Thursday, 30 April 2009

TN : Casa Patronales Rose Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008, Central Valley, Chile

This was wine was packaged as a 3 litre bag-in-box. The filling date was 19/02/2009.

The wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.

The wine was imported by Primewine Sweden.

Colour : Bright strawberry red

Aroma : Jellied strawberries and raspberries, herbs

Taste : Herbs, raspberries, strawberries, crisp, long fruity finish

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 185

Mark : B-

Website : Vina Casa Patronales
Website : Primewine Sweden AB

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Center Party wants to allow direct sales of wine from Swedish vineyards

The Center Party wants to make the countryside more alive. One of the party's main proposals is that it wants to allow Swedish wine, spirits and beer producers to sell directly to consumers, writes Dagens Nyheter.

This comes from a manifesto for sustainable agriculture which is now published.

Previously, the Minister for Agriculture, Eskil Erlandson (C), announced that he wanted to see this opportunity for the Swedish producers of alcoholic beverages.

In an alcohol study, which was presented in spring, it was suggested, however, that it would not be allowed. However, the investigation was conducted by The Public Health Ministry whose responsible minister Maria Larsson has expressed a very different wish.

This is not the first time that the Center Party has proposed permission for direct vineyard sale. Already in 2007 the Agriculture Minister expressed high hopes producers around Sweden to be allowed to sell their alcoholic beverages directly to consumers.

Website : World of Wine News 29th April 2009

Pinot Noir at Lyngby Vingård, Sweden

Ola Johannesson has finally got hold of a small number, five, different clones of Pinot Noir for test planting. These clones are 115, 777, 512, 792 for SO 4 and 667 on the rootstock Fercal.

He will also try Saphir, that is approved in Germany, but not so widespread. Saphir is a cross from Geisenheim between Seyve Villard 1-72 and Arnsburger which in turn is a cross between two clones of Riesling. Its origin is that it does not ripen really early but instead has the good fungus resistance.

Website : Lyngby Vin

Thunevin Bad Boy 2005 & 2006 - When to drink ?

Seeing that Bad Boy 2005 was available to buy via the Systembolaget to-order range for 199 SEK, I asked Jean-Luc Thunevin about the drinking windows for the 2005 and 2006 vintages. This is what he said :

"2005 is certainly more powerful than 2006, but both can be cellared for at least 10 to 15 years. 2006 being made from a blend of 3 terroirs, is more fruit foward and will open earlier. Still, you could drink both now but I recommend to decant them for at least 1 hour, especially 2005."

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

TN : Atelier Syrah Cabernet Sauvingon 2007, Cavino, Vin de Pays de Achaia, Greece

This wine is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cavino Winery was established in 1958 by Konstantinos Anastassiou. It initially grew and harvested its own grapes. However, in 1971, Cavinio made the decision to sell its' vineyards and produce wine from locally grown grapes.

Colour : Red, blue hues

Aroma : Smoky, blackberry, vanilla, oak, cherry

Taste : Smoky, blackberry, blackcurrant, vanilla, slight burnt taste

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 72 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Cavino

Friday, 24 April 2009

TN : Ramos Pinto Collection 2006, Duoro, Portugal

Casa Ramos Pinto was founded in 1880 by Adriano Ramos Pinto when he was only 21 years old. The grapes for this wine came from the Ervamoira and Bom Retiro estates in the Duoro. All of the grapes were hand-picked into small containers. The must was then vinified in granite tanks and stainless-steel
vats. French oak barrels were used during malolactic fermentation. After that, 40% of the wine remained in barrels and the rest went to age into two and three year old wine casks for 18 months. The wine was finished by fining with egg whites. The wine is a blend of 30% Tourigal Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, and 40% Tinta Barroca. 60,000 750 ml bottles and 150 magnums were bottled in June 2008. The total acidity is 4.9 grammes per litre and pH is 3.6.

In 1911, Leopold Metilcovitz designed one of the posters in the Casa Ramos Pinto collection known as "Adam and Eve".

Colour : Dark red, blue hues

Aroma : Pepper, blackberry, blueberry, mint, liquorice

Taste : Gobs of upfront fruit, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, pepper, herbs, mint, liquorice, warmth, concentrated, tiring to drink

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 165 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Ramos Pinto

Thursday, 23 April 2009

TN : Les Launes Rouge 2007, Crozes-Hermitage, Delas, France

This was a 375ml half bottle and is 100% Syrah.

