Thursday, 31 May 2007

TN : Susana Balbo, Malbec, 2005, Dominio del Plata, Mendoza, Argentina

This wine is 100% Malbec, grown at 1000 metres in the high desert district of Angrelo in Mendoza. It has spent 13 months in 80% new French oak and 20% second year American oak. It was bottles unfined and unfiltered. This wine is imported into Sweden by Wicked Wine thought there is no information about this wine on their website !.

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : Herbs, red berries

Taste : Red and dark berries, herbs, slight oak, slight vinegar notes, thin, astringent and drying tanins

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 139 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Dominio del Plata
Website : Wicked Wine

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

TN : Pinot Gris, 2006, Reserve, BestHeim, Alsace, France

This wine was sealed with a synthetic cork and was imported by Giertz Vinimport AB. All the grapes were handpicked.

Colour : Yellow/straw

Aroma : Spicy, mango, pineapple

Taste : Spice, dry, tropical fruits, ginger

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 49 SEK for 375ml bottle

Mark : C

Website : Bestheim
Website : Giertz Vinimport

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

TN : Le Coq Rouge, 2002, Vin de pays d'oc, Sacha Lichine, France

This wine was bottled by Sacha Lichine Vin Sans Frontieres.

Colour : Brown stewed fruits

Aroma : Earthy raspberry

Taste : Earthy finish, non existant tanins, red fruits

Alcohol : 12.5 %

Mark : C+

Price : 77 SEK

Website : Sacha Lichine

TN : Simi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 2004, USA

This wine is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 1% each of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Sirah, and Petit Verdot. It spent 13 months is French and American oak. One third of the French oak was new and nine percent of the American oak was new. Total acidity is 6.1 grammes per litre. The Ph is 3.69. The wine was releases in January 2007.

Simi winery was founded in 1876 by the Italian brothers Giuseppe and Pietro Simi.

The winemaker was Steve Reeder.

Colour : Dark Blackcurrant, blueish tones

Aroma : oak, blackcurrants

Taste : smooth, dark berries, slight coffee, oaky finish

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 199 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Simi Winery

Monday, 28 May 2007

VinUnic June 2007

VinUnic have their June 2007 newsletter available for download.

The Vergelegen 2005 Mill Race looks to be a bargain at 99 SEK.

Website : Våra Viner June 2007

Friday, 25 May 2007

Lay & Wheeler Great Burgundy Offer

Recently, I received a catalogue from Lay & Wheeler in the UK outlining their Burgundy offer. Basically they have over 200 wines from 12 vintages for sale, some with large discounts. All the wines are in bond and so can be bought and kept at Lay & Wheeler storage facilities for investment purposes and sold on later without having to pay any duty or VAT. The catalogue contains maps and descriptions of all the major areas of Burgundy and descriptions of the associated wines. The 1994 Domaine Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru looked nice and the "on offer" price is 1440 pounds a case. The offer closes on the 30th June. Now how would I get this imported into Sweden ?.

Website : Great Burgundy Offer

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Dr Loosen and Vinunic

Christian Havervall of Vinunic told me that they have taken over as the importer, from Modern Wines, of Dr Loosen into Sweden and that they will be distributing the wines from next week. This only reenforces my opinion that Vinuc have the best portfolio of any importer in Sweden. He said that as they work with Chateau St Michelle that Vinunic also hopes to start importing Eroica Riesling into Sweden and that he hopes that Systembolaget will make a small purchase of Eroica to launch near the end of this year. He also hopes that Eroica should be available in restaurants.

Website : Vinunic

VDP Grosser Ring, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Riesling Tasting, 23 May 2007, Stockholm, Sweden

Last evening saw me visiting the Grosser Ring 2007 Riesling tasting held a the Swedish-German Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm. The vintage that was the focus was 2006. This was the second time that the Grosser Ring had exhibited in Sweden.

The Grosser Ring is an association of 29 wine producers dedicated to producing high quality Riesling and storing each parcel in separate fuder (1000 litre) barrels. It was founded in 1908 which is 99 years ago !. 20 members were present in Stockholm yesterday.

