Foillard makes a really good Morgon in 2014 too!

We continue to follow Jean Foillard in Beaujolais. And this for good reason as he appears to get better and better. This time it is the 2014 vintage that was recently released at the monopole in Sweden. With his friends in the “Gang of 4”, he continues to achieve the most fresh gamay fruit with terroir by using maceration carbonique with insane low levels of sulphur and raises his wines in neutral wood. And this from vines of which some are 100 years old. Foillard’s Fleurie 2010 was tasted here. ..and his 2009 cuvée Pi and the normal 2012 was tasted here.

dsc047462014 Beaujoilais Morgon “Côte du Py”, Jean Foillard

An intense scent with a base of marzipan and synthetic glue. Top notes of coriander, violets and blueberry-raspberry jam. This describes well the forward and concentrated fruit in here too. In addition, Asian spices, minerals and newly cut fresh ginger. It has just a little of the trendy and funky natural style, but very little and totally forgiving as the balance, the crisp acidity, chewy texture and generosity dominates in a great way. As always a very honest expression of impressively clean and fresh fruits with complexity.

89-90p/100

A fresh, price-worthy and elegant crozes-hermitage

David Reynaud at domaine les Bruyères works biodynamically, uses gravity and extraction is done in concrete. The 2014 crozes-hermitage Les Croix from old vines was just released in Sweden.

dsc047492014 Crozes-Hermitage Les Croix, David Reynard

A very pretty perfume of red fruit, violets and roses as top notes and bay leaves, Mediterranean herbs and savoury notes at the bottom. Unexpectedly easy tripping and elegantly walking beauty with medium body, clean fruit and very crisp acidity on the palate. Fine balance. Generous too and very price-worthy. Texture is velvety, but this wine might be even better in a few years more.

91+p/100

The two 2010 Pajés from Roagna are a velvet glove

After having tasted the 2010 langhe rosso and the marvelous 2010 Pira vecchie viti we simply had to evaluate the two pajés; the normal and the vecchie viti. The latter is twice as expensive from vines on average 60 years old and minimum 50, whereas the normal’s vines are between 25-50 years old. As usual extraction using the traditional sub-merged caps method is hefty with 2 months for the normal and another half month for the vecchie viti. This tasting was half blind to make it more interesting.

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2010 Roagna Pajé

Andreas:

Intense but rather slim nose with pure red berries, lemon peel and some herbal notes. Cool and almost electric acidity combined with silky but still grippy tannins. Herbal notes, blueberries, raspberries, slight cherry notes, orange peel and some rather surprising hints of sherry in the background. Mouthwatering and precise finish.

At he moment the acidity is slightly dominant but this will definitely calm down with time. Energetic and intense wine.

94p/100

Sir Galahad:

Dense nose. Very slow scent of rose petals, beeswax and inner perfume. Concentrated, juicy, cool black- and red fruit in balance with crisp, vivid and balsamic acidity wrapping orange-peel and beeswax. Aromas of anise seeds, Asian spices and savoury notes. Velvety texture with chewy tannins with grip. Medium bodied and generous. The clean persistent finish lacks just some precision compared to its pricier counterpart, but compensates this well with freshness and approachable balance.

94p/100

2010 Roagna Pajé vecchie viti

Andreas:

Dense and compact nose with intense notes of oil paint, ripe (almost jammy) strawberries, blueberries and some roses. Soft but still fresh acidity with some citric notes in the finish. Ripe strawberries, leather, blueberries and orange peel on the palate. Tannins are grippy but fine grained.

This wine has a truly amazing nose but the palate needs more time to integrate. When it is ready we have a very complete and complex wine with great personality.

96p/100

Sir Galahad:

Dense nose here too but just a little more depth and much more intense. An amazing nose of grace that is vibrating and compelling. As expected, a little more precision here and depth, but currently more tight and things are not in place yet, but it broods on something special. More concentration and power in here and a little more jammy and currently somewhat smudgier fruit. Acidity is great and crisp with razor-sharp precision. First mostly dark fruit and cherries, but after some hours anise seeds, earthy strawberries, dark plums and notes of blueberries appear. This will need plenty of time to come around. An unpolished diamond. A guess is in 2025.

95-96p/100

Summary

For early drinking in the coming 5-6 years, the normal pajé is recommended as we both agree that it is more approachable and balanced now. For the long term, the vecchie viti is absolutely a notch up on the nose. On the palate, it is not so big a difference, but vecchie viti lurks on more precision, structure and concentration.

