Thursday, 7 July 2016

Vina Casa Marin

Jakarta, 31 May 2016

A selection of wines by Vina Casa Marin. The wines are distributed in Indonesia by PT Dimatique International. Apologies for the quality of the pictures (more specifically, lack thereof), couldnt find a dry bottle to photograph for the whites.

2009 Riesling, Miramar Vineyard

Plenty of high notes on the nose: lemon and citrus dominates, then hints of kerosene and waxy lemon peel. On the palate, bags of citrus supported by racy yet juicy acidity; it is lip-smacking, mouth-watering stuff. So lively, fruit and acid really sings together; theres a decent amount of residual sugar but you really wouldnt notice it. A high wire act, so vibrant and bright, still rapier-like in its focus. Lots of life ahead of this, drink now - 2020+.

2011 Gewurztraminer, Casona Vineyard

On the nose: lemon some spritz and peel, maybe some green apple too? Citrus again on the palate, but it is wider and more generous; fruity acidity balances out the mid palate. Theres more weight too; feels more rounded and settled compared to the racy Riesling. Should make a versatile food wine. Will keep but dont think it'll improve, drink now - 2020.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Laurel Vineyard

Textbook aromas: green leafy notes, ripe gooseberry, then develops to sweet lemons; as it warms, the green peppers begin to show too. Good fruit profile on the palate, fruity acidity with some residual sugar left in the there; very generous on the mid palate, even hints of minerality on the finish. Still feels youthful, yet very together and assured in its expression. A gourmand wine, this is a seriously classy. Drink now - 2020.

2008 Pinot Noir, Lo Abarca Hills Vineyard

Nose is stalky almost woody, the herbal and vegetal notes wrap around the red plums. On the palate there are remnants of a sweet core of red fruit (plums and cherries), but it has developed with tiem and lost the sweetness, the acidity and tannins too fading away. Cool climate, not over extracted in style; a more restrained, ‘adult’ style Pinot; a gentle, food wine. Surprising fruit still left given the age, drink now.

2009 Syrah, Miramar Vineyard

On the nose, ripe plums and berries with lots of white pepper too; the nose is reminiscent of Northern Rhone reds from the ripe year. On the palate, fat acidity, really quite filling acid, so much so the fruit takes a back seat. Crunchy red fruit, like red cherries and currants; quite disconcerting in that the nose makes you expect something and the palate delivers something else. Age has lightened the fruit, but acidity carries through; might keep, but wont improve, drink now.

Overall impression

To be honest the reds were rather strange and I am not entirely certain why wines of this age were shown, given that the core fruit of both reds has faded away. On the other hand, the whites (which should be pointed out arent that much younger than the reds) were absolutely wonderful: the Gewurztraminer was Alsatian in style and a pleasure to taste, the Sauvignon Blanc a classy, gourmand wine. The Riesling was still so lively it reminded me of Mosel Spatleses. I have little doubt this Riesling will last well into the next decade. I've previously tasted and been impressed by Casa Marin's whites and this tasting just reinforces why they are deservedly so highly regarded.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Maison Louis Jadot

Jakarta, 31 May 2016

A tasting of Maison Louis Jadot wines from Burgundy, or more specifically, from the Cote d’Or, led by Sigfried Pic, Export Director. With thanks too to Franklin Huber of PT Bogacitra Nusapratama (Boga Fine Wine), who are Jadot’s distributors in Indonesia. The wines are written in the order they were tasted.

2013 Bourgogne Chardonnay

Pale yellow green in colour. On the nose, immediately sweet white fruits (peaches ) and lick of sweet vanilla , with some high notes showing too. On the palate, flvours are lemony with good fruity acidity; good entry but fades on midpalate, mouthfeel is pleasant. Balanced, well made if perhaps rather textbook Bourgogne Blanc; it is fresh, approachable yet food-friendly, intended for immediate consumption.

2012 Meursault Villages
Slightly deeper in colour. Aromas are of vanilla and creamy oak, fragrant and thick, follows through to white fruits and peach. Smells ripe and maybe a touch alcoholic. White fruit on the palate with lemons and some nuttiness too, more filing and creamy in texture; fruit is generous, acidity enough to keep it going and minerality on the finish. It is a more substantial and ‘bigger’ wine, suited to heavier dishes. A balanced, well-made wine that is proudly typical of Meursault; drink now – 2020.

2009 Beaune ‘Les Theurons’ Premier Cru

Fragrant, ripe red fruit, also some woody and stalky notes, touch of sweet oak too. On the palate, feels restrained and very linear, actually tastes quite closed and woody, the fruit is hidden away perhaps softened by age. Quite masculine in style, fresh acidity still and some tannins to keep it going. This will keep but I don’t think it’ll improve and given the fruit isn’t particularly expressive, I’d recommend drinking up, drink now - 2020.

2009 Beaune ‘Les Avaux’ Premier Cru

Red fruit, with some white pepper and roses, high notes also there. Theres more crunchy, fruity acidity on the palate, with flavours of unripe red cherries and raspberries. More generous in fruit and acid, wider and larger in the attack but fades too quickly. Theres some vivacity (especially acidity wise) on the palate, which is exciting but I just wished it lasts on the finish. Not unlike the Les Theurons, will keep but I don’t think it’ll improve, drink now – 2020.

2010 Pommard ‘Les Grands Epenots’ Premier Cru

Fragrant sweet oak, ripe red ruits, almost floral even; as it warms up, theres some undergrowth and stalky notes too. On the palate, the fruit and flavours are muted, everything seems together but not singing? The acidity is still lively, the tannins slightly softened out but should allow further aging. Disconcertingly, the entry, midpalate and finish tastes almost the same muted self. It is painfully inexpressive.

