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Showing posts from March, 2008

Foire aux vins

The wine sale is now on and as I have already been to Auchan and bought for my allowance please find a list of recommended wines below (for more info consult the Bordeaux label); From 13 to 20 Euro; La Riviere 2003, Fronsac L'esprit de Chevalier 2005, Pessac La Louviere 2004, Pessac La Tour Martillac 2004, Pessac Sarget de Gruad Larose 2005, St Julien Chasse Spleen 2004, Moulis Poujeaux 2003, Moulis La Tour Carnet 2005, Haut Medoc Grand Puy Ducasse 2004, Paulliac Between 20 and 30 euro ; Nenin 2004, Pomerol Chevalier 2004, Pessac de Fieuzal 2005, Pessac Siran 2005, Margaux Haut Bages Liberal 2004, Paulliac Batailley 2005, Paulliac Brane Cantenac 2004, Margaux Cantenac Brown 2005, Margaux 2005 is for long term storage, 2004 is lighter, needs time, but will drink earlier. “I can certainly see you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret.” --- Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) in Fawlty Towers [“Claret” is an English term

Champagne

While the rest of France´s ranking system is based upon "terroir" and complex "appelation" with classifications, Champagne is very simple as it is solely based upon the reputation of the different champagne houses. Champagne is normally non vintage to protect the same "image or reputation" year after year. The good thing about the non vintage champagne is that you know what you get. The bad thing is that it´s actually like blended whisky and can sometimes be quite thin and acidic as the vines are young and the grapes are picked under-ripe to increase the yields.  Careful attention to the style of the different champagne houses is therefore a must. The best champagne come from the area south and north of Epernay where one will find the best champagne houses, co-ops or growers. Champagne is made from three grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. A visit to Champagne is worthwhile, there are 1 billion bottles stored underneath the area, in Eperna

SAINT AUBIN 1er CRU "En Remilly" 2005 by Hubert Lamy

Easter and fresh "dorade" in the oven. Hmm in need of some great white and why not one of the favourites by Hubert Lamy from Saint Aubin. The colour is light golden with hint of green. The smell is great balance of lime, minerals, butter and flowers. The taste is "golden" as well with lots fruit and a silky elegant aftertaste. Just lovely! Buying this wine will cost you around 30€, but its worth every "penny". A fantastic  experience.....

Brane Cantenac 2003

I had this wine recently at a wine tasting and had it again the other day when I visited a restaurant in St Germain en Laye outside Paris. Its a 2nd Grand Cru Classee and 2003 is an excellent year. The colour is deep dark red with elegant wonderful boquet of flowers, vanilla, chocolate,dark berries. The wine which is still very young has a solid, big well balanced tannic taste (merlot in perfect harmony with cabernet sauvignon).  This is simply a great wine from a great year and would probably peak from 2010 and onwards....It is also reasonable for the quality and classification as its half the price at 28€  compared to others at the same level Le Manege restaurant in St Germain had a very good selection of wines at prices at a more reasonable level than their equivalent in Paris. Excellent food as well. Le Manege Brane Cantenac

Understanding Burgundy

To understand the Burgundy ranking system lets start with Chablis. Chablis is split into three levels: Appelation Chablis Premier cru Chablis Grand Cru Chablis For the premier and grand cru there are certain fields with such a ranking and on each of these different fields you will find different producers, i.e the same premier cru field can have two or more different producers! For the appelation Chablis the grapes comes from all over Chablis and there are many different producers. In Burgundy, they make red wine from Pinot Noir and white wine from Chardonnay. In Burgundy there are many small towns (like Chablis) with the same three different levels as in Chablis and with different fields with different producers. The 50 hectares of Clos de Vougeot has for example 80 different owners! The best and most expensive wine is the grand cru, the second best is the premier cru and the third best is the appelation. If a wine does not carry the name of a village, it may come from anywhere

