Thursday, August 23, 2007

Solanera Bodegas Castano 2004

I guess I am lucky to get this wine...95% is usually reserved for the US market... 65% Monastrell(Mourvedre), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnache Trintorera..it spends time in French oak for 10 months and is unfiltered and it certanly is an excellent wine.
This is what Spanish wines are doing so well at the moment...the Australians would be too 'up-front'..and leave you saying no to a second glass...not the case here...

Solanera Bodegas Castano 2004
Yecla, Spain
Deep purple colour; dark fruits spring from
the glass, sweetness. smoke..spices;
flavour full.. rich and ripe...but also elegant..the fruit
and tannin perfectly balanced with the oak,
the 20% Cabernet plays an important role in this excellent Cuvee, easy to enjoy now.. decant it..and lay a few bottles down if you can leave it alone.
Points 17.5 +

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wine, Food & Friends

You cook, I'll bring the wines..I said to Volker.
I called another friend Robert..he had an appointment..but postponed it...Steffi, Volker's better half was also there(we couldn't throw her out of her own home)...

so we were all set.
I chose the 3 wines I would take and also the rest of the Riesling from the previous evening.


Volker cooks 'provencial'...not rustical...
The salad with calamares was a fine opener..

and the main course of battered
(hit with a hammer to flatten it)
Argentinien steak covered with a
thin layer of fried onions was delicious.




All the wines were covered up.
As an aperitive..they tried the Zind-Humbrecht Riesling...
they weren't sure what or where..but I mentioned Sauerkraut..
and Volker said..Alsace Riesling.
Barry..stop helping them.




The nose had opened..mint and spice...otherwise..
just as the night before.







Chablis Premier Cru 2005

Domaine des Malandes, Vau de Vey
Burgundy, France

Clear yellow with green tinges; flinty, minerally nose..touch of cream; this is a 'wine-drinkers' wine..no up-front fruit with oak..more complexity here..2005 was great year for White Burgundy..anyway..back to the wine..
from sniff to sniff and from sip to sip..always something happening.Still unbalanced but all in there..and needs airing at this stage of it's life.
I purchased 6 bottles..so will 'try' to leave it for 6 months.
Points 17.5 +





PS..before they even started to taste....I casually mentioned that
we don't seem to drink this type of wine anymore..
Robert said..'must be Chablis then'

That's it..no more helping..I never seem to get these 'tips' when I taste blind!!

And so to the reds..both decanted

Gantenbein 2005
Fläsch, Switzerland
We last tried this at a Pinot Noir tasting..
and I said then it needed to be tasted alone..
and with food. Well...it was excellent with the
main course.
From the first whiff of soft velvety Pinot..
which extends to the flavour...well..this is food wine...
and therefore earned more points than at the tasting.
Points 18








PS. As I didn't know what food was to be served..
and Volker knew nothing about what wine I would bring..
the question arose...who gets the plaudits for this 'perfect marriage'..
We decided to share the podium.



Domaine Gourt de Mautens 2004
Rasteau, France

I had tried the 2003 a while back..
and was VERY impresssed.
At the first smell from the glass..
Robert's face changed..
it was a picture..
"Wow" he said.."what is this...Grenache...?...
not New World tho..too elegant."
And it is elegant....95% Grenache with a
little Carignan and Mourvèdre..
from 70-100 year old vines.
Storming mine-boggling smell..
herbs and spices...all that in one
medium-sized glass...!...
mouth-filling, rich, ripe fruit..
and a lovely long finish.

2003 and 2004 are both fine
vintages in the Rhone

but 2004 wins here..just
Points 18.5

Sauerkraut or Choucroute?

Some say 'potaytoes' some say 'potartoes'...some say Sauerkraut...some say Choucroute.
A dish rarely eaten outside of Germany or France..and probably something most would not even be tempted to try. The German version is usually simple with less 'extras'..in Alsace as you pass the Winstubs..you see a mass of the 'white cabbage'..covered by various meats.
Ours is our own creation....some pork..and some blood wurst..and my favourite...liver wurst. As you can see from the photo..it is not easy to make it look beautiful..
Best wines to drink with it..without doubt..Riesling.
Zind-Humbrecht are one of the top vineyards in Alsace
Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg 2004
Alsace, France

Classic Alsatian Riesling with a lot of power;
Yellow-gold colour...sparkling in the sun; nose..nada...just a whiff..then..nada..youthful and brooding. Palate easier to please...bright and lively with sweet apricot and pineapple fruit keeping the acidity in rein.The wine shows signs of the influence of botrytis..is a Vendange Tardives in weight and it shows.
With Riesling it all depends what you want..I like mine with a little more age...petroleum smell( I hang around petrol stations).. this should age beautifully.
Points 17.5 +

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Taking a break from wine!!!

