TN: Drinking blind, once again

A report from yet another blind tasting without any red thread. Just a random bunch of wines that had very little to do with each other - apart from most being pretty high in quality. However, the biggest disappointment was that bottle of Château de Beaucastel, which seemed prematurely oxidized.

Conversely, the biggest surprise was that Tyto Alba - a popular Portuguese wine around here as it is widely available throughout Finland. I had thought the wine was a modern and relatively simple crowdpleaser without many redeeming qualities. However, the person who arranged the tasting had tasted the wine when it first came to Finland with the 2011 vintage - a vintage that seemed to be of exceptional quality throughout Portugal. This wine was something completely different than what I expected: perhaps a bit on the modern side, but still very serious and definitely having lots of aging potential despite its 11 years of age. This was really something you didn’t expect to find in the Finnish monopoly shops for just 10-15€!

  • 2017 Weingut Lehnert-Veit Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Gruft Grosses Gewächs - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (25.5.2022)
    With the 2015 vintage I was told Gruft was the same thing as GG Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, but only bottled in magnums - yet this wine was served from a standard-sized bottle, so I don't know who to trust! Fermented spontaneously. Aged in old oak barriques. 12,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Pale lemony color. Varietally correct nose immediately identifiable as a Riesling with its aromas of ripe citrus fruits and crunchy Granny Smith apple, some peachy tones, a little bit of sour apple candy, light floral notes of white flowers and a hint of nashi pear. The wine is dry, precise and light-to-medium-bodied on the palate with intense flavors of ripe, slightly sweetish citrus fruits, some sour apple candy tones, a little bit of apple peel bitterness, light steely mineral notes, a hint of tangy salinity and a subtly lifted touch of VA. Very high and wonderfully structured acidity. The finish is crisp, long and lively with tangy, precise flavors of saline minerality and tart lemony citrus fruits, some apple peel bitterness, a little bit of stony minerality, light sweeter nuances of peachy stone fruits and a faint lifted hint of VA, bordering on subtly acetic.

    A very crisp, intense and still so very youthful GG Riesling. Immensely tasty and very promising. At the moment the wine is still a bit nervy and high-strung, but it shows good potential for future development - I'd let the wine wait for another 5 years, perhaps even more, in order to let it show its best. Terrific stuff with lots of upside.
    (92 points)

  • 2016 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru (25.5.2022)
    13,5% alcohol, 4 g/l residual sugar and 7,8 g/l acidity. Tasted blind.

    Somewhat pale to medium-deep honey-yellow color with faint greenish highlights. The nose feels ripe, juicy and slightly sweetish with expressive aromas of white peach and Golden Delicious apple, some honeyed tones, a little bit of cantaloupe, light floral notes of apple blossom, a hint of beeswax and a developed touch of petrolly minerality. The wine is broad, ripe and somewhat robust yet not at all clumsy with a moderately full body and impressively firm and structured overall feel. There are intense flavors of lemon marmalade, some white peach, a little bit of honeyed richness, light stony mineral notes, a hint of developed beeswax character and a touch of fragrant, slightly floral spice. Even though the wine shows ripeness and concentration, it retains impressive sense of structure and balance with its noticeably high acidity. The finish is ripe, juicy and lively with a lengthy aftertaste of sweet white peach and some Golden Delicious apple, a little bit of honeyed richness, light stony mineral notes, a hint of beeswax and a touch of lemon marmalade.

    This wine has evolved fairly little since my last taste two years ago. This is still a big and concentrated yet at the same time remarkably fresh, precise and zippy GC Riesling with a lot of depth and intensity to its fruit. Two years ago I thought the wine would age at least for 4-7 years if not longer, but seeing how still relatively youthful the wine feels now, I'd say it will easily age for at least 5-10 years more - and keep for even longer. A fine, classically built Grand Cru Riesling that is a treat right now, but will be even better if given time and patience. Terrific value at 29,89€.
    (93 points)

