Category Archives: 2006

The 2006 pride of Paolo Scavino

We have met with the lovely Elisa Scavino a few times along the years and they have evolved in a fantastic direction by cutting down on new oak and keeping up their meticulous work set up by her great father, Enrico.

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2006 Barolo “Bric dël Fiasc”, Paolo Scavino

Colour is half-half transparent of red cerise core with glowingly blood orange outer parts.

Obvious oak notes still in here even after 10 years and I remember that they turned down this quite a bit back in 2008 which was a great decision. A very much boosted perfume of raspberry candy sweets, blossoming roses and minerals in here still. Be sure to let the wine stay in a decanter for about two hours to let its inner terroir slip through. As always, it is fresh and elegant with its personal deep minerals and clove-coated red fruit. However, tannins are not anywhere near finished. I guess that you have to wait as late as 2022 for this one to integrate fully.

90+p/100

2006 Aux Malconsorts – The leader now has one competitor

Aux Malconsorts is the premier cru vineyard in one of the most holy of places in Burgundy for wine lovers; Vosne-Romanée. The vineyard borders La Tâche in the north and has seen a true rise in quality especially due to the exceptional handcraft by Sylvain Cathiard in more than a decade. However, since 2005 they are up for competition here as Domaine de Montille and Dujac bought and split the owning of Thomas-Molliard’s sellout. We have been very impressed with de Montille’s wines before, especially the Volnay Tallepieds.

This tasting may not be truly fair, since the Malconsorts from Domaine de Montille this time is their very special cuvée from a mystic part of this vineyard that appears to be cut straight out of La Tâche really. However, as Étienne de Montille clearly has stated, it has never been part of La Tâche, but he thinks it is special enough for making a special bottling named after his mother.

Cathiard is an obvious opponent or better put, our reference since up till this tasting, they have been our first choice in this vineyard period after tasting several of the other producers here. Sébastien Cathiard has taken over from the 2011 vintage after his father Sylvain and their section is more up hill in the middle. You can read more about the vineyard and inspect their different sections here in Steen Öhman’s article.

 
 

2006 1er cru Malconsorts, Sylvain Cathiard

This was reviewed about a year ago here, but primarily for providing a benchmark as well as supplying a fresh note now a second review is done here a year later.

Sir Galahad:

Colour is translucent, but dark red-purple-orange with light-orange edges.

After more than three hours of decanting, the nose emerges with distinct wood glue, orange-peel, underbrush, some Asian spices and somewhat burnt herbs. And after hours of additional airing, finally the typical x-mas spices arrives to scene together with a very delicate and reticent, but fresh inner-perfume of fresh flowers.

The palate offers very small, pure and sweet mix of blue- and red berries, white pepper, clove, notes of dry fennel, pastry as well as distinct delicate and crystalline minerals. It has very silky texture from tannins that still spurs the tongue a little and its body is not as slim and light-weighted as the nose suggested as last time, rather somewhat meaty and generously mouth filling at least compared to its opponent this time.

Cathiard’s Malconsorts offers remarkably pure aromas and great balance and as a year ago, the only tiny remark is the somewhat lack of structure in this less favourable vintage for tannins, which is not improved by removing stems as they always do in accordance with the principles setup by Henri Jayer.

93+p/100

 

Andreas:

Initially the nose is quite soft, creamy and with concentrated red fruit. After some more time the nose shows herbal notes, wood glue, blueberries and other dark berries. The nose is quite deep and dense. After 2-3 hours the nose closed down and never returned to the initial levels.

On the palate the acidity takes initiative and is very present and direct, while the fruit is more careful but aligned with the nose. The wine is quite mineral and spicy in the taste. Tannins are soft but a bit sandy. The finish is long and has a slight hint of bitterness.

As expected with Cathiard this is a fantastic wine that is quite masculine and has a dense and complex nose.

93-94p/100

 

2006 1er cru Aux Malconsorts “Christiane”, Domaine de Montille

Sir Galahad:

Colour is translucent, almost transparently blood red but still red purple with light-orange edges. They add stems, so the colour is lighter than the Cathiard.

After some hours of decanting, the nose is still reticent and emerges with glue, exotic spices, new baked brioche, bright floral notes and then after a lot of swirling in the glass; a subtle very complex perfume as well as some deep, fresh minerals appears in all its fragrant grace.

