…spontaneously fermenting

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


A Tasting Note: 1999 J.L. Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Offerus

This wine is from the négociant business of Jean-Louis Chave, considered by many to be the top Hermitage producer.  The Saint-Joseph is called “Offerus” and the Côtes du Rhône “Mon Coeur”.  We are quite lucky in Norway to also receive small quantities of red Crozes-Hermitage thanks to the importer Christopher Moestue who’s an old friend and harvester.  There can be up to 9 suppliers of grapes for the “Offerus”, with each of the wines vinified separately in each grower’s cellar.  The wine is stored in 3-6 year old casks for 12-14 months. Only 50,000 bottles are made.  Oh yeah, and of course this is 100% (mature) Syrah  🙂   12.5% Alcohol Read the rest of this entry »

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, France, Northern Rhône, Saint-Joseph


A Tasting Note: 2005 Maison Pierre Overnoy Arbois Pupillin

Located East of Burgundy approaching Switzerland, the Jura is perhaps more “known” for it’s white wines made with the Chardonnay and Savagnin grapes.  For example, the slightly oxidized, “flor-enhanced” Vin Jaune.  However the “reds” made with the Poulsard grape (as found in this bottle), are perhaps more interesting.. At least to me..

After Pierre Overnoy retired, the Houillon family took over the domain. They have continued in the same manner as Overnoy (from what I understand). That is, as close to natural viticulture as possible and the same goes for the wine making.  No added anything here, not even my least favorite friend, Sulfur Dioxide.  I have tasted both the reds and the whites of Overnoy and I have to say they are amongst my favorite wines… of all time, placing comfortably in my top 9 list (coming soon!) of all time favorites.

For many years, the only wines of the Jura I had tasted had been those of Tissot. Although the wines of Tissot are good, they don’t approach the quality of Overnoy’s wines in my opinion. Tissot’s wines can seem a bit “dirty” by comparison (again, my opinion).

Date tasted:  Sunday February 21, 2010 18:45 (6:45pm) – Decanted


and…… 1 hour and 15 minutes later @ 20:00 (8pm)


When I first opened this wine – it was exactly as I remembered it and expected it to be. A gorgeous, light red color not unlike what fresh squeezed raspberries or cranberries might look like. In fact, the similarities don’t stop here. The nose was of pure, fresh raspberries and cranberries with delicate spices.  Background aromas of cherries, stems and pits.  It had that typical “sponty” (spontaneous) nose and  was slightly volatile , in that way that we natural wine lovers really appreciate, helping those aromas float up to our noses.  Slight animal and mineral tones also noted on the very back. The same was found on the palate.

This wine was very alive and it was making me jump out of my chair with every smell and with every taste.

BUT, within a little over an hour, my friend and I were looking at each other and asking “huh??”. What the hell happened! The wine was almost completely dead.  I don’t normally decant a wine like this. So why the hell did I do it tonight? Was that the problem? First of all, I will never decant this wine again, just in case. Second, I will continue to drink the wines of Overnoy because they are so incredibly seductive. Finally, in the future I won’t take an hour to drink a bottle of Overnoy again!  Oh, I should mention that I had only brought the wine back with me from France two weeks prior – travel sickness??


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Arbois Pupillin, France, Jura, natural wine (100% living wine)


A tasting note: 2004 Mas d'Andrum Andrumette

2009-09-13_1900Mas d’Andrum
Route de Meynes
30129 Redessan
0033- 4 66202335

Date tasted:  September 13th, 17:05 (5:05pm) – 12.5% Alcohol with synthetic cork

The 17 ha Mas d’Andrum estate is located in the Costières de Nîmes AOC, in the South East corner of the Languedoc in France.  The Costières de Nîmes AOC was once considered part of the Languedoc region until 2004 at which time the Costières de Nîmes AOC was attached to the Rhône region since the typicity of the wines was more like the wines of the Rhône.

