Monday, 30 April 2007

New Wines for May 2007

New wines will be available from Systembolaget on Wednesday May 2nd (well mostly; there is another "delivery" on May 14th). Wines I will try (good value and within my budget) are :

  • Chakana, Malbec Rose, 2006
  • Chateau d'Aqueria Rose, 2006
  • Villa Wolf, Pinot Noir, 2006
  • Kuenstler, Reichestal Pinot Noir, 2006
  • Zisola, Marchesi Mazzei, 2005
  • Les Perruches, Domaine de la Cotelleraie, 2005
  • Rietburg Creation, Grauer Burgunder Trocken, 2006
  • Tourquinheiras, Vinho Verde Reserva, 2006
  • Brennfleck Iphoefer Kronsberg, Silvaner Kabinett Trocken, 2006
  • Samos, 2005, Union Cooperatives Samos
Tasting notes will be published as I consume these "interesting"-looking wines.

I just got the latest newsletter from Vinunic. These guys have to be the best importers in Sweden; great selection of wines at great prices. I am trying to join their wine club right now (just waiting for a response having filled out the registration form). One interesting looking wine on their new release list is the Zind 2004 from Zind Humbrecht of Alsace. It is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Auxerois. I might give this one a try. It claims to have undergone fermentation in old oak barrels so no oak should be apparent. I guess this is to add extra complexity via oxygen transfer. I hate oaky white wines so I hope this is true. It got an 89 from Wine Spectator and there was no mention of heavy oak. I just hope the Systembolaget haven't sold out (or that I haven't ran out of money) by the time this is available and I get to the shop after work.

Website : Systembolaget Varunytt May 2007
Website : VinUnic "Våra vinner" May 2007

Friday, 27 April 2007

Chateau Pichon-Lalande Visit 2006

During August 2006, I visited Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande for a tour. The tour itself was private i.e. nobody else but us and personal guide. We went by public transport which was pretty easy; direct bus from Bordeaux to Saint Lambert and then a two minute walk. Thus we could taste a lot without fear of being caught drunk-driving. We had a tour around the winemaking facilities, barrel aging facility and glass museum. The glass museum is filled with wonderful pieces that May Eliane de Lencquesaing received during her travels around the world promoting her wine. In addition, I bought a golfing cap and a copy of the book "Magic of Wine" by May Lencquesaing. The wines we tasted were Chateau Bernadotte, the other winery that May Lencquesaing owns, and the grand vin.

Website : Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Website : Chateau Bernadotte

TN : Chateau de Parenchere, Cuvee Raphael 2003, Bordeaux Superieur

This is a blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon with 45% merlot that was aged in Troncais oak barrels, 30% of which were new. The wine was aged between 14 to 18 months on its lees without racking or other exposure to air. Micro-oxygenation in barrel was used though. The grapes come from a 65 ha vineyard with vines of an average age of more than 40 years. This wine is the chateau's flagship wine. The name "Raphael" is the name of the current owner's father, Raphael Gazaniol, who renovated the estate. The wine is recommended to be drunk between 4 to 8 years after the vintage date so in theory I caught it at the right time to get maximum fruit flavours.

We only drank half of this bottle at first and put the rest under a vac-u-vin for 24 hours. This didn't tamed the alcohol but the green vegetable flavours disappeared and the wine itself became drinkable; it is probably worth decanting this before drinking.

Colour : Dark blackcurrant

Aroma : Blackcurrants, damsons, green vegetables

Taste : Hot alcohol, blackcurrant, harsh oak, smooth drying tanins

Alcohol : 14.5 %

Mark : D (C- after 24 hours under vac-u-vin).

Website : Chateau de Parenchere

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

TN : Kuenstler 2006 Hölle Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau QmP

This wine is sealed with a screwcap. It is imported by AB Nigab, Sweden. When kept cold it threw a lot of tartaric acid crystals. This would be because the wine has not been cold stabilised. This does not impact the quality of the wine but the last thing you need is a moothful of these crystals so take care when pouring the final glass of the bottle.

Hoelle in this context is the name of the vineyard and means steep mountain.

Aroma : Apples, slight honey

Colour : Pale yellow / straw

Taste : Spritzy, sweetish, fruity. grapey, minerals

Mark : B

Website : Weingut Kuenstler
Website : AB Nigab

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Wayward Tendrils Quarterly

I just received my copy of the April 2007 edition of Wayward Tendrils (Vol 17 No 2). It contains book reviews, book announcements and excellent book reviews. There is an interesting article about Samuel Lachman who was a notable and wealthy California wine industry pioneer. The publication also contains a tribute to Len Evans, the man to first set up The Australian Wine Bureau. In addition, Wayward Tendrils contains the next installment of a series of articles about Martin Ray and his friendships with eminent oenophiles. The current articles focus on Martin Ray's friendship with Maynard Amerine of UC Davis. What is especially interesting is what Martin Ray thought about other Californian vintners and his fight for quality wine. I would be very curious to hear a response from thos vintners such as Robert Mondavi to hear their side of things.

A list of updates to James Gabler's Wine Into Words and the current membership list (168 members) is also included in the mailing.

Wayward Tendrils Quarterly is the publication of a wine book collector's society. I have been a member since 2004. There are 4 issues a year published. The subscription price is $25 Overseas and $20 for USA/Canada.

Website : Wayward Tendrils

Monday, 23 April 2007

TN : E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone, Red, 2003

This is 55% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre and other varieties. The average age of the vines is 35 years. It has spent 1 1/2 years in oak foudres. The yield was 41Hl per hectare. The production was a staggering 3,000,000 bottles. According to Guigal it can be aged for up to 8 years.

Aroma : White pepper, cloves, cinamon, plum

Colour : Plum red with brown tinge

Taste : Red plummy fruits with pepper and clove

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : C

Website : E Guigal

TN : Dr L Riesling 2005, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

This is bottled under screwcap by Loosen Bros of Bernkastel. It is imported by Modern Wines Sweden.

Aroma : Lemon, honey

Colour : pale lemon

Taste : Lemon, honey, off-dry, clean acidic lemony finish

Alcohol : 11%

Mark : B

Website : Dr Loosen
Website : Modern Wines Sweden

Friday, 20 April 2007

California Wine Industry Oral Transcripts

The Regional Oral History Office of the University of Berkeley's Bancroft library has published a large set of transcripts of oral interviews with California wine industry pioneers such as Robert Mondavi, Ernest Gallo, Joseph Heitz, etc

Website :

Ahead of the Curve, April 19th 2007

The first Napa Valley Winegrowers annual "Ahead of the Curve" conference was held yesterday.

Website : Presentations
Website : Report

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Win Storage at BonVino, Stockholm

I noticed today that BonVino in Gamla Stan, Stockholm offer wine cellaring. There prices are :

  • 500 Kr per month for 60 bottles
  • 625 Kr per month for 80 bottles
  • 875 Kr per month for 175 bottles
  • 990 Kr per month for 240 bottles
The prices assume that the bottles are standard Bordeaux sized. The prices include moms (value added tax).

The temperature is controlled between 12 and 14 degrees, humidity is around 70% and the environment is free from daylight.

Website : BonVino

The Champagneshop Sweden

The Champagneshop Sweden is a Stockholm based company that focus only on champagne.
It conducts tastings regularly for the public. It also arrange trips to the Champagne region in France. One can buy champagne articles as buckets and stoppers etc. In addition, the Champagne shop also arranges study courses for those who want’s to learn more about champagne. and arranges champagne dinners in restaurants all over Sweden.

The company was founded in 2006 and is currently looking for part-owners. A minimum investment of 28000 Kronor is needed.

