We had some friends for dinner where I served a Rosé Champagne - 2006 "Oliver Horiot Sève Rosé". Stunning color - looked like extraction of strawberry jam juice with bubbles. Strawberry is also what came to my mind when I first smelled it - but it's currently also a bit rustic with an cool iron note. It showed rather fine bottle evolvement though.
A nice surprise to se0e that I had a bottle of the 1995 Ornellaia left in the cellar. The wine was drinking fair – good classic super Tuscan nose, with a solid good evolved notes of blackcurrant/blackberries, but overall haunted by this 1995 dryness on the palate.
To stay in Tuscany – I had a 2004 Il Carbonaione from Poggio Scalette. The wine is still young, but not inapproachable. It’s in the more muscular Sangiovese section with dark cherries and a good herbal expression. Taste had a good linear feeling with lots of structure for future cellaring and evolvement. Overall I have to say that the wine didn’t touch me that much on the emotional scale - but it should improve with cellaring.
I had a very romantic evening @ restaurant Noma with my wife in March. I have visited Noma at least 10 times and it’s my favorite restaurant in Copenhagen. I even held my wedding there, so every time I approach the restaurant there are certainly good memories coming back to me.
Since I have last visited – the wooden floors have been painted in a dark color which gives the dining room more luxurious touch. I also noted a lot more waiters there and even the kitchen where like a swarm of little chef bees. Now – on paper this is of course a plus, but for my eye it takes some calmness away. I guess it depends on where you sit in the restaurant. In addition at least 10 different waiters approached our table and we switched back from English, Swedish and Danish. Now I can speak and understand all of these languages, and I know over 50% of the guest are foreigners @ Noma, but I can’t say that I know all of the correct food terms in these languages. I see Noma trying to raise the service to achieve *** - it’s probably the right tactic, but since I have visited the place since the very first day they opened, I feel some of the personality is in risk of evaporating. I know it’s naive of little Thomas too feel this way, but I have to say that, if sommelier Pontus hadn’t been – I would have felt a bit lonely.
To top it up – the food was a big disappointment – lacked precision and freshness (not the Greenland shrimps, cream, chlorophyll and white currant granite….that was nice). Some of the combinations were simply not working for me – too weird and really not tasty. The dish Radishes from Lammefjorden Sea weed and egg yolk looked horrible and tasted weird. The Marrow and pickled vegetables Herbs and bouillon were a completely wrong set-up in my opinion.
I always go with the wine menu on such occasions and once again Sommelier Pontus had made very good choices – despite the disappointing food. I particular liked the NV (1999) Champage Brut Nature ’Entre Ciel et Terre’ from Francoise Bedel.
I hope this Noma experience was just a small bump on the road and I will be more satisfied next time I visit.
March has also included a very cozy BYO event @ Pierre André . Good solid French brasserie style with tasty and simple understandable food. We where 4 people sharing 6 wines. Two white Burgundies - a 1990 Chablis La Grenouille from Château de Grenouille. Chalky style with seawater, which is a style I like, but I found the skeleton a fraction too thin here. Overall I was impressed with it's freshness depsite it's age. The other white where a 2002 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet “Folatieres” – off course different in style vs the Chablis, but still a shy “PM”. Some oily elements and smoke on the nose, but not particular giving. I found it a bit dissapointing, when you know what Leflaive can normally achieve. Maybe in a closed phase?
The first red was also the best red – the 2002 “Clos du tart” – still a fairly concentrated wine and not exactly a feminine Burgundy expression, but seriously tasty. The brilliant sweet spices on the nose, which I find exceptional present with the 2002 Vintage. The taste is a loooong curvy palate ride – yummy.
We also had two Bordeaux wines: First up was the 1983 Leoville Las Cases. It opened with a funky and diluted nose of wet fur and cellar. With time it made a small comeback and showed some cedar wood notes, but it died again. I have to say drink up now. The other wine in that flight was better – the 1985 Pichon Comtesse. Showing more nerve with black fruits, cedar wood and tobacco perfumes. Good curl on the tongue, but still a bit rustic. Bordeaux is something that I don’t buy and taste that often these days, but from an objective perspective it’s wonderful wines, even if they don’t move me that much.
No tasting without Champagne – and my contribution this evening was a rather funny bottle. I had brought a Jacques Selosse Champagne – and on the front label, which was what I had paid for – it said “V.O. Version Originale" – on the back label it said “Contraste”. With a light bright golden color coming out of the bottle, if was easy to see, that it was “V.O.” – and what a beauty. Fresh Granny smith apples, baby banana, lime and autolysis yeast notes. On the palate it evolved mild chocolate flavors and drinking fantastic with the selection of French cheeses. Champagne is IT for me – this small get-together just confirmed it (again).
German Riesling is also something I like to drink, as the weather changes to the more friendly side. In March I opened a super electrical 2005 Riesling Spätlese Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube from Dönnhoff. Still a very young wine with lots of adorable and juice baby fat fruit, with pear and peach juice as the main components. Made in a serious luxuries and friendly style, with a knock-out palate explosion. I was meant to keep it for a couple of days, but who can resist, but drinking such a thing with instant pleasure. My dear wife held a birthday party for her best friends (females only) and I was particular happy to see they hadn’t touched the 2003 Hermann Löwenstein “Röttgen GG”, which I had opened in advance for them. With 36 hours of air it did splendid with our Sunday night salmon dish. The wine had an oily style and you think more of Alsace than Mosel here. Spices, caramel, honey and apricot – it sounds more opulent and greasy that it is, but the wines from HL has a brilliant level of energy and somehow they always balance themselves out with a good deal of air. Lovely.
