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Some great whites: Olivier Leflaive, Billecart-Salmon, Tement etc

February 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Had a lovely dinner on WED evening at La Brasserie restaurant in Herastrau with some beautiful wines. Started earlier with a stunning Puligny Montrachet by Olivier Leflaive.

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2012 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Pucelles’ needs at least 45 minutes in a decanter to open up and when it does it is simply kaleidoscopic. Color is medium yellow gold. Nose is profound and luxuriant, stone fruit, papaya, toast and butterscotch center the stage. Rich and vibrant yellow fruit pours lavishly on the lively palate, with intense and long rich citrus fruit and chamomile finish. Simply gorgeous. (95/100)

IMG_20160224_192901I was invited to blind taste this wine at the beginning of our dinner and I managed to spot there is an older Sauvignon Blanc from Austria. Tement as far as I read is the best producer of Austrian Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps I am wrong here.

2007 Tement Zieregg Rezerve IZ is indeed a Sauvignon Blanc that spent 30 months in oak barrels. The wine has amazing richness both on the nose and the palate. Nose is filled with generous aromas of slate minerality, cut hay, white melon and passion fruit. Very rich on the palate with medium acidity, it shows abundant yellow fruit and flowers. Quiet long and ripe. (92/100)

1999 Champagne Billecart-Salmon Nicolas Francois Billecart comes with a razor sharp acidity after Tement. This has a classy nose of smoked citrus fruit, baked apples and biscuit, tense and precise, with a citrus infused long finish. (94/100)

2005 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot needs to be properly decanted of its sediment and to breath for at least 45 minutes. This has a mineral, gamey and red fruit generous nose that just keeps on getting better. Supple on the palate, it has a Burgundian character written all over it. Syrah for Pinot lovers. (94/100)

More wines followed but did not manage to pay the proper attention to take notes on: 2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino, 2009 Davino Rezerva Rosu, 2006 Vinarte Aniversare Merlot Rezerva, 2012 Davino Rezerva Blanc. Night ended with a second bottle of 2012 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Pucelles’. Sometimes you can just have it all.

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Great wines from a busy Monday: Rousseau, Pavie, Angelus, Krug, Dom Perignon etc

February 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Pavie

Siting quietly at the end of the week and analyzing all the wines I enjoyed on MON I have to give big credit to my liver for taking it all so bravely.  Week started on a high note on MON evening with a great dinner well planned in advance. It was initially planed to be for 7, but then it ended up with 10-11 participants. It was initially planned for 5-6 bottles and it turned up to be over 12 bottles.

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Started with two Pinot Noir’s from 2 great producers:

2009 Clos des Lambrays has a surprisingly developed profile and just by sniffing it you would give it more age that it actually has. Nevertheless, the wine is drinking superbly by now and it has quite a ripe and black fruit dominated nose for a Pinot, where sour cherry and small berry fruits mix with spices and undergrowth. Very smooth and silky tannin, lots of fruits and aromatic black tea in the mouth. Medium plus long finish. (93/100)

2012 Clos de la Roche by Armand Rousseau is a beauty even as young as it is. There is freshness and elegance in this wine. Freshly picked red cherries, strawberries, cedar and potpourri on the nose, it has layers. Supple but well structured mouth, with assertive smooth tannin, plenty of red fruit and spices. Long finish, very much like an English black tea. Enjoyed more the Rousseau and finished the bottle almost alone. (94-95/100)

Our crowd was not a Pinot aficionado so next flight brought some smiles at the table. Two highly praised wines from St-Emilion, both classified in the top Class A category.

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2007 Chateau Pavie is was more restrained than I expected and needed more time in the decanter to barely express itself. Dark color, aromas developed interestingly in time and showed plums, black cherry, cedar and spices, and oak still seems to be there. It has ample body and layers, velvety and fresh tannin. (92-93/100)

2007 Chateau Angelus was just better for me. It had a more clearly defined profile, sweet fruity tannin and overall more freshness. (94/100)

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As night progressed and outside it became darker, so did the wines. The two crowned producers of Amarone: Quintarelli and Dal Forno have completely different styles yet both aim for the highest quality.

