The days around 5-6 March many beer geeks graced Belgium with their presence, since several beer fairs were arranged in different places in the country. On Saturday Cantillon in Brussels arranged one of their public brewing sessions, which is supposed to be one of those events you want to visit if you’re into gueze or lambic type of beer. (Cantillon is worth a quick visit outside of those sessions as well.) Although I focus more on wine than beer, this weekend made itself felt in my home as well, in the shape of a Swedish visitor, “C”. Here are notes from three wines we had for dinner that weekend, of which two (those without bubbles) were from me, and the one with bubbles was brought by C.
Trittenheimer Apotheke “Alte Reben” Riesling Spätlese trocken 2007, Grans-Fassian
Mosel. Bought in Trier in 2008, € 16?
Light yellow colour. Typical Riesling nose with peach, citrus, citrus peel, elderberry flower, some green apple, honey, some mineral, and a slight touch of petrol notes. On the palate medium bodied with citrus, very good acidity, slight impression of sweetness (for being a “trocken” wine, that is), some peach and citrus peel-style bitterness, a hint of alcohol in the aftertaste. No obviously developed aromas, but you can still tell that this one has had a couple of years in the cellar to “settle”. 89-90 p.
Ready to drink and quite pleasant now, but will develop many more years, in similarity to basically all good 2007 Rieslings, in particular those from Mosel: the key is a combination of quite good acidity levels in combination with sufficient concentration and no weird aromas.
Wein-Plus rates Grans-Fassian ****/5 and this wine 87 p. However, I don’t put much faith in their recommendation “drink until 2010”. I usually agree with the scores Wein-Plus award to dry Rieslings, but the Germans drink their own white wines way to young, even the really good ones. Wein-Plus often seems to use some sort of “drink within 1-2 years” recommendation by default for most dry wines that score under 90, even when it should be obvious that they are built to benefit from more extensive cellaring.
So, there’s another tick in the box for a 2007 German Riesling that has developed well and slightly exceeds what could be expected from how it was scored when it was released!
Krug Grande Cuvée NV
Champagne. Old label design, cork indicates some age – a bottle from the 1990a? Auction purchase by C. Price: if you need to ask what a Krug costs, it’s probably too expensive for you… 🙂
Golden yellow colour with a light amber note, initially good mousse. Complex, very developed nose, biscuity with red and yellow fruit, yellow apples and winter apples, slightly spicy with dried mild spices, roasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder, a hint of volatile acidity. On the palate full bodied, very marked acidity, yellow fruit, citrus, yellow apples, some spice notes, slight bitterness in the form of oak and citrus peel notes. 92-93 p.
A huge wine, in particular in the nose, but this specific lot (whenever it was put on the market…) has probably passed its peak, judging from the taste and the colour. With its high acidity it is likely to keep at approximately this level for a couple of more years, but I don’t think that any improvement is to be expected.
My first sip of this wine was served blind, and I did a quick guess: a blended vintage Champagne from the 1970s. This means that it came across as quite old, and clearly more developed than the vintage Champagnes from the 1980s (meaning primarily 1988 and 1989) that I’ve tried in recent years. From the way the label looks and the condition of the botte, it seems most likely that this lot was develivered some time in the 1990s.
Mature Krug – not bad for a “BYO wine”! But then again, who said it should be cheap to stay for free with friends… 🙂
Talking about Krug, Brussels-based “Bisty” had a completely inverse experience with a newly purchased bottle of Krug: he thought it was too young. I’m actually a little surprised over this, because although non-vintage (yes, I know you’re supposed to say “multi-vintage” in this case) Krug is generally considered to gain from further cellaring, it isn’t usually sold too young. This is typically a difference between prestige Champagne (a category to which “regular” Krug is counted) and the regular vintage Champage from most big houses – the prestige versions are not just supposed to be a little better, but are also usually more ready to drink when released. This is because these expensive bottles are partly targeted at a customer segment where money matters less, but where patience may be in less supply.
Medium red colour, slightly fading towards the edge. Complex, developed but still fruity nose, cherries and other red berries with some blackberries, obvious animal notes, forest floor, spice, some green notes and eucalyptus, well integrated notes of toasted oak barrels. More than medium bodied taste, dark cherries and cranberries, very good acidity, quite some tannin, some spice. 91-92 p.
The nose is bigger and more developed than the palate, which would benefit from more development. The nose would be sufficient to carry a wine scoring higher, upwards of 95 p. Not totally obvious that this must be a Burgundy, it would be possible to more think of a good Pinot Noir from a cool New World region.
2000 is quality-wise an average vintage for Burgundy, with for example three stars from Decanter, and is considered to be a fast maturing vintage. This means that the vintage isn’t as sought after as for example 1999 or 2002 (not to speak of 2005…). The advantage with a fast maturing vintage at an age around 10 is that also Grand Cru wines can be consumed without waiting further. If you would a high-end red Burgundy from 1999 (top vintage) or 1996 (high-acid vintage, typically means slow maturation) there is a risk that they still aren’t quite ready. And those who don’t want notes of maturity in their Burgundies can actually aim directly at 2006 or 2007 rather than worrying about the vintage differences between those vintages of 5+ years of age.
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.