I had dinner on FRI evening with friends at Veranda Casa Frumoasa and had the chance to enjoy this young Chateauneuf du pape. The location looks elegant and service is sharp. The food was all right, but beef could be better considering the prices, the wine list is rather good but I believe it loses points (and business for sure) by not having any Romanian wines listed. For a FRI evening the location was rather empty as, excluding our table, there were only 2 persons present at another table. And that’s how it remained for the entire evening.
We had several dishes for dinner but the one that stood out and made an impression was goose liver on waffle with red currant and two types of sauces. The goose liver on waffle was an unexpected but sensational combination that can be rated as a 10.
With food we had the young 2009 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du pape that already has the attributes to become a great wine with more aging. I am a big fan of this wine from this reliable producer that makes excellent wines every vintage. It is one of the few sure things in Chateauneuf du pape.
2009 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du pape
The wine was decanted for about 20 minutes and then poured in larger volume in our glasses were we left it to aerate more for another 30 minutes. The color is deep red garnet. The nose is developed, not very expressive at the moment, but it scores big on the palate. Full bodied, well structured and so smooth and silky for such a young Chateauneuf du pape, good balance between power and elegance, fresh, with superb red and black fruits flavors on the palate, Indian spices, roasted herbs and a discreet touch of bacon. Long finish, smooth, fresh and, believe or not, overall such an elegant wine. This wine has typically 14% alcohol, but this one bears the mark of the ripe 2009 vintage, showing 14.5% alcohol, pure flavors and perfectly ripe tannins. It has a great aging potential and it can last 15-20 years easily. (92-93/100)
Just before last Christmas I had an older version of this wine that did not make it on the blog until now. It is a 1995 Vieux Telegraphe, a wine I know and I had also about 2 years ago. I believe the 1995 Vieux Telegraphe has the power to convert people into wine lovers.
1995 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du pape
Plenty of sediment in this wine. I uncorked it and left it to aerate in the bottle for almost 2 hours, taking small sips at various time intervals.
The color is a saturated ruby red with no signs of aging. The nose is well developed, youthful and maturing, showing great complexity and serious depth. The aromatic profile is still dominated by primary aromas of red fruits in different stages of ripeness and red fruits preserves that have superb purity, Indian spices and, the only signs of a certain early maturity, a leathery aroma. In the mouth this wine is a symphony: smooth and silky, perfectly blended tannins, fresh ripe red fruits: red currants, raspberries, strawberries, spices, a bit of game, and each of this aroma comes in front of the stage in phases just like the acts and actors of a play as the wine aerates. There is a sense of absolute balance, with all components in the right places. Long finish, smooth and in the perfect drinking window. There is no problem holding it further, but if you are looking for the perfect drink at a very affordable price, this is your wine. (95/100)
It is the second South African wine I have in less than one week that gives me great drinking pleasure. First one was 2000 Saxenburg Pinotage I had last FRI that impressed me with its youthfulness in spite of being 12-13 years old. South African wines are an uncharted territory for me, that is well worth exploring.
Last night’s South African wine is made by Michel Rolland and is a Cape blend (red wines with a proportion of Pinotage blended with other grapes) of 53% Merlot, 35% Pinotage and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon being made in Mr Rolland’s style: big, bold, but yet pleasant and exciting.
2005 Remhoogte Estate Wine Simonsberg Stellenbosch
Popped and poured in the glass, it took about 45 min to fully open and shine and, as usual, the last two sips from the last glass were the best. I am not sure if Murphy is too be blamed for this often seen behavior in wines.
The color is dark red garnet. The nose is well developed, youthful and interesting, showing pleasant complexity and intense aromas of ink, spices, very ripe blueberry and blackberry, with a light touch of tar. Full bodied, big and bold, ripe tannins, enough flesh and structure to give an outstanding balance that completely hides the 15% alcohol, making it a very pleasant wine that can be enjoyed with more than just one glass. Medium finish with spicy black fruits aftertaste. (89/100)
I attended a discreet private party last FRI evening organized by Mr Cristian Preotu and Le Manoir, that represented one the most decadent (in the most positive way) culinary and wine-pairing experience I enjoyed so far. The event had Mr Roland Birr as a guest chef that put up a mind blowing 8 hours cooking session called “Grill to Thrill” for almost 12-15 people present at the party. Mr Roland Birr is an international winemaker that produces wines in Languedoc, in Pays de l’Herault, and South Africa, and together with his Swiss company: Vive Group, specialized in events and special activities in the wine business, is touring the world cooking and introducing his wines in a unique pairing experience. Other special events organized by Vive Group are Wine & Spices, Ocean Feast, David & Goliath, Wine meets Chocolate, Meat to Steam. More information can be found here. Another similar event was held by Metro Baneasa on Oct 1st, 2012.
