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Degustare Cremant si Champagne

March 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Sarbatorile se apropie cu pasi repezi astfel incat va propun o degustare de spumante si Champagne care s-ar potrivi pentru inceputul mesei de Paste sau pentru un mic dejun/brunch de weekend.

Vinurile oferite spre degustare sunt importate si distribuite de noul meu proiect intitulat Champagne Room (www.champagne-room.ro) si au fost atent selectionate dintr-un numar considerabil de producatori din Franta.

Spumantele oferite spre degustare:

  • Jean Louis Denois Chardonnay Extra Brut
  • Jean Louis Denois Cuvee Eclipse 2011
  • Champagne Dhondt-Grellet Prestige du Moulin Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
  • Champagne Michel Genet Millesime 2010 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
  • Champagne Herve Dubois Brut Rose Grand Cru

Degustarea se va desfasura Marti 4 Aprilie cu incepere de la ora 19:00 in locatia Champagne Room din blvd Magheru nr 27 Sc B etaj 2 (vis-a-vis de KFC-ul de la Piata Romana). Costul de participare este de 110 Ron si include vinurile, apa si ceva snack-uri pentru a tempera atacul vinului.

Vinurile vor fi servite din pahare Lehmann Glass Jamesse Prestige realizate special de catre somelierul sef al celebrului restaurant Le Parc Domaine Les Crayeres din Reims.

Pentru rezervari va rog fie sa-mi dati un mail pe contact@champagne-room.ro fie sa ma contactati direct la telefon la 0723 240 102.

Mai jos cateva cuvinte despre vinurile ce vor fi degustate.

Jean Louis Denois este cel mai apreciat producator de Cremant de Limoux din zona Languedoc-ului, el insusi provine dintr-o familie producatoare de vinuri spumante de Champagne din zona Champagne. Lucreaza majoritar cu strugurii consacrati din Champagne: Chardonnay si Pinot Noir, iar vinurile sale pot rivaliza usor cu cele din Champagne. Chardonnay-ul Extra Brut este pastrat 4 ani pe drojdii inainte de degojare, iar Cuvee Eclipse 2011 care este varful de gama al lui Denois este un vin produs din struguri de Chardonnay si Pinot Noir din vite de vie cultivate in regim bio, doar inima mustului, pastrat de asemenea indelung pe drojdii.

Champagne Dhondt-Grellet este un producator extrem de dinamic, specializat pe Champagne Blanc de Blancs avand viile situate in zone cu parcele clasificate Grand si Premier Cru in Côte des Blancs, mai exact in satele Cramant Chouilly, Cuis si de asemenea in Sezanne. Cateva parcele de vie de Pinot Noir se afla in Avenay-Val-d’Or in Grande Valle de la Marne. Vechimea avansata a vitelor de vie contribuie la calitatea vinurilor realizate.

Familia Genet (Champagne Michel Genet) este prezenta in satul Chouilly de sute de ani iar producția de Champagne în acest sat Grand Cru este activitatea principala a familiei de peste 100 de ani. Satul Chouilly, situat in Cote de Blancs , in sudul regiunii Champagne, este cunoscut in mod special pentru Chardonnay-ul de cea mai înaltă calitate și este clasat printre cele 17 terroir-uri Grand Cru ale regiunii Champagne.

Champagne Herve Dubois cproduce vin de pe cele 7.5 ha detinute dintre care 4.5 ha de Chardonnay Grand Cru in Côte des Blancs si 0.5 ha de Chardonnay Premier Cru in Montagne de Reims din care rezulta vinuri de o eleganta aparte cu multa prospetime si delicatete; 1.5 ha de Pinot Meunier care ofera rotunjime si arome intens fructate vinului si 1 ha de Pinot Noir care aduce putere si rafinament de pe vite de vie aflate in Vallée de la Marne. Cuvee-ul Rose imbina maiestuos finetea Chardonnay-ului cu puterea si fructuozitatea vinului rosu produs din Pinot Noir provenit din satul Verzenay din regiunea Montagne de Reims. Asamblaj: 90 % Chardonnay si 10% Pinot Noir.

 

Dinner with Dom P Rose, Pavie, Troplong Mondot and Krug

March 25, 2016 Leave a comment

IMG_20160324_203336Had dinner last night with a small crew of friends and between the 4 of us we shared some excellent wines. Started the night with Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee NV (I did not take a note of the ID sadly as Olivier Krug pointed to me early in the morning on Instagram) that is fresh and intense, showcasing great craftsmanship. It sports smoky citrus fruit, Granny Smith apple and fine pastry on the nose, and cleanse the mouth with razor sharp acidity and great freshness. Weightless on the palate in spite of its good intensity, it fades quickly from the glass. (94/100)

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First red wine, 2001 Chateau Pavie, was decanted and aerated for about 2 h before being poured and it just got better with time in the glass. Very dark red garnet color. Initially a bit heady but quickly recovered and showed a complex and maturing but youthful nose filled with clean aromas of ink, plums, mint and cedar, later shifting to truffles. Beautiful nose. On the palate it is full and supple, gravely tannin still assertive on the finish, with good richness of texture, layers of blue fruit and mineral freshness. Long finish that lingers. This is superb today. (94-95/100)

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A big surprise for me was Contador 2011, a Spanish red wine from Rioja that sells at super premium prices. It might have been too young today but I do not see the hype for it. The color is purple opaque. Nose is intense but today is too much oak influence. Rich aromas of dolce de lecce and Christmas cake cover any other aromas. It is smooth on the palate, with plenty of rich black fruit, and there is more focus here. Fairly long finish with dark chocolate and blueberry fruit. (91-92/100)

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Popped and decanted on site with very little time to breath was the spectacular 2010 Chateau Troplong Mondot, a 99 points wine according to Robert Parker. The wine deserves it. This has a deep dark red garnet color. Nose is complex, youthful and so rich and intense. The wine states 16% alcohol on the back label but this is so well hidden and balanced under its rich layers of black fruit, fresh minerality and a skyscraper structure of smooth tannin, and every sip is like a revelation. Rich, heady, lavish sweet fruit, chocolate and ink on the palate, this is really good. Long finish. This might very well become a 100 points wine on the 10 years tasting from the vintage. (98/100)

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There was a 2006 Chateau d’Yquem served from a half bottle but somehow it did not manage to find my glass. So last wine was Champagne Dom Perignon Rose 2003, a wine that I am personally worried how often I tasted this year. The inconvenient side is that every time it usually ends a long line of great wines and I cannot get the full grip of it. However, its vinosity is unquestionable, this is a wine especially designed for fine gastronomy. And considering its high price, how could that be different ? (96/100)

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Ended the night sooner than other times but the two red Bordeaux wines were stunning and I am still thinking about them the second day.

