Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Little Sister White

Having enjoyed (and re-ordered) the Goisot's red I was looking forward to seeing how 'sister' would show.
Goisot Bourgogne Blanc Cotes d'Auxerre
"La Gondonne" 2004
Saint-Bris-Le-Vineux,Burgundy, France

100% Chardonnay..and spends
12 months in oak. Very strong aroma of
butterscotch..which decreased with airing..
some honey and flowers as well....
on the palate..very 'old vine' feel..
and after checking I was told
30+ year old vines....
so there's hope for me yet!
A Chablis..chalky-slate style...
and decent acidity....oak not overdone..
Points 15.5

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Perfect Sunday

Sunday's comprise of playing football (soccer) in the morning..watching some on TV later..and every second sunday..doing my Radio Show. Today..sunshine...warm...a quick photo of a bird in it's nest in the garden..not sure for how long though as the local cat is prowling..but I have put up poles to prevent it getting a running leap.
The football pitch was dry for the first time in weeks....perfect. We drew 4-4 (not perfect)..and I scored a great headed goal (I chose the word 'great' carefully..awesome would have been too much)..and injured my right hand (also not perfect) off to the doctor's tomorrow. After a lazy hazy Radio Show chose a good bottle and sat outside for the first time this year. Simple food of sliced potatoes from the oven with some bacon and salami....and.......this is what you have been waiting for (all the above is of no interest to anyone except me and the
A Pinot Noir from California. A favourite vineyard of mine. Jim Clendenen has a large range of PN's and I have never been disappointed. I wanted to try the 2005 but this was offered we go..

Au Bon Climat 'Le Bon Climat Vineyard'

Pinot Noir 2004
California, U.S.A
Cool, slightly reserved bouquet at first... I like to open wines and 'live with them' as they develope...after all..I'm going to spend 2 hours with this one...After 45 minutes it opened up....and became as 'one' with the flavour...which was attractive from the word go...very up-front..loads of jammy fruit...ripe strawberries..some cherry..some marzipan...reined in oak..with good acidity...will age well...
Points 18

Swiss Made(s)

Swiss cheese...everywhere.
Swiss watches..easy to buy..if your pocket is deep enough(remember this point as we continue).
Swiss's not right..where was I?.......ah yes..
Swiss Wine.
You walk into any wine store or supermarket and you see thousands of bottles of it.??!!..If you really have been eating too much cheese!!
The truth hardly ever see it on general offer..only from 'specialists'.
There used to be a Swiss chain of restaurants in Germany..Mövenpick..but all you ever got was a white Fendant!
Have times changed?...well..not really...the Swiss keep their wines to themselves..but I have found a few goodies..Gantenbein and Chappaz. As to prices..remember the Swiss watches?
It depends what you will pay for a wine..the prices of the two below are in my price range (I haven't got one all wine freaks will identify with)..BUT..are they worth what is in the glass?
Domaine Simon Maye
Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes 2005
Wallis, Switzerland
Palish, dusty strawberry nose...a rustic style...dry tannins...fruit at the back...
This was enjoyable..but down the list of wines that I would buy at this price. This costs € I expect a liitle least € 5 too much...but they have to subsidise the cheese you know..
Points 16.75

This house is known for it's Syrah..and I was after their Vieilles Vignes..which had very good reviews...but I could only obtain the simple bottling.

Domaine Simon Maye
Syrah 2003
Wallis, Switzerland
Deep dark colour...earthy aromas..chunky & funky..really rude nose...but one-dimensional..I kept hoping somewhere the flowers would appear from the desert...but it remained reserved and slightly boring. At € 23 I would prefer this French Syrah..better value.
Points 15

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My First Sin(Zin)

My first sin was...
it's none none of your business....
and although this is probably the first Zinfandel I have made tasting notes of....
I must have had a glass pushed in front
of me at some time...
I made preliminary precautions before deciding what to try..after reading so many negatives
about the grape....and this one is probably
not the most typical. After tasting it..
anything less elegant would not have
been my style.

Green & Red Vineyard
Chiles Mill Vineyard Zinfandel 2005

Napa Valley, California, U.S.A.
Smoke...some dried plums on the nose....a fairly big stuffing a whole bowl of raspberries in at once....but there is an elegance and coolness that reins it back in...medium soft tannins..and a spicy touch. The 14.5% Alcohol left it's mark...but I stopped at the halfway stage..otherwise a pounding head in the night would have lost it a point!