Delas was founded in 1835 when Charles Audibert and Philippe Delas bought Maisons Junique, then a 40 year old winery. It was renamed Audibert and Delas. Philippe Delas had two sons, Henri and Florentin. The latter married the daughter of Charles Audibert. In 1924, the brothers succeeded to the founders and changed the name of the house to Delas Freres. After World War II, Florentin's son, Jean took over the reigns and was followed in 1960 by his son Michel. In need of capital, Michel approached Champagne Deutz. In 1977, Andre Lallier-Deutz, great-great-grandson of William Deutz, merged the two companies. In 1981, the house moved to its current premises in Saint Jean de Muzols, a small village located two kilometres north of Tournon. The winery building, set amidst the vineyards of the St. Joseph appellation, covers more than 3000 square meters. Delas Freres and Champagne Deutz were acquired by Champagne Louis Roederer in 1993. Andre Lallier retired from daily winery duties in 1996, and Fabrice Rosset, a 20-year executive with Roederer, took over the helm at both Delas and Deutz.

The current winemaker, Jacques Grange, joined Delas Freres on June 2, 1997. Jacques holds a degree in enology from the University of Dijon and has extensive winemaking experience, including a four-year stint at Chapoutier working directly with Michel Chapoutier on the 1991-1994 vintages.

Colour : Blueberry/red

Aroma : Spice, pepper, liquorice, blueberry

Taste : Blueberry and violets upfront, tartness, then white pepper followed by liquorice on finish

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 72 SEK

Mark : C+

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

TN : Tentation du Chateau Le Bourdillot 2006, White Graves, Bordeaux, France

This wine is a blend of 70% Semillion and 30% Sauvingon. It has been partly fermented in French oak barrels and then aged for 7 months in oak. It was bottled with a light filtering.

The wine won a gold medal at the Concours de Bordeaux Vins d'Aquitaine in 2007.

Chateau Le Bourdillot is an old wine producing estate that dates to at least 1818 and is located in the heart of the Graves region, southeast of the city of Bordeaux. The Chateau was aquired by the Haverlan family in 1906 and today fourth generation owner, Patrice Haverland manages the estate.

In 1958, a vine root was discovered in the vineyard in the form of Jesus Christ. This imate was affixed to a cross and blessed by the Bishop of Rhodesia during the 1959 Easter celebrations. This “Jesus of the Vines” is one of the curiosities of the estate.

Colour : Palish yellow

Aroma : Oak, minerals, lemon

Taste : Oak, crisp, minerals, lemon, nettles

Alcohol : 12%

Price : 105 SEK

Mark : B-

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Growing Wine in Stockholm

I was interested to read about Erik Rudhe who has planted wine grapes in Tynningö in the outskirts of Stockholm. I, myself, am considering planting some grapes on a trial basis in my front garden in Tyresö (suburb of Stockholm); probably Solaris as this is available from Gutevin and may do well. Erik is a lawyer who became a winemaker in his old age. Erik has been, for the last 23 years, busy cultivating grapes on Tynningö which lies between Värmdö and Vaxholm.

Erik started in 1985 on becoming a pensioner. He had a friend who was working in Bordeaux. Erik asked him if he thought he could grow grapes on Tynningö and his friend replied yes. This encouraged Erik and things began. Where Erik grows grapes is favourable, he has them on steep walls. Whilst there is frost elsewhere, the heat from the sea rises and protects his grapes. Both white and black grapes are grown. Amongst the many grape varieties that he grows are Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau, and Pinot Noir. He also cultivates Muscat of Alexandria. One of his wines is named Milchbutter Badstube; the name alludes to the German Mosel wine Bernkasteler Badstube. Erik normally bottles about 30 bottles each year but this can double in a really good year.

Website : Vinodlaren Tynningö

Bruce Cunningham, X Winery / Amicus Cellars

There was an Aussie, an Englishman, and an American in a Swedish Bar tasting Californian wines. Sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke !. On April 1st 2009, I met up with Bruce Cunningham and Brad Schultze at Berns Hotel in Stockholm. Bruce is the Director of Sales and Partner at X Winery/Amicus Cellars which is located in Napa, California. Brad is the Business Development Manager at Muram International AB. The meeting was kindly arranged by Brad.

