Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The last post of the year

The year ends and it's time to look back and reflect. Sentences like; "did that really happen this year" and "Where does time fly", seems to become returning phenomenons. I did it myself this morning - clicked on the January, February, and yes time is indeed flying an my memory seems to worsen every year.

It's also the season for statistics; how odd or common the past year has been and when it comes to wine, it's usually top XX on the most memorable (even the most disappointing) wines, which we seek to look back upon.

I am not that good at making these lists, even if I could probably pick a few wines (mostly Champagnes) here and there. Sure, I can tell you if I liked wine A better than wine B (in most cases), but that's not the same as saying wine A is a winner and wine B is a looser. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a restaurant with some friends, sharing a couple of wines. One of the wines, was the 2003 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvée Reservée. I know "Pegau" pretty well, as it was the first wine I ever bought (the 1985 Vintage) and I have tasted it (I think...remember my bad memory) in all vintages. The 2003 is 99 pts by Robert Parker and for my palate, that's miles away from where I would judge it (even if I don't use points). But again at that night, while making conversation, laughing, having fun and sharing a rustic lamb dish, it did well. Had we had a complex and fragile wine - even some of the Champagnes I usually drink, I am not sure the outcome would have been successful.

As time passes, also in 2009, I pay a lot of attention to the variables which can affect me when I taste wine, but I also. try to praise the diversity of wine and see if there is valid information for me to seek as a taster, when to pair wine with food, occasion or simply just the state of mind I am in. Even if it sounds like the oldest cliché in the world, I must admit I like the concept of each wine to it's time...but yes...I can drink Champagne every day

Looking back on 2009 I have once again participated in some "serious" tastings (believe me, they are not that serious ;-) ), where we usually meet up in some of the best restaurants we have here in Denmark. This gives food and wine mint conditions to perform and on most cases the line-up will even be coordinated beforehand with the very open minded restaurants we have here. But to me these tastings are also a social forum - even small time oases, where I meet with my best friends and share our passion, and simply just have an unforgettable day, which not only is about the liquid in the glasses. It's also an evening where I use a lot of time with the camera and where your senses are bombarded from start to finish. At such event's I have found it useful just to make a few paper notations, if I in any way should be able to offer you some sort of valid tasting notes.

But, there is no doubt in my mind, that the "best" tasting notes I can write, are those I write when I am home. Even if I can't bring food and wine to the same level as a top class Michelin star restaurant, I can still have more than one glass - and in some cases even a full bottle. During 2009, almost (I haven't calculated it) 90% of all the young Champagnes I drink had enormous bottle evolvement, to a degree where one glass would simply not have been sufficient to make some sort of judgment.

Benoît Tarlant

But not only have I been sitting in fancy restaurants in 2009, I have also returned to a event, which I was sure was out for good, namely "The wine shop tasting" - more specifically @ my favorite Champagne pusher, where I have tasted many of the new and interesting Champagne offerings and even had the pleasure of meeting Benoît Tarlant in August. I have missed these tastings, as they are in fact very good training and insightful, but also very informal and relaxed.

2009 was also a year, which make me realize how much I difficulties I have with high extracted and alcoholic wines. They kill my food and they kill the drinking pleasure. Setting up such generalizing barriers can easily result in crusade of dogmatic rules, which I don't want - but it's simply just the way my taste buds seems to react over and over again. Looking back - not only on 2009, but further - it's without a doubt my increasing consumption of Champagne which has started this avalanche and it seems unstoppable.

But let me pick my highlight for 2009. Without a doubt, my visit to Champagne. Meeting the people behind the wines, seeing their humble production facilities and feeling their passion is what it's all about to me.

My favourite funny wine moment of 2009 also comes from my Champagne visit. Sitting in David Léclpart's living room and tasting his magic 2000 Apôtre. My friend, Dan remarks. "Oh this is so good - so buttery and soft". Turning towards David - waiting for him to say some deep insightful winemaker's thoughts about the wine.

David Léclapart: "Well, I didn't put butter in it"


David Léclapart

2010 - ...let's see what it brings. I hope very much to add a label called “People” on the site. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while, and basically it’s portraits of all kinds of people, I bump into when it comes to wine. It can be a wine producer, wine merchant or even just a friend of mine, which share the same passion for wine. It’s another step in the direction of personalizing this blog. Of course this label is also a possibility for me to exploit my hobby on Photography. I am setting pretty high standards for this label, but I am still a novice when it comes photography. Like one of my readers said (which is a brilliant professional photographer) – “Don’t quit your day job” ;-). But I will go ahead with the project anyway in order to become better.

