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Welcome (Back) to Georgia Part II – Clos des Amandiers

Now, back to the future (today) and the wines of Georgia, all hailing from the Kakheti region located in Eastern Georgia, the driest of the 3 regions.  It is the largest wine region in Georgia spanning over  11,000 square kilometers.

All three wines were (mostly) of the same grape variety, Rkatsiteli (or Rkatziteli – pronounced rkah-tsee-tely, and directly translated means “red vine”).  The only Georgian wine experience I have had before today, was  tasting some half-sweet (non-representative) red wine that was poured from a decorated clay bottle, and let’s just say it wasn’t a wine to remember. In fact, I only remember the bottle to this day.   These three wines were not at all what I had anticipated. They were aromatic, complex, fresh and tannic wines that would do well with food.

This project started about 4 years ago when a group of Italian wine and spirit merchants (Luca & Paolo Gargano) from Genova purchased a 1.8ha vineyard in the village of Mararo.  With the help of Jean Jacques, a friend of Nicolas Joly, and a local farmer named Nodar Shinjiashvili who was  cultivating old varieties of cereals biodynamically, Clos des Amandiers was born.  In 2007 they released their first vintage, the first wine in my tasting.

The vines for this wine share the space with almond trees and are cultivated biodynamically.  Harvest occurred in October, the grapes subsequently softly pressed.  Fermentation occurred spontaneously with indigenous yeasts  in old Qvevri without temperature control.  Maceration lasted for six months in these Qvevri then transferred to smaller, non-buried Qvevri for 12 months maturation.  The wine was then bottled without filtration and left to age in the bottle.

Date tasted:  July 11th, 2010 13:45

Appearance: Quite a dark orange hued wine with copper and amber tones (think Cat’s Eye gemstones)

Nose: Wow, intense. Quite a sponty and wild nose of dried peaches, raw almonds, marmalade and yellow plums. Hints of jasmine and lavender emerge after about an hour.

Palate: A delicate and elegant entry. Red apples (yes, red) and yellow apples. Medium ++ tannins, medium + acidity (tangy). I found more fruit on the nose then I did on the palate.  The wine had a 30 second+ finish with dominating tannins and toast.

I feel that this wine would be very suitable to food.  Especially dishes with high contrasting flavors and moderately spicy food (because of the fruity aromas in the wine).  A dish specifically recommended to me would be yogurt-marinated baked mutton (meat of mature sheep).  My experience with orange wines is that they merry quite well with food in general, from your sweeter, more aromatic dishes, to meat dishes and finally with cheese.

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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Food & Wine Pairing – Clos Roche Blanche Cuvée Pif

THE WINE:
Clos Roche Blanche Cuvée Pif 2008
50% Cot (Malbec) & 50% Cabernet Franc
Touraine, ambulance France
12% Alcohol
Price in Norway:  129, ampoule 90 NOK ($20)
THE FOOD:
Veal ribs
Mashed potato with lemon zest
Mild sour cream chipotle sauce
Wild herbs

A milder version of the classic, cialis roasted, slightly smoked chipotle pairs well with the earthiness found in the Cot.  The wine has just enough tannic structure to support the fat on the veal rib. An interesting dish that works very well overall with the wine.

Category: 1 WINE, 2 Main Course, 6 FOOD & WINE PAIRING, natural wine (just about)

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Jacob's Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for April 2010

Lot’s of new wines this month. La Stoppa’s Ageno brings my “orange wine” count up to 7 titles.  I would like more orange wines because they’re not only food friendly, they’re addicting as crazy!  There are many out there to chose from, but most I am afraid are not good in my opinion, merely fashion statements at most.

I am happy to have exclusivity on the Domaine de La Gramière wines in Norway (at least on this first shipment) – great wines made by some fellow ex-pats living in Southern France. These “sponty” wines have super clear fruit and great freshness!

A truly amazing Grüner by another new comer to Norway, Meinklang.

