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.
Wine Bridges is a brand developed by Ekaterina Gargova, a Bulgarian enologist who for the past four years has been working for Popova Kula winery in Macedonia. By launching this brand, Katja’s idea was to show the reflection of the Balkan terroir. She started with the Vranec from the vineyards in the Tikvesh wine district, at the same time developing Mavrud from Bulgaria, and Greece is soon to follow. This is a female Vranec, as we call it- very elegant, with tamed tannins, so very difficult to achieve when this variety is in question and something that this lovely lady has done to a perfection. Kudos to Katja!
There aren’t many people who get to taste a 20 year old Plavac Mali. During my visit to Croatia this April as part of the Dalmacija Wine Expo press trip I took visiting wineries on Peljesac, tasting the whole line of Milos Winery’s Plavac Mali was inevitable. Discovering a true gem as this one, unavoidable. Very oily in the glass; the nose showed notes of cherries and dry spices. Very elegant on the palate, with hints of cedar and cocoa, and perfect and long aftertaste. A true perfection in a glass.