I got to talk to Ernst Loosen who was there representing his wines and he told me some interesting snippets of information which I will repeat here. Global warming isn't really affecting him. It is now very difficult to find people to work in the vineyards. Nobody wants to be known as a vineyard manager for instance (it is just not that socially acceptable). It is no problem to get a winemaker; everybody wants to be the star. Dr. Loosen usually get workers from Poland, for instance, to help with the harvets but Germany's employment laws are making this more and more difficult. The Eroica Riesling, from Washington state, will be available in Sweden this year. Ernst's first Oregon Pinot Noir will be bottled this year. Ernst flies over to the USA once a month to vist Oregon and Chateau St Michelle in Washington State. Ernst is now stating to put is "low-end" wines under screwcap; both the 2006 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett and 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spaetlese were under screwcap. Ernst said that Brian Croser had shown him some 30 year-old Australian Rieslings that were bottled with screwcaps and were showing just fine. I found the 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spaetlese to be better, to my taste, than the 2005; it had a more acidic finish, thus wasn't so cloying, and more delicate, not so rich. Ernst said that we just drink his wines young, the first two or three years, or older, after 10, if stored under perfect conditions though he claimed that wine cellars, particularly in the USA were too warm which meant that one could drink his wines after 5 or 6 years. He mentioned that he had a 1959 that was stored at friends under ground, very cold, and at 100% humidity that was as fresh as when it was bottled. Dr Loosen is only bottling Rieslings but at J L Wolf, which is run as completely separate business with a different team, they have all three Pinots and a Gewurztraminer.

The highlights for me were Dr. Loosen, Fritz Haag, and St Urbans-Hof. Wines that I didn't really enjoy were the feinherb style (I find the herbiness clashes with the sweetness) and the very high minerality that was found in some wines (especially those on show from Dr. H. Thanisch).

According the organisers, the Grosser Ring tasting will be back in Stockholm in May next year.

Website : Grosser Ring Tasting Programme
Website : Grosser Ring

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

TN : Canaletto, Nero d'Avola Merlot 2005, Winemaker's selection, IGT, Casa Girelli, Sicilia, Italy

This is a blend of Nero d'Avola and Merlot. The grapes come from southern Sicily between the towns of Gela and Vittoria. The vineyards are close to the sea and the soil is sandy and rich in minerals. The vines are trained using the Alberello Basso method. Yield is about 60 hl per hectare. All the grapes are handharvested in September. Each grape variety is vinified separately. In both cases grapes are de-stemmed, but not crushed, allowing some to remain intact, and selected yeasts (different yeast strains are used for each grape variety) are added. Maceration lasts approximately 10 days for the Nero d'Avola and 18-20 days for the Merlot. The must is fermented at 28-30°C, with remontage occurring at the beginning and "delestage" from 5% alcohol until fermentation is complete. Malolactic fermentation occurs in both wines immediately after primary fermentation, after which the two wines are blended together.

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : Spicy, dark fruits

Taste : Spicy, red fruits, plums

Alcohol : 13%

Price : 62 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Casa Girelli

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

TN : Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spaetlese 2005, Dr Loosen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany

Wehlener Sonnenuhr (VAY-len-er ZON-en-ooer) means "The sundial of Wehlen". Wehlener Sonnenuhr is a precipitously steep and rocky vineyard. There is virtually no topsoil in Wehlen, only broken and weathered shards of the purest blue slate in the Mosel valley.

The wine is made by Dr Loosen and imported by Modern Wines Sweden.

Colour : Lemon

Aroma : Lime marmelade

Taste : Lemon, stone fruits, turkish delight overtones, minerals, long cloying finish, lacking acidity

Alcohol : 7.5%

Price : 184 SEK

Mark : B

Website : Dr Loosen
Website : Modern Wines Sweden

Wine Labelling US-Style

I was reading the March 2007 issue of Wines & Vines and came across an article discussing the contents of wines labeled as "American". Apparently, they can contain 25% of wine from other countries !. Vintage dated wines are also a bit "suspect". They can contain 15% of other vintages for wines with county and state AVAs !.

Source : The Un-American Appellation, page 8, Wines & Vines, March 2007
Website : Wines & Vines

Monday, 21 May 2007

Systembolaget Varunytt June 2006

The June 2006 edition of Varunytt detaling the new wines which will be available is now downloadable. The wines will be available in the Systembolaget monopoly shops from Friday June 1st.

Website : Varunytt June 2006

TN : Palazzo Simoncelli Sangiovese Merlot 2005, IGT, Umbria, Italy

This wine was bottled by Barone Montalto for Oenoforos AB Sweden. It has spent 6 months in French and American oak.

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : Oak, spice, dark fruits

Taste : Fruity, dark and red fruits, oak and spicy finish

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 69 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Oenoforos AB
Website : Barone Montalto

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

TN : Brennfleck Iphoefer Kronsberg Silvaner, Kabinett Trocken, 2005, WG Brennfleck, Franken, Germany

This wine is imported by Occasion Wine AB.

