Tuesday, July 13, 2010
From this day I have often had the view, that tasting wine outside is problematic as there are simply too many things going on. Sure – it can be conducted – and we even have a term for the wines suitable for such in Denmark; “terassebasker” – which could be translated into a cheap wine which quench the thirst – but is never a great wine.
Currently – here in Denmark, we are riding a wave of beautiful summer weather. When you know how depressing the winter are here – and how a summer can rain away in temperatures below 20 degrees, you have to forge while the iron is hot, like now. I take every single opportunity I get to have dinner outside and of course also have a good glass of wine.
About a month ago I came up with the idea to write this post as I accidently took a phone call inside, with a glass of 2006 “Les Ursules” in my hand and noticed how different the Champagne was outside vs inside. Since then I have done the same exercise with all the wines I have (about 12 – se below) and with every single one of them, I have preferred them outside.
So why better and what is different??
First of all, it’s important that one takes into account the feeling of freedom when you are outside. When the weather simultaneously is good - like now, it makes us northern hemisphere Vikings a feeling of finally be alive and with a glass of wine we are in an optimal stage of relaxation.
Wouldn’t it always be better to taste wine under “controlled” circumstances?? But what are truly controlled and “correct” environment for tasting wines? A restaurant maybe – when the table next to you is covered with scents of perfume or just the food altering the wines profile completely. A cold cellar, when you are visiting a producer, where you can smell yeasty components maybe – or just the fact the wine is always a fraction colder?? I am confident you can achieve what can be view as an optimal environment for tasting wines – but I am merely saying that the subject holds a lot of grey areas.
So what was better?
A common thread running through this little experiment was that all wines could fall under the category; elegant wines. I am thinking that a certain type of wines might benefit from being served outside. The tasting 7 years ago was mostly blockbuster wines (we liked that back then) and all wines performed strange. So do we have a pattern? Elegant wines work – blockbuster don’t’? No – of course not. It’s the positive result of only 12 wines, nothing else.
Still it doesn’t stop me from wondering. You see, not only were these wines elegant – but also holding fresh and bright fruit cores. It’s also wines with moderate alcohol. Tasting these wines outside made them even fresher – their spices racier and simply just the joy of them higher. Inside made the flavours a bit duller, which corresponded with the simple equation of inside, was stuffy and outside was pure liberation.
So dear readers – don’t be afraid of tasting great wines outside and do posts back on what experience you have had – good or bad.
The wines involved in this small experiment.
2002 Chartogne-Taillet “Fiacre”, Champagne
NV Jacques Selosse “Rosé”, Champagne
2007 Fanny Sabre “Savigny-Les-Beaune”
2008 Alexandre Jouveaux “Le Mont” (tasted 3 times)
2004 Dönnhoff, Riesling “Hermannshöhle GG”
2007 Emrich Schônleber, Riesling “Halenberg GG”
2006 Cédric Bouchard “Les Ursules”
2008 Jean Foillard “ Morgon Cote de Py ”
2007 Jean Foillard “ Morgon Cote de Py ” Magnum
1999 Deutz “Cuvée William Deutz rosé”
2006 David Léclpart “L’Amateur”
2009 Dard et Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Rouge, “C'est le Printemps ”
Blend: 60% Chardonnay / 40% Pinot Noir
Chartogne-Taillet is s producer I have wanted to explore since I in 2009 tasted the 2002 "Millésime" (Cuvée Mariage de Périne & Alexandre"). This year, @ Terre et vins de Champagne - I even had the privilege to meat young winemaker Alexandre Chartogne which made the impression of a very dedicated and humble person.
Like Jérôme Prévost and Olivier Collin - Alexandre Chartogne is also a former stagiaire of Anselme Selosse.
Fiacre is, as the label says, the Tête de Cuvée of the house and its one hell of a Champagne. I only have one little thing with it - but let's leave that for later.
The nose is breathtaking - one of those hypnotic "sniffer" Champagnes, where my wife needs a Vuvuzela horn to get in contact with me. The nose holds divine pure scents of; peaches, currant, cherries, croissants and roses. The style is extremely classy - complex - feminine, almost weightless presented and my personal allure barometer went off the charts here. Taste delivers a beautiful silky mousse - again very classy, with remarkable clarity and some mineral warmth and currant perfumes in the finale.