Points 16

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Ellwanger Way

After tasting this grower's Nicodemus I wasn't sure what style I would be
getting here. Agreed...the
aforementioned wine was a mix of other
grapes...but can Bordeaux growers
produce Burgundy...see what I mean?.
Well..if you had blindfolded me and
let me taste 10 different bottles of
Spätburgunder...I think I would have
chosen the correct one. A case of the
grower putting his own mark on the
wines..and why not..cos in this case..
it works.

Ellwanger Hebsacker Lichtenberg Spätburgunder trocken 2005
Erstes Gewächs

Württemberg, Germany

Soft, quite creamy nose, elegant style..some dark cherries...and the first sip convinces me..this is very good indeed..medium weighted..lots of juice makes it readily drinkable now..some cocoa and chocolate notes...but there is a soft core of tannins..and that 'masculine' style of the grower.
Points 17.25...and well priced..€20..this is a 'Erstes Gewächs'(First Growth)..and methinks a tip to buy..if you ever find any..

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sexy Syrah

The recent tastings on the blog have been from a mixed case..and although a few scored higher...this and the Goisot were not only very good..but well-priced..this little gem costs
€ 17...and it's beautifully packaged..
look at that photo!

David Reynaud, along with his mother Marceline, runs this vineyard. Up until 2002 production was sold to the local co-operative but then David decided to bottle under his own label which needed a new cuverie.He makes two cuvées of red Crozes from three very different and separate plots. The top cuvée, Les Croix, is made from grapes from a plot of older vines (over fifty years old).

Domaine Les Bruyeres

Les Croix Vieilles Vignes 2004
Rhône , France

A soft 'Jungle Book' funky Syrah(100%)..
spices and tobacco..really lovely mouthful..soft, plush..light raspberry fruit..just a touch of tannins..very sexy..what more can you ask for?..

and a and my opinion..needed no airing.

Points 16.5

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Two Continents, Same Grape

Two continents, same vintage, same grape..and a similar result
Cristom Pinot Noir
Sommer's Reserve 2005

Oregon, U.S.A.
This wine is a blend of different
vineyard sites, including the estate
vineyards, all within the Willamette Valley.
The “Sommers Reserve” designation means
it is a barrel selection of the favourite
lots as well as being aged longer
in the barrels.

Medium ruby colour....dark cherries
aroma, juicy fruit....some sweet oak...cinnamon...dry, silky tannins...
but an austere style...needs a year or two....missing that 'sexy' touch...

Points 16

Domaine Lorenzon Mercury 2005
Burgundy, France
Bruno Lorenzon is the man that flies the
flag for this village.

Found in many french restaurants as an
alternative to higher priced Burgundies.

Reserved nose...slightly burnt aroma...
delicately fruity...dark fruits..tight tannins..
and with airing the acidity dominated.
Not a good time of it's life..still austere...
again..a year or two.
Still not 'sexy' enough for me. Now..where is that photo of Claudia Cardinale (and don't dare anyone say..Who Is She?)

Points 15.5..the wine I mean!

And for those who wanna know:

Claudia Cardinale

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wine Ain't Nothing But A Number

Age ain't nothing but a number to be correct....
Recently read in Decanter magazine that German wine labels are still confusing to consumers...the writer then explained 'It's easy..when you know how.'
This photo of the most EXTREME example made me smile. It is much easier nowadays...once you learn the main words. Generally it is the Riesling wines that maybe confuse the most people.Red wines are fairly easy in comparison...Which leads me to today's wine...Nelles 1479 B48 Spätburgunder...which got me thinking...All those who are scared of wine-lists in restaurants..unable to pronounce the names..expecting a grin from the sommelier...would have things easier with 'We'll take a white with the starter..the 353 A47..followed by a red 3216 X22...'
The chinese..who are taking over the world at the moment..would have no trouble with numbers on their restaurant menus....
But enough of this frivolity...
Nelles named the wine after the birth year of the winery. His top Spätburgunder is a B52..this B48 being the next one down.At about this age..the second wines I have tried from the Ahr always show much better..this is no exception.
Nelles 1479 B48 Spätburgunder 2005
Ahr, Germany
Gentle, classy aroma...creamy with wild fruits...the silky smoothness on
the palate is backed up with a dose of oak..some vanilla and soft approachable tannins...some spiciness...a real delight..and so drinkable....I almost emptied the bottle..these wines are just so enticing...
As to almost made the magic 18...maybe it will in a year.
Points 17.75

