Ravi K Joshi

Tasting Notes

 
Sake Junmai Ginjo

Producer: Fukuju
Country: Japan
Alcohol Content: 15.5 %
Serving Temperature: 8-10ºC

 
About the Wine
This Sake comes from the NADA district of Kobe region in Japan that is known for producing Sake since centuries. I was offered this sample by an importer who wanted my opinion before he decided on its import.

Putting it simply
A refreshing Sake ideal to be enjoyed as an aperitif with hors d'oeuvres.

Tasting Notes

A clear straw coloured Sake with green tints and aromas of white flowers, dry leaves and green peppers. The palate was very fresh and dry with taste of tropical fruits like pineapple and melons as also flower extract. The spicy feel continued on the palate as well.  Good to enjoy on its own or paired with Mediterranean cuisine incorporating fresh veggies and seafood.
   
Reserve Shiraz 2010

Producer: Olive Farm Wines
Country: Australia
Alcohol Content: 13.9 %
Serving Temperature: 18ºC


About the Wine
This wine comes from the Swan valley- the oldest wine region of  Western Australia. The Olive Farm winery was established in 1829 by an English botanist who brought along with him, cuttings of grapevines and other plants including olive trees, hence the name Olive Farm. The winery is now owned by the Yurisich family with Anthony Yurisich, a fourth generation winemaker elaborating the wines. I was privileged to be presented this wine by none other than Anthony himself!


Putting it simply
A bold and powerful Shiraz with rounded tannins and complex flavours.

Tasting Notes
A dark ruby coloured wine with an evolving  garnet rim. The first nose gave an impression of dark fruits and on swirling, the bouquet erupted with aromas of wild berries, vanilla and black pepper. On the palate, it was full bodied and dry with the berries and spice feel continuing, accompanied by well rounded tannins. The finish was lingering with use of oak becoming more obvious. A great food wine that will accompany robust and well textured food. We had it with Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani and were delighted.


 
Taittinger Nocturne Sec

Producer: Taittinger Champagne
Country:France
Alcohol Content: 12 %
Serving Temperature: 6-8ºC

About the Wine
Taittinger highlights this as a Night Time Champagne due to its propensity to accompany the sweeter  things in life, and with perfect  reason-  this Champagne has 17.5 grams per litres of dosage (added sugar in the last stage of Champagne production) that classifies it as Sec (Dry). As compared to Brut, Extra Brut and Brut Nature Champagnes, Sec Champagnes are sweeter but only subtly. The added sugar lends them a fuller and rounder body that makes them good accompaniment with a host of desserts. the compostion of this wine is 40% Chardonnay and 60% of  Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Putting it Simply
 

A luxuriant rich wine with a subtle hint sweetness that could have you pleased with or without food.

Tasting Notes
Pale bright lemon colour. A delicate nose of peaches, dried apricots and white flowers. A smooth full bodied creamy palate with good levels of acidity and a sensation of ripe fruits and raisins. The finish is long and smooth with layered complexity. A good dessert wine but could also be enjoyed on its own- as a digestif too! I sampled it with Pistache Macarons, Strawberry Sorbet and a collection of Red Fruits.
Read about  other Taittinger Champagnes on my Blog..



   
Malagousia 2007

Producer: Domaine Gerovassiliou
Country:Greece
Alcohol Content: 12.5 %
Serving Temperature: 10ºC

About the Wine
Malagousia is a grape variety native to Greece that nearly went extinct till it was revived at the end of twentieth century by winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou. This particular wine comes from a 45 acres single vineyard and got the Silver Medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards, UK .

Putting it Simply
A nice refreshing wine with a crunchy acidity and  lingering finish.

Tasting Notes

Clear, medium gold wine with a fruity bouquet of apricots, crushed peaches and pears. Though the back label mentions floral fragrances, the wine expressed dominating fruity character probably because of ageing while in the bottle. The wine is  quite near in character to a new world oaked Chardonnay. Overall, a good wine both as an aperitif and accompanied with fried medium spiced or creamy textured food.


