Reisetbauer 12yo (48%, OB, Limited Edition)

Time to take a small trip and have a look around some European distilleries producing Single Malt Whisky. We’ll start our mini trip in Austria to have a look at Hans Reisetbauers flagship Whisky, the 12yo. Earlier I already reviewed the 1998 Reisetbauer 7yo. Hans matures his Whisky in casks that once held Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese, one, a dry and the second a sweet White Wine. Hans doesn’t import barley, but grows four hectares of summer brewing barley himself.

“The barley was crushed and malted at 65° C before being cooled and fermented in stainless-steel tanks for around 70 hours. The fermented mash is then twice distilled in copper pot stills. At this pointed the distillate, which has an alcohol content of around 70 per cent, is aged until fully mature in four casks that the top Austrian wine makers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich previously used for aging Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese.”

Reisetbauer 12yoColor: Slightly copper gold.

Nose: Plastics and fruit. Orchard fruits. Hints of pear, apples. Ear wax. Extremely duty underneath and for a while the plastics dominate the nose. Some of the plastics are slightly burnt. The plastic note is very close to the waxy aroma, which probably comes from the wine casks used. Given some time to breathe, aroma’s of Grappa emerge. If I would venture a guess (and I can be completely wrong here), I would say the grappa note comes from the Chardonnay casks, and the waxy/plastics come from Trockenbeerenauslese (a sweet White Wine). Next up the woody notes, which are quite soft and slightly spicy. Mocha and Latte. The plastics give way, but the Grappa remains. Very interesting distillate. Nosed blind I wouldn’t have guessed this is a Whisky.

Taste: Plastics again and lots of wax. Polyester!That’s it! Have you ever repaired a polyester boat? WYSIWYG (What You Smell Is What You Get). The Polyester is there immediately, but luckily dissipates quite quickly, to give way to wax wood and a winey note. Coffee in the aftertaste. “Do-a-burp™” after drinking this and it’s all plastics again.

Just reading my note about the nose alone, its pretty obvious this is not a Scottish Malt, and reading it all it hardly seems to be a Whisky at all! In case of the 7yo Reisetbauer I reviewed earlier, I found that it already was dominated by the cask used. The 12yo we have at hand is so dominated by the casks, that it is difficult, if not impossible to detect that this is a Whisky at all! This is a Wine (and polyester) finished Single Malt Grappa. If you want a Whisky, you’re better off with the 7yo. Nevertheless, this distillate has a lot of good sides to it too, so maybe it is unfair to hammer it with its off-notes.

Points: 73

Reisetbauer 7yo 1998 (56%, OB, Chardonnay & Trockenbeerenauslese Casks, 350 ml, LWH 098)

Hans ReisetbauerAnd now for something completely different! An Austrian vintage Whisky made by Hans Reisetbauer. This Whisky was distilled in 1998 and matured for 7 years in Chardonnay casks but also in casks that once held Trockenbeerenauselese, a (very) sweet and syrupy white wine. Casks come only from Austrian wine makers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich. When looking for information, Hans seems to win a lot of prestigious prizes for his Eaux-de-vie or brandy’s made with fruits, and is regularly awarded as the best distiller in Austria. Hans decided to have a go at making Whisky. Hans planted four hectares of his own summer barley which was harvested for the first time in July 1995. Hans uses a double distillation regime.

Reisetbauer 1998Color: Gold

Nose: Creamy and lightly fruity. Apples and not winey at first. Fruity sweet with caramel. Very mild and definitely decent smelling (I may have expected something less good?). Powdery and dry, nice wood. Hint of vanilla. I’m not sure about the Chardonnay yet, but after some breathing I do smell the Trockenbeerenauselese. Having said that, it does remind me a bit of a Glen Moray in…yes, Chardonnay.

Taste: Sweetish and very vegetal. Fresh wood and a spicy (and winey) oak attack. Paint and plastic. Here most definitely the wine casks make their mark and mask that this is actually Single Malt Whisky. Maybe using the more traditional kind of cask would have been a better idea and use the Chardonnay and TBA casks for a finish. Quite hot and the heat has staying power. The aroma’s fade out leaving a hint of tannins, plastic and acidity. Still not a bad finish though.

I have heard people claiming this was terrible, but I don’t agree. Yes it is maybe too heavy on the wine casks used, but I can look past that and there definitely is some quality and potential here. Would love to see how Hans improves himself making Whisky.

