Friday, 31 October 2008

TN : Crozes-Hermitage 2005, E. Guigal, Rhone, France

This wine is supposed to be ready for drinking, though can be aged for ten years, according to the E. Guigal website but I would give it another couple of years for the tannins to soften up and maybe the fruit to show through; hopefully the fruit will not fade away.

This wine includes the former vineyards of de Vallouit Estate from Larnage. The vineyards are mainly on steep slopes from the villages of Gervans, Mercurol, Larnage and Crozes-Hermitage. the soil is limestone, clay and silt and also sandy gravel. The average age of the vines is 35 years. the average yield was 40 hectolitres per hectare.

The wine is 100% Syrah. Alcoholic fermentation was carried out in stainless steel vats at high temperatures followed by 3 weeks maceration in the vats. The wine was then matured for 18 months in oak barrels. On average, 330,00o bottles are produced annually.

The Guigal domain was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in the ancient village of Ampuis. Etienne Guigal arrived in this region in 1923 at the age of 14. He made wine over 67 vintages. Marcel Guigal took over from his father in 1961. Today, Philippe Guigal, oenologist, is the third generation to continue the family endeavour.

Colour : Blackcurrant

Aroma : Strawberry, spice, oak, blackcurrant, plum

Taste : Black pepper, oak, drying tannins on finish, red fruits, thin

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 154 SEK

Mark : C

Website : E. Guigal

Thursday, 30 October 2008

TN : Chateau de Chantegrive 2005, White Wine, Graves, Bordeaux, France

In 1966, Henri and Françoise Lévêque acquired a few plots of vines in the commune of Podensac. During the coming 40 years more plots have been added. Chateau de Chantegrive now has 97 hectares under vine. It is situated in the Graves appellation and is a member of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux.

14 hectares of vines are used to produce this wine. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The soil is sand and gravel over limestone and clay subsoil. The cepage is 50 % Sauvignon Blanc and 50 % Semillon. Harvest is by hand using successive sortings. The grapes are pressed and then fermented at low temperature in thermoregulated stainless steel vats. 70,000 bottles are produced annually.

Colour : Lemon

Aroma : Wood, lemon, oranges, gooseberry

Taste : Creamy, wood on finish, lemon, slight orange and honey, blackcurrant leaf

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 170 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Chateau de Chantegrive

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

TN : Laszlo 2004, Fleur du Cap, South Africa

This wine was produced as a tribute to Dr. Julius Laszlo. It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

It was imported by Distell (Europe) Ltd.

Colour : Dark plums

Aroma : Tobacco, dark fruits, slight violets, pencils

Taste : Tobacco, spice, blackcurrant, blackberry, cherries

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 199 SEK

Mark : B+

Website : Fleur du Cap

Monday, 27 October 2008

Vinkällaren Grappe Newsletter November 2008

The November 2008 newsletter from Vinkällaren Grappe can now be downloaded from their website. Included are short reviews, including scores and drinking windows, for the new wines to be released this November by the Systembolaget

Website : Vinkällaren Grappes Nyhetsbrev November 2008

TN : Chateau Cissac 2005, Cru Bourgeois, Domaines Vialard, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux, France

Chateau Cissac is located in the village of Cissac between St Estephe and Pauillac. In 1895, Jacques Mondon, a lawyer in Pauillac, acquired several vineyards in the parish of Cissac-Medoc. He combined these different vineyards under the name of Château Cissac. Louis Vialard inherited the chateau in 1940, from his grandparents Mondon, and then handed it over to his daughter Danielle Marie. Louis Vialard's granddaughter is not following in her Aunt's foot steps.

The wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvingon, 20% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The 50 hectare vineyard's soil is composed of fine gravel over chalk. The vineyard planting density is 7200 vines per hectare. The average age of the vines is 30 years. The rootstocks used are 309, 161-49, and Riparia Gloire. 220,000 bottles are produced annually. There are ten large wooden vats at Château Cissac. They and the building which houses them are over 100 years old. They were restored in 1997. It is in them that the first stages of the vinification of the grand vin take place; both the alcoholic fermentation and the malolactic fermentation.

This wine is drinking well right now but is worth waiting for 4-5 years for the cedar wood and tannins to integrate more.

Colour : Dark plummy red

Aroma : Blackcurrant, lead pencils, cedar

Taste : Cedar, plums, blackcurrants, lead pencil

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 159 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Chateau Cissac

Friday, 24 October 2008

Recalled wines at Systembolaget

I saw two of October 2008's three recalled red wines on the shelves of the Systembolaget this week. The Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 at Regeringsgatan and the Atelier Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 at Tyresö Centrum. Jenny Gabrielson at the Systembolaget confirms that the Kenwood bottling should now be available in shops but the Atelier should still not be on shelves since it still has quality problems.

