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…spontaneously fermenting

A tasting note: 2007 Dr. Bürklin-Wolf Gaisböhl Beerenauslese


Date tasted:  May 19th, 2009 23:40 (11:40pm)

Dr. Bürklin-Wolf is the largest family owned estate in Germany with just over 110HA of vineyards all located in the heart of the Pfalz.  The vineyards are located in Wachenheim, Forst, Deidesheim and Ruppertsberg including the monopol sites “Wachenheimer Rechbächel” and “Gaisböhl” in Ruppertsberg. They were the first non-French member of the well-known French organization “Syndicat International des Vignerons en Culture Bio-Dynamique” with the label BIODYVIN.  In the beginning of 2005 all 83 hectares of Bürklin-Wolf’s vineyards were converted to bio-dynamic methods. Dr. Bürklin-Wolf has passed with success all necessary controls by the EU control agencies and is certified as a bio-dynamic winery.

Gaisböhl Beerenauslese harvest

Gaisböhl 2007 BA harvest

This wine has a special place in my heart.  On September 12, 2007 a friend and I arrived in the Pfalz where I would remain for the following 10 days to take part in the harvest.  The very next day we had our very first harvesting experience.  We were to (hand) harvest grapes (Riesling) in the Gaisböl vineyard, and those grapes were to be at the Beerenauslese level!  Beerenauslese (BA) directly translated means “selected grapes”, which simply meant that we were hand selecting grapes that were going to be used in this wine.  The grapes in a BA wine are normally effected by Botrytis (the basis for the worlds greatest sweet wines like Sauternes and Tokaji).  The minimum required Oechsle value (of the grapes) in the Pfalz to qualify as a BA is 120 (the Oechsle scale is a hydrometer scale measuring the density of grape must, which is an indication of grape ripeness and sugar content.  The higher the value, the higher sugar content, the higher the potential alcohol).  This wine also had a small percentage of “fresh” grapes; grapes not effected by this “noble rot”. At analysis, the grapes that went into this wine had an Oechsle reading of 145!  This Oechsle reading puts this wine at just a few degrees under the Trockenbeerenauslese level of 150!

It is quite unusual to be picking grapes of this level so early in the harvest season.  Many of the other Bürklin vineyards weren’t even going to be harvested for fresh grapes for another couple of weeks.  I have to say that it was a challenging first day of harvesting!  There are many types of rot and you have to be very selective to assure that the good rot is the one you are harvesting, the rest goes right on the ground!

The Gaisböhl vineyard is solely owned by the Bürklin estate.  This vineyard is considered a “Grand Cru” (according to the Bürklin-Wolf’s own strict vineyard classification system dating back to 1995).  The vineyard covers 5,7ha and was planted in 1977.

As many of you may know, 2007 is heralded as an excellent vintage in Germany.  A vintage which has the potential to age for decades.  This wine was no exception.  It was immediately approachable but had the potential to age, well probably longer than you or I.

Wine analysis/details:

Grape:  100% Riesling

Oechsle measurement before fermentation:  145° Oe

Price:  € 70,00 per 0,375l, double for 0,75l (this  bottle was a 0,375 l)

Production:  about 500 liters

Residual Sugar:  188g/liter

Residual Acidity:  16g/liter!!

2009-05-20_1764Alcohol content:  7%

Appearance: Poured like liquid syrup!  Golden orange with amber hints.

Nose: Orange marmalade, apricot nectar, honey, lemon with mineral undertones.  “cool” chalky smell with hints of eucalyptus.  Lots of apricots!  I could smell this wine all night!

Palate: Pure, apricot syrup with extreme, mature acidity!  The finish has hints of dried apricots and sour fruit.  The wine really coats the mouth and the texture is mind-blowing.  The finish is extremely long, at least a minute or more..

This has got to be one of the finest sweet wines I have ever tasted, because it had extreme focus of both fresh and dried fruits with amazing acidity giving this wine lift and freshness!

For those of you that don’t enjoy sweet wines, this one is worth a try.  The secret with sweet wines is the acidity.  Sweet wines need acidity to balance out the sugar.  When the acidity is in balance,  the wine will seem fresh no matter how sweet it is.  In other words, the higher the residual sugar, the higher the acidity needs to be.  If there is a lack of acidity, which unfortunately is too often the case, the wine will seem cloying and will sting at the back of the throat.  This is why cool climate countries have the advantage in the sweet wine world. The cooler climate produces grapes with higher acidity and typically the sweet wines made from these grapes are fresher.

Suggested music pairing:  Blank & Jones “Butterfisch” from the album Relax Edition 4

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, biodynamic wine, Germany, Pfalz, Ruppertsberg


A tasting note: 2006 Vinarstvo Simčič Rebula Seleklija (Reserva)


Date tasted:  May 19th, 2009

Exciting things are happening in Western Slovenia and North Eastern Italy.  The exciting thing that both countries have in common is the Rebula (Ribolla Gialla) grape which is quickly gaining cult status among us wine nerds.    It produces aromatic wines with high acidity and when a little skin contact is added to the mix, wines of great complexity and length can be produced.  (White) wines with skin contact are gaining popularity in the wine world and being referred to as “orange wines” due the color that extended skin contact gives the wine.

2009-05-19_1693Vinarstvo Simčič is situated in Ceglo (Zegla), a small village in the region of Goriska Brda, by the Slovene-Italian border, by the Italian hills of Collio.  Half of their vineyards lie in Slovenia while the other half lie in Italy.  An hour and half drive will get you both to Venice or the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. I have been told that this is one of the top producers in Slovenia, if not the top.  In fact, I was speaking to a respected source who also sampled some of their red wines (blind) and said that they were better than many Bordeaux’s….

They grow 100% of their grapes in their vineyards, which cover 16 ha.   They believe in the most natural methods of viticulture, reducing crop and leaving the grapes on the vine as long as possible.  They also follow ancestral and traditional vinification methods in the cellar, which is located 5 meters underground.

This wine is the Rebula Reserva (Seleklija).  The Rebula vines are 48-51 years old and lie at an altitude of 200-250 meters above sea level.  They have a North-West exposure and the soil is composed of marl, slate and sandstone.  The grapes are hand-harvested (bunches are carefully selected)  at the beginning of October.  The fermentation takes place with the skins in 3000 liter conical oak barrels (tino) using only indigenous yeasts.  The wine is separated from the skins after 6 months of maceration.  The wine is then matured in big oak barrels for 2 years.  The wine was bottled in September of 2008 without fining or filtration.  No added sulfur.  Only 2000 bottles produced.  13.5% Alcohol (14% according to the label).  Total acidity is 4.56 grams per liter.  Price in Norway is 250 Norwegian Kroner ($39)

2009-05-19_1688First tasting:  15:51 (3:51pm):  (from the refrigerator)

Appearance: Apricot orange.  Very clean looking with medium intensity.

Nose: Yellow fruit especially yellow plums.  Fresh apricots.  Hints of acacia honey.  Hints of herbs with underlying minerals

Palate: Ripe fruit, apricots, sultana raisins (semi-dry).  Medium to medium plus acidity.  Medium to medium plus alcohol.  Long finish, light minerality.

Second tasting:  16:31 (4:31pm):  (cellar temperature)

Nose: Tighter, more complex yet more focused.

Palate: Focus on the palate also sharper, alcohol a lot more integrated (interesting since this was now a few degrees warmer).  The wine has become very elegant with very mild tannins starting to emerge.

Third tasting:  21:00 (9:00pm):  (cellar temperature)

Nose & Palate: Amazing focus and elegance with “sweet” fruit emerging.  Lots of apricots.  Mild tannins, ripe acidity and great length.

This wine improved after being open half a day.  I often find that wines that are more natural tend to improve over the course of several hours and even days.  Unfortunately, this wine was so good that it never had a chance to make it to day two or three.  In my opinion this is a serious wine well worth the price tag.


