VinVin 2023 Spring Tasting.
On Monday the 27th of March two members of our team, Kazumi Uejo and Hermen Jansen, attended the first Spring Tasting by VinVin. VinVin is a relatively young wine importer, led by Corine Hofland, Marcel Just de la Paisières and Frank Laurentius. Corine and Marcel both do have an impressive track record in wine business and together with entrepreneur Frank they started VinVin in 2020. They agreed to be gamechanger in the world of wine.
Their first portfolio tasting took place in restaurant Central Park in Voorburg and both the exceptionally well-organised tasting and the impressive portfolio testify their goal is not too ambitious. We were treated by the presence of no less than 17 winemakers en 200 open wines.
This article provides an impression of the day by highlighting some landmarks.
Taitinger – Champagne, France
What is better than starting the day with Champagne? VinVin is exclusive importer for the Netherlands of Champagne Taitinger. Taitinger was founded in 1734 and taken over in 1932 by Pierre Taitinger. Nowadays Taitinger is the only family owned Grandes Marques of this size. Taitinger is focusing on Chardonnay, resulting in a consistent refined an elegant house style. The flagship wine of Taitinger is the Comtes de Champagne.
In the photogenic ice cooled coolers, a nice cross-section of the assortment of Taitinger was presented. According to your wishes the wines could by compared with caviar served by House of Caviar. Live could be worse.
Champagne Taitinger Brut Reserve N.V.
Chardonnay (40%), Pinot Noir (30%) and Pinot Meunier (30%) from 35 various vineyards and different vintages. It is a classic non-vintage champagne in a non-oxidative style with tones of citrus, green apple and dough. Due to the relative high amount of Chardonnay the wine is focussed, lively and fresh.
DWA Score 91/100
Champagne Taitinger Brut Millésimé 2015
Equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir, of which 70% comes from Grand Cru and 30% from Premier Cru vineyards. Aging in the cellar for 5 years and a dosage of 9 grams. The wine is simultaneously precise, delicate, mature and complex. The structured start with tones of toasted bread, honey and white peach is taken over by energizing acids and a long-lasting aftertaste with chalk, almonds and grapefruit.
DWA Score 93/100
Masterclass Tesselaarsdal and Genevieve MCC
We attended the combined masterclass of Tesselaarsdal in Hemel-en-Aarde and Genevieve MCC, in Bot River. Hemel-en-Aarde refers to three wards: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Bot River is located in a slightly warmer part than Hemel-en-Aarde, although it still is cooler here than in Paarl or Stellenbosch. All wards are located close to the Atlantic Ocean, with cooling winds and currents, reducing the risk of over-ripening and retaining refreshing natural acids.
Tesselaarsdal was founded in 2015 by long-standing Hamilton Russell Vineyards employee Berene Sauls. After years of learning on the job, Sauls started her own winery 2015. She started with purchased grapes, but in 2019 she acquired 16 hectares of her own vineyards. These vineyards are located 18 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, do held a high amount of salt and recently got planted with chardonnay and pinot noir. Hamilton Russell’s Emul Ross still is attached to Tesselaarsdal as head-winemaker.
Tesselaarsdals’ philosophy and production were presented to us by a vertical tasting of their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. As it is common practice in Burgundy, Sauls serves her Pinot Noirs before her Chardonnays.
Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2019
Overall, Tesselaarsdal Pinot is an elegant cool climate personality. Red fruit characters with vibrant acidity and silky tannins and minerality are characteristic for its style.
2019 was a challenging year for Tesselaarsdal with extreme weather fluctuations, drought and even a heatwave. In the nose the transparent ruby red wine is a bit dusty, with aromas of strawberry and sour cherry. The wine has a lively spirit, soft mouthfeel, powerful acids and does express flavours like sour cherry, wild strawberry, cinnamon and baking spices.
DWA Score: 86/100
Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2020
Vintage 2020 was more balanced and could be characterized as feminine. The Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2020 does give aromas of raspberry and fresh flowers. The fresh balanced fruit flavours do give the wine some filling, combined with a nice salty minerality and a peppery tension.
DWA Score: 89/100
Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2021
2021 was one of the best vintages for South Africa in general and not in the last place for the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. The Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2020 does express favourable fruits like red cherry, raspberry, cranberry and rosehip combined with well integrated secondary tones like clove and nutmeg caused by 9,5 months aging on (45% medium toasted new) French oak. Next to the ripe and opulence fruit, the wine has a serious earthy backbone, mouth-watering acids and a longer lasting aftertaste than the other wines.
