Friday, 26 October 2007

TN : Rocca di Montemassi Vermentino 2006, Maremma, Tuscany, Italy, Tenuta Rocca di Montemassi

I found this in the Kista Gallerian Systembolaget but normally it is in beställningssortiment (number 83176).

This wine was produced by Zonin and imported by Bibendum.

This tasted like a muted flabby viognier. There was much more fuit on the taste than the nose. Yet despite these perceived faults, I rather enjoyed this wine. I would have rated it even higher if it had more fruit.

The vineyards are overlooked by an old fortified stronghold which probably dates back to the 10th century. This castle was initially owned by the Aldobrandeschis, and then by the noble Pannocchieschi family. It was then usurped by Cappuccini di Sticciano who, in 1328, rebelled against Siena with the help of Castruccio Castracani. The castle was, however, conquered by the more powerful Sienese troops after a siege that was immortalized in Simone Martini's famous painting, now in the Palazzo Pubblico di Siena. It depicts Guidoriccio da Fogliano on horseback, with the Casle of Montemassi and his troops' campsite - surrounded by vineyards. In 1632, Gran Duke Ferdinando II of Tuscany established the Marquisate of Montemassi and Roccatederighi and put it in the hands of the Malaspina di Mulazzo family, the title later passed to the Cambiaso di Genova and Bichi di Roccalbegna clans, and then to Marquis Bichi Rispoli until, in 1826, the Marquisate was finally dissolved.

The Estate is situated in the low foothills around Montemassi, which is part of the commune of Roccastrada in Maremma. The property stretches out over 430 hectares (1085 acres), of which 160 hectares (397 acres) are planted with vines in the D.O.C. zone of Monteregio. This area is particularly suited for the production of high quality wines that are characterized by intense aromas and flavors thanks to the siliceous and clayey soil, which is rich in precious minerals, and to the Mediterranean climate, with its constant sea breezes that help mitigate the hot summer temperatures and also keep the grapes healthy. Moreover, the scarce rainfall in spring and summer limits grape yields considerably, ensuring optimum ripening of the fruit.

The winery has been designed so as to be perfectly integrated in its environment and in the surrounding landscape. The architect Mirko Amatori decided to restore the original buildings of Rocca di Montemassi, maintaining their agricultural functions and conserving the Maremman countryside, as well as refurbishing the pre-existing architectural structures that lie amidst cluster-pines, olive trees and a small natural lake.

On the property is a museum of rural civilization.
It is an interactive exhibit with over 3,000 objects on show, all of which date from the 19th century to the pre-War period (1940), prior to the large-scale industrialization of Italy. They bear witness to what it was like to work in the fields and describe the way of life, the various crafts and trades and the passing of the centuries in this area. The museum is open to the public between April to October, Tuesday through Sunday 10.00 am - 6.00 pm (closed on Monday), and between March to November, Monday through Friday 10.00 am - 6.00 am (Saturday and holidays on request).

The planting density of the vines is 5000 vines per hectare which is 2023 vines per hectare. The yield was 6000 kilos of grapes per hectare. The grapes were picked by hand and fermented in stainless steel tanks at 18 to 22 degrees.

Colour : Pale yellow

Aroma : Stone fruits, bitter

Taste : Stone fruits, slight bitter minerally finish

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 74 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Zonin
Website : Tentuta Rocca di Montemassi
Website : Bibendum

Thursday, 25 October 2007

TN . Chateau Kirwan 2004, Grand Cru Classe, Margaux, France

This wine was awarded 5 stars in the November 2007 Decanter Medoc 2004 tasting. I knew it wasn't going to be absolutely ready for drinking as it was recommended to lay down for ten years. However, the tasting note led me to believe that it was quite drinkable even if raw. The note states "Rich, ripe fruit, lovely floral perfume". However, the fruit was dumbed down, I was let down here, and the finish was pure oak but that was to be expected.

Chateau Kirwan is a 3rd classified growth from the Margaux appellation. It is located in the commune of Cantenac which is close to the village of Margaux.

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, said after a journey in the Médoc:
"Chateau Kirwan is of a second quality after Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau Lafite".

Colour : Dark purple

Aroma : Red and dark fruits, oaky, cedar

Taste : Red and dark fruits, smooth tanins, lashings of drying oak on the finish

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 235 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Chateau Kirwan

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

TN : Delheim Pinotage Rose 2007, Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa

This wine is a blend of 95% Pinotage and 5% Muscat de Frontignan. The vineyard is composed of double row bushvine Pinotage from west-facing slopes in the Muldersvlei bowl which produced around 10 tons per hectare. The Muscat was from south-facing slopes further up on Simonsberg mountain.

