Here presents news and results from various wine tastings, which NJ Wines has attended, and other news.
Back on track again? Italian Wine Day 2019, Operaterrassen, Stockholm (31-01-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
Italian Wine Day was the last major wine tasting of the year. It was held at the Operaterrassen in Stockholm the 25th of November 2019. Of the 167 tasted wines, 42 wines got more than 2,5 NJP, i.e. 25%, which is a good result. The result is a clear improvement compared with the result of the corresponding tasting in 2018, when only 15% of the wines got 2,5 NJP or more. At the Italian wine day 2015, 2016 and 2017, between 25 and 28% of the wines got more than 2,5 NJP in ratings. It feels like the Italian wines are back to normal level again. Unfortunately, only 10 wines got over 3,0 NJP in ratings. It is remarkable that only 2 white wines got more than 2,5 NJP in ratings. Unfortunately, it was the same trend at this tasting as at the other trade tastings in recent years; the most well-known producers and their prestigious wines were missing. This is both a very dull trend and a big difference to how it was for just a few years ago. The result could be much better if we, for example, got to taste the wines from Capannelle, Dal Forno Romano, Gaia, La Spinetta, Le Macchiole, Monteverro and Tua Rita or the wines as Masseto, Ornellaia or Sassicaia, to name a few. The wines that stood out in terms of quality and taste were mainly wines from Tuscany and Piedmont. From the tasting, NJ Wines must highlight the wines of the producer Terreno. At the last year's tasting, NJ Wines selected Terreno as the best producer at the tasting and at this year's tasting, Terreno was only beaten by the legendary Piedmont’s producer Aldo Conterno.
New wines in temporary assortment that were tasted during December 2019 (19-01-2020 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasson)
The tasted Systembolaget's new wines in temporary assortment, which were tasted during December 2019, got the following points (Note that the wines are arranged in alphabetical order; NV = non-vintage wine; Systembolaget = a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden): 1. Artadi, Viñas de Gain, 2017 (22 EUR/24 USD) red dry wine, Spain, 2,0 NJP, 2. Benanti, Etna Rosso, 2016 (16 EUR/18 USD) red dry blend wine, Italy, 2,5 NJP, 3. Berardenga, Chianti Classico, 2017 (18 EUR/20 USD) red dry wine, Italy, 1,5 NJP, 4. Ca’ di Pian, La Spinetta, 2016 (19 EUR/21 USD) red dry wine, Italy, 1,5 NJP, 5. Château Moulin-Borie, 2015 (18 EUR/20 USD) red dry blend wine, France, 1,5 NJP, 6. Exton Park, Brut Reserve, NV (34 EUR/38 USD) white dry blend sparkling wine, UK, 2,0 NJP, 7. Hey Malbec, 2018 (14 EUR/15 USD) red dry wine, Argentina, 0,0 NJP, 8. Papaskarasi, Rouge, Chamlija, 2016 (16 EUR/18 USD) red dry wine, Turkey, 1,0 NJP, 9. Raats Dolomite, Cabernet Franc, 2016 (17 EUR/19 USD) red dry wine, South Africa, 2,0 NJP, 10. Rayos Uva, 2018 (14 EUR/16 USD) red dry blend wine, Spain, 0,0 NJP.
New wines in regular assortment December 2019 (18-01-2020 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasoon)
NJ Wines has tasted all Systembolaget's new wines in regular assortment December 2019. The wines got the following points (Note that the wines are arranged in alphabetical order and that the wines that have got more than 2,5 NJP, if any, are presented under "Make sure to try these wines, wines that have got at least 3,0 NJP of possible 5,0 NJP"; NV = non-vintage wine; Systembolaget = a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden): 1. Anura, Reserve, Pinotage, 2018 (14 EUR/16 USD) red dry wine, South Africa, 1,0 NJP, 2. Bianco Trentino, Roberta Fugatti, 2018 (8 EUR/9 USD) white semi-dry blend wine, Italy, 1,5 NJP, 3. Castel del Monte, TorreVento, 2018 (9 EUR/10 USD) red dry blend wine, Italy, 0,5 NJP, 4. Champagne Taittinger, Demi-Sec, NV (38 EUR/42 USD) white semi-dry blend sparkling wine, France, 1,5 NJP, 5. Col d'Orcia, Rosso di Montalcino, 2016 (14 EUR/16 USD) red dry wine, Italy, 2,0 NJP, 6. Colossal, Reserva, 2017 (9 EUR/10 USD) red dry blend wine, Portugal, 2,0 NJP, 7. DB, Brut Cuvée, NV (9 EUR/10 USD) white semi-dry blend sparkling wine, Australia, 2,0 NJP, 8. Domäne Wachau, Riesling, Smaragd, Ried Loibenberg, 2018 (19 EUR/21 USD) white dry wine, Austria, 2,5 NJP, 9. Elias Mora, Crianza, 2015 (14 EUR/16 USD) red dry wine, Spain, 1,0 NJP, 10. Gosa, Syrah, 2018 (11 EUR/12 USD) red dry wine, Spain, 0,5 NJP.