After two large meal nights this week...
I threatened myself with a few days respite from the grape..
However..a sunday evening with summer warmth..and
some chicken legs in white wine cream sauce
and a delivery of wine a few days before...
I just had to...you understand readers....
The delivery..well..after trying the
Adeneuer Spätburgunder No2 2005..
I called the grower and ordered some more..
plus his No1 2005 and also the Frühburgunder 2006
J.J. Adeneuer No1 Spätburgunder 2005
Ahr, Germany

First up..the No 2 is 'easier' to drink as is to be expected.
The No 1 has a slight reserved Pinot smell, developed a sweet aroma..but thinly veiled..waiting to burst out..soon..another whiff..yes...promise here..smokiness;
Flavour more forthcoming, quiet full, red berry fruit, nice Pinot 'prickle' on the tongue...
still with a little awkwardness of youth...
needs 1-2 years...very good though.
Points 17 .5 will no doubt gain a point with age.
OK..same points as the No 2...both for different reasons..Claudia Cardinale and Sophie Marceau are different..but I rated them equal...
















Drank the rest next evening..and wanted to try the Frühburgunder..but there had been a mix up..and I had been sent the basic wine


J.J.Adeneuer Spätburgunder 2006
Ahr, Germany

Pale colour; lighter style, easy to drink or quaff..
good character..and only Euros 10.

Points 16

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Invite to Dinner

Invites to dinner are always nice...no cooking to be done by my wife..she gets to enjoy..and I get some wines I maybe don't know.













Our host prepared a delicious summery starter.
Goat's Cheese Nut Balls with a grape & apple salad and the main course was Salmon in Pastry in a Champagne-Estragon Sauce.













The opening white wine I knew...Bistro Tasting..and a cracker it is!... I love Condrieu..unfortunately..my pocket cannot afford daily doses..












Cuilleron Condrieu Les Chaillets 2005
Rhone, France

I remember 'finding' Cuilleron when I visted the area..back when I could buy his wine at the Vineyard door..those days are gone..Cuilleron is too well known nowadays.The wine was beautifully presented...it had been decanted.
This has a gorgeous nose...powerful..exotic fruit..full flavour, explosive and rich.
Points 18
Gaja Ca'Marcanda 2000
Tuscany, Italy

The red had also been decanted..
purple colour; black fruit and
caramel aromas;
quite mature, porty...sweet tannins..
quite elegant..no hard edges.
Points 17

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Guigal Côte Rôtie ' La Mouline' 1976

After a few miserable wet days..it was warm enough to sit outside...
I invited 2 friends..only one could come at such short notice...
My wife was going to prepare 4 dishes.
(click on the photos to enlarge..and get the taste buds going)
With the white wine...




1. Goat's Cheese wrapped in
bacon in a mango-date-mint
bed with salad dressed
with cedar corn mousse
and mint leaves.







2. Prawns in coriander seeds
in Tempura dough
(refers to classic Japanese
deep fried batter)
and fried fennel.









With the great red...

3. Tuna Fish on a bed of
fresh spinach with a
vanilla and lime sauce
(this was a truly perfect
match with the 'Mouline').











4. Beef filet covered with cream
mushroooms and dried
tomatoes with shallot onions and
polenta.










And the wines.....................

Hermitage Blanc 'Les Recoules'
Sorrel 1990

Rhone, France
Yellow gold colour; flowery nose...is that a touch of cork..? or just a fading nose...I asked my wife..cork she said..which..was disapointing..but pleased me as I have another bottle in the cellar...and..although the nose did not improve..the flavour was not impaired and improved in the glass..quite full, touch of 'sherry'..which also disapeared..a real 'working wine'...honey tones, almonds...this grew on me.
Points 16...but methinks the other, hopefully, 'not corked' bottle will be worth more.




And the star of the evening....
Guigal Côte Rôtie ' La Mouline' 1976
Rhone, France


The wine had been stood up for 24 hours as it had some sediment. Was decanted 2 hours before tasting..cork removed at the second attempt.






Superb colour..dark..and an incredible mature Armagnac tint rim..I could have looked at it all evening( I must find other things to do); nose exhuded richness, port-like..but of course not sweet, mocca, coffee..even bacon. As to the flavour..you just can't buy it.. super smooth, rich, lush, intense wine with layers of concentrated, soft, velvety fruit, spicy and after all this...still elegant..finesse.
Points 19.5 (about 98 in USA points)...maybe even 20....but a marvellous wine.

I had purchased 6 bottles in May 1982..they had cost about Euros 24 which is around $ 30. I opened one 2 months later(ah..infancy)..and 3 more..marking it from 17 to 18..up to 1988..then decided to leave
it alone..The fifth bottle I drank about 7 years ago with the same friend as with today's bottle...we gave it 19 points I think...and he never failed to mention the memory whenever we met.
One of the Top 100 Great Wines!!!!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Casa de Sabicas Reserva 2003 Alentejo

Sabica was a clever lady who lived in the
second half of the 19th Century.
She was head of a large agricultural dynastie
in Alentejo. Graca Sanrana Ramalho, a great
godchild of hers, decided to continue the tradition
of here elder relative and continue to grow the
traditional Portuguese grapes.
The top wine from the vineyard is our wine.
Casa de Sabicas Reserva 2003
Alentejo, Portugal
Medium deep colour; dark chocolate, lots of deep fruit aromas..and a curious unknown smell..I still can't pinpoint it...maybe one of the grape types..Aragonês is very dominant here(Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon & Alicante Bouschet are the others)...prunes; although the wine needs more time to develop..the opening mouthful was quite easy...then the gentle tannins took over, spices, touch of coffee, softened with airing...and held up next day. This spends 12 months in oak..then 12 months on bottle before being released.

Points 16......but in 2-3 years maybe a bit more.







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