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Nenad Jelisic's rating system (Nenad Jelisic Points = NJP)

5,0 NJP = A fabulous, unique and world-class wine. Closer to heaven, you cannot come. If you like wine then it is a must to buy and try this wine; 4,5 NJP = An extraordinary good wine. Only small micro details distinguish this wine from to be a 5 points wine; 4,0 NJP = A very good wine. A wine that has almost everything that the most highly rated wines (4,5 and 5,0 NJP) should have; 3,5 NJP = A more than good wine. A wine that has both finesse and good taste and a wine that you greatly enjoy while drinking it; 3,0 NJP = A good wine that is well above average. A wine that lacks just a little to end higher up, i.e. to 3,5 NJP; 2,5 NJP = A wine that has ended up in no man's land. Close to be a good wine, but also close to be a below average wine; 2,0-1,0 NJP = A below average wine. You can drink it, but in return it provides no excitement; 0,5 NJP = A bad wine, but still if you make an effort when you drink it, it is drinkable; 0 NJP = A catastrophically bad and non-drinkable wine. It does not even suit for cooking.

Other the world wines, part 1

Corcelettes Estate Winery, Gewurztraminer, 2013, white dry wine, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada (20-02-2015 by Kristof Gillese) Classic. This is utterly classic “Gew” and reminds me of top-tier work from Alsace, France; ripe kumquats, exotic floral tones and spicy apricot chutney. The bouquet is utterly First-Class. On the palate it certainly tastes like cold-climate wine; crisp, steely, mineral-driven acid, which will be appreciated by those who love Chablis, a medium concentration of youthful flavours that mimics the nose well with a bent towards more green apple and young pear tones. Very good balance and concentration (after a full day decanting) this wine welcomes another year or two of aging to soften the overly zealous acid. Enjoy 2016-2020. Do not be intimidated by wine with full acid! Use it! Consider a traditional Alsatian dish: choucroute garnie (sauerkraut) with grilled sausage, smoked gruyère cheese (or gouda) and nugget potatoes. The Alsatian flavours will naturally pair well when balanced against rich Alsatian foods! The fatty sausage and rich cheese will bring balance to zippy acid, the smoke from the grill plays off the salty mineral tones and the earthy nugget potatoes is like the black pencil that frames all of these wonderful colours.

 

Chaberton Estate, Reserve, Syrah, 2011, red dry wine, Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, British Columbia, Canada (20-02-2015 by Kristof Gillese) There are producers in BC whose Syrah/Shiraz is easily on par with some of the top producers in the world. Dollar for dollar these wines can be compared to the northern Rhône valley (France), Barossa (Australia) or Colchagua (Chile) and yet, for the most part, they are unknown. But not for long! Chaberton Estates is just one of a litany of great Syrah  producers and the wine speaks for itself; textured aromas rich with red and black berries (raspberry, blackberry and huckleberry), dark flowers (irises, lilies and roses), cinnamon bark, pink peppercorn all colliding with a stunning synergy. The palate is brisk enough to warrant good food and yet balanced well enough to enjoy on its own; tight and focused full red currant acid frames a full, fine and chewy tannin structure that delivers an excellent concentration of flavours that mimic the bouquet. Excellent structure, this wine has the capacity to age gracefully for years and will continue to evolve: enjoy 2015-2025. This is a sophisticated wine; as such, pair it with food that is more subtle. Beef tenderloin is delightfully tender (hence the name) but rather lacking in flavour, especially when one compares it against cuts like a T-bone or ribeye. Let the musky, perfumed floral tones in the wine bring balance to the beef and elevate both! Savour the wine on its own or delight in how the fresh acid keeps the beef from weighing too heavily on the palate… the fresh berry tones will also balance the ultra-rich demi-glace.

 

Message in a Bottle, 2011, red dry blend wine, Rosso Toscana IGT, Italy (20-02-2015 by Kristof Gillese) It is my personal opinion that the work that Trudie Styler, Sting and the entire Il Palagio team have done to create a vineyard filled with bio-dynamics and bio-diversity is paying off huge dividends. This wine is fantastically concentrated with pure, elegant expressions of varietals and local terroir. On the nose are huge aromas of wild blackberries and blueberries, musky notes like damp forest floor and wild mushrooms and the sophisticated finish of freshly crushed black peppercorns (thank you Syrah). The palate is fresh, clean, brisk and alive! Medium red currant and young raspberry acids work symbiotically with a full, fine yet chewy tannin structure to deliver flavours perfectly in-sync with the bouquet. Excellent balance, structure and concentration, this wine drinks superbly now (thanks to Merlot) but will reward cellaring. Enjoy 2015-2020+. Wine with such dimension will pair easily with a variety of foods and, given the ease with which it was consumed in my house, needs no food at all to be enjoyed thoroughly! However as a chef, and husband to a beautiful wife of Calabrese descent, I suggest: baked penne with roasted garlic, chickpeas, fresh basil and Asiago. The bright acid will certainly delight in a touch of fat, the savoury tones to the wine will evolve next to earthy garlic and chickpeas, the fresh basil will play well with the fresh berry tones and the salty Asiago brings the minerality in the wine back into focus.

