Saturday, January 30, 2010

2005 Cédric Bouchard "La Bolorée",Champagne

100% Pinot Blanc
Dosage: 0 g/l
Production: 800-1.000 bottles
Time on it's lees: 38 months
Other data: 40-year old vines - 0,2107 ha

Previously, when trying to describe the Champagnes from Cédric Bouchard, I have been mumbling more about a feeling than picking a note here and there. Basically the equation is not that complicated, its Champagnes of highly unique character, which are impossible to place in any category. Even if this might sound a bit pretentious – that’s the only way I can describe his wines – besides they taste horrible good.

So - with a debut release of a100% Pinot Blanc Champagne in front of me, I already know I will be dancing with aliens shortly – I am ready, “beam me up Scotty”.

Mama Mia – I am in love. This is like nothing else, completely unique –dazzling, intriguing, silky and amazing energetic. But there is a difference to what I have described above, because this is filled with aromas so there are tons of notes to pick, even if they are not something you come across everyday. Here is what I have written on my paper: All kinds of spices, candied citrus fruits, lime, ripe fruit, melon, fennel, ginger, flowers, corn and a massive mineral / slate expression providing an enormous intensity. This slate note, made me think of the wines/Rieslings from Weingut Keller in Rheinhessen, Germany (G-Max, Morstein…etc) and if there are any Keller fans in the audience (I can think of a few), you will know exactly what I mean, if you taste this Champagne. But like all the wines from Cédric Bouchard, there are an incredible sleek feeling and all the notes I have written are so refined and breathtaking pure. The taste is a chapter of it’s own. The lower bar pressure (4.5 atmospheres vs normally 6), is adding to the feeling that it’s a more a wine than a Champagne, but who cares, when it taste as good as this. The mousse breaks with sleek diamond dust precision, then calms down and the second wave hits you, filled with a herd of never ending mineral and spicy expressions – it’s pure magic. What a Champagne – a masterpiece.

Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red wine” and Zalto “White wine” – both did exceptional well.

Blizzard over Denmark

Just went outside – took this image of my garden, amazing light….oh yes also had one of the most unique Champagnes I have ever tasted tonight - blew my mind.

More later….

Sunday, January 24, 2010

1999, San Giusto a Rentennano, "Percarlo"

Okay, I wish I could tell you anything good about this wine, as I really like Percarlo.

Percarlo tends to be absolutely brilliant when it’s released and then go into a big sleeping phase. Of course this is not only common for Percarlo, but a phenomenon known to happen to almost all great wines. Based on my previous Percarlo experiences, there will be an almost 100% guarantee, that this will happen and it will hit the wine really hard. The real challenge for Percarlo is however; how this phase will actually transform the wine. My experience tells me, that Percarlo naturally looses some fresh fruit “baby fat” when its starts to get some age to it. This is necessarily not a bad thing, but unfortunately the baby fat often contains lush ripe red cherry fruit, which over time is replace with black cherries and spices. That’s exactly how the 1999 felt like and I might have caught it at the wrong day/time, but my God it was boring. Never did it do anything that the monotone black cherry dance, with some thyme notes to it. The taste is even worse, strong, heavy and not particular inspirational.
I think I have a bottle or two left of this 1999, plus a six pack of the 2001 & 2004 and I suddenly feel concerned.

Even if it’s comparing apples vs bananas, I can’t help think of my Friday Champagne (Selosse, V.O.) and this glass of wine. The Champagne was an ongoing delightful drinking pleasure, where you couldn’t wait to get the next fill. This felt like being in fourth division, just waiting to get over with it.

I am beginning to wonder, if I care to drink anything but Champagne.

Tested in 3 different glasses: Zalto Bordeaux, Riedel Sommeliers Bordeaux Grand Cru and Antinori Sangiovese. This small test will be included in the material for
“The ultimate glass test”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NV Jacques Selosse, V.O. Version Originale

100% Chardonnay
Dosage: Usually 0 g/l (but can go up to 3 g/l)
Production: 3.600 bottles
Vineyards location: Avize, Cramant and Oger (the upper part of the vineyards)
Blend: 3 vintages
Aged on the lees: almost 4 years
Disgorgement date: 18. November 2008

I keep claiming Version Originale (V.O.) from Selosse is the worth the extra cost, compared to “Initiale”. So with the fresh memory of Initiale in my mind and sort of putting my money where my mouth is, I popped a Version Originale after a challenging week at work (poor me).

