lørdag 18. april 2015


Vinmøte Knut 27.2.15:

Barbaresco Vanatu 1999, Pelissero
Blekkaktig, kald og kjølig. Sigar, eik og moden. Nord-Italia ? Endel, eik, relativt moderne stil og floral tone etterhvert i glasset. Bør drikkes, kommer til å tørke ut. 90-91 poeng.

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan, France label

Domaine de Chevalier 1999, Pessac-Leognan
Sellerirot, klassisk Bordeaux. Snill i munnen og drikker pent nå. Litt flat og kjedelig som Domaine de Chevalier ofte er. 91 poeng.

Knut serverte den samme vinen på sitt vinmøte 24.11.11; Myk bordeaux, bløte tanniner. Rik og spenstig og ypper seg godt mot presumtivt bedre årganger. Deilig fragrant duft. Yngst og best ! 91 poeng

Domaine de Chevalier hides in a pine forest at the western edge of the region known since 1987 as Pessac-Léognan, the more northerly vineyards of Graves. This region is the frontline for the battle of vineyards against the suburbs of Bordeaux. At the northernmost point the two sit uncomfortably together, with the illustrious Chateau Haut-Brion and its counterparts - Laville-, La Mission- and Latour-Haut Brion - encircled by suburban streets. To the west, Chateau Pape-Clément has just a little more breathing space. Further south, past Chambery and Villenave d'Ornon, the majority of the chateaux and vineyards are to be found. Tucked away in the south-western corner, shielded by trees (which can make the property very difficult to locate when visiting) is Domaine de Chevalier.

Although many chateaux in the southern Médoc and Graves have centuries of history, this property dates only from the 18th century, and viticulture only significantly developed at Domaine de Chevalier during the 19th century, although the very first vines were planted long before that. As Bordeaux expanded and the Médoc was drained, opening up the gravelly terroirs of the left bank, one entrepreneur looked south instead of north to establish his vineyard. The man who planted vines on gravelly soils in amongst the trees was named Chibaley, and his venture was successful. His estate was not grand it seems, with small houses and outbuildings the most significant structures (although it is marked on the 1763 map of the region drawn up by Pierre de Belleyme) and he produced up to 15 tonneaux (1 tonneau is 900 litres) of wine per annum. Nevertheless, despite this apparent success things did not continue smoothly; by the early 19th century the land, which now appeared as Chevalier on the maps, fell into disuse, and the pine trees began to reclaim the vineyard.

Several decades passed before the land was to see serious viticulture again, and this came about as the estate was acquired by the Ricard family, successful barrel manufacturers from Léognan. Arnaud Ricard had purchased Malartic-Lagravière in 1850, and she was then looking to expand the family estate even further. They acquired the Chevalier land in 1865, when it was used mainly for agriculture and raising livestock, and the vines were of little importance. It was Jean Ricard that first extended the small vineyard, but it was his son-in-law Gabriel Beaumartin, who took control after Ricard's death in 1900, that began to build up the reputation of the wine with the help of Marcel Doutreloux as manager. The property remained with the Ricard family until 1983, eventually under the guidance of Claude Ricard who had taken control in 1948, and who saw Domaine de Chevalier produce some of its greatest wines - both red and white - during the mid-20th century. Domaine de Chevalier then passed, sadly due to disagreements within the Ricard family consequent upon the Napoleonic laws of inheritance, to Olivier Bernard, who at the time was best known as the owner of a distilling company. Although he did not bring great expertise concerning viticulture this was compensated for by Claude Ricard, who stayed on for many years as advisor, and whose children continue to work at the estate today.

The soil at Domaine de Chevalier is gravelly, as would be expected, with a depth of up to a metre in places, also with some dark sand, over a sandstone bedrock. This is nutritionally destitute soil, well drained, and therefore eminently suitable for the vine. Of 80 hectares there are currently 38 hectares planted up (of which 5 hectares are white varieties), the vines having an average age of 25 years, planted at a density of 10000 vines/ha on the usual rootstocks for Bordeaux, 101-14, 3309 and Riparia, and they are trained using the traditional Double Guyot method. The estate produces both red and white wines, as per the 1959 Graves classification. The white varieties are 30% Semillon and 70% Sauvignon Blanc; the red varieties are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, the balance being 2.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot. There is careful sorting during the harvest, with the white varieties picked by hand during several tries, both white and red go into small baskets, and the red is then sorted again on the table in the winery. Here the vinification is undertaken with advice from oenologist Denis Dubourdieu. The white grapes are pressed and are then fermented in oak barrels after the wine has settled. The reds undergo temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats of varying sizes followed by a cool maceration, limited to 30°C to 32°C, for up to three weeks to extract colour and tannin. The press wine may be blended back into the red, depending on the vintage, sometimes in considerable quantity. Both red and white wines see a period of time in oak, typically eighteen months, with 30% new barrels for the white with bâtonnage to mobilise the lees, 50% new oak for the red. Fining is egg white for the red, bentonite for the white, followed by a light filtration. The grand vin goes under the name of Domaine de Chevalier, whether it be white or red; the former is regarded by many as the greater of the two wines, and has a relatively small production of just 1200 cases. Meanwhile, there are 7000 cases of the red, as well as red and white second wines, 5800 and 800 cases respectively, both called L'Espirit de Chevalier.