On the palate there is orange-peel, delicate sea shell minerals, clove and deep fruit as well as hints of blood orange and cherries. Texture is silky and creamy with really good tannins. Acidity is crisp and vivid but pleasantly settled. Concentration is great and it has just enough structure to reach to a little bitter but persistent and pure finish.

Even though this wine is reticent and analytic, it is very deep and balanced with a remarkable precision but also generous, fresh and really elegant.

95p/100

Andreas:

The nose starts quite careful and with bright red fruit where raspberries dominate. There are also quite floral notes, soft and fresh spices and mineral tones. Very elegant and pleasant nose with layers of fruit. The nose evolved during the hours we had the wine in a decanter.

Mouthwatering fresh raspberries, clear notes of mineral and again some fresh spices. Very energetic palate. Tannins are extremely silky but definitely present.

This wine is well balanced with an energetic acidity, fresh fruit and nice tannins. Very elegant and with good potential.

95p/100

Summary

Clearly, in the 2006 vintage that lacks ripe and authoritative tannins for structure and grip, both wines are somewhat analytic still, but the Christiane wins today by offering just a little more depth and precision. You should most likely forget them both for another 15 years is my guess. It will be very interesting to follow these two champions from now on in the Malconsorts. As always, competition pushes quality further.

 

2006 Roagna Langhe Rosso

“Roagna does not change” is the slogan of the estate who with pride preserves the tradition in Langhe and they are known for their massive maceration of as much as 100 days for its best cru and long time in Slavonian and French medium-sized oak barrels as well before their bottles are released. Roagna is somewhat like the unusual cross-breed of a heavy metal attitude when it comes to conveying terroir and the refinement, uniqueness and complexity of a Wagner opera. In their youth, their wines doesn’t necessarily, explicitly flirt or seduce, but I think it is this diversity and contrast between fine, complex details and a somewhat bold flavours that makes it so special, unique and enjoyable as well as the ambition to make honest, high quality wines that are transparent to the very unique characteristics of Langhe. Yes, we like their wines a lot. Today the estate is run by Luca Roagna, the 5th generation of this estate that was established back in the mid 1800.

Naturally, this ultra-tradition requires a lot of patience from its followers that may have to wait one or often two decades for their wines to peek. This was one of the reasons that elevated the “modernista” movement in Barolo back in the 80’s, but there has been a renaissance of traditional wine making that is transparent to terroir in Piedmont in recent years where traditionalists have been somewhat rediscovered. Even so, several traditionalist has shortened their maceration period a little to make their wines more approachable and it is here that Roagna stand out today as an extreme protector of tradition. Nevertheless, Roagna has in recent years become somewhat like a cult, especially in Scandinavia, as many consumers have got tired of oaky fruit-bombs from the new world that in general taste the same everywhere and seek something interesting and original. While waiting for their single vineyard wines to develop for a very long time to be ready and drinkable, Roagna offers an approachable langhe rosso that easily can compete with barolos. Currently, the latest vintage is 2006.

2006 Roagna langhe rosso

This wine is from younger vines (about 30 yrs) from the vineyard Cascina Pira in Rocche di Castiglione Falletto (Barolo) and Roagna’s lower parts of the vineyard pajé (Barbaresco cru just outside their property). Grapes are hand-picked when tannins are ripe, de-stemmed and gently pressed. Maceration is very long in 30-50 days depending on vintage, but for a Roagna wine this extraction is short. Hence, the goal here is obviously to produce a more approachable wine for early drinking, but without sacrificing its typical genuine, honest characteristics from its sites, its terroir.

Sir Galahad:
The colour is dark ruby-red with transparent light orange edges.Some stable notes in the beginning and then after hours of decanting there are scents of leather jacket, solvent, distinct wood glue, decaying autumn leaves, coaling firewood, herbs, earthy minerals, some dried red flowers and plenty of tar/new asphalt. A broad-spanning nose, bold and complex and dominated by male characteristics and as always with this producer it is unique and very personal, but still with a very fresh nose.

A mid palate of blood pudding, broth, distinct orange peel, autumn forest floor, layers of dry and jammy dark fruit, dry licorice root, earthy minerals, very fresh balsamic notes and loads of tar. It is long and has an impressive building structure and it is full-bodied and powerful, but not heavy. Texture is sandy, but somewhat dirty, unclean and the tannins are really thick, soft and chewy. The saline, but as noted balsamic, acidity is very energetic and promises a long life for this wine to be fresh. This is more complex, more concentrated and absolutely has a bigger structure than the approachable 2005.

