Had this wine on SAT at a friend’s house. He bought it from Spain almost 1 year ago and finally uncorked it this weekend.
1999 CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja
Deep dark red color. The nose is well developed, intense and maturing, filled with primary and secondary aromas and classic Rioja: orange peel, a touch of brett, red fruit and tobacco. Medium to full bodied, the wine seems a touch heavy and lacks the acidity of a Rioja Alta, but compensate with ripe and round tannins, and the richness of flavors on the palate: red cherry, gooseberry, cranberry, cocoa and tobacco. Quite forward, rich in fruit and oaky. The finish is medium with lingering fruity and oaky flavors in the aftertaste. While there is plenty of fruit and a certain lack of typical Rioja bright acidity, the wine is a pleasant drink with its secondary aromas. (89-90/100)
Last SUN, on November 20, 2011, I organized my first Wine dinner themed: Bordeaux of the ’90s. The place was the cozy and fancy The Vineyard section from Crowne Plaza’s La Veranda restaurant. We were 16 people all together and enjoyed an almost 5 h dinner and 6 courses meal. There were 11 foreign wines scheduled for tasting, plus another 3 Romanians that we served before and after dinner.
I uncorked the wines around 18:00 and I was happy to discover that almost all corks went out in one piece. The most difficult to pull out were the corks of the two oldest wines: 1970 and 1975. However there was no problem to uncork them and no piece of cork managed to fall in the bottle.
The event initially scheduled for 19:30, started around 20:00 when all the people arrived; meanwhile a 2010 Sole Sauvignon Blanc from Recas was served to open up the appetite for what was scheduled to come. An easy drinking wine that served its purpose very well.
The first course of the meal was Tuna Tartare with baby greens and avocado served with two Champagne’s: a white vintage from Moutard and a rose Bollinger NV.
2003 Moutard Cuvee des 6 Cepages Brut Champagne
This is a rather unusual Champagne as it contains all six grapes varieties allowed to be grown in Champagne. Most of the producers use only the three well known Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Moutard uses for this blend also Arbanne, Pinot Blanc and Petit Meslier. These latter three grape varieties are grown only marginally in Champagne and considered to produce a wine of lesser quality. Moutard is a well known producer of spirits and until 2000 its Champagnes lacked raciness and were rather average. But a major shift in quality was made in the early 2000 and the level of quality continues to climb every year ever since. There is even a 100% Arbanne Vieilles Vignes Champagne produced by Moutard which unfortunately I did not taste so far.
2003 was a challenging vintage in Champagne in the face of an unprecedented heat wave during the summer months. The frosts conditions early in the season led to the demise of half of the crop, so the Champagne production from 2003 was severely restricted. The harvest began as early as the last week of August, in a way similar to 2011. As a result, grapes enjoyed exceptional ripeness and fruitiness, but low acidity. Pinot Noir fared better than the Chardonnay.
The 2003 Cuvee des 6 Cepages Brut has a light gold color with microscopical, subdued bubbles. The nose is rich, intense and evolves with aeration, exhibiting complex aromas of biscuit, dough, citric fruits, baked apple and even an interesting old cognac-caramel aroma. In the mouth, this medium plus bodied Champagne is racy, creamy and well focused on the palate, showing good tension and pure flavors. The finish is medium plus long, with a refreshing mix of minerals and citric fruit peel aftertaste. Really good purity of flavors. (92/100)
Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut Rose NV
This Champagne was kindly provided by the importer: Cramele Halewood. Bollinger is one of the few producers that uses oak casks during the first fermentation process.
The color is a light pink salmon with smooth bubbles. The nose is more showy and less refined than the previous Champagne, intense, with sweet aromas of small red fruits, dough, baked apple and sugar cane. It probably has a higher dossage because the taste is fuller, but still creamy on the palate. A medium finish with red fruits in the aftertaste. (88-89/100)
The second course of the meal was Foie-gras terrine with caramelized apple served next to three German Rieslings from the left bank of the Ruwer river, about two kilometres before it joins the Mosel.
