Category Archives: 2013

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

 

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

Crisp and fresh 2013 Gevrey-Chambertin village from Groffier

A third whole bunches were put into the fermentor for this wine and it was raised in 25% new, lightly toasted wood.

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2013 Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Seuvrées”, Robert Groffier

A lovely but slow and subtle perfume of crushed stone, some morning dew, dry herbs, and most notably of all, underbrush. Texture is somewhat edgy, but it is the fresh, clean and saline acidity that stands out wrapping highly concentrated and slightly bitter fruit (mainly red currant, lingonberries and cranberries) stones, savoury notes, notes of pears and dry honey. The extra stems add structure and backbone in a very good way and it is quite persistent too. Could probably improve some in 4-5 years.

89-90p/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

Burgundy tasting 2013 vintage part 3 – A few more reds and final thoughts

This is the third and last post in our series from the Burgundy tasting at Otto Suenson in February. The previous can be found here and here.

2013 Fernand Lécheneaut et Fils (Philippe et Vincent) Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Les Charrieres

Initially the red fruit dominate but then some blackberries and blueberries appear. The palate is fresh but also slightly sourish with mainly young red fruit. The wine lacks some depth and complexity.

90p

2013 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots

Bright fruit dominate the nose together with some orange peel. The acidity starts great but ends with a slightly bitter expression. There are red currant, lemon and some iron notes on the palate together with a tannic structure.

This is interesting and good wine but it lacks some balance.

91p

2013 Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Orveaux

Very earthy expression together with dark fruit and lemon notes. Sourish dark fruit, blueberries and black currant on the palate together with rather grippy tannins probably from the oak. This wine is more about power than elegance.

90p

2013 Bernard Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles Vieilles Vignes

Very masculine nose with an earthiness, meat and oak. Unfortunately there is a lack of fruit notes. Same style on the palate but we also find black berries and blue berries. There is an acidity but it fades rather quickly in the finish where we also find an abundance of oak.

88p

2013 Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux

Brimming fruit notes, almond and ripe raspberries in this expressive and seductive nose.
Fine grained tannins but still with a grip. Acidity is good and includes some slight grape fruit notes. Long finish but unfortunately with a slight bitterness. Complex and expressive wine.

93p

2013 Coquard-Loison-Fleurot Echezeaux

Dense and complex nose with red and dark fruit, some mushrooms and orange peels. Rather soft but precise acidity and some silky tannins. Great wine but unfortunately some oak that masks the personality.

92p

2013 Maison Bertrand Ambroise Clos Vougeot

Dense nose with red and dark fruit, oranges and iron. Fantastic palate again with iron, oranges and some ripe berries. The wine has a rather soft expression on acidity and tannins and the finish is short and slightly sweet.

I would have hoped for more attitude and personality on this otherwise good wine.

90p

Final comments

This tasting confirmed how different the 2013 vintage can be depending on decisions made at the Domaine. At the end of the day we both walked away from the tasting with a couple of bottles from Tollot-Beaut and Leflaive, two producers who delivered fantastic wines in this challenging vintage.

Burgundy tasting 2013 vintage part 2 – The reds

This is part two of our notes from the tasting of 2013 Burgundy at Otto Suenson. We now move over to the reds, which are split into two sections. To read our previous post where we also make a short comment about the 2013 vintage, click here.

2013 Benjamin Leroux Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Hauts Jarrons

Fresh and almost sourish red berries with lots is cherries but also hints of marzipan. Very attractive and vibrant nose. The acidity is not very precise but has good energy. Some young red fruit is well integrated with the acidity.

Not very complex but definitely a fresh and intense wine.

87p

2013 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Boudriotte Rouge

A rather simple but elegant nose dominated by young cherries. Very precise acidity, minerals and mouthwatering but almost too young red fruit resulting in a slim body.

Fresh but rather simple wine that could develop with time.

88p

2013 Domaine Joblot Givry 1er Cru Clos de la Servoisine

Generous, intense and forward nose with both dark and red fruit. The wine has a clear acidic bite and a rather tannic structure for a Pinot. Blueberries, young cranberries and under vegetation.

Lacks some depth on the palate to balance the acidity and tannins.

88p

2013 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Corton-Bressandes

Very fragrant nose with perfume, fresh berries and some almond. There is a great balance between the vibrant acidity, the brimming red fruit and the velvety tannic structure. Some oak notes appear in the finish.

