Category Archives: Tasting notes

Notes from wine tastings.

The price tag-wise impressive Oregon pinot joining up with a nebio from Giacosa

Oregon is a young wine region, but certainly an interesting one for sure. Throughout his now half-year time in California, Andreas have confirmed that the most Burgundy-like, coolest and most balanced pinots are found primarily at Sonoma coast or in highest part of Santa Rita hills, but obviously they are found in Oregon. Oregon is further up north on the west coast and as long as there is a cool breeze at nights and great sun exposure, naturally Oregon should have even better conditions for producing less sweet, less alcoholic and more balanced wines. In the last years, several domains in Burgundy has bought land in Oregon because of this and sent their young ones into a somewhat new wild west for wine making.

This time I just happened to be pairing up a newly released easygoing and price-worthy Oregon pinot with a simple nebbiolo from the iconic Piedmont producer; Bruno Giacosa. Even Though, an alternative from Burgundy sound like the obvious choice, It proved out to be a ingenius combo that opens up a door for likeness. 🙂

2015 Acrobat, “Pinot Noir” Acrobat wineries Oregon, USA

Beautiful and opaque red orange and red purple core with pink-cerise edges.

A lovely perfume of thyme, earthy qualities and notes of underbrush at the base as well as normally sweet red berries, but not the normal kind from California or any other new world. Moreover, delicate, quite intense top notes of high-pitched tulips and mesmerizing peony rose petals. There is absolutely a fragrant and lovely Chambolle-like note in here, but with a certain underbrush and divert mineralic twist.

Very silky, very fresh and as its name suggest, a truly impressively balanced wine. Fruit contains some sweet, highly concentrated, ripe wild strawberries, but combines this with cool, aromatic guava and rhubarb fruits. It is a very focused, superslim, generous and a gentle wine tiptoeing its juvenile, pristine and immaculate aromas in a fresh, juicy acidity elegantly to the finish line. It deserves the big Burgundy balloons or the Zalto glasses. Its only backside is its slightly sweet tone, but otherwise we love it! However, its youthfulness shines through with less precision, but the price tag at this quality-level is irresistible (SEK 165 kr, ~€17.30, $18.20) and impressive! (tasted 2016-03-08)

88+p/100

2014 nebbiolo d’Alba, Bruno Giacosa

Red orange, transparent and glowingly core with orange cerise edges.

The classic notes of leather, tar and lovely Ingrid Bergman roses, but here very subtle. Notes of cinnamon, cookies and dog rose too.

Well balanced and dense. Tannins are, of course, youthful but at the same tasty and quite soft considering its age. As always, even her, the precision is amazing at this price level for a non-barbaresco wine. It needs some more time to marry the tannins with the fresh, balsamic and lively acidity. Precision is a notch up compared to the Acrobat, but price is higher at SEK 289 kr (€30.30, $32) (tasted 2017-03-08)

87-88p/100

The 2015 Littorai Les Larmes is truly elegant and made with finesse

Ted Lemon is the owner of the estate and the winemaker focusing on wines low in alcohol, balance and with finesse. They are obsessed with sustainable farming and biodynamics. Furthermore, Ted has worked at several of the top producers in Burgundy, e.g. Romanée Conti, Roumier and Bruno Clair, so the wines are obviously made in a Burgunish way and with a non-interventionist approach. This wine is from the cool coastal  area of Anderson valley in California.

2015 Les Larmes “Andersson Valley”, Littorai

Notes of clove, herbs, dog rose, some more spice. Its inner perfume emerges much later with fresh red flowers, underbrush. It is currently a truly slow, but it is so young.

Soft, slightly sweet but clean fruit, mainly a unique combo of wild strawberries, sloe berries and lychee fruit, infused with gravel and herbs. Super-smooth, pliant and truly elegant wine with a lot of finesse and its absolute only downside is its just a little short and slightly dry finish. The latter might be because of its youth. (Tasted 11/2-2017)

93-94p

A german pinot with precision and true terroir

Nowadays, pinot noir is grown everywhere in the world, but actually it has been grown for quite some time in Germany and more precisely as spätburgunder. To be honest, it had not caught my attention previously since my impression so far has been that the wines have had too much oak flavours or/and frankly just been dull and dry. This wine is something else. It is from the very best region of Ahr in the south-west of Germany and more precisely Pfarrwingert in the town of Dernauer. 40 km south of Bonn. The young Julia Bertram appears focused on low alcohol (label says 12.5%) and to raise her wines in no new oak at all to achieve true terroir expression as well as affecting the grapes as little as possible, e.g. not using pumps. What a joy to hear that our preference is making its way through even here in the better parts of Germany for wine. We read that she was crowned “the wine princess” in Germany for her efforts of promoting German wine abroad back in 2013. Super-interesting producer!

2015 Ahrweiler Spätburgunder, Julia Bertram

A combo of translucent cerise and somewhat pale pink-orange-red core with cyan edges.

