Archive for January, 2012

Dinner with 3 wines from Davino and a 1995 Saint Estephe

January 20, 2012 1 comment

I had dinner this week with Nicusor Cazan and Mr Dan Balaban, Davino’s major shareholder. Mr Balaban was kind enough to bring some of his older wines that are no longer available at the winery to taste them together. We met at Crowne Plaza’s La Veranda restaurant and tasted semi-blind a 2006 Domaine Ceptura Rouge, a 2006 and a 2009 Purpura Valahica Feteasca Neagra – 2009 Purpura Valahica will be launched in March this year, and also an older wine kindly provided by Nicusor Cazan: 1995 Chateau Phelan Segur.

Before starting the actual tasting I had a very tasty Risotto with smoked eggplant and Gorgonzola.

We started the tasting with the youngest and this was quite a surprising wine. It certainly seems to be one the most complete and succulent Feteasca Neagra I had so far. The wine spent already a few good months in bottle, being aged at the winery. Mr Balaban confessed that he really did not want to put this wine on the market at this stage, but he is forced to do it as the last vintage was completely sold out many months ago. Mr Balaban’s biggest concern is that his wines, just like all the other top Romanian wines, are consumed too young, the vast majority of consumers do not have the patience to wait for the wines to develop at least secondary, not to mention tertiary aromas.

2009 Davino Purpura Valahica Feteasca Neagra

Dark red-purple color. Very youthful nose, intense, still showing signs of elevage from the few months spent in Romanian oak barrels, mixed with red and black fruits, a rich minty aroma and more spices. Full bodied, well structured, surprisingly accessible and velvety for such a young wine, and well balanced. There is good richness on the palate for a Feteasca Neagra and remarkable freshness. The finish is medium to long, with red fruit flavors, but what dominates the aftertaste is the richness of spices, the mint being the main actor. A very interesting wine with a bright future. (88-89/100)

2006 Davino Purpura Valahica Feteasca Neagra

Red garnet color with ruby reflections. The nose is developed but still youthful, with mixed aromas of fresh red fruits and plenty of spices: cinnamon and anise shine as the wine breathes. Medium to full bodied, this 2006 has a more elegant appearance than its hedonistic younger brother, with a velvety mouth-feel and fully integrated tannins. The finish is medium, with intense spicy flavors in the aftertaste. The wine still has plenty of life ahead and would be interesting to revisit it in a few years again. (85-86/100)

2006 Davino Domaine Ceptura Rouge

This wine was served partially blind by Mr Balaban as I saw the label but the vintage was hidden. As I tasted the wine in December I managed to recognize it this time.

Red garnet color with no signs of evolution. A well developed nose, a bit more profound than the previous two Purpura Valahica wines, showing the fruity and spicy aromas of Feteasca Neagra, mixed with  paprika and red currant. Full bodied, well structured, with mellow tannins and pleasant mouth-feel, the wine shows also a richer character on the palate. The finish is medium plus long and spicy. Still more potential for development. (87/100)

1995 Chateau Phelan Segur Saint Estephe

Red garnet color with very light signs of aging. The nose is fully developed and maturing, intense, with good Cabernet Sauvignon typicality, and seducing aromas of smoke, red and black currant, damp earth, plenty of green herbs, tobacco leaves and dry plums. Full bodied but supple, well balanced, with a very pleasant velvety mouth-feel and fully integrated tannins. Their is great freshness, a good flavor profile on the palate and a medium plus finish, with coffee, red currant, spices and a firm grip in the aftertaste that suggests further aging potential. Great drink-ability and no rush to drink it. (90/100)

1995 Phelan Segur and its beautiful color

I finished the meal with a cheese cake for dessert but unfortunately it was a bit too dry.

Categories: Bordeaux, France, Romania

2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The original name of the Fritz Haag winery, the Dusemonder Hof, recalls the original name of the village, which changed to Brauneberg from Dusemond in 1925. Until then, the name Brauneberg applied only to the vine-growing hillside on the opposite banks of the Mosel, on which the world-famous Juffer site is located. The core of the Juffer is marked by an old sundial, which gave the Sonnenuhr parcel its name. With its steep, south-southeast facing slope and stony clay slate soil, the Juffer Sonnenuhr has always ranked among the best white wine vineyards in the world, and is equaled in the Mosel only by Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Bernkasteler Doctor. The Rieslings grown here combine mineral richness of the slate soil with the fruity, elegant expression of high ripeness.

