Quick Trincadeira Interlude: Joao Portugal Ramos Trincadeira 2004, Alentejano

Today’s wine is from a relatively new, not all too popular and very rural viticulture region half way between Lisbon and Faro. Today’s producer however is a real Mr. Big Shot in the Portuguese wine business: Joao Portugal Ramos. A fellow very well known for his expensive Marques de Borba Reserva red blend. So no real discovery this time, I guess!. My Trincadeira, or more often called Tinta Amarela (Red No. 3 in Portugal), isn’t that unknown either. I just think this varietal deserves a bit more recognition on international level. That’s the simple reason for today’s quick interlude.


Gimme More Gimme More: Elephant Hill Pinot Noir 2008, Central Otago

Elephant Hill is a spacey-modern-60s-retro looking winery and restaurant in Te Awanga, Hawke’s Bay on the North Island of New Zealand. The winery itself is just 10 years old. It was founded in 2001 by the German expatriates/immigrants/tourists Reydan and Roger Weiss. Enough history, back to the actual wine. Today’s Pinot Noir is not from Hawke’s Bay. Strange? The grapes for this wine were grown on Three Miners vineyard in Alexandra, Central Otago. The most southern viticulture area on the South Island. In my opinion maybe the best area for Pinot in New Zealand. Whatever! I digress! It just comes to my mind that it might be rather odd to have the actual winery more than 1000 km north from the viticulture area (for this wine)!?! Whatever again! Today I am in a good mood. I don’t want to be too sceptical about such things, which by the way happend pretty often.


Rustic Madiran from the Southern Hemisphere: Pisano Tannat RPF 2007, Progreseo

Today I might got the incarnation of Uru wine for you people out there. It is Tannat from Bodegas Pisano. Maybe the internationally most famous winery from Uruguay with their most famous and prestigious wine: the Tannat Reserva Personal de la Familia 2007. Tannat, originally from Madiran region in the south-west of France, was brought to Uruguay by Basque immigrants in the late 1870s. These rather traditional routes and style is still noticeable in today’s wine. 


Precious Slate Pit Peauty: Quinta do Vale Raposa Touriga Nacional 2001, Douro

Once again I have no real clue about today’s winery. I know: it is a Douro wine, it was made form 100% Touriga Nacional (apparently, but praiseworthy – especially for a still affordable price) - by the way one of my most favourite varietals. What else do I know? I know the Quinta Vale do Raposa is owned by the Alves de Sousa family and my last fact: I know that the vines were cultivated on slate soil on the banks of the Corgo River. Maybe you guys can help me out and tell me something about this winery. Maybe even about this specific wine. Sorry for my incompetence :-(.


Quick Chardonnay Interlude: Amani Vineyards Chardonnay 2007, Stellenbosch

Unfortunately I don’t know much about today’s winery. It is relatively young (est. 1997), it is situated in the Polkadraai Hills in Stellenbosch, the winemaker is a very energetic young woman named Carmen Stevens and it seems to be very much in favour of John Platter wine guide in recent years. The vines for this Chardonnay were 10 to 11 years old, grown on klapmuts and fernwood soil, the fermentation was 50% spontanious and the rest inoculated with a pre-selected yeast culture and finally the juice was aged for 10 months in 19.6% new French Oak. UUUUhhh!

Judged from the colour of this wine - it seemed pretty well aged. Pretty strawy golden yellow reflexes with hardly any particles. The nose was rather flinty, got a lot of aged lemon, some petrol and not a lot of typical oak scents. Same impressions from the taste! Here the lemon flavours reminded me of lemon-flavoured-whipped-cream which was supplemented with plenty of egg white and maybe some traces of egg shells. I couldn't spot any obvious difficulties or even faults. Nice, easy drinking, New-World (but not too New World ;-) ), semi bodied, classy Chardonnay for less than 10 Euros. No Problems at all!