All you need to know about Napa Valley and its three most important appellations (07-02-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
Here presents excerpts from NJ Wines’s extensive wine glossary. You can read about other exciting wines, appellations, wine districts, wine regions, etc. by clicking above on the "Wine glossary and wine facts".
Napa Valley, a US most famous wine district that is located in the wine region of the North Coast in California. The wine district, which is itself classified as appellation (AVA), consists of 16 different appellations: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Chiles Valley, Coombsville, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mount Veeder, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, Spring Mountain District, St. Helena, Stags Leap District, Wild Horse Valley and Yountville. The wine district has 18,600 ha planted with vines.
Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, the best vintages, 1968, 1974, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016; not 2017.
Howell Mountain, a US appellation (AVA) that belongs to the district of Napa Valley, which belongs to the wine region of the North Coast in California. In 1983, the Howell Mountain was officially designated as an appellation (AVA). The appellation has 607 ha under vine. The vines begin at 427 m and extend to 762 m. The Howell Mountain appellation is one of five mountain appellations in Napa Valley. Because of its altitude, evening temperatures are generally warmer and daytime temperatures are much cooler, causing a gradual growth process, producing small, concentrated grapes and ultimately more robust, complex but well-balanced wines with a long, lingering after-taste. From here comes Napa’s longest lived Cabernet Sauvignon- and Cabernet Franc-wines.
Howell Mountain grapes, white wine grapes: just Sauvignon Blanc and red wine grapes: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Syrah, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Syrah and Zinfandel.
Howell Mountain soils, there are two main soil types. The first consists of decomposed volcanic ash, called “tufa”, and the second is red clay that is high in iron content.
Howell Mountain the best vintages, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Spring Mountain District, a US appellation (AVA), since 1993, which is located in the Napa Valley AVA, California. The appellation has about 3,480 hectares, of which about 405 are planted with vine. The vineyards lie between 120 and 800 metres above sea level. The average yield is impressively low 12 to 24 hl/ha.
Spring Mountain District grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon 55%, Merlot 19%, Chardonnay 5%, Cabernet Franc 4%, Petite Syrah 3%, Sauvignon Blanc 2% and other grapes 12%.
Spring Mountain District soils, weathered volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Mainly volcanic in the north, and sandstone and shale in the south. Well drained and poor in nutrients.
Stags Leap District, an American United States’ AVA (appellation), since 1989, that is located in Napa Valley AVA, California. It is Napa's smallest appellation. The appellation, which is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon-wines (Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select, Clos du Val, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 etc), is 1,5 km wide and just under 5 km long and has 526 ha planted with vine. The yield lies at an impressive low 11 hl/ha.
Stags Leap District grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon 80%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Franc 2%, Petite Syrah 2% and other grapes 1%.
Stags Leap District soils, weathered volcanic rock, gravel, sand, silt and clay. What type of soil the vineyards have dependents on how high or low they lie.
The world's wines
Here presents the wines that have got at least 3,0 NJP of possible 5,0 NJP and which do not exit at Systembolaget (a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden that has a strict monopoly status on alcohol sales to consumers in Sweden, except for restaurants and bars), but they should definitely be there. Or should be at least be available to Swedish restaurants through some wine importer. Note that NJP apply only to the below described vintages.
Enjingi, Venje, Bijelo, 2008, white dry blend wine, Kutjevo, Slavonia, Croatia, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) (03-11-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
Unlike the 2006 vintage, this fabulous vintage is considerably more tannic, but still very complex and concentrated. Big and complex aroma and very dry, fresh and mineral flavour. Extremely long and very flavourful aftertaste. Better to say the wine never stops growing/developing in the glass. Clear aroma of dried fruits, sweet spices, peaches, honey, white flowers, yellow apples and yellow pears. Clear flavour of orange peel, honey melon, peaches, dried fruits, lime, sweet spices, yellow apples, honey and yellow pears. Enjingi Venje Bijelo 2008 will fit really well with grilled cod fillet with hollandaise sauce and roasted small potatoes or with bouillabaisse or crawfish etouffee or with cold smoked salmon with horseradish-crème fraiche and dill fried potatoes or with toast skagen. It should start drinking at about 8°C from large Burgundy glasses from Orrefors, Riedel or Spiegelau. Venje is always made from these five grapes: 20% Riesling, 20% Grasevina (Welschriesling), 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Gewurztraminer and 20% Pinot Gris. The grapes are organically grown, and all the grapes are harvested by hand. The vines are between 30 and 50 years old. The soil on which the aforementioned grapes grow consists of about 30 cm of very rocky clay soil on the top of weathered magmatic rock. The grapes are fermented separately in stainless steel tanks under a controlled temperature between 15 and 20 degrees. Only the natural yeast, which comes from vineyards, is used. After the fermentation, the wines are blended together and first aged in 225 litres new oak barrels (barrique) from the Slavonia in Croatia for at least 18 months and then in stainless steel tanks for at least 12 months. After the aging, the wine is bottled, without fining, and aged for at least 12 months more. The wine is only produced during exceptional years. This vintage is the latest. Before it, the wine was produced in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2006. The quantities are very limited. Everyone who knows a little about white wines knows that the largest majority of white wines should/shall be drunk young i.e. 1 to 3 years old, but this rule does not apply to Enjingi's Venje. The wine is already 11 years old and wonderful to drink now, but that it will even better show its fabulous complexity, it should be aged for 5 more years i.e. until 2024. After those five years, the wine will continue to develop for at least 10 more years, i.e. until 2034. In 2004, Enjingi Venje Bijelo 1998 got both a gold medal, the best white cuvée wine for the entire Central and Eastern Europe, and the International Trophy, the world's best white cuvée from the prestigious wine magazine Decanter and its Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA). I am convinced that if Enjingi would send Enjingi Venje Bijelo 2008 to DWWA, it would also be selected among some of the world's best wines again.