White burgundy

I was inspired to write this article after being served a beautiful Meursault 1er cru Charmes 2002 yesterday night at a farewell dinner (thanks Fabien).  At that time it was bucketing down after a beautiful spring day in Paris, we had in fact started the summer season by having lunch in the garden zipping to another great white : Puligny Montrachet... Yes life is tough, thus a few words on white burgundy.  Burgundy is complex and complicated with more than 500 AOC, but it is easier to find a good burgundy white than red. The white is all about 100% Chardonnay (like in Chablis) and the best ones bears the village names on the bottle (see below). The burgundy whites are different from Chablis due to the soil and they are often less acidic, with more body, butter and lime. I refer to the article Understanding Burgundy for the different categories and villages. Below are some examples of the best white wine AOC's and their producers that we have taken to like, Puligny- Montrachet 2

Pinot Noir from California and Oregon

Below is a list of Pinot Noir from the US tasted over the years. The tricky thing with the West Coast Pinot Noir is that a good year is a cool year which is unlike Burgundy where a good year is a warm year. Most of the wines should be found in the Specs wine shop. If they dont have one on the list just ask for another recommendation as there are 100's of Pinot in that shop....The ones in bold are the ones I liked best. Oregon Aldesheim, Smooth, smoky raspberries, slightly "cooked", tasty Archery Summitt Closed nose, long lively cherry taste, big Pinot, great Drouhin 2003 Light, made by the niece of Drouhin in Burgundy, tasty Van Duzer Discrete red berries, delicate fruity, tender taste, smooth North of San Francisco Carneros Kent Rasmussen Velvet stuff, great Pinot! 2nd wine is called Ramsay Schug, German, Beaune style wine, not overcooked, OK Saintsbury Red berries, fruity, good aftertaste, "warm", reasonable Russian River Fritz Beautiful complex

Top wines tasted in 2007

Belows follows a summary of the top wines that we tasted during 2007. Someone once said that wine does not become better than this , just more expensive! The wines below are all reasonable for the quality. The three white wines are in ittalic and the wines come from all over the world...The scale is still ski-jumping marks, highest being 20:) 18.2 Domaine de Chevalier 2002, Pessac Great even in a bad year... 18.2 Barbera d’Alba 2001 Serraboella by Cigliuti Excellent stuff Italy 18.2 La Croix de Gay 2001, Pomerol Violet, red berries, smooth taste 18.2 Ch Pommard 2004, Burgundy Well balanced full bodied 18.3 Kuentz Bas Gewurztraminer 1996 "Vin de meditation" 18.3 d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 1998 Great from “down under”… 18.4 Ch de Costes 2000, Pecharmant Rich, round, plum, coffe 18.4 Belle Glos Pinot Noir 2004, Santa Barbera ,Clark Telephone 18.4 Ch Gruaud Larose 1989, St Julien Still going strong 18.5 Domaine de Chevalier 1999, Pessac Very good and elegant 18.5

Sancerre

In Sancerre they make bone dry white wine based upon Sauvignon Blanc. The wines are aromatic, zingy, zesty, minerally, fresh, beautiful and inexpensive. Perfect with aspargus and the local goat cheese! But also with salad, white meat, quiche or as an aperitif. When we visited this town, situated on top of a big fault of Kimmeridge limestone, we had the pleasure of eating well and visiting many of the producers in the region. The neighbours in Menetou Salon and Pouilly Fume make the same type of wine. The best ones that I can recommend (found easily everywhere) are; Henri Bourgeois, Sancerre Henry Pelle, Menetou-Salon Henry Natter, Sancerre Andre Dezat, Sancerre Vacheron, Sancerre (rolls royce Sancerre - my favorite) Alphone Mellot, Sancerre (more pricey) They also make a beautiful Rose and some Pinot Noir red. Ville de Sancerre (Tourisme) HENRI BOURGEOIS sancerre pouilly fumé chavignol menetou salon quincy loire Vins Menetou Salon et Vins Sancerre du Domaine Henry Pelle

Pomerol

Pomerol is a difficult red wine region to understand and find good quality wine for a reasonable price. If you have lots of money its absolutely no problem >>> just buy any of these Merlot dominant soft earthy seductive wine! In Pomerol they produce small quantities of wine and achieve extraordinary prices due to the limited volume (or how about Ch Petrus for 2000€ ? a bottle that is...) Below I have gathered some of the wine we have tasted over the last few years that are reasonable in price to be Pomerol (15 to 30€ in most supermarkets or wine shops)). Normally they should be drunk within 5 to 7 years.; Cadet de Gombaude 2004   16€, earthy soft, good, P Clos Rene 2004     16€, plummy jammy smooth, BUY La Croix de Gay 2001 30€, lovely wine bought at Nicolas, P+ Le Seuil de Mazeyres 2004, 18€, a great Pomerol lacks  structure, P Ch de Sales 2000 15€, red fruit velvety stuff , BUY Ch Chantalouette 2001 16€, earthy,plummy, good value BUY Ch

