Tasting notes

 

2012 Escherndorfer Lump Trockenbeerenauslese, Horst Sauer, Franken, Germany

Horst Sauer Escherndorfer LumpIn times when people seem to become panic-struck as soon as there’s some sweetness in a wine, I continue saluting wines such as Horst Sauer’s monumental Trockenbeerenauslese from the great site of Lump in Escherndorf, Franconia. Sniffing and drinking this youngster is like walking on air, a wine sending me in to cloud nine mode. Just around six percent this beautiful and weightless Silvaner has a purity to die for. Tropical scents, spring honey, high, youthful acidity and yet a restrained mineral feel. Despite the low  alcohol content it has an everlasting taste. There’s a good amount of residual sugar in the Lump and yet it’s the freshness in focus. How is it possible, how can you create such a masterpiece? Oh, you have to be a genius? I pity all afraid of sugar….

The Virtuoso says:

Wine ratings

 

 

Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner to locate the wine in your market. Expect to pay around 75-100 euros for 50 cl bottles. 

2010 Prephylloxera – La Vigna di Don Peppino, Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Etna, Sicily, Italy

Prephylloxera La Vigna di Don PeppinoLet’s make this clear right from the start; the 2010 Prephylloxera – La Vigna di Don Peppino is a fantastic wine. If it’s worth almost the double in price compared to the other single vineyard Etna wines of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, is another thing though. Why? Simply because it’s not a better wine in any way but just as good. Limited production and century old vines sets the price. Decide yourself if you’re in or not.

That said; the 2010 is a great vintage for the winery and the Prephylloxera has a slightly darker color than normally associated with Etna Rosso. The bouquet is still youthful and dominated by oak, but behind all the toasted scents there’s a gorgeous floral nose with oozing wet rocks. Roses, black cherries, tar and leather. The density impresses. Tasting the wine is a true pleasure. Dark berries showing excellent phenolic ripeness (at this altitude by the way, amazing!) and an acidity structure hiding behind all the fruit feel. The tannins reminds a bit of a light-styled Barbaresco. Present for sure but never dominating the show. Plenty of toasted oak but do show patience. These wines integrates the wood remarkably quick and the wine will benefit of at least seven or eight years of cellaring. Taste one, to experience the seductive mineral driven style and the classy over all balance, and if you can afford more bottles do age them. Etna rocks!

The Virtuoso Says:

Tasting note
Find the wine? Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner of the site. Expect to pay around EUR 60 (USD 80) for the 2010.

2011 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon, Marlborough, New Zealand

Greywacke Wild SauvignonNo canned asparagus here, this is one heck of a Sauvignon blanc expressing subtle scents of toasted oak, stone fruits, green apples primarily, some unripe peaches and wet earth. A creamy feel on the palate with just a dash of vanilla from the oak treatment. Green apples, gentle tropical notes and fine acidity. Dry taste and a long, slightly herbal finale. This is without doubt the best Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand I’ve had in 2013 and a relief from so many correct but boring kiwi versions of the grape.

Used oak and indigenous yeast. That’s two parts of the trick for the 2011 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon from Marlborough. Is that the way for Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand? There are already excellent wines like this out there but for sure I’d love to see even more. New Zealand is too a great wine country to get stuck in consumers prejudices!

The Virtuoso Says:

Tasting note
Find the wine? Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner of the page.

2011 Cornas, Stéphane Robert, Domaine du Tunnel, Rhône

2011 Cornas Domaine du TunnelHow do you reason when writing your wine shopping-list? Are you one of those just focusing on what the critiques claim a top vintage, or do you try them all? If the radar is set at years like 2010 only, you will miss out on beautiful millésimes such as 2011. Yes, it doesn’t possess the concentration and aging potential in general as the top wines of the previous year. But it offers a purity in the cool fruit, a minerality and a finesse which at least I adore. The best examples of 2011 expresses a sense of place which I don’t find in the same extent in 2010. Like Stéphane Robert’s elegant 2011 Cornas. The oozing wet rocks, the mix of freshly crushed dark cherries and just a dash of raspberries, the herbal scents, the skilled use of oak….it’s gorgeous. A bit restrained on the palate but give it an hour in the decanter if you’re tasting it now and not keeping a few years. I love the tannin structure which has a slight greenish feel, in a positive sense. Violets, plum skin, dark cherries. Sweet licorice. But most of all; a long pure finale and that cool fruit which I seem to prefer more and more compared to high phenolic ripeness. Stéphane is a star; traditional and yet not. Don’t miss his Saint-Joseph from the same vintage. Earlier drinking but shaped in a similar way.