TN : Domaene Gobelsburg Riesling 2007, Qualitaetswein Trocken, Schloss Gobelsburg, Langenlois, Austria

This wine was imported by Primewine Sweden.

Colour : Pale lemon

Aroma : Minerals, oranges, lemon

Taste : Lemons, Oranges, spritzy, lots of stony minerals, long finish

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 95 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Schloss Gobelsburg
Website : Primewine Sweden

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Chilean WineTasting, Stockholm, 29th September 2008

The Embassy of Chile in Stockholm together with ProChile in Stockholm held a Chilean Wine Tasting on September 29th 2008 in the Konserthuset in Stockholm. 25 Chilean wineries were present (23 in the original invitation).

I was surprised by the number of Malbecs listed in the catalogue. Compared to Argentinan Malbecs, I found that the Chilean bottles that I tasted lacked the savoury notes that I typically find the Argentinan bottles.

Here are my brief tasting notes listed by producer :-

Vina Butron Budinich
Cumbras Andinas, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2005 : C+
Cumbras Andinas Cot (Malbec) Reserve 2005 : C

Vina Casa Marin
Cartagena Sauvignon Blanc 2007 : C+
Sauvignon Blanc Cipreses 2008 : B
Riesling 2008 : B-
Gewuerztraminer 2008 : B
Pinot Noir Lo Abarca Hills 2006 : B+
Pinot Noir Litoral 2003 : B-

Vina Chocolan
Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (overoaked, thin) : C
Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2006 (Syrah like, very rich and concentrated) : B
Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2007 (Oaky, nice, needs time) : C+

Vina Concha Y Toro
Marques de Casa Concha Syrah 2006 : B
Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 : A-

Vina De Martino
Single Vineyard Old Bush Vines Limavida 2006 (Oaky, mostly malbec) : B-
347 Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Too thin) : C+

Vina Korta
Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Selection 2007 : C+
Korta barrel Selection 2007 : B

Vina Morande
Pionero Carmenere 2008 : C
Gran Reserva Merlot 2006 : C
Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 : B+
Gran Reserva Syrah 2005 : C+
House of Morande 2004 (Too much oak) : C

Vina Odfjell
Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 : C
Organic Orzada carignan 2006 : C+
Odfjell 2005 : B-

Vina Santa Cruz
Chaman Gran Reserva Carmenere 2006 : B-
Chaman Gran Reserva Malbec 2006 : C
Chamin Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 : C
Chaman Gran Reserva Syrah 2006 : C
Tupu 2006 : C+

Vina Tres Palacios
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2007 : B-
Cabernet Sauvignon Family Vintage 2006 : C+

Vina Vinos del Sur
Rucahue Estate Viognier 2008 : C
Rucahue Gran Reserva Cabernet Franc 2004 : A-
Gillmore Hacedor de Mundos Merlot 2005 : B
Gillmore Hacedor de Mundos Cabernet Franc 2005 : B-
Gillmore Cobre 2004 : A
Rucahue Estate Rose 2008 : C+

Vinedos Santa Emiliana
Novas Winemakers Selection Syrah Ecologic 2005 (Great nose, 129 SEK) : B+

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

TN : Mayu Syrah Reserva 2006, Estate Bottled, Vina Mayu, Elqui Valley, Chile

This wine was made from Chile's most northerly vineyard. Elqui valley is located approximately 320 miles North of Santiago at 30 degrees latitude South.The winemaker was Giorgio Flessati. Vina Mayu was founded in 2005 as an independent part of Vina Falernia, the first Elqui valley wine producer, by Aldo Olivier Gramola in 1997.

The total acidity is 4.82 grammes per litre and the residual sugar is 3.9 grammes per litre.

The wine was imported by WineWorld AB.

Colour : Dark red

Aroma : Dark fruits, plums, savoury, spice, pepper

Taste : Savoury, plums, slight spice, dark fruits, blackberry, violets, pepper on finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 84 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Vina Mayu
Website : WineWorld AB

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

TN : Arboleda Carmenere 2006, Eduardo Chadwick, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Arboleda wines was born in 1999 as a joint venture of Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick. The name “Arboleda” in Spanish means “grove of trees” and is a tribute to the native Chilean trees that have been preserved within the vineyards that produce the Arboleda grapes. Since 2005, the Mondavi catastrophy, the project has been owned by Eduardo Chadwick.