   Prince Matei 2008   

Producer: Vinarte (Villa Zorilor Estate)
Country:Romania
Alcohol Content: 14.5 %
Serving Temperature: 18ºC
(Tasted by: Col Joe)

About the wine
The wine comes from the Dealu Mare (meaning Big Hill) region at the foothills of the Carpathian mountain ranges of Romania. The region has a temperate-continental climate (meaning  lesser variation in the minimum and maximum temperature ranges)- thus ensuring a consistent environment for grapes ripening. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and is matured 12 months in French oak barrels followed by 12 months in bottle before release. It has consistently won awards in various international competitions, notably so in Mondial du Merlot held in Switzerland every year. With a beautifully designed attractive and chic label with metallic highlights,  the wine conveys a luxuriant feel.

Putting it Simply
A powerful, well rounded red with layers of delectable aromas and flavours. A good accompaniment to robustly textured food.

Tasting Notes
Medium ruby colour with a progressively paling rim. An explosive bouquet of ripe red fruits, black berries, chocolate and spice. A dry, full bodied velvety and  intensely fruity palate with rounded tannins and a smooth long finish.

Pairing
 Spaghetti in Tomato, Garlic and Basil sauce , Spinach-Corn au Gratin,  Lamb Cutlets, Brioche/ Croissant.


 
Champagne Cattier Blanc de Noirs  (France) 

Producer: Maison Cattier

Year: NA (Non Vintage)
Alcohol Content: 12 %
Serving Temperature: 6-8ºC
(Tasted by: Col Joe)

 

About the Wine
One of my favourite Champagnes, this one is a 70:30 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier respectively. The house of Cattier has 30 acres of  vineyards in Montagne de Reims area, an area known to be inclined to the black grape varieties and in particular, the Pinot Noir variety. The wine has lots of character and versatility that makes it eligible to fit-in anywhere in the gastronomical spectrum of fine dining.


Putting it Simply
A well structured wine with a complex bouquet and flavours.

Tasting Notes
A pink gold colour expressing the strength harnessed within. The bouquet was complex with aromas of black currants, plums, nuts and a distinct feel of spice. On the palate, it was firm with lots of red fruits, jam and a hint of white pepper. The finish was smooth and lingering. At the Indian launch event of Cattier, this wine was served with the Main Course dish of Slow braised lamb shanks served with red wine Cipollini onions and rosemary thyme infused oil. The  steely structure of the wine stood up perfectly to the robustness of the dish and the flavours between the two got along famously. Will wait for arrival of this wine on the Indian retail shelves!
  Le Voyage  2011 (Bulgaria)  

Producer: Katarzyna Estate
Alcohol Content: 14.5 %
Serving Temperature: 18ºC
(Tasted by: Col Joe)


The wine comes from one of the most well known wineries of Bulgaria situated in the Geographical Indication area of the Thracian plains. The estate is located at the same latitude as some of the world's most famous wine regions, on the No Man's land between Bulgaria and Greece. The climate of the region is warm summers and mild winters with the highest degree of sun shine, thus affording good grape ripening. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Syrah- both known to be suited for warmer climate(in Europe that is) to ensure adequate ripening.

Putting it Simply
A tremendously fruity and voluptuous wine that is pleasing on all fronts!

Tasting Notes
Clear and deep ruby colour. The moment the bottle was uncorked, powerful and pleasant aromas wafted out as if they were waiting for the sortie. The nose was intensely fruity with aromas of ripe plums, sour cherries and some  spice. The palate was full bodied, with soft tannins and flavours of juicy red fruits, liquorice and green pepper. The alcohol content is on the higher side at 14.5% but justifies its presence due to the excellent body that was a must, for a wine of such powerful character. The wine would go well with robust foods such as grilled and barbecued preparations. For a young red, it has surprising levels maturity, and I would love to try it after 5 years in the cellar to see how the flavours evolve.

P.S. Incidentally, this wine was presented by me at a Wine Dinner with contemporary Indian meat dish of Lamb Rack with Roganjosh glaze- and it met with a huge applause from wine lovers.