X Winery is the core brand of Amicus Cellars. X Winery was started by Reed Renaudin in 2001; Reed is the winemaker and CEO. Amicus Cellars produces 15,000 cases a year for sale in fine-wine shops, restaurants and a downtown Napa tasting room. Amicus Cellars celebrates the connection between wine and friendship; "amicus" is the Latin word meaning "friends". X Winery symbolizes the crossroads of where innovative and traditional winemaking meet. Amicus Cellars is independently owned as has a staff of 8 persons. The initial impression of all their wines is the packaging which is eye-catching, modern, and suggests hi-tech. All of the wines are very drinkable and incredible value for the money.

During winemaking, X Winery uses enzymes for for increased juice extraction and cultured yeasts for better control during fermentation and specific aroma and flavour extraction. All of the bottles labels are silk-screened printed whereby the ink is applied directly to the bottle which is then baked.

We tasted (all prices are the suggested consumer price, in Swedish Kronor, as given by Muram International) :

  • X Winery 2007 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was made from 100% Musque clone and aged for 3 months in stainless steel drums. 148 SEK.
  • X Winery 2006 X3 Tri-County Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were sources from Lake County High Valley appellation, Sonoma County, and Yountville and St Helena in Napa County. 189 SEK.
  • X Winery 2006 Red X. This is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah, 12% Zinfandel, and 6% Petit Sirah. The grapes are 74% Lake County, 17% Paso Robles, and 9% Napa Valley. 148 SEK.
  • X Winery 2007 Nova Vineyards Zinfandel. The Nova Vineyard was planted in the mid 1960s. It is located on the benchlands of Kelseyville in Lake County. The vineyard is cerified as organic. 222 SEK.
  • X Winery 2005 Paso Robles Petit Sirah. This is a blend of 85% Paso Robles Petit Sirah, 10% Carneros AVA Syrah, and 5% High Valley AVA Cabernet Sauvignon. 248 SEK.
  • X Winery 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. 248 SEK.
  • Amicus Cellars 2005 Napa Valley Special Blend. This is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are 98% Napa Valley Spring Mountain and 2% Lake County. 436 SEK.
  • Amicus Cellars 2005 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes come from 96% Napa Valley Spring Mountain and 4% St Helena. This wine received 91 points from Robert Parker in December 2008. 580 SEK.
My personal favourites were the X Winery 2007 Nova Vineyards Zinfandel and the Amicus Cellars 2005 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

The X winery range of wines probably will not be in the Systembolaget ordinary range since they are too expensive for the price point. The Systembolaget has puts its buying on hold for the non-base programs for US wines for the time being. The X winery range would probably be submitted should the hold be lifted. It is forseen that Muram will be selling the range through restaurants and their wine club.

Gina Richmond is the winemaker and Christine 'Maclean' Adams (or Cmac for short) is the marketing guru and blog-engineer for X Winery. X Winery joined Twitter at the beginning of this year, 2009, and established a page on Facebook five months ago. Following company policy, Christine tweets at least three times a day and spends 20 to 40 minutes in social-network interaction : posting links to interesting stories, responding to posts by Twitter “followers” (now nearly up to 300 !) or Facebook “fans”, and uploading content on Facebook. “It is a whole new level of communicating with consumers that was not really there before,” she says. Cutting-edge communication fits well with the brand’s image as an innovator and with the company’s small staff and marketing budget.

Website : X winery / Amicus Cellars
Website : Muram International AB
Website : Bruce Cunnigham
Website : Bradford Schultze
Website : Christine Adams
Website : American Wine Club
Website : Wineries plug into Internet social networks, North Bay Business Journal, March 30th 2009

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

TN : Seghesio Zinfandel 2006, Sonoma County, California, USA

Edoardo Seghesio planted the first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley in 1895.

The wine was bottled under screwcap.

This wine was imported by Johan Lidby Vinhandel.

