Monday, September 12, 2011

A tasting with mixed emotions

(Our host, Bent)

(All image are clickable and will open a larger format)

On Saturday the 3rd of September my good friend Bent hosted another tasting at our favourite wine tasting joint – the always-striking good Søllerød Kro. You might begin to wonder if Søllerød Kro is the only restaurant we have here in Denmark. Luckily no – but it just happens it’s so convenient to have tastings there, as the restaurant can always adapt to whatever theme we have lined up and we always have our own private lounge.

But as you have seen at least 6-7 tasting reports from Søllerød Kro on this blog, I chose to rest the camera a bit and just shot some simple label images at the end of the tasting.

You are about to see quite critical tasting notes, which might make you think if I have lost it. I have given this a lot of thought - on how to present my negative reflections and it has to be the raw version, otherwise it makes very little sense to share different angels of a palate – as I believe there is not an official right or wrong. So please chime in, if you think my conclusions are the most ridiculous you have ever read.

But lets get right down to the action, as the start was excellent…all wines served blind.


NV Tarlant “Discobitch”

Lovely as always. A Champagne which brings forward a classic style of citrus and flowery components with underneath brushings of spice box and autolysis formation. If being overly critical you could say you end up chewing too much on these darker phrasings notes on the last meters – but yet the Champagne delivers an incredible mouth coating and juicy style. I loved it.

Heat 1

2006 Lilbert “Blanc de Blancs”

Lilbert is not entirely new to me. I have tested their basic Champagne over the summer and it’s Champagne, which requires some cellaring. This vintage version is unbelievable tight and very to judge. It only gives away some chalky and flowery impression. On the palate it feels rather hollow on the mid-palate and leaves very small data to analyze from. We shall see again in 5-7 years.

2002 Philip Gonet “Belemnita”

This fairly limited release from Philip Gonet is a beautiful specimen. Really expressive on the nose it instantly took the spotlight in this flight. Notes were; Banana, hay, overripe peaches and milk. Taste is powerful, juicy, lush and extremely giving. Brilliant stuff and a rather open 2002 – even though it will easy last another 10 years.

(The one and only Discobitch from Tarlant)

2006 Chartogne-Taillet “Les Barres”

A slow starter – but also a start with some concerns of way too high-pitched notes of lilies flowers. The Champagne was not in full balance – but after 15 minutes it found both balance and enormous amount of energy. From the glass rose bio driven notes of baby banana, citrus, blackberries and really sophisticated spice section. Knowing its Pinot Meunier it’s really one of the most refined versions I know of this grape. Fantastic.

Ps. I have to say I prefer my Champagne in bigger glasses than those provided here – the classic Spiegelau Authenthis….not a bad glass, but it has it’s limits.

Heat 2

It felt like I was the only dull person in this white-Burgundy party/ flight. I don’t really get the greatness of white Burgundy – especially when I compare it against Champagne…which I know is kind of stupid…so be aware of this….the table loved this flight.

1999 Domaine Leflaive “Puligny Montrachet Clavoillon”

Needed some air to get rid of some weird spicy notes, which some first thought was sulphur. Otherwise it’s “classic” with white flowers and apples and a rather stony expression. Taste has solid level of clarity and chalkiness, but it just falls into a category of thousands of other wines and therefore looses a lot of character I think.

(2006 Les Barres - image from Terre et vins 2011)

2002 Etienne Sauzet “Batard Montrachet”

It was discussed whether this bottle was off or not. Problem was a rather evolved style – compare to it flight revivals. Anyway – it started okay’ish if you were looking for seduction and the lowest cleavage of the flight. Sexy stuff, with funky deep scented vanilla flavours, melted butter, evening perfume and a very oily style of wine. The taste was quite different – actually posses some tallness from high minerality and a poised acidity. However with warmth – the party was definitely over and the wine completely collapses and obtained more and more creasy notes of sweet bubblegum, which also turned against the taste. Not nice.

