Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rosé – simplicity and deliciousness

2010 Vignes du Maynes (Julien Guillot) Macon-Cruzille Rosé

Blend: Not sure, think mostly Pinot, plus some Gamay
Location: Burgundy - Mâcon-Cruzille
Other: Julien Guillot has been bio since 1997 and his red wines hardly see any sulphur
Glass: Zalto Universal

This is the fourth time I taste this rosé. Three of the times, the scene was set in glories sunny weather in June and July. Here in October – windy and cold, I felt there was need to do a planned choreography. I thought the trick could be food and served a dish with cold smoked salmon with beetroot pickled in blackberry vinegar, sweet onions and horseradish cream. I worked utterly great.

This rosé deals with two things, which I kind of like in wine. One is simplicity (you have heard that one before), which might not catch your interest, if you browse for BIG, SERIOUS and COMPLEX wines. However, thing is (and this is the other thing I like in wine) when you mix delicious drinking pleasure, I don’t really care about complexity on a Tuesday evening. Yet!! - Though it is a bit contradictory, there are elements of complexity in this wine, as it warms up in the glass.

The notes of the nose are turning towards; rosehip, cranberry, iron and some smoke. They are served in an exquisite weightless design and with a touch of pure salty fragrance to the red fruits, it fits my rosé preference just perfectly. Taste is really subtle, which is enhanced with an elastic structure and a divine finish where the smoky tones breezes in. This breeze turns the wine slightly drier but the elastic structure keeps it really interesting and I have never taste a rosé with such a character. As the wine warms up in the glass, the cranberry takes a step forward and on the palate you feel the red wine tones humming a bit more tannic undertones, even though they never take control.

Great rosé…which makes me realize how much I miss summer, despite the fall is such a colour treat to the eye…ahhh well….life goes on….did I mention it’s really fair priced…. (20€ I think)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2007 Jérôme Prévost “Fac-Simile rosé”

100% Pinot Meunier
Terroir: Sand and calcareous elements (source
Dosage: 0 g/l
Method: Assemblage Production: 2.800 bottles
Other: The 2007 are the debut release of this Rosé
Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”

I just clicked back to my first TN on this wine in Dec-2009 where I wrote It’s also starting to show some darker fruits patterns, rising from a slightly oxidation. This makes me speculate, that within a relative short time frame, lets say 1½ years or so, this will be a completely different Champagne.” (You can see the complete TN from Dec-2009 here)

Let’s have a look and see if I was right or not?

If this bottle is representative, (Prévost has the tendency to show quite a bit of bottle variation) my predictions were correct. It’s quite evolved and the oxidation patters are fully alive. The oak also shines trough, with a lot of seductive appeal and sweet cookies tones, which adds to baseline of this oxidized style. Yet!!...I have to say the fruity notes started rather salty, with ravishing oozing perfumes of apricot, rhubarb and strawberry. If you take out the salty element – I couldn’t help to compare it a little bit with Anselme Selosse rosé (Jérôme is a former student of Selosse). With air the Champagne looses the salty elements and reveals highly appealing notes of caramel and orange blossoms. The latter notes might have damaged the intellectual and tallness of the Champagne, but I have to say its just such an outrageous good laidback drinking Champagne. The taste was all the way really awarding and with zero dosage, it never gets too much.

Good stuff and I would start drinking this Champagne from now +4 years.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2005 Bernard Van Berg “La Rose”

(Amazing October light – almost no post-production done to the image)

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Location: Burgundy, Meursault
Production: Very small, think around 4-500 bottles.
Other: You can find more information here
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

You might remember I have tasted 2 other wines from Bernard Van Berg and maybe you remember his 2007 Rosé (TN here), which I absolutely adored. As you can see, the front labels are identical; it’s only the back label, which will tell you which vineyard it’s made from. To make a bit more confusion – the vineyard of “La Rose” is sometimes made in either red or rosé.