The Virtuoso says:

Tasting note

 

 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

2011 Elöhegy Furmint, Bott Pince, Tokaj

Elöhegy Bott PinceAt the visit to Bott Pince I admit the wines from Csontos and Teleki ended up being in focus although I really liked the Elöhegy as well. Time to check if my initial thoughts on the wine still applies. A bottle brought to friends, served blind. Oh my, this is the essence of purity! Stone fruits, lots of wet rocks and just a dash of white peaches and apricots. A floral note. Then the taste which just confirms how skilled she is, Judit Bott. This is so clean, refreshing and a joy to drink. Still young, the stone fruits notes hides the acidity well and just a dash of residual sugar (around 5 g/l). But in the long, pure finale the acidity shows up. Probably even a better wine in two years or so but how am I going to be able to resist their current charm? The new Tokaj rocks and Elöhegy, a single vineyard in the north of the region close to Tolcsva, is one you need to check out. That and the 399 other single vineyards of Tokaj.

Closure? Glass stopper. Bravo!

The Virtuoso says

Brilliant

 

 

Find the wine? Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2011 Friandise, Domaine Melody, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône

IMG_5020

I know, I thought exactly the same at first. What kind of name is that. Domaine Melody. The explanation?  The family estate used to cultivate both grapes and peaches. The grapes they used to sell to the co-operative, Cave de Tain, but when deciding to focus on wine, the peaches were uprooted. But just to keep them in memory, the estate was named after the peach sort they cultivated, Melody. I’m tasting through the portfolio of Melody. They’re all good, promising wines. Especially the 2011 Friandise Crozes-Hermitage is worth a mention. Not because it’s a memorable wine but for it’s purity, mineral driven light style and food friendly style. Easy to like. No oak, just seductive dark cherry spiced Syrah fruit with a dash of something green. Quite lovely and a tener at the estate! Yes, 10 euros.

The Virtuoso Says

Formidable

 

 

Wednesday, June, 12, 2013

2007 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett, Willi Schaefer, Mosel

IMG_5398

I’m a lieblich guy. That is, I prefer when my German Rieslings have a dash of sweetness left. If I’m amiable I’ll leave for others to decide. Especially when it comes to Mosel I am extremely hesitant should I support the dry attempts or not. Something’s missed when fermenting a Mosel dry, a part of the unrivaled complexity. The king of lieblich Riesling is, in my book, Willi Schaefer in Graach. Just take the 2007 Graacher Domprobst as an example. On the label saying Kabinett but surely harvested at a Spätlese level, the 2007 is light as a feather and still packed with flavors. Oozing wet rocks, that gorgeous acidity, integrated sweetness. An alcohol content below 10 percent. Only Mosel gurus can deliver juice like this! And it still shows aging potential. Why and when did people become so freaking afraid of sugar? Is 14 percent alcohol to prefer?

The Virtuoso Says

Formidable

 

Pick up a Schaefer wine? Use the wine-searcher box in the right top corner of the site.

Monday, June, 10, 2013

2011 La Comtesse en Côte Blonde, Christophe Pichon, Côte-Rôtie, Rhône

IMG_5114

Christophe Pichon’s 2011 La Comtesse en Côte Blonde is a real charmer. I know, it’s a bit typical for the Côte Blonde part, but this is pure old vines Syrah. No Viognier intervention whatsoever. New oak helps of course but the La Comtesse has that gorgeous balance between elegance and power. And when handled gently in a cooler vintage like 2011, Christophe Pichon shows why this is a year for the true Syrah fans, those who seek wines expressing a sense of place. This one does.

If you aren’t in a hurry, it’s worth picking up a few of the 2011 and age for up to a decade. Drink it now? Expect freshly crushed dark berries with a dash of the purest raspberries. Expect some violet scents, gently toasted oak and a seductive spiciness. This is a class act and yet, on the palate, you just can’t stop having another sip. The cool berry fruit feeling, the wet rocks, the purity. Tannins. There’s lots of them but they’re not hurting you, just adding more depth. Honestly, it wouldn’t be a punishment if I would have to drink Côte-Rôtie reds of this kind on a regular basis.

The Virtuoso Says:

Brilliant

 

 

Find the wine? Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner of the page.

 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2009 Palivou Estate Single Vineyard Selection, Nemea, Greece

IMG_5440

Guess it was a while since you chose a Greek red right? Don’t know where to start perhaps? Then Palivou Estate’s Single Vineyard Selection is a fine choice. Loved the 2009 which, tasted blind, took me to Italy. There’s both a Nebbiolo and a southern Italy feel over the wine. Leather and dark cherries. Herbal. Good tannin structure. Never too much alcohol. Actually a bit restrained and in need of further aging to fully show its potential.

Should you find older ones I believe the 2006 is at its best now. Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner of the page to locate the wine.

The Virtuoso Says:

Formidable

 

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2009 Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg Silvaner Grosses Gewächs, Johann Ruck, Franken (screwcap)

Nostalgia! My first vineyard visit was in 1998. I went to Franken and amongst those visited, Johann Ruck was one of my favorites. Not only for the fact that Iphofen is such a beautiful village but they also represent the best of Silvaner Franken, thus the best wines of the variety in the world!