DWA Score: 91/100
Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2022
We had the unique opportunity to taste the just released vintage 2022 of Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir. The wine does express potential with punchy purple young fruits and a stony backbone. The wine is youthful, pure and fresh. In our humble opinion this vintage was not yet at a point to be judged on its merits, but we will keep an eye on it for the following years.
DWA Score: 89/100
Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay 2022
Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay is also elegant cool climate style, with crisp acidity and lean minerality. Grapes from dry farming vineyards showing defined fruit characters with mostly stone fruit and floral notes. Pure and refreshing in style, fermented in amphora and aged in natural old oak for six months. The wines are medium-bodied with a persistent finish.
Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay 2022 is a Chardonnay in a very pure style. Lemon yellow with aromas of citrus peel, green apple, wild peach, salt and white pepper. The wine is lean and clean with flavours of lemon, garden herbs and is well-balanced with nice mouth-watering acids.
DWA score 89/100
Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay 2021
Like for Pinot Noir, 2021 also was a good year for Chardonnay. The lemon-yellow wine is a bit closed and does express aromas like red apple, chalk and cheese. The wine is chalky, fresh and flowery with tones of lemon, green and red apple and white pepper. The wine is lean and has a long aftertaste.
DWA score 90/100
Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay 2020
The golden yellow wine show stone fruits combined with a hit of vanilla, cream and hazelnut flavours. The wine shows concentrated fruits, a creamy texture with a round mouthfeel, relatively high and elegant acids and a long and relative complex finish.
DWA score 91/100
Genevieve MCC, Zuid-Afrika
Genevieve MCC from Bot River is founded by Melissa Genevieve Nelsen and specialized in Method Cap Classic (MCC). The first vintage was produced in 2008 and released in 2010. After a successful year, Melissa decided to quit her office job, double the production and become a winemaker.
Genevieve MCC Blanc de Blancs 2017
Golden yellow wine with a fine mouse. Aromas of dough, ripe yellow fruit, red apple and zest. The medium bodied with balanced dosage (4,5 gr/l) does expresses comfortable ripe yellow fruits and a vivid acidity.
DWA score 88/100
Genevieve MCC Brut Rosé
Made of 100% Shiraz, this charming orange coloured wine with flavours like rosehip, cherry and pomegranate does give nice refreshing and elegant red fruits like raspberry and strawberry combined with a vibrant acidity and a stimulating bitterness.
DWA score 87/100
The second masterclass was about Etna wines from GRACI winery. GRACI is located in Passopisciaro, with vineyards on the northern slope of the Etna. Etna is Europe’s most active volcano. Despite the threat of devastating eruptions, the vines are growing on the slopes of the volcano, up to 900 metres above sea level. There are 133 various so called ‘contradas’ – crus with different expressions. Often used grapes are indigenous Nerello Mascalese for the rosés and reds and Carricante and Catarratto for the whites.
GRACI was founded in 2000. Nowadays they are owning 22 hectares in various locations. Their purpose is to make wines with a true expression of the native grapes with respect for terroir and vintage. Cultivation of the vineyards is certified organic. Vinification and aging takes place mainly in concrete tanks and stainless steel. No new oak is used.
GRACI Etna Rosato 2022
100% Nerello Mascalese. Vinification in stainless steel. No skin contact maceration. Lemon yellow with a hit of greyish pink. Wild peach, zest, mineral, white pepper and chalk. Peppery, chalky structure and electric and vibrant acidity. Gastronomic wine.
DWA score 92/100
GRACI Etna Bianco 2022
85% Carricante and 15% Catarratto. Vinification in stainless steel. Aging on the lees for 9 months. The colour is deep lemon yellow. Smokey, mineral and flowery with aromas of honeydew melon, galia melon, zest, blossom and sensation of sweet fruits. Mouth filling ripe melon fruits, razor sharp, zesty, pungent structure and a long flowery aftertaste.
DWA score 92/100
GRACI Etna Rosso Argurì Sopra il Pozzo vertical tasting
The Arcurìa cru is situated on the northern slope of Etna, at 700 meters above sea level. In between these 20 hectares, there is a small 1,5-hectare plot called Sopra il Pozzo. It is planted with Nerello Mascalese and has a different soil than all the others. The soil holds a continuous alternation of layers of stone and coarse sand called ‘Rifusa’. This soil contributes to an elegant and pure expression of Nerello Mascalese. The wine is only made in great vintages. Vinification in large oak, long maceration on the skins and aging 18 months in large oak.
GRACI Etna Rosso Argurì Sopra il Pozzo 2018
Cold vintage with lots of rain. Transparent ruby red, light orange rim. Garrigue, grenadine, pepper. Tight and punchy with high acids.