1993 Maximin Grunhaus(er) Abtsberg Riesling Kabinett trocken 10% alc
1993 was a small, excellent vintage: lots of Auslesen/botrytis, with near perfect harmony. Wonderful to drink now.
There is a medium gold color. The nose is well developed and youthful, intense, with a strong aroma of petrol, exotic fruits, tangerine, pineapple and wax , a nose with great typicality. Medium bodied, showing a tremendous acidity and lively palate, very youthful, a dry wine, with a medium and fresh finish. The flavors are not very intense in the mouth, but the balance is really good. A good surprise from a simple Kabinett with a real sweet nose and a dry to off dry sensation in the mouth. (88-89/100)
2002 Maximin Grunhaus(er) Abtsberg Riesling Spatlese 7.5% alc
2002 vintage is a small miracle how the Riesling grapes survived one of the wettest harvests on record to give ripe, succulent, lively wines (mostly Kabinett and Spatlese), and attractive drunk young or mature.
A medium gold color, similar to the 1993. The nose is more reductive, but more elegant, with a lighter aroma of petrol, and with good exotic fruits and honeysuckle. Full bodied, well balanced and showing a really lively palate, with great intensity of flavors. The finish is medium plus long, with racy acidity and lingering flavors. This remains an elegant and delicate wine from the nose to the finish. (91-92/100)
2009 Cati Riesling Spatlese 9% alc
A wine kindly provided by the importer: Winero. The wine comes from the small 2 ha property owned by the same partnership that owns Enira in Bulgaria: Stephan von Neipperg and dr Karl Heintz Hauptmann. 2009 was, as far as I understood, their first vintage produced.
A medium gold color. A Riesling with good typicality, with intense aromas of petrol, exotic and tropical fruits, pineapple, peach, yellow apples and citric fruit. The aromas are more intense than in the 2002 but do not have the same complexity and delicacy. Full bodied, with good acidity, good balance and a medium plus fresh finish. A more rustic wine than the previous, but charming nevertheless. (89/100)
Next course of the meal was Pancetta wrapped Atlantic cod, corn and mushrooms with veal jus vinaigrette. For this dish the chef suggested the oldest wine of the tasting: a 1970 Pomerol.
1970 Chateau Nenin Pomerol
1970 was successful throughout Bordeaux, but St-Emilion and Pomerol produced many of the top wines.
A ruby red color with a brick rim. A completely matured nose, with discreet aromas and very little fruit left, even a bit metallic and dusty. Medium bodied and unfortunately past its best, there is still some acidity left but the wine finishes very quickly and there is virtually no aftertaste. Past its drinking window. Probably tasted in the first 30 minutes of uncorking it, the wine would have fared better. (70-72/100)
The Beef Mignon with potato puree, foie-gras Ravioli, wax beans and veal reduction was served in the company of three wines: a 1990 Saint-Emilion, a 1994 Pauillac and a 1995 Pessac Leognan.
1990 Chateau Pavie Decesse Saint-Emilion
1990 was overall a hotter and drier year than 1989. Sugar levels were close to the highs of 1989. Because of the size of the crop, many conscientious estates practiced green-harvesting in July to reduce the yields. It was also the driest year since 1961. Overall 1990 was an excellent vintage.
The wine has a red garnet, youthful color with surprisingly light signs of aging. The nose is well developed, elegant and maturing, sweet, with good intensity and aromas of smoke, red currant, cedar, red fruits and dry plums, mint and even a light touch of balsamic notes. Medium bodied, lively and youthful in the mouth, well balanced, with appealing juiciness, with ripe tannins and finely balanced, and flavors of tobacco, leather, black tea and red fruit. The finish is fresh and medium plus long, with aromatic black tea and plum in the aftertaste. There is reasonable concentration and length. (91-92/100)
I was talking to a friend some time ago and mentioned him the wines for this tasting and he was convinced that the 1990 Pavie Decesse is a dead wine. I am happy to confirm M. that not only this is not dead, but the wine is really charming and pleased most of the guests.
