Monday, December 31, 2012

Nobody's Perfect

Someone asked recently if I ever drank a bad wine in recent years.
The answer was 'not if I could help it'
With all the years of experience...I should never have to drink a 'bad 'un'.
Blanc de Roc d'Anglade 2005
Remy Pedrano,
Anglade, France

However...I was caught out recently...with a wine I had tried a few times over 4 years had impressed...and my notes had been to maybe lay the last bottle down and see how it improved. For red wines 4-5 years will not harm...but the years have flown by...and the white I chose to share with buddy Volker at our local Bistro was not keeping it's age well. It had a slightly oxidised smell...and so I was on my bicycle for the short ride home to get a substitute.

Velich Tiglat Chardonnay 2009
Neusiedlersee, Austria

Honey...caramel...the nose is intriguing...a glass grower...excellent balance of acidity and fruit...long in the mouth...
the bicycle ride had been worth it and Volker gave it
Points 18

The red wine chosen was down to a quick phone call to the property. Herr Becker advised it was perfect to drink now
Friedrich Becker
Steinwingert Spätburgunder 2007
Pfalz, Germany

My tip...when drinking Becker not compare them with another red alongside. My experience is...with the soft style...a comparison with
a more 'sturdy' style would leave the Becker wine showing TOO much cream and vanilla. Alone...they are a delight...with the nose here so enticing...a soft creamy layer on the palate...and a gentle ripple of tannins. Herr Becker was right...for drinking now.
Points 17.25

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Scrooge

Wine coincidences...and it was only after I prepared a post for the blog....that I noticed a Vintage coincidental to all three whites drunk over the Christmas period.
You remember how Christmas used to be...?  if you are of a certain age....then you will!
Now the supermarkets are decorated in the middle of November...and I receive a Christmas card on the 28th of that month and grimace.
This has turned me into a Christmas Scrooge...but over the THREE Christmas days I was willing to open a few bottles.
As a starter...a photo of a decorated corner of our living room.

Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru 2008
Burgundy, France.

My guess is that younger wine lovers probably never even think to buy or try white Burgundy. The worldwide choice is so large that many other 'Chardonnays' are purchased.....after says Chardonnay on the label.
If you are a touch older...I am a club member...then your 'wine youth' meant that the only decent 'Chards' were from France. You learned the best properties by knew that a Chassagne-Montrachet could be topped by a Puligny-Montrachet...and the height of ecstacy was a Montrachet!
Classic wines...elegant...sexual...
Louis Jadot was around back then...producing a complete range of all that is Burgundian...operating both it's own vineyards and also having a Négociant business.
They are still with us today...and a tip from a wine magazine tempted me to buy a couple of bottles. Good Burgundy was and is...never cheap.
This is not for your oaked Chardonnay lovers...this is delicate...and fine Burgundy is sometimes is just IT. Citrus with a nutty touch. The gentle creamy feel spread over the palate...and the where you just know it must be Burgundy.
Points 17.25

Christmas day and my wife had prepared three Fondue varieties. One normal Broth with four sorts of meat...and an Asian Broth for the Prawns.
The variety asked for a white that could cope with all of the the assorted sauces.

F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 'M' 2008
Wachau, Austria

One of my favourite whites is the M from Pichler. My decision to open this was down to the fact that I have two try one to see it's developement.
Ripe aromas of tropical fruit...I served this in large glasses...hidden acidity...which emerged when it had gasped at did the minerality which these top Smaragd wines need.
They initial 'sweetness' is only part of a delicious package. Layers of fruit...and surprisingly ese wines can age up to 10 years or more.
Perfect with the food...great length...super.
Points 17.75

Christmas means eating the rest of the food over the next few on Boxing wife conjured up a 'Thai-Style' curry from the Asian Broth and it was served with some more Prawns.

Into the cellar and my only bottle of Condrieu...2008...
Guigal Condrieu 2008
Rhone, France

Condrieu hardly ever ages...a couple of properties I have tried have been fine...Yves Cuilleron's Les Chaillets and Guigal's La Doriane...but these are exceptions. Unlike other White Rhone...they need to be drunk fairly young.
This is Guigal's basic Condrieu...and the nose was a touch flat...then a hidden smell of almonds emerged...there is not much acidity...which there never is...but the wine is still very palatable.
Points 16.5
This had me comparing the Viognier of the Rhone with Grüner Veltliner from Austria...with the latter usually offering a more mineral flinty touch...I never thought I would be untrue to an old love!!!

Schlossgut Diel Pinot Noir Cuvee Caroline 2008
Nahe, Germany

Opened before Christmas...but fits in nicely with the Vintage theme.
Pale ruby...freshness on the nose...cherries...and a dry spice...elegant and pleasing if a shade disappointing when I compare it to previous years. A second bottle will be given sleeping time.
Points 17

So those were my Christmas drinks...
Oh...and before I forget...HAPPY EASTER!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Austrian Trio

Bernard Ott Grüner Veltliner Fass 4 2011
Wagram, Austria

Bought a mixed case of Ott's wines...and the info on this one was that the grapes are taken from different parcels of the Rosenberg vineyard.
This had a fresh style...more green apple than honeyed melons wines suggest they need longer than most
Points 16.5

Tement Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg 2008
South Styria, Austria

I suggest regularly that the top SB wines improve with age...I think this has flattened out. The intensity of lychees and grapefruit has lessened...something I found appealing a year ago.
Still good though...
Points 17

Prager Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd 2008
Wachau, Austria

