Tasting Notes for themorningclaret

(15 notes on 15 wines)

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Orange
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret wrote:
89 points
It's very rare that Josko decides to make a varietal PInot Grigio, but in 2006 he decided the grapes were suitable. There'll be 2011 coming down the line too... but nothing after that as the vineyards have been grubbed up in favour of Ribolla Gialla.

This has an incredible brownish pink, burnished hue. The nose is pungent, with notes of caramel, nuts and mocha (not really oak-driven though, this was fermented in Ampohra and aged in 2,000 - 5,000 litre casks as with everything else).
It's fiery and nutty on the palate, tight and focused but to me doesn't have the electricity of Ribolla treated in the same way. Nor the structure.

Impressive, but why drink this when you could drink a Gravner Ribolla?
Orange
1998 Gravner Breg Venezia Giulia IGT White Blend (view label images)
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret wrote:
95 points
The first year where Gravner actively went looking for botrytis in his grapes, and there is a decided botrytis character on the nose, even slightly volatile perhaps.

This white blend was fermented on the skins for 7 days (1998 was pre his conversion to amphora, so this was fermented in large neutral oak vats).

It's full of ripe redcurrant fruit, and an attractive supple texture - really lively, almost sharp and incredibly youthful.

Very nearly as good as the Ribolla from the same year, which for me is one of Gravner's crowning glories (even if he might see it that way, as it was pre-amphora)
White
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
96 points
Whole bunch fermented Ribolla, fully botrytised, from three vintages ( 2008, 2009, 2010).

Quite extraordinary, the nose is pure Tokaj - orange marmalade, herb infused apricots, candied citrus fruits, showing the botrytis influence very clearly.

Even though there's 126gr of residual sugar (and despite this it still managed to ferment to 13% ABV!), one barely feels the sweetness - the acidity and light phenolics balance it out and leave the palate almost dry.

A truly unique expression of Ribolla, perhaps a "Vino di meditazione", but also very versatile, due to the feeling of dryness.
White
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
92 points
Gravner's classic barrique fermented/matured Chardonnay, this is from a few years before his big change to long skin maceration and abandonment of "modern" techology (which happened in 1996/97).

Quite buttery and oak driven on the nose. Very ripe fruit, peach, green plum, savoury hints, developed but totally clean and fresh - no unwelcome oxidative notes at all. Plenty of life left.

LIke a kind of super ripe white Cotes du Beaune. Impressive elegance and maturity, albeit a very different style to the Gravner we now know and love!
White
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
96 points
This is only the second vintage where Josko Gravner decided to hold back some of the Ribolla production to make a riserva, to be released at 14 years old. So the 2003 is just about to be released now!

It's only available in magnum, where its been patiently maturing for the last 7 years (after 6 months in amphora and 6 years in large Slavonian oak)

The nose is very pretty, with citrus and butterscotch notes. Still incredibly youthful, one has the feeling that its nowhere near its peak yet. The palate has crunchy red fruit, a bit creamy, redolent of sucking raspberry pips.

Charming and really impressive. But given the price (its almost double the normal Ribolla), it's difficult to recommend this as a value pick! It's certainly not twice as a good as the standard Ribolla.
Orange
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
92 points
While this lacks the drive of Gravner's 2002, it is still pretty fantastic stuff.
Very ripe, exotic fruit aromas, beautiful nutty tannins, notes of honey and almond.

Maturing effortlessly, certainly many more years of life.

This was the very first amphora (qvveri) vintage at Gravner. It tastes wonderfully assured, and certainly not experimental in any way.
Orange
9/27/2017 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
98 points
This Ribolla had longer skin contact than any other vintage ever made at Gravner. It wasn't taken off the skins until around 26th April 2003 (so almost 7 months in qvevri)

Paradoxically, it's incredibly fresh and vibrant, with hits of papaya, caramel, red berries and dried herbs. Soft textured, quite big in the mouth and utterly open.

A real joy to drink, and a great demonstration of just how slow these macerated Ribollas evolve. Quite possibly at its peak right now - at 15 years old!
Red
7/8/2011 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
92 points
First impressions were really quite pongy, but the real prize with this wine was what happened to the nose after about an hour – a spellbindingly sweet and delicate mix of cinnamon and clove, in amongst the smokey, dark fruit.

