Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tasting Event: Domaine Fernand Engel of Alsace 27.03.13

Last Wednesday, in Helsinki, I have been in the tasting of Domaine Fernand Engel of Alsace. The tasting was in Winecellars in Kalevankatu organized by the importers, Red Bev Oy. The winery´s winemaker Xavier Baril was there to present the winery and their wines. The Red Bev Team, my dear friend Hadrien and his colleague Marina, were of course there ready to provide any help and info too.

The event has started about 6pm and took about 2 hours. During the event, 6 outstanding wines of that winery, which 2 in total were Grand Cru, were tasted. The wines were 2 Sparklings, 2 wines of the noble variety Riesling and 2 wines of other great varieties of Alsace Region. In the beginning, Mr. Baril, who is really a very kind and tender gentleman, presented the winery, winemaking process, methods and grapes. This presentation was quite interesting and a lot of interesting info were given about their methods and organic production. This producer is right now producing some organic wines and trying to convert all its production into organic. Soon they will have all their vineyards certificated as organic and they also practice the biodynamic methods.

We started with the sparklings, then the Rieslings took place and the last two wines followed. The sparklings gave an energetic start and Rieslings presented their different terroirs with a great feeling of minerality and acidity, then two different wines came which left a sweeter feeling and became the desserts of the night. The wines tasted during the event are:

1- Cremant d`Alsace Chardonnay 2010 : A very surprising Sparko which has the buttery characteristics and acidity together. This wine is available in FinlandA detailed tasting note is here.

2-  Cremant d`Alsace Trilogie 2007 : The name Trilogie comes from the triple fermentation of the wine, once in the tank and twice in the bottle. Hard to understand maybe but it is possible and has a very detailed process. The nose has honey, almond and a bit raisin with caramel notes. The mouth has a strong minerality and despite the nose, the mouth is not so sweet and the warm final is long.

3- Riesling Grand Cru Praelatenberg 2010 : The nose has citrus fruits and tropical notes like pineapple. The minerality is very satisfying and acidity is very high. Slightly felt cloves are followed by salinity. The final is moderate but very delightful. It also has a little bit of Botrytized grapes.

4- Riesling Cuvee St Michel Silberberg de Rorschwihr 2010 : The nose has nutty smells at first and then citrus fruits dominate. In the mouth complex, fruity but minerality is dominant, the acidity is very satisfying, the final is warm and long.

5- Pinot Gris Grand Cru Gloeckelberg 2010 : Nose has slightly fruity notes and honey. Quite sweet in the mouth. The final is moderate. Delicious and fun to drink.

6- Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim 2010 : This wine was my favorite during the tasting. The only thing I did not fall in love would be just that maybe it is a bit too sweet. Otherwise, it could be poetry. But still, this wine would be an addiction for me just as it is too if it was available in Finland, this wine is close to be more than wine to be an elixir for your soul. The dominant passion fruit aroma is followed by mulberry and mineral notes. The sweety hints continue in the mouth too. A very different Gewurz than its German fellows. The perfect final choice for that tasting.

Thanks The Red Bev Team and Mr Xavier Baril and also others who had part in the organization.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Engel Crémant d'Alsace Chardonnay Brut 2011, France (Alcl 12,5%) An Outstanding Sparkling

Before telling more, to say, an outstanding, surprising sparkling.

Light golden coloured, first nose has fresh cut grass and spring flowers, second nose gives out stone fruit notes like peach for example. Overall the nose is very rich of fruits, I had not so much time to think about the aromas one by one, but I can say, the nose is very complex. As it is a Cremant style of sparkling, it is very "big" in the mouth, filling, well structured and has it´s own character. As a sparkling, the acidity you look for is right there and satisfying but what surprised me about this wine is, even though it is a sparko, the buttery characteristics of Chardonnay is right there too. The buttery feeling and acidity together, both combining well and not disturbing, not shading each other. The final is long, warm and delightful with very soft notes of minerality giving itself like the wet pebble stones. This wine is also an Organic Product to keep an eye on.

Do not buy this wine for getting drunk with friends during a party, that means spoiling a bottle of good-quality. This is a serious wine which should be drunk at home or a nice picnic meeting of good friends or family. If you want to buy something precious for your friend´s birthday but do not have enough money for a well-known Champagne wine, do not go for cheap Champagnes and just grab this bottle of Cremant, especially if your friend has a knowledge of wine, this will be a surprising, nice gift. 92/100 Price: 16,99€/75cl/March 2013

PS: I will be writing on this blog about a tasting event of this producer organized by the importers, on the next days.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Château Sénilhac 2009, France (CaS 55%, Merlot 40%, CaF 5%, Alcl 14%)

Purple in the rims through ruby in the mid. Transparent. First nose vanillin, milk; the fruity structure is upfront, sour cherry and blackberry are dominants. Still sour cherry in the mouth, also blueberry. Tannins are very strong but they do not disturb so much, integrated. It is a bit felt as diluted but still good balance is found. This medium bodied claret has a warm moderate-long final with an alcohol feeling. Elegant, velvety drinking while it is possible to get dried orange peels in time with little bit tomato touches and almond. Acidity is satisfying. Relatively good balanced, matching with light dishes, even matching with fatty fish dishes cooked with cream if it is a bit cooled. With fatty cheeses it would be fine too but heavy meat stews can crash it down. Party-picnic bottle as long as nice to drink at home too. Not a deep wine, not a very serious wine but still it has a character. Unfortunately a bit diluted. 86/100 Price: 14,76€/75cl/March 2013

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo 2008, Italy (Nebbiolo 100%, Alcl 14%)

Dark transparent ruby red with orange rims. First nose has extremely raisin, then honey, fresh baked cake, rose and vanillin. Second nose comes with blueberry, mulberry, chocolate, cloves and some tobacco. Very rich and intense in the mouth. I would call it balanced if the tannins are not that strong. They are extremely strong and this is a great wine to experience what astringency is. It is an extremely astringent wine but it is felt after some time during the long final, so still the quality of wine makes me feel like keeping the wine in my mouth for some time to enjoy, before swallow. There are blackcurrant, red apple, raisin and licorice aromas in the mouth with a hint of leather. The strong tannins of that full-bodied wine can handle strong dishes too. It is a serious wine. This DOCG Barolo is highly recommended to consume with Mozart, a touch of "Le Nozze di Figaro", tested and proved. I would prefer it to enjoy by drinking without food. Good wine even though seems like too early/young to open a Barolo. 91/100 Price: 27.50€/75cl/March 2013

Ugo Lequio Barbaresco Gallina 2008, Italy (Nebbiolo 100%, Alch 14%)

Light ruby transparent color and get a bit darker into the middle. The first nose has sour cherry, apple, blackberry and a bit vanillin. The nose is very strong, fruity, extroverted. After some time earthy smells and black pepper appear. In the mouth, the tannins are strong, maybe they a bit disturb like giving some burning feeling. Damson aroma dominates first and the high acidity is satisfying. It a a bit dilute. Soon a  bit orange peel and licorice with a touch of leather. The very long final is warm and pleasant. It is elegant like a good quality Pinot Noir but still the tannins are affecting the balance and it is a bit dilute. This medium-bodied wine would be nice to drink alone but also fits very well with light cheeses (not heavy-fatty cheeses as we generally talk about a red here). It can fit grilled beef and pork as well as chicken, cleaning the palate very well. 87/100 Price: 21.90€/75cl/March 2013