Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

Noi vinuri grecesti la real,-wine boutique

February 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Poza 1

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

Ceea ce as recomanda in mod deosebit ar fi:

poza 2

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

Poza 3

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


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

Poza 4

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

Poza 4

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

Categories: Greece

8 great wines

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment


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.


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.


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.


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)


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)


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)


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


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


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.


3 whites from Greece

11666168_10207091083141326_8993537890679495670_nold port of Rethymno

Just recently returned from vacation from Greece, a few days prior to the historic referendum, I can say that there was a huge discrepancy between what the media was broadcasting with Shocking and Breaking news and what life looked on the streets. Perhaps now it might be a different story but 1 week ago life in Crete was perfectly normal and if you would not have read the news you could swear nothing out of ordinary is happening. I am actually considering a second vacation this summer in Greece in light of the evolving headlines. We’ll see.

There were 3 wines I purchased from a local specialized wine store, all having a price range of 14-18 Eur. I drank each bottle over 2 days so there was a proper way to see how the wines tasted.


2013 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko from Santorini comes from a 150 years old winery, it was fermented and matured for 6 months in French Oak. It is 100% Assyrtiko from volcanic and sandy soil from yields of 3 tones per ha. Pale yellow color. First day opens up with sweet tropical fruits, mango, grapefruit, toast and vanilla from a smart use of oak. Quite sharp acidity that mellows in the glass as the wines gets warmer, it has a pronounced mineral character on the palate next to its citrus fruit. Medium finish, refreshing. Second day the oak flavors get more discreet, while the wine maintains the same intensity on the palate. A wine that can age 4-5 years easily. (88-89/100)


2014 Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc has a pale yellow color. Nose is less exuberant but you can feel it comes from a warm climate due to its sweet aromas of honeysuckle, passion fruit, elder and grapefruit. Vibrant acidity and plenty of citrus fruit in the mouth, with a medium refreshing finish. It is a well made Sauvignon Blanc, but it does not have a particular personality. (88/100)


2014 Ovilos Biblia Chora is the best white I drank from Greece. A blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Assyrtiko that was matured for 8 months in oak barrels, it is a wine of great personality. Color is yellow-green. The nose is just amazing, and it reminds very well of a high quality white Bordeaux from Pessac-Leognan. Complex and intense aromas of smoked vanilla, pineapple, honey, apricots and lime are just the most obvious tones from a larger specter of its aromatic profile. Fat, yet vibrant acidity on the palate, the wine has lavish flavors of stone fruits, citrus and dry nuts, with small hints of vanilla, just enough to make it complex and appealing. Medium to long finish, rich and refreshing the same time. A really great wine and a steal at its price of under 20 Eur. (92-93/100)


I am still discovering Greece in a glass. As food is concerned I dinned several nights at the same restaurant Zefyros Family Fish Taverna where the food is amazingly tasty with a romantic view over the old Venetian port, nicer especially in the evening. Found it on Tripadvisor and I endorse every positive review that this restaurant received.

A sunny SUN afternoon with friends

On SUN I had a lovely lunch with people from the wine business, we cooked at home and had some interesting wines. We started lunch at 15:00 with Oliver and Raluca with quail eggs, Jamon Serano, olive oil with truffles on a fresh ciabbatta with onion bed as appetizers, to go with Champagne, and continued with domestic rabbit and turkey with herbs and prunes cooked slowly in the oven for about 2h30′ enough to have the meat falling from the bones. We had a Greek 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and a big 2001 Chateauneuf du pape.

Late afternoon our second round of guests, Calin and Anne, came and brought a bottle of Deutz Brut 2002 and a whole bunch of King prawns that we cooked in a buttered sauce and flamed with Calvados. For the flamed buttered King Prawns we had a fresh and crispy Solo Quinta 2010. Retrospectively looking we had a 7 hours lunch turned into dinner, in great company, good food and wines and plenty of fun. The summer is just showing the first signs in Romania, but it certainly started on a good spirit for us.

Here are some tasting notes for the wines we had.