DWA score 93/100
GRACI Etna Rosso Argurì Sopra il Pozzo 2017
Hottest vintage in decades, 6 months of total drought. Deeper coloured. Ripeness, floating mouthfeel, power (‘liquid rock’), mineral, oregano, salt, pepper, blood orange.
DWA score 95/100
GRACI Etna Rosso Argurì Sopra il Pozzo 2016
Balanced vintage. Ruby red with orange reflections. More tertiary tones, cooked fruit, autumn leaves. Sticky tannins, tantalizing and a long nutty aftertaste.
DWA score 94/100
GRACI Etna Rosso Argurì Sopra il Pozzo 2015
Cold vintage with lots of rain. Orange coloured. Closed and tertiary. Less fruit and more tertiary. Thrilling with intense acids.
DWA score 92/100
Tasting – Wineries and Wines
Please find our short notes towards a few wineries and some of their wines that caught our attention:
Domaine d’Henri – Chablis
Ancestors of the Laroche family have owned the vines in Chablis since 1695, and today, Michel Laroche manages the winery in Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes and some other Chablis vineyards. Fourchaumes is one of the best-known premier cru vineyards, at an extension of the line of Grand crus on the right bank of the River Serein. Most of Fourchaume faces southwest and lies on relatively low altitude, making this an early-ripening site.
Margaux Laroche, the family’s youngest daughter, introduced the wines. Their wines are pure and savory, with beautiful minerality, showcasing the terroir of Chablis with minimal intervention. Their philosophy is: ‘great care yet minimal intervention’. Manual-harvesting, careful sorting, natural yeast, and limited use of oak all lead to their specific style.
Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature|2020|Chardonnay|DWA score 92/100
The nice minerality reminds that Chablis is close to Champagne in terms of terroir and climate.
Chablis Saint Pierre|2021|Chardonnay|DWA score 90/100
80% in Stainless-steel vat and 20% in 600L old oak barrel. Cool vintage. A classic style of Chablis.
Chablis 1er Cru Troesmes|2019|Chardonnay|DWA score 93/100
From parts of the 1er Cru Beauroy is located on the Serein’s left bank, with a south-facing slope. A harmonious palate with a solid structure.
Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes|2019|Chardonnay|DWA score 93/100
From parts of the 1er Cru Fourchaumes. Well-balanced between fruit concentration and vibrant acidity, with minerality.
Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes Vieilles Vignes|2019|Chardonnay|DWA score 94/100
Half was planted in 1964 and the other half in 1999, showing spiciness. Great structure and acidity.
Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes Heritage|2019|Chardonnay|DWA score 95/100
This plot was planted in 1937. Great tension between refreshing minerality and the depth of the fruits.
Fattoria dei Barbi – Toscane
Fattoria dei Barbi owned by Cinelli Colombini in Montalcino since 1352, now covers 350ha of fields and vineyards in Montalcino, Scansano, and Chianti. Since 19c, it has won Brunello won prizes worldwide. Wines from a range of designated areas and vintages were interesting selections to understand the terroir or characteristics of each vineyard.
Brusco dei Barbi IGT Toscana|2019|mainly Sangiovese|DWA score 85/100
A delightful wine to drink young. Blight red fruits character with medium soft tannins and vibrant acidity.
Maremma Toscana DOC|2019|60% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot|DWA score 86/100
Maremma Toscana is the newest denomination adjacent to the coast of southern Tuscany. Fruity aspects with firm tannins.
Rosso di Montalcino DOC|2020|Sangiovese|DWA score 90/100
Same grape as the Brunello, yet from young vines. Red and black cherry aromas, yet not a tannic with a medium body. Youthful but well-balanced, approachable wine.
Brunello di Montalcino|2017|Sangiovese|DWA score 92/100
Black cherry, blackberry with spice notes. Youthful yet balanced with ripe tannins and vibrant acidity.
Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Fiore|2015|Sangiovese|DWA score 95/100
One of the southernmost and oldest vineyards in the whole area of the Brunello di Montalcino, making this wine ripen early. Black cherry, blueberry, licorice, nutmeg. Lively acidity and ripe tannins are well-balanced with its fruits, contributing to the persistent finish.
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva|2013|Sangiovese|DWA score 96/100
Grapes from the best vineyards in Montalcino and their most important red wines, showcasing classic Brunello, with fresh red cherry, strawberry integrated with spice notes, tobacco, and dried herb aromas. Structured by acidity. Complex and elegant. Lingering finish with mineral notes.
We would like to thank VinVin for their hospitality and this opportunity. Despite their young age it is impressive to see what they have accomplished so far. We see an even brighter future ahead for them.