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Everything posted by Andre

  1. I recently had the Musar 1996, which I believe was a difficult vintage, and found it impossible to drink and ended up throwing it away. It was thin, acidic and green. Was this a bad bottle? I haven't been enclined to try another bottle. Also I have a couple of bottles of 1979/1983 Musar in my cellar. I remember having a bottle a few years ago and finding it a bit past it. Does anyone have any views on this as it is just gathering dust at the moment. I would not age them one bit further though they should be barely drinkable. You can keep them as monuments of a historical start or boom of this region. To generalize, I would not push the aging of these wines over 15 years. The fact that they are composed from several grape verieties can result in a pleasant surprise but I would not count on it. Both the 1983 and 1979 should be open 2 - 3 hours before consumption and no decanter recommended. The 1996 was thinner than the 1995 but I would suspect that your wine did not travell well.
  2. Andre

    WTN: Chianti tasting

    Thank you for the tasting notes. To say the truth I enjoyed yor previous posts better where there was less formality and less by the book attitude. Great choice of wines but none of which I would have picked for the fruits.
  3. recap performed. And to think that I ignored Craig's Tasting Notes request pinned at the top that waqs intended for exactly cases like these. Second labels can be decieving for any winery. There are several varietals used by each winery while a small percentage will be used to make the frist label blend. The rest is up to the wine makers experimenal habits and money making requirements. There are many winerys shooting themseleves in the leg with their second or third labels.
  4. There are two kinds of people in the wine industry, those who respect and worship the land and those who abuse it as a money-producing mechanism. Driving from Haifa to Beirut, during the 30’s and 40’s used to take a little over three hours. Today it may take you days with as little chance as crossing the Bronx Bruce Willis way. The wines tasted were bought in Germany, London and France. Cabernet Ksara 1999[ Lebanon ] A magnificent start for this tasting. Definitely not another new world Cabernet but rather a medium to full bodied wine rich with cassis and dried plums with an excellent use of oak and a beautifully balanced spicy-earthy finish. Drink now or within five years. Chateau Ksara 1998 [ Lebanon ] A very good expression of this winery and the wine maker of what a skilful blending is. Grape varieties: 60% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot . A rather young wine still developing and maybe best open in a couple of years, yet it proved complex with plenty red sour fruits, and spices. Enough acidity and tannins to keep on going 10 more years. From the words of Ksara’s export manager Elie Maamari: - This vintage could be aged for at least 10 to 15 years and could be consumed at this stage because it just started opening. Elul 2001, Sea-Horse 2001 [israel ] A skilful and smooth drinking blend by winemaker Zeev Dunyi. 78% Cabernet 20% Merlot and 2% Syrah aged for one year in 1-2 year old casks. This pleasant drinking wine seemed to be somehow diluted after the Ksara start. Drink now. Chateau Kefraya 1998 [Lebanon ] Another Lebanese winery named after its village. Like the rest of the Lebanese wine producers, the wineries are private and in this case are attended solely by the people of chateau Kefraya. The wine turned out to be massive with lots of dried fruits, sweet tobacco, vanilla and spices. A beautiful balance of the following grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsaut and Syrah. Massive yet, charming. Castel 1999 [israel ] Over oaked wines are currently the trend in Israel. The leader of long maturation in French Barique is no doubt Castel. Although young, the 24 months maturation in new oak leaves little room for fruity flavors or whatever else the grape may be characterized by. These professionally made wines seem more of an advertisement for the famous Seguin Morreau of Cognac than an expression of whatever soil the grapes