2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese

The original name of the Fritz Haag winery, the Dusemonder Hof, recalls the original name of the village, which changed to Brauneberg from Dusemond in 1925. Until then, the name Brauneberg applied only to the vine-growing hillside on the opposite banks of the Mosel, on which the world-famous Juffer site is located. The core of the Juffer is marked by an old sundial, which gave the Sonnenuhr parcel its name. With its steep, south-southeast facing slope and stony clay slate soil, the Juffer Sonnenuhr has always ranked among the best white wine vineyards in the world, and is equaled in the Mosel only by Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Bernkasteler Doctor. The Rieslings grown here combine mineral richness of the slate soil with the fruity, elegant expression of high ripeness.

2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese

Medium gold color. The nose is sweet and fresh, with intoxicating aromatic richness, exhibiting generous tropical fruits, pineapple, lemon rind, sweet melon, Asian spice and warm rubber. A silky texture fills the mouth, displaying ethereal weightless, while the mouth-watering acidity perfectly balances the natural sweetness. The wine is rich on the palate, with similar flavors as on the nose. The finish has immense length, preserving the same note of mouth-watering acidity and lingering citrus and tropical fruits flavors. 7.5% alc (92-93/100)

Champagne Veuve Fourny Rose 1er Cru Vertus Brut

Although less well known than some of the other veuves (widows) in Champagne, this small family house can hold its head in terms of the authenticity, originality and quality of its wines. Established in 1856, the house is now run by Madame Monique Fourny and her two sons Charles-Henry and Emmanuel.

Based in the premier cru village of Vertus, the domaine owns some 40 parcels of vines across 12 ha of the Cote des Blancs. Many of the vines are old, having been planted in the 1960s and ’70s, and all are carefully supervised. Several aspects of the wine-making reflect skills Emmanuel acquired in Burgundy, such as fermentation in Burgundian barriques with batonnage.

Champagne Veuve Fourny La Subtilite Rose 1er Cru Vertus Brut

Pretty dark pink, almost ruby red color with intense foam and smooth bubbles. The nose is extremely intense from the moment you pour it in the glass so it is easy to feel the aromas from a distance. Great freshness, lots of fresh red fruits and not the tiring ultra ripe-sugary aromas found in many roses; plenty of citrus fruit, pink grapefruit, dough and overall a very pleasing and fresh nose. Very focused on the palate, with real tension, intensity and well defined flavors. Lenghty finish, persistent, dry, mineral and citric. Makes you want to eat. Really nice. (92/100)

I had this Champagne with my favorite easy to prepare dishes for sparkling: smoked salmon with green salad, red onion, capers, olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice on top, and a classic when it comes to Champagne: Jamon Iberico Bellota. Minimum effort and maximum pleasure.

A great Riesling – 2007 Christmann Riesling Konigsbacher Idig Grosses Gewachs

There are a few vineyards in Germany renowned for both outstanding white and red wines. One of the greatest is the 19 ha Idig vineyard near Konigsbach in the Mittelhaardt region at the heart of the Palatinate, which might be likened in this respect to Corton in Burgundy. Also comparable to Corton is the soil at Idig, marked by limestone clay with a high percentage of rocks. Alongside elegant, silky Pinot Noirs, remarkable Rieslings grow here and rank among the richest wines of this variety in Germany.

The modern fame of this location is linked to the Christmann family from Neustadt-Gimmeldingen, which owns about 7 ha at the core of Idig. Steffen Christmann has, for years, created one of Germany’s most impressive dry white wines. Steffen Christmann is new president of the VDP.

Erste Lage is a vineyard site of exceptional quality, classified according to criteria set up by influential wine-grower’s association Verband Deutscher Pradikats und Qualitatsweinguter (VDP). On labels, Erste Lage sites are marked with a grape logo with a “I” next to it. A producer’s best dry wine from an Erste Lage site is called Grosses Gewachs or Erstes Gewachs. Grosses Gewachs translates as “great/top growth”. Off-dry or sweet wines from Erste Lage vineyards display the logo, but they are not called Grosses or Erstes Gewachs. Rheingau has its own Erstes Gewachs classification.

