Mois: février 2012

ALKO: Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 by Gramona (Spain, Catalonia)

Gramona is one of the famous, high quality cava producer of Catalonia. The estate is based in San Sadurni d’Anoia (the same as Freixenet). The range is quite complex. At the top, you will find Argent, a vintage cava which is produced from Chardonnay. Follows Celler Battle (available in Finland), a superb wine ; IIILustros and then Imperial. The last three are based on a blend of Xarel-lo and Maccabeo, which are the traditional grapes of spanish cava. Their main difference is the ageing time in bottle on lees (7, 5 and 3-4) and the selection of the grapes. All of them are vintage wines. Then you will find 5 more standard wines, without vintage indications.

One of the characteristics of Gramona is the style, a distinct oxidative style : it means that you will find nuts, honey and some stone fruits, these wines will be better suited to accompany a dinner.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 is a very nice wine. The aromatics is complex and expressive. The palate is balanced with a long finnish. But this is really oxidative. Biscuits, nuts, honey (indeed) and some sweetness brought by the liqueur (a little bit too much), makes it a powerful wine which will require a proper wine pairing. This is not to be drank alone as aperitive. Aim rather at poultry or a nice cream-based meat dish. I would have expected more from this bottle, which is decent but not over the top. It will probably benefit from ageing a couple of years.

Wineops’s rating: 75/100 ; 0 +

This wine is only available in specific Alko shops like the one of Arkadia in Helsinki.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 by Gramona (Spain, Catalonia)

ALKO: Pinot Noir Tres Vinedos 2010 by Cartagena (Chile, San Antonio Valley)

During the past year the greatest surprise about Chilean wines has been the consistent quality of their Pinot Noir. Among all the wine I tasted, this is the variety that performed the best. Almost each was pleasant and easy to drink (which is far from being a general characteristic of wines from Chile). Today I will present you one of the most exclusive Pinot Noir of Alko’s selection.

Cartagena Pinot Noir Tres Vinedos 2010 is grown in the cool region of San Antonio. It is in the same place that you will find Viña Leyda which produce also very good Pinot Noir (Las Brisas and Lot 33). The wine is extremely expressive in the nose. Very stong fruit flavour emerge from the beverage, among them cherry and strawberry. Yet, being powerful, it is not so complex and it absolutely lack elegance. In the mouth, this is juicy and also very fruit driven. It has a very strong « fruitiness » in the sense that you feel almost that it is a fruit juice. Definitely the sugar is visible. Also you can find spiciness and little toasted aromas coming from a well managed aging period. But, there is a « but », this is very rough. This is too much, too strong, too forced. It feels like a doll with extra makeup. I don’t get this wine. In the end it is not so pleasant to drink. In my opinion, this is an extremely technical, oenological wine. They wanted to get as much fruit as they could (they succeeded) but as a result, the wine is totally awkward and not balanced at all. And to that extend, this is a failure. I do not recommend this wine and I don’t see it improve over the years. If you are looking for a modern style Pinot Noir, fruity and elegant, you can rather try K1 from Australia.

Wineops’ rating: 64/100 ; 0 0

Link to Alko: HERE

ALKO: Adobe Reserva Syrah-Mourvèdre-Merlot 2010 by Emiliana (Chile, Rapel Valley)

Emiliana is a well known producer of Chile, located in the Central Valley. Here in Finland, it is famous for being an organic (luomu) grower. Previously I have not been totally convinced by their icon wine called Coyam. It is a good wine but nothing extraordinary.

Adobe is their mid-range brand. Wines that are available here around 10€. They are in the category « Reserva », meaning that they aged a bit or a lot in oak barrels.

This Adobe Red is very surprising when you consider the blend. Syrah and Mourvèdre are commonly blended in Languedoc or in the Rhône Valley, but never with Merlot, which is a grape from south-western France. I honestly must say that I doubted the result. Merlot is a common « blend partner » because it has a great ability to smoother the edge of more powerful grapes. For instance, it is known for its quality, when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon like in Bordeaux or with Malbec, like in Cahors. Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec being grapes with very powerful structure in terms of tannins and mouthfeel. Merlot has then the effect of bringing out a more soft and expressive fruit while making the tannins less harsh. But when it comes to Syrah and Mourvèdre, these are two grapes not very full of tannins with aromas like spices, aromatic herbs, pepper, game… fruit is only secondary. As a result, blending all of them will make Syrah and Mouvèdre lose most of their personality and thus most of their interest.

This is no surprise in the glass. The wine is very plain. True, the oak aging is very well handled with no excess, but the aromatics are just not interesting. In the palate, the structure is ok, a little bit light, but again it does not work in term of taste. This is extremely boring. I would not advise this wine, even if it is technically well made.

Wineops’ rating: 57/100 ; 0 0

Link to Alko’s page: HERE.