  • 2018 Passopisciaro Passobianco - Italy, Sicily, Terre Siciliane (25.5.2022)
    100% Chardonnay from Contrada Guardiola and Monte Dolce vineyards averaging 18 years in age, fermented for 20 days in stainless steel, aged for 10 months in oak casks and concrete tanks, bottled in July 2019. 13,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Quite deep and luminous yellow-green color. Ripe yet somewhat restrained nose with quite light aromas of juicy pineapple, a little bit of white peach, light cantaloupe nuances, a hint of skunky reduction and sulfurous smoke, a touch of something waxy and a whiff of vague spicy character. The medium-to-moderately full-bodied wine is dense and rather concentrated on the palate, yet flavor-wise relatively understated with its flavors of stony minerality, some dried herbs, a little bit of ripe cantaloupe, light nuances of fresh white peach and a hint of alcohol. The moderately high acidity lends good sense of balance to the wine. The finish is ripe, slightly warm and somewhat waxy with a medium-long aftertaste of fresh white peach, some cantaloupe, a little bit of crunchy golden apple, light stony mineral notes and a hint of reductive smoke.

    A pleasant but also somewhat neutral and understated Chardonnay that feels relatively closed, at least at the moment. The overall feel is - at least structurally - nicely balanced, but the wine feels rather mute aromatically. There are certain aromas and flavors, but they feel very distant and subtle, which in turn makes the alcohol stick out in a bit awkward fashion. Perhaps the wine is just in a slump now and will open up better if given a few more years in a cellar? It was quite impossible to recognize it for either an Italian white or a Chardonnay.
    (82 points)

  • 2019 Astrolabe Wines Chardonnay - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough (25.5.2022)
    100% Chardonnay from four different clones, sourced from three vineyards in Marlborough: estate fruit from the organically farmed The Farm in lower Wairau Valley (22%) and purchased fruit from Little Oasis Windmill Block in lower Awatere Valley (48%) and organically farmed Wrekin' Vineyard in Fairhall Valley (30%). Pressed in whole clusters, fermented spontaneously and aged for 10 months in French oak barriques and 500-liter demi-muids. 13,5% alcohol, 2,1 g/l residual sugar, 5,1 g/l acidity and pH 3,38. Tasted blind.

    Youthful, fresh pale greenish color. Somewhat smoky and subtly reductive nose with aromas of savory wood spice, some grilled pineapple, a little bit of ripe and spicy red apple, light apricot tones, a reductive hint of gunpowder smoke and a touch of nutty wood. The wine is juicy, ripe and full-bodied on the palate with a broad overall feel and vibrant flavors of grilled pineapple, some smoky toasty notes, a little bit of savory wood spice, light sweet nuances of nectarines, a hint of fresh apricot and a touch of smoky reduction. The moderately high acidity keeps the wine pretty nicely in balance. The finish is ripe, long and juicy with nuanced flavors of sweet red apple, some smoky notes of toasted savory wood spice, a little bit of grilled pineapple, light nutty notes of oak and a hint of fresh nectarine.

    A sophisticated and harmonious new world Chardonnay with balanced structure and judicious use of oak. The combination of toasted wood and smoky reduction lend a quite Burgundian feel to the wine (the classic Coche / PYCM smoke), but the overall feel is slightly more ripe and tropical compared to the classic Burgundy whites. My guess was Western Australian Chardonnay - not the correct country, but at least I was in the right part of the world this time! Priced according to its quality at 23,99€.
    (90 points)

