Monday, May 25, 2015

Coming Up for Air

Another quiet night with the Ally Pally Helly couple still meant plenty of vinous noise.  The conversation was mellow but the wine and food tastes were a little more out there.  It’s the perfect was to spend an evening, with humour, civility and plenty of interesting things covered.

The final red produced was the 1990 Robert Sirugue Vosne Romanee, a bottle with a bit of bottle age.  This was obtained on a trip 20+ years ago.  A label we don’t see here, but a bit of digging shows a 11 ha domaine and Jayer family ties.  A wine of good provenance.  And it was a wine that needed the time both since bottling, and after being poured in the glass.  Still dark with black-red and garnet hues, this was fulsome and voluminous on nose and weighty and rich on the palate.  A bigger wine for Vosne Romanee, especially for village level and for a wine with a quarter of a century under its belt.  It must have been a big, structured and grunty wine in its time.  Now into its secondary and tertiary phase with savoury, earthy and dried herb flavours, and that seasoned oak resinous, not quite dank expression.  But holding it all together was lovely rich and sweet fruit.  The tannins and acid all in magical balance, and as it saw more air, it cleaned up, become more harmonious.  The more we looked at what it was like when young, the more we were pleased to be drinking it now.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Black Blue Green Red

We met up with the Ally Pally Helly couple for a weekend away.  They arrived first, and upon our arrival, the starters and white wine were ready and waiting.  Such service!  After a good catch up, we headed off to one of our favourite eateries for some carbohydrate, before heading back for another vino to accompany some laughs and to see off the night.
It was our turn to provide, and it was a 2010 Prieler ‘Leithaberg’ Burgenland Blaufrankisch.  This isn’t quite the top wine for Prieler from the Burgenland in Austria, but the fruit is from the ‘Goldberg’ site which is schist and limestone, and the wine sees 20 months in wood.  Black red in colour, the wine is a fruit-focussed one without the earthy dusty ‘Old World’ feel, and very modern in expression.  It is said Blaufrankisch is the Cabernet Sauvignon of Austria, and that’s maybe where SWMBO and I could see green curranty flavours, this not being unripe in any way though.  Clean and green, and supple and sweet, fruity and only a suggestion of savoury, funky interest, this was a delish Blue Frank red.  A rainbow!   

Monday, May 11, 2015

Different Vinous Beasts

In little New Zealand, we see very few wines from North America.  Yet there is a strong tie between this country and the state of Oregon in the north-west, particularly when it comes to Pinot Noir.  Many critics would say outside Burgundy, New Zealand and Oregon make the best Pinot Noirs.  And there is considerable cross-pollination of ideas and approaches, with winemaker exchanges and the never-ending Pinot Noir conferences and celebrations.  One conclusion in comparing the wines is that the Oregonian wines are ripe and more structured, whereas the Kiwi wines are fruitier and more aromatic.  Essentially different vinous beasts, though related.

A chance to look at the other animals came in the form of the 2014 Elk Cove Willamette Valley Pinot Gris and 2012 Elk Cove Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  These two varieties are the most important in the region.  The Pinot Gris very light in colour and fruit expression, and more stonefruity with a suggestion of nuts and minerals, rather than floral, honied and unctuous.  So we’d see it as a Pinot Grigio style, but with more richness.  Onto the Pinot Noir, and certainly noy as varietally clean and pure, but with a savoury herbal nose and flavour.  More importantly was the structure, with grainier if not a suggestion of more blocky tannins.  But the balance works, with grip and fruit depth in good measure.   

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Red Wine Triangles and Squares

It’s always fun bringing out and opening something a bit different for visitors to taste and drink.  Most of us have our preferences and favourites, despite trying to keep an open mind.  It’s a pleasant surprise when a new and seldom seen wine hits the spot, as it did with the Folder and the Spoker, then the Pinger.  SWMBO and I had tasted this before, but only in passing at a tasting.

In its homeland of the Burgenland of Austria, the Blaufrankisch is the Cabernet Sauvignon equivalent with its dark colour, black fruit, drive and structure, but a more thoughtful insight that it sits in the middle of the triangle formed by Syrah from the Rhone with its spice, Nebbiolo from Piedmont with its tannin structure and Pinot Noir from Burgundy with its smooth and silken textures.  We see it that way too.

The 2011 Moric ‘Reserve’ Burgenland Blaufrankisch is certainly a big wine.  The black-red colour lets you know something significant is on its way.  Then the nose, intriguing and different, yes, unique.  Black fruits, with ripeness and sweetness, and also a savoury meaty and game hint.  No brettanomyces here though, but if anything a mineral aspect.  With breathing, love aromatic fruit emerges, blackberries and florals.  Wow, this just gets better.  Same on palate with the flavour expression, with black herbs in the mix; the wine is a big one, but not overly so.  There’s structure and extract, but all in balance.  Maybe it should have been a square rather than a triangle with Cabernet Sauvignon at one of the corners?