Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year

Profile - BW

Here we go again.

I don't like to reflect. I don't sit in the dark and think about how my year went, what's going to happen moving forward. No plans? Not exactly, but you didn't expect me to divulge here right? Yet another year down, another year older . . . maybe not quite wiser, but we're getting there.

Happy New Year, dear friends.

DF

A Year of Wine, 2010 - Part II

To taste

A major part of this year was the wine tastings I attended, and the trips I made to Niagara. January was the UGC Bordeaux tasting of the 2007 vintage. March was the Bordeaux Meets Burgundy tasting. April was spent in Shanghai, where I actually managed to squeeze in a few trips to some wine shops and bars - the tasting notes can be found using the Shanghai or Wine Tasting tabs. July was the Courvoisier tasting, and the unveiling of the Exclusif blend. Last month, finally, was the Macallan tasting


This year, didn't manage to go out to Niagara as much as I liked. A short trip, in May, to taste through some of the 2009 pinot noirs and chardonnays. A more proper trip in November.


These experiences, invaluable in helping me develop a deeper understanding about what's in the bottle. Lots of fun along the way too. Here's to a 2011 filled with more muddy walks through vineyards, more swirling and spitting in moldy cellars, and more learning from the people who make this sublime nectar come to life.

DF

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Year of Wine, 2010 - Part I

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Another year of wine, another year of drinking and eating and loving. It's been an interesting year - lots of memorable wines, my longest list so far. That's what makes wine worthwhile to me. When a memory of a wine brings not with it just a lingering recollection of bouquet, flavour, texture, but also of conversation with friends, of long dinners and good nights.

Please click the red links to return to the original post. Many thanks for reading, and may 2011 be yet another wine-filled year for us all.

1999 Château Gazin, AC Pomerol - starting the year off strong, ten year old right-bank claret, cost me dearly but like the right girl, the payoff was mind-blowing

2007 Podari del Nespoli Sangiovese di Romagna di Prugneto, DOC Emilia-Romagna - my first taste of the region, sangiovese at all its rustic finery

NV Michel Brocard Rosé Brut, RM Champagne - a rare grower Champagne of 100% pinot noir, all mushrooms, earth, and love

1995 Remoissenet Pére & Fils Pommard-Épenots, AC Pommard 1er Cru - drunk alongside a 1995 Latour à Pomerol, no contest - Burgundy for the win

1978 Hutcheson Colheita Port, DOC Douro - old Colheita Port, supple, complex, mind-blowing

2006 Château Faizeau, AC Montagne-St-Émilion - an important reminder that merlot is not wimpy, and good Bordeaux doesn't have to cost you your left nut


2004 Coto de Imaz Reserva, DOCa Rioja - same producer, drunk alongside the 1985 - student and master, less wrinkles but one and the same


2008 Paul Anheuser Riesling Kabinett, QmP Schlossböckelheimer Königsfels Nahe - Nahe is a new region for me - the 2008's are extraordinary in their expression of steely, racy riesling


1992 Château Mouton-Rothschild, AC Pauillac Premier Grand Cru Classé - not the best wine, but come on . . . it's Mouton


2008 Kruger-Rumpf Riesling Kabinett, QmP Münsterer Kapellenberg Nahe - my goodness, another 2008 Nahe, mind being blown

2005 Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, Hungary - mushroomy, tense, aromatic - puts some Sauternes' to shame

2008 Staete Landt Riesling Auslese, Marlborough - a German-styled riesling out of New Zealand? And doing it better than some Germans?!

1990 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Vintage Reserve Brut, AC Champagne - 20-year old Champagne, one of the most amazing wines I've ever drank

2003 Château Lagrezette, AC Cahors - held from my time served in university, lots of fond sentiments, drunk for a dinner featuring beef and only beef - and it was really good

1991 Schloss Schönborn Riesling Spätlese, QmP Hochheimer Domdechaney Rheingau - drunk for Rieslingfest, old Rheingau at its most expressive



2005 Marziano Abona Terlo Ravera, DOCG Barolo - my first Barolo, love/lust at first sight


2004 Evans & Tate The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River - Australians make balanced, varietal cabernet! Australians make balanced, varietal cabernet!

