The wine of the month, 2020, part 1
September 2020: Sankt Anna, Riesling, 2019 (9 EUR/10 USD in Sweden) white semi-sweet wine, Germany, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (07-09-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
Here we have a really good Riesling-wine from the wine region of Pfalz in Germany. One of the best that NJ Wines has tasted so far from Germany this year. Its high sugar content, 31 grams per liter, is very well met by its high acidity. Thanks to it, it does not taste as a semi-sweet wine, it tastes more as a semi-dry wine. The wine is characterized by a clear aroma of passion fruit, nectarines, yellow apples, yellow pears, honey and citrus fruits. When it comes to taste, the wine is characterized by yellow pears, yellow apples, grapefruit, honey, nectarines, minerals and other citrus fruits in addition to grapefruit. It has no aging potential. And even if it had an aging potential, it could not be further aged because of the stupid screw cap. But, if you age it properly (right temperature, right humidity and dark space), you can drink it for 3 more years until 2023. Sankt Anna Riesling 2019 will fit really well as a companion wine when it has cooled down to 6°C. When it comes to food, drink it also cooled to 6°C with seafood salad (dill, mayonnaise, crème fraiche, very little freshly squeezed lemon juice and different types of seafood like shrimps or crayfish or lobsters or crabs or all together) or with stir-fried red curry chicken (red curry, coconut milk, thinly sliced chicken thigh fillets, red pepper, zucchini, yellow onion and bamboo shoots) with jasmine rice or with butter-fried cod fillet with buttery mashed potatoes, with a little truffle oil in it, and white wine sauce or with fried tiger prawns with sweet and sour sauce. Sankt Anna Riesling 2019 should be drunk from Riesling-glasses such as Difference Crisp from Orrefors or Veritas from Riedel or Esprit from Peugeot or Atelier from Luigi Bormioli. The soil in the vineyards for the wine consists of shale. 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 mass, which consists of pulps, 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 grape juice 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.
August 2020: Graham's, Late Bottled Vintage, 2014 (15 EUR/18 USD in Sweden) port wine, Porto, Douro, Portugal, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (07-08-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
I do not remember when I last tasted such a good Graham's Late Bottled Vintage-port wine like this. Although the 2014 vintage was not so good, Graham's managed to make a really good port wine. The wine has a wonderful very sweet aroma that is filled with Crème de Cassis, dried red grapes, dried dates, dried figs, freshly ground coffee, black pepper, cocoa-rich dark chocolate, tobacco and sweet spices. Very sweet flavour that is filled with dried black cherries, Crème de Cassis, rum raisins, black pepper, sweet spices, tobacco, cocoa-rich dark chocolate, dried figs and dried dates. The balance between the wine's sweetness and the wine's acidity/tannins is fabulous. If the wine's flavour would be as good as its aroma, it would get 5,0 NJP out of 5,0 NJP. It has a really good aging potential, at least 10 years, i.e. until at least 2030, and will during these years reach 4,0 NJP or even more. The wine is a blend of four different grape varieties: Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Barroca. The wine's production process is as follows: the grapes are harvested and selected by hand, after the harvest, the grapes are delivered to the winery where they are destemmed and then placed in the low stone tanks (lagares) where they are treaded (crushed) by mechanized feet. After the destemming and crushing process, the grape must, which consists of pulp, skins and seeds, is fermented 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 separated from the grape must and aged in large oak barrels 5 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. 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 wine will brilliantly fit with a lot of different cheeses like Castello Blue, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Roquefort, Stilton, 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 Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 2014 at 8°C (unlike what most of wine websites recommend) and let it slowly grows/opens in the glass while you drink it. If you can drink it from Riedel Vinum Port or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir.
July 2020: Alburejo, Oloroso, NV (8 EUR/9 USD in Sweden; 375 ml) white dry sherry, Jerez, Spain, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (05-07-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
Finally, a Sherry Oloroso-wine that impresses. The last time I tasted such a good Sherry Oloroso-wine was several years ago. In the aroma one will find raisins, cinnamon, walnuts, dried figs and burnt sugar. The flavour is fresh and a little salty. In it one will find roasted sugar, walnuts, citrus fruits, dried figs, green apples, cinnamon and raisins. Alburejo Oloroso NV is made of 100% Palomino Fino (green grape), which according to Spanish law must come from the triangle shaped area between Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María in Spain. The grapes for this Sherry Oloroso-wine are grown on three types of soil: the first type, which is almost white and called albariza, consists of 50% of lime and the rest of clay, limestone and sand, the second type, which is dark brown and called barros, consists to 10% of lime and the rest is dominated by clay and the third type, which is yellowish and called arenas, consists to 10% of lime and the rest is dominated by sand. The wine's production process is as follows: the grapes are harvested in the beginning September, after the harvest, the grapes are quickly delivered to the winery, so that oxidation does not destroy the grapes, where they are destemmed and gently pressed, the pressed grape must, from the first pressing, is fermented in stainless steel tanks until the fermentation process is complete, the finished fermented dry wine with an alcohol strength of 11-12% is fortified with strong grape spirit to around 18% and then it undergoes at least 10 years long solera-process. Solera-process means that 4 to 7 layers of 600 litres oak barrels lie on each other. The oak barrels at the bottom contain the oldest wines and it is from those that the wine is bottled. After the wine has been taken out of the bottom oak barrels, the same amount (maximum 33% per year) is filled from the oak barrels that are closest to the above and so on. The higher alcohol content of the wine prevents layer of flor (a skin of yeast) from forming. Note here that wines which are aged in oak barrels that form layer of flor do not come into contact with oxygen and therefore become drier than wines that have not formed layer of flor, and come into contact with oxygen. Alburejo Oloroso NV little salty and very long and fresh aftertaste makes it fit really well as an aperitif. I guarantee that soon after you have drunk it you will be craving for food. Cool it down to 8°C and then enjoy it while complexity grows in your glass over time. Drink it, if possible, from Orrefors Elixir Connaisseur or Riedel Sommeliers Sherry or Spiegelau Willsberger Anniversary. When food is in question, I recommend cold cuts or breaded cod or breaded oysters or breaded shrimps or breaded plaice or all kinds of tapas or creamy lobster soup. The wine will not develop further, but thanks to its complexity and acidity, it will be good to drink for many years to come.
June 2020: Il Seggio, Poggio al Tesoro, 2017 (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) (07-06-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
The last time I tasted such a good red wine in this price range from Italy as this was in December 2019 when I tasted Il Seggio Poggio al Tesoro 2016. This vintage is much closer to 4,0 NJP than the vintage 2016 thanks to a better tannin structure and a better balance. 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 2017 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 2017 has a really good aging potential, at least 8 years i.e. until at least 2028. 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.