Wieder mal sind einige Monate des sporadischen und unorganisierten Probierens vorüber gegangen, und so wurde es wirklich mal wieder Zeit für eine schöne, ausgedehnte Weinprobe mit viel Gelegenheit zum direkten Vergleich. Da trifft es sich gut, dass Weinliebhaber Oskar eine fröhliche Weinrunde zur spanischen Weinprobe in den Gewölbekeller des Alten Hofs in Wallau geladen hat. Im Gepäck hatte Oskar eine große Vielfalt an Flaschen, so dass die Probe einer Entdeckungsreise quer durch die spanische Weinlandschaft glich. Highlights gab es dabei nicht zu wenige, doch ich will jetzt nicht zu viel verraten. Als Bewertungssystem habe ich mich für das einfache aber praktische -,+ und ++ entschieden wobei – für “unter den Erwartungen”, + für “gut, entspricht den Erwartungen” und ++ für “sehr gut, deutlich über den Erwartungen” steht. Hier sind meine Notizen: Read the rest of this entry »
Last thursday we were about 10 wine-buddies gathering at our generous host Nick‘s home for a blind-tasting of red Rhône wines. This time there were absolutely no limits as all reds from all-over the Rhône-region were permitted, drastically differentiating it from our last tasting at Nick’s when only Southern Rhône reds were allowed, as well as from the last blind tasting at my place where boundaries were set by the Syrah varietal, originally stemming from that area but now being planted all over Planet Wine.
This means that each of the 12 bottles we popped that night could be anything from Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage to Côtes du Ventoux and Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, hence also mixing single-varietal wines with those that represent cuvées. As you can see, with each blind-tasting we are slowly encircling what both Rhône and Syrah have to offer. Are we gonna grasp the essence of it tonight? Dream on, dreamer.. Read the rest of this entry »
Again we met in a small round for verifying what age has done to some old Spanish reds. We had a small but fine selection of reds: a Rioja from 1981 and one from 1982 -both vintages were supposed to be the best in Rioja from 1975 to 2001, further a Rioja from 1975 which was an average vintage and as a contrast a 1994 Ribera Del Duero, which was a fine year there.
But first we refreshed ourselves with a 2005 Schloss Johannisberg Erstes Gewächs, or Silberlack as they traditionally name it. A Riesling with light straw yellow color, a rather light peach nose with Read the rest of this entry »
Damn it was really time for a wine tasting! Especially when I think of some old wines in the cellar which aren’t getting younger anymore and begged to be drunk! We agreed on old Burgundies as the central topic and assembled some 5 bottles, one of them being a Rhône wine actually, but no drama, it’s not that far away anyway.
For a start I opened a 1959 German white with ripped off label, hence some kind of surprise wine. When I bought this bottle very cheaply on Ebay I relied on the aura of the bombastic 1959 vintage which brought up some fantastic wines throughout Europe. And Since our first red Burgundy would be a 1959 too, I thought that would be the opportunity to open it.
We weren’t disapponted: It had a shiny golden colour with a touch of orange, a slightly nut-like nose without any age note, which is impressive for a wine that old. On the palate it was Read the rest of this entry »
Rioja is one of the most prestigious wine regions on this globe. No doubt about it. Luckily Oskar has a great affinity with spanish wines and also collected some nice specimens during the last years. We were all very curious how these old Riojas would come out, especially compared to other „old bottles“ tastings we had like the Burgundies’ for example.
I could do a quick profile of Rioja, but why should when the Winedoctor already has done such fine work on it.
1970 Campo Viejo Gran Reserva
Our starter-bottle was from the Campo Viejo Bodega on which I don’t have much info except its website. It had a brick-red colour with a brownish rim, high clarity with a few floating particles. The bouquet came sweetish with a berry touch and a slight marmelade impression. On the palate it left a very balanced and round impression with perfectly solved tannins. No signs of 37 years of age except a slight bitter note in the end which punctuated a very nice length. This wine came from a good vintage according to Mr Parker (90 points for the vintage) and was still very nice to drink, nevertheless we believer it has seen better days before.
