Thursday, July 30, 2009

The funniest wine of the year

Wines needs to be fun.

When I was given this wine (thank you,”M&M”), there was a small “he he”, from my contributor.

“Mad about wine” might on first time look serious, with me trying to take pictures of wine labels in recovery position, and tasting “serious” wine and taking “serious” notes. But at the end of the day, and the more wines I taste, I tend to embrace the simplicity of wine and in all essence the drinkability of a wine.

First of all, the wine in hand is a Vin de Table "Léon" and coming from 2008 vintage. The producer is called Matthieu Dumarcher and from the relative small information I have been able to obtain, this is the second vintage he is releasing. Matthieu has studied wine from the University of Monptellier and has already worked at big wineries in France and Argentine. He is based in the northerly part of the southern Rhône valley and has 4ha of vineyards. He is in favor of the elegant side of wine and is inspired by Michelle Laurents (Domaine Gramenon) and dislikes alcoholic and bold wines.

On opening, the wine is really simple, with a lot of primary unresolved notes of just bluish grape juice. But with a bit of air, purity starts to emerge with red fruits, and notes of raspberry skin. It’s giving the wine a cool fresh breeze. The taste is very light on its toes and provides a refreshing touch. This is a really simple wine, incredible easy to understand and a pleasure to drink. One of the best things about it, is that it’s showing Rhône from a far more elegant side, which I find rather appealing.

And the label – is it just cool or what?

2004 Keller Riesling GG "Hubacker", Germany

Couldn’t find a picture – so with the courtesy from Martin Barz – here is his picture of the wine label.

I don’t think I have tasted a 2004 German Riesling that I didn’t like and even in Champagne I find the 2004’s I have tasted incredible appealing. 2004 “Hubacker” is really mouth coating, dynamic and a lush Riesling. Still made in Keller’s precise style, but offering a lot more broad appealing juiciness. It’s labeled in the section of wines where you feel like drinking the whole bottle in one go. For sure – the big boys from Keller; G-Max, Abtserde and Morstein show even more laser cut lines, but my autopilot was set on “feet up and sunset”, so I had a big smile painted on my face. Man I liked it.

Tasted July-2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2002 J.-L. Vergnon Blanc de Blancs, Champagne

I was given this Champagne by a friend (thank you, Holst) as it did exceptional well at a blind tasting event. Some even compared it to 1996 Krug and it surely peaked my interest even more with a roughly price difference of 170€.

Classic Mesnil character emerges from the glass, with a good portion of chalk, which adds to the slimness and purity of the wine. Fruit aromas are mainly fresh apples, citrus and they get companionship from flowers, toast and some smoke. The taste is “pleasurable” – meaning; elegant, slim, acidity driven and easy to drink. If I turn from Mr. Wine drinker - laid back, enjoying life >>> to the analytic wine taster, I would have to say that the finish is way too short and takes some overall impression away from a very promising nose. So it’s not a mini-Krug – far from it. But it’s still a fairly good Champagne selling at a very good price.

Tasted 11th of June 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

1996 Egly-Ouriet Vintage, Champagne

Some weeks back I read some tasting notes on this Champagne, suggesting it was rapid maturing and not only ready for business, but in risk of heading downhill. So – on a recent Friday, with some old School Danish fall – almost winter dish (*sprængt kalvespidsbryst med kartoffelpuré - *no clue what’s that called in English) I opened this bottle. First of all I was immensely happy to see that my choice of food, actually worked pretty okay – another trophy for the food matching abilities of Champagne. Back to the Champagne, which indeed is very open on the nose – oxidized in style, lots of classic autolysis, caramel, dark bread, walnuts and this smooth and glowing style. The personality is rich and broad and the picture should in some way represent the furry side of this style – “Teddy bear style”. Tasting a Champagne of perfect maturity is one thing (and a good thing), but what I missed here was tickly energy. You got a little bit of exotic flowers, almost like a seductive evening perfume, but the soft insinuating style kept it a bit too rich, lacking a bit in sharpness. However, where you never felt it was falling apart was the high 1996 acidity, which brings some sort of freshness to both nose and palate. Overall I would have to say, that I wasn’t jumping up and down, but was fairly pleased. On thing is certain – I see no reason why one should cellar it further.

Tasted July 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

NV Jacques Selosse, Initiale, Champagne

(Disgorgement date 18/1/2008)

Initial again – yes it’s starting to become boring. Initiale is however a Champagne with enormous bottle variation, beyond the normality of variations the disgorgement dates provide. It comes in variations of zippy fresh bio driven stuff, to rather evolved and even totally flabby at times. This bottle comes somewhere in the middle, but I have to say that I prefer the first category where everything is tickly fresh and packed with new born fruit. It’s no problem that the wines might feel too young, as its still "Selosse" and there will always be some sort of pleaser factor with these wines - from juicy fruit sensations or the vanilla flavours from the oak. To come back to this specific bottle, it was still okay, with a rather evolved character of sour dough, almonds and this glowing oxidized style. On the palate it feels smooth, but I would have liked a bit more energy. Enjoyed mostly outside overlooking the sea – so how wrong could it go.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

STOP THE PRESS - 2004 David Léclapart "L'Apôtre"

