Thursday, 31 July 2008

TN : Chateau Rol De Fombrauge 2001, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France

Colour : Maroon

Aroma : Red fruits, vanilla, tangy

Taste : Tangy finish, red fruits, plums, smooth tannins, talcum powdery mouthfeel

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 17.70 Euro (bought at Maison du Vin de Saint Emilion 17th July 2008)

Mark : C

Chateau Giscours 18th July 2008

We visited Chateau Giscours on Friday 18th July, the first of our two chateaux visits. The 705 from Ravezies drops you right off at the bus stop outside the main gates to Giscours, 45 minutes from Bordeaux.

The inside of the main chateau is actually in need of some serious rennovation. The owner, Eric Albada Jelgersma, a dutchman, lives at Chateau Du Tertre, his other chateau in Bordeaux, when he stays in Bordeaux.

There are two wines produced, a Haut-Medoc, and the grand vin. The Haut Medoc is fermented in concrete tanks and the grand vin in stainless steel otherwise we were told that the same wienmaking procedures were used for both wines e.g malo in steel and then maturation in barrel. Both the wines, Haut-Medoc and Margauz appellations must be kept separate by law. The Haut-Medoc is harvested by machine whereas the grapes for the Margaux grand vin are hand-harvested usign 300-400 pickers.

The barrels are organised into rows of about 60 barrels. To rack each line of barrels takes about two days. This is for emptying all barrels into stainless steel tanks, cleaning the barrels, and then transferring the wine back into the barrels.

Some of the stainless steel tanks are actually located outside the main building which is extremely unusual for Bordeaux though this causes no actual problem due to temperature control. For bottling, a bottling line is hired in.

The grand vin is typically a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot.

We tasted two wines, the 2003 grand vin which was very spicy, fruity, and exotic tasting; it felt low in tannins and could be drunk now or aged. The other wine was a 2007 rose which was dry, fruity, and very enjoyable on a 30-plus degree afternoon; it was bottled in magnums.

Website : Chateau Giscours

Chateau Kirwan 22nd July 2008

We visited Chateau Kirwan in Cantenac on a very hot day last week. The chateau is easy to get to, hop on the 705 bus at Ravezies and 45 minutes later get off at Cantenac Bourg. There is a very visible sign pointing to the left and 5 minutes walk away is Kirwan.

We were shown around by a very competent bilingual Cindy Aubier, a bilingual tourism student who had spent some time in Philadelphia in the USA.

Chateau Kirwan produces two wines, the grand vin which contains a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon for ageing which is recommended to be kept for at least ten years by which time it has transformed, and the second wine Les Charmes which is usually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc though in 2002 40-45% Cabernet Sauvignon was used.

In the barrel ageing room, a lot of the barrels were covered with wine due to carbonic pressure but this will be fixed next year when the chateau switches to using glass bungs.

We tasted two wines, the 2002 Les Charmes and then the 2003 grand vin. The 2002 Les Charmes was very drinkable and the 2003 still had some oak to meld and tannins to integrate but it could also be drunk now.

Website : Chateau Kirwan

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

TN : Louis Jadot Bourgogne, White, Couvent des Jacobins 2006, Appellation Bourgogne Controlee, France

Colour : Lemon, yellow

Aroma : Dried pineapple, tangy, buttered toast

Taste : Buttered burnt toast, pineapple, nutty, mouth watering finish

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 106 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Maison Louis Jadot

Casa Silva Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere 2006, Estate Bottled, Silva Family Wines, Colchagua Valley, Chile

This wine was imported into Sweden by Tegner Hermansson, Stockholm. I could, however, find no mention of this wine on their website.

Colour : Cassis, purple

Aroma : Green pepper, olives, backberry, oak, toast

Taste : Dark fruits, blackberries, oak, toast, green pepper, olives, blackcurrant, nice concentration, long finish

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 79 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Vina Casa Silva
Website : Tegner Hermansson

TN : Casa Lapostolle Syrah Cuvee Alexandre 2005, Las Kuras Vineyard, Requinoa, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

Las Kuras means “rocks” in native language and the vines were grown in rocky soils.

The 2004-2005 season began with a cold, cloudy spring and it rained only once. These spring conditions caused a delay in the budding and flowering periods, which were nearly two weeks late. Summer was quite normal and dry but during the last two weeks of February the temperature climbed, which corrected the delays observed during the early stages of growth.

The grapes were harvested by hand in small cases of 12 kg and transported in refrigerated trucks. 38% of the grapes where hand de-stemmed. The remaining 62% had a double selection in long sorting tables. The must underwent cold skin maceration for 5 days at 10°C before fermentation. Fermentation lasted 15 days at 25 to 28 degrees. There was a post fermentation skin contact for 7 to 12 days. All the wine was aged for 20 months in new (80%) and one year old (20%) French oak barrels. The wine was bottled in March 2007 with a production of 2000 nine litre cases.