The 2009 Silvaner from one of the top sites, Julius-Echter-Berg, is a fine, mineral driven and quite concentrated wine. Some wool, smoky mineral, green apples, herbs  and fresh cheese. Bone dry and with a cool character feeling. Green apples, lime peel, wet rocks and again that wool character. Long, pure finale. This, my friends, is exactly how a Silvaner shall taste, to convince skeptics. Johann Ruck is even better than I remembered him.

The Virtuoso says:

 

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2009 Blaufränkisch, Heinrich, Burgenland, Austria (Glass cork)

I’m starting to think Austrians are world leading when it comes to alternative closures. Is there any statistics on that by the way? A personal favorite of mine, Heinrich in Burgenland, is no exception.

The entry Blaufränkisch at this highly regarded producer will rarely, if ever, disappoint you. Selling around a tener (euros) it is packed with red cherries, white pepper, some green scents and a marigold scent. The taste delivers an uncomplicated, dry, acidity driven red sour cherries feel, some herbal notes and pepper. Pure fruit. Not long, not short. Just good!

The Virtuoso says:

 

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2009 Mountford Estate Hommage a l’Alsace, Waipara Valley, New Zealand (Screwcap)

Have I been longing for this one or not? A case of the 2009 Hommage a l’Alsace from Mountford Estate in Waipara Valley, bought two years ago, was finally brought home. So last week; case delivered, case opened, bottle put in fridge and wine enjoyed.

Hommage A l’Alsace is a tribute to Alsace, a weak spot of C.P Lin, the winemaker at Mountford. The wine is a blend of the noble grapes of Alsace, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Gris and Riesling. And oh yes, a dash of a fifth secret grape as well, also found in Alsace. I had the wine for the first time last time I met Kathryn Ryan, the owner of the estate. Sadly the wine was not chilled enough and it was a pretty hot day, so tough to judge.

Now the situation is different. Unscrewing, thank you, and it doesn’t take long for the wine to unfold in the glass. Lots of smoky minerality, restrained floral scents, peaches, wax and lime peel. In the background a dash of coconut and pineapple. One would probably think here comes sweetness when tasting it, but no, it is a dry wine with classy acidity and fine wet rock like taste. Lime, unripe pineapple, some yellow fruits, wax and slightly herbal. Good concentration and really fine length. Just as good on the second day without loosing grip, this baby can develop! 11 to go…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2009 Lapis Furmint, Demeter Zóltan, Tokaj, Hungary (Glass cork)

Zóltan goes glass cork on his premium dry Tokaj wines! When one of the top producers in Hungary chooses an alternative closure, I think that says it all.  Not only is it the ultimate customer care, but also a way to secure the quality and avoid varying bottles. When the best dares, one can only hope others will follow.

The 2009 Lapis Furmint, a top Furmint from a single vineyard roughly 190 meters above sea level,  is such a thrilling effort. Both barrel fermented and barrel aged; yet it doesn’t show any oak domination despite the youth. Lots of wet rocks, smoke, yellow fruits and wool on the nose. I can’t help but think top Burgundy again. On the palate it offers an amazing balance, good concentration and a long lingering mineral finish. Creamy. Kumquats, lime, herbs and wet rocks. Some vanilla notes.  Smoke.
2173 bottles of this one. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2011 Ried Steinberg Riesling, Wien, Weingut Hajszan Neumann, Austria (Screw cap)

Finally it’s here, the 2011 vintage from Stefan Hajszan! The aware reader has probably noticed the adding of a new partner, Neumann, which results in a broader portfolio and more interesting stuff for us to taste.

I start with the Riesling from Ried Steinberg and quickly realizes that the quality is there. An infant yes, but still packed with mineral scents, green apples, some herbal notes and yellow fruits. Pretty seductive! On the palate it shows that thrilling and lively acidity of the weingut (ok, it’s young as well), stone fruits, wet rocks, some smoke, a discrete floral note and just clean delicious fruit. Nice concentration but never too much. Fine herbal finish. There’s a lot of love and dedication at Hajszan-Neumann, somethinhg that almost always is shown in the glass!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2006 Blaufränkisch Leithaberg, Toni Hartl, Austria (Screw cap)

This wine keeps on surprising me. First time I had it there was this slight disappointment, which made me put the bottle in the refrigerator, hoping for more the next day. On the second day it delivered to the extent that I just had to buy more!

Toni Hartl uses some pretty old grapes for this one. Around 40 years old. The location, in the DAC Leithaberg, is simply made for Blaufränkisch, a grape that like Syrah, seems to not onlylike the heat but also need it.

