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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.

Easter weekend 12-13 April 2015

April 14, 2015 Leave a comment

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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.

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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.

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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

An unusual blind tasting

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I received a new invitation to join the special Wine Club on MON. As usual the wines were an unexpected surprise. This time it was bigger than the house. The surprise was that all four red wines were served blind. The first wine was a German Riesling from Pfalz that was served with shown label.

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2011 Reichstrat von Buhl Ungeheuer Forst Riesling Trocken Grosses Gewachs has a pale straw yellow color. Initially it has a tempered nose, elegant, resembling more a Sauvignon Blanc than a Riesling. As it aerates it gets closer to the Riesling aromatic profile showing mild aromas of pineapple, apricots, peaches, flowers and dry lemon peel. It has sharp acidity, that feels a bit too pronounced at the moment, similar flavors as on the nose, vibrant citrus fruit and long finish, slightly sour. It is an elegant and well made wine that needs to age more in the bottle but has potential. (90/100)

Next four red wines were served completely blind. The host prepared a huge surprise and as much as it was declared from the get go that this is not a contest, I was excited to see if I can guess the regions or the wines. Looking back at last night experience I do realize how humbling and also relevant blind tastings are.

First wine served had intense aromas of black fruits and coffee, with touches of spices. Based on the color and the nose I said Syrah from a warm place. In the mouth it was trickier. Somebody said Pinot Noir, I argued it wasn’t based on color and aromatic profile. It was a 2005 Umathum Ried Hallebuhl – a Zweigelt majority blend. I had this wine previously but did not manage to recognize it. I loved it when I had it in the past, but this evening it pleased the least. It has soft tannins, well structured, velvety mouth feeling and a medium finish. (89/100)

On the second wine I was able to say without any doubt that it is a Bordeaux. It was very open and expressive, with a lovely bouquet that reminded of aromatic herbs, cedar, graphite, charcoal and tons of cassis. I said initially Pessac-Leognan but after a few moments I realized it lacked the smoky Pessac profile. It was 1999 Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron. The wine offers maximum drinking pleasure today. In the mouth it has a healthy structure, fully integrated tannins, bright acidity and tons of expressive flavors on the palate. Long finish, fresh, with black tea leaves and blackcurrant. The most open, fully developed and expressive wine of the evening. It can also hold easily another 5-7 years. It is a huge success considering the 1999 vintage but today it is at its peak. (92/100)

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Third wine had a warmer profile on the nose that made it initially difficult to pin point. Intense aromas of very ripe blackberry, blackcurrant, prunes and macerated black cherry, mixed with cinnamon and cloves made up the nose. Extremely young and the most tannic of all, made it easily the youngest wine of the line up. It has depth, structure, flesh and powerful tannins that will offer enough support to age well. Long finish, very intense on primary aromas and dark chocolate. I managed to guess until the end of the evening it was a wine from Davino. Could not say the vintage or the specific wine. It was a 2006 Davino Reserva Zamfirescu (predominantly Merlot – the one with the yellow drawing on the label). It has at least 10 years ahead. (92-93/100)

The fourth wine was the biggest surprise and a first time for me. By far the most consistent and impressive wine of the tasting. I was able to recognize Bordeaux but that’s where my expertise ended. It was closed on the nose initially, with little fruit and it started to open up slowly as time passed. It did not get close to the expressiveness of 1999 Pichon Baron and I am fairly sure that not even prolonged aeration will not take it there now. This wine needs years of aging in the bottle. In the mouth the wine confirmed its class: superb structure, polished but assertive tannins, quite closed on the palate, but you can certainly guess something big is happening here. Long finish, fresh, assertive flavors that mix blackcurrant, smoke, gravel, black tea and tobacco. It was 2001 Chateau Haut Brion Pessac Leognan. It has finesse, great length and purity. This will probably need at least 5 more years to open up and become more expressive, while it can age for decades. (94/100)

As much as this was a great academic exercise, the surprises were without any doubt huge. All 4 red wines were spectacular. When you remove the label out of the equation things will offer huge surprises as it was the case also tonight.

Umathum Ried Hallebuhl 2005

August 30, 2012 1 comment

Received this bottle as a gift from a friend. It is my first experience with an Austrian red wine and what a lovely encounter it was. This is a red blend where Zweigelt is the majority grape variety.

Umathum Ried Hallebuhl Burgenland 2005

The wine has a lovely dark red, garnet color. A well developed, elegant and complex nose of great intensity, constantly evolving and giving new aromas; it was even more interesting on the second day. On the first day the fruity aromas of fresh dark cherries are very pure and more intense, but on the second day the wine shows its real complexity with its tobacco, cedar, gamey and smokey dark cherries. On the palate it is full and has a darker character, good concentration, with fine grained tannins and a great structure. Dense flavors of coffee, tobacco and black fruit along some hints of minerality, with a long finish. I liked this wine a lot, as it shows complexity, appealing cedar freshness, balance and purity of fruit. There is a substantial potential for aging and in a few more years it will probably become even more interesting, even though now it can be enjoyed superbly after a few hours of aeration. (91-92/100)

I can definitely enjoy more of this. A producer that is worth seeking if all his wines are on the same line.

Categories: Austria Tags: , , ,

The International wine round table Ep 1

March 14, 2011 10 comments

Last SAT, on March 12th, about 14 wine lovers, some accompanied by their wives or girlfriends, got together at restaurant Trattoria Roma Opera for the 1st edition of the International wine round table for 2011 in Bucharest. The event started at 18:00 and while there were still a few people to come, all guests had the chance to taste the sparkling from Stirbey while the introductions were made. The event brought together two winemakers: Oliver Bauer and Ghislain Moritz, seven wine bloggers and the rest of the attendants simply wine lovers. The wine bloggers that attended this gathering were: Ciprian, Sorin, Mihnea, Nicusor, Raluca and Oliver and myself. The atmosphere was warm and friendly and everybody excited in the expectation of the actual tasting.

Together with Oliver, I started to uncork the wines and I have to say that three bottles were a bit of a challenge to get the cork out in one piece. Oliver pulled the cork on the 1970 Magnum and as the cork was completely soaked it just did not want to come out in one piece. I experienced the same challenges with the 1985 Smith Haut Lafitte and the 1996 d’Angludet. Both corks were soaked and just broke into two pieces. I managed to get the 2nd remaining part of the cork from the Smith Haut Lafitte clean and smooth but not in the case of d’Angludet. All the wines were put in decanters while we had the first 2 flights with Champagne and Riesling.

uncorking the 1970 Magnum

Oliver was a great host and told the story of each wine before being poured in glasses. His explanations were right on point, informative and easy to follow even for beginners. We started the tasting with the flight of Champagnes and they were served in the exact order of my tasting notes.

2000 Grand cru Blanc de Blancs Demiere Ansiot

A Champagne made from Grand Cru vineyards from le Mesnil sur Oger. This producer makes only 3 wines from 2.5 ha and this is a 100% Chardonnay sparkling.

The color is yellow light gold color with smooth and rich bubbles. The nose is elegant, medium intense, rich, yeasty with a mineral-stones touch, lime, stone fruit and an interesting aroma of caramel. The taste is medium+ body with a pleasant mouth feel, the smooth bubbles show absolute no aggressiveness, intense flavors, mineral palate, with a medium(+) finish and nice flavors of rock, lemon and green apple in the aftertaste. The most mineral sparkling of the flight. 89 points

H. Goutorbe Cuvee Prestige 1er Cru NV brut

Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The color is pale yellow-gold, a bit more intense than the first one with smooth bubbles and less bubbling. The nose is medium intense, with aromas of yeast, brioche, baked apple, apricot and lemon showing a more developed wine. The taste is rich, with higher acidity and a bit more aggressive than the first one, medium(+) bodied, with flavors of apricots, lemon, a creamy palate, feels more concentrated, with citric fruits and biscuit in the aftertaste.  88 points

Rose brut Loriot-Pagel NV

The color is light pink salmon, bigger bubbles, a rich and intense bubbling. The nose is yeasty, round, with rich aromas of light red fruits, strawberry, brown sugar and brown apple. It tastes full body, intense, mineral, with light red fruits, grapefruit, a creamy palate and a medium(+) finish with red fruit and grapefruit peel in the aftertaste. My favorite of the flight. 90 points

The group rating was 1. 2000 Demiere Ansiot 2. both Loriot-Pagel NV and H. Goutorbe Cuvee Prestige 1er Cru NV with the same number of votes.

Next flight was Riesling from Austria.

