• Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    by L. J. Johnson-Bell
  • Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Home Cellar Guide Hb
    Home Cellar Guide Hb
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Quel vin pour quel plat ?
    Quel vin pour quel plat ?
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Great Wine Tours of the World
    Great Wine Tours of the World
    Barnes and Noble Books
  • The Wine Collector's Handbook
    The Wine Collector's Handbook
    by Linda Johnson
  • De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    by Johnson-Bell Linda

  • Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match
    Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match


TASTING NOTES: Diary of a Wine Critic


Falerno del Massico 

Falerno del Massico Rosso DOC

Tasting at home with dinner. I met Nicola Trabucco and Masssimo at Vinitaly last year and they sent me all of these wines from a collection of different producers to taste. I have always been a big fan of Falerno, and the only one we can find in the UK is Villa Matilde, which is gorgeous, and which I tasted at my first Vinitaly in 1994, and fell in love. But we need more. Falerno is one of the oldest Roman appellations still in production. In general, their planting densities are about 5000 pieds par hectare and yields are about 70 hectolitres par hectare. This is a bit high and is further increased by the fact that their re-planted vines are young (about 5 years). The appellation is struggling with an image problem. Consumers are confused of which “style” is the “right” style for Falerno, because they are also allowed to make Falerno with Primitivo. It is not “wrong” to use it – all these grapes have been used forever in this area, but it means there exists another “sort” of Falerno. For me, I preferred those issued from Aglianico and Piedrosso. Again, we can drag the international vs traditional debate into the equation. Despite their using only indigenous varieties, there are some here trying to give their wines an international appeal: big extracts, big wood, big fruit. In this tasting the 2006 wines clearly stood out from the younger vintages and so I will go back to these in a few years and see if they mature as nicely as the 2006. In fact, I want to organise a more comprehensive tasting of these wines London this year. I need to taste these again – I swear that somewhere I have more complete notes on these wines…

Guarasi 2007, Fattoria Pagano

80% Aglianico Taurasi, 20% Piedrosso

Steel aging for 10 months, bottle, 6 months. Like this. Has a unique, personable style

Don Gennaro 2007, Cantina Capizzi

Liked it a lot. Elegant and well-made

80% Aglianico Taurasi and 20% Piedrosso. 12 months in barrique. 13.5 alc. High altiture plantings. Great body and structure. Tannins fondues, well-made.

Rapicano 2007, Trabucco

80/20 Aglianico, Piedrosso, as above. But hot, unbalanced? Potential? Awkward and unfocused. All over the place.

Angelus 2007, Fattoria Pagano

Again, same encépagement as above. Big first attack of cinnamon, spice, but heavily-oaked, too much?

Mille880 2007, Bianchini Rossetti

Same info – didn’t like it. Too cherry bon-bon, medicinal.

Ri Sassi  2006, Volpara

Highest elevation of the wines, 3 mos in barriques neufs, top of volcano, lots of sun, again, too hot, but nice.

Tuoro Reserve 2006, Volpara

Great finish, well made, elegant, good finish

I had an entire series of the 2006 and can’t find the notes – so instead, I will insert this article I wrote for Taste Italia! Magazine in March. You will see what I mean when I say that we need more Falerno available in the UK.

Falerno del Massico

The Ancient Romans loved their wines. This we know: Their literature is riddled with vinous references. The best-known and most comprehensive tome being Pliny the Eldest’s Natural History, in which he dedicates an entire volume (Book IVX) to wine cultivation and its classification. At the top of the list was Falernum, from the slopes of Mt. Falernus on the border between Latium and Campania.  This fabled wine even has its own legend: Bacchus descended one day, in disguise, upon the slopes of Mount Massico, where he met a poor farmer named Falerno. The farmer did not hesitate to offer his unexpected guest his best foods. Moved by the farmer’s generousity, Bacchus transformed his cup of milk into wine. Falerno drank deeply and fell into a long sleep. Upon his awakening, his land was covered in fertile vineyards. The ancient Falerno was a white wine that was aged 10-12 years until an amber colour. As with many of their wines, it was potent and thus, often cut with water to temper its alcohol content or with herbs, to reduce its acidity. Today, Falerno del Massico D.O.C. is still made from the Falanghina grape, which is thought to have been brought by Roman merchants from Greece and which is enjoying a major revival, as are all of the ancient varieties at the moment. The reds from this appellation are from the Aglianico, Piedirosso and Primitivo grapes. Truly historic!


