Uncorked Brunello (and other stuff)

This time around, just right for the New Year’s Eve dinner, the 2000 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nouva was not corked. And what a wine!

Served together with file of ox, a dense red wine sauce, string beans and bacon, and puff pastry bundles filled with chevre, beet roots and rosemary, this was truly a smash hit. It comes on with a profile bordering on Bordelaise elegance. I do not consider myself an experienced Sangiovese drinker and to be honest, Sangiovese is Chianti to me, which is not the first wine I come to think of as “great”. But a Brunello di Montalcino should most likely not be compared to a Chianti at all, given that the Brunello clone of the Sangiovese grape is different from those used in Chianti (e.g. Prugnolo Gentile), in addition to obvious differences in terroir.

Completely integrated and silky tannins. Chocolate, tobacco and molten leaves. Very soft and long. It is so smooth. I didn’t think Sangiovese could take on this form. The ten-year cellaring has made miracles. An excellent wine. I wish I had more bottles. During VinItaly this year, I will certainly pay a visit to Enoteca della Valpolicella to see what they can do about it. 93p.

As a pre-dinner drink, we had a couple of bottles of N.V. Camille Savès Champagne Brut Grand Cru Rosé. A decent Champagne but nothing special. Rosé C is really not my thing. I prefer my Champ crisper and less fruit-driven. The blend is 60% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot noir and 12% Bouzy rouge. Maybe it’s that dreadful red wine they pour into it. Champagne is one of few wine-making districts in the world which allows pouring red wine into the white wine to produce a rosé. Typically, the so-called saigneé method is used, where clear juice of blue grapes is left to macerate on its skins until sufficient color has been extracted. Imagine the pitch of old-world wine producers bound to legislation advocating the saigneé method if the sloppy “blending-white-and-red-wine-to produce-pink”-procedure would have been allowed in the new world. Total mayhem. Nevertheless, the Camille Savès is quite alright and would probably do better with food, say a grilled tuna. 85p.

At midnight, we also had a 2004 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut. From Ambonnay. Very nice. Blends 70% Chardonnay with 30% Pinot noir. 88p.

As a first starter we had pilgrim scallop with a Chablis. As a second starter we had fois gras with Domaine des Bernardines’ 2009 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. An interesting sweet white wine at 15% ABV. Very floral and perfumed. Not completely dissimilar from some Gewürztraminers I’ve had, when it comes to the floral character. However, it is slightly too perfumed on the palate. Maybe this one would do better with some cellaring. Yet, it is not an unpleasant wine. 80p.

2007 Domaine Johann Michel Cornas was the second wine we had with the main. Very typical Northern Rhône style all-Syrah with white pepper, leather and cedar tree. I’ve written earlier that I’m not totally convinced with the haussed 2007 Southern Rhône vintage. However, the warm vintage reasonably should have been good for the grumpy and sometimes ungenerous cousins from the north. Still, this is a Cornas, so don’t expect a plump, generous and fruit-driven Aussie style Shiraz. 83p.

Happy New Year!


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