The wine of the month, 2018, part 2
August 2018: Churchill's, Late Bottled Vintage, 2013 (18 EUR/22 USD in Sweden) port wine, Porto, Portugal, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (04-08-2018 by Nenad Jelisic)
It is very impressive that both the previous vintage (2012) and this vintage got 4,0 NJP. It happens extremely rarely. What also impresses with this port wine is that it comes from a not so good vintage. The wine is a blend of six different grape varieties: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. The wine's production process is as follows: the grapes are harvested by hand, after the harvest, the grapes are delivered to the winery, destemmed and placed in the low stone tanks (lagares) where they are treaded by mechanized feet, then the must is fermented together with the skins in the stone tanks until it has an alcohol strength of 6 to 8% when it is fortified to 19 to 21% with 77% grape spirit. Then the wine is aged in large oak barrels 4 years before it is released on the market. With Late Bottled Vintage, it is meant that the port wine comes from a single vintage and that has been aged in oak barrels between 4 and 6 years. Churchill's Late Bottled Vintage 2013 can be aged between 3 and 10 years. The aging will only make it more complex and irresistible to drink. Do not worry about the sediment of the wine in the second to last or the last glass. The sediment only shows that the producer has not filtered the wine at all. The aroma is filled with figs, rum raisins, black pepper, sweet spices, crème de casis, dried plums and dark chocolate. The flavour is filled with raisins, white pepper, figs, dates, dark chocolate and sweet spices. The aftertaste is very long, with sweet flavours in wonderful interplay with the bitter ones. The acidity balances the sweetness. The wine will brilliantly fit with a lot of different cheeses like Castello Blue, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, Parmigiano Reggiano and Västerbotten. Or with less sweet cherry pie, blueberry pie and apple pie or with cocoa rich dark chocolate or with pancakes filled with Nutella, very fine grated dark chocolate and walnuts or with Swedish kladdkaka, but so little sweet as possible. Or just enjoy it without any food. I recommend that you start to drink this wonderful port wine at 8°C (unlike what most of wine websites and the manufacturer itself recommend) and let it slowly grows/opens in the glass while you drink it. If you can drink Churchill's Late Bottled Vintage 2013 from Riedel Vinum Port or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir.
July 2018: Real Tesoro del Principe, Amontillado, NV (8 EUR/10 USD in Sweden; 375 ml) white dry sherry, Jerez, Spain, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (08-07-2018 by Nenad Jelisic)
This sherry has everything I expect that a dry sherry should have. Complexity, a real good appetizing acid, good saltiness and a long aftertaste that remains forever in the mouth. It is made from Palomino Fino (green grape), which under Spanish law, must come from the triangular area between Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María in Spain. The sherry production process goes as follows: the grapes are harvested in early September, to avoid that oxidation destroys the grapes, the grapes are delivered quickly to the winery after the harvest, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed, the pressed must, from the first pressing, is fermented, in stainless steel tanks, until the fermentation process is completed, the finished fermented dry wine with an alcoholic strength of 11-12% is strengthened with strong wine spirits to 15-19% and then undergoes solera process. A veil of flor (a film of yeast) is formed in some oak barrels during the solera process (during aging) and in some not. The wine, which is aged in the oak barrels and has formed the veil of flor, will not come in contact with oxygen, and, therefore, will be drier than the wine that has not formed the veil of flor, will come in contact with oxygen. Real Tesoro del Principe Amontillado has been aged under the veil of flor over 8 years and then without the veil of flor at least 8 more years. In both the smell (the nose) and the taste (the palate) come clearly dried figs, apricot, orange and grapes; roasted nuts and burnt sugar. I know that most of you who will read this review will be questioning because it is about a dry sherry, but please give this sherry a chance and I promise you will not regret it. Real Tesoro del Principe Amontillado will fit extremely well as an aperitif. Cool it down to 8°C and then enjoy it while complexity grows in your glass in the meantime. I guarantee that shortly after you have drunk it, you will be hungry for food. When food is in question, I recommend cold cuts or breaded cod or breaded oysters or breaded shrimp or breaded plaice or all kinds of tapas or creamy lobster soup.
June 2018: Palmer & Co, Vintage Brut, 2012 (36 EUR/42 USD in Sweden) white dry blend sparkling wine, Champagne, France, 3,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (03-06-2018 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
The cooperative Palmer & Co succeeds with something that very few cooperatives in the wine world manage to do i.e. to produce high quality wines (champagnes) from year to year. The quality of Palmer & Co's Vintage Brut 2012 is at least as high as in vintage 2008 and 2009. Even though a champagne from vintage 2012 is considered a relatively young wine, Palmer Vintage Brut 2012 surprises with a mature, complex and fruity aroma and flavour. The wine’s aroma is characterized by nougat, yellow apples, citrus fruits and honey. The wine is well balanced and has a flavour of yellow apples, citrus fruits, mineral and a light salty feeling. It has a delicious creamy mousse and a long aftertaste with a tone of grapefruit that contributes to the complexity of the wine. If one wants to remark something, the acidity of the wine is pretty low which means that it should be drunk during next 2 years (2019-2020). The wine is perfect for drinking as aperitif. Of course, the wine suits perfectly with a Swedish classic Toast Skagen or with a Belgian classic Moules-Frites (white wine cooked mussels and double-fried fries). The wine should be drunk at 8°C, if possible, in real champagne glasses from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel. Palmer & Co Vintage Brut is produced of a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay. It is both fermented (the first fermentation) and malolactic fermented (the second fermentation) in temperature-controlled steel tanks. And finally, it is fermented in bottles (the third fermentation, the carbon dioxide generating fermentation). Palmer & Co ages their vintage wines between 6 and 8 years. Vintage wines of magnum size are aged between 10 and 12 years.
May 2018: Charles Heidsieck, Brut Réserve, NV (43 EUR/52 USD in Sweden) white dry blend sparkling wine, Reims, Champagne, France, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (06-05-2018 by Nenad Jelisic)
NJ Wines chose this champagne as the best champagne of 2014 and 2015. Now, NJ Wines argues that at the moment, and it has been that for quite some time, this champagne is the world's most priceworthy champagne. Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. That Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve has such a high quality can be explained by that as much as 40% of reserve wine (the oldest of them 20 years old) is used to it, which is unique to champagne in this price range. As far as I know that it is just Krug Grand Cuvée, which costs three times as much, that uses about the same amount of reserve wine (30 to 50%). Here we talk about a real complex and sophisticated champagne that should be drunk to all the great celebrations (New Year's Eve, weddings, birthdays, etc.), or when you want to reward yourself and your loved one after a heavy working week or when you just want to enjoy life. Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve has a complex and rich flavour of toasted bread, roasted nuts and ripe fruit (yellow apples and yellow pears). To this rich and complex flavour comes to the fresh tones of citrus, good minerality and a real long finish. It fits very well as an aperitif or with (a little) tandoori spiced and fried in butter, and with a little champagne in a few seconds cooked, scallops. Obviously that this brilliant champagne also fits perfectly to grilled salmon with white wine sauce and small boiled potatoes or a classic shrimp sandwich. The wine is in perfect condition now and will not win with aging. It should be drunk at 8°C, if possible, in real champagne glasses from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel.