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Nine shades of Syrah/Shiraz ! (Tasting event WED January 27th)

January 19, 2016 Leave a comment

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Shiraz, or Syrah, is a very popular grape variety with lots of fans all over the world. And what is not to like about it? The wines are friendly, juicy, fruity and spicy, and the best cases are highly complex, richly textured and profound. It is a grape variety worth exploring.

Its recent reputation came also from the New World of wine, mostly from Australia and specifically from the Barossa Valley. We are all expecting young, very ripe and fresh wines from New World Shiraz, but we were recently amazed by a few mature wines made of, exactly, New World Australian Shiraz.

This is how the idea popped up to explore a step further and to compare with other different terroirs across the world and discover each individual variation. And this is what this wine tasting is all about:

Nine shades of Syrah/Shiraz !

2010 Aurelia Visinescu Anima Syrah, Dealu Mare, Romania

2012 Nachbil Syrah, Dealurile Sătmarului, Romania

1998 Rolf Binder Veritas Winery Heysen Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia (93 pct.)

1994 Elderton Command Single Vineyard Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia (92 pct.)

1995 Elderton Command Single Vineyard Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia (95 pct.)

2012 Chateau Puech-Haut Saint-Drezery Tete de Belier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (93-95 pct.)

2006 La Peira Terrasses du Larzac ‘Las Flors de la Peira’, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (94 pct.)

2012 E. Guigal Saint-Joseph ‘Cuvee Lieu-Dit Saint-Joseph’, Rhone, France (91 pct.)

2011 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne, Rhone, France (92 pct.)

We will meet at Restaurant Dada at 19:30. The cost is 275 lei pp (wine, tapas and water). The second course can be ordered a la carte from the restaurant menu, if you want. Confirmation is required, as well as advance payment. For reservations please contact us at cosmin.grozea@gmail.com or nicusor.cazan@gmail.com or by phone:

Cosmin: 0723 240 102 or Nicusor: 0722 141 879

Mondavi and Chapoutier

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

If it’s MON, chances are you might receive a call and get a new invitation to attend a new session with the very special Wine Club. I used to hate MON, but recently I discovered that I started to look forward to it. A call from this club is synonymous with a successful night out.

So here we are: I got invited once again. I did not know what’s going to be served but the surprises were at least very interesting and provided enough material for constructive discussions. We met at Casa di David and I have to say food was exquisite. Matching the wines with the food was smartly picked so the overall experience was flawless.

We had a seafood assortment containing Carpaccio of Dentex, sea-bass, shrimps, octopus and tuna served with a white from Languedoc, pasta with tomatoes and basil with an Australian Shiraz and a juicy magret de canard with a perfectly roasted crunchy skin on the outside with citrus fruit and sweet sauce pairing a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

2010 Chateau Capion Le Colombier Terrasses du Larzac Languedoc

Blend of 65% Viognier and 35% Roussanne. Yellow straw color. A well developed and sweet nose, reminding more of a sweet wine, showing lavish aromas of honey and linden mixed with dried stone fruits. Full, ample and unctuous on the palate, low acidity but still gaining credits by showing richness. Medium plus finish, a bit spicy. (88/100)

The salty flavors of the sea food dish paired extremely well with the sweet aromas of this white wine.

2008 M. Chapoutier Domaine Tournon Lady’s Lane Heathcote-Victoria Shiraz Australia

Decanted and left to breath for almost 2 hours and it still did not open up completely. This is far away from the unpleasant Australian fruit bombs. Deep red color. The nose is well developed and tempered, but showing good complexity and depth. It is ripe but there is more than just fruit behind it. Full bodied, rich and powerful, well balanced, the wine remains velvety on the palate, with sweet ripe tannins that feel completely integrated and flavors of dried figs, liquorice, black pepper, blackberry and bilberry jams. The finish is long with spicy, pure blackberry essence. The wine is big but it is elegant and well contained. 14.5% (90-91/100)

It paired pretty well with the pasta dish.

2008 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley

This one was decanted and left to breath for about 2h and a half. Opaque, deep red-purple color. This is an absolutely amazing wine. It has 15.5% alcohol, but it is perfectly balanced and you wouldn’t guess the high level.