1975 Imperial Gran Reserva C.V.N.E.
Imperial is a brand name from C.V.N.E. (Compania Vinicola del Norte D’Espana) which exists since the 1920’s and has a great reputation for bringing constantly great qualities. The Bodega is known for being a motor of innovation for the Rioja region; it has for example among the first bodegas to bottle its own wine and to build out ageing capacities of its cellar.
It had a very brilliant ruby-red robe with slightly brown sides. It had clearly a more intense colour than the first wine. Its nose was intensely perfumed with berries, without permitting us to identify a particular berry (we guessed bramble-berry though). On the palate it was sweet at first, than fruity with a slight eucalyptus freshness. Its length was enormous, most of all 5 wines, but here again a slight bitter note came through.
1978 Marques De Riscal
Marques De Riscal is a very well known brand/winery in Rioja, since they also belong to the pioneers in that region. This wine seems to be neither a Gran Reserva, nore a Reserva, thus we believe it is a simple crianza. Nevertheless 1978 is supposed to be one good year in Rioja.
It had a ruby red, slightly blunt colour with only a little brown on the side. In the nose some strawberry. On the palate then, it appeared balanced without any adstrigency, yet with a slightly sour touch of red fruits. The final then was average, in particular when comparing it to the last wine.
1982 Vina Berceo Reserva
1982 again a very good vintage for Rioja, delivered to us by this rather unknown bodega (at least to me, and the spanish website didn’t help me much either).
But let’s rather describe the wine itself. It had a rather light colour. The nose was full of berries and with time developped and had a nice peppery touch. On the palate, the berries appeared again accompanied by a complex interaction between vanilla and liqorice. It had a nice length with a certain eucalyptus freshness. The slight bitterness was also there; nervertheless this was in our opinion the most enjoyable of the 3 younger bottles.
1987 Faustino I Gran Reserva
Faustino is a very popular Rioja brand launched by the Bodega Faustino in 1960. The Faustino group is today the biggest wineyard owner in Rioja with 760 hectares and stocks over 12 million bottles of Reservas and Gran Reservas in ist ageing cellars.
1987 was an above-average year in Rioja (82 points according to Mr Parker) but not truly exceptional. The wine was dark in colour but not with full clarity. The nose had a certain eucalyptus freshness and slight berry fruit. On the palate the wine didn’t appear very harmonious and balanced. Acidity, fruit and tannins didn’t come together quite well and drew a nervous picture of a wine which has overpassed ist drinking phase.
This tasting was marked by the 2 oldest bottles in my opinion, and one could say it was a duell between the better vintage (1970 Campo Viejo) and the better name (Imperial), which in the end, we agreed has slightly been taken by the 1975 Imperial. Besides those 2 we were quite surprised by the Vina Berceo which had the most complexity of the 3 younger wines, maybe due to the fact it was the best vintage of all 5.
Something that irritated us a little was a bitter-note that came through in all 5 bottles in a more or less intense way. We tried to come up with reasons for it and guessed that the sweet impression on the tip of the palate, either coming from the oak or being an intrinsic attribute of the tempranillo grape, made this final bitternote – whereever it stems from- much more apparent. We then concluded that, despite the fact that these wines were all exceptionnaly well drinkable and in good shape (no cork fault), they have surpassed their ideal maturity and might have offered greater pleasure some time ago. This wasn’t so obvious to tell for the 2 old Gran Reserva, but most evident for the Faustino which made a quite unbalanced and nervous impression. When compared to the old Burgundies and Bordeaux tastings we already had I would say that, for this time the Riojas couldn’t overtake them, but I’m pretty optimistic that it will happen at a further tasting. Thank you Oskar for the fine supply and see you soon for the next episode.
Let’s just start by saying that this was an evening to be remembered. We were all kind of excited since it was the first time we drank such old wines. Our big fear was that all these bottles have turned bad in 3 decades. But on the other hand, these bottles came straight from the Côte D’Or into Oskar’s perfectly aerated cellar, where they got a long rest. So if they turned bad, it would have been fate.
