The wine of the month, 2018, part 1
December 2018: Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, Pol Roger, 2006 (142 EUR/165 USD in Sweden) white dry blend sparkling wine, Champagne, France, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (01-12-2018 by Robert Jonasson)
Christmas and New Year Eve is coming soon, and NJ Wines suggests that you buy a very nice and tasty Christmas gift for you and your dear ones. The choice cannot be better than spending the money on the very good champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006 from the reliable champagne producer Pol Roger in Épernay. As the name indicate, this is a champagne to honor Sir Winston Churchill. If you did not know Churchill was a great lover of champagne and, among other things, he said "Champagne should be cold, dry and free." Pol Roger's prestige champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is only produced during the best vintage and is always a wine of even and high quality. The vintage of 2006 is undoubtedly one of the best vintages of the wine that NJ Wines have tasted so far. The wine has a deep golden color. The aroma is initially a little bit shy but grows, with a little time in the glass, into a complex and very elegant. At first, it is primarily mineral tones and citrus that dominate the aroma. After a while, the aroma grows in complexity and becomes a little smoky with tones of nougat, hazelnuts and toasted bread. The long delicious taste is dry, fresh and elegant with a creamy mousse. In the taste one will find mineral, yellow apples, citrus, hazelnuts and toasted bread. The well-balanced wine has a high acidity and a very long aftertaste. Serve Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill with a delicious snack such as homemade small bagels (other types of bread can be used as well) filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia-cream cheese. Another perfect combination is butter fried cod fillets topped with small pieces of oven-dried Prosciutto di Parma that is served with almond potatoes purée and white wine sauce. Serve the wine at 8°C and let the temperature rise a couple of degrees while the wine is aired in the glass. The wine should, if possible, be served in wide, tulip-shaped glasses from Riedel Sommelier, Orrefors Difference or similar. This wine should not be served in narrow champagne glasses, so-called champagne flute, because the wine’s aromas appears much better in a wider glass. The wine can be aged for at least 5 years to round off the acidity and get a little more complexity in flavour and aroma. The main part of the grapes in the wine is Pinot Noir which is balanced with Chardonnay. The exact grape blend for Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is a well-preserved family secret. The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled steel tanks. Grapes from the different villages are fermented separately. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation before the final blending. Then the wine is fermented in bottle and aged in the deepest of Pol Roger's cellars (33 m below ground) in Épenay. For Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, remauge (gradual tilting of the bottle neck down, meanwhile the bottle is rotated clockwise and anti-clockwise) is done by hand. To do remauge by hand is something that is very rare in Champagne today.
November 2018: Biecher, Riesling, Réserve, 2017 (9 EUR/10 USD in Sweden) white dry wine, Alsace, France, 3,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (80 points of 100 points) (01-11-2018 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
This is a nice Riesling! Why should it be so difficult to find wines like this at the Systembolaget (a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden)? It is always fun when one finds such a wine. This is an easy drinking, food-friendly and good wine. Biecher Riesling Réserve 2017 is a dry and fresh wine with a big fruity aroma. In the aroma, green apples, peach, honey and citrus are found. The wine has a good balance between fruit and acidity and a long lovely flavour with tones of apple, citrus, peach and little mineral. The wine has a high acidity that makes it very refreshing. The wine should be drunk at 8 to 10°C from Riesling glasses as Difference Crisp from Orrefors or Veritas from Riedel or Esprit from Peugeot or Atelier from Luigi Bormioli. A perfect match for the wine is to serve it with Alsace's most famous dish; choucroute. Choucroute is a rich dish with sauerkraut (preferably cooked in duck fat), boiled potatoes, sausages, pork and other salty meat. Another serving suggestion is home-made vegetarian sourdough pizza topped with a little crème fraiche, to response the wine’s acidity. The wine is young, but it is still recommended to drink it within the next 2 years. The Biecher family has been active in Alsace since 1762 and is today one of the five largest producers in the region. The winery for this wine and the producer's other wines is located in the small village of Saint-Hippolyte in Alsace. Jean Biecher’s Alsace wines are known to be very classic and typical of origin in style and that they truly reflect the unique of the Alsace region. The same goes for Biecher Riesling Réserve 2016. The soils in the vineyards for the wine consists of limestone and silicon mixed soil. The grapes are handpicked and selected in field, then they are pressed and then they are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. After that, the wine is aged, for a few months before bottling, in the same stainless steel tanks in which it had been yeasted.