During the Bernard era Domaine de Chevalier has either gone downhill to produce light and charmless wines, or has continued to produce classic wines of breed, balance and elegance, depending on which critic you follow. Opinions have differed, noticeably. Having tasted a few vintages I feel the latter more correctly describes the wines; these are structured, classically styled wines which need cellar time and do not necessarily flatter with plump fruit early on in their development. In fact, in very recent vintages they seem all the more superb, and whereas there are many estates that tend to be stronger on either the red or the white wine, at Domaine de Chevalier both can be excellent. Recent vintages such as 2006 show the fabulous appeal that the white can offer, but there have been many other vintages of note, for the red as well. My opinion is that this is undoubtedly a wine to buy with confidence.

Lucien et Andre Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux, Rhone, France

Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cailloux 1999, Brunel
Sursøt, brett, rosin og botrytis. Varmeskadet og kokt. Ikke vurdert.

Chateauneuf de Beaucastel 1999, Chateau Neuf du Pape
Solmoden, rosin, varm, odde vin & portvin. En rik vin med en tørr avslutning. Mye struktur, jern og veldig typisk Beaucastel. Skosåle, mørk, men med bra syrefriskhet. 90 poeng.

Hermitage La Sizeranne 1999, Chapoutier
Frisk, grønn og korrekt tørr munnfølelse. Nord-rhonsk blod, stram, men samtidig moden og et bra tidspunkt å drikke vinen. Men det er den tørre klassiske stilen som holder den oppe. Beste Sizeranne smakt ? Og vi har drukket endel av denne i klubben..... 92 poeng.

Chateau Cos d`Estournel 1999, St. Estephe
Fantastisk nese som alltid med Cos. Tørrer ut i munnen. Solmoden frukt og en vellykket Cos for årgangen. 91 poeng.


Vinmøte Knut 27.2.2015:

Brunello di Montalcino 2004, Fonterenza
Enkel rødbærsfrukt, floral, medium mørk, ren & pen frukt. Mangler litt stuffing og trøkk. Dyp pen sangiovesetypisk. Klassisk 2004 stil fra en god produsent. 90-92 poeng.

Barolo Vigna Rionda 2004, Roagna
Fruktig og dyp med overraskende my eik i nese og munn. Jordbær, elegant og genuin. Kirsebærstein og Are var rask på Serralunga.  Tøff struktur og vinen kan fortsatt lagres. 92 poeng.

Valpolicella 2004, Quintarelli
Varm amarone i munnen men bra kompenserende friskhet. Solbær, urter og kaffe. Men den tørkede druesmaken drar ned. 88-90 poeng.

Taurasi Radici 2001, Mastroberardino
Tørker ut i munnen, hul og tørr munnfølelse. Krevende vin. Sigar, uharmonisk og aromatisk. Nerello Mascalese ? Men vinen tror jeg er kjørt evnt. er det en dårlig flaske. 87 poeng.

søndag 15. mars 2015

Bra chardonnay fra Felton Road !

Vinmøte Knut 27. februar 2015

Chassagne Montrachet 2009, Domaine Ramonet

Kork med toner av spearmint. Blir ikke bedre i glasset. NR

Puligny Montrachet Clavoillon 2008, Domaine Leflaive

I starten litt stum på nese, etterhvert mere aprikos og eksotisk gul frukt. Minty, overraskend svak syre, eik og en aning tropisk. Tom frukt, vanskelig vin å ta blindt. Flat frukt, dadler og mangler endel spenst, lukket, uenighet mht. kvalitet. 88-93 poeng.


Chablis 1cru Cotè de Lechet 2002, Danielle-Etienne Defaix

Stum på nese, mineralsk og syresvak. Karve, aprikos, moden og vinen blir bedre i glasset. Solbærbusk, men den er sliten nå og bør drikkes. En anbefaling fra Vika i sin tid. 80-83 poeng.

Chardonnay Elms 2011, Felton Road 

Blank, transparent farge, svovel, grønn med endel eik. Jon var klar på at dette ikke var hvit burgund. Bra mineralitet, tett og intens, stein og grus, tanniner i munnen. Vanskelig å vurdere. Noeb var i Chablis andre i Pucelles. Jeg likte nok denne bedre enn de andre. 87-93 poeng.