It’s really nice to find a "premium cuvee" like the 2005 Hegarty Chamans No. 1, where both the alchohol level (13.5%) and oak have been held in check. This is a beautifully balanced effort, with freshness and structure, but no rough edges – 6 years in bottle and this is still hefty, but drinking perfectly. I loved the leathery, cooked prune flavours, and the considerable length.
Red
6/27/2011 - themorningclaret wrote:
91 points
This looked pretty mature in the glass, with telltale brown tints at the edges. A whiff of exotic spices, subtle smoke and cigar box aromas gave way to full, ripe, plummy fruit in the glass. This was surprisingly rich for the vintage, with a very nice balance between sweetness, well mannered tannins and acidity. Certainly not a boisterous or “heavy” wine, but drinking wonderfully well and quite possibly at its peak.
Red
1995 Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley Red Blend (view label images)
2/27/2011 - themorningclaret wrote:
95 points
I first tried the 1995 vintage in 2004, and have since put it to one side in favour of the 1991 (fully evolved, pale brick colour, wonderfully complex roasted fruit palate). I was very excited to return to the 1995 tonight, with good friends who provided a most excellent Cassoulet to accompany it. Although nowhere near as evolved as the '91, this is starting to show the red brick colour of age, whilst retaining a vibrant ruby hue in the core.

There are no two ways about it - this wine does have an aroma of nail polish (that trademark Musar volatility), however what might be offputting or even faulty in some wines just seems to work here. Perhaps it's becuase of the panopoly of other scents rising up from the glass. There's a meatiness, mixed with exotic fragrances and sweet spices, prunes and dates. We just kept on smelling and smelling, hardly daring to unleach this monster on our palates. My first impression was the wonderful lifted nature on the palate - excellent acidity, mixed with generous, ripe and pure fruit. You barely notice the oak, so silky smooth is the texture. There is a satisfying fullness and richness, with everything in perfect balance, yet every moutful teases and presents something slightly different - sometimes more cooked fruits, then parma violets and then again that meatiness. And of course, this is a wine that lasts and lasts long after you put the glass down - although it's so moorish that I was picking it back up, soon enough.

This wine is still a mere child, I will be putting my remaining bottles of the '95 as far out of reach as possible and I fully expect even more complexity and beauty to manifest itself in another 5-10 years.
Red
1970 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
6/11/2010 - themorningclaret Likes this wine:
92 points
Opened this for my 40th birthday dinner, at "Upstairs". High shoulder fill, good deep garnet colour.

Rather gingerly pulled the cork about 2 hours before we drank this - with pork. Felt about right, as the nose had developed nicely. Plenty of wet earth and truffle aromas, but also haunting suggestions of spice and even some fruit.

The acidity is just starting to dominate the palate, but luckily there is still plenty of cooked fruit and firm tannins. This is no longer a full bodied wine, but yet the complexity of flavour more than makes up. Medium to long length.

This is definitely at the end of its life, but the impression was of a superbly crafted wine, fading into old age but still showing its class. Above all, a wonderfully refreshing and enjoyable drink.
Red
5/5/2009 - themorningclaret wrote:
89 points
It's early days for this wine, but it is already drinking well. The nose is fairly restrained, with subtle hints of berry and cooked fruits and herbs.
The alcohol hits you immediately - typical Grenache in that respect (La Bernardine is not a blend, it's 100% Grenache), and the advertised 14.5% is very apparent. Having said that, the tannins are beautifully smooth and there's a wonderful herbaceous undercurrent to the palate. Length is good, so the only cause for concern is whether there's enough acidity and primary fruit to sustain this wine for another 5-10 years. If there is, and if the alcohol integrates a little better over time, it should be really fine in a few years.
Red
6/8/2007 - themorningclaret wrote:
94 points
A lighter style of Margaux than some, now displaying a lovely brick-red hue, but still with immense length and complexity. Restrained on the nose, but with plenty of tobacco and subtle perfumed notes. On the palate, very integrated, soft tannins, barely noticable until you realise how consistent the mid-palate and the finish are. This is one of the only wines I've ever tasted where the finish seemed to tail off, but then increases again towards the very end. Extraordinary! This seems pretty much at its peak, and will probably be turning the corner within a few years.
Red
2002 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
4/25/2009 - themorningclaret wrote:
88 points
Pronounced "classic" pauillac nose of cigar box, oak and spice. Still rather young and unexpressive on the palate, this feels as if it has shut down a bit. The tannins are out in force, but fruit, complexity and length are for the moment somewhat masked. I suspect it will be a different story in 2-3 years time.
Red
4/22/2009 - themorningclaret wrote:
91 points
Double decanted but not given more than a few minutes to breath. Yet, a wonderful perfumed nose promised a wine of great typicity, and we were not disappointed. This is a young wine from an early drinking vintage which I have always found to have great charm, none more so than here. Very well integrated, smooth tannins, but plenty of them - good structure and excellent length (We were enjoying this long after the last glass had been finished). On the palate, cooked fruits, tobacco, blackcurrants and raspberries plus a hint of herbs and perfume adding a haunting beauty. Although drinking very well now, this will be at its peak in about 5 years.
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  • Tasting Notes: 15 notes on 15 wines
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