We are gathered at Marcus’ place on Döbelnsgatan. Five guys each bring their own wines. The instructions are that the wines should display reasonable typicity and be produced from a fairly well-known grape. Needless to say, this is a matter of definition, but your Müller-Thurgaus, Perricones and Bourboulencs won’t qualify. Further, the wine should cost around 300 SEK. And be red.
First, Marcus encodes the wines without anybody else looking, and then I re-encode the wines – also without anybody watching – meaning that I have a note in my pocket which only can be deciphered by Marcus. This is true geek business. As consequence, all wines are tasted blind, even your own.
So what we have in front of us are five wines tasted blind. Or at least four is tasted blind, while one is half-blind. We start be smelling and tasting the wines under relative silence for 20-25 minutes, even though Marcus is having trouble big-time keeping his big mouth shut, as always. That guy truly is annoying.
First out is a light red wine with a nose of spices, cherries, oak and dark berries. It doesn’t really have a distinct nose. What strikes you the first is the acidity and intensity of the wine. The taste is long with a fair amount of (still unsettled) tannins.
This is a tricky one. Niclas, who is the most prominent expert in this silly bunch, suggests that it is a Pinot Noir from the New World (and he comes across as rather sure), however without getting any overwhelming support from the rest of the group. France is suggested as country of origin by others, even though nobody manages to substantiate the (French) grape variety. Yours truly actually suggests that the wine appears to be Italian in style, partly due to the clear scent of cherries. Due to the high acidity in combination with the cherry scent, your favorite blogger suggests a Sangiovese. As it turns out, it is a 2009 Sito Moresco from Gaja, the top-of-the-line Piemontese producer. This is a blend of 35% Nebbiolo, 35% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, thereby indicating why it is so difficult to pinpoint. Italian: yes. Sangiovese: certainly not. Nice wine, though. 89p.
No. 2 is very light in colour and has a characteristic smell of raspberries and wild strawberries. Very, very red-berry-driven on the nose. Extremely pleasant and generous scent and you would expect such a mother-in-law’s dream to be light-weight, juicy and to lack character. Without any doubt this is a Pinot Noir. We all agree on that. But it also has structure and grip enough to impress on the palate. Very pleasant yet not without complexity. The 2008 Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir is one of my favorites. Amazing value for being a PN. 91p.
The third wine is very characteristic; black currants, cedar tree, green peppers, vegetative tones. Long, balanced and complex. This is clearly a Bordeaux blend. The characteristic greenish tones make us all agree that this actually must be a Bordeaux blend from Bordeaux (as opposed to a Bordeaux blend from, say, Tuscany). After all wines have been tasted, we all agree that this is the best wine. Bordeauxs having this particular character are simply bench-mark as fa as we are concerned. This is a 2000 Château de la Garde from Pessac-Léognan. A wine of this quality selling at a price like this is nothing short of a bargain. Plus you get a mature Bordeaux. For your own good: buy it while it’s still in stock at Systembolaget. 92p.
Wine number four is a Liedholm Vino Tavola di Rosso. Unfortunately, it is defect. We can’t agree on whether it is corked or has some other defect, but it is beyond drinking. Luckily, Lars brought another wine which will be tasted as number six.
The fifth wine out displays black fruit, plums, licorice and cured meat. Very round, powerful and full-bodied on the palette. Spicy and long with a slight chocolatish feeling. This is not easy to pin down and we speculate (except for Niclas who brought the wine) that this has its origin in Southern Rhône, and that it either is a Syrah or a GSM blend. Unfortunately, nobody spots the slight burnt smell that could’ve made us place the wine in South Africa. I would like to emphasis that the wine smells burnt but is not smoky as so often is the case in South Africa. Nevertheless, this is a 2001 Kanonkop Pinotage from Stellenbosch. At first, I find this very pleasant. After a while, it becomes slightly overwhelming. 85p.
The sixth and last wine, acting as a substitute to Lars’ wine in position four, which was defect, is a mature wine. Very, very light red. Red fruits and licorice on the nose. This takes a lot of time to open up, and the first 20-30 minutes, we are all very uncertain (except Lars, of course) what this really is. Pinot? After having discussed all other wines in detail, we are left with this. And now, notes of asphalt and tobacco appears. It’s a Nebbiolo! Personally, I do not find it all that attractive. It has lost all its fruit and frankly, to me, I think it is past its peak. This is not a fruit-driven wine in the first place, but I still enjoy some fruit left even in a mature wine. Nevertheless, I sure appreciate Lars brought this 1995 Bersano Barolo Nirvasco. It’s always nice to drink a truly mature wine. 83p.
Bordeaux wins and the US comes in second (even though it was a draw with the Sito Moresco)!