2002 Domaine Leflaive “Batard Montrachet”

As with “Clavoillon” – it needed some time to get rid of some weird notes. When having unfolded – which took some time IMHO…and especially warming up in the glass was a big contributor – it possessed notes of apples, lime and popcorn. There was also a very fine and subtle toned spice section – such as smoke and resin, which all together was giving the wine more complexity. However – and despite easily being the best wine of this flight, there is not much emotional stuff going on inside me…the wine is too technical correct IMHO…but I guess that’s my white Burgundy dilemma.

(2002 Domaine Leflaive “Batard Montrachet”)

Heat 3

Time for red wines

2002 Louis Jadot “Bonnes Mares”

Strange wine, which at no point delivered some kind of clarity. The fruit is dusty, muddy, herbal and with some dark bitter chocolate components lurking in the background. Taste can’t save it – same stuff going on here and it’s simply lacking fresh fruit.

2002 “Clos du Tart”

Ahhh…Clos du tart brings me good memories and I have even had the 2002 before. I don’t know what has happened??.… because this was a huge disappointment. There are notes of vitamin pills, gauze bandages – which sometimes are okay, if the wine has the edge to fit it in. Sadly that’s not the case here – as wine takes dark cherries onboard – almost blackcurrant or blackberries – revealing a wine, which plays a darker and heavier style of Pinot Noir, which I am not fond of. The taste is for sure young and shouldn’t be discarded yet – but again I found very little purity and drinking pleasure in this wine. A real shame.

(Caviar dish - loved it)

2001 Meo Camuzet “Vosne-Romanée Les Brulees”

When red Burgundy forms the shape of refined red tones I tend to smile. This is such a wine and luckily it’s also filled with solid level of life, which works together with notes of raspberry, herbs and overall light weighted sweet fruit sensations. The taste is beautiful defined – holding on to all the red components and expressing tight classic red Burgundy with delicious appeal to mind and palate. The last perfumes on the palate exude of beautiful sweet fruits and lovely mild spices. Stunning wine.

2000 DRC “Richebourg”

A seductive wine, which provided good flight competition to “Les Brulees” from Meo Camuzet. This wine goes a step further in deeper scented red fruits, which forms into overripe cherries, spices, cinnamon and tealeaves. Yet - being a wine, which also delivers juicy well drinking appeal - it doesn’t hold the same amount of tallness as “Meo”. You could say - if to push the analytic judgment - it’s a fraction too polished. Overall – I can’t see it lasting another 10 years and holding on to its current drinking pleasure. Still a beautiful wine, as it drinks so well right now.

Bonus wine donated by Ib

2009 Eduard Bryczek Morey St. Denis “Cuvée du Pape Jean-Paul II”

When this wine entered I really liked it, but as the temperature rises it took onboard some concerning elements. We have red fruit – which I will always applaud. In addition the fruit is juicy and sweet and even takes on an edge from a note of vitamin pills, which I know doesn’t sound appalling, but it worked rather okay. Yet – when it’s raised in temperature, the sweet notes forms the shape of simple vanilla flavours and it makes loose allure. Tasting it makes it even more troublesome as there are a lot of burned elements on the finish line. It’s a very young wine, which might gain more balance, but I have to be concerned of the grilled elements it showed on the last meters.

(2001 Meo Camuzet “Vosne-Romanée Les Brulees”)

Heat 4

1999 Michel Ogier Cote Rotie “Cuvée Belle Helene”

First thing I wrote on my paper was: “Very old-school type of wine”. What does this mean? Well a lot of things – but mainly returning to wine which plays more with power than elegance, which is always a loosing game for my palate. This wine boosted tons of oak with very little direction. The oak shields all traceable evidence of clarity and fresh fruit. When a wine doesn’t deliver some kind of drinking pleasure – no matter it’s DNA profile - I can seldom applaud it. Several tasters around the table filled the spittoon with more than half filled glasses of this 100 point wine – so this time I wasn’t alone on being pretty disappointed.

(2000 DRC “Richebourg”)

2001 Guigal, Cote Rotie “La Mouline ”

Again an explosive oak bomb, which gets some of its audience seduced with lots of sweet biscuits flavours, lacquer, white pepper and a combination of black/rasp-berries. The latter is something I like, but in this wrapping it’s not elegant, as the taste doesn’t posses that element of nerve, which could take this rather heavy oak driven wine from a quite boring stage. Not my kind of wine.