Dinner with Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon, Unico, Evangile and more

March 15, 2016 Leave a comment

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Met my usual group of wine aficionados again last night for dinner and had some amazing wines. Started with this sublime vintage rose Champagne that I remember having last time about 1-2 years ago, but from a different vintage, 2000 if I remember correctly. We had all Champagne’s from the Zalto white wine glass that I find it complements a lot the way Champagne tastes like. Probably the only issue here would be that it does not stimulate enough the bubble persistence as the regular sparkling glass does. As aromas are concerned, I believe it focuses very well the full aromatic profile of the Champagne.

2002 Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon Rose has a light coppery color with small and rich bubbles. This is a Champagne to keep in the glass and smell it over and over as it changes its aromas constantly. It starts fresh and classy with small red berries, dough and a salty seashell aroma, and, with air, it develops pomegranate and pink grapefruit. Gracious but powerful in the mouth, it has a strong backbone of acidity and discreet tannin, with layers of flavors that build like a skyscraper on the palate, creating a sense of immersion and depth. Long finish that goes on for good seconds. This is a very elegant and classy rose that I absolutely love. (96/100)

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First red of the night was a high roller that got awarded a perfect 100 points by the Wine Spectator. The 2005 Chateau L’Evangile was decanted for about 2 hours before being consumed. The color is dark red garnet. Nose is already expressive and very complex, with a ripe but fresh profile. Lavish aromas of plums, sour cherry, dark chocolate and ink build a complex aromatic profile that just continues to develop new aromas in the glass. Silky smooth on the palate already in spite of its high velvety tannin structure, it is profound and rich, with lush flavors of chocolate and black cherry, gravel minerality and paprika. Long finish, combines fruit and bitter sweet chocolate in the lingering aftertaste. It disappeared from the glasses fairly quickly. (97/100)

A friend said that today it is at its peak and there is not more to develop from now on. I believe it will be on this plateau for many years to come and that it will develop into an even more interesting wine. Future will tell.

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2010 seems to be THE vintage for Brunello di Montalcino. I believe most of the wines coming from reliable producers will develop and surprise wine drinkers in time. It should be a strong addition for the cellar.

Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino 2010 from Gaja is a youthful and powerful wine today. It sports a deep red garnet color. Even after 3 h in a decanter the wine continues to be shy in revealing its full aromatic profile. There are of course fruity aromas of black cherry, sour cherry and blackberry, well complemented by spices and blue flowers, but you can feel that not everything is disclosed yet. On the palate it is powerful, with assertive velvety tannin well dressed into rich layers of red and black fruit and spices, with fresh aromatic herbs that give depth. Long finish, tannin is assertive again and indicates patience is required. (94/100)

IMG_20160314_215612Also decanted for about 3-4 h, the 2007 Vega-Sicilia Unico is a wine to keep on smelling and discovering in the glass. It has a deep red garnet color, and since my last encounter this bottle shows a slightly different aromatic profile. Yes the oak is still there but not that prominent, and there’s a new layer of dill and orange peel that did not feel it before. Rich and powerful on the palate. (94/100)

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Two more Champagne’s were served. A 2003 Dom Perignon Rose that has a deep red onion peel color with abundant mousse, a rich and vinous mouth-feel. It feels denser and has a completely different personality compared to the previous Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon. If that was ethereal, the Dom Perignon Rose is robust and swings in full throttle. (95-96/100)

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Last wine of the night and a first time for me was the 2004 Champagne Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame. It has a light yellow lemon color, with tiny and rich bubbles. Fresh but complex on the nose, it has lots of citrus fruit, brioche and nuts, with a rich palate of pear and Granny smith apples, mouth watering acidity and appealing elegance. Long and refreshing citrus fruit finish. (94/100)

That was the end of a fun and engaging dinner with friends.

Dinner with Bouchard, Pegau, Billecart-Salmon, Cristal and more

March 11, 2016 Leave a comment

A friend from abroad was in town this week so we ended up having dinner at a favorite for me now: La Brasserie Bistro&Lounge. As we both fancy wine, there was a good line-up prepared and as usual there were initially planned 3 bottles, but eventually we ended up having more between our small group of 4.

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Started the night with this 2003 Bouchard Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus that was popped and poured and barely had time to breath over the 1 h it lasted. This is a most unusual Pinot Noir in the sense that it has the mark of the hot 2003 vintage with ripe fruit and medium to low acidity. The color is deep ruby red. Nose is already expressive and developed well into a complex mix of sweet blue and red fruit, Asian spices and some discreet shades of undergrowth, keeping fresh. It has a denser than you might expect mouth feel, with a fleshy texture where velvety and smooth tannin mixes well with lavish layers of ripe red fruit and tea leaves, preserving balance and freshness. Long finish, aromatic tea leaves and red fruit jam. Really enjoyed it. (94/100)

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A bottle of 2010 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape was opened and left to breath since lunch time so it had about 8 h to aerate. Nose was interesting as usual but the mouth feel was bad. There was just too much VA in it to be able to enjoy it. Certainly not the wine that I had several months ago. (Not rated)

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Decided to shift palates to more tension and bubbles so a 1999 Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart was served. This is a wine that I had several times already this year and I like it more and more. It feels the wine is in the right spot today and should be holding well for several more years, but why wait when it is so good. It’s got a rich mousse with plenty of tiny bubbles and a nose that sports intense aromas of smoky citrus fruit, caramel and biscuit. Very tense and razor sharp acidity after the reds, with smoky seashell and bright grapefruit palate. Long. (93-94/100)

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Decided to stay on a similar note with high acidity and citrus fruit so a 2013 Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur was opened and decanted. Yes decanted. This has lots of chalky minerality, citrus fruit and Granny smith apple aromas. Mouth watering acidity, it combines very well ripe citrus fruit, wet stone minerals with riper flavors of grapefruit and chamomile. Medium plus long finish, lively citrus fruit. (92/100)

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When in doubt and want some tenser and riper refreshment go for a rose sparkling, preferably a Vintage. Champagne Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose 2004 is a Champagne for the long run and mostly a keeper. Some Champagne should be decanted. We did not do it, but I would recommend it. Light coppery color with small and rich bubble. Complex from the beginning it just got better in the glass in time. Intense and fresh nose filled with pink grapefruit skin, small red berries, citrus fruit and minerals. Very tense on the palate, it feels it has a Baroque type of structure of tannin and acidity that still hides its aromatic layers. Good potential here. (94/100)

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Last wine of the night was Champagne Cristal 2007. This punches the nose with smoky aromas of seashell, dried meat and citrus fruit. Razor sharp acidity at this stage, it needs time in the glass to get softer to reveal lively lemons, slate minerals and smoke, with a clean and sharp focus. Medium plus long finish, very fresh and a weightless mouth feel that makes it so easy to drink. (94/100)

Ended the evening quite late and had a hard time finding a cab to get home. That was a first and very unpleasant to stand up in the cold street waiting for a taxi to take my order.