  • 2017 Jean-Claude Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet (25.5.2022)
    13,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Luminous, pale and fully translucent raspberry red color with a youthful garnet hue and a thin, almost colorless rim. The nose is fragrant yet somewhat restrained - unlike my previous time with this wine, when the nose was so much more expressive - with slightly closed yet wonderfully pretty and seductive aromas of ripe cherries and floral nuances of violets, a little bit of brambly raspberry, light stony mineral notes, a hint of savory meatiness, a sweet touch of cranberry sauce and a whiff of ripe, darker-toned fruit. The wine is bright, youthful and quite intense on the palate with a medium body and bright flavors of ripe raspberries and fresh red cherries, some gravelly mineral tones, a little bit of crunchy cranberry, light savory notes of toasted woody spice, a perfumed hint of violets and a touch of sweeter and darker-toned fruit. The overall feel is silky smooth yet wonderfully firm with its high acidity and gentle, light and quite friendly tannins. The finish is long, gently grippy and slightly spicy with bright, dry flavors of fresh cherries and brambly black raspberries, some stony mineral notes, a little bit of savory wood spice, light tart notes of lingonberries and crunchy cranberries, a hint of floral lift and a balanced touch of sour cherry bitterness.

    Just like the last bottle of this wine, this is still a beautiful, seductive and very youthful Côte de Beaune red. When tasting the wine, I was quite adamant that this is a Pinot Noir and most likely either a Burgundy or a darn good emulation. It was funny, though, how the nose in this wine was almost explosive a few years ago, while now it was much more restrained and fine-tuned, yet still very similar in overall character and showing wonderful varietal typicity. True to Ramonet's style, this is a red wine that drinks more like a white wine, thanks to its lithe body, bright acidity and cool mineral core. It is starting to drink quite well at the moment, but I'd still let the wine age for another 10 years or more, just to grant it some additional finesse and complexity. Good value at 38,80€.
    (92 points)

  • 2017 Weingut Lehnert-Veit Piesporter Falkenberg Spätburgunder trocken - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (25.5.2022)
    Fermented spontaneously, bottled unfiltered. 12,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Quite translucent and somewhat hazy pomegranate color with a subtly evolved maroon hue. Very open, expressive and attractive nose of ripe black cherries and juicy raspberries, some stony mineral notes, a little bit of that spicy coniferous forest character typical of some Spätburgunders, light savory notes of woody oak, a hint of pomegranate and a floral touch of rose petals. The wine is bright, dry and precise on the palate with a medium body and savory, somewhat complex flavors of ripe black cherries, some juicy black raspberry, a little bit of licorice, light sweet nuances of oaky spice, a hint of salt-cured meat and a piney touch of coniferous forest. The overall feel is enjoyably firm and structured, thanks to the zippy, high acidity and firm, somewhat grippy tannins. The finish is juicy, long and gently grippy with layered flavors of sweet strawberries and juicy black raspberries, some licorice tones, a little bit of savory oak spice, light umami hints of salted-cured meat, a hint of balsamic richness and a touch of smoke.

    A wonderfully bright, seductive and hands-down delicious Mosel Spätburgunder that is all about freshness, intensity of fruit and that spicy coniferous forest aroma that seems to be so typical of German Spätburgunders. Tasting this side-by-side with 2017 Ramonet Chassagne Rouge, the wines were quite similar in weight, this wine showing a bit more intensity and tannic structure, but also ripeness and oak influence. While I enjoyed Ramonet's restrained and more fine-tuned style a bit more, both the wines were some very lovely Pinot Noirs indeed, only hair's breadth away from each other, qualitatively. Lovely!
    (91 points)

  • 2014 Camille Giroud Volnay - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay (25.5.2022)
    A négociant Volnay made with purchased fruit, the completely destemmed fruit is cold-soaked for 5 days prior to fermentation, vinified in stainless steel, aged for 15 months in predominantly old 228-to-600-liter oak casks (approx. 10% new, depending on the year). 12,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Deep yet moderately translucent cherry-red color. Fragrant, somewhat sweet-toned yet fresh nose of red cherries and juicy black raspberries, some wild strawberry notes, a little bit of old leather, light earthy notes of licorice root, a smoky hint of speck and a touch of savory wood spice. The wine is lively, youthful and crunchy on the palate with a light-to-medium body and clean, pure-fruited flavors of raspberries and sour red plums, some gravelly mineral tones, a little bit of wild strawberry, light cherry tones, a tart hint of cranberry and a touch of savory, woody oak spice. The structure relies quite evenly on the high acidity and moderately grippy yet ripe and well-manicured tannins. The wine feels savory and moderately grippy with a long, dry aftertaste of crunchy cranberries, some sour cherry bitterness, a little bit of wild strawberry, light gravelly mineral tones, a woody hint of savory oak spice and a touch of fresh red plum.