Let’s just jump right into this bottle, as I am dying to tell you about it. It was fan-fucking-tastic…excuse me, but yes…man I was flying. The nose is just utterly sensational – an apple rush, with ripe fruit, honey, cider, lime and the most divine oak perfumes of vanilla, biscuits and smoke. To top it off, it has these “bio” rhythms, which brings small aromas of baby banana into the pot. It’s texture and mousse is as soft as baby skin, which under normal circumstances could result in lack of grip and nerve, but no no no – not here. Its overall profile is so refined and subtle. But the real secret is ripe fruit and low dosage…okay…here we go again, the old tiring EVIl dosage debate. But listen, it actually feels sweet on the nose, not on the palate. This is rather stimulating for the drinking pleasure, as you never get this sticky feeling on the palate from the dosage, but get the ripe, adorable and complex fruit components on the nose, where they belong in my opinion. Once again a Champagne which handled pretty high temperatures without lack of focus and freshness.

Oh yes, V.O. is worth the extra penny.

Tested in 4 different glasses; Juhlin, Zalto, Riedel Sommeliers and Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”. This small test will be included in the material for “The ultimate glass test” (I tell you it was interesting – one glass was the clear winner)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fabio Simoncini

Somehow I knew, that Fabio was the first person I wanted to portray under the new label, “People”.

Fabio is of course Italian – Pisa is his hometown and the region of Tuscany has from day one been the fulcrum for Fabio’s selection of wines and the small tasty antipasti he creates every day. But slowly other regions have found their way into the wine shelf and today you can find almost all of the Italian wine regions here.

But life was not all about food & wine for Fabio. “I am educated as a chemist, but I couldn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life”, Fabio says.

He came to Denmark in 1989 on a snowy April day. Five years later – to be exact the 15th of February 1994, he opened the doors to Cibi e Vini, which just happens to be about 100 meters from where I work (and still work today). I have lost count on how many times I have chosen Cibi e Vini for setting up the food for my wine tastings during the years and please don’t tell me how many kilos of Parmesan cheese I have bought there, my pants already feels too small just thinking about it. My good friend Carl and I, even had a sandwich named after us, as we picked it up every morning for several years.

Throughout the years Fabio have had help on and off from young chefs, but today it’s his wife Mie who make up the dream team. Make no mistake, it might be Fabio, which I portray here, but Mie is an outstanding chef and makes on of the best Osso Buco I have ever tasted.

I can’t remember exactly what date I actually met Fabio for the first time, but as I was already into Italian wines back then - Cibi e Vini was just the place for me. Besides the food, Fabio had a curious approach to wine and for spotting new comers and not being afraid to take chances. Cibi e Vini was the first, according to my knowledge, to sell organic Italian wines in Denmark.

When I think of it today, it’s not only Fabio’s carefully handpicked Italian wine producers and his high standards of hams, cheese, olive oils, pasta, pesto’s, Italian chocolate and homemade antipasti – it’s also the atmosphere in the shop. Typical a Friday for me, when I am tired from work, and just want to come home and relax with a good bottle of wine I stroll pass Cibi e Vini. The shop is usually pretty filled at that time, as I am not the only one with such a Friday-plan. Now Danes hate to stand in line and I sometimes find myself just observing how the behaviour of the costumers can slowly transform, when they understand that they just have to be patient. Everyone are desperate to get home and kick-off the weekend and just waiting for their turn. But somehow, standing in the shop is calming – Mie and Fabio provide the same personal service to all their costumers no matter if there is 100 persons or 1 person in the shop. Often a costumer will have doubts on exact, which cheese or ham to buy and will of course, like the rest of the waiting herd, be offered a small sample to taste. Slowly people’s faces will light up as they ooze the joy of not rushing all the time, as they taste the goodies. You see, the Italian has for a long times realized that “slow” is beautiful.

But I have to say, that it would be wrong of me to say that Fabio is typical Italian; “if we don’t make it today, we make it tomorrow”. Fabio is always busy. The Danes has for a long time noticed Fabio’s shop and as the words spreads, Fabio provides private and business clients with out of the house catering, almost every week

Anyway – it has been a pleasure opening the door to Fabio’s universe and I hope you can sense some of Fabio’s character. Do visit his shop if you happen to be in the neighbourhood and say hello from “Toga” (my nickname).

Cibi e Vini
Torvegade 28
1400 Copenhagen K
+45 32 57 77 98

Saturday, January 9, 2010

1996 Egly-Ouriet Vintage, Champagne

(It's freezing cold here)

60% Pinot Noir
40% Chardonnay
Disgorged Jul-2004
Time on lees: 85 months
Dosage: No idea – felt like 5-6 g/l.