Mas d’Andrum was established around year 2000 by Stephan and Carolina du Toit of Mont du Toit Wines of the Western Cape in South Africa.  They enlisted the help of the late Bernard Breuer (Weingut Georg Breuer, Rheingau) and Bernd Philippi (Weingut Koehler Ruprecht, Pfalz) to get the project off the ground and it is my understanding that Bernd Philippi still has some involvement.

This is the very first vintage (2004) of the Andrumette and is a blend of Syrah and Grenache in equal shares. The grapes come from vineyards that are up to 50 years old.  The terroir is characterized by big red stones down to a depth of up to 8 meters called “galets”, similar to those found in the Châteauneuf du Pape region. The grapes were harvested at optimum maturity, hand sorted and vinified with the skins  for about 30 days in cement vats where the wine was left for two years.  The wine was bottled in 2006 without filtration. The price is 89 Norwegian Kroner. Keep in mind that taxes alone account for more than half the price of this bottle, so that being considered, this is a rather inexpensive bottle of wine.

2009-09-13_1906Appearance: Clean.  Medium brick red with some browning of the edges in line with it’s  few years of age.  Medium  intensity.

Nose: Clean.  Medium to medium plus intensity.  Mature dark berries with hints of wild cherry.  Mineral and slightly oxidized.  Some rustic animal tones and cocoa emerging.  Very slight hints of olive and spice.   Medium to medium plus complexity.

Palate: Clean. Mature cherries and blackberries. Hints of wild raspberry lift the wine nicely. Medium minus tannins grip on the finish. Hints of spice and oxidation on the back end. Although this wine is quite light, fresh, and easy drinking, it has very good structure with medium complexity and a long, fresh finish.

Decanted and poured back in bottle at 17:20

17:50 (5:50pm)

Nose: Sour cherries really dominating with wild strawberries emerging – they weren’t there before.

Palate: Acidity has kicked up a bit while the tannins have softened..

2009-09-13_1904My overall impression is that this is serious value for the money. In Norway, you have to be very selective when choosing wines that cost less than 100 Norwegian Kroner. You have to be extremely selective at under 90 Norwegian Kroner.  There are very few wines available in Norway at this quality and price level.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Costières de Nîmes, France, Southern Rhône


A tasting note: 2006 Tiberio Nocens


Loc. Gropina – Fraz. Penna, 116/A
(Terranuova Bracciolini)
+39 338 4604806

Date tasted: September 9th, 2009 18:30 (6:30pm)

The Nocens  is Tiberio’s top wine and is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo in equal parts.  The grapes are farmed organically and are grown in Chianti D.O.C vineyards. Grapes are harvested by hand.   The wine is designated “Rosso dei Colli della Toscana Centrale (I.G.T)”

2009-09-09_1890The Nocens  is made in the “Antico Metodo Governo all’ Uso Toscano“.  A pre-harvest selection of 10% of the top grapes are harvested by hand and placed in a well-ventilated room to let them finish maturing (and drying) for about 15 days, time enough to finish the rest of the harvest. The rest of the grapes are also harvested by hand and fermented spontaneously using indigenous yeast and without the use of enzymes.  Once the fermentation is completed, the pre-harvest “Antico Metodo Governo all’ Uso Toscano” grapes that were set aside are added to the wine and a second fermentation commences (think “Ripasso” from the Veneto here). The wine is then aged for 12 months in 225-liter French Barriques. The wine is bottled without filtration

Appearance: Clean. Medium dark red with hints of blue. Medium to medium low intensity.

Nose: Clean.  Medium intense nose of dark cherries and wild black currants with hints of cedar and eucalyptus. Medium complex wine with  well-integrated oak on the back end.

Palate: Clean.  Good fruit on the front end. Sour cherries, black currants and blackberries. Good structure and good acidity carrying the wine to a medium-long finish with medium tannins.  Oak is well-integrated, but noticeable lending to the tannic structure of this wine.  Very well integrated alcohol at 13,5%


Overall impressions: This is a well-made wine with good structure, balance and clean fruit which should be a pretty good wine to match with food.  I am thinking a grilled steak, or grilled vegetables would be a nice complement to this wine. This being said, the oak is too dominant for my palate, but I feel that many people will enjoy this wine. It sits nicely between a modern-made wine and one made traditionally.  In my opinion, this wine can be stored for a few more years, but I don’t think that it will improve so I would drink it now.