2007 Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg Domaine Wachau

Light gold clear color. The nose is medium with aromas of lemon, wet stones, mineral, warm rubber, pineapple, light peach. A medium to full body wine with an intense sensation of sweetness on the initial attack, good acidity, and flavors of petrol, rock and pineapple. It is a bit bitter in the finish but a nice dry lemon-apple aftertaste with a reinvigorating acidity. 88-89 points

2007 Riesling Hochacker Nigl

The color is lighter and paler compared to the first wine with a yellow lemon color. The nose is more mineral, with citric aromas and chalky. In the mouth this wine shows a great contrast compared to the nose: rich sweetness, flavors of petrol-tire, pineapple, peach, a pleasant mouth-feel with a mineral palate, high acidity and a medium intense finish. 88-89 points

2000 Riesling Smaragd Loibner Berg F.X. Pichler

There is a beautiful deep gold color with an oily appearance. The nose is intense, with Riesling typicality, great aromas of petrol, warm tire, apricot, peach, pineapple, overall a nice and elegant nose. The initial attack shows an intense sensation of sweetness, balanced by a high acidity, a full body mouth feel, good mineral flavors intermixed with citric and stone fruits aromas. The finish is bald, with good minerality and tropical fruit flavors. A rich and intense Riesling. 91 points

Group’s favorites: 1. 2000 FX Pichler 2. 2007 Nigl 3. 2007 Domaine Wachau

With this wine we started our Bordeaux wine tasting, the actual purpose of our event.

1970 Chateau La Tour Figeac Grand cru classe in Magnum

The color is surprisingly young of dark ruby red with a bit of brick tones on the rim. The nose is clean, elegant, intense, mature and well developed, really classic Bordeaux, with beautiful aromas of cedar wood, blackcurrant, cassis, warm forest floor, truffles, sweet earthy red fruit flavors and cigar box. The taste is medium bodied, very youthful considering its age, with already dissolved tannins, but an absolutely silky mouth feel. There are flavors of red fruit, coffee, a bit of vegetables, leather and chocolate. The finish is medium(+) long with a minty red fruit flavor and good freshness. This wine is characterized by great balance and now at its peak. 93 points

The wine of the night for me this 1970 La Tour Figeac.

1985 Grand cru classe Chateau Fonplegade

There is a ruby red color with a bit of an orange rim. The nose is a bit off for me, the smell of a dump old cellar, a developed nose, showing light red fruit and more earthy aromas. The wine is medium to full body, with a contrasting sweet sensation, red fruits, a bit of heat, anise, ginger bread and a medium finish. 85 points

1985 Grand cru classe Chateau Smith-Haut-Laffite

Unfortunately this wine was cooked, on the nose and the taste the wine was maderized. Not rated.

1996 Cru bourgeois exceptionelle Chateau d’Angludet

The color is ruby red with light signs of aging. The nose is clean, appears the least developed, with some pronounced shades of vegetables, spicy, with marzipan, dry tomatoes, asparagus, mint-eucalyptus and red fruits. The taste is medium body with spicy red fruit, a lively acidity and a medium finish. 87 points

1996 Grand cru classe Chateau l’Arrosee

The color is ruby red with a bit of a light brick rim. A much nicer nose than the d’Angludet, with a beautiful Margaux typicality, clean, developed, showing a bit of cork taint, with nice aromas of leather, cedar and plum. The taste is medium body, really youthful, with good flavors of cedar wood, red currant, coffee bean, a light touch of vegetables, but an overall good and pleasant mouth feel. There are firm tannins, but not aggressive, that give a good structure to this wine and a nice mocha aftertaste. 89 points

2000 Chateau Rayne-Vigneau Sauternes 1er cru classe in Magnum

There is a beautiful clean amber color. The nose is clean, developed and intense, with rich aromas of stone fruits: apricot, peach,with caramelized like pineapple, honey, orange peel and a mineral oily tone. The taste is full body, a lovely mouth-feel, unctuous without being sticky, well balanced, intense flavors of apricots, honey, caramel are very well invigorated by a good acidity. The finish is lively and crisp with floral aromas. 92 points

My favorite wines of the tastings were:

1. 1970 La Tour Figeac, 2. 2000 Rayne-Vigneau Sauternes, 3. 2000 FX Pichler, 4. L’Arrosse, 5. Rose brut Loriot-Pagel NV, 6. 2000 Demiere Ansiot

Once the thematic tasting was over, Oliver and Raluca prepared two of their whites: a 2006 Feteasca Regala Genius Loci and a 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Vitis Vetus for the ones still in need for some more wine. I found it impossible to have any more dry wine after the sweet Sauternes.

The atmosphere during the wine tasting was relaxed, but also spiced with pertinent discussions about each wine. I am certainly looking forward for the next gathering.

