Merry Christmas everybody. As we unwind another strange and troubled year we look back at some of the wines that made our hearts melt and minds spring to life. With these bottles we wish you all the best for the upcoming festive season and we’ll be back next year with new bottles of wine to taste and recommend.
I often get questions on what bottles people should buy as gifts. This week I bring you such a bottle. But it’s also a perfect treat for yourself, a treasure for cellaring and a wildly cool wine to pair with seasonal winter food. A couple of weeks back Vinmonopolet had their November release of wines. A highly anticipated release due to a number of reasons. One of them; top end Americans.
Ridge Vineyards have been, and still is, a symbol of top end wines from USA. A steadfast producer who never fails to deliver exceptional quality. Their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Chardonnay is virtually impossible to get your hands on. And their legendary Cabernet Sauvignon from Montebello Vineyard is beyond rare to find.
Ridge is also famous for their exceptional work with the Zinfandel grape. With Lytton Springs and Geyserville being the flagships. But over the last years these too have become tricky to find. The 19. vintage, that was released just now, is now only available at a few selected stores.
A few years ago, we made a story from Piemonte and visited the Brandini winery. Beautifully situated just outside La Morra in the heart of Barolo with stunning views over the valley this relatively small vinery wasn’t just known for their superb wine but also because of the two innovative sisters that run this vinery. At that time, their wines were not available in Norway but now they have arrived at our shores, and that is about time if you ask us!
Giovanna and Serena Bagnasco took charge of the Brandini Winery in 2007 together with their parents. The make a wide range of wines, the usual suspects from Piemonte - Barolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Langhe Bianco, Arneis, Moscato d’Asti – and the subject of this weeks wine – a Langhe Nebbiolo.
The grape Nebbiolo reigns supreme in Piemonte, and anyone who has had Barolo and Babaresco knows why. But not all of the Nebbiolo grapes are used for these super wines. Some vines are too young, they grow in the wrong places, the reasons are many, but they produce great wines and often at a very good price. Brandinis Filiari Corte Langhe Nebbiolo, which you can find in the Vinmonopolet now, is just like that, a great buy. Here you will get a lot of wine for you money. A wine you can consume now or even leave in the cellar for a few years to see how it develops.
We're heading to Uruguay for a delicious bottle of white. The country set between Brazil and Argentina might be new to you, wine vice, but they produce a fair amount in this beautiful country. It's the forth largest producer of wine in South America with about 67.000 tonns of wine yearly. Their wines being less known around the world is mainly because they pretty much keep it to themselves and drink it all. Only a handful of bottles make it out on the open market.
Our wine of the week comes from Bodega Garzon. Recognised as the number one winery from the New World in 2018. They run a fantastic operation focusing in sustainability and terroir. It's a modern type winery, where innovative techniques are crossed with years of history. They produce a lovely red on the Tannat grape, but the white made on the Albariño grape, is just recently available and a great bottle.
For some years now, English wines have been reaching a standard we would only see from more famous regions in France. Especially the sparkling wines have gotten fantastic and deserved reviews all over the world, but now the still wines are starting to make a splash as well. The Simpson estate is located not far from the historic town of Canterbury. The famous cathedral there have attracted pilgrims since the untimely death of Thomas Beckett in 1170. As followers of Kultour will know we like Christian munks and pilgrims, they bring wine and other goods with them wherever they travel, but getting wine to England have taken some time.
The Simpsons estate planted their first vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier in 2014. In a very short time they have established themselves as producers of wines of high, high quality. Vinmonopolet carry several of their wines and we love all of them, but this weeks wine is the Gravel Road Chardonnay. The 2020 vintage is only the third vintage they have produced but it’s an exceptional wine and you will find it here in Norway at a great price.
Most of us have had a glass of Chablis at one point. It’s from the greatest wine region in the world, Burgundy, and it goes very well with Norwegian seafood. Check.
But I’m going to guess that most of us only have tasted young Chablis. Because that’s what’s normally available at the store.
A fully ripe bottle of Chablis is a completely different ballgame. During years of storage fruit flavours develop personality and the acidity becomes like your grandmother. Rounder, mellow and very likeable.
Lemon flavours can turn to dried lemon peel or candied lemons. The smell of fresh herbs can develop into dried flowers or an autumn forest. Yellow apples can turn to baked apple pie. It’s really fantastic; take my word for it.
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix is a renowned producer in Chablis and has been available at Vinmonopolet for years. They have just released their 2006 vintage and it’s widely available both at stores around the country and online.
It’s a bargain like no other, so be quick if you wanna taste this treasure.
The Basque region of Spain is considered the country’s Mecca for fine dining. San Sebastian and Bilbao has a range of fine restsurants with an abundance of Michelin stars. With fine dining comes great wines. Often the wines from Rioja, Douru and Penedes are considered the best from Spain, but the local wines from the Basque country are getting better and better. Hiruzta is a Txakoli wine that combines classicism and modernity. It is made from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape, grown in the winery’s own vineyards in Hondarribia and fermented at its state-of-the-art facility. Produced in at an exceptional winery equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
The winery’s own 17 ha. Vineyard is located in the surroundings of the winery itself, at the foothills of Jaizkibel Mountain. It is oriented towards the mid-day sun which protects it from the wind and damp of the nearby Cantabrian sea, thereby enjoying excellent sunshine. Trellis grown vineyard using double Guyot training system. Plantation layout: 2.60 x 1.20 (3,200 strains/hectare). Soil with a thick bedrock layer and clayish marly.