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A quick tasting note: Si Vintners Sophie

photo (1)Dear blogger,

I have to say that it’s nice to get emails from afar, but it’s even nicer when these emails state that the reason for their contact is due to this blog (yes, this very blog you are reading – for the first time in 3 months – yes, I know..).

I also get emails from winemakers who would like me to taste their wine because they think that I might enjoy them. I have been disappointed a few times I must admit, but when Polish-born Iwo Jakimowicz emailed me one year ago (27/05/2012), I was intrigued. For one, I  live in Poland.  Two, this Polish-born winemaker claimed to make “natural” wine in Australia. Not only is Australia literally distant, but often their wines were distant as well – from the natural wine world.  I knew that they are making strides when it came to making wine with minimal intervention, but these examples were hard to find in Europe, especially in Poland

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Australia, biodynamic wine, Margaret River, natural wine (just about)

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A tasting note: 2001 Domaine Valette Mâcon-Chaintré V.V. Magnum

Hailing from the southern reaches of the Burgundy wine region in France, one can often expect low-acid ripe Chardonnay’s, plenty of oak, and doses of sulfur to make the eyes and nose sting.  This wine seemed to have escaped these cliché’s nicely. For one, the wine was not lacking acidity, and at 10 years of age, this is not an everyday feat. Secondly, although there was some oak use, it was used judicially and had integrated quite nicely in this wine. Thirdly, no stinging of the eyes and nose, a great indication that sulfur was used in very low doses.

I don’t know much about this producer, nor could I find much out utilizing my usual information-gathering tactics.  Philippe Valette is well-known for working naturally, and that’s about all I could gather. You could read a bit more here.

Date tasted: January 11th, 2012 at 21:15

I don’t mind waxed bottle tops, in fact I rather love them. They signal to me that something interesting awaits me under that cork. Often used on the tops of natural wines, my palate immediately starts to salivate. Not unlike Pavlov’s dog hearing that bell jingling. And, let’s face it, perhaps it helps keep unwanted oxygen out of the bottle. No? However, this wax was not soft and easy to remove. It had hardened into something like cement which I had to chip away into little pieces to reveal the cork. But once I got to the cork and removed it, this is what I found:

Appearance:  Golden-yellow color, age not immediately evident on this 10 year old

Nose:  Jura-like nose, first thoughts were: What, Tissot? But, a little more delicate. Mineral. I wasn’t immediately sure whether this wine was oxidizized (either from age or wine-making) or if those yeasty-like, “flor-like” notes were from wood. Some Burgundy wines, especially the whites, seemed to go through some growing pains in the late 80’s and early 90’s, with some wines showing some premature oxidation.  Let’s give this magnum some time…

Palate:  Dry with  refreshing acidity. Balanced and long. Interesting at first sips, the wine quickly started to head in the wrong direction. It seemed to start closing and masking the fruit. Even showing some signs of oxidation on the palate.  Have we waited too long to drink this wine? Did we open it too soon? Burgundy is always challenging.

It sooned fooled me into thinking that the wine had hit its prime a few years earlier. Is this possible? Slipping so quickly? A magnum!

 

But…as more time passed, the wine started to change. Those funky oxidized aromas that this wine hid behind, began to lift. Fruit began to shine and the Chardonnay character really started to come thru. The wine became more focused, the acid more lively. Good thing this was a magnum….it gave us enough wine to allow these changes to come around before the wine was completely drunk up.

One thing to note is that very often the Chardonnay’s from the Mâcon can be quite oily, fat and rich. The only thing this magnum had in common with those charcteristics was the oiliness. It had great texture, mouth feel, concentration and structure.. what else? It wasn’t a fat wine, nor was it rich, and I am grateful for this actually.

