Friday, 30 March 2007

TN : Ernest & Julio Gallo, Sonoma County, 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon

Aroma : Oak, Blacurrant Cassis

Colour : Dark Cassis, some sediment

Taste : Some oak, intense cassis, vanilla, fine tanins

Alcohol : 14%

Mark : A

Website :

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Terroirs & Signatures de Bourgogne, 28th March 2007

I attended the Terriors & Signatures de Bourgogne tasting yesterday, held at Operaterrassen, Stockholm, during the Muskänkarna dedicated session between 18:00 and 19:30. There were 23 producers at the tasting.

Highlights for me were Maison Thomas Moillard who had some nice drinkable Pinot Noirs, especially the Gevrey-Chambertin, la Croix des Champs, 2004 which I could have happily drunk then. I was told that they are gradually converting over to organic growing, including making viticultural decisions according to the phases of the moon. In addition, I found out that a lot of their very old 90 year old vines have recently been replanted and that the new vines's roots follow the same path as the ripped out vines which was something I didn't know before.

Other wines I enjoyed were Bouchard Aines & Fils Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras, 2004, Domaine Parent Beaune 1er Cru Les Epenottes 2003, Domaine AF Gros Chambolle-Musigny 2004, Domaine Michel Prunier et Fille Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets 2004 and the Chateau de Fuisse Pouilly-Fuisse Vielles Vigne 2005.

Almost all of the wines on show need some age to show their best, to allow the new oak to integrate, and the tannins to soften.

Website :

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

TN : Chamine 2005, Cortes de Cima, Vinho Regional Alentejano , Portugal

This is a blend of Aragonez (Tempranillo) 50%, Syrah 41%, Trincadeira 5 %, and Touriga Nacional 4 %. The total acids are 5.0, final pH is 3.82 and the residual sugar is 2.6. It was bottled on the family estate in May 2006. The total production was 641,000 75cl bottles and 49,000 37cl bottles. There was no aging in barrels and the wine was released in July 2006.

In the Alentejo, rainfall since October 2004 was the lowest for more than a century, recorded at 219 mm, down from our annual average of 600 mm. The winter was not only dry but cold, with morning frost and temperatures as low as -5 °. Not surprisingly, bud break was delayed by a fortnight and the growing season was shorter than usual. The ‘ideal’ September harvest weather, brought along cooler nights and warm, sunny, breezy weather during the days, just was what was needed for the phenolic ripening of the grapes, to preserve some good fruit acid and flavor.

The fruit from local Portuguese varieties was handpicked at optimum maturity. It was fermented without stems at controlled temperature with frequent delestage (rack-and-return). This wine was lightly filtered and bottled early to maintain clean, youthful, ripe fruit flavours.

It received 87 points from Wine Spectator and 84 points from Robert Parker.

The grapegrower and head winemaker at Cortes de Cima is Hans Kristian Jorgensen who is Danish-born.

Colour : Plum red

Taste : Savoury red berries, slightly tannic, dry finish

Alcohol : 14%

Mark : C+

Website :

TN : Riesling Trocken, Haardter Buergergarten Kabinett, 2005, Weingut Mueller-Catoir, Pfalz, Germany

The oldest record of winegrowing on the property dates back to 1744. The winery estate is in the village of Haardt, a part of Neustadt situated a little above the main town and lying at the foot of the Haardt hills, with an extensive view across the Rhine plain. The present owner is Jakob Heinrich Catoir. Junior: Philipp David Catoir. The estate has been owned by the same family since 1744, now in the 9th generation. For almost 100 years, the winery was run by women (great-grandmother, grandmother and mother of the present owner), whose influence has lent the property the distinctive note it has today. Martin Franzen, a viticultural engineer, comes from the Moselle region of Germany and learned wine-making under more difficult conditions. He made his name as the head of operations at Schlossgut Diel on the Nahe river and Gut Nägelsförst in Baden. As the rising star in the international wine world, he has now taken on the legendary position of estate manager with Müller-Catoir.

Colour : Pale yellow / lemon

Aroma : Grapey, lemony

Taste : Minerally, fruity, lemony, spitzy clean long finish

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : B

Website :

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Wines from Austria Tasting, March 26th 2007

I went to the Wines from Austria Trade tasting yesterday at Operakällaren in Stockholm. There were over 60 wineries participating. I didn't take much in way of tasting notes but recollect a few items of interest.

The Freie Weingärtner cooperative, based in Wachau, had some interesting wines to taste. I gave them all a B except for the 1981 Riesling Domaine Wachau which as not to my taste. I like more residual sugar in my aged Rieslings. However, it was showing classic petrol notes and mature characters. It was also bottled in a Burgundy-shaped bottle as the classic Germanic flute bottle was not yet used.

