Archive for October 2007

Domaine Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes 2004

October 31, 2007

img_3633.jpgOne of the many options in red winemaking is the destemming or égrappage of grapes. Retaining all or a part of the stems in the fermenting must slightly decreases colour and can leave bitter and astringent characters in the wine but when only very ripe bunches are carefully selected it enhances the overall complexity and structure. In Burgundy there is a lot of disagreement about this issue. While devote followers of the late Henri Jayer clearly steer away from this practice heavyweights like DRC and Dujac use a high proportion of stems which is clearly visible in this wine. Ruby red in the glass the vegetal and stemmy characters initially step to the foreground supported by a lot of spicy and smoky oak. The palate has a fascinating mouthfeel with breadth and weight across the palate while it offers dense fruit, fine tannins and fresh acidity that cuts right through your palate. It’s clear that this is a wine that needs to express itself, to communicate with its drinker and the only way to allow this is to give it time. This is illustrated best by when I looked at it a day later with the wine having undergone a complete transformation. The green characters had stepped back significantly while intense aromas of cherry and red berries now played a prominent role paired to an equally impressive palate that slowly builds in the mouth. To get the most out of it I would leave it in the cellar for another 3 years or so. 92 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $169  Drink: 2010-2018



Faiveley Mercurey Clos de Myglands 2005

October 27, 2007

img_3637.jpgThe ever returning words in a world of increasingly expensive fine wines are ‘ good value’. In Burgundy this means looking out for wines from the lesser appellations produced by reputable names. Mercurey and Maison Faiveley is one of the guaranteed combinations. This producer is a remarkable large owner in an appellation that produces the most solid and structured wines of the Côte Chalonnaise and the Monopole Clos de Myglands is its uncontested benchmark. Deep crimson coloured in the glass the nose expresses bright aromas of raspberry, cherry and a hint of earthiness followed by a precise and smooth palate with fine mouthcoating tannins and very good length. The concentration and balance suggest this wine could go for at least 5 years. 90 points

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2012+


Cascina Bongiovanni Barolo 1998

October 26, 2007

img_3641.jpgCascina Bongiovanni is a small winery located in the historic village of Castiglione Falleto. Founded in 1950 it was one of the few producers who kept making and bottling their own wines instead of selling their crop to the Cooperativa Terre del Barolo. The farm and winery is still family owned and under the guidance of Davide Mozzone a full range of the classic Langhe varieties is produced in tiny quantities. His Barolos are moulded into a measured modern style with shorter maceration and the use of new French barriques resulting in wines that are suitable for the international market without renouncing their origin. This standard-label Barolo proves the excellent potential of the wines over the medium-long term with a fragrant and open nose showing berry-floral aromas framed by notes of cedar, tobacco leaf, leather, mushroom and spice. Those characters carry through on a tidy and smooth palate where softened tannins, acid and fruit are holding together really well. The balance of tannins and acid on the finish suggest the wine could be cellared for a few more years although it’s drinking deliciously now. 90 points.

Source: T3 Fine Wines  Price: $110  Drink: Now-2012


Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2001

October 22, 2007

img_3666.jpgThe Côte d’Or is France’s most complex wine region by far with a myriad of vineyards and crus, all with their own specific terroir and often owned and worked by more than one grower. The same can be said of the Denominazione Barolo where the vineyards between the Langhe hills are all different in terms of exposition, altitude and soil types resulting in a similar definition of sites and crus although this process was driven by secular forces instead of clerical. Marcarini has holdings in Brunate and La Serra, the former being recognised as one of the greatest sites in the Langhe and a dream for every vintner. The grapes that are grown on these slopes of are capable of producing Barolo with near unsurpassed balance as shown in this dark ruby coloured wine. The full, intense, complex and persistant nose of vanilla, tobacco, leather and wood-spicy fruit aromas is seamingless married into a full-bodied palate with harmonious acid and tannins. Over time in the glass those tannins become more visible just to let you know this wine is build for the long haul and I reckon that only after 10 years or so the classical tarry flavours will push themselves forward. For now this is a gorgeous adolescent. 93 points.

Source: Trembath & Taylor/Dave Mullen  Price: $139  Drink: Now-2020


Domaine Henry Pelle ‘La Croix au Garde’ Sancerre 2006

October 22, 2007

img_3652.jpgDomaine Henry Pellé is an excellent producer of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from the appellations of Menetou-Salon and Sancerre. The grapes for the ‘La Croix au Garde’ Sauvignon Blanc are organically grown on Les Terres Blanches around the village of Montigny resulting in wines with distinctive varietal and regional character. Pale straw in the glass the nose offers intense but delicate citrus and vegetal aromas with no traces of cat pee and gooseberries that can be so overwhelmingly present in those from New-Zealand. The palate is clean and fresh showing zesty lemony acid underpinned by lovely chalky minerality. This wine may be somewhat one-dimensional but hey, at $28 a bottle this genuine Sancerre presents terrific value for money. 88 points.

Source: James Busby Fine Wines  Price: $28  Drink: Now


Roda I Reserva 2003

October 16, 2007

img_3678.jpgBodegas Roda is undoubtedly one of Spain’s most exciting in terms of philosophy, innovative research and above all the quality of the wines. Sourced from no less than 17 different vineyards, vinified seperately and blended into a final wine, the transformation from Tempranillo grapes into Roda I is a proces not dissimilar to the one from Chardonnay into vintage Champagne. The analogy between the two stops abrupt when terroir is taken into consideration, important for Roda and virtually irrelevant for Champagnes where the expression of a certain housestyle is all that matters. However, I’m not sure whether to consider the Roda I as a true regional expression of Tempranillo or as a balanced Vino de alta expresión designed to meet the international demand for big and concentrated wines. This philosophical debate seems futile though when you only look at the qualitity of this opaque coloured wine in which intense and bright aromas of sweet ripe plum and blackcurrants are married with notes of liquorice, mocca and spicy oak. The same concentration of sweet fruit is shown on the palate that is a big and silky expression of minerally and earthy elegance, despite a hefty 14,5%  alcohol. Packed with harmonious flavours and tannins another dimension of complexity screams to be released over the next couple of years so be patient with this one. 94 points.

Source: The Spanish Aquisition Liquid Library  Price: $135  Drink: 2009-2017


Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache 2004

October 15, 2007

img_3674.jpgIn 2003 Robert Parker named Clarendon Hill as one of Australia and the world’s greatest wineries. Regarding the old vine Grenache wines even the comparison with DRC has been made. It’s not hard to see why. Both producers entirely focus on the expression of terroir and accordingly use the appropriate viticultural and winemaking practices and both make wines of supreme quality that are considered as the ultimate varietal benchmarks. The grapes for the Romas Grenache are sourced from the highest part of the Blewitt Springs vineyard that was planted in 1925. With yields as low as 1 tonne per acre the fruit is ripe, rich and concentrated. The hand-picked grapes are warm fermented by natural yeasts and after a long macaration the wine is returned to 2-3 years old French barriques. To capture the unique character of the vineyard the wine is not filtered and fined before bottling. This all results in a deep purple wine that releases a wonderfully perfumed aroma, ethereal and ever changing in the glass. Starting with ripe plum, raspberry, sweet dark-cherry and exotic spice underlying aromas of mushrooms and earth are slowly released increasing the overall complexity. All these characters are combined on a weighty and chewy palate that is pure, rich and complex yet extremely well balanced and focused. This exquisite wine is a showcase for what this underrated variety can achieve with unconditional love and dedication and it will even get better over the next couple of years. 97 points.

Source: Domaine Wine Shippers  Price: $139  Drink: 2009-2020