Friday, 27 February 2009

TN : Swanson Merlot 2003, Oakville, Napa Valley, California , USA

The wine was primarily aged in American oak barrels which were made from wood seasoned for 3-5 years on the Swanson Estate. The proprietors of Swanson are Elizabeth and Clarke Swanson.

Colour : Deep plum/red

Aroma : Plums, herbs, vanilla, oak

Taste : Heat upfront and fruit, herbs, plummy red fruit, on the finish oak, heat, searing drying tannins

Alcohol : 14.8%

Price : 199 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Swanson Vineyards

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Vinkällaren Grappe Newsletter March 2009

The latest newsletter, March 2009, from Vinkällaren Grape can now be downloaded from their website (PDF format).

Website : Vinkällaren Grappes Nyhetsbrev mars 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

TN : Girt by Sea 2006, Cabernet Merlot, Voyager Estate, Margaret River, Australia

This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 8% Shiraz, 4% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot. The grapes were harvested between the 13th and 21st of April 2006. The wine has been aged in French and American oak for 12 months. The vineyard soils are predominantely red gravelly.

Voyager Estate was established in 1978. Michael Wright is the proprietor.

The wine was imported by Giertz Vinimport.

Colour : Deep purple

Aroma : Blackberry, tobacco, blackcurrant, mint, milk chocolate

Taste : Fruity, blackberry, blackcurrants, mint, tobacco, milk chocolate, liquorice and spice on finish

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 159 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Voyager Estate
Website : Giertz Vinimport

TN : Conebush Vineyard Syrah 2006, Lomond Wines, Cape Agulhas, South Africa

The vineyards are situated in an area rich in indigenous flora known as fynbos. This wine is named after one of the species.

Fermentation was carried out in steel tanks at an average temperature of 27 degrees for one week. Pumping over was performed every hour. The wine was macerated on the skins for three days once fermentation had completed. The wine then spent one and a half years in new French oak.

Lomond wines was founded by Lomond Properties and Distell in 2004.

Colour : Dark cassis

Aroma : Blackberry, plums, pepper, herbs

Taste : Blackberry, tobacco, fruity, pepper, plums, burnt rubber on finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 149 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Lomond Wines

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

TN : Chateau Labadie 2005, Grand Vin de Bordeaux, Cotes de Bourg, Vignobles Joel Dupuy, France

Colour : Black/purple

Aroma : Cedar, herbs, some blackcurrant, oak

Taste : Cedar, powederry tannins, blackcurrant, short finish, minerals

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 129 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Chateau Labadie

Friday, 20 February 2009

TN : Chateau Pey La Tour 2005, Reserve du Chateau, Bordeaux Superieur, Vignobles Dourthe, Bordeaux, France

This wine is a blend of 95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Petit Verdot.

Dourthe have been the owners of this property since 1990. The winemaking manager is Pierre-Yves Joannon and the estates manager is Guillaume Pouthier.

Colour : Dark plum/purple

Aroma : Plums, cedar, cherry

Taste : Plums, cedar, cherry, oak, savoury spice notes, fruity

Alcohol : 14%

Price : Approx 12 Euros (Bought at Billa, Vienna, Austria in January 2009)

Mark : C+

Website : Vignobles Dourthe

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

TN : Chateau Fonroque 1998, St Emilion Grand Cru, France

Jean Moueix arrived at Chateau Fonroque in 1931. Jean Moueix, originally from farming stock, had settled in Paris with his wife, and there they had set up a successful chain of shops selling dairy produce. But having seen his brother Antoine purchase Chateau Taillefer in 1923, Jean decided that this was also the life for him. He and his betrothed Adèle purchased Fonroque and then settled at the estate, and the property has remained with their descendents and relatives long after their deaths. First their son, Jean-Antoine, took control, but with his passing in 1979 the running of the estate fell to Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix. The vineyards saw the installation of a new drainage system and significant replanting. Vineyard management also changed. In the cellar there was new oak, new equipment and, in fact, in 1993, a new cellar, together with bottling and tasting rooms.

The property came to Alain Moueix in 2001. Alain's father's cousin, Christian Moueix, who now heads up the family firm, is the man behind both Chateau Pétrus in Pomerol and Dominus in California's Napa Valley. Alain also runs Chateau Mazeyres in Pomerol. Alain Moueix trained as an agricultural engineer, and then as an oenologist, before working two vintages in New Zealand. Then came further experience in Bordeaux, but more recently, in 1998, he has also established a 40 hectare vineyard in South Africa. Despite the efforts undertaken under the auspices of Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, there were many missing vines and some replanting was necessary. A rolling program was started, although old vines are protected and cherished; these include some Cabernet Franc vines some of which were planted as long ago as 1936. The soils were deemed to be in generally good condition, nevertheless some organic compost and biodynamic preparations were added. The use of chemicals, be they insecticides, fungicides or herbicides, came under due inspection.

The vineyard is ranked as Grand Cru Classé and accounts for 22 hectares of the St Emilion Grand Cru appellation, although only a little more than 17 hectares are planted. In 2003 the vineyards began a program moving towards organic farming, and by 2005 they were fully converted to biological agriculture, as certified by Agrocert. Full biodynamic certification followed, starting with 6 hectares in 2002, and the whole estate was accredited by 2005, with Biodyvin certification provided by Ecocert. The vineyard soils include three of the four main terroirs of St Emilion, led by limestone on the plateau, with some vines also on the côtes and also at the foot of the slopes, where clay dominates, with more silt and sand at the bottom, as well as the iron-rich crasse de fer. The vines are predominately Merlot, accounting for 88% of the vineyard, the remainder is Cabernet Franc. Today they see leaf thinning and bunch thinning, and there is grass planted between the rows to increase competition for water at the surface. Once picked the fruit is sorted on a vibrating table and then by hand, before fermentation in temperature-controlled cement vats, with a maceration between 15 and 30 days. Most of the wine is then run off into oak, half of which is new; 40% goes into new oak, 40% into one-year oak, and the remaining 20% remains in vat. The grand vin is Chateau Fonroque, of which there are 6500 cases produced per annum. It is fined with egg white but not filtered before bottling. Those aliquots destined for the second wine account for up to 25% oft the harvest, and are bottled as Chateau Cartier.

Colour : Black/purple

Aroma : Herbs, blackcurrants, slight plums, cedar, oak

Taste : Herby finish, smooth powdery tannins, cedar, plums, blackcurrant, oak, fruit fades pretty quickly

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 249 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Chateau Fonroque

Friday, 13 February 2009

TN : Hunter's Riesling 2007, Jane Hunter, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

The winemaker was Gary Duke. The grapes were harvested between 3rd April and 14th April 2007. The average Brix at harvest was 21.5, residual sugar was 8.4 grammes per litre, and the total acidity was 6.8 grammes per litre. The wine was bottled sealed with a screwcap on the 18th October 2007.

This wine was imported by Hjo Grosshandel AB.

Colour : Pale yellow

Aroma : Lime, lemon, minerals, kiwi fruit

Taste : Dry, crisp, initially mouth watering until very minerally finish takes this sensation away, kiwi fruit, lemon, mandarin oranges

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 99 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Hunter's Wines
Website : Hjo Grosshandel AB

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Systembolaget New Wines March 2009

The latest newsletter detailing the wines available from Systembolaget for March 2009 is now available for download from the Systembolaget website.

Website : Systembolaget Varunytt Mars 2009

Systembolaget New Wines Mid-February 2009

The Systembolaget will release new wines on the 16th of February. The complete list can be viewed on the Systembolaget website.

Website : Systembolaget Nyheter den 16 februari

Yapp Brothers New Website

Matt Sawyer, the Search Marketing Manager at Datadial Ltd in the UK, asked me to review the new website by Yapp Brothers. Matt is working together with Yapp Brothers to announce the new website. My main recollections are of Yapp Brother being a major Rhone specialist. Today, Yapp Brothers deal with Australia, the Rhone, Alsace, Chablis, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Midi, and Provence. Also sold are olive oil, liqueurs and vinegars.

The website contains a number of features :

  • Current wine offers
  • A good range of older vintages
  • Wine search based on colour, style, price, and grape variety
  • Advanced wine search where one can add geographic information, vigneron, vintage, bottle size, and even organic where I assume this means organically grown grapes though this is not stated
  • Newsletter subscription
  • List of restaurants where the wines can be found though not which wines are available at which restaurant
  • Wine subscription service where you subscribe and have wines regularly sent to you though it is not possible to set which preferences you might have
  • An excellent wine and food matching service
Overall I was a bit disappointed with the number of wines offered and was expecting more. Detailed tasting notes were provided for each wine, which I really liked, though only in PDF format. There was some educational information but it was difficult to locate and pull together. Searching for wine was quick and easy. Navigating required far too many "click-throughs" though which gets a bit tiresome at times. Wines are delivered through the UK and Ireland.

Website : Yapp Brothers

Monday, 9 February 2009

TN : Chat-en-Oeuf 2007, Cotes du Ventoux, Boutinot, France

Colour : Dark red/purple

Aroma : Spice, dark berries, slight violets, herbs

Taste : Spice on finish, violets, cherry, herbs, soft tannins

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 70 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Boutinot

TN : Peter Nicolay Riesling 2007, Spaetlese Halbtrocken, Mosel, Germany

The estate of Peter Nicolay has its origin at the beginning of the 19th century in the old post-house and adjoining inn "Zur Post" in Uerzig, Mosel. The fame and renown of this inn spread throughout the whole of Germany due to the great passion of the buxom wife of Peter Nicolay (1820-1896) for her profession, for excellent cuisine and for her wine cellar.

Heiress of Peter Nicolay was his niece Magarethe, married to Carl Hubert Berres (1862-1942). Since the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, the family Berres-Nicolay had owned vineyards, most of which were situated on land originally owned by the two old abbeys of Himmerod and Springiersbach, the coat of arms of which are licensed to be shown on the label of the Nicolay wines.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the house of Nicolay was sending its wine all over the world and even had an affiliated company in London.

In the past it has had the honor of being purveyor to the court of the German emperor in Berlin, to the House of Lords in London (1913), to the Grand Duke of Luxemburg (1916) and to the court of the Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1909).

The heiress of Carl Hubert Berres was his granddaughter Helga, married to Dr. Peter Pauly, owner of the Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler estate. Helga's father died when she was young so that she soon became involved with the management and the tradition of her grandfather's estate of Peter Nicolay. In October 1986, she became solely responsible, and since then both estates have been administrated from Bernkastel. In 1980, modern production facilities were built which allow careful control of the fermentation and maturing process.

This wine was imported by Mondowine Sweden AB.

Colour : Yellow

Aroma : Honey, pineapple, lemon

Taste : Very honey'fied, lemon, pineapple, pear, slight minerals on finish

Alcohol : 12%

Price : 79 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Peter Nicolay
Website : Mondowine Sweden AB

Friday, 6 February 2009

Weinbau und Heurigenschank Gsoels zum Berger

During January this year (2009), I managed to find the time during a short holiday to Vienna to go to the Grinzing district to spend a couple of evenings at the Gsoels zum Berger Heurigenschank (just think of it as a wine pub).

The Heurigen has been in business since 1713.

Wines I tried included :

  • 2007 Grinzinger Gruener Veltliner Biodynamisch (3 Euro for 250 ml glass)
  • 2006 Grinzinger Grauer Burgunder Biologisch (4 Euro for 250 ml glass)
  • 2006 Grinzinger Roter Traminer Riede Nussberg (4 Euro for 250 ml glass)
The best of the bunch was the superb Grauer Burgunder.

Website : Gsoels zum Berger

Thursday, 5 February 2009

TN . Cono Sur Pinot Noir 2008, Central Valley, Chile

The winemaker was Adolfo Hurtado. The wine was sealed with a screwcap. Cono Sur is a Carbon Neutral winery. The grapes for this wine were both hand and mechanically harvested from March 29th. 35% of the wine was aged in barrels and the remaing 65% in stainless steel tanks for four months. The wine was bottled in July 2008. A winery analysis shows that the alcohol is 13.4%, residual sugar is 2.7 grammes per litre, pH is 3.43, and the total acidity is 5.61 grammes per litre.

Colour : Red, blue hues

Aroma : Stewed red berries, blueberry, spice

Taste : Spice, violets, stewed red berries, strawberry

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 69 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Cono Sur

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

TN : Nederburg Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, W.O. Paarl, South Africa

The grapes for this wine are sourced from two dry land, low-yielding Paarl vineyards, of approximately 10 years old at the time of harvest. The must was fermented in open-top fermenters. The wine was then matured in a combination of new, second-fill and third-fill small French oak vats for 14 months before blending.

Colour : Purple

Aroma : Burnt rubber, smoke, blackcurrant

Taste : Thin, burnt rubber, slight oak, tangy, blackcurrant

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 89 SEK

Mark : D

Website : Nederburg

TN : Sangiovese 2007, IGT, Rocca di Montemassi, Tuscany, Italy

This wine came in a 3 litre bag-in-box.

Colour : Black cherry, purple

Aroma : Vanilla, oak, cherry, chocolate

Taste : Vanilla, oak, sour cherry, dark fruits, soft tannins, milk chocolate and spice on finish, smooth

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 223 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Rocca di Montemassi