Friday 29 December 2017

2013 California Cabernet - Part Seven

It has been a while since the last Part. The state monopoly doesn´t seem to release any bottles any more, or at least very long between.
I could of course buy from other places but lately there have been bottles of Barolo delivered from seemingly everywhere...forgetting the joys of California Cabernet - that has to be rectified!

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Eden   (Santa Cruz)
A very deep and at the same time a tad stifled nose with notes of charcoal, ripe black currants, plums, expensive leather and Cohiba cigars. Tight and concentrated. Very deep and laid back with a stern black fruit experience. Needs plenty of time.
The taste is tight, concentrated and ample with notes of black cherries, black currants, lead pencil shavings and sun baked rocks. A very long, rich taste with a notes of chestnuts and scorched earth. Very focused. Not as open and immediately rewarding as the 2012 tasted a year ago. This will need at least 8 years in the cellar. Very, very promising in a strict, backward way.
78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
94p   (tasted 2017/12)

2013 Napanook, Dominus Estate   (Napa Valley)
The 13 Napanook cepage is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The nose is deep and inviting with notes of ripe black currants, fir smoke, dark fudge, charcoal and dark flowers. Intense, high and fine. Very deep.
The taste is tight and refined with notes of sweet red and black currants, tobacco, dusty earth and dark violets. Long, distinct and dry. Classy. Drinking great in 3+ years and the coming 10 years.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

Wednesday 27 December 2017

2013 Buttafuoco Fajro, Cà Del Gé

A tasting sample from Divinum Wine.
To my memory I have never tasted anything from the region of Oltrepo Pavese. This estate was founded in 1985 by Enzo Padroggi, and today it is run by his children Stephanie, Sara and Carlo. More info here.

2013 Buttafuoco Fajro, Cà Del Gé
This interesting blend of 50% Croatina, 40% Barbera and 10% Uva Rara and Vespolina (the grapes derives from the Montespinato cru in the commune of Cigognola) displays a large scaled, spicy nose with notes of ripe plums, violets, rubber and fire smoke. With air it takes on more Syrah like notes - pepper, asphalt dark flowers. Rich and very good. A fine depth.
The taste is fresh and direct with spicy and sweet/sour cherries and plums with  additional notes of black peppers, earth, violets and ink. A very long, distinct finish with fine, dry tannins. A very fine warmth. Very, very good. Still young, needs 3+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

Monday 25 December 2017

2009 & 2010 Château La Tour Carnet & A Pomerol Backup

The day after Christmas Eve it is tradition that we finish the Christmas ham of with a Pommes Dauphine, a sallad and some wine of course!
I opted for a dynamic duo from La Tour Carnet, but it turned out to be a solo performance because of the ugly cork monster. I backup was needed and I found a mature Pomerol.

2009 Château La Tour Carnet

2010 Château La Tour Carnet
This 60% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot blend needs a couple of hours to really show it stuff. Then it displays a deep, concentrated nose with notes of graphite, ink, ripe black currants and blueberries, plums and dark flowers. Rich and promising, still very young.
The taste is tight and intense with notes of blood and iron, minerals, plums, violets and cherry seeds. A long, distinct finish with broad shouldered tannins. A fine concentration. Needs at least 8 years. Very promising.
La Tour Carnet actually had a Swedish owner during the 18th century and half of the 19th.
92p   (tasted 2017/12)

1996 Château Ferrand
A mature, deep, inviting nose with notes of dried plums, fir wood, wet dog and Christmas spices. A hint of green peppers. Very nice.
The taste is dry, cool and spicy with notes of dried red and black currants, plums, cigarette ashes and dried flowers. A fine, dry ending. Fully mature and maybe then some but a nice mouthful of mature Pomerol.
87p   (tasted 2017/12)

Friday 22 December 2017

A Christmas Pelaverga Shoot-Out

After a day spent in the kitchen preparing for Christmas, it was time for some light food - Serrano, Truffle salami, Fennochio, Gruyere, Tomme and Pecorino, and two bottles of Pelaverga - a perfect match to this kind of food.

