The 2003 vintage was difficult throughout Europe. Scorching hot weather meant at best early drinking wines without much distinction or elegance and at worst harsh tannic ones (or cooked – depending on the producer or district) that didn’t pack the fruit to back the tannins up.
Arguably some producers did make a better job than others and I therefore find it interesting to see how the 2003s are coming a long nine years on. I can’t say that I see many 2003s these days but I do got one or two bottles left in my possession. One of those is Gianni Voerzios lovely Barolo La Serra.
Gianni is the less famous of the two brothers Voerzio (the other one is Roberto who’s wines got a cult following and play in a completely different price-league). Gianni Voerzios Barolo La Serra must be one of the best bargains in whole of Piedmont. In Sweden his single vineyard wines usually sells for what you pay for generic Barolos from big companies like Fontanafredda (that is for less than €30).
I know that some wine tasters (at least here in Sweden) think that his wines are a bit heavy on the oak. I’m usually not a big fan of new wood but I must confess that I have never found La Serra to be particularly over oaked in any way.
So how is the Barolo La Serra 2003 coming along? Real fine if you ask me! This is still quite a tannic wine that needs some time in a decanter to soften up the hard edges. But the fruit is luckily still there. On the nose it got all the tell tale signs of nebbiolo with cherries, roses, cocoa powder, maybe a whiff of tar and tobacco. In the mouth it is medium bodied and mixes fresh and dried cherry flavors with chocolate/cocoa powder and tobacco. And, of course, it got that mouth drying aftertaste that is quintessential barolo.
I think I might leave my other 2003 nebbiolos to rest for a couple of more years!
(Last year I opened a La Serra 2000 – you can read about that wine here!)
Beyers Truter of Beyerskloof is a hell of a guy. You really can’t overestimate his influence and what he has done for what he calls “the unique selling point of South Africa” – Pinotage.
In Uncorked’s series on South Africa he will explain just why André van Rensburg of Vergelegen was wrong when he said the now classic slogan: “Don’t rape, steal or murder. Don’t make pinotage”. And he also tell us why he loves old bush wines. Here is a teaser (the real series starts in march):
Uncorked is working hard with our new season of tv-episodes for 24HD. We are editing 15 episodes from our South African tour and so it is great fun!
And here is a teaser from our focus on Thelema Mountain Vineyards. Thomas Webb gives us the intel behind the Mint Block Cabernet! So is it the cineol or the clones that gives that minty/eucalyptus flavor?
To be honest – not so long ago Soave did suffer from quite a bad reputation. The wines underperformed and as with many other white wines form Italy – they felt a bit uninspired. But thankfully a lot has happened in the last 10 years or so.
Lately I feel that the italien “great whites” (no pun intended! 😉 ) are getting better and better. The reliance on new oak (good for quick gains but bad for long time track record) has diminished and the knowledge both in the vineyard and in the cellar has increased and some of the estates in Soave is leading the way.
This wine from Gini is somewhat of a modern classic. The producer makes two top-tier dry Soaves, the Contrada Salvarenza and the La Frosca. The latter from the vineyard La Frosca (6ha) is made from 100 percent garganega grapes and the vines got an average age of 50 years. It was partly fermented in steel and old oak vats but it has not went through malo lactic fermentation. Before bottling it has spent at least 8 months in 228 liters oak casks (but hardly new).
This usually gives a wine with lovely concentration and freshness. And La Frosca 2009 is no exception.
The wine is bright yellow in colour and has already a developed nose with elements of mature apples, flowers, honey, lanolin and melon. On the palate it has a lot of flavor with again tastes of apples, honey, bees wax and melon. The acids feels fresh but also mature and mellow and the long and well balanced aftertaste got a good minerality to it. Drink now or keep for up to five years!
Uncorked met a lot of interesting individuals at European Wine Bloggers Conference in Brescia in october 2011. We did a lot of interviews and we could not show you all in our episode on the conference.
So here and now you got the chance to meet André Cis. Young austrian wine blogger, photographer and entrepreneur!
You can also check out André here and here!
Among the new releases in Sweden this week was Quinta do Vale Meãos second wine – Meandro 2009. And such a great bargain it is at around €18!
I wrote a post on Quinta do Vale Meão 2008 some time ago and it is truly a remarkable wine. The Meandro may lack the longevity and structure of the 1st wine but it does compensate for that with tad more approachability and suppleness. And at a third of the price – you can afford to buy more than one bottle!
It may still be a bit young because it is really serious wine made with the best combination of new and traditional winemaking techniques. The Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barocca and Sousão grapes were foot trodden in granite lagares for four hours before being transferred to temperature regulated stainless steel vats. The different grape varieties were vinified sperately and the final blend was then aged in french Allier Oak (second and third year barrells).
Deep dark red colour. On the nose very young and fresh with juicy black berries, spices and oak dominating the aromas. The taste is medium to full bodied with fresh crushed grape/berry notes in the forefront. I also find elements of spices (mint, pepper), oak and dark chocolate under the layers of fruit. The acids and tannins are already so well integrated that the wine almost feels mellow. But ideally I would give it another 2-5 years in bottle before it reaches its full potential!
South Africas Swartland district is “hot” not just climate wise but also hot as in “hyped” in wine loving circles. The likes of Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Lammershoek (thanks to Richard for the suggestion) and now also Mullineux Wines are setting new standards in a district that until recently was motsly known for rustic an uninteresting reds.
I am now proud to annonce that Mullineux Wines will be one of the stops on Uncorkeds South African Tour that is starting this week. And I am really excited about that visit.
I had Mullineux on top of my wishlist right from the start. Not because the Platter-guide had given them great reviews (even though that is a good reason!) but more so because their Syrah 2008 might be one of the best South African Rhône-influenced wines I’ve ever tasted. I tasted it blind in one of last years tastings of the new releases in Sweden (held by the swedish monopoly – Systembolaget). And it stood out like a beacon. Here there were pure fruit, great concentration and none of those burnt/smokey characters that you can find in south african wines.
And today I got a chance to taste the Syrah 2009 that will be released in Sweden in mars. This is also a stunning wine that stood up to and was not overshadowed by Gugials Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde 2006 (that is twice as expensive!). Here are my tasting notes on the 2008 and 2009!
Dark red colour
Black berries, spices and oak.Smokey/toasty aromas with minerals, gun powder and black pepper.
Medium bodied and concentrated taste of dark berries (black berries), provencal herbs, black pepper and chocolate/cocoa powder. Notes of oak/vanilla and firm tannins. Great length and balance. Loads of complexity with herbs, berries and oak complementing each other on the palate. A truly wonderful wine.
Dark red colour
Still a bit closed on the nose with dark berries, dried fruits, herbs and toasted oak.
Medium bodied fruitdriven taste of dark berries, liquorice, chocolate leather and herbs. Peppery with good tannins and a spicy and long finish. Still a bit young but will develop.