93p

2013 Domaine Ponsot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes

Initially a rather careful nose but then some bright red fruit appear together with notes of grape fruit. Juicy young acidity with lemon notes. Cranberries and some other red fruit in this rather tight palate.

The wine has great precision but will need much more time to develop.

91p

2013 Hubert Lignier Gevrey-Chambertin

Generous nose with both red and dark fruit and some dark minerals. Acidity is energetic and precise and complemented with some fresh fruit notes also including darker fruit like black berries.

This is a precise but not very complex wine.

91p

Burgundy tasting 2013 vintage part 1 – The whites

In February we attended the yearly Burgundy wine tasting at the Danish importer, Otto Suenson, offering a great selection of Burgundy wines. The tasting was focused on the 2013 vintage.

2013 was the another tough year for the Burgundy estates requiring very active work in the vineyards and hard selection to render a successful result. Some areas, especially Savigny, Volnay and Pommard, was hit hard by hailstorms, resulting in very super-low yields and many vignerons were down on their knees with extremely low crop. In addition, the very important flowering was late too. In general the season was cold with august as the only exception, and as a result ripeness was an issue and several producers had to make the decision of harvesting slightly unripe berries or rot ones. As a consequence, most producers had to use chaptalisation. This has resulted in wines with a high level of acidity, a rather slim body and in some cases tougher and less ripened tannins. In one of the somewhat spared areas e.g. Chambolle, Francois Millet of domaine de Vogüé labled 2013 the ‘rebel’ vintage, but not the pretty one.

2013 Domaine Ramonet Bouzeron (Aligoté)

Slim nose with lemon, apples, tropical fruit, white flower and flint. Rather slim but with great acidity and minerals.
The wine lacks some depth but has great precision and elegance.

86p

2013 Olivier Merlin Mâcon La Roche-Vineuse Vieilles Vignes

Fruity nose with rather ripe apples, pears and plums. Rather soft palate with fruity flavors. The acidity stays in the background and is soft.

This is a gentle and fruit based wine that lacks some energy.

85p

2013 Benjamin Leroux Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Murgers des Dents de Chien

Initially we mainly get oak and smoke on the nose, but then some tropical fruit, lemon and minerals appear.Grippy and citric acidity that still remains rather careful. There are clear notes of oak that dominates over the fruit.

The wine lacks freshness and energy but has some depth and complexity.

88p

2013 Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets

Fruit and minerals dominate this well balanced nose. There are apricot, oranges, plums, nuts and some toasted oak on both the nose and the palate. The acidity is juicy and rather soft.

I consider the nose better than the palate that lacks some elegance.

90p

2013 Domaine Jacques Prieur Meursault 1er Cru Santenots

An abundance of hazelnut, butter, apricot and plums on this round and generous nose. Dense palate with ripe fruit, plums and a juicy but too careful acidity.

Generous and likable wine that would work good with food.

90p

2013 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon

Amazingly elegant nose with lime, lychee, nectarines and white flower. The acidity is vibrant and precise. On the palate we get more exotic fruit with mainly pineapple and in the finish some careful oak notes appear.

Very pure and elegant wine with great balance and a rather long finish.

93p

A deep etna rosso from high altitude with a lot of terroir

The wines of Etna keep being a little of a mystery to us and when really good, they, in our opinion, combine the traits, pliancy and finess of the Burgundy’s pinots with some of the structure, backbone and aromas of an Piedmont’s barolo as well as in itself adding very much freshness in a very interesting way.

Especially, as is the case with the producer Passopisciaro, when they use 100% of the tannic and complex grape nerello mascalese from five different crus or contrados as they call them these are 70-100 years old. And this at a very low price from a very good, cold and long-cycled vintage where they started harvesting at 500 m altitude during the last week of October and finishing at 1,000 m the first week of November. 15 days of extraction is normal and the juice goes through malo in large, neutral barrels.

DSC046812013 “Passorosso” Etna rosso Terre Siciliane (IGT), Passopisciaro

Colour is, like a barolo, very transparent and opaque blood orange but with scarlet red tints.

Currently, the nose emerges as a dense combo of oil paint, subtle Asian spices, nutmeg and raw meat. Thankfully, the raw meat totally disappears after another hour in the decanter and then suddenly a perfume of grace slowly takes its place with some lovely, cut rose petals and small red berries; prominently rowan berries and red currant.