My second bottle is unscrewed a year later. Lesson learned and the wine is allowed to breathe for quite some time. Still young but very enjoyable. Lots of sour cherries, herbal scents, some toasted oak, spices, especially pepper and a humus feeling. Violets after some further aeration.

Then the taste. I really like Blaufränkisch and insist on serving it regularly at home, to our friends. Just to show there’s nothing to be afraid of. The cherries return on the palate. Not soure, more like morellos now. Some fresh herbs, a slightly green note as well, violets, ground coffee and humus. Mouth-watering acidity, ripe tannins, slightly sage like taste and with a long fine finish. Sometimes I think the Burgenland wines of Blaufränkisch is everything the Valpolicella wines could be.

This one will make it a further three or four years without trouble. Bought here (EUR 18).

————————————————————————————————-

“Moving this section of my site to ordinary posts instead. Also skipping the scores. I’ve kind of grown up. Furthermore, this section becomes a place for me to raise some awareness on the many great wines under screw cap!”

No, don’t expect to only find five euro wines here. A fifty euro wine can also be a great value! However, expect to find wines that do deliver and has its own character making it worth chasing down! Click the price for a retailer.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2010 Contacto, Anselmo Mendes, Vinho Verde, Portugal, around 11-13 euros, 88-89 p

A neglected part of my site. Shame on me. Better start the new year in the best possible way then and recommend a delicious Alvarinho from the master himself; Anselmo Mendes. This is pure minerality and clean, clean fruit. Fennel, lime, juciy green apples and wet rocks. Good concentration although never too much so that it looses its food-pairing abilities. This is the wine you want to drink. This is the guy you want to support!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2010 Neudorf Chardonnay, Nelson, New Zealand, around 16 euros, 89-90 p

Don’t worry. I’ve had many great value wines since last posting. This one for example. The bright shining star in Nelson. I love Neudorf’s Chardonnays and the 2010 is no exception. Refreshing on the nose with scents of lime peel, passion fruit, wet rocks, pears and toasted fine oak. It’s generous but never too much. On the palate the wine shows its youthful side. Vibrant acidity, clean fruit – a mix of pears, peaches and passion fruit, mineral feel and gentle toasted oak. Long, refreshing finish. I would have a hard time keeping away from this one already, but short term patience will be rewarded. If you’re a quercophobian fundamentalist I recommend you find something else though…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2007 Cuvée Spéciale, Viré Clessé, André Bonhomme, around EUR 14, 87-88 p

Delightful Chardonnay. Lots of mineral feel and lemon peel makes this a good deal. Green apples, slightly herbal and a touch from the oak. Parts of the wine (60 per cent) has fermented and then aged  in oak, the rest in steel. Quite acidity driven which calls for food. Clean and crisp. Perhaps something of an acquired taste. Still, not often one can find a mature Chardonnay at a reasonable price.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2007 Mangan, Cullen, Margaret River, EUR 20+, 90-91 p

I’ve always liked the wines from Margaret River, at least I only have fond memories of the Western Australian region. The 2007 Mangan is no exclusion. A blend of more or less equal parts of Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Some similarity when compared with a top Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux but after some aeration it shows more black cherries, spices and floral notes than I find in the BDX counterpart. Starting to show some complexity with cedar notes and licorice. A delicious mouth-feel. Elegant but at the same time a bit robust. Hard to explain. Think it’s the Malbec and Petit Verdot parts that works the opposite way of the Merlot. Spicy blackberries, good tannin grip, licorice and humus. Long, a bit robust finish. Food wine.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

NV Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Réserve Grand Cru, Champagne, EUR 25-30, 87-88 p

I’ve always liked Champagne but never really bought more than the instant need.  Shame on me, Champagne shouldn’t be bought the very same day it is supposed to be had! Therefore I’ve started to make sure there always are some choices at home – the Pierre Peters for example. For years it has provided us with a good entry quality at a decent price. A dry, green apples mouth-watering taste and lots of citrus. Lots of bubbles. The perfect start simply. Why pay ten plus euros for a more recognized brand when you don’t get better wine?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2009 Quercioli, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Medici Ermete, Around 8 euros

It’s been a great day. A lot of sunshine. What better then to have dinner at the local beach? Grilled sausages and a Dijon spicy potato salad. The kids are playing at the water’s edge, building a canal system which impresses, at least for four years old engineers. At moments like this it feels quite natural not to put too much effort in analyzing what’s in the glass. Joy and laid-back indulgence are in focus. Slightly chilled Lambrusco helps to enhance the mood. Don’t think too much. Just give in to the fact that the slight sweetness, the carbonic acid and the fresh red berries feel brings perfection to the evening. Lambrusco – when the wine nerd stops analyzing….