The grapes were picked at 21-22 degrees Brix, pH was 3.20 and the total acidity was 9.0 grammes per litre. All the grapes were hand-harvested. The grapes were destalked and crushed followed by mash cooling. There then followed five hours of skin contact along with enzymes and then the juice was pressed off and settled overnight. Cold fermentation proceeded with the aid of selected yeasts and fermentation was stopped with centrifuge to keep residual sugar. The wine was released on April 2007. The final wine has 5.6 sugar per litre, pH of 3.26, and a total acidity of 8.0 grammes per litre.

This wine is imported by Carovin, Stockholm, Sweden.

Colour : Pale strawberry

Aroma : Red fruits, clean

Taste : Strawberries, sweet red fruit, bitter and spice on finish

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 99 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Delheim
Website : Carovin

Monday, 22 October 2007

TN : Santa Carolina Barrica Selection Gran Reserva Cabernet Carmenere Syrah, 2006, Vina Santa Carolina, Rapel Valley, Chile

This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carmenere, and 15% Syrah. Fermentation and skin maceration was in stainless steel tanks. It was matured for 10 months in French oak.

There was no mention of this wine on the Santa Carolina website.

This wine was imported by Arvid Nordquist HAB.

Colour : Dark Red

Aroma : Blackcurrant, herbs, green pepper

Taste : Blackcurrant, fruits of the forest, green pepper, warmth on finish, oak, spice

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 80 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Vina Santa Carolina
Website : Arvid Nordquist HAB

TN : Cadus Malbec 2004, Single Vineyard, Bodegas Nieto Senetiner, Mendoza, Argentina

This wine is 100% Malbec. It was sourced from the Agrelo vineyard in the region of Lujan de Cuyor in Mendoza. The age of the vineyard is 32 years and is 1050 metres above sea-level. The production is 50 quintals per hectare. "Cadus" comes from the latin word meaning barrel.

The Bodega was founded in 1888.

This was imported by Monowine Sweden AB (though strangely no mention of it is made on their web site !).

Colour : Dark blueberry

Aroma : Dark fruits, spice, savoury, violets

Taste : Violets, dark fruits, blueberry, drying tanins on finish, spice, lacking acidity, a bit flabby

Alcohol : 15%

Price : 229 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Bodegas Nieto Senetiner
Website : MondoWine Sweden AB

Friday, 19 October 2007

Wine World AB News October 2007

Wine World AB have sent me two newletters about their October releases. One describes their new wines and the other contains the press comments.

Website : Wine World AB Nyhetsbrev Oktober 2007
Website : Wine World AB Press Reviews October 2007

TN : Vergelegen Mill Race Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, 2005, Vergelegen, Stellenbosch, South Africa

This wine is a blend of 53% Cabenet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Malbec. It had too much green pepper pungency and taste for my liking.

This wine was imported by VinUnic though I could find no mention of it on their website !.

I also checked the Vergelegen website and the latest listed vintage was 2004 which is not correct.

Vergelegen, meaning "situated far away", was granted to the Governor of the Cape in 1700 and the property has had a long and fascinating history since that time. Willem Adriaan Van der Stel, was a man of divergent interests who transformed the uncultivated land into a veritable paradise. He planted vines, camphor trees and oaks, laid out fruit orchards and orange groves, and introduced cattle and sheep.

During its long history Vergelegen has developed a unique culture. It is embodied in physical properties, in its people and in the more aesthetic traditions down over the last 300 years. The property still gives pleasure to its numerous visitors with its layout, including the historic camphor trees and octagonal garden, the stately homestead and the fertile valley where fine wines are grown.