October 2018: Moët & Chandon, Grand Vintage, 2009 (48 EUR/56 USD in Sweden) white dry blend sparkling wine, Champagne, France, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (06-10-2018 by Robert Jonasson)
Moët & Chandon's standard champagne Brut Impérial does not belong to my personal favorites and therefore it is extra fun to note that their wine Grand Vintage 2009 is something completely different. The Grand Vintage 2009 is a delicious, flirty and complex wine with some maturity flavors. The aroma is big and fruity (yellow apples, peach and citrus fruits) with roasted bread, honey and nougat. In the aroma there is also a touch of smoke that contributes to the complexity. The flavour is rich and powerful with apple and honey tones. The wine has a well-balanced acidity and a long aftertaste with a hint of grapefruit. It is an easy drinking champagne (in a positive sense). Grand Vintage 2009 is a Pinot Noir dominated champagne, which makes it a brilliant food wine. It will fit absolutely brilliant with a creamy mushroom soup with flakes of oven dried Serrano ham on the top. Another great combination with this wine is Salad Nicoise. The wine should be served at 8 till 10°C in good champagne glasses with a generous cup from e.g. Riedel, Spiegelau, Orrefors or Kosta Boda. Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2009 is a lovely wine today, but it can be aged for at least 5 more years. Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage is the chief wine maker’s (Chef de Cave), Benôit Gouez, personal and completely free interpretation of every vintage’s quality and expression. The vintage 2009 is the 73rd vintage of Grand Vintage. It is produced of a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Meunier. Not since the vintage 1996, the proportion of Pinot Noir has been so high in Grand Vintage. The dosage is 5 g/l. The wine had been aged for 7 years in Moët & Chandon's wine cellar before it was disgorged. After the disgorgement, the wine had been aged another 6 months before it was released on the market.
September 2018: Oinoz, Prestigio, 2009 (11 EUR/13 USD in Sweden) red dry wine, Castilla y León, Spain, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (01-09-2018 by Nenad Jelisic)
This is undoubtedly the most tannin rich Tempranillo-wine that I have tried so far. If you like soft and berry wines, such as Beaujolais-wines, or traditional Rioja-wines, this wine is definitely not for you. But if you like wines with very good tannin structure and tannins that almost never disappear from your mouth, this wine is a dream wine for you. Like the tannins, the acidity of the wine feels very clear in the mouth. It requires food! A lot of food! Clear flavour of a very cocoa rich dark chocolate, white pepper, dark sour cherry, tobacco, espresso and dried blue plum. Clear aroma of sweet spices, tobacco, dried blue plums, dried figs and coffee. The grapes (100% Tempranillo) are harvested by hand, which is impressive with consideration taken to the wine's price range (under 11 EUR/13 USD). After that the grapes have been carefully selected in field and wine cellar, they are destemmed and crushed very gently. The crushed mass (must) consisting of grape juice, pulp, skins and seeds is pumped into vats of stainless steel where it is cold macerated for three to five days and then fermented for about two weeks. After the fermentation, the fermented wine is aged for up to 14 months in American and French barriques (225 litres). The wine has reached the top, but it will live a few more years. Oinoz Prestigio 2009 will fit absolutely brilliant with pasta carbonara or with boeuf bourguignon (Burgundian beef stew) or with hunter’s stew or with creamy and tasty lasagne or with chilli con carne (not too spicy) or with reindeer stew with fresh tagliatelle pasta. Expect some variation between bottles i.e. the wine can vary from 2,5 to 3,5 NJP. I hope that you taste a 3,5 NJP bottle. Drink the wine at about 18°C from large Bordeaux glass, if possible, from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel.