Thursday, September 24, 2009

Summer wines 2009 - the rest

(This picture is pure luck - simply fantastic sudden light - 2 minutes later is was gone)

Here is a small run-down of the wines that didn’t make into a single TN.

I have reached a point of fatigue on taking pictures of wine labels – so you will get some of the other stuff I also use my camera for.

Italian wines

Around mid-summer (and 3 times since) I had the Sangiovese based wine from Bolgheri producer Michele Satta “Cavaliere” from the 2001 vintage. Bolgheri is not known for harvesting Sangiovese, but tend to focus more on the international styles and varieties like; Cabernet, Merlot and even some Syrah wines are found here. For sure the wine is warm-blooded, and not so clinic pure and red berry perfumed, but really nice in fact. Black cherries, dark chocolate mixed with sweet expressive notes, which might be related to oak perfumes, but making fairly good balance. With my last bottle experience here in September, I even sensed emerging notes of new saddle leather. On the palate it still burns some tar elements off, but no way near as much as it did a year ago. I would suspect it enters a really good drinking window in 2 years time. Overall - a good solid wine for basic high-end daily drinking.

At mid-summer, with some friends, I brought the 2001 Camartina from Querciabella (70% Cabernet, 30% Sangiovese). Last time I tasted this wine was in Nov-2008 and the wine has changed to the better side. More defined now – very precise wine in fact, with an utterly slim tongue curl. The nose has the great cool tempered Tuscan herbs, with leather and even black-cherries. On paper I find these Italian IGT blend rather boring and it’s especially the Cabernet doing damage to the Sangiovese grape, but here – even if the Cabernet is primary grape, it’s still rather Sangiovese cut, even if it’s more to the bold side of black cherry notes. But it overall prevails from being rather linear, which I really like. Great wine – which can slowly be enjoyed now, but in 2 years time it should be even better.

(The last light of the day)

Barolo and summer is a song, which I rarely play, but I have had some good memories with the promising winemaker Andrea Oberto. His 2001 Rocche have been rather shy since release, but maybe it was time to take a small sample test. Nice – really, and with 4 hours of decanting it really opened the wine up. It swings between being rather classic cut, with violets, small dozes of menthol and black cherries - but also it’s rather smooth and elegant, making it really pleasurable to drink. I would like the fruit aromas go gain the lovely Barolo dried elements to be perfect – but it require natural cellaring. I think we can be talking 3-4 years here, for that to happen.

I had another Barolo @ Restaurant The Paul in Tivoli, the 2001 “La Serra” from Roberto Voerzio. I have to say, that I was a little surprised to see that the rim of the wine was already starting to show a slightly brownish color – not that it in any way is a minus with Nebbiolo, but I wouldn’t have expected that with Voerzio in the glass. Anyway – the wine is delicious, incredible charming with dried fruits and classic camphor notes. Here are also black fruits of cherries and chocolate flavors. Brilliant stuff.

This wine was however rather disappointing; The 2001 “La Ricolma “ (100% Merlot) from San Guisto a Rentennano. June 2008 (TN in Danish) I last had this wine and it was singing with sweet expressive fruit. Here – almost unrecognizable it has an herbal overcoat which never unfolded. Hard to drink this day and not particular interesting. Strange.

I had another San Guisto a Rentennano wine; 1990 Percarlo in July. I have to say that I had pretty high expectations. I find Percarlo to be a terrific wine and the vintage was not exactly bad either. For sure it was a mistake of mine, not to decant, as it gained strength and gradually improved all the time with air. The fruit is however a bit annoying, even if the intensity was constantly was on the rise. However I adore the red fruit of Sangiovese and here it’s more black cherries and this rather typical Tuscan dusty, herbal side which dominated. It drags the wine down IMHO, as it’s almost too dry and in need of some sort of sweetness. The taste has fairly good strength and Sangiovese curl, but then again – rock hard and the fruit is never really embracing like I wanted it to be. Overall – rather disappointing stuff, almost a dull experience. But as said – I should have decanted it.