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Goriska Brda, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Slovenia


A tasting note: 2005 Azienda Agricola Pacina Chianti Colli Senesi


Date tasted:  May 16th, 2009

I have tasted a few Chianti’s from the Colli Senesi DOCG and they are often fresh and light. This wine seemed more like a Brunello di Montalicino than a Chianti or Chianti Colli Senesi.  With some digging I found out that Azienda Agricola Pacina is located in Castelnuovo Berardenga, but his vines are in the Colli Senesi DOCG (which I am told you can see from the kitchen window).  I should also add that on a clear day, you can see Montalcino from the estate (home of the afore mentioned Brunello di Montalcino), which could be part  of the reason why this wine was more like a Brunello to me.


The 10ha vineyard for this wine is made up of sand, clay and oyster fossils and is farmed organically, leaning towards biodynamics.  The blend is 97% Sangiovese and 3% Canaiolo/Ciliegiolo.  The grapes are hand harvested, crushed and the alcoholic fermentation takes place utilizing indigenous yeasts.  The wine is left to macerate for around five weeks in concrete tanks (the long skin contact could be another reason why this wine resembled a Brunello).  The wine is then aged for one year in (5-10 year-old) 500 liter barrels and botti of 17-25hl.  The wine is then bottled without clarification nor filtration.  Very little sulfur is added at this time ( I’m told 15-20 mg) and aged a further 6 months before release.  25,000 bottles are produced.  Alcohol:  13.2%  Total Acidity:  5.5%.  Price in Norwegian Kroner is 200 ($31).

Appearance: Dark brick-red with good color depth.  Medium intensity.  Still nice dark edge suggesting that this wine is younger than it really is.

Nose: When first opened, slight hints of onion, suggesting that there was slight reduction.  This very quickly burned off.  Hints of mineral emerged along with dark cherries and dark plums.  Hints of herbs like rosemary.  Some dried fruit notes on the back end.

Palate: Dark cherries and cherry pits.  Medium plus acidity and medium plus tannins which actually increased and began to over power the wine a bit once in the glass for 10 minutes.  It was difficult to distinguish weather the tannins were coming from the fruit or the 500 liter barrels.  I am quite sure that most of the tannic structure of the wine came form the fruit itself.  Very rustic style of wine with secondary aromas that emerge about 10 seconds after the initial impression on the palate.  Those secondary aromas sat for 30 plus seconds.


I tasted this wine again on the 19th of May, after the bottle had been open for 3 days and stored in the refrigerator.  It had actually improved considerably.  The tannins were better integrated and the fruit more precise.  It’s my opinion that this wine is a wine that could benefit from 5-7 years of cellaring.  A reliable source reported to me that he had recently tasted a 1995 and that it was, to quote him directly “fantastic”!  I suppose that at this price, one might expect that a wine with the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG can be aged.


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Chianti Colli Senesi, Italy, natural wine (just about), Toscana


A tasting note: 2008 Bodega Biurko Gorri Arbanta

2009-05-07_520091575Date tasted:  May 7th, 2009

Not only is this wine certified organic, but it’s also somewhat of a rarity of the wine world.  In the Rioja region of Spain, wines have traditionally been aged in oak (with exception are the Joven wines which may not see any oak at all).  And I am being kind here because not only have wines from Rioja been traditionally aged in oak, but often wines were aged for many many many years in oak.  It wasn’t uncommon to see wines, including whites, to be stored in oak for 20 years, although 2-5 years was more usual.  On top of that, American oak was often used imparting in my opinion, well you know, unwanted flavors in the wine often covering up the beautiful fruit.

The fruit in this case being the very underrated (by some) Tempranillo grape. “The little early one” as it’s called due to the fact that it usually ripens a few weeks earlier than other Spanish varieties, is a grape that can produce full-bodied wines with a huge aging potential.  Not only can they age for decades, but they do so gracefully.  At a “blind” wine tasting that I attended last year with fellow enthusiasts, half the group mistook a 1982 Rioja for a Burgundy (Pinot Noir) while the other half mistook the wine as a Barolo (Nebbiolo)!  No joke, and we were a pretty talented bunch!