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.

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

8 great wines

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment

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Had dinner with friends last night at restaurant Joseph where I always return with great pleasure, especially with the same people from last evening. Our group of 10 had many persons from the West part of the country that were just visiting Bucharest. I was asked to make the wine selection for the night, which I did, and I proposed to serve them blind. My initiative was warmly welcomed so preparations had to be done: put foil on all bottles in a back room in the restaurant before all guests arrived.

What is nice about blind tastings is that it really gives a feeling of humbleness as you are put to test your knowledge and face your ego, but on the other hand it is good that is pushes one to pay attention to the wine, considerably more than if you would be just drinking the wine for dinner knowing what you taste. Unfortunately for me, I was the only one that knew what was in the glass. Each wine was revealed as it was served after discussions and last drops were poured. You would want to give everybody the chance to re-taste the wine as much as they wanted as long as it still was something left in the bottle. Then came the reckoning. And it came hard in a few cases.

IMG_20150923_141546There was a wine-food pairing made based on my vague inputs but very well mastered by one of the participants, Laci, and executed by chef Joseph Hadad.

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First wine was Champagne Egly-Ouriet VP Grand Cru from a producer I adore. Some people said possibly Cava, some said definitely Champagne. Made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from Grand Cru parcels, this is kept for 78 months on the lees, and this bottle was disgorged January 2015. Medium yellow color it was served from white wine glasses that did not help the bubbles stay. Intense aromatics of citrus fruit, marzipan and yeast, it explodes in the mouth with youthfulness, tannin, citrus fruits and great acidity. Very tense, but well focused and robust. (94/100)

First white wine was a sudden addition and not put on the initial list. Some were mocking and said Liliac Sauv Blanc. It was not but we had fun. It means Liliac is doing a great marketing job if people talk about it.

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2014 Gaia Thalassitis is a 100% Assyrtiko from Santorini, Greece that exudes freshness. Very pale yellow color, the nose is a mix of lemons, smoke and schist. Sharp acidity and really bone dry, medium plus bodied, with chalky minerality finish. Very interesting wine and clear value for its price. (89/100)

Next white wine was on the menu and it was announced as a barrel aged wine. I informed that I was interested only for the region, country or grape variety. For each wine I informed if it was a single variety or a blend.

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Just 2 barrels of Puligny-Montrached 1er Cru ‘La Garenne’ are produced by Henri Prudhon every year, which is usually aged 15 to 18 months in old wood. The 2010 Henri Prudhon Puligny-Montrached 1er Cru ‘La Garenne’ is a wine that needs to be served closer to 16 degrees than cold in order to open up and stir your senses. Medium yellow color it has a shy nose initially that does not really change much during the night. However the taste reveals its true essence and origin, through its vibrant stone fruit, tropical fruits and exotic oak flavors. Medium plus long, fresh and not entirely open yet. (91/100)

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From all the wines I prepared for dinner, the first red of the night was the one I was eager to get reactions from. 2007 Stirbey Novac Art Deco was praised as an International wine. Great job Oliver Bauer !

Some people ventured to order 4 cases each of this wine if it was Romanian (mocking was part of the game this evening). Bottom line: it stood great next to the other red wines. Color was medium ruby color. Nose is quite intense with mature red fruit, spices and herbs, palate is supple, mellow tannin, bright acidity, and good lingering intensity. It is a wine of charm and elegance. A smart buy. (91/100)

Novac was served back to back with 2011 Robert Chevillon Nuits Saint Georges ‘Les Roncieres’, a Pinot Noir from 52 years old vines. Color is almost opaque ruby red. Nose has more intensity with fresh red cherry and red currant, stems and black tea. Fuller palate, smooth tannin, intense red cherry fruit, herbs and spices, medium finish. There was one lady that chose it as the Wine of the night and I can understand why: it is just flowing well in the mouth with its weightlessness. (92/100)

I have to point that pairing with beef tartar (with roasted pine seeds and lemon confit) is a brilliant match both for Novac and Pinot Noir. It leaves the refined aromas of these 2 delicate varietals to take center stage. One person said Novac in spite of others reluctance to that. More interesting some people said Merlot for Chevillon Nuits Saint Georges. Back to school !

Next wine is an absolute stunning discovery for me. If all Crianza ages like this, I am sucker for it. Many people said 7-8 years old Bordeaux. We had Spain nominated by the same person that confidently stated Merlot for Nuits Saint Georges, after I mentioned it is a single variety. So I have to give him some credit back. IMG_20150918_204953

2001 Pesquera Crianza from Alejandro Fernandez is a symphony in the glass. For me it is the epitome of a well maturing wine that has everything you would want and one would expect: fresh red fruit, smoke, spices and beginning to show complex tertiary aromas of saddle leather and tobacco. Supple but full palate, fresh, open and so expressive on the taste, with a medium plus finish that lingers well. A total pleasure to drink today, and no worries to keep it for another 5 years at least. (93/100)

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2010 Domaine du Pegau ‘Cuvee Reservee’ Chateauneuf du pape was recognized as a Chateauneuf du pape, and even as a Pegau. Kudos to those people that identify it like that. I opened this wine 14 hours in advance at home and double decanted it early in the morning. It never felt harder to restrain myself from tasting a wine as it happen at 8:00 in the morning.

Its aromas are intoxicating. Very complex and profound nose where ripe red and black fruits meet Pegau funk, animal fur, olive tapenade and Asian spices. Full, intense and powerful on the palate, it has layers of flavors with a distinct savoury long and lingering finish, and a massive structure of polished tannin. (96/100)

Pairing with Osso Buco veal tajines with vegetables root, mashed potatoes and roasted garlic is a match made in haven.

2012 Aalto PS is a killer wine. It comes from 60-100 years old vines of Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero and it is aged in new French Allier oak for 24 months. An opaque dark red garnet color. Very intense and complex aromas of ripe and over ripe black fruit mixed with chocolate, spices and vanilla change with time into prunes, rum and sour cherries, a profile closer to an Amarone. Very dense and powerful mouth, high tannin that is well polished and smooth, animating these thick layers of ripe blackberries, cranberries and chocolate flakes. Long and intense finish. Massively structured wine that seems to posses all the attributes to become great. (95/100)

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Black Angus rib steak was the perfect dish to accompany this thick and concentrated Tempranillo: bold flavors on both sides.

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Dessert was the culminating dish of a lovely dinner. And what a dessert.