Cornas 2004 Paul Jaboulet Aine

Thank God Its Friday and what better way to end the week with this beautiful bottle of 100% (Shiraz) from Rhone.  The colour is nice medium red with a lovely discrete smell of blueberry, jam and pepper. The taste is fruity medium body with still some tannins which are surprisingly well integrated for this young wine. Yummy. We bought this for around 20€ at Nicolas. I am sure it can be stored for some years and become even smoother. Its not sweet like Australian Shiraz, just right maybe thanks to the mistral from the north...... P+ Cornas - an old but sorry tale - JancisRobinson.com Cornas Wine Information, French Wine Guide in Cotes du Rhone Cornas AOC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bordeaux tastings and recommendations

This is a list of Bordeaux wine that we have tasted: Prices will vary depending on the  year and when you buy. Grading (ski-jumping; best is 20) will depend on the vintage and when it was tasted. P+ is wine that has a favourable price quality range and BUY is wine that we would buy for storage (P++) cause its just so good...... Premier Crus Classés (Name, Appelation,Vintage, Grade, Price Euro, Recommendation) Château Mouton-Rothschild, Paulliac 1988 19,75 >100€ P+ Château Margaux, Margaux, 1993, 19,00 >100€ P Château Latour, Paulliac, 1987, 19,00 >100€ P+ Deuxièmes Crus Classés  Château Brane-Cantenac, Margaux 2003 18,10 25€   BUY Château Léoville-Las-Cases, StJulien, 1985 18,65 100€ BUY Château Léoville-Barton, St.Julien 1989 16,80 25€ P+ Château Gruaud-Larose, St.Julien 1989 18,40 25€ P+  Troisièmes Crus Classés Château Kirwan, Margaux 2001 17,00 35€ P+ Château Malescot St. Exupéry,Marg.2003 18,20 30€  BUY Château Can

Ch Maucaillou 1996

This is a Cru Bourgeois, the level below the Grand Cru Classe, but sometimes just as good in quality, only cheaper. Maucaillou is a good priced quality wine that has shown good character the last 5 to ten years. The best years keep well (96 was a good year, tasting notes from end 2007). This 11 year old wine had a red colour with red to red brown rim and typical Medoc smell although discrete. It had a good length and body with soft integrated tannins. This wine can be found at a reasonable price (15€) when bought young, but it needs at least 5 years to peak. Maucaillou means mauvais cailloux/ bad stones which I guess is not representative..... 1996 , More concentrated than the lean, angular 1995, but still pushing the tannin limit, this saturated ruby-colored wine possesses berry, cassis fruit, good spice, medium body, and ten years of ageability.

Houston eating places and wine

HOUSTON Restaurants and wine Bossa(now renamed >>on corner opposite Sambuca), down to earth & reasonable prices, La Crema Pinot Noir Reserve , Sonoma, Cherries, delicate, sweet smell warm Disappointing Clos du Bois Merlot, Sonoma, Firm soft no tannins fruity red berries chocolate Fruity Clos du Bois Marlstone, Sonoma, Big Bordeaux copy with lots of fruit full bodied Big! Bonny Doon Framboise Santa Barbara Fantastic sweet wine, smells and taste raspberry * Café Annie, Upmarket restaurant with fantastic wine list and prices Schug Pinot Noir, Carneros German, Beaune style wine, not overcooked OK Fritz Pinot Noir, Russian River Beautiful complex nose and long smooth taste Wonderful Sambuca, modern restaurant jazz café downtown in theatre district with some really good wine and food Archery Summitt Pinot Noir, Oregon Closed nose, long lively cherry taste, big Pinot Great Aldesheim Pinot Noir, Oregon Smooth, smoky raspberries, slightly "cooked" Tasty The Palm, steak t