 

Tamaioasa Romaneasca 2011  (Romania)  

Producer: Domeniile Vinju Mare
Alcohol Content: 12.9 %
Serving Temperature: 10-12ºC
(Tasted by: Col Joe) 

A dessert wine paired with the humble Indian breakfast of 'Kandha Poha (Flaked Rice dish with fried onions and condiments)"?  Wine experts may initially squirm in their seats- but the quirky combination worked so well that I could bet my cellar on it (though I would not lose much)!            
           
A sweet white wine from Romania, Tamaioasa Romaneasca  (meaning Perfumed Maiden) is actually the Romanian name for Muscat Blanc a' Petits Grains- the more familiar name internationally. This wine comes from a quality wine area of Romania  on the banks of river Danube in the Oltenia province. It is produced in dry as well as sweet style. This one was dulce (sweet) and also happens to be the winner of Gold Medal at the International Wine Contest 2011 held at Bucharest. Likely to appear on Indian retail shelves soon, I received this direct from the producer for tasting and am looking forward to more wines from their portfolio.

Putting it Simply
A bright and  crisp  wine likely to be a hit across age demographies owing to its pleasant feel on the palate. Aperitif, digestif or with food- it has the capability to fit anywhere owing to its light and pleasantly sweet character.
           
Tasting Notes
Sparkling clear and pale gold wine with elegant aromas of white flowers and incense as well as pastry shop aromas. Light bodied and delectable on the palate with refreshing acidity accompanied with flavours of apricots and flower conserve. The finish is smooth and lingering.
     The light body of the wine makes it difficult to pair with rich and heavily textured desserts, but would work well with a Soufflé or Crème Brulee . In Indian desserts, the Rosogolla could be a worthy companion. And of course the  radical combination like the Kandha Poha shown here that marries well with the wine on account of the contrasting spice and tangy sweetness of fried onions. Bon Appetit!

   
Monbazillac 2010 (France)

Producer: Chateau Le Terme Blanc
Country: France
Alcohol Content: 12 %
Serving Temperature: 6-8C
(Tasted by: Col Joe)

Coming from the Monbazillac appellation (Quality Wine Producing Specific Region) in the Bergerac region of South West France, this is a dessert wine that can be considered a younger sibling of famous sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac region. Produced from the same grape varieties of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc (and in certain cases Muscadelle too), Monbazillac wines have lesser stringent regulations for production  as compared to Sauternes, therefore being more economical to produce, and as a result, lesser expensive.

Putting it Simply
A clean, crisp and refreshing wine that apart from dessert, can go well with main course dishes such as Honey Glazed Chicken & Foie Gras.

Tasting Notes 
Clear  medium gold colour with a bouquet of dried figs, honey and white flowers. A complex palate of melons, honey and dried fruits, but a less fuller body than expected from a wine of this genre. Medium finish with a pleasantly bitter sensation towards the end that makes the balance even better. I tried it with a traditional Indian sweet called Lauki Ka Laddoo (sweetened balls of grated bottle gourd) and it paired beautifully. 
Overall, a value for money wine (retails at 15-20 € in Europe)- which is around half the price of a similarly placed Sauternes.

   

Champagne L’Elégante Rosé Grand Cru (France)

Producer: Maison Edouard Brun et Cie
Type: Non Vintage
Alcohol Content: 12 %
(Tasted by: Col Joe)


This is a 'Grower's Champagne' meaning that the winemaker has produced most of the grapes in his own vineyards before vinifying them. This in effect translates into a personalised wine with the passionate involvement of the winemaker at all stages of the production process. Such Champagnes are the toast of hard core Champagne aficionados, however, these are rare to find through normal distribution channels largely due to being produced in limited quantities. The grapes for this exotic Champagne come from three Grand Cru vineyards in Montagne de Reims and a Premier Cru vineyard from Vallee de la Marne. The blend is 80 per cent Chardonnay and 20 per cent Pinot Noir. Being awarded in the last  two consecutive Vinalies competitions organized by Union des Oenologues de France further adds to the Quality image of this wine.