2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese

Medium gold color. The nose is sweet and fresh, with intoxicating aromatic richness, exhibiting generous tropical fruits, pineapple, lemon rind, sweet melon, Asian spice and warm rubber. A silky texture fills the mouth, displaying ethereal weightless, while the mouth-watering acidity perfectly balances the natural sweetness. The wine is rich on the palate, with similar flavors as on the nose. The finish has immense length, preserving the same note of mouth-watering acidity and lingering citrus and tropical fruits flavors. 7.5% alc (92-93/100)

Categories: Germany

Champagne Veuve Fourny Rose 1er Cru Vertus Brut

January 14, 2012 5 comments

Although less well known than some of the other veuves (widows) in Champagne, this small family house can hold its head in terms of the authenticity, originality and quality of its wines. Established in 1856, the house is now run by Madame Monique Fourny and her two sons Charles-Henry and Emmanuel.

Based in the premier cru village of Vertus, the domaine owns some 40 parcels of vines across 12 ha of the Cote des Blancs. Many of the vines are old, having been planted in the 1960s and ’70s, and all are carefully supervised. Several aspects of the wine-making reflect skills Emmanuel acquired in Burgundy, such as fermentation in Burgundian barriques with batonnage.

Champagne Veuve Fourny La Subtilite Rose 1er Cru Vertus Brut

Pretty dark pink, almost ruby red color with intense foam and smooth bubbles. The nose is extremely intense from the moment you pour it in the glass so it is easy to feel the aromas from a distance. Great freshness, lots of fresh red fruits and not the tiring ultra ripe-sugary aromas found in many roses; plenty of citrus fruit, pink grapefruit, dough and overall a very pleasing and fresh nose. Very focused on the palate, with real tension, intensity and well defined flavors. Lenghty finish, persistent, dry, mineral and citric. Makes you want to eat. Really nice. (92/100)

I had this Champagne with my favorite easy to prepare dishes for sparkling: smoked salmon with green salad, red onion, capers, olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice on top, and a classic when it comes to Champagne: Jamon Iberico Bellota. Minimum effort and maximum pleasure.

2009 M. Chapoutier Schieferkopf Kastelberg Riesling Grand Cru

January 9, 2012 1 comment

2009 M. Chapoutier Schieferkopf Kastelberg Riesling Grand Cru

Yellow lemon color with green reflections. Extremely fresh nose with plenty of citrus fruit, green apple and quince, with a light touch of wet rocks minerality. Full bodied and interesting, with pronounced bitternes in the aftertaste. (87/100)

Good match for chicken with mushrooms.

Categories: Alsace, France

A great Riesling – 2007 Christmann Riesling Konigsbacher Idig Grosses Gewachs

January 9, 2012 2 comments

There are a few vineyards in Germany renowned for both outstanding white and red wines. One of the greatest is the 19 ha Idig vineyard near Konigsbach in the Mittelhaardt region at the heart of the Palatinate, which might be likened in this respect to Corton in Burgundy. Also comparable to Corton is the soil at Idig, marked by limestone clay with a high percentage of rocks. Alongside elegant, silky Pinot Noirs, remarkable Rieslings grow here and rank among the richest wines of this variety in Germany.

The modern fame of this location is linked to the Christmann family from Neustadt-Gimmeldingen, which owns about 7 ha at the core of Idig. Steffen Christmann has, for years, created one of Germany’s most impressive dry white wines. Steffen Christmann is new president of the VDP.

Erste Lage is a vineyard site of exceptional quality, classified according to criteria set up by influential wine-grower’s association Verband Deutscher Pradikats und Qualitatsweinguter (VDP). On labels, Erste Lage sites are marked with a grape logo with a “I” next to it. A producer’s best dry wine from an Erste Lage site is called Grosses Gewachs or Erstes Gewachs. Grosses Gewachs translates as “great/top growth”. Off-dry or sweet wines from Erste Lage vineyards display the logo, but they are not called Grosses or Erstes Gewachs. Rheingau has its own Erstes Gewachs classification.

2007 vintage rewarded those growers who waited to pick until October, achieving ripe grapes with cool nights conserving good acidity levels. Very good for Pinot Noir and other reds as well as Riesling. However, dry wines seems to be maturing faster than expected.

2007 Christmann Riesling Konigsbacher Idig Grosses Gewachs Pfalz

Medium gold-coppery color. Developed and complex nose of real intensity, showing a melange of  baroque style aromas of quince marmalade, apricots and melon,  mixed with subtle white truffles, lemon rind, light petrol and plenty of yellow Asian spices. Full bodied, showing depth and richness on the palate, well balanced, a silky texture reminiscent of fine white Burgundy, with mouth-watering acidity and a kaleidoscope of flavors. Long finish, lively, with huge Asian spice flavors in the aftertaste. 13% alc. (93/100)

Who needs pricey high end white Burgundy when we can have such a beautiful wine for decent money ? Had this wine with turbot cooked in a salty crust.

With appetizers I had Serve’s top white wine from the 2010 vintage: Terra Romana Cuvee Amaury a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling aged for 6 months in oak barrels.