Most of the wines served this evening came from Mr Birr’s properties from France and South Africa: Chateau Capion from pays de l’Herault and Saxenburg in South Africa. On the side we were served for appetizers a very satisfying Champagne Duval Leroy (89/100) that is clean, mineral and full of citrus fruit, with good tension on the palate. I also had an excellent 2004 Deutz Blanc de Blancs Champagne (92/100), delicate and elegant, with plenty of tiny bubbles, hints of vanilla and roasted hazelnuts, long aftertaste and mouth watering acidity.
“Thrill to Grill” was prepared and started 4 h prior to guests arrival when the meat was placed on special barbeque devices brought by Mr Birr so it can be slowly cooked at lower temperature for almost 5-6 hours. Mr Birr’s aim was to prepare authentic food that reminds people of their childhood and the simple things in life. We started the evening with grilled coquelete cut in small pieces and served as finger food. A real treat paired by a fresh rose 2011 Capion Fiona produced by Chateau Capion.
The menu continued with veal carapaccio with fresh marjoram and olive oil produced from the 200 olive trees they have at Saxenburg in South Africa; a hot and spicy salad prepared on a large frying pan with oyster and soy sauce; grilled rack of lamb and the star of the food menu: a huge paella made with prime ingredients: fresh King prawns, chorizzo, baby squid, rabbit, mussels, clams and plenty of other ingredients. I wish I would see similar ingredients used in restaurants that prepare paella.
2011 Chateau Capion Le Colombier (90/100) blanc was served with the veal carapaccio and what a great combination it was. Spending big part of the night outside watching Mr Birr cooking while he was keeping a close eye on the 4 bottles of Colombier to remain untouched, I confess it was a real struggle to touch that wine before the carpaccio was served. I did however manage to have a few sips of the wine as a reward for resisting outside on the cold evening.
2011 Chateau Capion Le Colombier is produced in a limited quantity every year – around 9000 bottles, and is sold based on allocation to the 58 partners that distribute Capion’s wine all over the world. A blend of Viognier and Roussanne this wine happily combines freshness and creaminess. I enjoyed a lot its pronounced white flowers character, its lemon and pineapple aromas, the mango spiciness on the finish and its freshness.
With Paella, the options of red wines served were more than generous: 2008 Chateau Capion Le Juge (88/100) that comes from 25 years old vines from a plot in one of Languedoc’s Grand Cru’s – Terrasses du Larzac, predominantly Syrah (70%) blended with Grenache and Mourvedre, the wine is serious and is drinking well now. It has structure, soul and a medium long chocolatey finish.
2000 Saxenburg Pinotage Private Collection (91/100) was a superb surprise as the wine shows no signs of aging or being tired. It has a well developed nose, fully open and still on primary (fruity) aromas with beautiful spiciness, structure of smooth and ripe tannins, balanced and a long fresh finish. It is probably the oldest Pinotage I tried so far and I loved it. There was another red wine that I did not get to taste.
To end this Gargantuan dinner, French cheese assortments, chocolate and cigars were served next to a 2000 Graham’s Vintage Port (93/100) that continued to open up in the glass for the rest of the evening. There is abundant richness both on the nose as on the palate for this wine, and it smells and tastes like the chocolate candies filled with dark cherries and rum that I used to eat in my childhood. Long finish, good balance and overall such a great wine. For me, this wine was a very close and personal experience as it had the power to take me back in time and bring back such warm memories.
This type of event that brings together so much passion for cooking and wines, shared by the small group of people present deserves to be promoted, repeated and repeated again so everyone can sample it at least once. Every wine lover should look up for the next time it happens and do whatever it takes to be on the guests list. The question is not whether one will like it, but how ecstatic will one be after.
P.S. Mr Roland Birr will be back on February 10th to cook for a larger group of doctors at the Parliament’s House.
The first wine event of this year sounded extremely tempting from the moment I got the invitation so I had great expectations and looked forward to the event. The tasting was organized by Mr Marian Timofti, the importer of Biondi Santi to Romania, at the fancy new restaurant from Soseaua Nordului: La Brasserie Bistro&Lounge. The wines were opened with about 1-2 h in advance but they probably needed more time to breath.
