Archive for February 2007

Valderiz 2001

February 28, 2007

img_2509.JPGRibera del Duero is hot. The number of first rate bodegas in the fastest growing Spanish wine region has increased dramatically since the creation of the DO in 1982 and the investment in vineyards and wineries has resulted in modern and high quality wines. Tomas Esteban Cristóbal is one of the growers that saw the great potential of the region. In the early eighties he planted vineyards with Tinto Fino in three different zones around Roa, all with very different soil properties. Telmo Rodriguez and fellow-winemaker Pablo Eguzkiza, operating under the name Compañia de Vinos de Telmo Rodriguez, added Ribero to their portfolio on the hunt for new terroirs. Esteban’s low-yielding old-vine grapes and Rodriguez’ oenological expertise are the main ingredients for the Valderiz. The wine is completely made from Tinto Fino from different vineyards, allowing the terroirs to express their characters into the wine. Aged in oak for 18 months this Crianza shows us it’s also Ribera’s climate that is hot. With 14% alcohol this full-bodied wine fully reflects the region’s warm and dry summers. The nose shows the typical earthy and gamey flavours, backed by dark plum, coffee and tobacco. The wine is full, complex and long with beautiful integrated soft and grainy tannins on the finish. Concentrated yet balanced and elegant, this wine can go for another 5 years. 92 points.

Source:The Spanish Acquisition Price: $64 Drink: Now-2012

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2004

February 27, 2007

Although the controversy about the concept of terroir is only one of the many in the world of wine, it is a very interesting and debated one. Jamie Goodie (http://www.wineanorak.com/) made very good efforts to coin this concept, stressing the fact that it means different things to different people. In his book ‘Wine Science‘ he points out that the word terroir is used in three different ways. According to Goodie terroir is mainly defined as the wine’s expression of flavour characteristics influenced by the properties of the vineyard or region from which it originates. Secondly terroir is used to describe the vineyard site itself including the combination of soils, sub-soils and climatic factors that affect the grapes and therefore the wine made from them. Last but not least Goodie focuses on the concept of Goûte de Terroir, or the way the individual vineyard site directly imparts its flavours on wine through the roots of the vine. I agree with Goodie that there is a lack of scientific evidence for this view, but I fully support his view on the importance of the physical proporties of the soil and vineyards for the grapes and wine they produce. This is even more so in for viticulture marginal regions such as Burgundy and the Loire valley.

The white wines from Sancerre are derived from three different soil types which produce grapes with varying flavour profiles and characteristics. Because many producers seek to moderate the dominance of one particular profile, cuvees are made to enhance complexity without denying the individual terroirs to express their virtues. For the Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2004 half of the blend is made up of grapes sourced from Les Caillottes, soils with a very high proportion of limestone that produce aromatic and early drinking wines. About 30 percent of the blend is derived from grapes from the steep hills in the western part of the appellation, Les Terres Blanches. The clay and limestone soils produce more powerful wines that are relatively longer-lived. The balance consists of grapes from soils high in silex or flint that gives the wine the typical acrid and flinty characters. The wines from each vineyard area are fermented separately to optimize the expression of terroir in the final blend. The intense nose reveals a broad spectrum of fruit characters ranging form lush tropical fruit, to citrus and vegetal tones. The palate is complex and powerful, finishing with a flinty, minerally and refreshing crispness. And with regard to terroir, this is certainly a wine true to its origins and with a sense of place. 90 points.

Source:Negociants Australia  Price: $43 Drink: Now

Web: www.pascal-jolivet.com

Comte Lafond Sancerre 2004

February 23, 2007

img_2514.JPGWith the warm summer weather people here in Perth drink a lot of white wine. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and our local Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are definitely most popular. I choose to open another Sancerre though while I’m really digging into this region at the moment. The Comte Lafond Sancerre is made by De Ladoucette, the largest property in Pouilly-Fumé with approximately 65 hectares. Since 1972 Baron Patrick De Ladoucette runs the domaine, located at the fabulous 19th century Château de Nozet near the village of le Bouchot. Apart from the superior Pouilly-Fumé Baron de L, De Ladoucette also owns Marc Brédif in Vouvray and makes Sancerre under the Lafond label.

This pale golden wine has an intense flowery nose with citrus and mineral tones. The palate is full, round and has a creamy texture which is balanced by citrusfruit, chalk and pebbles that add just enough freshness and acidity. The finish is long and persistent. It’s a wine where the emphasis is laid on structure rather than on the more pungent characters of the variety. I would have given it a higher rating when it would have had just a little more nerve. 91 points.

Source: Negociants Australia Price: $ 55 Drink: Now-2008

Hugel Gewürztraminer 2004

February 22, 2007

img_2344.JPGHugel & Fils, a family run négociant-producer from the Alsace, owns more than 25 hectares of vineyards in the village of Riquewihr. In search of excellence no fertilizers are used, yields are kept low and grapes are picked by hand. The wines under the most prestigious labels ‘Jubilee’ and ‘Tradition’ are all made from grapes form these family vineyards. As a négociant for the basic range, Hugel sources grapes from another 100 hectares, only purchased from reliable and skillfull growers. This Gewürztraminer clearly shows the aimed style of this range: true varietal character and a reflection of the vintage.

Regarding the latter, 2004 was pretty good in the Alsace. After a relatively cool and damp summer, a sunny September saved the day and allowed the growers to make very good wines from healthy and ripe grapes. The cooler conditions are seen in the wine by a good acidity, something this variety often lacks. With a typical nose of perfumed, floral and fragrant characters and a refreshinly dry and spicy palate, it’s a very good entry-level varietal wine. 88 points.

Source: Negociants Australia Price: $ 40 Drink: Now

Web: www.hugel.com

Vincent Pinard Cuvée Florès 2005

February 21, 2007

img_2506.JPGWith the summer in full swing I kick off with a refrehing Sancerre from Vincent Pinard. There are quite a few different styles of Sauvignon Blanc but most people knowand love this variety by the grassy, herbal and gooseberry aroma’s combined with its zesty freshness. Due to its success global plantings have risen dramatically. In New-Zealand alone total Sauvignon Blanc plantings have risen from 1,453 hectares in 1997 to 8,860 hectares in 2006. There is no doubt that a big part of the crop is used for the production of commercial and mediocre wines. Many of these wines are exuberant pungent, one-dimensional and often lack a little complexity. Sancerre on the contrary can be much more subtle, layered and vivacious compared with their New World counterparts. The wines from producers like Pinard illustrate this best.

The grapes used in his Cuvée Florès are from different vineyards with vines of average 20 years old. It’s an unwooded and very flavoursome wine with grapefruit and slightly sweet floral characters on the nose. The palate shows lively tropical fruit, grapefruit and vegetal flavours that are delivered with a beautiful mineral freshness on the finish. The great balance, depth and complexity make this a truly stunning wine. 94 points.

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library Price: $ 50 Drink: Now