1994 Chateau Baron de Pichon Longueville Pauillac
In 1994 conditions looked highly promising by early September, and then from September 7 the rain began and continued for most of the month. Fortunately temperatures were fairly cool and there was little rot, but the wet weather did cause some dilution. Growers did not delay the harvest, as the grapes, especially Merlot, were as ripe as they were going to get, and there was nothing to be gained by waiting. The red wines turned out to be dark, quite rich and tannic.
A red garnet, still youthful color. A well developed and Cabernet nose of considerable sweetness, youthful, with good intensity, and aromas of black currant, cedar, tobacco, green vegetables, bay leaf and quite ethereal. Medium bodied, youthful, forward and easy-going, not too extracted, subtle red fruit and tobacco, round and mellow tannins, but still well structured and balanced. Medium plus finish with a drying black tea like sensation. (91-92/100)
1995 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan
Some critics declared themselves unimpressed by 1995, but with time it has become clear that this is easily the best vintage since 1990, and the best wines are evolving slowly but impressively. They will be long-lived.
A youthful red garnet color. A well developed nose, a bit more closed than the previous wine, with Cabernet like aromas of green vegetables, black and red currant, mocha and a bit of stinky brett. Medium bodied, with a sweet palate and assertive tannins, youthful, and similar flavors as on the nose. There is a medium plus finish, very minty, with an aromatic black tea aftertaste and chewy tannins. The tannins are still strong and there is plenty of life ahead for this wine. (90-91/100)
I was a little bit nervous about this Smith Haut Lafitte because I already had a bad experience with a corked 1995 ( a couple of weeks ago) and a cooked 1985 almost one year ago. Fortunately this bottle showed well.
The Cheese with beetroot jam dish was served with a 1992 Saint Julien.
1992 Chateau Leoville Las Cases St-Julien
1992: this was the wettest summer in fifty years. Green-harvesting was essential to reduce potentially enormous yields. Rain fell in late August and again on September 20, the day before the harvest was set to begin, and intermittent rain and cool conditions continued for 3 weeks. Rot made selection essential, and muddy conditions hampered estates used to harvesting by machine. Sugar levels were modest in both Merlot and the Cabernets. The quality of the wine was lackluster, with much dilution; the Northern Medoc fared best. This proved a wretched vintage on the Right Bank, where there was widespread rot, although in Pomerol, where picking was under way before the heaviest rains fell, some adequate wines were made.
The 1992 Leoville Las Cases has a red garnet color, still showing youthful. A well developed nose and youthful, with aromas of forest floor, red fruit, sandalwood and green vegetables. Medium bodied, pretty tannic, perhaps too extracted, going for concentration at all costs and ending up rather charmless. The finish is medium plus with red fruit and tobacco. (90/100)
For dessert we had Quince and plum crumble with Vanilla ice-cream and was served in the company of three wines: a 1975 Sauternes, a Romanian sweet wine not yet launched on the Romanian market and a 2007 Stirbey Feteasca Regala Genius Loci, which for me is a classic wine to pair with a crumble dessert. I am a big fan of 2007 Genius Loci but I absolutely love it paired with a tart like dessert.
1975 Chateau Filhot Barsac Sauternes
The year was acclaimed as great, but it became more apparent that many wines had more tannin than fruit. There is great variation from estate to estate. Many of the best wines came from precocious soils, such as Haut-Brion, Cheval Blanc and Petrus. In Sauternes an Indian summer permitted the gradual spread of botrytis. The wines are fruity and stylish and still drinking well.
The 1975 Filhot has a deep amber color. The nose is developed but somehow not that expressive. Full bodied, in the mouth the wine is lush, peachy, with flavors of marmalade, a touch of pepper from alcohol and a tendency to be caramelized. The finish is long and sweet. The acidity is really good and balances very well the natural sweetness, therefore the wine is unctuous without cloying or being sticky on the palate. (92-93/100)
The night finished rather late for a regular SUN evening, but I am glad that we were able to enjoy the food and talk about wines and wine regions. I am also glad that my audience had a lot of good and interesting questions about what we had tonight and it was not just a simple presentation and a monologue from my side. Therefore I would also like to thank my guests for their presence and I am looking forward to taste wines together again.
For more pictures from this event please go here.