Website : The Champagneshop Sweden

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

TN : Bourgogne Rouge, 2005, Laboure-Roi

This is 100% Pinot Noir from vineyards across Burgundy. The grapes were all hand harvested and de-stemmed. They grapes were then left to macerate fro 24 hours prior to fermentation for colour extraction. The alcoholic fermentation lasted 6-8 days and malolactic fermentation was encouraged directly after de-vatting. The wine was stored for nine months before bottling. Laboure-Roi recommend that this wine is drunk within 5 years.

Imported by Fondberg & Co AB, Stockholm, Sweden

Colour : Pale ruby red

Aroma : Violets, spice, turkish delight, cherry

Taste : Some stewed fruits, violets, spice, thin tasting

Alcohol : 12.5%

Mark : D

Website : Laboure-Roi
Website : Fondberg & Co AB

Wine Spectator Tastings Blind ?

I listened to the latest 3 Wine Guys Blogcast on the way to work this morning : "What Are We Drinking ? Blogcast 20". It was mentioned/rumoured that Wine Spectator does not taste wine blind. This means that the wines are not known but the categories are e.g. ultra premium wines are only tasted with other ultra-premium wines. Does this alter the perception, and scores, of the wines tasted I wonder ?

Website : Wine Spectator
Website : 3 Wine Guys

Monday, 16 April 2007

Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure DVD

I started to rewatch my Big Wine Adventure DVD yesterday - started off with the Bordeaux episode. The idea behind the programme is that wine expert, Oz Clarke, travels around France teaching wine illiterate, James May from BBC's Top Gear, about wine. The interaction between James and Oz is entertaining but after a while James becomes irritating and spoils what could be a fabulous show. This episode includes dining at Pichon-Lalande with May Eliane de Lencquesaing and a tasting of Christian Seely's wines at Pichon-Baron. They also visit Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte to take in the grape extract massage and jacuzzi though we could have done without the unecessary shots of Oz and James in G-strings.

The DVD consists of two disks containing 6 episodes, a biography of Oz and James and a behind the scenes documentary covering the making of the DVD.

The DVD is made by Acorn Media UK Ltd and was released in January 2007. There is also an accompanying book published.

Website : Acorn Media UK Ltd
Website : Wikipedia Entry
Website : BBC

TN : Venus Riesling 2006, Pfalz, Qualitaetswein

This wine is imported by Oenoforos and produced and bottled by GP Winery GmbH, Gruenstadt, Germany. It is shipped in a 1 litre sized bottle. The grapes were crushed and cold macerated before fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a temperature of between 14 and 19 degrees.

Aroma : Stone fruits, minerals

Colour : Pale lemon

Taste : lemon, fruity, minerals, slightly off-dry, longish acidic finish

Alcohol : 11.5%

Mark : C-

Website : Oenoforos

Friday, 13 April 2007

Chateau Mouton Rothschild visit 2006

I visited Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, Bordeaux in August 2006. The tour started with a film describing a short history of the chateau. This lasted for about 15 minutes its seemed. We walked through the barrel storage room then the underground cellars where the barrels are eventually moved to. There we saw the Baroness's private cellar. The chateau puts three bottles of each vintage into storage in the cellar; the bottles are never touched so it is basically a museum. I paid 23 Euros for a tasting of barrel samples of 2005 Chateau d'Armailhac, Chateau Clerc Milon and the grands vin Chateau Mouton Rothschild. I took public transport to the chateau from Bordeaux due to the increase in police breathalysing people. It was pretty simple - a direct bus from Bordeaux which stops about a 5 minute walk from the tasting room. There are some small groups of vines around the chai so it's possible to examine what each variety looks like. I purchased a poster with all the labels on it along with a copy of the book "Mouton Rothschild L'Art et L'Etiquette paintings up to 1995". The book contains some extra loose leaf pages for future labels later than 1995. It was produced for the art exhibition in Waddesdon manor in Buckinghamshire, UK held from 31st march until 16 October 1995. The book contains a picture and description of each painting used for the labels and tasting notes for each vintage of the grands vin up to 1993. I also browsed around the superb wine museum which contained artifacts related to wine.