Tasted the 2001 Montevetrano again. Performed great once again – my TN from Jan-2009 can be found here

(The very last light - under exposed picture)
German Riesling

My white wine for the mid-summer get-together was the 2007 “Von der Fels” from Keller. It’s outstanding value from one of Germans best dry Riesling wine makers. There is absolutely no fuss here – the wine is cut with great precision and clarity. I can’t find anything negative to say about this wine, other than I only have a few bottles left.

Also had the 2008 “Von der Fels” – enjoyed under very relaxed circumstances as I brought it too a party with some neighbors. A totally different wine compared to the 2007 vintage and in fact far more approachable. 2007 is very linear and tight, but 2008 is incredible lush, rich, mouth coating and has an incredible elastic fruit core. Drinking pleasure is instant, giving and very memorable. For German Riesling lovers, this is a must and its QPR is very hard to beat. It should be noted, that this wine was drunk from a red wine glass, the Riedel Carbernet/Merlot glass and this might have made this more open, rich and approachable feeling. (Thank you for the bottle, Martin)

One evening, home alone and writing about the 2001 Aalto PS and editing the picture, I suddenly felt thirsty. So without decanting, which under normal circumstances is an absolute “no no no” among the most geeky German Riesling drinkers, I poured myself a glass of the 2005 Müller-Catoir, GG “Breumel in den Mauern” (what a title). The last memory I had about this wine goes back to Sep-2007, where it performed rather strangely. Here it was lined up side by side with the monster good 2004 G-Max from Keller and oozed with a bizarre note of shampoo. But now – uh la la, what a transformation and what a wine. Totally divine, incredible slim, precise, but still with enormous depth and concentration. Hard to leave such stuff for day 2 – where it still was brilliant, even if loosing a bit of nerve. One remark though – with warmth in the glass it takes on some boldness, which is almost on the verge of falling out of balance – so drink slightly chilled I would say.

(A corn field not far from my home - take with very low aperture)

Champagne…most of the notes have been uploaded already…but..

You might remember I started uploading a picture of the 2005 “l’Amateur” from David Léclapart, but had a very strange encounter with, what seemed to be a flawed bottle. At first sniff with this new bottle I immediately concluded that the former bottle was indeed off. I want to do a small study of the 2005 Vintage vs 2004 amateur. The 2005 vintage once again confirms that it’s a rounder vintage. I prefer 2004’s – as they are more linear (I have repeated that over and over again). 2005 Amateur still posses a lot of the wines trade mark, such as, a very mineral, slate, salty, and this slim, almost frozen seawater expression. It’s just minor thing that split the two vintages. 2004 seems incredible drinkable and charming and somewhat easier to understand. 2005 holds slight back, caused by this rounder style, but it also holds shyness, even mysteriousness, and this could very well prove to evolve over the years. 2004 seems almost to reveal everything at this stage, which is not a bad thing from a life enjoying perspective. One thing I have learned about the wine from David Léclapart is that – one should really care on predicting and playing Mr. Wise guy, as the wines will go through many phases and transformations…who said authentic wines? If holding this wine – I could be tempted to cellar a bit more, if I was Mr. wise guy ;-).

I have tasted the 2005 Ulysse Colin 2 times during the summer. It’s still great and maturing a bit faster that I would have expected. No need to panic, but it will not be a long distant runner, me think.

Also had the 2006 Infloscence from Cédric Bouchard once again – this time @ restaurant The Paul and served in the Spiegelau Authentis Champagne glass. No way as giving as when served in a White wine glass. Still an utterly beautiful and pure Champagne.

Had the NV Laherte Brut Nature also – in August I believe – tasted over 2 days. It’s holding really well on day 2 – it’s a simple, refreshing and brilliant aperitif Champagne. Don’t expect layers of complexity here – but admire it for its simplicity and drinking pleasure.

Probably had more wines – but this is what I can remember. Bye bye to the summer of 2009…..autumn is next and then the dark horrible winter in Denmark….I hate it…..dreaming of spring already.


good food said...

Hi Thomas

Hope you're doing good!

