Sunday, August 17, 2014


AOC51 is a newish importer. But to put it bluntly, their wines tend to be pretty awesome. I've previously written about some Graci wines from Etna that they import. But they apparently have lots of other great stuff as well. These wines were opened yesterday at some tasting I wasn't able to participate in, but I was kindly given the remains to try. So do keep in mind that these have had a day of air.

Catherine Bernard Vin de France Rosé de Table 2013
Carignan. At the deep end of salmon pink. Really lovely, fresh, mineral scent, a little bit earthy. Vibrant and nicely acidic though fairly substantial. Very moreish.

Catherine Bernard Vin de Table 2013
A red Carignan. Really nice berry aromas, earthy and savoury but with some lactic, yoghurt aromas, too. Good crunch on the palate, dense and tannic but light on its feet, refreshing and moreish finish. Lovely. So what's the problem with Carignan? Why all the hate? From Treloar's and this, it's a genuinely interesting grape at best.

P-U-R 3 Artiste 2011
100% Mourvèdre. I love Mourvèdre. Alas, this hadn't survived a day of air gracefully and though it was perfectly enjoyable and gluggable it didn't show much character of the grape, it was instead a bit raisiny. I have loved some P-U-R Beaujolais, however, and I hope to try some of their other wines in the future to see if they're as brilliant.

Bernard Baudry Chinon 2011
Amazing stuff for what is supposedly a basic wine. There is nothing basic about this. There's a lovely loamy touch to the fruit here - it's a very savoury and earthy style. It has amazingly pure tannins and purity of fruit, too, so it is just amazing fun. I find a lovely touch of good greenness here, too, and I think it is only a good thing with this grape. Lean, mean and green may seem pejorative to some but with this wine it's just a positive. Awesome wine!

Andréa Calek Babiole 2012
A blend of Grenache and Syrah from Ardèche. It smells very "natural" and very nice. It's a sweetly fruity wine, obviously in the "natural" camp. Good structure and liveliness. This is the good type of naturalism: clean, pure, typical, moreish yet different and interesting.

Andréa Calek Chatons de Garde 2012
A 100% Syrah from Ardèche. Meaty, dark fruit with again wonderful liveliness and structure on the palate. Lovely wine and again it seemed like what naturalism ideally should be: not freaky but wonderfully tasty and just different enough that I can still sense the grape but can see the different approach to wine making, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2012

It's rare to find anything US here so considering my past positive experiences with Ridge, I had to buy one Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2012 to try when it became available. There seems to be something missing in this wine that made those other Ridges so palatable. Or maybe it's more a case of there just being too much here: it's a big wine with 14,5%, it's spicy and not just spice from the grape but seemingly from oak as there are obvious vanilla aromas; it's very sweet, almost jammy, and the finish is slightly hot. There are some positives, too: the fruit seems a little bit more toned down than in most Zins we've seen here and there's adequate structure. At least on day one this is almost there, but doesn't quite make it. I'll edit if tomorrow's portion makes a significant turn for the better. If only we had Geyserville or Lytton Springs I would choose those any day over this.

So why didn't this get to the same level as the other Ridge Zins I've had? Is it that Zinfandel really does need a bit of other grapes (this is 100% Zin, IIRC the other two were mostly Zin but with about 20-25% other grapes)? Some Zinfans have suggested that this is just too young and I'll love it in a couple years. I guess I'll have to buy a couple more and forget them.

Since I tend to be a bit anal about oak, acidity and primary fruit, I think this might not only be palatable but pretty damn good to most other geeks. And I trust Ridge enough that I, too, will put aside a bottle or two to try in a couple years.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Drappier Carte d'Or 1992

Drappier Carte d'Or Champagne Brut 1992
Disgorged July 2013
This was a divisive wine. Some felt it was too old and oxidized already; I thought it was lovely and leesy and with lots of soy sauce aromas. It's quite rich and sweet on the palate (high dosage perhaps?) and relatively low in acidity so it is a rather gentle, mature Champagne. I liked it. But don't bother if you don't like aged wine.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gramona 2007

It's a rare occasion to get thanked materially for a job well done - in addition to getting paid for it, of course. But I finally managed to get a particularly difficult book for a customer, a book she's been asking for for several years. So it was smiles all around: I had the satisfaction of making a customer happy while making a bit of money for the shop and she got a book she's desperately wanted. Great.