2003 Quintarelli Amarone shows superb freshness at 13 years old. It has a red fruit profile, with plenty of dried currants, red cherry, rum and chocolate, very smooth on the palate, while its thick texture gets freshness from the tannin structure. Long finish. (95/100)

2008 Dal Forno Amarone is all about black fruit, like a Dark Knight. Everything is more pronounced here: deep black cherry fruit, prunes, dark chocolate. Mouth is full, profound and richly layered, rich and abundant velvety tannin, heady, with lavish amounts of fruit. Long finish. (95/100)

I am a bit puzzled here because I enjoyed Quintarelli more for its red fruit and freshness, but somehow got myself attracted to the dark side of Dal Forno. I am really not a fan of Amarone style wines simply because there is too much sweetness and ripeness for my taste. Also, these are heady wines where alcohol is usually around 15-16% and 1 or 2 glasses feels just too much. However, I simply cannot deny the craftsmanship and quality of these 2 wines.

2010 Palazzi from Tenuta Trinoro is a 100% Merlot and there are plenty of similarities to an Amarone. Deep opaque dark red color. Nose is rich and intense with prunes, chocolate, spices and meat. Velvety tannin, lavish black fruit and chocolate palate, it is long. (93/100)

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Patrick Piuze is a rising star in Chablis and it was a first time for me to try one of its wines. 2012 Patrick Piuze Chablis Terroir Decouverte shows a riper yellow fruit profile that you would not expect from such a young Chablis. There is white melon, peach and toast on the nose, while it explodes on the palate with rich layers of stone fruit, butterscotch and citrus, with a distinct stone like minerality. Medium long and very surprising. If there is something missing here I would say a certain precision. (92/100)

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2011 Olivier Leflaive Corton-Charlemagne seems to have it all: precision, depth, freshness and balance. Nose is all about citrus fruit and gun powder, with slight amounts of butter and toast, mouth is all about precision, freshness and elegance. There is richness of fruit, a lively and vibrant acidity and a fairly long finish. Wine was open at lunch and properly aerated. (93/100)

A Dom Perignon Magnum 2000 started the flight of Champagne’s. Very mineral, almost like a Riesling from Mosel, but very intense both on the nose as on the palate. This is starting to drink very well now. (93/100)

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Champagne Krug Rose Brut was the first rose of the night. This is a Rose for the day. It has a light coppery color, fresh and intense nose of small berries, slate like minerality and grapefruit. Amazing weightless texture, layered and rich, you can drink a lot. A second bottle was opened, that well it drinks. (94/100)

Champagne Dom Perignon Vintage Rose 2003 is a rose for the night and it is not for its more intense darker coppery color. This is fuller and heavier in the mouth, but also with a vinous character. Rich, layered and decadent palate, it makes an impression on you. (94-95/100)

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We already passed midnight, but there was more wine. 2008 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion was opened and briefly decanted before being poured in glasses. The wine is classic textbook Bordeaux, but from the high class: rich but tempered and elegant. Lots of cassis, pencil shavings and typical Pessac-Leognan character. Red cherry, cassis and gravely tannin, very fulfilling on the palate. Long. (94/100)

IMG_20160222_220440Not to mention that by this time everybody was full and when Batman came to fancily deliver a bottle of Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2000, everybody foolishly (retrospectively) refused to open it. At that moment it felt like it was enough. Today I believe big things can happen in the spur of the moment.

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Champa

Burgundy wine tasting announcement

February 19, 2016 Leave a comment

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If you’re a man then you know that February-March is a harsh time. You have: Valentine’s Day, Dragobete, March 1st and March 8th. If you’re a woman it’s probably the merriest time of the year.

We are offering both of you a great escape. A relaxing evening in the middle of the hurricane when women could show their sympathy and support for all the nice moments offered and effort men put. And what is better than wine ? Perhaps more wine.

