Saturday, November 27, 2010

1990 Krug

Blend: (40% PN, 23% PM, 37% CH)
Glass: Spiegelau Adina Red Wine

Finally I can actually write a tasting note where I wasn’t a Friday night zombie after a weeks tango with the financial markets. No – I had a super week in Sweden, where I attended an absolutely brilliant course in Personal Leadership.

I believe very much we are moving targets and a good wine experience feeds out of many variables and me feeling stressed down and reborn is one of those variable. This needs serious addressing and in this case we are talking Champagne – 1990 Krug it was.

Krug is something I rarely drink at home – in fact this is the first time I have a Krug Vintage outside a tasting with the wine club.

But let us not waste more time and open the bottle.

Okay, so I have been mumbling about how much I adore Champagnes with soil-driven appeal and this Champagne is in fact NOT at all about that. If you had to say it a bit square you could say it’s not a terroir Champagne but more about wine making. But let me just reveal to you, that I simply had to throw in the towel here - forget my criteria’s for a while and surrender myself. The nose unfolds one layer after another with; honey, sourdough, brioche, smoke, vanilla (oak perfumes), marzipan, coffee beans, exotic evening perfume, flowers and mild fragments of citrus fruits, providing the salt on the egg appeal. The fruit core feels oily like a Montrachet and so unbelievable deep. You can raise the Champagne to 15 degrees with no problem what so ever – in fact it’s at this temperature it shines the most and reveals its true greatness.

The taste is, how odd it may sound, almost even better with an overwhelming concentration and majestic allure with an aftertaste, which never seems to end. The last thing you notice is firm and vibrant acidity running down the middle of the wine.

This bottle blew my mind and I think it has reached perfect maturity. Sure it can provide excellent drinking for 5-10 years, but why wait?

Monday, November 15, 2010

2007 Alexandre Jouveaux

100% Chardonnay
Vineyard: 0,2 ha
Production: 1.120 bottles
Soil: Clay and limestone
Wines age: 50 - 104 years old
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

More updates – or?? You see – I have written to you about the wines from Alexandre Jouveaux before. But I presumed there was only two – and it turns out there is actually three – well maybe even four. Well, now I have an image on two of them (Le Mont and this one). But Alexandre Jouveaux doesn’t make it much easier with calling all his wines “vin de table”. I don’t know which one I like best – maybe even the most moderate priced “Le Mont”, as it’s so energetic, insane and life confirming. But this wine – might be his best, seen from an objective scope, as it has more complex layers.

There is a red line in what I have tasted so far. The wines possess incredible freshness, which is being brought to life from a very direct soil attack and filled with frightening high acidity. They also – likes this 2007 have lots of freshly pressed apple juice, a warm newly baked bread feeling and a yeasty tone, which combined with the limestone notes, makes me think of Champagne. I embrace such wines, because they are able to hold your tastes buds alert and fresh at all times. This 2007 expands itself a bit more on the palate with multiple layers, compared to “Le Mont” and yet the acidity and soil attack are high and direct.

The wines from Alexandre Jouveaux are small-undiscovered treasures and they are still made so challenging, so geeks like you and me can hopefully keep them for ourselves before the big rating cavalry comes riding.

2006 Jêrôme Prévost, La Closerie "Les Béguines"

100% Pinot Meunier
48 year old vines
Dosage: 0 g/l
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red wine"

Just an update – but what an update.

There are indeed bottle variations with Prévost. But you know what – I can live with that. Especially when one bottle is presenting itself young and sophisticated – and the next bottle is slightly more evolved and filled with complex layers. This bottle belongs in the last section and it’s the best bottle of 2006 La Closerie "Les Béguines" I have tasted so far.

You have a slightly oxidized tone – deeper toned honey fruits, but with the companionship of the most gorgeous aromas of orange blossoms, bay leaves, and the always traditional sophisticated spices, which is a trademark of this Champagne. It’s an unbelievable complex breed and the taste is long, deep and filled with an overwhelming hedonistic appeal.

Having just said all of the positive things about this Champagne – I think it has even more gears and layers hidden over the coming years.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Three wines in a tree

1999 Egly-Ouriet

Blend: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
Vines: Old vines from Ambonnay
Time on lees: 112 months (that’s a lot)
Disgorged: Nov-2009
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red wine"

The arrival of winter almost invites the more dense and bold Champagne in. For me Egly-Ouriet belongs in the section of winter Champagnes with their oxidized and bold style. Let’s jump straight into the 1999, which was released later than the 2000 Vintage. Either this Champagne is in a sleeping phase – I hope so, because it was a huge disappointment in my book. First impression on the nose is a confirmation of the style – dense, oxidized, heavy oak infection with a fruit spectrum bringing out softer and deeper scents. You have; quince, honey and toasted notes of butter and almonds. Thing is, with such a fruit composition and concentration – you have to have some sort of refinement in order to preserve allure and refreshment. This is not the case and it’s slowly killing both complexity and creating a fatigue every time you return to the glass. Maybe the taste can create better balance? NO – it’s even worse as you get heavy notes of caramel and no real fresh attack on the palate. Even worse, which is a trademark of the 1999 vintage – is the low acidity, which in this case makes the Champagne loose tallness.

So as you can see, I wasn’t really happy. Even if this might be a phase – the absence of vibrant acidity are of concern, even it there is tons of mass here. I doubt if this Champagne will ever be great. But let’s see – it certainly feels like a clumsy monster, which just was release from its cave with no idea where to hide.