Putting it Simply
Fresh as a cool breeze against the face! Romantic, ethereal yet vivacious bubbly, sure to ignite passions.

An enticing crystal clear, salmon pink wine that can be admired while still uncorked- courtesy the clear bottle and a transparent label adorned with the graphic of a beautiful lady with a graceful demeanour,  true to the wine’s name. The Chardonnay grown in chalky soil  lends it a crackling crispiness and a smooth long mineral finish, while the Pinot Noir endows it with a firm structure and a complex fruitiness abounding with strawberries and red cherries. The palate is light and refreshing with the fruit reaffirmed. Good any which way- standalone or with food. I would recommend seafood, poultry and rich creamy preparations.

   

Pinot Auxerrois,Vielle Vignes,2008, France

Producer: Josmeyer "H"
Alcohol Content: 12 %
(Tasted by: Sommelier Kamal Malik)

From the region of Alsace this gem comes from a biodynamic estate. Pinot Auxerrois is a grape variety grown in Alsace but its cultivation has seen a sharp decline in the last few years due to predominantly commercial reasons. This wine comes from the grand cru area of Hengst, hence the "H" on the label. Unfortunately, no one is replanting it and the grape varietal is in the danger  of  getting extinct  soon.

Wines from this region grow in cold and dry climate. Alsace has a marginal climate since it is close to 48 latitude on the map. The mountain ranges makes the wine country here a rain shadow area, giving the wines water stress to make them work hard and draw minerality from the limestone rich soil and and at the same time, retain high acidity due to cold climate. Alsace wines are one of the most food friendly in the world and a better value than most other regions in France. 

Putting it Simply 
Great food wine, try it with cold cuts, cheeses, sushi or even tempuras. Not only will you get a great pleasure from drinking it, you will support a great cause of keeping the grape variety alive as well.  

Tasting Notes 
Straw gold colour with a lovely perfumed nose of white flowers, peaches, freshly mown grass, honey and chalky minerality. Crisp acidity in mouth with apple and pear coming forth on the palate with a long minerally finish. The wine went simply great  with the pan seared Foie Gras I had! Would love to see more of it in the coming days.

 

Blanc des Pacs 2010 (Spain
)
Producer: Parés Baltà 
Alcohol Content: 13 %
(Tasted by: Sommelier Kamal Malik)


This wine is a blend of three native grape varieties grown in the Penedès area of Catalunya, that is also known for producing Cava- the famous sparkling wine from Spain. Catalunya is in the north east of Spain with a mountainous terrain coupled with a Mediterranean climate. This makes the grapes retain their fresh acidity while also getting enough exposure to the sun to achieve the optimum levels of ripeness.

Putting it Simply

A fantastic discovery, since Spain is known more for its Reds. This is an excellent wine that would oblige many types of cuisines- given its peppy character. The Hyderabadi Dum Biryani I had with it couldn't agree more!


Tasting notes
A DO classified wine with a blend of Parellada, Macabeo andXerello grape varieties. Lemon gold colour with flavours of lemon, orange zest,grapefruit and peach with a minerally earthy aroma and a touch of peppermint. Medium body with a bracing minerality and crisp acidity, its fine long finish pushing you for the next sip. Perfect with the best cuisine in the world!! (Indian of course!)

 
Barbaresc0 2003 (Italy)

Producer: Sori Paitin
Alcohol Content: 14 %

(Tasted by: Col Joe)

From the Piedmont region which is towards the North West of Italy bordering France and Switzerland, this wine made from the Nebbiolo grape variety is in a class of its own. Barbaresco wines till not long back were  considered a lesser cousin of the vastly famous and Collectors' favourite Barolo wines- both being from the same grape variety. This perception now stands changed, with many people preferring the 'Barbaresco Style'.

Putting it Simply:
A well structured and elegant wine that is perfect to be opened for serious lovers of red wine.

Tasting notes: 
Brick red colour with the first nose of farmyard and fruity aromas. After the swirl, the wine opened up with aromas of stewed black fruits and grilled meat with a pronounced earthiness and a hint of flowers. Full bodied with grippy tannins, medium acidity, smooth long and a warm finish justifying the alcohol content. Ideal with accompaniments such as grilled meat, fried chicken, Tofu and Bean salad or as we paired it- Lebanese cuisine of Falafel & Hummus with Pita Bread.