I have tasted other Tiberio wines and find his fruit to be clean, precise and on the feminine side (especially his Sangiovese, my favorite of his wines) and I feel that his wines would be better represented if they weren’t stored in oak. For those of you who share my feelings on this, rumor has it that he is playing with some un-oaked versions of his wines as I write this and perhaps I will have the opportunity some day soon to taste as stainless steel version of his Sangiovese.


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, organic wine, Terranuova Bracciolini, Toscana


Clos Roche Blanche Part V – Cuvée Côt 2007

2009-08-01_1874Cuvée Côt 2007 12% Alcohol – authentic cork
Wine Information:
100% Côt (Malbec)
Average yield:  20hl/ha
Terroir: Clay, mixed with flint and hard sandstone, calcareous
sub-soil, located at 1ères Côtes du Cher
Manual harvest (100% destalking)
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  10 weeks  maceration in stainless steel
with daily remontage.
Aging in old, large barrels.
4,400 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 150 NOK ($25)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

First thing I noticed upon opening this bottle is that of the 4 Clos Roche Blanche cuvée’s, this is the only one with an authentic cork. It was also the only one of the 4 that was vintage 2007; the others were 2008.  I was told, however, that even in the 2008 an authentic cork was used for the Cuvée Côt.

Appearance: Not quite as dark as the Cuvée Pif..  Have I tasted these in the wrong order??  Medium red.  Medium intensity

Nose: Dirt, dark aromas of plums, dark cherries, with hints of reduction. Some mineral nuances.  Medium intense and not as complex as the Cuvée Pif.

Palate: Ripe, dark plums and dark cherries. Hints of raspberry, but only hints. More bitter on the back-end than the Pif. Mild tannins..strange they aren’t more firm. Needs food. The least fruity wine of  the 4 Clos Roche Blanche cuvée’s I’ve tasted. Tannins getting firmer after a few minutes in the glass. Really craving some beef now..Medium to medium full

Saturday August 1st, 14:21 (2:21pm)

Appearance: No change but definitely lighter than the Cuvée Pif

Nose: Still slight hints of reduction.. Red plums and minerals at first. Only medium intensity. Interesting nose – floral

Palate: slight hints of spice and a mild nuttiness. Plums and cherries. Mild, elegant tannins. Acidity is medium to medium plus. Hints of raspberry and a nice long, fresh finish. More fruity than yesterday. Tannins are sticking just a bit and seem to be getting a bit more aggressive and they don’t feel as clean as the Pif.

Sunday August 2nd 20:48 (8:48pm)

Appearance: Same, still lighter than the Pif

Nose: A little less reduction and a bit less expressive than yesterday. Floral.  Today the nose reminds me of the Baga grape (rose pedals). Red plums and mineral and not a very giving wine.. Perhaps this is the wine that needs the most aging of the bunch

Palate: Quite fresh, plums and minerals. Still quite serious and not saying as much to me as the others are. Tannins that are sticking a bit, but the wine is quite fresh anyway. Hints of dark cherries as well. Really long finish that is very tannic. Possibly the longest finish of the bunch?? Wild berries

Monday August 3rd, 2009 23:28 (11:28pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still a bit closed and not very expressive. Floral, wild berries.

Palate: Wild berries, hints of spice and mild yet gripping tannins with a slightly bitter finish. Still the least expressive of the bunch. Yet, mysterious.

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 00:31 (12:31am)

Appearance: No change

Nose: again flowers and wild berries,  but not totally open.

