vintage. This wine has a big, warm but focused nose with notes of lingonberry pie, hot earth, bonfire and a fine perfumed note. Medium deep.
The taste is upfront, warm and juicy with lots of sweet lingonberry and blueberry fruit with some additional notes of autumn leaves, leather, bonfire and the same perfumed note as on the nose. A long, warm, fine finish. This is good. But it won´t keep forever, for drinking now and for the next decade.
90p   (tasted 2013/02)

2003 Château Montus La Tyre
A big, warm, intense nose with a lot of warmth, a tad too much for my liking. There is notes of cooked red fruit, sweet licorice, leather, balsa wood and cherry heering liqueur. Misses the elegance found in the other vintages of La Tyre.
The taste is big, sweet and warm with lots of ripe fruit, plenty of tannins and a long, warm finish. I find the structure a bit too massive. I don´t think that this will age well. But for now it is a big mouthful of uncomplicated, sweet Tannat.
85p   (tasted 2013/02)

2005 Château Montus La Tyre
A deep, fine, elegant nose with beautiful blueberry fruit and complementary notes of pressed flowers, smoke, warm tiles, leather and some vanilla powder. Very, very fine.
The taste is tight, intense, pure and utterly gorgeous with its sweet lingonberry and blueberry fruit with some warm herbs, rosehip, cigarr ashes and dark chocolate tossed in. The finish goes on for a minute and the ripe tannins come through in the end. This is for laying down and forget about for at least 5 years.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

2006 Château Montus La Tyre
A deep, fine, seedy nose with a Bordeaux like nose with notes of sweet black currants, fresh stables, bay leaves, lingonberries and some cedarwood. Very, very fine. This had depth and elegance, although very young still.
The taste is young, tight and intense with fine sweet fruit that hits the palate before a wave of tannins sweeps everything else away. This needs a lot of time. But the fruit is there for something great along the line, but wait at least 10 years for this one. Fine notes of black currants, bay leaves and some balsa wood notes in the long, long finish.
92p   (tasted 2013/02)

2007 Château Montus La Tyre
A fresh, forward, medium deep nose with notes of red and black currants, charcoal, gravel and dried flowers. A bit more open than the surrounding vintages. Very good though.
The taste is more concentrated than the nose with dark, inky fruit paired with notes of licorice, mineral, bonfire and dried flowers. A long, fresh, intense finish. Very, very good. Needs 3-5 years in the cellar.
90p   (tasted 2013/02)

2008 Château Montus La Tyre
Aaaaaah, this is fine! A hauntingly deep, intense and mighty nose with notes of sweet black currants, hot gravel, dried flowers, charcoal, new leather and some dark chocolate. Very, very deep and fine. Manage to be both brutal and light on its feat. With air there is a lovely meaty note. Stunning!
The taste is all about immense power, intensity and elegance wrapped up in a gorgeous package. There are sweet notes of red and black currants, dried flowers, rosehip, mineral and a fine bonfire note. The finish goes on for over a minute. This will be something else when it grows up, in about 8-10 years.
95p   (tasted 2013/02)

2009 Château Montus La Tyre
A very deep, concentrated, young nose with lots of sweet primary fruit - lingonberries, blueberries and some black currants, with additional notes of licorice, bay leaves, lavender and a touch of meat stock. Very powerful but a bit ungainly today. This needs to settle down. But the quality is there.
The taste is very young, powerful and all over the palate with its immense sweet fruit, perky tannins and a long, long, warm finish. Very concentrated. This needs at least 8+ years before doing the deed. But I guess that this will turn out great.
92p   (tasted 2013/02)

This was an impressive line up of great wines, with more balance and elegance than the Cuvée Prestige´s. Real world class wines (except for the 2003). It should be fun watching these wines mature. They need time...

Sunday 17 February 2013

A Follow Up Note On 1990 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige

In the tasting of wines from Alain Brumont earlier this week the 1990 Cuvée Prestige wasn´t performing as it should have done. I decided to open a bottle at home (bought in 1997 for 22 Euro).
This was something else...

