Ginis La Frosca – modern Soave at it’s best

To be honest Рnot so long ago Soave did suffer from quite a bad reputation. The wines underperformed and as with many other white wines form Italy Рthey 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! ūüėČ ) 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!

Meandro do Vale Me√£o 2009

Among the new releases in Sweden this week was Quinta do Vale Me√£os second wine – Meandro 2009. And such a great bargain it is at around ‚ā¨18!

I wrote a post on Quinta do Vale Me√£o 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 Sous√£o 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!

My own Summer of Riesling

In the US Paul Grieco and friends at the Terroir Wine Bar has been doing a fantastic job promoting the best white wine grape in the world under the slogan “Summer of Riesling”. Paul started the initiative in 2008 in the smaller of his two bars in the East Village. Last year he expanded the theme to incorporate both his establishments and this year they really have taken it to a whole nother level!

I just love the initiative. No other white wine combines the freshness, the sheer purity of the grape and the marriage of the fruit and the land it has grown on (terroir baby!), or has the longevity of the great Riesling wines (be they dry, halbtrocken, half-sweet or luciously sweet). One thing is certain: we do not nearly drink enough Riesling either here in Sweden or in the US (or the rest of the world for that matter)!

In Sweden we do not have the luxury an offical “summer of riesling” but I (me, myself and I) have done my best to celebrate the greatness of Riesling on my own and promoting it through my blogs, facebook and twitter. And as a lucky coincidence a whole bunch of great Rieslings recently were released at Systembolaget – the Swedish wine and spirit monopoly. Wines that really proves the point! Great Riesling can really the best wine in the world!

Australias Tim Adams in Clare Valley does one of my favourite aussie Rieslings. Their Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling 2008 combines the New Worlds lucious fruit and upfront tastes of lime and citrus with an almost european-like acidity and elements of kerosene and honey. It is bone dry, fruity and delicious to drink right now but you could also age it with grace.

Weingut Franz K√ľnstler in Rheingau is antoher classic Riesling-producer from a classic region. Their K√ľnstler Hochheimer Stielweg Riesling Old Vines trocken 2009 shows no mercy with it’s hard uncompromising but also focused and delightful europan style. The nose is floral and astonishingly fruity for such a young wine with loads of apples, apple pie and minerals. But the taste is very fresh, young and acidic with an almost bitter smokey minerality and elements of citrus and petroleum. The aftertaste is already incredible but it needs another 3-5 years in bottle to open up with all it’s beauty.

For many Mosel is the quintessential Riesling wine. When Rhein gives you power and structure – Mosel is the epitom√© of style and elegance, lighter and more fragrant than it’s German sister wine. I can’t remember that I have ever tasted any of Clemens Busch wines earlier but their¬† Clemens Busch Riesling vom roten Schiefer 2009 and Clemens Busch Marienberg GG Fahrlay Riesling trocken 2009 are botjh magnificent.

The first one is a bit closed at the moment with gunsmoke and mineral aromas. On the palate it is painfully fresh with citrus, minerals and honey. The elements are not quite balanced yet but it shows true class and will develop in to something wonderful in the years to come. Keep it for at least three to five years before you open it!

Clemens and his wife Rita took over the family estate in 1991. And they got some fantastic vineyard sites in Marienberg and Nonnengarten. Clemens Busch Marienberg GG Fahrlay Riesling trocken 2009 comes from a tiny 1 hectar site in Marienberg. GG is one of those awkward and bewildering quality designations that often confuses the consumer. It is short for Grosses Gew√§chs witch roughly translates “great growth” and is used by members of the organisation VDP for dry wines from a selected site.

In this particular instance the grapes has been grown on blue slate soils. It feels a lot more developed than the one from the red slate soil above. Still it is hard and young on the palate. It has an almost steely, mineral laden and spritzig taste with green apples, citrusfruit and petroleum. The concentration is astonishing. Light, yet powerful and with a length that defies logic. It has an aftertaste that never ends and it is such a great example of great riesling that I want to cry: “Lets continue the Summer of Riesling forever!”

3 x Montirius – Gotta love Grenache

I probably don’t need to tell you that the vintages 2007 and 2009 in Southern Rh√īne are hyped as two of the great ones. The jury is still out on which is the better – and I for myself haven’t really made up my mind. And actually, I couldn’t bother, because I enjoy both and the wines are really faboulous!

My first blogpost here in Ericsson Uncorked was about Montirius Vacqueyras Les Clos – and now in june I have had the opportunity to try three more wines from this producer in Southern Rh√īne.

The vinyards are certified organic and biodynamic – and although I am a real sceptic when it comes to biodynamism (but I love organic farming!) – the wines are just awesome. And they are a great example of the potential of Grenache and Grenache dominated blends.

Montirius Garrigues 2009 France, Vacqueyras (circa ‚ā¨18)
70 percent Grenache and 30 percent Syrah from 24 hectars that consists of 12 parcels of land. Average age of the vines is 55 years old and the yield was 31 hl/ha. Total destemming and no oak is used in this wine. Production: 70 000 bottles.

Dark bluered colour. A bit closed on the nose with elements of red berries, farmyard and game. Medium to full bodied on the palate with spicy concentrated flavours of red berries, herbs, leather, tobacco and medium raw meat! A slight alcoholic burn, good acids/tannins and a great length in the mout. A bit funky – but a great wine with layers upon layers with good fruit. Drinking well now but can be aged another 3-10 years (depending on your preferences). 4->4,5/5 points

Montirius Terre des A√ģn√©s 2009 (99149) France, Gigondas (circa ‚ā¨25)
16 hectares from 3 parcels planted with Grenache (80%) and Mourv√®dre (20%) of which 12 hectares are very old vines which date from 1925. Yield is also on 31 hl/ha. The grapes were destemmed before vinification – and the wine is “oak-free” as they state it on their homepage. 75 000 bottles produced.

Dark orange colour. Also a bit closed on the nose with hints of fudge, herbs and minerals. Medium to full bodied and loaded with dark and red berries and elements of herbs, meat, leater and minerals. No oak – but it stillgot a smoky-fudge-kinda complex taste. Great acids/tannins – feels young. Drink 2013-2020. 4,5/5 points

Montirius Confidentiel 2007 France, Gigondas (circa ‚ā¨33)
This is MonTirius top Gigondas and comes from a micro-terroir of 1.5 hectares situated in our 10 hectares Gigondas parcel in the ” La Tour” area. It’s a blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Mourv√®dre and the yield is 30 hl/ha. Total destemming and vinification in concrete vats. Output is just 4000 bottles.

Deep dark red colour. Young closed nose with freshly roasted coffee (again – no oak!), dark/red berries and mineral/earthy notes. Full bodied, superconcentrated taste of spices/herbs, red berries, leahter, dried fruits and coffee. Massive tannins and acids (it’s young!) that are carried (and are enveloped) by such lucious fruit. Looong finish! Great now but will keep up to 10 years. 4.5->5/5 points