On the palate, this truly shows even more why some compare Etna’s reds with those of Burgundy. Yes, maybe a tiny resemblance to Aux Malconsorts is justified. Its texture is very much so; definitely soft, almost velvety, with some masculine Burgundian structure and some slender precision. A racy, dense and generous wine of pleasantly ripe red currant, red cherries and cranberries, all coated in newly cut ginger, nutmeg and fresh, volcanic minerals. Acidity is vivid and clean wrapping orange-peel and is impressively fresh. It is quite persistent, but more focused on the delightful details with impressive depth. Good balanced too. It is even better the 2nd and 3rd day in the decanter.

We really like the development of this wine, its elegance, depth and details, while sitting with it and sipping. It is a really interesting etna rosso and we will certainly try more wines from this producer. We guess you should open it in 2019 to just let it come together even more, especially the tannins. It is frankly, so priceworthy that we recommend to Just buy before they are sold out.

93p/100

Andreas

Expressive nose with slightly sweet strawberries, red current, blueberries and boysenberries, combined with herbal notes, perfume and some oil paint. Dense and generous but still with elegance.

Truly amazing acidity that manages to stay in the background but still do all the important work and adds a mouthwatering freshness to the wine. Slight chalk notes appear on the palate, but in the finish the berries dominated again. There is a slight sweetness in the wine but it never gets dominant.

It is hard not to like this elegant wine and the only thing lacking for a higher score is more complexity and layers.

92-93p/100

Lamarche, a rising star in the holy grail with a woman’s touch

In late January 2015 we visited the domaine Francois Lamarche. The estate dates back to the 1740’s. To most people, the estate is known for its monopoly vineyard La Grand Rue and it is situated right in the holy grail of Burgundy and just next to the famous La Tâche in Vosne-Romanée. Actually, it was in possession of the Liger-Belair family that went bankrupt in 1933. Then it was purchased by Edouard Lamarche and given as a wedding present to his nephew Henri. We did some research prior to this visit and according to official publications, up until 1959, small parts of the former boundaries of Gaudichots were exchanged with DRC and La grand rue was adopted grand cru status in 1992. Oldest parts apparently predate 1970, but a lot was replanted in the 80’s, so roots are yet not really old. Except for La grand rue, they own several other premier- and grand crus, of which Clos Vougeot, Aux Malconsorts, Les Suchots, Grands Echezeaux can be mentioned and in addition the interesting La Croix Rameau, in the north-east corner of Romanée-Saint-Vivant.

After knocking on the door to Lamarche in a cold but sunny January for a few minutes, finally Nicole opens. She explains that she had to pick up the children somewhere and she says that she is sorry that she’s late, but we are just happy that they are here. After all, this is a family business. We are just very exited to visit this domaine,.. finally.

Nicole, the daughter of Francois Lamarche, who took charge in 2007 with her first vintage being the glorious 2010, is obviously a very energetic, determined and confident woman with a clear focus of what she wants to do with their wines and she explains that she told her father over and over again to move away for her. Lamarche’s reputation at the time when she took over was not the best to say the least. Publicly, it was perceived as overly austere and lacking freshness from several wine critics, but luckily we absolutely feel that Nicole is really improving the estate’s wine quickly year-by-year. The potential in this part of Vosne-Romanée appears unlimited. Nicole tells us that she enforced thorough cleaning of the cellars and a whole lot of improvements in the wine making after her trial-period was over and her father stepped down, finally, as she puts it.

They harvest by hand using a secondary selection table. A few days and customary cold-soak is conducted to enhance perfume and colour. 80-100% of only ripe stems goes into fermentation depending on vintage to enhance structure and add tannins. When I mention that DRC is doing biodynamics and ask her about her principles, she swiftly answers that she hates extremism, so they employ things that they see fit and really work. She is very focused on the vineyards and thinks that organic principles are really important to them. She says, she intercepts ideas from the biodynamic movement, but for her, ecological farming is most important and they employ hard pruning which she thinks is most important to her as well as constant attention to the vineyards. They also work with sexual confusion techniques to keep insects off the leaves. Grass is extremely shortly pruned within vineyard rows to provoke the roots to dig deeper and avoid dilution.

I ask her about what she strives for in her wines and she immediately answers that she aims for silkiness, aromatics and elegance. She explains that she thinks that she, through her wine making adds a woman touch to their wines compared to her father. The level of new oak, from very much adapted barriques to the vineyards, are about a third now and very lightly toasted. Extraction (maceration) is carried out for about 15-18 days and like many others, no filtration or fining is done.

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Andreas, Nicole and Frederik

2013 Bourgogne “Hautes côtes de Nuits”

Vosne spices. Very fine, young and crisp acidity. Fruits in the back ground now, but there is balance.