 

Pouilly Fumé 2004 (France) 

Producer: Fournier 
Alcohol Content: 12.5 %
(Tasted by: Col Joe)


Wines from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety have their USP in the freshness and herbaceous flavours and so they are generally at their peak within 3-4 years of bottling. This however, does not apply to a few complex wines like Pouilly Fume where 5-10 years of ageing is very much possible, developing additional character within the bottle. Here is my experience:

Putting it Simply
 An uber chic wine that is good in all virtues of sight, smell and taste. Good as an aperitif indulgence or with mildly spiced or fatty food.

Tasting notes
 A beautiful deep golden coloured wine with an intensely fruity & honeyed nose, accompanied with a hint of of wet leaves and pleasingly mild earthiness. Medium bodied & dry on the palate with good levels of acidity that compliment the fruit exceptionally well.  The finish is long and smooth with a lingering feel. As stated earlier, the wine lives up to its lineage by doing well even after 8 years in the bottle.

   

Norton Reserva 2005 (Argentina)
Producer: Bodegas Norton
Alcohol Content: 14 %
(Tasted by: Col Joe)

Norton Reserva 2005 is a red wine from Mendoza, Argentina that is made from the Malbec grape variety. The Malbec  varietal is originally from Cahors region of South West France, but in late nineteenth century when the Phylloxera epidemic  destroyed a substantial amount of grape vines in Europe, this was one of the severely affected  and its cultivation discontinued in France.  Subsequently, the varietal was cultivated vastly in Argentina and the resultant good wines made it synonymous with Argentinean wines. Malbec is now again been cultivated in Cahors since the 1950s.

Putting it Simply
 A good red wine to be coupled with robust textured food . I tried to pair it with fried Chicken Nuggets as starters and continued the same wine with dinner as Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani, Salan   & Curd based Kachumber salad  (which is a very popular main course in India) and it worked exceptionally well.

Tasting Notes
Clear, Medium ruby colour with a garnet rim. Intense nose of ripe plums, cherries and oak. Dry, medium bodied,savoury- with light tannins and a toasted feel. An easy drinking and immensely approachable wine.


   

Aljibes 2005 (Spain)
Producer: Bodega Los Aljibes
Alcohol Content: 13.5 %
(Tasted by: Col Joe)

Courtesy my friend Kunal Mehta, who is Director De-Vine ventures that is importing Spanish and French wines in India, I had this surprisingly lovely wine that is yet to make its debut in India.

Surprising- I would say because the previous day I had a higher classified DO wine of Petit Verdot grape varietal and this Vino de la Tierra  beat it absolutely hollow  in overall satisfaction quotient (Wines from Spain are classified  from highest to lowest as DOC, DO and Vino de La Tierra).

Putting it Simply
 A very smooth and supple wine with a silky feel on the palate. Good as a conversation starter!

Tasting Notes
 Clear deep ruby red wine with aromas of ripe plums & strawberries. Lush and medium bodied with mellow tannins and good acidity. Good by itself or with lightly spiced meals.

 

   

Gruner Veltliner 2006 (Austria)
Producer:Wolfgang
Alcohol Content: 12 %
(Tasted by: Col Joe)


Austrian wines are often unsung as compared to their other European counterparts but I believe these are a must to be tried if you would really like to know what you've been missing! The major grape varieties in Austria are Gruner Veltliner & Welschriesling (White) and Blauer Zweigelt & Blaufrankisch (Red). 

Putting it Simply
A good refreshing wine that would make a hot summer afternoon more tolerable. The off-dry character makes it extremely amenable to the Indian palate.

Tasting Notes
Clear deep gold appearance with a pronounced nose of peaches and apricots. A hint of petrol lends it a striking resemblance to the Rieslings. Light bodied and dry but feels off-dry due to the fruity character. Good acidity levels that balance the fruit well.
           
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