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What did we learn: blind tastings can be very animated, stir interesting discussions and can move the focus of other conversations back to wines; it is also a great way to push one to think and analyze wine and become better at tasting it. After all, competitiveness is something we all have it in us, we just have to embrace it.

 

Cina cu vinuri de la Real,-wine boutique

September 10, 2015 1 comment

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Aseara am participat la o cina privata avand ca tematica vinurile italiene, iar noutatea a fost locul de desfasurare al evenimentului: Hotel Vanilla din Timisoara. Hotel Vanilla este o locatie relativ noua, foarte frumos decorat, cu camere spatioase, care arata senzational pentru un hotel de 3 stele, iar gradina interioara unde s-a desfasurat aceasta cina este foarte cocheta, o oaza de verdeata si liniste care te indeamna sa te intorci oricand cu placere.

Noutatea evenimentului a fost ca toate vinurile servite au fost achizitionate din cadrul Real,-wine boutique din Arad. Despre Real,- si proiectul wine boutique dezvoltat in fiecare dintre cele 4 magazine din Arad, Constanta, Suceava si Oradea am mai scris si cu alte ocazii. Surprinzator pentru mine a fost insa o conversatie cu un prieten bun pasionat de vinuri, la fel de mult ca si mine, care a ramas de-a dreptul uimit sa auda ca in aceste magazine poti gasi vinuri celebre de la Gaja, Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Quintarelli sau cele mai celebre Chateaux din Bordeaux.

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Cina de miercuri, 9 Septembrie, a fost o calatorie prin cele mai celebre zone viticole din Italia la care au participat aproximativ 16 persoane. Meniul de mancare a fost de degustare, fiecare preparat fiind insotit de 1 pana la 3 vinuri.

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Ca aperitiv o Champagne Brut Reserve Magnum de la Billecart-Salmon a deschis apetitul pentru seria de vinuri italiene care a urmat. Aromele de patiserie fina proaspat scoasa din cuptor impreuna cu notele citrice de lamaie coapta fac aceasta sampanie usor de indragit de la primul nas. In gust este cremoasa si plina, cu bule fine si aciditate potrivita. O favorita pentru mine. (92/100)

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Tiefenbrunner Kirchleiten Sauvignon 2013 provine din zona Alto Adige din Italia, prima aroma dominanta pe care o remarci este mineralitatea intensa ca de pietre de cremene. Din fundal vin si aromele de citrice, iar in gust vinul este gras si extractiv, insa aciditatea medie il face putin plat. Final mediu, usor amarui. (88/100)

Urmatorul flight a pus in paralel doua Chardonnay-uri celebre ale Italiei ce provin din doua regiuni diferite.

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Jermann Were Dreams 2011 provine din zona Friuli Venetia-Giulia si este unul dintre cele mai iubite vinuri de la Jermann alaturi de Vintage Tunina. Culoarea este galben aurie. Nasul este intens dar din pacate complet dominat de notele de vanilie date de maturarea excesiva in butoaie de stejar. In gust aciditatea joasa il face gras si usor plat, vanilia fiind in centrul scenei din nou. Este un stil care isi are proprii fani. (88/100)

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Gaja Rossj-Bass 2011 este un Chardonnay ce provine din Piemont, aflat in Nordul Italiei, si este unul dintre Chardonnay-urile consacrate ale acestei tari. Culoarea este galben deschisa.Ceea ce caracterizeaza acest vin sunt eleganta, un simt al masurii si armonia. Vinul este inca tanar, potentialul sau de evolutie este foarte bun, avand cel putin 4-5 ani de viata inainte. Nasul aduce in prim plan arome de citrice, miere si fructe exotice. In gust este armonios, echilibrat, fiecare inghititura este o placere. Final mediu spre lung, proaspat si persistent. (92/100)

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Prima serie de vinuri rosii pune in ring un Brunello din Toscana alaturi de cel mai notoriu Barbaresco al Italiei, ambele vinuri de la doi titani ai istoriei vinului italian.

Biondi-Santi este de multi considerat pe buna dreptate parintele vinurilor Brunello di Montalcino, un deschizator de drumuri care acum 30-40 de ani a ales sa devina un pionier al calitatii. Astazi cred ca sunt usor depasiti de competitie. Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino 2007 are o culoare rosie rubinie intensa. Nasul este expresiv si mediu ca intensitate, in care se combina note de ierburi aromate, pamant si cirese amare. In gust este mai subtire decat te-ai astepta de la un astfel de producator pentru excelentul an de productie 2007, cu tanin prezent dar bine slefuit si chiar moale. Final scurt spre mediu, cu note de cirese amarui. (89/100)

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Gaja este cel mai cunoscut producator din zona Piemont, vinurile sale rosii fiind adorate si devenite obiecte de colectie pentru cunoscatori. Cel mai cunoscut vin rosu al Gaja este Barbaresco. Gaja Barbaresco 2010 are o culoare rubinie inchisa. Foarte tanar, vinul are nevoie de o aerare temeinica pentru a lasa aromele de fructe rosii necoapte, petale uscate de trandafir si lemn dulce sa se faca remarcate. In gust este mai expresiv, cu o structura bogata de tanin intr-un stil baroc specific vinurilor realizate din Nebbiolo. Ceea ce apreciez in mod deosebit la Barbaresco de la Gaja este senzatia de imponderabilitate simtita in gust in ciuda structurii masive de tanin. Final lung, energizat de prezenta taninului pe gingii. (93-94/100)

Trecerea catre urmatoarea serie se face rapid fiind indelung asteptata de catre participanti. O degustare comparativa a doua dintre cele mai celebre si adulate Super-Toscane este un eveniment in sine. 2010 a fost un an excelent pentru Toscana, iar Ornellaia si Sassicaia au consecventa in calitate in fiecare an.

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Sassicaia 2010 este un cupaj clasic de Cabernet Sauvignon si Cabernet Franc. In seara aceasta, Sassicaia este vinul care ia premiul pentru cel mai expresiv si complex profil aromatic la nivel olfactiv. Deosebit de complex, intens si profund, fiecare mirosire a paharului devine o imersiune intr-un caleidoscop de arome ce vireaza intre lichior de afine, muguri de afine, mure, paprika, ierburi aromate si ciocolata, profilul schimbandu-se treptat pe masura ce vinul sta in contact cu aerul. In gust este suplu, cu tanin prezent dar bine slefuit, armonios, proaspat si echilibrat. Vinul este deja o placere de savurat. (95/100)

