This Monday I attended a wine club tasting of March news from our dear Swedish alcohol monopoly Systembolaget. (Well, to me it as about as dear as the bread queues were to the good people of the Soviet union.) This type of tasting are held a number of times per year by Munskänkarna, as this club is called. This time, three Syrah-based 2010s finished off the lineup and confirmed that the 2010 Château d’Ampuis from Guigal was just as good as I’d hoped!
Fruity and powerful nose of ripe peach, tropical fruit, winegum, grated zest (including the white part), some mineral and flowery Riesling notes. Close to dry but with distinctly fruity palate with dominating citrus notes as well as peach and winegum, good concentration, high acidity, some mineral, and a fruity finish with grapefruit character including a hint of grapefruit bitterness. A Riesling with good “punch” and a fruity style, works well now, probably unnecessary to cellar this one for too long. 89 p.
2011 Domaine Andre et Mireille Tissot La Mailloche
Arbois, Jura, 100% Chardonnay.
Nose with ripe yellow apples, some almond and other nuts, pronounced citrus notes with oranges and lemon zest, chalky mineral notes, discrete yeasty fino Sherry notes, and some white flowers. The nose is complex and somewhat developed but still predominantly fruity. Completely dry, palate with yellow apples and quite a bit of citrus, pronounced chalky and stony mineral notes, a hint of almond, slightly oily mouthfeel, definitely a high acidity, and a long mineral-dominated aftertaste with just a hint of bitterness. Young, foody, is likely to develop, 90+ p.
Although the notes of fino Sherry or oxidation are there and makes this wine clearly different from a white Burgundy, they are not as clearly pronounced as they can be in many other Jura wines of the type “Arbois Tradition” or similar. I believe that some of those that hesitate when finding too much Sherry or oxidation notes could approve of this wine. It’s not too easy to identify this as a Chardonnay based on the most common references, so this would be fun to include in a blind tasting.
2011 Château du Moulin-à-Vent Croix des Vérillats
Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais, 100% Gamay.
Rather light red colour. Fruity nose of cherries, lingonberries, and some blueberries with some oak and spices including cloves, and a hint of liquorice. Fruity palate with red berries including lingonberries and a pronounced tartness that gives a slightly hard impression, some mineral, and a rather noticeable bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste. Although fresh in the attack and with many of the characteristics of a really good Beaujolais, it is a bit too bitter for me to appreciate fully. 85 p
People who are less sensitive to bitterness than I am are likely to appreciate this wine more, and I noticed other people at the tasting who did. Actually, disregarding the bitterness, the palate reminds me quite a bit of how many red 2011 Burgundies (then I mean the Pinot Noir versions) tend to be.
1999 Jadot Savigny-lès-Beaune Premier Cru Les Peuillets
Burgundy, 100% Pinot Noir.
Light red colour. Fruity nose of ripe strawberries, some raspberry candy, some animal notes and hints of spice and oak. Somewhat developed nose but still with focus on the fruit. The palate is fruity and slightly less than medium bodied, with raspberries and red currants and a rather good concentration of fruit, good acidity, some cranberry-style bitterness, just a bit of tannins and some cranberry-style aftertaste. 86 p.
Surprisingly fruity for its age, not too much of mature notes, somewhat pleasant style but not too heavy for a premier cru, but then again that’s not always to be expected from a Savigny.
2012 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati
Piemonte, Italy, 100% Dolcetto.
Medium red colour. Fruity nose of cherries, a hint of blueberries, some flowery notes and a somewhat “cold” note with some herbs and tar. Fruity attack, palate with ripe and juicy red berries, noticeably acidity and somewhat hard impression, rather good concentration with rather prominent medium(+) tannins with a somewhat dry and very adstringent finish. Goes from sweet to quite tough on the palate, could probably benefit from some development, 87(+) p.
2010 G.D. Vajra Langhe Freisa Kyè
Langhe DOC, Piemonte, Italy, 100% Freisa.
Medium red colour. Fruity nose of ripe red berries including red currants and cherries, hints of tar, slight flowery notes, some oak and emerging developed notes. Fruity attack with ripe and juicy red and some dark berries, good acidity and slightly hard impression, some tar, good concentration, rather tough medium(+) tannins, and a rather long and fruity aftertaste with tannins. Somewhat tough at present, could develop, 88(+) p.
2009 In Violas Merlot
Cortona DOC, Tuscany, Italy, 100% Merlot.
Ripe dark cherries, blackcurrants and some blackberries, slightly sweet fruit notes, a hint of tar and a hint of animal notes, slightly flowery, some vanilla, and some oak. Fruity palate with ripe red currants, cherries and a hint of winegum, good concentration, good acidity, a hint of alcoholic fire, rather soft medium tannins and a fruity aftertaste with some fiery character and a hint of tannins. Drinks rather well now, 89 p.
Somewhat sweeter nose than the Pomerol below and with more obvious oak vanilla. Hot vintage character as well as fruity, accessible, and uncomplicated. It’s a Merlot plain and simple.