Groffier’s 2014 “pinot noir” is the fantastic village as usual

Groffier is one of our absolute favourite in Burgundy and they probably makes the best entry bourgogne rouge. We have not yet succeeded in visitng them, but hopefully later this Autumn. The underline “pinot noir” is an export adaptation or maybe it is just cynical. Anyway, this wine is in fact made up of grapes from old vines from Morey-St-Denis and Vougeot, which is unusual at this price level. Their flagship Burgundy wine, the amazing Amoureuses from 2008 and 2009 were tasted here.

groffier_bourgogne2014 Bourgogne “pinot noir”, Robert Groffier

Very complex and beautiful minerals in here as well as very fresh, opulent flowers. Great fresh, perfume.

On the palate, cool, extremely pure, clean and fresh fruit impresses us. Some anise seeds. complex minerals, underbrush and earthy notes that wraps the fruit. Orange-peel and some herbs. Texture is fantastic for a village wine and so is its precision.

Quite persistent, pretty and elegant wine width some depth, but foremost an unexpected precision framed by very silky tannins. Simply a steel considering its price tag.

91+p/100

German Riesling 2015 Grosses Gewächs – Initial impressions and recommendations

During July we had the pleasure of visiting some of the top producers in Nahe, Rheinhessen and Mosel. We mainly focused on Riesling wines and we had the opportunity to taste a rather large selection of Grosses Gewächs wines from 2015.

Since many of the producers are releasing their 2015 Grosses Gewächs shortly we will in this post give you our impressions of the vintage and list our top pics from the Grosses Gewächs wines we tasted.

Later we will also publish separate posts per producer.

The producers we visited were:

  • Weingut Wittmann – Rheinhessen
  • Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff – Nahe
  • Weingut Emrich-Schönleber – Nahe
  • Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich – Nahe

We also met with Heymann-Löwenstein and Clemens Busch in the Mosel region but we did not taste their 2015 Grosses Gewächs wines since they where not ready.

About the 2015 vintage for German Riesling

After a few demanding vintages for the producers, 2015 has been a great vintage for the region. The producers we met with gave rather consistent descriptions of the vintage. Their collective view is that the grapes reached good ripeness rendering a dense and generous wine, but not fat or heavy, and still with a precise and pure acidity.

Our impressions are in line with the descriptions provided by the producers. It seems like the vintage produces fantastic wines balancing generosity and precision well. We did not experience much over ripe fruit and petroleum notes but still the wines had good generous fruit on the palate. For me the acidity is extremely important in Riesling wines and the 2015 vintage is not a disappointment, showing good precision and energy.

I will definitely stock up on German Riesling wines from 2015.

Top 3 Grosses Gewächs Rieslings of 2015

For me two producers stood out in the 2015 vintage, both for Grosses Gewächs and Ortswein, and these are Wittmann and Emrich-Schönleber. The wines from Wittmann have amazing peaks, great energy and good transparency, while Emrich-Schönleber produces perfect “by the book” Riesling wines with amazing precision and complexity.

My top three pics of the vintage are:

  • 2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Großes Gewächs
  • 2015 Wittmann Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Großes Gewächs
  • 2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

Still it must be said that the vintage produced a very high average level and we tasted amazing wines from all producers.

Tasting notes from the 2015 German Grosses Gewächs wines we tasted

2015 Wittmann Westhofener Aulerde Riesling Großes Gewächs

The soil in Aulerde has less limestone than Kirchspiel and Morstein.
Rather broad and open nose showing tropical fruits like apricot and lychee. The acidity is juicy and stays for a long time in the finish.
This wine has a very generous expression but also a good structure.
91p/100

2015 Wittmann Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Großes Gewächs

Compared with Morstein the Kirchspiel wines are usually more open and ready to drink early and is often showing notes of grapefruit. The soil is similar to Morstein.

Very fresh nose with white stone fruit, lots of lychee and some young apricot and pears.
The acidity is amazing with a very energetic and firm expression and an abundance of minerals. Some fresh fruit notes balance the acidity well.
At the moment the wine is slightly dominated by the acidity but it should develop fantastically with time. A great wine with fantastic potential.
95p/100

2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Großes Gewächs

The wines from Morstein usually has a lot of citrus and acidity. The soil has clayish marl and limestone on the upper layer and more limestone in the subsoil.