Villa Matilde Falerno del Massico Bianco D.O.C. , 2007

£14.27 www.thesussexwinecompany.co.uk

Simply stunning. Family-run estate that has painstakingly re-established ancient vineyards. Wine is elegant, unctuously textured, with ripe pineapple, peach, sage, rose and more.

Villa Matilde Falerno del Massico Rosso D.O.C. 2005

£14.69 www.thesussexwinecompany.co.uk

(or £100/6 bottles from www.everywine.co.uk )

The Rosso is 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedrosso. A heady beast of spicy, dark chocolate, black cherry and violets… Great balance and complexity.


Bibendum tasting and more wines at home

26 January

Bibendum tasting, London

Very difficult tasting. Over-crowded. Annoying room lay-out and catalogue: could not move easily from room to room, nor get anywhere near the wines. Tasted a few essentials needed for assignments, and left.

Riesling 2009, Wolf by Ernst Loosen

From Pfalz region – terroir more mineral than others. Superb.

Blue Slate Riesling 2009, Dr. Loosen

A fruitier style – lovely. Prefer previous.

Wehlener Riesling Kabinett 2007, Dr. Loosen

Perfectly constructed. Body, acidity, perfect balance – serious extracts.

Bernkasteler Rielsing Beerenauslese 2006, Dr. Loosen

Big, ripe, intoxicating fruit underscored with a perfect dose of lively acidity.

Riesling Grand Cru Osterberg 2008, Cave de Ribeauville, Alsace

Beautiful restraint and minerality.

Pinot Gris 2007, Jean Baltenweck, Alsace

Organic range. Very well-done. Elegant, discreet fruit and huge minerality.

Barbera 2009, Riva Leone, Piedmont, Italy

Salty minerality. Beautifully perfumed, but too alcoholic, hot and unbalanced.

Barbaresco 2008, Riva Leone

100% Nebbiolo…still too young but full of potential – strong varietal character and balanced tannins – to see.

Barolo 2006, Riva Leone

100% Nebbiolo…aging very well. Perfectly balanced. Clean, straight-forward, well-made.

Fico Grande Sangiovese 2010, Poderi dal Nespoli, Romagna

Very young, obviously. Nice minerality, correctly made. But more than that? A solid start, but will have to see.

Pinot Noir Alto Adige 2008, Alois Lageder

I love Pinots from AA…but this one was boring and had that medicinal cherry bon-bon taste that high-yield, thin, metallic Pinots can have. Attending producer was in fine fettle – rude, rude.

Krafuss Estate Pinot Nero 2007, Tenutae Lageder

Stunning, well-made: from nose to finish. Perfumes of lavender and silk, lively palate with good acidity, but not too much. Volnay in style. Superb.

Rully 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes Vincent Girardin 2007, Burgundy

(Bourgogne blanc) Thin, diluted, too much grapefruit (industrial-flavoured yeasts), little extracts, lacking structure and texture. Commercial in style. Typical of the 2007’s (a “restaurant” vintage) but this one did not do well at all.

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru En Virondot, Domaine Marc Morey 2004

Good matiere, solid, but over-oaked. Lacking acidity.

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres Domaine Alain Chavy 2004

Superb. Well-balanced. Good extracts. Will cellar very well.

Meursault Domaine Matrot 2006

Very powerful – solid extracts and fruit. Well-balanced. Will cellar.

Meurault 1er Cru Blagny Domaine Matrot 2004

Intense and powerful fruit and matière. That typical “gout de vas”: the mineral, saltiness from the bottom of a stream.

Life from Stone Sauvignon blanc 2010, Springfield Estate, South Africa

I love this estate – tasted them first in South Africa in 2001. But this SB is too New World in style for me. Too overt and obvious. Prefer their Chardonnays.

Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2008, Springfied Estate, South Africa

Mineral and crisp, clean, big and fruity but restrained and elegant at the same time. Rivals a lot of the white burgundies lately.

Methode Ancienne Chardonnay 2006, Springfield Estate, South Africa

Even better. Solid, elegant, complex and layered. Perfect minerality and acidity. With that goût de vase you find in older white burgundies…so salty and earthy.