Except that 15 minutes after she elatedly leaves the shop she comes back and gives me this bottle. She told me I deserve a bit of extra thanks for managing to get the book to her! I lifted my chin from the floor where it had dropped in a cartoonish fashion and said thanks. Wow! This was a bit much for simply doing my job, but she insisted and I certainly don't mind drinking good fizz so I stuck in the fridge.

Gramona Imperial Cava Gran Reserva 2007
I'm not very familiar with Cava but I thought this one was a rich, yeasty and quite a heavy style of fizz. Good acidity, but the richness is something quite odd: it's almost oily in texture. It certainly wasn't the light, acidic thirst quenching wine I was expecting. But it was a nice refreshing drop in this hot weather. Though perhaps a more classically styled, lighter Cava would have been even better in this infernal heat. But it's good stuff though not a name I was familiar with before.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cosse & Maisonneuve Cahors Le Combal 2009

Cosse & Maisonneuve Cahors Le Combal 2009
Recently a 2008 of this appeared in my glass and I loved it. Bright, pure, not too oaky, tangy and savoury. It was a real wine and real wine from Cahors is difficult to find here in Finland where most Cahors available is oaky and tastes artificially softened.

So when the 2009 became available to order from Alko, I bought a few. This is also a good wine but I must say that at least at this point in evolution it's not as enjoyable as the 2008. The 2009 is moody, broody, dark, with more fruit and more size; but it still has a slightly animal and stinky and tobacco touch to the fruit, it is structured and tannic though not quite as palate-cleansing or as refreshing and moreish as the 2008. But it is a very good wine that finishes dry and savoury despite all that sunny fruit. But unlike the 2008 which I found enjoyable now (though no hurry!) this 2009 absolutely screams for age - at least if, like me, you prefer something else than primary fruit and tartness in your wine. Promising, but hold.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dard & Ribo 2010s

Dard et Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Les Rouges des Bâties 2010

I guess this must be some special vineyard of Crozes since it's vinified separately. It's a lovely wine, too, but dense, deep, relatively ungiving and lacking the bright, pure and transparent tones of the regular C-H. Meaningless mumbo-jumbo aside, this is a really good wine. But somehow it seems heavy and sweet if compared to the regular. The regular may be cheaper, but it also smells of more typical Syrah to me. It's a nice wine that I'll happily drink but just now, at least, if lacks a bit of focus.

Dard et Ribo St.-Joseph Pitrou 2010

This is a big, ripe wine. Now we're back into obviously Syrah territory with its tapenade and pepper aromas. It's still a relatively big wine, fairly tannic and in need of time for the structure to resolve. Though the producer says they make wines for early drinking that doesn't mean that these serious wines must necessarily be drunk now: relatively early drinking in this case might mean that you should drink at age 10 instead of 20. But these gave much pleasure now, so I see no crime in opening them now.

In fact these two were structured enough that I kind of dreaded opening the third wine. Hermitage reds are supposed to be tough and tannic when young and incapable of giving the drinker sensual pleasure.

Dard & Ribo Hermitage Rouge 2010

Well, that was bullshit. Because this wine was amazingly beautiful. More classically Syrah than the previous two with all the typical N. Rhône Syrah aromas of pepper and tapenade and game bird's blood. Structured but vibrantly fruity, concentrated but not tough or harsh at all. Endless. Super stuff. Though dangerously drinkable now, too.

All three were under plastic cork and I hope they weren't. Screwcaps would be better so I'd know I could keep these. Because lovely and open though they are now, I can see them improving.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sionist conspiracies!

Philippe Varone Vins Valéria Dôle de Sion 2012
Gamay+Pinot Noir; c.17€

I haven't seen many Swiss wines, so I thought I'd try this Dôle de Sion. It's a pretty attractive little wine with nice Pinosity. Not terribly high in acidity or structure, but very gluggable. But the Illuminati conspires to make Swiss wines always a bit expensive for what they deliver. Were this 5€ cheaper I'd probably buy it regularly.