Our yearly walk in the forests of Vantaa to look for False Morels (aka Brain Mushrooms, aka Poisonous Brain Mushrooms) was once again a very enjoyable day. The purpose, of course, is not only to seek out mushrooms and get fresh air and excercise. It is also to give each other blind wines!
According to tradition, we wouldn't open up wines until the first mushroom was found. Gladly it was found early on, because after 10 minutes of walking in the woods we were all a bit thristy
, so we opened up the first blind wine: Krug 1990
which was had strawberry, dust, minerals and even a bit of herbs on the nose. The palate was lovely: massive acids, good fruits, a little tart but in a pleasing way, very very long. Lovely, but I didn't even guess it as a Champ! LOL!!
Well, once the humble starter was out of the way we continued our trip through the forest and I continued making a fool of myself with my guesses! Esk Valley Chenin Blanc 2005 (Hawkes Bay, NZ)
I thought was Albariño (and on second guess Sauv Bl) because of its prominent note of sea-breeze and grass and minerals on the nose. The palate was nicely fruity, very acidic, perfectly balanced and a delight to drink. But I didn't get any Chenin character out of it - even when the lable was revealed.
I then opened up one of my wines, the Indonesian from Bali: Hatten Wines Aga Red NV
made from the noble grape variety of Alphonse-Lavallée and with a funny note on the abv: +/- 11%. More rosé than red. A confected nose of pepper and lingonberry. The palate is tart, lacking in body, faintly sweetly berrylike. Unpleasant? Nay, undrinkable. Actually, unbelievably bad. A pity, as the dessert wine from this winery was quite nice!
We have a tradition of lunching on sausages and bringing a few so called "sausage wines" which are meant to pair well with the grease of the sausages:
Forumite Antti Jokinen brought a very nice Austrian, which I genuinely loved: K+K Kirnbauer Vitikult Blaufränkish 2003 (Mittelburgenland)
Dark, dark, dark in appearance and on the nose with pepper, boysenberry, smoke (or was that from the fire we made?) - a dead ringer for a Syrah IMO. The palate was juicy with fine acidity and ripe but plentiful tannins and fine length. I thought it a N Rhone from 2000.
I brought a young Bordeaux which I was sure would have enough tannins to go with some greasy sausage: Château Lafon-Rochet 2001
Dark. The nose is open, cedary, cassis, some herbs, rather dark toned. The palate is rather full and extracted, but balanced by good acidity and quite a bit of tannins which are surprisingly soft despite being very plentiful. Long. Good, maybe even very good, but just too thick and charmless at the moment.
Then we had the one and the only: the True Sausage Wine (henceforth TSW). The TSW is a wine that one person buys which we all contribute cash for. The TSW is supposed to be a genuinely great wine, young or old, the purpose of which is to provide as good a match as possible for Finnish Trashy Sausage. Pichon Longueville 2000
Was dark red in colour, with quite a lovely nose, though of course it being young the oak was a bit prominent for my tastes. But there was fine fruit, earth, minerals even, cassis and leaves. The nose seemed more Cab F dominated than belies its small amount of the lovely grape. The palate was also savoury yet fruity, fine and soft tannins, more acidity than I remember most 2000s to have (thankfully!) and very long. Genuinely great stuff, though I've never really warmed up to the hype of this vintage. It was probably the Cab F -like nose which did it for me
But who cares about the wine? It went well with the sausage, that's what's important!
Our appetites whetted for more great Bx a Ch Franc-Mayne 2001
was also opened. Spoofulated to the max! Oak, vanilla, blueberry milkshake! There wasn't the tiniest hint of what grape(s) this could be: it could have been a "modern" Spanish wine, a pointy Aussie, anything in fact. Utterly anonymous, utterly horrendous.
Others liked the abomination more than I, but I was glad at the next stop to get a proper wine: Zinck Pinot Noir 2003 (Alsace)
. Not a great wine, not a big wine, certainly will not be a popular wine among the masses. The colour was light. The nose was open and earthy with vegetal and cherry hints. The palate was a bit sweet (probably some RS, not only ripe fruit) but with fine acidity (in a 2003??? Wow!!!) and savoury earthiness backing it up. Not complex but a nice quaff.
After that pleasant interlude we had a long and arduous treck through a swamp. We were rewarded with a couple of pleasantly shitty wines: Bodegas LAN Reserva 1998 (Rioja)
had a nice whiff of barnyard and juicy fruit. The palate was juicy, very ripe - sweet in fact -, a little tannic and sufficently acidic. Nice, but perhaps a little forgettable.
Antti then opened up his other bottle: Travaglini Gattinara Tre Vigne 1997
Oh my! Red fruit and rust on the nose - and of course shit. This is so sniffable and so delightfully rustic. The palate is high in fruit, acids and tannins, and the fruit is delightfully oxidative in style. Lovely stuff, though not very complex. I was too drunk to write down on my notes what my guess was, but as with everything, it was very far off the mark.
Then we had a dessert wine to give us a bit of energy for the last 5kms of the trip. Yarden Gewurztraminer Heights Wine 2003
a nice Ice Wine from Syria's Jawlán Heights. Most Syro-Palestinian wines I've had haven't been too nice, but this was great stuff: botrytised perhaps, or with some scents very reminiscent of rot, tons of fruits (fruit salad), Muscatty (ooops!). The palate is very sweet and balanced by fine acidity, intense and long. Very nice.
We a few short stops before the end. In one we were served an appalling liquid: Lurgashall Winery English Mead
which smelled of a mixture of urine and honey. The palate was better but just the act of bringing the glass somewhere close to the nose (i.e. mouth) was so much work that I didn't bother to do it more than once. Disgusting stench.
The last stop wasn't at all better. We were served a Whisky from Thailand which had 35% abv and was sickly sweet and disgustingly alcohol-tasting, but as no one was able to read Thai, that's all we know about the stuff. Oh well, it was disgusting.
It was great fun walking through the woods even though we didn't find many mushrooms (not been raining enough recently) and great to see some nice people and share a few nice and a few odd wines!
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.