Archive for April, 2015

Dinner at Joseph’s

April 30, 2015 4 comments


I attended a private dinner this week with a relatively small group of friends at one of Bucharest’s best restaurants owned by Joseph Hadad. It was a an event well prepared in advance with a clear list of wines selected by me and the food pairing selected by a friend. As a first time visit to this restaurant the food was excellent and the pairing happily chosen. Food is really at the highest level. There were 7 wines proposed initially but we ended up with 11 eventually.



Champagne Billercart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV was offered as a welcome drink. I like the soft notes of citrus fruit, yeast, its rich and lively palate. (91/100)



First course: Semi-row salmon sashimi, shiitake mushrooms wrapped in seaweed tempura, ginger vinaigrette, coriander, tapioca, mango and maple syrup was a match for 2012 Von Winning Kalkofen GG. The wine has a sweet exotic nose of high intensity, where peach, apricot, pear and pineapple mingle together with discreet shades of kerosene. Lively and dry on the palate, its racy acidity suggests a bit of patience until next bottle will be open. Very intense and refreshing. (92/100)



Sauted Saint Jacques scallops, celery mousse flavored with truffle oil, tomato tartar, chives, smoked duck breast were served next to a great Pinot Noir: 2012 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru. This is a 7-8 ha Grand Cru monopole owned since 2013 by the famous LVMH group so prices are expected to soar. There is a 60 m altitude difference between the start and the end of this vineyard so there are significant differences between the style of each parcel of vines, differences that actually build the complexity in this wine. The nose is developed and intense, but there is so much elegance and class in it. Fresh raspberry and cherry fruit, tea leaves and subdued undergrowth all make a profound nose. Silky smooth on the palate, with rich red fruit, coffee and savoury palate, there is depth and elegance. Very long finish that lingers. For me it was the wine of the night (95/100). Scallops actually enhanced the fruitiness and somehow gave it even more depth and complexity.

We also tasted an interesting Pinot Noir from Dao, Portugal, a pure un-oaked and unfiltered wine: Quinta de Bella – Dom Bella Pinot Noir 2012 that shows a warmer profile due to its origin, dominated by ripe cherry and sour cherry fruit.

From there on my menu was slightly different than the others as I chose to replace all meat with different fish.

Three wines were served with the next dish. 2011 Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile that stays true to its provenance and welcomes you with the unmistakable aromas of very ripe black fruit and mint into a very forward style (87- 88/100). It was an abrupt fell from the heavenly Clos des Lambrays.

2012 Quinta do Vale Meao was served initially a bit too warm. There is exuberance of ripe fruit and cream on the nose with shades of hot stones and tar, chocolate flakes, beef blood and rum. It is rich and lush on the palate with layers and layers of ripe fruits but well balanced by smooth tannins and acidity. Medium to long bitter-sweet dark chocolate and black fruit liqueur finish. (91-92/100)



Then came the favorite wine for a big portion of the participants: 2008 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou from a classic vintage. There is sheer class in this wine. Its color is red garnet and opaque. It is not very expressive on the nose for the moment, but you could recognize its Cabernet typicality. There is cassis, paprika, black currant leaf and coffee bean that shine the most today. Full and well structured on the palate, it is a massive wine. Its fine-grained tannins, its rich texture all point to a great evolution in time. Really good. (94/100)



2004 Elio Grasso Barolo ‘Ginestra Casa Mate’ came for me with a dish based on sea bass, eggplant and nuts and it worked very well. There is a lot of pleasure drinking this wine today, however it has a long life ahead. Very pure ripe cherry fruit, dry rose petals, tar and mushrooms are just some of the aromas found in the complex profile. There are firm but smooth tannins with enough fruit and texture to make it a highly pleasurable experience. (92/100)



2000 Domaine de la Mordoree ‘Cuvee de la Reine des Bois’ Chateauneuf du pape is a maturing wine today. The nose and the palate combine successfully pure sweet red Grenache fruit and spices with tertiary aromas of bacon fat, cured meat and truffles. It is intense and complex, with silky smooth tannins, savoury red fruits and spices, Provencal herbs, fresh, but it feels like it is at its peak. Long finish. (93/100)



1998 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du pape was unfortunately corked beyond any chance of revival. Such a pity as I had high expectations to be the wine of the night.