And, a new Dolcetto to replace Luca Roagna’s Dolcetto, one of my favorites up to now.  Principiano’s wines, including this Dolcetto, are brand new to Norway, and I feel will take no time at all to get discovered.

Over the course of the next month, I hope to add some (more) exciting rosé’s to kick off our Norwegian Spring and Summer! (Although as I write this post, the spring has all but vanished as I look out my window at the hail coming down from the sky!)

Here are my new additions:

  • Domaine d’Elise Chablis 2008 – Lutte Raisonée – Burgundy, France
  • Meinklang Grüner Veltliner 2009 – Biodynamic & one hell of a Grüner for the money! – Burgenland, Austria
  • La Stoppa Ageno 2005 – A natural orange wine – Thanks Tomasz! – Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Weingut Langmann Schilcher Klassik 2009 – Steiermark, Austria
  • Stéphane Tissot Poulsard Vieilles Vignes Sans Soufre 2007 – Nice, delicate fruit.  A hint of oak – Jura, France
  • Domaine de La Gramière Côtes du Rhône 2005 – Close to natural, just a pinch of sulfur! – Southern Rhône, France
  • Domaine de La Gramière Peter’s Vineyard Syrah 2007 – Close to natural, just a pinch of sulfur, please decant me and give me some air!Southern Rhône, France
  • Domaine Leon Barral  Faugères 2007 –  Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Ferdinando Principiano Dolcetto d’Alba Sant’ Anna 2008 – Biodynamic with  just a pinch of sulfur. Super clear fruit! – Piemonte, Italy

Click here for new wine list

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

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Jacob's Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for March 2010 – 5 Unsulfured wines added!

Here’s the latest update.  Even though I practically eliminated my entire Champagne selection, this month I have added a new Champagne. Drappier’s Brut Nature is organic and made without the addition of sulfur dioxide.  This isn’t the only sans soufre wine added this month!  4 more un-sulfured wines were added (for a total of 5) and one that has no detectable sulfur!  The most stunning Beaujolais Nouveau I have ever tasted also arrived at Jacob’s yesterday!

  • Drappier Brut Nature – Sans Soufre!Champagne, France
  • Murgo Spumante Metodo Classico Non Dosage 2006 – 100% Nerello Mascalese! – Mt. Etna (Sicilia), Italy
  • Crêt de Ruyère/Cathy & Jean-Luc Gauthier (with Jean-Marc Brignot) “biojô nuovo ;-)” Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau 2009 – No detectable sulfur! – Burgundy, FranceA stunning Beaujolais Nouveau  like only Jean-Marc Brignot can bottle!!
  • Domaine Le Mazel Cuvée Raoul 2008 – After being sold out of the 2007 for about 6 weeks, the 2008 is finally here! – Southern Rhône, France
  • Domaine des 2 Ânes Fontanilles 2006 – Corbieres, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • La Treille Muscate (Catherine Marin-Pestel) L’Effrontée Magnum 2007 – 100% old vine Carignan – no sulfur added!! – Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • Domaine Robert Sérol Les Vieilles Vignes 2009 – 100% Gamay – Loire Valley, France
  • Domaine Robert Sérol (L’)Incorruptible 2009 – 100% Gamay, No added sulfur!! – Loire Valley, France
  • Bressan Cru Pignol 1999 – 100% Pignolo grape, No added sulfur!! – Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Click on the Treille Muscate Label below to check out the latest wine list!


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

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Jacob's Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for February 2010 – With Photo!

Here it is! The latest wine list updated for February.  Remember, I’m not just adding titles to an ever-growing wine list. Very often for every title I add, one has disappeared from the list. Since last fall, I have reduced the list by about 20 titles. I try to keep my list dynamic so that my guests (and I) don’t get bored!

