Lusitanian Fizz: Quinta das Bágeiras Bruto Natural Rosé 2010, Bairrada

Quinta das Bágeiras is situated in the mostly misjudged viticulture area of Bairrada. It was established in the early 1990s by winemaker Màrio Sérgio Alves Nuno. Besides his traditional and impressing still wines this Quinta acquired a certain reputation for its espumantes. My recently tasted sparkling was made of Baga (is the typical Bairrada grape varietal which produces pretty tannic wines with proper acidity) and produced in Brut Natural (without dosage) style. As a matter of fact today’s fizz was my second or third sparkling wine from Portugal. I guess I can’t see any reason to complain about neither of them. Let’s check this one out:


Time for the Best Sport Ever: Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, South Australia

Wine and a cricket match! What else could be better? Well, I don’t know! Probably a couple of things!? Cricket, of course is beyond reproach. However this combination might not be this compelling. But first some info: The vines for this Cabernet Sauvignon were planted on a former Cricket Pitch in Coonawarra, in the shape of the pitch, on the most southern corner of South Australia. The soils are the famous Coonawarra "terra rossa" and limestone.


On the Oregon Trail Part 3: Maysara Pinot Noir Jamsheed 2008, McMinnville

Back in Oregon! This time in McMinnville AVA. Maysara is a relatively large (more than 250 acres) Demeter certified biodynamic wine producer which was founded in 2001 by the Momtazi family. The Jamsheed Pinot Noir, named after an ancient Persian king, is a selection of the Momtazi Estate vineyard (mainly Pommard, and a few Dijon, clones).


Time for transparent silver from Cockaigne: Hiraizumi Jumai Ginjyo Sake, Akita Prefecture

This time I got something new! Well at least on this blog. Sake! So far I had a few good ones in my life, but I am most certain that this one was the best I ever had. Besides that I am most certainly not an expert in this very complicated and challenging field of beverages. To make my point clear: I did not even know what kind of sake this was until a couple of fellows from wineberserkers.com gave me a helping (translation-) hand. Enough premature sorry blather. Today’s sake comes from Akita Prefecture in the very north of Honshu Island. It is a Junmai 純米 (pure rice) Ginjyo 吟醸酒 (brewed like a poem) sake named Hiraizumi (Splashing Spring Water). Apparently it was made of Miyamanishiki sake rice and the best “Cru” of the house.


Crystallum Wines Peter Max Pinot Noir 2008, Western Cape

In the past week I tried some Pinot stuff from the alleged rising star of Walker Bay. In 2007 Andrew and Peter-Allan Finlayson (the sons of the famous Peter Finlayson) started their Crystallum Wines project in Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. My wine was the entry level Pinot Noir “Peter Max”. Peter and Max are the given names of the growers who supplied the fruit for the first vintage (my 2008 vintage) of this wine. So much for explanation of this curious name. The grapes for the Peter Max 2008 were cultivated in two different cooler climate appellations: Walker Bay and Elgin. The aging (approx. 11 months) took place in mostly used oak barrels (just 25% new ones). The result of the first vintage were 5500 bottles of decently produced Pinot.


Too Classical? Caves São João Porta dos Cavaleiros Reserva Seleccionada 1995, Dao

Something aged for a change? There we go: The Porta dos Cavaleiros Reserva Seleccionada from Caves São João, one of the oldest large wine cellars in Bairrada, is one of the Dao Classics. In general this wine is produced from the autochthonous grape varietals Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Baga and Bastardo and sometimes stored in large Portuguese oak barrels and following bottle-aging for up to 10 years and more. Depending on the maturity and mellowness of the actual vintage.



More White from the West: Bacalhoa JP Azeitao Branco 2010, Peninsula de Setubal and a Old Acquaintance from Palatinate

Today was probably the last summer-like day over here in the South of Germany! The last chance for another crisp white from the Iberian Peninsula. So far I had quite a lot of positively surprising wines made of Godello, Albariño and so on. However this one was probably the most polarizing and most problematic wine. At least for me! I mean the Bacalhoa JP Azeitao Branco 2010 from Peninsula de Setubal not so far from Lisbon. More precise: a white blend made of Moscateis (the Setubal version of Moscatel) and Fernao Pires (a very common autochthons grape varietal mostly in Tejo and Bairrada regions).


Lil' Corton-Charlemange? Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay 2010, Elgin and a Wild Assortment of Some Other Chardonnays

On various occasions I’ve seen a concise description of this Chardonnay which always ended with the conclusion: “tastes like a little Corton-Charlemange”! Can that be true? If so, how? I anticipate a bit: No! At least not for me! I don't even know how to relocate this Chardonnay to Burgundy? The characteristics of this wine weren't all too "Burgundian-Style" (whatever that might mean). At least to me. I also don’t know what these references or insinuations might mean! Are there precise and typical characteristics to all Corton-Charlemagne wines? As far as I am concerned: not so much (perhaps anymore? If ever?)! Does that implicate high standard quality? And what the hell does “little” mean anyway? Sorry for those rude questions to an invisible addressee! I am just a bit peeved about these ongoing and totally useless marketing delusions! I can’t see any need for such comparisons! I anticipate again: It is a good wine with a certain amount of “unique” characteristics! There is no need for such marketing driven verbalisations! Guys, let the quality speak for itself! Considering its attractive price, accessibility and international ratings (for me a bit too high ones) there won’t be any problem in selling this Chardonnay! Sorry, enough bewildering bashing for today ;-)! Now the wine: