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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.

 

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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

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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.

 

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