Category Archives: Vintage

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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)

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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)

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A Rioja with less American vanilla pudding

Yes, and certainly very surprising, I stumbled upon a flirtatious Rioja recently at the Swedish monopoly that as it turns out is not the usual kind with insanely high level of toasted new American oak that normally is like putting all the fruit into really thick and creamy vanilla ment for sweet desserts. It is a quite new French producer, Tom Puyaubert, who is also a barrel binder from Bordeaux. He uses 30% whole clusters, conducts cold soak before a long 21-days extraction on the skins. The juice is then raised in 30% new oak (80% French, 20% American) but not the traditional 100% American one only with an abundance of vanilla flavours and cola notes. However, Tom is using well toasted oak barrels as he believes it is a “purifying” treatment of new oak. Fruit is the expected tempranillo (80%) for complexity and the rest the classic graciano for ageing and garnacha (grenache) for structure. Grapes are bush-grown in clay and limestone soil at an elevation of 500 m above sea-level from vines planted in 1980, whereas the other two origin from Rioja Alta planted mostly between 1950-1960.

2014 Rioja Horizonte, Bodegas de Exopto

Glowingly and a translucent mix of red purple and ruby red core colour with light pink edges.

Yes, there is obvious oak on the nose and the flavours are certainly elevated by it, but it is not taking over completely and there is a lot of cocos and mint too. In addition, after a while a perfume of mineral-coated under vegetation, complex smoke, distinct eucalyptus and herbs appear.

The fruit is in the back currently covered in thick oak powder, but the pleasant abundance of black currants and black cherries slips through anyway, fortunately. Yet I’d certainly (as anyone trust me) like much, much less toasted oak, the wine is generous, sharp but smooth, energetically fresh, it is certainly intense and built with finesse and elegance. Yes the oak addition is too much and way too well toasted, but but.. for some strange and unholy reason, it gets away with it only by the way of its charm, finesse, precision and in its evil flirtation. It is a remarkable achievement especially considering its price tag. Ensure to give it at least 2-3 hours of decanting in 18 degrees Celsius. Since high toasting levels is Tom’s belief, let’s hope he will cut down even further on the amount of oak in the future, because it will be beneficial for such a good balanced wine. (tasted 3/2-2017)

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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

 

A 3rd visit at Comte George de Vogüé – 2015 vintage tasting

On our last day of visits in Burgundy with the intriguing and pleasant mission of evaluating the extraordinary vintage of 2015, a Friday the 25th of November, we met up with François Millet at domaine Comte George de Vogüé, as we usually do in the last past years every time we are in Burgundy. This is our 3rd visit here. The domaine has been around for a long time, actually since 1450, and the owners, Claire de Causans and Marie de Ladoucette, are the 20th generation of the family. François Millet was hired by them in 1986. He is a perfectionist and talks about young vines as “gifted teenagers but without any experience”. They are the largest owner in the best vineyard of Chambolle, the 10 ha large grand cru vineyard; Les Musigny. In addition, 0.62 ha within this vineyard is planted with chardonnay for a very interesting re-planting of the Musigny blanc, but it has not yet been released to the market. They need to reach at least 25 years of age before they are ready according to François. Their other grand crus are; Bonnes-Mares and the “should be grand cru” Les Amoureuses. In addition, four premiers crus of which these can be mentioned; Les Baudes (bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the east) and Les Fuées (Their plot is in the middle bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the south) where roots have an average age of 45 years. They work organically, but they are not extremist in any way. Rather traditional and meticulous.

The 2015 vintage

François explains that 2015 vintage has a overly fast bud break, one week of flowering and a warm June and July without any rains that reminds him of the long drought in 1976, but he agrees that it also shares some characteristics with 2005, maybe ’85, but the combination of richness, generosity and crispness is rare. A bit of rain in August, truly saved this vintage. They started harvest early on the 3rd of September. There were little juice in the berries, so it is rich and concentrated, but at the same time remarkably fresh, balanced and transparent. Certainly a unique combo of richness, balance and freshness. Personally, we see the richness of ’05, juicyness of ’09 with the freshness and remarkable balance of ’10. While trying to find words for its characteristics in terms of vntages is interesting and hard to resist, what is truly clear however, is that it is truly unique and rare.

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François Millet

The ever so philosophic François has an interesting way of using metaphors to explain each vintage and he describes the vintage like relaxing on a ship’s deck on a Sunny day. He continues, “The Bonnes-Mares is the forest above the big, deep lake of Musigny and the river to that lake is the Amoureuses”.

2015 Chambolle-Musigny – BARREL

Mainly from Les Porlottes (west of the Chambolle village close to the nearby forest), but also contains juice from Chambolle’s premiers crus Les Baudes (bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the east) and Les Fuées (Their plot is the middle bordering the Bonnes-Mares in the south) that have an average age of 45 years.

A bright and fragrant nose. Bright black fruit wrapped in some spices and really fresh, vibrant minerals. Surprisingly elegant, balanced and generous for a village. 91-92p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru – BARREL

This wine is made exclusively of declassified grapes from young vines (<25 years of age) in grand cru Les Musigny. “The Musigny in short trousers.” as he emphasis.

A slow and fragrant nose. Black fruit, but also pomegranate. Some spices and newly cut ginger. Notes of cinnamon. Really fresh, balanced and packed with vibrant and quite intense minerals. Elegant, rich and just so fresh. 93-94p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru Amoureuses – BARREL

Mainly planted in 1964, 1974 and 1976. Only 0.56 ha in here. Stoney topsoil on a bed of limestone. They did a second racking just one week prior to our visit.

Beautiful, sensual and fresh floral top notes and vibrant, intense minerals at the base. Fruit leans more to black currant than normal, but also red currant and pomegranate. All wrapped in an abundance of sensual and intense minerals that steers the wine. Newly cut ginger and white pepper. A very sensual, delicate and sappy wine with impressive precision and persistence. 95-96p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny grand cru Bonnes-Mares – BARREL

2.7 ha located in the south-east corner of which the oldest were planted in 1945. Stoney and thin top soil mainly in the red soil part of this vineyard with more clay and marls, but very little minerals. François says that this wine is a wild man wine that needs close contact, but he was very careful this time and punched the grapes much more gentle than usual and fewer times than usual to avoid too much extraction and keep the sappiness. He also adds that “everything in here is purple in almost every sense”.

A very deep purple colour. Forest, pine, morning dew, peony? and black-blue fruit. Very, very juicy, creamy and sappy. Some anise seeds and undervegetation. A deep, multilayered, very pure and expressive wine with impressive precision. 96p/100

2015 Chambolle-Musigny grand cru Musigny – BARREL

The domaine owns the massive amount of about 7.5 of 10 ha here of this great grand cru. The oldest vines were planted in 1956, but parts were re-planted in steps 1986-1997. The terroir is not that much different from the Amoureuses, but it always offer more authority and precision. François compares it to the big and deep lake on a great summers day with little wind. 30% new, medium-toasted oak.

Deep red-red purple colour. Aristocratic and elegantly slow, but intense floral with a noble sensuality. The palate is long and balanced with an ample mid-palate of generous, rich and very fresh fruit; mainly pomegranate, but also black currant and raspberries. Some ginger and integrated spices too. Super elegant, driven by truly vibrant minerals and with that special precision and depth to die for already. It will be truly exiting to wait for the release of this wine. 97-98p/100

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Frederik and François Millet

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