Burgundy is one of France’s most complicated and hard to understand regions. You only have two grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, yes there is little Aligote also, so you might think how hard and different can it be ? Well, the reality is every small appellation has its own characteristics, and there are usually a bunch of producers sharing it. As many producers, as many styles of wines. Add the classification of Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines and things really start to get complicated. What is the difference between these classifications and why is the price gap so wide ?

We will try to explain as many things as possible during the Burgundy wine tasting we prepared for you on THU, February 25th, 2016.

Here is the line-up of wines we prepared, our intention was to take you through as many appellations as possible in order to understand differences. Yes, there is order in chaos and it can be understood.

Whites:
NV Bailly Lapierre Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Réserve
 2011 Olivier Leflaive Chablis Premier Cru ‘Montee de Tonnerre’

Reds
1996 Hospices de Beaune, Beaune Premier Cru ‘Cuvee Brunet’
1998 Chicotot Nuits St-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vaucrains”
2006 L & A Lignier Morey Saint-Denis “Clos des Sionnieres” (91 points)
2007 L & A Lignier Morey Saint-Denis “Clos des Sionnieres”
2008 Philipe & Vincent Lecheneaut Gevrey-Chambertin (92 points)
2011 Jean Fery Vosne Romanee 1er Cru “‘aux Reas”

Again, we will meet on Thursday, Feb 25th, 19:30. NaaN Restaurant (Strada C. A. Rosetti 26, București) is the meeting point. We loved the place for the Roses tasting.

The cost is 269 lei pp (wine, entree and water). The main course can be ordered a la carte from the restaurant menu, if you want. Confirmation is required, as well as advanced payment.

Please book your seats by email at cosmin.grozea@gmail.com or by phone at +40723 240 102 .

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Categories: Burgundy, France, Wine-dinners

An out of ordinary dinner in Bordeaux: 1925, 1955 and more

February 18, 2016 1 comment

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Last year I spent a whole week in Bordeaux between September 29th and October the 2nd. Every day I visited 4-5 wineries and I ended the week with a very special and unusual dinner organized by Olivier Bernard and his wife, the owners of Domaine de Chevalier from Pessac-Leognan and several other properties in Bordeaux, at their residence which coincides to be the actual winery of Domaine de Chevalier.

I was told in advance by the person who invited me there, how things would go: there are no more than 10-11 people that attend, mainly wine critics and people from the wine business, and the event happens only once per year. The uniqueness of this dinner is that, Olivier Bernard chooses and serves all wines blind, only the very first wine is shown what it is. From that moment on, all wines served should have only one thing in common: the last digit of the first wine’s vintage will remain the same for the whole line-up of wines. Otherwise, sky is the limit in terms of region, appellations, countries of origin and span of the vintages.

Before dinner there was obviously a pre tasting of different wines (about 15-20) made by Olivier in several appellations of Bordeaux and a visit of the whole Domaine de Chevalier winery. I noticed the most unusual one single barrel of fermenting juice and grapes made by Domaine de la Solitude (same ownership) from a tiny, very old parcel of 200 years old vines that has a life and reputation of its own. Only 1 single barrel made of this very special wine.

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Dinner brought together several British wine critics, an American negociant with a reputation in Bordeaux and Internationally as big as the Statue of Liberty, the two Bernard’s and some lost Romanians that made it together with me at the event. I hope my friends will not take any offense. 🙂

Dinner started in their living room with small finger food appetizers and a Magnum of 1975 Champagne Veuve Clicquot Carte d’Or Brut which at that moment in time was the highest quality level Champagne of Veuve Cliquot. La Grande Dame came into existence a few years later, around 1980. This was a surprisingly vibrant sparkling that naturally shade most of its bubbles by now, but filled with live acidity and a rich toffee caramel like nose and dense taste. Simply stunning. (94/100)

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From this moment on, we were on thin ice. Olivier takes great joy from putting wine specialists and people from the trade into hot seats. I’m saying this in the most candid possible way as I have great sympathy and respect for this Gentleman.