The total acidity of the wine is 5.31 grammes per litre (tartaric acid), the pH is 3.55, and the residual sugar is 1.82 grammes per litre.

The grapes for this blend were planted in 1997 on the deep clay loam soils in the Colchagua Valley. Drip irrigation is used in this vertically positioned vineyard.

The grapes were hand-harvested in mid-May and transferred to a sorting table. The grapes were then transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation at 26 degrees to 30 degrees.
Regular pumpovers kept the cap moist for extracting the anthocyanins (color), tannins and aromas from the skins. Aerative pumpovers were repeated throughout the fermentation process to help with the polymerization of reactive tannins, eliminate all herbaceous traces and encourage color set. After a 25 day maceration period, the wine was racked directly to 45% new oak barrels (75% American and 25% French) and then aged for twelve months.

Colour : Black/cassis

Aroma : Blackcurrant, green peppers, vanilla, cherry

Taste : Oak, coffee, slight green pepper, violets, blackcurrant, blackberry, cold tea, long finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 99 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Arboleda

Monday, 20 October 2008

TN : Domaene Gobelsburg Gruener Veltliner 2007, Qualitaetswein Trocken, Schloss Gobelsburg, Langenlois, Austria

Schloss Gobelsburg is the oldest winery in the Danube region of Austria. It has a documented history going bacg to 1171. The chateau and the winery has been managed by Michael Mossbrugger since January 1996.

The vines were grown on terterian gravel and loess soil. The vines were trained in the Gyome system. The vineyard size was 6 hectares and the age of the vines was between 6 and 55 years. The yield was 50 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes were harvested at the end of October 2007. Fermentation and maturation was in stainless steel and the wine was bottled in January 2008.

The wine was imported by Primewine Sweden AB.

Colour : Lemon

Aroma : Orange marmelade, white pepper, pears

Taste : White pepper on finish, green apple, mandarin oranges, pears

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 89 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Schloss Goebelsburg
Website : Primewine Sweden AB

TN : Morande Edicion Limitade Carignan 2004, Loncomilla Valley, Chile

The pH of this wine is 3.32, the total acidity is 4.45 grammes per litre, and the residual sugar is 1.59 grammes per litre.

Colour : Black/purple

Aroma : Blackberry, violets, nail varnish

Taste : Blackcurrant, blackberry, rosehip, nail varnish tang, nuts, long finish

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 189 SEK

Mark : D+

Website : Vina Morande

TN : Reserve Mouton Cadet 2006 Sauternes, Baron Philipe de Rothschild, Bordeaux, France

Colour : Yellow

Aroma : Honey, oranges, sugar

Taste : Oranges, lime, overwhelming sickly sugar cane, caramel, lacking acidity

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 115 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Mouton Cadet

Friday, 17 October 2008

TN : Comic Strip Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Bodegas Antano, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, Spain

This wine was bottled for Enjoy Wines and Spirits AB.

The wine is a blend of 50% Verdejo and 50% Sauvignon Blanc.

Colour : Pale yelow

Aroma : White grapes, peaches, slight pineapple

Taste : Spritzy mouthfeel, peaches, very bitter finish

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 69 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Bodegas Antano
Website : Enjoy Wines and Spirits AB

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Chateau Belgrave

Want a bargain classified-growth Bordeaux that is drinkable, and ageable for at least another 5 years, then try the 2004 Chateau Belgrave which has a permanent listing at the Systembolaget.

The importer of Dourthe wines into Sweden is VinUnic. Åsa Lindahl at VinUnic told me that they have a dozen cases of 2004 in their warehouse still and then the 2005 vintage will start to roll out. According to VinUnic the drinking window for the 2005 is 2010 till 2023+.

Confusingly both the 2004 and 2005 vintages have the same article number at the Systembolaget.

Website : VinUnic

Systembolaget Ageing Recommendations

Ever wondered what the ageing classifications mean that the Systembolaget adds to each wine description in Varunytt. I asked Anna-Karin Ene at the Systembolage for a full clarification and this was her response :

No individual can assess when a wine is perfectly mature. There are too many variables to be taken into consideration when making such an assessment. The quality of individual customers' storage facilities may for example differ quite a bit, but more importantly the notion of when a wine is perfect depends on the taste of the individual consumer. This is why we are reluctant to give exact ageing recommendations.

Most wines today are made for early consumption and even wines from classical regions like Bordeaux, Rhône and Piedmont are today a lot more approachable at a younger age than they used to be.