Palate: Wild berries and mild to medium tannins with a bitter aftertaste. Doesn’t seem like this wine will totally open up to me. Slight oxidative notes on the finish


Wednesday August 5th, 2009 17:35 (5:35pm) this wine is at it’s peak today

Appearance: No change

Nose: Flowers and wild berries. A bit more open today??  Mineral and black currant undertones. No reductive aromas.

Palate: Ah..seems a bit more expressive and complex today. Elegant wild berries with medium minus tannins. Good acid and length. The most improved of the group. Fresh berries also on the finish. Very mild bitter tones. Nice

Thursday August 6th, 2009 23:54 (11:54pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Mineral with black currants and oxidized notes on the back end. Closed compared to last night.

Palate: Oxidized a bit with black currants and a bitter aftertaste.Tough wine tonight and not enjoying it.

In summary, the Cuvée Côt was the wine that took the most amount of days to open and reach it’s peak. While the other Clos Roche Blanche Cuvée’s reached their peak on Sunday August 2nd, this wine did not fully open and reach it’s peak until Wednesday, August 5th; 3 evenings after the other wines. It was also the wine that once having reached it’s peak, had the shortest “life span” – only 24 hours. The other cuvée’s reached their peak more quickly and stayed open and enjoyable over several days.

Perhaps this wine was not meant to be opened just yet. Even though I love young wines, I felt that this wine would have have been more interesting in 3-5 years.


Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine


Clos Roche Blanche Part IV – Cuvée Pif 2008

2009-08-01_1867Cuvée Pif 2008 12% Alcohol – synthetic cork
Wine information:
50% Côt (Malbec) 50% Cabernet Franc
Average yield:  10hl/ha
Terroir: Clay, mixed with flint and hard sandstone, calcareous
sub-soil, located at 1ères Côtes du Cher
Manual harvest (100% destalking)
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  Traditional, 8-10 days maceration
with daily pigeage. Assemblage before the malolactic fermentation
Aging in Stainless steel
6,500 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 130 NOK ($21)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

Appearance: Deeper color than the Gamay.  Leaning towards the color you might find in the S. Rhône. Darkish red purple.  Clean with a  medium intense glow

Nose: Ripe & juicy green bell pepper, blackberries with floral hints.  More complex than the Cuvée Gamay but not as intense dark plums and cherries at the back end.  The most interesting nose of the bunch so far. I am spending more time nosing this one than the previous wines.  Juicy

Palate: Again the juicy ripe green bell peppers and blackberries on the palate. Medium acid. Medium to medium plus tannins. Good concentration and depth. Of the three I have tasted to this point, this is the one that I feel has the greatest aging potential. The tannins, although only medium plus, are the dominant feature here with slight bitter hints on the finish. Quite young. Really getting the Cab Franc here…need something to eat. Medium to medium full

Saturday August 1st, 14:21

Appearance: None

Nose: Medium intense and still quite complex. Seems a bit tighter and more put together then yesterday. Still has hints of juicy green bell pepper, some blackberries with hints of black currants. Today reminds me a bit of a nice Bordeaux.  Hints of  worn leather and minerals.

Palate: Blackberries and green bell peppers immediately with black currants on the back end. Medium to medium plus tannins. Some cigar box and none of the bitter notes (only slight) I got yesterday.  Serious wine and for those who love  Bordeaux, you’ll love this. Long fresh finish. Real aging capability here in my opinion. A food wine. Fresh. Wow.

Today the main difference is that the wines have tightened up a bit and seem to be a tad more elegant. I suppose its still to soon to tell!


Sunday August 2nd, 20:48  this wine is at it’s peak today

Appearance: Still dark and serious

Nose: Still mostly dominated by black fruit and green bell peppers but today the fruit stands out more than the peppers. Quite elegant today..

Palate: Lots of black fruit and green peppers. Still quite tannic, but not overpowering. I have to say that  although the fruit is mostly black in character, the wine has a certain freshness you don’t often find in lets say, a Bordeaux.. a very clean wine. Long finish with solid tannins. Again, really focused and elegant today. The best day so far for this wine as well. If I had to complain about  anything, perhaps its the acidity.. could it be a tad higher`?? nah.