And yet again,  Burgundy has challenged us, fooled us, played with us. When we reached the end of the bottle, it left us  wanting more just so that we could continue to see the evolution that unfolded in our glasses. A wine I would gladly drink again

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Burgundy, France, Mâcon-Chaintré, natural wine (just about)

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A tasting note: 2005 Franco Terpin Ribolla Gialla

Azienda Agricola Franco Terpin
Loc. Valerisce n°6/a
34170 – San Floriano del collio – Go
Tel +39 0481 884215
If you haven’t yet tasted the wines from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia area of Italy, then perhaps you should.  Sitting in the furthermost North East Corner of Italy bordering Slovenia, this wine region has been getting a lot of attention lately. Is this because the majority of Italian skin-macerated whites (aka orange wines) hail from this region? Is it because the  region produces age-worthy, mineral wines that make you sit back and say “huh…what grape was this again?”?  Is it because this is the home of many natural wines, which also gets a lot of attention these days?  I would place a check-mark next to “all of the above” because these wines are serious.  And many are seriously good!

Most  of the producers (and grapes) in this area of Italy have names that the rest of Italy cannot pronounce. Take Vodopivec for example and the only grape they vinify, the Vitovoska. Even the wines made in this corner of Italy stray from the every-day wines that the average Italian recognizes and consumes. Yet, these are very much wines. These are living wines, often made only with grapes. Nothing added, nothing taken.

The wine for this tasting note was produced by Franco Terpin. A little easier to pronounce, yet far from typical.  Franco farms in a natural fashion without the  use of industrial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.  “The vine listens. The vine understands”, says Franco.  Franco says that the Ribolla Gialla (called Rebula in this area) is difficult to grow and he only vinifies it in exceptional vintages. Harvest is done by hand, fermentation  (initially in steel) is spontaneous thanks to the extended skin contact.  The wine is then transferred to oak where it spends about one year on the lees. It  is then transferred to stainless steel where it spends another year. Then it’s bottled without fining or filtering and is left to rest for yet another year before going for sale.  Approximately 2500 bottles produced.  This wine is not available in Norway or Poland.

Date tasted: Tuesday May 17th – Norwegian Independence day – 1845

Appearance: a slightly cloudy, orange-hued wine with a high intensity reflection. I just love the look of orange wines!

Nose: Oak  jumps out of the glass at first, with hints of reduction. Not a lot of fruit showing at this time. Mineral.  Some orange peel emerging, but the wine is still closed and not showing well yet. Some very slight, slight balsamic hints.

Palate: mineral, dry and surprisingly, the oak is less evident on the palate. The wine is quite intense on the palate and ends (many seconds after first entering the mouth) with a slight bitterness.  Medium-high acidity. Alcohol seems high, yet is well-integrated. The wood dries out the mouth very slightly, but not offensively . Very focused finish. Reminds of the peach iced-tea I just drank.  Super food wine i would imagine.

Wine is decanted………


Same night at  20:25:

Appearance hasn’t changed

Nose: More fruit has emerged. No sign of oak anymore. More herbs.

Palate: Still quite mineral. Oily. Orange peel. Pork fat, bacon. Alcohol is the only disturbance here, but the wine has been sitting in a decanter for almost two hours at room temp. Sits a long time on the palate. again, serious food wine. Fatty, oily. Texture is nice.

as we finished the last sips about an hour later, the wine had developed the sort of texture that helped the wine  just slip easily down the throat


 


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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Cloudy reds, murky whites and loads of pig – BRAWN!

If you go to London, read my blog and like to drink the same sort of wines that I like to drink, then Brawn is a must the next time in your London!  Brawn, the baby brother to the well-established Terroirs, is the sort of restaurant I could eat & drink at every night!  A laid back sort of place where the service, food and wine are the focus here. No fancy table cloths.  This is the sort of place that oozes with passion and it’s easy to see that everyone is having a good time working there.  I also want to thank the staff, especially Maxime & Louise for seating a group of our size. We were 18 people, 19 including David (the local  importer of Frank Cornelissen wines), and they normally limit the size of their groups to 12. So for this, I am extremely grateful because if i had missed the opportunity to eat at Brawn, i would have been seriously bummed.  Enough said.

What we drank:

Camillo Donati Malvasia Rosé / Puzelat Pétillant Naturel

Overnoy – need i say more?! too bad they only 3 or 4 bottles!

Panevino Vigne Vecchie. Again, too bad they only had 3 bottles of this beauty!