As I have mentioned in a past entry, I am reducing the number of Champagne titles on my list and increasing the number of sparkling wines. I feel that there are so many interesting sparkling wines available at competitive prices and from interesting wine areas. I have added one sparkling wine to my list in February and I expect to add 3 or 4 more titles next month depending on availability.

New to the wine list this month:

  • André et Mireille Tissot Crémant Indigène Brut – Jura, France
  • Domaine Bott-Geyl Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru 2008 – Alsace, France
  • Château de la Gravelle Muscadet Sèvre et Maine L’Ancestrale 2004 – Loire, France
  • Ciro Picariello Aglianico Zi Filicella 2007 – Campania, Italy (Single vineyard, planted in 1925 (see photo just below this description).  Spontaneous fermentation.  20-25 days skin maceration.  Only steel and cement for fermentation and storage (24 months in cement). Less than 40mg per liter SO2.  Bottled without filtration.)

Ciro Picariello Aglianico Zi Filicella Vineyard - Planted in 1925

Click here to see the wine list in its entirety!

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

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Jacob's Bar & Kjøkken Wine List Updated for January 2010

January in Norway is typically a slow month which also means that not many new titles have been added to the wine list this month. Check back next month for some exciting wines arriving!

New to the wine list this month:

  • Bressan Mastri Vinai Verduzzo Friulano 2006 – Friuli-Venezia Giulia, sick Italy (no added Sulfur!)
  • La Stoppa Gutturnio 2007 – Emilia Romagna, recipe Italy
  • Azienda Agricola Sassotondo Ciliegiolo 2008 – Toscana, buy Italy
  • Bodegas Bruno Ruiz Villanueva 2008 – Castilla, Spain (no added Sulfur!)

Along with the addition of new titles, I also do my best to remove others to keep my list around 80 to 90 titles.  You can view the latest wine list here

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

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part V – 1999 Cru Pignol

And along came the Pignolo grape, another very rare, refined, prestigious and indigenous grape of the Fruili-Venezia Giulia region in North-Eastern Italy.  This grape has the potential to make “Cru” level wines, like Bressan’s Cru Pignol, a stunning example of what this grape can do when care is taken in the vineyards and the winery.   According to Fulvio, the Pignol needs at least 8 years of aging to become a great wine, and after tasting his latest Pignol release, I would have to agree. At 10 years of age, this wine is just a baby. Drinking well now, but begging to be left alone for another ten.

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Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part IV – 2004 Schioppettino

The Schioppettino is a  red grape grown predominately in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy.  Also known as the Ribolla Nera, pills Schioppettino literally means “gunshot” or “little crack”.  Records show that red wine made from the Schioppettino was used at marriage ceremonies back to 1282.  The grape was nearly lost to extinction thanks mostly to the phylloxera epidemic. Today, Bressan is one of the few wine makers making wine from the Schioppettino grape.

Soil composition: Calcareous mineral base, with high presence of iron sesquioxides. Such geological characteristics, associated with this scarce endowment of organic and other nutritional elements, forces the vines to a slow vegetative growth, resulting in an extremely low production, with an overall benefit to the MACRO and MICRO components of the grapes, and therefore the wines.

  • Total surface area: 3.88 HA
  • Planting year:  1982
  • # of vines/HA:  3086
  • Sun exposition: Southern, with rows oriented EAST-WEST
  • Harvest:  Permitted to slightly over-mature (so as to attain very high fixed acidity congenital to the species), harvested by hand.

Wine Making: Grapes are de-stalked and brought to must by way of soft-pressing; extremely long maceration with principal fermentation along with the grape skins, refrigerated with well water at a controlled temperature not exceeding 25C (77F).  After racking, the wine undergoes an ulterior 35 days of fermentation. The wine is then stored in stainless steel tanks, followed by aging for at least 2 more  years in 2000 liter oak casks. After bottling, groups of 500 bottles are placed in large chests, which are then stored in a temperature controlled warehouse for additional aging.

