A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Sant’ Antimo Rosso DOC. This is surprisingly fresh considering the hot 2003 vintage and the over ripeness flavors that characterized most of the wines.
2003 Castello Banfi Excelsus
Deep dark red garnet color. Developed nose, good intensity and mild complexity, showing aromas of plums, ripe currants, tobacco and spices. Full bodied, fills your mouth completely, structured and well balanced, lush flavors on the palate and a medium to long finish. Briefly: mouth-filling, lush and ripe wine. 13% alc (90/100)
A sweet wine from Bordeaux, from a producer that remained very affordable for the quality it provides.
1999 Chateau La Tour Blanche Sauternes
Deep gold-amber color. A sweet nose with plenty of caramel, orange marmalade, apricots and a bit of shoe polish. Full on the palate, not as lively as we would like, but still pleasant, with plenty of caramelized apricots and peaches, a bit too sweet perhaps from not having the right acidity and a medium finish. Not the best Sauternes I had but a pleasant dessert wine nevertheless. More than one glass can be a bit too much. (89/100)
This wine needs good aeration. Had it over a few hours and just got better by the minute. Decant it for 2 hours at least and it will reward you.
2006 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Combe aux Moines
Saturated ruby red color. The wine evolves on the nose as it breathes. It is rich in red fruits when it’s initially uncorked but, as it breathes, it starts to develop more complexity showing coffee, earth and spices while bright red and black cherry and strawberries stay on the background. Medium to full bodied, it has enough extraction to please, well structured, balanced, silky on the palate, showing again good complexity and a medium to long finish, with earthy red fruit flavors. It just got better and better with time, the final glasses being the best. (90-91/100)
This opened up after about 20-30 minutes. Pale yellow lemon color, still youthful. The nose has a good intensity, showing butter, toast, pear, mango and white flowers. It just grows on your palate as it opens up; bright acidity, youthful and pretty flavors. Medium finish with a touch of toasty oak, but really pleasant overall. Good with food. (89-90/100)
Another great wine from my busy last weekend. I am a big fan of Chateauneuf du pape and I am a sucker for well aged Grenache. Perhaps it is not the case for this relatively young 2006, but still, the wine has everything that you hope to find in a good Chateauneuf du pape: richness, balance and complexity.
2006 Chateau Vieux Lazaret Cuvee Exceptionnelle Chateauneuf du pape
It has a deep, saturated red color and it is certainly not the case to discuss any signs of aging here. The nose is well developed, really intense and evolving as the wine makes contact with the air. It is initially rather close and shows some yeasty aromas, but as it breathes over 2 hours, it gains depth and shifts from a ripe character of flamboyant sweet red fruit and red fruit jams to a more classic one with black olives paste, garrigue, black pepper and tar. Full bodied, with smooth texture and ripe tannins, well structured and balanced, it shows good richness on the palate. Long finish, spicy, with some lingering flavors of sweet ripe blackberry. At 14.5% alc the wine is really smooth, classic and pleasant to enjoy. Definitely not a body builder wine like so many recent examples of modern Chateauneuf du pape. (91/100)
It is a wine that can convert people into liking wine. I remember first time I started to discover wine a few years ago, I was looking for richness above any other things. This is a sweet compromise where one finds both richness and balance in a classic style. Chateau Vieux Lazaret Cuvee Exceptionnelle is imported into Romania by Cramele Recas.
It is still a warm autumn in Bucharest, yesterday we had around 20-22 Celsius degrees and it was probably the last weekend this season when we could stay outside in the yard and enjoy a home cooked lunch. As I haven’t had a burger in a while and the topic came into a discussion with a friend this week I decided to prepare my own and invite him over for a complete cooking session.
I lowered the amount of meat I am eating for some time already – and already lost about 5 kilos so, to keep up the same spirit, we prepared a low fat beef and turkey burger greased just with some mild amount of goose fat. We went through the whole process of mincing the meat ourselves and then spiced it up with salt, pepper, sweet dry red bell pepper powder, minced fresh garlic and finely cut red onion, greased with 3 small table spoons of goose fat for almost 2 kilos of meat. The final blend resembled more sausage aromas than a regular burger due to the garlic and red onion.
Prepared a barbecue outside and we grilled the burgers on a low fire for about 15 minutes enough to still preserve some juices on the inside. Used some slices of home baked bread, that you usually find on the country side if you still have relatives there, toasted a little bit on the grill. Put some home pickled cucumbers, onions, ketchup and green salad and: Boy, were they good !! Could not stop only after the third burger was gone in my belly and I was completely full.
During the whole cooking we had a very nice dry Italian sparkling: 2007 Millesimato Contrato, just to warm up the spirits.
The wine pairing was a classic that proved to be a happy choice. Happy in the sense that the wine was so good that it did not actually need any pairing and it simply shinned, just like gold in the mud, by itself. Uncorked the wine and left it to slowly aerate in the bottle for about 1h 30 min.
1990 Chateau Beau Sejour Becot St-Emilion Grand Cru
1990 was a stellar vintage in Bordeaux, it was a combination of both a larger crop and excellent quality. Most of the wines are maturing and a pleasure to drink now, while the Premier Grand Cru’s will still benefit from further aging in the bottle. Chateau Beau Sejour Becot saw a huge increase in quality over the last decade, the 2006 bottling being highly acclaimed by the Decanter tasting panel.