I had this wine on SUN with lunch and what a nice surprise it was. While 1997 is not a sound vintage in Rioja, this producer managed to launch a prodigy. La Rioja Alta is one of the few Spanish bodegas that maintains the traditional Rioja style, with long aging in American oak. There are three Reserva styles: Alberdi is light and cedary, with over-tonnes of tobacco and redcurrants; Ardanza riper, a touch spicier but still very elegant, and then the top wines are Gran Reserva 904 and the fine Gran Reserva 890, aged 6 years in oak.
1997 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 (13% alc)
Ruby red with light orange-brick rim. Well developed and intense nose, still youthful, with clearly defined aromas of orange peel, sweet red fruit, almonds, earth, sugar cane and smoke. Gorgeous nose. Medium body, silky mouth feel, well balanced, outstanding acidity and lively palate, good flavors of fresh red fruit, red cherry, strawberry, red currant, tobacco, leather and earth-more like autumn forest floor. Medium plus finish, very fresh, with lingering flavors. Very good drink-ability. This is a real treat. (93-94/100)
The wine successfully combines, at this stage, some of the primary aromas with the ones given by a graceful aging in the bottle. The polished and well integrated tannins and the balanced acidity will ensure a glorious future for this wine. There is good aging potential even further.
Traditional Rioja style is good in its own, but it just blossoms and is even better when paired with food. I had this wine with barbecued lamb chops and I have to say that the richness of the lamb and the spices used to prepare the meat emphasized the primary fruity aromas of the wine. Just loved it.
I was invited this week by SERVE at a preview of Cuvee Charlotte 2008. The invitation also mentioned “some other things also” so I was naturally curious to see what were the other things. I arrived a bit later than scheduled and I was invited by Mr Savulescu to taste a glass of Sauvignon Blanc 2011 taken straight from the tank. I was the only one in the room together with Mr Savulescu so I had the impression that I arrived too late. I found out after a few minutes that the main event was still taking place upstairs where all the other guests were still tasting Cuvee Charlotte.
The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from tank, still on the lees and unfiltered, is a good appearance, as the aromas are intense and well defined, and the wine has a bright acidity and good length in the mouth.
I was finally guided upstairs where a group of roughly 10-12 people: the guys from Vinul.ro, most of the wine bloggers from Bucharest and Catalin Paduraru, in the company of Mr Aurel Rotarescu – SERVE’s winemaker, were tasting a vertical of 7 vintages of Cuvee Charlotte.
For the ones not familiar with the wine, Cuvee Charlotte is SERVE’s flagship red wine and one of the first premium wines ever released in Romania starting with the 1999 vintage. The hosts kindly provided 2 bottles of each vintage, starting with 2001 until 2008, the exception being 2004. The 2008 version of Cuvee Charlotte will officially be launched next week during the Good Wine fair.
It is important to mention a few things about the wines tasted. The typical blend for Cuvee Charlotte is a mix of Feteasca Neagra with Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. For example, the vintages 2001-2006 were blends of Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon. 2007 was a blend of all 3 grapes, and in 2008 there is only Feteasca Neagra and Merlot. Unfortunately, older vintages than 2007 are no longer available. When they are, they are usually overpriced.
Blend of Feteasca Neagra and Merlot. 15,000 bottles produced. Also has a very long story printed on the back-label, while the front label maintains the same design as the original 1999 version.
Deep dark red garnet, with purple hues. Rich, developed nose. Really intense. Very spicy, cinnamon, mix of blue and red fruits, oak, sweet spices, aniseed. Medium plus body, good texture and opulent mouth feel, assertive tannins that just give good freshness, lively palate, chewy tannins. Medium plus finish, balanced, grippy tannins and cocktail of sweet fruits, plums, blueberry. 14.5% alcohol very well balanced. (90-91/100)
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Feteasca Neagra and Merlot. 47,500 bottles produced.
More evolved color still red garnet. Less intense nose, more herbal, spicy and sweet red fruits, cardamon, cinnamon, minty. Medium body, sweet and ripe tannins, sweet palate, red fruits, herbs, spices. Medium finish with grippy tannins. Fresh aftertaste. (88-89/100)
Blend of Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon. 34,680 bottles produced.
