WINE OF THE WEEK #103
we continue our research on Champagne, which has been absolutely fantastic so far, with a bottle from Georges Sohet & Fils - Brut NV.
As you can see on the label, it says that they have been making wine, or at least producing grapes since 1659. Their vineyards, only 4 hectares!!, are premier cru vineyards and during history they have often been offered a lot of money by the big champagne houses to produce grapes for them or to sell their vineyards.
However, as well as all the wines I have selected for you this month, they rejected to “cash-out” and continued producing grapes and producing wines. It’s so nice to have such a small production that lasts that long and still puts quality up front. A sign of pure passion!
And what’s even more interesting, is that their wines never made it to a wine shop. They still sell everything to local clients or to contacts they build up during their long history of wine making. However, in Belgium, Johan Rosius from Wineshare succeeded in being the first retailer to be allowed to put their wines on the shelves.
Georges Sohet is located, as wine #101 and #102, in the “Montagne de Reims” area in a small village left to Mailly, called Ludes le Coquet. (The “Montagne de Reims” area contains almost all Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards…)
This cuvée is a selection of 25% Pinot Noir , 35% Pinot Meunier and 40% Chardonnay. So for the first time, I’m going to taste a wine that has a higher percentage of white grapes. I expect more freshness and focus, a bit less creamy bread in the nose and less fat in the mouth. But let’s see if what I think is true!
The wine looks the same as the previous 2 champagnes, but does not at all have those orange-copper shades when you play with the glass. The wine keeps its golden color, has nice small bubbles although they look a bit rougher than #102. But all in all, my glass looks very much alive and ready to be tasted.
Oysters! Oysters! Wine is so surprising.
This nose really gives me those milky creamy notes up front, with some citrus and sea water. Once you get beyond this lovely note, there are also peaches and butter cake. Overall, the nose is really really delicate and soft. It’s a bit shy but very beautiful.
As on the nose, the wine feels a bit closed and lacks some confidence to show what he’s got. The mousse is very nice though, with great acidity and notes of ripe apple, citrus and white chocolate.
On the finish, the wine evolves nicely towards something I would describe as a dessert with cake, whipped cream, almonds and some lemon zest.
I have to give this wine the place and review he deserves. Compared to the 2 previous wines, my opinion says that this wine “underperforms” a little bit. It tastes like a 23 year old blond girl, while wine #101 tasted like a rough young man and wine #102 like a 50 year old gentleman in perfect shape with a beard.
When it comes to champagne, I like to chew on my wine and I prefer to eat it and not drink it. So, I prefer the 50 year old gentleman.
However, If you are looking for elegance and finesse, than I guess you should go for this wine. It is very delicious, soft, breakable and the perfect aperitif or companion for seafood.
A straight gold medal, but not my preferred one on the list.
WINE OF THE WEEK #102
Yes yes oh yay!
This bottle of champagne, the cuvée Grand Cru from Trichet-Didier, is very special to me and I’ll explain you why.
This summer, my family and I went to Priorat to have a relaxing summer holiday, but because it was such a long drive home from Spain to Belgium, we decided to make a stop in Champagne and stay overnight. After asking around, a great tip was given to us : “You should stay at Trichet-Didier, they have stunning wines and Pierre and his wife are super friendly!” … and so we did.
The moment we arrived we could pick a bottle, any bottle we liked, to open up as a welcome gift. I made a small chat with the winemaker, Pierre Trichet, and explained him my preference for round champagnes with a lot of crunchy bread. No question that I had to pick the Grand Cru wine, he said, because the Pinot Noir from this vineyard will give you everything that you are looking for.
So we sat at the table, made the bottle pop and we took our first sip … and went silent. Our eyes started looking for each other and none of us wanted to say it, but this wine was so delicious! And after sitting in the car for over 10 hours, it was the best thing that could happen to us all.
After a great diner and a good night sleep, we got invited to visit the cellars and taste all the other wines. Then, I discovered that all their wines were actually pretty amazing and they are all priced between 12 and 16 euros. Isn’t that what we all are looking for?
(Pierre Trichet in the cellar.)
As I explained in my previous post, there are only 17 villages where Grand Cru vineyards are located, and the grapes for this 100% pinot noir wine come from the village of Verzy in the eastern part of the “Montagne de Reims” region close to Verzenay. The wine has had 4 years of storage in the cellar before the “dégorgement” so the yeasts that stayed in the bottle during the second fermentation had a pretty long time to grow some nice aroma’s.
I’ve been waiting for such a long time to taste this wine again, so I’m not going to hold us up any longer!
If you look at the glass horizontally, the wine has a golden color. But once you start looking at it from an angle, there are all kinds of brown-bronze-orange shades that appear. It reminds me a bit of a yellow to brown autumn forest.