2010 Serve Terra Romana Cuvee Amaury

The wine is fresh and exhibits a mix of citrus fruit, well blended oak and spices, with pleasant acidity and a medium spicy, citric finish. There are certain similarities on the flavors profile between the two wine as there is a big portion of Riesling in the Cuvee Amaury, but not with the same amplitude. (85/100)

Categories: Germany, Romania

2007 Marcel Deiss Gewurtztraminer

January 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Established after World War II, Domaine Marcel Deiss currently consists of about 26 ha spread over numerous sites. After a number of years working organically, Deiss went bio-dynamic in 1998. Deiss believes strongly in terroir and, although varietal wines, are the rule in Alsace, he makes field blends of different varieties from the top vineyard sites in accordance with an older tradition. In the winery, the grapes are pressed slowly using whole bunches. Because no nitrogen is put on to the vines, fermentation can take anything between three weeks to a year to complete. At the end the wine is cooled and a little sulfur dioxide is added.

I actually met Mr Jean Michel Deiss, the person in charge of the domain now, and his son, also involved in the business, during my visit to Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux.

2007 Marcell Deiss Gewurtztraminer

Gold color. The nose is intense and very sweet, with plenty of aromas of lychee, rose petals, stone fruits, citric fruit and Asian spices. Full bodied, lush and almost unctuous on the palate, this combines sweetness, minerality and high acidity, feeling lively, balanced, fresh and profound. The finish is medium to long with mouth-watering acidity and lingering flavors. 14% alc. (89/100)

Certainly the most concentrated and the best Gewurtztraminer I had so far.

Categories: Alsace, France

1999 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Domaine Tortochot

January 7, 2012 8 comments

As the winter starts to make its move this evening, I felt a need to indulge myself in some special food and wine. It was a good time to cook some quails that I had in the freezer – bought them from Carrefour, and to pop up a Burgundian Grand Cru with some age.  The quails were stuffed with chicken liver, mushrooms and some herbs, and cooked in the oven for about 40 minutes, just enough time to have the meat pink inside.

I popped up a 1999 Charmes-Chambertin from Tortochot and left it to breathe for about 45 minutes in the bottle and used a Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Gran Cru stemware to do the rest. The wine breathes youthfulness from the first whiff after uncorking.

Charmes-Chambertin is one of the 8th Grand Cru vineyards of Gevery-Chambertin in the Cote de Nuits and also, at 31.6 ha, it is the largest Grand Cru of Gevrey. A good Charmes is one of Gevrey-Chambertin’s most seductive and fragrant wines when young.

1999 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Domaine Tortochot

A youthful, medium dark red color and the color gets darker as the wine breathes. The nose is fully developed, but still youthful, with good complexity. There is a mix of red fruits: strawberry is the most dominant, earth, game, pleasant cinnamon that increases the light sweetness, and subtle forest floor and mushrooms. Really nice nose. Medium to full body, extremely youthful and vibrant, with bright acidity and an absolute silky mouth-feel. On the palate, it is elegant, subtle, but more than anything, this is a lively wine. The finish is long, with amazing freshness, great drink-ability and a charming mix of subtle red fruit and pronounced coffee bean bitterness that is just seducing. Loved it. (92-93/100)

If all days would be like this.

2006 Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Federico Villafane

January 2, 2012 1 comment

This was one of the first wines I enjoyed when I discovered my passion for wines. The Single Vineyard category is a selection of the best three Malbecs that Trapiche chooses every year from the vineyards and the producers they work with, while these wines become their statement for excellency. These wines spend 18 months in new French oak. It’s been more than one year since my last tasting of this wine.

2006 Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Vina Federico Villafane

The color is dark purple, opaque and youthful, with absolutely no signs of evolution. The nose is developed, sweet, with intense aromas of coconut, caramel, ripe blackberry and raspberry, mocha and spices. Full bodied, with an extremely silky mouth-feel and a firm tannins structure, the wine is opulent and rich on the palate. The finish is long and intense, with sticky sweet flavors that do not let go of your cheeks and a healthy grip of tannins that provide freshness to this massive, otherwise concentrated wine. (91/100)

I am very curious if this wine will evolve and develop other subtleties in time. I guess that remains to be seen. Meanwhile the wine is extremely open and available for drinking as it is.

Categories: Argentina

2004 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

January 2, 2012 2 comments

It’s been a while since my last 2004 Pegau Cuvee Reservee almost one year ago. This is a blend of 80% Grenache, 9% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre and 5% other grapes, all coming from old vines.

2004 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

Deep, almost opaque dark red color. The nose is well developed, rich, complex and very intense. There are aromas of truffles, smoke, meat, ink, smoked plum, coffee bean, roasted herbs, red fruit jam, but very fresh as the fruity aromas are in the background. Full bodied and very rich on the palate, with silky tannins and very pleasant mouth-feel, this wine is the quintessence of balance and freshness that it is so rare to find in modern Chateauneuf du pape wines. The finish is long and intense, the lingering flavors and the beautiful freshness seduce you instantly and drive you to want more. (94/100)

It was a great companion to Indian food and due to its freshness it can be a great drink on its own. 14% alcohol.

Categories: France, Rhone

2000 Chateau Soutard Saint Emilion

January 2, 2012 1 comment

Dark red garnet color with minimal signs of evolution. The nose is well developed and intense, the dominating truffles aromas fill the room and can easily be felt without even approaching the nose to the glass. Full bodied but supple in the mouth, the wine has enough structure to ensure a good life ahead, while the tannins remain silky. The finish is medium plus long, with pleasant earthiness, graphite, subtle red and black fruit, remaining fresh and extremely drinkable. (89-90/100)

Categories: Burgundy, France

NV Bollinger Special Cuvee and a Spanish Cava

January 2, 2012 1 comment

Before going to celebrate the New Year’s Eve in a particular place, we joined our friends for a couple of bubbles and some assorting food. We had some Bellota Iberian Ham, some Spanish assortment of cheeses and a small jar of Russian Beluga Caviar. By far the Caviar and the Bellota were the best match for Bollinger.

Dom Potier Cava Gozalez Byass

Pale light yellow lemon color with small bubbles. Fresh nose of medium intensity, with plenty of citric fruit and marzipan, while on the palate is clean. The finish is medium with pleasant intensity. (83-84/100)

Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvee N.V.

The richness of this Champagne can be immediately guessed simply by the intensity of its color. Deeper yellow lemon color with smoother and richer bubbles. The nose is elegant, with plenty of fresh citric fruits, baked apple, spices, mixed with shades of salty and nutty aromas, while in the mouth the wine is creamy and rich on the palate, the bubbles just add more spark to his remarkable vinous character. A medium plus finish with great wet stone like minerality and mouth-watering acidity make this an extremely easy to drink Champagne. (89-90/100)

The Caviar’s saltiness and the Bellota’s nuttiness were greatly matched by the richness and the corresponding Bollinger flavors. One of the best N.V. Champagnes in my opinion.

Categories: France, Spain

2010 Braida Brachetto d’Acqui

January 2, 2012 1 comment

I bought this wine from Braida while I visited the Asti region in September 2011. This is the red version of a Moscati d’Asti, low in alcohol, with plenty of residual sugar, fizzy, a perfect easy to drink summer wine. Had this wine with dessert, next to vanilla ice cream and home made chocolate.

2010 Braida Brachetto a’Acqui

Dark pink, almost ruby red color with plenty of bubbles. The nose is very fresh and sweet, with dominating raspberry and strawberry aromas. Fresh and quite rich, the palate is dominated by strong red fruit flavors, while the medium finish can match any sweet desserts and fruits. 5.5 % alcohol (87/100)

Categories: Italy

1989 Chateau Malescot Saint Exupery Margaux

January 2, 2012 3 comments

I am no fan of decanting wines, especially older, delicate ones and I see this mandatory in seldom cases. However, this wine had to be given more air in order to completely open up. The cork is very long and there is really no problem for similar bottles to resist a generous amount of years further. So unless you are troubled about the fill level, the cork can safely preserve the content.

1989 Chateau Malescot Saint Exupery – Margaux

Deep dark red garnet color, extremely youthful for its age. The nose is initially shy and gives very little, the only thing dominating is a strong pickled cabbage like aroma, but after about 1 h in a decanter kept outside, in winter cold, the nose changes considerably, still maintaining a whiff of cabbage, but opening up and exhibiting typical Margaux aromatics. The wine seems that has lost all its primary fruity aromas initially, but with aeration, subtle red fruit emerges: red currant and sour red cherry, mixed with a lot of smoke, graphite, earth and tobacco, building a charming nose. The wine still posses a firm and healthy tannins structure, that suggests further aging potential, however, the complexity is medium and the wine seems to be somehow closed on the palate. The finish is medium plus long, with good freshness and flavors of graphite and cigar ash in the aftertaste. (89/100)

Categories: Bordeaux, France

2008 Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc

January 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Decanted the wine for about 45 minutes and it was a smart move to do as it increased its aromatics considerably. Served the wine next to a dish I enjoyed a lot during my lunch with Mrs Raffaella Bologna while visiting Braida in Rochetta Tanaro in Asti: grilled bell peppers with anchovies, a simple but absolutely delicious dish.

2008 Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc

Deep yellow lemon color. The nose gained in intensity with decanting and the initial tropical fruits and Asian spices aromas only showed themselves better. Full bodied and rich on the palate, the wine maintains freshness while the strong flavors remind of apricot, tropical fruit and spices. There is a medium plus finish with subtle citric fruit in the aftertaste. (90/100)

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