1990 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A tight, almost still primary nose with lovely notes of sweet red and black currants, fresh stables, herbs, warm tiles and a fresh scent of mint/eukalyptus. Very perky. Unfolds all the evening and the fruit gets sweeter and bigger in the glass. Very, very fine. Still young.
The taste is big, tight and broad over its shoulders with beautiful blueberry and black currant fruit with some additional notes of cigarr box, leather, herbs and moist earth. A long, fresh, almost peppery finish with lots of powerful tannins with that old fashioned (meant in a positive way!) Tannat character. This is no way near its peak, I would guess it still needs another 5+ years in the cellar. Great stuff!
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

Friday 15 February 2013

Friday Dinner Barolo - 19?? Giuseppe Mascarello

What about the ?? in the vintage?
Well, I don´t know the vintage. This was bought with the information that it was from the 60´s. The label is identical to the 1964 Giuseppe Mascarello I tasted some years ago and of which I have one bottle left. Back in 2004 the 64 was a glorious bottle of mature Barolo (97p).
I keep my fingers crossed that it is a 64, or a 61 or 67, which are fine vintages.
Could the cork supply me with the answer? I will now in a couple of hours....
Stay tuned! :-)

The cork crumbled in 4-5 pieces and it was no printing on the cork. When poured the colour was very, very pale...

...and I thought that this would be a corpse, suitable for a red wine sauce later this weekend, until I put my nose in the glass...

19?? Barolo, Giuseppe Mascarello
At first, a bit low keyed, shy nose, but with all signs of being alive. With only ten minutes in the glass it expands into a wide open nose with lovely aromas of lingonberry jam, cinnamon, old chocolate, rhubarb and the scent of when you walk out in the forest after a autumn rain. Absolutely fascinating! Wet cigarr ashes after a while, and then a wave of rosehips emerge. A touch fragile, but what a nose! Like an old master ballerina, with all the moves in the body, but the body doesn´t answer like it used to. It holds now for two hours, and soon it will be gone...:-)
The taste is like nectar, very responsive, with a dry sweetness and a gorgeous warmth. This must have been something really, really big many years ago. Stunning notes of lingon berry bushes, rosehips, bay leaves, rose petals, soft undergrowth, dry herbs and a touch of cigarr ashes. It ends almonds dry with a lovely warm aftertaste. The structure is still there, albeit a bit soft. You can only give in to this very special specimen.
This must have been a very warm year. Given blind....I would have guessed an old Burgundy - like a 45 or a 49. Seeing the Barolo label I would guess that it is older than the 60´s. My guess would be 1952 or 1958 - two great Barolo years which in many instances have aged well. I could be irritated that I would never know but I´m not, I just enjoy this masterpiece tonight.
94p   (tasted 2013/02)

(Earlier this evening:) Meanwhile, I will be sipping this nectar with some assorted nuts and later while preparing friday dinner - Lustau´s Palo Cortado - so much taste, intensity and complexity for nearly no money at all - Sherry is a underappreciated drink.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

22 Vintages of Wines From Alain Brumont - Part I

I was invited to this tasting by the Swedish importer VinUnic. I have tasted the wines from Montus from time to time over the years. And bought them too, according to my cellar list I bought the 1990 Cuvée Prestige in 1997 for 22 Euro. Will open one of those in the coming weekend, see why below...

It was a privilege to get to taste so many bottles at the same time from the same producer, really getting a sense of the character of the winemaking. Alain Brumont was present and gave his view on what he was aiming for, the history of the estate and the quest of making Tannat into a world class wine.
More info here.

Before we sat down to an extended lunch we got to sample Louis Roeder Brut from a 6 liter bottle, the perfect size for a bottle of Champagne... I didn´t take any note, but from memory it was a fine sipping Champagne with the right amount of zest to get the taste buds in shape.

Before the two big verticals of Cuvée Prestige and La Tyre, we got to taste two wines on their own.

2008 Pinot Noir d´Alain Brumont
This is the first commercial vintage of this new wine from Brumont. The first replanting of Pinot Noir in this region was made by Brumont in 1996 and 10 years of work has lead up to this wine. And what a beaty it is! The nose flows up from the glass with impressive notes of fresh rasberries, wild strawberries, herbs, licorice and christmas spices. It has a lovely sweetness to the fruit. Very, very good.
The taste is young, cool and spicy with lots of sweet rasberry and lingonberry fruit paired with a cleansing acidity and a long, lingering finish. This has potential to become really fine. I think it need 5+ years in the cellar to unfold.
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1994 Château Montus Cuvée XL
The next "lonely" bottle was this cuvée, made only in great years, starting with the 1989 vintage. It has been 11 vintages released up to the 2008. The name comes from the 40 months on oak it gets, first 18 months in barriques and 22 months in 600L barrels.
The nose is open, mature and a tad dry with notes of blueberries, fresh stables, undergrowth and warm herbs. Medium deep and fine. On the nose this is fully mature.
The taste on the other hand tells you that there still is a healthy dose of tannins left to shed. And then? For now there is notes of frozen blueberries, cranberries, autumn leaves, cigarett ashes and some smoky notes. The finish is long and ends dry, too dry I think for longer aging. With food it is excellent, but I wouldn´t cellar this more.
87p   (tasted 2013/02)

Then it was time for the first vertical - Cuvée Prestige in 11 vintages. Cuvée Prestige is a selection of the best terroir of Montus and it gets 14-16 months in new barrels.

1985 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A deep, mature, interesting nose with notes of dry blueberries, rasberries and some volatile cherry notes. Then some cigarr ashes and undergrowth emerge. This has kept well. A bit funky from time to time but with lots of interest.
The taste is tight, mature and dry with a nice mix of rasberries and blueberries alongside notes of fresh stables, autumn leaves and some dog fur (in a positive way). The tannins is still noticable at the end of the taste. Has character. Lovely with food. Really, really good.
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1990 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
This one opens nice but soon it is obvious that there is something wrong with it. Corked? Maybe, or maybe not, opions vary, but not as it should be.
Will open one of my bottles this weekend for a thorough check up - any excuse to open a bottle of wine is a good one...:-)
No rating   (tasted 2013/02)

1994 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A fine, cool, earthy nose with notes of lingonberries, red currants and red cherries. Some flowery notes. On the lights side of things but nice.
The taste is tight, sturdy and dry with notes of lingonberries, saw dust, autumn leaves and cigarett ashes. It is a bit hollow in the middle taste. The finish is medium long and dry. The fruit isn´t on par with the structure.
82p   (tasted 2013/02)

1995 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A broad, warm, fine nose, and with notes of black currants, blueberries, fresh stables and leather, this resembles a Bordeaux big time. Very fine sweet fruit. Deep and fine. Hot gravel and some mushrooms notes. I like this!
The taste is young, tight and impressive with the still perky tannins taking a good grip around my taste buds. But there is great fruit here also - red and black currants, blueberries and some cherry flavours. The finish is long and structured. Needs another 5+ years in the cellar. Great wine.
92p   (tasted 2013/02)

1996 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
With a young, fresh, intense nose with lovely sweet fruit, a lot of warmth and an impressive depth, this is my favourite of the older vintages. The lingonberry and red currant sweetness is amazing and the notes of fresh stables, leather, minerals, cigarr and fresh meat gets me salivating. Stunning!
The taste is young, tight and takes you on a roller coaster ride with lots of sweet fruit and polished, albeit brutal tannins. Although broad over its shoulder it manage to come across as very civilized. Give this 5+ years and it will shine.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

1997 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
The 1997 opens with mature scents of blueberries, black currants, herbs and some warm grass. It is a bit foursquare and the herbal note is a tad to green.
The taste is tight, seedy and warm with notes of cranberries, blueberries and road dust. The tannins are, in comparison to the other vintages, a bit on the soft side. This isn´t for keeping longer. Good but simpler than most of the others.
84p   (tasted 2013/02)

1998 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
This youngster has a deep, tight, powerful nose with beautiful notes of warm black currants, blueberries, hot earth, cigarett ashes and some wood notes. Deep and fine. This is good.
The taste is tight, young and intense with fine sweet fruit in the shape of red cherries, red currants and blueberries. There is some additional notes of forest floor, cigarr smoke and fresh stables. Somewhat laid back, even elegant. This should turn out nice in 5+ years.
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A big, sweet, tight nose with lots of sweet black fruit and notes of mushrooms, balsa wood and stables. It is a bit all over the place on the nose. Needs to settle down.
The taste is big, tight and more intense and focused than the nose, with a fine cherry sweetness to the fruit alongside notes of earth, mineral and hard cherry candy. Some cigarett ashes in the finish. The taste is very good but the nose is, today at least, a bit angular. Wait and see.
88p   (tasted 2013/02)

2000 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A young, deep and intense nose with notes of sweet lingonberries, hot earth, blueberry bushes, leather and ski wax - the latter not a fault but and interesting complement! Very, very fine. Very deep.
The taste is young, tight and seedy with impressive fruit, massive tannins that the fruit can handle and a long, long finish that ends with a lovely hard cherry candy taste. This is for hiding in the cellar for 7+ years, but I can´t help being very impressed today. Great wine.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

2001 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
I had a hunch beforehand that the 2001 would stand out among the Cuvée Prestige´s, and if didn´t "win" by much, it was the best wine in this vertical.
The nose is gorgeous in its intensity, purity and balance. The fruit is sweet and perfectly ripe. Notes of blueberries, red cherries, minerals, forest floor and cigarr oozes out of the glass. Still very young of course, but really, really fine.
The taste is tight, intense and very structured, in a hedonistic way, it that makes any sense? Lovely notes of blueberry bushes, hard cherry candy, licorice, fresh meat and some smoky notes. Lots of power in the long finish. Hide this away for 8+ years and you probably will have a breathtaking wine when you open it. I know I will.
95p   (tasted 2013/02)