2004 López de Heredia Viña Cubillo Crianza, DOC Rioja - the finest old European producer, period

2005 Poderi Colla Dardi Le Rose Bussia, DOCG Barolo - serious Barolo . . . now we getting serious

2005 Fratelli Revello Vigna Gattera, DOCG Barolo - intense, tight, aromatic - a worthy counterpart to Burgundy

2001 Gemma Giblin Riserva, DOCG Barolo - slightly older Barolo, expressing all that's good and wonderful about nebbiolo

1999 Pol Roger Extra Cuvée de Réserve Brut, AC Champagne - another wine I've sat on for years, a dream in its tightness, tensile strength, and purity, drunk 10 years too soon

2004 Lailey Vineyard Wismer Vineyard Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula - Derek made this a dream come true, one of the finest wines I've drank this year

2006 Domaine Machard de Gramont Clos Blanc, AC Pommard 1er Cru - a worthy end to this year of wine drinking, a Pommard showing true to vintage, varietal, and region

DF

2006 Pommard Clos Blanc

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2006 Domaine Machard de Gramont Clos Blanc, AC Pommard 1er Cru

If I start another piece on red Burgundy with, It was my dream come true, will you still love me? Deal with it. A bottle of Pommard Premier Cru that was a dream. I had planned a lineup of wines to go through for the holidays, but maybe I shouldn't be rushing through the wines. Powering through about 3 bottles a day, but I need to take my time with a wine like this.

In the Burgundian style, there was no special handling. Just slightly chilled, and poured straight out of the bottle. Real men don't fuss with their wines. Bright red, dark core, immediately smoky and toasty. Earthy red fruits, sourish, just so wonderfully Burgundian. The Pommard personality shows itself on the palate, so intense and well extracted. Fine, slightly rustic tannins, but it's that incredible tensile character that's so special. A very strong wine, if there is such a thing. Delicious and mind-blowing in that way only great Burgundy can be.

DF

Pagoda Brand Shaoxing

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Yet another 8 year old Shaoxing wine, from Pagoda Brand. We've been holding this bottle for quite some time now - maybe 3, 4 years? A gift from an uncle, just sitting in the cabinet. Under those stupid cheap corks that the Chinese seem to like using for these wines. See how dark the wine is? That's oxidation happening. Really delicious actually, just a shame that it's a bit damaged. Alcohol really roaring out of control a bit. A dry, intense rice wine, that was kept for a bit too long.

DF

上海老酒八年陈

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I couldn't decide which photo I liked better. A Shaoxing wine I brought back from Shanghai this April, slightly chilled, perfect with a sea cucumber dish cooked in the Shanghai style. Slightly sweet, wonderful grain character, balanced. And in bowls, just begging to be drunk in gulps.

DF

2004 Niagara Peninsula

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2004 Lailey Vineyard Wismer Vineyard Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula

You see how much I'm enjoying this wine? I was in bliss all night, just oohing and aahing over this wine. Another bottle that I've been holding for a long time. It was almost providence that I acquired this wine. It was October of last year, during a trip to Lailey during the harvest that I found this treasure. Or rather, Derek found this treasure and was generous enough to part with 5 bottles of it.

Again, no special treatment - just chilled and opened. Some tartaric acid sticking to the wine, exactly what I want to see. Unfiltered and unadulterated wine at its finest. A wonderfully brick red colour, very saturated. The bouquet, just extraordinary. A dream come true. Earthy and rustic, with all the minerality and sour red fruit I want in fine pinot noir. So aromatic, such finesse. Lively on the palate, so fine, so elegant - I'm clearly running out of superlatives. I remarked to a friend, in between greedy sniffs, that this is a great wine, period. Not just a great Niagara wine, a great pinot noir, but simply a great wine.