The picture on the left is of the 700 ml bottle, simply because I couldn’t find a picture of a 350 ml bottle like mine, and I don’t think an empty bottle would make a good picture here. As can be seen on the bottle label, there were 1500 bottles made. On some bottles however instead of the 1500 bottles statement there is a code LWH 098 or LWH 007. Some bottles, bottled at 43% ABV, have a different label where the vintage (1998) is replaced by 7 years, but carry the same code LWH 098 as some 1998 vintages. Do you still follow?

Points: 75

Antonin Rodet Chablis 2011

Two months ago I reviewed the first Chablis on these pages, and here is already the second one. Already, considering I mainly review Single Malt Whiskies that is.

Chablis is the northernmost part of the Burgundy Wine region. Chablis lies some 15 to 20 kilometres to the east of Auxerre. The Grand Crus all lie on one southwest facing slope just north of Chablis. The ‘terroir’ is clay with outcrops of the same chalk layer that runs from Sancerre to the White Cliffs of Dover. Chablis is made with Chardonnay Grapes and is famous for its clean, acidic, flinty and dry White Wines. Chablis Wines are more acidic due to the cool climate, compared to other Chardonnay growing regions. Not a lot of ageing in wood is done in Chablis, and this example I’m about to review has no wood ageing whatsoever.

The Chablis by Louis Moreau was pretty good, so let’s have a look, what Antonin Rodet did with his Chardonnay grapes.

Color: White Wine.

Nose: Sweet and fruity. Lychees and hints of peaches. Very fresh and lively. Wow, I always get happy smelling a white wine with a nose like this. It smells sweet and flinty. Chalk even. Also some floral notes like geraniums and it promises a nice acidity. Nice balance too. Very nice and typical Chablis nose. I like my Chardonnay. This nose, compared to the one by Louis Moreau, is cleaner, more elegant and lovely.

Taste: Zesty and acidic (Vitamin C). Very clean, fresh and likeable. I get the chalk from the nose again, but not a lot more. Not very complex, maybe even simple, but also without faults. Appetizing and easy drinkable.

As said above. The nose of Antonin Rodet is better than the one by Louis Moreau, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it may depend on your mood, which one to choose. Taste wise I guess the Louis Moreau offering was a tad more interesting and had a finish with more meat on its bones, making that one slightly better in my opinion, but still, differences are small and I liked the Antonin Rodet Chablis a lot too. By the way the ABV is 12%.

Points: 84

Pierlant Blanc De Blancs Brut

Here we have some bubbles from Landiris France, and again a wine both my wife and my mother love. My wife loves champagne, but with a plethora of Champagne houses and really how many of them are really good, sometimes we venture into other sparkling wines, especially for those occasions when the lively conversation makes you almost forget what you have in your glass. So for those carefree moments we buy sparkling wines like this. Nice to drink, nothing complex, and it doesn’t mean you have to get a second mortgage.

Pierlant Blanc De Blancs BrutThis wine is 100% Blanc de Blancs and produced with the following white grapes: Chardonnay, Colombard, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) & Gros Manseng harvested from: Bordeaux, Charentes and the Loire Valley. The wine has an ABV of 11%.

Color: White wine, with a fine mousse.

Nose: Slightly sour and sunny green apple skins, lightly fruity and elegant. Hints of spice, but overall very light. Nice aperitif wine.

Taste: The same here, light aperitif wine, without any off notes. Half sweet and slightly acidic. Nice balance. Very easy and simple and extremely drinkable. Light wine, with a light and dry finish. When drinking a lot of this the wood like bitterness gets noticeable and starts to dominate. So I wouldn’t drink a whole bottle by myself.

In our case, this wine accompanied a nice light tuna and past dinner, with a lot of fresh vegetables. and I have to say that this wine accompanied such a diner very well. Excellent match! In the end this is excellent summer stuff.

Points: 82

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis ‘Domaine de Biéville’ 2011

After the Chardonnays from Languedoc and Chile, now we return to France for the Mother of all Chardonnays, or maybe the Stepmother of all Chardonnays: Chablis! (the mother being Montrachet).

Domaine de Biéville, located in Viviers, was founded in the 70’s by Jean-Jacques Moreau. The Domaine comprises of one piece of 65 ha, and its orientation is south /south-west. It has a mild climate. Today his son Louis with his wife Anna lead the company (it’s also a wine traders).

Domaine de Biéville has great terroir (former Truffel grounds) and orientation, which often makes it as good as a Premier Cru. The grapes for this wine grow on 40 year old vines (vieilles vignes). By the way this Chardonnay has an ABV of 12%. The website of Louis Moreau is full of Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines, so if this Domaine de Biéville is any good, it is probably safe to say that the rest is even better, or so it should…

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis ´Domaine de Biéville´ 2011Color: White wine

Nose: Fresh citrussy (lemon) and flinty. Slight hint of meat (beef). Typical Chablis, but a bit dirty, and I like that. It the meaty/gravy bit that does that. The more I nose this, the better it gets. Fruity (hints of apricot) and creamy

Taste: Nice acidity and when that rolls of the tongue, again that fabulous flintyness and depth emerge. Even the dirty part from the nose is here. The nose and the taste match up completely, how’s that for balance. The acidity is quite up front in this one, but a very nice touch to this Chablis is that long into the finish some sweetness emerges. The aftertaste is great. Well made.