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Ornellaia 2010 este un cupaj clasic bordolez de Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc si Petit Verdot. Mult mai discret si sfios in arome la nivelul nasului decat Sassicaia, compenseaza si chiar pluseaza in gust. De la primul atac vinul impresioneaza prin bogatie, intensitate si voluptatea aromelor. Primul gand cand il gusti este Bordeaux. Are pedigree-ul si calitatea celor mai bune Chateaux din Bordeaux. Aromele intense de lichior de afine, paprika, mina de creion si ciocolata neagra imbraca maiestuos structura bogata de tanin. Echilibrul este suprem. Este vinul care castiga in aceasta competitie intre cele 2 Super-Toscane. (96/100)

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Finalul serii aduce un Amarone al zonei Veneto de la cel mai traditionalist si apreciat producator: Quintarelli. Aerat 6 h vinul pare ca mai are nevoie de inca 6 h cel putin de respirat. Ceea ce impresioneaza la acest Amarone della Valpolicella 2003 de la Giuseppe Quintarelli este echilibrul si senzatia de imponderabilitate pe care o are, ceea ce-l face foarte usor de baut. In ciuda texturii bogate, a densitatii din gust si a nivelului mare al alcoolului 16.5%, care in acest caz este doar un simplu numar, vinul ramane proaspat si jovial. Un vin complex in care se regasesc arome de prune, smochine, rom, visine, cacao, foarte intens, cu final lung si extrem de persistent. (97/100)

O cina care a meritat tot drumul facut pana la Timisoara, si o selectie de vinuri extraordinara pe care o puteti regasi in oricare dintre cele patru magazine Real,-.

Categories: Champagne, Italy

Sparkling only tasting – July 16th

Best of bubbly

There are several ways to fight the hot summer: fly to New Zealand or other cool areas, take several cold showers or brace the air conditioning unit like it’s your ultimate lover. But there is hope in a more enjoyable and easily reachable alternative: enjoy some glasses of a perfectly cold sparkling on a cool terrace. We propose the best solution: join us for an evening of sparks and discover the differences between different styles of bubbles: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and brilliant Methode Traditionnelle made Cremants. You could read about these differences here with excellent infographic, but practice is everything. Take our word on this. So, here is what you’ll have, 10 wines:

  • Prosecco Foss Marai Strada di Guia Brut
  • Prince Stirbey Spumant Cramposie 2010 (Methode Champenois)
  • Jane Ventura Reserva de la Musica Brut Nature Cava
  • Charles Wantz Cremant d’Alsace Carte Noire (Methode Traditionnelle)
  • Antech Cuvee Eugenie Brut 2013 Cremant de Limoux  (Methode Traditionnelle)
  • Jean-Louis Denois Tradition Extra-Brut NV (Methode Traditionnelle)
  • Jean-Louis Denois ‘Vins Rares’ Pinot Noir Brut 2006 (Methode Traditionnelle)
  • Champagne Delamotte NV
  • Champagne Laurent Gabriel Grand Reserve Premier Cru NV
  • Champagne Demiere-Ansiot Blanc de Blancs Brut Vintage 2008 Grand Cru

The wine tasting takes place on the lovely terrace of: Restaurant Dada, 94 bis Matei Voievod street,

When: THU July 16th, starting at 19:30.

There are 12 tickets available and each costs 175 lei and includes the wines, small tapas, water and our enjoyable presence. Advance payment is required.

Please confirm your reservation by phone to Nicusor: +40 722 141 879, nicusor.cazan@gmail.com or to Cosmin +40 723 240 102, cosmin.grozea@gmail.com.

French themed dinner June 2015

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There are dinners and there are exceptional dinners. Sometimes life can play tricks on you. It happened to me this week when it seemed I was the victim of my own luck. I had two wine dinners that I attended in two consecutive days and that seemed to be a bit too much. First one was a Romanian wines themed dinner that ended too late in the night and as a result the next morning was very slow, during the day it was more of a gradual recovery and by the time dinner was getting ready to start it finally felt more normal, but not fully recovered.

This was a very intimate dinner for 4 people where I acted as an organizer and tasting and enjoying the wines was one of the perks of the job. Absolutely outstanding experience, where some of the biggest and most interesting wines from France were served.

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Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee NV has a golden color with rich and tiny bubbles. A very expressive nose with flint, citrus peel, saline sea shell, it opens up with sweet caramel and lactic notes. Very tight on the palate, focused, with citrus and white peach fruit, it is a Champagne that needs at least 45 minutes to breath to open. Long finish with rich citrus fruit freshness. (94/100)

There was a great match with the oysters as both shared the saline and sea shell aromas.

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2011 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is one of the grandest dry whites from Bordeaux I tasted. Before this, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2009 was my favorite, but that is history now. Medium yellow color. This has an intense and impressive nose, but simply put is Wow. There is a rich yellow melon aroma that gradually leaves room to tropical fruits: tangerine, mango, papaya, very exotic and exuberant nose all sustained by very smart oak, some flint and smoke but always the exuberant sweet fresh tropical fruit holds the center stage. Lots of vibrant yellow fruit, ‎tropical fruits, very fresh palate with almonds, still tight but very promising. Long, long finish. What strikes the most in this wine is that in spite of its rich extract and abundance of fruit, the wine has an almost weightless texture that I find it as a common denominator in some of the grandest wines. I could drink this everyday. (96/100)

It was a great match with Sea Bass and Tuna Tartar but again this wine is good with anything.

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1993 Chateau d’Yquem comes from a difficult vintage for all of Bordeaux wines. However tasting this wine you can understand why this is a Premier Grand Cru Classe. It has a light amber color. Very expressive and sweet nose of orange marmalade, saffron, peach, ginger and honey comb. This is certainly not the richest or the most opulent Yquem, but it is a very elegant wine that delivers a lot of pleasure today. There is still some richness on the palate, with vibrant orange marmalade, ginger spice and honey, unctuous and lovely. Long finish. (93-94/100)

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2005 Vosne Romanee 1er Cru ‘Les Suchots’ Bouchard P&F needs about 4 h to breath in order to start to open up. It has a medium ruby red color. The nose is all about fresh pine needles, sweet red berry fruit, coffee bean and sous bois, a nose of profound subtleties. Medium to full body, there is texture and layers of vibrant sweet fresh red fruits, aromatic tea leaves, sappy tannins. It still feels tight and points to a good development in the next few years. Medium to long finish, red currant and black tea flavors. (93/100)

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2003 Chateau Leoville Poyferre is a wine I tasted several times in the last 4 years and it was always a great wine. The color is red garnet almost opaque. The aromatic profile feels to be the best of two worlds: the ripe and sunny fruit you can find in the finest Super Tuscan’s and the freshness and complexity from the best red Bordeaux. Complex and intense aromas of cassis, blackberry, red paprika, coffee bean, mineral pencil shavings, all make a very expressive nose today. Rich and opulent on the palate, it has ripe and velvety sweet tannins that give balance and freshness to all this dense texture and abundance of flavors. Long finish, sweet lingering fruit. An impressive wine for the vintage. (97/100)

An absolutely outstanding wine dinner experience.

