TN: Just some random wines (and a beer) we had

No theme here. We just went to sit down with my friends and I took the responsibility for supplying the drinks. These are the bottles I dug up from my stash.

  • 2021 Tuju Wild Barrel Series Pestilence - Finland, South Karelia, Lappeenranta (29.4.2022)
    A blend of saisons and grisettes aged for 12 to 20 months in old oak barrels used for aging Chardonnay. The batches were aged partly with bilberries that were added during the aging process. Bottled in June 2021. 4,9% alcohol.

    Deep, dark moderately opaque purple color with an almost nonexistent, pinkish head. The nose feels funky, rustic and slightly sweet with aromas of bretty leather, some ripe blueberry tones, a little bit of horse stable, light raspberry tones and a smoky hint of phenolic spice. The beer is dry, somewhat sour and subtly sweet with a light body and bright, tangy flavors of blueberry yogurt, some sharp green apple tones, a little bit of bretty barnyard funk, light saline tones, a hint of leather and a touch of tart cranberry. The carbonation feels rather soft and mild, the hop bitterness is nonexistent. The finish is light, moderately sour and quite long with flavors of tangy lemony citrus fruit, some bretty leather, a little bit of barnyard funk, light crunchy apple tones, a little bit of fresh bilberry and a crunchy hint of cranberry.

    A very nice, enjoyably funky and quite refreshing sour ale where the addition of bilberries adds some nice, subtly sweet bilberry character without actually overwhelming the beer's own character. Juicy, lively and very colorful effort that is drinking nicely right now, but will continue to improve for years more. Worth its price at 11,95€ for a 0,75-liter bottle.
    (92 points)

  • 2005 Van Volxem Volz Riesling - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer (29.4.2022)
    12,5% alcohol.

    Deep, luminous golden-yellow color. Rich, sweet-toned nose that is very true to the variety with layered aromas of honey, some petrol, a little bit of stony minerality, light evolved notes of apricots and creaminess, a dank hint of grassy herbal character, a touch of pineapple and a whiff of saffron. The wine is broad, oily and dry-ish on the palate with a moderately full body and rich yet intense flavors of ripe pineapple, some petrolly notes, a little bit of stony minerality, light sappy herbal nuances, a hint of saffron and a touch of juicy stone fruits. The overall feel is quite substantial, yet not lacking in freshness or structure, thanks to the rather high acidity. The finish is broad, intense and somewhat oily with long, concentrated flavors of ripe pineapple, some dried apricot, a little bit of lemon marmalade, light honeyed nuances, a hint of petrol and a touch of stony minerality.

    A rather big, concentrated and quite substantial Riesling with quite a bit of power and ripeness, yet not too much - the wine never comes across as heavy, flabby or lacking freshness or precision. Although the overall feel is perhaps slightly off-dry - the wine doesn't taste like it is bone dry - the wine doesn't really feel particularly sweet either. Just very ripe and concentrated, yet backed with wonderfully bright and balanced acidity. The wine is in a lovely spot right now - showing some evolved qualities in addition to the ripe yet still rather youthful fruit flavors - but I have no doubts this wine will continue to evolve and improve for years more. At 26€, this was an excellent purchase - wish I had more!
    (95 points)

  • 2020 Mas de Daumas Gassac - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert (29.4.2022)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Syrah (6%), Tannat (5%), Merlot (4%), Cabernet Franc (3%), Petit Verdot (3%), Malbec (2%), Pinot Noir (2%) and "rares" including Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Amigne, Arenie (?), Areni Noir, Bastardo, Sousón, Saperavi, Tchkaveri, Tchekavesi (?), Brancellão, Carménère, Abouriou and Plavac Mali (total 4%). Fermented and macerated for at least 20 days in stainless steel tanks, aged for 12-15 months in oak barrels ranging from new to 7 years old. 13,5% alcohol.