Aussie-French Connection: Tapanappa Pinot Noir Foggy Hill Vineyard 2007, Fleurieu Peninsula SA

Risen from the foggy hills on Fleurieu Penisula in South Australia this Aussie-French Connection Pinot Noir infatuated me with its bouquet right from the start. Why Aussie-French Connection you may ask? Well, in 2001 the former Croser Winery was restructured to this very connection between the Croser family, the Cazes family from Chateau Lynch-Bages in Pauillac and not to forget Bollinger Champagne. The soils of Foggy Hill, a former sheep farm, are characterized by the heat retaining ironstone rocks and the nearby south pacific. The cold maceration time took about 20 days and the ageing lasted up to 2 years in 30% new Voges Forest French oak hogsheads. For further technical data I would like to encourage you to check out the Tapanappa website. I think a very explicitly detailed and informative source.


Fizz from Good Old Constantia: Steenberg Brut 1682 Chardonnay 2009, Constantia

Today I got some fizz from one of the oldest “New World” wineries for you: Steenberg in Constantia Western Cape. It is a weathered granite cultivated 100% Chardonnay sparkling from a winery which was founded in the late 17th century in the Steenberg Mountains (Mountain of Stone) by Catharina Ras a native Lübeckanese. Today, Steenberg is a national and international well renowned mid-size winery famous for its Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wines, as well as a culinary and hotel business highlight of RSA.


Resurrection of a forgotten Cabernet fellow: Changyu Cabernet D’Est 2010, Ningxia

Did you guys ever hear of Cabernet Gernischt? Well I never heard about this extinct varietal from France. Extinct in France! Not in China! Because it was dragged over there some 200 years ago. Apparently it is a natural hybridization of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I can’t tell anyway. But you already knew that … right? The grapes for this wine were grown on the high slopes of Helan Mountains in Ningxia, Central China, at an altitude of 1100 metres. The producer Changyu is probably one of the most famous names in the domestic industry. Maybe not just famous, reliable might be the right word to use. Unlike the majority of large Chinese wine producers. I’d alledge. In one or two occasions I had the opportunity to try Changyu wines. Back then they seemed fairly nice but pretty insignificant and characterless as well. Not more than drinkable. Let’s see how this one might present itself….
Oh, before I forget, this wine was produced under organic principles. A fact I normally neglect. Based on my experience with the Chinese food industry and its products a mentionable and favourable fact! If I may say so :-)


Coppa Italia: Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino Pinot Nero 2008, Pomino e qualcosa rustico atesino

Todays wines comEE fRomEE IIItaly. The classical wine country I omitted so far. It is about time, I guess! The program for today is a microscopic national Pinot Cup! The first contestant comes from Tuscany and was produced by Frescobaldi. The second contestant comes from Alto Adige in the alpine north of Italy and was produced by the Azienda Vinicola Niedrist in Girlan.


Freshly mixed White from Jeruzalem: Conrad Fürst & Söhne Fürst Pod Stolpom 2010, Podravje

The Fürst Pod Stolpom is a white blend produced by a jolly young cooperation between the Fürst and Gross families with the central aim to revive the once well know Fürst winery and wine merchant in Slovenian Styria. The traditional winery was founded in the early 19th century by the Bavarian immigrant Ernst Fürst. Until the family’s displacement in 1945 the winery developed to become one of the largest wine producers in Styria. Eventually in 2004 the families started to cultivated new grapes and opened for business. The grapes for today’s wine where grown on Jeruzalem and Haloze soil. Two of the most famous vineyards in all of Slovenian Styria. Apparently the 2010 was their first vintage ever and was already well received by the famous Slovenian wine critic Robert Gorjak. As I already mentioned today’s wine is a white blend which was composed of 55% Sipon (better known as Furmint), 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% of Pinot Blanc.


An energetic Briton: Firefly Natural Energy Britannia

Recently I had this little energetic Briton. I don’t even know if it is famous, successful or whatsoever. I have never seen it before. So I tried it out!