Vergelegen is thought to have originated in 1685 when the High Commissioner of the Dutch East India Company instructed Commander Simon van der Stel to relocate the company's outpost in the Hottentots Holland. The company had bought the grounds in 1672 from the chiefs of the tribe that owned it. Simon van der Stel personally saw to the proportional planning of this new outpost with its posthouse, wheat store, cowsheds, orchards, vegetable gardens, wheat store and ditches, according to the "rules of mathematics and architecture". It is thought to have remained an outpost until 1 February 1700 when the 342 ha of freehold land were granted to William Adriaan van der Stel, the new governor of the Cape. (Willem Adriaan was the son of Governor Simon van der Stel who founded the famous Groot Constantia Estate in the Cape.) On his retirement his son became Governor and also the owner of Vergelegen - meaning, "situated far away". He planted vines and, after six years, had half a million vine stocks. He laid out fruit orchards and orange groves; he planted camphors and oaks; he established eighteen cattle stations with 1000 cattle and 1800 sheep. He made reservoirs, dug irrigation canals and controlled the Lourens River. Willem Adriaan also built a beautiful homestead, a corn mill and many other subsidiary buildings. The younger van der Stel was a man of divergent interests and he transformed the uncultivated land into a veritable paradise. For years he was in bitter dispute with Adam Tas and other Free Burghers. Finally his enemies triumphed and the directors of the Dutch East India Company, in a letter dated 30th October 1706, ignominiously dismissed him and ordered him to return to the Netherlands. Three years later, on the implicit instructions of the Company, Vergelegen was sold and divided into 4 separate farms. The homestead was ordered to be demolished, which only partially happened. Vergelegen passed through a succession of owners until 1798, when the Theunissen family took ownership of it for over a century. Under their care, the vineyards flourished. In 1917 Sir Lionel purchased the property for his wife Florence Phillips, who spent vast sums on the restoration of the old homestead, library and gardens. The old footbridge was replaced by a structure wide enough to accommodate motor traffic, roads were constructed and dams built. The vineyards were removed and replaced with mixed agriculture. After the death of Sir Lionel and later Lady Florence Phillips, Charles ëPunchí Barlow and his wife Cynthia acquired the estate in June 1941. Cynthia Barlow was as devoted to Vergelegen as Lady Phillips had been and it was fortunate that she had been able to purchase many of the beautiful pieces of furniture and works of art accumulated by Lady Florence. To this collection she added her own considerable treasures and the tradition of Vergelegen was maintained. The Barlowís resumed farming operations on Vergelegen and began planting vines on a small scale. 'Punch' Barlow's son Tom took over the running of the farm in 1966 until Anglo American Farms limited purchased the property in October 1987. One of the many projects undertaken by Anglo American Farms was to begin replanting the vineyards, following intensive climatic and soil tests. This historic property is now coming into its own as a showpiece of South Africaís recent wine renaissance. Throughout its history celebrities of international renown have frequently visited Vergelegen. Over the last decade Vergelegen has been honoured by the visits of the full Executive Committee of the ANC, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, and in March 1998 by Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton with their First Ladies.

Vergelegen is open for visits daily (except on Christmas day, Good Friday, and Workers Day) between 9:30 and 16:00.

Colour : Dark red

Aroma : Red fruits, green pepper, white pepper, liquorice

Taste : red fruits, spice, blackcurrant, green pepper, liquorice

Alcohol : 15% (on label, 14.5% stated in Systembolaget Varunytt November 2007)

Price : 109 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Vergelegen
Website : VinUnic

Thursday, 18 October 2007

TN : Cadus Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, Single Vineyard, Bodegas Nieto Senetiner, Mendoza, Argentina

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was sourced from the Agrelo vineyard in the region of Lujan de Cuyor in Mendoza. The age of the vineyard is 32 years. The production is 50 quintals per hectare. "Cadus" comes from the latin word meaning barrel.

The Bodega was founded in 1888.

The wine received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, 88 points from Wine & Spirits, and 89 points from Wine Spectator.

This was imported by Monowine Sweden AB (though strangely no mention of it is made on their web site !).

Colour : Dark blackberry

Aroma : Vanilla, spice, red fruits, blackcurrant, volatile acidity (?)

Taste : Blackcurrant, sweet fruit, viscous, plum, currant, drying tanins on finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 229 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Bodegas Nieto Senetiner
Website : MondoWine Sweden AB

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Plant your own Vineyard in Sweden

Gute Vingård AB of Gotland are now selling vines and will even give assistance when it comes to planting etc. They have a starter pack for sale that includes a copy of the book "Odla och tillverka vin", 10 vines, and planting and vine care for one year instructions. The cost is a mere 1800 SEK which includes VAT and DHL delivery charges. The choice of vines available in the starter pack is either Rondo or Phoenix.

Website : Gutevin Vine Pricelist

Stalin Red Label

I came across a great website dedicated to Washington State wineries entitled "MikeL's Guide to Washington State Wineries". There are a set of pages dedicated to defunct wineries. I found this interesting wine label from the Washington Cellars winery.

Website : MikeL's guide to Washington State Wineries

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

TN : Vilafonte Series C, 2004, South Africa

This wine was imported by WineWorld AB.

It is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot, and 4% Malbec. The total production was 52 French oak barrels. 71% of the barrels were new. The alcohol level quoted on the Vilafonte website is 15.1% which is much higher than that on the label. The wine was aged for 19 months in 100% 225 litre barrels. The coopers used were 39% Taransaud and 33% Francois Freres. 40% was inoculated yeast and 60% of the fermentation was with natural yeast.