Grand Tasting Dinner

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Last TUE evening on May 5th I attended a special dinner at Le Bistrot Francais near Ateneu organized for 10 people that included some fancy wines paired with a tasting food menu. Each wine was matched with a dish meant to enhance the overall culinary experience.

The tasting food menu was: Cinco Jotas Jamon Iberico de Bellota 36 months aged, Special Oysters Daniel Sorlut No1 and La Perle Blanche No 3, Fish carpaccio, lime flakes, crispy chickpeas sticks with rosemary, Braised sea bass, mashed potatoes with olive oil, truffles sauce, “Crispy-fondant” pork belly, ravigote sauce, crispy vegetables, potatoes puree, Wagyu entrecote, potatoes puree à la Joël Robuchon, Exotic fruits, coconut sorbet, meringue, Dried plums ice cream with Armagnac.

The food was again top as my last visit here, my favorites were the Special Oysters Daniel Sorlut No1, Braised sea bass, mashed potatoes with olive oil, truffles sauce and “Crispy-fondant” pork belly, ravigote sauce, crispy vegetables, potatoes puree.

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Champagne Duval-Leroy Authentis Cumieres Brut 2003 is made from 100% Pinot Noir de Cumieres (Premier Cru), organically grown grapes and aged in fut de chene. The color is a light amber so there is a clear oxidative character to this wine that hits you the moment you smell the glass: quite intense aromas of apple cider, caramel-toffee, nuts, brioche and dry citrus fruits. There is intensity and tension on the palate but the 2003 hot vintage shows its mark by a lower acidity. Quite an opulent style and this is an acquired taste Champagne that divides opinions. For me a bit too oxidative. (88/100)

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Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2009 was served next to oysters and its intense smoky nose seemed to be a good choice. The color is deep gold. Very intense and opulent nose as the palate, with strong aromas of smoked vanilla, tropical fruits and peach, vibrant fruit on the palate but again it feels the medium to low acidity starts to lose the balance with the lush sweet fruit. Long finish, elegant and complex wine. (93-94/100)

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2009 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Clos de la Garenne” was a refreshing Chardonnay, its aromas jump from the glass. An initial flinty character gradually leaves room for aromas of fresh citrus, apricots and wet stones. There is intensity on the palate, with lively citrus fruit and flint and overall great freshness. Long finish. (93/100) Pairing with fish carpaccio was a happy choice.

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Domaine Abbatucci Cuvée du Général Jean Charles Abbatucci 2012 from Corse is a blend of 6 grapes: 25% Carcajolu Biancu, 25% Paga Debbiti, 20% Riminese, 15% Rossola Brandica, 10% Biancone, 5% Vermentinu, aged in 600 L demi-muids and is labelled as Vin de Table. Quite a pricey Vin de Table as it averages around 100 Eur. The color is medium yellow gold. The first nose when the wine was the coldest reminds of a German Grosses Gewachs Riesling due to its petrol-kerosene nose. However, when the wine warms up in the glass it gets a Southern France – Chateauneuf du pape blanc profile, with intense dry yellow fruits, dry apricots and Asian spices: turmeric aroma is really strong. The palate is rich and heady, the same dry fruits are sustained by medium acidity and as it getter warmer starts to lose a bit of balance. A heady and opulent white wine. (90/100)

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Chateau La Grande Clotte 2002 made by Michel Rolland was not on the initial wine list and was a spontaneous offer from the host. The color is amber and the wine shows strong signs of being too old. The same apple cider aroma as the Champagne but more intense and overwhelming. There is bright acidity on the palate but you have to be generous to enjoy it now. Probably a strong cheese pairing as was suggested at the table would put this wine on a better spot.

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Pork would probably not be my first choice to pair with a Pinot Noir but tonight’s pairing was a brilliant unexpected surprise. Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru ‘Cuvee Madeleine Collignon’ from Joseph Drouhin has a medium ruby red color. It has a refreshing, elegant and complex nose that includes fresh raspberries, red cherries, sous-bois and potpourri in its aromatic profile. Medium to full body, with sappy tannins and a savoury sweet and bright cherry fruit on the palate, and a medium to long fresh finish that leaves a flavorful  black tea aftertaste. (92-93/100)

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Another spontaneous offer from the host. Made by Michel Rolland and named after his niece from one of his properties in Argentina in a very limited amount: only 600 bottles made, pure Malbec from a very high altitude, over 2000 m, that was offered for sale at around $3000 – at least this was the story version offered by the generous host. Mariflor Camille 2007 has a deep red garnet purple and opaque color. There is high intensity of aromas, the rich and profound nose shows plenty of sweet blackberry and mulberry essence, bacon fat, spices, rich dark chocolate. Opulent and lush on the palate but still fresh and elegant, with powerful tannins, layers of sweet black berries and dark chocolate, with a long and lingering finish, refreshing sweet tannins that stick to your gums. Very expressive even if it was open on a short notice. (93-94/100)

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Chateau Margaux 2001 is an event wine by itself and does not need further introduction. Deep red garnet color. It was open 3 h in advance. Rich, elegant, intense and complex wine. Strong aromas of smoked paprika, cassis, pencil shavings on the nose with pure and clean aromas. Full bodied, silky smooth but assertive tannins, rich flavors on the palate, similar to its nose with additional caramel and fresh espresso, but changing nuances with every sip. Very harmonious and balanced, with an overall impression of class and esteem elegance. Long finish. (94/100)

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Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2007 (St-Julien) was another spontaneous wine not appearing on the initial list. This is already drinking very well. The color is red garnet almost opaque. This is showing the exceptional pedigree of this producer that even in a poor vintage like 2007 made a stunning wine. The most striking difference between the Margaux and Leoville Las-Cases is that the smoky side is more prominent in the Margaux, while the Leoville has a bigger and more intense mineral side. The nose is very intense and complex, the graphite – pencil shavings seems to have been liquified and poured over fresh and sweet cassis, red bell pepper and anise seeds. Medium to full bodied, assertive tannins, quite rich and intense flavors, with plenty of cassis, chocolate and tea leaves. Medium to long finish, refreshing and mineral. (93/100)

Exotic fruits, coconut sorbet, meringue were paired with a 1996 Chateau Rieussec from Sauternes, a wine that I last tasted about 2 years ago and I enjoyed tremendously. It has a deep amber color. Very rich and intense nose, quince jam, Asian spices, saffron and orange marmalade just steal your senses. Rich and opulent on the palate, the 1996 was the first vintage when they started to use barrel aging for the wine. Long and intense finish. (93/100)

It was great culinary experience, a line up of top wines that puts me in a great challenge to pick a top 3.