Weingut Nastl was present seeking an importer for Sweden. However, there are not a new winery and have been in business for over 300 years. Highlights for me were the Gruner Veltliner Kittmannsberg, B+, and the Eiswein which had an extraordinary long finish and I gave it an A.

Weingut Sepp Moser had a nice showing of wines. I gave them all a B though I didn't taste the "stickies".

The wines from Josef Umathum were very good. All had classic Pinot Noir characters, stewed fruit aromas, even though only one of the wines was actually Pinot Noir; the others were varieties such as Blaufrankisch or St Laurent. The Umathum range need a good 10 years of aging, lots of well-integrated tannins, to be at their best. I was told that in Austria these wines would typically be drunk much earlier though.

Website :

Monday, 26 March 2007

TN Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Concha y Toro, Chile

"More than 100 years ago Don Melchor de Concha y Toro reserved for himself an exclusive batch of the best wines he produced. And, to keep strangers away from his private reserve, he spread the rumour that the devil lived in that place. Hence the name : Casillero del Diablo or Cellar of the Devil."

Aroma :
Blackcurrants, Green vegetables boiling

Taste : Blackcurrant, black coffee

Colour : Dark blackcurrant / Cherry

Alcohol : 13.5%

Mark : C

Website :

Friday, 23 March 2007


I received the April newsletter from the Swedish wine importer Vinunic yesterday entitled våra viner. Vinunic is around 13 years old and has some great top-of-the-line names that it imports such as Guigal, Catena, DRC, Zind-Humbrecht, Louis Jadot, Gaja, Sassicaia, Vergelegen, Shafer vineyards etc.

Good value, low-price, wines that I will look out for from Vinunic in April include Pewsey Vale Riesling 2006 and Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache 2005

On their website is a nice feature where you can input details about the wine you wish to drink and you receive a recommendation as to which Riedel glass will bring out the best in your wine.

There is an associated wine club Club VinUnic which costs 250Kr to join. According to the blurb you receive discounts on wine and invitations to wine tastings and trips. You also get two Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses. This looks a great bargain since the retail price of these glasses is 590Kr. According to the membership form, the fee is a one-off payment and future years' membership is free.

TN : 2005 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin, Lodi, California

This wine is made from 35 to 80-year old head-pruned vines. American, French and Hungarian oak are used in the making of this wine. This wine is hand-harvested. At the winery they are gently pressed immediately after harvesting. After 7-9 days fermentation, the wine was racked to concentrate the abundant fruit flavors and to add complexity. The "make-up" is 77% Zinfandel and 23% Petite Sirah. Residual sugar is 0.04g per 100mL. Total acid is 0.61g per 100mL. pH is 3.64.

Lodi is the "zin-famous" appellation due to its ideal climate – long, warm summer days and cooling night-time breezes – and its soil – rich, well-draining loam. These two factors provide a combination that is perfectly suited for growing Zinfandel. Our grapes are hand-selected from some of the oldest and most respected vineyards in Lodi. Older vines produce fewer grape clusters, but the small berries yield intense, concentrated fruit flavors characteristic of great Old Vine Zinfandel.

Aroma : dark berries, raisins

Taste : Smooth tannins, warmth of alcohol, raisins, blackberries, slight spice

Colour : Dark black cherry

Alcohol : 14.5%

Mark : B-

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Bordeaux Trip 2006, Vinorama

I was in Bordeaux for about a week during August 2006. One afternoon, I took a bus up the Quai des Chartrons and visited Vinorama at 12 cours du Medoc. It is a small wine museum. I was given a cassette player which had an English speaking tape lasting about 20 minutes. I walked through several exhibits of models playing out various scenes associated some way with wine. The visit cost me 5.40 Euro which was poor value in my opinion. There needs to be more exhibits and a much better soundtrack to accompany the tour. On the way out, I passed through a large cellar consisting of mostly forgetable Bordeaux though I did see Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild and Baron D'Arques at good prices. At the end, there is a comparative tasting of different wines made up to taste like wines from different eras. There is a wine representing an ancient liquer Roman times, a wine representing the 1850s and a modern wine (a cheap bland Bordeaux was poored).

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Wine Australia Tasting February 5th 2007

I attended the 2007 Wine Australia tasting in February this year. I didn't take any tasting notes as such. The highlights for me were Glaetzer Godolphin 2004 and the Amon-Ra 2004 which I both scored as A. The Katnook Odessey Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Coonawarra I found disappointing and scored as a C+. The Dalwhinnie Pinot Noir 2003 scored a B. The Peter Lemann 2000 Menor Barossa Valley scored a B- as I thought it was a bit hot as a result of its' high alcohol.