There was a dry winter, a prolonged cool spell during the Cabernet harvest, a three day hot spell in late January, a four day hot spell in early February, and light rain on March 2nd.

The vineyards used for this wine are in the Paarl region.

Vilafonte is a joint winemaking venture between winemaker Zelma Long, winegrower Phil Freese, and wine marketeer Mike Ratcliffe.

Colour : Dark cassis

Aroma : Cassis, vanilla, oak

Taste : Blackcurrant, coffee, slight sweetness, red fruits, oak, some spice, vanilla, very long finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 349 SEK

Mark : A

Website : Vilafonte
Website : WineWorld AB

Monday, 15 October 2007

TN : Clairet du Chateau de Lisennes 2006, Jean-Pierre Soubie, Bordeaux, France

This wine was imported by Occasion Wine AB. It is a blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc.

Colour : Raspberry, dark deep for a rose

Aroma : Candied red and dark fruits, very fruity

Taste : Full flavoured, bone dry, candied fruits, long finish, slight bitterness at the end

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 80 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Chateau de Lisennes
Website : Occasion Wine AB

TN : Cadus Syrah 2003, Single Vineyard, Bodegas Nieto Senetiner, Mendoza, Argentina

This wine is 100% Syrah. It was sourced from the Agrelo vineyard in the region of Lujan de Cuyor in Mendoza. "cadus" comes from the latin word meaning barrel.

The Bodega was founded in 1888.

This was imported by Monowine Sweden AB (though strangely no mention of it is made on their web site !).

Colour : Very dark red, maroon

Aroma : Dark fruits, spice, oak, vanilla

Taste : Alcoholic finish, viscous, mouthfilling, dark fuits, plum

Alcohol : 15.5%

Price : 229 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Bodegas Nieto Senetiner
Website : MondoWine Sweden AB

TN : Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Vina Aquitania, Maipo Valley, Chile

This wine was imported by Arvid Nordquist AB (though no mention of this is made on their website !).

The wine was named after Lapis Lazuli, the precious blue gemstone of Chile.

Vina Aquitania is a partnership consisting of Paul Pontalier (Chateau Margaux), Bruno Prats (Cos D'Estournel), Ghislain de MontGolfier (Champagne), and Felipe de Solminihac (Chiliean enologist).

This wine was overpowered by the classy toasty oak but it had great fruit.

Colour : Deep purple

Aroma : Blackcurrant, red fruits, cassis, oak, cold tea

Taste : Blackcurrant, toasty oak, cold tea, hot finish

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 194 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Vina Aquitania
Website : Arvid Nordquist

Friday, 12 October 2007

Press Review of VinUnic's October Releases

The press review of VinUnic's October releases is now available for download.

Website : Pressrevy VinUnic's Oktobernyheter 2007

TN : Chateau Gratien 2005, Gratien and Meyer, Saumur-Champigny, France

This is 100% Cabernet Franc. Grapes were green harvested in July to reduce the yield. The grapes were completely destemmed and pressed. The skins and juice were left to macerate for three weeks before the juice was fermented in stainless steel vats in a temperature-controlled environment (at around 28°C). This was followed by the malolactic fermentation stage. The wine was matured in vats before it was bottled in late May.

The history of Gratien & Meyer is closely linked to the development of the railway. Aware of the importance of this means of transport, Alfred Gratien bought a piece of land known as "Le Petit Puy" in the Saumur district for production purposes. The land was riddled with old mining shafts created during the mining of limestone (locally known as "pierre de tuffeau" or tuffeau limestone) in the 12th Century. The land had been abandoned for years, but was the perfect place for Alfred Gratien to set up his business, so he purchased some 10 km of underground passages. The winery was founded in 1864. In the same year, Alfred Gratien, who was 23 years old at the time, founded two wine houses, one in the Loire Valley near Saumur, and the other in the Champagne region in Epernay. A few years later, in 1874, he made Albert Jean Meyer, an enthusiastic wine connoisseur from Alsace, his partner to ensure the continuation of the company. When Alfred Gratien died in 1885, his widow entrusted the future of the company to Albert Jean Meyer.

The house of Gratien & Meyer lies near Saumur in the heart of the "white" Anjou region. The chalky soil there is known locally as "pierre de tuffeau" (tuffeau limestone).

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : Herbs, dark fruits, wet hair

Taste : Some red and dark fruits, herbs, long chalky drying tanins on finish

Alcohol : 13.5% (though 12% incorrectly stated in Systembolaget's October 2007 Varunytt)

Price : 79 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Gratien & Meyer

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Systembolaget New Wines November 2007

The latest new wines offering from the Systembolaget for November 2007 can be found in Varnytt which is now available for download (PDF format).