This is not typical of Pommard Grand Epenots. Some Burgundies are known to enter a ‘closed’ phase during their adolescence (hence the advice to drink young or wait 10+ years). If one is being kind, perhaps this Jadot Pommard Grands Epenots is in such a phase and in this case, I am inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.

2008 Chambolle-Musigny Villages

Heading towards barnyard and rusty notes, quite developed notes that can only be from aged Burgundy; then fragrant and red fruits touches come back. Fresh acidity still, but the fruit has definitely taken a back seat, some might say faded away. Acidity is still vibrant and fresh, quite fruity even; tannins has softened too. Unfortunately, the fruit isn’t expressive and I get the sense that this wine is tired, far more so than a wine of its age should be, I have a suspicion that the storage conditions thus far has not been ideal.

Overall impressions

In the world of Burgundy, Maison Louis Jadot needs little introduction and this was an interesting snapshot from their frankly huge portfolio. The whites were straightforward, typical and correct: the Bourgogne Chardonnay balanced, the Meursault bigger and more textured. The two Beaune Premier Crus were very different from each other, the Les Theurons showing a more masculine edge to the rounder Les Avaux. Given that there are no Grand Crus in Beaune, these two Premier Crus do represent the finer end of Beaune, though I must say these two bottles aren’t the most expressive Beaunes I have tasted. The Pommard Grands Epenots, as written above, slightly confuses me and I don’t know what more I can add on that. In a terroir as fickle as Burgundy, it is worth noting that the Beaune and Pommard Premier Crus are from very good vintages, with good aging potential. The Chambolle-Musigny, from a lesser vintage, was a curiousity that is probably past its best. In all, certainly a thought provoking tasting.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Susana Balbo Wines

Jakarta, 19 May 2016

A selection of wines from Susana Balbo Wines presented by Cecile Terrien, Brand Manager.
Susana Balbo Wines (previously known as Dominio del Plata) is based in Mendoza, Argentina with wines made by Ben Marcos and the acclaimed, pioneering winemaker Susana Balbo; their labels include Crios, Nostros, Ben Marco and Susana Balbo ranges. Wines are distributed in Indonesia by PT Dimatique International.

2015 Crios Torrontes

A really fragrant and lifted nose of orange blossoms and acacia there; followed by citrus notes too. On the palate, bags of lemony freshness, with fruity acidity. Clean, runs through easily, with no harshness. Touch of spice at the end. Balanced, expressive and well executed: an excellent summer / picnic wine. Shows textbook Torrontes characters.

2014 Crios Malbec

Initially, red fruits and spice on the nose, definite whiff of white pepper, a lick of sweet vanilla oak too, progresses to violets, a touch alcoholic though. Good flavours, red fruits dominate with gentle acidity. Stylistically a lighter Malbec, not extracted, more towards an easy drinking style.

2014 Crios Cabernet Sauvignon

On the nose, more blueberries and darker fruits, slightly more depth than the Malbec. Hints of sweet oak and alcoholic notes too. On the palate, darker fruit compote with fruity acidity, clean flavours that runs through on the palate. Again, a lighter extraction and cooler style Cabernet.

2013 Ben Marco Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark fruit on the nose, quite jammy and forward, with some oak and vanilla notes. Palate carries through with the darker fruit flavours, with some sweet spice. Well balanced but definite step up in power and extraction. Good mid palate weight, beginning to see tannins. An elegant food wine.

2013 Ben Marco Expresivo
A blend of 65% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in 100% new French Oak.

Darker fruit dominates the nose, its quite jammy and hot, with sweet spice flavours of anise and blackpepper; hints of sweet dark plums and violets too. On the palate, dark jammy compote and sweet spice flavours carries through, decent acidity keeps it from being cumbersome; textured with midpalate heft, good concentration of flavours and lingering ripe tannins. A big, more complex wine no doubt, but retains a decent punch too. The style may be a tad flashy for my liking, but theres plenty of quality fruit backing it up, drink 2020-2030+.

2014 Susana Balboa Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
13 months in oak with 80% new and 20% second-fill. Fermentation in concrete egg-shaped amphorae as well as barrels.

Aromas of dark fruit and cassis, but with green leaf and mint notes too, also sweet licorice and woody notes (in a good way). On the palate the fruit is fleshy, round and smooth, notes of dark plums and blackberries, there is fresh acidity running through and light tannic notes on the finish. This wine is the anti-thesis of flashy, even in its youth, everything feels balanced and integrated, all components singing harmoniously together, not shouting in different directions. Its not the most complex or concentrated wine, but I doubt it is trying to be. A wine to enjoy now through 2020+.

2013 Susana Balboa Brioso Single Vineyard
A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. 15 months in new French oak.

Bordeaux on steroids: aromas of cassis, dark plums and blackberries with secondary notes of cinnamon, clove and cigar box. Definite oak treatment shows, in the sweet, polished wood notes. Great to just sniff, smells like Christmas. Plenty of dark fruit on the palate, its almost heady in concentration of flavours; sweet dark jammy compote, ripe blackberries and spice, supported by sufficient acidity. Generous and rich on the palate, with elegant ripe tannins just gripping towards the long, complex finish. To call this a Bordeaux look alike would be an injustice, it is a classy effort by a vigneron at the top of her game. Properly built and framed, should age gracefully, drink 2020-2030+.

A notable theme running through all these wines is the ease with which they carry themselves. From the entry-level Crios to the single-vineyard Brioso, all showed elegance, balance and poise. These are not your jammy over-extracted Malbec fruit bombs from the Mendoza that is still trying to make a point. These are wines made with respect and sensitivity towards the grape and the terroir they come from, assured in showcasing the skill and style of the vigneron. Wonderful effort and a joy to taste. Bravo.