We started our journey through the seventies with a 1969 Gevrey Chambertin from Ets St-Ferdinand (Mercurey). First of all, 1969 is supposed to be one of the best burgundy vintages according to idealwine.com (“1969 est situé parmi les meilleurs millésimes du siècle en Bourgogne”). This statement made me very curious and luckily the cork came out easily (in 2 pieces though). We chose not to decant and poured it straight. Instantly, the very light red, nearly orange colour impressed us. The fact that it wasn’t brownish indicated us that it might not have turned bad, but the paleness still witnessed its age. The nose was a little blunt at the beginning which we thought was normal considering that it hasn’t seen lots of fresh air in 37 years, but with a little nose-effort we could still smell some cherry. When we tried the wine a bit later the nose opened up a bit, and revealed in a sweet kind of way notes of wild berries, strawberries and even raspberries and violets; a hint of wood also came across. On the palate the wine appeared soft and round with a very nice berry-fruit taste followed by a great length.
This was definitely the oldest “sill good” red wine I ever drank, and the fact that it hadn’t turned bad made us optimistic on what was to follow.
Our second bottle, a 1972 Grande Réserve de Bourgogne from Jacques Selot (Puligny-Montrachet) caused little more problems at the beginning. The cork dissembled into thousand little pieces and thus I had to decant the wine. But once poured in the carafe it appeared with such a nice dark, kind of youthful colour, we knew it couldn’t be bad. We approached our nostrils: the nose was rather discrete in the beginning, but reminded leather and underwood (does this word exist?); some red currant fruit followed after a while. On the palate it felt at the same time powerful and balanced with red currant, unripe strawberry and black cherry aroma, accompanied by a tangy, peppery touch. The wine diffused nice warmth but the length was somewhat shorter than the first one.
Then followed a 1975 Cuvée La Dame Marguerite from Ets St-Ferdinand (without label) Here again uncorked without any problem. How lucky can one be? The colour appeared even darker than the last one. So dark even, I would have guessed it a 2000 vintage rather than a 75. The nose wasn’t overwhelming, but one could distinct red berries and a hint of freshness. On the palate then it was a real stunner and confirmed our impression from the colour. It was a youthful wine with lots of power; with a thick texture, a wine you could chew, a real “mouthful” of wine. It had the muscles of a young wine, without the incisiveness of the tannins and other sharp edges. The aroma was more in the very ripe dark fruits/berries direction, but underlined by many other aromatic impression which earned the wine the label “complex”. It had a tangy body with a light cinnamon touch and an ending with liquorice scents. The length was medium long with a slight bitter note being the only downer in this fascinating wine. I guess this was my favourite!
Our next bottle, a 1977 Santenay 1er Cru Beauregard, Ets St-Ferdinand is from a Premier Cru vineyard which is adjacent to “Les Gravières” and “La Comme”, the 2 best 1er Cru lots in Santenay according to my wine atlas. So this sets expectations a tick higher from the beginning I guess. The wine was a bit lighter in colour than the 2 before but had the most alcohol of all bottles (we deducted this from the tears running down on the inside of the glass; none of these wines had the alcohol content on its label by the way). The nose was very strong in the red berries direction but also a little blunt at the same time. Oskar identified a hint of fig, which I had a hard time to smell, given we arrived at the fourth bottle. But on the palate then it wasn’t difficult to sense a real fruit explosion of red currant and figs, accompanied by the power and the warmth of the remaining alcohol. And this time it finally had a little taste of age; not that we like this type of aroma, but we were a bit surprised we didn’t have it yet, with such old bottles. The finish then was herbal with rosemary, thyme and tea notes, but also with a minor bitter tone. Again, a very satisfying bottle!
Finally our last bottle was a Cuvée La Dame Marguerite 1979, Ets St-Ferdinand a younger version of our third wine and we were curious how they compared. At first it didn’t appear as dark as the 1975. The nose then had a little note of age, but one could still smell fruit in the background. On the palate it showed fruit in the red currant direction underlined by much more acidity than in the 1975 vintage. The finish had a little bitterness and a rather unsatisfying length. This was in my opinion the least interesting wine of the evening. It was impressive to notice though that this 1979 appeared much older than the 1975 which had a youthful personality.
In the end we felt very lucky. It is a nice feeling that all these bottles were in such a good shape and that none had turned bad or was corked. Actually this tasting has beaten all expectations. At least 2 or 3 of the wines were true revelations to us. Again a big thank you to you, Oskar! I guess my lesson of the evening was: “it is worth letting age good bottles”.