Chateau Villa Bel-Air 2003

Château Villa Bel-Air 2003¸ Graves, Bordeaux
13% alc, 50% Cab Sauv, 40% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc. Jean-Michel Cazes of Lynch-Bages bought it in 1988. Black cherry, mocha, chocolate…Nose of sweet oak. Chalk. Cinnamon. Spice. Fresh. Clean. Fluid on the palate. Short finish. Well-balanced but too dry and short finish – will this sort itself out with age? Forest fruit. Stewed a bit. Oaky but not too tannic - still young and fresh and light.




Giardinelli's Salice Salentino DOC 2006, Puglia

Giardinelli’s 2006 Salice Salentino D.O.C., Puglia, Italy

Dinner at the Lord Nelson, Brightwell Baldwin, Oxfordshire. Served with Escalope of Veal with Parma ham, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Stared with the house Champagne with Tempura king prawns and sweet chilli sauce. Issued from 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera, 13% alc. I am a huge fan of the Negroamaro. And I have pledged to re-visit Puglia this year and explore it properly.  I love the huge collision between Negroamaro’s big, ripe fruit and its dark bitterness. It is black and brooding and unabashedly itself – a Greek tragedy hero - no compromising. This producer does not disappoint. It is a solid example: cherries, stewed figs, plums. Well-balanced – tannins are well-structured and the wine is not too alcoholic, it is fresh and lively, and allows its Puglian personality to seduce. Think of swaying willow trees, their roots clawing deep into muddy, clay soil, and ocean breezes tinged with olives and wild herbs…





Fresh & Wild wines

Fresh & Wild’s Tarantas Macabeo and Sauvignon blanc

Fresh & Wild’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo

These were brought for dinner by friends and I cannot remember the vintages - bottles were thrown out. Served with dinner at home: pumpkin and pine nut ravioli in a chestnut and cream sauce, spaghetti with pesto sauce, and bruschetta with caponata. This is my first foray into the Wholefoods wine list. I have heard good things about it, although I find their wine info on their web-site seriously dumbed-down in that condescending American way: “let’s use slang, idiomatic expressions and act cool – that will make the big wine words understandable for everyone”. I appreciate the desire to educate, but not the method. Wines are a bit expensive for what they are. That said, these two Spanish own-brands were perfect examples of the new move towards blending the indigenous and the European classic varieties – something that I normally do not condone (stay Spanish, please!). But here, it worked. The wines were clean, crisp, refreshing, bright, well-made, straight forward and agreeable.


Ch. Gruaurd Larose 2000 and Ch. Bellingard 2005

Bollinger La Grande Année 1997 (again, as above)

Lunch at home: starters of Cajun prawns, soufflé of scallops and porcini. Main course of Braised Beef in Chianti with polenta, cavolo nero and pancetta, mushrooms stuffed with spinach and mozzarella. Puddings: Vanilla cheesecake, almond and apple cobbler and cheese board (family members made the puddings!)

Château Gruaurd Larose 2000, Saint Julien, Bordeaux

Saint-Juliens are so distinctive with their powerful, highly aromatic elegance, and this château never lets me down It is never staid or austere, which frankly, is often the case with even the greatest Bordeaux (as opposed to mature, red Burgundies, for example – which are anything but restrained. They ooze and spill out of their glasses with feral ferocity) but always flirtatious and charming – a stunning success from a stunning year. Left bank – so a majority of cabernet sauvignon. This terroir-driven wine is racy and full-bodied: leather, cedar wood, smoky, chocolate and the darkest, plumiest shade of purple.

Château Belingard 2005, Monbazillac, Bergerac

I love the appellation of Monbazillac, and I have been drinking this chateau’s half-bottles for over a decade. Perfect size for opening for a mid-week meal: no guilt. This sweet wine rivals the neighbouring Sauternes and its “satellite” regions such as Cadillac, Lopiac, and Barsac. Issued from the same grapes as Sauternes (Semillon and Sauvignon blanc – and ok, a bit of Muscadelle), but so much more affordable. A stunning wine that always performs: Burnt rubber tyres, petrol, acids, warm roasted nuts, beeswax, honey, salt, a synchronised swimmer, an ocean wave, parched tundra after the rain, ripe tropical fruit and rot.