There are multiple layers of fruit on this dense and concentrated nose, but it never gets overly dominant. We also find some very slight flint and yeast notes and white flowers.
Juicy and mouthwatering acidity with a grippy expression showing both lime fruit and lemon. Again the fruit is dense and complemented by some herbal notes.
The wine already has a good balance between the acidity and the fruit and it manages to combine generosity with elegance. A truly fantastic wine.
96p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Großes Gewächs

Red slate, gravel and red loam. Age of vines are between 15 and 60 years.

Beautiful nose with apricot and other stone fruits, some apples and a hint of herbs. A both elegant and complex nose with great freshness.
Same notes are found on the palate where we also have a pure and precise acidity with both lime fruit and lemon. The wine is energetic and mouthwatering and should age very well.
94-95p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

Stony blue slate and quartzite soil, producing small and concentrated grapes.

Dense and complex nose with layers of fruit where pineapple, apricot, lime fruit and lemon are most apparent.
The acidity is rather racy and has lots of lime and lemon notes. This will probably calm down with time.
The wine is already well balanced but has a slightly more austere impression than the Frühlingsplätzchen GG at this time.
There is an amazing potential in this very complex wine, but you will have to be patient.
95-96p/100

 

2015 Schäfer-Fröhlich Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

From approximately 60 year old vines.

Rather open and generous nose with a ripe tone to the fruit, mainly tropical, but also with clear notes of yeast and flint, that hopefully will reduce with time.
On the palate the wine is very juicy with an abundance of stone fruit, pineapple and floral notes. The acidity is precise, grippy and well needed for such an opulent wine.
92p/100

2015 Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Großes Gewächs

From approximately 60 year old vines.

Slim and precise nose with white stone fruit, green apples and wet stone.
Precise and almost electric acidity adding energy to the wine. Careful on the fruit, but still with fresh stone fruit and green apples on the nose, but here combined with some herbal notes.
This wine has great precision and energy and will have a long life ahead.
94p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Felsenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

Volcanic soil and vines older than 50 years.

Bright fresh stone fruit, soft tropical fruit and some mineralic elements. Beautiful and well balanced nose.
On the palate the wine gets a very fruity and juicy expression. The acidity is rather careful but manages to balance the juicy expression on the palate. In the finish we get more grape fruit in the acidity.
92p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Großes Gewächs

A vineyard that usually produces wines that are accessible early in their life and has a fruity and floral expression.

The nose is fresh and pure with both fruit, mainly tropical, and floral notes. Very generous and opulent.
The palate continues with the same style but the fruit is complemented by a lively acidity.
A forward and open wine.
91p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Großes Gewächs

A nose that starts rather carefully but then develop an intensity with fresh tropical fruit, green apples, lime and some floral notes.
The palate has great balance with a fresh and grippy acidity combined with the intense fruit also found on the nose.
This is a wine that manages to combine a restrained expression with intensity. Should have a very long life.
94p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Grosses Gewächs Versteigerung

This is the first dry Grosses Gewächs wine produced in 30 years in Brücke.

The wine is very expressive with an abundance of dense and layered fruit notes. We mainly find apricot and apples.
Initially the palate is rather heavy but then an energetic acidity lifts the wine. Again there is an abundance of apricot but also some stone fruit and other tropical fruit.
This is a very generous wine with a strong personality.
92p/100

DSC04702

2010 shines in Roagnas oldest vineyard

Roagna released their wines from the fabulous 2010 vintage in February including the langhe rosso. This wine is made of grapes selected from vines of which the youngest dates back to 1937! On Etna this is normal, in Burgundy uncommon, but in Barolo, it is truly rare. It is part of some of the oldest locations in Barolo and more precisely east of the Bricco Rocche di Castiglione-Falletto facing south-east in the blend zone and in the very heart of the Barolo area. The best grapes are extracted using the traditional submerged-cap method on the skins for three months.

DSC04702Roagna Barolo “Pira” vecchie viti

Andreas:

Pure and fresh red berries combined with some blueberries and boysenberries, but also orange peel, roses, fresh spices and slight herbal notes. The nose could have brought me to some of the top vineyards in burgundy.

On the palate the wine is all about balance and elegance. The acidity is amazing with mouth watering lime fruit, but still never dominant. The tannins are velvety but still have some grip. We find the same fresh multilayered fruit also on the palate.

Fresh finish leaving you thirsty for more.

The Roagna wines are often said to require long time for maturation. However, this wine is fantastic already now, but of course has a long life ahead.

96-97/100

Sir Galahad:

The nose emerges as truly special here and is refined and emerges very slowly in waves. Subtle beeswax, orange-peel, spices, ethereal and with an inner beautiful perfume that is quite intense and aristocratic but slow and incredibly complex.