April and spring is next…..I am already smiling….
You have praised NOMA as long as I have reading your comments, maybe you have changed style in food, I have often wondered why you loved that place so much??
Anyway I will have my 2. dinner at La Pergola and this time enjoy the desserts more, I will leave out the meat dish (;-)
Yes I have praised Noma over and over again – and I still believe it’s well deserved.
When you have dined so many times at one restaurant there will for sure always be a comparing barometer working inside you. You will most certainly also be harder and harder to surprise and satisfy and you will have high hopes to try flavours you haven’t tasted before. This is simply what makes you pay so much money for a dinner. For me Noma has constantly prevailed and has had that extra gear to get them where they are today.
I also believe that restaurants have good and bad days – I have seen it frequently with Era Ora which I have tried so many times before.
I simply have to write what I experienced and hopefully this was just a bum/bad day even if I see some changes there, which I am not particular fond of. Maybe I won’t even notice these more soft parameters next time, if the food steals the attention
La Pergola is really something else – talk about a restaurant with a good view – have fun and drink something decent please….preferably Champagne and not that US Pinot crap….he he…just kidding…enjoy.
Went to noma in March. The food was up to their high standards. we had the 13 course meal, so obviously some dishes were greater than others, but the overall level was very high.
As a guest it's always difficult to retain focus when having so many dishes but that was our choice.
The wine matches were all great. I was impressed with them serving Bonneau Chateauneuf in a Bordeaux glass to accentuate the fruit (which isn't exactly Bonneaus trademark!), so that it matched the food - creative thinking!
I had two objections:
1)The same as you with many different waiters serving the food presented in English. This seems weird for a rastaurant that focuses so much on Nordic elements and it makes the experience more impersonal. You inevitably have to do a quick translation when being told 5 or 6 ingredients at a rapid pace.
2) All wines were great with the food but I felt that the they have a tight budget on the wines when you compare with other restaurants at the same ambition level. Many of the wines were high QPR wines which basically is a good thing but one also has to consider that our wine menu was quite expensive.
On the positive side: Pontus is about as professional and as skilled as waiters/sommeliers get. What a pleasure to be served by him!
Thank you for posting – I always listen to your skilled approach to food and wine.
I can only salute Pontus skills – to me he is the best sommelier in Copenhagen and a very friendly and humble person.
I guess only Italian wine(What else)
Forgot to mention that I love the Kupfergrube vinyard too. I'm waiting for the 2003's to wake up. In the meantime the 2003 Norheimer Kirschheck Spätlese is drinking superbly right now whilst Dönnhoff's better vinyards need a little more time. The acidity that supposedly wasn't there in this disputed vintage is now all of a sudden starting to show up!
I was pleasantly surprised that your 2005 Kupfergrube showed so well at this point in time - but good for you.
As goes for Nahe I see myself buying less Dönnhoff and more Schäfer-Frölich in the future, especially the Bockenauer Felseneck Spätlese which to me is more complex, edgy and less sterile than Dönnhoff's style. The Felseneck may not stand out on release being overtly sweet and fruity with natural yeast stink, but wow this wine gain enormous depth over time. The 2003 is sublime now but is still young.
I was actually surprised to see the ’05 Kupfergrube perform so brilliant here. I really had second thoughts when I picked it from the wine cabinet (might have been closed). But it was singing tunes I really liked.
I think I know what you mean about Dönnhoff…I guessing you feel they are a bit too polished or? I can understand from a intellectual barometer what you mean – but I seriously have to confess that sometimes I don’t need to think that much when I drink wine – just let my senses guide me…and Dönnhoff makes incredible charming wines.
You got it more or less right.
I love the clean floral elegance and the linearity of a weightless Dönnhoff wine. The fruity wines are indeed both uncomplicated and very complex. So perfect (but not only) paired with sunshine.
Fruity Dönnhoff with age to me displays more of a Mittel-Mosel profile. In this case I'm more prone to the likes of Zilliken and JJ Prüm, Selbach-Oster and not least Schloss Lieser.
S-F with a bit of age has a very distinct character and more Nahe-typicity in my book. But the Nahe region can be endlessly sub-divided in different climates and soil, so this is a more metaphysical conception of mine rather than a factual observation.
What stands out with S-F is the overwhelming complexity and tertiary aromas it gains over time paired with the fact that it's approachable by all/very likeable. To compare with a wine you mentioned above, Von Löwenstein also makes very complex wines but they have a much narrower common appeal than the beforementioned producers. Fewer people understand von Löwenstein's wines, but this doesn't make the wines better or worse.
But the fact that I like Dönnhoff's wines young/not fully mature is not a bad thing as most of my favorite producers make wines that get considerably better with age. The ability to age is not a sign of quality in itself, it's just practical when you have too much wine...
Hi Ulrich – for sure I can relate to your description of the wines of HL. At first I simply didn’t understand them – but now I find them really energetic and complex.
Concerning the other producers – well….it’s just an underlying fact that you know a lot more about German wines than I do…I have become a Champagne junkie…but good to be reminded about some of the usual suspects again.
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