A great, very unique, complex, generous and even better langhe rosso than the already really good 2005 that has become our “house wine”. It is still a baby, but in a few years I am sure this will be even better. This vintage just makes me even more convinced how unique and incredibly price-worthy this wine really is. A little young, but very drinkable now but even better in 2-3 years if you can wait. Costs about €20.

92p/100

Brunello Contenders: Poggio di Sotto 2006 vs Cerbaiona 2004

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The ´06 Poggio di Sotto to the left and the ´04 Cerbaiona on the right hand side.

The Italian wine Brunello from the small village of Montalcino in sunny Tuscany was Frederik’s first encounter with high quality wines and where he got his first true brunello wine kick from a ’03 Cerbaiona, but there have been several disappointments a few years now with lots of oak and a general drop in quality.Andreas have had several disappointing encounters with Brunello wines too and is looking hard for some magic.

After several trips to Piedmont and Burgundy, Frederik is now planning a revisit to Montalcino. There is truly something special about the Brunello grape (a clone of Sangiovese called grosso) and the vineyards in the village of Montalcino. It is hotter than other regions like the nearby Chianti and Montepulciano and hadn’t it been for the cooling breeze from the sea in the west during nights and the mist from the Orcia river, Brunello wouldn’t have had a chance to develop any fresh acidity and reach poly phenolic maturity. Thus it would probably just been known as a dry and sweet wine with a lot of alcohol with no ageing potential. In addition, the Amiata mountains protects it from hailstorms and cloudburst too. Furthermore, it normally receives less rain (about 700 mm per year) than Chianti (typically 900 mm), but the soil stores water well. This was particularly obvious in the unusually hot year of 2012, were it practically didn’t rain at all after spring until harvest, but magically still, even though lower yields, manage to produce very good quality grapes.

So we decided to have a show down between two giants of brunello that truly set the standard back in the ´80:s and lately has caused a lot of buzz among critics and tastings. On the left hand side in the upper picture the Piere Palmucci’s Poggio di Sotto and the Molinari’s Cerbaiona. Both makes Brunellos using traditional methods, i.e. long maceration, large Slavonian barrels (botti) and no new oak. However, the style is totally different; Poggio is more fruit-driven feminine whereas Molinari is clearly masculine.

Another obvious choice would have been the legendary producer Biondi-Santi, who way back in 1888 is said to have produced probably the first Brunello di Montalcino, but even though the wine still is traditional and elegant, lately his “Greppo” has lost some of its former glory and mystics. We where looking (as always..) for high quality, elegant wines and a positive wine kick with clear, uncompromising focus on terroir and quality. This excluded numerous producers hijacked by the American markets that prefers super-fruity, excessively full-bodied, fruit-exploding wines and a lot of new french oak. The latter is alarming, considering the brunello grape is a very fragile and delicate grape whose aromas and terroir characteristics and expression are easily suppressed or worse destroyed by new oak. Except for some Californian wine critics, who is really interested in drinking wines that has no personality nor expresses its origins but rather artificially all tastes the same?

So let us start with a short introduction to the producers.

Poggio di Sotto

Piero Palmucci appears to have been constantly improving everything in the whole process of high quality wine making – especially in the vineyards – with the help of the legendary enologist and viticulture expert Giulio Gambelli, who sadly passed away in January, 2012, at the age of 86.

Piero bought several vineyards in 1989 and produced his first bottle in 1991 and he has been a rising star for several years now and his efforts was truly recognised in 2001 by several wine critics around the world. For some strange reason, his riserva this year was dis-classified by the authorities and sold as “Il Decennale”. Now the 2006 is considered magical. However, Piero appears to have sold the estate to Claudio Tipa from Bolgheri in 2011. The estate seems to continue Piero´s work with hard pruning, low yields (max 35 hl per ha), extreme selection of grapes, use large 30 hl Slavonian barrels (botti) and sometime let the brunello riserva stay in barrel for as much as five years. In contrast to others, his rosso is from the same grapes and vineyards, so it is a bargain for its price-level. The bottles that Piero Palmucci have produced are marked with his name if you want to be sure and his last was the vintage 2006. The vineyards for brunello add up to about 12 ha of land and are located in Castenuovo dell’Abate south of Montalcino and face south. In the lower parts, 200 m above sea-level, the soil is made up of rocks, schist and gravel with a lot of calcareous clay. Closer to the top of the hills, 400 m above sea-level, the hill is very steep and the soil is sandy clay. This way they have the opportunity to produce a well balanced combination of elegance, structure and power by blending parts depending on the vintage. The oldest roots in the best parts are 50 years old.