The nose surprises me a lot. Next to citrus notes, I get a good bunch of ripe apples and dried figs, and I also smell acaï berries and raspberries. These red fruits make the experience on the nose very varied and interesting. It’s almost like a cocktail with 2 ingredients: they both enhance each other and in the end you cannot distinguish them anymore.
What a joy!
If you chew on the wine, the foam just fills your mouth with all the flavors that I just described. Figs, acaï, lots of ripe apple and a bit of raspberry. The attack is wonderful.
And then, all of a sudden … it happens.
Warm crunchy bread, with hazelnut and chalk cream and a great punch of fresh air. Oh wow, this really has some power and stays so precise.
The bread punch fades out a little bit and a more nutty, creamy flavor stays behind.
But don’t get me wrong, this wine is so well balanced that every time you’ve taken a sip, your mouth feels fresh and you’ll want just a bit more.
Even now I am silent, again. This wine is really quite something! The elegance that guides the power of this wine is just amazing. This is big!
(If you are thinking about having a fantastic stay like we did, just click)
WINE OF THE WEEK #101
Allright, wine #101!
It feels a bit like starting my second season of wine blogging, and I could not think of a better way to start.
This is the Cuvée Sélection, Brut from Froment-Griffon.
It’s a “blanc de noirs”, or a white wine from red grapes, and the blend is 85% Pinot Meunier and 15% Pinot Noir. A lot of people like “blanc de blancs” (100% Chardonnay) and tell me that this is “the real deal” in Champagne, but over time I’ve discovered that I’m really a big fan of the other 2 grapes.
The vineyards of Froment-Griffon are located in Sermiers, a village in the hilly area south of Reims called “Montagne de Reims”. Of the 301 villages in the Champagne region, 60 of them have a “cru” status, which means they produce better grapes/wines. 17 of them are the best of the best and have the Grand Cru status, and 43 of them have Premier Cru status. The grapes from Froment-Griffon come from Premier Cru vineyards!
On the map below, Sermiers is located in the middle between Reims and Epernay right next to the village of Chamery.
So let’s see how what a small producer, only 6 hectares, who has been making champagne for over 4 generations can bring to your glass for a price less than €15 a bottle, shall we?
What a clear glass of bubbles I’ve got here. Straw yellow with a slight hint of bronze around the edges, and bubbles, bubbles, lots and lots of bubbles.
The nose is very expressive and powerful. I get the typical brioche notes, and the wine also reminds me of an Italian cake with oranges. (can’t remember the name).
It’s very hard to wrap my head around such a dense, deep and great smell. There aren’t that many aroma’s at play, but it’s just one solid boost of deliciousness.
It also reminds me of caramelized ice cream and sweet onions if that makes sense…
Anyway, it is fantastic!
That solid feeling that I got on the nose just melts in your mouth. The wine is soft, has freshness for days and lays itself gently over your tongue. Progressively, all the flavors are given away and I taste more bread, vanilla and orange candy.
I’m really stunned by the way the wine acts in my mouth. It almost feels like it has some kind of intelligence.
To make the experience complete, the wine becomes solid again like on the nose. It hijacks my brain to a point that I can only think of what I’m tasting, without knowing what. But that’s not a problem, because this wine is amazing.
It’s just fantastic to find what you are looking for in a glass of wine, and that makes me truly happy. I could drink this champagne every day. Thank you @filipsalmon !
Theme of the month - Champagne - January 2013
Happy new year everyone!
I hope you are all living up to your new resolutions. For me, 2013 is the year of change, but there is one part of my life that is not going to change : blogging about wine.
So to celebrate the new year and these exciting times, I figured I would do a Champagne theme. But, that not appeared so easy…
As you know, I always try to assemble a new theme for no more than 50 euros, because wine should be above all enjoyable and affordable. I’ve been in Champagne 3 times now with my family and every time, without too much of an effort, we’ve found really fun wines at 10-12 euros. So I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find 4 bottles of champagne for 50 euros in Belgium. But, I was wrong!
In the supermarkets you can find overpriced boring champagnes at €20 , or “the big names” for €60. And the local wine retailer has to negotiate really hard with small producers, who retails locally, to get a couple of bottles. And so, their prices also do not go below €20. But these are the bottles that I was looking for, because small producers are what makes the Champagne region so amazingly interesting.
Luckily for me, I got great help from my wine buddies. They all got their own “value for money” treasures in their cellar from the yearly trip to Champagne. And I got the privilege to buy some bottles at the retail price of the local producers. So to every single one of them : THANK YOU! (and not only for the Champagne…)
This is the result of my treasure hunt, but you’ll see that I still had to push my €50 limit a little bit:
TRICHET-DIDIER, AOC Champagne - Grand Cru, NV (€15,60)
GEORGES SOHET, AOC Champagne - Premier Cru, NV (€25)
FROMENT-GRIFFON, AOC Champagne, NV (€14,50)
MICHEL-HENRIET, AOC Champagne - Grand Cru, NV (€15,20)
I am overly excited to blog about one of my absolute favorite wines, so I will see you soon with wine #101!