Dinner at Joseph’s

April 30, 2015 4 comments

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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)

 

 

Romanian vs Hungarian wines

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

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This year starts already interesting. Last night was a very interesting tasting with some of the best wines produced in Romania and Hungary, and the aim was to make some comparisons and more importantly to see how what chances do top Romanian wines have for the export market. It is no mystery that Hungary has a better reputation for its wines and is more advertised abroad than Romania is but as long as there is quality wine produced here the recognition will come for ours as well.

Last night it was about meeting new people, making new friends and sharing a great wine tasting experience. It was uninspired to place Vinarte Aniversare 2006 after the first 4 Cabernet based wines and I’m taking the responsibility for this.

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2011 Gere Kopar Villanyi Cuvee has developed already a great nose that mixes gracefully primary ripe red fruit aromas with cured meat and tobacco leaf, being extremely youthful and fresh. Full palate, assertive but very smooth tannins, lively and good mid-palate sensations of chocolate, red and sour cherry with a medium to long, chocolaty aftertaste. It was matured for 16 months in French and Hungarian oak. (91/100)

2010 Davino Flamboyant has a deeper and more pronounced nose with brooding complexity, starting to show savory aromas of cured meat, coffee and beef blood next to its fresh and ripe black and red fruits. Seems denser on the palate, with assertive, polished and refreshing tannins, lush cassis and dark chocolate, with an exotic touch of basil from Feteasca Neagra. Medium to long finish with a red fruit chocolate. I had this wine several times in 2014 and found it unrewarding many times, but this time it seems to open up and start to drink nicely. (92/100)

10636639_822422634485410_4928535267337886110_oThere is no other wine from Hungary that I wanted to try more than the wines from Bock. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot, this wine was aged for 24 months in oak barrels.

2009 Bock Villanyi Bock Cuvee is very shy on the nose and surprises with an explosion of flavors on the palate. There can be no bigger surprise. At 15% alc this wine reminds very much of an Amarone with its dense and concentrated palate, velvety tannins, and intense flavors of rum, sour cherries in alcohol and dark chocolate. The acidity is medium to low, and the wine gives a very sweet sensation on the first attack. Finish is medium and a bit sweet. It must be the glycerine, high alcohol and low acidity that creates this sensation of sweetness on the palate. (91/100)

2009 Davino Reserva Rosu can easily be compared to a Super Tuscan. This is very elegant on the nose and shows a bright future for aging. Dry paprika, violets, cassis, black cherry, spices and cured meat make a complex, youthful and well developed nose. Full and dense on the palate, it shows the same line of elegance from the nose. Bitter-sweet chocolate, juicy black fruits and ink, show good definition on the palate. Long taste, lingering. (94/100)

2006 Vinarte Aniversare seems more Burgundian when compared to all these 4 examples of power and concentration. The nose shows a more developed wine but pleases with its fragrant and delicate flavors. I normally like this wine a lot on its own, but last night was put on a blind spot.

Two more Hungarian wines were served: Villaniy Cabernet Franc 2008 that has a rather more pronounced nose than its palate (87/100) and a 2009 Vylan Mandolas with a riper profile and more density and concentration on the palate (89/100).

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The night was closed with a 2005 Cristal that has yeasty and cheese aromas, that dissipates after some time in the glass leaving a lovely smoky vibrant citrus fruit. Lively and acidic palate, there is force and tension here, with the same appealing smoky citrus flavor. Long. Great wine but somehow I did not enjoy it much last night probably because of reminiscences of a healing cold. (93/100)

Categories: Champagne, France, Hungary, Romania

Not an average wine-dinner

October 29, 2013 1 comment

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I was recently invited to attend the anniversary dinner organized by a good friend celebrating his birthday. A wine geek himself and big fan of red Italian and prestige wines, it was no surprise that the red wines tasted were all from Italy. With one exception the rest of the wines were all a first encounter for me.

Tuna tartar, fresh oysters and lobster salad were served with 2004 Cristal Champagne. A pale yellow lemon color with smooth and rich mousse, that opened up in stages on the nose and palate. Fresh dough, citrus fruit and a hint of crushed stones form the medium(+) intense and well developed nose. Medium(+) body, very acidic on the first sip, it opens up with air and becomes rounder, mellower and more enjoyable. Medium(+) finish, with bright citrus fruit, Granny Smith apple acidity and lingering hints of minerals. (92/100)

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Served with fresh pasta with butter and white truffles it was 2009 Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc (Pessac-Leognan). It ranks in the first Top 3 white wines I had this year. The color is pale yellow lemon. The nose shows great Pessac-Leognan typicality with generic smoked vanilla and tropical fruits, but it starts up gradually in intensity. The first nose is shy and it takes about 2 hours to fully reveal its intensity. It’s a different story on the palate: the level of flavor concentration it’s outstanding, you can literally taste fresh vanilla, smoke, fresh tangerines, mango and papaya, pears, peaches and white apricots. Flawless mouth-feel, medium acidity (that’s a surprise and probably that’s why is so enjoyable now), balanced and intense. Long finish, fresh and flamboyant, with plenty of exotic and tropical fruits. I fell in love with it. (97-98/100)

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Shifting to reds, the menu moved towards red meat: medium-rare tuna steak with grilled vegetables. Served in parallel there were 2006 Trinoro from Tenuta di Trinoro and 2007 Masseto from Ornellaia. 2006 Trinoro has the nose and mouth-feel of an Amarone. The color is deep dark red garnet. The nose is medium(+) intense, well developed and rich, with unusual Amarone like aromas: chocolate, rum and over ripe black fruits: blackberry, black cherry, cranberry and leather. The taste is full bodied, rich and concentrated, with medium polished tannins, with juicy blackberry, rum and chocolate. Medium(+) finish, black fruit liquor and sweet feel. (89-90/100)

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2007 Masseto is a totally different ball game. Tasted blind this could go for a sunny Pomerol. The color is medium red garnet color. Pronounced, elegant, well developed and complex nose, it takes time to open up. A mix of black cherry, plums, chocolate, cedar and graphite are just a few aromas of the complex nose. Full bodied, yet supple and elegant, the wine is a  monument of balance and complexity. The high level of polished tannins, the richness and concentration are outstanding. The 15% alcohol is just a number in this case, because the wine has freshness, elegance and a weightless mouth-feel. Long and pronounced finish, with fresh red fruits and coffee. (98/100)

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A 2008 Trinoro was also served to see if it has a similar profile of an Amarone like 2006. The color is deep red garnet. The nose is well developed, pronounced, intense and sweet. The ripe black fruit profile is there but manages to preserve freshness and hints of coffee. Full body, high polished and sweet tannins, sweet and juicy blackberry and cranberry, dark chocolate, plums, but still fresh. Long finish, lingering juicy black fruits. (93/100)

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Dinner was finished with a NV Billecart-Salmon Rose to wash the palate. Pink salmon color, intense mousse. Biscuit, bright red fruits and grapefruit, fresh and citrus palate, medium finish. (90-91/100)

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O verticala de exceptie cu Dom Perignon

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Desi initiat de o scurta perioada de timp – aproximativ 3-4 luni, Clubul Vinului de la restaurantul La Brasserier Bistro&Lounge din Bucuresti incepe sa devina o miscare inchinata vinului care rivalizeaza cu cele mai selecte cluburi de vin internationale.