More evolved color, darker ruby red with signs of development. Developed, medium intense nose, even more herbaceous than the 2007, mixed with red fruit and spices. Light to medium body, more diluted, more aggressive tannins. Medium finish and quite astringent. There are sweet red fruit aromas in the aftertaste. (86/100)
Blend of Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon. 33,250 bottles produced.
Evolved color, showing signs of aging, ruby red with an orange rim. Developed but austere nose, maturing, very herbaceous, shows signs of premature aging. 2005 was a difficult vintage in Romania. Light to medium body, mellow tannins, lively acidity, discreet flavors. Medium finish. Elegance prevails, but not very well defined flavors. (83-85/100)
2004 was a poor vintage for this wine, so the host decided to exclude the wine from the tasting. A good initiative.
Blend of Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon. 25,328 bottle produced.
Deep dark red garnet color with very light brick rim. Youthful color. Well developed and complex nose. Sweet nose of red fruits, spices and herbs, with aeration bringing raisin and fig aromas. Medium body, lively palate, grippy tannins, spicy, red fruits, earth and leather palate. Medium plus finish with lingering flavors. There is a certain character of over ripe flavors – 2003 was a very hot vintage in Romania just like in the rest of Europe – but the wine maintains a good balance. (88-89/100)
Blend of Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon. 21,200 bottles produced.
Deep dark red color and very youthful. A more closed nose, with developed, but discreet aromas. Sweet red fruit, dry plums, figs and herbs with a touch of tobacco. Very sweet attack initially, medium body, raisin flavors, with bright avidity and medium finish. Drying tannins in the aftertaste with mixed aromas: coffee, black tea and sweet red fruit. My favorite older vintages of the vertical and still good potential for this wine. (89-90/100)
Mr Rotarescu explained that 2002 was very much similar to the 2003 in terms of weather, but had a touch more rain keeping things better balanced.
Blend of Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon. 13,320 bottles produced.
Dark red garnet color and very little signs of aging. Maturing nose, secondary moving towards tertiary aromas. Touch of dump cellar and some volatiles on the nose. Sweet attack initially in the mouth, but the acidity is going a little over the board almost vinegary. Slightly unbalanced. Short to med finish and pretty astringent end. Past its peak and going downhill. (77/100)
I am always very happy to try older vintages of Romanian wines as this is certainly the best way to see the aging potential they have. Unfortunately there are not many wineries that can organize such tastings and the reason is that usually they are happy to get rid of the full stock as soon as possible. In my opinion, this is a big mistake as there is no way to keep a track of how your work evolves in time. Or perhaps it is this reason why they are happy to deplete the stock as soon as possible, as those premium wines are not built to last.
For me, the wines of the night were the 2002 and the 2008 Cuvee Charlotte. There are certain similarities between the two wines. 2008 is definitely a wine to follow as the oak is well mastered, the aromas and flavors are rich and intense, and the wine promises a lot.
*all pictures are courtesy to Nicusor Cazan – www.cazancuvin.ro
2001 Chateauneuf du pape Pierre Usseglio
Color is red garnet with light signs of oxidation. A mature nose, not very intense, initially with strong volatiles, and after breathing, exhibiting aromas of old leather, tobacco and light red fruit: sour cherry and raspberry. Medium to full body, there is some structure left on the palate, but the wine had its peak and now starts to go downhill, which is surprising for a young Chateauneuf du pape that comes from an excellent 2001 vintage. The finish is medium with some sweet red fruit in the aftertaste. This wine really took me by surprise. I was expecting a better performance from this producer, especially for a vintage like 2001. Drink up. (86/100)
On SUN I had another Chateauneuf du pape, even younger coming from the 2006 vintage. 2006 produced some very good wines, certainly more approachable on the short term compared to the 2005.
2006 Chateauneuf du pape Domaine Charvin
This is another story. The color is deep red garnet. A youthful, but developed nose, intense, evolving with aeration, that exhibits beautiful aromas of sweet red fruit jams, cocoa, black pepper, roasted herbs and licorice. Full body in the mouth, with velvety and ripe tannins that coat the mouth in the most gentle way; there is depth on the palate and flavors of stewed red fruit, cocoa and spices. Medium plus to long finish, sweet and peppery. A very approachable wine that sings at the moment, and that will continue to develop nicely in time. (91-92/100)
Great appearance from this producer.