Colour : Purple, blue hues

Aroma : Blackberry, dark fruits, oak, mint, chocolate, smells much better than it tastes

Taste : Burning bitter astringent oak alcohol finish, blackberry, mint, chocolate, slight liqcourice

Alcohol :

Price : 165 SEK

Mark :

Website : Seghesio Family Vineyards
Website : Johan Lidby Vinhandel AB

TN : Two Tracks Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Wither Hills, Malborough, New Zealand

This wine was packaged in a 1.5 litre bag-in-box. It is made by Wither Hills and the winemaker was Ben Glover. Total acidity is 7.2 grammes per litre and the residual sugar is 5 grammes per litre.

This wine was imported by WineWorld AB.

Colour : Pale straw

Aroma : Blackcurrant leaf, lime, gooseberry, cut grass

Taste : Overwhelming cut grass and sharp gooseberry, blackcurrant leaf, bracing mouthwatering acidity, lime

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 179 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Wither Hills
Website : WineWorld AB

Thursday, 9 April 2009

TN : Ascender Cellars Shiraz 2008, Broken Plough Vineyard, Barossa Valley, Australia

This wine was packaged in a 1500ml (two bottle) bag-in-box. It is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Petit Verdot. There was a pre-fermentation maceration for a week and then alcoholic fermentation was started at 28 degrees and then fell to 23 degrees. Pumping over was performed every seventh hour. One gramme per litre of French oak powder and American oak chips were added during alcoholic fermentation. Part of the wine was stored in two year old French and American barriques and part in steel tanks with American oak staves inserted.

Broken Plough Vineyard was founded in 2000 and is owned by Jim Moulardellis.

Colour : Deep purple

Aroma : Vanilla, oak, plum, blackberry, herbs

Taste : Liquorice and warmth on finish, blackberry, herbs, oak, vanilla

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 179 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Austwine

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

TN : Les Remparts des Ceps Dores Rose 2008, Cave des Vignerons a Sablet, Cotes du Rhone, France

The wine was sealed with a screwcap and was bottled in 375ml (half-bottle) format. It is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault. Fermentation was in stainless steel tanks.

The cooperative was founded in 1935 and has 150 members who together own over 550 hectares of vineyards. The winemaker was Bernard Degoul.

This wine was imported by Premium Wines Sweden AB.

Colour : Bright strawberry red

Aroma : Herbs, strawberry, raspberry

Taste : Dry, herbs, strawberry, raspberry

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 45 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Premium Wine Sweden AB

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Bernard Magrez Luxury Wine Tourism

Bernard Magrez has now branched out into more luxury wine tourism; in recent years, it has been possible to visit Pape Clement and the accompanying wine shop. A dedicated web site will be open very soon.

There are four packages currently on offer, a minimum of two persons is needed :

  • La Vie de Chateau, from 990 Euros per person, 1 day and 1 night
  • Secrets de Grands Crus, from 1790 Euros per person, 3 days and 2 nights
  • Envolee d'Exception, from 5390 Euros per person, 3 days and 2 nights
  • Echappee Belle en Rolls Royce, from 2490 Euros per person, 4 days and 3 nights

La Vie de Chateau consists of a private tour of Chateau Pape Clement, a tasting of the Grand Vin, lunch in the chateau park, a drive in a Rolls Royce to Bordeaux, dinner in dining room, and one night in one of the Chateau's bedrooms.

Secrets de Grands Crus consists of dining at Pape Clement, overnight stay at Pape Clement, tour of Pape Clement, picnic in the park of Pape Clement, private tour of Chateau Fombrauge and village of St Emilion, dining at Chateau Fombrauge, overnight stay at Chateau Fombrauge, tour of Chateau La Tour Carnet, and medieval dinner at Chateau La Tour Carnet.

Envolee d'Exception consists of a dinner and overnight stay at Pape Clement, helicopter tour, tour and tasting at Chateau La Tour Carnet, lunch at Chateau Perenne, tour, tasting, dinner, and overnight stay at Chateau Fombrauge, drive in Rolls Royce to tour St Emilion, lunch at a restaurant in Bordeaux, walking tour of Bordeaux, and finally a tour and tasting at Chateau Pape Clement.

Echappee Belle en Rolls Royce consists of a dinner, two overnight stays, tour, and lunch at Pape Clement, lunch in Bordeaux, tour, lunch, evening meal, and overnight stay at Chateau Fombrauge, walking around St Emilion, and lastly a tour of Chateau La Tour Carnet followed by lunch on the banks of the moat at La Tour Carnet.