Luxurious is a descriptor I would use with caution when positively describing a wine, as it can quickly catch a somewhat tacky feel to it. Yet this wine IS really luxurious and I can guarantee you there is nothing negative about this wine.

It opens with gorgeous fruity appeal with cherries and raspberry perfumes, wrapped in a gently plum feeling. I normally don’t like the association to plums, as it’s the path to alcohol, but this is not the case here. In fact the plums works together with its herbal patters and they are equal subtle toned and forms into a deeper foundation of it’s complexity spectrum. The taste is unbelievable adorable – elastic structure, sexy, luxurious and with such a graceful feeling. You might raise an eyebrow towards this fruity and luxurious style making it a fraction polished. However, when the drinking pleasure is this awarding I have to surrender.

Fantastic wine.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A bottle of Champagne and a small talk on energy.

1999 Deutz, ”Cuvée William Deutz Rosé”

Blend: 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay
Dosage: No idea – feels like 5-7 g/l
Vinification: Steel
Glass(es): Several – Spiegelau Adina Wine Goblet was the final choice.

One of my absolute favourite wine writers is Terry Thiese. His little book “Reading between the vines” should be on every wine lovers shelf.

One of the chapters circulates around “Aspects of Flavour: The ones that matters most”


I can only dream of writing a milligram of a percentage as good as Terry, but my list would include: Energy.

Energy is a wines vitality and life. It drives from every aspect of the wines personality, all the way from the intensity of the fruit core to the electrical feel of structure to the vibrancy of the acidity and feel of soil energy on the palate. For sure energy is an amalgamation of many things and are inclusive with most of Terry’s principals.

I have become obsessed with energy, as once you have been kissed you are hooked.

It’s a paradox having just presented you with Alexandre Jouveaux 2009 “Préty” which is a wine filled with energy. Deutz is the opposite; lack of energy.

Sulphur is often an energy killer – but in the case of Deutz here – it’s not a sulphur issue. The wines opens fair with some strawberry and apricot perfumes. These two notes have a good salted touch, which I actually tend to like when it comes to Rosé Champagnes, as it feeds the complexity and elegance. However these notes are not pure, as there is an impure herbal note, which is killing both attraction and vitality. When that occurs, the wine gets trapped and takes the gap between wine & taster further apart. Slowly, you loose interest in such a wine and it’s like the raw material doesn’t show at all – or maybe it’s just not good enough? With Alexandre Jouveaux it’s instant contact with the raw material and this equation makes you feel alive and that’s what wine is all about. The taste of Deutz is also a problem, as the mousse has a foaming structure and with a loose ’99-vintage-acidity, it’s a two times disaster.

I have seen tasting notes on this Champagne, suggesting a young breed with cellar potential – sorry, but I don’t believe in it - it’s not made from the right material in the first place.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2009 Alexandre Jouveaux ”Préty”

(Wild wine)

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Where: Macon, Uchizy
Age of wines: 75-80 years
Vineyard: South exposure – 0,54ha
Production: 1.250 bottles per year
Other: Dangerous badass Natural Wine with hardly any sulphur
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

What I mostly like about the wines from Alexandre Jouveaux is their imperfection. I would imagine a lot of tasters would find his wines too wild, demanding, unruly, particular and even volatile in their acidity. His wines even have yeast sediments floating around in bottom of the bottle.

To me they are truly some of the most energetic wines I have ever come across and it’s their heartbeat, which I am drawn to, as they challenge and push my own perception on wine. It’s wine like his, which make a difference and reminds me why I am Mad About Wine.

Sometimes the aromatic profile of this wines actually reminds me of Champagne and even the acidity it at the same high pitched level as vins clairs.

His 2009’s have taken some time to come around, as I have found some of them pitched with some schnapps burning on the last meters. However you have to be aware of their contact with air changes them dramatically in the glass.