1999 Negly “Clos du Truffiers” from magnum…we are in Languedoc Roussillon

Yet another indifferent wine – which shapes like a million others – possessing no awareness…just a “style”, which storyboard is copy/paste, special effects and with no direction or thought. It’s an animalistic breed, which forms notes of pork, blackberries with approaches you with so much opulence that any kind of holding hand, dancing maybe and just getting to know each other is a dead end. Tasted it only once….and it’s just a totally indifferent wine.

2001 Guigal, Cote Rotie “La Landonne”

Nose and taste were quite different. The nose is polished again with sweet oak driven fruit and associations of animal fur. Taste is filled with tannins and tar, which takes purity, deliciousness and drinking pleasure significantly down. Overall a boring wine.

(Brilliant turbot dish)

Another Bonus wine donated by Ib entered….

2007 DRC “Richebourg”

I would have liked to spend some more time with this wine as it had a really interesting spice section, which constantly provided some new angels. My wingman nailed it to be DRC as he could detect the note of tea. To some degree I agree on that note, without being able to tell you what kind of tea it is. I also found notes of vitamin pills. It’s interesting that I liked this wine so much, as it doesn’t flirt with that red Burgundy fruit – but more meaty driven with black cherry stones and some tar elements. I think the reason is a splendid slim feel on the palate, were it lift itself on the drinking pleasure scale. Had is been alcoholic and dense – it would have been another matter. Very intellectual wine – which I would love to taste again in 10 years time.

The next flight was a disaster…

Flight 5

1997 Argiano, “Solengo IGT” (from Magnum)

A very herbal driven start – which can be a thrilling theme, as it’s such an attribute if it can posses fresh; thyme, rosemary or some other herb from the Tuscan kitchen. However here – those herbal notes are infused in a package, which also holds tight black fruits, marzipan and tons of tar, which at the end of the day makes both the overall wine and herbs smell dirty and old. Taste is horrible – dull, heavy and impure. One of the worst Italian IGT wines I have ever tasted.

1997 Castello di Rampolla, “Vigna d’Alceo”

To some extend takes on some of the same dilemmas as “Solengo”, but here the fruit is even more violent with a heavy load of black tar fruit and possessing no purity nor common appeal. With air and warmth in the glass, it goes even further into horror-land with the fruit starting to attract prunes and liqueur, becoming even more heavy and undrinkable. Shocking bad wine.

1997 Antinori “Solaia”

You know what – this wine might have been a fraction better than its flight rivals. But it’s the same theme. A Wine filled with black fruits, tar and overripe cooked fruit. There are no terroir – no awareness – no soul. Jesus Christ!!!

Shocking bad flight…needed some fresh air and a glass of water before the next flight….

(Disappointing Guigal)

Heat 6

2000 D’Abreu “Thorevilos”, Napa Valley, US

Another heavy loaded wine with a lot of burned flavours. Again – the level of oak is like a constant unpleasant tone in my head, only playing the same note over and over again. There are some distant appealing notes of pine needles, which blend together with the note of menthol. Unfortunately they are very raw and not appealing, as the wine is too alcoholic and not well drinking. A very boring wine.

2002 Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Okay…the nose is actually better here. Possessing some sort of other theme than just opulent fruit. There is a note of liver pâté, which I am not fond of – but!! It’s blended with a higher pitching note of mint, which I kind of like. It brings out some nerve, but still you have to be aware of that it’s actually a rather raw and young wine. Taste….ahhhrrrr…could be better. I missed clarity, but still you have the feeling that it’s actually a wine holding onto something, which could improve with cellaring. Fair wine.

(2007 Richebourg from DRC)

2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, US

So another 100 point wine , which these days tend to be heads up for something undrinkable. But hey – the nose is fairly all right. For sure there are some rather monotone blackcurrant notes, which also forms to vanilla flavours from the oak – but it’s a underneath sweet appeal, which makes it shine a bit more gentle in the glass. However!! – The taste is dreadful – violent, dense alcoholic monster. Despite a fair nose – it’s not a good wine and I don’t see any potential for it.

