A wine-loving visitor from New York came to Helsinki for a brief visit so the logical thing to do was to go to Carelia for some entrecote and wine.Bodegas Franco-Españolas Viña Soledad Tête de Cuvée Gran Reserva 1981
White wine but otherwise served blind. My initial reaction was that it must be oldish LdH, I guessed 1976. An ex-oaky smell, oxidative; rich, almost oily palate but bright acidity. A very LdH-like wine. Lovely.Fruitiere Vinicole d'Arbois Béthanie 1998
Served blind: A blend of Chardonnay and Savagnin. A really lovely Sherry (Manzanilla) smell; oxidative, rich, racy and quite similar to the Rioja though more obviously Sherry-like aromas. Lovely.Antonio Vallana e Figlio Spanna Cantina del Camino 1958
My bottle, so it was blind only to the others. I had stood this up for a couple weeks to make sure the sediment would settle. This was a superb example of old Nebbiolo IMO. It seemed amazingly young in comparison to some others from roughly this period I have had. Sweet, floral, slightly shitty (in the good way) perfume; mature but still vigorous. Knowing what it was I wouldn't have thought of this but others felt it was like a '70s Musar albeit not quite so volatile (it's hard to say if they were reading me more than the bottle since that actually was a pretty accurate description of the wine, but they were still all expecting me to open Musar for some strange reason).Prieler Goldberg Blaufränkisch 2006
Blind from magnum. I have tried a few of these Burgenland Prielers before but never this "top" range wine. I thought this was quite reductive (seems typical for Prieler - I don't normally mind reductiveness too much, but sometimes his wines need two days open and that's a bit excessive). But vigorous swirling did open it up somewhat, but it is still a VERY primary wine, purple in colour, but with attractive cherry aromas. A polished style but still reminiscent of Sangiovese so I thought this was a Chianti. Nice wine, but really needed air and/or age.Edmunds St. John Bassetti Vineyard Syrah 2005
Jeff kindly brought this over from the US. I love ESJ, but haven't tasted any vintages post 1998 since that was the last vintage imported here. I thought this was a fantastic, unmanipulated Syrah in a relatively cool climate -style for California. There's a bit of blueberry on the nose, but otherwise it as a very pretty Syrah-fruit (and knowing what ESJ goes for, I guess the blueberry isn't anything to do with oak but perhaps with slight reduction?). Savoury, nicely structured, refreshing and moreish. Fantastic stuff and I'd love to have a case of this ageing in my cellar.Clape Cornas 2001
Blind. This was a bit of a disappointment. I was geographically challenged when asked where this came from. Eventually I ended up in the southern parts of France and was thinking of Chateauneuf du Pape. This was sweetly fruity/super-ripe, with a slight dried fruit character on the nose; quite soft in both acidity and tannins and therefore seemed more like Grenache than Syrah to me. Since I was thinking it was a perfectly nice wine until I heard it was Clape; because I really expected Clape to be much more typical to N. Rhone despite being a slightly polished style of Cornas.Ch. Rauzan-Gassies 2004
A non-blind Margaux. This was not a very good wine yesterday: it smelled of bacon and oak and bananas. I took the remains with me and finished the bottle tonight and it seems much better. R-G's reputation seems to be that it is a fairly traditional Bordeaux and tonight that seems right. It has a nice savoury scent of baked bean and a nice savoury palate with adequate structure and it actually became quite moreish overnight. Yesterday: meh. Tonight: yeah, ok! But not 60€ ok! But I guess it only costs 60€ in Finland. Normally it will only be 25-35€ elsewhere if this is the price here. Selbach-Oster Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese 2007
A nice Mosel Auslese; rich and a bit lower in acidity than I ideally prefer (hot year!).Crushpad Töövi Marsanne Saralee's Vineyeard 2010
A Californian example of this grape. Aromatic and expressive for this often reticent grape. Rich, fat, but with good levels of acidity. Nice!
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.