Bordeaux General info

The red wine from this region are pricy due to its renowned quality and long storage capacity (in the best years). In Medoc the grape is predominently Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. On the right bank (St Emilion and Pomerol) Merlot is the dominant grape variety. For those who like less tannic wine the right bank is recommended unless you drink an old wine from this region. The 1855 classification, which you can find on the link below, still very much decide the price level on the wine, but in terms of quality I believe it is no longer correct. Medoc 1855 Classification  The region also produces excellent dry white based upon Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion. The best one achieve prices higher than the red from the same chateau. In Sauternes they produces the worlds most famous sweet white wine based upon Semillion. These can also be stored for decades. The storage capacity and quality can vary from year to year, but if you just want to drink the less popular year

Domaine de Chevalier 1999

This is one of my favourites. In terms of quality and quality for money. You can get it most places for around 25€ if you buy it young, but it needs a few years in the cellar before being at the top.... The 1999 and the 2002 are both great wine with deep dark red colour. Bouquet is elegant slightly earthy with red berries and what I say is wet wool. Its a big wine with soft integrated tannins (they are there but not tea bag like), it is smooth and with a long aftertaste. Just buy it, cause this is like P++ as it can be kept for a long time as well..... They make a great dry white as well, but that is more expensive DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER - Pessac Léognan

Hermitage 2000 Paul Jaboulet Aine

Hermitage, at the very top of Rhone, produces elegant wine made from 100% Syrah (Shiraz). Hand harvested due to the steep hills they are not cheap to buy, but sometimes a taste of these wines are a must. Jaboulet produces wine from nearly all the Rhone regions and is a reliable good producer. This bottle cost 30€ at Nicolas (local wine shop in Paris). The colour was light to medium dark ( a bit like Pinot Noir) with a great smell of blueberries and strawberry jam. The body was medium, with a silky smooth fruity well balanced taste. An excellent wine indeed. Due to the price  a P(+).    Jaboulet - Grands vins Rouge et Blanc, Vins Haut de gamme

Ch Pommard 2004

We visited Burgundy in 2007 and visited among others the Chateau Pommard in Pommard just south of Beaune. Burgundy red, made of 100% Pinot Noir various a lot in character and among the "darkest" and most heavy are those of Pommard. The 2004 has a deep dark colour to be a burgundy and has a smell of sweet cherries, mushroom and smoke. The taste is big, fruity, solid and very smooth and well balanced. Overall the wine is solid built but silky. It cost 30 euro at the chateau. Stiff price so only P in terms of price quality range. Grands vins de Bourgogne - Chateau de Pommard

Chablis 1er cru Fourchaume 2002 La Chablisienne

We visited this co-op when we were in Chablis last year. They have a fantastic selection of normal Chablis, premier cru and grand cru at reasonable prices. You can taste and buy at the location. Fourchaume which is a premier cru (normally a step up from normal appelation Chablis) cost around 20 euro at the co-op and is good value for money. 2002 is a good year in Chablis (unlike for ex Bordeaux) Pale yellow colour with a smell of minerals, lime and some butter. The wine is dry, fruity and quite fullbodied for white wine. Its a very nice Chablis although I prefer less oak and more minerals. That´s however a personal preference. All Chablis is made from 100% Chardonnay. Chablis is often linked to Burgundy (as the white wine there is also made from 100% Chardonnay) but geologically it is part of the Upper Jurassic limestone which stretches from Sancerre to Chablis. chablisienne-com

Ch Dauzac 2001 Margaux >>>P+

I bought this wine for around 20 euro at Auchan.  Auchan has got a great wine selection, not only during the foire aux vins. The wine has a deep dense dark colour and drinks perfectly now, but it would keep for many years. It all depends on what type of of wine you prefer. The bouquet is red berries and "wet wool", a bit like their neighbour Ch. Siran (another good price/quality wine). The taste is solid, dense, long with lively tannins that are quite "soft". Quite a mouthful actually! A great price quality ratio for this 5eme cru from Margaux. Just buy it! Cabernet Sauvignon 58% Merlot 37% Cabernet Franc 5% Château Dauzac. Appellation Margaux. Cru Classé en 1855.