2007 vintage rewarded those growers who waited to pick until October, achieving ripe grapes with cool nights conserving good acidity levels. Very good for Pinot Noir and other reds as well as Riesling. However, dry wines seems to be maturing faster than expected.

2007 Christmann Riesling Konigsbacher Idig Grosses Gewachs Pfalz

Medium gold-coppery color. Developed and complex nose of real intensity, showing a melange of  baroque style aromas of quince marmalade, apricots and melon,  mixed with subtle white truffles, lemon rind, light petrol and plenty of yellow Asian spices. Full bodied, showing depth and richness on the palate, well balanced, a silky texture reminiscent of fine white Burgundy, with mouth-watering acidity and a kaleidoscope of flavors. Long finish, lively, with huge Asian spice flavors in the aftertaste. 13% alc. (93/100)

Who needs pricey high end white Burgundy when we can have such a beautiful wine for decent money ? Had this wine with turbot cooked in a salty crust.

With appetizers I had Serve’s top white wine from the 2010 vintage: Terra Romana Cuvee Amaury a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling aged for 6 months in oak barrels.

2010 Serve Terra Romana Cuvee Amaury

The wine is fresh and exhibits a mix of citrus fruit, well blended oak and spices, with pleasant acidity and a medium spicy, citric finish. There are certain similarities on the flavors profile between the two wine as there is a big portion of Riesling in the Cuvee Amaury, but not with the same amplitude. (85/100)

2007 Marcel Deiss Gewurtztraminer

Established after World War II, Domaine Marcel Deiss currently consists of about 26 ha spread over numerous sites. After a number of years working organically, Deiss went bio-dynamic in 1998. Deiss believes strongly in terroir and, although varietal wines, are the rule in Alsace, he makes field blends of different varieties from the top vineyard sites in accordance with an older tradition. In the winery, the grapes are pressed slowly using whole bunches. Because no nitrogen is put on to the vines, fermentation can take anything between three weeks to a year to complete. At the end the wine is cooled and a little sulfur dioxide is added.

I actually met Mr Jean Michel Deiss, the person in charge of the domain now, and his son, also involved in the business, during my visit to Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux.

2007 Marcell Deiss Gewurtztraminer

Gold color. The nose is intense and very sweet, with plenty of aromas of lychee, rose petals, stone fruits, citric fruit and Asian spices. Full bodied, lush and almost unctuous on the palate, this combines sweetness, minerality and high acidity, feeling lively, balanced, fresh and profound. The finish is medium to long with mouth-watering acidity and lingering flavors. 14% alc. (89/100)

Certainly the most concentrated and the best Gewurtztraminer I had so far.

1999 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Domaine Tortochot

As the winter starts to make its move this evening, I felt a need to indulge myself in some special food and wine. It was a good time to cook some quails that I had in the freezer – bought them from Carrefour, and to pop up a Burgundian Grand Cru with some age.  The quails were stuffed with chicken liver, mushrooms and some herbs, and cooked in the oven for about 40 minutes, just enough time to have the meat pink inside.

I popped up a 1999 Charmes-Chambertin from Tortochot and left it to breathe for about 45 minutes in the bottle and used a Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Gran Cru stemware to do the rest. The wine breathes youthfulness from the first whiff after uncorking.

Charmes-Chambertin is one of the 8th Grand Cru vineyards of Gevery-Chambertin in the Cote de Nuits and also, at 31.6 ha, it is the largest Grand Cru of Gevrey. A good Charmes is one of Gevrey-Chambertin’s most seductive and fragrant wines when young.

