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Four great wines: Pierre Yves Colin Morey, Bruno Giacosa, Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc and Duhart Milon

January 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Had a lovely dinner on Monday evening at a friend’s house and four people managed to go quickly through 4 bottles of wines in just a couple of hours. It was not intended as a speed contest but when the wine is that good it just dries quickly from the glass.

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2012 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Santenay 1er Cru “La Comme” was a stunning surprise for all of us. It’s the first time I’m buying and tasting this producer and for sure it won’t be the last time. In fact it just opened my appetite for discovering more of his wines. This Chardonnay from a less famous Burgundy appellation needs to spend some time in the decanter in order to reveal its exotic and exuberant aromatic profile. Rich and decadent, it exudes very intense aromas of ripe tropical fruits, yellow melon and mango, with complex shades of toast and vanilla. Again rich and highly textured in the mouth, it shows a perfect balance between sweet tropical fruit, stone minerality and vibrant acidity. Long finish, fresh with sweet fruit lingering in the aftertaste. I see lots of similarities with a great 1er Cru Puligny Montrachet. (95/100)

Second white was 2013 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc that shows good richness of citrus and tropical fruit, with vanilla and honeysuckle nose. It is more supple, with higher acidity typical for a Sauvignon Blanc, but overall a well balanced, rich and complete wine. (94/100)

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2007 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco spent about 1 h 30 min in the decanter before being poured. In the Burgundy Zalto glass this wine opens up very nice and quickly. It shows a rich aromatic profile where tar, fresh raspberries and rose petals take the center stage, and as it breathes more profound aromas of savory truffles jump from the glass. Supple and very smooth for such a young Barbaresco, it is full and supple on the palate, with silky smooth tannins, sweet and pure red cherry and raspberry fruit, spices and savory cured meat. Long finish, very elegant and feminine wine. (94-95/100)

2010 Chateau Duhart Milon spent only 20 minutes in the decanter before being poured in the glass, and it is surprisingly open already. It shows sweet cassis and pencil shavings, with refreshing cedar and brett. Full bodied, strong but polished tannins, good intensity of the fruit on the palate that balances the tannin structure. Long finish. (94/100)

A visit to Piedmont – Day 2

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment

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December 1st, 2015 started with a visit at Gaja winery at 10:30. My first visit to this famous producer situated in the center of Barbaresco village. Angelo Gaja, for anyone that does not know the history of the region, was the one that through his continuous efforts brought the spot light on the wines made in Piedmont.

The winery sits on top of the hill in Barbaresco and offers splendid view through some of the family’s vineyards. The wine making is both traditional and modern employing a combination of small French oak barrels and large ones with an extended process of maturation and long maceration on the skins.

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There are several wines produced here one more famous and adored than the other, starting with the whites made from Chardonnay: Rossj Bass and Gaja&Rey, then the reds probably the most famous is the flagship Gaja Barbaresco, then moving to the denser and structured Sperss made from Nebbiolo from Serralunga d’Alba, the silkier and aromatic Conteisa made from vines in La Morra, and the three single vineyard wines Sori Tildin, Sori San Lorenzo and  Costa Russi. Gaja’s portfolio in Piedmont contains other wines also.

IMG_20151201_104822After a 1 h visit in the winery the next and final stop was the tasting room where 4 wines were prepared for tasting:

  • Gaja Barbaresco 2012 shows a velvety structure of tannin (like all the other Gaja’s wines) but a soft and elegant side as well, with a lush aromatic profile of sweet and pure red cherry fruit.
  • Gaja Barolo Dagromis 2011 is more powerful, with strong tannin, high acidity and a grippy mouth feel, here there is nerve and tension.
  • Gaja Barbaresco 1986 from Magnum is a fully mature wine, where tannin is fully integrated, and the aromatic profile is filled with brown sugar, balsamic notes and dried sweet red fruit. Very silky and mellow mouth feel, it has a medium black aromatic tea finish. It is a wine that should be consumed.
  • Gaja&Rey 2007 was the Chardonnay served at the end. Its deep gold color glows in the glass. Butter, dry pineapple and apricot fruit, toast are just some of the lush aromas you can feel on the nose. Very creamy and buttery on the palate, it is a pleasure to drink today.

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Closely but surely approaching mid-day, the next stop was for lunch at now my favorite restaurant in Piedmont: La Ciau del Tornavento.

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Started lunch with a beautiful Ca’ del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi 2005, a brilliant sparkling methode traditionelle made wine where it seems you have everything one would expect: intense and complex nose filled with fine pastry, vanilla bean, ripe citrus fruit and white apricot, creamy and vibrant on the palate, with a long finish.

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Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2007 is liquid poetry. There is nothing out of place here. It is so pure in its aromas where it starts delicate with fragrant aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit, sweet spices and rose petals, and then starts to get deep and profound with savory notes of undergrowth and leather. Very silky in the mouth, but with so intense and pure flavors of red fruit, tar, spices and truffles. Finish is endless. There is grace and refinement in this wine. (99/100)

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I can not think of a better corresponding wine from Tuscany than the 2010 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino that we had after. You can find the same Burgundian character in the Sangiovese as the Giacosa, but in a less refined way and a more powerful feel.