A well developed, intense, elegant and complex nose, it has depth and it shows layers as it opens up. The aromatic profile shows sweet cassis, liquorice, smoke, leather, prunes, bilberry, cedar and sandalwood. Remarkably well structured, balanced, rich and elegant, this full bodied wine displays intense flavors complexity, which makes it rather difficult to describe, but it is the reason why it is a success. It is rich in tannin and from the first sip you can feel it is a manly wine, supple, showing distinguished flavors of prunes, blackberry, cedar and dark chocolate. The finish is long and rich. A wine that is perfectly enjoyable as it is now, but also with tremendous aging potential; it can evolve further and develop even more complexities. 15.5% (93/100)

It matched very well the duck breast’s juiciness, while the sweet sauce brought freshness to this wine.

Have I mentioned I love some MONDAY’s ?

Nachbil Shyraz Barrique 2003

September 3, 2012 8 comments

Older Romanian wines are, unfortunately, a rare commodity, but 5 or 7 years from now the situation will probably change based on the number of wineries that were launched over the last couple of years and hopefully they will understand that it is important to keep a small stock of each vintage at least for the academic exercise of seeing how your wines evolve in time. I am pretty sure that consumers that love your wine will also appreciate to have the possibility to buy older wines long after the vintage. There is also the risk that, knowing that your wine cannot age, why keep a stock of it ? But then, why the high price ?

I read some reviews of the 2003 Nachbil Shyraz Barrique tasted by a few of my Romanian wine bloggers colleagues and these reviews are rather polarized. Some liked it a lot, others found it rather modest, not to say more.

I will tell you my experience with it. The cork is very healthy and there is just a small 1 mm of it soaked in wine. So no worries about keeping it further from this perspective.

After uncorking it, immediately poured, the wine is completely dumb and muted. It actually requires at least 3 hours of breathing in order to open up and reveal its true character. I made the mistake of not pouring it into a decanter and just left it to breath in the bottle. I would advice anyone that wishes to drink this wine to use a decanter and leave it there for at least 2-3 hours. The improvement is really sizable.

Some of my colleagues that tasted this wine blindly scored it in the lower 80s/100. This is true if the wine was not aerated enough. But if you allow it the proper time, as mentioned before, the change is really sizable.

Nachbil Shyraz Barrique 2003

The color is dark red and it does not appear to be any sign of aging. The bouquet is medium intense and shows almost no fruit, but there are nice aromas of coffee, tobacco, game, wet tea leaves and iron (just like blood smells), but everything covered by a rich, appealing layer of cedar that gives nice freshness. As the wines breathes, it gains in body and rounds up dramatically. What is intriguing is the unexpected sweetness in the mouth, where the red fruit is so generous that takes you completely unguarded, especially after the scarcity of any fruity aromas on the nose. The tannins are well blended and the finish is medium long, with hints of coffee and tobacco box. A wine that resembles a 30-40 years old mature Bordeaux on the nose, but lively and enticing on the palate. Still pleasant to drink and can hold here for many more years. (88-89/100)

Categories: Romania Tags: , , ,

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve range @ Hilton Bucharest

On May 31, 2012 I attended a tasting of 6 wines from Kendall-Jackson organized by Lerida, the Romanian importer of these wines, at Hilton Hotel in Bucharest. The event was organized as a small wine fair, where people could go from one table to another and taste each individual wine, and started with a short presentation of the producer and its wines given by Mr Sergiu Nedelea.

I found out that Kendall-Jackson controls approximately 6,000 ha of vines in Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara County and is producing wines for nearly three decades. The Romanian importer offered two whites and four reds from the Vintner’s Reserve range for the tasting.

As an overall impression, these cannot be characterized as subtle wines – especially the whites that march rather heavily on toasty oak flavors, while the reds are intended for relatively short to medium term drinking. All wines are pleasantly balanced and have good, relatively low alcohol levels (13-13.8%), with minty aromas (the reds) that make them easier to drink and enjoy.

2010 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc can benefit from a little aeration in the glass. It starts with a pronounced smoky nose initially, but, as it settles down, it gives some nice floral aromas underneath the ripe white fruit. Round and mouth-filling with a honeysuckle finish.

2010 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay is deeply gold colored and has intense aromas of toasty oak and butter, full bodied and creamy on the palate, with intense tropical flavors and a medium finish. This is a bit too oaky for me.

I also tasted:

2008 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir, highly extracted, but balanced overall;

2008 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot that shows a good structure, probably the best of the 4 reds tasted, and feels supple on the palate;

2008 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Shiraz with pronounced spicy aromas, a dense and rich nose, but also showing some unusual metallic flavors (other people I discussed with sampled the same wine from a different bottle that showed a cooked character, so it seems there are some bottle variations for Shiraz). Balanced and enjoyable overall.

2007 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was rather closed both on the nose as on the palate, and only after a few good tens of minutes in the glass showed a more expressive, fruit driven profile.

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