Friday, July 22, 2011

2007 Esprit, Spinifex, Barossa, Around 20 euros, 90-91 p

For some reason I’ve never really appreciated Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Don’t know why actually. But this I like – a lot! A blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. From Barossa! It’s funky with lots of sweet ripe berries, gentle spice shop, some floral notes and a touch of dried leather and licorice. Sweet, intense taste. Gobs of fruit; raspberries and plums. Licorice, some tobacco and violets. Again, a barnyard feel. Dusty summer road. Acidity backing up. Long finish. So, why do I fall for this one but seldomly C9dP? Do I have an Aussie palate?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2008 Biancodicaselle, Etna Bianco, Benanti, EUR 8,60, (86-87 p)

Wooh! What’s this, our hosts said. Never tried anything like that. We’re in the archipelago and while waiting for the grill to be perfect, the Benanti bottle is poured. I had almost expected the reaction. Few have tasted a white with the character of the Carricante grape from Etna. Lava love! Lots of roasted almonds, iodine, smoke, green apples and modeling clay. Not bone dry on the palate; there’s a slight touch of sweetness to it which is just lovely with the typical Etna acidity. Lemon peel, apples and almonds. A great glass to sip. Try it with some antipasti. Also, have the Pietramarina Carricante from the same producer. Century old vines. Truly awesome.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

2007 Outeiro, Daõ, Alvaro Castro, EUR 4,19, (84-85 p)

Alvaro Castro is da man in Daõ! No matter if we’re talking about everyday wines or world-class stuff; Alvaro delivers. The Outeiro is just one example of his skills. A blend of Alfrocheiro Prieto, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. No, the Alfrocheiro doesn’t possess the grandness of the queen, Touriga Nacional, but surely provides excellent material for well-made everyday reds. Or rosé for that matter (do try the Qta de Pellada rosé from Alvaro). Lots of plums, tobacco, licorice, flowers and wet earth. Juicy fruit but still with acidity and some tannins making the 2007 a perfect drink now. Plum skins, violets and cherries. A herbal touch. Some length to this one. I’ve said it before and will happily do it again; Daõ is one of the wine world’s most underrated regions!

Friday, July 15, 2011

2008 Amigne de Vétroz, Valais, Jean-René Germanier, CHF 19, (89-90 p)

Not trying to act special here and only recommend grapes you’ve never heard of. Rather read it as an attempt to highlight the beauty of diversity! This one was served at a friend’s place. “If you nail this one, you can have my wine cellar” he said, thinking self-confidently the risk was nonexistent. Still, I think I saw a bead of sweat when I started mumbling about the Alp regions. I ended up in the Italian part of the mountain range though. This is quite unique. Not for everybody; the oily, rich structure and quite low acidity needs a lieblich taste. Sweetness saying semi-dry, leaning towards semi-sweet. Lots of mineral feel in both the bouquet and taste. Anjou pears, jasmine and herbal honey as well. A real foie gras wine! And yes, Amigne is the grape, Vétroz a part of Valais in Switzerland.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2009 Kövérszőlő, Gróf Degenfeld, Tokaj, EUR 8,35/50 cl, (89-90 p), sample


Peach pie on the table. Kövérszőlő in the glasses. Seriously, pronouncing Kövérszőlő must be the last question in Who wants to be a Millionaire. It’s the name of the grape. A Tokaj variety rarely seen outside the blend. For Gróf Degenfeld it is actually the first time they’re releasing it as a variety wine. Hope they continue because this is sweet seduction. Restrained dessert wine. Hints of tropical fruits but also green apples and lemon peel. Wet cool earth. Herbal honey. Not cloyingly sweet, more the refreshing kind of taste. Elegant, gracile and a real charmer. Perfect pie pairing. Kövérszőlő.

Monday, July 11, 2011

2007 Làvico Vajasindi, Duca di Salaparuta, EUR 15-20, Etna, (88-89 p), sample

Best wine so far? The 2007 Làvico Vajasindi from the large-scale producer of Duca di Salaparuta is worthy of your attention. Normally I am a bit skeptical when the big sharks goes boutique. In this case however, Duca di Salaparuta offers an outstanding and personal interpretation of Nerello Mascalese – at a most competitive price. The 2007 is elegant with smoke, dark cherries, wet earth and gentle oak use. Fine tannin structure, lovely acidity and starting to mature. As always, your preferences determine when you drink this but the current mix of vivid fruit, acidity and initiated maturity, are spot on my taste. I’m drinking now!