Robert Moncuit Blanc de Blancs Brut Le Mesnil sur Oger Grand Cru NV

Medium lemon yellow color with smooth and rich bubbles. The nose  is crispy and medium intense, with lemons and green apple freshness mixed with a seductive minerality and roasted hazelnuts. The taste is medium body, clean cut and focused minerality mixed with citric fruit flavors. A medium fresh mineral finish and a vibrant acidity perfect for a warm sunny day of summer. 89-90 points

Deutz Brut 2002

Full yellow lemon color and rich smooth bubbles. The nose is medium intense, more citric, with sweeter aromas of red and green apple, lemon and a touch of caramel. A higher dosage  means a fuller body wine, with a bodybuilder like structure compared to Moncuit, a light touch of minerals with richer citric flavors of lemon and grapefruit. Finish is med with freshly cut red grapefruit in the aftertaste. 88-89 points

2004 Chateau Porto Carras

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alc

Dark red purple color. The nose is developed and intense, with great Cabernet Sauvignon typicality, aromas of green bell pepper, cedar mixed with sweet black fruit and red currant. The taste is med+ body, with a clearly defined tannins structure, firm mouthfeel with good balance between rich flavors and tannins. Corresponding flavors in the mouth as on the nose. The finish is med+ with a good tannic grip and sweet mineral black cherry. 89-90 points

Chateauneuf du pape Charbonniere Cuvee Vieilles Vignes 2001

Deep dark red opaque color, youthful with no signs of aging. The nose is well developed, intense and rich, very chocolaty, mixed with garrigue, thyme, sweet dark cherry and blackberry liqueur, with a touch of minerality. Full body wine, with integrated and mellow tannins, big, concentrated, rich dark chocolate flavors, black fruits liqueur, a Mon Cherry candied like flavor with spices and mint. Long finish, lingering aromas of sweet black fruit liqueur and spices. Well balanced wine standing very well on its feet at 15.5% alc, especially on a very warm day. 91-92 points

2010 Solo Quinta

Medium lemon yellow clear color. The nose is intense and clean, with amazingly rich candied like aromas of peach, muscat, apricot and linden refreshed by citric and green apple aromas. A medium bodied wine with lively acidity, good freshness and well defined tropical and citric flavors. The finish is medium long, breathing freshness and sweet fruity flavors: peach and red grapefruit in the aftertaste. 89-90 points

I can see how one can be seduced by this wine for its sweet fruity aromas and good freshness.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: France, Greece, Romania

Last weekend’s wine event organized by

March 4, 2011 5 comments

the star of the wine fair IMHO*

Last weekend, on SAT and SUN , I did attend the wine fair organized by, the Romanian wine magazine, in the old center of Bucharest. The event was held at the same location as the first edition of this event. While the participants were pretty much the same, there were also some new wineries from Dragasani with stands introducing their wines. In my opinion, the star wine of the event was the newly launched sparkling wine from Crama Stirbey/Stirbey winery made from 100% Cramposie (a local indigenous white grape variety).

smooth and intense bubbling

Stirbey’s winemaker, Oliver Bauer, managed to produce a very good sparkling with really smooth bubbles,  persistent acidity, zero dosage, clean and fresh with citric aromas and a nice overall mouth-feel. Someone found it lacking enough flavors and blame it on the poor aromatics of Cramposie, but for me this is a wine that goes perfectly with food, while still remaining very enjoyable on its own. Some may find the wine pricey – it sells for 65 RON/15.5 EUR at the winery-  compared to other Romanian sparkling wines, but it is, in my humble opinion(IMHO*), the best one made so far.

There is consistent quality in all their wines as I got to taste 6 more wines they had available for tasting: Sauv Blanc 2009, Sauv Blanc Vitis Vetus 2008, Genius Loci Feteasca Regala 2007, Merlot 2008, Cab Sauv 2008, Feteasca Neagra 2008.

There are two more wines I found very interesting from Vinchile at this fair: 2006 Villard l’Assemblage grand vin and 2006 San Pedro Malbec 1865 single vineyard. It is very hard not say that these wines do not come from Chile as they have that distinctive Chilean bitter-mineral aroma. This time I managed to get tasting notes so here they are:

2006 Villard l’Assemblage grand vin

Blend of Cab Sauv-Merlot-Petit verdot aged for 12 months in French oak. A dark red colored wine with a medium intensity nose, developed aromas of cocoa, dark fruits and sweet oak while still preserving the Chilean Cabernet flavors. This medium bodied wine is balanced with flavors of sweet dark fruits, chocolate, mocha and has a medium finish with a pleasant dark chocolaty aftertaste. While the wine is loaded with sweet fruit it is not in excess. A nice wine but I do not know its price. 88-89 points