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hades Power

The estate is located in the commune of Winterbach in Württemberg.The wine-growing tradition of the family goes back to the early 16th century, but the current wine estate was only established in 1949, and was only fully converted to winemaking ten years later. From the outset, Jürgen Ellwanger has sought to produce high quality, although he really only made the breakthrough to the production of top-level wines with the foundation of the Hades group in 1986, whose members are among the pioneers of barrique-matured wines in Germany. The is a cuvee of Merlot & Cabernet Cubin (developed and subsequently released in November, 1999, this cross is reported as derived from Cabernet Sauvignon & Lemberger parentage by the Weinsberg/Württemberg Research Station, Baden, Germany)
Jürgen Ellwanger Nicodemus
'Hades' 2005 Barrique

Württemberg, Germany

Thick, deep aromas of cherries and dark
berries, pepper with some cedar and a
cool vanilla note lingering.
Concentrated..fine dusty tannins...
packed to the hilt...showing a trace of softness..the oak trying to show itself...
but this is built to last...still very young...
good finish. Difficult to appraise..needs 4-5 years.
A Bordeaux of this quality would cost you more..
price here is 28 Euros.
Points 17.25 +

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sit Down White, Sit Up Red

Stéphane Aladame’s Domaine is in Montagny in the Côte Chalonnaise. He created his Domaine, aged 18 in 1992, taking over from a retired grower. He is one of the foremost young growers of Côte Chalonnaise, producing only white wines.

Domaine Stéphane Aladame
Montagny 2005
Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, France

Yellow with green tinges..
minerally nose..mushrooms..
the palate showed some grapefruit..
a good dose of fresh acidity..and a clean finish.

Well made...but worked a little flat...
not something I would want to go back to...
for 16 Euros I would find more character
with a Riesling.

Points 15..a 'sit-down' white

Goisot Bourgogne Cotes d’Auxerre Rouge “Corps de Garde” 2005
Yvonne, Burgundy, France
This is more like it...made from older vines..elegant..ripe cherries which evolved onto the palate...lots of fresh juicyness..really very good indeed..the touch of acidity bouncing over the tongue..this wine is fighting above it's weight..this is really terrific for the price..14 Euros..and maybe the bargain of the year so far.A Must Buy! This would satisfy any Pinot freak..but would equally be ideal slightly cooled in summer with a Bar-B-Q
Points 16.25..and this red makes you 'sit up'!

PS..they also have a white..which I purchased..will try it soon..

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Simon Says It's Good

Not many Americans get to try Spätburgunder of quality..but Lyle has visited Germany a few times..and he mentioned Schnaitmann....and as I have been exploring Württemberg recently...This vineyard in Fellbach has just celebrated it's 10th birthday...and has been winning prizes for a few years now...

Rainer Schnaitmann Simonroth
Spätburgunder trocken 2006
Württemberg, Germany
This spends time in new and used barrels...
Intense, complex nose..strawberries, raspberries and cherries and a touch of cinnamon..there is a thick fruit feel about this wine..but that's not to say it is heavy...just a youthful package...already soft and gentle..with dancing acidity on the tongue..again 'feels' good....from start to lumps or bumps....just needs a year or two...
Points 17+

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Two Glasses Of Wine

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.' The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.'
'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner.
Play another 18 holes of golf. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.
The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple or MORE glasses of wine with friends

I Savvy Savigny

Arriving back after the break..there was a large case of wines...
wonder how that happened?...

There were some French bottles in there...So....
After blogging at Joes's I decided to try
a 'lesser' Burgundy Appellation as well.

Also..I need to try some French 'Pinot' see how
they compare quality & price-wise with the
German version..Spätburgunder.
Claude Marechal Savigny-les-Beaune
Vieilles Vignes 2005
Burgundy, France
I have already written that the vintage 2005 was a great one for white Burgundy..well..the reds are not far behind.
Very fine colour...medium deep ruby...a little meaty on the nose..then strawberries and flowers....a clear bed of soft silky tannins...a trace of vanilla..already very approachable..and after 2 hours was fuller and more rounded..
A 20 Euros price tag seems very reasonable...
Points 16.75

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Trip To Franken

A s
hort break to Franken..3 nights..the last evening was spent in
Nürnberg celebrating a family member's birthday...I had started to search for accommodation a few weeks ago( Nürnberg holds many exhibitions and all hotels were full..this time it was 'Window-Frame Exhibition'..yes.. I yawned as well!)..we managed to find a small hotel-restaurant in Erlangen-Frauenaurach.