Now on to this wine.  The bodega Biurko Gorri is a family run estate with one aim “they use their wine-making tradition and great care of their vineyards along with very modern installations to produce and age high quality wines“.  The vineyards are found on the sunny slopes in the area at an altitude that  give the grape an excellent balance of acidity and ripeness.  The fruit grows on old vines (15-20 years) and most of the 30ha are organic; organic fertilizers are used, not herbicides nor synthesized chemicals.  The wines made from these grapes go on sale under the Denominación de Origen Ecológica as well as the D.O.C. Rioja.

This Arbanta wine comes from organic vineyards in carefully chosen well-ventilated areas at high altitudes.  The vineyards are located in the small town of Bargota in the foothills of the Sierra Cantabria Mountains.  The grapes are destalked.  Fermentation is with natural yeasts in stainless steel vats at controlled temperatures between 20 and 28ºC. Natural fining through decanting and racking.

Appearance: A very youthful reddish purple.  Good color concentration with a medium intensity.

Nose: Wild strawberries and other berries.  Plums and flowers.  Mineral undertones.  Hints of orange peel and anise.

Palate: Plums, blackberries and hints of sweet licorice.  Nice gripping tannins with a long mineral aftertaste.  Great concentration.  Light & fresh with medium acidity.

A wine to be enjoyed young.  No sense aging this wine as it’s so good and fresh now.  I would enjoy this wine with some grilled light colored meets like chicken, or some aged hard cheese.  If you like fish with red, this could be an option as well.

I am extremely happy to live in a time when new wave Rioja wine makers are reducing oak use to such a degree that some are skipping the oak all together.  It allows us to better understand the fruit as the fruit becomes clear without the clutter of artificial (oak) additives.


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, organic wine, Rioja, Spain


A tasting note: 2007 Cantina di Nomi/Antichi Portali Rulander

2009-05-05_008Date tasted:  May 5th, 2009

Cantina di Nomi is a cooperative situated in the heart of the Vallagarina, between Trentino and Rovereto in the far North in Italy.  The cantina was formed in 1957 by a group of farmers and, according to the website, the almost 200 hectares are harvested by hand.

This wine is part of the Antichi Portali line and is made with the Rulander grape, also known as Pinot Grigio. The grapes for this wine are harvested by hand and come from a single vineyard called Castel Pietra.  Once harvested and crushed, the skins are macerated with the must for 18-24 hours at a temperature of between 6-8°C (43-46.5°F).  The wine is aged for a short period in stainless steel.

Appearance: A very light bronze/rusty color. Medium intensity with good clarity, most likely this wine has been filtered.

2009-05-05_520091557Nose: Not very floral nor fruity.  Under ripe lemons.  Light aromas of gooseberry, with slight green notes (some similar aromas to Sauvignon Blanc, but less intense and green).  Hints of under ripe melon.  Not a terribly intense nor complex wine.

Palate: Very dry, medium acidity.  Dry orange peel.  A bit steely and saline.  Crisp with a medium long finish.  Medium alcohol.  Very slight oxidaton on the palate.

I tried the wine again the next day and there was no evolution.

Overall this wine was OK, but not great.   I expected greater complexity due to the skin contact, but the short time on the skins didn’t add much to the wine. It is quite a typical Pinot Grigio.

It’s suitable for an aperitif or just to refresh yourself on a hot day.


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, orange wine, Trentino

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Who is Vinosseur?

I finally wrote a little something about myself.. It only took me six months!

Who is Vinosseur?

Category: Events


Food & Wine Pairing – Weingut Langmann Schilcher Klassik 2008

The wine:

Weingut Stefan Langmann Schilcher Klassik 2008

Weststeiermark, no rx Austria

11.50% Alcohol

3.8 grams/liter residual sugar

9.0 grams/liter residual acidity!

Price in Norwegian Kroner 114,- ($17.50)


The Food:

Lightly poached fresh Mackerel

Lightly pickled cucumber

Fresh cucumber and cucumber gel

Løyrom caviar from Sweden

Fresh dill and dill mousse



Category: 1 Appetizer/Starter, 1 WINE, 6 FOOD & WINE PAIRING