Desserts were quite spectacular and were paired with a Martha’s Porto – Tawny 20 years. 

Last but not least there was a bottle of 2007 Chateau Musar rouge with its bretty and gamey aromas, wild red fruits and leather. Firm and structured, with grippy tannins and spicy cherry fruit. (90/100)



Easter weekend 12-13 April 2015

April 14, 2015 Leave a comment


We celebrated Easter last weekend in Romania and we had a gorgeous summer like weather with 27 degrees outside. It was the first time this year that we dinned in the courtyard having great wines and just sitting in the sun and doing nothing. Obviously friends wanted to be a part of all this process so it was a full house. How can you say no when friends want to mingle with you in your moments of serenity.

On MON after having so much lamb and colored eggs it was time for a change so back to cellar I got the leg of Jamon Iberico outside and had some freshly cut ham with raw tomatoes puree, olive oil and crackers. There are a few pairings that go very well with this cured meat, but for me German Riesling is a staple wine.


2013 Von Winning Deidesheimer has a rich and sweet nose filled with peach, apricot and pineapple that makes me sniff the glass over and over. Von Winning makes wines in a more opulent style in the mouth, however there is a dry cut on the palate that together with tangy acidity, ripe citrus fruit and peach makes it really pleasant to drink. Medium finish with floral flavors. (90/100)

2013 Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett has a more restrained nose in comparison and fresher, with Granny Smith apples, citrus fruits and chamomile flowers. The taste is an explosion of flavors with an off dry taste, but there is vibrant and rich fruit, lemon zest and plenty of floral character. The acidity animates the entire texture, while the finish is long, fresh and highly aromatic. Only 9.5% alc. (92/100)

Sweetness and salty ham: you should try it for yourself ! Let me know.


2011 Juris Tricata was offered to me by a friend. I did not know this producer before, nor this wine. Tricata is made from Blaufrankisch grape from Austria and is made in a similar style and way to an Amarone: the grapes are partly left to dry. The wine is deeply colored with a dark red garnet opaque appearance. The nose is highly intense and complex, with a very ripe and sweet profile, but certainly not lacking freshness. There is ripe sweet black berry liqueur, big dark chocolate aromas, sour cherries and spices, with a subdued mineral layer of charcoal that provides freshness. A really opulent wine on the palate with soft and ripe tannins, lush flavors of ripe black fruit, chocolate and rum. Finish is really long and lingering and brings even a slightly violet floral hint. At 16% alc this is well balanced even for a very warm day. (93-94/100)

A really enjoyable 2nd day after the Easter.

Categories: Austria, Germany

Real,-Wine Club degustare in Real Constanta 17-18 Aprilie 2015

April 14, 2015 2 comments


Real,-Wine Boutique organizeaza lunar in doua dintre magazinele sale degustari de vin si asocieri de preparate culinare la care sunt invitati sa participe gratuit iubitori de vin. Sub conceptul Real,-Wine Club se desfasoara in doua zile consecutive in cadrul aceluiasi magazin doua evenimente diferite:

Totul pentru gust‘ este un concept creat cu scopul de a educa si a oferi participantilor la degustare o experienta completa care presupune prezentarea vinurilor de catre reprezentati ai cramelor din Romania sau ai importatorului pentru vinurile de import, si asocierea cu preparate culinare potrivite care sa sporeasca experienta senzoriala. Este un eveniment la care poate participa orice amator de vinuri in limita locurilor disponibile. Inscrierea pentru acest eveniment se face fie prin acest link prin inregistrarea datelor, fie printr-un apel catre numarul de telefon mentionat in spotul de la TV sau de la radio:

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In cadrul sesiunii de Sambata 18 Aprilie din cadrul Real Constanta, incepand cu ora 12:00, participantii vor putea degusta 6 vinuri din gama premium de la Crama Girboiu care vor fi servite alaturi de preparate culinare special gandite si gatite de bucatari specialisti, cu produse din cadrul magazinului Real Constanta.