    A beautifully clean, lively and harmonious Volnay with wonderful sense of purity in the fruit department. Even though the wine turned out to be a classically built Burgundy, the smoky nuances, relatively firm tannic structure and balanced sour cherry bitterness took me to Sicily and I guessed this was a cooler-vintage Etna Rosso. Oh well! Tasting this side-by-side with a 2014 Jadot 1er Cru Pernand-Vergelesses, the wines were relatively similar in style, Giroud's Volnay only coming across as slightly lighter and more delicate in comparison - as could be expected from a Volnay. What was most interesting was how both the wines seemed quite (and surprisingly) tannic for Pinot Noir, having rather similar grips on the gums, only Jadot seemed somewhat more rustic and aggressive in character, whereas the grip in Giroud was similarly firm and assertive, but at the same time relatively gentle. Fun stuff tasting blind two so similar wines, yet both of them showing some very obvious differences once you just sit down to listen, letting the wines tell you what they want to tell you. This Volnay was a lovely effort, a delicate yet surprisingly structured example of the appellation. Recommended!
    (93 points)

  • 2014 Louis Jadot Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Clos de la Croix de Pierre - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru (25.5.2022)
    100% Pinot Noir from a clos within 1er Cru En Caradeux. Fermented and macerated for three weeks in open-top fermentors, then aged for 18 months in 228-liter oak pièces (roughly 1/3 new). 13% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Luminous, translucent dark ruby-red color. Quite savory yet clean and attractive nose with rather red-toned aromas of sour cherries and fresh red plums, some ripe cranberry tones, a little bit of dusty cherry and licorice, light raspberry juice tones and a brooding hint of toasty oak spice. The wine feels quite ripe yet still surprisingly firm, dense and structured on the palate with a medium body and savory flavors of juicy red berries and ripe black raspberries, some dusty cherry tones, a little bit of tobacco, light gravelly mineral tones and a hint of savory, dark-toned oak spice. The wine feels a bit tough and slightly extracted with somewhat rustic and quite grippy medium tannins, which contribute to the structure at least as much as the high acidity. The finish is dry, lively and crunchy with a moderately pronounced tannic grip along with long flavors of sour cherries and tart lingonberries, some crunchy cranberry tones, a little bit of fresh crowberry, light gravelly mineral nuances, a hint of savory wood spice and a touch of pouch tobacco.

    A quite lovely and attractively fruity but also surprisingly tough and even somewhat rustic Pernand-Vergelesses that is still very tightly-knit and rough around the edges. There's lots of finesse here with the perfumed, red-toned fruit nuances and mineral overtones, but the wine still seems to be holding back and in need of further cellaring. I honestly thought this was a Sangiovese, perhaps a 2016 Chianti Classico, thanks to the wine's sour cherry and tobacco nuances and its rather pronounced tannic structure - while the overall feel is definitely very Pernand-Vergelesses, the wine still wasn't screaming "Pinot Noir" to me. Tasting this wine side-by-side with 2014 Camille Giroud Volnay, both the wines were relatively similar in style, Giroud's Volnay only coming across as slightly lighter and more delicate in comparison. What was most interesting was how both the wines seemed quite (and surprisingly) tannic for Pinot Noir, having rather similar grips on the gums, only this Jadot seemed somewhat more rustic and aggressive in character, whereas the grip in Giroud was similarly firm and assertive, but at the same time relatively gentle. All in all, this is a quite lovely wine that will reward further aging.
    (93 points)