2010 will hopefully also bring some nice wine experiences. Already hearing whispers about a Krug tasting (yeah baby!!!) - maybe the postponed Selosse vertical will come back on schedule and just maybe I will do a Champagne tasting myself or travel to Champagne again or even to Stockholm and meet new Champagne friends....who knows....I am already thirsty.

I wish you all a happy new year - see you in 2010.




Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I wish you a merry Christmas - thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2007 Jerome Prévost "La Closerie Fac-Simile Rosé"

100% Pinot Meunier
Dosage: 0 g/l
Method: Assemblage
Production: 2.800 bottles
Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”

It’s always something special to taste the debut release of a wine. It’s even more exiting when it comes from a region of traditions – and in this case, my favorite region. So who’s saying that nothing is going on in Champagne?

It had no idea what to expect here, but even so, I was surprised to see how shy and fragile the wine was at opening. But in fact, I prefer Rosé Champagnes, which are leaning to these characteristics; and this is such an example….well almost. Once again, I encountered a Champagne, which was constantly evolving in the glass. As the nose opens up, it has small dozes of iron and salty red fruits – mainly cherries. With the last two glasses it puts on in weight and exotic fruits emerge, especially a note of quince is detectable. It’s also starting to show some darker fruits patterns, rising from a slightly oxidation. This makes me speculate, that within a relative short time frame, lets say 1½ years or so, this will be a completely different Champagne. The oxidation note will be far more dominant at that time, but if it can still hold on to these fragile, subtle and feminine signs, we truly have something to look out for.
I might add that once again, this is the sort of Champagne, which you can easily rise in temperature and obtain more nuances without killing the freshness.

To conclude: I wasn’t at the same ecstatic stage, as I was with the new Rosé from Bérèche. I missed that final edge and magic dust. But still a very nice bottle of Rosé, which certainly holds some promising features. Time will tell.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2006, Raphaël Bérèche "Instant Rosé No.1"

55% Chardonnay
40% Pinot Noir
5% Pinot Meunier
Assemblage 6% Red wine
Fermentation: Spontaneous
Malo: Unintended
Disgorgement: 4/5-2009
Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”

I am neither in favour of generalizing nor categorizing when it comes to wine. Unfortunately, it’s something that’s quit common, as it’s a good tool of sorting out all of those tasting experiences. Of course such a pattern is pretty innocent, natural and useful, but thing is, by categorizing we accept that wine is suitable for such schematics and ignore how complex a liquid we have to deal with. Okay….this is another debate which I might open another day, but it takes me to the wine in hand and in fact challenge my own way of analyzing a bottle of wine. You see, when it comes to Rosé Champagnes, I have a tendency to categorize. It’s not that I have specific groups set-up in my mind, but I definitely see myself jumping to generalizing conclusion when I smell a “rat”. It happens that I find myself in situations where I am puzzled about the whole En Vogue Rosé thing.

Well – that was then and this is now. I think an angel just entered the room and reset my brain. This Rosé simply knocked me over and it’s funny because it’s a Rosé Champagne that’s so easy to understand, but maybe it’s this simplicity I have been searching for in the Rosé jungle – who knows? Now let’s concentrate on this utterly resistible babe. Already at first pour I was in love, incredible fresh and fragile stuff, where the aromas is dream come true of dried red fruit; such as – currant, apricot and cherries. The taste is in perfect harmony, so classy, fragile and unheard appetite and seductive. The style is fragile, mineral infected and it simply stands out as one of the most balanced Rosé I have ever tasted.
When I drink Champagne at home I always take it out from the fridge and rest it 20 minutes to reach around 9-10 degrees and when it hits 14-15 I sometimes just dip it for a short time in an ice bucket to keep a temperature around 10-13 degrees. With this Champagne I never got around to the ice-bucket trick as it tasted perfect all the way up to 16 degrees. To me that’s a sign of class.

There are 895 bottles of this babe – so hurry up.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fresh releases

(2006, Ulysse Collin new Pinot Noir)

(Raphaël Bérèche new and very limited Rosé "Instant Rosé No.1")

(Jerome Prévost new Rosé, 2007 Vintage)

Have a serious cold, but when it clears, these two are next...stay tuned as they say....ATJUUU!!!!!