Champagne as aperitif (albeit a simple one), soup of potato and parsnip with a semi-dry Riesling from Austrian Rainer Wess which turned out to be a perfect match to the slightly sweet soup. Thereafter, teeth  were sunk into a double marinated filé of beef with a Barolo as well as a Bordeaux to accompany. Finally, we had Gruyere, Parmigiano, Itchiban and an Amarone uniquely matured on Swedish oak (!). Ain’t life grand sometimes.

2010 Château Lalande-Borie was aired for three hours and (of course) turned out to be best of friends with the double-marinated beef.Lalande-Borie This was quite expected as Bordeaux always stands up nicely against mooing creatures. This one has all the attributes of a fab Bordeaux on the nose: fresh herbs, chocolate and that nice grassy sensation that always is present in a nice Bordeaux. It tastes sweet of black currants and is medium-bodied and well-structured with a nice grip and integrated tannins even though it still has a certain austerity to it. This should fare well from a couple of years (or more) in the cellar in which case it probably will earn another one or two points. You don’t get more bang for your bucks than this in Bordeaux; it is merely 238 SEK at Systembolaget. Highly recommended. 90p.

FaugèresIn this context, I should also mention a Bordeaux which puts the Lalande-Borie in the shade. Yesterday evening, after having picked up no less than 30 pre-ordered bottles of Bordeaux at the local SB, me and my wife had the Swedish seventies classic minute steak, fried onion, Béarnaise and French fries (how lovely it is). To accompany this fantastic and unsophisticated dish, I opened a bottle of 2009 Château Faugères, which is left bank St. Emilion and very different from the above mentioned St. Julien juice. Dense, powerful, silky and velvety; this is a power house which carries its ABV with grandeur. Dark cherries, vanilla and a slight tone of mint. The great share of Merlot is evident. This one is big, bold and full-bodied. 14.5 % ABV, but you really can’t tell. Smooth, elegant and with a long finish. Unfortunately, I only got to air it for an hour. Next time, I will go for three hours, but this is already highly accessible. The Lalande-Borie comes on as slightly thin in comparison. But as I said, this is generally a powerful vintage, and the minor downside to the Faugères is that it lacks the grassy Bordeaux feeling that I am so fond of and which is so present in the Lalande-Borie. But this is a more exquisite wine. 93p.

Schiavenza BroglioAs I previously mentioned, as a side-kick to the Lalande-Borie, we had a Barolo, namely 2005 Schiavenza Barolo Broglio. This can be bought from  Danish-Italian distributor Carlo Merolli, whom unfortunately no longer ships his wines to Sweden. The 2005 Broglio earned Tre Bicchieri in Vini d’Italia in 2010. It is a nice wine with typical Nebbiolo notes like tar, roses and minerals. Soft and round in the mouth, floral with a nice tannic structure. It is, however, slightly thin, which may be a general view on this particular vintage. I have previously aired this one, but it does not really benefit from extensive air contact. Nevertheless, it is a nice Barolo; sophisticated, elegant and by no means over the top (as may be the case with some of the 2007s). Drink now or over the next couple of years. 89p.

I should also mention another couple of Barolos which are sold by Carlo and which Cascina Cuccoare downright bargains: it doesn’t get cheaper than this. They however appear to be sold out at his web shop. First up is the generic Serralunga d’Alba Barolo 2007 Cascina Cucco Barolo di Serralunga, which set me back for 154 SEK (!). This made the finals in last year’s Vini d’Italia and could just as well have earned a Tre Bicchieri award as far as I’m concerned. This is a terrific wine with notes of tar, licorice, roses and minerals. Already perfectly approachable, even without airing. It has a nice grip and completely integrated tannins. The only thing negative that can be said is that, for being a Barolo – and this is really true for most Barolos of this vintage – it is unusually fruit-driven at the expensive of the more subtile Nebbiolo aromas. But this is a marginal note. This would still be worth its price even if you doubled it. Drink the 2007s while the 2004s and 2006s are maturing. It took me no time at all to drink the six bottles I bought a couple of months ago. Dammit! 90p.

The single-vineyard 2007 Cascina Cucco Cerrati Vigna Cucco has everything that the generic Serralunga Barolo has but in a higher concentration and with a more elegant mineral feeling. 91p.

Finally this evening we had two types of Gruyere: a riserva and a “cave-matured” (!), a Parmigiano and an Itchiban along with aRaimondi completely unique wine: an Amarone stored on Swedish oak. This is an initiative of two friends of mine who run the Club Amarone. The 2008 Amarone Raimondi is really a Villa Monteleone Amarone matured on Swedish oak. That should be a one-of-a-kind-setup. I have myself had the  fortune of labeling the bottles during Vinitaly last year. I will refrain from grading this Amarone, since I’m really an amateur at this particular type of wine. However, needless to say, it was a nice match to the cheeses. It is an Amarone which is light in style at 15 % ABV, so it should go well with for example game or other meats that are rich in flavour.

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