Saturday, April 11, 2009


All these wine notes, or should I call them reflections, are from memory (or lack of it).

Let's start with the Champagne, because this weather is making me seriously thirsty for the world's best beverage. My parents stopped by and I chose to serve them a rather nice bottle of Champagne. Before I go into details it's tasted under very relaxed circumstances and I didn't even have time to take a proper picture. Anyway - the Champagne in hand was the Cuvée Extra Brut Réserve from Raphaël Bérèche. A Champagne made in a classic blend of 50 percent pinot noir, 25 percent meunier and 25 percent chardonnay. Dosage is 2-3 g/L and all this information is available on the back label. The Champagne has good healthy surplus of juicy apples, citrus and smoke. The taste is fresh, elegant, friendly, giving, but also with a rather high acidity attack, making it very food friendly. My parents loved it and I was also rather pleased.

I am slowly cleaning my cellar from these Super Tuscans - meaning that they are for sale (wanna buy some?....I didn't think so) and those who can't be sold (which is almost all of them) I drink. With a classic evening of Cibi e Vini finest antipasti selections I chose the 1997 "Sammarco" from Castello dei Rampolla. Now - I am actually a pretty big fan of CdR, as they make really classic and true Tuscan born wines despite the international blends (Sammarco is a 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Sangiovese). Sammarco and particular its big brother "d'Alceo" are made to age and they are usually rather tannic when young. Some of this roughness also lured on the nose when I opened the 1997 Sammarco. I decided to decant for 2 hours. With the rather recent tasted 1997 Solaia I noticed an inner warm fruit core and it's also here in Sammarco. For me this is somewhat disturbing, but I guess it's also a sweet spot for some as it holds a lot of lush a charming fruit. However Sammarco has loads of structure with sneaks itself all the way to the nose and it also has these brilliant Tuscan herbs, which I seriously like. Otherwise I saw too much boring Cabernet scents of blackcurrant, cigar box and smoke. The taste has lots of structure and I can easily see it age at least for another decade - but I have to be concerned of the warm element of the nose.

I also tasted the 1999 Ornellaia. I have to say that the wine was seriously nice – despite it’s somewhat boring Bordeaux blend (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc). The intensity and nerve of this wine is something else. You find the usual blackcurrant notes with some toasted oak, but also lots of Italian touches like fresh herbs and warm Tuscan earth. The best part was however and rather linear note of menthol, which almost took form of mint later. This note just infected the other parts of the wine and gave it edge and class. The taste is firm, incredible fresh and precise – really nice I tell you. If you are lucky to hold this wine – you can slowly begin to drink it now + 7 years.

In a complete different red wine category I had a 2006 “La Plante Chassey” from Domaine Derain in Burgundy. Ballerina light and feminine red berry scented wine with: silky raspberry skin, rubber and in general a very ethereal wine. If you are looking for more refined red wine, for summer drinking, this might be it – I will certainly buy some more.

I had a really nice surprise when I opened the Spanish 2004 "Trio Infernal 2/3" from Priorat. Surprise, because the wine had changed so much since I first tasted it about 2 years ago. I can't help to reflect somewhat on this wine and how it came to be that I liked it so much. First of all its nose consists of crushed blackcurrant, blackberries, black cherries and even dark chocolate. Usually such notes will have me saying - "been there, done that"...."Now serve me a real wine". But there was something here and underlying nerve, linearity and a cool element - which was pronounced with an herbal expression. The taste confirmed this aspect as it's drinking really well. Brilliant wine – which can already be enjoyed now. A funny note about the glass I drank with this wine. I initially chose the "Tinto Riserva" from Riedel Sommeliers line, but there I got a much darker and concentrated wine. With Zalto Bordeaux I archived a lot more freshness and the herbal expression. I ended up drinking it from Zalto.

With the arrival of spring the thirst of a chilled wine brings out some of these German Rieslings I have. I chose the 2001 "Riesling Spätlese Bürgergarten 2134" from Müller-Catoir. The wine made exactly the same maneuver as last time I tasted it. It opened up with breathtaking, lush and incredible precise fruit - but the closed down in the glass. On day 3 it was still rather shy. The only transformation, since I last tasted it about a year ago, was the more dominant notes of petrol.


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