On the palate, it is incredibly concentrated and very rich, but not heavy at all. Aromas of very deep minerals, anise seeds, tea and layers of pure, ripe black fruit; mainly blackberries and dark, peppery plums that dominates. The precision is stunning as is the harmony of core aromas that unites in a lovely finish with strikingly clean, fresh acidity and silky texture, framed by thick, chewy and super-ripe tannins. They steer the wine in a clear direction and elegant manner. Surprisingly, very approachable already now and the insane extraction just adds honest and true terroir. Just buy, if you still manage to find them. Already drinkable, but a guess is that it will be even better in some years.

96-97p/100

 

 

Roagna makes another really good rosso


We are true fans of the Roagna estate with the relieving motto “we don’t change”. This is the essence of tradition when it really adds value and at the same time is ahead of its time when talking terroir and high-quality grapes. Roagna bottles a langhe rosso that can easily compete with barolos. The vintage 2006 was tasted here. The 2010 vintage is by far the most balanced and most refined one in decades with potentially perfect tannins as most of us are fully aware of by now. Roagna is probably the last to bottle with the exception of Roberto Conterno’s ultimate barolo, the Monfortino. The rosso is made of fruit from young vines from the vineyards; Pira in Serralunga d’Alba in Barolo and Pajé in Barbaresco (just below their house) and is raised in neutral barrel for five years.

IMG_20160528_0123512010 Roagna, langhe rosso

Sir Galahad:

The nose is refined and complex offering menthol, subtle, dried rose petals, purest beeswax, some oil paint and distinct Asian spices; spice cumin and cardamom. Some lilies are noted too. After some more swirls in the glass an aristocratic and intense inner perfume emerges. A really good nose.

Usually, on the palate, the rosso is bold and throwing flavours at you, but here it is more laid back, very much like the vintage. So unlike e.g. the great 2006 and even 2008, there is much, much less fire wood, tar, blood pudding and broth in here. Packed with sweet, dark plum, earthy red fruit, cherry stone, tea, notes of dry honey, orange peel, anise seeds and even more so, lovely, vibrant minerals. A very balsamic, fresh and peppery acidity is in harmony with its pliant, silky texture. The backside is that It is a little volatile and fruit is somewhat dry and introvert, but still among the best rossos.

91p-/100

Another super-interesting etna rosso from the vintage of 2013

The wine this time is built upon a blend of handpicked grapes from two different contradas, the name of their vineyard areas around the Etna mountain here in Sicliy; more specifically from rampante (the oldest) and solicchiata with a mean of 80 year average age of vines. The vintage of 2013 is great, well balanced and absolutely classic. They keep a natural vineyard, conduct an 18-day extraction on the skins and raises the wine for 14 months in lightly toasted french barriques. A modern producer at Etna with obvious good reputation.

2013 “Archineri” Etna rosso, PietradolceDSC_0154

Opaque and beautiful blood orange colour with orange and cerise tints.

This wine was a disappointment at first and still so even after five hours, but after giving it much more time, it finally woke up from its slumbers and quietly started to let off, just tiny scents of oil paint and ethereal qualities at first. Reluctantly, it seems. Then, earthy red fruit, spice cumin, some deep minerals, subtle notes of licorice root and morning dew on crushed gravel arrives in small waves.

On the palate, it is super slender, tight, delineated and focused. Red, earthy and sourish wild strawberries coated in complex minerals and herbs impress. Acidity is energetic wrapping distinct citrus peel and that special,  etna metallish minerality, but now a just little gnarly. Texture is very soft and already velvety but not powdery from new oak. Actually, and thankfully this is skilfully handcrafted in Burgundish manner regarding new oak, since it was not noted at all.

It is not approachable or generous at all now, but rather analytic and hard to get wine that really is holding back its fortunes, but impresses with its focus and precision. It will need plenty of time to come around and It is hard to score at this time, but obviously it has great potential and broods on something special. A guess is to wait until 2022, but probably later is a safer bet. It is super-slender but with yet too juvenile tannins, too volatile and introvert.

91-92p/100

A very honest and uncompromising etna rosso

The owner of this estate is the Australian vintner Anna Martens with a long career in wine making who among others have been working at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and previously with Andrea Franchetti at Passopisciaro for three years and then started her own business in 2008 with her husband. They focus on very little intervention in the wine making and ecological farming. This wine is from 80-year-old vines (alberello trained) on the nothern side of Etna. Grape varieties are nerello mascarello (90 %) and 10 % nerello cappuccio. Whole clusters were put into closed fermentors for six weeks without any intervention until tannins have been miraculously extracted. Very surprisingly, they don’t seem to be pressing the grapes during this time and conduct no customary punch downs or pumping over after pressing either.  Grapes are gently pressed using super low sulphur levels (almost none) and raising the grape juice in small neutral vats. A very interesting producer in deed and one with focus on true terroir and whose ambition we really fancy.