2002 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
I like it when winemakers proudly state - "the best vintage ever" - often the latest one....but the caption "exceptionnal year unlike the rest of France" on the 2002 makes me worried...
And rightfully so - the nose is tight, a bit too warm/cooked with notes of hot earth, balsa wood and some fur notes. There is some warm cherry fruit in here too, but I think this is unbalanced.
The taste is seedy, warm and long with notes of dry licorice, hot earth, gravel and cherry jam. The finish is rather long but the alcohol is noticable in the finish. Again, unbalanced. Won´t get any better I think.
77p   (tasted 2013/02)

The vertical of Cuvée Prestige was a great opportunity to taste through a splendid expression of the Tannat grape. Thanks to Alain Brumont for creating such wonderful wines and to VinUnic for the invitation.
And a special thank you to the very professional staff of Operakällaren where the tasting were held - stunning food and service.
More impressions here.

In Part II the notes of the 9 vintages of La Tyre will be posted.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Two Wines From The South of France

Opened these two bottles over the weekend.

2009 Saint Bart Vieilles Vignes, Clot de L´Oum
This Roussillon wine is made of Syrah, Grenache Pelu and Carignan. The nose is young, fresh and spicy with notes of blueberris, warm lingonberries, rosemary and scorced earth. Not that deep but nice.
The taste is young, taut and a bit foursquare at first but with sufficient time in he decanter it unfolds into a nice wine with sweet bluberry fruit and notes of herbs, sun warm tiles and some peppery notes. The finish is medium long and ends dry. Good winemaking but it lacks a bit of personality. More info here.
83p   (tasted 2013/02)

2008 Old Vine Syrah, Chateau Mâris
This wine comes from Minervois and is made by an emigrated Englishman, Robert Eden. Read more here. Right out of the bottle this has a upfront, luscious nose filled with perky blueberry fruit and notes of crushed black peppar, asphalt, cigarr and cranberries. A fine sweetness to the fruit. Yummy!
The taste is young, tight and peppery with lots of sweet blueberry fruit and additional notes of pine nuts, veal meat, cigarr ashes, gravel and herbs. The finish is medium long. Very, very nice and I would guess that this could get even better with 3-5 years in the cellar.
88p   (tasted 2013/02)

Friday 8 February 2013

Drinking Tonight - 1998 Chianti Superiore, Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Since I really liked the 1998 Brunello di Montalcino, I thought that this bottle should be worth the heavy investment - 10 Euro...:-)
And guess what, it was!

1998 Chianti Superiore, Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Right out of the bottle there is a bit of funk, but that soon blows away, leaving just the scent of mature Sangiovese fruit. Notes of ripe red cherries, para nuts, old leather, smoke and some lovely stable notes. Not that deep, but very enjoyable. Soft and fine.
The taste is smooth, fresh and juicy with fine notes of cool cherry fruit, dry licorice, leather, undergrowth and some pipe tobacco notes. The finish is medium long, soft, but manage to keep up interest in the mouth until the fine, dry end. This has kept fresh for all these years, I wouldn't save it for long, but this is lovely to drink tonight, and for 10 Euro, I'm really, really pleased...:-)
86p   (tasted 2013/02)

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Tasting Wines From Fox Creek - Part III

In the aftermath of the tasting I went too with wines from Fox Creek - Part I & Part II - I noticed that I had two bottles of Fox Creek in the cellar, with some age and from the premium range, so I thought it would be nice with a follow up.

1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Fox Creek
This Cabernet has a deep, intoxicating nose with lovely notes of blueberries, black currants, rosemary, vanilla pod, leather and a sweet herbal/green note that adds to the complexity. Very deep and with a luscious warmth. Not a hint of overextraction, just ripe, delicious fruit.
The taste is big, tight and intense with lots of sweet bluberries, red and black currants, sugared coffee, leather and some graphite notes. The finish is long, warm and ends with a healthy dose of sweet, polished tannins. This is still relatively young, I wouldn´t mind saving this for 5-8 years more. Really impressive.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

1998 Shiraz Reserve, Fox Creek
Oooh boy - come to Papa! Hedonism, intensity and beauty in one glass of wine. The nose soars up from the glass with stunning scents of blackberries, licorice, bonfire, ink, espresso, christmas spices, lavender and asphalt. This is just awesome, as they say over there... Sooo deep and structured. There is a tiny hint of volatil acidity, but that just adds to the depth and complexity of this impressive nose.
There is a full frontal attack in the mouth from this wine - no iron fist in a velvet glove here - this is a Panzer battalion... Pure, hedonistic Shiraz fruit with lots of blackberries, bacon fat, burnt toffee, licorice, crushed black peppar, coffee and warm herbs. The finish is counted in minutes. Lots of violets in the finish. Even though the sweetness is of the charts, it manage to end dry, so that you just want to take another large sip, and another, and...
97p   (tasted 2013/02)