We took our seats at the impeccably arranged table in a separate room and first flight of wines was served: two whites, similar color, completely different aromatic profiles. One was vivid and reminded of a well aged Riesling with a very clean nose of stone fruit, the other showed a more pronounced aging, a citrus dominated nose and not as clean or generous. The American negociant nailed what I believed to be a Riesling: it was a superb 1985 Puligny-Montrachet from Domaine Leflaive, a time when Domaine Leflaive was the pioneer of quality in white Burgundy. Outstanding quality at that village level. Second was Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 1985, still alive but more of an aged man.

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First red wine of the night was a first for me. The oldest wine I have ever tasted. Its color was not showing it, because there was still some medium ruby red next to the brick rim, while the nose was full of tertiary aromas. On the palate there was just a tiny, discreet pale of some dried red currant. Not necessarily something that you would enjoy as a whole bottle, but for what it was, it transcended time: 1925 Chateau Cos d’Estournel. It is not a wine I would recommend for acquisition, but if you would get the chance to find it at a good price, you should try it. Of course, it is more of a gamble as provenance is crucial, so if you feel adventurous follow your urge.

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The second red served of the same flight showed a more intense presence of red fruit, but somehow didn’t seem to hold much better that the 1925. The 1955 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste was not the wine that other people reminded to be from other tastings as I was told. At this point nobody had any clues about these two wines.

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New flight consisted of three wines and had several things in common, but for us being offered blind the most important was the vintage. As a start. Then came the origin and the actual wine producer itself.

Now I have to confess that I take great pride in being able to surprise the audience and, more importantly, the host the this lovely dinner that started to see me with different eyes from that moment on, when I nailed the best wine of the flight and probably the red of the dinner.

I do have to share with you the circumstances of this impressive – even for me – achievement. The first thing that I noticed was the color: having a 1955 before and knowing that 1965 was not a good vintage in Bordeaux – well I knew these wines were Bordeaux from their nose – I saw that based on the color and intensity of nose it was older than a 1985, and knowing we have only 5 ending vintage wines, it has to be a 1975. I got that confirmation from Olivier.

We eliminated the Right Bank as the originating appellations. So we were left with the Left Bank. Now there are several outstanding wines made in 1975 and we took out Pauillac as being one of the appellation of these wines. So the fact that I had some Leoville Las Cases several times in the past, gave me the upper hand to make a good impression for Romania: nailed the 1975 Chateau Leoville Las Cases. That felt good indeed.

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1975 Chateau Leoville Las Cases is just a great wine. Still going strong on red fruit, it has cedar and pencil shavings freshness, very smooth and appealing on the palate. The other two wines were 1975 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge – it was the vintage when Olivier Bernard took over Domaine de Chevalier and it was the last vintage produced by the previous manager – and 1975 Chateau Cos d’Estournel. Cos d’Estournel showed more intensity and grip, while the Chevalier Rouge was just a pale shadow of once good wine.

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Dessert came paired with two sweet wines. I did guess the vintage but not the appellation, nor the producers. Chateau Guiraud 1975 and 1975 Chateau Gilette ‘Creme de Tete’ – I said Barsac but they were both from Sauternes – were both nice, but Guiraud showed a fresher vibrant acidity and cleaner defined sweet caramel, saffron, orange and quince marmalade aromas. It was simply delicious.

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This was an absolutely unique experience where everybody paid really close attention to wine for the whole dinner and the stirred discussions were the best case study you can do into the history of Bordeaux.

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We were extremely fortunate to experience all these great wines because history shows that most successful vintages in Bordeaux ended in a 5. Rumor is this year’s dinner will be all about 6.

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Noi vinuri grecesti la real,-wine boutique

February 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Poza 1

Am regasit cu bucurie o noua gama de vinuri grecesti pe magazinul online real-wineboutique.ro , vinuri pe care le-am baut cu mare placere de cate ori am fost in vacanta vara pe plajele din Grecia. Aceste vinuri sunt disponibile si la raft in cele patru magazine real,-.

