Sunday, March 27, 2011
Other Recent Blog Posts - May 2011
Italian Wines 2011
Verdicchio di Matelica
This has been quite the week for expanding my wine education. Having visited both the Sampler in Kensington and Vagabond Wines in Fulham this week, I can safely say that I am now highly skilled in using Enomatic machines and a little closer to spotting a Rousanne at a thousand paces. The only drawback of having credit-loaded wine cards is the vast amount of tasting notes it generates and the number of quality wines you feel you must blog, tweet and generally rave about to anyone who will listen.
To that end today's blog entry will be a series of recommendations and tasting notes. What a joyous read! For the foodies who occasionally wander by Wine90, here is a photograph of a pizza I made from scratch. For those who think it may be terrific fun to make a pizza and have never made one before I have just one tip; be sure that your yeast grams are not fast-acting yeast grams. I used double the amount of yeast required for my dough and when I woke up in the morning, the remaining pizza dough had exploded out of its tin foil wrapping and taken over half of my fridge. No one wants to spend Saturday morning scraping cold hard dough off their appliances.
Remembering this is a wine blog... I managed to taste about 60 wines last week at the Sampler and Vagabond Wines. The very tip toppy best of which I've listed below in case you fancy trying them yourself or doing the old fashioned thing and actually buying a bottle!
Qupe Rousanne 2007 - £30
As an Italian wine blogger, I seem to have written an awful lot about this Californian producer. Qupe is renowned for quality wines at a fair price and offers many varietal wines. The Rousanne in 2007 is immense. I had no idea Rousanne was even capable of producing a wine like this without a splash and dash from its friends, but apparently so. I have a crush on this wine, not a healthy one either.
"A beautiful golden vibrant colour, the wine offers a generous nose of spices, banana peel, pineapples, baked pears and a hit of hazelnut. On the palate this is as smooth and silky a white as you can imagine, luscious texture and a ripe fruit forward quality as well as good length on the finish and great acidity, perfectly in balance and harmonious. Was not expecting the wine to be this good." 93 Points
Villadoria Barolo Sori Lazzarito 2006 - £24
Usually you see £24 and the word "Barolo" at a petrol garage or in a high street liquor chain that will, in a matter of hours, close their doors for the last time. This, like the Qupe, is another wine that took me by complete surprise. The Villadoria, made in the new skool Barolo style has less of the obvious tar and mushroom characteristics of traditional Barolo but it has one very important thing going for it... it can be drunk today!
If you have a thirst for Barolo, which I often do, you can find yourself looking longingly at your late 1990s stash of Giacosa's & Voerzio's and wishing your life away so as to have reasonable justification for popping them. So to find a £24 Barolo that you can drink today is a great way of stopping yourself from committing unforgivable acts of infanticide in these hard economic times. New skool Barolo is not without her charms and personally I'm a fan of their fruit forward, smooth tannins and early drinking window.
"A deep ruby red, the wine is aromatically generous and offers a trademark Barolo nose with a few extra notes of blackberry, marzipan, vanilla and liquorice. Grippy tannins on the palate and a smooth, "kind" mouthfeel contribute to a fair old Barolo hit and £24 well spent. Not complex, but tasty." - 90 Points
Fritz Haag Riesling Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese - £30
One of the Mosel's top producers and a wine from the greatest Riesling site in the world does constitute the £30 price tag and 2009 looks to be a terrific vintage for Weingut Fritz Haag.
"A pungent, sweet pear and stone nose. This wine has a terrific concentration of fruit and a good balance of acidity and sweetness. A delicious, more-ish, terrifically tasty wine and a fine example of the very best from the Mosel" 93 Points
Allegrini Amarone 2006 - £52
Yet another appearance for Allegrini's Amarone, vintage upon vintage (especially the last 3) Allegrini produces a top drawer Amarone. Leave the 2006 alone for another 5 years at least.
"Dark raisin, tar and spicy chocolate nose. Heavy almost ink-like mouthfeel as well as blocky tannins. This wine is far too young to drink and is a meal in a glass as opposed to a wine. Great concentration of fruit and a solid structure - tomorrow's blockbuster" - 92 Points.
Bodegas Ponce Pino Bobal 2009 -£23
It's great when a wine is terrific fun. If anybody has ever had this wine blind and pegged it then my hat is well and truly off. Ponce... Bobal... these were not wine words to me two weeks ago, now, they're pretty much all I can talk about. Ponce is the king of Bobal if my twittering research is accurate and this wine seems to be a universal favourite. Still only £23 this wine is so wonderfully different it will make for a talking point at any party, wine themed or not.
"A fresh, fruity Spanish red with notes of sweet cherry and boysenberries. A touch beaujolais-esque on the palate, good acidity and a jammy midpalate this wine is well-made and uniquely interesting. I have a feeling that this wine will leave few on the fence, you're either with Bobal or you're against it. Luckily for me, I'm all over it" 90 Points
Weingut Gottardi Blauburgunder Mazzon 2007 - £25
Proof again, if proof be needed, that northern Italy can do the other Pinot to a tee. This Pinot Noir was one of only ten Pinots from last week that made the top 6. This wine is complex and delicious. I do so love it when Italian wines, with German names do a number on "French" grapes.