The world's restaurants
Here presents the restaurants that is considered to be the world's best restaurants. The restaurants, which NJ Wines has visited, tried their food and wine as well as rated food’s quality, food's taste, how the food is presented and looks, wine selection, decor, atmosphere, service and cleanliness. (NJP = Nenad Jelisic Points)
The Veranda, Grand Hôtel, Stockholm, Sweden, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (23-11-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
There are not so many restaurants in the world that are located in a capital city and have such a fabulous view as this restaurant and the restaurant's big brother the Cadier Bar, which is on the opposite side of it. The view of the Royal Palace, the Old Town and the boats on Stockholm's current. Both restaurants are located in Sweden's most exclusive and very beautiful Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. While the Cadier Bar, which is named after Régis Cadier (French chef and hotel founder), is a restaurant where one comes mainly to be seen, and drink champagne, cocktail or beer, The Veranda is a restaurant where you come to eat good food and drink good wines. In the Cadier Bar, one can also order good food, the food comes from the same kitchen that makes food for the Veranda. During all years, which I have been visited the Cadier Bar, it has seemed that the visitors of the Cadier Bar are there to drink something or to take something that fits well with champagne or coffee. In addition to these two restaurants, the hotel has two restaurants of renowned Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren: Matbaren (see my article from 05-11-2017) and Rutabaga.
The Flying Elk, Stockholm, Sweden, 2,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (18-08-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
A new Stockholm-restaurant-disappointment again, but it is not as big as the one with the Matbaren, Mathias Dahlgren at the Grand Hôtel, which got 1,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP on my last visit, the third visit. I think that the problem with The Flying Elk's low rating lies in the fact that Björn Frantzén's small restaurant empire has become too big too quickly. So fast big that Björn has transferred control and management of his new restaurants to significantly less talented part-owners/managers. Then, their poor management and control has led to that cooks, sommeliers and waiters have stopped caring or that they had employed the cooks, the sommeliers and the waiters who would absolutely not be employed. I assert this because Björn Frantzén, one of Scandinavia's absolute best chefs, would never allow that the food, the wines and the service would end up on this level, 2,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP. It is a pity that it is so as I wrote because Björn is really passionate about food and cooking and it proves his relatively short and very successful chef-history. Björn took his first steps as a cook through the practice at the restaurant Edsbacka krog (Edsbacka Wärdshus) in Sollentuna, Sweden. Then he worked among others at the restaurant Chez Nico (Nico Ladenis, London, UK, three Michelin stars) and the restaurant Arpege (Alain Passard, Paris, France, three Michelin stars). In 2008, together with pastry chef Daniel Lindeberg, he opened the restaurant Frantzén/Lindeberg in Stockholm. The following year, the restaurant got its first Michelin star and two years later it got its two Michelin stars. In 2013, Björn and Daniel went separate ways and the restaurant was renamed to Frantzén. In 2018, the Frantzén became Sweden's first restaurant to be awarded three stars in Guide Michelin. In 2019, Guide Michelin confirmed the restaurant's three star status. Today, besides The Flying Elk and Frantzén, Björn also runs Catering Frantzén, Studio Frantzén, Corner Club and Gaston vin. In addition to all this, Björn has managed to write a book together with Daniel Lindeberg, see above, (Frantzén/Lindeberg, 2012) and a book together with Göran Lager (The Flying Elk, 2016) and two own books (Glow with Björn Frantzén, 2014 and Björn Frantzén prepares food for peckish diabetics and other people, 2017). To achieve all this and be 42 years old is absolutely incredible.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London, UK, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (18-12-2018 by Nenad Jelisic)
What food! What wines! What a service! What a sommelier! What a restaurant! I have difficulty to find words about how impressed I was when I visited this fabulous restaurant on the 2nd November 2018. The restaurant, owned by internationally well-known chef Gordon Ramsay, belongs to 1 of 3 London restaurants that have 3 Michelin stars. There can not be so many food interested persons in the world who do not know who Gordon Ramsay is. He has participated in many food programs such as: Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking, Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef, Ramsay's Best Restaurant, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, The F Word and this year came the Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back program. Since 1996, Ramsay has written 25 books. The latest book came out this year and it is called Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Fit Food. Gordon Ramsay's (Gordon Ramsay Group’s) restaurant empire has 35 restaurants and 7 Michelin stars, with restaurants from Europe to the United States and the Middle East. Of these 35 restaurants, 15 are in London. His internationally most famous and most exclusive restaurant is Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and it is his only restaurant with 3 Michelin stars. The restaurant was founded in 1998 when Gordon Ramsay was 31 years old. In 2001, the restaurant got 3 Michelin stars and it has retained them since then. The restaurant is decorated in a modern and elegant style. It is located on 68 Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea in London.