Fra wineanorak:

Felton Road is one of the legendary names in New Zealand wine. They’re probably the most famous of the Central Otago wineries, making some highly regarded Pinot Noirs. I visited for the first time back in 2010, and it proved an appropriate starting point for my first experience of the region. I was hosted then by assistant winemaker Todd Stevens (now winemaker at Neudorf), as chief winemaker Blair Walter (who has been at Felton Road since the 1997 vintage) was away on a Pinot Noir boot camp. 

The winery and The Elms vineyard

My second visit was three years later, in January 2013, and this time I was taken around by owner Nigel Greening and Blair Walter. '

Nigel Greening

Some history. Felton Road dates back to 1991, when Stewart Elms planted the Elms Vineyard on Felton Road, in the Bannockburn district of Central Otago. Current owner Nigel Greening first purchased Cornish Point Vineyard in 1998 (an 8.6 hectare block), and then in 2000 purchased Felton Road with the Elms Vineyard, which now has 14.6 hectares of vines.  

The entire estate is now run biodynamically, although currently the wines aren’t certified biodynamic, just organic (there was a problem with the certification process). The heart of the range consists of a series of five world-class Pinot Noirs: Cornish Point, Block 3, Block 5, Calvert (a leased 10 hectare neighbouring vineyard whose fruit has until recently been shared with Craggy Range and Pyramid Valley Vineyards) and the regular Bannockburn Pinot Noir. They’re all worth seeking out, and show their subtle differences in site very well. In addition, three superb Rieslings and a couple of solid Chardonnays make up this exciting range.
Cornish Point Vineyard

I began my first visit with a look at Cornish Point vineyard, which is beautifully situated just across the water from the town of Cromwell. It’s a spit of land sticking out into Lake Dunstan, and its 8.6 hectares are split into 25 different blocks, with 18 combinations of rootstocks and clones of Pinot Noir. Cornish Point Pinot Noir was released under its own label from 2003–2006, but from 2007 this has been a single-vineyard Felton Road wine. ‘There’s a generosity to Cornish Point,’ says Todd. ‘It’s an important vineyard, making a generous, attractive wine.’ The fruit that doesn’t go into the single-vineyard bottling goes into the regular Felton Road Pinot Noir, for which it is an important component.
Calvert (and below)

Next we headed over to Calvert, a gently sloping, north facing vineyard first planted in 1999, with two more planting phases in 2001 and 2003. The soils are deep silt loams, with moderately high fertility. The vineyard is quite consistent, and because it is a bit lower down than the Elms, it ripens sooner. Interestingly, the fruit from this leased vineyard, managed by the Felton Road team, has for a number of years been split three ways, with Calvert wines also being made by Craggy Range and Pyramid Valley Vineyards. The three different wines that result are an interesting case study in how three excellent wineries each imprint their own stylistic influences on grapes from the same site. Does the terroir come through in the wines, or is winemaking the overriding influence? In the future, however, the impact of a divorce on the owner means that half of the vineyard was put up for sale, and Felton snapped it up, taking the three Pinot Noir blocks Willows, Aurum and Springs. This means that the three-way split will cease.
Finally, we had a look at the Elms vineyard, which is the home block of Felton Road, surrounding the winery building. It was planted over two phases (blocks 1–9 1992–1994 and 10–13 in 2001). There are currently 8.1 ha of Pinot Noir, 4.1 ha of Chardonnay and 2.2 ha of Riesling, all matched to the specific soil types that best suit each variety.
Felton recently acquired a new site, MacMuir, which is next to Calvert and which they planted in 2013 with Pinot Noir. It’s another 5.8 hectares, bringing the total vine area they own to around 32 hectares in total. ‘That’s all we want,’ says Nigel. ‘We have no intention of growing beyond this.’

Blair Walter

So, to my second visit. When Nigel Greening collected me from Queenstown airport, I was probably not in the best condition, after 22 hours to Auckland, followed by a frantic sprint with bags to the domestic terminal to try to make my tight connection.
So what has changed of late at Felton?
‘One of the things we have been really keen to do in the last few years has been to step back as far as we can from all forms of winemaking decision,’ says Nigel.
‘At any point where a winemaker has to make a decision, we ask ourselves whether it is possible to complete that step without having to intervene, because by definition all interventions are a human distortion in the process.’
‘You have to have a “recipe” – a winemaking process – but we run an identical process for all the wines. The only thing that changes is small changes in length of élevage for a couple of the large cuvées. And if we saw a significant change in fruit character due to vintage, it might provoke a slight change in our stem percentage. But that is the degree of the tone control that we allow ourselves.’

