Friday 30 December 2016

A Bottle Of Bubbly - 2008 Extra Brut, Damien Hugot

The day before New Years Eve, and I am preparing the food for tomorrow - we going to eat and drink well! :-)
Since there will be no post tomorrow I say Happy New Year to everybody and open a bottle of pre bubbly!

2008 Extra Brut, Damien Hugot
The nose is rich and lively with a spicy lemon scent and additional notes of butter cup flowers, melon, toasted bread and cap gun smoke. Very, very good. Young of course.
The taste is juicy and fresh with a supporting, high acidity and notes of grilled lemons, butter biscuits, smoke and lemon fudge. Yummy and fine, but not that complex. Good now, but should get better in 3-4 years time.
90p   (tasted 2016/12)

Tuesday 27 December 2016

1973 Monte Real, Bodegas Riojanas

When Christmas is (almost) over, we relax with some ordinay food - chicken fillets, a Jerusalem artichoke puree and a tarragon sauce - and I open a mature Rioja - a great match!

1973 Monte Real, Bodegas Riojanas
From the get go, it reveals a fine, sweet, open and mature nose with notes of dried strawberries, old leather, pipe tobacco and roasted shellfish shells. A very fine warmth. A fine maturity. Round and rewarding. Very, very good.
The taste is mature, velvety and perfectly dry with notes of dried strawberries, potatoe water, old leather and warm grass. A long, lingering finish with a fine, high acidity. Drinking perfectly today.
The 1964 was a stunner two years ago.
91p   (tasted 2016/12)

Monday 26 December 2016

A 1945 Bordeaux Dinner

A couple of weeks ago I arranged this tasting dinner att home. We were seven around the table. The theme and the bottles of 45 Bordeaux were known to the guests, but not the serving order.

We started the evening of with two bottles of bubbly.
2002 Brut, Henriot
This is a great Champagne, with a deep, racy nose with notes of lemon fudge, nuts, smoke and apples fried in butter. A hint of maturity. High and really fine.
The taste is creamy and rich with notes of butter cookies, dried flowers and crushed rocks. A very fine acidity. Long and velvety. Drinking great today, and probably for another 8+ years.
94p   (tasted 2016/11)

2002 Gentilhomme, AR Lenoble
A deep, spicy nose with lots of red apples and some additional notes of gravel, dry nuts and smoke. A tad restrained. Still quite young.
The taste is tight and focused with an almost hard acidity and mature red apples. Long and fine. Some smoky notes. Very, very good. Could still use some time in the cellar.
90p   (tasted 2016/11)

Flight I - which was served with a tartare of Wagayu beef with a variation of onions, parmesan and shaved truffle.
1945 Château Cantenac-Brown
A mature, medium deep nose with notes of freeze dried coffee, wet undergrowth, mushrooms and some dry chocolate biscuits. Nice enough.
The taste is compact and dry with notes of dried black currants, autumn leaves and old leather. A medium long, dry finish. Very good. Went very well with the food.
83p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château La Tour-Marbuzet
A big, tight and open nose with notes of ripe red and black currant fruit, ash, dark earth and some stable aromas. Very, very good. Interesting enough, even better day two...
The taste is tight and focused with notes of dried black currants, warm gravel and a hint of mint. Long and dry. This has matured in a fine fashion.
90p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Barolo Riserva Della Castellana, Marchesi di Barolo
The dark horse in the line up... Could have been better, the bottle had leaked somewhat.
A restrained, acid nose with notes of dried rosehips, detergent and hard cherry candy. A touch of VA. Medium bodied.
The taste is dry and foursquare with notes of old spices, rubber and rosehips. Very acidic. One dimensional.
73p   (tasted 2016/11)

Flight II - a terrine of wild boar with a green salad and a garlic cream was served with this flight.
1945 Cru Cantemerle
A large scaled, mature nose with notes of sweet black currants, autumn leaves and sugared coffee. A very fine warmth. Round.
The taste is tight and mature with notes of dried black currants, a cool meaty note and old leather. Very good. There is still some tannins here.
86p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château Senejac
Not corked, but this is not clean, rather the opposite...
53p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château Belgrave
A deep, concentrated and sweet nose with notes of ripe black currants, asphalt, dry chocolate and some stables. Very deep and fine. A very fine warmth. A great maturity.
The taste is warm, tight and ripe with notes of hard black currant candy, tobacco, autumn leaves and a hint of metal. This is good. Still alive and kicking. Kept very well, almost identical on both the nose and palate on day two.
91p   (tasted 2016/11)

Flight III - which was served alongside a version of a Swedish classic - Beef Rydberg, but the beef was replaced with sweetbreads.
1945 Château Belair
A deep, somewhat meaty nose with notes of wet undergrowth, dried blueberries, tobacco and a hint of menthol. Very, very good. A fine warmth. Almost better on the nose day two but the taste is more dry and mute.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of seedy red and black currants, autumn leaves and dry tobacco. Still some sandy tannins. Very, very good. Really long.
92p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château Cheval-Blanc
Lots of VA on the nose and dry and empty on the finish. Drinkable, but not in the least good. Too bad...
62p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château Franc Maillet
A deep, intense, sweet nose with notes of corinthians, sugared coffee, forest floor and some wood. Very, very good. A very fine warmth.
The taste is seedy and warm with fine notes of dried red and black currants, raisins, gravel and tobacco. Medium bodied. This has kept very well over the years. Hadn´t budged at all day two.
88p   (tasted 2016/11)

Flight IV - with individual Beef Wellingtons with a truffle sauce
1945 Château Gruaud Larose
Hadn´t much hope for this one, the lowest level (low shoulder) of them all, but lo and behold! The nose rises from the glass with fine notes of dried up black currant jam, old leather, graphite and a hint of dried strawberries. Very, very fine. And again, as with most of the bottles, a very fine 1945 warmth. Day two - as good as day one with some added bonfire scents.
The taste is tight, mature and dry with a fine structure, dried black fruit and still some tannins lurking in the background. Dry, yes, but also has a velvety feeling. Really good. Day two it is like drinking cold coffee!
93p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château Mouton d´Armailhacq
Well, this is probably as close as I get to the iconic 1945 Mouton Rothschild... But the quality most be close for this is a stunner! The nose oozes up from the glass with great aromas of compost, coffee powder, iron, wet autumn leaves and some animal notes. Very complex. Mature yes, but this still have places to go. Very fine.
The taste is big, steady and firm with notes of ripe black currants, warm tiles, graphite and some meaty notes. A long, aristocratic finish with some tannins shining through. Great wine! Held up well until day two.
95p   (tasted 2016/11)

1945 Château Lynch Bages
A deep, dark nose with notes of dried black currants, scorched earth, dry chocolate and old leather, A fine warmth. A tad hollow in the middle. Very good though.
The taste is tight, dry and mature with notes of dusty earth, dried black currants and blueberries, bakelite and dry tobacco. A medium long, warm finish. Held up well in to day two. Very good but has dried out some.
86p   (tasted 2016/11)

To finish the night of, I opened a bottle of Port, from the same vintage as the bottles above.
1945 Superior Port, Three Crowns
This old Port has a deep, sweet, multi layered nose with notes of white raisins, rubber, dades, sweet hay and a hint of malt Whisky. Interesting and good.
The taste is big and sweet with notes of white raisins, dried apricots, fried nuts and some sawdust. Ends on a half sweet note. Very good in a yummy sort of way but not a complex wine.
88p   (tasted 2016/11)

Friday 23 December 2016

2014 Pouilly-Vinzelles, La Soufrandière

Chardonnay & our Christmas house - the London Bridge!

The night before Christmas Eve we wanted something light to eat, considering the amount of food that will be consumed tomorrow, so I made a fish soup with salmon, cod and shrimps. To go along a opened a bottle of

2014 Pouilly-Vinzelles, La Soufrandière
The Bret Brothers have turned out a fine effort in this vintage, with a young, sporty and fresh nose with notes of grilles lemons, almond paste, summerf flowers and a hint of vanilla pods. Very, very good.
The taste is young and tight with notes of assorted nuts, lemon fudge, sea shells and wet stones. A very good acidity. Long and fine. This is good!
90p   (tasted 2016/12)

Thursday 22 December 2016

1990 Château Gressier-Grand-Poujeaux

Last day of work before Christmas. Some last time shopping before going home.
What to eat this evening... - some nice fillets of veal, oven roasted root vegetables and a light Madeira sauce lands on the plate. I rummage through my small cellar (since I now have my bottles in a rented cellar) and found this bottle. Lets pull the cork!