    Very deep, dark and almost fully opaque black cherry color with a youthful blueish hue. The nose feels markedly youthful, fruit-forward and quite primary with aromas of red licorice, some lactic notes of blackcurrant yogurt, a little bit of cherry-driven red fruit, light candied primary fruit nuances of raspberry marmalade, a hint of blackberry jam and a touch of savory wood spice. The wine is youthful and primary but also enjoyably robust on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and intense, dry flavors of blueberries, some primary candied notes of raspberry jellies, a little bit of blackcurrant marmalade, light sour cherry nuances, a hint of leathery funk and a lactic touch of blackcurrant yogurt. The overall feel is quite tightly-knit and rather structured, thanks to both the high acidity and the firm, moderately grippy tannins. The finish is long, dry and moderately tannic with an intense aftertaste of ripe blueberries and blackcurrant marmalade, some fresh cherry tones, a little bit of inky character, light sweet notes of candied primary fruit, a hint of leathery funk and a touch of savory wood spice.

    A nice but also still super-young and noticeably primary vintage of Mas de Daumas Gassac that is all about aging potential, not immediate drinkability. This is just too primary now and you really can't get the hang of how this wine will taste in a few years - now you can just pick up candied fermentation esters and those unintegrated lactic notes of MLF that make the wine taste more like blackcurrant-flavored yogurt than Cabernet. However, based on the level of intensity and concentration, the overall dry taste and the impressive, rather tightly-knit structure, it seems obvious this wine is a great vintage that is built to age. My score is reflective of how it performs now, but I have no doubts the wine will get a lot higher scores as it loses its candied primary notes of lactic MLF qualities. At approx. 29€, this is going to be superb value - I just need to be very patient with my remaining bottles.
    (89 points)

  • NV Bodegas Tradición Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Fino Tradición - Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry (29.4.2022)
    As opposed to a typical Fino which is approximately 3 years old when released, this Bodegas Tradición bottling is approximately 8 years old when released - it takes quite a bit of skill to keep the wine fresh and not fall to the victim of unwanted oxidation under a biological aging regime that long. 15% alcohol, approximately 4 g/l acidity. Saca of November 2017 (II/2017), bottle #992 of total 3000 bottles.

    Luminous pale golden-to-straw yellow color. Classic, slightly pungent aldehydic and subtly sweet-toned nose with aromas of waxy richness, some evolved nutty tones, a little bit of sorrel, light juicy notes of slightly wizened peach, a hint of green apple slices and a touch of green almonds. The wine is dry, somewhat aldehydic and subtly evolved on the palate with a moderately full body and complex flavors of sorrel and green almonds, some tangy notes of aldehydic sharpness, a little bit of ripe peachy stone fruit, light nuances of beeswax, a hint of mushroomy funk and subtly oxidative touch of caramel. Typical of Sherry, the rather soft acidity feels only medium, but still the wine comes across as firm and balanced due to its combination of slightly aged concentration and tangy aldehydic character. The finish is round, waxy and very lengthy with complex flavors of beeswax, some peachy fruit, a little bit of slivered almonds, light aldehydic notes of sorrel and green apple, a hint of mushroomy funk and an evolved touch of caramel.

    A beautiful, fine and harmonious Fino that comes across as more rich and evolved than your typically fresh, bright and tangy Fino or Manzanilla - there is more sense of weight and concentration here, and the prolonged aging has added some lovely nuances of caramel and beeswax to the flavors. This is not as evolved as, say, Manzanilla Pasada, nor is the wine as oxidative as an Amontillado, as the wine has been aged under a flor never oxidatively, but the style is still more developed and fine-tuned than what you'd expect from a Fino. I can see some people might not like this kind of mellow, layered style of wine if they are looking for a bright and zippy Fino, but if one wants depth, richness and complexity of a developed Sherry, yet with the lightness and freshness of a Fino, this wine is in its class of its own. This bottle might not be as impressive as the VOS and VORS bottlings of Bodegas Tradición, but this is a wine that can and will challenge most Finos out there with its finesse, depth and complexity. Superb stuff.
    (94 points)

  • 1998 Antonelli San Marco Sagrantino di Montefalco - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco (29.4.2022)
    Macerated for 25-40 days with the skins. Aged for 6 months in 500-liter barrels and for another 18 months in 2500-liter barrels. Blended together and aged for 12 months in cement vats, bottled and aged for 12 months in bottles. Not released earlier than after 4 years of aging. 14% alcohol.