  • Alcohol content:  13%
  • Total acidity:  5.58 g/l

Date tasted:  Saturday December 26th, 2009 12:02 (PM)

Appearance: Medium dark brick red. Very very slight development showing. Medium intensity.

Nose: Very intense freshly ground black pepper. Blackberries and dark plums with mineral undertones. Floral and very intriguing. Hints of roasted meat.  Forest floor, musk and wild fruit. Very complex and intriguing nose.

Palate: Very intense on the palate as well with aromas of black pepper, wild dark berries, musk and hints of red berries with a mineral background. Some pleasant dried fruit aromas as well.  Medium tannins, medium to medium plus acidity carrying the wine to a long, very fresh finish.  Very fresh and very drinkable.  This has always been one of my favorite wines of Bressan..  Excellent with lamb!

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part III – 2004 Pinot Grigio

Soil composition: Calcareous mineral base, cost with high presence of iron sesquioxides. Such geological characteristics, clinic associated with this scarce endowment of organic and other nutritional elements, search forces the vines to a slow vegetative growth, resulting in an extremely low production, with an overall benefit to the MACRO and MICRO components of the grapes, and therefore the wines.

  • Total surface area:  1.41 HA
  • Planting year:  1990
  • # of vines/HA:  4630
  • Sun exposition:  Southern, with rows oriented NORTHWEST-SOUTH
  • Harvest:  Physiologically correct, by hand

Wine making: Grapes are de-stalked and soft-pressed, with cold decanting of the must and the total elimination of the entire part decanted.  20-25 days cold fermentation. Subsequent slow fermentation of the fine lees in stainless steel tanks; then aging for 12-15 months before bottling.  Bottles are placed in groups of 500 in large chests that are then stored in temperature controlled warehouses for additional aging.

  • Alcohol content:  13%
  • Total acidity:  5.20 g/l

Date tasted:  Saturday December 26th, 2009 12:02 (PM)

Appearance: “Ramato” – Copper-like color, but perhaps a bit lighter than the Verduzzo Fruilano with a tad more brownish tinge.  Medium plus intense glow.

Nose: Less intense than the Verduzzo Fruilano and more “feminine”. Fresh apricots and orange peel. Hints of star anise and mineral. Medium complex

Palate: Medium intense wine with orange citrus, hints of apricot, star anise and mineral.  Well-integrated alcohol, very fresh and drinkable. Very mild tannins, medium plus acidity with a long, mineral, fresh finish. One of the best Pinot Grigio’s I have ever tasted, if not the best.

Drinking very well now, but can be stored up to 5 years in my opinion. Another winner from Bressan…

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part II- 2006 Verduzzo Friulano

In Part I of the Bressan producer profile, I discussed in depth the philosophy of Fulvio Bressan.  Now I will present some of his wines which I had the opportunity to taste.  Bressan is an artisan wine producer making wine in extremely small quantities, between 0-50,000 bottles per year.  They specialize in the production of indigenous grape varieties, including the wine being tasted for this tasting note.

The Verduzzo (Friulano) grape is indigenous to Friuli, but can also be found in the Veneto.  According to Fulvio, it is very rare to find dry versions of the wine made from this grape (only 2 or 3 other producers in Friuli  make it dry).  The Verduzzo grapes is unusual in that it has high tannins like you might find in a red wine. Therefore, if the grape is harvested too early, the tannins can be quite bitter and harsh, and therefore wine makers began adding sugar to the wine to make it sweet, thus masking the bitterness of the tannins. In Fulvio’s opinion (and in mine as well), a sweet wine will not be balanced when made in this way.  Fulvio instead picks his grapes at the optimal ripeness (because he is patient), and vinifies the wine as a dry wine.

The first thing you notice when pulling the cork out of the bottle is the quality of the cork itself. Fulvio swears by the quality of his corks and says that if you ever get a corked bottle, simply return the cork and he will refund you.

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Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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About

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.

Get in touch

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