1990 Château Gressier-Grand-Poujeaux
From the get go, this mature Bordeaux displays a nice, round nose with notes of fresh stables, dried red currants, autumn leaves, iron and green peppers. A very fine maturity. It gets a shade darker with air, and a tad sweeter. A very fine maturity.
The taste is mature, dry and sandy with notes of dry leather, red currants, herbs and dry tobacco. Medium bodied and very nice. A fine earthy note. Very, very good. Fully mature. These were the days that even in a warm vintage the wines landed on 12%, which now, 26 years later, I am rewarded with a balanced, easy drinking wine with character and fine Bordeaux attributes.
According to David Peppercorn the cepage in 1990 should have been 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. In 2003 Chasse-Spleen bought the property and reunited these properties which was a unit before 1822.
88p   (tasted 2016/12)

Tuesday 20 December 2016

2010 Barbaresco, Lorenzo Alutto

After a really intense work day, what do I need to drink to wind down?


2010 Barbaresco, Lorenzo Alutto
According to my memory, I have never tasted anything from this estate. They have been around for some time, the estate have been in the Alutto family since 1700.
The nose is a bit shy at first but with an hour in a decanter fine notes of cool red cherries, shoe cream, gravel, dry tobacco and, to get into the season, some Christmas spices, emerges from the glass. Old fashioned and very good. Broadens with air and some veal meat scents comes through. Really good.
The taste is dry, tight and structured with notes of ripening red cherries, lingonberries, hard cherry candy and sun warm gravel. The tannins are sandy and very fine. Long and with a fine intensity in a old style fashion. Lovely to drink and follow for a couple of hours. Wish I had more. A gamble buy for 17 Euro - boy, did this pay of!
90p   (tasted 2016/12)

Saturday 17 December 2016

The Barolo Boys In Piedmont - Part Three

Another day and more winegrowers to visit! You should think that tasting (spitting mind you!) wine from early morning until evening would make you tired, but being here in Langhe fills you with vigour and energy! We jumped in the car and drove to

Ciacomo Conterno
A visit to the cellar of Ciacomo Conterno is always a must on these thrips. The cellar is immaculate, you could eat of the floors. A new bottling machine was the first we saw, it looked more like a NASA project than anything else. Apparently so efficient that all bottling can be made in three days. Then it just stands there for 362 days...
Roberto greated us and we took a quick tour around the cellar before heading up to the tasting room where he opened these bottles. It is always a treat to get to sit down and talk to Roberto about the situation in Langhe, the latest vintages and everything else that makes life worthwhile.

2014 Barbera d´Alba Vigna Francia
A high, pure nose with lots of energy and notes of ripe black cherries, lingonberries, forest floor and raspberry liquorice. Very, very good.
The taste is seedy and forward with notes of mineral laden raspberries with some liquorice and smoke tossed in. A long, distinct finish with a fine high acidity. This is really fine.
93p   (tasted 2016/12)

2014 Barbera d´Alba Vigna Cerretta
The Cerretta is darker and a bit more concentrated than the Francia, with notes of damp earth, ripe raspberries, almond paste and mushrooms. Very, very good.
The taste is high and tight with notes of a mix of blueberries and raspberries with additional notes of sweet minerals, forest floor and smoke. A long, intense finish. As with the Francia, really fine.
93p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Francia
A deep, dense nose with notes of dried rose petals, dried up cherry jam, hard cherry candy and smoke. High and pure. A bit compact. Needs time to open up.
The taste is seedy and tight with high and mighty tannins and notes of dry liquorice, hard cherry candy, dry leaves and minerals. Very, very long and structured. Needs time.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Cerretta
A wonderfully perfumed nose with notes of ripe, dark cherries, raspberry liquorice, dried mushrooms and asphalt. Very deep. A hint of tobacco. This is really fine.
The taste is tight and focused with notes of dark cherry fruit, liquorice, forest floor and tobacco. A very long, balanced finish with lovely, polished tannins. This is goood!
95p   (tasted 2016/12)

2010 Monfortino
After tasting the wines above, we anxiously looked at Roberto. Would we get to taste the Monfortino? On our previous visits we have always tasted it from barrel in the cellar, and we had alreday visited the cellar...
But Roberto disappeared and came back with a unlabeled bottle - and yes - Monfortino! Apparently they have had fruit flies on the premises, so tasting in the cellar was a no no.
The nose is a dream with a depth and purity that is breathtaking. There are beautiful notes of rose petals, tiles, sweet/sour cherries and ceps. Deceptively light. Very balanced. Just great.
The taste is intense and refined with beatiful perfumed notes, perfectly balanced tannins and a finish that goes on and on and on. The 10 Monfortino is a beauty and perfection in the making. Give it 8+ years. Will be released in October 2017, time for those Lotto coupons to come through...
99p   (tasted 2016/12)

For lunch we went up to Verduno and Trattoria Dai Bercau, which Enrica Scavino had recommended. We shared a bottle from the nearby winery and I ate a delicious coniglio dish.

