Friday, September 19, 2008

Italian Gem

Lugana I Frati Lugana 2006
Ca' dei Frati , Veneto, Italy
100% Lugana (Trebbiano)..another quite obscure grape...
Dreamy..creamy...in fact..very creamy...this is natural..it sees no oak..and a year on from the last tasting..it is developing nicely..apricots still evident...and the acidity is slowly being enveloped....another 4 bottles to go..one every year will be interesting...a little gem of a wine...and was very well-priced at about € 10,--..which seems a bargain even now..
Points 16.5

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Super Salad and Chinon


















Philippe Alliet Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2005
Loire, France
The 'Vieilles Vignes' is a gravel-grown cuvee from 50 year-old vines that is aged in year-old barriques
Delicate, slightly sweet aroma...then a clear blackberry...like an old style Bordeaux..some velvety oak...touch of liquorice and spices...fresh, easy drinking..something you'd be happy to take as a luncheon wine...if I ever drank at midday....
Points 16.5
How about this for a 'super salad'..cooked peeled tomatoes and yellow 'spuds' (Potatoes to you)...with goat's cheese wrapped in bacon..on a bed of ruccola salad.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bad Italian, Good Italian

Wine-blogging...drinking the stuff..etc...does not pay well....in fact...it costs a few Euros. So..the main day(& night) job has to finance my hobby. I have a Funeral Home....the usual local business...but for over 40 years specialising in Repatriations..from and to Germany. A Saturday that started with conversations and discussions with a 'mafia' style 'colleague' (for want of another word) on a small island in Italy.... We won the 'fight'..at a cost...hope he sleeps well at nights...there are some 'black sheep' in my business!
Anyway...as coincidence would have it..we had booked into a local eatery...a 'better' Italian Restaurant 'Ambiente Italiano' which we had visited in March. I'd tried the Fratelli Molino Langhe Nebbiolo 2005 back then and decided to go one better this time..I needed something to forget the 'bad taste' of the morning.
Fratelli Molina Barbaresco Ausario 2003
Piedmont, Italy
Burnt aroma of dried fruits..cherries and roses..some plums...Italian' Rock 'n' Roll' tannins...chewy..but soft and brittle...red-berry fruit...light style of Barbaresco..although the heat of the vintage gives it some back-up and it became porty with airing.
Points 16.25

An Obscure Grape, Lemberger

As Joe is trying obscure grapes...how about this one...which he will have difficulty getting hold of...
Think Germany..think Red...and you think..Spätburgunder. In the Baden part of Baden-Württemberg it is the red wine grape...but travel north to Württemberg...you will find a grape, that only in Austria, produces wine of the same quality. We are talking about 'Lemberger'..know as 'Blaufränkisch' in the aforementioned country. It is a late-ripener..and probably originated in the lower stretches of the river Danube. Rainer Wachstetter has impressively underlined his position as a red wine specialist. His barrique-matured range “Ernst Combé' (named after his grandfather, and founder of the winery) is of a high standard across the board. There is no doubt that he is currently the best all-rounder of the winemakers under the title of “Junges Schwaben” (Young Swabia). In Pfaffenhofen the climate is perfect for the Lemberger.
Rainer Wachstetter 'Ernst Combe'
Lemberger trocken 2006

Württemberg, Germany

Dark cherry colour...smoke...as in 'burnt'..some dry cherry on the nose..no...it is more wild berries...it says trocken on the label..and it is...but this is the style...and the fine juicy fruit balances it all perfectly...plenty of lively acidity..again..the slightly burnt touch..does it sound strange?...dry and tannic does not....but it's all laid-back...and very attractive..and keeps you going back for more...the weight is OK as well..13%...there is some oak in there...compott fruit..spicy...good delicious finish. This reminds me in style of the Loire reds....maybe an acquired taste but most certainly something to explore.
Points 17

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Surprise Me!

As there is so much good wine about..I love ordering mixed cases of various bottles..all my choices. Even better..if it works out..is asking a trusted wine merchant to pop 3 bottles of red..of HIS choice..to make up the case. A price limit is set...which is NEVER achieved....so how will they do?
Wachstetter 'Ernst Coombe' Lemberger trocken 2006
Württemberg, Germany

Bernard Gripa
Saint-Joseph rouge 2005

Rhône, France

Philippe Alliet
Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2005

Loire, France

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two Sides To The Coin

Two sides to the coin...?...some wines improve with each glass..some go downhill.
Two wines..tasted on consecutive days...but a completely different outcome.
Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz 2005
Barossa Valley, Australia











Deep, black-purple..shiny glossy colour.... I was afraid of an 'overdose' on the nose...but it is quite elegant and reserved...not a 'head-banger'..cassis..soft leather...plums....This reminded me of a Northern
Rhône...grainy tannins...soft, velvety mouthful..peppery and spicy.....all this noted after the first glass.
Now..here is where I have problems...it is a crowd-pleaser..trying not to overdo it...but the bright lights go to it's head....and as I took a second glass..something is missing...it's not the 14.5%...many Rhônes have this..it is just that the interest wanes...to keep me wanting more at one sitting. This will impress at a tasting....and maybe the Barossa Valley is 'dammed' to make only this style..you can't change your spots if you are a leopard....but hey...drink it with a few friends..a single glass will give it a point more than I did at the finish.
Points 16.5 € 24.50

I have no doubt that there are wonderful Australian Shiraz...check out Edward's blog..he hogs them all!
We can't buy them in Europe.
But there again...my beloved Spätb
urgunder is rarely sent across the waters...so he may be envious of my luck.