Ceea ce as recomanda in mod deosebit ar fi:

poza 2

Gaia Wines Thalassitis 2014 care este un Assyrtiko pur din Santorini, insula in care acest strugure straluceste in mod deosebit si capata o personalitate distincta fata de celelalte vinuri din alte zone ale Greciei. Thalassitis este un vin intens aromat la nivelul nasului si surprinde prin aciditatea mare care-l face proaspat si tonic, mineralitate intensa, arome citrice si saline ca de cochilie ce domina in gust. Un vin sec care merge de minune vara si care te duce cumva cu gandul la un Chablis.

Poza 3

Biblia Chora Alb a fost primul vin grecesc care m-a impresionat. Se intampla prin 2010 in Thassos alaturi de un Dentex de 2,5 kg pe care l-am servit la taverna Musses din Limenas alaturi de cativa prieteni. A ramas o amintire frumoasa a acelei vacante pe care o impartasim de cate ori vorbim de Thassos. Vinul si-a pastrat calitatea cu consecventa si atributele care m-au facut sa-l indragesc: arome intense, aciditate vie si ideea de vacanta.

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Gerovassiliou este considerat cel mai bun producator al Greciei, el are meritul ca a reabilitat un soi de strugure care intrase intr-un con de umbra: Malagousia, punandu-l pe acelasi palier de calitate ca mai faimosul Assyrtiko. Malagousia Gerovassiliou 2015 este un vin care impresioneaza de la primul nas prin aromele intense de piersici si caise, cu note de citrice si de fan proaspat cosit. In gust este gras si dens, cu note bogate de fructe galbene si echilibru perfect. Iti va place de la prima inghititura.

Poza 4

Recunosc ca pun albele grecesti mai presus de cele rosii, dar am gasit un Xinomavro foarte interesant care m-a dus imediat cu gandul la un Nebbiolo din Piedmont. Ramnista Kir-Yianni 2010 are note intense de cirese, pamant si tutun, un vin elegant, cu structura buna ce creaza o impresie frumoasa in pahar. Pentru cei care indragesc vinurile Barbaresco sau Barolo, eu gasesc multe in comun cu acest vin. Pretul este considerabil mai mic.

Poza 4

Grecia mai are si alte surprize pe care le puteti gasi in sortimentatia real-wineboutique.

Categories: Greece

Valentine’s day it’s all about love and roses

February 2, 2016 1 comment

Valentines

The weather outside says spring is almost here. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It is usually a tough day for men as most of the time ideas don’t come easy. One has to be brave and inventive to make it through. Fortunately, your wine guys did the job for you.

We made a selection of some top roses: Romanian and French, and when you say roses there is love in the air. Roses and rose wines is the name of the game for Valentine’s day.

So here’s the list:
2015 Prince Stirbey Rose
2015 Davino Domaine Ceptura Rose
2014 Miraval (Brangelina) Rose (91 points)
2012 Miraval Blanc
2014 Chateau Puech “Haut Prestige Rose” (92 points)
2014 Chateau Puech “Tete de Belier Rose” (93 points)
2014 ONE by Les Jolies Filles
2014 Chateau La Gordonne La Chapelle Gordonne (91 points)
2014 Chateau Minuty Cuvee Rose et Or
2014 Chateau La Sauvageonne Wild Woman Rose

(you can also buy the ones you like, that evening or later on, if you want to try them in a more intimate environment)

We will meet on Thursday, Feb 11th, 19:30. There is a new location, NaaN Restaurant (Strada C. A. Rosetti 26, București). Yes, it is an Indian restaurant. We challenge you to try this daring paring and see how good Indian food and rose fit together !

The cost is 160 lei pp (wine, entree and water). The main course can be ordered a la carte from the restaurant menu. Confirmation is required, as well as advance payment.

For reservations please contact us at cosmin.grozea@gmail.com or nicusor.cazan@gmail.com or by phone:

Cosmin: 0723 240 102 or Nicusor: 0722 141 879

frog

Categories: France, Romania, Wine-dinners
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