2015 Pelaverga Speciale, Fratelli Alessandria
We tasted the 2016 at the estate when we visited in the beginning of November (notes are on their way...).
The 2015 shows of a high spirited, light and refreshing nose with notes of lingonberries, clay, eraser, herbs and ripening raspberries. Highly likeable, upfront and juicy.
The taste is light and attractive with a fine, salivating acidity and notes of lingonberries, hard cherry candy, gravel, white peppers and assorted spices. Direct and gulpable. Very, very good.
88p   (tasted 2017/12)

Two Pelaverga´s in front of our 2017 Christmas gingerbread house - Pippi Longstocking´s home - a wish from our grandchild...
2013 Pelaverga, Burlotto
When we visited Fabio in May we tasted the 2016. Time to draw the cork out of a three year older bottle and see how Pelaverga ages. Very well I can say.
The nose is medium deep and spicy with notes of matchbox, dried strawberries, dusty earth, candle grease and white pepper. Full of life and character.
The taste is fresh, lively and spicy with notes of lingonberries, chrushed rocks, white peppers and a hint of licorice. Ends dry and refined. Lovely.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

Monday 18 December 2017

A Bottle Of Bubbly - NV Brut Réserve, Charles Heidsieck

Sometimes you just get an unstoppable craving for some bubbly.

NV Brut Réserve, Charles Heidsieck
Based on the great 2008 vintage it shows a fine, chalky nose with notes of smoke, red currants, lemon cream, hand cream and a touch of white pepper. Very racy and fine. Salivating.
The taste is deep, rich and dry with notes of grilled lemons, freshly cut grass, dry fudge, yellow plums and lots of sweet minerals. A long, finely tuned finish with a cleansing acidity.
40% is reserve wine with an age between 5-15 years. Really fine.
92p   (tasted 2017/12)

Saturday 16 December 2017

Birthday Wines - Three Bottles From The Greatest Vintage Ever

What to drink when it is your birthday and you happen to be born in The Greatest Vintage Ever? Three bottles from the year in question seems adequate. And a bottle of 739 Jacquesson to start with - great as ever (93p).

1964 Château Houissant
This St Estephe displays a mature, rough-around-the-corner nose with notes of dried black currants, cranberries, scorched earth and dry tobacco. Stilll hanging in there but a tad hollow in the middle.
The taste is dry and linear with notes of tobacco, leather, autumn leaves and earth. A sturdy backbone, still delivering a fine mouthfeel. Went well with the food.
83p   (tasted 2017/11)

1964 Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria Poggio Alle Mura
I have had great bottles from Poggio Alle Mura, the 74 and 75 for example (Banfi bought the estate in 1983). This bottle however wont join those ranks. I am pretty sure that this bottle have been stored too warm for too long, resulting in notes of cooked fruit and a dry, one dimensional finish.
70p   (tasted 2017/11)

1964 Barolo Cascina Luciani, Alessio Grasso
From Annunziata, La Morra, this Grasso saves the day. It needs some time in the decanter and glass to wake from its 53 year slumber but when it does it delivers a great, deep nose filled with scents of dark roses, dried up strawberry jam, licorice and sweet tobacco. Very, very fine. Still lots of sweet fruit. A very fine intensity and warmth.
The taste is mature of course but with a tight core of ripe red fruit and notes of sugared coffee, mushrooms, undergrowth, raspberry licorice and roses en masse. A long, structured finish with velvety tannins. Really, really good.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

Friday 15 December 2017

Simon Maye Syrah / A Vertical / 2005-2013

Two friends of mine, M and S, had pulled together an impressive line up of Syrah´s from Simon Maye and they invited some wine nerds to taste them. I was thrilled to be asked!

Zum Bären is to be thanked for supplying some of the bottles. The Simon Maye Syrah´s are hard to come by and that makes this in depth tasting even more impressing.
Info here.

All wines tasted single blind, the whites double blind.

Warm Up
2011 Petite Arvine, Simon Maye
Some Swiss whites to warm up the taste buds. The first one has a maturing, dried up nose with notes of dried orange peel, honey, wool and peach. A tad oily in character. Good.
The taste is medium bodied with a good acidity and notes of tangerines, wet rocks and almond paste. Went perfectly with the accompanying pumpkin soup.
87p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Grain Arvine La Louye, Therése Chappaz
The other Arvine (as we found out later that it was) displays a high, fine nose with notes of candied lemon peel, smoke, white flowers and lots of chrushed rocks. Very, very good.
The taste is dry and fine with notes of dry biscuits, dry lemons, oyster broth and chrushed rocks. Very fresh and very good.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

Flight 1
2011 Syrah, Simon Maye
A balanced, lightly meaty and smoky nose with notes of bakelite, dried flowers and gravel. A hint of green leaves in the background. Herbal. Very good.
The taste is cool and medium bodied with notes of rowan berries, blueberries, green pepper and a hint of rubber. A dry finish. Drinking perfect now, not for the lang haul.
88p   (tasted 2017/11)