‘All the wines are essentially coming in between 25 and 30% whole bunch. The whole bunches go into the bottom of a fermenter and then it is topped up with whole berries. There is a 5–10 day cold soak before a spontaneous wild ferment. If we are not getting a ferment kicking off we will warm it slightly. Generally, they will do it themselves. We haven’t opened a packet of yeast for eight years.’
Felton Road are taking part in yeast researcher Matt Goddard’s study. Goddard has been looking to characterize the populations of yeasts in vineyards, wineries and wines. At Kumeu River, where he started his research, he found that the yeasts that did the wild ferments in the Chardonnays were local to the area and even the vineyard.
I asked Nigel Greening what results had been obtained at Felton Road. ‘It is exactly the same result as found at Kumeu River – the biggest single cohort is unique to place, and this is 30–35% of the yeasts. The second largest cohort tracks back through the barrels to the forests the oak was grown in. This is really interesting for Chardonnay if you are barrel fermenting. They can track those back by oak origin. Then for the cohorts after this it gets harder to define where they came from. Just as with Kumeu River, Matt Goddard couldn’t find a single strain that tracks back to a laboratory yeast, so we were clean.’

I asked Nigel whether he thought that the yeasts were part of the terroir. ‘Yes, but I can’t tell you what part. Virtually everything we call flavour in wine from the fruity/aromatic side are fermentation products. They don’t come from the fruit. My assumption is that the aromatic precursors in the fruit are the pathway that then go through the yeast to create the aromatic chemicals we sense. Any Sauvignon Blanc maker will tell you the choice of yeasts has a profound effect on flavour. In our case it must similarly play a part.’
What is the winemaking here, for Pinot Noir? ‘The ferments would be getting three punch downs a day and then post ferment maceration for around a week. Typically 21 days on skins is the cycle. There’s nothing particularly unusual in any of this. The wine is moved by gravity by barrel, where it spends anywhere from 11 months to 18 months. Bannockburn has to be 11 months because we need the barrels by next vintage. The others get 15 months but we let Block 5 have an extra 3 months. It does the whole second winter because it has more stuffing in it, it seems to like it. We do wild malolactic fermentations, no fining and no filtration.’
‘The only additions that go into the wines are the occasional use of enzyme. We find that we do need some enzyme use as a preferable alternative to filtration. If we didn’t use the enzyme we would have to filter.’
One of the issues in Central Otago is that the acidity of the wines during fermentation is unstable, which makes it very hard to avoid adding acidity. ‘It is seen quite widely around the world: its happens in Oregon and elsewhere in New Zealand. There seems to be acid instability during fermentation and you can lose anything up to 3 g of acid over the course of fermentation. The normal practice in most wineries in the region is to do acid measurements daily during fermentation and then to add tartaric acid to balance this out,  the objective being is to end up with a wine that has the same TA at the end of fermentation as happened at the beginning. No one has come up with a convincing explanation for what is causing this.’
‘One thing that intrigues us is that it is a much smaller phenomenon at Cornish Point than it is at our other two vineyards. There is no difference in viticulture, winemaking, clones, rootstocks or vine age that accounts for this. We are assuming there is something about the climate or soils at Cornish point that results in better acid stability. We are working on this at the moment with some researchers. If we can find an explanation then we might be able to deal with it, and then it would be nice not to have to acidify.’
‘The wines have a small sulfur dose as they go into the fermenter, then they are sulfured a second time once they have completed malo, and we adjust the level to 30 ppm free to go to bottling. This is for Pinot Noir.’
In some ways this is a test case of terroir, because Felton Road do the same winemaking for all the wines. ‘We try not to making any blending decisions, and we also try not to taste the wines with a view to adjusting or making blending decisions. Essentially, Block 3 and Block 5 are those blocks, with the exception of young vines from these blocks which get blended into Bannockburn, our “village” wine. When it comes to Cornish Point and Calvert, about 30–40% will go to a single-vineyard bottling, and the balance goes to Bannockburn. So we have a dilemma: we have to choose which 30–40% to use. There will typically be eight lots from each of the vineyards, and we will taste them about three times, blind. We score them not for their quality as a wine but for their expression of site. The wines that get the highest scores for Calvertness, depending on how big the lots are, we will take sufficient wine down that scoresheet and then draw the line. The Calvertiest ones become Calvert, and those that show the least Calverntess go into Bannockburn. The same applies to Cornish Point. Calvert is the more elegant, tighter, more linear wine. Cornish Point is volutuous, perfumed. This is naturally what this vineyard does and we want to show that expression of site as clearly as we can.’
‘The important thing is that if we have decided that three lots make up Calvert, we will not put the three together, taste the blend, and see whether we like it. It simply goes into the bottling tanks and the first time we try it is when it is going down the line. It is an assembly and we don’t taste it until it is too late. It is a conscious part of our letting go of a human decision making process.’  
I asked Nigel the boring question about closures, and when he switched to screwcaps. ‘We started in 2001. We did both 2001–2004, and by then we didn’t want to see another cork, so we stopped the trial. Since then we have just been screwcap. We had to continue doing magnums in cork because we couldn’t get bottles. We still have to do jeroboams in cork, and we use Diams for these.’
‘The thing I found most convincing is that when we would open cork and screwcapped wines blind, occasionally you’d get a perfect cork, and then you couldn’t tell the difference blind. That told me everything I needed to know.’
Central Otago is quite a new region, so in some ways it is a test case of seeing the effects of vine age, especially in Pinot Noir. ‘Our oldest vines now are 21 years old, and we have cohorts going back. We see a fairly profound change around the 10–12 year point. The vines respond less, their roots are deeper, there is greater inner strength to them. The wines show less variance, they are less fickle and there is more permanence. They don’t get bigger: the may get more structural, but the difference is subtle. There is a solidity around them. Everyone around here expresses the same thing a different way: the older vine quality just has a feel of permanence about it. We would be typical within the region. I did a graph of average vine age in Bannockburn Pinot the other day. It was at a relative high point when I came to the winery in 2000, because it was relying almost entirely on plantings made in 1991/2/3. Then as we started to expand and plant new vineyards the vine age progressively dropped. It took us to 2009 to get back to a new high point. For our Bannockburn Pinot Noir, the average vine age will be about 12 years.  A lot of producers are in a similar situation, and it’s true across much of New Zealand. Most of the big improvements we are seeing are coming from better viticulture, better understanding of climate and how to respond to it, and vine age. New Zealand Pinot Noir is getting better year on year because of this.’
In terms of future directions, Nigel would like to be able to harvest a little earlier, and have slightly lower alcohol levels. ‘With Pinot Noir we now understand that we have an earlier picking opportunity, but it is a very brief one. We will have to harvest in 7–8 days, as opposed to 18, which is typical, so we will need a lot more people.’ He says he will be happy if he could pick at 13.8–14.2 potential alcohol, rather than the 14–14.2 that he currently does. ‘I would like brilliance without getting nailed with green phenolics.’
The focus here is on Pinot, but what about Chardonnay? ‘Chardonnay might be New Zealand’s greatest strength. It’s at least as strong a story as Pinot Noir. To my sorrow it has such a low profile.’


Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago, New ZealandFresh and perfumed with sweet black cherry fruit nose, quite fine and expressive. Supple, fresh, sweet, elegant and rounded on the palate with good acidity and a bit of spicy warmth. 93/100
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago, New ZealandSmooth, supple and rounded with lovely generous cherry and plum fruit. Quite ripe, generous and silky with no rough edges. 93/100
Felton Road Calvert Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago, New ZealandBeautifully perfumed nose of fine, fresh cherries and plums. Aromatic and precise. Lovely freshness on the palate with fine tannins and good acidity. A supple wine with lovely precision. 95/100
Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago, New ZealandA wine that Nigel Greening describes as having, ‘a beginning, a middle and an end.’ There’s a hint of green on the nose as well as some bergamot. The palate has nice structure and acidity giving a backbone to the plum and cherry fruit. Precise, with a hint of earthiness. 95/100
Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2011 Central Otago, New ZealandLovely cherry, herb and spice here, with good structure. Quite rich but also has nice savoury freshness. Sweet supple rounded cherry and berry fruit. Lovely weight. 94/100
Felton Road Elms Chardonnay 2011 Central Otago New ZealandVery little oak here. Apples, pears, herbs: it’s fresh and fruit-driven with direct, rounded fruity characters and a hint of nuttiness. Fruity and simple at the moment but with potential to develop. 88/100
Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2011 Central Otago New ZealandTight, fresh and focused with a fine, toasty nose and some white peach and apple fruit. Textured and fine on the palate with nice acidity and subtle nuttiness. Delicate style. 92/100
Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2011 Central Otago New Zealand100% Mendoza clone, which typically has a grapefruit pith back note. Sweet, mealy, nutty, toasty edge to the nose with fine white peach and pear fruit. Very fresh with nice acidity and pure pear fruit, as well as some citrus. Pure, bright and fruit driven; fine and expressive. 93/100
Felton Road Dry Riesling 2012 Central Otago New Zealand12% alcohol, made in a Trocken style from schist/gravel soils. Tight and vigorous with limey fruit and a hint of fruit sweetness. Lovely rounded fruit here: it’s dry, but not at all austere. 91/100
Felton Bannockburn Riesling 2012 Central Otago New ZealandSchist gravel, 8.5% alcohol. Great precision here with lemony fruit, some grapefruit, and nice sweetness balancing the acidity (it’s off-dry). Mouthwatering, sweet and fresh with lovely juiciness. This is the same wine as the dry Riesling, but for this portion fermentation was stopped, leaving 65 g/litre residual sugar. TA is 9.5 g/litre. Very convincing. 93/100
Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2012 Central Otago New ZealandGrown on loess, which is more Pinot soil. 8.5% alcohol. Rich-textured and generous with melon, pear and apple notes. The heavier soil gives more peach and less lime. Lovely balance on this wine though, and nice sweetness (67 g/litre residual sugar, TA 9.6 g/litre). 92/100
wines tasted 01/13

A film of the visit:
Older notes 
Tasted in London in October 2010:

Blair Walter

Blair Walter, chief winemaker, presented these wines. '2009 is amazing for us,' he says. We regard it as the best vintage we have ever seen. 2010 was also good, but it's hard to say whether it will be better than 2010.' Blair also talked about his use of whole bunches in the ferment. 'We typically put in a quarter whole bunch and destem the rest of the bunches. And then when we punch down we don't go to the bottom of the tank. After 28 days you can still pull out whole bunches. They have fermented inside [the intact berries] and there is still some sweetness that is pulled out.' He thinks this remaining sweetness is important because it keeps fermentation ticking along for a while. 'Burgundians typically chaptalise in six-to-eight small additions. This results in a slightly stressed fermentation producing more glycerol. This changes the texture and adds some fruit sweetness. It surprises me that more people don't use whole bunches.' Blair thinks the weakness of New Zealand Pinot Noir is that often there is just pure fruit with something missing. 'We are lucky in Central Otago that we have that platform of fruit. We can then go searching for more interesting characters.'
In 2009 he averaged around 28% stems. Most fermenters have between 10% and 35% stems. They used to do one fermenter with just whole bunches (including the stems, of course) each year, but have now given up. 'For us it is too much,' he says. 'It is interesting but the wine becomes too herbal - it is like a hessian sack character.' But he is keen on using some stems. 'I believe it gives us an edge to transform one-dimensional fruity aromas and flavours, but also texturally: we get more chewy, chocolatey tannins.'
'With stems, people expect the wines to become angular. I find the opposite. Destemmed wines taste more angular. A lot of people don't have the courage [to use stems]; they aren't willing to tolerate earthiness and herbal characters in the wine.' 

Felton Road Chardonnay 2009Complex, aromatic, toasty nose is fine and complex with some refined toastiness and a bit of citrus. Real purity. The palate is fresh and toasty with lovely elegant fine citrus fruit and subtle nuttiness. Thrilling. 94/100
Felton Road Medium Riesling 2009Sweet limey nose with lots of fruit character. The palate is off-dry, fresh and textured with with smooth, sweet liminess and a hint of spicy complexity. 91/100
Felton Road Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2009Beautifully aromatic sweet cherry fruit nose is lively, fine and spicy with real elegance. The palate shows ripe but restrained cherry fruit with good structure and nice savoury bite. 93/100
Felton Road Pinot Noir Block 3 2009Thrillingly elegant nose with spicy aromatics and expresive red cherry fruit. The palate balances ripeness and elegance with pure, mineralic spicy cherry fruit. So pure and elegant, yet also concentrated. 96/100
Felton Road Cornish Point Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009Highly aromatic with some sweet cherry fruit and a hint of herbiness. The palate is sweetly fruited and fresh with a touch of plumminess as well as good acidity. Lovely wine. 94/100
Felton Road Calvert Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009Quite ripe with mineral and iodine notes as well as fresh cherry fruit. Fresh and quite intense with sappy, spicy, mineral notes and good acidity. 94/100
Felton Road Pinot Noir 2003Sweet and spicy with rich, fudgy, spicy notes under the ripe, sweet fruit. Showing some evolution with sweet cherry fruit on the palate and some spiciness. Age seems to make this taste sweeter. 92/100
Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 2003Sweet, spicy and a bit herby with warmth on the nose. The palate is rich, spicy and elegant with a hint of earth to the sweet fruit. Lovely. 94/100
Tasted at the winery in January 2010:
Felton Road Pinot Noir 2008A blend from all three vineyard sites: The Elms, Cornish Point and Calvert. Aged in 30% new oak for just under a year. Lovely elegant nose is forward, rich but balanced with spicy dark cherry flavours and some subtle meaty notes. The palate has lovely density and elegance, combining power with restraint, together with some earthy complexity. 93/100
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 200815 months in oak. Lovely smooth, pure, elegant berryish nose with some really fine pure cherry fruit. Great sweet fruit purity. The palate is beautifully elegant and expressive with fine sweet cherry fruit underpinned by some minerality, with spicy notes too. Fantastic elegance here: really fine. 95/100
Felton Road Calvert Pinot Noir 2008This spends 15 months in oak, 30% of which is new. There’s a subtle spicy, meaty wildness to the nose here, with hints of iodine and some minerality. The palate is fresh and expressive: bright but taut with nice minerality and some earthiness. Quite old world in style, and beautiful. 95/100
Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir 200815 months in oak. Beautiful aromatics: smooth, pure cherry and berry fruit with some floral notes and a hint of herbiness. Again, a hint of iodine. Nice concentration and structure on the palate, with lovely focus and some nice weight. Finishes silky: a really expressive wine. 94/100
Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2008This is right next to Block 3, but the main difference is that Block 5 has more clay in the soil. It spends 18 months in oak. Focused, taut nose is pure and aromatic with some spicy minerality and some non-fruit complexity. The palate is dense with firm structure underpinning the rich, dark cherry and berry fruits and a hint of herbiness. Well structured, this has promise for the future but is currently less seductive than the others. 94/100