The 'bottle-cleaner' tree in all it's glory.










Offered as an absolute bargain..and a third in price of the above wine.
Borgoforte Villa Pillo 2006
Tuscany, Italy

Dark colour..ruby-red rim...blackberry smells...some liquorice...thick fruit...full-bodied..firm, but silky style tannins..the Merlot popped it's head up after a while..only 10% in there..rest is 55% Sangiovese and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. A chewy, typical Tuscan....which opened up after 2 hours..and got better..quite the reverse to the Australian Shiraz.
Points 16.5 € 7.50.......lay it down a year or two.... may be worth more.
As I said..two sides to the coin...




Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Product of Marriage

The 'Weingut' Meyer-Näkel in Dernau has been around for 5 generations. It was founded by the Meyer family but in 1950 Willibald Meyer married Paula Näkel..and the rest, as they say, is history. The product of this, Werner Näkel, took over in 1982 and extended the property with the top vineyards Kreuterberg, Pfarrwingert & Sonnenberg.

Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder
Warpolzheimer Kräuterberg Auslese
Grosses Gewächs 2004
Ahr, Germany

Thick, wild strawberry smell...very Burgundian....lots of power....firm, sweet tannins...intensive with good acidity telling you this needs time. Would I buy and lay it down?...Such a difficult year to appraise..especially after the 2005's....and, in the Ahr, excellent 2006's..With so much around..maybe give this a miss...and..it ain't cheap!
Points 17.5

Monday, September 08, 2008

Aussie Hune

Hands up all those who have tasted Clos St Hune. OK..thank you Mr Broadbent.
Now..the rest who haven't won't know what I am on about...but.....this wine reminds me of the aforementioned Alsatian classic in it's youth.
Now...before all you Aussies start thinking you can do something good other than play cricket...the question is...will it develope? Trimbach's Clos St Hune is closed and reserved in it's youth. Try it after 10 years and you will proclaim..'The Best Dry Riesling in The World'.....I say dry....so as not to get posts about 'sweet' wines.
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2006
Clare Valley, Australia
Medium pale colour (although the photo shows it as Kermit green...that was down to the plant behind)...restrained nose at first...then a touch of petroleum..or kerosene if you prefer...good sign for the future at this point....the first general impression was of pebbles....no..not the baby from the Flintstone's cartoon....the stones..and I don't mean Mick Jagger's boys.....the ones on the beach...please concentrate when reading my posts...This is DRY...and I mean DRYYYYY!..but if you fear for a mouth-puckering experience..no worries...this is minerally and dry..did I mention that?..but the acidity is so well integrated..you hardly notice. Apples, peaches, pears and a touch of lime all spring to mind...the spice of the Asian food helped it to open it's charms...but still very restrained...more to come?...anyone have experience of this wine when aged?
Points 17.5

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Trio Inferno..or a Hot Threesome!

Another of our regular get-togethers at the local bistro....I bring the wines..the other two pay for the meal and corkage. After my last 'success'...the onus was on me to better it...not really.....but that's the perfectionist in me!
We are dedicated wine-lovers..who talk the same talk. I love the meetings...a pleasure shared....is a pleasure not forgotten.


Laurent Miquel Viognier Nord Sud 2007

Languedoc, France
Condrieu is where the Viognier grape reaches the heights....no contest from elsewhere...but...they are pricey. I have tried Australian and U.S.A.....and they are respectable wines..if a touch heavy on the exotic fruit Viognier exhibites.
This Vineyard in the Languedoc has been producing the variety since 1995. Since those early years, the tiny holding of two-and-a-half hectares has extended to more than 40.
Peaches and apricots spring from the glass..clear and fresh aroma...some oak...this spent some time in French wood...but so reserved...part of..not the main ingredient.There is a lively acidity that drags back anything wanting to dominate. Honey and melons..which could describe Dolly Parton...and a very good finish. This won first prize in a recent Viognier tasting done by the German magazine 'Feinschmecker'. At € 9...a super bargain. Whereas many of it's kind become a little boring after one glass..the citrus quality keeps this one really interesting throughout. Perfect with fresh Octopus salad. Well done indeed.
Points 16.75
Friedrich Becker Sankt Paul
Spätburgunder 2005