    Very dark, quite evolved and somewhat opaque brick-red color with a maroon hue. The evolved nose feels big, sweet-toned and moderately evolved with intense aromas of raisiny dark fruits and dried figs, some old leather, a little bit of tobacco, light lifted notes of nail polish, tertiary hints of dried dates and wizened black cherries and a touch of savory wood spice. The wine is dry, textural and - as expected of a Sagrantino - very tannic on the palate with a full body and intense flavors of dried dates and raisins, some leather, a little bit of sweet cherry marmalade, light lifted notes of nail polish, a hint of savory wood spice and a touch of sour cherry bitterness. Although the wine is starting to turn a bit tertiary, it still comes across as muscular and quite tightly-knit, thanks to its high acidity and still quite unresolved tannins that pile up on the gums. The finish is long, evolved and savory with healthy tannic grip and a complex aftertaste of raisiny sweetness, some wizened black cherries, a little bit of dried dates, light leathery notes, a lifted hint of nail polish and a touch of tobacco.

    A very big, robust and noticeably grippy Sagrantino that is structurally very true to this tannic variety, bit fruit-wise is at its plateau of maturity - and most likely has been there for awhile. Although the structure could use some additional aging - for a decade or two - I doubt the fruit is going to survive much longer. Most likely the wine is not going to fall apart anytime soon, but I have a hunch the wine won't improve much or at all with additional aging. This is best drunk now or in the near future. Fortunately the wine is a terrific example of this Umbrian powerhouse of a grape variety and it is in a perfect spot right now. An excellent purchase at 27,10€.
    (93 points)

  • 2002 Alois Kracher Welschriesling TBA #8 Zwischen den Seen - Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee (29.4.2022)
    Made from late-harvested, botrytized grapes. As the wine is #8 (of total 12), it is made from quite late-harvested grapes resulting in a rather unctuous wine (the number signals the style with the lowest number meaning lightest TBAs with the lowest residual sugar). As opposed to the Nouvelle Vague TBAs (which are aged in new oak barrels), this wine is aged for 23 months in stainless steel tanks on the lees. 8,5% alcohol, 268,5 g/l residual sugar and 6,7 g/l acidity.

    Luminous, translucent syrupy-brown color. Very big, sweet and concentrated nose with unctuous aromas of raisins, peach ice tea concentrate, some orange marmalade, light honeyed tones, a little bit of dried pineapple, toasty hints of evolved nuttiness and a touch of wizened yellow fruits. The wine feels thick, rich and oily on the palate with a full body and bold flavors of honey and apricot ice tea, some dried pineapple tones, a little bit of orange marmalade, light toasty notes of evolved nuttiness, a hint of Sultana raisins and a touch of quince jam. The overall feel is quite viscous, but at the same time the acidity feels surprisingly high - it isn't high enough to offset the richness and sweetness from the residual sugar, but it keeps the wine pretty fresh and wonderfully in balance. The finish is long, somewhat oily and quite sticky with a very sweet and complex aftertaste of dried stone fruits and overripe pineapple, some raisiny notes of Sultanas, light honeyed tones, a little bit of orange marmalade, a developed hint of nuttiness and a touch of sweet, exotic spices.