2010 Syrah, Simon Maye
The 2010 is a stunner, on the level and sometimes above the V.V. bottlings, see below. The nose soars up from the glass with notes of ripe blackberries, peppered meat, dark flowers, bacon fat and sweet violets. There is even a sweaty horse trotting in the background. Very deep, pure, brilliant.
The taste is mouth coating in the best sense of the word with stunning black fruit, a fine acidity, polished tannins and a lovely balance. Still on the young side of things, this beauty could be drunk now and the coming 8+ years.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

Flight 2
2008 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The first Vieilles Vignes sports a high, intense nose with notes of veal meat, violet pastilles, charcoal and freshly fallen snow! Luscious and fine.
The taste is cool, seedy and fine with sweet red currants, blueberries, veal meat and minerals. A lovely texture. Very long and pure. 4+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2006 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
A deep, tight nose which opens up fine in the glass and reveals notes of damsons, red beets, mulled wine spices, bakelite and iron. A fine, rugged backbone.
The taste is broad and steady with notes of dark flowers, charcoal, chrushed black pepper and tapenade. Long and distinct. A very fine warmth. 7+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2006 Syrah, Denis Mercier
The first dark horse, and in hindsight it was a tad different than the others. The nose is somewhat sweeter with notes of vanilla powdered blackberries, scorched earth, smoke and sugared coffee. Deep and fine but a bit more upfront and juicy.
The taste is warm, herbal and direct with notes of violets, warm bay leaves, smoke and dried up blackberry jam. Long, warm and fine.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2007 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
Is ethereal meaty a understandably description? That´s what I have written, alongside ripe blueberries, both white and black pepper, Christmas spices, raspberries and dry licorice. Very deep,  complex and utterly gorgeous.
The taste is pure and brilliant with notes of sweet violets, dark coffee, fresh herbs, white pepper and veal stock. Very long, concentrated and truly, truly fine. 6+ years.
97p   (tasted 2017/11)

2005 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The nose is very fine with notes of ripe flowers, blackberries, charcoal and fresh herbs. A fine complexity. A fine smoky note emerges with air.
But the taste isn´t as fine as the nose. It is concentrated and deep but it has an element of masonite in the finish, leaving it a bit dry and not as harmonious as the others. Drink now.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

Flight 3
2009 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
There is violets on this nose, and then violets and have I mentioned violets? If not, they are there. After some swirling some additional aromas of Lily of the Valley, tender meat, white pepper and gravel emerges from the glass. A very handsome wine. Refined. Classy.
The taste is tight and complex with notes of chrushed slate, veal stock, blueberries, smoke and a hint of dark chocolate. And violets. The finish goes on for one minute plus. Really fine. 6+ year.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)

2010 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
We all concured that there must be something wrong with this bottle. No one had ever tasted it before so no references. But given how stunning the regular Syrah is, see above, this can´t be a true impression of the 2010 V.V.
Not a bad wine per se, but it lacks all characteristics of the other V.V. wines, the nose is subdued and a bit blunt with notes of ripe lingonberries, dry herbs and rubber.
The taste is seedy and narrow with notes of cool blueberry fruit, dry licorice, gravel and smoke. A bit foursquare in the finish. ?
83p   (tasted 2017/11)

2011 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The 11 is all that one would have thought that the 10 should be. A spine tingling nose that shows of beautiful notes of ripe strawberries with some blackberries tossed in, Christmas spices, a hint of tar, sweet red peppers, smoke and fresh flowers. A stunning nose, vibrant and refined.
Balance, energy and intensity is the hallmarks of this beauty, with notes of sweet violets, white peppers, dried flowers, chrushed rocks and spices. Very long and full of finesse and restrained power. 8+ years.
96p   (tasted 2017/11)

2011 Syrah, Didier Joris
A dark horse in third flight too. And this is goood! The nose is deep and complex with notes of dark candle grease, fir wood, ripe red currants, blueberries and a hint of chocolate. A very fine sweetness to the fruit. Really fine.
The taste is deep and dark with notes of ripe blueberries, dark licorice, violets and meat stock. Some sturdy tannins in the finish, not the fine polished tannins that the Maye wines has, that should have been a give away... A fine wine nevertheless.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2012 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
A fine, deep, complex nose with notes of violets, roses, red currants, veal stock and red peppers. A very fine red note, some dried strawberries after a while. Cool and fresh. Really fine.
The taste is tight, balanced and lovely with notes of red beets, roses, gravel, dried meat and bakelite. Long and lingering. A laid back character with charm and delicacy. Aristocratic. 6+ years.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, Simon Maye
The youngster in the line up displays a deep, tight nose with notes of forest floor, fir wood, blueberries, veal stock and beet roots. A very fine sweetness. High and fine.
The taste is young and taut with notes of cranberries, scorched earth, violets, spices and a hint of bacon. The finish is long and slightly peppery. Will need time, at least 8 years. Great potential.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2005 Côte-Rôtie, Jamet
The evening finished with a surprise bottle from one of the tasters. Popped and poured. The nose is deep and a tad mature with notes of sweet black cherries, warm gravel, violets and tapenade. Very, very good.
The taste is dry and tight with notes of dry violets, earth, dried meat, herbs and gravel. The nose shows more sweetness to the fruit than the palate, but long lasting, warm and fine. For drinking sooner than later.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

