Archive for January 2008

Bouchard Pere et Fils Monthélie Clos les Champs Fulliot 2005

January 29, 2008

img_3997.jpgThe appellation of Monthélie is one of the last strongholds of Pinot Noir before the land gives way to the great Chardonnay vines of Meursault, Chassagne and Puligny in the south. The slopes north of the village are adjacent to the renowned vineyards of Volnay, and it is in this area of Monthélie, the Coteau de Volnay, where the best Premier Crus are found. Clos les Champs Fulliot is one of them, situated on the same Bathonian limestone as Volnay’s Clos des Chênes and Les Santenots, but not the same ideal east-southeast exposition of the latter. So this is where terroir kicks in and where faults, combes and a multitude of soiltypes can make an enormous impact as is shown in this wine. Fleshy and taut rather then fragrant and elegant its nose shows a lot of spice, undergrowth, dark cherries, plum and a hint of violets while on the tightly knit and balanced palate robust tannins and firm acidity fully control the underlying fruit characters that scream to be set free. This wine simply needs a couple of years to shake off its youthful clumsiness. 89+

Source: Domaine Wine Shippers  Price: $79.99  Drink: 2010-2016

Web: www.bouchard-pereetfils.com

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Comte Lafond Sancerre 2005

January 24, 2008

img_3966.jpgThe 2005 Sancerre from Pouilly-Fumé based De Ladoucette is among the best Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had over the last couple of months. What I look for in this variety is a combination between layers of ripe fruit, chalky minerality and lively acid and this is exactly what you get in this wine. A classic nose with aromas of white flowers, straw, lemon, wet pebbles and notes of fresh green asparagus precedes a rich and seamingless palate. Certainly, the outspoken, ambitious and full texture is the housestyle of this producer but this time it seems to be balanced by brisker acidity then in the ones I’ve seen before. Vintage or bottle variation, I don’t know but that this wine is a compulsory drink for every Sauvignon Blanc lover is sure. 92 points  

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $55  Drink: Now-2009

Other vintages: 2004

Prà Soave Classico 2006

January 23, 2008

img_3961.jpgAmong the vast ocean of undistinctive industrial Soave Classico the wines from a growing number of producers show what this region really can do. With top vineyard sites, meticulous viticultural practices and sensible yields something special can be crafted out of the DOC’s principal grape varieties, Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave. Azienda Agricola Prà is one of the producers with an already established reputation for oustanding Soave Classico including the crus Monte Grande and Sant’ Antonio. The basic Soave Classico is entirely made from Garganega and shows a typical nose of flowers and minerals with underlying nuances of pineapple, hay and lemon. Completely unwooded the palate is crisp, lively and precise with a steely, vinous minerality framed by citrus, pineapple and a hint of bitter almonds towards the finish. This is an understated wine that’s miles apart from the fruit-driven whites we’re all so familiar with and certainly a style to watch out for. But don’t forget to buy the ones from the good producers. 85 points

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $25  Drink: Now

Cantina Pala Stellato Vermentino 2006

January 21, 2008

Last week I was pleasantly surprised when I tried a newly arrived Vermentino from Cantina Pala. Some Italian whites like basic Soave, Verdicchio or Vernaccia can taste rather bland and neutral but this Vermentino offered the complete opposite. Believed to be related to Malvasia, this variety is brought to Italy and France by the Spaniards in the 15th century. Grown in an area running from the Côte d’Azur and Corsica through Liguria and into the Tuscan coast, Vermentino is best known for its examples from the DOC Vermentino di Sardegna and the DOCG Vermentino di Gallura. There it can produce delightlfully aromatic, medium to full-bodied whites as shown in this wine. Grapefruit, lemon, apple, aniseed, fennel, flowers and vegetal notes leap out of the glass while extended ageing on fine lees for three months adds a soft, nearly creamy texture to a fresh, crisp palate driven by intense citrus and floral flavours. Enjoy this deliciously fragrant wine while it’s young and vibrant. 89 points

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $32  Drink: Now

Web: www.pala.it

Telmo Rodriguez LZ 2006

January 19, 2008

img_3963.jpgFor a quite some time now I’ve got the intention to drink more Spanish wines but somehow I’ve managed to blow my precious resources on French and Italian ones over the last months. That’s no real excuse considering there are more easy drinking, juicy joven Tempranillos available than ever before at more than reasonable prices. The LZ is Rodriguez’ example from Rioja, a wine that shows all the hallmarks of this style. Deep purple in colour the nose reveals a lot of dark and juicy berries, dried herbs and some earth while the palate is silky and round with lovely fruit tannins adding the necessary texture. Although the absence of oak enhances the warmth of the alcohol the finish is still deliciously soft and satisfying. 88 points