The village has some Storks..and a Metzgerei(Butcher) with a name that German readers will understand..the rest of you can use your imagination. Amused us both every time we drove past.

The 'Schwarzer Adler' is 300 years old and had been renovated 25 years ago. Friendly owner..but soft
mattresses..and a church nearby that rang it's bell every 15 minutes..I don't need to know the time in the middle of the night!
We had booked the restaurant in the hotel for the first evening......

Cosy, friendly..with a french waiter...who was charming...
The food was good....
2 stars from 5....

The food we tasted was..

Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce..a 'Greeting from the Kitchen'

I then tried a Crepe-Bag with Bear's Garlic filling and Gorgonzola Sauce.
This was followed by
Tagliarini with Bear's
Garlic Pesto and
Coquilles St Jacques
(Scallops to you!)
The main course
planned for the wine
was Lamm Carré on
with Sheep's Cheese and
Polenta Strudel.
My wife had the Guinea Fowl on Leek with Potato Gnocchi.

The hotel and restaurant are full of antiques and bric-a-brac.

This lady was my partner for the evening..don't tell my is my wife.

The wine-list I had seen by fax (we wine nuts don't wait until we get there)...and had seen nothing in 'red' from Franken that interested me. A relative of the owner has Italian connections and half of the list was from this I decided on the...

Silvio Grasso Barolo Bricco Luciani 1996
Piedmont, Italy

It was decanted about an hour before tasting...
Colour..very good..still dark with orange brown rim..swirling the glass showed superb 'legs'..long time since I had a glass with this amount...the first impression on taking a smell..was violets, truffles..
roses, cedar, tar, smoke ...first sip...a hefty attack of raw tannins, leaving your mouth as dry as a craved for food...and did soften after 3 hours(or was it my palate accepting I was getting nothing matter how long I worked on it).

I compared it to meeting a lady for the first time...nice face, great legs, lovely smell..but on opening her mouth..nothing came out to impress me.
Points 16....for the positives..

Drinking Barolo reminded me of MANY years ago in a small restaurant in Italy..masses of Barolos..all ages..and we tried about 6...some were too young..some too old...I laughingly said that they would all be perfect for one second of their lives..but when would that be?

Things have changed..and modern styles have meant the wines are easier to drink over a longer period...but at 12 years old...this should have shown more...

Restaurant Polster..Erlangen-Kosbach

I had visited the restaurant at
midday to check the winelist
(yes..I know I am crazy...
but if you don't prepare..
you risk being disappointed

A visit to Herzogenaurach..a pretty town nearby...occupied us early afternoon..then a snooze(cushion over my head..
those **** bells)..and we
returned for dinner.

The food was very good indeed..
3 and a half stars from 5

We ordered 3 courses..which
became we ended up
with two 'Greetings from The Kitchen' a sorbet before the
main course and some
petite fours to finish off
(we packed them in a
serviette for later

Here are the two 'freebies'

The next course was the first of the three I had chosen...
a Bear's Leek Soup with Rabbit Fillets.

Because I was drinking red wine throughout the meal..I chose the Tuna Fish in a Pepper Coat..with Artichokes and a excellent match with the Burgundy..
The aforementioned Sorbet came next..then the main course..
Duck's Breast with
Goose Liver Parfait.

The faxed wine-list I had received after booking the table a month ago had not appealed..but I had been told a few days ago that they had some excellent Burgundies..this was SO correct. I name-dropped (a wine merchant I know)..and told them I wanted an excellent wine that them a price I would pay.
The owner suggested 2 choice was what follows...
Marques d'Angerville Volnay Champans 2000
Burgundy, France
The 2000 vintage was excellent in Burgundy...this had a medium deep colour with the usual light rim...strong liquorice aroma..soft, gentle tannins and elegant fruit...
After one hour it really blossomed...sweet strawberries..silky..layers of fruit on the palate..cla
ssic Pinot just about at it's best.
Points 18