2015 Langhe Nebbiolo, Dott G.B. Burlotto
A withdrawn, traditional nose with notes of sour cherries, burnt leaves, dried flowers and some rubber. A little VA at first, that blew away with some air. Very good.
The taste is warm and outgoing with notes of ripe red cherries, gravel and mushrooms. A medium long finish with a high acidity. Went very well with the coniglio.
86p   (tasted 2016/12)


After lunch we headed to La Morra for our next visit. Cesare Bussolo met us and then we had a two hours great visit with lots of discussion and some fine wines.

Roberto Voerzio
2015 Dolcetto d´Alba Priavino
Cesare talked a lot of the Dolcetto and was noticable proud of it. As he should be, for this is really good. It has a fresh, open nose with notes of ripe raspberries, forest floor and balsa wood. Juicy and upfront.
The taste is young and sporty with a fine mix of raspberries and blueberries, a fresh acidity and a moderate length. This is good.
88p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Cerequio
A deep, ripe nose with notes of mature red cherries, raspberry liquorice, rosehips and rose water. Very fine. Deep.
The taste is young and tight with notes of sweet red cherries, liquorice, forest floor and fresh mushrooms. A long finish with juicy tannins. Very, very good.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Rocche dell´Annunziata
The Rocche is a stunner, with its deep, concentrated nose full of ripe cherries, damp earth, red tea and some chocolate biscuits. Very fine. An ever so slight mint aroma.
The taste is young and tight with forceful tannins that have wrapped in the sweet cherry fruit. Very, very long. The finish is like sucking on some hard cherry candy. Great.
95p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo La Serra
The nose starts with lots of sweet minerals, but with some swirling notes of raspberry liquorice, forest floor and roships emerge from the glass. Dense and deep.
The taste is tight and focused with notes of violets, red cherries, crushed rocks and a hint of tobacco. A long finish with some sturdy tannins. Needs time. Very, very good.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2006 Barolo Fossati Case Nere Riserva 10 Anni
This late release is an awesome effort. The nose is deep, somewhat mature and rich with notes of candied cherries, sweet liquorice, autumn leaves, dried rose petals and some coffee scents. Very, very deep. The 10 years hade added lots of complexity. Just lovely.
The taste is pure, deep and complex with notes of sweet violets, dry cherry jam, black tea and rosehips. A long, very focused finish with nicely rounded tannins. Drinking great today will get even better with 5+ years. Splendid!
97p   (tasted 2016/12)

On our way to the evenings restaurant we made a quick pit stop at Altare and met up with Silvia, and tasted these 12´s.
2012 Barolo
The 12 Normale has a deep, finely tuned nose with notes of sweet/sour cherries, ceps, liquorice and gravel. Deep and fine. A velvety character.
The velvety character follows through on the palate with rich cherry fruit and notes of liquorice, dried flowers and a hint of chocolate. Very, very good. Long and rewarding.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Arborina
The Arborina is more concentrated than the Normale with a salty cherry candy feeling and lots of moist forest floor, and some really focused tannins, but feels more withdrawn than the Normale. Give it 6+ years.
93p   (tasted 2016/12)

After the short visit to Altare we went to Trattoria La Coccinella in Serravalle. It turned out to be a real treat, the best restaurant visit of the trip.
We had a bottle of 2012 Arneis, Bruno Giacosa, the best Arnesis in Langhe, except for Vietti´s version, and it was, as always, fresh and juicy and was a perfect fit with my primo - lots of different raw fishes - one of the best dishes I have had this year.

Raw fish - it just melted in the mouth!

2011 Barolo Tre Tine, Giuseppe Rinaldi
We then opted for a Barolo (surprise!) to go along the rest of the meal. And this turned out a real treat. The nose is deep, multi layered and light as a feather, with lovely notes of pickled cherries, rose petals, ceps and some smoke in a distance. Very complex. Utterly gorgeous.
The taste is pure, racy and clean as a whistle with notes of hard cherry candy, raspberry liquorice, warm sand and minerals. Very long and focused. The real thing. So much better than the Brunate. Stunning.
96p   (tasted 2016/12)

Tripe lasagna!