are derived from. Chateau Kefraya 1995 [ Lebanon ] An absolute masterpiece at its peak The beautifully complex nose ranges between cherry blossom to sweet tobacco with a slight anisette aroma hovering gracefully. The artistic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Syrah Carignan and Grenache certainly displays perfect marriage at this age. The mouth is filled with an elegant and complex cassis, dried plums, leather, tobacco, minerals, nutmeg and herbs, in such a manner, it seems like any tasting note should step aside and let the imagination reign. Will keep for 3-5 more years though I would suggest drinking now. Cabernet Meishar 1997 [ Isreal ] Haya and Zeev Smilansky, the owners of this garage winery, possess such positive energies that they are bound to be reflected in their wines. This hot climate Southern Israeli Cabernet may have enjoyed more intense years, yet I would not skip this experience if I could. Gentle and smooth tannins pave the palate for a well-rounded dried fruit and earthy wine of medium body, pleasant though not complex. Don’t expect much and you might enjoy. Drink now. Chateau Musar 1995 [ Lebanon ] For many Israelis, Lebanon might signify many different things beginning from the famous Arak and ending with the thriving Hashish industry supplying its more than eager customers in Israel. The location of Chateau Musar in Ghazir, 15 miles north of Beirut. Will undoubtedly ring a very unpleasant bell of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s venture to this middle-eastern sidewalk in 1982. After tasting the wine, the group of tasters present that evening, argued that it was very much worth holding onto. Unique and distinctive, Chateau Musar was a league on his own. This is certainly a great vintage for Musar with dominant mouth filling flavors of very ripe plums, black cherries and forest berries aged skillfully in oak with a touch of aldehyde, traces of the all natural production methods Chateau Musar is rightly proud of. A long distance runner. Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection, Tsora 1995 [ Israel ] Though Orange Brownish in Color this 32 months older oak aged wine, provides a stunning and complex nose of dried apricots, shelled almonds, and sweet tobacco. Breathing the developing bouquet slowly reveals the Peacocks beautiful tail. The taste again seems shallow and over the hill [ 12% alcohol ] compared to the Lebanese counterparts. Worth every sniff you can afford. Chateau Musar 1988 [ Lebanon ] When I opened the wine, nearly 4 hours prior to the tasting, the cork broke leaving a tiny peace of its edge in the bottle’s neck. By the time I took a deep breath and tried to maneuver the piece out when an objecting hiss was heard and the remaining cork simply dived into the wine. When later tasting what turned out to be the highlight of this wonderful tasting, I thought to myself that there was no better way to go… Another excellent vintage expressed in an admiring way. Fruits, minerals and oak had joined in to create one of those rare combinations truly great Bordeaux wines are blessed with. The aromas range from sweet cherries to allspice. A unique experience now that will continue to be so one or two more years. Glasses were raised to the Hochar family’s health – Suhetku. At this stage, father Na’aman, a Lebanese priest currently serving the tiny Greek-Catholic Christian community of Haifa, who kindly accepted my invitation to join the tasting, raised his glass and prayed that in the same manner, the wonderful wines of Lebanon and Israel came together to form a unique wine tasting, may the whole region come together under everlasting peace. Amen to that, father.
  5. Hi Doyle, I don't believe in shortcuts and it seems also a great deal of the good people of this forum. I would begin with a wine course to discover my style of wines and further develop my palate with as many wine tastings as I can. If the retailer or sommelier are professionals, when you have the tools, you will know. As far as prices are concerned - a combination of homework and trust can easily do the job. Questions ? What are wine forums for ?
  6. Wonderful ! An illuminating well written geniusly simple masterpiece.
  7. Andre