Friday, July 8, 2011

2007 Quimera, Achaval-Ferrer, Mendoza, EUR 19,90, (90-91 p), sample

Everything is relative. For the price this is a great value and all Bordeaux-lovers ought to pick up one. A classic Medoc blend. Well almost. Add the trademark of Mendoza, Malbec, to the blend. The gentle touch of Roberto Cipresso keeps impressing. This is all about high-altitude fruit; dark cherries, grass, violets, fine toasted and discrete oak, humus and elegance. Lovely mouth-fill with plenty of tannins but the fruit and tickling acidity to complete it. Lead pencil, wet earth and grass. A floral note. Great length and lots of potential. Needs a further year or two, at least, to show even more. As always, best on the second day. Achaval-Ferrer rocks!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2009 Valpolicella Classico, Le Ragose, around a tener, (87-88 p)

I have several fond memories of the producer’s great and elegant Amarone but this is the first time I’m having the Valpolicella Classico. Not the last I hope because this is seriously good stuff. Works fab with my Bolognese which brings out a seductive cherry sweetness in the wine. A cool nose with cherry scents, bitter-almond oil, wet earth and a slightly spicy scent. On the palate it is cherry-oriented with some cherry skin as well. Summer road and gentle spice shop. Not for those seeking muscles, this is elegant simply. Impressive length despite a quite low alcohol content. The acidity in the wine and my Bolognese with a slight oily texture is what wine and food is all about; a perfect match!

Friday, July 1, 2011

2009 Chiaramonte Ansonica, Firriato, Sicily, EUR 7.50, (85-86 p)

My Sicilian wine adventures moves to Great value wines temporarily. For being a big producer (around 5 millions of bottles a year) Firriato’s wines are quite individual in style. The Ansonica is for me a good modern approach to wine but still with the Sicilian touch; salted almonds, green apples, herbs and citrus peel. The aromas sends me to Sicily and to a trattoria where I’m sitting sipping Ansonica, waiting for my grilled fish to show up. Good acidity grip, almost sour lemons, green apples, almonds and a hint of chalk. Simply a summer wine, refreshing and yet with character.

Friday, July 1, 2011

2010 Gemischter Satz Piri, Weingut Bauer-Pöltl, A tener?, (85-86 p)

Tasted at a dinner in Horitschon with a bunch of local winemakers. A really nice, floral (jasmine) and refreshing Gemischter Satz. Mainly Grüner Veltliner and Chardonnay complemented with other green grapes. This one offers a mineral driven nose and some restrained tropical scents. A touch of smoke. Gotta love that fruit! It’s so vivid it’s tickling the palate. Bone dry and with citrus and peach driven taste. Wet rocks. Simply a perfect appetizer and a real contrast to the Gemischter from Hajszan.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2009 Il Bacialé, Monferrato (87-88 p) and the 2009 Montebruna, Barbera d’Asti (88-89 p), Braida di Giacomo Bologna, EUR 11,50 per bottle , samples


What do you prefer? A blend of Barbera, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (Il Bacialé) or a Barbera only (Montebruna)? In style; two totally different wines from Braida di Giacomo Bologna. Either the mood decides or you have a preference of your own. The Bacialé is a full-bodied wine with dark berry scents, sweet licorice and humus. Not for those in search of elegance perhaps, but a good mouth-fill perfect for the BBQ. Lots of fruit, tannins and attitude for the modern palate. Good glass. The Montebruna is the elegant wine. Classic Barbera with ripe red berries, tomatoes and a herbal nose. Lovely acidity and although the label says 15 per cent I never care. Long and clean. Really nice. In this race, I’m the Barbera guy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

2010 Weissleiten, Gemischter Satz, Stefan Hajszan, Wien, EUR 10,80, US here, (88-89 p)

Yup. It tastes just as good at home as in Wien. I’m in love with the Weissleiten Gemischter Satz. The freshness, the clean taste and the mineral driven style, both on the nose and on the palate, it’s simply gorgeous. Gravensteiner apples, spice shop the gentle way, wet rocks and a hint of summer flowers and white peaches. Youthful on the palate as well with mouthwatering acidity and restrained cool fruit. Mostly green apples but a discrete hint of tropical fruits lure in the background. Again, the mineral feel. Long finish. Wines like Stefan Hajszan’s Weissleiten ought to be an indicator for many wine producers, what a great food wine is all about. Bravo Stefan!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2008 Weißburgunder Classic Silberbichl, Harm, Wachau, EUR 10,95, (86-87 p)

A before-going-to-Austria-bottle.  Classic Pinot Blanc with green lemons, herbs, wool, lots of moist rocks and pickled green walnuts. (Yup, they’re crazy about that in Austria) I guess it’s not for all, especially not for seekers of cold fermented wines with generous fruit feel. On the palate it is all about a mineral driven taste with fine balancing acidity and Granny Smiths, lemon, asparagus and wool. It’s bone dry and quite a mouthwatering glass. If you think Pinot Blanc is boring then I guess you’ll have to try this one….