Website : Varunytt November 2007

TN : Chateau La Tour de By 2004, Medoc, Bordeaux, France

This wine was a great disappointment. I was expecting something more since Michael Broadbent has pronounced this as he everyday claret. It was lacking in fruit and over-cedar'ed.

The vineyard is planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. The estate is 75 hectares and the average age of the vines is 35 years.

The chateau was classified in 2003 as a Cru Bourgeois Superieur.

Prior to 1876, the chateau was known as La Roque de By. Pierre Tizon, lord of the fief of By, owned the estate in 1599. It stayed in his family until 1725 when it was purchased by Count Louis de Gramont. Monsieur de Lignac acquired La Tour de By in 1860 and it passed into the hands of Monsier Alfred Rubichon in 1860. Monsieur Rubichon built the present chateau in 1876. Monsieur Julien Damoy bought the chateau and died there in 1942. In December 1965, Messrs. Pages, Lapal, and Cailloux took over the chateau. Marc Pages and his children became sole owners in 1999. The "Tour", or tower in English, is a former lighthouse which was constructed in 1825 on the ruins of a windmill. Marc Pages and his son Xavier also own Chateau Noillac in Jau-Dignac-Loirac.

Colour : Dark red, brown hints

Aroma : Blackcurrant, oak, coffee, smoky

Taste : Coffee, oak, cedar, little blackcurrant and plum, drying tanins on finish and overwhelming cedar

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 134 SEK

Mark : D+

Website : Chateau La Tour de By

Monday, 8 October 2007

TN : Franken Silvaner 2006, WG Escherndorf, Franken, Germany

This wine was sealed with a screwcap. It is a blend of 90% Silvaner and 10% Mueller-Thurgau.

This winery was awarded the 2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition German Wine producer of the year.

Colour : Yellow

Aroma : Pineapple, mandarin, almond, lemon

Taste : Pineapple, lemon, mandarin, spicy

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 79 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Bocksbeutel-Hof Erschendorf
Website : Stellan Kramer AB

TN : Bonarda 2006, Chakana Wines, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina

This wine was sealed with a screwcap. It is a blend of 90% Bonarda and 10% Syrah.

Off the Chakana website : "For the ancient inhabitants of the Andes, the Chakana -the square cross-, was a symbol of their universe. The creating forces of the Sun and the Earth inspire the Andean world, its four cardinal points and the three elements of life: air, soil and water. The Southern Cross was the key of a celestial calendar that ruled the dynamics of agriculture. These are all represented in the sacred cross, that took its name from a simple but powerful object: the Chakana, a stone used to gather water in the irrigation canals."

The Chakana web site has a lot of information but is terribly out of date.

Colour : Dark maroon, purple

Aroma : Oak, blackberry, blueberry, herbs

Taste : Blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, liquorice

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 69 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Chakana Wines

Friday, 5 October 2007

TN : Riesling Spaetlese 2006, QmP, Moselland, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany

This wine was imported by Pernod Ricard Sweden. On their web page the bottle that is shown is not the same as is on the shelves.

This wine was sealed with a screwcap.
Colour : Pale yellow

Aroma : Peach, apricots, dried crystalline exotic fruits

Taste : Crisp, spicy finish, sweet, slightly cloying, fruity

Price : 63 SEK

Alcohol : 8.5 %

Mark : C+

Website : Moselland Winzergenossenschaft
Website : Pernod Ricard Sweden

Wines From Spain Tasting, October 1st 2007, Stockholm

I went to the Wines From Spain Tasting on Monday which was held at the Operaterrassen and cost 150 SEK entrance fee. The fee included tasting glasses, coupons for tasting which on the whole were not needed, and a catalogue outlining the importers and the range of wines available for tasting. The event was fully booked. Twenty eight importers were exhibiting wines.

My favourite wines of the evening were :

Marques de Grinon Svmma Varietals (either 2002 or 2003)
Marques de Grinon Dominio de Valdepusa Petit Verdot 2002
Marques de Grinon El Rincon 2004
Masies D'Avinyo Pla de Bages Abadal Picapoll
Juan Gil Silver Label 2004, Bodegas Juan Gil
Numanthia 2004, Bodegas Numanthia termes

The picapoll wine was a grape variety that I hadn't heard of before. This is only grown in Catalonia. It had hints of stone fruits such as peach and apricots and reminded me of a Viognier with more acidity. This wine has been listed at the famous El Bulli restaurant.

Disappointments for me were the wines from Bodegas Lan (which had an oxidised note that I didn't like) and the wines from Torres.

Website : Spanksa viner