Blend: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
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"
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!!!!