Monday, June 13, 2011

2010 Capitel Foscarino, Anselmi, Veneto, EUR 12,70, (87-88 p)


Anselmi has a special place in my heart. It was the first serious Soave I came in contact with many years ago and I still treasure the wines. The sweet I Capitelli is still one of my top choices with strawberries and the dry Capitel Foscarino is just a great glass for any occasion. From a vineyard site 350 meters above sea-level, the Foscarinoi delivers cool aromas of wet rocks, pears, peaches and flowers. A touch of gunflint as well. It smells of summertime (although I don’t know how I’m thinking there, on the gunflint theme). Loads af mouth-watering fruit and delicious acidity. It’s all about balance. Garganega with a little helping hand from Chardonnay. No oak. Why should they?

Friday, June 10, 2011

2009 Obermairl Hof Riesling, Eisacktal, Val d’Isarco DOC, EUR 14, (87-88 p)

Sorry, stretching the limits of what many consider a great value, but Riesling this good is a treat on a boring Wednesday! Val d’Isarco; yet one of those unheard of regions in the DOC flora of Italy. This darling is bone dry with a feeling of high-altitude grown grapes. Cool, crisp, floral and Granny Smiths. Clean and with mouthwatering acidity. A slight scent of gas station. Obviously that’s a mistake if you listen to the grand man of Rhone. However, I drank my lovely mistake with great pleasure and so did our guests…

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2008 Albana di Romagna, Fattoria di Monticino, Emilia-Romagna, 10-11 euros, (84-85 p), Sample

It all started with Italian wines almost two decades ago. I remember reading about Albana di Romagna and the fact it was denominated DOCG as the first district in Italy. I tasted one back then and thought it was a joke. Monticino is not a joke. It is actually really nice. Just love those aromas of oranges, jasmine and white peaches. It smells summer! Quite elegant on the palate with tickling acidity, ripe yellow fruit and a touch of herbs. Fine clean finish. Think warm summer evening and a bottle of this. Each…

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2008 Piecorto, Chianti Classico, around 8 euros, (85-86 p), Sample

Wolfgang Weber tells me he wants a good everyday Chianti in his portfolio. One that doesn’t cost more than eight euro bucks. He ends up with the ’08 Piecorto and I’m trying it slightly chilled (15-16 C) to one of my trademarks in the Italian cuisine; lasagne. Youthful color, transaparent. Pure fruit on the nose, sweet cherries, lots of iron, herbs ans sweet-root. Tasting. Mmm…ripe fruit, perhaps lacking the necessary Chianti acidity kick but still showing fine balance, some morellos, iron, fudge and a touch of sweetness. Some length. Given the price, this really decent easy-drinking Chianti succeeds in making my lasagne happy. And me…

Monday, May 23, 2011

2009 Ceraso Rosa, Panizzi, Toscana, EUR 7,25, (85-86 p), Sample

Here’s a fine rosé, or should I say Clairet? The Sangiovese rosa from Panizzi stays on the crushed grapes for around 24 hours and then also ages 5 months in steel. A rosé which benefits from an extra year before being consumed. The 2009 shows a brilliant light ruby color. Quite concentrated nose with summer flowers, pomeogranate, cherries and wet earth.

On the palate it surprises with fine tickling acidity, a good mouthfeel with just a touch of sweet ripe berries, floral notes, humus and a hint of fudge. Clean taste with some length. Hello summertime!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2010 Black Label, Unoaked Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, around a tener, (86-87 p), Sample

Beelgara Winery, amongst the biggest down under, surprises with a cool, restrained Chardonnay with fine fruit, modest alcohol and appetizing acidity. Granny Smiths, lemons, some tropical scents and herbed cream cheese. Apricots, peaches and Granny’s on the palate, with a slightly herbaceous feel. Some lime as well. Good balance, easy drinking but with enough character to make it interesting. An extra plus for the decision not to use oak. Bravo.

Monday, May 9, 2011

2010 La Rosée du Prince, Domaine du Prince, Cahors, EUR 6,50 (82-83 p)

Yup. This is Malbec. What else can you identify already on the color? I must confess my experience with Cahors rosé is microscopic but if they’re like Domaine du Prince’s version I’m prepared to take a closer look. At a ridiculously low price this 2010 offers a pure Clairet like wine with clean scents of raspberries, cherries, wet rocks, flowers and some spices. Dry taste, fine fruit and acidity. Raspberries and strawberries. Pure and kept at a healthy alcohol level. Some length as well. What more can you ask for – at 6,50? By the way; a big bravo for the choice of synthetic cork.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2009 Vigna del Cristo, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Cavicchioli, EUR 7,50 (85-86 p)

Weak spots. One of mine is spelled Lambrusco. Uncomplicated drinking yes, but it can be a delightful drink at the right occasion as well. Slightly chilled on a hot summer day I prefer this to a rosé. To those of you that doesn’t dare saying you like Lambrusco, go for this one. Single vineyard wine without the typical scents and flavors of the yeast and production method. This is all about sour, I mean really sour red cherries, lingonberries, herbs, floral scents and mineral. Light as a feather and less bubbly than the average Lambrusco, this is almost resembling the spontaneous fermented beers of Belgium. Cool!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2007 Quinta da Carregosa Reserva, Douro, EUR 4,38 (86-87 p)