Se vor degusta urmatoarele vinuri de la Crama Girboiu:

–          EPICENTRUM Sarba&Plavaie;

–          EPICENTRUM Merlot&Cabernet Sauvignon Barrique;

–          TECTONIC Feteasca Neagra;

–          TECTONIC Sarba;

–          BACANTA Merlot Barrique;

–          BACANTA Sauvignon Blanc

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Al doilea eveniment denumit ‘Wine Club‘ este adresat doar membrilor clubului de vin initiat de Real si se adreseaza in mod deosebit celor din Horeca si cunoscatorilor. Evenimentul ‘Wine Club’ se va desfasura vineri in incinta Real Constanta incepand de la ora 18:00, participantii fiind invitati nominal.

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Pentru cei aflati in Constanta in acest weekend este o oportunitate buna de a descoperi gama vasta de vinuri de calitate din cadrul Real,-Wine Boutique si de a petrece cateva ore in compania altor oameni ce impartasesc aceeasi pasiune pentru vin si mancare buna. Inscrierile se fac de obicei din timp, locurile disponibile fiind ocupate rapid.

Categories: Pub, Romania

Wines from the ‘Classic Bordeaux tasting’


We had a good time on April 2nd for our Classic Bordeaux tasting. Looking back it seems that our tastings become cyclical. In 2013 Bordeaux tasting took place at the end of March. We had a great group of participants including Oliver Bauer, the winemaker for Prince Stirbey and Crama Bauer. So there has been some interesting debate about the wines.

All wines were decanted, left to breathe for 10 minutes and then placed back into the bottle where they continued to be in contact with air. Some of the wines needed an extended decanting and were put back into the decanter just before being served.

11150958_10205515782327501_7506273876955773157_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

2012 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc is made from purchased grapes by the former winemaker of Cloudy Bay. The wine is still fresh and intense, with its typical citrus fruit, cut hay, tropical fruits and green bell pepper, lively palate and pretty intense. It was a good introduction. (90/100)

2012 Schloss Westerhaus Riesling Großes Gewächs is a bit more advanced for its age but there is enough kerosene and ripe tropical fruit to be interesting and appealing. Racy acidity, very citrus and Granny Smith apple character. Medium long. (88/100)

11141771_10205515787967642_4226916640355796510_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

2011 Chateau Labegorce is a Cru Burgeois from Margaux  that delivers well. This 2011 seems to be the perfect restaurant wine: it does not take a lot of time to open up and creates a certain emotion in the glass. Plenty of smoke, red fruits and gravel minerality, medium bodied with assertive but already smooth tannin. Medium long and really pleasant to drink now. (90/100)

10452305_10205515787487630_8517181435222969114_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

2010 Chateau Labegorce has the mark of an acclaimed vintage and comes with more concentration and focus, but seems more reluctant to show the exuberance of 2011. There is greater intensity of flavor, the tannins have a bigger grip, but there is plenty of fruit and gravel minerality to keep the balance. Very good value wine especially in 2010. (91/100)

11053369_10205515786167597_1858916178299965705_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

2010 Chateau Cantemerle from Haut-Medoc is deemed by Robert Parker as the best Cantemerle since the legendary 1982 vintage. The wine seems to be more austere in aromas than its Margaux peers, with a more assertive tannin that needs some time to become soft. However there is lush black currant and black cherry with graphite and paprika, with very decent density and length. (91-92/100)

 2009 Chateau Lespault Martillac rouge is a wine produced by Domaine de Chevalier. Very dark in color, it is a modern Bordeaux wine. Plenty of fruit with smoke and spices, heady. (88/100)

11102936_10205515785807588_8899169825662819257_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

2004 Chateau La Tour Figeac surprises everyone at the table. We have the first wine of the evening that starts to be in a perfect drinking maturing state where it will stay for sure for another 5-8 years. Most guests liked it a lot. There is charm in the pure red fruit, spicy and warm forest floor nose. Medium bodied, the texture is smooth and the tannins silky. It is not an overly complex wine but it has charm and character. (90/100)

10996533_10205515784767562_1463739098015810411_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

1996 Chateau La Lagune shows the class of well aged claret. The color is medium ruby red and clean. The aromatic profile shows a good complexity with soft red fruits on the background and plenty of gravel minerals, paprika, leather, tobacco and cured meat. Medium to full bodied, soft tannins, savoury sweet red currants, tobacco leaves and espresso, with a mild bitter sweet medium finish. (90/100)

11127882_10205515783367527_1844548393363784776_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

1996 Clos du Marquis shows the greatness of St-Julien. A bit darker in color, this wine shows a tremendous balance between nose, palate and aftertaste. It just seems to be better fit. There is a paler touch of fruit than La Lagune, but seems denser and better constructed on the palate, right now espresso, dark chocolate and tobacco leaves making the scene on the palate. There is fruit but it is subdued. Medium to long finish, very fresh and appealing. (91/100)

21171_10205515783007518_7286071025932703878_nphoto credit Cristian Radu

I saved the 2009 Pagodes de Cos as the last wine because I believed the concentration of the 2009 vintage and the pedigree of the producer would most likely make it the wine of the night. Very dark in color, almost opaque. There is both exuberance of fruit and elegance in this wine. Rich cassis, chocolate flakes, spicy oak, graphite and paprika burst from the glass. This is full and dense on the palate, assertive but polished ripe tannins, juicy black fruits and freshness provided by acidity. It’s all in there. Fairly long. (92-93/100)

Overall it was a great tasting: all wines were very good and we had no bad experiences with any of the bottles – not that we had any recently, the guests engaged in the conversation and there has been a certain debate on the differences between the wines. Just to point out: 2004 Chateau La Tour Figeac really made an overall impression.


High end Pinot Noir

April 7, 2015 1 comment


Had dinner a week ago with a good friend that fancies Pinot Noir a lot and it seems we are together in a quest to discover and enjoy as many as possible. We had dinner at Le Bistrot Francais near Ateneu in Bucharest, the food was really good.

Three wines were served during the meal.

2009 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc seems to be losing the exuberant fruit that I enjoyed so much more than 1 year ago. Blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, this is a classic white Pessac-Leognan highly acclaimed in this vintage. Most of the aromas and luxurious fruit is there and still in a big way. Aromas of smoke, tropical fruits, mango, tangerines, pineapple and passion fruit just burst from the glass. Very enjoyable mouth-feel, with vibrant tropical fruit, almonds and luxuriant smart oak build nicely on the palate, especially as the wines warms up a bit in the glass. This is going to continue to be a great white wine. (94/100)

2011 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin Clos de Beze is a very young wine but it has so much potential to develop in time. The nose is complex, intense and youthful, and makes you think as if you are walking through a forest in the summer just after the rain: there are fresh pine needles, forest floor, mint, a bit of undergrowth and sweet red cherry. As intense as it appears to be on the palate this does not say much for now. There are savoury flavors of undergrowth, green tea and red currant, high acidity and sappy tannins. It did not appeal to the rest of the guests at the table, but you have to see its potential in time. This can become great in 7-10 years. (94/100)

2005 Bouchard-Finlayson Galpin Peak Tete de Cuvee Pinot Noir comes from the coolest area for Pinot in South Africa: Hemmel en Aarde, a small region that gets more and more attention this particular grape. It’s the second time I am having this wine – 1 year between them – and the wine continues to be excellent. In spite of a warmer climate compared to Burgundy, the wine has great freshness. Combined with the exuberant red cherry and raspberry fruit, forest floor and spices, this makes a for a complex and intense nose. Full on the palate, with smooth tannins and vibrant juicy  red fruits, it gets more complex on the mid palate with a smoky and savoury gamey flavor. Long and intense finish, really fresh with lingering red fruits aromas. (94/100)

For instant gratification Bouchard-Finlayson was definitely the winner and will continue to be there for the next 5-8 years easily. I would love to see Chambertin Clos de Beze in 10 years.