2001 Bond Melbury, Napa Valley, US

Here we go again. A wine set to impress with making as much noise as possible. Okay it’s fun to watch a movie with good special effects, but please let there at least be a good story or plot. This wine has intense raw level of blackcurrant and peppermint. The latter works together with menthol, which has it roots bound in the taste, which is an alcoholic breed, possessing zip deliciousness and drinking pleasure. Get a life.

(2001 Bond - beautiful label - sadly the wine is not good)

I think restaurant manager Jan Restorff noticed some of us suffered now and in came 9 glasses….

2009 Comte Liger-Belair “Clos du Château”

I haven't written any notes on this wine. But I remember it as a fresh breeze compared to 4 dense, heavy and dull wines in heat 6. I have tasted this wine is 2007 & 2008 vintage and completely adored it. The ’09 is also lovely, but it’s marked by its youth and slight brushes of warmth in both taste and warmth. Otherwise it’s the always-adorable polished style of Liger-Belair, which is so deadly seductive.


2000 Gaston Chiquet “Special Club”

Dessert and Champagne…hmmmm…can work if we are in the Sec-section. But here it’s really difficult. Still the Champagne did a fine job, cleaning the taste buds after a bunch of horrifying wines, but also has some underneath not so pure spices, which was a challenge to the btw brilliant dessert serving.

(Seductive wine from Liger-Belair)

So dear readers - it wasn’t exactly a thrill to share this with you – especially giving so much critique to a friend good intention to throw a tasting. But I can tell you, that our host, Bent probably have roughly similar notes to mine (Though I think he liked the white Burgundy flight better than me). Bent told us he was happy to see his strategy of getting rid of the powerful high scoring wine and purchase more and more elegant stuff (Burgundy and Champagne)- was the right way forward. A strategy I can salute, though I am too poor to buy the Grand Cru’s of Burgundy. Luckily there are lots of alternatives out there.

Next up is a tasting of 20 Jura wines….I can promise you it will be more delightful…stay tuned to this frequency.


Anonymous said...


Martin "BerlinKitchen"

Voodoo Child said...

Your taste has changed, nothing to worry about, the purity in wine leave some of these blockbuster and horrible expensive wines out of our focus, happily.
Fruit,freshness, purity and well made not overdone wine is the future, welcome to the future.
Glasses is always an issue, no good glasses kill the impression of wine.
Now I understand why you were happy about that Champagne leftover at home.

Nanna Wang Carlsen said...

Very interesting! And especially the first couple of pics are beautiful. What do you mean by a wine lacking 'tallness'?

Btw: I'm not sure I dare submit any of my Californian darlings to your critical scrutiny, but if you are in a generous mood some day, you should try COBB Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. It's one of the new 'True Sonoma Coast'producers that Ms. Robinson og Linda Murphy Ross have been lauding for it's elegance and brightness. I'd love to hear what you think - if it's sufficiently Burgundian in its style to please your picky palate :)

Take care, Nanna

Thomas said...

Thanks Martin ;-).

@ Ebbe – so true. My taste has indeed changed.

@ Nanna – Thank you – I try to make an effort on the image part, because it’s also a passion and I think it’s really fun. I recently explained what I mean by “tallness” in the post: "2010 Domaine des Vignes du Maynes “Cuvée 910”"

“When I use tallness as a descriptor it’s often linked to the way the acidity, minerality acts together with the fruit core and structure of the wine. It’s almost like an association to a person, which walks with a straight back with his, or hers head high. I will never use tallness if the acidity is flabby - impure/overripe fruit core and the wine is missing minerality.”

If I need to “spoon” with US wines – I think they HAVE to be born from Pinot Noir…so you are on the right track.
Cabernet, Chardonnay or the Rhone Rangers are just undrinkable to me….and I have tasted a fair share…and of course there are a few exceptions. These wines is constantly crossing my oak tolerance and I sometimes feel they are more about winemaking than nature…sounds a bit fluffy, I know. But then again – I have no idea about “true” US-terroir – I just feel many fall into a category of “circus wine” – just are made to make noise, impress journalist and earn high scores.
I have to date with my friend Anders – who has a real passion for US-wines….I am sure he knows Ms. Robinson og Linda Murphy Ross. Thanks for the tip.

Best from,