Saturday, February 21, 2009

Domaine Catherine & Dominique Derain “Allez Goûtons” Burgundy France

(Glass, Spiegelau Adina White wine)

I am not even sure if the title of this wine is correct and I can’t even see any vintage on it. This is the sort of wine that makes you laugh a bit. At first you think – this is not serious, but slowly the wine creeps under your skin and you come to think; “why not?” and the laugh is replace with a smile.

Let’s have a look what’s inside.

This 100% biodynamic wine still had some carbon oxide left and it’s fairly blurry with a lot of yeast sitting on the bottom of the bottle. The nose is utterly pure, insanely fresh with newly pressed green apple juice, white flowers and mint leafs. With this carbon oxide and only holding 10.7% alcohol it could easily have been mistaken for a cider. As the wine opens up it gains some warmth from a wet stone note and a tiny oily factor of newly baked croissants. Even here in February – and it was even snowing outside, you can't help to get summer feelings on your retina. The taste drops very short, very light and has extremely high acidity.

So – imagine a summer day on the terrace. You start with this wine as an aperitif or even serve it with a green gazpacho soup, seasoned with lime juice – and I bet your guests will be smiling of the simplicity of this wine and the storytelling behind it.

Thank you for the bottle, Mads.

For more information, click here


2000 Vilmart, Couer de cuvée, Champagne

(Glass; Zalto)

Vilmart makes some of the most pleasing Champagnes out there and especially the Coeur de Cuvée is exceptional appetite. The 2000 is no exception – loaded with exotic juices; toasted oak, honey, Parisian flower shop and the finest vanilla from Polynesia. Had the wine been without bubbles, and I had been blindfolded, I would have guessed Comte Lafon “Mersault Charmes”. This highly seducing and rather in your face vanilla, combined with the sweet expressive oak flavours, is of course a charming bonus point – however, it takes a bit away from finesse and the intellectual factor. But still Vilmart prevails, and the Coeur de Cuvee shows it’s splendid and sophisticated purity, which makes you smile all the way to the finish line. Taste shows some exotic and maybe too dense signs and I would have preferred a more linear style. However – the underlying acidity is rather nice here, especially as the bubbles die down – so I am guessing it’s still on the young side and will evolve secondary nuances with time. Overall – I was very happy with the bottle.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

NV Egly-Ouriet "Blanc de Noirs Vieille Vigne", Champagne

(Disgorgement Aug-2006 – Glass; Zalto)

It’s almost a paradox drinking Champagne like this. The day before I had L’Amateur from David Leclapart – a Champagne, which profile almost reminded me of frozen Evian. The Blanc de Noirs from Egly-Ouriet is as far as you can get from frozen Evian and what some would (and what I would have said only a year back) call “real” Champagne. But these days – I am not so sure, what is “real” anymore. Coming back to the wine in the glass here, the wine is like a big Teddy Bear – soft and round and you just want to hug it. The fruit core consists of a glowing oxidized style of walnuts, sourdough, caramel and spices. I also detected a note of mint – which took the overall quality to a higher ground and kept if from being heavy. The taste is really dense with a mouth coating, smooth and creamy style. Overall I liked it, and it’s a high quality Champagne – and this disgorgement is definitely one of the better I have had. The only thing I would say is that the wine never changed from start to finish and the tasting experience doesn’t get so intellectual and authentic, like some of the other Champagnes, which I have tasted recently.


Friday, February 13, 2009

2004 David Léclapart, L’Amateur, Champagne

(Disgorgement Aug-2007; Glasses, Juhlin and Zalto - both great)

David Léclapart is in the glass. L’Amateur is the basic wine of his collection, but dear listeners, we have entered the twilight zone, and nothing is basic and common here, when we are in the Leclapart zone. Equal for all Léclapart wines is that on the back label of his wines is 4 words; “Pureté, Energie, Plaisir, Ecologie” / “Pure, Energy, Pleasure, Ecology” and if these 4 words where to be 4 Dogme rules, I think L’Amateur is a fairly good protégé. Have you any ideas how pure this wine is? It’s almost too pure – meaning; the wine is aged in enamelled steel tanks and has amazing iron coolness, wet stones, and it’s almost like kissing the sea. The fruit component is pear and it’s so slim and pure, with underlying brushing warmth – which I best can describe as slate (A component I see a lot in German Rieslings) and it gives this distinctive note of smoky minerals. The taste is extremely slim; and the mousse breaks like fragile salty frossen seawater, with a vibrant acidity. It actually opened brilliantly, but then entered a shy phase– but came back again – not uncommon for Leclaparts wines to have so many phases – very authentic. I still believe that there will be rewarding drinking pleasure if you cellar it 2-3 years.

I want to return to a line which I touched upon; “It’s almost too pure”. This is interesting and what L’Amateur is all about – let me elaborate. L’Amateur is a relentless champagne – you get absolute no clues or aids, such as dosage, autolysis or toasted oak. This is the sort of Champagne that will not knock you backwards at first sniff - but be prepared to have an eye-opening vision into a completely new universe. Be prepared for; “Pure, Energy, Pleasure, Ecology”

Needless to say, that I liked it a lot.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NV Bérèche et Fils, Reflet d`Antan, Champagne

(Dosage 7-9 g/l, production 2.600 btls. – Glasses ; various)

Funny – normally my Champagne notes will tell you about a positive glass evolvement and me wishing for more in the bottle as I lick the last drops out of the glass. This experience was entirely opposite. Splendid opening; with a really delicate and soft insinuating style – like sleeping in cashmere - naked on a Monday. The nose consists of sweet apple juice, vanilla, melted butter and again this velvet style, which gives this Champagne so much smoothness. Taste is powerful, round, lush and really rewarding. It even matched the food, which was Asian inspired; Chicken with cashew nuts, ginger, fish and oyster sauce, red pepper and spring onions. But as time passed, I found it to be somewhat one-dimensional as the sweetness and oak takes control and kill a lot of focus and backbone nerve. Even on the palate it contracts and you never get a real acidity smack.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that this Champagne is made under the Solera principal (goes back to 1990) and the reason for this unique style. For sure there is a lot of personality here, and if you where hoping for a crisp Blanc de Blanc, you are simply not on the right track. I have never been a huge fan of Substance from Selosse (another Solera Champagne) and guess I will never be a fan of Reflet d`Antan – it simply comes down to preference in style, more than judgment of the level of quality. However, I can easily see the purpose of this Champagne, and if to buy and serve this Champagne – it would offer best drinking pleasure if served with cheese or just alone before the dessert – but definitely not as a starter.

Tasted: 9/2-2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

2003 Le Macchiole, “Scrio” Tuscany

(Glass; Riedel Sommeliers Bordeaux Grand Cru)

No decanting time as I simply took the bottle directly from my wine cabinet and poured. An incredible seductive nose of vanilla toasted oak, Tuscan inner warmth, herbs, liquorices, and yet still a brilliant inner coolness. Of course some of the natural coolness came from the fact that the bottle was served at a rather cool temperature, but it gave it this ravishing sense of wind blown animal fur. The taste is yummy – brilliant freshness and the Tuscan soil warmth with firm structure and backbone. After we had drunk 2/3 of the bottle, I rested it and two hours later I had the last 1/3. Rather surprisingly evolvement and not a positive one. The wine had gained a lot of warmth even if I had rested it rather cool – but the fresh attack from the initial opening was now overtaken but way too much flabby sweetness and lack of focus and nerve. Maybe it’s not that approachable after all. Overall – still a good experience – the start still stands as a good memory, even if the 2003 will not reach the highs of such vintages as, 1997, 1999 & 2001.