Source: Spanish Aquisition/Liquid Library  Price: $29.99  Drink: Now-2010

Pierre-Yves Colin Morey Saint-Aubin La Chatenière 2005

January 17, 2008

img_3762.jpgPierre-Yves Colin is one of Burgundies exciting rising stars. In 1995 he took over winemaking responsibilities at his father’s domaine Marc Colin but 10 years later he decided to focus entirely on his own micro-négociant business. Nothing special at first sight, apart from the fact that through his contacts with numerous growers and producers Pierre-Yves is able to source minute quantities of their best wines. Either he is allowed to pick the best barrels or he fills his own with the best juice after which he throws in his own winemaking skills to finish the wines in his preferred style. To build a portfolio that includes wines from the best sites of Saint-Aubin, Meursault, Pulingny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and the Grand Crus Chevalier Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne is simply exceptional. This Saint-Aubin comes from one of the village’s best Premier Cru vineyards, the steep and stony La Chatenière. Straw yellow in the glass the wine exudes lovely aromas of lemon, stonefruit, hazelnuts and spicy oak. The palate shows well integrated flavours of lemon, nectarine and white peach all framed by a generous creamy texture before a finish with ample mineral acidity. A highly enjoyable wine that should drink well over the next couple of years. 92 points

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $85  Drink: Now-2011

Great White Blends from Margaret River

January 13, 2008

In the short break from Christmas to New Year I have been relaxing in Margaret River. From the magnificant Karri trees in the Boranup forest to the ever present Indian Ocean, this region is stuningly beautiful. The biggest bonus is the vineyards planted on the most suitable sites where cool seabreezes moderate the overall warm growing conditions. Grapes from those sites are able to produces wines of good ripeness but also of grace and elegance. One of the best styles of this region is the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend, either in the unwooded and fruit-driven mould or in the more subtle and serious way with the full spectrum of winemaking techniques as barrel fermentation and lees contact showing off in the wines. There is no doubt that 35 years after the planting of the first vines winemakers fully understand the virtues of specific sites, resulting in delicious wines that reflect their terroir. With the current hot summer days and fresh seafood on the Webber I’ve decided to line up a few of my favourites.  

img_3991.jpgThe 2007 Moss Wood Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes grown in the fully mature Ribbon Vale Vineyard in the centre of the Wilyabrup sub-region. As a blend of 65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc this wine shows typical aromas of hay, gooseberry, passionfruit and mango on the nose while fermentation in stainless steel tanks and minimal lees stirring leaves a succulent and uncomplicated palate that perfectly combines the lively tropical fruit and herbaceousness of the Sauvignon Blanc with the fresh citrus flavours of the Semillon. Sure, the emphasize is laid on primary fruit but this wine has enough texture and length to lift it out of the ordinary (90 points).

img_3984.jpgThe 2007 The Yard made by WA’s rising star Larry Cherubino is another perfect example of Wilyabrup Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. Crafted of grapes from the only 10 years-old Pedestal vineyard this wine shows a perfect combination between high quality fruit and immaculate winemaking. Partial fermentation in new French oak barrels for 4 months adds complextity and structure to a wine with subtle tropical fruit, herb, straw and citrus on the nose. The parcel of Semillon (83%) is clearly dominant adding a strong twist of lemon to a palate with a soft and mineral texture. A clearly more elegant and refined style with a long, intense and dry finish (93 points).

img_3979.jpgAn astonishing match between winery and vineyard is demonstrated by the 2005 Cape Mentelle Wallcliffe Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. The grapes from one of Margaret River’s best and oldest vineyards have undergone the full spectrum of winemaking techniques including the use of wild yeasts, malolactic fermentation and barrel maturation, resulting in a wine of great texture and complextity balanced by intense flavours of tropical fruit and citrussy acid towards a persistant finish. A hint of regional herbaciousness tells you this cracker is from Margaret River instead of Bordeaux (95 points).

img_3988.jpgThe in 1995 planted Mangan vineyard is source of the 2006 Mangan Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. Biodynamically grown parcels of Sauvignon Blanc (60%) and Semillon (40%) are used to craft a magnificent wine of immense intensity and purity. Lovely lemon, grapefruit, white flowers and a hint of oak on the nose lead to a perfectly balanced palate where tangy lemon, passionfruit, herbal and spicy flavours are framed by a delicate minerally texture towards a long and lingering finish. This is a truly impressive wine and a benchmark for the style. Drink it now or over the next 5 to 10 years (95 points).