(Glass, Spiegelau "Adina White wine")

There are at least 15 wines queuing up before 2004 "L'Apôtre", but I simply have to publish this tasting note now. I almost didn't open it, as I felt a bit tired and really wanted to be fully ready. But as we had bought the sushi and"L'Apôtre was standing there all alone in the fridge I almost felt sorry for it.
Glass one is a disappointment, when you take into account that I had extremely high expectations. It holds back a lot, and never really unfolds what I had expected to see. The apples are certainly there, but not as fresh as I had hoped for. But I also knew, by having tasted Vintage 2002 and 2003, that it's a seriously a slow starter. Glass 2 is slightly better, butter and flowers are starting to emerge, to this still rather tight and almost slate infected fruit core. Glass 2 was drunk very slowly - as I expected something was about to happen soon. Glass 3 - BANG!!!!! - What happened? It's like someone just put nitroglycerin in the bottle. First I though it was the mousse in itself, which still was settling down (and can be totally different in aroma) - but no. The wine seems almost cooler in temperature, which of course was not the case. A mind-blowing note of mint leafs, crystallized lime juice, are now being drizzled all over the Champagne, making an out of this world freshness, purity and energy. The apples are transformed into insanely fresh and new notes appear all the time, creating not only magic, but also making the Champagne very vinous. I even detected the most refined smell of liquorices. I have never seen purity, energy and complexity combined like this and it's seriously giving me Goosebumps. The taste is still youthful and these minerals/slate notes are warming up the back palate, providing a really long precise finish. As with the nose, by glass 3 and forward, more purity, citrus, minerality and firm acidity are taking control, making the overall tasting experience seem even purer. Mama Mia, it's not everyday you taste a Champagne like this.

For those of you lucky enough to hold 2004 L'Apôtre, you simply have to taste it now, to get this fresh purity kick, even if more complex layers will come with time. And - drink it slowly, alone or with someone special - plus, chose a white wine glass, not a flute.

This is one of the best Champagnes and wines I have ever tasted.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

1996 Dom Perignon

For those of you who like the glamour’s side of Champagne I made the picture in a silky and flashy style – hope you like it. It took me a awful long time to get the end result ;-).

I guess I am the type of person who likes to dwell a bit over the evolvement of ones personal palate. I also know, by having conversations and discussions with other wines lovers - that the discussion can sometimes go in the direction of the ones who has “seen the light” and gained more palate wisdom, towards those who still drink “the same shit”. My good friend Anders said a right not so long ago – “wine is a journey, not a destination”.

However (You probably knew that it was time for the “however line”), drinking 1996 Dom Perignon makes me wonder what the hell I have been doing with my taste buds.

This Champagne is seriously problematic. In a recent wine debate I saw a taster slaughter 1996 Dom Perignon for it’s high dosage. For me this is not the real problem. Let’s investigate. I served it rather cold – and the opening was it’s best phase. Showed flowers, toast, vanilla, citrus and sour dough and having had my share of Dom Perignon in the past I would say that (I am a seriously not good at blind guessing) it’s typical Dom Perignon. With warmth in the glass it falls apart. It’s incredible how impure this Champagne is. The clarity is not existent and with air and warmth the next problem occurs – the staggering level of sulphur. Not only is sulphur an error, but also kills the wine ability to show life and energy. It’s really pronounced when it’s hits the tongue where fireworks in normal circumstances emerges, when we have a big wine in the glass. What I seriously don’t like is the way you end up chewing on the flavours, almost like a chewing gum is stuck on the back palate. Some would argue that it possess a long finish – yes….long and irritating with absolutely no freshness. The acidity is however high – which could prevail with time. But seriously, how can it ever be a great Champagne when the raw material is not there?

Tasted July-2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2001 Aalto PS, Spain

There are two dilemmas concerning this wine. One – the fact that I have enjoyed the wine 3 times before with great pleasure, but have changed palate preference since. The second dilemma is that this wine is 98+ pts by Robert Parker. Why is the latter a dilemma? – I will come back to that. But let’s take a closer look what's inside. First – tasted it with some Italian delicatessen from Copenhagen’s finest Cibi e Vini as you can se from the picture. I Changed glasses a couple of times. The ones you see on the picture are from Zalto “Bordeaux”. They provide the wine with more herbal notes and freshness, but take away the instant fruit bomb appeal. If you like the fruit attack – then take the Riedel Sommeliers “Tinto Riserva”. Now - it opens not so great in my opinion. Way too one-dimensional with cheerful blackcurrant, blackberries and a load of oak flavours. On the palate it almost burns, even if it's not a high alcohol wine (14%). However this dilemma was solved as we started to have some food with it. With air it also gains some fair structure, herbal expression and the sense of minerals. I really like the warm-blooded soul of this wine, and it's really easy to drink and enjoy. The taste is rather long lived, but I don't like that it's still so happy and almost aggressive in fruit. So I could end the TN here -but if I had to relate to RP-point dilemma, I would have to say that the wine offers nothing but good solid fruit. No finesse, no elegancy, no real complexity or edge, nor does it touches me in any way.

So there you go – and I am back from holiday with loads of TN in the bag.