(p.s.: In wine #065 - I’ve explained how a champagne is made and what makes it so special)
WINE OF THE WEEK #099
Merry christmas everybody!
You know what this wine blogger does on christmas day? Right, he opens up a bottle to share his thoughts with you!
It’s time for Slovenian wine nr 3 : Tressa Rdece (red) , 2009 from the Sveti Martin winery.
This wine is from the same valley as the last wine: the Vipava valley in the southwestern part of Slovenia close to the Italian border. We learned from the last wine that this valley has ideal growing conditions so grapes show good ripeness during harvest season and a lot of different red grape varieties are grown in the Vipava region.
This red blend is a good example of the varieties present in the Vipava valley : it’s a blend of Merlot and Barbera.
Merlot is known for making the ‘lighter’ Bordeaux wines of the right bank, and off course Barbera is known for making the ‘lighter’ wines in Piedmont.
Twice, these grape varieties have to stand up against more powerful wines in their home regions (Cabernet Sauvignon based wines in Bordeaux, and Nebbiolo based wines in Piedmont) but I often feel that they also can give some serious power in the glass and both grapes do not just make “table wines”.
You can really make serious juice with both grapes, so I am mega-curious to see how a blend of these 2 will turn out.
The color is a nice deep and dark purple.
Ouf, what a deep nose!
I can smell violets, cassis, blackberry, licorice, black olive, chocolate and a bit of mint.
I think this must be one of the darkest aroma’s I’ve ever had in a glass.
Darth Vader time!
I’m afraid to taste this wine. I just hope there is some acidity present to give this black hole a bit of life.
And yes, there is life! Nice.
It’s so fun when acidity kicks the aroma’s around, opening them, and makes the expression of the nose explode on your palate.
This wine is fun, very drinkable, dry and with a great balance.
What comes back after a while is a cassis & violets cream with licorice.
It’s a pleasure to find such a well defined finish in a wine.
Although the wine is interesting and has learned me a lot about both Merlot and Barbera, I don’t see why these 2 grapes together would be a great blend.
The wine is either too easy or too difficult, too light or too dark. For me, I just couldn’t find any balance, or a clear message.
So, although nothing is “wrong”, I am going for a bronze medal.
WINE OF THE WEEK #098
What’s up Tumblrz? Ready for another wine review?
Today we are going to take a look at a Slovenian Pinot Noir or Modri Pinot (2008) from the Saksida winery
The grapes from this wine are planted on a southwest facing slope in the Vipava valley.
The valley is known for it’s great microclimate, influenced by the Mediterranean sea in the south and the Alps in the north. It gives the region the best grape growing conditions of Slovenia. And because Pinot Noir is one of the toughest grapes to grow, it had to be planted on the best slopes out there : the southwest one.
The Saksida winery itself is a family owned winery with the “typical” Slovenian history:
Started a century ago to make bulk table wines, then during the communist regime in the sixties and seventies they had to sell their grapes to large coops who also made mediocre wine. Now, since 1985, the latest generation used the funds of the European Union wisely to invest in modern techniques, to lower the yields and boost the quality, and the result is a winery with interesting wines and grape varieties, ready to become a well known name amongst wine lovers.
So let’s see how they handled the Pinot :
How does Pinot Noir have to look? Right, exactly like this.
Imagine you have a juicy red wine, and you let a bag of English Breakfast tea sit in it for an hour. Result : Pinot Noir.
Oh, it gets even better.
The wine is deep, I could lose myself in the nose.
It smells like cherries and dark berries that are three days old, wrapped in wet forest leaves with chocolate shavings on top of them.
From another angle it smells like sweet cough sirup and smokey tobacco.
And sometimes the nose is vibrant and fruity.
To sum it up and be boring : very well integrated fruity and earthy components.
The initial attack feels a bit watery.
Herbs and baby tannins do start gripping a little bit, and the acidity is very well balanced, but overall not so much is happening.
But, I don’t really mind…because wine is a drink, and this juicy tasty feeling makes me want to drink it!
As the mouthfeel predicts, there is no real “level-up”.
But, the overall herbal juiciness of the wine is worth sucking on your tongue looking for a nice aftertaste.
I don’t know why, but I really click with this wine. It’s just so interesting yet easy going, it screams to be drunk and will do just perfect on a cosy evening. It will not blow your sucks off but it will read you the perfect light bedtime story.
Quality wise, I have to go for silver, but I’m going to store this on my “to-remember” list.