My only thing is the level of dosage. I know it's easy for me to sit here and speculate how 6, 3 or zero grams would make me even happier. The level of dosage might even be perfect and the reason behind this vivid floating style. The Champagne isn't even sweet in a sense of "bad dosage", where the sugar is stuck on the back palate. So what am I saying? To me it's just a wish of coming even closer and it seems like the dosage has the effect of layering a small silicone film on top of the flavours, preventing you to feel all of the raw material. This Champagne seem to have what it takes, to take the dosage even lower - but of course, I have no proof of this being the "right" decision and I could be dead wrong and on a mission to ruin the balance.
On the other hand - everything is not always about analyzing and dissecting a wine and search for errors. Overall conclusion is still a spectacular bottle of Champagne - which has lots of promising life left.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
There is 4 or 5 tasting notes on Selosse Rosé on the site and I even had it a month ago, where it did good, but even so I could resist as I stopped by the fish market and bought some nice looking lobster tails.
You should think Selosse is “easy” – meaning, his Champagnes are often easy to pick out in blind tastings, with their oak influence lush fruit core and with a very pronounced oxidized style. To some degree this is true and the Rosé also burst out of the glass with massive sweet expressive notes of vanilla, toast, exotic spices, cherries and apricot. For my taste it’s too much about the oak – but it’s also one of those Champagnes where you are seduced to a degree, where you don’t care so much about Mr. Analytic. The taste is extremely awarding and the mousse broadens to every single spot on the palate….oh yes…seductive. You can then ask Mr. Analytic, where the hell are the mineral nerve, elegance and the acidity smack? Mr. Analytic doesn’t really care anymore – he is having a party with me. Glass 2 and 3 is even more seductive – the oxidized are on an expanding trip and the nose becomes even deeper with sweet cookie notes. But!!!...Then something strange happens…but I have seen it before haven’t I… with “Version Originale”. The wine firms up – the oxidized notes takes a step backward – the seductive-in-your-face-flavours turns saltier, the vinous side are on the rise and the bubbles becomes secondary and the Champagne even get’s something called acidity. This is fascinating and I now begin to understand why Anselme decants his Champagnes two hours before serving.
So conclusion – did I really like it? Well yes – I like it, but I need this Champagne in small dozes and I need to be in the right mood and maybe I just need to start decanting my Selosse Champagnes or at least take it slower.
Sometimes I really regret not having started earlier with red Burgundy. There is still lot’s of time – I know, but even today I tend to hold back somewhat, because I know it will cost me a mean buck, if I throw myself deeply into that chapter. Unfortunately - having a passion for wine is also about moderation. As Mark twain said: "Man should practice moderation in all things, including moderation". That quotation always makes me feel a better person – when I live up to it….yeah right ;-).
In the glass we have young talented Fanny Sabre, which wines I have encountered a few times before. I can guarantee you, that it’s not the last time I taste her wines. This wine is so fine. Extremely feminine - ballerina light on it’s toes, it dances with notes of bright red fruit which take associations to raspberry skin flavours – but you also have most delicate note of orange blossoms. There is a small film of earthy notes – it’s almost like forest dust and you should think it’s making the wine a bit more rustic – but No. It’s has the opposite effect, of making the fruit components even more subtle with more edge. Taste delivers the feminine style from of the nose and it curls with splendid purity and mineral freshness.
Loved it and will defiantly buy some more Fanny Sabre wines…just a few…yes yes, Mark…moderation moderation….
Glass: Zalto Burgundy
Thursday, July 8, 2010
You should think that white Burgundy was a natural passion, when you already (like me) are a Champagne geek. This is however not the case for me. Before I jumped into the Champagne bowl, I was into Riesling and never white Burgundy or maybe it would be more appropriate to say it was Riesling vs Chardonnay.
