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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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4 vintages of Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

December 16, 2016 Leave a comment

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It’s been a while since I posted on this blog even though my drinking habits grew and expanded with some serious wines. Just could not find the drive to write. This time however I felt compelled to share my experience drinking this absolutely exceptional vintages from Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou.

This is a producer that sits on top of my short list of Bordeaux producers, a winery that I visited in 2011 and was impressed over the last years by the continuous quality of its wines every single vintage. Even in 2013 that seems a bleak vintage for red Bordeaux, Ducru-Beaucaillou managed to produce a wine that is deemed to be the wine of the vintage.

Met last night with 6 friends at La Brasserie Bistro&Lounge in Herastrau to drink these wines. Initially the plan was to have only the 2005 and 2009 that were bought from a store in Monaco, but I volunteered to bring bottles of 2006 and 2010. The two bottles of 2005 and 2009 were uncorked at noon together with 2006, while the 2010 I uncorked personally around 18:30 and left to breath in a decanter until about 9:00 pm.

Just a few things before the tasting notes:

  • quality for Ducru-Beaucaillou is at its highest and it has been like this since 2003 when the new management team came on board.
  • the 2009 vintage got a perfect 100 points from Robert Parker and at its launch was the most expensive Ducru ever released.
  • 2010 was awarded a 98 points by Parker and 100 points by James Suckling. When it was released Bruno Borie made a brilliant move by releasing the wine 10% cheaper in price compared to 2009, giving more confidence to its buyers that it is a well established and customer concerned producer. I know this because I was in Bordeaux when it was released.
  • 2005 is a vintage that will be spectacular even over the next 20-30 years from now.

And now the wines:

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The bottle of 2006 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou had a more than usual development and the wine felt 10-15 years older than it should actually be. This is not a general case for the 2006 Ducru as this wine can age. I had unfortunately the bad luck to purchase this particular faulty bottle. The wine shows over mature flavors and there is no point rating it as it is just an isolated case. NR

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The 2005 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is a completely different story and from now on things start to get spectacular. This 11 years old wine combines freshness, complexity of aromas that came with aging and fresh fruit, developing nuances with every second and every sip in the glass. Still a bit shy on the nose compared to 2009 or even 2010, but very complete and balanced in every single way. Tannin is polished and velvety and bites the gums only in the long finish, rich fruit merrily gives flesh to its strong tannin structure that does not interfere at all on the palate. Very long. (96-97/100)

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2009 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou comes with fireworks, like a carousel that takes your senses to new highs when you least expect it and believe this is it, what else can it be ? This wine evolves in so many nuances as it sits in the glass and breathes that everybody was keeping their nose in the glass continuously like hunting dogs following the paths of their prey. It has everything: rich and lavish fruit, freshness, purity of aromas, complexity and depth, incredible depth actually. Taste is a symphony that swings again between rich sweet fruit, mineral freshness and rich sweet velvety tannin that pinches your gums from time to time just as a reminder of its greatness. This is a King-Kong wine. (99/100)

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2010 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou would have certainly benefited from extensive aeration but it did not last much in the glasses. This was the biggest surprise of the night as it changed completely from the first to the last pour in the glasses. Initially shy and not very convincing on the nose, it did benefit from being served from Zalto Bordeaux Grand Cru glasses. Last 2 glasses were spectacular. There is certainly more minerality and freshness, and least lavish fruit here compared to 2009, but there is more precision, focus and intensity on the palate. This has a more classic Bordeaux side, where pencil shavings and paprika step a bit more forward, however fruit seems to be fresher and very well represented. More supple, cleaner, more precision and more serious on the palate. Gravelly tannin, rich red fruit, cassis, graphite, coffee, there are so many things happening here. Another kaleidoscope and multi layered wine that I somehow feel closer to my heart. Very, very long finish as well. (99/100)

There was another bottle of 2000 Vega-Sicilia Unico opened after this wines but it showed a more developed character than normal. I am sure it was just an isolated bottle, as another Unico 2000 that I had in September was excellent.

For food we had fresh pasta ravioli with funghi porcini and osso bucco with fresh shaved white truffles, risotto with funghi porcini, and New Zealand lamb chops. The pairing between 2005 Ducru and lamb chops was perfect. For me lamb and well aged Bordeaux is a match made in heaven.

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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.

Lovely lunch with 2 from Davino and a Vega-Sicilia Unico

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Has a lovely lunch about 2 weeks ago with a couple of friends and tasted some top Romanian wines and an iconic Spanish wine from Vega-Sicilia. There is a huge gap price wise between these wines: Spanish vs Romanian, and one has to think thoroughly if it is worth it. I have a few friends that are Unico ambassadors by choice, but hey who wouldn’t like to drink Valbuena, Unico or Reserva Especial every day ?

Vega-Sicilia Unico 2007 was opened already for 24 h and 1 glass was taken out. So, properly aerated. Even at this stage the oak influence is quite assertive both on the nose and the palate. There is rich and elegant fruit here, it has depth on the nose, but it does not confirm yet the same sheer class on the palate. It is young but I do not see it at the same level as the 2000 or 2004. The oak flavors seem to upfront for now. (94/100)

Davino Flamboyant 2010 was decanted for about 45 minutes and drank over 1 h. Deep dark red color. Its aromatic profile resembles a Super Tuscan, with the sunny ripe and spicy black fruit. Rich on the palate, high tannin that needs big food to feel smooth, lots of black fruit and spicy. Medium to long finish. (92/100)

Davino Rezerva Red 2010 was also decanted for 45 minutes and drank over 2 h. This is closer to a Bordeaux. There is more freshness and red fruit here than in Flamboyant. It has a paprika, black currant and meat stock profile. A bit more flesh, refreshing tannin that seems to be smoother on the palate. Longer finish with lots of dark chocolate. Loved the freshness here. (93/100)

 

Between Les Clos: Moreau and Droin

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Had dinner at home over a weekend and wanted to spice up the meal with a comparison of 2 wines made of the famous and celebrated Grand Cru from Chablis: Les Clos. 2 different vintages and certainly different style of wines. However both share the quality factor.

2013 Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos is a wine I Coravined since December 29th 2015 and tasted it at least 3-4 times prior and had the last 2 glasses only now. The wine has a pronounced citric fruit and wet stone nose, with fresh and vibrant lemon and grapefruit palate, mouth watering acidity and gun powder like minerality. Medium plus finish with a saline, oyster shell lemon aftertaste. (92/100)

2010 Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos is slightly different. There is a riper profile, with more exotic yellow fruit here, color is medium yellow gold. Nose is richer and dominated by white peach, grapefruit and chamomile, with slate and gun powder minerality. Richer on the palate, it mirrors very well the same flavors as the nose with lavish yellow fruit and a more settled acidity that makes it round and appealing. Medium to long finish, with yellow flowers and lemons. (93/100)

Both wines have a long life ahead and in my opinion would both benefit from a short decant to open up properly. I actually enjoyed the Moreau so much I bought all the very few bottles left of 2010 Les Clos from real-wineboutique as it seemed to be the only one with any bottles available.

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