Website : Luxury Wine Tourism
Website : Chateau Pape Clement

Monday, 6 April 2009

Systembolaget New Wines May 2009

The new newsletter Varunytt detailing the set of new wines that will be for sale in May 2009 from the Systembolaget monopoly stores in Sweden can now be downloaded from their website in PDF format. The wines can be purchased from Saturday 2nd May 2009.

Website : Systembolaget Varunytt Maj 2009

TN : Claremont Reserve Cabernet Sauvingon 2006, The Directors Cellars, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia

The Directors series is the highest tier price range of Claremont Wines.

This wine was imported by WSB The Beverage Company AB.

Les Sampson was the winemaker.

Colour : Dark red

Aroma : Vanilla, mint, chocolate, blackberry

Taste : Mint, chocolate, blackberry, blackcurrant, vanilla, herbs

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 159 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Claremont Wines
Website : WSB The Beverage Company AB

TN : Duorum, Colheita, Duorum Vinhos. Duoro, Portugal

On the label it states "from the Golden River Valley". This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, and Touriga Franca. Jose Maria Soares Franco was the winemaker. Duorum in Latin means "from two" and respresents the desire to combine oenological activities with Joao Portugal Ramos.

Colour : Red/purple

Aroma : Spice, violets, vanilla, dark berries

Taste : Blackberries, violets, earthy, fruity, oak, vanilla

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 99 SEK

Mark : C+

TN : De Martino Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2006, Quebrada Seca, Limari Vineyard, Chile

The Quebranda Seca vineyard lies in the Northern Limari Valley locate 22 km from the Pacific ocean. The vines are planted on an alluvial terrace which has a clay content of higher than 50% with calcium carbonate components in the sub-soil. Marcelo Retamal was the winemaker. De Martino have been around since 1934.

This wine was imported by Domaine Wines.

Colour : Yellow with green hues

Aroma : Pistachio nuts, butter, lemon, pineapple

Taste : Citrus fruit, nutty, nice long crisp clean acidic finish, mouthwatering, lemons, lime, pineapple

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 139 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Vina De Martino
Website :
Domaine Wines

Systembolaget Wines in Stock Count Wrong

It is possible to see how many bottles of each wine are in stock at each Systembolaget store in Sweden by browsing the Systembolaget website. This is the theory but currently the numbers quoted for the flagship store in Regeringsgatan in Stockholm are complete rubbish. I have no idea of the validity of the figures for any other store.

Friday, 3 April 2009

TN : Allegrini Valpolicella Superiore 2005, DOC, Italy

The wine is a blend of 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Oseleta. The grapes were hand-harvested during the first week of October. After crushing, the must was macerated for one week at a temperature between 25 to 31 degrees. All of the wine spent one year in oak; half in Slavonian oak and the other half in 225 litre French oak.

This wine was imported by VinUnic.

Colour : Plum/red

Aroma : Plums, cherries, rum raisin, slight spice

Taste : Spice, cherry, oak, plums, rum raisins

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 99 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Allegrini
Website : VinUnic

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

VinUnic Newsletter April 2009

Just posted is the April 2009 newsletter from VinUnic. It can be downloaded from their website in PDF format. Just two wines launched this month, a Valpolicella from Allegrini and a rose from Spain.

Website : VinUnic Våra Viner April 2009

TN : De Martino Single Vineyard Carmenere 2006, Alto de Piedra, Maipo Valley, Chile

The organic Alto de Piedras vineyard is an alluvial terrace from the Quaternary era (700 years ago). The soil is a combination of sand, lime, and clay.

The grapes were harvested during the second week of May. Before fermentation, the grapes underwent a cold maceration for week at 8 degrees. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 15 months. It is suggested that this wine can be cellared for up to 7 years and I would suggest leaving it 2 years to see if the oak is mellowing and the fruit is still present. Marcelo Retamal was the winemaker. De Martino have been around since 1934.

This wine was imported by Domaine Wines.

Colour : Purple/black

Aroma : Blackcurrant, blackberry, green pepper, oak

Taste : Concentrated fruit, overwhelming toasty oak on finish (will this calm down and integrate in 2-3 years time ??), blackcurrant, green peppers, blackberry

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 139 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Vina De Martino
Website :
Domaine Wines