I still have 4 bottles left. Too bad it's not 4 cases. Congratulations, and thank you Derek.

DF

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NV Crémant de Loire

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NV Château de Montgueret, AC Crémant de Loire

The first wine of Dinner in the Winter, 2010. Bubbles are always nice, and this one, a useful aperitif with our tuna. Honeyed fruit, crisp, with a touch of sweetness. Drunk in a tulip glass, of course.

DF

Dinner in the Winter, 2010

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Oh my goodness, this here is food porn. Look at those char marks on the steak . . . look how glossy that albacore tuna is. The richness of the sea cucumber and bamboo shoot, just pouring out the screen. Dinner in the Winter, 2010 - using a friend's beautiful new kitchen, putting together a simple dinner.

DF

1999 Brut Champagne

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1999 Pol Roger Extra Cuvée De Réserve Brut, AC Champagne

Oh, how I've been waiting for this wine. I don't believe in big house labels in Champagne, but I do love Pol Roger. I always try to pick up a bottle of each vintage on release - the 1999's were released 2 years ago. This particular wine was bought on December 4, 2008. A long time, for someone who's never had a proper cellar to work with. Time to pull out a bottle.

Cork comes out with a hiss that absolutely tickles the ear. Pale gold in colour, very bubbly. Tulip glasses are the way to go. Immediate impressions: austere and tight, showing much more personality on the palate. With air, time . . . oh yes, the pedigree of a proper vintage Champagne begins to glow. Nutty, toasty, a slight coffee note, all following on the palate. This is such a tightly-wound, young, and hard wine to drink now. Mineral and even slightly green in tone. A noble wine, but clearly needs another decade, if not longer.

DF

2006 Beaune Clos du Roi

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2006 Domaine Besancenot Clos du Roi, AC Beaune 1er Cru

I've decided from the start that this holiday, I was going to drink my fair share of red Burgundy. Things haven't turned out exactly so, but no matter - I've been a bit preoccupied with Barolo. This bottle was an absolute joy to drink. A Beaune Premier Cru, regal in name but then, name stands for naught in wine.

I didn't bother treating this in any way - just cold out of the basement. Perfectly coloured, very pale red, would even suggest a slight amber in hue. Fragrant, floral, lean, and elegant - just a beautiful wine, feminine and intoxicating.

DF

NV Champagne

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NV Delamotte Brut, AC Champagne

Champagne all day, Champagne all night . . . that would be paradise. It's harder and harder to justify buying nonvintage Champagne - it's just getting too expensive. Too damn expensive for what it offers - a well-made, but often boring wine. Something who's one and only goal is to remain constant has its place, but is not worth paying $40+ for. And so we find ourselves drinking Delamotte.

As indicated in the Champagne and Soufflé video, we drank Delamotte. A useful, simple wine, but worth the $48 they charged? Hardly.

DF

1997 Vintage Port

1997 Delaforce Quinta da Corte Vintage Port

1997 Delaforce Quinta da Corte Vintage Port, DOC Douro

To pair with our stunning Colheita Port, a Vintage Port of the same, well, vintage. Why not - my holidays drinking is all about excess. I broke this cork, no matter. Deep inky purple, such gorgeously ripe, crush berries on the bouquet. Schist minerality, fragrant - good amount of sweetness, on a fluffy texture. Finely structured, drinking absolutely beautifully now.

When it comes to wine drinking . . . oh yes, more is better. Much better.

DF

1997 Colheita Port

1997 Warre's Colheita Port

1997 Warre's Colheita Port, DOC Douro

It isn't the holidays until I've drunk Colheita Port. I have a bit of a tradition of drinking these wines around this time - I guess I do have a thing for sweet wines. Ahh, I'm such a sucker for tawny, amber wines, with creamy fruit an balanced sweetness. Oh yes, linear, harmonious, complex . . . absolutely delicious.