Yes, that is a Magma back there. 2007. Thank you David!

Sébastien Riffault Sancerre. A sauvignon blanc w/o cat piss…

Tenuta Grillo Pratosciutto dolcetto – too much wood influence for my buds

Olivier Cousin V V  Grolleau. cool and yummy. some oak, but i like it anyway.

I have to ask Maxime what this was. Something was said about residual sugar and cheese.. But, I don’t remember tasting it.. hmmm.

Zidarich Vitovska Magnum. ok. not going to complain. but i prefer Vodopivec for this lovely, mineral grape. so sue me.

David decanting the Magma. Photo accurately depicts our vision by this time in the evening 🙂  Just one thing to say about the Magma: wait 5 years to re taste.. Oh, and thanks David! One of the highlights of the evening for sure

If I remember correctly, an unsulfured Cortese from Valli Unite BiB..?  Very interesting, and a pleasure to taste. A tad green for my buds.

How i finished the evening – sharing this bottle of Ganevat (Jura) with Maxime, Louise and Ed the chef

And what we ate:

oysters, no doubt!

And let the pork begin! That country terrine was nice!

some shellfish!  Great broth!!

oven baked pork on a bed of chick peas, and a bitter salad of radicchio!  rustic and delicious!

Pork rinds! wouldn’t have been complete without!

Of course, cheese. If I remember correctly, all English

Apple pie? who remembers! just look at those beautiful glasses of wine!

And no night out in London would be complete without a chance meeting and greeting with the great Jancis Robinson, who obviously also appreciates the sort of wines that Brawn is serving!  respect!

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, BRAWN!, natural wine (just about)

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A tasting note: 2004 Clos de l'Origine Fan de Voile


I’ve written about Marc Barriot and his Clos de l’Origine before, so if you wanna refresh your memory, click here. The wine i wrote about was one of his whites, but this is something completely different. It’s not red, that’s for sure, but it’s not really white either. Rather, this wine glows much like radiator anti-freeze fluid.. What? yup.. it does, check it out:

Date tasted:  January 26th, 2011 21:00

Appearance: Orange, brown, greenish color. Much like radiator fluid?? The grenache gris is a light red colored grape which with some skin contact should give the wine a pinkish-orange hue.. Judging by the look of this wine (the color), it does suggest some oxidative wine making techniques.

Nose: at first whiff, reminds of an oloroso sherry, or better yet, a Marsala. It is an oxidized style wine. It does have a bit sharper aromas with some citrus, orange peels. Almonds, raw. Dusty, wet stones. Hints of caramelized nuts as well on the back. Hints of espresso. Strange wine. Sherry-like tones are what I keep coming back to. Pecan pie? I should also say that the aromas jump out of the glass and you can smell it from feet away.

Palate: Bone dry. Slightly nutty at first with some citrus peel and mineral. Nuts come back after swallowing. A bit of an alcohol sting, but not too much warmth. Very, very slight hints of rancio, with the dried, spiced fruit. Oxidative style really dominates. Fresh and rather light with a pretty good structure. It’s actually quite drinkable for this style of wine, but i still think I’d rather share the bottle. Semi-long, semi-sweet finish.

I wonder what Marc eats with this wine? Cheese? Charcuterie?? Or is it just as an aperitif?  I don’t love it. I don’t hate it…hmmmm, I’ll have to try it again tomorrow.

January 27th, 2011 17:15

Nose: sweeter aromas today and more spicy notes. I swear i can smell dried apricots and more candied nuts. Much less noticeable alcohol on the nose today as well. I have to say that i am a bit surprised at how this has changed overnight for the better. Some of those oxidized notes that were so dominant yesterday have sort of «oxygenated» and burn off… an oxygenated oxidized wine?

Hmmm. My mouth is watering as I nose this glass…

Palate: Much «sweeter» on the palate today as well. Again, those apricots and candied nuts that I found on the nose. Alcohol also less noticeable than yesterday. A slight, very pleasant bitter almond finish appears today, and i love it. This is a great aperitif. Something about this also reminds me a bit of a vermouth, like Martini Rosso (minus the sugar). Know what I mean?