Make sure to try these wines, wines that have got at least 3,0 NJP of possible 5,0 NJP
Here we present wines that have got at least 3,0 NJP of 5,0 possible and that are available at Systembolaget (a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden that has a strict monopoly status on alcohol sales to consumers in Sweden, except for restaurants and bars). Note that NJP apply only to the below described vintages.
More abut wine - Wine producer profile
Wine producer profile: Domaine Parent (01-12-2019 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasson)
Domaine Parent is a producer in Pommard, in the heart of Côte d’Or in Burgundy in France, dating back to the 17th century. Domaine Parent is currently run by the sixth generation of Parent; Anne Parent and her sister Catherine Fages-Parent. Anne and Catherine took over the company from their father, Jacques, in 1998. Domaine Parent currently owns about 10 hectares of vineyards, mainly in Pommard. It produces 15 red wines and only 3 white wines. The heart of the production at Domaine Parent is their fine series of wines from Premier Cru vineyards in Pommard. A total of 6 different Pommard Premier Crus are produced. The wines from the vineyards north of the road Rue de la Refène are experienced as more powerful while the wines from vineyards south of the road are experienced as more elegant, e.g. Pommard Premier Cru Les Epenots. The reason why the wines are experienced so different is the soil. The soils vary in the vineyards of Pommard, but consists mainly of red clay, dolomitic limestone and marl. On the north side of the road, the soil is red colored by iron oxide, which makes the wines more powerful.
Wine producer profile: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (24-07-2018 by Nenad Jelisic)
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which was founded 1869, is one of the world's most famous winery, and is located in the French wine region of Bourgogne. The winery has 7 fantastic vineyards: Echézeaux (4,67 ha), Grands Echézeaux (3,53 ha), La Tâche (6,06 ha), Montrachet (0,67 ha), Richebourg (3,51 ha), Romanée-Conti (1,81 ha) and Romanée Saint Viviant (5,29 ha). They together cover 25,51 hectares. All seven are classified as Gran Cru-vineyards. Besides Montrachet, which belongs to both the appellation Chassagne-Montrachet and the appellation Puligny-Montrachet, all other belong to the appellation Vosne-Romanée. In addition to the aforementioned vineyards, the winery rents three vineyards that are located in the French appellation of Aloxe-Corton and who are also classified as Grand Cru-vineyards: Bressandes (1,19 ha), Clos du Roi (0,57 ha) and Renardes (0,51 ha). They together cover 2,27 hectares. The vineyards: La Tâche and Romanée-Conti are 100% owned (so-called monopol) by the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Wine producer profile: Ridge Vineyards (05-03-2017 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
High up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with a magnificent view over the San Andreas Fault, lies Ridge Vineyards. Ridge Vineyards is a legendary wine estate in California, which was founded in 1960. The winery and the vineyards are located at Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation (AVA). Monte Bello Ridge lie at an elevation of about 800 m above sea level. The history of the Ridge Vineyards and Monte Bello Ridge began long before when Osea Perrone planted vineyards near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in 1885. In 1892, Perrone’s company Monte Bello Winery produced the first vintage from the Monte Bello Ridge vineyards. During Prohibition, the property was abandoned, and it was not until the 1940s when a man named William Short bought the abandoned winery and some of the vineyards that surrounded it. In 1949, William Short replanted Cabernet Sauvignon and planted the first vines of Chardonnay in the Monte Bello Ridge vineyards.
The wine of the month
During the first seven days of each month, NJ Wines presents the wine of the month.. NJ Wines tastes hundreds of wines every month and among them, the wine of the month is chosen. The criteria that a wine will qualify as the wine of the month is that it has got at least 3,0 NJP in rating and that it stands out both by its quality and its aroma/flavour complexity. The wine shall also be available on the wine market.