Préty starts with an insane purity of flower water, green apples, wheat flour, yeast and a bit of smoke. However it’s floral tones are pretty high toned and it’s just on the verge of twisting your arm and even for me becoming a bit strident. I decided to decant for one hour

Huge benefit and knowing this, I would decant it something like 5 hours next time. What happens – and especially with warmth (you can raise it to 16 degrees with no problem at all) – feels like the yeast and wheat flour tones put themselves on top of the wine and bringing the pitch of the floral tones some notches down. The taste is extremely electrical, filled with tons of soil energy and a nerve wrecking acidity.

Frightening, genuine, demanding and one hell of a good wine.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2009 Noëlla Morantin "Chez Charles”

Blend: 100% Sauvignon
Location: We are in Loire; Pouillé
Vines: Really old – think 75 years
Sulphur: 1-1,5 grams per hectoliter when racking.
Winemaking: Natural Winemaker: Noëlla Morantin
Other: This is the sort of the real debut from Nöella, since she has taken over some organic farmed land from Catherine Roussel og Didier Barrouillet (Clos Roche Blanche) For more information I suggest you read this article from Wine Terroirs

Another great wine from a female winemaker – more of that please.

This is the second time I taste this wine, but it really goes down quickly, so I never really scrabbled anything the first time before the bottle was empty.

It’s a very approachable wine with all kinds of funky things going on. There is immediate intimacy of tropical fruits (mostly pineapple and mango), roses, wet hay, banana, spices, smoke and late harvest honey, which nearly forms into caramel associations – without at no point being sweet nor heavy. The wine deals with slight oxidation, which adds to this its already seducing style. Taste has a creamy feel to it – yet containing lots of air pockets for it to feel elegant. On the last meters it exhales those whet hay tones again. Lovely wine, selling at a very decent price…for now. Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

1999 Tarlant "La Vigne d'or", Champagne

Blend: 100% Pinot Meunier
Vines: Planted in 1947
Soil: Calcareous
Dosage: 2-3 g/l
Disgorgement: 13th of July 2004
Winemaker: Benoît Tarlant
Glass: Spiegelau Adina Red wine/Water Goblet

This is my last bottle of the 1999 La Vigne d’Or and I have had my doubts whether to drink it now or wait. I had no suspicion at all whether it was in risk of heading downhill – yet my only concern is that the 1999 vintage in general are marked by a fairly low acidity.

“Puff”…let’s taste the beast.

Super rich nose of evolved Champagne. I wrote “classic” as the fruit composition unfolded in front of me with notes of; hazelnuts, late harvest honey, quince, smoke, vanilla, spices and candied citrus. Despite the latter note, it’s at no point sweet, yet the citrus thing is really keeping everything focused and intense. Taste is round and lush with a waxy structure and overall an extremely seductive Champagne. You could stop here and enjoy every drop – as I did. Yet being a boring analytic – which is not always the right approach – you could raise your eyebrows to a low acidity which got stuck somewhere on the mid-palate and didn’t brought complete magic to the package. Overall – I still find this Champagne among the very best I have tasted from this vintage. I see no risk of it tipping over the next 3-6 years, but because of the low acidity and it providing such a deep aromatic nose, why not start to drink it now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Introducing Benoît Courault

(Both images are clickable and will open a larger format)

Loire >> Anjou…what do I really know about it? I might have tasted some 75 wines during my blessed life as a wine drinker, but I guess Loire failed to give me love at first sight so many years ago. From there, Loire got archived in the bottom left corner under ”so many wines, so little time”.

But why not dip your toes once in a while….

So – Anjou…. which I tend to associate with Marc Angeli, which wines are widely represented on the wines lists of Copenhagen’s best restaurants. They come in many shapes and I kind of like them, when they are matched with food. They do however have a trademark IMHO, which is a rather elastic texture, which feels smooth and friendly on the palate with a rather oily character. This style I often come across in Anjou land – also when I recently tasted another Anjou producer; Didier Chaffardon. I am not always in favour of such a style, as I tend to be rather “Taliban-addicted” to more bright acidity and tall structure.

So now you know where I stand, before we take a bite of the wines from Benoît Courault. I have tasted 3 wines from him and let’s start with the best one.

