Sunday, February 28, 2010

2001 Bruno Giacosa "Barbaresco Asili"

Decanted 4 hours
Glass: Riedel Sommeliers "Burgundy Grand Cru"

Call it a state of panic to open a wine like this. The chance of facing a wine, which was far from its maturity window, was certainly present, but even so I decided to go with it. You see - my recent Italian wine experiences have been so so. Not horrifying bad, but far from great and I see my old love fading and turning into my ex-girlfriend. Of course Champagne is the main reason for me to feel like this, but I have also reached a personal fatigue towards Italian wines made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or even Syrah. Even Sangiovese made in a modern style with way too much use of new oak, is not doing much to me.
So if there is anyone who can bring me back on track, it’s “Bruno”, not matter how young the wine might be.

It’s young, despite the long decanting time – even though it has opened it up somewhat. When I taste I wine like this, I immediately search for red fruit – as I am a sucker for it. It’s there – but shield in dust, tar and spices. However there is a bonus - a floral component of violets and it’s exactly as classic as I had hoped for and I suddenly feel the Forza Italia drums beating in my heart again. Taking a closer look at the “nose” it’s razor sharp – linear and it has perfect focus and definition. The taste is extremely dry, almost painful (but me like) – but with a perfect curl around the tongue, cleaning the palate – ready for the next sip.

So what I am saying. Way too young, but I was happy – very happy and when Italian wines are like this, I can easily be seduced again.

NV (2006) David Léclapart "L'Amateur"

100% Chardonnay
100% Bio
Dosage: 0 g/l

It’s Friday – it’s even the start of small vacation and 2006 David Léclapart “L’Amateur” is on the menu - I am already smiling before the bubbles are rising from the glass.

I even had pretty high expectations as I sense there is something good about vintage 2006, despite my reference sheet is not that big yet.

This can’t go wrong….

A vivid crystal clear nose of divine purity and the first note, which crossed my mind, was; butter. But – butter…seriously?? “L’Amateur” is not made in wood, but in enameled steel tanks. Clearly it had to be something else and as I gave it some thought it wasn’t butter, but surely something providing an inner smoothness – even sweetness, with slightly subtle and nutty flavours. But it’s vital to tell you how mineral affected this Champagne is. You have all kinds of minerals – the ones providing clarity with associations to frozen steel and the ones providing a more raw side, which set’s their traces on the back palate with a lot of warmth and character on the finish line. The nose also consist of corn, apples, citrus and some grassy/straw flavours – which again is linked to the mineral touch. On one side, this Champagne is remarkable easy to drink, yet the mineral side is taking it one step further - but it’s best feature is it’s electricity, which tickles all the flavours into a balanced wonderland.

The 2006 L’Amateur might very well be the finest Vintage I have tasted so far – and despite it’s youthful, it’s singing with confidence and providing authentic and zippy fresh drinking pleasure from glass one.

If this is Léclapart entry level in 2006 – I have even higher expectations towards “L’Apôtre”

Glass: Zalto White Wine and Speigelau Adina “Red wine”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2007 Maison Pierre Overnoy “Arbois Pupillin”

100 % Ploussard sur marnes grise
Biodynamic stuff
Decanted 2 hours
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

It’s been about three weeks since I tasted this wine, so forgive me if I can’t give you all the details, as my TN is all from memory.

It’s still new territory for me to taste such a wine and I don’t have a lot of reference points when it comes to the wines from Jura – in fact only one. It’s a very fragile wine, ballerina light and filled with interesting flavors. However it’s a little more reserved than the "Ploussard de Monteiller" from Domaine de la Tournelle - simply broader defined in complexity. The red fruit is not so cheerful and easy presented, but pitched deeper and with companionship of rubber and sweet liquorice scents. It’s also a very soil dominated wine, where the minerals is a thin layer of dust giving a silky clean and authentic feeling on both nose and palate. On the palate it continues on the same path and it’s delightful fragile character is adding to the drinking pleasure.

Loved it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2002 Vilmart "Grand Cellier Rubis Rosé"

60% Pinot Noir
40% Chardonnay
Production: 2.000 >> 2.500 bottles
Disgorged: Oct-2007

The simplest thing you can do, when you are writing a tasting note, is to tell your audience if you liked the wine or not. Let’s say that you weren’t too happy about the wine, but you had a hard time pinpointing what note was the main problem. You might even complain over the lack of terroir. Let’s take it one step further and say it’s a Champagne – and in order to do start messing with terroir, you have to the ability to pick out the character of each town, villages and vineyard in Champagne. Or?? Is there another way of defining such saying – let’s say you just missed the presence of a soil-expression or minerals.