A graceful perfume of slate, Sicilian orange, tiny notes of dry honey, spice cumin, nutmeg and lovely red flowers. A lovely, fragrant and genuine nose that resembles a chambolle 1er cru.

The fruit is very pure, on the brick of overripe and currently in the background of the overly vivid and currently gnarly acidity wrapping distinct orange-peel and some spicy element. Also underbrush and slate gravel. Texture is smooth, chewy and pliant. This certainly is just a baby and needs to rest a few more years to come together, but it is obvious to me that this is a wine that broods over remarkable purity, unique honest terroir and balance.

92-93p

A lavishly pretty etna rosso packed with lava minerals that is a steal for the money

The typical blend with 80% nerello mascalese and the rest nerello cappuccio. Fruit is from young vines on the north-west slopes of Etna. Terrazze dell’Etna is founded by Nino Bevilacqua in 2008. Nino restored a farm whose oldest parts are from the 800 Century in Randazzo. The wine maker and enologist is Piero Carucci.

2013 Etna rosso Carusu, Terrazze dell’Etna

Glowingly crystalline and opaque cerise-red and blood orange core with pink-orange edges. Lovely colour.

Some oil paint, notes of wall paper adhesive, tea leaves, natural clove, red fruit and of course lava ash. Give this some hours and you are rewarded with a complex and graceful perfume slowly carrying beautiful red flowers. A lavish, captivating and quite intense nose of grace. Wow!!

Spice infused and clean red fruit coated in intense lava minerals. Mostly genuine, ripe and tasty strawberries, but also salmiak. Slender body, well balanced, focused and elegantly dressed wine with smooth and pliant texture of juvenile, but ripe tannins. Certainly my type of wine and a steal for the money! This is definitely a producer to drink more of and is immediately my house-wine. (Tasted 9/2-2017)

94p

 

A very price-worthy 2015 Chilean pinot from Casablanca valley

The grapes collected for this wine grows on the pacific hillside in the Casablanca valley, Chile, 100 km north-west of the capital Santiago. The breeze from the sea renders a preferable long ripening cycle with good balance of fruit, tannins and acidity. 40% of the juice is raised in french new oak for 6 months. It is a family business and the wine maker is the son of Thierry Villard, Jean-Charles.

2015 Villard expresion reserve pinot noir “Casablanca Valley”

Interesting nose of rowan berries, cranberries, chalky gravel dust and dog rose. On the palate, earthy, ripe and creamy strawberries, notes of apricot and cranberries. It has some complexity, but its balance, pliancy and generous fruit is what stands out. It is very good wine made with finesse, especially considering its remarkably low price tag and certainly something special. (Tasted 4/2-2017)

90-91p

An interesting priorat from very old vines with balance and finesse

We keep exploring the interesting and dynamic Priorat region west of Barcelona with its special soil of slate (“Ilicorella” in Catalan) and quartz. This wine is made of 100% Carignan/Cariñena from bushes in steep terraces with most vines planted in 1939. The wine maker José Mas Barberà ferments the grapes in 300 L amphora vats and 500 L neutral oak barrels. However, it is raised in barriques made of dense Allier wood. José prefers freshness over ripeness so he harvest early and uses whole bunches.

2013 Priorat “Clos Cypres”, Costers del Priorat

The colour is beautiful with glowingly red purple core and pink-cerise edges.

The nose is initially perceived as subtle and closed, but after a lot of airing (half a day, actually) it finally and fortunately wakes up. Initially oak powder, but thankfully diminishes with airing. Then it emerges slowly as complex, sharply focused with a wonderful and graceful perfume of dried flowers, fresh mint, bay leaves, crushed stone dust, distinct garrigue notes, ginger, cinnamon and coriander.

On the palate, it is quite rich and packed with dark- and pure black fruit infused with a combo of herbs, savoury notes, deep minerals and an abundance of spices framed by thick, chewy but currently youthful tannins. The depth here is as expected from such old vines and it is certainly a slender and freshly perfumed beauty that impressively and with confidence is balancing her long and elegant catwalk to the finish line. Yet, balance, freshness and finesse is the main impression. The absolute only backside is its oak addition and I would like them not to use any new oak at all, since the terroir is too interesting and everything else is so great. A guess is to keep it for a few more years yet to let the tannins improve some. (Tasted 19/1-2017)

93-94p/100

 

Another great Bierzo from Descendientes de J. Palacios

Alvaró Palacios and his sister’s son Ricardo Perez are certainly very skilled and this time we enjoyed another of their Bierzo wines, the villa de Corrullón, is blend of vineyards from 60 – 100 year old vines on steep hills with 97% of the local grape mencìa and the rest green varieties. Hard selection, a long 32 day extraction on the skins is conducted and the juice is raised for 16 months in french barrels. We tasted the very price-worthy 2014 Pétalos here.

