Pai Abel Chumbado Branco 2011, Quinta das Bágeiras, (by Rui Alves), Bairraida Wine Region, Portugal- given to me as a present by Joao Rico a couple of years ago. An interesting story re this wine- this “Father Abel” did not pass the tasting room of the wine committee of Bairrada & Mario Sergio, out of a cry of revolt, decided to release it anyway, labeling it “Chimbado” (“Rejected”).
A blend of Maria Gomes e Bical grapes, this wine is complex in any direction. Baked bread, daffodils, crushed stones hinting minerality as a backdrop. On the palate it shows an abundance of ripe lemons, fresh acidity & long enduring minerality aftertaste. Excellent harmony! Chimbado, indeed- In my direction that is!
P.S. Finally in 2012, Mario Sergio was considered the producer of the year by Wine magazine!
It’s show off time! That period of the year when the wineries are pulling out on the market their latest wines. In other words, it’s time for some serious wine sampling. A few days ago, at the Temov Wine Bar in the Turkish Bazaar in Skopje, I had the pleasure to taste some of the wines from Popov winery.
Located in Sopot, near the town of Kavadarci in the Tikves Wine District, Popov winery is a family winery established in 2001. Today, the winery owns 45 ha of prime vineyards located in the localities Sopot, Smolnik and Vrshnik, all of these surrounding the winery. The plantings include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Temjanika, Zilavka, Pinot Grigio, Vranec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Smolnik Temjanika 2013
The grapes for this wine come from the Smolnik locality, which is one of the localities surrounding the Popov Winery. Light yellow colour with greenish nuances. The nose is fresh with lots of peaches and gooseberry hints and the taste follows in the same manner.
Smolnik Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Fume style, grapefruit and green grass aromas. The taste gives away abundance of kiwi and passion fruit flavours all rounded with an expressive minerality.
Smolnik Chardonnay 2013
Pineapple aromas, smokey on the nose. Yellow pear skin flavours and a pleasant acidity.
Smolnik Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2012
Lots of rice pudding, vanilla and honeycomb notes on the nose. On the taste an easily detectable sweetness with buttery and citrus flavours.
Domaine Vrshnik 2013
The grapes for this wine come from the Vrshnik locality, in the vicinity of the winery. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, hardonnay and Gewurtztraminer. Aromas of pineapple, and flavours of pears, baked bread and lots of crushed stones on the palate.
Domaine Vrshnik Merlot 2011
Oaky & smokey on the nose. Very sweet on the pallate with lots of dry berry fruits.
Cabernet Sauvignon Barrique 2011
Aromas of ripe berry fruits and vanilla hints. Very jammy on the palate with soft tannins.
Cuvee Prestige 2011
Oaky, aromas of cherries, blueberries and red currants. The taste follows in the same manner with additional hints of plums.
Vranec Reserve 2007
Aromas of ground red pepper and cherries. Abundance of bluberries, currants and cedar hints. Velvety tannins and a very good aftertaste. To be drunk preferably as soon as possible.
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008
Meaty cherries and vanilla aromas. The taste is full of black currants, powdery tannins.
A gift from my dear friend, Willy Buysse- This 2010 Condrieu was my first oak aged Vigonier (aged in 100% new oak and put through malolactic fermentation)- at least to my recollection. The nose showed lychee, mango and notes of hazel-nuts ice cream. The taste was intense and creamy with notes of honeysuckle, boasting minerality and long enduring aftertaste.Thank you Willy!
Well, now. . . when one of your best wine friends is the Port Ambassador, you get to taste wines like this one. The Graham’s 1982 Port was opened during the first visit of my friends from Portugal (Andre’ Ribeirinho) and Brasil/USA ( Luiz Alberto #winelover) to Macedonia- an excellent wine occasion to celebrate their first visit to the country. We got ourselves at the Spa Resort Bel Kamen at 1500 m, on the Pljachkovica Mountain during the winter, which proved an ideal occasion to open this Port.
This beauty showed aromatic notes of nutmeg, vanilla and roasted hazel-nuts. The palate was velvety, elegant, a combination of cinnamon, quince, caramel, hints of honey, raisins and orange peel, silky tannins and long aftertaste.
To mark the birth of HRH Prince George, the Symington family has decided to bottle a special commemorative edition of Graham’s Single Harvest Tawny Port from 1982. For three decades, this very fine Port has been gently ageing in seasoned oak casks under the watchful eye of the Symington family, owners of this long established Port House. Charles Symington, head taster and winemaker, has selected just 6 pipes (a little over 4,000 bottles) for this limited edition release.
One of the loveliest suprises this year- a Pinot Noir Rose 2013 by Rossidy Winery, Nikolaevo Vineyards, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria. An attractive bottle, once opened, it unleashed aromas of forest strawberries & rose petals. On the pallate it brought a lot of freshness of young peaches, apple skins & red gooseberries with an enduring aftertaste. One to look for!
Dessert wine Malvasia 2010 ( Kidonitsa, Asyrtiko, Monemvasia & Asproudi) by Monemvasia Winery, Lakonia, Peloponnese, Greece is the best Balkan wine for 2014! Rightly deserved.
My dear friend, Paulo Coutinho, the enologist at Quinta do Portal, pulled out this Porto at the final evening at the Concours de Mondial 2014 de Bruxelles. Well, needless to say it was amazing- caramel, hazelnuts, dried herbs aromas, silky, smooth and full texture and a very elegant finish.
Thanks to my Romanian friends, Razvan Stoenescu and Iulian Grigorescu, I came across my favourite Rose for this year at the first ever #winelover hangout in Belgrade, Serbia. Colocviu la Paris 2013, DOC-CT Cotnari is made from Busuioaca de Bohotin variety, one of the few indigenous Romanian grape varieties. During my visit to Romania, as judge at the Premiile de Excelenta 2014 and visiting the Wine Fair in Brasov, it was a pleasure to go through the wines of Casa de Vinuri Cotnari Winery, and hear the story of their dedication to making wines only from indigenous Romanian grape varieties.
The Colheita 1964 was opened during my visit in Brussels to celebrate one of the many gatherings of old friends.
As if a genie was released once this bottle was opened- the nose was complex, elegant – a mixture of almonds, dried dark fruits and lots of orange peel, full-bodied, silky texture and a long enduring finish. A high quality Port issued from a single harvest, aged in oak casks for at least seven years.
This wine “Had me at the Label”, only to surprise me even more when I tasted it. Freshness on the nose, notes of lemon& dry lime skins, followed by a full mouth taste of elderberry flowers. Needless to say that Malagouzia is one of my favourite indigenous Greek varieties. The search for different styles from this grape variety, on my good fortune, is ongoing.