February 2020: Steyer, Sauvignon, 2018, white dry wine, Radgona-Kapela, Podravje, Slovenia, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (02-02-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
This wine and Edi Simcic Sauvignon 2016, which was chosen as the wine of the month in August 2019, are the two best Sauvignon Blanc-wines that NJ Wines tasted in 2019. The wine is very fresh, very aromatic and a brilliant school example how a really good Sauvignon Blanc-wine should smell, taste and be. Aroma of black currant leaves, green tomatoes, yellow apples and yellow pears. Very fresh flavour of green tomatoes, citrus fruits and green apples. Really good balance between the sweetness and the acidity. Steyer Sauvignon 2018 fits perfectly as an aperitif, especially during hot summer days. Its high acidity will certainly increase appetite. It will fit really well with grilled white fish such as cod, turbot, plaice and halibut or with fresh oysters or with fresh tagliatelle pasta with the delights of the sea (crayfish, mussels and octopus) or with pizza Frutti di Mare or with grilled chicken with white wine sauce, lemon juice and cooked small fresh potatoes. Steyer Sauvignon 2018 should be drunk at 8 to 10°C from, if possible, glasses like Difference Crisp from Orrefors or Veritas from Riedel or Esprit from Peugeot or Atelier from Luigi Bormioli. The wine’s soil consists of sandy clay, vines are 15 years old and grapes come from two vineyards that both are located at a height of about 260 meters above sea level in the appellation Radgona-Kapela. The grapes are hand-harvested and carefully selected in both the vineyards and upon arrival at the winery. After the destemming and crushing process, the grape must, which consists of pulp, skins and seeds, goes in the press machine where the grape must is cold macerated for about 12 hours under a temperature around 10°C. When the pressing is completed, the must is poured in stainless steel tanks where it is fermented under a controlled temperature between 15 and 20 degrees. After the fermentation, the wine is aged on its lees in the same stainless steel tanks that it was fermented in. After the aging, the wine is easily filtered, bottled and then aged for a few weeks before it is released on the market.
The Systembolaget's New Vintages and New Wines (03-11-2019 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasson; next update 03-11-2020)
The Systembolaget's new vintages and new wines in regular assortment, small assortment and order assortment are presented here. Note that: the wines are arranged in alphabetical order, if some bottle is smaller or larger than 750 ml it appears behind the price of the wine otherwise it does not appear and the best wines, which got more than 2,5 NJP, are presented under the 167 best. The new vintages and the new wines got the following points: 1. A, Amarone, 2015 (19 EUR/21 USD in Sweden) red dry blend wine, Italy, 1,5 NJP, 2. A, Amarone, 2016 (19 EUR/21 USD in Sweden) red dry blend wine, Italy, 1,0 NJP, 3. AA Orbus, 100% Syrah, 2013 (33 EUR/37 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, Spain, 3,0 NJP, 4. Abbotts & Delaunay, Carignan, Vieilles Vignes, 2017 (8 EUR/9 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, France, 2,0 NJP, 5. Adobe, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 (7 EUR/8 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, Chile, 0,5 NJP, 6. Adobe, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 (7 EUR/8 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, Chile, 0,5 NJP, 7. Adobe, Reserva, Malbec, 2018 (7 EUR/8 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, Chile, 0,0 NJP, 8. Adobe, Reserva, Rosé, 2017 (7 EUR/8 USD in Sweden) rosé dry blend wine, Chile, 2,0 NJP, 9. Adobe, Reserva, Rosé, 2018 (7 EUR/8 USD in Sweden) rosé dry blend wine, Chile, 1,5 NJP, 10. Aglianico, Riserva, La Fortezza Società Agricola, 2011 (16 EUR/17 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, Italy, 2,0 NJP.
Schmelz, Ried Pichl Point, Grüner Veltliner, Federspiel, Weingut Familie Schmelz, 2018 (18 EUR/20 USD) white dry wine, Wachau, Niederösterreich, Austria, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (29-12-2019 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
It is a very long time ago since NJ Wines drank such a good wine of the grape Grüner Veltliner. Schmelz Ried Pichl Point Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Weingut Familie Schmelz 2018 is a real hit from Austria. The complex, generous aroma is wonderful. In it, one finds pears, honey melon, clear notes of kiwi fruits and some white pepper. In the flavour, the wine is very fresh and fruity at first. Then a slight peppery tone emerges, and in the long aftertaste, a very pleasant grapefruit bitterness reveals itself. The wine has a high acidity that is balanced in a fantastic way by the complex fruitiness. This is a young wine that grows in both aroma and flavour when it is aired in the glass for 15 to 20 minutes. The wine should be drunk at 8 to 10°C from glasses such as Difference Crisp from Orrefors or Veritas from Riedel or Esprit from Peugeot or Atelier from Luigi Bormioli. Serve the wine with gratinated goat cheese on sourdough bread with honey and pine nuts or with oven baked cod back fillet with white wine sauce and a creamy potato puree. Pichl Point is a 16,9 ha vineyard in which the Schmelz family owns 2,2 ha. The soil in the vineyard is largely composed of loess, which is predominantly silt-sized sediment that is formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. The average yield in Schmelz’s vineyards is below fifty hectoliters per hectare and all harvesting is done by hand. The grapes for the Schmelz Ried Pichl Point Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Weingut Familie Schmelz 2018 were harvested in September. After a slow pressing, the must is fermented in steel tanks. The wine is then aged together with the lees in the same steel tanks that it had been fermented for about three months before bottling.
