Category Archives: 2015

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 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

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

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