DF

Champagne and Soufflé


Had some friends over for soufflé the past weekend. And just because I wanted to, opened a wonderful bottle of nonvintage Champagne. Check the video, ROKChoi produced. Did the soufflés turn out perfectly? That's not the point now, is it?

DF

On filters and flavour

Drip

Drip

Drip

What does everyone do with that 1/2 inch of Vintage Port filled with sediment and other refuse in the bottom of the bottle? Dump it? Gargle it? Spread it on toast?

I pour it into a glass, and have a taste, as my first experience with the wine. I spit everything out of course - the sediment is just vile, like drinking chunks of dirt and bark. I tried something new this time. Filtering through a paper coffee filter takes a while, and usually requires two of them, but it does remove all the junk. The filtered remains look remarkably like mud, both in colour and consistency. And you're left with clear wine - success! But all things wine rarely end as perfectly.

The wine is absolutely stripped of character. This particular wine, a 1997 Delaforce Quinta da Corte Vintage Port was wonderfully ripe, with minerals and dates on the bouquet. The glass that was filtered seemed flat, with an absolute lack of fruit. Funny how dramatic the difference was. And to think that wineries have filters with the ability to even strip colour from a wine . . . just frightening to think that calisthenics in the winery occur so often, yet people are still tricked into thinking that wine is a natural product. Something to think about. And it was just a coffee filter!

DF

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Broken corks

Broken cork

The previous bottle of Vintage Port, I broke the cork . . . again. I don't know what's going on - technique, equipment issues? The corks seem to bend halfway and just disintegrate. I need to buy a Screwpull. Yes, just what I need - more wine toys. But better than ingesting flecks of cork.

DF

Monday, December 27, 2010

1996 Vintage Port

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1996 Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha, Vintage Port, DOC Douro

I'm developing this bad habit of breaking Vintage Port corks into the bottle. My mistake this time was putting in the worm just off centre, breaking the cork halfway - I managed to fish the broken half out, but had to deal with cork dust floating in the wine.

Vintage Port is a standby for the holidays in my house. I don't have the luxury of any aged bottles myself, so whenever I can find an older wine, I buy. Dark and inky, intense on the bouquet. I've read this kind of description before, and I don't want to say it, but it does remind me of a dark, rich, savoury soy sauce. Very fragrant, full texture, balanced sweetness - so complex, so delicious.

Still a young Vintage Port, but drinking beautifully. More practice needed, to pull out the cork intact. Or maybe I just need port tongs?

DF

2008 Chablis Montmains

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2008 Jean-Marc Brocard Montmains, AC Chablis 1er Cru

Paired with our earlier wine (look to the archives on the left), a Montmains. This was the vineyard responsible for teaching me how noble, how aristocratic chardonnay could be. A truly enlightening lesson in wine. Drunk with a Vaillons, what could be better . . .

Ripe fruit, balanced, but simple. Good, not exceptional wine - is this a product of the vintage or the producer? Far from impressive, but we are drinking this very young.

DF

2007 Chablis Vaillons

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2007 Domaine Jean Collet & Fils Vaillons, AC Chables 1er Cru

Chablis is the dream. And to think, I absolutely abhorred drinking chardonnay. I've had it in my mind to drink a few Chablis Premier Crus over the holidays for a while now - sort of a nice transition to winter from drinking German rieslings. Chablis has that wonderful balance between steeliness and richness that is absolutely stunning.

A young Chablis, with a slightly palish, gold colour. Minerality is razor sharp, steely, and quite austere. Crisp citrus, with some developing richness and creaminess with some air. Honey, but always with this underlying structure - yes, white wines can be structures as well. A bit of a shame to be drinking these wines so young, but we'll get there in a few years.

DF

Holiday drinking

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I'm at an age where the house begins feeling small. My parents (my mother) can be wonderfully indulgent with me, and I try to take up my fair share of the household burden, but there is a strain with living at home in your mid-twenties.