Circle of Wine Writer's Barolo tasting

Elio Altare’s Arborina 2000, 2001and 2005, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

This 1.5 hectare vineyard in La Morra has a south, south-east exposition, vines from 1948 and 1989 plantings, is 250-280 metres above sea level, with clay-limestone soil with yields of 4000 kg per hectare. Maceration with skins is in controlled rotofermenters for 3-4 days and aged in Frenchbarriques (20% new, 80% old) for 24 months. Loved his 2001, with its clear, clean nose of violets, its full, complex mouth and its elegant finish. It was a bit too strong in alcohol (14.5%) but the extracts are there and the wine is tasting quite young. The 2000 has a subtle, lively nose, a well-balanced mouth with notes of coffee, chocolate, warm berries and nougat - very well-made. The 2005 is not showing well at this tasting, a bit herbaceous and short, with a hint of green tannins, but should sort itself out beautifully with a bit of age on it.


Scavino’s Bric dël Fiasc 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

A larger estate, comprising 20 hectares producing 100,000 bottles (so, twice as large as Altare), Bric dël Fiasc in Castiglione Falletto (Fiasco) is 1.63 hectares with a south-west exposition, an altitude of 260 metres, silt-sand, marl soil with an average yield of 50 q/ha. Like Altare, maceration is short and fermentation is in steel rotary fermenters. Aging is 12 months in Frenchbarriques and another 12 months in the larger, traditional botti in the aim of enhancing the character and typicity of the terroir, rather than masking it.

The 2005 is very forward with huge extracts and power - a bit too much, with a short finish – but the potential is evident. For me, the 1998, 1999 and 2000 are portents of its future, with their clean, inviting noses of stewed fruits and nougat. The 1998 has a superb, round, fully complex mouth and as it continued to open, continued to reveal its power and personality. The 1999 is fresh and lively on the mouth, delicate yet hugely powerful and well-balanced. The 2000, again, is elegant, fresh, lively and intensely perfumed.


Il Molino de Grace Chianti Classico 2005

Il Molino de Grace Chianti Classico 2005, Panzano, Tuscany

Served with dinner at home: Rib-eye Aberdeen Angus steak with Béarnaise sauce, herb salad and jacket potato.

100% Sangiovese – a good start, but I cannot seem to find a happy ending here. I visited this stunning estate last year. The owner is American, the winemaker, Bavarian and the consultant oenologist is Italian: which should make for a perfect recipe. They claim to be highly passionate men – but they are making wine with their socks on. What confuses me is that the wines look good on paper. They tick all the boxes on the technical details sheet. And they seem to be making all the decisions that would result in a terroir-driven, traditional wine, but they are definitely very “modern” in style…appealing to the more international palate. They lack any real excitement or individuality – so what got lost in translation? Is this the inherent result of using a consultant oenologist who involuntarily puts his stamp on the wines? I don’t know. But having tasted several vintages of the entire range, both at the estate and at home, one is left with the impression of their being technically correct but not much more. My international colleagues on that trip all agreed. I will reserve final judgment until I can go back to some of them after more aging…I would love to be proved wrong. The Chianti Classico tonight had a very dark robe – so I think they did add some Cabernet Sauvignon, with lively acidity, big fruit, well-balanced tannins…but for all the hype, the earth should have moved…


Bollinger La Grande Annee 1997

Bollinger La Grande Année 1997

Perfectly balanced, harmonious and classic. The 1997 is probably a majority of Pinot Noir (65%), the rest is Chardonnay. And this vintage used 75% of grapes issued from grand cru vineyards and 25% from premier cru. I always prefer Pinot Noir-dominated champagnes. I think they have more body, complexity and drier fruit. Tasted at home: served with a brunch of Eggs Benedict, scallops and creamed leeks in angel hair pasta and assorted left-over canapés. Hang-over cured! This nectar was a cacophony of grilled brioche with salted butter and apricot jam, hazelnuts, retro-olfactive explosion, vanilla milkshake, a perfectly-tuned piano, dried provençal herbs, brunch on Europa & Regina’s terrace on the Grand Canal.



Alto Adige tasting, London 2010

Alto Adige:  Who needs France?


Crisp, personal, solid Pinot Blancs… Chardonnays with the muscle and salty earthiness of a top Meursault… aromatic Gewürztraminers that toy between the sharp and the sensual… and Sauvignons that are explosively fruity and complex …  You would forgive me for thinking that I was in France. But no, I am in Alto Adige.  And there is another surprise to come: the Pinot Neros (Pinot Noir). They are divine, and devoid of that medicinal, metallic retro-olfactive with which so many basic red Burgundies can be marked.  These are fresh, elegant, and ooze a velvety smoothness of plums and warm earth.


Alto Adige, or Südtirol, is one of Italy’s smallest regions (only providing .7% of Italy’s total production) and can boast the fact that 98% of its wines are of the DOC quality category. There is archaeological evidence of viticulture here that pre-dates the Romans and today there are 12,500 acres of vineyards. Almost 75% of these are owned by cooperatives, in which, typically, each of the hundreds of members might cultivate a plot of less than 2.5 acres. Cooperatives often have a negative connotation in the wine world, but not here. Here, the concept works as it is meant to and produces high quality, terroir-driven wines.


Nestled in the slopes of the snow-covered Southern Alps, Alto Adige has been home to the noble Bordeaux and Burgundy grapes for over a hundred years. The diverse soils and altitudes welcomed them a place alongside their already established Sylvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Veltliner, Riesling and their famously gorgeous native red grape, Lagrein. Protected by the Dolomites, the vineyards’ altitudes range from 750 – 3250 ft above sea level and the rich soils are a geographical rainbow of dolomitic rock, fluvial deposits, porphyry, moraine debris, volcanic deposits and slate-primitive rock.


Couple this unique climate and exposition with the quality wine-making techniques these producers embrace, and we are presented with consistent and powerfully elegant, grown-up wines that rival the French greats at half the price.  I, for one, shall be stocking my cellars with some Pinot Nero. Unlike Burgundy, where quality can be a bit hit-and-miss for even the “experts” and quality seems to only be assured by paying exorbitant prices, the Pinot Nero seems to have found the opportunity to express the best facets of  its unique and elegant personality, here in the Alto Adige.  As one of the charming producers quipped to me as I swooned over his Sauvignon: “Who needs France?”


Some favourites:


1. Pinot Bianco 2009, Cantina Andriano

From Astrum Wine Cellars, www.astrumwinecellars.com


Cantino Andriano was founded in 1893 and is the oldest wine producing cooperative in the region. Situated in one of the cooler areas of Alto Adige, yet protected to the West by Mount Gantkofel, they produce elegant, well-built wines made for cellaring. The Pinot Bianco is unoaked, with an approachable, fruity nose. The mouth is well-balanced with solid extracts and a fresh and lively acidity, leading to a persistent and elegant finish. Beautifully made.


2. Terlano Sauvignon Quartz 2008, Cantina Terlano

From Astrum (see above)


Cantina Terlano has been producing wines since 1893 and their wines owe their distinction to the high mineral content of the soils: the vineyards lie on a red porphyry base of volcanic rock with large mineral crystal deposits. This Sauvignon is true to its name (quartz!). It has a steely, mineral freshness carrying a lush, fleshy body of apricots. It is not a ubiquitous caricature of the sauvignon grape: there is no fake vegetal edge or superficial herbiness to it, screaming, “I am Sauvignon” as do some of the New World models. There is just straightforward, solid fruit and structure: Sauvignon as it is meant to be. Their Lagrein Riserva Porphyr 2007 is also unmissable.


3. Gewürtztraminer 2009, Erste + Neue

From New Generation Wines Ltd., www.newgenerationwines.com


A long-running cooperative with a tradition of single-vineyard expertise, this Gewürztraminer is an elegant and original expression of this grape: a good balance between crisp minerality and unctuous floral and spicy elegance. It has all of the hallmarks of the traditional Alsatian version of the grape, yet at the same time imparts another dimension to the model – a distinctly Alto Adige-dimension – quite cheeky and personable.


4. Pinot Nero Mezzan 2008, Erste + Neue

From New Generation Wines Ltd (as above)


The Pinot Noir from this cooperative was a real find. It is approachable without being sweet or boring: there is definite power and structure here, but very fluidly and elegantly expressed. A violet nose takes you into velvety textured body and a good finish. The tannins are well integrated and the overall effect is that one is drinking a very expensive red Burgundy – a Volnay …


5. Pinot Nero Barthenau Vigna S. Urbano 2007, Tenuta J. Hofstätter

From FortyFive 10°



This family-owned estate was founded in 1907. The family is quick to point out that the nearest town is Bolzano, which lies on the same line of latitude as Mâcon in Burgundy and that they have made Pinot Nero their specialty. They have two Pinot Neros, their Pinot Nero Meczan, whose 2009 was round, peppery and powerful, and the Barthenau, which was simply stunning. The nose was so perfumed and yet the mouth was restrained, direct, fresh and tightly made… saving itself for the even better times to come… to cellar.


6. Pinot Nero Ludwig 2007, Elena Walch from Bancroft Wine Ltd., www.bancroftwines.com


Elena Walch, an ex-architect, married into a prominent wine-producing family in Tramin/Termeno and turned to wine-making in 1985. Her wines have earned several of the coveted Three Glassses awards from the Gambero Rosso. Her Pinot Nero Ludwig is gorgeously well-made.  Aged for 14 months in half new oak and half old oak, its power is discreetly brought to the surface by subtle tannins and lively acidity. Perfumed, complex, elegant, it is drinkable now, but worth cellaring.


7. Pinot Nero Precios 2007, Josef Niedermayr Estate

From Passione Vino, www.passionevino.co.uk


Stunning. It opens with an earthy mineral-ness evoking the vineyard’s chalky soils. The nose is intense with dark berries, spice and violets. The body is textured and complex and the finish is fresh and long. Everything is here, from start to finish. This is a cooperative situated near Girlan, which is has been a family business since 1852: they manage their own vineyards as well as monitor and work with other winegrowers.



















There are quite a few Alto Adige producers who are looking for agents in the UK, and some of them are serious competition for the ones currently on the market. It is a bit of pot-luck as to who gets an agent – it not always an indication of the “deserved” order of merit. Keep your eyes open for the producers below, and pray they get to our shores!








K. Martini & Sohn



St. Paul’s Winery



Wines of Portugal Tasting, London (Lord's) 2010



Lord’s Cricket Ground




1. Galleria 2009

100% Bical (white), no oak, clay soils

Nose: sweet, tropical fruits, like a Gewurtz

Bouche: superb acidite, frais, good finish


2. Terra Boa 2009

VR Beiras

From Alentejo – grape: Siria, Viosinho

Too medicinal


3. Alianca Bairrada reserve Red 2006

DOC Bairrada,

Grape: Baga

No fruit, dry, hot - ok


4. Vista TR 2007

VR Beiras

Grape: Tinta Roriz and 15% TN



5. Alianca Dao Reserva 2007


Grapes: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen



6. Vista TN Reserva 2007

VR Beiras

Grape: Touriga Nacional

Hot, clumsy, not interesting



7. Alianca Particular Dao 2007


Grape: Pais

Too sweet, dry, un peu d’elegance, but not very interesting


8. Quinta da Garrida 2007


Grape: Tinta Roriz, Tourigo Nacional

Liked this one





9. Quinta da Rigodeira Reserva 2005

DOC Bairrada

Grapes: Baga, Merlot

Merlot seems to help Baga – liked this



10. Quinta das Baceladas 2005

DOC Bairrada

Grapes : Merlot, Baga, Cabernet Sauvignon



11. Quinta dos Quatro Ventos 2007

DOC Duoro

Grapes: Tourigo Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz

Bien parfume – liked it


12. Quinta da Terrugem 2006

DOC Alentejo

Grapes: Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet

Elegant, perfumed, liked it


13. Quinta da Garrida Reserva 2004


Grapes: Touriga Nacional

Fresh, elegant, good acidity, despite 14.5% alcohol


14. Quinta dos Quatro Ventos Reserva 2007

DOC Douro

Grapes: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz

Frais, franc, direct, propre


15. Quinta da Dona 2004

DOC Bairrada

Grape: Baga

















1.Monte Velho white 2009

VR Alentejano Grapes: Antao Vaz , Roupeiro, Perrum

Really unique taste, floral, yet crisp and lively acidity, clean


2. Esporao Verdelho 2009

VR Alentejano Grape: Verdelho

Not my style – that green, chlorophyl taste


3. Esporao reserva white 2008

DOC Alentejo Grapes: Arinto, Roupiero, Antao Vaz

Lovely, a bit weird, but great acidity


4. Monte Velho red 2008

VR Alentejano

Grapes: Aragones, Trincadeira, Castelao

Ok – thin and flat


5. Vinha da Defesa red 2008

VR Alentejano

Grapes: Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragones

Not very interesting


6. 4 Castas red 2008

VR Alenejano

Grapes: Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, Alfocheiro, Petit Verdot