As I didn’t have the purchasing power to really dig into the terroir of white Burgundy I only encounters these wines sporadic in blind tasting events. Often the wines were tested against California Chardonnay and they seldom impressed me. Even today, when I taste Chardonnay – Burgundy or not – I am often disappointed. IMHO (I am rudely generalizing here) there is too much use of oak and this often result in the exact same buttery sensation with toast, vanilla and this ripe melon note. Even worse is when the wines get’s too oily/polished, even meaty – as they are on a mission to impress (could be the result of too much bâttonage) - I back off. Often the taste is long and mouth coating and for sure some wines offers tremendously mineral sensation – but still Riesling and Champagne hold far more interesting acidity profiles, elegance and freshness. I can see why white Burgundy have so many fans – but still, they seldom touch me, as they are almost too technical perfect. The Red wines from Burgundy is however a different story.
“Le Mont” is a Vin de Table. Apparently because Alexandre Jouveaux doesn’t want to have all the paper works with AOC. It’s not your typical white Burgundy and maybe that’s why I like it so much. It’s almost like the wine is political incorrect; as some of the notes are not exactly friendly; smooth, velvet or mouth coating. No! – Here you have a very direct and challenging wine. You even have the lees floating around in the bottom of the bottle. First impressions on the nose is an absolutely adorable zippy freshness – almost like drinking vins clairs from Champagne. It’s also impossible to ignore the yeasty notes and you get the feeling that the wine is not completely ready yet. The wine is also very soil driven – particles of chalk and crushed stones are all over the wine and it’s the main driver behind this splendid freshness. The fruity notes are green apples and lots of citrus fruits. Taste is demanding, with frightful high acidity and the finale consist of grape, lime and citrus.
It might not be a wine I would serve to my mother and I missed some complex layers here and there – but still; such freshness, soil and acidity and a price tag of 20€ is enough for me.
I have bought a mixed package of the wines from Alexandre Jouveaux – I will hopefully get time to write on them – but “Le Mont” is the one I like best so far.
Glass: Zalto Burgundy
Sunday, July 4, 2010
As we gain wine wisdom and search to taste perfection, Beaujolais is not the first thing which you think of. But why not? How did it end this way?
My knowledge about Beaujolais is close to zero. As a Dane I know that former racer/playboy Thorkild Thyrring raced to Beaujolais each year, in this Toyota MR2, wearing a navy blue blazer and white turtle neck (with streamers on his collar) and picked up the very first wine from France, which always came from Beaujolais. A returning event and everyone seemed to agree that the wine itself was crap.
Beaujolais was never in the category of earning the glamorous high scores from the usual suspects, so I concluded that it wasn’t really serious wine.
Well – the wine in hand is proof of the contrary.
On the image you have the 2008 “Morgon Cote de Py” from Jean Foillard, which I had the other day. It’s 100% Gamay and offers beautiful kirsch aromas with herbes de Provence spices and notes of rubber( bicycle tubes). There are also some young black fruits, almost meaty in their character. However the wine is light-weighted and this is even more evident on the palate where it curls with splendid mineral freshness and an authentic/rustic feeling from those herbs and black meaty fruits.
At midsummer I had the 2007 of this wine in magnum. Even better – possessing brighter and sweeter red fruit, but still with those wonderful spices. The 2007 is slimmer in style – fresher and offering spectacular drinking pleasure.
These wines may not be the most complex wines I have ever tasted – but does it really matter, when the drinkability are so high? No – it doesn’t and this is once again a reminder that today’s schematic set-up on points tells you nothing about the drinking pleasure on wine – it’s just a snapshot – one mans analysis and opinion, nothing else.
I took me 17 years discover Beaujolais or did it just took me 17 years to discover that a good wine is a wine which drinks well from the first to the last glass?
One of my readers has said: “Beaujolais is oh so French” – I couldn’t agree more.
Both tasted in Zalto Burgundy – the ultimate glass for Beaujolais…or what do I know?
Friday, July 2, 2010
I thought it would be appropriate to upload a photo of my favourite Sushi take away. Located about 30 meters from where I work - Sushi Saiko delivers Copenhagen's finest Sushi. On the image you have "Chef Choice", which is just a notch better than the 24 pieces standard package.
Even though I love to cook, I can guarantee you, that on a Friday - my goal is simply to do as little as possible and have a good bottle of Champagne. As Sushi is not exactly the worst thing you can do to Champagne (go easy on the wasabi) I often go for this option.