Saturday, 31 July 2010

TN : Changyu Dry Red Wine, China

I could find no markings on either the front or back label to tell me what vintage this was or what grapes were used to produce this wine. This wine tasted like an average Bordeaux in a poor year.

Although the history of grape planting and wine making in China dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), the industrialized production of wine was started by ChangYu byMr. Chang Bishi.

In recognition of its great contribution to the development of global wine-making, Yantai City, ChangYu's hometown, is the only city in China to be honored with the title of “International Vine and Wine City”.

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : Oak, blackcurrants, plum, burnt toast

Taste : Green, toast, plum, blackcurrant

Alcohol : 12%

Mark : C-

TN : Wild Rock Gravel Pit Red Merlot Malbec 2008, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

The winemaker was Matt Stafford. The wine is a blend of Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. This wine was sealed with a screwcap.

This wine was imported by Divine AB.

Colour : Blackberry

Aroma : Mint, plums, blackberry, milk chocolate, spice

Taste : Fruity, blackberry, spice, milk chocolate, plums

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 99 SEK

Website : Wild Rock Wine Company
Website : Divine AB

TN : Jean Stodden Spaetburgunder 2007, Ahr, Germany

The Rotweingut Jean Stodden red wine estate is located in the small town of Rech in the Ahr wine-growing region in Germany. The family has a long wine-making tradition, and has been growing grapes in the Ahr valley since 1578. Alois Stodden started vinifying his own Pinot Noir grapes in 1900. Today the estate is run by Gerhard Stodden, who is regarded as one of the best red wine producers in Germany. His eldest son Alexander has taken over responsibility for the vineyards in the Neuenahrer Sonnenberg site.

The first vintage of the "Next Generation" Pinot Noir in the 2001 vintage caused quite a stir. The vineyard area totals 6,5 hectares, with holdings in the following sites: Rosenthal (Ahrweiler), Burggarten and Hardtberg (Dernau), Sonnenberg (Neuenahr), Mönchberg (Mayschoss) as well as Blume, Hardtberg and Herrenberg (Rech). 85% of the area is planted with Pinot Noir, the remainder is planted with Riesling, Pinot Madeleine, Dornfelder and Dunkelfelder. The red wines are matured in new barriques for a minimum of 16 months, some for longer, and are partly also matured in large oak vats. Bottle-fermented sparkling wines (Pinot Noir, Riesling) and grappa-style spirits are also produced. The estate has been a member of the VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitäts-Weingüter) association since 2005.

Colour : Bright pale strawberry

Aroma : Red berries, stems, ginger

Taste : Raspberry, strawberry, coca cola, stemmy, ginger, spice, thin

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 13.99 Euro (Galeria, Munich, Germany)

Mark : C

Website : Jean Stodden

TN : Heger Rose Q 2009, Joachim, Heger, Baden, Germany

Colour : Salmon pink

Aroma : Red berries, almonds, herbs

Taste : Explosion of red berries, very fruity, spritzy, almonds and herbs on finish

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : B+

Website : Weingut Heger

TN : Albia Rose 2009, IGT, Barone Ricasoli, Tuscany, Italy

After a mild winter, spring set off with quite rigid temperatures but they gradually rose as the season wore on with peaks over 30 degrees at the end of May 2009, also rainfall was stable around 200mm. The summer was characterized by very hot days especially during the early hours in the afternoon during the months of July and August with temperatures often over 35 degrees. The rainfall, never heavy and without hail, was concentrated during the months of June and July. Towards the end of summer, from the 15th to the 20th of September, a continuous rainfall refreshed the soil that was very dry due to a long period without rain. Autumn was initially mild and dry, with a brisk fall in temperature, even down to 10°C; during the same period the rainfall intensified. The heavy spring and winter rains created a good water reserve allowing the plants to regularly carry out all of their growth phases. Despite the strong heat which had characterized the months of July and August, the mid-September rains and the lower temperatures, permitted the phenol ripening to be end. Merlot grapes were harvested from August 26th to September 15th and Sangiovese was picked from October 10th to October 20th.

The wine is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. Fermentation temperature was between 11 and 16 degrees and the wine was aged in stainless steel vats. The wine was bottled in mid-January 2010.

This wine was sealed with a screwcap.

Colour : Pink strawberry

Aroma : Vanilla, strawberry, grapefruit

Taste : Grapefruit, strawberry, herbs, spritzy

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 89 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Barone Ricasoli

TN : Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Concha Y Toro, Puente Alto, Chile

This single vineyard Don Melchor originates from 114 hectares at Puente Alto in the Alto Maipo valley at the foot of the Andes mountains. In 1984, Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle's vision for the vineyard compelled him to send samples of wine to enologists in Bordeaux to taste. Jacques Boissenot's enthusiasm was immediate and he has been involved in the making of every vintage since. The winemaker was Enrique Tirado.