  • 2015 Travaglini Gattinara - Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Gattinara (25.5.2022)
    Macerated with the skins for 15-18 days. Fermenting slowly in stainless steel until March, after which the wine is moved to age in oak. Aged for 2 years in huge (10000-liter) oak bottis (90%, all old) and small barriques (10%, approx. 1/5 new). 13,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Luminous and very translucent cherry-red color with a youthful garnet hue. The nose feels youthful and obviously very Nebbiolo with classic aromas of cherries, some licorice root, a little bit of brambly raspberry, light sweeter notes of boysenberries, a hint of gravelly minerality and a touch of smoke or pine tar. The wine is clean, firm and balanced on the palate with a medium body and somewhat ripe yet still very firm flavors of juicy cherries and raspberries, some old leathery notes, light nuances of earth, a little bit of tar, a hint of savory wood spice and a sweeter yet tart touch of lingonberry jam. The overall feel is firm and structured, thanks to the quite high acidity and the ample and quite noticeably grippy tannins. The finish is dry, savory and tannic with lengthy flavors of crunchy cranberries, sour cherry bitterness, some brambly notes of fresh raspberries, a little bit of old wood spice, light gravelly mineral notes, a hint of tar and a touch of sweeter dark-toned fruit.

    A very nice, classically built and harmonious Nebbiolo, where the emphasis is on the purity of fruit and structure, not on easy drinkability. I was immediately sure that this was a Nebbiolo, because it was aromatically so obvious from the get-go, but as the wine seemed to be a bit more ripe, concentrated and weighty than is typical for Travaglini's normale Gattinara, I was guessing Barbaresco. However, it didn't take much longer to arrive at Alto Piemonte and Gattinara soon followed. All in all, a very impressive and well-made effort - although with hearty enough dishes the wine is perfectly drinkable already, but to me this wine is more about aging potential than immediate drinkability. I'd let the wine evolve for at least another 10-12 years, just to let it blossom fully. This is definitely built for the long haul.
    (91 points)

  • 2014 Travaglini Gattinara - Italy, Piedmont, Northern Piedmont, Gattinara (25.5.2022)
    Macerated with the skins for 15-18 days. Fermenting slowly in stainless steel until March, after which the wine is moved to age in oak. Aged for 2 years in huge (10000-liter) oak bottis (90%, all old) and small barriques (10%, approx. 1/5 new). 13,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Translucent, slightly evolved cherry-red color with a subtly rusty-maroon hue. Ripe, juicy and slightly evolved nose with aromas of sour cherries, some licorice tones, a little bit of wizened black cherry, light smoky notes of tar, a hint of lingonberry jam and a touch of tobacco. The wine feels ripe and quite gentle on the palate with a silky texture and a medium body. The flavors of savory and slightly evolved with a bit mellow notes of wizened red cherries, some licorice tones, a little bit of meaty umami, light lingonberry tones, a hint of tobacco and a touch of tar. The wine is quite high in acidity with balanced tannins that slowly pile up on the gums, making the wine feel somewhat grippy. The silky finish feels dry, juicy and quite lengthy with a balanced, firm tannic grip and a savory aftertaste of crunchy cranberries, some licorice, a little bit of sour cherry bitterness, light tart notes of lingonberries, a sweeter hint of ripe black cherries and a touch of tobacco.

    A somewhat ripe but also slightly understated Gattinara that is quite true to the variety and appellation, but comes across as a bit restrained and mellow compared to many other vintages of this wine. Although the wine is anything but soft, both the acidity and the tannins still feel a bit lighter than is usual and the fruit it lacking the intensity the surrounding vintages have shown. The wine feels elegant and enjoyable, but perhaps a bit less impressive and more mundane than most other vintages. Still, even if the wine shows a little bit of development at the moment, I can imagine it will continue to improve for another 7-10 years. Drink or keep.
    (89 points)