Colour : Pale yellow, lemon

Aroma : Grapes, pear, tropical fruits

Taste : Apple, pear, lemon, almond

Alcohol : 12.5%

Price : 91 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Occasion Wine AB
Website : Weingut Brennfleck

Monday, 14 May 2007

TN : Les Perruches, 2005, Domaine de la Cotelleraie, St Nicolas de Bourgueil, France

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. It is imported by Granqvist Vinagentur.

Colour :
Dark deep blackcurrant

Aroma : Cedar wood, blackcurrant, blackberry

Taste : Cedar wood, blackcurrant, blackberry, raspberry, drying tannins on finish

Alcohol : 13.5%

Price : 115 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Granqvist Vinagentur

TN : Chateau d'Aqueria. Rose, 2006, Tavel, France

Tavel is situated in the southern end of the Côtes-du-Rhône across the river from and roughly five miles west of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Its name is thought to be derived either from the word "taveau," meaning "ridge," or from the River Tave, a tributary of the Rhône. The Romans first introduced the vine to this very old viticultural area by way of the Rhône River, from where it gradually spread northward. Grape seeds dating from approximately 200 AD indicate some sort of pressing operation, suggesting that wine was produced in the area in that period. Tavel later claims a mention in history in a 13th century reference to King Philippe le Bel, who on a journey through his territories passed through Tavel. Without dismounting his horse, he downed a goblet of the local wine and exclaimed, "There is no good wine but that of Tavel!" Various brief historical references are made to Tavel thereafter, and the notoriety of the wine was doubtless spread as a result of the relocation of the papal seat to Avignon in the 14th century.

While it is clear that the wines of Tavel were over time increasingly widely consumed, it is likely that they were frequently blended and shipped northward with other wines of the region. Documentation prior to and during this period citing wines named for villages a few miles distant supports the conclusion that the wines of Tavel were for some time confused with those of surrounding villages and specifically with wines produced around the river port of Roquemaure from which they were shipped, a point which from the 17th to 19th centuries was an important port of embarkation to Lyons, Paris, Great Britain and Holland. Tavel's recognition as a wine from a specific area only became established in the first quarter of the 1800s.

The Tavel appellation covers 2,000 acres defined by law in 1936, of which a tiny part lies in the adjoining commune of Roquemaure to the east. The distinguishing feature of the area's soils is that, in contrast to the red, stony soils on the left river bank, Tavel's soils are characterized by hillocks of sand over a chalky clay subsoil, very well-drained, arid and without limestone content. The long growing season and intense, sunny summers yield fruit of extraordinary ripeness, concentration and richness in sugar.

The Tavel appellation designates rosé wines only, which are produced from a blend of red and white grape varieties in varying proportions. In 1968 the percentages of permitted varieties were modified to allow at most sixty percent Grenache and at least fifteen percent Cinsault with Syrah, Bourboulenc, Mourvèdre, Clairette, and Picpoult in various proportions at the producer's discretion. Syrah and Mourvèdre had not previously been included among the permitted varieties.

In 1595, the monks of the Abbey of Villeneuve-les-Avignon transferred a large portion of their landholding northeast of Avignon, on the right bank of the Rhône River, to a citizen and aristocrat of Avignon, Louis Joseph d'Aquéria. This district, known as the "puy sablonnier," or "sandy hill," covered the east-central quarter of what was then and is now Tavel. Aquéria planted vines there and built a residence at the beginning of the 1600s, and the area became known by his name. Over the next two centuries the vineyard remained productive, but was sold and subdivided many times; at the beginning of the 18th century the present château was constructed. Sometime in the vicinity of 1830 the wines from the vineyard of Aquéria became recognized in their own right and under their own name.

Jean Olivier purchased Château d'Aquéria in 1920 and began to reassemble the original vineyard parcels surrounding the château. It is one of 45 estates in the appellation, but one of only four properties in Tavel which is a domaine in the sense that its vineyards are contiguous as opposed to lying on holdings scattered throughout the appellation. It is also the largest of the four, covering 244 acres of which 161 are planted in vines. Of these, 120 acres are under production in Tavel and the balance under production in red and white Lirac. Production in Tavel averages 24,500 cases annually, with that in Lirac Rouge and Blanc at 4,500 and 1,000 cases, respectively. Château d'Aquéria is now owned by the son of Jean Olivier, Paul de Bez, and his sons Vincent and Bruno, who over the end of the 1980s renovated the vinification facilities and cellars with the addition of stainless steel fermentation tanks and exact temperature control over wines in storage.