2006 San Pedro Malbec 1865 single vineyard

A dark red velvet color. It has an elegant nose with medium intensity, a typical Chilean petrol-bitter aroma and dark fruits. The taste is medium body, with dry and firm tannins, coffee, dark chocolate and red fruits. There is a medium finish with interesting minty-eucalyptus and espresso aftertaste. The drying tannins are a bit too aggressive for my taste, but would probably go well with rich food. Just like the previous wine, as much as there is rich fruit, this is not overpowering the rest of the flavors. A really well made Malbec. 88 points

On SUN evening, after the wine fair, I had dinner again with the Bauer’s and tasted together more wines. After this weekend and the few conversations and wines tasted together with Oliver Bauer, I can say that I got a certain understanding of his wine-making style regarding his reds. I have to say honestly, that I very much prefer his whites and I always found the reds the least approachable and unappealing in the first few years after release. According to his beliefs and based on the wines and the tasting comments we shared during this weekend, he is a fan of old style Bordeaux wine-making. His wines are not built to please immediately upon release, but to reward on the long term. The first wines made at Stirbey were in the 2003 vintage therefore it is too soon to say if he is right or not and how these red wines are evolving. The oldest wine I tried from Stirbey was a 2004 Merlot, tasted last year in May when I visited the winery. Popped and poured, the wine seemed closed and unapproachable, but people that tried this wine the second day did find it more appealing and charming.

During the SUN dinner, we tried three different wines that were very far away in quality compared to our FRI evening tasting.

2007 Ktima Biblia Chora

I bought this wine in September 2010 from Greece. A dark red colored wine. The nose is oaky, medium(-) intensity, youthful, simple with red cherry and lactic aromas. The taste is medium body with a firm tannins structure that I found quite aggressive, with flavors of mocha and red fruits. The finish is medium(-), drying the mouth and a bitter coffee aftertaste. 84-85 points

2007 Masi Campofiorin Ripasso

I received this wine from Recas winery as a free sample to taste it some while ago and it was only now that I got the chance to open it. A ruby red colored wine. It has a clean nose with medium(-) intensity with red cherry and raspberry aromas. A medium bodied wine with flavors of red fruits and dark chocolate, finishing with a short to medium dark chocolaty aftertaste. 77-78 points

2009 Gramma Feteasca Regala

A pale yellow lemon color. The nose is fresh and clean with lemon, green apple and light spice. The taste is medium body, feels fat, not enough acidity giving a heavy mouth-feel, with lemon peel and grapefruit flavors. The finish is short with grapefruit and a strong sensation of unbalanced alcohol(14%). I find it heavy, lacking a sustainable balance. This wine feels like it’s rushing on a downhill slope from the moment you uncork it gradually losing its freshness and balance. 65 points

Busy but fun weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Gleanings from a good weekend

January 23, 2011 1 comment

On SAT we repeated the great food experience my wife and I had last MON together with our Greek friends and the unbelievable tasty food Christiana makes. This time she invited us for a delicious slow cooked lamb brought from Crete. The lamb was cooked for almost 5-6 hours at a very low fire in the oven together with some Cypriot Halloumi cheese and potatoes.

The potatoes were roasted in the oven using lamb fat therefore the final result was very delicious.

As our hosts prepared such a gargantuan meal it was only fair for me to bring at least the wines, so my choices for SAT were three different wines: a white for appetizers and two reds. The reds were Enira 2007 and 2001 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva Tenute Marchese. The white was a bottle purchased from our 2010 vacation in Greece: Biblia Chora 2009 a wine commented already several times on this blog.

As the ladies still had some immediate massage to attend before lunch, me and Iannis, our host, opened the Enira 2007 with some cold mezze – a term used in Greece for small portions of different food that can be from cold and hot appetizers to the actual final dish of the meal. The rule is to keep the small dishes coming. This can go on for hours. So we started the meal by sampling different cold appetizers and drinking Enira 2007.

Bessa Valley Enira 2007

A red garnet color wine. A youthful and developing nose with medium intensity and aromas of blackcurrant, cranberry, cloves, anise and cassis. In the mouth this medium bodied wine is round and balanced, offers a pleasant mouth feel, with sweet ripe tannins,good intensity and a medium finish with intoxicating but pure cassis. The 14.5% alcohol is very well balanced by the rich texture. The finish reminds of a good Chilean Cabernet. 86-87 points

After about 1 hour our ladies joined us at the table and we started with a hot salty cheese pie. To match this salty hot cheese pie we opened the white Biblia Chora 2009, a wine I know my friend Iannis likes a lot. The wine delivers great freshness and a pleasant modest complexity.