For this reasons, most wines that we sell are categorized as "will not improve with ageing" (Vinner inte på lagring). This does not mean that we believe that they have to be consumed immediately after being purchased. With the exception of the simplest wines we do not believe that the wines change remarkably during the first year and many will last for a few years.

When we feel that a wine is pleasant to drink now but has not reached its (theoretical) peak, we categorize it as "can age" (Kan lagras). By this we do not mean that the wine requires ageing but that it probably will improve when aged.

Sometimes, but admittedly quite rarely we categorize wines as "needs ageing" (Bör lagras). These are wines that are so young and undeveloped and expected to improve with ageing that we feel it would be a shame to drink it directly after purchase.

TN : Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Kenwood Vineyards, Sonoma County, USA

This wine was recalled by the Systembolaget due to quality problems but I managed to find it on the shelves of the Systembolaget in Tyresö Centrum. I have had much worse than this from the Systembolaget and can not understand why it has not been distributed.

This wine is made predominantly of fruit sourced from vineyards located in the Sonoma, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. It is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvingon, 8% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. Fermentation and skin maceration was performed in stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged for two years in French and American oak.

This wine was imported by BGS Vinhandel AB.

Colour : Blackcurrant

Aroma : Blackcurrant, cold tea, coffee, slight mint

Taste : Zingy blackcurrant, slight tangy undertaste, oack, milk chocolate, gripping tannins at finish

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 145 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Kenwood Vineyards

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Systembolaget New Wines November 2008

The latest Varunytt newsletter detailing new wines in Sweden for November 2008 can now be downloaded from the Systembolaget website.

Website : Systembolaget Varunytt November 2008

TN : Chateau Puygueraud 2002, Cotes de Francs, Bordeaux, France

This wine is a blend of 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec. All the grapes were crushed and then subjected to a three day cold maceration. Fermentation and maceration lates three weeks in stainless steel tanks. The wine spent 18 to 20 months in barriques of which 30% was new. Egg whites were used to clarify the wine which was not filtered.

Colour : Dark red

Aroma : Oak, coffee, blackcurrants, mint, herbs

Taste : Drying tannins on finish, blackcurrant, herbs, coffee

Alcohol : 12%

Price : 169 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Chateau Puygueraud

TN : TastYwines Fruity Syrah Mourvedre 2007, Rose, Capeco International, Coteaux du Languedoc, France

This wine was imported by Chris Wine & Spirits.

Colour : Pale strawberry

Aroma : Strawberry, raspberry, herbs

Taste : Hints of raspberry, strawberry, cherry, some herbs, dry bitter aftertaste.

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 70 SEK

Mark : D

Website : Chris Wine & Spirits

TN : Grove Street Chardonnay 2006, Grove Street Winery, Sonoma County, California, USA

The grapes for this wine came from smaller vineyards growing a range of Dijon Chardonnay clones from the Russian River AVA and the Alexander Valley AVA.

This wine was imported by Tomp Spirits AB.

Colour :
Straw, green hues

Aroma : Butter, toast, slight oak, nutts, orange, slight tropical fruits

Taste : Mango, butter, toasty oak, nutty, oranges, pears, caramel

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 109 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Grove Street Winery
Website : Tomp Beer & Sprits

TN : Chateau de Fonbel 2000, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France

This estate is owned by Alain Vauthier of Ausone fame.

The vineyard of Château de Fonbel is located in the Saint-Emilion plain and covers 16 hectares. The soils are sandy-gravelly. Four grape varieties are grown, Merlot (70%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Petit Verdot (7%) and Carmenere (3%).

Colour : Red

Aroma : Plums, cedar, cherries, chocolate, oak

Taste : Cherry, cedar, plums, drying exotic talcum powder tannins on finish, leather, earth

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 299 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Chateau de Fonbel

Friday, 10 October 2008

TN : Weninger Blaufraenkisch Hochhaecker 2005, Weingut Weninger, Mittelburgenland, Austria

The vineyard soils are Chalybeate clay with high coarse fraction. The age of the vines was 36 to 37 years of age. The planting density was 4500 vines per hectare. The crop yield was 4000 litres per hectare. The grapes were harvested between 10th and 12th October 2005.

Vinification was done using native yeast fermentation in steel tanks, the must was pressed after 15 days of mash-state, then followed by a biological malolactic fermentation in a large oak barrels (90% for 17 months in big oak barrel and 10% in barrique). The total acidity is 5.6 grammes per litre and the residual sugar is 1.9 grammes per litre. The wine was bottled in January 2007.