    A very bold, rich and concentrated yet not particularly heavy TBA with wonderful sense of balance and complexity. Even though the wine hasn't seen any oak (and is lacking those caramel nuances some Nouvelle Vagues might show), the wine has still developed a wonderful backdrop of toasty nuttiness over the years, complementing wonderfully those rich dried-fruit flavors, some which still feel relatively youthful, and others that come across as more aged and concentrated in nature. Although the wine is showing some aged complexity at approx. 20 years of age, it feels as if this wine could still age for another decade or so - if you have any bottles, there are no hurries whatsoever with this wine! At 30€, this was a great purchase.
    (96 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

2 Likes

Thanks, Otto. Sounds like that Fino saw a similar treatment as did some selected by Equipo Navazos (whose selections seem to have entirely disappeared from my market, and surrounding markets). I’ll give it a try if/when I come across it.

If you know Equipo Navazos, I’m surprised you didn’t know this one! Bodegas Tradición is definitely in the top tier of Sherry producers, along with Equipo Navazos! Their lineup is just the polar opposite of E-N’s; while E-N makes a single release of everything possible, resulting in a range of probably hundreds of very different wines, Tradición’s range is limited to a small handful of ultra-traditionalist Sherries.

This Fino is their entry-level wine and at 7-8 years it sees the least aging, by far. It’s definitely a unique expression of Fino, but a superb one at that - and even then, it’s probably their least impressive wine! If you ever get the chance, try to check out their VORS range of wines that clock in at the average age of 35-40 years. I’ve tasted the Amontillado and Oloroso, and they both are just extraordinary wines. Not that affordable for Sherries, but still way underpriced for their quality (at least around here - I’ve no idea if you have any at the US, and at which prices).

2 Likes

Yes, the Tradicion VOR and VORS wines are what they specialize in. Managed a fabulous visit there prepandemic.

Thanks for the additional input, Otto. I’ve had the chance to enjoy Tradicion’s VORS Amontillado – “superlative” would be my one word analysis – but not yet this Fino.

Is their VORS Oloroso dry? Ever since getting (unpleasantly) surprised by an off-dry Oloroso (or maybe it was a Palo Cortado?) from Gonzalez Byass many years back, I always prefer to have some kind of assurance that I’m not wasting my money on a bottling that contains some PX that will render the wine off-dry.

Ok, whew, I thought you had missed out this great producer entirely! Got me worried there for a bit! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The VORS Oloroso is technically bone-dry, although the oxidative nuances lend a subtly sweet edge to the flavors.

I assume that off-dry Oloroso you had was drunk +10 years ago (or the bottle was at least that old)? I suppose you shouldn’t be worried about getting sweet Olorosos much by now, as since 2012 all the Olorosos and Amontillados are to be bottled as bone-dry (less that 5 g/l RS). They might still have a name that might fool you into thinking that they’re Oloroso (like “Blend of Oloroso”), but if the label says “Amontillado” or “Oloroso”, they are supposed to be completely dry. I’ve understood that the producers that used to make wines with names like “Medium Dry Amontillado” or “Medium Sweet Oloroso” have had to drop the Amontillados and Olorosos from their names.

I don’t know if there are some exceptions to this rule, though. I remember seeing some older Sherries like vintage-dated Amontillados or some very old blends that had RS in the range of 10 g/l or so, so in that sense your question is definitely valid. However, no need to be worried - I’ve understood that Bodegas Tradición Cream and PX are the only two wines to have any noticeable number of residual sugar in them.

1 Like

Otto,

You are my Hero of the Day! I did not know about the change in labelling laws for Oloroso and Amontillado. You are correct about when I had the bottle I was talking about: it was the G-B Palo Cortado “Apostoles” — my TN in CT is dated Aug. 6, 2012. You have no idea how happy I am to know I can largely buy Palo Cortados and Olorosos without fear moving forward. :grin: :wine_glass:

1 Like

Ha! As luck would have it, that Fino is available at one of my local sources for $40. Will give it a go next time I’m in. :slight_smile:

Indeed, that is not really a typical Palo Cortado, but instead a somewhat sweet specialty VORS Sherry of Gonzales Byass. They used to label it “Palo Cortado” back then when the labeling laws were quite lax, but today the label seems to read more accurately: “Apostoles - Jerez elaborado con Palo Cortado & Pedro Ximenez - Medium - VORS”.