Categories: Bordeaux, Burgundy, France

Real, -Wine Boutique

April 6, 2015 1 comment

vinimondo ct 31octIn ultima calatorie la Constanta de acum cateva saptamani am ajuns intamplator la unul dintre hyper marketurile Real si am fost foarte placut surprins sa gasesc un loc special amenajat dedicat vinului pe o suprafata considerabila din magazin. Este o premiera si o noutate – da stiu exista de ceva timp humidorul de la Baneasa – sa gasesc atat de multe vinuri mari intr-o locatie a unui hyper market.

Locul arata foarte bine, de parca intri intr-o crama privata, cu mult lemn care da senzatia de primitor si natural. Enomatul cu vinuri are o oferta larga in functie de bugetul fiecaruia.

real wine boutique (9)Sortimentatia este impresionanta: majoritatea tarilor sunt bine reprezentate. Din Italia am gasit vinurile de la Gaja, am gasit Ornellaia si Sassicaia (vinurile mari si restul gamei lor), Luce, Biondi Santi, Quintarelli. Din Franta sunt multe vinuri de la producatori consacrati din Bordeaux si Burgundia, Champagne sau Valea Ronului. Lumea Noua are prezente nu doar gamele entry level (listate intr-un loc separat de acest spatiu) pe care le gasesti in majoritatea hyper market-urilor, dar am gasit vinuri prezente in cele mai bune magazine specializate de vin din lume.

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Ceea ce nu exista bine reprezentat in acest moment este sectorul de vinuri romanesti, si acest lucru se datoreaza cramelor de la noi care nu reusesc sa faca diferenta intre acest spatiu dedicat vinului de calitate si restul magazinelor din marile retele care vand doar ce este ieftin si ‘bun’. Este o greseala sa generalizezi fara a investiga in detaliu aceste diferente majore. Nici la Baneasa in humidor nu am gasit o astfel de sortimentatie vasta.

De admirat initiativa mai ales ca astfel in cele cateva orase in care Real are magazine: Constanta, Suceava, Arad si Oradea, consumatorul a inceput sa aiba acces la o gama larga de vinuri excelente. Exista chiar si o serie de evenimente organizate in acest spatiu, dar voi reveni cu mai multe detalii.

2008 W Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses

10393152_10206456186989319_477043565601356494_nI had several times many bottles of Chablis and Chablis Premier Cru, but not as often as I would like did I encounter the Grand Cru Chablis. It is recommended to drink it 5-6 years after the vintage in order for the aromas and flavor profile to fully develop.

2008 W. Fevre Chablis Grand Cru ‘Les Preuses’ is a beautiful wine. Medium gold color. It takes about 20 minutes in the bottle before the wine really starts to reveal itself. Lush aromas of sweet honey sprinkled on top of ripe citrus and exotic fruits, mango and papaya, with a touch of mineral crushed stones that bring freshness and  complexity. Rich and intense on the palate, with vibrant acidity and a glacier water like purity that makes memorable the tasting experience. There are plenty of exotic fruits, honey and wet stones flavors in the mouth. Medium to long finish, very fresh and exuberant. W. Fevre is the biggest owner of Chablis Grand Cru vineyards so more power for having this quality. (93/100)


Paired with sea bass cooked in a salt crust, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes and cherry tomatoes reduction just 1 week before the Easter it was a truly amazing culinary experience. It’s always better to choose a bigger fish if possible (mine was 1.2 kg) when cooking in a salt crust as the taste and the flesh is considerably better than the small fish.

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