2013 Bierzo villa de Corullón, Descendientes de j.palacios

Colour is dense with a dark core and glowingly red purple edges.

A pleasant perfume of freshly cut coriander, subtle spice cumin and notes of clove. Some subtle cola- and popcorn notes from skilfully toasted oak treatment as any such wine from Burgundy.

The palate is forward in a modern way (but no oak is noted), packed with cool, ripe fruit wrapped in really crisp and electric acidity framed in chewy, ripe tannins. In addition, subtle Asian spices. herbs, yellow plum, pears and anise seeds. An impressively balanced and quite rich wine, but not powerful, with precision and pliancy. Approachable already, but probably peaking in about five years. (tasted 2/1-2017)

91+p

2005 Marshand-Tawse just shows theirs great development

Recently, several 2013 and 2014 bottling from Marchand-Tawse were released at the Swedish monopoly by curtsy of importer Vinitor AB. 2005 is a great vintage in Burgundy, but one that needs it time to come around for sure and for the crus, it is not yet prime time. This producer is biodynamic, conduct 100% destemming, five days cold soak, only one racking before bottling and they don’t use any new oak at all. This bottling was made from fruit from primarily better slopes in Pommard. Apparently, the latter bottling is a totally other blend.

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2005 Bourgogne “pinot noir”, Marchand-Tawse

This is a village blend that has just started to reveal typical Burgundy nuances e.g. sweet marzipan and obvious Asian spices. In addition a lot of compact red candy too and molasses. Nose is fine, but even though overly dominated by mandel icing and marzipan there are still complex notes that slips through.

On the palate, fruit is ripe, opulent and part of a creamy dessert wrapped in fine, complex minerals. It is delightful, but a little one-dimensional, simple and short. However, it is still an interesting village.

87p

Oddero’s Vigna Rionda 11 years on..

If you ask me, the Vigna Rionda is probably the best vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo. However, you still need a skilled producer to make it justice. It is certainly not an easy wine, but one to be patient with and that is why most producers release it very late. Usually at its 10 years birthday and Oddero is no exception. We met up with them back in 2013 and you can read about our visit here.

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2005 Barolo “Vigna Rionda”, Oddero

As always less transparent with dense, ruby red colour.

The perfume is immediate, intense and compact with a noble combo of wood glue, dried flowers (lavendar, peony roses, lilies), bergamot, under vegetation, pine tree and exotic spices; mainly nutmeg and clove. Follow this wine for some hours, because it is rewarding. The terroir is very unique here and on the nose it is surprisingly much like the structured 2006 vintage.

On the palate there is gravel, earthy muchrooms and dry spices. It is compact, deep and well structured. The 2005 vintage is ok, but normally not for the long run: It was rainy and too little sun, so sometimes it lacks structure, fruit and can be perceived as diluted and unbalanced. This is far from dilution and it got pleanty of structure. However, tannins are still massive and it is not even near integrated either, so this will need plenty of more time in the cellar still. It may not be the most balanced wine and texture is displeasing, but I think it is rich offering a lot of terroir and the acidity is just enough to keep it fresh wrapping bergamot in the very dry finish. It is certainly not a main stream wine for the crowd, but it is from a very unique terroir. Open in 2022 is my educated guess after tasting wines from this vineyard. Tasted on the 2/12-2016.

91-92p

A traditional Chilean producer that caught our attention

This time we are definitely outside of our comfort zone, but every time we are and we taste a wine we enjoy, we learn something new and at best we enjoy a new, unique terroir in the world of wine. Today we just stumbled upon something that just happened to be apparently one of the oldest wineries in Chile that leans towards tradition but also as it seems keen on new techniques as well. The firm was established by the Italian Pietro De Martino Pascualone in 1934 in Maipo, Chile.

They prefer amphora vats and as is the case among many producers in Priorat, and more so in Sicily, they are dedicated to true terroir, i.e. affecting the wine at a bare minimum that is a current trend across the globe. Furthermore, they employ a week’s long cold soak and a 40 days extraction on the skins.

The vineyard, Las Cruces, is located in the Coastal Range, in the area of Pichidegua. It was planted in 1957 and it is a field blend of 75% Malbec and 25% Carmenere. It features granite soils and clay. We read that this is 140 km south of Santiago. The wine makers are Marcelo Retamal och Eduardo Jordan.

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2013 Las Cruces, De Martino

Obvious deep purple core with pink edges.

Obvious chewing tobacco, broken granite stone, bay leaves and after some hefty airing, a lovely perfume too.

Immediately reminds me of a combo of Cornas and Priorat at the same time! Dark fruit with thick skins are framed by tiny complex minerals and fleshy tannins. It is generously long and voluptuous, but just lacks some precision. A sappy, fruity wine framed by soft, fleshy and thick tannins. Tasted on 2/11-2016.

90-91p/100