Colour : Dark red

Aroma : Earth, violets, red fruits

Taste : Earthy, tangy acidity, spice, violets, red fruits

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 117 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Weingut Weninger

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Ancre Hill Estates Harvest 2008

I spoke to Richard Morris of Ancre Hill Estates yesterday about this year's harvest. Ancre Hill Estates is locates near Monmouth in Wales.

He told me that the Triomphe will be harvested on Friday and the Seyval/Pinot Noir towards the end of the month. Apparently, the weather has been remarkably kind to them over last few weeks and the crop is looking good. Progress can be followed on their website.

Website : Ancre Hill Estates

TN : Dr Loosen Riesling Spaetlese Bernkasteler Kurfuerstenlay, Mosel, Germany

Spaetlese means "late picked". All the grapes were hand-harvested. The must was cold fermented in steel tanks.

Colour : Pale straw

Aroma : White grapes, spice, peaches, oranges

Taste : White grapes, yeasty, jasmin, orange marmelade, peaches, pears, off-dry

Alcohol : 8.5%

Price : 109 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Dr Loosen

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

TN : Red Nectar Cabernet Sauvingon 2005, Barossa Valley, Red Nectar Wines, Australia

Tammy Schutz is the proprietror and vigneron and Troy Kalleske was the winemaker.

This wine was imported by JPC Wines AB.

Colour : Black/red

Aroma : Blackcurrant, mint, oak, chocolate

Taste : Very lively acidity, blackcurrant, mint, vanilla, very fruity

Alcohol : 14.5%

Mark : B-

Price : 199 SEK

Website : Red Nectar Wines
Website : JPC Wines AB

TN : Altosur Malbec Rose 2008, Finca Sophenia SA, Tupungato, Argentina

"4000 feet high by the Argentine Andes" is the quote on the front label. All the grapes were hand-harvested by the end of February and beginning of March. The winemaker was Matias Michelini.

This wine was imported by PrimeWine Sweden AB.

Colour : Pale raspberry

Aroma : Raspberry, cherry, slight spice and white pepper

Taste : Slight spice and white pepper on finish, jellied raspberries and cherries

Alcohol : 12.5%

Mark : B-

Price : 65 SEK

Website : Finca Sophenia
Website : PrimeWine Sweden AB

Monday, 6 October 2008

Wine Quality Problems at Systembolaget October 2008

I just talked to Jakob Stenson at Systembolaget and three of the red wines launched for October 2008 have been recalled because of quality problems. The wines in question are Windsor Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Atelier Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, and Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.

TN : Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Helshoogte, Simonsberg Mountain, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon clone 46. The rootstock is 101-14, R110, and R99. The soil type is Hutton - decomposed granite. The vines were planed in 1988 and 1989. The planting density is 3200 vines per hectare. The trellising is Vertical hedge. The vines were pruned to 2-bud spurs every 15 centimetres. The yield was approximately 6 tons per hectare. Irrigation was supplementary drip. The grapes wer harvested between 26th March and 7th April. The grape sugar was on average 24.5 degrees Balling. The average acidity was 5.5 grammes per litre. The pH at harvest was on average 3.5.

The yeast used for fermentaion was Bordeaux red. The fermentation temp was about 26 to 28 degrees. The grapes were de-stalked, the berries were then hand sorted, crushed, pumped into stainless steel tanks, pumped over for 6 days, left for 5 days before pressing, and finally racked to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The wine was matured in wood for 20 months in 225 litre French oak of which 50% was new.

The finished wine has a residual Sugar of 1.6 grammes per litre, pH of 3.54, total acidity of 5.4 grammes per litre, and alcohol was 13.85% by volume.

This wine was imported by Nigab AB.

Colour : Blackcurrant/red

Aroma : Blackcurrant, chocolate, coffee, smoke, burnt toast, green vegetables

Taste : Red fruits, oak, drying tannins, burnt toast, slight mint, blackcurrant, mocha, green vegetables

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 199 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Thelema Mountain Vineyards
Website :
Nigab AB

Thursday, 2 October 2008

TN : Blauer Zweigelt 2006 Trocken, Gsellmann & Hans, Heideboden, Burgenland, Austrias

This wine was imported by Boisson Wine & Spirits.

Colour : Red/maroon

Aroma : Spice, plum, damson, liqourice

Taste : Slight liqourice, fruity, plums, cherry, soft tannins, some spice

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 85 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Gsellmann & Hans