Here comes the sun.

7

 

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Its been a while. The sun is not the most frequent guest at this latitude and the sporadic visits are easy to count. I guess it demands a certain willpower to accept this. If you’re not native and have moved here from a more southern parallel, I guess the fact not seeing the sun for days must be something of a shock. Scandinavians have learned to live with it. We know our spring and summer are truly beautiful and worth waiting for. Short and intense yes, but probably the best in the world!

To keep away the winter blues some seek comfort in special light therapy lamps. Some goes on longer holidays to the south and some of us finds the light in a truly magnificent Syrah. This winter, Syrah has more than once blessed my day. La Landonne, La Mouline, La Turque and d’Ampuis all gave me those moments that will last until senility says otherwise.

As good as it gets?

Then there’s Le Sol. I know, I also thought it meant ‘the sun’ lacking any far-reaching skills in French. Soil. It means soil. Le Terroir.

I’ve had the fortune to taste 2007 Le Sol twice this winter. First at the Craggy Range booth when the kiwis invaded Stockholm for a tasting some months ago. I liked it. A lot. Out of all wines tasted that afternoon I went home with a new found knowledge; there’s a LaLaLa in New Zealand as well and I just got to have some of these to taste at home!

Since I never get wine gifts for birthday or Christmas I knew there was only one way to compensate for this fear amongst givers; I had to buy my own Christmas present. So, having finally beaten all the mandatory Christmas sickness amongst the kids, the evening came – time for Le Sol.

When thinking of it I almost feel sorry for Le Sol. Popped the day before New Year’s eve it didn’t get the chance to make it to my yearly, but already posted, top list. Sure, it was my choice on the tasting but great wines are preferably tasted in a relaxed environment. I will solve this welfare problem by popping my last during 2011…

Le Sol deserves your attention. The Syrah from the Gimblett Gravels Vineyard on the ancient bed of the Ngaruroro river has its very own and unique style. The stony soil (and of course a bunch of other factors as well) has given name to a specific character that is found here; Gimblett dust meaning red wines with richness, excellent ripeness and elegance with a dusty tannin finish.

Hello bottled sunshine! Given several hours in the decanter. Already when popped and tasted I know I’m gonna like this. Man, the coming hours are going to be like Christmas from a child’s point of view. When’s that f-ing Santa coming? I can’t wait! But hey, I’m an adult and realize that patience will reward my taste buds….

2007 Craggy Range Le Sol, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay (94-95 p)

Pure class on the nose. Dark berries, game, pepper and gently used oak (dark chocolate). Licorice and floral notes adds depth together with a dusty summer road/wet rocks feel to it. No doubt this is Syrah – the components are there and although Gimblett dusty, it is easy to start making northern Rhone parallels. Young yes, but so promising.

Great wines in great vintages masks the tannin structure in a way so you almost tend to forget they actually are there. The tannins that is. Le Sol in 2007 is such a wine. I love the combination of lavish amounts of sweet ripe fruit, a good shoot of the finest tannins, minerals; in this case wet rocks – and a bone dry taste. It’s all about a constant journey for the nose and taste buds.

Intense and yet elegant with a creamy dark berries taste, bay leafs, licorice and a floral note that closes in on lavender. The oak is more evident in the taste but considering this is a long keeper it will integrate. That I won’t doubt. Long, long and pure finish. Would have been a true joy to sit on a case of this and follow the coming decade – or two. I would probably have had mine within the first decade because I know how my brain works – why wait hysterically long for something that is already beautiful? But it will last. It will….

The snow is at least white…

Le Sol – my kind of light therapy when the spring and summer seems an eternity away!

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right

N.B. Yup, it’s The Beatles…

N.B.2. Although I have tasted quite a lot of NZ wines by now I still consider myself at a learning stage. This is both thrilling and at the same time a bit sad. I need to learn and understand but that means I can’t buy a case of for example the 2007 Le Sol without reducing my continuing curiosity. I guess that’s the downside of not being a millionaire…

N.B.3. Served with a big bird, an unbelievably unhealthy but worth-dying-for sauce, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and almond potatoes. You guessed it; Danish Christmas eating.

N.B.4. The NZ wine guru himself seems to be most pleased as well with the 2007.


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  • Zoli

    I just had this beauty a few weeks ago, in a blind tasting (we only knew that all the wines were syrah), and it won the game for me. Outstanding stuff.

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    Agree! Was it Syrah wines from all over the world or just NZ's you tasted blind?

    Best

    Niklas

  • Zoli

    Hi Niklas, we opened some cool climate wines, a Guigal Vignes de l'Hospice, a Yann Chave Hermitage, and two which are not known internationally. These two were both from one of the new stars of the Hungarian wine scene, Gróf Buttler, located in the Eger wine region.

    Cheers,
    Zoli

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    Zoli, now you made me curious on that Hungarian producer! Hungary is on the list to find out more about and I have some interesting reds lying awaiting popping. But this one I've never heard about. Now I only need to chase it down. Any suggestions on where to find?

    Best

    Niklas

  • Zoli

    I'm afraid it's hard to find outside Hungary. Though I've found this link (an Amsterdam shop?):

    http://www.wijnadvies.com/grof_buttler.php

    Hth,
    Zoli

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    Thanks! I will check with them! Any suggestions on which are their best wines?

  • Zoli

    Some think that the Egri Bikavér Nagy-Eged 2006 is really good, but their best is maybe the two syrah. The premium syrah is called Phantom, at more than double the price as the other one. For me, the cheaper (around 20 EUR here) tasted better now, but that is not a long term keeper

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