Meursault Les Charmes 2006, Henri Boillot 

Lett gylden mot strågul. Utviklet stil, endel alkohol fornemmes. Grand Cru stil, minty eik, spearmint og en stor vin i munnen. Rik vin, hardt eiket. Igjen endel uenighet om dette var vellykket eller ikke. 91-94 poeng.

Chablis Les Clos 2005, Duplessis 

Burgundersk mineralsk, grønn og litt rar. Meursault fra Matrot ? Ampeau ? Et eldet inntrykk fintet oss ut. Ingen var i Chablis. 86-89 poeng.


Besøk på champagneturen 26.10.14:

Aurelien Suenen er en ambiøs ung mann som tok seg god tid til å vise oss både vinmarker og smaking av sine champagner. Vinhuset holder til i Cramant, vi smakte oss igjennom vin clair fra 2014 og husets champagne har en lineær og citrusaktig stil, stramt og korrekt, bare ståltank og moderat bruk av dosage.

Champagne Cuvee Rèserve 2011 Brut
Bare fra 2011 årgangen. 45% pinot meunier, 45 % pinot noir, 10% chardonnay & 8g/l dosage. Mye mousse, 100% ståltank, grønn og vegetal. 84 poeng.

Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut 2011 
Bare fra 2010 årgangen. Gogget 14. januar 2014. 3,5 g/l  dosage. Mye mousse, moderat duft. Frisk og rik, Full malo med litt bitter ettersmak. 88 poeng.

One has to travel back in time to understand the origins of the Suenen Champagne. Since 1898 generations of strong-minded and wine- passionate men and women have succeeded one another…
It is said that our family name comes from “Svenen”, a Belgium family who came to live in Damery… the home of my great grandfather. With his wife Eliza-Victorine Billiard, they gave birth to a son, Joseph, in 1871. Wine was of course not on the agenda yet. Grapes were collected from the Cramant vineyards and sold to the existing reknown wine-making houses.
Joseph and his wife Laurentine Robert settled into the family household and had two children: Paulette and Marcel, my great grandfather born in 1899. Today still and in that same house, my grandmother’s souvenirs attest to the genesis of the Suenen Champagne brand.
In 1924 Marcel married Simone Stourbe. They decided to commercialise a single vat of dry Blanc de Blancs named “Champagne Suenen Stourbe”, hand-bottled and stamped by Simone herself.
Their sons Bernard and André took over the trade. Bernard and his wife soon opened a deli grocery in Cramant. During the fifties, with the birth of my father Daniel and his brother Jean Claude, our family grew bigger. As the latter chose to follow a teaching career, my father showed a great interest in wine growing since a very young age. Both my grandfather and father worked together for 18 years, until Daniel took control of the business. At only 25, his desire to develop the vineyard’s activity flourished and he was soon in search of new land plots to purchase. My father’s work contributed to increasing the quality and sales of the Suenen Champagne. Thanks to his determination, the choice in the range of our champagne widened and the first vintage wines were bottled. Sales increased from 4000 to 20 000 bottles. Then he married my mother Chantal Person de la Villa, and started a new generation to whom I belong…

lørdag 28. februar 2015


Vinmøte Knut 26.2.15

Fourny & Fils Blanc de Blancs Brut Millèsime 2008
Frisk Blanc de Blanc stil. Ung, trang og spiss. Slanke syrlige epler, non-malo aktig Lanson stil. Litt grønn og undermoden, selvom året er veldig bra. Ultrabrut og stram. Denne produsenten har vi ikke drukket tidligere i klubben. 86-87 poeng.

Dn.no : 16241 Millesime Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2008              
Veuve Fourny. Champagne, Frankrike 
Kroner 445,90 CC-Vest, Sandnes Kvadrat, Valken, Vika
91 poeng. Moestue Grape Selections
Grapefrukt og mineraler med innslag av blomster og brioche på duft. Elegant, kjølig frukt på smak med en flott konsentrasjon og bitende tørr utgang. Drikk nå til 2030. Passer til aperitiff og hvit fisk. BDK

Fourny & Fils Blanc de Blancs Vertus Grand Millèsime 1996
En mere moden og utviklet champagne. Rik karakterfull chamapgne med innslag av eple, autolyse og gjær. Uenighet mht. flaskekvalitet. Noen mente 1996 champagner skal holde seg strammere, mens andre mener flere 1996 nå "knekker" i frukten. 82-89 poeng


Champagne Bruno Paillard 1996
Frisk og rik stil. Fetere i munnen, fenoler, bitter med ru finish. 10 år på bunnfall og det merkes. Epler, champignon og den holder seg godt. Knut fikk denne av Vinklubben i bryllupspresang. 90-92 poeng.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millènaires 1995
Rik, fet med sentralburgundersk eik på nese. Grand Cru-aktig, ristede nøtter, honning og kaffe. Full munnfølelse, rikelig med dosage, en stor champagne i munnen. Men samtidig friskt og presist. 93-95 poeng.

