February 17. Wine of the day: the wine of the biblical Eden – Zorah’s Karasí
While looking for a really good wine the East is not a frequently visited direction, and besides this Armenia cannot be considered to be a wine nation. Throughout history only the news about genocides, the soviet dictatorship, the territorial disputes and diplomatic conflict reached the west from Armenia which is often addressed as the biblical garden of Eden. All these are definitely true; however it would be a mistake for a wine-lover to finish the acquaintance with Armenia here. The ArArAt brandy is undoubtedly a good example of the fact that the Armenian Highland is able to provide excellent grapes. As a sign of their respect the French even allowed to use the expression “cognac” , which is exclusively used for much preserved French brandies, for Churchill’s favourite brandy. The opportunities of the independent Armenia and the beauty of the nature captured Zhorik Gharibian, who by deciding to buy grapes here neglected Tuscany. The most ancient wine culture of the world revived. Alberto Antonioni and Stefano Bartolomei take great pains to bring us the exciting wines of these unknown lands.
Zorah’s plantations can be found in the heart of Yeghednadzor above the altitude of 1400 metres. For their first wine they chose the indigenous Air Noire, which is special as contradicting its reputation it survives on continental climate. It can resist anything and carries elegance and freshness under its thick shell. After manual vintage 20% of the wine ripens for 3 months in French oak barrels and 10% in Armenian oak barrels, while the rest is kept in containers. Recalling the beginnings, 30% of the wine ripens in 130 litres large amphorae, which are earthenware similar to those used 6100 years ago as archaeological finds also suggest.
Bright ruby red colour with complex aromas of cherry and plum lighly spiced with an elegant toasted note. The palate reﬂects the nose with a red fruit character, well-supported by a full-bodied structure, balanced, mature tannins and a long, evolved ﬁnish. According to Jamie Goode it’s like a cross between ripe Pinot Noir and a fresh Grenache, with some subtle peppery notes. Particularly suited to savoury meat dishes, such as lamb, duck, wild rabbit and braised meats. It is also great accompaniment to aged cheeses.
This is the story that is brought to us by VinCE Budapest from the remote little country and the proof of its millennial beauty should be found in the glass.
The will be presented by Caroline Gilby MW at the 10 wines, 10 lives, 10 MWs on March 9, 11.30–13.00
February 11. Wine of the day: Negre de San Colonia 2010, Mallorca
Fine, medium-deep garnet red with violet tinges. A very intense and complex nose dominated by the oak with elegant truffles and undergrowth. The fruity base dominated by blackberries together with liquorice and fine wood (cigar box) overtones. Very complex and rich in personality. An amiable flavour on the palate, which develops into a good balance with more elegance and refinement than potency. Fresh, soft tannins, particularly gastronomic. Warm, lingering, supple aftertaste.
At VinCE Budapest Master of Wine speaker Julia Harding will expound this wine with similar rare wines.
February 9. Wine of the day: Grace Vineyard Chairman’s Reserve 2009
Blended of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot and aged in new French barrels for 15-18 months. 2009 Chairman’s Reserve offers a medium garnet color and aromas of blackcurrant and fresh blackberries over hints of bay leaf, black pepper, cedar and damp loam. The medium bodied palate is well balanced with a good amount of black berry flavors nicely supported by refreshing acid and a medium level of grainy tannins. Very good effort from one of China’s vineyard and certainly demonstrates the potential.
The wine will be tasted at VinCE Budapest in the China masterclass held by Ágnes Herczeg.
February 1. Wine of the day: Tokaj ‘Fordítás’, Erzsébet Pince, 2008, Tokaj, Hungary
The day of the wine today is recommended by a sommelier – but the case is not that simple. This sommelier is a Master Sommelier, what’s more a Master of Wine from the USA, who fell in love with a the beutiful Tokaj wines – and a beautiful Tokaj lady. This is his wine tip for today:
‘Forditas’ has been a traditional botrytised wine category in Tokaj since the mid 19th century. After the first pressing (to give aszú wine) the aszú berries are macerated for a second time and then pressed again. The resulting wine is known as ‘fordítás’. Currently, only a handful of Tokaj producers make a Forditás, making it something of a rarity. Erzsébet Pince has made only two vintages so far, one in 2000, and one in 2008 when the weather allowed us to do so.
This 2008 combines the richness of an aszú and the pure fruit of a late harvest with refreshing elegance. The base wine is Furmint from Király vineyard (historically 1st class) in Mád; the botrytis berries are mixed, and include Furmint, Harslevelu, Muscat, and Kövérszőlő. The result is a wine of beautiful structure and abundant aromas. 2 years in oak, 2/3 new, and 1/3 old Hungarian oak barrels (225 l).