"Savoury notes intermingle with a distinct strawberries and cream sucky sweets nose. The palate holds fine acidity and subtle tannins in a union of Italian Pinot Noir perfection. Good price, great example and delicious to boot. 92 Points
All these wines can be bought from The Sampler or Vagabond Wines.
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Tried any of these wines? Have your own wine of the week? Recommend something to me!
Other Recent Blog Posts - May 2011
Italian Wines 2011
Verdicchio di Matelica
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Ten years ago I took my first trip to the Roman Forum. As a student of Roman Archaeology at UCL and at that time, a Brit who hadn't spent much time abroad, standing there in the ruins of the Forum and imagining upon whose footsteps I now tread, I became a little awestruck by the history and energy of this place and wondered if I should even be there. When you are a student of any subject or passionately interested in any discipline, be it archaeology, history or wine, certain places and objects take on a religious quality and can make you feel, just that little bit small. (BTW, if you're going to Bordeaux - check out this site for Hotels in Bordeaux France).
Now, as a student of wine, I feel that way about Chateau Haut Brion, I've been around this wine on a few occasions but hadn't yet made bold to try it, somehow I didn't feel ready. Now, I'm sure some of you think this is ridiculous and as an Italian Wine Blogger, I should just neck Haut Brion with a casual wave of the hand but I've always been one for honouring the moment and so it has taken till now for me to dare tackle Haut Brion, lest the wine gods strike me down. This being the 1994 Chateau Hat Brion and not some hallowed vintage I thought perhaps I was ready. If you don't know much about Haut Brion you may be thinking that I've finally lost my marbles but this wine is to wine aficionados as a Bugatti Type 57S is to petrolheads. You wouldn't simply jump in, start revving the engine and place your McDrink in the cup holder (not likely to have one really is it?). Haut Brion has been impressing the English for five centuries and was making waves across the Channel long before the other First Growths of Bordeaux. This wine is something to be approached with care or, as I nearly did, you might just miss it.
How did I miss it? A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum? Kinda. Perhaps this is the way with Bordeaux First Growths or even with Haut Brion itself, and if it is and you've experienced this, let me know, but this wine, full of sweet smokey vanilla on the nose and pretty much ruby red to the core, was rather disappointing on the palate. I had prepared myself to be amazed, or at least to taste something that was a little different, that something special, that something that justifies all these eye-watering Bordeaux price tags and says "there you go, this is why I'm worth £600". When nothing happened, I felt a little tricked. All that build up, all those pages written and read. So, still shaking my head, I washed my glass and went to pull a new one from the rack ...then it happened.
Hallelujah. A good 30 seconds after I had already dismissed this wine my tastebuds came alive, the sides of my tongue tingled and this wine came back with all the flavour of an initial attack from something 15 years its junior. BOOM. And it was good! Red fruits aligning perfectly with those fading tannins, raspberry, cherry and pepper notes and some high acidity. I'm informed that this is not classic Haut Brion, from a difficult vintage with a September wash out the '94s ran the length of quality at the time and as they evolve seem even more unpredictable.
Am I a convert? Not exactly, I love surprises, I especially love wine surprises, but perhaps I am not yet far enough on with my wine education to appreciate a £286 Haut Brion judgement slap but it was a lesson well learnt and as I only sampled this wine at the gorgeous Sampler in South Kensington, my lesson was just over £13, which I think is about fair for 30 seconds intensive education from a master.
Above is the fabulous location of the extraordinarily pretty "Sampler" in South Kensington. They have 1000 bottles of wine here to buy and 80 on sample. I did feel empowered enough to buy their last magnum of 1994 Leoville Poyferre (which was a steal!) who generally treats me a little less roughly than Haut Brion.
Where can I buy this wine?
If you're in London you can go now and sample the Chateau Haut Brion 1994 at the Sampler in South Kensington, London. If you wish to buy it, you can do so via the links below.
For Brits - The Sampler - £284
For Americans - Premier Wine - $299
For Europeans - Espada.ch - 280CHF
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Which wine has given you a slap, what did it teach you and was it worth the money?
Compare Hotels Bordeaux France
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Hello everybody I am WineNineterchuk and this is your Daily Gr... oh wait, I got confused. So as not to upstage the terribly exciting news within the Wine Blogging community I thought I would just enter a simple tasting note on a top drawer wine that has to be among the best value wines anywhere in the world. So, keeping it tight ...
Last weekend I had the jolly good fortune to visit Umbria and the vineyards of Arnaldo Caprai, I've been to Caprai before, (link it up me - Arnaldo Caprai) the vineyard and tasting rooms are amongst the most informative and stylish in Sagrantino and it's a pleasure to taste here in such beautiful surroundings.