2009 “Les Guinechiens”

Blend: 100% Chenin Blanc
Soil: Clay with demoted slate and cailloux
Bedrock: Slate
Glass: Many – but Zalto Bourgogne is the one to use.

Benoît Courault…a rising young star - owns 6 ha of land – works organic and plows with horse. That’s what I know. Not much – I know, but let’s see what’s inside.

Adorable nose of elderflower with a touch of honey was the first impression. But it’s not a sweet elderflower thing, as a smoky breeze sets in. Later you get companionship of overripe peaches and some buttery sensations. Taste is blessed with a slim and creamy touch, yet highly intense and filled with lots of nerve - despite you again have this oily “Anjou-structure”. Yet it prevails by being outrageous pure and on the last meters you have that mild wind of smoke coming in, giving an extra dimension. As the above image reflects – this wine reminds me of sunshine and I can almost taste it again from that warm July day. Brilliant wine.

2010 “Le Petit Chemin” (Pétillant Natural)

Blend: 100% Chenin Blanc
Glass: Zalto white wine

For sure some wines are less complex than others. Some are even what we refer to as simple. Simplicity is something I am becoming more attracted to when it’s shaped like for example this wine. It’s the equation of levelling with the wine and surrendering to sheer joy of wine appreciation and tasting with your “soul” and not your brain all the time.

This Pétillant Natural wine holds the juiciest and freshly pressed apples with lovely sensorial honey sweetness. It flirts with cider personality, yet the mousse is far subtler and the style is really delicate and floating. It’s not made of the same material as a Champagne, but for a appetizer, picnic it’s spot on. If you don’t smile when drinking this wine – you have to see a doctor ;-).

2009 “Les Tabeneaux”

Blend 100% Cabernet Franc
Glass: Zalto Bordeaux

This red wine was sadly not so promising ,as the two others. The fruit composition is sort of okay’ish, with a light weighted and delicate style. However the spices goes too far and into a herbal style, which prevents the fruit to show needed purity. I rested it for day 2, where it sadly hadn’t improved.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2010 Julie Balagny, ”Fleurie Cayenne”; Beaujolais

Blend: 100% Gamay
Ages of vines: 30 years
Vineyard: South/South-west exposure (top parcel of a 3ha slope)
Terroir: Basalt
Other: Zero sulphur
Glass: Zalto Bourgogne

This is the second time I taste a wine from Julie Balagny. I had the chance to taste her debut release of the 2009 Fleurie ”En Remont”. A tasting experience, which I never published here on the blog, due to lack of time. But I do remember it quite well. It wasn’t a wine I was that much into, as it was rather overpowering in intensity and possessed a meatier style of Beaujolais, which I wasn’t keen on. However it didn’t stop me trying her wines once again – but this time another cuvée.

One thing, which annoyed me with the first wine, was I sensed an overpowering use of barriques in her wines – also this one, but from what information I have obtained she doesn’t seem to use barrique.

Otherwise – she is in her thirties and good friends with one of the stars in the Beaujolais region; Yvon Métras, which inspired and helped her start producing wines of her own.

“Cayenne” is a seriously nice wine. An extremely healthy specimen, with notes of black cherries, plum sensations, bicycle tubes and a ravishing ooze of sweet licorice. Taste is drop dead gorgeous, with a very round and appealing style. However some scepticism did approach me. It was once again this association to oak dominance, as you almost sense shavings of new oak in the wine. It gets even more pronounced as the licorice note forms more salty and dense as the wines gets air. But thing is, I think I am getting teased by a wine, which just holds a serious amount of fresh born baby fruit and it’s teasing my ability to tell what is fruit, oak or the lack of it? However…and my overall judgement really prevailed by a constant tight nerve on the palate where it held it’s energy, elegant backbone and mouth coating drinking pleasure. Still I would cellar it – just a year or two in order to the fruit to obtain more red tones and it general just to loose some baby fat. Finally – I preferred it rather chilled around 15-16 degrees.