Oh my, oh my. Anyone offering me and my wife a job in Portugal? This is a ridiculously low price for the quality it delivers. 2007. Douro. Need I say this is a fabulous vintage. Again? With the sweet and ripe red berries, mineral scents and licorice on the nose it shows why 2007 is on every Douro passionate’s mind. There’s fine acidity in the taste, good tannin structure and fruit indicating this will evolve for some time. Dry but that sweet fruit feel a great vintage offers. Mineral driven taste. Nice length. Vítor, how can you offer it at this price?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2007 Südtiroler Chardonnay Riserva, Otmar Mair, Bessererhof, EUR 9,80 (88-89 p)

Wines like the 2007 Südtiroler Chardonnay Riserva makes me happy! At the same time as it delivers seduction and easy drinking, it is also restrained and mineral driven. Contradictive? Not at all! Floral, wet earth, pineapples, green apples and a subtle lime scent. Mature but still with vibrant fruit and fine acidity backing up. Dry, although the pineapples adds a feeling of tropical sweetness, wet rocks, slight hint of vanilla and Granny Smith’s. Fine, clean, clean length. How’s it possible to pick up a bottle of this at less than 10 euros? World famous Chardonnay regions watch out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2008 Seeberg Gruner Veltliner, Matthias Hager, Niederösterreich, EUR 11,90 (87-88 p)

With dedicated winemakers like Matthias the consumer don’t have to worry. The old vine Gruner Veltliner delivers classic scents of grey pears, white pepper, herbs and smoky mineral. On the palate it shows a slight sweetness, lots of wet rocks, smoke, an oily texture and a quite long finish. Anjou pears and grapefruit in an exciting mix.  Works great with sunshine! Why isn’t there more of this kind of wine out there?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2005 Ex Libris Reserva Espumante, Bairrada, EUR 8,49 (84-85 p)

Arinto, Bical and Chardonnay. There you have it. Not everyday one bumps into  a Portuguese sparkling wine. This is really nice with lots of character; mature with wet rocks, lime, a floral note and some dried pineapple. 2 years in bottle. Fine mousse, a touch of sweetness, grey pears and pineapple, wet rocks and some bread. Not nearby the real stuff but that’s not the point; a great glass to serve with some slightly spicy food.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2007 Crasto, Quinta do Crasto, Douro, EUR 10,50, (88-89 p)

2007 Douro might be the finest vintage I’ve tasted from the valley. Few wines have disappointed. Even on the entry level the wines deliver. Take the splendid 2007 Crasto as an example. Fine sweet dark fruit on the nose. Lots of minerals. Good tannin structure, plenty of mouthwatering acidity and also fruit to allow the wine to age a few years. Sweet licorice, oozing rocks, plums and dark berries and pure and lengthy finish. Almost as good as the 2007 Vallado Douro!

Monday, April 18, 2011

2009 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek, McLaren Vale, Around 10 Euros, (87-88 p) Sample

Allergic to sweet Aussie seduction? Then stop reading. The ’09 version of the Red Baron Shiraz is all about being accessible right after unscrewing. Seductive, sweet red berries scents, mint, clove, vanilla and humus.  Plums,  humus, mint and some oak on the palate. Behind the sweet fruit there’s a layer of tannins giving the wine its necessary backbone. Nicely integrated alcohol. Quaffable? Heck yeah!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

2010 Malagousia Achaikos Topikos Oinos, Tetramythos, EUR 7,50 (85-86 p)

Wow! What a lovely surprise! I am starting to realize something’s happening in Greece and the Malagousia from Tetramythos just confirms that. Floral notes, smoky mineral, Anjou pears and lemon peel. Pure and slightly spicy taste. Mouthwatering acidity. Dry. A real hit when barbequing white fish. A food friendly wine. Enjoyed over two days. Kept on opening up. Organic wine.

Friday, April 15, 2011

2007 Vigna Pedale Riserva, Torrevento, Castel del Monte, EUR 7,90 (87-88 p)

Great stuff! You probably need a weak spot for Southern Italy and the botti-aged style of wines, in order to like this one. If you do, then it’s hard to find a better glass under 8 euros. One year in botti. 30 years old Uva di Troia vines. Single vineyard. Ruby color. Sweet red cherries, dried fruit, leather, tobacco, dusty summer roads and licorice.  Sweet fruit, slightly scorched earth, sweet-root, leather and figs. Tobacco. Some tannins to add excitement. Botti acidity style. A wine to buy by the case for the summer. Perfect slightly chilled.

Tasting notes

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers