Saturday, January 31, 2009

2005 Ulysse Collin Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, Champagne

(Disgorged 03/09/2008 / Glass; Zalto)

I know – it’s starting to be rather pathetic. Every time I test-drive a new small grower Champagne, I love it. And it’s no secret that almost all of these rising pure (most biodynamic)Champagne stars are imported by in Denmark. I don’t want my blog to be a advertising page, but it’s simply impossible not to mention Mia and Mads Rudolf, when tasting these Champagnes as they are among the most enthusiastic and sympathetic people I have ever met in the wine business. A visit to their shop “Skaal” (Danish for cheers), is a reminder that Champagne is an authentic and magnificent wine and not a luxury good wrapped in a shiny gift box. To quote Terry Theise “Do you really want to be reduced to a mere "consumer" when you can drink Champagne like a whole human being?

Back to the wine, which was utterly charming.

Very fragile and precise Champagne, which reminded me a little bit of Voette et Sorbee’s “Blanc d'Argile”. Both have the same ultra clear and light weighted style, which for me makes my mind think of Chablis. But still there is a lush a delicate element about this Champagne, which makes it very friendly. Like many others of the new small artisan Champagne producers which uses no dosage and spend a short time on their lees, they tend to have this tight citrus and white flowery blossoms opening and then gradually puts on in weight. In this case notes of tea leaf, anise, sweet biscuits are slowly adding to the wines personality. This Champagne spends about 10 months in small Burgundian barrels and Olivier Collin is like Jerome Prevost (which I have just tasted) a former stagiaire at Anselme Selosse. As the last drops sits in the glass with very few bubbles left, it expresses more of these lovely biscuits and anise notes, which I love so much. The taste was all the time spot on, with vibrant, clear, slim and firm acidity. This Champagne is in the category – drink me morning, day and night. Loved it.


2006 Jérôme Prévost, "La Closerie les Beguines" Champagne, France

(Glass; Zalto)

This Champagne was spontaneously opened on a Tuesday as we suddenly had something to celebrate. I had bought some homemade cannelloni, squash/ham tarts, pecorino and the most awesome culatello ham - all provided from Copenhagen’s one and only Fabio & Mie; I immediately thought of Jerome Prevost and his 100% Pinot Meunier based wine, as I needed something with some sort of edge to match these Italian delicatessens. The 2006 vintage is a BIG step up in quality, compared to the 2005. The nose is a mixture of delicious honey infected dried fruits, flowers and this constant presence of mild spices - giving warmth and personality. This spicy note is constantly evolving and when you reach the to the last two glasses it has almost transformed into a sweet English liquorice note - simply gorgeous. When I first tasted it, I was a little bit disappointed, as the spicy note dominated a bit too much on the last drops. HOWEVER, and here comes the interesting part - when eating this lovely food that spice note is everything. When knowing this, and returning to the next sniff and sip, your senses/brain has adjusted and suddenly this Champagne has not only a great personality, but also great balance – and of course the simply gift of being a great food matching friend. I know some have reservations towards the Pinot Meunier grape, as it tends to be somewhat clumsy/baroque - but do try “La Closerie les Beguines” and I’ll bet it will have you thinking. Great stuff.


2007 Dönnhoff, Riesling Hermannshöhle GG, Germany

(Glass; Zalto Universal)

Summerhouse and a great glass of Riesling is one of my favourite gymnastic exercises. I wish I could say, that my wife an I just sat down and enjoyed the lovely halibut dish, but my two wonderful kids also wanted some attention – so the circumstances where certainly not optimal for focusing on the wine. I had opened the wine 24 hours in advance, but still it had a little bit of sharp fennel note on the opening. Luckily it quickly evaporated, but I think it tells me, that this wine is young and in need of a lot of air to show perfectly. Otherwise the wine showing great linear expression, with citrus and pear flavours. The taste is made in the same manner, with a very tight and linear expression. Under these circumstances I was happy with the wine, but I wasn’t blown away. I think the wine is way too young still, and Dönnhoff tend to evolve a distinctive luxury palate smoothness over time and I will certainly cellar and wait patiently for that to happen.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

2001 Dönnhoff, Riesling Spätlese Hermannshöhle

This wine was poured directly from the bottle and it was simply beautiful from start to finish. Impossible not to like this wine, which has gradually obtained the classic petrol smell – but otherwise it’s a ultra clear wine with notes of pear and peaches. Taste is delicious, fresh and vibrant – loved it.

This TN is from memory – no notes written.
January 2009

2005 Chateau Beaucastel, Chateauneuf du Pape, France

Really bizarre nose at first with notes of medicine and vitamin pills. With air it calms down a bit, but is still tight and shy. My fellow tasters didn’t like it at all and preferred Pegau better. I can’t explain it – but there was something good about it – even though it was a bit awkward at first. Beaucastel is a wine to cellar and it has many ups and down during its lifespan.

This TN is from memory – no notes written.
January 2009

2005 Domaine de Pegau, Chateauneuf du Pape, France

A crowd-pleaser, with round sweet and lush fruit. It’s really elegant, when it’s served at cool temperature, but not particular intellectual. With air and warmth in the glass – it started to collapse (close down) somewhat. I guess it’s still on the young side.

This TN is from memory – no notes written.
January 2009

2006 Kongsgaard, Chardonnay, US

It should be noted that this note covers one single glass and not tasted under mint circumstances

What went wrong here? Admitted – US Chardonnay is not something I am that eager about, but Kongsgaard has still made me smile the few times I have tasted it. This 2006 is however plain and simple awful – it has a synthetic nose of over the top fruit, with caramel associations, tacky evening perfume and a huge load of vanilla – almost like a melted huba buba chewing gum. Taste is burning hot with alcohol – no grip, no mineralty and very little acidity. Better luck next time.

This TN is from memory – no notes written.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1999 Bollinger "La Grande Année", Champagne

(Deg. January 2008 – Glass Zalto)

Third time I taste this. It’s still rather youthful and flowery and I guess if tasted blind one would not easily guess Bollinger. The normal Pinot Noir style of Bollinger is here a bit restricted. Some of this, is of course excused by the young age of this Champagne, but the 1999 also holds 37% Chardonnay which is 5-7% more than usual. The first glass or two was rather shy, with citrus and flowers. In the background you had these darker berry scents (oak and spices), which never really unfolded. On one hand, these notes could be ravishing in future, but currently they are a bit disturbing for me, as I am a sucker for purity. But luckily the chardonnay – if to divide the Champagne into 2 sections, is constantly putting on weight. The flowery picture unfolds with melted butter and gives these brilliant nutty flavours. The taste is rather nice and powerful, but again affected with these “darker” notes, which is a bit disturbing. I have no doubt that there will be awarding drinking pleasure for those who have the patience to cellar 4-5 years more (I will).

Tasted 16/1-2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NV, Jean Lallement "Brut", Champagne

(Glasses, Various – Zalto was best)

It would be impossible to write this review without mentioning the price quality ratio of this wine. (I paid 25€ for it, but there is no Danish importer). Compare this NV to all the big houses offerings and you got a bargain – and most importantly a far better product. You immediately sense that this Champagne is Pinot Noir dominated (80% Pinot Noir / 20% Chardonnay) and it has this currant and spice note, plus brownish apples. I found a somewhat disturbing note of hay, which took a lot of balance away from the purity. With time in the glass, it evolves better and a note of chalk and iron took over. The taste has the same spice and dark peppery flavours, which I found a bit disturbing. But this is simply due to the terroir of Verzenay, which is known to have this spicy and peppery style. So for yours truly, which is constantly hunting the ultra clear and delicate wines – it didn’t really do the trick for me. However – now I know what to expect – and with 5 more of these in the cellar – I might be better dressed next time I take a swing with this Champagne.

Tasted 9/1-2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2001 Montevetrano, Campania, Italy

(Glass; Riedel Sommeliers Bordeaux Grand Cru)

One should care on generalizing. This wine is under the consultancy of Italy’s most famous wine oenologist; Riccardo Cotarella. Like his French opponent; Michel Rolland – he has been criticized for making wines under their influence taste the same. Think of a great song producer – you can hear his or hers style – not necessarily bad music, but wines lowers love diversity and hate uniformity. Personally I have tasted my share of Cotarella wines and I think some of them share a common personality – with overripe fruit, blackcurrant and rather boring lush and velvet pleasing fruit flavours. However – Montevetrano is different. On opening you have some of the same creamy blackcurrant, but it’s like the soil and the minerality – takes over and brings these flavours to a higher level. The minerality is simply breathtaking and it makes the wines so linear (me love), with incredible fresh Italian herbs. With time in the glass the blackcurrant is almost transformed to just currant as the minerals is infected the wines from all over. Additional you also get some cappuccino, buttermilk and iodine. The taste is beautiful; incredible firm, cool tempered and with exceptional curl and fresh attack. It went down faster than I can spell Montevetrano and I simply licked the last drops out of the glass.

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