Cerbaiona

The former Alitalia pilote Diego “Comandante” Molinari that became a wine-maker is a self-taught, stubborn man and has said he never had much help of an oenologist, but clearly Giulio Gambelli has been assisting here too. Diego and Nora bought the estate from the Guerrini family back in 1977 and have turned it into one of the most magical estates in the region. Fermentation takes place in cement vats and maceration is long with a few push-downs a day. The malo is done in stainless steel. Oak barrels of 20 hl are used for ageing over a minimum period of three years. This estate is true to tradition and terroir.

Most of the vineyards are planted in 1977, but some parts are as old as 1922 and alive and well. Their 3.2 ha of lands are situated in the very east of Montalcino having Salvioni, who used to work at the estate, as neighbor. Production is small. Only about 8,000 bottles of brunello are made and 5,000 bottles of the rosso a year. Their soil has a top layer of galestro marl, whereas the deeper contains mostly rock and very much lime and practically no clay at all which somewhat explains the character of their wines. Diego’s careful, organic handcraft, his short-pruning for low yields, and hands-off, somewhat straight-forward approach in the very traditional cellar produces a very individual wine showing both the variety and complex terroir of Montalcino. Contrary to Piero, he only produces one brunello which happens to be a “riserva” but doesn’t seem to care to mark this on the bottle. His brunello has been praised by several critics e.g. Antonio Galloni and Stephen Tanzer among others for probably making the best and most consistent high-quality brunello ever since 2001. However, sadly due to Diego´s deteriorating health, the couple is now selling off the estate.

Enough said, let’s move to the wine tasting shall we..

On this occasion, Frederik couldn’t plan ahead so his bottle of Cerbaiona was opened 30 minutes before he left his apartment and then it was brutally oxygen-raped with a “quick, aggressive decanting”. Andreas on the other hand opened his Poggio di Sotto at 16.00, 4 hours prior to the wine tasting. Please note that the wines are from two great different vintages; 2004 and 2006. The Poggio di Sotti of this tasting is not the Riserva, but we hope the characteristics and style will still be interesting in this competition.

And the results?

2006 Brunello di Montalcino, Poggio di Sotto

Nose: Balsamic, leather, a hint of eucalyptus, a hint of something chemical, notes of tar, incredibly fresh, seductive perfumes, some red flowers, hints of roses and some salt stained, airy breeze.

Taste: Full bodied but lacks concentration and some depth. The mid palate shows hints of chocolate, eucalyptus, ginger, small red berries and black cherries. Very seductive but not sweet and expresses even more feminine characteristics than expected. Very long and well balanced.

Points: Andreas: 95 and Sir Galahad: 95

Nose: Leather, earthy, lots of minerals, under vegetation, herbs, tobacco, some tar, black tea, dark fruit and a hint of crushed water-on-stone. Very subtle indeed.

Taste: Several layers, fantastic depth, very complex, impressive concentration and very low levels of sugar. The mid palate presents magnesium (?), plenty of stony minerals, mushrooms, some eucalyptus, very dark fruit, hints of dark chocolate, some herbs like rosemary, espresso and black tea. This reminded us of the famous appellations in Burgundy; Clos de la Roche with its typical traits of water on stone and hints of Bonnes mare’s creamy, deep black fruit and masculine characteristics. AL: Long, concentrated and tannic driven. FB: The only minor disappointment with the wine is the length in this vintage, but besides this minor remark, a fantastic, impressive and very complete wine.

Points: Andreas 97p/100, Sir Galahad: 97p/100.

To sum it up, two very different wines. The winner we both agree is the Cerbaiona, even though a fair competition would of course have been the Poggio’s Riserva and both bottles of the same vintage. The Poggio is a really elegant charmer, full of fine red fruit, very long and generously full-bodied, but surprisingly lacks some depth and concentration. This makes us interested in an older riserva, due to our expectations.