Monday August 3rd, 23:28

Appearance: No change

Nose: More floral than the previous days. The green peppers have mellowed to the background. Blackberries and black currants with an underlying lift of cool fresh fruit.

Palate: Green peppers still on the palate with really solid, lovely tannins carrying the wine to a really long, fresh, slightly bitter finish.. Still quite impressive. Really starting to love this wine’s complexity. It’s not common to  find a wine with this firm of a tannin structure, yet remain this fresh, light and low in alcohol..

Tuesday August 4th, 00:31

Appearance: No change

Nose: The green bell peppers have resurfaced. Blackberries and currants with floral undertones. Some red fruit lifting the wine

Palate: Tannins quite heavy today which coat the whole mouth. Green peppers and black fruit with a slightly bitter finish. Very Bordeaux like today, but the freshness slightly lacking today

Wednesday August 5th, 17:35

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still has the sweet green bell peppers and blackberries and black currants. Hints of red fruit, especially plums to help lift the wine.  No signs of oxidation.

Palate: Still quite Bordeaux like. Still has the green bell peppers dominating with blackberries. Tannins a bit more settled today.  Still drinking quite well.  Slightly bitter on the finish.

Thursday August 6th, 23:54

Appearance: No change

Nose: Slightly oxidized sweet green peppers. This is the most oxidized wine so far. Some black currants.  Not very expressive tonight.

Palate: A little volatile tonight. Still has the Bordeaux thing going on. Blackberries and green peppers with medium plus tannins. Slightly oxidized. Not very exciting tonight. Done.


Even though this wine didn’t hold up as well as the Pineau d’Aunis or Gamay, it was a great wine and a great substitute for those of you who are craving a Bordeaux-like wine.

I realize that I mentioned Bordeaux over and over again in my tasting notes. The reason I did this is perhaps because I have been in discussions lately with some close friends and fellow wine enthusiasts about why I don’t have a single Bordeaux title on my restaurant wine list.  Although I won’t go into all the reasons why I don’t, I will just say that I feel the “average” Bordeaux drinker will enjoy this wine.  🙂

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine


Clos Roche Blanche Part III – Cuvée Gamay 2008

2009-08-01_1861Cuvée Gamay 2008 12% Alcohol – synthetic cork
Wine information:
100% Gamay
Average yield:  22hl/ha
Terroir:  Clay, mixed with flint & hard sandstone, calcareous sub soil,
located at 1ères Côtes du Cher
Manual harvest (100% destalking)
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  Traditional, one week maceration
with daily pigeage or remontages (crushing & pumping over)
Aging in Stainless steel or concrete
10,400 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 130 NOK ($21)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

Appearance: Darker then expected color for a Gamay.  Just barely see-through, almost opaque.   Red with purple highlights. Medium intense glow. Clean

Nose: Jumped out of the glass. High intensity. Pepper, black and red berries with hints of leather. Some dark stone fruit like plums. Hints of cocoa powder. Very fruity

Palate: Typically correct Gamay with spice, pepper, black and red berries also on the palate.   Great structure and mild tannins with medium plus acidity. Quite fresh. Although the alcohol is barely noticeable, the structure is that of a wine with higher alcohol.  Long, serious finish.. Have I found a replacement for L’Ancien??  Just 2 minutes in the glass and the tannins are becoming tighter which I personally love. Nice.

Saturday August 1st, 2009 14:21 (2:21pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: A bit more mellow than yesterday, intensity medium plus. Classic Gamay nose with spice and red berries dominating today with hints of blackberry in the background. The leather and cocoa powder were there but to a lesser degree. Sweet cranberry and red licorice

Palate: Leaning more to the red berries today, raspberries and cranberries with pepper notes in the background. More serious and more elegant than yesterday. Although I enjoyed all the aromas yesterday, today they felt more united. Tannins were still mild, but gripped and held elegantly for at least 10 seconds or more. Nice long finish.  Very fresh. Don’t feel the alcohol.