Thursday 14 December 2017

1983 Château Pontac Lynch

The recently tasted 1990 Lanessan got me craving more mature Bordeaux. Lets see how this 34 year old Margaux performs with a simple dish of steak and potatoes.

1983 Château Pontac Lynch
A Cru Bourgeois since 1932, this 10 ha apparently sold for higher prices in the middle of the eighteenth century than those of its neighbours, which are Château Palmer, Rauzan Segla, d´Issan and Margaux...
Equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with small parts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot make up the blend.
The nose offers up a medium deep, round and inviting aroma filled with dried red and black currants, plums, stables, autumn leaves and a hint of pipe tobacco. Very, very good. A very fine dried up sweetness. Fully mature, but still vital.
The taste is cool, mature and dry with notes of cranberries, dried plums, earth and at the end, some dried strawberries. Medium bodied with fully melted tannins, it is a tad soft at the end but it went really well with the steak.
87p   (tasted 2017/11)

Friday 8 December 2017

Red Room Hedonism - White Burgundy, Brunello & Red Burgundy

Here again, sitting down in the Red Room at Magnusson Fine Wines, with two friends, some nice food and five bottles of grape juice.

1995 Meursault Les Pelles, Domaine Philippe Delagrange
A finely matured, round, intense nose with notes of dried apricots, oilcloth, dry fudge and a hint of saffron. A fine maturity, even some notes of red berries.
The taste is dry and refined with notes of dried lemons, hay, wet stones and some chalky notes. A fine acidity and a long finish. Drinking beautifully today but any additional bottles should be drunk within 5 years.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

1985 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Castelgiocondo, Frescobaldi
This 32 year old Brunello is full of life and displays a deep, dark, spicy nose with notes of rosemary marinated black cherries, olives, dark gravel and a hint of cigarr. A wide, open, deep nose with a very fine maturity.
The taste is broad, dry, warm and spicy with notes of black currants, sweet tobacco, fried herbs and black olives. A long, structured finish with a warm and dense impression. Really good.
92p   (tasted 2017/12)

1995 Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo, Frescobaldi
The 10 year younger Castelgiocondo shows a nose with lots of forest floor, dried rosemary, red cherries, Tuscan gravel and ginger bread. A tad lighter in body than the 85 but with more refinement and poise. Very fine.
The taste is complex, multi layered and lovely with notes of ripe red and black cherries, tobacco, Tuscan gravel, herbs and a touch of mint. The finish is long, velvety, rich and gorgeous. For drinking now and the coming 10 years. Great wine.
94p   (tasted 2017/12)

2005 Echezeaux, Earl David Bocquenet
Focus shift to Burgundy and the first Echezeaux has a charming, light headed nose with notes of ripe lingonberries, dry raspberries, forest floor and sage. Very, very good.
The taste is young, cool and rather firm with notes of lingonberries, dried strawberries, white pepper and rosehips. A high, fine acidity that will need 6+ years to really integrate. A very fine, still young bottle of Burgundy.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

2005 Echezeaux, Lucien le Moine
Not much have happened over the four years since I last tasted this. Still young, still with ripe, sweet fruit, a very fine structure and intensity, with old vine fruit and a great craftmanship. A really fine balance. Just needs another 8+ years, will (try too...) save my last bottle at least that long.
95p   (tasted 2017/12)

Red Room Hedonism - Two Old Montrose & One Young Canon
Red Room Hedonism - Mosel, Barolo & Bordeaux
Red Room Hedonism - Riesling, Bordeaux & Brunello

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Lunches & Dinners In Piedmont - Part Two

You just don´t drink the greatest wines in this world when you are in Nebbiolo land, you eat the greatest too. My love for Carne Cruda, Tajarin, Plin, Coniglio etc is endless.

Thursday Lunch - Il Grecale   (
We had read somewhere that there was a fine sea food restaurant in Novello, so we booked a table for lunch and drove there.
And we will be back! One of the best visits of our trip. Thoughtfull, methodical, loving cooking with stunning flavours and intensity.