  • 2011 Companhia das Lezirias Tyto Alba Tinto - Portugal, Ribatejo, Tejo (25.5.2022)
    A blend of Touriga Nacional (50%), Alicante Bouschet (30%) and Touriga Franca (20%). Fermented in stainless steel, aged in a combination of American and French oak barrels. 14% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Dense, concentrated and fully opaque blackish-red color with a somewhat youthful purplish hue. The nose feels ripe, dense and quite powerful with intense and quite complex aromas of sweet boysenberry-driven dark berries, licorice root, some herbal notes of minty lift, a little bit of blueberry, light smoky notes of toasted oak, a hint of eucalyptus and a touch of roasted spices. The wine is dense, ripe and quite robust on the palate with a full body and intense flavors of licorice and ripe boysenberries, some leathery notes, a little bit of tobacco, light earthy nuances, juicy hints of sweet plums and bilberries and a touch of minty greenness. The overall taste feels slightly more evolved than the nose, yet still it doesn't show any tertiary qualities yet, instead coming across as rather youthful still. The structure relies on both the moderately high acidity and ripe yet somewhat grippy medium tannins that pile up on the gums. The finish is rich, quite robust and moderately tannic with long, dark-toned and juicy flavors of licorice and ripe dark fruits, some blueberry tones, a little bit of tobacco, light minty green nuances, a hint of toasty wood spice and a perfumed floral nuance typical of Touriga Nacional.

    In the past this wine has left me rather unimpressed, coming across as quite modern, polished and often a bit too ripe and soft in character. However, this was my first touch with the 2011 vintage, which seems to have been quite superb throughout the whole length of Portugal! And I guess once again I'm met with the 2011 magic - this wine turned out to be very impressive indeed, showing only slightest evolved signs and having a relatively youthful overall character. Thanks to the age and quite intense fruit character, the toasty oak nuances seem to be surprisingly well-integrated here and the wine doesn't come across as oaky and polished as the subsequent vintages have been. The structure, on the other hand, is still very firm and impressively balanced with the body and the fruit. I was quite impressed by this wine and also very happy I tasted it fully blind, so I didn't get any preconceived perceptions based on my previous experiences with the label. Great stuff that still has lots of upside.
    (90 points)

  • 2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (25.5.2022)
    A blend of Grenache (30%), Mourvèdre (30%), Counoise (10%), Syrah (10%) and Cinsault (5%) with the final 15% rounded out by Bourboulenc, Clairette, Muscardin, Picardan, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir and Vaccarèse. Mourvèdre and Syrah fermented in oak fermentors, the other varieties in enameled concrete tanks. After the fermentation, the wines are blended and aged for a year in oak foudres. 14,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Dense, very evolved and almost fully opaque maroon-red color with a mahogany brown hue towards the rim. The nose feels ripe, very evolved and slightly oxidative with aromas of raisiny dark fruits, some pruney tones, a little bit of strawberry, light bretty notes of leather and horsey funk, a hint of ripe plummy fruit and an oxidative touch of syrupy sweetness. The wine feels ripe, juicy and slightly oxidative on the palate with a full body and bold, savory flavors of raisins and leather, some pruney notes, a little bit of earth, light Syrah nuances of blood, game and peppery spice, a hint of juicy black cherry and a slightly bitter touch of phenolic spice. The overall feel is textural but also a bit soft, thanks to the medium-to-moderately high acidity and very ripe and gentle tannins. The finish is savory, long and slightly oxidative with intense flavors of raisins, prunes, some dried cherries, a little bit of sweet strawberry, light leathery notes of brett, an oxidative hint of beef jerky and a touch of earth.

    A surprisingly evolved and strikingly oxidative bottle of Beaucastel - I was quite shocked when the wine was revealed to be not only Beaucastel, but also one not even 10 years old! I thought this was a Syrah or a Syrah-driven blend at least 20-25 years old. Seeing how the wine was bought quite recently, I have a hunch the bottle was "shelf-aged", ie. has remained unsold since release the shop shelves, in room temperature, since release. Most likely the cork has dried up over time and slowly permitted too much oxygen into the bottle, rendering the wine way too old for its age. Since the wine obviously wasn't how it was supposed to be, I refrain from giving it a score.