Sunday August 2nd, 2009 20:48 (8:48pm) – This wine is at it’s peak today

Appearance: No change

Nose: still quite intense and peppery.  Same aromas as the previous days with the raspberries and cranberries with hints of darker fruit giving this wine some depth while remaining fresh. Pepper still dominates, but not overpowering

Palate: Very sweet fruit today. Sweet red licorice at first with ripe raspberries and pepper on the finish.  Mineral. Really drinking well today . Very typical (good) Gamay and fast becoming one of my top red grapes. Mild but gripping tannins with a ripe fruit finish. Very focused.   Just like the (Pineau d’Aunis) Rosé, the noticeable improvement on this wine tonight is the  focused fruit.. wow.

Monday August 3rd, 2009 23:28 (11:28pm)

Appearance: No Change

Nose: Again sweeter fruit. Red fruit dominating with less pepper than on previous days. Some underlying dark fruit like  blackberries. Sweet red licorice with hints of cranberries.  Some hints of watermelon emerging

Palate: Really red fruit driven with cranberries dominating and the tannins also stepping up. The wine is still very fresh and the acidity is really driving the wine today, but not overpowering it. Really intensely ripe fruit. Still very nice today.. Yummy.  Hints of bitterness on the finish with some minerals.

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 00:31 (12:31am)

Appearance: No change

Nose: pepper stepping up with underlying red fruit.  Hints of blackberries. Wild berries.  Floral hints as well.  Still has quite a pretty nose.

Palate: Like the Pinea d’Aunis Rosé, alcohol a tad more noticeable today. Good structure with mostly red fruits and pepper with hints of oxidation starting to show, although very slight. A tad bitter on the finish

Wednesday August 5th, 2009 17:35 (5:35pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still pretty. Today the flowers are dominating.  Red and wild berries.  Pepper overtones.

Palate: Still very drinkable. Seems a bit more focused again today. A bit better than yesterday. Barely noticeable oxidation. Mostly red fruits on the palate and hints of pepper and mineral. Bitter finish. Still very drinkable.

Thursday August 6th, 2009 23:54 (11:54pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: A bit darker tonight. Spicy blackberries. Tanbark (or pencil shavings) showing tonight.  Hints of Cocoa. No volatility

Palate: Nice. Cocoa and tannins taking the show. Blackberries on the finish with a hint of spice. Still has great length and freshness. Very, very slight oxidation on the palate, but still very drinkable. Really enjoying this wine tonight.


In summary, if you like fresh and light wines with hints of spice and dominating red fruit, this is a great wine. Well made and can go with many foods ranging from cheeses to fish and chicken. Another very stable and well-made wine from the Clos Roche Blanche Domaine.

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine

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Clos Roche Blanche Part II – Pineau d'Aunis Rosé 2008

2009-07-31_1847In Part I of Clos Roche Blanche the producer profile, I talked about the Loire Valley and this Domaine.  In this entry, Clos Roche Blanche Part II – “The Wines”, I give detailed tasting notes for 4 wines that I was able to find here in Norway.  I was unfortunately unable to get a bottle of the acclaimed Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc nor was I able to get the other Cuvées.  When I do, I will be sure to write about them here on my site.

For this entry, the wines were all opened at the same time, Friday July 31st, 2009 at 16:45 (4:45pm) and tasted over the course of one week. Once opened they were simply stored with their original closures and kept in the refrigerator.  I did not pump the air out of the bottles. The first thing that struck me was that three of the four bottles used artificial plastic corks. Only the Cuvée Côt used a real cork. I am not sure how I feel about this as it’s not unusual to use an artificial cork to seal a wine bottle.  However I have to admit that I do find it strange that winemakers who make wines as close to natural as possible are using anything other than real cork.  Please comment on your feelings regarding  this matter.

