A selection of May launches at Systembolaget, Part II

This is Part II of a blog post relating to the tasting I attended on 2 May. Part II deals with red wines of said tasting.

The second round of reds of the tasting contains two real roughnecks, both from the southern parts of France; namely 2007 Un Jour from Cahors and 2008 Château Bouscassé Vieilles Vignes from Madiran. Cahors is original Malbec country, and this 100% Malbec has little in common with its Argentinian counterparts. The Argentine wine makers have more or less taken over this variety and many of them sure deserves credit for it, producing fruit driven, still elegant and sophisticated wines, while the Cahors wines on the other hand nowadays lead a languishing life. Back in the days, the near-black Cahors wines were used to boost the wines of their more famous upstream neighbor, Bordeaux. The Un Jour oozes of tobacco, leather and coffee. There are fresh herbs and plum on the palate, with a nice acidity and still evident tannins. The Bouscassé is even more austere, which is to be expected with 95% Tannat, one of the most acrid grapes to ever see the light of day. If Malbec nowadays means Argentina, Tannat finds a new home in Uruguay, even though they have not been able to refine the grape as good as the Argentines have with Malbec. Behind the Bouscassé is the king of Tannat: Alain Brumont. He never puts his name on the label of a bad or even ordinary wine. Leather, eucalyptus, tobacco and spices. Should be stored for a couple of years. I would think that this one can stand extensive cellaring since it has the fruit to survive a good tannin smoothing.

For wines no. 11 and 12, we turn to the southern Rhône and arguably my favorite wine appellation: Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first wine in this flight is something so unusual as an “old” CNdP: 2001 Clos du Mont Olivet. Unfortunately, I can’t link to this one since it’s out of stock at Systembolaget. However, please refer to one of my old blog posts for a vertical tasting of the Mont Olivet. Nevertheless, the 2001 is complex with notes of pine, spices and red berries. Nice. But I have to confess…..I sure do prefer a younger CNdP. 2008 Bosquet des Papes Cuvée Tradition has everything I like about the appellation: blackberries, sweet licorice, spices, minerals. Good intensity, excellent balance, great length, warm finish. I’ve told you before that 2008 in southern Rhône is an underestimated vintage. This one confirms that hypothesis. One of the benefits of the vintage is that the wines in general is a good deal cheaper than the 2007s (or 2009 for that matter), which has been subject to serious price boosting. If I would choose a vintage to drink today, I would without any hesitation select the 2008. And this one is certainly a bargain. Get your hands on it while it’s still in stock.

The final flight of the evening contains no less than three wines. First up is another creation of Alain Brumont: 2008 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige. This time, there’s 90% of Tannat plus the two varieties of Cab. Full-bodied. Big tannins. Notes of plum, herbs, vanilla, licorice. For the cellar. Next up is the perhaps finest wine of the evening: 2004 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. Cherries, rosehip, leather. Has a slight and nice bitterness that can be compared to that of cherry seeds. There’s a trace of almond as well. Medium-bodied with a nice length and acidity. Very complex and elegant. Highly recommended. I wouldn’t say I am a fan of Sangiovese and particularly not a fan of Chianti. Of course, Brunello is a different clone and the area certainly has a different terroir than Chianti. But still. Maybe this is what Sangiovese is capable of with some maturation. Could even a Chianti evolve like this? I don’t know, but please let me know if you have a theory on the subject. Fantastic! The only downside is that it starts getting expensive here. The last wine of the evening is 2006 Barolo Ginestra Vigna Casa Maté from Elio Grasso. Big and bold. Roses, asphalt, herbs. Very sharp notes of mineral and stone. Well-integrated tannins for being a relatively young Barolo. Great wine. I may get back to you with a blog post about Elio Grasso. I tried a bunch of their wines at Vinitaly.

To sum up the tasting; for the whites, go for the two Rieslings. Both of them are nothing less than great. They are also relatively moderately priced (they’re German for Chrissake). Of the reds, I’d recommend the Bosquet des Papes. Great wine, nice price. If you want to splash out, go for the Brunello. We’re talking weltklasse.

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