The finish is also longer and sits on the middle of the tongue, and the roof of the mouth. Like sucking on a candy.

I am enjoying this wine much more today than i did yesterday. Has this wine opened up and improved since yesterday? Am I more relaxed today? Is it a «better drinking day»? Or is it just because the wine is a few degrees cooler today giving it all these positive attributes? I don’t know. I know only that this is damn good right now. There is something about this wine that makes it much more quaffable than yesterday.

On January 30th, a few days after i started writing this tasting note, I got this message from Marc describing this wine:

“The Vin de voile is a mistake. he came from the quilles Libres 2004 grenache gris. i harvest the grenache gris the 20/08/2004, fermentation in big barrel for 30 days, then aging in barrels outside, bottling direct from the cask, only 13 % alcohol, a dry and fine rancio!!.

the color was a big rosé, so i put it outside in used barrels for 365 days. after sun, rain and wind it became a nice ‘ptit Vin Jaune” …

i decided to bottle it (600 bottles). i have 192 bottles left. pretty hard to sell in France when it is not a vin jaune !!

it is very good with cheese and foie gras or such spicy meals, but French are very chauvinistic so i keep drinking it slowly and give for special tasting…”

In a separate message, he confirms that this was his first vintage with this grape variety:

“the famous grenache gris which skin color is red, so at harvest when i press a bit too much, i extract too much color… and so it became a nice rosé!!

it takes time to like it, try whit a manchego, anchovies and pizza or foie gras (half cooked) if you still have some…”

January 31th 2220

Appearance: Slightly more brownish in color as you see from this photo. This was to be expected as this wine is oxidized to begin with.

Nose: Aromas still jumping out of the glass as I pour the wine. Very «sticky». Marsala-like. Rancio more than on the previous days – these are my initial impressions as i am pouring the wine. I have yet to nose the glass. As I nose the glass I get very intense, nutty aromas today. Less fruity than on previous days. Walnuts. Nocino (walnut liquor). Worn leather.

Palate: Definitely more oxidized on the palate with some persistent bitter-sweet tones. Alcohol again more integrated. Long finish. Very marasala like and still very savory. I would definitely like this wine as an aperitif or with some nuts and cheese. .

I have tasted most of Marc Barriot’s wines. I like them all, but I have to say that my favorite is still the 2008 P’Tit Barriot which he has bottled in 2 lots.  The first bottling/Lot 1 –  “a very small parcel of old syrah on gneiss soil in Latour. i kept it for 4 years , very old and very low yield.”   Marc is currently bottling Lot 2 of this wine and here is the difference – “the second petit B is produced on the new terroir of Caudies far at the end of the department of 66, altitude quite high 360 m, limestone and schiste soil, lot’s of bird, bees, grass so a big Life over there!! no neighbour, very quite and lovely name: L’amourouse in catalan mean the lover.  It is a carbonic maceration aged in barrel(6 months) and tank until now to loose the technologic aromas and get the terroirs taste of these very “green region” which is the fenouilledes compare to the moon of “Maury” ??

For me, the P’Tit Barriot is full of personality and should be tasted if you have the chance.  I find it very quaffable and easy to like.  And who can resist the label..


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, France, Maury, natural wine (just about), orange wine, Roussillon

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A Tasting Note: Valli Unite Dolcetto Diogene 2009

What?! A cooperative making wines without the addition of Sulfur?! Is this possible? Yes it is!  The Valli Unite coop in Alessandria, Piemonte was formed over 30 years ago by three men who merged their vineyards and built stalls for their farm animals in order to use organic manure.  They saw organic farming as the way of the future, and from this was born the Valli Unite coop.

Today, they are a group of 25 people working together.  Their viticulture follows closely the belief that wine drinkers should drink  little, but well.  In their wine production, the aim is to let the wine remain as alive as possible so that it is the true reflection of the grape.  They use old cement vats to ferment their reds later transferring them to barrels.  This wine was bottled without filtration. No sulfur was used from the beginning of fermentation to time of bottling.  Here are my thoughts:

Date Tasted:  November 7th, 2010 20:42 (8:42pm) – decanted after 5 minutes

Appearance: Dark purple with light purple edges. Great color extraction and very young in appearance.