No gift-buying this year. Not in the traditional sense. So how does one still put thought into the holidays, without giving presents? By making sure that these few days are filled end to end with massive dinners and expensive wines, that's how. Some people have told me I'm being silly - people forget about the food I cook, the wines I serve. In contrast, that iPad you bought? Unforgettable. I disagree, vigorously. My food, my wine . . . I try to serve everything for a specific purpose, like serving 5 different cuts of beef, or pouring 5 different Chablis crus. All to build our understanding of cuisine, to someday hopefully become authorities on why grass-fed beef is so different than corn-fed, or why Montmains and Vaillons express themselves so uniquely.

That's what I've been working on for the past 2 months. Putting together all the wines I want to drink for the holidays has been a lot of work, but very rewarding. This is always the time of year when I feel less guilty about drinking more expensive wines - the holidays to me has always been about drinking red Burgundy, Champagne, and Port. This year, I've added in white Burgundy and Barolo . . . no Bordeaux. Maybe in a few years when the 2005's begin coming around.

I've shut off all the vents in the basement, to maintain a steady temperature around 11-13°C. Frigid like nothing else, but it's worth it. A few more treasures left to drink - let's end the year on a high note. What have you been drinking for the holidays?

DF

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2008 Hautes-Côtes de Beaune

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2008 Doudet Naudin Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, AC Château d'Antigny

This is the last time I allow a silly case of wayward nostalgia to influence a wine decision. Doudet Naudin is a producer I recall with great fondness - it was the first serious red Burgundy I ever drank, a delicious bottle of some Premier Cru of Beaune, I can't recall specifics. So, seeing one of its more simple wines on release, with a favourable review, I prepped it for dinner.

Over-macerated, confected fruit, a glorified Beaujolais Nouveau. The end. Disgusting, insulting, and quite shocking frankly, that they're charging $25 for it. A slap in the face, but that's what being nostalgic will do to you.

DF

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2001 Barolo Riserva

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2001 Gemma Giblin Riserva, DOCG Barolo

I've been focusing on 2005 Barolo these past few weeks - we've been seeing more of this vintage, firstly, and secondly, as drinking Barolo goes, approachability is key when you don't have any in the cellar. A great find, great price - Barolo with a slight bit of bottle age to it. I'm seriously reconsidering selling off all the Bordeaux in my cellar and replacing it with Barolo. No less noble, no less ageable, with no undue speculative pricing attached - when the Italians get it right, they get it real right.

This wine was reviewed as being an example of a more modern style of Barolo. It touches new French oak for a few months, before transferring to traditional Slovenian oak casks. But this wine is so perfectly an expression of Barolo, so enlightening an experience that I was stunned speechless during dinner. Elegant, viscous earth and mushrooms, so aromatic. Fine on the palate, spicy finish, with great intensity and energy. A fine wine indeed - starting to develop beautifully. I really ned to be putting these wines into the cellar.

And that is why wine reviews (at least other people's) cannot be taken as truth. Love live Barolo.

DF

2007 Langhe

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2007 Elio Filippino Nebbiolo, DOC Langhe

We don't see these wines so often in Toronto - a simple Nebbiolo, just outside those magical Barolo borders that brings fame and wealth. A good wine nonetheless, ripe fruit, simple. Coarse and something you need to finish in one go, but then wine is meant for drinking, no?

DF

NV Manzanilla Sherry

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Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry, DOC Jerez

No doubt, sherry is absolutely unique. No doubt. Especially the Manzanillas of Sanlucar de Barrameda, one of those deliriously sexy things only the Spaniards can come up with. A natural pair with jamón ibérico, Manzanilla is a discovery for me. I've never really liked sherry, so I was eager to taste and see if this holy matrimony was going to change my mind.

Nope.

The prosciutto I bought was stunning, an absolutely delicious smoked Fiorucci. The wine was certainly interesting, pure and linear. Like straw. Very crisp, but with what seems like the characteristic moldy flavours of sherry. I've tried very hard, but I just can't enjoy these wines. Works well with the richness of the meat though. Someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

DF

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sabrage on video!


Here it is, just in time for Christmas celebrations tonight. I will never open Champagne the polite way again.

DF

Merry Christmas!

DF suit

On yet another Christmas Eve, I'd like to extend my friends, my fellow wine drinkers, and my readers a toast for health, happiness, and ever finer wines.

DF

NV Blanc de Blancs Champagne

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NV Huré Frères L'Inattendue Blanc de Blancs Brut, AC Champagne

Opened by sabrage, there was no way I was going to not polish off the bottle in one go. Frothy, bubbly, yeasty with crisp fruit. Unspectacular, but a solid Champagne. Would like to see more chardonnay character, but when you're whacking corks off with a butcher knife, you gulp and guzzle.

DF

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2000 Vintage Port

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2000 Sandeman Vau Vintage Port, DOC Douro

Oh yes, it's that time of year for Vintage Port. Fruit and tannin, so concentrated it makes your eyes bug out . . . oh yes, long live Oporto.

Sandeman's one of those standby's, a company in business for so long that no thought has to be made off the shelf. You buy, and trust that you won't be poisoned. This one, with but 8 years of bottle age, shows a deeply purple colour, and intense fruit aromas. Good, crushy berries, minerals. Concentrated and everything I want in a young vintage Port. Got me sooooo buzzed, all love, all love.

DF

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wüsthof Gourmet

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These are Wüsthof pieces, not Zwilling Henckels, those ridicuous toy knives. So sharp, it takes but a flick of the wrist to take off a finger. Now, where's that red meat?

DF

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sabrage!

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Oh yes, I accomplished sabrage for the first time this weekend! One bottle of blanc de blancs Champagne, a few whacks . . . I've got video of this. Up in a few days.

DF

Monday, December 20, 2010

All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel

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Non-stick cookware was invented by el diablo, and sent to Earth to poison us all. So I'm doing the righteous thing and replacing everything with proper steel pans. All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel, a new line with 5, oh yes, 5 ply steel construction. Will it make DF a better cook? Well, DF has the entire holidays to find out.

DF

Almost like white truffles...

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A little touch of luxury during the winter season - fresh, tender bamboo shoots. The Chinese refer to them as winter bamboo, as this is the only season to eat them. Baby shoots, that barely pierce the ground. They come wrapped in fairly sturdy sheets of interlocking skin - after you peel and skim off the tough outer layers, you're left with the precious heart, about 1/3 of its original size. Sort of like getting to the centre of an artichoke, with all the buried underfoot romance of truffles.

We eat them with vegetables, thinly sliced. Quite versatile, they are just as delicious in soups. But bamboo shoots reach their pinnacle with sea cucumber. In thin strips, cooked together until the flavours and textures combine into a roaring crescendo of absolute gastronomic bliss.

DF

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Riedel Vinum

Riedel Vinum

The only thing worse than not having enough stems is having mismatched ones. And of course, I was suffering from both.

I bought a beautiful set of Riedel Vinums two years ago - they've become the stems I trust the most with important wines. But, things happen. Well, idiots happen, and they break your wine glasses. Dinner became a horrible show of mismatched stems on the table - if I invited more than 4 people over, everyone was going to end up drinking out of a different glass. That's a problem.

If I could, I'd dump all the glasses from my early wine drinking days. All of them. Riedel is the only one worth drinking wine out of. For sure, don't believe for a second that you need to match a different stem to each wine. These particular ones, from the Vinum collection, are an example of particularly elegant and fine stemware. And, not tragically expensive should you break one. Building up my collection slowly, but at least I have a proper number now. The goal is to slowly build up to about 60 or so stems - until I have the money or storage space, these will do for now, at least for this year's holiday drinking.