TN : La Grille, The Classic Loire, Chinon, 2005, Baptiste de Theil

This is 100% Cabernet Franc. 3 weeks fermentation and skin maceration at 25 degrees. A small proportion was stored for a short time in oak foudres.

Aroma : Dark dusty fruits

Colour : Dark plum

Taste : Dust tannic finish, red & blackurrant fruits

Alcohol : 14.5%

Mark : B-

Website : Oenoforos

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Grape Growing in The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds has the potential to become a region for grape growing. So says Richard Selley, the man who advised English wine company Denbies where to build.

Richard, who is Professor of Geology and a senior research fellow at Imperial College, London, explained that the Cotswolds are made of limestone. Much of this limestone has got good porosity and permeability, he told the UK Wine Show, adding, ‘Where you’ve got south-facing slopes – in other words, the back slope rather than the escarpment of the Cotswolds – you can grow perfectly good wines there indeed.’

Although a few people are planting in the region, Richard said, ‘It’s not become one of the prime areas, like the Thames Valley and the Weald, because people haven’t got around to it yet.’

Website : UK Wine Show
Website : The Winelands of Britain

TN : Weinberg Riesling Mosel 2006

100% Riesling Qualitaetswein from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Bottled for Enosvezia AB, Stockholm.

Colour : Very pale yellow

Aroma : Spice, honey, fruity

Taste : Slightly sweet chunky seville orange marmelade

Alcohol : 8.5%

Mark : C

Website : Enosvezia AB

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

TN : Azienda Agricola Valle Reale, Vigne Nuove Cerasuolo, Montepulciano d'abruzzo vendemmia 2006 Rose

This had a bright mauve synthetic cork. This Rose wine is made from Montepulciano grapes. The grapes were pressed and the must, including skins, was macerated for 36 hours. The juice was then separated and fermented at 16-18 degrees for 40 days in steel tanks.

The soil is characterized by an important presence of small and medium sized pebbles which enable a quick drainage of meteoritic water. The climate is windy and with important temperature ranges between day and night. These pedo-climatic features are particularly favourable to the attainment of very perfumed rosé wines. The temperature ranges and the constant ventilation are important elements in order to achieve perfumes and acidic freshness, which, in a rosé wine, represent the main structure.

In the vineyard, the training method used is called low-spurred cordon and is characterised by a high density of plants, 6700, per hectare. The average age of the vines is 4-5 years. The low yield per plant, 13 tons per hectare, typical for this trellis system, ensures the attainment of quality, in particular in a mountainous area where the ripening process is slow, lasting almost till the end of autumn.

The harvest was between 10th and 20th of October 2005.

Colour : Bright cherry / strawberry

Aroma : Strawberry, cherry, pear drops

Taste : Red fruits, cherry, dry

Alcohol : 13.4%

Mark : C

Website :

TN : Esprit du Silene, Rose, Coteaux du Languedoc, 2006, Skalli

A blend of Grenache and Syrah which is matured in stainless steel vats. On the label it is written "Legend has it that the Silenus (tutor of Dionysius the Greek god of wine and the Grape) has ever since watched over this wine".

The Silène des Peyrals domain in the appellation Coteaux du Languedoc of southern France owes its name to an ancient clay seal found there, bearing the head of Silenus, Dionysus's old schoolmaster. Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and wine festivities. After over 25 years of experience in the Languedoc vineyards, the Skalli family chose in 2000 to grow an exceptional wine on the domain.

The domain's location is set in a typical Mediterranean scrubland known as "garrigue", it is perched two hundred meters above the Thau lake, overlooking the Herault valley. Exposure to steady breezes brings plenty of light and sun to the grapes. The soil is gravelly, sandstone soil, deep and rich in minerals. The vineyard covers roughly 50 acres and is surrounded by olive trees, umbrella pine and holm oak.