2014 vino rosso, Vino di Anna

DSC_0161

A very simple label on their etna rosso with alberello bushes on a steep hill

Colour is luminous, but not opaque; rather blurry (obviously not filtered or fined) with bright red orange and slightly brownish core with cerise somewhat bluish outer part and pink edges.

A very subtle and reticent, but complex nose currently dominated by vibrating, smokey minerals, dusty gravel, under vegetation, some dried herbs and oil paint. After several hours, a deep and vey careful scent of dried rose petals and complex blue flowers slips through. A very small and holding back nose now, but very personal and obviously hiding something special.

On the palate it is very closed, introvert and currently not a charmer, but impressively dense and concentrated. Less straw berries in this etna rosso where fruit is more black with prominent blackberries, dark cherries and unexpected notes of black currant. In addition, smokey, dusty minerals, savoury aromas now and under vegetation. Less sweet and alcohol is pleasingly low at 13.5 %. Acidity is clean and vivid adding lots of energy. It is quite persistent too and focused. All framed in soft, very thick, chewy and marking tannins that are ripe, but of course young. This long-cycled vintage of 2014 is all classic and I am surprised they release them this early.

A very honest, but currently a very analytic wine that will need a lot of time to settle and come around. There is a resemblance to a very young and classic barolo from Mascarello in terms of aromas, but different style. A very interesting and uncompromising wine focused on terroir that will be interesting to follow and one that is hard to score fairly at this point, but there is obvious potential in this great vintage. A guess is to wait until 2020 or later.

93-94p/100

Two Barbaresci from the warm 2011 vintage

The vintage 2011 is a warm vintage that is better than expected in Serralunga and Monforte in Barolo, but in Barbaresco it is perceived as hotter and often with somewhat cooked fruit. Here we taste two of the riservas from the great cooperative – Produttori di Barbaresco. Two vineyards with totally different micro climates.

DSC04699

Two of the 2011 single-vineyard barbaresco from the great cooperative

2011 Barbaresco Muncagota, Produttori di Barbaresco

Andreas:

Elegant and fresh nose with an abundance of young and slightly sweet red fruit containing strawberries, wild strawberries and raspberries along with notes of menthol.

Slightly darker fruit on the rather thin and elegant palate. Acidity is amazing and very precise and complements the good tannic structure.

This Barbaresco is surprisingly energetic for a 2011 but still has the rather generous sweet expression often found in this vintage.

91-92p/100

Sir Galahad:

Incredibly seductive, juvenile and intensively forward perfume that is both quite sexy, pretty and fresh. It brings a very vast, lavishing combo of beautiful rose petals, ripe red fruit, beeswax, some oil paint, mint, clove and anise seeds. Even if comparison to other wine areas may be a bit simplifying and somewhat limiting, I cannot help finding it reminding me very much of a good premier cru Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy. Maybe a forward Les Cras? 🙂

On the palate, it is not equally as impressive but not disappointing either. It is racy, succulent and packed with ripe, highly concentrated red fruit; primarily raspberries, but also earthy wild strawberries. It is just a little smudgy and on the edge of getting too sweet, but fruit is without any alcohol in the persistent finish. It is thin bodied, weightless and considering the warm vintage, it impresses with fine balance and very crisp, balsamic acidity. All this framed in soft, rather sweet and thick tannins without any dryness what so ever but with a somewhat sandy and not directly silky .

91p/100

2011 Barbaresco Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco

Sir Galahad:

The typical nose of smoke, layers of vibrating tar and natural rubber. In addition, notions of Mediterranean herbs and a subtle perfume. While the nose is characteristic and true to its origins, unfortunately the palate is a disappointment. It is rough, tannins are coarse and fruit is way too sweet, cooked and smudgy. On the up side, acidity is fine and generous, but it is not evening out its other misfortunes.

Reality is that It is clumsy, coarse and without any finesse. Did they harvest too late in this very warm vintage and couldn’t wait until tannins very ok in this vineyard? We cannot recommend this. Let’s hope the 2012 is much better which we have reason to expect from our last trip last year to Barbaresco.

84p/100