Nicely balanced Chablis. Nice acids that play the biggest part in this wine, but hiding after that  is some great meaty dirtiness and of course a typical flintiness. No off notes and for fans of Chablis, well this will come as no surprise. Very easily drinkable and not too complex. Since the acids are quite prominent, this wine can age for a few years more. Recommended with fish, crustations and some cheeses.

Points: 85

Merci beaucoup, Richard!

Tarapacá Chardonnay Terroir Piritas 2011

Last time we tried a Chardonnay from Languedoc, made by a Burgundian winemaker. All French thus. This time let’s fly halfway across the world and have a taste of Chilean Chardonnay. This Chardonnay comes from Maipo Valley that has a cool climate, granite soil and is located near the pacific. Like I said before, Chardonnay is an easy grape variety and can be found all over the world.

Viña Tarapacá, as it is called today, was founded in 1874 by Francisco de Rojas y Salamanca. It was then named Viña de Rojas. In 1892 the winery got a new owner, Manuel Zavala-Meléndez and gave it its current name. Today the winery is owned by Chili’s largest matchstick producer!

Tarapacá Chardonnay Terroir Piritas 2011 Color: White wine

Nose: Sweet and fresh, typical Chardonnay. Promises a nice balance between the acidity and the sweetness. Estery, meaty and flinty with a slight floral perfume. Dried apricots and maybe some pear, nectarine and banana. The fruity sweetness is quite thick. Licorice.

Taste: A dirty kind of sweetness. Its acidity is quite raw and different from what I expected, but then again, this is no Chablis. Quite good when it get in the mouth, but the middle and especially the finish are not very strong. The acidity is matched with a slight hint of bitterness which takes away the elegance. It’s a bit like a Roter Vitamin C tablet. This still needs some work.

At first this appears to be a pretty decent Chardonnay, but for me it has more than one rough edge. The sweetness is a little bit strange, and the acids are not refined. Sometimes it can attack you, hidden away behind the initial fruity sweetness. Add to that the hint of bitterness in the finish. Still, it’s pretty good, but not excellent. There ís a lot going on, but to me it almost tastes like a work in progress. We’re on  our way, but not quite there yet. Especially the second part could have been better. The wine has an ABV of 14%.

Points: 77

And yes, this wine was also provided by Richard, muchas gracias!

Domaine Dupont-Fahn Chardonnay 2011 Vin de Pays d’Oc Languedoc

While we’re at it, why not try another gem (hopefully) by Michel Dupont-Fahn. This time his Chardonnay from…Languedoc! For those of you who are alarmed, don’t worry, this Chardonnay is well made into the Burgundy style (whatever that is).

Chardonnay is a relatively easy grape variety. It doesn’t need a lot of care, and it does well in a lot of places and terroirs. Therefore the Chardonnay grape can be found all over the world. The wines made with the Chardonnay grape, can be utterly different, just compare Chablis to a Montrachet. Yes both from Burgundy, where Chardonnay is BIG.

The Chardonnay grapes are manually harvested. After pressing and fermentation the wine stays for six to ten months in oak casks. 80% of them are used casks and 20% are newly made casks. This Dupont-Fahn Chardonnay is 13.5% ABV.

Color: White wine

Nose: Light and acidic. Grassy with lime. Small hint of peach. Actually the nose is not very outspoken, yet very fresh. Small hint of new wood. Good balance. Light and flowery. It becomes fruity and slightly vegetal, when it warms up a little bit. Lovely nose.

Taste: Definitely sweeter than expected. Again good balance and the sweetness counterparts the (lemony) acidity very well. Lovely light aperitif wine that also will do pretty well with fish. The fruity sweetness is a bit syrupy, as if a drop of PX Sherry somehow found its way into this wine. Very fresh and lively, and not a lot of wood influence. A little bit of new wood, but nothing bitter.

Easy drinkable and not overly complex. This is a quality wine. Drink young and preferably outside in warm weather. Thoroughly enjoyable. Lovely light quality wine from Languedoc, made by a Burgundy winemaker. Recommended (just like the Dupont-Fahn Cuvée Rosée reviewed earlier).

Points: 84

Thanks again Richard for the wine.