Tuesday 5 February 2013

A Trio From Craggy Range

I have over a couple of days tasted these three bottles from Craggy Range. I have liked this producer from the first times I tasted some bottles, and I´m especially fond of their prestige collection, with wines like Le Sol, Aroha, Sophia and Les Beaux Cailloux, the latter tasted below.

2011 Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc, Craggy Range
A gorgeous, upfront, in your face nose with notes of gooseberries, white currants, freshly cut grass, wet rock, lavender and black currant leaves. Salivating, fresh and full of vigour.
The taste is pure, young and racy with note of white currants, pear ice cream, grass and some flinty notes. A medium, long, dry finish. Fresh and fine. A tasty wine for the money. More info here.
It worked wonders with a seafood bisque with langoustines, scallops and crab.
88p   (tasted 2013/01)

2010 Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Chardonnay, Craggy Range
A young, creamy nose with notes of grey pears, dried peach, gravel and a touch of cap gun smoke. Nice enough but it lacks a bit of zest.
The taste is young, tight and pure with notes of green apples, pears, butter cookies and some passion fruit notes. A medium long, fresh finish. This is fine but again, lacks something to spark things up. Maybe time will better it. More info here.
82p   (tasted 2013/01)

2007 Le Beaux Cailloux, Craggy Range
Craggy Range´s prestige Chardonnay with some age - this should be interesting. And it is! The nose soars from the glass with deep, intense notes of sweet William pears, lemon cream, almond paste, cold butter, some bonfire scents and a lovely perfumed note. Very, very fine. The fruit is creamy and rich. Gorgeous!
The taste is fine, elegant and with lots of drive. There are stunning notes of sweet lemons, peach, butter cookies, a touch of vanilla pod and a bonfire in the distance. The acidity creeps up in the finish and it ends dry and beautiful. This is a stunning bottle of Chardonnay! More info here.
This beauty shined with a herb and garlic filled chicken with a spicy tomato sauce and oven root vegetables.
93p   (tasted 2013/01)

Sunday 3 February 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XIV

Time again for another Brunello trio - this time from the heralded vintage of 1990, which the Consorzio gives 5 stars.

1990 Brunello di Montalcino Ugolaia, Lisini
A cool, elegant, mature nose with soft notes of ripe black cherries, tobacco, violets, toasted almonds and some nice rosemary notes. This is on the verge of being fully mature. Very, very good.
The taste is big, intense and full of sweet, harmonious fruit with notes of black cherries, dark chocolate, hard cherry candy and some bonfire notes. The tannins have become velvety with age. A long, nice, fresh finish. This is really for drinking now, even though you could save it for 5+ years, but why? It won´t get any better. Although a very fine bottle of wine, the 1995 Ugolaia was even better.
91p   (tasted 2013/01)

1990 Brunello di Montalcino, Il Poggione
A fine, mature, round nose with lovely laidback notes of red currants, beet, hard cherry candy, rosehips, thyme and autumn leaves. Fully mature, sweet and fine. This has aged well.
The taste is in that fine evolving stage where the sweetness of the fruit has began to subdue, the tannins have melted and there is a dry streak appearing in the end of the finish. Lovely to sit and sip this one. Notes of red currants, violets, gravel and rosehips. A long, fine finish. Could surely survive another 5+ years, like the Ugolaia above, but then again why? It is perfect now. Here is two other vintages of Il Poggione, previously tasted.
91p   (tasted 2013/01)

1990 Brunello di Montalcino, Valdicava
Well, well, well, the 93 Salvioni has been the best Brunello tasted so far, but here is a strong contender to that title. The nose is a wine lovers wet dream - the fruit is astonishing in its purity, sweetness and focus and the additional notes of tobacco, fresh herbs, violets, dried flowers and warm gravel makes my toes curl... Sooo beautiful!
When the nose is so great, I am almost nervous to take a sip - what if the taste is a let down? No worries here, the sweet fruit just flows over the tongue and the tannins, polished with age but still firm, cleans the mouth effective.Gorgeous notes of ripe red cherries, tobacco, violets, rose petals and Tuscan gravel. The length is counted in minutes. Just magnificent! There is a new No 1!
97p   (tasted 2013/01)