Website :

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

TN : Tsantali Assyrtiko Sauvignon Blanc 2005, Tsantalis, Halikidi, Greece

This is a blend of 50% Assyrtiko and 50% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes came from the Agios Pavlos vineyard. The wine was vinified in Stainless Steel tanks

Taste : Classic Sauvignon Blanc flavours with Almond and Creamy Apricot

Alcohol : 12.5%

Mark : B

TN : Antu Ninquen Syrah 2004, Vina Mont Gras, Colchagua; Chile

Initiated in 1997, MontGras’ Ninquén Project was born of an appreciation for the unique properties of the specific terroir on Ninquén Mountain in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, and an ambition to forge a name for MontGras in the elite ultra-premium category. 222 acres atop Ninquén were dedicated to the venture and planted with a range of red grape varieties. With this move, MontGras became Chile’s first winery to plant atop the plateau of a mountain (Ninquén means “plateau on a mountain” in ancient local dialect).
Taste : Concentrated, in Rhone Style, spoilt by burnt rubber taste on finish.

Alcohol : 14%

Mark : C

TN : Cabernet Mitos Trocken 2004, Anselmann, Pfalz, Germany

This red wine states "im Barrique gereift" on the label and indeed is is massively overoaked. The blend is Lemberger and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is Qba wine made by Gebrueder Anselmann of Edesheim in Pfalz. This winery has been in existance since 1541.

Colour : Dark Blackurrant

Aroma : Oak, Blacurrant, Blackberry

Taste : Overwhelming oak but not vanilla, Blackberry, flat and lacking acidity. Massive Oak finish.

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : C-

TN : 2005 Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker, Riesling Spätlese, Pfalz, Germany

Colour : Pale lemon

Aroma : Orange and Lemon Marmelade

Taste : Honey, Orange & Lemon & Lime Marmelades, Good clean acidic long finish

Alcohol : 10%

Mark : B

Website :

TN : Casa Silva 2002 Red Quinta Generacion

This is a blend from different vineyards found in the Colchagua Valley of Chile. It has a sticker on the neck stating that it was best in class in the 2005 Internation Wine & Sprit Competition. It is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenere, 10% Shirax, 10% Petit Verdot.

Colour : Dark Blackcurrant / Blackberry

Aroma : Blackcurrants, Ribena, White Pepper

Taste : Vanilla oak, Hints of white pepper, Black fruits, Drying finish

Alcohol : 14%

Mark : B+

TN : Gaja Ca'marcanda Promis 2003

From Angelo Gaja's Maremma winery. This is a blend of Merlot (55%), Syrah (35%) and Sangiovese (10%). The three varieties are fermented separately and then later blended in the January or February following the harvest. It has spent 18 months in new and slightly old oak. This was bottled with a screwcap.

Aroma : oak, coffee, burnt toast

Colour : Raspberry / Plum

Taste : Smooth, integrated almost non-existant oak, red fruits, coffee, some vanilla, liquorice, normal concentration. As it warmed up, the oak became more apparent and the finish a bit drying.

Alcohol : 13.5%

Mark : B

Monday, 19 March 2007

TN : Teroldego Rotaliano Riserva 2003

Colour : Cherry Red

Taste : Red Berries, Thin, Sour

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : D

Scoring Systems

The scoring system I am using is loosely based upon what the 3 Wine Guys are using.

A : Exellent
B : A buy
C : Good wine but I wouldn't necessarily buy it
D : should pour it down the sink but can be drunk if nothing else available
E : Undrinkable

I don't understand the Parker and Decanter grading systems that don't start at zero. All I can guess is that they are afraid of giving bad scores since they will not get any wines to review or any invitations to wineries should they start this practice.

I like the 3 Wine Guys. If a wine is bad then they say it is bad. The show is great entertainment though the only thing of any real value is the great tasting notes/descriptions.

Website :

Friday, 16 March 2007


The Munskänkarna is a Wine Club which boasts over 20000 members in Sweden and 2000 members in the Stockholm section. It is a "must-join" if you are into Wine. It costs a one-off 200Kr joining fee and then 330Kr per year.

For this you get access to a lot (and more than one every week) of organised tastings (you must pay a fee) plus access to a few trade tastings.

There is a Forum where you can exchange information etc with other members.

There is also a regularly appearing magazine which also includes reviews of the next month's new wines (Systembolaget).

Web site :

TN : Chakana Reserve Malbec 2004

Colour : Dark Deep Red / Plum

Taste : oaky, plummy, a bit thin
Alcohol : 14%

Mark : C+