A selection of September launches at Systembolaget, Part I

Now, back to the September launch at Systembolaget which was held a week ago. 13 wines in total, including two whites and three top red 2008 Bordeauxs.

First up were two white wines. 2010 Roero Arneis from Marco Porello. Piemontese white. Can’t be found anywhere else. The tasting note of SB speaks of “yellow apples, pears and grapefruit”. But I can’t tell. It tastes of “white wine” to me. Not bad, but lacking in character. Slightly nondescript. 78p. White Rioja 1993 Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco is mature. No doubt about that. If it had been a blind tasting I almost would’ve mistaken it for a Riesling. Honey, dried fruit, vanilla from the oak and, at least to me, a slight tone of rubber. My tasting buddy Marcus does not agree on the rubber boot feel, and sure, I’ve been wrong before. Interesting wine. And I was close to putting that wording within quotes. Lots of character, just not my kind of character. 80p. I would guess this is better on the dining table than on the tasting bench.

First red flight starts with 2009 Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu. Plum, herbs, licorice. Very fruity. Slightly unbalanced. Overextracted? 82p. Next up is 2004 Work of Time from Springfield Estate. Black currants, coffee, chocolate. And smoke. I have a problem with some of the South-African wines. If Marcus would have told me, after I first went to the bath room and then tasted this wine, that he’d knocked off some cigarette ashes in my glass, I certainly wouldn’t have bet my cojones he was kidding. To me, this is smoky bordering on defect. I do think this is a neither pleasant nor correct note in a wine. I’m sure the wine is good under all the smoke, but you can’t really separate that particular highly distinctive characteristic from the others. 75p.

Then comes an interesting Malbec-pairing: 2009 Château La Reyne L’Excellence from Cahors and 2008 Altos las Hormigas Reserve Malbec from Mendoza. They both have dark berries, leather and tobacco on the nose. The Cahors is more structured and tannic than the Argentinian, which is slightly more fruit-driven. They both have a good acidity, yet nice fruit, and a warm finish. Good wines and typical examples of Malbec of their respective region. La Reyne should be matured for some years. My guess is that it then will become a small sensation, particularly if you take price into account. 88p and 84p, respectively.

The evening’s only wholly Italian flight presents two wines for which my expectations were high: a 2006 Brunello di Montalcino from Ciacci Piccolomini in Tuscany and 2005 Radici Taurasi Riserva from Mastroberardino in Campania. The Brunello reeks of plums and cherries. There are also notes of leather and tobacco. Medium-bodied with a certain length. However, it is also tart and way to rustic. To me, this is more similar to a Chianti than a Brunello. Maybe this one have to be given another couple of years in the wardrobe. I know that fully mature top-Brunello is amazing. It scored 93p in Wine Spectator, which frankly is incomprehensible. 84p. The Taurasi from 100% Aglianico is interesting. This is robust! Leather, plums, spices, licorice. Very nice on the nose. Medium-to-full-bodied, complex, structured. Firm tannins and a warm finish. The Taurasi should stored for another couple of years and could certainly be stored for another 10 years. 86p.

Of the wines included in this post, i.e. Part I of the September launch, I would without any hesitation put my money on the La Reyne from Cahors. Very nice wine that will approach 90 points within a couple of years. I’ll get back to you within a couple of days with Part II.

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