The wine tasting consisted of 4 vintages of Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino: 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and 2 other wines representing a modern and different style: 2002 Col d’Orcia Olmaia Cabernet and 2006 Jacopo Biondi Santi Sassoalloro.
2004 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino
Saturated ruby red color. Developed nose, discreet sweetness, aromas of red fruits and green tomatoes and not very expressive. Medium body, lively, well structured, firm and assertive tannins, rather closed on the palate and feels very tight. A classic profile with a medium finish. The wine has high acidity that makes it feel too thin on the palate and as much as there are tannins and there is structure, the wine feels like it does not have enough substance. A bit of a disappointment considering that 2004 was an excellent vintage all over Italy. The acidity seems to give most of its structure and as much as it can age for several more years I would be extremely curious to see if there is going to be any considerable improvement for this wine. (86-87/100)
2005 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino
Same saturated ruby red color. The nose is well developed, more expressive and pleasing than 2004, with aromas of game, leather and generous red fruit. Slightly fuller bodied, but remaining on the medium plus body, well structured and balanced, lively acidity, elegant profile, with smoother tannins and pleasant flavors of coffee, black tea and red fruits preserves. Medium-long finish with good freshness. Better to drink now. (88/100)
2006 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino
Same saturated ruby red color. The nose is developed but is not very expressive at this moment. Aromas of green vegetables and green tomatoes, hints of refreshing eucalyptus underneath discreet red fruits fill the glass and, as it aerates, aromas of mushrooms become evident. Medium plus body, this vintage has more substance, better structure and balance, remaining on the same path of elegance. It rewards the palate also. Medium to long finish, with black tea flavors. This one has all the components to age well and get better. (90-91/100)
2007 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino
Saturated ruby red color. A well developed and expressive nose already, with balsamic notes, good complexity, and intense aromas of red fruits preserves, spices and leather. Medium plus body, good extraction but remaining elegant, structured and expressive on the palate. Long aftertaste with a classic profile and very good freshness. There is a pleasant mild sweetness on the palate that seduces you unconditionally. An already expressive wine. (90-91/100)
2006 Jacopo Biondi Santi Sassoalloro
Deep dark garnet color. Developed on the nose, with the right amount of fruit, floral aromas, plums and spices. Medium to full body, assertive and dry tannins, flavors of red and black cherry, tobacco and mineral on the palate. Medium finish. While this is not a really complex wine, it will please a larger number of consumers. (88/100)
2002 Col D’Orcia Olmaia Cabernet
Dark red garnet color with minor signs of evolution. A well developed and maturing nose, really lovely, expressive and fresh. There are still plenty of primary, red fruit aromas, spices, leather and a charming freshness given by eucalyptus. Full bodied, expressive, structured, but tannins are very smooth and fully blended, a wine that feels at its peak now and acting accordingly. It has a lengthy finish preserving the same freshness. Perfect to drink now. (90/100)
After the tasting was over, one of the persons at my table offered to bring 2 bottles of older Bordeaux that were also served to some of the participants that were still present.
1982 Chateau Beaumont Haut Medoc
I managed to safely uncork the wine in one piece. Coming from a stellar 1982 vintage this was not only alive, but still very good. The color is ruby red with a brick rim. The nose was initially closed and offered intense aromas of horse sweat and brett, but as it breathed these aromas lost their intensity and let the pleasant ones to shine: cedar, subdued sweet red fruit, graphite, smoke, tobacco and earth. Mature wine, still structured and very much alive on the palate, lively acidity, discreet red fruits and black tea. A medium finish, refreshing. Better to be consumed now. (88/100)
1983 Chateau Haut Surget Lalande de Pomerol
The cork came out in one piece also. Ruby red color with brick meniscus. A more intense mature nose, with pronounced red fruits aromas, there is however a metallic-rusty aroma that makes it less interesting. It also seemed a bit more fuller on the palate, completely mature, lively acidity, denser red fruits also, with a medium finish reminding of black tea and dried cherries. Lesser pleasure for me than the 1982. (84/100)
It was definitely a great event and I was glad that it gave me the chance to get accustomed with the elegant and classic Biondi Santi’s wines. 2006 and 2007 are still available at the importer Arte&Vino shop near Carol Park in Bucharest.