Mixed wines – “December news”

This was a news tasting of various wines that only had that in common that they were lauched as news (in their current vintage or release) in the Swedish monopoly stores at the start of December. This government-controlled monopoly has, in its infinite wisdom and the customer-friendly attitude that characterises all governments and all monopolies, decided that December should be a month where quite a lot of good wines are launched. Probably that’s just because we’ve suffered through yet another year of an anachronistic and Soviet-style way of having to buy wines as well as booze and – believe it or not – all beers above 3,5% alcohol by volume. 🙂 You may have guessed that I’m not the biggest fan of the alcohol monopoly.

The Stockholm chapter of the wine tasting club Munskänkarna often arranges a tasting of  news the first Monday of the month (because the monopoly naturally doesn’t do anything like this on their own…), and the December one is usually especially worth attending. The selection consisted of ten red wines, plus three rather exclusive Champagnes for those who purchased an extra ticket. As usual, a good selection had been chosen from the news, featuring a mixture of well-known wines in new vintages and completely new acquaintances.

Champagne

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Selosse Initial
100% Chardonnay, three consecutive vintages (possibly 2007-2008-2009?). Disgorged 2 August 2013.

Bright yellow colour. Nose with ripe yellow apples and some yellow winter apples, pear, some peach, spice, a touch of herbaceous notes, some oxidation notes, oak and some vanilla, some white flowers. Palate with green and some yellow apples, citrus, mineral with some fizzy tablet character, good concentration, definitely good acidity, and a long aftertaste with green apples. Rather young, but drinks well now, could develop, 92+ p.

Rather typical Selosse nose, but the palate is more “regular” blanc de blancs-styled and green apple-dominated than they usually are. This means that it reminds me less of a white Burgundy that the 2012 release did. But it still is a good Initial!

Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne MV Grand Cru d’Aÿ
75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, solera vinification.

Deep yellow colour. Powerful nose with red apples, some winter apples, peach, notes of ripe fruit, noticeable spice with oak, and oxidation notes with hints of cocoa powder. Powerful palate, noticeably spicy, red apples, cocoa powder, a lot of mineral, good aicidty, spicy aftertaste with green and some red apples. Very developed notes in the nose, but some young apply notes on the palate, so can probably develop with further cellaring, 91(+) p.

As usual for the higher part of the Giraud range, the oak note is rather pronounced, but in this case it is rather well integrated, probably thanks to the oxidative notes that originate from the solera treatment. MV = mutivintage.

1989 Boizel Joyau de France
65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay.

Bright yellow colour. Noticeably smoky nose with toasted hazelnuts and some charcuteries, ripe yellow fruit, strong vanilla notes, a wonderfully developed and “big” nose with typical old Champagne character. Palate with ripe yellow fruit, some citrus, good concentration, some vanilla, good acidity, rather long aftertaste with apples, 91 p.

Wonderful development, but where does the vanilla come from? This isn’t something for those who don’t like mature or old Champagne, but those enlightened souls who like that sort of thing are likely to appreciate being able to buy such an old prestige cuvée for a reasonable price. (In Sweden, it is priced at 80% of the price of the current release of Dom Pérignon.) However, when I tasted it early 2013, I found the 1996 (which is in current distribution) better, and scored it something like 93 p if memory serves me.

Interesting enough, this was definitely the 1989 Joyau de France according to the label, but on their website, Boizel currently lists the 1989 Joyau de Chardonnay, the blanc de blancs version of Joyau, but only the 1996 Joyau de France.

Red wines

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2010 Albert Bichot Santenay
Bourgogne, Pinot Noir.

Rather light red colour, with purplish hints. The nose is rather pleasant with clearly sweetish notes of cherries and mixed fruit with some hints of candy flavouring. Palate with raspberries, some lemonade-style fruity notes, medium concentrated fruit, good acidity, some cranberry bite with a hint of bitterness mid-palate, just a little tannin and spice, aftertaste with some sweet fruit and a fresh and tart finish. Uncomplicated and easy to drink, but a bit of generic cool climate Pinot Noir character and not really a Burgundian style. 83 p.

I had actually expected more of a 2010, also at this level.

2011 Louis Jadot Beaune Clos des Couchereaux Premier Cru
Bourgogne, Pinot Noir.

Light red colour. Nose with rather ripe raspberries with some cherries and a hint of herbaceous notes, some spice with hints of oak. Palate with raspberries and lingonberries, medium concentration, high acidity, medium tannins that make themselves felt, a hint of bitterness that produces a lingonberry and cranberry impression, some spice, and aftertaste with some cranberries. Young, should be allowed to mature somewhat, 86(+) p.

Definitely more Burgundian than the previous wine. Will be long-lived although it may seem rather lightweight, and will probably soften somewhat before closing down, so I  believe that 1-2 years of cellaring will do this wine good. Like most red 2011s that have appeared, it comes as slightly hard on the palate. On the red side, the vintage seems to resemble 2008, while most 2009s and 2010s were more approachable and easier to like directly on release.