Too much oak, unbalanced at the moment – great potential


7. Esparao Reserva red 2007

DOC Alentejo

Grapes: Aragones, Alicante, Trincadeira Cabernet


8. Aragones 2007

VR Alentejano

Grape: Aragones

Beautiful, solid, fresh, lots of personality


9.Esporao Alicante Bouschet 2007

VR Alentejano

Grape: Alicante Bouschet

Nice nose, floral, elegant

But tannins are green – finish is dry and unpleasant


10. Esporao Tourigo Nacional 2007

VR Alentehano

Grape: Touriga Nacional

Gorgeous, dense, purply and complex



Themed Table: Alvarinho


Dom Diogo Alvarinho 2009

Vinho Regional Minho, 13.5%

Quinta da Raza


Quinta dos Loridos Alvarinho 2008

Vinho Regional Lisboa 12.5%

Bacalhoa Vinhos de Portugal


Themed Table: Touriga Nacional


Quinta de Pancas Touriga Nacional Reserva 2007

Vinho Regional Lisboa 13.8%

Companhia das Quintas


Herdade Sao Miguel Touriga Nacional 2008

Vinho regional Alentejano 14.4%

Herdade Sao Miguel


Esporao Touriga Nacional 2007

Vinho Regional Alentehano 14.5% Esporao

Yum – very nice


Quinta do Portal Touriga Nacional 2006 DOC Douro 13.5%

Quinta do Portal - non


Vista TN Reserva 2007

Vinho Regional Beiras 14%

Alianca Vinhos de Portugal



Casa de Santar Touriga Nacional 2007

DAC Dao, Dao Sul



Pedra Cancela 20008 Touriga Nacional



CSL T. Nacional, Vinho REgional Lisboa, Casa Santos Lima



Enzo Boglietti visit, Piedmont





As Enzo races around his stunning new winery, his long curly locks swinging wildly, pulling barrel samples from left and right, I scamper behind, doing my best to keep up. We babble excitedly in a messy mix of French, English and Italian and despite this, one thing is clear … I am about to be amazed and seduced by these powerful yet subtle wines.

Enzo Boglietti, aided by his father Renato and brother Gianni, who tend the vines, is considered to be a “new” kid on the block: the family-run company began in 1991 with 2.5 hectares in La Morra and now boasts 21 hectares with an annual production of 75,000. They produce four wines from Barolo, three from Barbera, two Dolcettas and four Langhes wines. Enzo would usually be placed into the “modernist camp” of Piedmont producers. Broadly speaking, the modernists prefer the use of small oak barrels, short fermentations and lots of rotofermenter extraction producing easy-drinking, pleasant wines, as opposed to the traditionalists who don’t use too much oak, don’t want too short a maceration and not too vigorous extraction of flavour and colour. But I would put Enzo in the centralist camp.  He has taken the best of both sides and adapted the best practices to their raw materials.

For this is where it all begins, in the vineyard, and every decision they make, from bud to bottle, can be tasted in their well-balanced, age-worthy and complex wines. The traditionalist in him embraces strict low-yield control, minimum use of chemicals, organic fertilizers, high planting densities, hand-picking at harvest, hand-sorting, de-stemming, fermentation with wild yeast only, and a prudent oak-aging programme followed by bottle aging. And the modernist in him judiciously accepts s the these traditional practices and producing a wine that both educates and pleases the cons

Forgive the oxymoron, but they are modern classics in the making. And like their maker, they are classic but not boring, and modern, without pandering to facile market trends.

Dolcetto 2008

fresh, elegant, 13%


Dolcetto d’Alba Tigli Neri 2008

14.5%, veielles vignes, tannins verts, mais bien, une manqué de souplesse

Like it rushed to sugers and tannins never caught up.


Dolcette 2007

Much better, fruity, fresh, lovely (GR says both D’s are elegant and expressive)


Dolcetto d’Alba Tigli Neri 2007

Beautiful, elegant, florale, bien fait, tout est la, premieres matires solids, premier bouche perfectly toned, finish perfect

Barbera 2008

A difficult year for Barbera – good for Barolo. Nez de violet, florale, bien elegant

Said 2007 best


Barbera 2007  X

14.5%, not better than 2008, in my opinion, this is well done, but nothign more, nose is hot, florale bouche is hotter, sec et court – aucun finale.