Il Seggio, Poggio al Tesoro, 2016 (19 EUR/21 USD in Sweden) red dry blend wine, Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (23-12-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
I really do not remember when I last time tasted such a good red wine in this price range from Italy as this one. Unfortunately, nowadays, to be able to enjoy of a good so-called Super Tuscan-red wine from Italy like this one, one has to pay minimum 800 SEK. I take my hat off to both the Systembolaget and the wine importer (Iconic Wines). The wine is austere and nuanced, and it has a really good balance between its fruitiness, tannins, sweetness and acidity. The aroma is big, complex, sweetish, fruity and nuanced. It is filled with sweet spices (cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla), Crème de Cassis, freshly brewed dark roasted coffee, dried fruits and tobacco. The flavour is big, complex, moderate sweet and moderate fruity. It is filled with dark cherries, freshly brewed dark roasted coffee, cocoa-rich dark chocolate, tobacco, sweet spices and Crème de Cassis. Il Seggio Poggio al Tesoro 2016 consists of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. This is a so-called Bordeaux blend. The wine, as this one, with such aroma and flavour richness will fit really well with Pasta Carbonara, made from fresh pasta, or with Lasagne, made from fresh lasagne plates, or with Pizza Capricciosa or with freshly baked baguettes stuffed with butter and garlic with air-dried ham (Jamon Iberico, Jamon Serrano, Prosciutto Crudo or Prosciutto di Parma) or with Camembert cheese or with (Swedish) meatballs with cream sauce and buttery mashed potatoes, without any berry jam. It should be served at 18 to 19°C in Bordeaux glass, if possible, from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel. Another option is to serve it at 16°C (when room temperature is above 20°C or outdoor temperature is above 23°C) and then enjoy it as it begins to open/grow in the glass. Il Seggio Poggio al Tesoro 2016 has a really good aging potential, at least 8 years i.e. until at least 2027. The grapes for the wine are harvested by hand. After very careful selection in both vineyards and wineries, careful destemming and pressing, the wine is fermented/macerated in stainless steel tanks at a temperature between 28 and 30°C for twelve days. After the fermentation and the maceration, the wine is aged in 70% second time filled 225 litres French oak barrels (barriques) and 30% new 225 litres French oak barrels for 70 months and finally in a bottle for a few weeks. The soil on which the grapes for this wine grow consists of gravelly, sandy, silty and clayey soil.
Louis M Martini, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 (28 EUR/31 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, North Coast, California, USA, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (17-11-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
Right now, this wine is the best US-wine under 300 SEK at Systembolaget (a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden). The wine is also one of the best wines from the US that I have tasted in recent years when red wines under 300 SEK are in question. Louis M Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is an austere and nuanced wine. Austere thanks to its wonderful tannin structure and nuanced thanks to its wonderful balance between its tannins, fruitiness and acidity. The aroma is fruity and concentrated with dark roasted coffee, dried blue plums, vanilla, crème de cassis, cedar, blackberry jam, dark chocolate and white pepper. The flavour is austere and fruity with dried blue plums, tobacco, dark cherries, dark chocolate, coffee and white pepper. The wine is really good already, but it will be even better in a few years. It can be aged for 4 more years, i.e. until 2023. Such an austere, nuanced and tannin rich wine as this one will go very well with with grilled fillet of beef/entrecote with café de paris sauce and potato gratin or with reindeer stew with buttery mashed potatoes, or with grilled pork chops with grilled red peppers, red onions, tomatoes and béarnaise sauce or with hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Svecia, Västerbottensost, Parmesan and Grana Padano. Louis M Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 should be served at 18 to 19°C in Bordeaux glasses, if possible, from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel. Another alternative is to serve it at 16°C (when room temperature is over 22°C) and then enjoy it when it starts to grow in the glass. The grapes for Louis M Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon come from several vineyards in the Alexander Valley, but mainly from Barrelli Creek, Frei Ranch, Stefani and Monte Rosso. Taking into account that the grapes for this wine come from several different vineyards, the soil on which the grapes grow is very varied. To preserve the fruit the grapes are picked and sorted by hand early in the morning. Then they are destemmed and pressed gently. The must is first cold-macerated for two days and then fermented in stainless steel tanks under controlled temperature for three weeks. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged in both French and American oak barrels, 50% new, for 16 months and then in bottles for a few more weeks.
