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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.

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.

 

3 Super Italians

April 25, 2013 Leave a comment

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All 3 wines have been opened 1 day in advance and sealed back with a vacuum cork.

Luce Brunello din Montalcino 2005

Dark red garnet color. Well developed and expressive nose, sour-sweet on the nose, intense aromas of black cherry preserves, cloves and anise, plums, sweet tobacco, leather and a touch of earth, enough to make it interesting, layered and complex. Fresh and supple in the mouth, assertive tannins but yet smooth texture, tobacco and red cherry palate. Long finish with assertive and drying finish that give freshness and aromatic black tea aftertaste. Structured, layered, with enough flesh and ripe tannins to evolve well. Plenty of life ahead. 14.5% alc (92-93/100)

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2006 Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Lamaione

100% Merlot and considered a small Masseto, this wine sells for almost less than half of both Luce and Sugarille and still manages to play in the same league.

Saturated ruby red color. Well developed, open and expressive nose, it grows deeper and layered with aromas of bright red cherry fruit and red cherry jams, mushrooms, sweet tobacco and dry plums. It has the smoothest and velvetiest texture of all 3 wines, ripe, sweet and almost fully integrated tannins compared to Luce, fleshy, round and yet balanced and fresh considering its 15% alc, this is a really impressive and complex expression of Merlot. Juicy blackberry fruit, coffee and dark chocolaty palate. Long finish, this is were tannins are assertive and show their ripeness the best, with black tea and dark chocolate lingering flavors. This has hidden potential to grow more interesting. 15% alc (93-94/100)

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2004 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Sugarille Brunello di Montalcino

Dark red garnet color. Well developed and very expressive now, fresh, minty and sweet nose, it is very floral driven, dominated on the front by fresh black currant buds, violets and hawthorn aromas. It gains depth with aeration and shows amazing purity and definition of red cherry and black cherry fruit, tobacco and earth. Complex and probably the most expressive of all 3 wines. Full body and yet supple and smoothly textured, fully ripe and perfectly rounded tannins, it shows juicy blackberry and macerated black cherry palate. It is in the long finish that tannins are assertive, with black tea leaves and dark chocolate aftertaste. Wine of the tasting without question. 14.5% (94/100)

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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.

2006 Piccini Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino

Culoare rosie inchisa cu o bordura usor caramizie. Nasul este bine dezvoltat, intens, dens, cu arome de fructe supracoapte, visinata, prune coapte, magiun afumat, tabac si piele. Vin cu corpolenta plina, bine stucturat, cu taninuri coapte si prezente, suplu, cu arome pronuntate de visinata, ciocolata amaruie si tabac, cu aciditate buna si o senzatie de proaspat data de structura tanica. Final mediu spre lung, cu arome de cafea si fruct rosu, cu o anumita astringenta binevenita. Un vin care ar cere un steak. 13.5% alc. (87-88/100)

Un vin comentat pentru Unvinpezi. Importat de Cramele Recas.

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