This wine is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc.

This wine received 94 points in the January 2009 Wine Spectator and 95 points in the April 2009 Wine Advocate.

Colour : Dark blackcurrant

Aroma : Blackcurrant, toast, coffee, cherry liqour, green pepper

Taste : Intense blackcurrant fruit, toast, coffee, oak, green pepper, sandalwood, drying tannins on finish, try again after a year or two

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 349 SEK

Mark : B+

Website : Concha Y Toro

TN : Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett 2008, Mosel, Germany

The estate is located in the commune of Bernkasel-Graach in the Mosel. It is owned by Willi & Christoph Schaefer. The vineyard area totals three hectares, with holdings in the top-rated Graacher Domprobst and Himmelreich sites, as well as in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr site. The area is planted exclusively with Riesling. Most of the wines are fermented with natural yeasts in traditional 1000-litre oak barrels, and then matured in these same barrels. The estate is a member of the VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitäts-Weingüter) association.

This wine was imported by Origo Wine

Colour : Very pale yellow

Aroma : Slight honey, green apple, melon, oranges, mineral

Taste : Honey, melon, pineapple, oranges, lemon, mouth watering acidity, long finish

Alcohol : 7.5%

Price : 169 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Origo Wine

Thursday, 29 July 2010

TN : The Ojai Vineyard Syrah 2006, Santa Barbara County, California, USA

This wine was imported by Divine AB.

Colour : Deep red/black cherry

Aroma : Spice, pepper, blackberry, meaty, liqourice, violets

Taste : Spice and pepper on finish, meaty, liqourice, blackberry, toast

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 259 SEK

Website : The Ojai Vineyard
Website : Divine AB

TN : Craggy Range Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008, Te Muna Road Vineyard, Martinborough, New Zealand

Te Muna means "secret place". This 33 hectare vineyard is planted with eight clones of Pinot Noir in more than 40 different parcels. From these parcels, the grapes are hand picked and fermented with indigenous yeasts before spending over a year in small French oak barrels without racking. The average Brix at harvest was 24.4, the average yield was 25 hectolitres per hectare.

5% of the grapes were fermented as whole bunch and 95% were destemmed. Fermentation was in open top oak tanks using indigenous yeast. The barrel type used was French barriques of which 33% were new. Maturation was ten months on lees. There was no fining. The wine was filtered before bottling in March 2009.

The pH was 3.62 and acidity was 5.5 grammes per litre.

Colour : Light red

Aroma : Stewed red fruits, strawberry, cherry, spice

Taste : Very fruity upfront, oak, long spicy finish, earthy, stewed red fruits, tannins on finish

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 329 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Craggy Range

TN : Rene Couly Chinon Rose 2009, Couly-Dutheil, Loire, France

This wine is made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes grown on gravel and sand based soil. All of the grapes were hand-harvested and the yield was 45 hectolitres per hectare. The wine was bottled six months after harvest.

Colour : Bright strawberry

Aroma : Herbs, jellied strawberries, raspberry

Taste : Strawberry, herbs, redcurrants, spitzy, long finish

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 120 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Couly-Dutheil

Sunday, 25 July 2010

TN : Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough,New Zealand

This wine was sealed with a screwcap.

Colour : Pale yellow

Aroma : Gooseberry, blackcurrant leaf

Taste : Gooseberry, blackcurrant, green apple, lemon, minerals, nettles

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 129 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Kim Crawford Wines

TN : Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley, Australia

The many parcels making up this wine were crushed into and fermented in open top vessels, with regular pump overs three times daily to extract flavours, colour and tannins. The batches were then drained and pressed to tank and then racked to barrel for oak maturation where the wine spent twelve months in hogsheads (12% new French oak and the balance in one to four year old French oak). The pH is 3.38 and the acidity is 6.9. The winemaker was Matthew Wenk.

This wine was sealed with a screwcap.

Two hands are Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz who formed the company in 1999. Michael Twelftree, initially from a construction background, spent a number of years exporting Australian wine to the USA and Asia. Richard Mintz, a chartered accountant, was formerly CEO of one of Australia's leading cooperages in the Barossa Valley.

Colour : Dark blackberry

Aroma : Blackberry, raspberry, liqourice, milk chocolate

Taste : Blackberry, blackcurrant, liqourice, raspberry, milk chocolate, violets, spice

Alcohol : 15%

Price : 189 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Two Hands Wines

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

TN : Chateau de Chantegrive 2007, White, Vignobles Leveque Proprietaires, Graves, Bordeaux, France

This wine is a blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon.

Colour : Yellow, green hues

Aroma : Nettles, citrus, blackcurrant

Taste : Citrus, minerals, blackurrant, leafy

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 109 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Chateau de Chantegrive

TN : Great Wall Cabernet Sauvignon, China

Colour : Red

Aroma : Herbs, blackcurrants, plums

Taste : Thin, blackcurrant, herbs, plums

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 98 RMB

Mark : C-

Website : Great Wall Wine

Monday, 19 July 2010

TN : Staete Landt Syrah 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand

Staete Landt is pronounced "state land". The name comes from New Zealand's first map made by the explorer Abel Tasman in 1642.

The grapes for this wine were grown on old stony riverbed soils in the Rapaura region. The grapes are planted in two different parcels of three different clones on three different rootstocks. There is a total of nine rows covering two acres. All of the grapes were hand-harvested. The grapes were then cold soaked before alcoholic fermentation (30% whole berries). The wine was matured in French oak barrels for 17 months.

Colour : Red

Aroma : Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, meaty, spice

Taste : Northern Rhone-like in style, lots of toast, a bit thin, strawberry, raspberry, meaty, warm finish, white pepper

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 199 SEK

Mark : B-

TN : Chateau Teyssier 2004, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France

The winemaker was Jonathan Maltus who also makes wine in the Barossa Valley in Australia.

This wine is mostly Merlot with the rest being Cabernet Franc. The grapes are grown in the communes of Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens and Vignonet.

Colour : Red, plum

Aroma : Plums, spicy, oak

Taste : Plums, pencil lead finish, spicy, oak, tannic grip on finish, store for a couple more years for tannins to soften and then try again

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 219 SEK

Mark : B-

Website : Chateau Teyssier

Sunday, 18 July 2010

TN : Eagles' Nest Shiraz 2007, Constantia, South Africa

The vineyards are planted on extreme uppermost mountain slopes in the Constantia Valley located at almost 400 metres above sea level. The vineyard soils are decomposed granite which have been shaped into terraces.

This wine was sealed with a screwcap.

This is yet another South African red wine that has notes of burnt rubber and burnt black toast that does not appeal to my taste. However, the wine had some great fruit.

Colour : Dark red, blue hues

Aroma : Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, oak, spice, milk chocolate

Taste : Burnt rubber, blackberry, burnt toast, minerals, blueberry, pepper, coffee

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 299 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Eagles' Nest

Wine in China June 2010

I was recently in Shenzhen in China for 10 days. Whilst there I checked out the wine scene from a foreigners point of view. I stayed in the Nanshan district (the tourist part).

In the hotel, Seaview O'City Hotel, they served Concha Y Toro Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc which were gluggable but nothing special but the price was ok.

There is such a thing as "Chinese Wine" but it is just licqour. I tried to locate the local Grace Vineyards store but even with the address the taxi driver could not find it. There was a local licqour store next to the hotel which sold a few Chinese wines and a few French wines.

There was a wine store in the nearby shopping mall, Holiday Plaza, called Ole which had a good selection of wines including a back catalogue of first growths but the prices were double what they would be in Europe.

Shenzhen is in mainland China but next to Hong Kong. Hong Kong duty free shop on the border had a selection of Bordeaux wines which were slightly more expensive than in Sweden but they had wines which were unobtainable in Sweden (but that is difficult since Sweden is a closed monopolist wine market dictated by the government).

I bought three bottles of Chinese wine, one of which was quite good. I will report on these later but I didn't find an undrinkable bottle.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

TN : Clarendelle Rose 2009, Clarence Dillon Wines, Bordeaux, France

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

Colour : Bright redcurrant

Aroma : Raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, herbs

Taste : Red fruits, vanilla, herbs, redcurrant, dry

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : B

Website : Clarendelle

TN : Bramare Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Vina Cobos, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

Bramare (Brah-MAH-reh) is the Italian word meaning "to yearn for".

Colour : Dark blackberry

Aroma : Milk chocolate, blackcurrant, pepper, savoury, cherry

Taste : Blackcurrant, cherry, toast, vanilla, pepper, liqourice

Alcohol : 16.5%

Price : 249 SEK

Mark : B+

Website : Vina Cobos
Website : Paul Hobbs Imports

TN : Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay 2007, Horse Heaven Hills, Chateau Ste Michelle, USA

The vineyard is planted on a steep south-facing slope above the Columbia river.

This wine is imported by VinUnic.

Colour : Yellow, green hues

Aroma : Nuts, apples, oranges, butter

Taste : Nuts, buttered toast, oranges, citrus, green apple

Alcohol : 14.5%

Price : 209 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Chateau Ste Michelle
Website : VinUnic