An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Apr 22, 15 An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Posted by in Champagne

“Champagne is best drunk between 9 am and 9 am the next day…” according to Ruinart Chef de Cave, Frédéric Panaïotis. I couldn’t agree more, which is how I found myself one Friday morning in Mayfair ready for a tasting of Ruinart’s rosés going  back to the 1980’s. The morning was dedicated to an exploration of Ruinart’s rosés. According the tasting notes, …”Ruinart is recognised by many as a reference for Blanc de Blanc Champagne and the Rosé wines in its portfolio contain a high percentage of Chardonnay grapes.  Frédéric describes the Ruinart Rosé as “A harmonious blending of two grape varieties, that gives a silky generous feeling on the palate.  The Chardonnay provides exceptional aromatic freshness while the Pinot Noir offers intense colour and delicate red fruits with an unexpected hint of exotic fruits…” I enjoy vertical tastings very much because it’s a chance to see how wines evolve and champagne is no different. We started with their NV rosé as a benchmark to see how the wines evolve over the years. This NV is full of berries and even has a few tropical notes to it. Fred noted that they are hoping to achieve an aromatic style of champagne, bursting with raspberry and strawberry. Fred says this is a rosé for jacuzzis, I’ll have to take his word for it! As we went through the wines, we went from Dom Ruinart 2002, 1998, 1996, 1990 and finished off with the Dom Ruinart 1988. The 2002 was still vibrant and pale pink in colour, still very aromatic on the nose. It was when we got to the 1990’s that the rosés began to turn darker in hue, almost onion skin in colour. The champagnes were also spicer and full of candied fruits on the nose and palate. By the time we go to the Dom Ruinart 1990, we were getting into Christmas pudding territory on the nose, with hints of dates, mushrooms and figs. This is definitely a food wine. Fred recommended this...

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Montes “M” vertical 2001-2010 tasting with Aurelio Montes

Dec 04, 12 Montes “M” vertical 2001-2010 tasting with Aurelio Montes

Posted by in Chile

Chilean winery owner Aurelio Montes was in town the other day on a quick visit to promote his wines. Montes is a Chilean winery, that even with a production of 7 million bottles a year, is considered a small to medium sized winery in South America. Aurelio brought along a vertical of their iconic wine, Montes Alpha M 2001 – 2010 for us to try. Montes makes a variety of wines but the one that Aurelio is most proud of is their “M” series. A Bordeaux blend, it is comprised of 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% merlot and 5% petit verdot. Aurelio compares his wines to those of the Left Bank and told us that it was recently blind tasted in Los Angeles against some of the best Bordeaux in the world. Surprisingly for many, it came out second only to Chateau Lafite. Not bad for a New World wine that’s only been in production for a short time. Before we tasted through the wines, Aurelio advised us that although all the vintages are good, the even numbered years are a bit weaker when compared to the odd numbered years. So, without further ado, my notes on the Montes Alpha M 2001 – 2010, a really good tasting in my opinion… Montes Alpha M 2001: A round and polished wine, licorice and black fruits on the nose with excellent acidity and a lush nose. An intense but not jammy palate with round tannins and a long finish. After awhile notes of freshly brewed tea began to show on the finish. Montes Alpha M 2003: Blackberries and a hint of mint on an integrated, well structured wine, the tannins were not as soft as the 2001 but I didn’t think that was a bad thing. Long finish with a minty freshness to it. Montes Alpha M 2004: This was the wine that came second to Lafite. The year was cooler then average which gave a wine with less intensity in colour, ripe red fruits on the nose...

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Vertical tasting of Chilean wine – Casa Real 1989 to 2010

Jan 30, 12 Vertical tasting of Chilean wine – Casa Real 1989 to 2010

Posted by in Chile

A few weeks ago I went to a wine workshop organized by the Chilean premium wine producer, Santa Rita Estates on the top floor of Millbank Tower. What a view! What was just as impressive was the vertical of their super premium wine, Casa Real. Going back to the first vintate 1989, we tasted through to the latest  2010. Casa Real is a true “vintage” wine in that they only make the wine in exceptional years, just like Vintage Port or Vintage Champagne. Since 1989 there have been only 8 productions of Casa Real. The region is dear to the heart of the winemaker Cecilia Torres, who has been the winemaker of Casa Real since 1989. She thinks the vineyards, Alto Jahuel, are capable of producing such fine wines because of it’s terroir of alluvial soils above a layer of clay which gives excellent drainage and impart a minerality to the wines. The vines are 50 years old but still going strong. The wine is 100% cabernet sauvignon, aged in French oak barrels for between 12 and 14 months. Tasting the wines, they all showed excellent balance- fruit, acidity, tannins all there existing harmoniously. One of the presenters noted that these wines are very exciting because they show the future and the ageability of Chilean wine. He predicts that in future, Chile will have more super premium wines appearing in the marketplace.  Cecilia commented that her favourites were from the 1990’s as they exhibited light and elegant qualities and they haven’t dried out or lost their fruit character. Off all the vintages, the 1989 is her favourite. We tasted 2010, 2008, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1997, 1995 and 1989. I started with the youngest and worked my way back. The 2010 and 2008 were full of ripe red fruits and bitter chocolate notes, the tannins still grainy but not unpleasing to the palate. I could taste already that they were going to develop into exceptional wines, the quality of the fruit disclosing itself already. 2005...

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