 Vi hadde denne på picnic`en i Champagne oktober 2014: rik, god og solid frukt. Nøtter, fet i munnen, brioche. Et utrolig godt munngrep, karakterfull som alltid med et delikat kalkaktig preg. 94 poeng

lørdag 21. februar 2015

Middag Le Berceaux i Epernay

lørdag 25.10.14

Champagne Brut Millèsime Blanc de Blancs 2004, Pierre Moncuit

Moden og åpen, frisk og tilgjengelig. Drikker optimalt nå, kremet og en perfekt aperitif. Deilig start. Produsenten lager gode champagner, kanskje litt enkle, men harmoniske. 89 poeng.

 Champagne Cuvêe des Caudaliers de Sousa NV

Rik og kompleks. Fet "cuvèe" stil til 93 euro. Dette er en Selosse elev som bør sjekkes ut. Laget som en non-vintage i "solera-system".  Gogget i 2011. Spennende champagne i en oksidativ stil med epleskrott, markert og tydelig i munnen. Ingen champagne for sveklinger. Selv om den er vel oksidativ er fruktkvaliten såpass bra at dette blir strålende. 92 poeng.

Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002, Delamotte 

"Lillesøster" til Salon. Lys strågul, en rik Blanc de Blancs. Årgangens kvaliteter viser seg godt fram. Nøtter og brioche. Touch av lime. Sitter veldig godt i munnen. DK 350 på Philipsson. Løp og kjøp. 91 poeng.

Champagne Saint-Vincent Blanc de Blancs 1996, Legras

Frisk og limey. Holder seg utrolig bra og det har den gjort lenge. "Lemon curd" / citrus, elegant og intens. Tror kanskje den bør drikkes nå ? 94 poeng.

Champagne Le Clos des Belvals Blanc de Blancs 2006, Person

Veldig eple, oksidativ, utviklet, åpen, konsentrert med lang ettersmak. Bitter tone, mye syre.
Kan lagres, tross litt svakt år. Stor champagne fra en produsent som må sjekkes ut. 93 poeng

Champagne Extra Brut Millèsime 2004, Geoffrey

Rik og kremet Pinot Noir, mye mousse, citrus, ren og slank frukt. Lang ettersmak, en deilig champagne, lys strågul, bitter smak, endel dosage ? 90 poeng.

Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2010, Domaine Trapet

Lekker "up-front" frukt, rik og dyp Pinot Noir. Litt "candy-fresh" vs. sødme. Noe oversjøisk med innslag av kalk og blomster. Lett tobakk, minty med full harmoni. En fantastisk vin fra en fantastisk årgang. 94 poeng.

Charmes - Chambertin Grand Cru 1998, Joseph Drouhin

Et betydelig "mørkere" fruktbilde enn forrige vin. Innslag av sjø, lakris, nype, knekker mot rosin.
Litt gammel barolo i glasset og nok ikke en optimal flaske. Blir noe bedre i glasset over tid og spesielt Roar var entusiastisk. 89-91 poeng

Chateau Palmer 1999, Margaux

Mørk, lilla, ikke helt ren, typisk Palmer blomsterduft mot dypere parfyme, frisk med lang ettersmak. Saltaktig fin mineralitet. Bra terroirfølelse. Uenighet om flasken var optimal. 89-92 poeng.

Chateau Gazin 1982, Pomerol

Mørk, kompakt, saftig inngang, tørker litt ut i munnen. Intens og dyp, med "1982" sødme med innslag av dadler og fiken. Mye smak ,det er mye som skjer, men den tørre avslutningen gjør den litt vanskelig. 92-94 poeng.

Les Francs de Pied Blanc de Noirs 2005, Nicolas Maillart

Gullbrun og oksidativ, rik, xtrabrut, men med en god støttesødme. Epleskrott, mye aroma, stor i munnen, granatepler med snev av eddiksyre. Til oster. Ikke helt vellykket. Degorgert i 2011.
86 poeng.

Champagne Extra Brut NV, Louis Casters

Velutviklet, rik, non-malo, kaffe og sjokolade på nesa. 70% chardonnay. En blanding av årgangene 1999, 2000 og 2001. Faller fort i glasset. Ukjent produsent for Vinklubben. 89 poeng.