Catching up

Posted July 26, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Uncategorized

It has been over four months since my last post appeared on my blog. Been out of the writing for a while, not out of the wines. In contrary, I have been busier than ever, tasting, drinking, reading but above all working hard, really hard. I now have the honourable position to sell the fabulous wines of Bibendum Wine Co. on the Perth market, a huge task regarding the sheer size of the portfolio and the limits of one single person… However, it’s a pleasure to work with wines from producers like Larmandier Bernier, Huet SA, Georges Vernay, Tardieu Laurent and Rene Barbier to name just a few.

Although I was familiar with some of the producers, new windows have opened for me and new paths had to be explored. This means spending more money on drinking wines from my own stable and less resources for others. Besides that, I have decided to make a serious effort to start a modest private cellar. Again, this means less resources for every day upmarket drinking while stashing away the real treasures for later. So the question is where to go with this blog? Although I have never made an effort to offer a  comprehensive source for imported wines, I always wanted to inform my readers about different, exciting and above all good wines. I’m dedicated – resources allowing – to continue doing this, however, at a much lower publication rate. In the meantime I will keep you informed on producers, regions and everything vinous worth knowing. Salute!

Benanti Etna Bianca Superiore Pietramarina 2004

Posted March 18, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Carricante, Etna DOC, Italy, Sicily, Tasting Notes, Variety, Wine

The DOC of Etna is one of Italy’s most exciting in terms of native offerings. Here, on the slopes of this active volcano, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio can produce stunning red wines of ethereal fragrance and serious structure, its characters somehow reminiscent of Pinot Noir. There is no doubt that the recognition for the wines from this DOC can mainly be attributed to its reds, however, the whites should definitely not be overlooked as shown by this gem from Benanti. Entirely made from 80 year-old, low-yielding Carricante vines, this is the perfect example how the wet, humid and cool conditions on the Etna help to retain nervy, fresh acidity. Knowing the winemaking is pretty basic, including gentle pressing, temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, and several months of maturing before bottling, the power of fruit shown in this wine is even more amazing. Light gold in the glass, the nose runs through intense aromas of flowers, apple, pear, lemon, orange peel and other citrus fruit, all recurring on a palate where succulent texture, almost salty acidity and concentrated fruit are impeccable balanced towards a slightly bitter-spicy finish. This is one of the most impressive Italian whites I’ve had recently.

Source: Enoteca Sileno/The Grocer  Price: $75  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.vinicolabenanti.it

Cape Mentelle Chardonnay 2006

Posted March 1, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Australia, Chardonnay, Margaret River, Tasting Notes, Variety, Wine

On a recent trip to Margaret River I’ve been confronted again with the boom of new wineries and cellar doors. Along with the fortunes made in mining, a lot of those places have been there for a while, especially at the northern end of the Wilyabrup area, but this time I suddenly became aware of the scale of developments. In the battle of egos big is the keyword, with oversized buildings, golden statues, water features and the ever compulsory cast iron gates.  To me it all seems unnecessary, especially in an otherwise unspoiled region like Margaret River where less is generally so much more beautiful. The comparison with the region’s Chardonnays is never far away, as the personality of these wines is often expressed through excessive oak, alcohol and lees stirring. Fortunately an increasing number of winemakers moves away from this style, allowing fruit, site and vintage speak for themselves. The Cape Mentelle Chardonnay is a perfect example with lower alcohol, well handled, restrained use of oak, and fresh, clean and crisp fruit. Sure, this cool vintage has helped to craft a leaner wine, although I also believe in a well chosen approach to style. It has all resulted in a clear, light straw coloured wine with aromas of lemon, grapefruit, white peach, melon and subtle notes of vanilla, nutty and spicy oak preceding detailed and precise flavors that are build on a well balanced base of barrel ferment characters and natural acidity. This wine clearly shows how Australian Chardonnays can still be appealing without showy muscles and weight. 92 points

Source: LVMH  Price: $43  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.capementelle.com.au

Joseph Drouhin Chablis 2006

Posted January 28, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Burgundy, Chablis, Chardonnay, France, Tasting Notes, Variety, Wine

img_5231In the category entry-level French Chardonnay, this is another revisit to a wine which quality amazed me last vintage. Again this unoaked Chardonnay shows the usual concoction of lemon, pear, mint and floral aromas recurring on a medium-bodied palate where softly textured fruit is balanced with minerally acid. However, where the 2005 cashed in on the vintage with clear focus, concentration and depth, I would label this edition as solid but less exciting. 87 points

Source: Fine Wine Partners  Price: $45  Drink: Now-2010

Other vintages: 2005

Web: www.drouhin.com

Domaine Leflaive Macon-Verze 2006

Posted January 21, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Burgundy, Chardonnay, France, Mâcon, Tasting Notes, Variety, Wine

img_5226I was pleased to find the 2006 edition of this wine at my local liquor shop the other day, as I remember the one from the stellar 2005 vintage as an absolute cracker. After reading the raving (95 points!) review by Wino sapien a few weeks ago, I decided to check things out myself. This light straw coloured wine shows a nose that runs through aromas of citrus, melon and ample stonefruit, all to be found back on a palate where round, somewhat plumb fatness is balanced by mineral-infused purity. There is no doubt that this wine is seriously good, made with integrity, authentic and true to its appellation, but I tend to prefer the leanness of the 2005Don’t get me wrong, this wine is still very good and absolutely worth every cent, it’s just my preference… hence 89 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $49  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.leflaive.fr