85p/100

2013 Bourgogne

Some finesse in this fresh nose of herbs.

Delightful and sourish, small red berries, blood orange, ginger, and some complex minerals. Medium bodied. Very crisp and fresh acidity.

87p/100

2013 Vosne-Romanée

Distinct Vosne spices here and fresh herbs dominates. Very small, sourish red berries and blood orange. Here is some finesse and pleasant pliancy.

90p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “Les Chaumes”

They own two small sections this vineyard.

Some seductive perfume from this very clean and fresh nose. There is a vertical quality here with the perfume as top note and the Vosne spices in the base.

Very silky and soft texture in this pliant wine with fine tannin cut. Small, ripe and fresh red berries, blood orange, ginger, clove and herbs. The acidity is just a little sharp now, but this will be very fine. It is quite persistent too.

90-91p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “Les Suchots”

Finally, the rose chips arrives in this super-fresh and seductive perfume with nice depth.

Almost perfect tannins in here. Very good concentration and less acidic bitterness compared to the Les Chaumes. Blood orange dominates with a trail of pure, red small berries in the persistent finish. In addition, notes of passion fruit, fennel wrapped in the very balsamic, crisp and mineral-driven acidity.

92-93p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “La Croix Rameau”

A very interesting vineyard in the north-east corner of Romanée-Saint-Vivant of which they only made two barriques. 45 year-old vines.

Very different nose compared to Les Chaumes and Les Suchots. More intense and less fragrant with more herbs and pastry. It is a complex and intriguing nose.

Small, sourish red berries, a lot of herbs and pastry on the palate too. The very clean, energetic and crisp acidity wraps passion fruit and orange peel. Thicker tannins but still soft, but not as silky as the other two.

92-94p/100

2013 V-R 1er cru “Les Malconsorts”

Very complex nose with high precision and details, but reduced now so very analytic at this stage. Extremely slowly, the fragrant rose petals arrive and the Vosne spices that appears to hover on the surface only. It truly contains something special.

Sourish, super-small red layers of, ripe and pure red berries, anise, fresh herbs and spices. Acidity is a little overly energetic now, but very promising. Impressive balance without any edges or bitterness in the very persistent finish. Very smooth and silky texture with very ripe tannins. A very classic and elegant, but too young V-R wine with great potential.

93-94p/100

2013 grand cru “Echezeaux”

A very direct nose of darker minerals and pastry. Dried flowers in its persistent, but subtle inner perfume.

Very good concentration and very clean fruit and acidity. Good grip in the tannins.

91p/100

2013 grand cru “Grands-Echezeaux”

A very broad brush stroke of scents in this nose. Some earthy tones, crushed stone in the base and balsamic, dried herbs and deep perfumes at the top.

On the palate, the acidity is dominating now and it is currently a little edgy and whiny, but vivid which is promising. However, there seem to be red fruit in there, anise and some leather notes lurking. All this framed in thicker and firmer tannins.

92p/100

2013 grand cru “Clos de Vougeot”

Here they have three parcels in the south-east part, i.e. the lower parts.

The nose emerges as very deep with very much finesse. An incredibly seductive and feminine perfume as top note here with some crushed stone and dried herbs in the base.

On the palate, what struck us most is its impressive high quality acidity that is fantastically fresh. Moreover, the texture is super silky and totally seamless. A very fresh wine with almost perfect texture.

93-95p/100

2013 grand cru “Les Grand Rue” (monopoly)

A very light and transparent pink and raspberry red colour.

The nose is reduced now and emerges very slowly, but after a while there is a really elegant and aristocratic, but subtle, perfume that slips through. A deep and complex nose indeed.

On the palate, it offers cherries with layers of deep and very pure, red fruit. Totally seamless, incredibly pliant and super-silky texture. Acidity is crisp and fresh coating the fruit with deep, fresh minerals. It is persistent too. Yes, this has come very far in this vintage.

94-96p/100

Summary

It is obvious that the previously uneven impression of this estate some years back now is history and they are absolutely taking a distinct step in the direction of a much higher level of quality with Nicole in charge. Especially the pliancy, slenderness and elegancy impresses us a lot, but it is not all. In addition, the finesse and purity is impressive and the potential comes through in the Clos Vougeot, Les Malconsorts, La Croix Rameau and the stunning La Grand Rue. It will be very interesting to follow the development here and we will certainly be back soon.