My recent TN of this Champagne is from Jul-09. Back then I concluded, like several other tasters in Cyberspace, that the wine was mature. To some degree this was rather surprising, as it’s a ’96-vintage – the vintages which was supposed to be flawless and outlive us all. So what went wrong? Some are saying that Pinot Noir in particular has matured a bit faster and even if looking beyond Champagne the 1996 Vintage in Bordeaux and Burgundy has proved to be somewhat more controversial than first expected. Wine makers in Champagne are now also expression their thoughts to a year, which was perfect in numbers, but still very challenging. Champagneguide / Peter Liem has a lot of insight to the vintage and in particular I found this quote interesting; "Most of the 1996s will die before the complexity of the fruit balances out the acidity,” says Charles Philipponnat of Champagne Philipponnat. Whatever outcome for the 1996-vintage, I still consider this vintage exceptional and if you think of it, it can be of no surprise that a top class vintage sees several phases during it’s lifespan. Nor can it be a mystery that some haven’t hit jackpot in ’96 and wine is a living organism, which luckily prevents mankind and experts, in always having the ability to see the future.

But let’s return to Egly-Ouriet. It’s indeed evolved with lots of oxidized notes and a smooth waxy profile. The nose consists of; chocolate, honey, toffee, coffee beans and a touch of lemon peel. The latter is important and it’s a note you also find the Egly-Ouriet’s Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes. It’s a balance factor and what I so many times have called the: “Salt on the egg”. The taste is potent, smooth, deep and highly concentrated. Also on the palate you find the lemon peel note, which prevents it from being overly heavy. I had most of this Champagne without food and the acidity is painful high – it’s literally hurting the palate. This bottle was just a notch better than my previous bottle as it had a higher level of electricity. What confuse me though; are this ultra high-pitched acidity and this very evolved nose. Will this Champagne face what Charles Philipponnat are saying? Is it way to soon to conclude? I can’t answer these questions. But does it really matter if I liked it now – does Champagne need to age forever to be consider great? One thing is certain, had this wine been served blind to me, I would probably have praised it as a very nice bottle of Champagne. The dilemma is that we sometimes tend to put everything on a pedestal (the flaweless ’96 Vintage) and maybe we should stop doing that.

Tested in 4 different glasses; Juhlin, Zalto, Riedel Sommeliers and Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”. This small test will be included in the material for “The ultimate glass test”

Saturday, January 2, 2010

NV Jacques Selosse, Initiale, Champagne

(Anselme Selosse)

100% Chardonnay
Dosage: around 5-6 g/l
Production: 33.000 bottles (2/3 of his entire production)
Vineyards location: Avize, Cramant and Oger (the lower part of the slopes)
Blend: 3 vintages
Time on it’s lees: 3 years
Disgorgement date: 18. January 2008
Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”

I was drinking Initiale yesterday. There is always some sort of excitement factor, when opening a bottle of Initiale - in terms of the disgorgement date, natural evolvement (which goes reasonable fast) to the huge bottle variations it holds. This bottle was served with Caesar salad, which is a very friendly Champagne matching dish (remember to sprinkle with lots of parmesan cheese flakes just before serving) – if; the Champagne holds some sort of nutty flavours and are not overly shy and completely shield in new born citrus fruits.
Intiale was perfect – its nose is terrific with dried baby banana, corn, malt, flowers, vanilla, lemon, honey and hazelnuts. On the palate it’s smooth – giving and pleasing. However, I was missing some sort of bite and it’s even more pronounced when I one hour later had the rest of the bottle (alone) without food, while watching James Bond seducing an outrageous good looking brunette in “Casino Royal”. While James ordered a bottle of Bollinger Grande Année from room service, I poured myself another glass of Initiale. Once again this pleasing nose, but on the palate it’s again not that challenging. Problem is that everything goes on in front of the mouth, where it moulds too much and never do you get a real sensation of minerals nor tallness from firm acidity. However – on a scale of laid back drinking, this is fairly good bubbly juice, simply because it delivers’ aromatic pleasure.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Ultimate Glass Test

I forgot something in the last post....

First...Year 2010; Welcome all – let’s have some fun.

If there is one thing I am freakish about, it’s wine glasses. I have a collection which is fairly sick and I know that I probably haven’t bought my last wine glass yet, even if I have no more space and one extra glass, could cost me my marriage.

If you have found your way to my blog, I speculate you are already at a level where it’s needless to debate, that a good glass matters, otherwise - I suggest you see your doctor and come back again ;-).

Anyway – even if this blog is still about the simplicity of a wine experience, I have decided during 2010 to make an effort to do study on wine glasses and hopefully present some sort of result at the end of the year.

That’s all for now.