PROGRAM FESTIVAL PROVINO
VINERI – SAMBATA, 4 – 5 Noiembrie
10.00 – 20.00 PROGRAM DE VIZITARE PUBLIC LARG
10.00 – 18.00 ŞCOALA VINULUI
Şcoala Vinului este realizată de Asociaţia Degustătorilor din România şi Organizaţia Somelierilor din România 2011.
12.30 – 17.00 WINE & GASTRONOMY
Vinurile vedetă de la Festivalul PROVINO vor fi promovate la „Wine & Gastronomy”prin ritualul degustării şi prezentări profesioniste. Sesiunile de degustări realizate în spaţiul special amenajat de organizatori vor fi conduse de membri Asociaţiei Degustătorilor Autorizaţi din România şi Organizaţia Somelierilor din România 2011.
– 50 de persoane / degustare
Programul complet al degustărilor AICI
18.00 – 22.00 ART, WINE & GASTRONOMY
Gazda serilor Art, Wine & Gastronomy:
100 de persoane, personalitati iesene, oameni de afaceri, medici, avocaţi, arhitecti, cadre universitare etc)
17.30 – 18.00 – Primirea invitaţilor
18.00 – 18.15 – Moment festiv oferit de gazde împreună cu OSR 2011
18.15 – 19.15 – Show Gastronomic – partea I / Lansare / prezentare de vin
19.15 – 20.00 – Degustare de vinuri – 8 probe
20.00 – 20.45 – Music & Entertainment
20.45 – 21.30 – Show Gastronomic – parta II / Lansare / prezentare de vin
21.30 – 22.00 – Music & Entertainment
I recently had dinner at Restaurant Market8 located in the Dorobanti area. Their chef is Florin Dumitrescu, the youngest of the three chefs that will be judging MasterChef Romania TV show. The shooting for the show will start in January and the show will be broadcasted in 2012. Meanwhile Florin is doing a good job at Market8. The restaurant itself was decorated by Venera Arapu and has a posh design.
For dinner I had, as appetizer, pumpkin gnocchi in an orange sauce with shavings of orange peel that was rich, fresh and delicious. A dish that is definitely worth trying. Unfortunately no picture taken.
The main course was fillet mignon with mushrooms and French fries paille (which are actually the smoothest type of French fries I ever had). The food was really good at Market8.
I drank a French Cotes du Rhone Villages and an Italian wine.
2005 Domaine de la Soumade Fleur de Confiance Cotes du Rhones Villages Rasteau
Blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. 15% alc
Opaque dark red purple color. The nose is very tight and aeration did very little to improve it. There are some aromas of red fruits and spices, but overall the nose is really muted. The same story in the mouth: tight as a rock on the palate, with firm, grippy tannins that embrace the mouth completely, rich peppery spiciness on the palate, mixed with red fruits preserves. A medium plus finish, peppery and grippy. Good balance of the 15% alcohol and comes as a powerful wine. The wine is in a closed phase at the moment. (88-89/100)
2004 Apollonio Valle Cupa Salento Rosso
Blend of 50% Primitivo and 50% Negroamaro, aged for 12 months in French oak. 14.5% alc. Awarded a Gold Medal at Concours Mondiale de Bruxelles in 2010.
Dark red garnet color. Well developed and intense nose, very sweet and floral, with lots of violets, cinnamon, cola-like-vanilla and candied blue fruits. Overall a candy like nose. Medium plus bodied, mellow mouth-feel, very oaky, with silky tannins, very sweet on the palate, with lots of candied blue and black fruits: blueberry, blackberry, cranberry. Bright acidity. Medium finish and sweet. Can easily qualify as an European fruit bomb. (85-86/100)
The Italian wine went well with the orange sauced gnocchi as they are both sweet, but for me it was very difficult to enjoy this wine on its own. There is simply too much cola like vanilla and sweetness. However, it can charm women.