2004 Montelciego Gran Reserva
Rioja.

Medium red colour, faded edge. Nose with ripe strawberries, dark plums, spice, clearly developed notes with some leather, although with just a tiny hint of solvent and possibly some unclean notes, but mostly a pleasant nose. Palate with ripe red berries including raspberries and red currants, rather good concentration, noticeably tart berries, good acidity, medium tannins, a hint of bitterness, aftertaste with tart berries. 87 p.

Unusually berry-dominated for a Rioja Gran Reserva, in a sense in the direction of the classical style (with its somewhat filed-down tannins), but not completely fitting in that camp. It’s still an OK wine, though.

2005 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial
Rioja.

Deep red, somewhat compact colour. Big but somewhat sweetish nose with blackberries, dark cherries, some raspberries, noticeably flowery, hints of eucalyptus, some animal notes with well integrated oak. Palate with powerful concentration, ripe dark cherries, blackberries, noticeable spice with medium(+) tannins, some animal notes, aftertaste with sweet berries, good acidity and some tannins. Drinkable now, but can definitely be cellared and probably gain from it, 91 p.

A classy wine, but in terms of classical Rioja perhaps more in the style of a Reserva with its focus on berry aromas, and it seems to originate from a ripe and sweet vintage.

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2011 Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino
Tuscany, Sangiovese.

Medium red with slightly faded edge. Nose with cherries, some strawberries and raspberries, slightly sweetish notes with hints of candy. Palate with cherries, tart fruit, good concentration, high acidity, marked bitterness, and medium tannins. Young, but approachable now if one appreciates the style (including the bitterness), 88 p.

Rather nice candy nose but a very Italian palate. The bitterness is a bit more than I prefer, but I have been nice in my scoring score. May be rated higher by those who always like Italian-styled wines.

2008 Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino
Tuscany, Sangiovese.

A bit more than medium red, with faded edge. Nose with cherries, some ripe strawberries, spice, rather well integrated oak, some flowery aromas, some elegance. Palate with cherries, noticable tartness with some bitterness, rather good concentration, noticebale spice, medium(+) tannins, aftertaste with berries. Rather young, 90(+) p.

A good Brunello given its price. I suppose the style of this wine could be described as semi-modern.

2010 Ricasoli Casalferro
IGT Toscana, 100 % Merlot.

Deep red colour. Nose with ripe dark cherries, some blackberries, sweet liquorice, a hint of flowers. Fruity impression, very polished and elegant. Palate with cherries, noticeable acidity, rather good concentration, some sweetish fruit behind the tartness, medium tannins, some spice. Young, approachable now but could develop, 88 p.

Merlot from Tuscany dominated by sweet fruit is not really my cup of tea.

2011 Guidalberto
IGT Toscana, 60 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 % Merlot.

Deep red, rather compact colour with some purple. Nose with ripe blackberries, some tar, spice with well integrated oak, some animal notes. Palate with ripe dark cherries, some blackberries, noticeable acidity, good concentration, medium(+) tannins, spice, aftertaste with tart dark berries. Young, rather drinkable now, but can definitely gain from cellaring, 90(+) p.

Sassicaia’s little brother Guidalberto is a good wine also in the 2011 vintage. In Tuscany, I usually like the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux blends better than the Merlot-dominated, because it’s less common for them to become too sweet or too alcoholic.

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2011 Domaine Garon Côte-Rôtie Les Triotes
Nortnern Rhône, Syrah.

Nose with blackberries, blueberries, noticeably flowery with violets. Pure and elegant, very classical notes. Palate with blackberries and blueberries, good concentration, noticeable acidity, well integrated medium(+) tannins, very pure notes, and a fruity aftertaste. Young, drinks well now, 92(+) p.

Definitely elegant and polished, more of a 2010 style with its fresh acidity and elegance, but a 2011 may develop faster and not last as long. To me, this was the best wine among the reds of the tasting. This was my first encounter with  Domaine Garon, which had’t been imported before, and it was a very positive one.

2011 Chèze Côte-Rôtie Belle Demoiselle
Nortnern Rhône, Syrah.

Nose with blackberries, animal notes with some (positive) dirty impression, and spice. Palate with blackberries, good concentration, noticeable spice, medium(+) tannins that are rather well integrated, aftertaste with concentrated berries, spice and some tannins. Young, reasonably approachable now, 90(+) p.

A good wine in a tough style, perhaps more traditional, but it lacks the purity and elegance of the previous Côte-Rôtie.

The Swedish version here.

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This entry was posted in Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Chardonnay, Merlot, Munskänkarna, Pinot Noir, Rhône, Rioja, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo, Tuscany. Bookmark the permalink.

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