1999 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Domaine Tortochot

A youthful, medium dark red color and the color gets darker as the wine breathes. The nose is fully developed, but still youthful, with good complexity. There is a mix of red fruits: strawberry is the most dominant, earth, game, pleasant cinnamon that increases the light sweetness, and subtle forest floor and mushrooms. Really nice nose. Medium to full body, extremely youthful and vibrant, with bright acidity and an absolute silky mouth-feel. On the palate, it is elegant, subtle, but more than anything, this is a lively wine. The finish is long, with amazing freshness, great drink-ability and a charming mix of subtle red fruit and pronounced coffee bean bitterness that is just seducing. Loved it. (92-93/100)

If all days would be like this.

2006 Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Federico Villafane

This was one of the first wines I enjoyed when I discovered my passion for wines. The Single Vineyard category is a selection of the best three Malbecs that Trapiche chooses every year from the vineyards and the producers they work with, while these wines become their statement for excellency. These wines spend 18 months in new French oak. It’s been more than one year since my last tasting of this wine.

2006 Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Vina Federico Villafane

The color is dark purple, opaque and youthful, with absolutely no signs of evolution. The nose is developed, sweet, with intense aromas of coconut, caramel, ripe blackberry and raspberry, mocha and spices. Full bodied, with an extremely silky mouth-feel and a firm tannins structure, the wine is opulent and rich on the palate. The finish is long and intense, with sticky sweet flavors that do not let go of your cheeks and a healthy grip of tannins that provide freshness to this massive, otherwise concentrated wine. (91/100)

I am very curious if this wine will evolve and develop other subtleties in time. I guess that remains to be seen. Meanwhile the wine is extremely open and available for drinking as it is.

2004 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

It’s been a while since my last 2004 Pegau Cuvee Reservee almost one year ago. This is a blend of 80% Grenache, 9% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre and 5% other grapes, all coming from old vines.

2004 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du pape

Deep, almost opaque dark red color. The nose is well developed, rich, complex and very intense. There are aromas of truffles, smoke, meat, ink, smoked plum, coffee bean, roasted herbs, red fruit jam, but very fresh as the fruity aromas are in the background. Full bodied and very rich on the palate, with silky tannins and very pleasant mouth-feel, this wine is the quintessence of balance and freshness that it is so rare to find in modern Chateauneuf du pape wines. The finish is long and intense, the lingering flavors and the beautiful freshness seduce you instantly and drive you to want more. (94/100)

It was a great companion to Indian food and due to its freshness it can be a great drink on its own. 14% alcohol.

2000 Chateau Soutard Saint Emilion

Dark red garnet color with minimal signs of evolution. The nose is well developed and intense, the dominating truffles aromas fill the room and can easily be felt without even approaching the nose to the glass. Full bodied but supple in the mouth, the wine has enough structure to ensure a good life ahead, while the tannins remain silky. The finish is medium plus long, with pleasant earthiness, graphite, subtle red and black fruit, remaining fresh and extremely drinkable. (89-90/100)

NV Bollinger Special Cuvee and a Spanish Cava

Before going to celebrate the New Year’s Eve in a particular place, we joined our friends for a couple of bubbles and some assorting food. We had some Bellota Iberian Ham, some Spanish assortment of cheeses and a small jar of Russian Beluga Caviar. By far the Caviar and the Bellota were the best match for Bollinger.

Dom Potier Cava Gozalez Byass

Pale light yellow lemon color with small bubbles. Fresh nose of medium intensity, with plenty of citric fruit and marzipan, while on the palate is clean. The finish is medium with pleasant intensity. (83-84/100)

Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvee N.V.

The richness of this Champagne can be immediately guessed simply by the intensity of its color. Deeper yellow lemon color with smoother and richer bubbles. The nose is elegant, with plenty of fresh citric fruits, baked apple, spices, mixed with shades of salty and nutty aromas, while in the mouth the wine is creamy and rich on the palate, the bubbles just add more spark to his remarkable vinous character. A medium plus finish with great wet stone like minerality and mouth-watering acidity make this an extremely easy to drink Champagne. (89-90/100)

The Caviar’s saltiness and the Bellota’s nuttiness were greatly matched by the richness and the corresponding Bollinger flavors. One of the best N.V. Champagnes in my opinion.