Pre lunch snacks
2016 Nas-Cëtta, Le Strette
Almost a three bottle lunch! The waitress brought the wrong bottle and opened it before we caught the mistake. But we got a taste of it and then they replaced it with the one we originally ordered - no fuss and great service.
A local variety in Langhe, the Nascetta grape (Nas-Cëtta as it is called in Novello) was almost extinct when Elvio Cogno started to tend to it in the mid 90´s. It is suggested that it has a genetic linc to Vermentino, and it must have, becasuse it smells an taste exactly like a Vermentino. A flowery, grassy nose with lots of chrushed rocks and dry passion fruit. Very good.
The taste is dry, cool and fine with notes of grass, white currants and minerals. A fine salty note in the finish.
87p   (tasted 2017/11)

An absolutelu stunning, fresh dish!
2014 Sauvignon, Matteo Corregio
The nose is open and inviting with notes of elderberries, freshly cut grass and spices. Salivating. Very, very good.
The taste is fresh and upfront with notes of lemon peel, grass and white flowers. A fine acidity. Long and fine.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

Stunning scallops!

2014 Barbera d´Alba Prephylloxera, Elvio Cogno
When we saw this on the list, we just had to have it. I have never seen it in a shop. The prephylloxera Barbera from Cogno. Read all about it here.
The nose is a beauty with a mix of ripe raspberries, black stony fruits, wet clay, dry licorice and dried flowers. Intense and complex. Very deep.
The taste is dense and multi layered with notes of raspberry licorice, dark chocolate, sand and a touch of sea salt. Very long and creamy. Really fine. Wish I could get hold of some bottles.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

The Chef - we will be back!

Thursday Dinner - Osteria Tre Case   (
After tasting with Giacomo we went out to dinner with him, and Elisa Scavino meet up at the restaurant that Giacomo had choosed. A first for us, but we will be back.

We started with a bottle of NV Blanc de Blanc, Ruinart which was crisp and delicious (92p) and then a bottle of 2016 Barbera d´Alba, Massolino which was young, juicy and gulpable (90p).
The 2012 Barolo Pie Rupestris, Cappellano followed, which performed as excellent as it did when we had it in May.
The food at Tre Case was traditional and very fine, lots of flavour and texture.

Carne cruda with white truffle

Our dinner company - Elisa Scavino and Giacomo Conterno - a great evening!

The sky when leaving Tre Case

Friday Lunch - Repubblica di Perno   (
Lunch with Gianpaolo Pira before tasting at the estate.

2013 Barolo Acclivi, Burlotto
When we visited Fabio in May we were very impressed by the 2013 line up. I have bought some but we took this chance to test drive the Acclivi.
A refined, low keyed yet intense nose with notes of ripe lingonberries, paint, birch leaves and undergrowth. High and really fine.
The taste is ethereal and refreshing with a seemingly lightness. Lovely notes of hard cherry candy, forest floor and dried strawberries. Handsome. Great wine.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

Duck terrine - yummy!
Coniglio! One of the best dishes of rabbit I have ever had

Two of The Barolo Boys with Gianpaolo and the staff at Repubblica
2015 Langhe Nebbiolo, Bartolo Mascarello
The nose shows of a great mix of strawberries and licorice with some additional notes of violets, rosemary and earth. A very fine depth. Some rose petals after a while.
The taste is earthy and refined with notes of balsamico marinated strawberries, road dust, dark violets and a hint of dry tobacco. Very long and fine.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

Friday Dinner - Osteria La Torre   (
After tasting at Pira we headed to Cherasco for dinner with the Pira and Marengo family. A great night to be had!

We started with a bottle of 2007 Barbera d´Alba La Bogliona, Scarpa but which showed a tad too rustic and rough around the edges for my liking (83p).

A different presentation of Vitello Tonnato
2010 Barolo Villero, Brovia
The first Barolo displayed a fine spicy character and notes of ripe red cherries, tobacco, dried herbs and licorice. Deep. Some sugared cooffe aromas after a time in the glass. Very, very good.
The taste shows some signs of maturity and notes of autumn leaves, dried cherries, rosehips and dry tobacco. In the long, fine finish there is a touch of sweet cooffe, as on the nose. Drinking beautifully on this night.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Monvigliero, Fratelli Alessandria
I had never tasted the Monvigliero from Alessandria so this was fun. And what a wine! The nose is deep and utterly gorgeous with notes of ripe red cherries, black minerals, dry tobacco, incense and dried strawberries. Very complex and fine.
The taste is refined and silky at first until the tannins creeps forward in the finish. Lovely notes of wild strawberries, dry tobacco, sweet minerals and violets. Very long and very fine. Glad I got hold of some in Alba the day after.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)