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Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2010 is surprisingly already singing from the glass. It has purity of red spicy fruit, with a velvety mouth feel and a long and intense finish. Really beautiful wine. Take the best producer and the exceptional 2010 vintage and you have a winner. (96/100)

Food was amazing again at La Ciau del Tornavento, all dishes are flawless and the wine pairing just made this lunch probably the most notable for me for 2015.

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Pastry and dessert were served outside on the sunny terrace, where we enjoyed an unexpected 17 Celsius degrees and a bottle of 2004 Ca’ del Bosco Annamaria Clementi Rose. Its coppery color, its savory aromatics and the richness and intensity you can find on the palate are just amazing. It deserves its place in the class of grand rose sparkling of the world. (94/100)

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After such a fulfilling 4 hours lunch it was time to hit the road and head to Turin for an official reception organized by the Romanian consulate. The sun setting at the end of the meal is still fresh in my mind.

IMG_20151201_160052The final chapter of this trip was dinner in Turin where a Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004 showed once again that Italy can make stunning sparkling wine. Gold color with rich mousse in the glass, it is rich, bold and fresh. (94/100)IMG_20151201_220311

Another stunning Nebbiolo made wine was the 2008 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato, a wine of sheer class and refinement. All its characteristics make you think about the Grandest Cru of Burgundy. It’s pure, fresh and profound, silky in the mouth and really intellectual.  (97/100)

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Next to a medium-rare pigeon dish, it was the most supreme wine-food experience for me for 2015 and as far as I can remember. I would recommend it to be put on the technical sheet of this wine. It is simply perfect. For this pairing I am giving 100/100.

 

A memorable tasting with a very special Wine Club

November 6, 2012 4 comments

Last night I was invited, as a guest, to attend a wine dinner organized by a special Wine Club that will remain undisclosed at this moment. The session was dedicated to Italian wines. I had no idea what will be served, but the surprise was overwhelming. The dinner took place in a prime restaurant and the food was fantastic: veal carapaccio, spaghetti pomodoro basilico, grilled Black Angus entrecote and a very special dessert: truffle, white chocolate and truffle ice cream served with a very special wine: Chateau d’Yquem 1981.

We were six people so there was plenty of wine to taste and drink for each of us. We started with a very young Barbaresco.

2007 La Spinetta Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini

This is an extremely young wine but it is so approachable. Dark red garnet color. A youthful and developing nose, intense, refined, showing beautiful aromas of flowers: dried rose petals and violets, tar, ripe black cherry and raspberry, cocoa, with hints of spices: anise and cloves. This is super concentrated on the palate, balanced and well structured, bone dry tannins and as much as a Barbaresco is known to be hard to enjoy when young, this wine drinks very well already. Long finish, with a velvety feel. Youthful but so good. (91-92/100)

One of the participants at the dinner used to work for about 7 years in Toscana at Poggio di Sotto during the summer vacation, so not only did he make a contribution with the next wine, but he also explained the story of this interesting winery. Poggio di Sotto is fairly small in Montalcino with only 12 ha of vines, making around 30.000 bottles of Brunello and Rosso din Montalcino every year. The wine-making process is traditional, with long maceration, extensive maturation in large 30 hl Slavonian oak barrels – for each wine there is an additional one year of aging in the barrel aside from the minimum imposed by the Regulators. Poggio di Sotto was recently sold to a large Italian wine company that has properties all over Italy, but wanted to own a premium, cult-like winery.

2005 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino

Medium red garnet color. Complex, deep, profound, refined, showing fine spices, cocoa powder, leather, red fruits preserves and a citrus fruit freshness on the nose. Silky mouth-feel, amazing structure and balance, ripe tannins, extremely fresh with a feather like texture, long finish, fresh all along the way. Exquisite, long black cherry aftertaste. So young but so open and such a pleasure to drink it. (93-94/100)

Next wine comes from a legendary traditional producer. I guess anybody that inquired at a certain moment about Brunello di Montalcino knows this producer as being a pioneer of quality driven wines.

1971 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino

Good fill level. The bottle was uncorked and left to slowly breath for about 3 hours. Red ruby color with a brick rim, a bit cloudy as it comes in contact with air. A maturing bouquet, with initial volatile acids that blew off after another 20 minutes in the glass, still showing discreet red fruit preserves, autumn forest floor, tobacco, balsamic notes, saline, leather and black olives. Medium bodied, initially looking like fading away but with more aeration in the glass opening up more and more. Mature, fresh, mint and black olives on the palate, acidity keeps everything in place and, as it aerates, it shows discreet tannins. Medium finish, fresh and earthy. (88-89/100)

After this line up of amazing wines I found out that dessert will be paired with 1981 Chateau d’Yquem. Life can be full of good surprises sometimes.

1981 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes

This came from a small 0.375 cl bottle and was open for more than 8 hours but that did not alter the quality of this amazing wine. Deep gold-amber color. A complex bouquet, very intense, combining aromas of mandarins, botrytis, apricots, white pepper and brown sugar. Medium bodied, it has a wonderful balance, elegant, delicious flavors of dried apricots and sweet lemons and amazingly lively on the palate. Long spicy-cardamon finish, with pleasant bitter-sweet orange peel flavor. (93-94/100)

It was a wonderful wine dinner.

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