It has a strong honey note in the nose, along with abundant citrus, orange, and pineapple aromas. On the palate, it has luscious peach jam flavors, with nuances of fresh flowers, mango, and ginger. It has crisp acidity, a lingering finish, graceful richness, and perfect balance. It is like drinking a 5 puttonyos aszú!
This wine has significant aging potential (10+ more years). Its refreshing acidity and elegance make the wine an ideal choice as an aperitif or to serve at the end of the meal, with or without dessert.
Residual sugar: 122 g/l
Acidity: 7.5 g/l
The wine will be shown at the 9 wines, 9 lives, 9 MWs masterclass at VinCE Budapest.
January 20. Wine of the day: Yapincak, 2011, Paşaeli, Turkey
Yapıncak is an indigenous variety that is native to Şarköy area in Thrace. It has a pale gold colour. It was fermented at 17C for 21 days. It was kept “sur lie” for 3 months with 2 “batonnage” a week. And it was partially barrel aged for 3 months to add some complexity. It is a pleasant wine balanced with good acidity and a long finish. Total production is 1852 bottles. Julia Harding MW described the wine: “Very pale gold. Highly distinctive aroma, both rich and tangy. Intense lemon, hint of clementine plus a more oily minerality and quince. Lovely citrus on the palate too – bright and crisp and surprisingly full in the mouth (the lees contact, perhaps) given the moderate alcohol. The oak is in a supporting role and doesn’t have the sweetness I so often get from US oak.”
Yapincak 2011 will be tasted at Julia Harding MW’s masterclass.
January 18., Wine of the day: Palmer Brut Millésimé 2004, Champagne
Palmer is a cooperative in Champagne. There are no Hollywood stars advertising it, but it is still popular among keen champagne lovers. Palmer & Co has vineyard of 365 hectars at the moment. Palmer and Co about Millesimé: “A vintage year results from an exceptional year, an assemblage of crus and grape-varieties from the same harvest. For Champagne Palmer it’s also a subtle association between the memory and particularities of the climatic year and the style of the house. The blending of the Vintage Brut is not a strict balance between the pinot and chardonnay grapes: It is first created and then interpreted to emphasize the specific qualities of the vintage. Only Grands crus and Premier Crus of the Montagne de Reims have their legitimate place in the assemblage of the Brut Millésimé. As a matter of fact, the pinot noir coming from these vineyards is the backbone of this cuvée. In our Maison, we do lengthen our vintage wine ageing: from five to ten years, even more. This slow maturation on the deposit of yeasts, the peculiar quality of the vintage as well as the nobility of terroir origins bring to the Brut Millésimé a rare complexity.”
Palmer Brut Millésimé 2004 will be tasted at Sectret Champagne workshop on 8 March, 13.30. Speaker: György Márkus Champagne expert.
In the most prestigious wine region of Hungary, Tokaj, red grapes do not belong to the registered grape varieties. But you can understand the desire of Tokaj wine producers to prove themselves in red wines, too. Attila Domokos, winemaker of Dobogó Winery makes pinot noirs which gained applause from both professionals and winelovers. How about his kékfrankos (blaufrankisch)? Does it deserve the same praise? Dobogó winery decided not to repeat it, never ever. What can be the reason behind it? You can learn about it at the One time wines workshop where other “never repeated” wines can be tasted from Hungary.
January 9. Campofiorin, Masi, Italy
The “supertoscan” wine of Veneto – more precisely Supervenetian. Masi winery made it in 1964 for the first time, and it revolutionized the region. It is made of corvinella, rondinella and molinara grapes, and similar to amarone dried grapes are used. Extremely versatile: it fits Italian pasta, especially with creamy sauces, but also perfect with games. Available in magnum and double magnum, and if one is fortunate enough to get to Masi estate, should not miss a vertical Campofiorin vertical tasting.
This wine can be tasted at the Masi masterclass at VinCE Budapest (March 9, 13.30)
January 8. – Vinhão 2009, Aphros Winery, Portugal
It comes from Vinho Verde wine region, which literally means “green wine”, though the wines – despite of the puns – are not green at all. They are mostly white, but to the surprise of many winelovers, red wine is also produced here. Dr. Jamie Goodie blogger (and speaker of VinCE Budapest says about the grape variety that it’s an amazing stuff.
Could you miss a wine harvested this way?
The wine will be tasted at Julia Harding MW’s masterclass.