The wine of the month, 2019, part 1
December 2019: 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.
November 2019: 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.
October 2019: Morlet Family Vineyards, Force de la Nature, 2014, red dry wine, Oakville, Napa Valley, North Coast, California, USA, 4,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (95 points of 100 points) (06-10-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
As usual, Luc Morlet goes outside of all reference frames. This time with this wonderful 100% Cabernet Franc. Regardless of that I have been tasting a lot of Cabernet Franc-wines over the past 30 years, Luc Morlet proved to me that his version of Cabernet Franc-wine belongs to a completely different category of Cabernet Franc-wines. To the category of powerful, austere and nuanced wines where none of the other Cabernet Franc-wines, which I have been tasted before, had been categorized. Freshly ground dark roasted coffee, black pepper, tobacco, cocoa-rich dark chocolate, dried green spices and dried fruits appear clearly in the aroma. While cocoa-rich dark chocolate, black pepper, tobacco, dark berries and dried green spices appear clearly in the flavour. The wine's rock hard tannin structure, really good acidity, good concentration and fruitiness signals that Force de la Nature 2014 will develop for at least 15 years more, i.e. until at least 2034. For that one should fully experience this wonderful wine one should drink it with a calorie and flavour rich pizzas such as Capricciosa with extra ingredients such as black olives, red onions, finely sliced beef fillets and finely grated Parmesan cheese or with grilled beef fillet/entrecôte 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, yellow onions, tomatoes and béarnaise sauce or with pasta Carbonara. Force de la Nature 2014 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 20°C or outdoor temperature is over 23°C) and then enjoy it when it starts to grow in the glass. If the wine would be drank today, it should be decanted for an hour. The grapes for the wine are harvested by hand. After very careful selection in both vineyards and winery, careful destemming and pressing, the wine is fermented/macerated in stainless steel tanks and puncheons (454 litres oak barrels). Only the natural yeast, which comes from the vineyards, is used. After the fermentation and the maceration, the wine is aged in new puncheons for 16 months and finally in a bottle for a few weeks. The wine is not filtered. The soil on which the grapes for this wine grow consists of gravelly, sandy, silty and clayey soil. Taking into account everything that was written before, Force de la Nature 2014 has a good potential to reach 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) within a few years. But even then, it will be a unique Cabernet Franc-wine. Bravo Luc Morlet!
September 2019: Steyer, Kraljevo vino, Diseci Traminec, Ledeno vino, 2011, white sweet wine, Stajerska, Slovenia, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) (2019-09-01 by Nenad Jelisic)
Wow, what the wine! This is probably the world's best ice wine made of Gewurztraminer, and the Steyer winery is probably the world's best producer of ice wines made of Gewurztraminer. In any case, I have never tasted better ice wines made of Gewurztraminer than those from the Steyer winery and I have tasted many. So far, the winery has produced only six vintages of this fabulous wine: 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2011. Three of these (1999, 2001 and 2011) have been tasted by NJ Wines and all have got NJP 5,0 of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points). Bravo Steyer! Balance between the sweetness and the acidity is absolutely incredible in this vintage. It was a pure joy to taste/drink this fantastic wine. Steyer Kraljevo vino Diseci Traminec Ledeno vino 2011 has at least a 30 years long aging potential, i.e. until at least 2049. Note that it is already 8 years old. The aftertaste is extremely long, better to say, it almost never disappears from the mouth. Very sweet, extremely complex, honey-like and mineral-like, almost salty, flavour with dried fruits, citrus fruits, orange peel and sweet spices. An explosion of aroma of incredible complexity with honey, sweet spices, raisins, dried figs, orange peel, citrus fruits and yellow pears. Kraljevo vino Diseci Traminec Ledeno vino 2011 should be enjoyed with grilled goose liver, which is the best combination with the wine, or with fruit salad consisting of orange, white grapes, mango, kiwi and a little of this wine or with tasty cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton or without any food at all, just enjoy its enormous complexity, taste and aroma. It should be drank at 8°C from Riedel Vinum Extreme Rose/Ice wine or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir. The soil on which the grapes for the wine grow consists of marl (a clayey soil that contains a lot of lime). The grapes are harvested, destemmed and sorted by hand. Then they are pressed very slowly and very gently for a three-day period. The fermentation takes place in old oak barrels from France, which hold 200 to 300 litres, over a two-month period and a controlled temperature of 12 and 15°C. The aging takes place in the same oak barrels as the fermentation has been done for a period of 24 to 36 months. The harvest usually takes place during the month of January. According to the Slovenian rules, the temperature must be at least minus 7°C, three days in a row, before the harvest may begin. This vintage began to be harvested in January, after the temperature was under minus 12°C, three days in a row. The wine is only produced during exceptional years and in very small quantities. Only 933 0,375 litre bottles were produced of this vintage. Finally, and not least, Kraljevo vino means Royal wine, Diseci Traminec means Gewurztraminer and Ledeno vino means Ice wine.