Question. Does the stemware you drink out of influence your perception of a wine? No, I don't mean bouquet, flavour, taste . . . different stems clearly changes the expression of a wine. But will it make you enjoy a wine more or less? Because why else would you be stupid enough to consider buying any glass more than $50, if it doesn't make you enjoy the wine more?

DF

2009 Clare Valley

2009 Pikes Traditionelle Riesling

2009 Pikes Traditionelle Riesling, Clare Valley

I've never cared much for dry riesling. Alsace is great, but they always seem so heavy, so alcoholic, and so clumsy, especially after drinking the German wines. I've been trying to keep an open mind about it. Will I find elegance in an Australian?

Oh, but I did. Balanced, varietal riesling, good character. Not as minerally or extracted as I hoped, but a good reminder of how important the producer's style is. Overdone wines can be made in the best terroirs if not handled delicately . . . but I have a question about minerality. This quality in wine, so difficult to explain, but so tangible. I look for it especially in riesling, but did not find that character in this wine.

Is minerality a product of terroir? Of viticulture? Or of personal style? And can it be clearly defined, as clearly as one would describe a wine as having a bouquet of honeys and apples?

DF

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2005 Barolo Rocche

2005 Aurelio Settimo Rocche Barolo

2005 Aurelio Settimo Rocche, DOCG Barolo

Opened alongside the previous Barolo, this one from the same vintage, but different cru - Rocche of Castiglione. Luminous hue, earthy and quite rustic. Immediately projects a less refined aura compared to the Revello, but showing quite a bit of minerality. Oh, how I live for minerality in a wine - a true sign of greatness, and authentic expression of place. Energetic, linear on the palate, spicy finish. Elegant once it gets into your mouth, with a developed sweetness.

So intoxicating. Between the two Barolos, almost lost my mind. If blanc de blancs Champagnes are referred to as nipple-erectors for your lady guests, Barolos certainly achieve the same effect for gentlemen.

DF

2005 Barolo Gattera

2005 Fratelli Revello Vigna Gattera Barolo

2005 Fratelli Revello Vigna Gattera, DOCG Barolo

From the Vigna Gattera vineyard of La Morra, an aristocratic wine that left me blubbering and speechless, all at the same time. A glorious wine, so full of mushrooms and earthy tones, viscous yet fresh. Minerally, spicy, firm. This type of intensity can only be found in a Barolo - my goodness, this makes me so happy. And wines that make you happy are the ones you treasure and remember forever.

A wine I'm certainly going to recall with great fondness, in my education of Barolo.

DF

Friday, December 17, 2010

2003 Mosel

2003 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling Spätlese

2003 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling Spätlese, QmP Scharzhofberger, Mosel

Now, for a proper Mosel with a bit of age. I love drinking spätlesen wines anytime, all the time. Sure, the best wines demand a good 15 years of age, but sometimes you can't wait that long. I've drank the kabinett from this estate a while ago, different vintage and vineyard. This particular wine, the Scharzhofberger, was stunning.

Racy minerality, ripe fruit, acidity just buzzing - reminds me why I love German riesling so much. Really a wonderful, wonderful wine. Finished the bottle wanting more. My last riesling of the year . . . yes, going out on a high note.

DF

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ichishima Shuzo Sake

Ichishima Shuzo Sake

Ichishima Shuzo Sake, Niigata Prefecture

I don't drink quite enough sake - you see, I harbour this deep animosity for the Japanese. Nothing personal - I have family who've lived in Tokyo for 3 generations, but there's something about those cruel, calculating Japs that is despicable. Oops.

Drunk with hotpot, this is a wonderful sake. If I'm reading the Japanese correctly, this is a junmai shu, but who knows. Fragrant, floral, with the lovely aroma of sweet rice. Just wonderful, elegant on the palate, with a slightly oxidized character on the finish. Delicious, pure, and a very fine sake.

DF