The 1990 has a beautiful deep ruby red color with no signs of being tired. From the first moment you uncork the wine the fruit manifests its presence grandly – for a wine at the age of 22, and the bouquet seduces you. The nose is well developed, really intense, maturing and exhibits refreshing aromas of fully ripe red and yellow apples (the same aromas you get after you peel off the apples), sea weed – saline aroma, smoke, a layer of black currant and cassis, black cherry, coffee, tobacco and tea leaves. Medium to full bodied, the texture is seamless, the tannins perfectly blended, the acidity is top notch and together with the left over tannins create a structure that will keep this wine on tip top conditions for longer time. The flavors of coffee in different levels of roasting and preparation mixed with delicate sweet fruit produce a very pleasant sensation on the palate. The finish is long, fresh, showing the same delicate red fruit and coffee flavors. This is a very nice wine, maturing, but still young, preserving the fruit very well and a great testament that older Bordeaux can be sometimes dead gorgeous and you do not have to pay big money for it. 12.5% (92/100 for the wine and 93/100 for the over all experience)
We had another wine after the 1990 Bordeaux and I initially intended to mention it in a separate post, but I believe it is worth mentioning here just to make parallels with the older red.
2000 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge Vin de Pays de l’Herault
This is another great classic of the Languedoc and a pioneer for quality driven wines. I already tasted a 1998 Mas de Daumas Gassac that I enjoyed a lot in the recent past. This is a typical 80% Cabernet Sauvignon blend, the rest being other 8 different grape varieties. The wine was not decanted, and perhaps that was not the best move, and did not breath more than 30 min. When the wine is good the sipping happens at a quicker pace.
The 2000 vintage was excellent almost everywhere in France. The color is dark red, almost garnet and, again, young and missing any signs of age. The bouquet is well developed, intense, young and still developing. The initial nose exhibits an unusual, but nice aroma, of freshly baked and just taken from the oven Christmas cake, a sensation of warm dough crust mixed with hints of vanilla and ripe cherries. As it aerates, it shows more Cab Sauv typicality, with black currant, hot minerals, dry red bell peppers, spices, but overall it remains a classic wine. Fuller body in the mouth, the tannins show more nerve and grip, well structured, balanced, with plenty of fruit, black tea, spices, always following a classic style. The finish is slightly shorter than the 1990 Beau Sejour Becot, but still medium plus long, with assertive tannins. There is a tremendous aging potential for this wine, it will probably need at least 3-4 more years for the tannins to loosen up that grip. However, the wine is very good already. It will easily match the present age of the 1990 Beau Sejour Becot. (90-91/100)
Both wines have a lot of sediment, so be careful when you pour the last drops. This was both a great academic exercise and a fully rewarding drinking experience. It was a good Sunday.
Had dinner last night with my friend Calin at the Spanish restaurant Nada Mas that replaced the old Byblos on Nicolae Golescu street, just behind Ateneul Roman and enjoyed again a very nice chicken paella. I have not tried yet the paella made by La Tienda on Tunari street but, so far, Nad Mas paella seems to be the best in town. Will go and try the one at La Tienda and come back with final conclusions later on.
I also found out that the guys from the Bonne Bouche restaurant from the Old Center bought the old Bistro Ateneu location and they will open both a wine shop and a wine bar at the beginning of December. So there will be two wine shops and two wine bars on Episcopiei street where, for the time being, there is only a Le Manoir shop. This is a welcoming initiative as both the consumers and the wine shops will benefit from being in the same area.
As we had dinner at a Spanish restaurant, I brought a Spanish wine from Priorat that was bought about 3-4 years ago from a wine shop in Austria, and was stored in my cellar ever since. Looking back at the price I paid back then (approx 40 Eur) I have the regret of over paying for it. The wine was paired both with Spanish charcuterie – that was not a happy match as it brought the alcohol on the surface, and also with a chicken paella which was a better combo.
2006 Clos Galena Priorat
This wine suffers from the disease that affected most of the Priorat wines at a certain point: excessive oak treatment. The oaky aromas were pretty strong during the first 1 h. It has a dark red, garnet color. The nose is developed, with good intensity, but the dominating aromas on the first hour are the ones given by the oak blended with ripe blue and black fruit, spices and a warmness that sometimes can be felt in Grenache based blends. After 1 h the oak steps on the background and leaves room for fresher aromas with hints of fennel, roasted herbs and anise seeds. Full bodied, to the border of having too much extraction but still managing to remain on the floating level, with smooth texture, ripe, balanced, showing sweet fruity flavors on the palate and a medium finish with a firm tannic grip. The wine feels nice in the mouth, but there is a certain dryness on the finish that spoils the overall harmony. This is a ripe, forward wine, made in a modern style, but unfortunately lacking any particular personality. 14.5% (87-88/100)
Clos Galena is usually a blend of Grenache (40%), Carignan (20%), Syrah (20%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) aged between 12 and 15 months in French and American oak barrels.