Ktima Biblia Chora 2009

A blend of Sauvignon blanc and Assyrtiko with 12.5% alcohol.The wine has a pale yellow-green color. The nose is very fresh and sweet with plenty of yellow flowers and freshly cut fruits with melon, lime and passion fruit. In the mouth the wine is off dry, a lifting acidity making the wine crispy, with flavors of acacia, elder, ripe pear, apple and grapefruit finishing with a fresh short to medium fruity aftertaste. Great wine to pair with fish. 85 points

For the main attraction of the lunch – the slowly cooked lamb from Crete – we opened the 10 years old Chianti Classico Riserva from Antinori and left it in the decanter for about 45-60 minutes. This is the second bottle I have this week from the lot of wines purchased recently and this bottle shows itself better. The first bottle I had on TUE was in a more developed stage of maturity.  I guess it is fair to say we have a case of serious bottle variation. Today I have the proper tools to uncork the wines so the process goes smoothly. The cork is almost completely soaked in wine. This is something that troubles me as most of the wines I had from Italian producers, especially Antinori, have this in common. I am not talking about 2-3 isolated cases here. I remember when I opened the 2000 Solaia that its cork looked the same: completely soaked in wine. These are wines that have no problem resisting the test of time, but the cork can make a serious sabotage and spoil everything.

2001 Antinori Tenute Marchese Chianti Classico Riserva

The wine has a dark red color with light brick tones on the rim. The nose is fully developed with a medium intensity with saddle leather dominating, truffles, caramelized smoked dark fruits and earth. In the mouth the wine is medium bodied, with a nice and round mouth feel, melted tannins, matured, well balanced offering great pleasure. There is a medium finish with a sour and salty dark chocolate aftertaste. 88-89 points

The wine is a perfect match for the two ways lamb. The Halloumi cheese melted and covered big parts of the lamb with a crusty layer. For me and Iannis the combination between the 10 years old wine, the tender and juicy lamb and the crusty Halloumi cheese is perfect. All the people at the table appreciate both the food and the wine, but the ladies prefer more the younger Enira because of its sweet fresh ripe dark fruits.

We finished the meal with an interesting dessert: a cheeseburger made with marsh mellow and ice cream. A little bit too sweet for my taste but good nevertheless.

This was the culmination of an amazing lunch spent in good company with great food and wines. I hope your weekend was as good as mine.

P.S. The pictures on this post have a lower quality as I forgot my camera at home and I had to use the Blackberry to take photos.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Bulgaria, Greece, Italy

Dom Perignon 1999, Pichon Baron 1996 and Vinsanto 2003

December 28, 2010 Leave a comment

great bottles of wine

This year I wanted a different type of food for Christmas. Romanians usually go big on pork for Christmas: plenty of cold sausages, porchetta and different more pork based products as appetizers. Then the “sarmale” which is minced pork meat mixed with rice, spices and wrapped in cabbage layers then boiled for hours. Then come the fried sausages and different types of pork steak: baked with sauce, grilled or many other variations on this line. I personally reduced the consumption of pork for some time now and I cannot actually remember the last time I had pork. I am big on vegetables and prefer beef or chicken when I eat meat or plenty of fish and seafood. Therefore this year I tried to have a lighter meal for the Christmas. Plus as we spent Christmas with my parents it was a great chance to share on one meal some of the tastier dishes prepared during the last year.

So the menu for 2010 Christmas chez Grozea was:

– Coquilles Saint-Jacques with garlic, parsley, parmigiano regiano, rasping with olive oil. Florin was kind enough to share this recipe with me and it was really tasty as this was the first time I made it.
before spending 20 min in the oven
final dish
rare tuna steak with mashed sweet peas and a mix of vegetables and sour cream.
tasty rare tuna steak
as the final dish a rare beef steak with asparagus was a great match for the 14 years old Bordeaux served. The melted butter used to roast the asparagus juiced the beef and made it so tasty.
nice pairing for the claret
I started to appreciate older wines for a few months now quite a lot, especially old Bordeaux. Therefore I tried to have  some older vintages for this special meal with the family. With one exception which was the sweet 2003 Vinsanto the other two wines were an 11 years old Vintage Champagne and a 14 years old claret.