Deja in celelalte sesiuni desfasurate am putut degusta celebrele vinuri de la GAJA, vinuri de referinta din Franta – Bordeaux ani vechi si noi, Italia, Spania si Lumea Noua care se bucura in fiecare de an de aprecieri si punctaje foarte mari acordate de criticii importanti de vin.

Joi seara a fost dedicata in principal vinurilor vechi din Champagne. Cu siguranta unul dintre cele mai rare momente la care am participat si care aseaza cu usurinta Bucurestiul pe harta internationala a experientelor oenologice de exceptie: o degustare verticala de Dom Perignon cu varste de aproximativ 50 de ani. Lista vinurilor a fost: Dom Perignon 1962, 1964, 1966 si 1999, urmate de Dom Perignon Rose 2000.

Seara a fost deschisa cu o Champagne realizata 100% din Pinot Meunier, un strugure care in general se regaseste in procente minore in vinurile spumante ce provin din aceasta regiune. Producatorul este unul apreciat de cunoscatorii acestei regiuni: Egly-Ouriet. Vinul a fost o companie foarte buna pentru platoul de stridii proaspat aduse din Franta.

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Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Vrigny Premier Cru a stat 40 de luni pe drojdii inainte de a fi degorjat in 2011. Culoarea este galben intens, iar efervescenta buna. Aromele sunt intense si bine conturate, se regasesc citrice, condimente si note de caise verzi, iar in gura senzatia este de amplitudine, robustete si bogatie. Nu are senzualitatea unui Blanc de Blancs, dar compenseaza foarte bine prin celelalte atribute. Finalul este mediu, proaspat si citric. (90/100)

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Dupa ce am pregatit papilele cu prima Champagne, a inceput seria vinurilor mult asteptate. Sticlele au fost deschise cu 45-60 minute inainte, dopurile au fost scoase intregi fara nici o problema. Aparenta tuturor celor 3 vinuri vechi  – 1962, 1964, 1966 – este foarte similara: un chihlimbar deschis ce bate inspre portocaliu, curat, cu limpiditate foarte buna, fara a mai avea insa efervescenta.

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Dom Perignon Vintage 1962 provine dintr-un an cu iarna lunga, primavara a adus furtuni si piatra in regiune, vara a fost racoroasa, fapt ce a intarziat inflorirea vitelor de vie. Vremea frumoasa din Septembrie a ajutat, iar recolatarea a inceput in 4 Octombrie.

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Vinul prezinta urme de oxidare la nas imediat dupa deschidere, inducand o anumita anxietate in randul participantilor la degustare ca avem o prima sticla defecta. Gustul in schimb readuce speranta. La nivelul nasului avem aromele unui vin alb vechi foarte similar cu vinul de Sherry: samburi amarui de fructe, fulgi de migdale, mar usor oxidat, dar si o nota usor dulceaga, iar lipsa fructului ii scade din prestanta. In gust vinul este sec, dar prezinta inca arome placute de citrice uscate si nuci, castigand chiar in profunzime cu aerarea. Finalul este mediu spre lung, cu note de migdale. (87-88/100)

Dom Perignon Vintage 1964 provine dintr-un an foarte bun, cu vara uscata si torida, recoltarea incepand pe 16 Septembrie. Vehiculat la inceput ca vinul seriei, sticla ne contrazice expectantele.

Vinul prezinta un caracter oxidativ – cel mai pronuntat intre cele trei – iar gustul nu salveaza din pacate situatia. Exista arome de migdale si sherry, iar gustul este monolitic si lipsit de focuri de artificii. Finalul este scurt spre mediu. (85/100)

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Dom Perignon Vintage 1966 provine dintr-un an ce a produs struguri perfect copti si sanatosi, recoltarea incepad pe 22 Septembrie. Vinul este cel mai interesant dintre cele trei. La nivelul nasului este  intens si complex, iar aromele pregnante creaza senzatia ca in pahar avem cea mai gustoasa si mai rafinata crema de zahar ars cu vanilie de cea mai buna calitate si caramel. Mirosul este seducator si complet neasteptat. In gust vinul are amplitudine, este usor afumat, cu note de caise uscate si turta dulce, si o rotunjime care-l face usor de placut, si final lung. Cel mai reusit vin al seriei de Champagne foarte vechi. (89-90/100)

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Dom Perignon Vintage 1999 vine in forta si ne readuce inapoi la realitate cu profilul sau puternic fructat. Vinul  are o culoare galben pai deschis, cu efervescenta intensa. La nivel olfactiv s-a conturat un profil ce aminteste de un Riesling sec vechi din Alsacia. Arome de petrol, piersici si caise verzi, citrice si o nota de afumat. In gust suntem inapoi pe taramul vinurilor spumante: aciditatea ii confera tensiune asemeni unui curent, iar notele citrice si usor minerale ii dau amplitudine pe palatin. Finalul este mediu spre lung, proaspat si revigorant. Mi se pare perfecta de baut acum desi are in continuare potential de pastrare. (92/100)

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Dom Perignon Rose Vintage 2000 are culoarea roz somon ce bate inspre cupru si efervescenta intensa. Nasul este foarte bine conturat, complex si intens. Aromele de fructe rosii mici, alterneaza cu cele florale, cu cele de coaja de portocala confiata si arome minerale de fum. Un nas superb si complex. In gust structura este magistrala, are consistenta, rotunjime, fiind deopotriva ampla si precisa. Finalul este lung, proaspat, citric si fructat. O Champagne care poate oferi satisfactii si mai mari in timp. (94-95/100)

Dupa aceasta serie spectaculoasa de vinuri din Champagne am putut degusta 4 vinuri rosii din Rioja: Sela 2010, Roda Reserva 2008, Roda I Reserva 2007 si Cirsion 2009. Din pacate vinurile rosii nu au avut impactul pe care-l merita dupa seria de Champagne.

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Cele care mi-au captat atentia in mod deosebit au fost Roda I Reserva 2007 si Cirsion 2009 – prin prospetimea data de aromele de ace de pin si robustetea simtita in gust. Despre vinurile rosii intr-un articol diferit.

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