To see more pictures from this event you can go here and here.

Thanks for reading!

Wine dinners Ep 1

March 11, 2011 1 comment

Bordeaux flight

On SAT, March 12th, a new serie of wine related events begins in Bucharest. This is an initiative started a few years ago by the team behind the blog Cellartales that already organized several dinners in other cities outside Bucharest (Sibiu and Dragasani area so far). The aim of this initiative is to bring together wine lovers and organize thematic wine dinners. Now this move starts in Bucharest as well, assisted by From grapes to wine, and the objective is to have such an event organized every 5-6 weeks. The theme of these wine dinners will be announced in advance and suggestions will be accepted as well. The group of participants will not exceed 14 people.

Our first event will take place tomorrow and is dedicated to old vintages of Bordeaux. The seats for this event were occupied within 3 days from spreading the word so any prior advertising was no longer necessary. The cost per seat for this event was 175 Ron and includes tasting of all the wines, water and a plate with cheese, grilled vegetables and some charcuterie products.

For anyone interested to attend the next similar event, please send an email with your details to my address: cosmin.grozea@gmail.com or to raluca.bauer@cellartales.com . The seats will always be limited to 14 people and the cost per seat will be around 35-40 Eur per person. If there is interest to try higher end wines this cost may increase.

Here are the wines for the first Wine dinner event:

1st Flight

2000 Grand cru Blanc de Blancs Demiere Ansiot

—-  H. Goutorbe Cuvee Prestige 1er Cru NV brut

—- Rose brut Loriot-Pagel NV

2nd Flight

– 2007 Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg Domaine Wachau

– 2007 Riesling Hochacker Nigl

– 2000 Riesling Smaragd Loibner Berg F.X. Pichler

3rd Flight

– 1970 Chateau La Tour Figeac Grand cru classe in Magnum

– 1985 Grand cru classe Chateau Fonplegade

– 1985 Grand cru classe Chateau Smith-Haut-Laffite

– 1996 Cru bourgeois exceptionelle Chateau d’Angludet

– 1996 Grand cru classe Chateau l’Arrosee

4th Flight

2000 Chateau Rayne-Vigneau Sauternes 1er cru classe  in Magnum

Will come back with tasting notes and feedback about the event after the weekend. Meanwhile, close up pictures with the wines of this event could be watched here.

Enjoy the weekend !

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Austria, Bordeaux, France

Random wines

November 17, 2010 3 comments

Nigl Senftenberger Piri Riesling 2008

I bought this wine from Austria at the beginning of the year for something around 10-14 EUR, I cannot recall exactly.

The wine has a pale lemon color. The nose is very fresh, showing mineral aromas, oil and wet rocks mixed with lemon and grapefruit zest. In the mouth the wine is medium body with a very high and pleasant acidity, showing green apple and citric fruits. The finish is medium plus with a very distinctive bitterness in the aftertaste. When you make tea and add slices of lemon, the zest included, and leave it over night in a cup and taste it the next day, you notice a certain bitterness from the juice of the zest. This is exactly what this wine leaves in your mouth in the finish. And it persists for about 5-6 seconds easily. An interesting wine if you like lemon. For me a Good+ wine.

Madiran Laplace 2004

I received this wine as a sample from Le Manoir to taste it. Drank from a small 0.375 ml bottle. This is a blend of 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Madiran is a region in the South of France where they use Tannat as the dominant grape to make red wine. Wines made from Tannat are usually pretty aggressive in their youth, not to mention the number of years they need to soften and become more approachable, but the wines can usually last for decades. It seems micro-oxygenation has helped this region a lot to make the wines approachable while still young. A little bit of oxygen added at different stages during vinification softens the Tannat. I confess I was expecting a monster of tannins to show up from this bottle.

The wine has a deep dark red color. The nose is pleasant with a touch of sweetness, showing plenty of spicy dark fruits. In the mouth the wine is not aggressive, this is very important to mention. The wine is medium body with a nice mouth feel, the tannins are there for sure, but they are round and soft already. There is a certain complexity in this wine showing a mix of spicy, leathery ripe blue and dark fruits: mulberries and cranberries. The wine finishes spicy with a medium aftertaste. Good+ and balanced wine. Usually wine matures quicker in small formats like this 0.375 ml bottle.

I had this wine paired with chicken and mashed potatoes with truffles and it was not the best pairing I have tried so far. I hope next time I do better.

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Thanks for reading!

Categories: Austria, France
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