  • 2020 Makaridze Winery Dondghlabi - Georgia, Imereti, Terjola (25.5.2022)
    A 100% organically grown Dondghlabi (also known as Mchknara), an early-ripening variety known to make simple wines best suited for early consumption. This wine is made with minimal interventions, ie. fermented spontaneously, macerated for a short period of time with a portion of the grape skins in earthenware kvevris, aged on the lees in kvevris and bottled unfiltered. 13% alcohol.

    Youthful, very pale and slightly hazy lime-greenish color. At first the nose feels just rather leesy and somewhat skunky with reductive notes, but it clears up quite quickly, revealing aromas of sappy herbal notes and fresh green apple tones, a little bit of ripe white fruits, light salty mineral tones, a hint of ripe yellow stone fruits and a faint acetic touch of VA. The wine is lively, fresh and subtly viscous on the palate with a medium body and dry flavors of crunchy green apples and sappy herbal tones, some leesy nuances, a little bit of fresh green currant, light mineral nuances of tangy salinity, a hint of juicy white fruits and a sharp touch of acetic VA. The rather high acidity lends good sense of balance and structure to the wine. The finish is lively, fresh and dry with juicy flavors of ripe white currants, some sweet Golden Delicious apple tones, a little bit of sappy herby character, light mineral notes of tangy salinity, a crunchy hint of green currants and a touch of acetic sharpness without any vinegary roughness.

    A quite clean yet very slightly wild Georgian wine that is perhaps a bit more extracted and textural than a typical white wine, yet the wine really doesn't feel like a traditional Georgian amber wine either. This is like a light version of the traditionally quite delicate Imeretian kvevri wine, which makes the wine very drinkable and immediately accessible. Even the slightly wild, lifted nuances of VA never really manage distract from the pleasure. A nice, enjoyably zippy and positively wild little Georgian wine. Priced according to its quality at 17€.
    (89 points)

  • 2010 Radikon Oslavje - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT (25.5.2022)
    A blend of Chardonnay (40%), Pinot Grigio (30%) and Sauvignon Blanc (30%). Macerated with the skins for 2-3 months, depending on the vintage, aged in old botti casks for 3 years. 13,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Cloudy and quite murky orange color with a slightly pinkish hue. The nose feels very wild and heavily volatile with intense aromas of medicinal ether, some bruised apple tones, a little bit of acetic sharpness, light autolytic notes of custard pastries, an oxidative hint of caramel and a sweet touch of cloudberry jam. The wine feels wild, savory and very volatile on the palate with a medium body and intense flavors of balsamic VA and acetic sharpness, some sweet notes of apple jam, light leesy notes of autolysis, a little bit of caramel, a hint of cloudberry jam and a touch of earth. The overall feel is quite extracted, somewhat viscous and also moderately structured, thanks to the rather high acidity and somewhat grippy medium tannins. The finish is ripe, quite volatile and rather long with a sauvage aftertaste of acetic VA, some balsamic richness, a little bit of apple jam, light leesy notes, a hint of caramel and a touch of cloudberry jam.

    A very wild and volatile orange wine that would be wonderfully textural and impressive, if it weren't for the excessively high levels of VA that make the wine just feel way too acetic. I can still get behind those rich, nuanced notes of balsamico, but when the acetic notes make the wine feel more vinegary than balsamic, it gets just too much for me. Knowing Radikon's style, I suspect all the bottles of Oslavje 2010 are going to be similarly volatile and we didn't have an off bottle. I really don't expect the wine to turn any less volatile with further cellaring...
    (85 points)

  • 2016 Château de l'Engarran Caprice de l'Engarran - France, Vin de France (25.5.2022)
    A sweet wine made with late-harvested, raisined Grenache. Bottled as Vin de France. 16,5% alcohol. Tasted blind.

