Sunday, June 24, 2012

Midsummer magic

O8 Alexandre Jouveaux (Magnum)

100% Chardonnay
Vineyard: 0,2 ha
Production: Don’t now how many magnums (1.120 for the o,75cl)
Soil: Clay and limestone
Wines age: 50 - 104 years old
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

Midsummer 2012. I knew this was the day, where I would pop the cork on one of my ‘O8 magnums from Alexandre Jouveaux.

I had very high expectations since I have had a small sip some 1½ year ago of this divine wine.

The opening of the wine was insane. The wine set my mind on a journey of fascination, lust and anxiety. You see it was quite oxidized and put itself in-between the smell of aged Champagne, Chablis, and even some Sherry resemblance. It had my doubts - was it over the hill? However it was also incredible exotic and complex with notes of brown apples, yeast, orange blossoms, pastry and melted butter. The taste was however not what you would expect from such a nose, as it was exceptional fresh with an unheard mineral spine and a diamond sharp acidity. I remember saying to my fellow tasters – who absolutely adored it – that I wouldn’t be surprised if it would actually be less oxidized with some air. It happened half an hour later and what made me make that guess was a combination of thinking of the Champagnes from Jacques Selosse and how the wines from Alexandre Jouveaux in general change with air.
Now more flowery sensations came forward together with chalk and the apples turned from brownish to ripe and juicy. Yet it preserved this elastic creamy feel of melted butter, zippy freshness, vibrant energetic core and mind-blowing complexity.

Seriously one of the best white wines I have tasted in a long time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fri Vin 2012 - Impressions

(Noëlla Morantin)

Fri Vin 2012 sort of started a day earlier for me as I participated in a Winemakers dinner with, Hélène Gautherot (Vouette et Sorbée), Alexandre Chartogne (Champagne), Julie Balagny (Fleurie/Beaujolais) and Thomas Pico (Domaine Pattes Loup, Chablis). The event took place at restaurant Kadeau. This is my second visit @ this cosy and exceptional good restaurant, serving exquisite and well priced Nordic cuisine…highly recommended if you can’t get a table @ Noma ;-).

Hélène Gautherot presented the 2009 Blanc d’Argile, which seemed even better and more elegant than the concentrated 2008 vintage. Still a wine marked by some oak, but with so much bite and soil intensity. The 2009 have more citrus fruits, which I really liked. The 2008 Fidele from Magnum followed and despite it’s the cuvee, which has improved mostly from Vouette I am not totally in love with it. It’s more a matter of style of a too smooth, waxy and oaky style, which doesn’t appeal that much to me.

Alexandre Chartogne presented his Cuvée Sainte-Anne (think 2008 base) and it was a vivid clean Champagne with lots of bright flavours.  2004 Fiacre was next and it’s still a very young Champagne, with even more clarity and definition. Both of these brut versions had dosage around 5 g/l, making them not particular sweet, yet incredible charming and delightful to drink. However – for my taste they are still too high dosed as the dosage creates a small film on the palate, taken you further away from the raw material. 

Domaine Pattes Loup is a producer I have wanted to explore for some time, but it’s impossible to snatch some bottles here in Denmark as they instantly sold out. He served 4 wines (2010 I think) ; Chablis (villages), Chablis 1er cru Côte de Jouan, Chablis 1er cru Beauregard and Chablis 1er cru Montmain. Even from the village wine you have exceptional clarity and ripe fruit. Beauregard and Montmain was my favourites, despite they were marked by their young age. But they possessed crystal clear flavours, mind-blowing complexity and terroir definition. Côte de Jouan more expressive, oily and oak driven, but incredible charming. Chablis is something I rarely drink simply because I drink so much Champagne, but this was indeed an eye opener and a reminder how incredible well Chablis pair with food. 

Julie Balagny are a talented young and fun winemaker from Fleurie, with a devilish passion for wine. Her “En Remont” was served in 2009 and 2010 version. Even a barrel sample of the 2011 entered. The 2010 were my favourite with better red lacquer fruit, where the 2009 are turning more jammy and plum infected – despite it’s no way near being an alcoholic wine. 

(Noëlla Morantin)

Fri Vin – The event.

I arrived a bit late at the Fri Vin even the next day, so I didn’t manage to taste everything. I did however have the chance to taste some of the things I knew beforehand – and say hello to the winemakers.
Noëlle Morantin was for several reason one of the first I said hello to. Her “Chez Charles” has for a long time been a solid favourite daily drinking and I can’t get enough of this utterly pure and ripe Sauvignon. Her reds are also fair, but for me Chez Charles are the one to buy.

(Paolo Bea)

Only once have I tasted the wines from Paolo Bea. He is for sure the kind of winemaker who like to bend the wheel and turn things upside down, mixing Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Montepluciano in all kinds of possible percentages. His San Valentino in 2006 vintage was my favourite with highest level of Sangiovese (70%). Stunning definition of Sangiovese and a style I have never tasted before. I hope to taste it again someday. 

 ( Laval)
I probably made a Champagne mistake going directly to Vincent Laval as his 2006 Les Chênes “cleared the table” and no Champagne came close to this unbelievable offering. The ’06 are yet not as exotic as 2004 and 2002 and it’s even more refined and focussed. Candidate for the best 2006 I have ever tasted.

(Thomas Pico; Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis)

(Julie Balagny, Fleurie Beaujolais)

 François Grinand (La Vigne du Perron, Bugey)

François Grinand represented Le Vigne du Perron, which are unique wines from Bugey. I know them very well and have written about them before and I just needed to taste them again to see how they behaved at such an event. Les Etapes is utterly delightful Pinot Noir, which taste like nothing else. I adore their 2010 Les Ermitures for its racy and sophisticated definition of Gamay. It remains one of my all time favourite Gamay versions. 

Julien Guillot (Clos de Vignes du Mayne, Mâcon)
Julien Guillot from Clos de Vignes du Mayne, Mâcon served a number of wines, including the sensational Cuvée 910 (see more detailed TN here). Overall his wines are pure, juicy and elegant and so fair priced when you think of their cellar potential and complexity. 

 (Olivier Collin, Champagne)
Olivier Collin has made some changes to his only two Champagnes (the BdB & BdN) by splitting them up in single vineyards. The Bdb comes in two offerings now –  “Les Roises” and “Les Perriéres”. Both presented in the highly praised 2008 vintage. I think Olivier has obtained even better clarity and minerality with these new released, but I will have to tasted them again as they evolved quite a lot with air. The BdN are now called “Les Maillons” and despite it’s still a dense and really ripe Champagne it now seems to be better balanced and tempered. Olivier is a playful and incredible charming person, which you can’t help to like.

 (Sandra Zaragoza - wife of Olivier Collin, Champagne)

I was also really impressed with another Chablis producer (forgive me for not having an image) – Chateau de Béru. Athenaïs de Béru served a range of her wines and the wine that impressed me the most was Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot; so delicious, clean and vibrant. I will have to taste it again someday.

(Jean David)
There were many more - both these were my favorites.....