This had impressed a year ago..and is still at that level. Lovely feel to is...flowery...white peaches...traces of petroleum(yummy)...lemon tones.
Dreamy palate...very good.
Points 17.5

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gault & Millau 1 v Eichelmamm 0

A question...this Weingut is mentioned regularly in one of the 2 German Wine Guides. Gault & Millau give it 3 Bunches of Grapes. The other one...Eichelmann does not give it a mention.  Surely not 'politics' or some misunderstanding!? is Eichelmann's loss...
There are plans for a new cellar at the property.  Thomas Nelles is slowly passing the reins over to his son Philip
1479 was the birth year of the property. His top Spätburgunder is the B52..2009 was a re-order recently..this B48 being the next one down...but only just...
Nelles Heimersheimer Landskrone
B48 Spätburgunder 2009
Ahr, German
I really like the Nelles style...the fruit just leaps at you from the glass...OK...there is oak...but not overdone. It spends time is small Barriques and has a rounded tannin feel...vanilla and winter spices...AND...something that happens seldom....I almost finished the bottle in one slips down beautifully...and the small glass next day was still delicious. Re-ordered...Tie my hands behind my back...or they won't be around too long!
Points 17.5

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Love Tuesdays!

I was never one to plan good food and wine on a 'special' day...or only on a Saturday. Why not drink fine wines on a Tuesday.? Friend Volker decided to cook...and I said I would supply the wines. Wine Merchant Robert was also there...and well as Volker's wife Steffi...

A starter of cold octopus salad...followed by warm octopus in a tomato sauce (and a good dose of garlic)

F.X.Pichler Grüner Veltliner M 2004
Wachau, Austria
Opened 3 hours in advance...nose was instantly glossy...had this maybe lost it's zip?. Quite full-bodied...honey notes...and then the lift of minerals...lovely balance...not for the long haul...just about right now...and maybe paired better with the second course.
Points 17.25
As usually happens...Robert brought along a bottle covered up. He said it was 2011. We tried it...and he asked me for a tip. I thought...and something made me think...Nahe. goes...'Nahe...Dönnhoff'...and followed that with a vineyard 'Hermannshöhle'. The answer was ...'you are half correct...and half false!. Now...although the feeling must be a Riesling...I never mentioned that grape in my 'guess'. Laugh...we had to laugh...because as the label was revealed...I saw 'Dönnhoff!'....of course...I had not got 6 in the Lottery...maybe only 4...because it turned out to be a mineraly 'Weißburgunder'. Robert was adamant I had said Riesling...which I had 'indirectly' in naming a Riesling vineyard. I then jokingly claimed they had maybe planted a few Weißburgunder vines in that was just so funny.
This paired well with the cold octopus salad.

The main course was a leg of lamb...

My 'theme' for the evening's red wines...was to remain vintage 2004.

Both reds were served blind...
Markus Molitor Brauneberger Klostergarten
Spätburgunder ** 2004
Mosel, Germany

This is a fairly' heavy' bottle...which would add to the mystery with the Au Bon Climat bottle weighing 3 times a Bordeaux bottle! You can't give your wine-drinking friends too much help!
This was an instant delight for all...still lively...delicate gentle vanilla aroma...and a palate that showed a soft earthiness...which started the guys thinking Pfalz. They then tried for New Zealand...then Baden...I won't list the rest...but we were by 14 before they gave in. To be fair...the Mosel is not the hotbed of red wine...but the quality of this begs to ask why not. It will, it must come...with the changes in temperature. A wine for wine-lovers...not one that would impress young 'punch you on the nose' drinkers.
Points 17.5

Au Bon Climat Isabelle Morgan
Pinot Noir 2004
California, U.S.A.

Still fairly chunky...will develope over the next five years...the oak receded with airing...although it had now been opened 4 hours. Dried the Mosel headed this at the post.
Points 17.25

Warre Vintage Port 1966
Douro, Portugal was always Port at Christmas...but I needed no excuse to open one of my old bottles.
1963 and 1966 were the top vintages...and this was at it's peak. My bottle's label had suffered over the 30 years in the you get an extra photo of how it maybe looked in it's youth.
I had decanted 12 hours in advance...and as it had been stood up for 3 days...all the sediment remained where it should have. No way you can use a cork-screw on these wines...the trusty waiter's friend does the job perfectly.
No sign of cherry and liquorice...gorgeous fruit...smooth and elegant...and although one thinks 'heavy' with Port...this had a beautiful lightness in weight. Perfect Vintage Port
Points 19

I love Tuesdays!!!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Pumpkin, Panko and Pearls

My wife has  spoiled me for over 35 years with her cooking talents. Nowadays...we try to cut down her time in the kitchen...and leave it to her 'wanting to' compared to 'having to'.

I love the starter of Prawns in a light Pumpkin sauce had me heading for a good Sauvignon Blanc.

Sattlerhof Kranachberg Große STK Lage
Sauvignon Blanc 2010
South Styria, Austria

Aroma of mandarin orange...some smokey tones...zippy grapefruit...yellow fruits...dry tangy...needs time.
Points 17

The fish stall at our local Market had 'Kingklip' on offer...a new one to me...and done in Panko Thai Lobo Bread Crumbs...called for a great Grüner Veltliner...well...maybe that is overdoing it...but that is the first bottle that my eyes set on when entering the cellar.

F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner
Smaragd Loibner Berg 2002
Wachau, Austria

Colour...pale gold... nose...gorgeous...yellow stone fruits, citrus, apricots...some sign of age...vanilla, good dose of white pepper, thrilling perfect as a GV can be...
Points 18