The wine of the month, 2019, part 2
July 2019: Enjingi, Venje, Bijelo, 2006, white dry blend wine, Kutjevo, Slavonia, Croatia, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) (07-07-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
That a white wine can be so complex and concentrated and have such a good tannin structure is absolutely incredible. On the side of the wine's pre-mentioned complexity, concentration and tannin structure, the wine's minerality and extremely long aftertaste stand out. 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 13 years old, but shows no signs of such ages, on the contrary it shows a really good acidity, a really good tannin structure, a really good concentration and a really good complexity. In addition, the wine never stops growing/developing in the glass. The aroma is big, complex, floral, creamy and feels almost a little perfumed. In the aroma, one will find white flowers, roses, vanilla and other sweet spices, honey, dried fruits, yellow apples, yellow pears, honey melon and freshly baked brioche. The flavour is even more complex, floral, creamy and perfumed than the aroma, as well as fresh and mineral rich. In the flavour, one will find minerals, honey, sweet spices, peaches, apricots, yellow pears, yellow apples, honey melons, dried fruits, orange peel, grapefruit and lime. Thanks to its complexity, acidity and tannin structure, Enjingi Venje Bijelo 2006 fits almost any food. Here are some suggestions: chicken soup, grilled salmon with white wine sauce and boiled fresh small potatoes (my favourite food with Venje), grilled corn chicken or grilled pork chops with grilled red peppers, grilled tomatoes, grilled zucchini, potato croquettes and bearnaise sauce and Bouillabaisse. Regardless that the wine already has 13 years, it has a great aging potential, at least 10 years (2029). 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. Most recently, the wine was produced in 2008 and before that, 2006, 2003, 2002 and 1998. The quantities are very limited.
June 2019: Merryvale Vineyards, Profile, 2015, red dry blend wine, Napa Valley, North Coast, California, USA, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (12-05-2019 by Nenad Jelisic and Robert Jonasson)
Profile 2015 is a wine that makes you happy when you taste it. It is hard to stop smiling when one has smelled and tasted the wine. The wine really shows how high class Merryvale Vineyards winemaking and vineyards holds. The aroma is very complex with blackcurrants, dark cherries, dark chocolate and a hint of cedar and roasted coffee beans. The flavour is long and elegant with a velvety tannin structure, in combination with a good acidity. A very well-balanced wine where the aftertaste remains for a long time. This wine is great to drink now and will benefit from decanting. Those who really want to enjoy how the wine develops in the glass, it is recommended not to decant it. The wine will continue to develop for at least 10 years in the wine cellar i.e. until 2029. Merryvale Vineyards Profile 2015 goes very well with grilled lamb chops with buttery mashed potatoes and red wine sauce or with a classic Coeur de filet Provencale with pan-fried potatoes with garlic or with different types of hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Svecia, Västerbottensost, Parmesan and Grana Padano. Drink the wine at 18°C in real Bordeaux glasses, if possible, from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel. The grapes for the Merryvale Vineyards Profile 2015 come from a steep part of the Profile Estate Vineyard, which is located in the eastern corner of St. Helena appellation (AVA). The wine is produced from a blend of grapes of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are hand-harvested at night in order to them will come in the winery early in the morning and as fresh as possible. The grapes are sorted by hand. Each part of the vineyard is fermented separately in small tanks. After that the wine has been fermented and macerated for 15 days, it is racked to oak barrels where malolactic fermentation takes place and then a 26-month long aging. 80% of the oak barrels consist of new French oak barrels. After the aging, the wine is bottled without fining and filtration.
May 2019: Nederburg, Noble Late Harvest, 2018 (9 EUR/10 USD in Sweden; 375 ml) white sweet blend wine, Western Cape, South Africa, 4,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (95 points of 100 points) (04-05-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2018 is the best sweet wine that I have tasted so far from South Africa. If NJ Wines had a point scale between 4,5 NJP and 5,0 NJP, this wine would have gotten 4,7 NJP of 5,0 NJP i.e. 97 points or 100 points. The wine is also one of the best wines made of noble rot’s (Botrytis cinerea) attacked grapes that I have tasted. I am very surprised that South Africa can make such an excellent wine of the noble rot’s attacked grapes, a wine that is better than most similar wines from Sauternes in France. I am even more surprised that such an extraordinarily good wine can cost just 99 SEK (9 EUR/10 USD). The aroma of the wine is very sweet, complex and nuanced. Citrus fruits, raisins, dried apricots, honey, orange peel and orange marmalade appear clearly in it. The flavour of the wine is very sweet, complex, fresh and nuanced. Citrus fruits, honey, orange marmalade, orange peel, dried apricots and raisins appear clearly in it. Balance between the sweetness and the acidity cannot be better. The aftertaste is wonderful, both sweet and sour. Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2018 should be drunk at 8°C from Riedel Vinum Extreme Rose/Icewine or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir. The wine will fit really well with a fruit salad consisting of fine chopped kiwi, orange, green sweet seedless grapes, passion fruit, mango and pear or with cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton or with butter fried goose liver or with less sweet American apple pie. Or just enjoy it without any food at all. The grapes for the wine come from vineyards in Durbanville and Paarl. The vineyards are located at a height of between 120 and 160 meters above sea level. The vines were planted there between 1984 and 1993. Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2018 consists of four grapes: 48% Chenin Blanc, 30% Muscat de Frontignan, 18% Grasa de Cotnari and 4% Riesling. The grapes may hang well beyond their maturity whereupon the noble rot (Botrytis cinerea) attacks the grapes. The noble rot’s attack causes water in the grape to evaporate while sweetness, acidity and flavours get a higher concentration. The noble rot’s attacked grapes are harvested/destemmed and selected by hand in the field. After the harvest, the grapes are delivered to the winery and pressed. Then the must is fermented at 16°C in stainless steel tanks for six weeks. Then the wine is aged, for a few weeks, in the same stainless steel tanks that it had been fermented in. After bottling, the wine is aged for a few more weeks. Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2018 can be aged for at least 6 years i.e. until at least 2025.