Nose: Dark berries, especially black berries with fresh red fruits in the background. «frutti di bosco» (forest berries). Slightly reductive… will decant… purple gooseberries and hints of barnyard and crushed, dried leafs. Smells like a freshly fermented wine.

Palate: slight fizz on the tongue, very slight. Frutti di bosco all the way with tremendous structure, medium (ripe) acidity and gripping tannins. Medium length finish (approx 20 seconds). A very structured wine that has lot’s of mouth feel. I don’t mean «velvety» –  rather chewy, rustic and a bit «rough». Well integrated 13.5% alcohol.   Not an elegant wine, but a very honest wine which begs for grilled sausage.

21:10 (9:10pm) almost half hour in decanter

Nose: The wine is much more floral (roses) now then before. The reductive notes have fallen to the background and are no longer as noticeable.

Palate: some sour red plums on the finish now. Tannins have stepped up a bit and now dominate a bit.

November 8th, 21:52 (9:52pm)

Nose: more fruit showing and less reduction. Tree bark.  Blackberries and raspberries. Also some black currants and purple gooseberries. Very slight hints of dark licorice and bitter almonds (like found in the pit of a peach)

Palate: Still has very grippy tannins, really feels like you are chewing on the pips of the freshly picked grapes. Pure fruit quality in my opinion. Mostly dark berries, but yet a fresh wine. Hints of licorice and dried leafs. Again, really strong character of pure grapes and the pips. Really more open then yesterday. A slightly bitter finish. Really enjoying this wine today – just like eating the grapes off the vine. Picture this – you walk into a vineyard and grab a handful, and I mean a handful, of healthy, ripe dolcetto grapes and just pop them in your mouth. This should give the idea of the how this wine is every time I take a sip. This is one unsulfured wines which I feel could benefit from some storage – let’s say a year or two?  And you know I love my wines young.

November 9th, 18:15 (6:15pm)

Nose: More earth and dark berries. Hints of lavender. Alcohol also more noticeable on the nose than it was in previous days.

Palate: A bit rounder today. Tannins  softened a bit. The finish is a bit more leafy. Just as fresh as the first day opened, but the tannins seem a bit more integrated today and the finish is more «almondy» now, which I love.  Alcohol still not noticeable on the palate, well integrated.

I drank the last glass and a half with a homemade burger topped with white cheddar, caramelized onions and avocado… gotta say that the wine was a bit too much for the burger, even with the cheese and onions. Although Dolcetto’s are often paired with «carne cruda» (or beef tartare) with the raw egg and the fixings in Piemonte, this dolcetto would be too much in my opinion. Try this wine with another Piemontese speciality,  fresh pasta with rabbit ragu. Or if you are in Norway, like I am, try with some duck confit. With the wild flavors of the duck, this wine should pair well.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Alessandria, Italy, natural wine (just about), Piemonte

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Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for November 2010

“Go Orange!” is the theme here.  After more than a few years including my orange wines neatly hidden among it’s white counterparts, i have finally decided to create an orange wine section all of its own. You will find the orange wines listed after the whites and before the rosé’s.

I should also include my definition of orange wine here. In order for a wine made with white grapes to be included in my orange wine section, it should have at least 48 hours of skin contact.  In some instances this is enough to give the wines their orange-hued color earning their “orange” name.  In other’s, it’s just enough contact to give the wine a glowing yellow color a few shades darker than your average white.  The 2009 Sassaia from Angiolino Maule’s La Biancara is an example of this. Just 48 hours of skin contact gives this wine a glowing yellow, almost orangish color, and is therefore included in my orange wine section. An unsulfured and spectacular wine, I love it.  Look for a tasting note on it soon.

Along with some of the rarities you’ll find in the new orange wine section, there are some other new wines i should mention here. Like my first 100 % Merlot wine, the Rosso Masieri.   Also produced by the outstanding natural wine maker Angiolino Maule of La Biancara (the same guy who makes the Sassaia named above).

Some new wines and vintages from Jean-Pierre Robinot also made it onto the wine list, like his 2009’s Concerto & Regard along with two sparklers – all unsulfured of course.   Some interesting wines from Henri Milan, both white and red, from Provence.  A couple of new Sassella Magnums from Ar.Pe.Pe in Lombardia.  A couple of new Spanish titles, including one from the island of Tenerife.  I have also added the “Four Thirteen” wine from A Donkey & Goat winery in Berkley California – my only California wine on the wine list!  Named “Four Thirteen” because the wine is made with 4 of the 13 allowed Southern Rhône grape varieties.  Click on the Donkey & Goat bottle below to view the most recent wine list.

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Jacobs Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updates, natural wine (just about)

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A Tasting Note: Clos de l'Origine Trouble Fait 2008

Clos de l’Origine – Marc Barriot
1 Route de Lesquerde
66460 Maury
Tél. 09 52 15 03 17
Fax : 04 68 53 10 38
Mobile : 06 75 03 71 71
www.vin-de-l-origine.com

Marc Barriot, originally from Bandol, obtained his BTS in Viticulture-Oenology in 1995.  After obtaining his degree, Marc chose to travel the world to  hone in his skills and to gain experience.  He finally settled in Maury in 2004 where he now cultivates 10.5 hectares of vines spread across several communities: Estagel, Montner, Latour, Maury and Caudies.  He discovered slopes with magnificent old vines (min 65 yrs, except for the Syrah).  Marc maintains low yields in the vineyards and he works them with love with his mule.  He has been farming organically and biodynamically since the very beginning.   Most of Marc’s vineyards are certified organic from the 2009 crop. Marc vinifies his whites in tank and old barrels and the grapes are harvested “green” to promote acidity, and subsequently bottled the following year with minimal use of sulfur. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, biodynamic wine, France, Maury, natural wine (just about), Roussillon

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Two Tasting Notes: Ferdinando Principiano’s Dolcetto & Barbera

The estate, located in Monforte d’Alba, was founded in the 1950’s by Ferdinando’s father Americo.  Ferdinando took over the estate from his father in 1993 and since 2004, Ferdinando has removed all chemicals from the vinification process, including sulfur (which he has almost completely eliminated except for a pinch in his Barolo).  His viticulture practice also respects nature and the grapes she gives by eliminating all industrial fertilizers, herbicides, etc.  Natural yeasts spontaneously ferment his wines without the control of temperature.  The resulting wines are fresh, juicy and easy to drink on their own, but just like most real wine, pair fantastically with food.  His 2005 Barolo Serralunga was a perfect companion with a fresh whale course that we were serving up at the restaurant last month.   Approximate annual production is about 50,000 bottles total.

2009 Dolcetto d’Alba Sant’Anna

The grapes for this wine come from the Sant’Anna vineyard in Monforte d’Alba.  The grapes are planted with a density of about 5000 vines/HA at an altitude of about 400 meters above sea level.  Harvest occurred at the end of September and of course is by hand.  Fermentation in stainless steel was spontaneous and continued on the skins for about 20 days without temperature control.  The wine then remained in the tanks for about 10 months before being bottled.  Approximately 5000 bottles were produced.

Date tasted: July 15th, 2010 1800

Appearance: Med dark  red with purple edges. Very young looking, and of course it is!

Nose: Very open and floral.  Medium intense nose of raspberries, cherries and plums.

Palate:  “sweet” red fruit. Raspberries & cherries. Medium tannins and medium acidity.  Very balanced and well-integrated alcohol.  Very fresh wine with a medium-long finish.

2008 Barbera d’Alba Laura

The grapes for this vineyard come from a tiny 1ha vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba.  Planting density is about 4000 vines/HA at an altitude of about 400 meters above sea level.  Exposure of this small vineyard is S-SW.  The grapes are harvested by hand then spontaneously fermented without temperature control in stainless steel tanks.  The juice stays on the skins for about 30 days, with manual remontage of the grapes.  The wine is left in the tanks for 10 months following fermentation.  About 8000 bottles produced.

