Jul 30, 2011

2001 Guy Castagnier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru

I bought this Guy Castagnier's Bonnes Mares 2001 from the "Magnum" wine shop in Beaune which has an extensive collection of old vintage wines and is definately worth the visit if you visit Beaune. Magnum is located on Rue Carnot, check also the website http://www.magnum-vins.com/.

The wine was already a little turned from garnet to brownish in the glass, showing some age. Nose was like sticking your nostrils into a basket of nice freshly cut mushrooms and dried black and red fruit, all mixed together. Vintage 2001 was not a good one in Burgundy and it shows here with fruitiness being a little submerged under the underbrush and forest-floor notes. Usually in a not-so-good vintage, the "green" notes of paprika, stems etc. tend to show in wines, and so did in this one too. A pleasant bottle and priced at €60 was not too bad for the money.

Jul 28, 2011

1989 and 1993 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Concha y Toro, Chile

Wow. The 1989 Don Melchor represents the great winemaking tradition in Chile. In tasting one of the leading estates in Chile, Concha y Toro's, leading wine, the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Don Melchor, it was wonderful to see how well these wines were made in late 1980s and early 1990s and how well they mature and develop with age.

We have so few of these older vintages of Chilean wines available in Europe - however it's Wine&View bar to rescue.

The Wine&View at Helsinki Airport offers mature wines per small amounts (per cl), thus you are able get a tasting of really great and mature wines with a relatively low cost compared to buying a full bottle of mature wine from the internet. At the Wine&View bar, price of a small wine glass of 4 cl ranges usually from €7 to €22 or higher depending on the wine, however the cost is peanuts compared to the amount of effort, risk and costs involved in purchasing a similar bottle (75cl and far, far more expensive) from internet - if you are able to find what you want, that is.

And the mature Chilean wines are harder to get than mature European wines. Fortunately I was able to taste these two great wines, of which the 1989 stands superior. The 1989 Don Melchor was from a vintage of above average temperatures thus including significantly larger amount of alcohol (13.9%) and fruit ripeness than in the 1993 (12.2% abv.). Aging in french oak seems to suit these wines in long aging, as it had beautiful aromas of red fruit and chocolate while tannins were totally integrated. The 1993 was a good expression of the aging potential of these wines, and would be really worth a blog post in itself, however it was overshadowed by the outstanding 1989 in this tasting. Where could I find more? Please let me know if you read this blog and have an idea where to purchase from.  


1997 Chapoutier Le Meal Blanc & 1997 Chapoutier Cote-Rotie

Northern Rhone in 1997. Chapoutier produces his Le Meal Blanc on the slopes of the Hermitage hill, the very same hill yours truly and my friend Vesa are going to conquer in a week during our wine trip to Burgundy & Northern Rhone. So it pays to get acknowledged of the mature Northern Rhone wines before the trip. Having tasted several red wines from the same slopes, this was the first time I tasted a mature white wine from the Le Meal.

The wine had a mid-intensive yellow colour with a soft and round nose of apricot and fruitiness, however some notable oxidation indicating that the bottle should be drank very soon. The palate was also soft and round with medium alchocol and acidity and dominated by apricot jam and minerality. This was a well produced wine.

However, the 1997 Cote-Rotie's fruitiness was not up to bar with the tannins and alcohol content, as the wine tasted more of maturation elements than substance in the form of fruit. I would say this was one-dimensional and overly tannic in fact. The wine is past its peak, as according to other sources, the wine was rich and full in palate when young - so I would recommend to drink yours quickly if you have them stored. This was somewhat dissapointing to experience, as otherwise the wine looked nicely matured in the glass by its colour and held promise when sniffed from the glass, with notes of leather there.  However, this could be explained by bottle differences - how well you store it can have a significant difference in the life span of a 14 year old wine.