Other vintages: 2005

Domaine de Rimauresq Blanc 2006

Posted January 21, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Cotes de Provence, France, Provence, Tasting Notes, Variety, Vermentino, Wine

The solid Domaine de Rimauresq now has 57 hectares of vineyards in the AOC of Côtes the Provence for the production of red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan), rosé (Cinsault, Tibouren, Grenache and Syrah) and white wines. This one is made from 90% Rolle – as Vermentino is called in Southern France – and 10% Ugni Blanc. The wine has a straw yellow colour with aromas of stonefruit, citrus, herbs and straw following through to a palate where a soft texture is added by extended lees contact and regular battonage, offering an interesting contrast with the more mineral vivacity on the finish. Drink this one now. 87 points

Source: Fonty’s Pool  Price: $34  Drink: Now

Web: www.rimauresq.com

Santa Caterina Colli di Luni Vermentino 2007

Posted January 18, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Italy, Tasting Notes, Variety, Vermentino, Wine

img_52632Vermentino is widely planted in the central part of the Mediterranean, reaching its apogee in the Vermentino di Gallura DOCG of Sardinia. However, on both Corsica and the French and Italian mainland some excellent examples are made, as this wine from the Ligurian DOC of Colli di Luni. Entirely made from organically grown grapes, philosopher turned winemaker Andrea Kihlgren has crafted a wonderfully pure Vermentino. Aromas of white flowers, rosemary, straw, grapefruit and apple introduce the flavours to follow on the palate. Bone-dry, with a lovely chalky mouthfeel, this wine shows a perfect balance between expressive herbaceous fruit and a somewhat restraining core of minerality. Try it with a fresh seafood linguine. Yum!

Source: Enoteca Sileno/The Grocer  Price: $45  Drink: Now

Ermita Veracruz Verdejo 2006

Posted January 13, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Rueda, Spain, Tasting Notes, Variety, Verdejo, Wine

img_5260The prolonged period of hot weather here in Perth screams out for fresh summer whites, like this lovely Verdejo. From an area where great fluctuations between day and night temperatures help the grapes to retain their acidity, it offers tons of  fruit and vibrancy. And with the further addition of proper viticultural practices, modern wine making and a healthy level of  ambition, the Benito brothers are bringing this variety to the next level. Aromas of citrus peel, ripe melon, white flowers and minty herbaceousness on the nose, the wine has a succulent, fruit driven palate balanced with crisp and minerally acid. Nice labelling and screwtop closure finish the deal. 88 points

Source: Swanbourne Cellars /Must Winebar  Price: $25  Drink: Now

Cellers Fuentes Priorat Finca El Puig 2002

Posted January 9, 2009 by winedome
Categories: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache (blends), Merlot, Priorat, Spain, Syrah, Tasting Notes, Variety, Wine

img_52361The revival of Priorat is repeatedly embodied in wineries as Cellers Fuentes: founded in the ’90s, backed by foreign capital, lead by the passion of a young winemaker playing around with mouthwatering old-vine material. This approach has clearly paid off, with the Gran Clos and Finca El Puig having conquered their place between some of the region’s greatest wines as L’Ermita and Clos Mogador. The 2002 El Puig is a blend of 45% Garnacha, 23% Cariñena, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 2% Syrah, aged between 12 and 16 months in predominantly French oak. Deep crimson in the glass the nose unveils its origins straight away, with an amalgam of  fragrant berry fruit, herbs, liquorice and hints of leafs and leather, following through to a full-bodied palate with ripe fruit, some earthiness and ample minerality adding freshness and balance. This wine actually showed much better the day after opening, proving the point that most big and bold Priorats deserve serious decanting. 90 points

Source: Vintage Cellars  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.granclos.com

Borie de Maurel Minervois la Liviniere “La Feline” 2005

Posted January 8, 2009 by winedome
Categories: France, Grenache (blends), Languedoc-Roussillon, Minervois La Liviniere, Syrah, Tasting Notes, Variety, Wine

img_5241The young appellation of Minervois La Livinière is considered to produce some of Languedoc’s best wines. From its leading producer comes La Féline, a deep crimson coloured blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache. Where the wines from the Southern Rhône already offer the distinctive characters of garrigue and Herbes de Provence, to this one the ripeness and fulness of sun-drenched grapes is added, however, balancing acidity is always in sight due to the relatively high altitude of the AOC’s vineyards. On the nose aromas of cherry, blackberry, plum, herbs, pepper and exotic spice seem to grow more complex with some time in the glass, perfectly balancing the fragrance of primary fruit with spicy-savoury notes. The palate is smooth, round, ripe and powerful with grippy tannins building towards the finish. Its austerity suggests it can easily be cellared for 5 years or more. This is actually a quite fantastic wine at this price. 90 points

Source: Vintage Cellars  Price: $26  Drink: Now-2014

Web: www.boriedemaurel.fr