    Luminous, somewhat translucent black cherry color with a youthful purplish hue. The nose feels dark-toned, rather heady and slightly evolved with aromas of very ripe black cherries, some strawberry and bilberry notes, a little bit of boozy alcohol, light licorice nuances, a hint of leather, a pruney touch of dried dark fruits and a developed whiff of hoi sin. The wine is rich, sweet-yet-savory and quite full-bodied with medium-sweet-to-sweet flavors of strawberries, some blueberry tones, a little bit of pruney dark fruit, light licorice tones, a developed hint of beef jerky and a grappa-like touch of fusel alcohols. The structure relies more on the rather pronounced and quite grippy tannins than on the soft medium acidity. The finish is savory, quite long and rather tannic with medium-sweet flavors of blueberries, some strawberries, a little bit of licorice, dark plummy notes, a sweet hint of blackberry jam and a touch of old leather.

    Most other people guessed this was LBV or a relatively young Vintage Port, but to me, this had a more Grenachey fruit and the alcohol seemed lower than in Vintage Port, which is why I guessed Banyuls. I was told it was close enough, because nobody would ever guess a sweet Vin de France nobody has ever heard about. All in all, this was quite nice, perhaps a bit clumsy, but enjoyable all the same. Although showing slightly evolved qualities, the wine still seemed to be going up and most likely the wine will continue to evolve for another decade or so. A nice, albeit not a particularly memorable or characterful sweet red wine.
    (88 points)

Posted from CellarTracker


Judging by the number of replies to your snooty, high brow, irrelevant tastings from 8 months ago, I’d say next time just keep those notes and read it to yourself before going to sleep. Have a blessed day!

I find Otto’s tasting notes extremely interesting. I don’t often comment on them, but I ALWAYS read them and ALWAYS learn something from them.


Your first post in 11 months, man you are a true contributor here.

Actually, looked at your post history, you sound like a poorly configured spambot.


Thanks Otto. Nice notes and I think you summed up the Radikon very well.


Are you aware this is a wine bulletin board? You were expecting each wine to be described as “smooth and tasty?”

Judging by the number of replies your snooty, high-brow, irrelevant comment garnered, I’d say keep those sordid words to yourself the next time you plan on contributing to this board (especially like this and for the first time in a whole year). Blessed day to you too!


What the fuck Lenny :sweat_smile:

Anyways, thanks for the notes once again Otto. I always read through them.


There are idiots everywhere.

Enjoyed the detailed notes on the wines, especially on unusual Eastern European ones we would never encounter in the states. What tremendous potential those vineyards hold. Years of degradation after the Iron Curtain came down really are a tragedy. Perhaps with time there will be a much brighter future…BTW did all these wines come through the wine monopoly system? Or are there other “sources” that your group has access to in order to get such a diverse sampling?

I guess this is a good time to say I appreciate the notes you post, Otto. I don’t usually comment, but I do usually read them.

Is Lenny a poorly written bot, or just a human who hasn’t figured out how to internet?

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I know that Tyto Alba was purchased from a monopoly shop, and most likely the Travaglinis, too, since they’ve been available here for years and years.

Other than that, all these other wines were sourced elsewhere. Our monopoly does honestly quite a lousy job in getting anything interesting here - and when they finally manage to get something actually interesting once in a blue moon, it is all too often so ridiculously priced (+50 to 100% above the international retail price) that you’d rather pass.

I’d say about 75-80% of the wines on which I post notes here (applies to both wines I’ve bought myself and wines I’ve tasted in tastings somebody else has arranged) are bought from European internet shops. Probably 10-15% of the wines might have been purchased from trips to abroad, and only a tiny handful of the wines have been bought from here, ie. Alko, the Finnish monopoly. Every now and then somebody gets something from the Swedish alcohol monopoly - where the selection is more interesting compared to ours and the prices are noticeably more reasonable, typically at the same level as the international retail prices - occasionally even below that!

And finally, I’m fortunate in that I’ve managed to surround myself with like-minded wino friends who are as eager as I in learning more about wines and regions off the beaten path.

Regarding those former Eastern Bloc wines, many countries are going strong already now! In some poorer countries (Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro) the lack of investment is holding back and the wines are still rather rustic, but in countries like Georgia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia things are going really well and the wines have developed strong local identity and the overall quality is very high! I guess most of these wines don’t make their way into the US, but I think they are getting more foothold every year here in the EU.