More abut wine - Appellations and wines
Appellations and wines, Champagne (20-12-2019 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasson)
Champagne is a French wine region that is known for its sparkling wines. It consists of five wine districts: 1. Aube (also known as the Côte des Bar, 7,721 ha or 23% of the district's area planted with grapes), 2. Côte des Blancs (4,351 ha or 13%), 3. Côte de Sézanne (1,944 ha or 6%), 4. Montagne de Reims (7,959 ha or 24%) and 5. Vallée de la Marne (11,593 ha or 34%). It has 32,173 ha under vine. There are 324 villages in Champagne and all are classified in percentage (80 to 100%) according to Echelle des Crus, where the best vineyards receive 100% of the maximum price for the grapes. The region has 17 Grand Crus-villages, all of which are classified as 100% and all are located in the three most famous wine districts. 9 of those are located in Montagne de Reims, 6 in the Côte des Blancs and 2 in the Vallée de la Marne. The best Chardonnay grapes are grown in Côte des Blancs and many claim that the majority of the best vineyards are lying on the middle slopes of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The best Pinot Noir grapes are grown on the southern slopes of Ambonnay and Bouzy and the northern slopes of Verzenay and Verzy. Champagne annually produces 385 million bottles i.e. the average yield is incredible high, 86 hl/ha.
Champagne grapes, Pinot Noir (13,091 ha, 39%), Pinot Meunier (10,742 ha, 32%) and Chardonnay (9,735 ha, 29%). There are also 91 ha planted with Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.
Champagne grapes, only Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red grapes) and Chardonnay (white grape) are allowed to be used for the production of Champagne.
Champagne soils, 75% of the soils are composed of calcareous soil (chalk, marl and limestone). This type of soil provides good drainage and also explains why certain Champagne wines have a distinct mineral taste. Two different chalks occur: Belemnite chalk and Micraster chalk, where Belemnite chalk, which dominates in most of the Grand Cru-villages, has more lime and thanks to it gives the grapes higher acidity. The chalk acts as a natural reservoir (it holds 300-400 liters of water per cubic meter), which gives the vines enough water even in the driest summers. The effort, which is required from the vines to utilize this water, puts the vines at a moderate water stress during the growing season, helps the grapes to achieve the delicate balance between ripeness, acidity and taste. In some areas of the Champagne region, chalk rich soils give way to areas that have a greater proportion of marl, clay and sand as in the Vallée de la Marne (west of Châtillon-sur-Marne) and in the hills surrounding Reims (Saint-Thierry, Vallée de l'Ardre and Montagne Ouest). The marl dominates in the vineyards of Côte des Bar (Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine). While wine district Aube differs from other districts (areas) by the calcareous soil mixed with clay rich in fossils of small oysters, so-called Kimmeridgian soil.
Champagne the best vintages to date are 1804, 1811, 1825, 1834, 1846, 1858, 1862, 1870, 1874, 1880, 1884, 1892, 1898, 1899, 1914, 1921, 1947, 1949, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1966, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2008 and 2012.
Appellations and wines, Barolo (25-05-2019 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
Barolo is both an Italian DOCG-appellation, which belongs to the Piedmont (Piemonte) wine region, and a DOCG-wine, one of Italy's most exclusive and best red wines. The appellation has 2,161 ha planted with Nebbiolo grapes, which can only be used for Barolo-wines. Barolo extends over 11 municipalities: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Cherasco, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Mora, Monforte d'Alba, Novello, Roddi, Searralunga d'Alba and Verduno; the most known of them are: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, La Mora, Monforte d'Alba and Searralunga d'Alba. The allowed yield is 56 hl/ha, while the average is 48 hl/ha. The minimum age for aging is three years, two of which must be in barrel. Barolo may be designated as Riserva if it was aged in barrel for at least four years. Barolo may be also designated as Riserva Speciale if it was aged in barrel for at least five years. There are two schools: 1. modern school and 2. traditional school. The modern school ferments at a lower temperature and allows the grape skins macerate (i.e. let the grape skins remain in the must and leach) in maximum two weeks. The traditional school ferments at a higher temperature (up to 30ºC) and allows the grape skins macerate for three to four weeks, and ages wines in "botti" for many years (8 to 10 years).
Barolo’s aroma and flavour are complex with blackberries, ripe dark and bright cherries, plums, violets, roses, red currants, liquorice and tar. As the wine matures new aromas and flavours are created as mushrooms, currants, tobacco, leather, decayed leaves, peppery notes and truffles.
Barolo's best vintages to date are 1958, 1971, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2016.
Appellations and wines, Bordeaux (15-02-2018 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
Bordeaux is a French wine region, which is divided into three wine areas. The first wine area is located on the Garonne and Gironde river's left bank and it is called the Left Bank. The second wine area lies between two rivers, the Garonne and Dordogne, and it is called Entre-Deux-Mers, the area "between two seas". The third wine area is located on the Dordogne river's right bank and it is called the Right Bank (also called Libournais). The first wine area (Left Bank) is divided into two wine districts: Medoc and Graves, there also Sauternes and Barsac are embedded. The second wine area (Entre-Duex-Mers) is divided into nine appellations. The third wine area (Right Bank) is divided into whole series of individual appellations, the most famous between them are Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, which together form the Libournais.