Here are the wines:

Pineau d’Aunis Rosé 2008 – 12% Alcohol – Synthetic Cork


Wine information:
100 % Pineau d’Aunis (Chenin Noir)
Average yield:  18hl/ha
Terroir:  Clay-Siliceous
Manual harvest
Indigenous yeast, no chaptalisation
Vinification:  direct pressing, vinification as “vin gris”
(vin gris is white wine made from red grapes)
12 hours skin maceration
Alcoholic fermentation:  4 months
1700 bottles produced
Price in Norway is 130 NOK ($21)

Friday July 31st, 2009 16:45 (4:45pm)

Appearance: what’s there not to like?!  A beautiful light pink grapefruit color. Absolutely lovely color. Clean with a medium intense glow.

Nose: The first aromas I note can only be described as “vitamin C”, the smell you get when you first open a bottle of vitamin C chewable tablets. Aromas of pink grapefruit, hints of under ripe raspberries (red), hints of yeast  (the first bottle I sampled a few weeks ago had much more dominant yeast aromas which I did not like).  Medium intensity and medium complexity.

Palate: Very dry, with medium to medium plus intensity. Grapefruit and under ripe raspberries also on the palate. Medium body, great concentration and great length with yeast and mineral undertones. Very mild tannins.   Medium to medium plus acid.  Well integrated alcohol.  Wow, much better tasting experience today versus the last time I tasted this wine a few weeks ago.

Saturday August 1st, 2009 14:21 (2:21pm)

Appearance: Not much change, perhaps just a shade darker

Nose: Still pink grapefruit but today the yeasty/leesy smell is a bit more dominant.  Hints of pepper which weren’t there yesterday.

Palate: still the pink grapefruit, put now the hints of pepper were also on the palate.  The yeasty feeling was  less noticeable than on the nose. Acidity is now medium plus (an increase from yesterday). There is a slight CO2 tingle at the front of the tongue. Hints of under ripe raspberry. Definitely more open then yesterday and a bit more serious

Sunday August 2nd, 2009 20:48 (8:48pm) – The wine is at it’s peak today.

Appearance: No change

Nose: A little bit sweeter nose today. Red raspberries, but not too ripe. Still hints of yeast, but it’s more of a peppery yeasty smell today. Citrus, pink grapefruit. Definitely more fruity today. Smells really nice

Palate: Very fruity initially with the raspberries and grapefruit really dominating. Less of the yeast today on the palate and a finish that is very long, fruity with hints of pepper and mineral. Very balanced, fruity and fresh. I am actually loving this wine today. Today is definitely the best it’s been with the biggest improvement being on the fruit – its much more focused today than it has been and seems almost “sweet”, though the wine is bone dry.    To sum up – sour red raspberries, fruity pink grapefruit with surrounding pepper notes and hints of yeast and mineral on the finish.. Wow… Looking forward to tasting it with my two types of Zucchini and red onion pasta.


Monday August 3rd, 2009 23:28 (11:28pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: the berries are going more towards wild berries today instead of under ripe raspberries. sweet pink grapefruit, red apples today – weren’t there on the previous days. Overlaying pepper aromas. Hints of yeast, but mellowing with each passing day.  A fruitier “sweeter” nose today.  Although it may sound that the nose is more open today than yesterday, it was actually less appealing to me.

Palate: Acidity seems to have kicked up a notch today, but the fruit at the same time seems “sweeter”. Red apples and raspberries, with a mineral finish with hints of bitterness, like the white part of the grapefruit. Still fresh and drinking well, but perhaps it was a bit more enticing yesterday. The bitterness is dominating a bit on the finish.

Tuesday August 4th, 2009 00:31 (12:31am)

Appearance: No change

Nose: pepper dominates with pink grapefruit. Hints of yeast.  Not volatile. Still smells fine

Palate: sweet pink grapefruit and red raspberries with a peppered finish. The alcohol is bit more noticeable today and the fruit a bit more subdued. It has lost a bit of the fruity edge today. Not as exciting.

Wednesday August 5th, 2009 17:35 (5:35pm)

Appearance: No change

Nose: Still driven by the pink grapefruit and pepper notes. Still no signs of volatility on the nose. Still fresh. Still has hints of yeast..

Palate: Still fresh, but that fruit edge it had on the third day seems to have diminished a bit.  Alcohol a bit  noticeable like it was yesterday. However, still very drinkable, but slipping a bit.

Thursday August 6th, 2009 23:54 (11:54pm) – Possibly peaking, again?

Appearance: No Change

Nose: Very fruity tonight with hints of pencil lead. Very ripe red berries.  Strawberries also showing tonight which I have not seen in the previous nights. No volatile aromas

Palate: Strange wine tonight. Very relaxed, fruity and fun. Ripe red fruit, namely raspberries with hints of strawberries. Also getting the hints of pencil lead on the palate. Hints of red apple, especially the skin.  Very fresh. Long, slightly bitter finish.

This is a wine that I don’t particular enjoy when first opened. It did become enjoyable from Sunday night on with the most exciting nights being Sunday (3rd night open) and Thursday(7th night open).


Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Clos Roche Blanche - Loire Valley, France, France, Loire, natural wine (just about), Touraine


A tasting note: 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Amphora

2009-06-02_620091680Date tasted:  June 2nd, 2009 15:00 (3pm)

In the hills and mountains of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in North Eastern Italy, there are a group of winemakers that wish to make wine like they did centuries ago.  They farm organically and believe very firmly in the principles of natural wine making.  Ancient methods of cultivation are employed and the white wines are treated to extended maceration periods on the skins, producing “orange” wines.   Indigenous yeasts are used without the use of temperature control.  Fermentation takes place naturally and spontaneously.  In some cases, this takes place outdoors in large terracotta Amphorae.

The Vodopivec brothers’  Valter and Paolo’s winery is about 20 minutes north of Trieste, near the Slovenian border.  The brothers own a nursery and are plant and flower experts.  They have been making wine since 1995.  Up until the 2005 vintage, they have always used big Botti, now they are also using Amphorae.

The Vodopivec brothers usually bottle two different wines from the Vitovska grape.  The Vitovska grape is a vine with a greenish-gold berry that has always been cultivated in area of Trieste.  The name of the vine is undoubtedly of Slovenian origin, and was often called Vitovska Garganija.   The top bottling is the Solo, comprised of the top selection of grapes from older vines.  The second bottling is their second selection.

2005 was a challenging vintage with an overabundance of rain, therefore only one (hand) harvest was made. The Solo cuvée was not produced.  After harvesting, approximately 70% of the grapes were then fermented in Botti, the remaining 30% in Amphorae.  The wine was macerated with the skins for around 70 days.  Only indigenous yeast, no filtration, no treatments.  The botti were sprayed with about 10mg/liter of sulfur about 2 weeks before the harvest to “sterilize”.  The Amphorae were not sprayed.

There were two bottlings for the declassified 2005 vintage.  The wine fermented and aged in Amphorae has an orange stripe on the label.  The wine fermented and aged in Botti has a green stripe on the label.  This bottle was the Amphorae version.  Price in Norwegian Kroner is 320 ($50)


Appearance: Apricot, amber color. Clean. Medium plus intensity.

Nose: Spice, Cinnamon. Kumquat, Umami and orange peel.  Very intense and complex nose.  Keeps you going back to the glass to smell and smell again.  Also leaves the impression that this wine could be very fruity or even sweet.

Palate: Medium tannins and extremely focused fruit.  Orange peel and touches of spice.  Medium plus, mature acidity with a smooth, long and elegant finish.  Bone dry.  Really complex with some minerality on the finish.  Best enjoyed at closer to room temperature.  Goes very well with mature goat cheese.  I have also found success pairing this wine with pork belly in an Asian inspired sauce.

Although extremely enjoyable now in it’s youth, the wine’s concentration indicates to me the potential to lay down in the cellar for 5-8 years; perhaps more.


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine




Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. 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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