2006 Zidarich "Vitovska"

Blend: 100% Vitovska
We are in the Carso Mountains just above Trieste
More details here
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

In October I had pleasure to have dinner at one of Copenhagens hottest restaurant at the moment – Restaurant Relæ (the chef is former Noma). It was brilliant – just my type of place, honest food, relaxed ambience and a great wine list. As it was a business dinner I left the responsibility of wines in the hands of our skilled Sommelier; Ulf (he is also former Noma employee) and I didn’t regret it. However, when he told me the next white wine was from Trieste in Italy and made from the Vitovska grape (which I had never heard about) I looked like someone who has just wet his pants. You see - I haven’t been that lucky with Italian whites, as they in general (rudely generalizing of course) way too oak infected or have that annoying fennel thing I don’t like. The reds are a different story. However, something happened here and I decided to try the wine a second time at home. The wine is completely blurred in the glass and made in a way, which makes it feel slightly oxidized. The notes are; dark honey, beeswax and browned butter. These notes sounds bold and oily – but in fact they are presented in a very silky and refined manner. Taste confirms this style – and despite the oxidized tone, it’s a sleek and refreshing wine. The minerality tone feels more like licking a cold plate of iron than a lime stone acidity smack.

I don’t know if this means a lot – but it’s one of the best Italian white wines I have ever tasted – BRAVO!!!!

2007 Fanny Sabre "Pommard Chaponniéres"

100% Pinot Noir
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

I always want to say something positive about the wines from Fanny Sabre as she seems so gifted to bring us wine with such big personality even if they use very little “volume” to bring out their message. This is exactly such a wine – even though the first 30 minutes after I pulled the cork was pretty concerning. The wine was totally muted – NOTHING came out of the glass. My nose is still suffering from a big cold, but my wife confirmed my concerns. So out with the Zalto Decanter and fingers crossed. 30 minutes later it started to come alive with classic Pinot Noir scents. But it’s a very fragile wine, with a film of dust covering sensual raspberry skin flavours and notes of olive stones. Taste is very refined, silky and almost weightless with pure and feminine perfumes of red raspberry skin. This wine is really not a wine for cold winter season, but it brings me in a state of springtime. Wonderful stuff.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2002 Michel Arnould "Mémoire de vignes"

100% Pinot Noir
Age of vines: 40 years from Moulin de Verzenay hillside
2002 is the debut release of this cuvée
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red Wine"

Bugger – I can’t find the paper were I scribbled a few lines down about this wine. Oh well – I will have to do it from memory then.

I have tasted this Champagne once before in a big Champagne tasting I held in May-09 – but this is the first real date. I bought this Champagne from the recommendation of Richard Juhlin and having the chance to ask him when he thought it would enter a drinking window he said; “10 years”. Well I can’t wait this long – but it’s certainly a Champagne with further potential. It’s also a somewhat old school bottle of Champagne – but in a good way. Old School is notes of dark bread and sour dough and the autolysis notes just slowly starting to shine through. But there is a brilliant harmony and intellect to be found in the spicy section – which are both adding edge and sophistication. The taste is very concentrated and the spices are also found here and again they provide beautiful balance to a long vibrant, very smooth and mouth-coating aftertaste. I can’t help to compare it a little bit with cuvée Winston Churchill from Pol Roger.

A solid and very good bottle of Champagne.

2002 Dom Pérignon

49% Pinot Noir
51% Chardonnay
Production: Secret (a good guess is 5 million bottles)
Dosage: 6 g/l
Glasses: Spiegelau Adina "Red wine"

A new release of Dom hit's the street and it never goes by in silence. One of the newsletters I received – was not exactly humble – but okay, it’s cool to strut if you have what it takes.

"The 2002 is already a living legend" and Parkers quote "Call your bank - line up the truck". Even a beforehand approval from Richard Juhlin, which says - exclusively to this retailer - that it's better than 1996 - even equal to 1961, 1964 and 1976. The e-mail ends with "Empty your bank account and fill up the cellar". I guess this obligates – don’t you?
Let’s taste the beast, which I did with my good friend, Dan.

I don't like Dom Pérignon – period. In fact it has to be the most overrated wine there is. So I am a little biased and it’s probably a waste of your and my time to write this tasting note.

The ’02 are basically the same like most other DP. Same toasted profile, same ridiculous vanilla scent and lack of life and nerve on the palate. It has better citrus appeal than the previous vintages and the spices are not so impure and reductive - which makes it stand taller in the glass. Neither is it heavy on dosage, which can sometimes be the case for big house juice. But my God its boooooooring and I simply don't like how clumsy it feels on the palate, with so little soil energy - just "designed" to be round, pleasing and conservative. I can't go back to drink a Champagne like this - I have tasted so many other things I can't deny.

So I could conclude – once again – a big disappointment. But as my friend Dan here said – it’s probably a supreme Dom Pérignon, if you like this style of Champagne. Well said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2008 Bernard Van Berg "La Terre"

Blend: Pinot Noir and Gamay
Age of vines: 45 years old from Puligny and Mersault
Production: 300 bottles
More details here:
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

In late September I visited the newly opened restaurant Geranium and on the wine-menu a wine appeared which I had never heard about. (I will write a few lines about this dinner in an upcoming summary).

Served blind – I went directly towards Burgundy and Pinot Noir. But it wasn’t exactly all pure Pinot Noir, was it. I liked the wine so much, that I decided to examine it a bit closer and was lucky to obtain a single bottle.

Nose instantly provides bleeding red fruit, but a very silky, subtle and refined way of presenting it. There is a brilliant weightless feeling – taking both complexity and allure to higher ground. But when knowing there is also Gamay here – you can sense the second window of sweet spices and some earthy forest components emerging. Everything is again toned very subtle, making the balance perfect and the wine to feel genuine, seductive – yet very intellectual as well. Taste is simply divine – curls with amazing sleek, energetic and pure mineral appeal.

No more 2008 on the market here – 2009 is next, I am already ordering some – I suggest you do the same – if you can find it ;-).