Schweigener Sonnenhof Grosses Gewächs
Pfalz, Germany
The romantic story is...the vines grow in France...the vineyard is, of course, German. I double checked with the new German Atlas...and the Schweigener Sonnenhof is really over the border.The vineyards are of sandstone and limestone soil, very similar to that of Burgundy. As for the labels, the dry wines produced by this estate do not go by the German Wine Laws which name wines by their Pradikat labels, such as Kabinett, Spätlese, and Auslese. They do not care to name their wines by the ripeness level of the grapes at the time of harvest; instead, they classify all their wines as Qualitätswein, and name the wines in a more international fashion, that is, by a three-tiered system whereby the entry level wines are called Estate, the mid-tiered wines given another name, and the reserve, single vineyard, Grosses Gewäch wines given that specific designation.
The first impression is.....superb....what a smell...look....but don't touch...or in this case..smell....and don't taste at once..take in all that wonderful aroma...you never know...maybe the taste will disappoint.....a mix of dark berries...cream...cassis..this reminded me of a top St. Emilion...I could have left my nose in all night!....OK...you gotta take the next step...a little 'empty' after the first sip..but this was followed by soft oak...firm, but very approachable chalky tannins...gorgeous silky style...perfect balance. Long finish...super wine..which will fill out and age beautifully...must buy a bottle or two....not cheap..only problem is...when I see the bottles in the cellar...can I resist?....Recommended.
Points 18

Follow that....well.. instead of trying to do it with a 'similar' wine.....kill 'em with a funky classic I thought....
Domaine du Pégau Reservée 1989
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France
I have had the 1990 and this one for ages in my cellar. Must have bought them about 15 years ago...Back in the 'old days'..I loved Ch-du-Pape...they were reasonably priced and aged well..turned brown and smelled funky..meat and smoke...Those days are gone...and the ageing curve is pretty short nowadays....So...how was this after 19 years? Well..Monsieur Féraud's wines are a cross between wine..and a dry port.
A mix of 80% Grenache, 17% Syrah..the rest Mourvèdre and others...A perfect contra for the previous wine...farmyard smells..funky animals...medium-bodied...no alcohol details on the label....not thought necessary back then...but there is a few per-cent here..but so well made....rich flavour...so silky and yet with a power that would have held it a few years more..if I hadn't decided the time was ready. Oh well..the 1990 is supposed to be better...can't wait...but I will. You can't 'buy' wines like this...and I don't mean currency.....from a time maybe lost forever.
Points 18

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wine Masochist

One of the late arrivals from the batch of Rieslings 2007 I ordered. Worth waiting for.... The label for the Buschs' basic Kabinett bears no vineyard designation despite coming from Marienburg. Grown on soils of gray slate, the grapes were vinified by a long, cool wild-yeast fermentation in old oak barrels.











Clemens Busch Riesling Kabinett trocken 2007
Mosel, Germany
Medium pale colour....minerals galore in the glass...classic 'dry' Riesling aroma..difficult to pinpoint a definite fruit..maybe quince...dancing soft needles on the tongue (I am a wine masochist)...perfect weight...juices suround a steely..slightly lemony flavour. Some recent Kabinetts have had Restsüß (residual sweetness)...but this is a sparkly dry wine of fine elegance.
Points 16.5

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Busy Bees

Two busy bees....one..
the German one...finding our
'bottle cleaner' plant irresistible...

The other.....me...you fools...
and some wines I tried recently...













Vie de Romans Piere 2005
Friaul, Italy
One of my favourites of this grape...made from 100% mostly Italian-clone Sauvignon Blanc....this opens with a fresh, even spritzy nose...steely...minerals...
it developes as you let it air...but I bottled this up and tried the rest 3 days later...it really filled out..bananas and apples..and some cream. Good finish..no sour gooseberry or cat's pee...wonderful for that alone.
Points 17

















Jean Stodden Spätburgunder JS 2005
Ahr, Germany
Spicy nose was the first impression..dry, dusty cherry fruit.. Stodden's style is not the most sexy when young..whereas Meyer-Nakäl and Adeneuer show you a 'shapely thigh'..all you get here is a glimpse of an ankle. The dry dustiness covers the palate..layed-back and not too sympatico at the moment...which surprised me..as most 2005 of the middle quality show well. No improvement next day....
Points 15.5















Chateau de la Negly La Clape 'La Falaise' 2005
Coteaux du Languedoc, France
Drink more Syrah was the message...is 60% OK....can someone shout drink 30% Mourvedre & 10% Grenache?. Then finally I will get it right.
Black cherry aroma, cassis..very dominant..sweet French oak; satin-textured & intense, elegant, sweet black fruits and some creamy vanilla, tannins which strangely increased with airing.....this is a 'living' wine..never boring...was it my imagination..but the tannins seemed to dominant with airing..and next day..the wine had a slightly treacle style. As I said..living...
Points 17

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