 

Thorn-Clarke, Shotfire, Quartage, 2010, red dry blend wine, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia (08-02-2015 by Kristof Gillese) It is no secret that I love Bordeaux, but good Bordeaux is becoming out-of-reach for a writer salary. Top-tier Bordeaux is out-of-reach for most doctors and lawyers. But there is great Bordeaux-style coming from all corners of the world and Australia is certainly a part of that wave. This wine is a personal favourite of mine and I have been constantly impressed vintage after vintage. For the money, this may be one of the best values in the North American market! Rich, nuanced dark floral aromas burst from the glass with violets and dark roses followed by black currants/black cherries/red raspberries. The palate is brisk with lean/focused young red currant acid, fine/chalky tannin and a concentration of flavours that well-mimic the nose and outperform the price-tag. Excellent balance, very good structure, this wine drinks well now and holds for several years but will not develop in bottle due to the Stelvin enclosure. Food pairings? Try cigar pairings! From Rocky Patel “Decade” to Montecristo, this wine is a cigar-lovers delight. If you must pair it with food, consider the price and then spoil yourself. This is a decadent treat for a Wednesday afternoon and gourmet pizza, capicollo panini or a simple steak frites… use great ingredients and let the beauty of this Barossa shine.

 

Thorn-Clarke, Shotfire, Shiraz, 2010, red dry wine, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia (08-02-2015 by Kristof Gillese) First, a word on Shiraz if you are thinking right now “Oh, I don’t like Aussie Shiraz, I only like French, Spanish, California etc“. In a recent blind tasting with a dozen highly skilled industry professionals, no one could tell which Shiraz out of ten bottles was from Australia. Wel, I could tell one of them, but only because I was incredibly familiar with that particular winemaker and knew his “signature”. But my point is that there is a new era in winemaking and what you tasted 10 years ago (or older) isn’t necessarily what you will find today. I have shown colleagues time and time again that the “New Face” of Aussie Shiraz is a sophisticated, elegant one that merits attention. This wine achieves a delightful balance of dark floral aromas, dark exotic chocolate and warm earth tones. The palate is awash in fresh red berry flavours and achieves mouth-watering acidity yet in a balanced and approachable manner. Very good concentration of flavours that match the nose with that ever-present peppercorn finish, to me this is a great example of the modern Shiraz. It will keep well for several years in cellar but, once again, will not develop due to Stelvin enclosure. Enjoy it young with sea-salt and olive grilled lamb and an herbaceous quinoa-tabbouleh salad.

 

Thorn-Clarke, William Randell, Shiraz, 2010, red dry wine, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia (08-02-2015 by Kristof Gillese) Made from small, select lots and only in the best years, this is the essence of truly Great Barossa without the staggering price that some can fetch. This wine offers the “Holy Trinity” of stunning balance, structure and concentration. If you open this wine and find the aromas closed, just try decanting another 30 minutes to an hour; it is impossible to over-decant this. To the eye this wine is so dark in its bruised purple tones that it appears black in the glass. I was most struck by the plethora of floral aromas; the usual suspects of red and dark berries, dark cocoa, peppercorns and warm Barossa soil abound, but the lifted scents of violets, soft roses and irises is both feminine and tremendously alluring. On the palate, it presents tight, lean, well-focused red currant and young red raspberry acid that reminds one of Northern Rhone; tremendously fresh. The tannin is full, yet ultra-fine, chalky and chewy, and is delightfully approachable considering its relative youth. The flavours are as full, and full of life and dimension, as the bouquet; a true craftsman’s work. If you would drink this now (and it is utterly delightful now) I would highly encourage buying another few bottles to set aside. This wine will live and evolve for at least 15 more years with grace. Food pairing? Consider this dish I created for my Chef du Cuisine final project: 1. lamb tenderloin (wrapped in duck pate and spinach) on braised chicory, 2. lamb two points of rack, baked in coarse salt with vanilla bean and fresh thyme, Hainle vineyards Gewurztraminer ice wine poached Anjou pear and warm crab-apple compote and 3. lamb individual tortierre with braised shank and shoulder, and charred heirloom tomato ketchup.

 

Cipes, Blanc de Noirs, 2008, white dry sparkling wine, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (31-01-2015 by Kristof Gillese) Someone once said “It is the duty of all wines to be red!“. Well, whether in a red dress or a white one, Pinot Noir shows an impeccable ability to pair off a variety of foods without weighing down the palate. This offering from Summerhill is certainly one of my favourite sparkling wines of this style; the restrained elegance showcasing the Kelowna terroir as much as it does Eric von Krosigks‘ winemaking deftness. Light golden hues with bright silver highlights would indicate a youthful wine but, as one pauses over the glass to inhale, the aromas show a sophisticated maturity. Traditional notes from the Methode Champenoise are expected: the toasty-brioche-fresh-from-the-oven and almonds, but, then comes the Okanagan soil with it’s burst of lime zest, young apricot and cranberry finished by a light spice much like good ginger tea. Finessed pearls of small, creamy goodness wash over the palate and the flavours mimic the nose with ease. Excellent balance, structure and concentration this wine will cellar well for several years and is a joy to drink now. Enjoy 2014-2018. Food pairing: I am enjoying south Indian/Asian with bubbly – mango, ginger and cilantro absolutely adore this sparkling wine!

 

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