Colour : Strawberry

Aroma : Black Cherry, raspberry

Taste : Dry, fruity, hot finish, slightly herby

Alcohol : 13.5 %

Price : 125 SEK

Mark : C+

Website : Chateau d'Aqueria

TN : Achaval-Ferrer, Malbec, 2005, Mendoza, Argentina

The grapes came from Vistalba, Medrano and the Uco Valley. It spent 10 months in 95% French oak and 5% American oak. Achaval-Ferrer was founded in 1998 by Santiago Achaval and Manuel Ferrer. The winemaker was Robert Cipresso. This was imported by Divine AB.

Colour : Plum, blueberry soup

Aroma : Blueberry, plum, oak, violets

Taste : Fruity, blueberry, plum, oak, slight vinegar note on a lean finish

Alcohol : 13.5 %

Price : 174 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Divine AB
Website : Achaval-Ferrer

Friday, 11 May 2007

Wine Growing in Sweden : Skåne

Will Skåne be the next big wine growing region in Europe ?. See these two articles, published in Expressen in Helsinborg, for more detailed information :

Website :
Website :

Thursday, 10 May 2007

TN : 2004 Reichestal Pinot Noir, WG Franz Kuenstkler, Rheingau, Germany

Reichestal means "rich valley". The soil consists of loess and heavy water storing clay. The wine is imported by AB Nigab.

Colour : Pale red

Aroma : Stewed fruits, violets, oak

Taste : Stewed mouthwatering unsweetened strawberries, herby, spicy, hot, slight burnt rubber like finish which spoilt the wine

Alcohol : 14%

Price : 169 SEK

Mark : C-

Website : Weingut Kuenstler
Website : AB Nigab

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

TN : Villa Wolf, Pinot Noir, 2005, Pfalz, Germany

This wine is made by Ernst Loosen, who took over the estate in 1996, and was fermented and matured in old French oak. 5% of the total J L Wolf estate is pinot noir. This wine is imported by Modern Wines Sweden; however, there is no information about this wine on their outdated site !!.

Colour : Pale raspberry

Aroma : Mostly violets, some red berry fruits

Taste : Violets, slight oak, stewed fruits, lingering violet finish

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : C

Website : J L Wolf
Website : Modern Wines Sweden

Monday, 7 May 2007

TN : Rietburg Creation, Grauer Burgunder Trocken 2006, CWG Rietburg, Pfalz, Germany

Imported by Granqvist Vinagentur

Colour : Very pale yellow

Aroma : Honey, grapey, melon, almond

Taste : acidic green apple, citrus like and almond finish

Alcohol : 12.5%

Mark :

Website : Granqvist Vinagentur
Website : Moselland

Friday, 4 May 2007

TN : Chakana 2006 Malbec Rose, Mendoza, Argentina

This is the best rose I have ever had except for the very full flavoured Fetzer vineyards Valley Oaks Syrah Rose which is, of course, not available by the bottle in Sweden thanks the people-controlling, anti consumer freedom, attitude of the goverment. It is imported by Primewine Sweden AB. Unfortunately, there is hardly any information about this wine on the Primewine website and it is not even present on the Chakana wines website. However, I include the links in the hope that these websites get updated.

Colour : very deep colour for a rose wine. Canned cherries

Aroma : Summer fruit pudding

Taste : Clean, summer fruits

Alcohol : 13%

Mark : B+

Website : Primewine Sweden AB
Website : Chakana Wines

Thursday, 3 May 2007

TN : Valiano Toscana IGT 2005

This was a smooth easy "glugger". It is a blend of 60% sangiovese, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot. The wine was vinified in stainless steel tanks for 15 days and then spent 3 monthd in 500 litre oak barrels It is imported by Fondberg.

Colour : Dark plum

Aroma : oak, cherries

Taste : soft tannins, slight almos non-existant oak, slight cassis, plum, cherry

Alcohol : 13.5%

Mark : C

Website : Fondberg

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

New Glasses

I just traded in my old Schott-Zwiesel Vina Bordeaux glasses to the Diva range. Both are made with Tritan crystal glass which makes them a bit stronger. The Divas are quite a bit bigger, can hold up to 770 ml, and will only fit on one of the shelves in our kitchen cupboard at home. But to make up for this only drawback, the aromas are much more concentrated with these new glasses and I would recommend them as they are not that expensive.

Website : Schott Zwiesel

Champagne Charlie DVD

I just finished watching "Champagne Charlie" yesterday. It is a 2 DVD set and stars Hugh Grant who isn't too bad in the role. It is the story of Charles Heidseck who travels to America to promote his champagne and ends up spying for the French prior to the American civil war. In the end he regains control of his vineyards and winery from his uncle who is jealous because his mother didn't marry him.