    Wine Tasting Kit

    As far as the Nez du Vin - A good practice but there is nothing like the real thing. The market-place could be your best teacher. Also the term "cork" in the box is out of context; Is this supposed to reflect corky ? It does not. Hugh Johnson is one of the best wine writers while Oz Clark stands for the friendly, less official wine guide. They are two oposites.
  8. Andre

    Indian food and wine

    For Indian food I would pick a wine with as low alcohol content as possible. Since alcohol tends to bring out the flavor in food, it will maginfy the typically already dominant spices and sauces. Try these: Fruit wines 8.5%-9.5% alcohol.and would prefer them dry. Kiwi, Pears. apples, strawberries [ Fragolino] etc. I might add the Portuguese Vinho Verde to the white wines already recommended [ up to 10% alcohol and the Santo Adriaho could be a good example, even though medium dry, it has enough acidity to cover its sweetness]. Reds: An Italian lambrusco [ I would go for dry rather than amabile ], Australian sparkling Shiraz etc. Aged Portuguese red wine with up to 11.5% alcohol can also be an option. A dry Rose' like the Lebanese Bkea style would also run along quite pleasantly. This is a generalization to a broad aray of flavors - to be taken into consideration.
  9. Talking about lasting wines. While preparing the empty wine bottles for recycling this week-end, I noticed that the open bottle of Saint -Joseph was still quarter full. After abandoning the idea of hunting down the criminal, I decided to smell the wine before the final goodbye, Slightlt caramalized but still in good shape. I tasted it over the sink ready to spit...swallow....a bit hot on the finish but amazingly drinkable. The astonishing thing is that the wine managed to maintain its character a week after opening. I don't believe it had a chance if it was a new world wine.
  10. As far as I know, England is best at sparkling wines. But who knows what is coming next. Check this: http://www.dailyreviewonline.com/Stories/0...1735444,00.html
  11. They say life is full of ups and downs, well, it is also full of fruity and spicy wines. In order to get to know a spot along that line, we tend to take a magnifying glass and search away into the very soul of those tiny particles not even the creator knew existed. Assuming most wines consumed are for the sake of enjoyment, we end-up shooting ourselves in the leg and maybe annoying our company. The ability to enjoy an Australian wine during or after a bordeaux tasting is as rational as peace in the Middle-East betwen countries lead by men of war. Some might say might is right, let us pick a Australian fruit bomb and we will prevail, I am afraid this does not work amongst those who trust their own palate. Following is a maybe confusing, yet illuminating Syrah tasting [ hope all know the difference between Syrah and Petit Sirah, and if so, please illuminate the Californian wine godess with the beautiful hair]. Shiraz De Bortoli, Australia 2002. A simple but well made Australian Shiraz. Not over “jammy” as one might expect from a 10$ down under wine. A very pleasant drinking companion. Syrah Moulin de Gassac, Landoc 2000. A classic expression of a French dry and very spicy Syrah. Following the Australian De Bortoli, one might think a different grape variety is involved. Although very well balanced, this peppery wine might resemble a 1996 Gigondas rather than a Saint Joseph. Syrah Yarden 2000. Israel The first Syrah to come out of the Golan Heights winery. Quite a disappointment at 20$ a bottle. Though still young, the wine is controlled by the dominant oak with very little expression of fruits. I am not sure if I would age that one. Syrah Carmel 2002.Israel Proved superior to the Yarden though still no match to the imported Syrah. Nose is still closed , slightly veggie with notes of green tannins and some red sour fruits and spices lingering in the back. The nose opens up a bit after a couple of minutes, but will need several months to express balance. New oak is currently overpowering the wine’s nose. In the mouth the wine is Jammy on the entrance with intense aroma of fresh berries. Good balance. The finish indicates a young and still closed wine well balanced with oak but perhaps slightly too toasted. A promising wine that will be a pleasure to drink in 6 – 12 months. St. Joseph Deschants, Chapoutier 1999 A dry well balanced wine with plenty of spicy and some dry fruit flavors. The dominant tannins integrate beautifully with the spices to become a classic medium bodied Saint Joseph. Some would prefer their Saint Joseph slightly more fruity. In my eyes, the 1999 reflects the classic Saint Joseph image best. Syrah Alfa Montes 2000. A very impressive new world Syrah. Excellent use of oak mingled with a fruity almost sweet medium to full bodied wine. Excellent work by the winemaker, chapeau ! Enjoyed very much! Cote Rotie Chapoutier 1996 For those who enjoy the more spicy Rhone wines, might find this version of the 1996 as one of their favorite. The Grenache based Gigondas of 1996 might be a good example as well, but when it comes to Cote Rotie, the extra dimension of complexity brings you to the true nature of what this terroir is all about. Lot’s of character. Shiraz Annie’s Lane Contour Vineyards 1995. A very pleasant surprise from this magnificent winery. Full bodied nose revealing layers of fresh and dry fruits. The wine explodes in the mouth showing what a fruit bomb is all about. Chewy and well balanced, yet has enough tannins and acidity to keep going 3-5 more years at least.
  12. I will try to sample your recommended list with pleasure. I was refering to the ordinary lines and also generalizing. Prunotto does make some good Barbera: Barbera d’Asti Costamiole Prunotto1997 A modern Barolo style barbera that is very impressive. Generalzing might have been out of place but I was somehow disapointed from the more famous brands.
  13. Andre


    This may only be true when regarding wine making as pure technology rather than an art. For sure WS would conviniently term it as something technical you can rate. A traditionalist may find the grapes more or less to his liking rather than follow the WS lead and express himself as expected.
  14. I like the Barbera too but not as much as before. After a series of disapointments from some rather famous producers like Prunotto and Michelle Chiarlo, in their simpler Barbera line, I arrived to the conclusion that there is something wrong. Either the wine does not travel well [many wines simply lost their livelihood] or the diference in vintage is huge. I would rather stick to the Valpolicella Classico namely the 2000 vintage.
  15. Andre