I need some help from you as the champagne expert ;-) I'm late sorry but hope you'll be able to respond with a day or two. The thing is, I'm going to Mistral in Stockholm for dinner this Saturday and they have Selosse on their list which look like a bargin:
Initial 1160 SEK
Substance 1990 SEK
Could you possibly explain what the difference is?
2k is a lot of money even when SEK but I have heard that the Substance is amazing and now wonder what to drink.

Best from

Thomas said...

Hi Trine,

I am doing very well, thank you. Just returned from holiday and going to a very big tasting @ Søllerød Kro tomorrow – so I am happy….and you?

First of all – heard very good things about Mistral, have a good friend living in Stockholm, which likes it a lot. It’s a bit experimental, right?

The two Champagnes from Selosse are indeed very different. The only common things they share are the grape – both 100% Chardonnay.

Initial is the basic Champagne from Selosse and represents 2/3 of the entire production (34.000 bottles I think). Initial comes from the lower parts of the Selosse vineyards in Avize, Cramant and Oger. It’s a blend of 3 vintages and it spends 3 years on oak. Initial has enormous bottle variation. You can have the most adorable zippy fresh, apple bio driven bottles and versions where the oak is too dominate and bottles that seems just flat and boring. I would suggest Initial however has a rather good profile to match most dishes and even be a good welcome drink.

Now Substance is a totally different story.

First of all – very limited Champagne (not sure about the production number, but would suspect something like 1.500-2.000 bottles per year). It comes from lover vineyards in Avize and the soil there consist very much of clay, so don’t expect this chalky expression you frequently get from Champagne. But the trademark of Substance is for sure, that it’s a Solera ( )Champagne. In the case of Substance it consist of wines all the way back to 1986. This gives a unique character and the Champagne will first of all show a lot of signs of oxidation due to the older vintages in the blend. But as with many of Selosse’s wines, each new release of Substances various a lot from, heavy oxidation, creamy, bold, almost too much of everything to rather fresh lemon attacking profile. Still it’s really concentrated Champagne. I am not a huge fan of Substance – more applauding and fascinated by its profile. But I have had rather good success with it, when it’s matched with the right food. It’s Champagne for meditation and a good plate of cheese – not as a starter of to go along with very fragile and elegant cuisine.

Both Champagnes are very fair priced – my choice would be Initiale. Substance might be the Champagne for you, but it could still end up taking too much focus from the food and kill the balance.

Have a nice dinner and a good weekend.



good food said...

Hi Thomas

Thanks so much for responding so fast. It's exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Never having tasted Selosse before I also kind of lean towards Initial. We can have the other next time hopefully. :-)

I'm also well myself, thank you. Just returned from a great event in Belgium which also brought me to Paris. I was lucky to have a short, but very good lunch at L'Arpege *** with a good handfull of French wine geeks. We got Lafon' Meursault from 1979 wich was a great experience. Still a surprising amount of acidity and a wonderfull nose. Not so much fruit though.

Happy tasting tomorrow, and send Jan a kiss from me (if you want ;).

I'll let you know about Mistral.


Thomas said...

Hi Trine,

Most welcome.

Sounds like you are enjoying life, like always. Your blog is still a great inspirational source.

I don’t know if I will actually kiss Jan – maybe give him a hug…hehe ;-).

Enjoy Stockholm – I will look forward to the Mistral report.

Best from,


good food said...

Hi Thomas

If you get a chance of going to Stockholm you must visit Mistral. We had a fabulous evening. Wonderful food, very refined and delicate in style. Completely unique. The service is remarkable - reminded me of noma actually.

Unfortunately my camera died (sigh) the very same afternoon so I couldn't shoot any photos. :-( I've arranged with them to get some prof. one I can post when I publish my experience.

I loved the Initial! Drunk from Juhlin white wine glasses. Degorgées 07. Such effervescent mousse, great taste, sophisticated. I followed it as it evolved for the entire evening.

Hope your tasting was a hit! ;-)


Thomas said...

Hi Trine,

So good to hear (except for the camera).

I must visit Mistral next time I go to Stockholm.

Yes we had a very nice evening – with most impressive wines. Though – I have to confess that we tend to drink too much wines and it’s hard to be the camera guy, while also having to pay attention to food & wine – and conversation.

I will upload a report in two weeks time.

Take care.