Bordeaux's best vintages to date are 1900, 1904, 1906, 1914, 1918, 1924, 1926, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Edi Simcic, Kozana, 2015, white dry wine, Goriska Brda, Primorje, Slovenia, 4,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (95 points of 100 points) (02-01-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
If NJ Wines has to choose two best Chardonnay-wines from all that NJ Wines tasted in 2019 then NJ Wines chooses this wine and Morlet Family Vineyards Ma Princesse 2015. Edi Simcic Kozana 2015 is a big, complex, buttery, flavourful, fresh and concentrated wine with a very long and mineral aftertaste. In both the aroma and the flavour, one finds ripe tropical fruits, nectarines, freshly baked brioche, sweet spices, among which are vanilla most prominent, and minerals. The interaction between the wine's acidity, sweetness, minerality and fruitiness is really good. As with their Sauvignon 2016, which were chosen by NJ Wines as one of the Top 10 Wines of the Year 2019, Aleks and his father Edi with this wine confirm again that they belong to the absolute best wine producers in Slovenia or better to say that they belong to the absolute best wine producers in the whole former Yugoslavia. Aleks and Edi really allow the nature (their grapes and terroir) to "talk" in their wines and it definitely feels when one tastes their wines. In addition, Aleks and Edi create wines with great aging potential that will only get just better over the years. The grapes for the wine are hand harvested. Vines are 23 years old. The soil on which the grapes grow consists of various forms of weathered flysch (called local opoka), which consists of thin and cyclically repeated sedimentary layers of limestone, mudstone and sandstone, and marl (clayey soil that contains plenty of calcium carbonate). The soil such as this is both mineral rich, and has very good drainage properties that means that the vines have to go very deep to find water. A combination of all of the above mentioned factors does that Edi Simcic Kozana 2015 has a clear mineral aroma, flavour and aftertaste. The wine is first macerated for about 2 hours in press and then fermented in 70% used and 30% new 225 litre oak barrels (barriques) from France under a temperature between 22 and 24 degrees for about 25 days. After the fermentation, the wine is aged in the same oak barrels as it had been fermented for about 10 months. After the aging, the wine is bottled and aged for about 12 more months. It should start to drink at about 8°C from large Burgundy glasses, if possible, from Orrefors, Spiegelau or Riedel. It can be enjoyed as a wonderful aperitif or with creamy shellfish and fish gratin or with grilled salmon, if possible, not farmed salmon, with white wine sauce and buttery mashed potatoes or with Bouillabaisse. Edi Simcic Kozana 2015 will develop for at least 10 years, i.e. until at least 2030. I would not be surprised at all if the wine within a few years would reach 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points).
Morlet Family Vineyards, Ma Princesse, 2015, white dry wine, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, North Coast, California, USA, 4,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (95 points of 100 points) (07-12-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
Wow! This wine belongs to one of the most complex, flavourful and concentrated Chardonnay-wines that I have tried so far. Both the wine's aroma and flavour grow/develop in the glass without stopping and its aftertaste lasts forever in the mouth. The interaction between the wine's acidity, sweetness, minerality and fruitiness is fabulous. The aroma is big, concentrated and complex. In it one finds freshly baked brioche, vanilla, yellow pears, tropical fruits, walnuts, yellow apple and minerals (wet stones). The flavour is fruity, big, concentrated and complex. In it one finds citrus fruits, minerals, vanilla, tropical fruits, white pepper, yellow apples and creamy tones. The soil on which Wente Chardonnay-grapes for this wine grow consists of sandy silty clayey soil, sandstone and small volcanic rocks. The Wente Chardonnay, which is a clone of Chardonnay-grape, gives small grapes that both improve the wine's concentration and complexity. The grapes for the wine are hand-harvested and carefully selected during both the harvest and upon arrival at the winery. After the selection, the grapes are pressed very gently and when the pressing is complete, the must is poured into new 225 litre oak barrels from France where the fermentation begins. The fermentation takes place under a controlled temperature around 20 degrees. Only the natural yeast, which comes from vineyards, is used. After the fermentation and the malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged in the same oak barrels as it was fermented for at least 12 months. During the aging, the wine is in contact with its lees (sur lie) and the lees is stirred (bâtonnage). After the aging, the wine is bottled, without filtration, and aged for at least 12 more months. Morlet Family Vineyards Ma Princesse 2015, which is a 100% Chardonnay-wine, will be developed for at least 10 more years i.e. until at least 2029. It should be drunk at about 8°C from large Burgundy glasses from Orrefors, Spiegelau or Riedel. It can be enjoyed as a wonderful aperitif or with grilled salmon, if possible, not farmed salmon, with white wine sauce and buttery mashed potatoes or with Bouillabaisse or with a creamy seafood and fish gratin. With this wine, Luc Morlet proves again that his wines are impossible to characterize because they all are truly unique and stand out from all possible wine norms and frames. It is really wonderful that we have a such unique and brilliant wine producer as Luc Morlet, but unfortunately there are extremely few of them in today's wine world.