Although they curiously have it as “Apóstoles (Medium) Palo Cortado VORS” on their website. :thinking:

1 Like

Yeah, the word “medium” likely would have caused me to :thinking:, and conduct extra investigation before buying. If it had the entire title you put in your post, I easily would have passed and simply spent my money on another wine more to my liking in their lineup. Live and learn, I suppose.

1 Like

Indeed, and this shows the benefits of such labeling laws! I myself probably wouldn’t have minded the wine being sweet if the wine was otherwise of high quality, although I can imagine one might be upset by a sweeter wine if they were anticipating a completely dry wine. Nevertheless, I’m all the happier now that I know if I want a dry Sherry, I can rely on the label and not get a sweeter Palomino/PX concoction if the label says “Oloroso” or “Palo Cortado”!

Anyways, go wild with Amontillados, Olorosos and especially Palo Cortados! The latter category might yield some of the most thrilling wines in the genre! And while on topic of great Sherries - are you familiar with Lustau’s Almacenista wines? Those are some really outstanding wines from such a big producer, definitely worth checking out - and often (at least around here) quite affordable for the quality!

I love the love for Sherry, cheers :wine_glass:

1 Like

I’m aware of the Lustau Almacenista bottlings, but have never tried them — I’ll give the next couple I see a try. I’ve been unimpressed with Lustau up to this point, but I’ve admittedly not sampled widely across their range. Thank you for the tip there. :wine_glass:

As for different sherry styles: Palo Cortado is my absolute favorite, but I drink more Fino than any other (owing to its generally cheaper pricing, greater availability, and food-pairing versatility).

1 Like

The Apostles are a series of ancient casks in the cellars. There are 5 if I remember correctly. Each with a different blend. They are all VORS but predate the designation by some time. The blends are from when they were layed down. The medium designation means it is a sweetened version.

This indeed. What confused me was that the current legislation does not allow styles like Medium Palo Cortado - as it is marketed on the website. If a wine is a Palo Cortado, it should not be above 5 g/l RS.

I’m with you there - basic Lustau is very rarely anything interesting. However - to those who don’t know - “Almacenista” translates to small Sherry producer (well, “warehouse owner” literally), the Lustau Almacenistas are not Lustau wines at all, but instead lots Lustau has purchased from almacenistas and bottled under their own brand. The label always tells the consumer who is the almacenista and how big the bottled lot is (for example 1/38 means they’ve bottled one cask from a Solera system that spans a total of 38 casks). These can be quite thrilling wines.

1 Like

Hmmmm, very cool, particularly about it not being Lustau wines. The only “nice” Lustau I have a TN on was for a “single cask” Palo Cortado. It was good – no doubt – but simultaneously underwhelming for the price, and I guess I would have expected a specifically-selected cask to have been more interesting. It was not labelled as being part of their Almacenista line, I’m pretty sure, so perhaps that explains things.

Just found my notes from visiting Tradicion and Gonzalez Byass in 2019. The Tradicion fino averages 12 years old. The VORS Amontillado and Oloroso average 30 years of age and are very dry. But as Otto mentions, they are so rich and concentrated, they give a sweet impression. The VOS Cream has 30% PX. The Byass Apostles are the very dry Del Duque Amontillado VORS, the Palo Cordado medium VORS with 13% added PX, the Matusalem Cream Oloroso VORS with 25% PX, and the Noe VORS PX.

2 Likes

I’m going to disagree on Lustau. Their basic range is nothing to write home about, but their upper tier wines are quite good, and I’m not talking about the Almacenista wines.

1 Like

These are the ones I have the least experience with - I’ve had more entry-level Lustaus and then Almacenistas. The higher-tier Lustau stuff is still by and large undiscovered territory for me. Will need to fix that at some point!

1 Like