This brings me to my Friday night Champagne, which had me thinking.

I definitely missed something here.

This Champagne is indeed healthy on many counts. The fruit is voluptuous and singing with a high profiled red Burgundy resemblance. There are also lots of strawberries and apricot perfumes and underneath brushings of: vanilla, smoke, sweet biscuits (feels too high dosed to me), burned butter and spices transforms. The taste is smooth, giving and powerful, but also rather dull. You end up chewing way too much on these sweet/dosage oaky notes and it doesn’t have the weapon of cleansing the palate with refreshing acidity– nor minerals and in all essence; terroir. To some extend it reminds me a bit of Selosse’s Rosé – just worse. It’s a Champagne, which seems more about a style of winemaking than soil in the bottle. I'm on thin ice with such a statement as I don’t have a terroir palate (but I am working on it ;-) ). Even so, that’s the best way I can explain how I felt about it. On top of that, I am already not too happy about a Champagne which is red Burgundy with bubbles – and this is indeed such a Champagne.

However it should be noted, that cellaring could be the trick here, as the 1999 of this cuvée has already adapted a lot more dried fruit elements which can take away some of this tutti frutti red fruit style and hopefully provide elegance and overall balance. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, as the 2002 has lot’s of fruit – so cellar –I will….maybe 4 years. But right now…..sooooo disappointing.

Glasses: Juhlin, Spiegelau Adina and Zalto. This small test will be included in the material for “The ultimate glass test”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

2006 Jêrôme Prévost, La Closerie "Les Béguines"

100% Pinot Meunier
48 year old vines
Dosage: 0 g/l

So it’s finally Friday – weekend - and I am home alone.

Plan A is bulletproof – Champagne night; CHECK - bringing home some Antipasti, Culatello ham and Pecorino Cheese from Cibi e Vini; CHECK. Rented a Sci-Fi Movie; CHECK. Nursing the kids and filling them with food, so I am confident they will be sleeping no later than eight o clock….ahhhhhrr…not really, or call it wishful thinking.

Around 21:45, I was ready to sit down and relax. I guess that's not exactly what you call a perfect plan - bummer!!!!


I picked the highly sophisticated Pinot Meunier from Jêrôme Prévost. Now, when I first tasted this 2006 Vintage about a year ago it felt horrible young, and I knew I took a chance by trying it again now. However in Nov-09, it was in the 29 Champagnes lineup, where the bottle in hand was rather forward – and this needed investigation.

Still tight, yes - but not completely shy. To some extend, that was actually a sign of relief, as I would have been more concerned if the wine had evolved as fast as the bottle from Nov-09. It still has a brilliant and very different way of expressing the Pinot Meunier grape to my knowledge. But during the last two years I changed my view towards Pinot Meunier, which I for some reason had categorized as being clumsy and baroque, but also the grape which Krug used a lot of, even if it’s a bit hush-hush.

Prévost makes a really sophisticated version, where you get divine notes of apple and pear, but the package is wrapped in dark pitched spices of black cherries, smoke, mint and currant perfumes. Prévost is a biodynamic producer and the trademark of sleek purity and baby banana notes is certainly there. On the palate the spices are even more pronounced, but they are toned a fraction down when you drink it with food. This is important and food is the best way for it to shine – also because something happens to the overall balance on nose vs palate . Its strong structure and powerful concentration also obtains better balance with food.

I simply had to rest the last third of the bottle for day two otherwise I would have collapsed ;-). On day 2 it was completely shielded – almost nothing came out. Sometimes I rest the last glass for half an hour – letting the mousse die down, the temperature rise, simply to have some sort of feeling what’s “hiding”. But sometimes I can also have a better sense of acidity and maybe I am even lucky enough to get some signs of future potential. This is not a formula, which I can prove works and in some cases, zip happens. But my my…I tell you something happened here. Notes of melted butter, citrus, vanilla, honey and marzipan oozed from the glass with lots of freshness even at 17-18 degrees.

So what am I saying here?

I saying that something is hiding here – something good will become even greater with cellaring. Think I will return in 2 years time.

Glass: Spiegelau Adina red wine (no glass test this time)