Date tasted: July 15th, 2010 1800

Appearance: Med-dark red with purple, youthful edges

Nose: Slightly reductive and closed initially.  With some swirling, the wine opens up to reveal blackberry, black currant, raspberry and purple gooseberry.  Hints of blueberry.  Very slight floral component. Medium intense

Palate:  Blackberries initially, then mostly red fruit.  The red fruit revealed itself much more on the palate then on the nose.  Mild tannins with medium + acidity.  Well Balanced fruit & acidity.  Alcohol is pretty well-integrated, but you can feel it a bit at the back of the throat with a slight sweetness (this wine needs some grilled veggies or meat!)

Until this year, Ferdinando’s wines were not available in Norway.  But they are now being imported by a small importer focusing on organic, real wines.  The Dolcetto will be available on the main wine monopoly’s shelves for about 159 Norwegian Kroner (approx $25) sometime this month.

Category: 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, Monforte d'Alba, natural wine (just about), Piemonte

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Welcome (Back) to Georgia Part III – Prince Makashvili Cellar

Prince Makashvili Cellar – Soliko Tsaishvili, here Irakli Pruidze & David Kapanadze

Date tasted:  July 11th, healing 2010 13:45

This grapes for this wine come from the Grand Cru vineyards of Akhoebi, in the village of Kardanakhi in the low hills of the Kakheti region.    The vineyard covers 1.9 HA and are farmed biodynamically and harvested by hand.  The soil is  black  and carbonate-rich.  The vines are widely spaced at approximately 2500 plants/HA, trained in a double Guyot pattern.  The vineyard is planted with approximately 90% Rkatsiteli, 4% Mtsvane, 4%Khikhvi and a red variety called Saperavi, all on original (non-American) root stock. Harvest is done by hand, the grapes pressed softly.  The wine is spontaneously fermented and macerated for 6 months with skins in Qvevri.  After skin and stalk separation, the resulting wine is stored in smaller Qvevri for a further 12 months.   Bottled without filtration.  In 2007 approximately 20hl/ha was produced, or 1200 bottles.

90% Rkatsiteli 6% Mtsvane 4% Khikhvi
Total SO2 is 31 mg/l (31ppm)
Residual Sugar is 1.83 g/l

Appearance: Apricot-orange hued with golden edges.

Nose: Herbs and spices (lavender & rosemary)  layered on top of  yellow fruit.  Sweet arctic cloud berries with strawberry (yes, strawberry) notes.

Palate: Great focused fruit. Apricots mostly. Medium tannins with medium level acidity.  30+ second finish. Bone dry.

The Grand Cru Akhoebi was my favorite of the three I wines tasted.

Date tasted:  July 11th, 2010 13:45

This grapes for this wine come from the Grand Cru vineyards of Tsarapi, in the village of Kardanakhi.  The vineyards cover 1.25 HA and are farmed biodynamically and harvested by hand.  The wine is spontaneously fermented and macerated for 6 months in Qvevri, then stored in the Qvevri for a further 12 months.   Bottled without filtration, and on this particular bottle, this was quite obvious.  Approximately 20hl/ha is produced, or about  1200 bottles.

100% Rkatsiteli
Total SO2 is 24mg (24ppm)
Residual Sugar is 2.75 g

Appearance: Darker and more copper-hued with loads of visible sediment 🙂

Nose: Sponty aromas with apricots, with less herbs and spices than the Akhoebi Grand Cru.  My favorite on the nose of the three wines because it had that perfect balance between fruit and wild aromas with just enough minerals to give the wine a serious edge.

Palate: More vinous than the Akhoebi – thick, structured and concentrated.  Quite a serious wine and very mineral.  Medium + tannins and acidity with a long finish.  Bone dry, elegant fruit.

This wine wanted desperately to be my favorite, but it came in second behind the Akhoebi. However, with a few years more of cellaring, this may show even better than the Akhoebi.

My overall impressions were that these three Georgian wines I tasted were of top quality and quite serious food wines.  I would have no problem drinking them alongside my Friulian & Slovenian favorites.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Georgia, Kakheti, natural wine (just about), orange wine, Welcome (Back) to Georgia

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About
Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com