2010 Château Plince
Pomerol, in the vineyard: 72% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Nose of ripe blackcurrants and dark cherries, some tar, some leather and other animal notes, slightly herbaceous, some spice, and well integrated oak. Palate with ripe red berries including red currants and cranberries, good concentration, good acidity, medium(+) tannins that make themselves somewhat felt but are well embedded in sweet berries, aftertaste with berries and some tannin. Rather young but approachable now, could develop, 90 p.
Darker and more serious nose than the In Violas Merlot, but this Pomerol also shows some sweetness of fruit and berries on the palate.
2009 Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au-dessus Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, California, 100% Pinot Noir.
Light red colour with a pale red edge. Nose of ripe strawberries, some dried red berries, some orange zest, spice, initially some vanilla notes with vanilla powder and marshmallows, somewhat flowery. It developed more animal notes and complexity with time in the glass. (The vanilla wasn’t really that disturbing, and it did recede somewhat after some time.) Fruity palate with ripe strawberries and other red berries, noticeable alcoholic fire in the attack, vanilla, quite good acidity and mineral notes, medium minus tannins and a fruity finish with mineral. Approachable now, could probably develop given its behaviour in the glass, 90 p.
Definitely more sweetness of fruit in the nose and on the palate than the Bergström wine below, but a bit too obvious alcohol for my palate and that reduces the score.
2011 Bergström Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon, 100% Pinot Noir.
Rather light red colour. Complex nose of ripe strawberries, other red berries, cherries, some mineral notes, some spice and undergrowth together with some animal notes, and a rather noticeable perfume note of the “heavy ladies’ perfume” type. Fruity palate with ripe strawberries and red currants, some oranges, good acidity, fine minerality, spice and medium tannins, finishes with red berries and mineral. Just a hint of alcoholic fire but a fine balance, drinks rather well now but could develop. 91(+) p.
More complexity in the nose than the preceding wine, definitely a better balance and more a New World Pinot Noir the way I like them. This wine isn’t Burgundian, but it could definitely be taken for a New Zealand Pinot.
2010 Guigal Saint Joseph Vignes de l’Hospice
Northern Rhône, 100% Syrah.
Powerful, berry-dominated and elegant nose with ripe blackberries and some blueberries, liquorice with some mint liquorice, violets and some perfume, pepper, and some herbaceous note, as well as a discrete and well integrated oak barrel note. With some time, some animal notes emerge. Palate with powerful berry aromas, noticeably tart note, some tar and spice, very well integrated medium(+) tannins, tart and berry-dominated aftertaste with blackberries and some tannin. Good concentration and fine balance, drinks well now “on the fruit”, but has a long life ahead of it. 93(+) p.
Fully confirms the previous impression from some months ago, Guigal’s top Saint Joseph isn’t just quite good in this vintage – as most 2010s from Northern Rhône – but also a bit more complex and elegant than usual. The Vignes de l’Hospice is usually a fine wine with good concentration, but in more of a “straight on” style than the Guigal wines from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. Not in this vintage although it must consider itself beaten by…
2010 Guigal Châteu d’Ampuis
Côte-Rôtie, Northern Rhône, 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier.
Powerful and very elegant nose with ripe dark cherries, blackberries, some lemon liquorice and mint liquorice, some freshly ground pepper, some mineral and a pronouced perfume note. Berry-dominated and powerful palate with blackberries, blueberries and dark cherries, noticeably tart berry notes, some tar and quite a bit of pepper, well integrated medium plus tannins, as well as a long and tart aftertaste with blackberries, dark cherries, tannins and some pepper. Powerful concentration, fabulously elegant and fine balance, young but rather approachable now, can be cellared for quite a long time and improve further. 95(+) p.
I found this wine to show a litte darker notes on the palate and even a little more concentration than the Vignes de l’Hospice. Is this the best Château d’Ampuis so far? Judging from the complete vertical tasting (1995-2009) last autumn, the competition comes mainly from 1999 and 2009, and the choice between 2009 and 2010 may be one of choice. My preference is 2010 in that comparison.
Perhaps, some bad wines have actually been produced even in 2010 in Northern Rhône, but I can’t recall having tasted any and they are definitely not to be found among the 2010 Guigal wines… I’m fascinated at how well the 2010s drink, despite being very classically built, in a style that is also made for the cellar.
2010 Shafer Relentless
Napa Valley, California, 96% Syrah and 4% Petite Sirah.
Powerful nose with sweet fruit character, ripe blueberries and other dark berries, some liquorice and vanilla, quite a bit of citrus notes (lemon liquorice), some rubber, rather well integrated oak and a hint of perfume. Powerful and concentrated palate of blueberries and blackberries with sweetness of fruit and a hint of alcoholic fire, good berry tartness, liquorice and tar, medium(+) tannins and a fruity aftertaste with blackberries. Rather young, 93 p.
A clearly elegant and balanced wine with good power, but next to the 2010 Guigals the sweet New World character dominates.
Swedish version here.