Moet Chandon – Dom Perignon 1999

The wine was paired with the first two dishes. It went very well with the Saint Jacques and it went pretty well with the tuna dish. The sour cream used for the mixed vegetables paired well with the sparkling.
The wine has a light gold color. The wine has a big effervescence with very smooth bubbles. The nose is elegant with aromas of brioche, yeast, tar lemon, baked apple, with aeration aromas of almonds and hazelnut build more complexity. In the mouth the wine is classy, medium plus to full body, with a creamy mouth feel, plenty of texture on the mid palate and beautiful mineral flavors mixed with tar lemon, white pepper and white fruits. The finish is long and elegant with no sign of age. A beautiful and Excellent+ sparkling wine.
1996 Chateau Baron Pichon Longueville

The wine has a deep dark red color with red garnet color to the rim, there is really no sign of age for this wine. The nose is elegant and complex: aromas of blackcurrant, autumn leaves, forest floor, mushrooms, old leather, cedar, mint and with aeration aromas of green vegetables: green bell pepper and asparagus build more complexity on this beautifully evolved 14 years old wine. In the mouth this wine is like silk with flavors of red and black currant and discreet ripe cherry, mixed with cedar, sandalwood, green pepper, coffee bean, tobacco and leather. The wine is medium to medium plus body with great balance and very elegant. There are firm tannins present on the medium plus finish that show this wine has plenty of years left and a nice bitterness with a big mocha aftertaste. Excellent+ wine.
2003 Vinsanto – Santowines

Sweet wine style produced in Santorini, Greece, from sun-dried Assyrtiko and Aidani grapes. Requires long aging both in oak and bottle. 16% alcohol and the label says Vin de liqueur. As far as I know about this type of wine (I might be wrong as I did not manage to find too much on the subject and I am not close to my wine books), alcohol is added in the must to stop the fermentation process. Will do more research and update this post later on.
The wine has a deep amber color. The nose shows figs, dry apricots, honey, baked quince, caramel, a very sweet nose. In the mouth the wine is lusciously sweet, huge on figs and baked quince with a lifting acidity. The finish is very long and quite fresh for such a sweet wine. Excellent wine. This wine goes very well paired with dessert or a Cigar to end a big meal.
I hope that wherever you spent your Christmas you had a good time and you spent this holly day with close friends and family.
Thanks for reading!
Categories: Bordeaux, France, Greece

Great lunch and an exciting new wine project in Bucharest

December 13, 2010 4 comments

interesting wine from Switzerland – 1996 Dole Cave de l’Angelus

Last SAT, together with my wife, we spent a great time with Oliver and Raluca Bauer. They came to Bucharest for the weekend to present their wines from Crama Stirbey/Stirbey winery during a couple of tastings organized in the Old Center. They were finally not in a hurry in the city so we had the chance to spend a little bit more time together, to have a longer lunch and enjoy some wines.

This was a great opportunity to find out more about an existing project that Oliver wants to start developing in Bucharest as well. During the last years he organized a few thematic tasting events with older vintages or harder to find wines in Sibiu. Usually the each event brings together 12-15 people to taste f.e. 10 to 30 years old wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Spain, Germany, Austria or other countries. The advantages of such a tasting are the costs: one can spend 30-50 EUR for an evening and taste multiple interesting wines with other wine lovers and exchange impressions and opinions. By splitting the cost among the group members the financial burden is easier to handle. There can be 8-12 different wines tasted (if wanted also more), depending on the number of participants and the amount agreed to be spent.

We already visited a couple of restaurants to choose the future location for the event. The first event is planned to take place in the spring of 2011. Any person interested to attend the wine tasting events in Bucharest can leave a message to or and as soon as the details(cost, location, wines) are established we will be informed. For now I would suggest the first event to be themed: old Bordeaux or old Burgundy. Other proposals are of course welcomed as well.

As we were all wine lovers, we couldn’t have lunch only talking about wine and without actually drinking some. So here are the wines tasted in the order we did.

starting wines

2009 Biblia Chora

A wine from Thassos, Greece. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Assyrtiko with 12.5% alcohol.

The wine has a clear yellow greenish color. The nose is very fresh with plenty of yellow flowers and fruity aromas. In the mouth the wine is off dry, the residual sugar combined with a lifting acidity makes the wine round and fresh, with flavors of acacia, elder, ripe pear, apple and grapefruit finishing with a beautiful medium fruity aftertaste. Very good+

2006 Trapiche Single Vineyard Adriana Venturin

100% Malbec aged 18 months in new French oak

The wine has a deep purple almost black color. The nose is sweet, oaky, with super ripe dark fruits, blueberry and black cherry, coconut and a hint of minerality. In the mouth the wine is full body, almost meaty, with sweet tannins, toasty flavors, coffee and plenty of almost over ripe dark fruits, the plum is the most noticeable. The wine contains extremely well the 14.5% alcohol.The wine finishes with sweet fruit and a long aftertaste. This wine is a better pairing for dessert than for a steak. A very New World wine and it is pretty tough having more than one glass of this wine. A little bit too much at the time. Very good+

1996 Dole Cave de l’Angelus

This is a wine from Valais AOC, Switzerland. Dole is the generic name for a blend of predominantly Pinot noir with Gamay from this region.