Barbera d’Alba Roscaleto 2007

14.5%  - much more elagnat and fresh

Barbera d’Alba Roscaleto 2006  X

On teh nose –a cetate – vernis – but then lifted – ok, but still too hot – just gets pulled off – not drinkign well today (GR – plum, persistant, complex, plump)

Barbera d’Alba Vigni dei Romani 2006

14.5%, nez epice, mineral, correcte, bien equilibre, vraiment superb


Barbera d’Alba Vigni dei Romani 2005

Echoes the 2006 but shows what is coming – superb – same character as 2006


Langhe Nebbiolo 2008  X

Soil – sable – can drink younger – less acidite

Nez et bouche plus medicinale – cote cerise – bon bon, je n’aime pas.

Typique pour le terroir – mais apres, ca reviens – c’est un vrai voyage – a real surprise – wine was all over the place – nicely so – took me for a ride


Langhe Rosso Buio 2007

80% neb and 20% Barbera

Vraiment bien, spicy, mineral, supple

Nose a bit closed still, Bouche explodes

(GR – drinking beautifully already)


Langhe Rosso Buio 2006

Nose still closed – florale, frais, mineral bouche explodes

Round, supple, (GR- morello cherry, tobacco, elegant, palate long)


Barolo Fossati 2006

Really puissante – lots of alchohol but still gras and with great acidity.

Nose spicy, powerful


Barolo Fossati 2005

More feminine enormous, rond, superb – beautifully done

(GR – fresh tasting but dry tannins – fresh palate 0 dry mouth)


Barolo Case Nero 2006

Nose of caramel and chocolat


Barolo Case Nero 2005

Better structured – nose acetone – but bouche clean – explodes with flavour. Prefer the 2006 now but think the 2005 will last longer

(GR – clenched, muscular, nose closed)


Barolo Arione 2005

Well done – better than the 04? Stunning perfection

(GR – frsh, depth, tobacco, spices, red berry fruits classic, drinkable despite youth and powerful structure.)


Barolo Arione 2004

Disc shows some age – noticing that these wines are slow to lose their colour.

A little more fluid , easier, less  structure – or am I comfusing ageing with the newer wine above? (GR – texture)


Langhe Merlot Vigni Talpone 2006

Big – open – nose vegetal and green


Langhe Merlot Vigni Talpone 2004

More acidity – nose far more perfumed, open, similar bouche to 06, more alcoholic


Langhe Cabernet Vigni Talpone 2006

Loved both of these – nothing to say


Langhe Cabernet Vigni Talpone 2004

Stunning ...well-aged, plenty of fruit and perfectly balanced.


Dinner at Hotel du Vin, Henley-on-Thames

19 September 2007


2002 Chardonnay “La Combe”, Cotes du Jura, Domaine Ganevat

Wonderfully unique and individual. A “gout de vas”, dry and tightly focused. Truly expressive.


2003 Springfield’s The Work of Time, South Africa

14% Bordeaux blend from Robertson. Huge expressive nose with a restrained, fresh and elegant palate. Good acidity. Done in a very Old World style. Well-made. Good finish.


2004 Willi Opitz Weisser Schilfmandi Muscat Ottonel Schilfwein

Unctuous and luxurious will stunningly crisp acidity.




A dinner in New York - August 18,  2007


2003 Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Vincent Girardin

13.5% alcohol, thin and lifeless. Lacking fruit or varietal character.


2002 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico



2002 Rully 1ier cru “Les Cloux” Vincent Girardin

A bit too hot and heavy, but lusciously perfumed and enjoyable. Very New World in style.


1999 Palladio Brunello di Montalcino

13% but fresh, cool and elegant. Luscious chocolate bouche and strong finish.


2003 1ier cru “Les Folatieres”, Puligny Montrachet (whose?!)

14%, nice mineral nose, but too hot and sweet and lacking in acidity.


2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Keenan, Napa

14.3% hot, short, dry, boring. No varietal character or taste, just alcoholic oak. Let it air and kept going back to it and it never improved.



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