Colour : Pale red

Aroma : Fresh red berries, strawberries

Taste : Clean fresh berries, dry

Alcohol : 12.5%

Mark : C

Website :
Website : Domaine du Silene des Peyrals

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

TN : Riesling Kabinett, 2005, QmP, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Wingut Wwe Dr H Thanisch, Erben Mueller Burggraef, Bernkastel, Germany

Colour : Pale yellow/lemon

Aroma : Honey, green apple

Taste : Honey, pears, lime, spice, spritzy minerally very long finish

Alcohol : 9%

Mark : B

Website :

TN : Jacob's Creek Shiraz Rose Vintage 2006, South Eastern Australia

This wine was sealed with a screwcap.

Colour : Pale Strawberry

Aroma : Sweet strawberries & cream

Taste : Dry, red fruits, faint strawberry, spice

Alcohol : 12.5%

Mark : C+

Website :

Thursday, 5 April 2007

TN : 2005 Bush Vine Grenache, Barossa, Yalumba, Australia

Made from 70-year old gnarled bush vines. Harvested April & May 2005. Aged in older French hogsheads. Label states that this wine can be cellared until 2011.

Aroma : Alcohol, stewed red fruits, cloves

Colour : Bright red/damson

Taste : Spicy berries, long very spicy finish

Alcohol : 14.5%

Mark : C

Website :

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

TN : Rene Barbier, Spanish Rose Wine, Bag-in-Box, 3 Litres

The text on the box states that this was packaged on January 22 2007 so one would hope that this is vintage 2006 and it tastes fresh enough to be. This is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Carinena.

Léon Barbier came to Catalonia over a century ago. As the son of vineyard proprietors in the Avignon region, Barbier applied his knowledge of the French tradition of treating grapes to Catalonia's climate and soil. All the grapes used for the wine are picked by hand during September and October in the D.O. Penedès vineyards. They are transported in small boxes so that the grapes are not damaged. The grapes are destemmed, crushed and transferred to big vats. Sulphur dioxide is added as an antiseptic and antioxidant. Maceration also takes place, but for a short time. The aim is to obtain a fresh and young wine with a pink colour. Yeast is added and the alcoholic fermentation starts. Carbon dioxide and heat are produced and the blend must be kept at a controlled level of 14 to 18ºC.

Colour : Pale red, strawberry, copperish hints

Aroma : Hints of strawberries but not much on the nose

Taste : Clean red fruits, dry

Alcohol : 12%

Mark : C++

Website :

England : An Official Wine Producing Country By 2010

By 2010, England will become an official wine producing nation. This is according to Mike Roberts, owner of Ridgeview Wine Estate and the Chairman of the English Wine Producers. English Wine producers have made a representation to the House of Lords in support of scrapping EU regulations on vine planting as it is restrictions could hamper future growth of the UK wine industry. Currently, people are planting vines like mad in England. Current EU regulations don't apply to countries making less than 3,000,000 bottles but is forecast that by 2010 this limit will be exceeded. Coincidently, the current EU regulations are due to be reviewed during 2010. The no-planting policy is to help countries, such as France, where lots of unwanted cheap wines are produced without a market for them. This is a completely different situation to what is seen in the UK.

Website : Thirty-Fifty News
Website : English Wine Producers

Monday, 2 April 2007

TN : Chateau Moulin de Cassy 2004, Medoc, France

Surface area : 11 hectares
Yield : 55 hectolitres / hectare.
Production : 50 000 bottles
Soil type : Clay and limestone.
Pruning method : Double guyot
Grapes varieties : 50 % cabernet sauvignon - 50 % merlot
Average vine age : 25 years
Vine density : 6500 plants / hectare
Vinification time : 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the vintage
Vinification : Little volumed vats
Ageing : For a minimum of 12 months in oak barrels, including 20% new oak
Bottling : Light filtering before bottling 18 months after the grape harvest
Owners : SCEA Pierre et Olivier COMPAGNET.
Consulting Oenologist : Antoine Medeville

Colour : Light ruby

Aroma : Raspberrys, oak

Taste : Thin, oaky, tannic finish, good plummy fruit at first

Alcohol : 13.5%

Mark : C

Website :