The wine has a ruby red color with brick tones on the rim. It has the nose of a nicely aged Pinot, with some barnyard, a little bit gamey, some stinky cheese, all mixed with pure strawberry liquor. A really nice nose as weird as it may sound. In the mouth the wine is youthful, vibrant, with medium body, nice acidity, beautiful sweet fruit and earthy, meaty tones. There is a medium aftertaste in this tasty aged wine that goes so well with food. Excellent wine.

pasta with shrimps and zucchini

I enjoyed this wine a lot with a dish of freshly made pasta with shrimps and zucchini. The wine went very well, probably better, with Escargots Bourguignon as Oliver tried.

Escargots Bourguignon

2005 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva

After the 1996 Dole the 2005 Antinori Chianti did not go very well. However the wine gained a new dimension that I did not feel it previously: a clear aroma of barnyard. It was very interesting to compare the mature wine with the younger one. The 1996 Dole developed beautiful complex aromas that made it hard to beat. Still, the Riserva was a Very good to Very good+ wine.

Oliver and Raluca Bauer

We enjoyed the company of Raluca and Oliver a lot and we are certainly looking forward to meet them again soon. Also on a positive note for Crama Stirbey and a negative note for us, the consumers, it seems that all of their remaining whites are sold out. There is however the 2007 Genius Loci Feteasca Regala soon to be launched, so there is still hope.

love is in the air

The better news is that Oliver characterized the new 2010s as German like wines: low alcohol, high acidity and plenty of character. I am certainly looking forward to try their new 2010s next year.

Thanks for reading!

Memories from Greece

September 22, 2010 1 comment

My recent vacation to Greece gave me the possibility to eat lots of sea food and also try some very interesting Greek wines. I haven’t tasted any remarkable Greek red wine so far, however the whites are really interesting and one was really excellent.

I visited Thassos this year and last year as well, a place I always find lovely, with warm people, amazingly clear blue greenish sea and really decent prices. We had a memorable dinner one night at Taverna Mouses serving a fresh 3 kilo white snapper that we ordered a day in advance, grilled slowly for 1 h and served with a sauce of olive oil and lemon.

A really tasty meal and enough to do an over dose of fish for 4 persons easily, at least that’s what we did.

During my vacation, I tried about 6-7 different Greek wines and what I find common to their whites is the pleasant high acidity, freshness and the nice floral flavors they have. There are three whites that I particularly liked.

2009 Ktima Biblia Chora

Price: 10-11.5 EUR

This is a well known wine, very appreciated by the Greeks, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and the local grape Assyrtiko. The wine has a pale greenish yellow color. The nose is fresh with huge floral flavors of elder and acacia, with green apple, lime and herbal tones on the background. In the mouth this wine is fresh and vibrant, with a high acidity, a very nice concentration, with the same floral aromas as in the nose, finishing with a beautiful medium plus aftertaste. Excellent wine and perfect match for the big fish.

2009 Techni Alipias

Price: about 10-12 EUR

Also a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Assyrtiko. The wine has a pale yellow lime color with strong floral and citric aromas on the nose. In the mouth the wine is a bit thinner than the Biblia Chora, but still fresh, with a vibrant acidity and nice floral, mineral and citric aromas. The finish is fresh with a medium aftertaste.  Very good-

Had this wine after an Argentinian 2008 Fantasia Torrontes from Mauricio Lorca and perhaps that’s why it felt less concentrated.

2009 Chateau Kostas Lazaridi Amethystos white

Price: 12-14 EUR

A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Assyrtiko with a very nice label on the bottle. The wine has a soft yellow-green color, good transparency and fruity aromas of peaches and exotic fruits over a floral background. Nice acidity, good concentration and medium aftertaste make the wine another perfect pairing for sea food. Very good-

Had this wine together with the 2007 Reserve de Gassac from Mas de Daumas Gassac which has a better length and concentration.

The unpleasant part of a vacation are the extra kilos gained over a short period of time. But no worries, a few weeks at the gym will solve it.

Thanks for reading!

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