The main Caprai buildings are awash with in depth information about the soils of the area, ageing and oak etc, and for those really interested in the vinification of Sagrantino, one of the worlds most tannic wines, it is an informative day out. A free one too.
As I've already written extensively about Caprai's facilities and range in 2009, I'll let you follow the link above if your heart so desires and just get on with what I want to talk about, which is, the Rosso Outsider.
Now, Caprai already has two infamous wines, the Collepiano and 25 Anni Sagrantinos are the signature Caprai wines (amongst the best examples of the grape) but it's the Merlot/Cabernet Rosso Outsider that I fell in love with in 2005 (95 Points - me) and whose personality simply could not be ignored in the big, over the top, 2006.
Caprai Rosso Outsider 2006, is very similar in style to the 2005 but yet more extracted, concentrated and with a finish as long as your arm. The 2006 has an obnoxiously overwhelming fragrance of wet pencil and tobacco, you would think for all the world that this was some young slip of a Pauillac and yet, not sat even in Bolgheri, we're sampling Cabernet Sauvignon perfection? Blended perfection?
This is Umbria, but with the '06 vintage fairing so well for Brunello/Chianti we should not be surprised the Cab blend has fared so well. The structure of this wine, the biting tannins and length are a real power play and if the price of Bordeaux and Super Tuscans make your eyes water, this could be the next "go to" place for age worthy, merlot/cab blends. MARK IT DOWN. Super Umbrians are coming and Marco Caprai, the media savvy company head is leading that charge.
Arnaldo Caprai Rosso Outsider 2006 - £30 - BUY
Intense ruby red with pronounced, youthful aromas of graphite, blackcurrant and with sweet spicy overtones. On the palate the wine has extreme grippy tannins and an intense oak bent that I'm gambling will drop away over the coming years, I hope, to be replaced by the dark forest fruitiness that can be found on the long punchy finish. Incredible structure but not to be drunk now. 93 Points
The 2005, in my opinion, is far better for drinking over the short term and is much more fruit forward at this young age. If you're prepared to wait, the '06 would be an interesting gamble. However, if you buy a case of both, you're sure to win, and that's what I have done!
Where can I buy this wine?
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Are you ready for the Super Umbrians? Have you already heard their call, are you in fact, already enrolled? Vive la revolucion in the tiny village of Montefalco. Vive indeed.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Blasi Bertanzi Impronta 2004 was sent to Wine90 House almost a year ago and had been gathering dust all this time sat quietly in amongst more well known Italian names all the while maturing to what turned out to be a perfect drinking age. Whether I caught Blasi Bertanzi Impronta at the height of its drinking curve or simply found it the perfect accompaniment to the mushroom penne pasta dish of that evening I'm unsure, but one thing I am sure of, is that this wine is taking off right about now.
The Blasi Cantina is on the outskirts of Umbertide, and here, in an unassuming location for excellent Italian wine, a young vintner is making some serious noise in the local area and beginning to attract some national attention. The awarding of due bicchiere for the Cantina's cheapest €4 red made local wine fans sit up and pay close attention, but it is with the Impronta, his most expensive bottling at €12-16 that the true quality of his wine and dedication to his craft shines most brightly.
Blasi Bertanzi Impronta 2004 is in equal parts a Sagrantino, Merlot and Sangiovese blend from northern Umbria, this IGT wine is in the tender care of Mauro Blasi whose low yields and human intensive wine production methods create wines of outstanding quality. The grapes spend 20 months, individually, in french oak, later blended in stainless steel. The wine then spends a further year maturing in bottle.
Northern Umbria is not renowned for its quality wine production, though of course, the area has been producing wine, like the rest of the country for millennia. The best wines of Umbria have traditionally come from its southern half so it's especially exciting to find a wine of such quality outside of the area.
The Blasi Bertanzi Impronta 2004 is not found on these shores as no importer has taken up the Blasi Cantina ... yet. However, it can be ordered via Italy through the trusty wineshop.it website.
Blasi Bertanzi Impronta 2004 - BUY - €15
Sitting a deep, thick, brooding, dark cherry red this is an impressive wine before you've yet lifted your glass. On the nose this wine has a great licorice, tobacco and blackcurrant profile. The palate is thick, full and long and 100% fruit intensive with blackcurrants, dark cherries and a hint of licorice on the finish. This is a beautifully balanced wine, perfect in fact in balance with fruit, intensity of weight and alcohol playing in harmony. I think the 2004 is drinking at its optimum right now in 2011 and for this I would give this wine - 92 Points
A stonking score for a wine from this area and at this price, but this wine is on the money for the moment, but it now, to drink it now.
Where can I buy this wine?
Wineshop.it seem to be the only company selling this wine for the moment, still selling the 04's too.
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Interested in hearing from anyone who has tried these wines or knows of other secret sensational wines from Umbria?