Colour : Deep blackcherry, purple

Aroma : Violets, savoury notes, spice, cherry, dark fruits

Taste : Violets, mouth filling, savoury, dark fruits, smoky, spice and black pepper on finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 228 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Casa Lapostolle

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

TN : Santa Rita Reserva Pinot Noir 2006, Estate Grown, Valle de Leyda, Chile

The winemaker was Andres Ilabaca. The grapes were harvested during the last two weeks of March. Partially crushed, the grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks at 28 degrees with a soft extraction. After brief post fermentation maceration, the wine was immediately transferred to barrels so as to ensure proper structuring and color setting. It also spent 9 months in second use French barrels.

A winery anaysis showed that the pH was 3.7, acidity was 4.8, alcohol was 14.9, and residual sugar was 3.0.

Colour : Pink hues, cherry

Aroma : Stewed fruits, oak, mint

Taste : Stewed red and dark fruits, earthy, oak, mint

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 89 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Santa Rita

Bordeaux 17th-24th July 2008

I visited Bordeaux again this year, for the third year in a row, and managed to get visits to both Chateaux Kirwan and Giscours. These chateaux visits will be reported separately. I noticed a few wine-related things whilst travelling around :

Bernard Magrez is everywhere. Driving from Blanquefort, and following the D2, there are three massive Bernard Magrez signs. The first is for Chateau La Tour Carnet, the second is for Chateau Les Grands Chenes, and the third (standing in somebody's garden !) is for Chateau Fombrauge which is in Saint Emilion on the other side of Bordeaux !. I was staying near the Meriadeck centre which contains a very large and very good Auchan. Walking along the aisles for the wine, I came upon a large wooden Bernard Magrez wine display which was filled with some other wine though. Half of Auchan's fine wine selection seemed to come from Bernard Magrez as well.

I spotted Pierre Lurton, in conversation with somebody I didn't recognise, outside the Hotel de Ville in Saint Emilion.

The 705 bus which winds its way out to Pauillac now goes from Ravezies instead of Quinconces.

At the Mollat store in the centre of town, they stilled had a few free copies of their wine book catalogue that was produced for Vinexpo 2007.

TN : Les Charmes de Kirwan 2002, Appellation Margaux Controlee, Cantenac, Bordeaux, France

This wine is the second wine of Chateau Kirwan and is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with a highly unusual, for the second wine, large Cabernet Sauvignon content.

Colour : Plum, red

Aroma : Cedar, oak, plummy red fruit

Taste : Very fruity, blackcurrant, plums, red fruits, cedar, slight pencil lead and tannins on finish, spice, very drinkable now but could be kept for a few more years to mellow out

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 22 Euro (purchased at Chateau Kirwan 22nd July 2008)

Mark : B

Website : Chateau Kirwan

Monday, 28 July 2008

Vinkällaren Grappe August 2008 Newsletter

Vinkällaren Grappe have just published their August 2008 newsletter. It can be downloaded from their website.

Website : Vinkällaren Grappes Nyhetsbrev Augusti 2008

VinUnic Newsletter August 2008

VinUnic have just published their August newsletter, Våra Viner. It can be downloaded from their website.

Website : Våra Viner Augusti 2008

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

TN : Veneroso 2004, Tenuta di Ghizzano, Tuscany, Italy

360 bottles of this wine were imported into Sweden.

This wine is a blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tenuta di Ghizzano's website is hopelessly out of date to render it almost useless.

Colour : Purple/red

Aroma : Chocolate, sour cherries, bitterness, blackcurrant hints, savoury hints

Taste : Sour and bitter cherries, coffee, blackberry, spice, cocoa, herbs on finish

Alcohol : 14% on label (13.5% stated in Systembolaget Varunytt June 2008)

Price : 200 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Tenuta di Ghizzano

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Systembolaget New Wines August 2008

The new wines available in August 2008 from the Systembolaget are now published on the Systembolaget website.

Website : Systembolaget Varunytt Augusti 2008

TN : Claude Val Rouge Vendages 2007, Vin de Pays D'Oc, Languedoc, France

This wine is imported by Bornicon & Salming. It is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, and Merlot. The grapes were grown in the Herlaut Hills in Languedoc. The producer is Les Domaines Paul Mas.

Colour : Red, purple

Aroma : Herbs, dark fruits, spice

Taste : Hint of blackcurrant, plums, herbs, spice, white pepper on finish, liqcourice

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 55 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Bornicon & Salming

Website : Les Domaines Paul Mas

TN : Massaya Classic 2006, Vin Rouge, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

This wine was sealed with a screwcap. It was imported by Vinalliansen Sweden.

This wine is a blend of 60% Cinsault, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Syrah.

This wine was too hot and raisiny, probably due to overripe grapes.

Colour : Red

Aroma : Herbs, dried curranst and raisins, white pepper

Taste : Heat upfront and on finish, dried mixed fruits, pepper on finish, liqcourice

Alcohol : 15%

Price : 80 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Massaya & Co
Website : Vinalliansen