    Weekend wines

    No doubt the white Bordeaux ate trickier than the red. A good year can keep forever. I have tasted wines from the 50's that were amazingly young. The rest might not travel, keep or develop well. Interesting combinations as always.
  16. Andre


    I have a sign up in my place: "Life is too short to drink supermarket wine" and that is exactly where we are heading. The master mind behind eGullet did the mart thing of simplifying the world under different sections rather than having verything under one Flag. To say the truth, Wine Spectator is simply boaring to me. They became like one of those fitness magazines: "How to shape up in just 3 minutes a day !" I am sorry, there is more to the world of wine than the Wine Spectator rating system.
  17. The Hungarian Egri Bukaver has nothing to do with the Transylvanian wines. As far as the Vampire's line is concerned I would go for their simple straight forward merlot. Don't expect much and you might enjoy.
  18. It sounds very professional. Very well written / put together. Thanks again Craig.
  19. Andre

    Eastern European vintage

    Update on the Tokaji Region: With some botrytis affecting a small portion of the grape bunch some wineries have started harvest. The smaller wineries are selecting grapes at the winery. Possibility for rain is high and the high level of humidity is slightly delluting the sugar and flavor of the grapes.
  20. I think the 6 puttonyos should be a minimum of 150g / l sugar but that is not enough. a certain amount of dry extracts is required also by law. Of what I know a minimum of 45 g / l dry extracts that are not sugar are required.
  21. Craig's wonderful article on the Barolo war did remind me it was high time I tasted a few: Roero Arneis Prunotto 1999 [White] A good balance between tropical ripe fruit and a dry earthy finish. The Reds: Barbera d’Asti Michele Chiarelo 1999 A simple form of Barbera di Asti .well made but not interesting. Barbera d’Asti Costamiole Prunotto1997 A modern Barolo style barbera – very impressive. Langhe Nebiolo Produtori del Barbareco 2000 A good value for the money Nabiolo, dry and tasty. Barbaresco Produtori del Barbaresco 1997 A good example of a rather simple yet appealing Barbaresco. Very good value. Barbaresco Asili 1996 Massive full-bodied barbaresco that was a crime to open so young. I would wait 2 more years before opening my next bottle. Barbaresco Pio Cesare 1994 Over the hill – disappointing. Barolo Enrico Searfino 1993. Way over the hill – the simplest form of Barolo. Barolo Bussia Prunotto 1993 Massive and still very young – exciting! Barolo Lazarito 1995 by Vietti. : I loved this wine. Great balance between massive tannins, elegant red forest fruits and spices. A great job by the winemaker ! A good week-end to all.
  22. Andre

    chateau guiraud

    That is interesting Mark. I tasted the 1994 and it lacked complexity and character and was heading down. I tried several bottles. Do you think 1996 is worth a try ?
  23. Andre

    Playing around

    Good on you mate ! Things had been so extreme in this holly place that I decided to reflect it on the matching. Now more seriously, All wines complimented the cheeses when mingled in the mouth. The croute [rind] of the Swiss Brie did prove problematic when in touch with the wine and resulted in some bitterness but the texture was well suited. I tried to avoid sweetness as much as I could to focus on the taste and to display this matching as a dinner when the med - dry Zin and goat cheese roulade serving as an aperitif and the port and Danish serving as a dessert. Sometimes we would be offered, or feel like, cheese for dessert while still enjoying our red. The wrong cheese might result in a rather disapointing finish. This tasting was meant to touch upon this issue as well. From the choice of wines I wouls say you have some greek blood in you. Commandaria ?
  24. Thank you Craig, enjoyed very much. Taking the road less travelled by, for any wine writer, may result in a decrease of popularity. Parker's love for muscle and oak made him unwelcome in Bourgogne as stated by Mark. Winemakers were simply preparing special extra oak barrels for his royal highness scoring more than those unwilling to bend. Local young talents were simply Parker oriented scoring and selling a lot more to the very important American market. This is exactly what this article is about. Same thing happened in the Northern Rhone. I like the style of Rovani but he lacks the massive Parker experience.
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