A Structured Review

The topic of the day is one that is close to my heart, Structure. I am something you might call a structure junky. I make to-do lists, I feel the thrill every time I tick tasks as done, and I love the feeling of order in how I execute my day. On the other hand, I often get bored of doing the same things, so I need some change, or better said, development in my routine (so lets see how soon I want to spice things up).

When writing wine-reviews, I want to be able to compare. Additionally I would like to be able to look back at reviews I have written and have a clear sense of recollection – what did I actually think of this wine. Yes, I know, there is a global system in place for points from 1 to 100. But I don’t feel experienced enough to really use this system yet. Really, I don’t know if a wine is worth 76 or 82 points from me. It just feels like too many options. So I would rather go for the traditional one to five stars. I can always upgrade when I am more knowledgeable.

What should then determine how many stars the wine gets? The color of the wine, nose and taste of course, perhaps with sparkling, the size and durability of bubbles. Additionally, I would not like to disregard the design of the bottle. Maybe seems superficial, but it does have some affect on what I expect. Am I expecting something traditional when I see a bottle of French Pinot with the picture of the chateau on the label; or something young and spicy when I see a bottle with a label that could be considered contemporary art? I find it worth mentioning if the wine surprises me or not.

So the way this will go down is the following:

  • Facts about the wine: Producer, area, grapes, alcohol content and sugar content.
  • Bottle and design
  • Color of the wine
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Thoughts on pairings with food
  • Overall rating and value for money

Yes, I know, I am not inventing the wheel here. This is a very standard wine-review format. So no wonder it feels right for my structure hungry brain. I will also be able to compare with other reviewers.

Additionally I would like to write something about the producer. I, at least find myself more interested when I have a feel for who has produced the wine.

So let’s try it out, shall we. The test-subject of the day is the Alexandre Bonnet Grande Reserve Brut NV (Non-vintage), our Saturday night champagne.

About Alexandre Bonnet: To my disappointment, there is not that much information regarding the winery on the official webpage. Yes there are the facts: the winery is one of the more known champagne houses located in the village of Les Riceys, they have 110 acres of vineyard and the house is managed by three brothers. The rest is about the Roman influences on the area, and basically makes me yawn- just not my cup of tea. One of my favorite wine critics Richard Julin, however, writes that they do have some potential in the future. He seems to hint that the skill is there but perhaps they are just lacking the excellent grapes.  I don’t always agree with Richard, but what he does have is an amazing experience with champagnes; so I am at least curious of following up on Alexandre Bonnet in the future. Perhaps I should taste some of their vintages, a 2008 (everything from 2008 I tasted has already been great; emphasizing the word Already) if and when it shows up.

 

The bottle and design are quite plain. It really doesn’t tell me what to expect, perhaps standard champagne. The bottles are however packaged in extra cellophane and with that stand out from the shop shelf. I think this makes as a good gift if you are just picking up something on your way to an event.

Some facts about the wine: It is a mix of Pinot Noir (80%) and Chardonnay (20%), the alcohol content is 12,5% and the sugar content 9g/l. Here I must complement their website, the information regarding their wines is presented in a very nice way, with a lot of information and some suggestions on food pairings. The color is gold and the scent discreet with hints of green apple, grapefruit and maybe pear. It gets softer when the champagne has waited in the glass for a while. The taste is fresh and young of apples and lime. Overall, a pretty standard champagne.

Now value for money, this is a different thing; 259 SEK at the monopoly (also available in magnum size 499 SEK, even cheaper). I think that just earned Alexandre an extra half a star. If I was having a party, I could imagine serving this as an aperitif. Not too heavy on the wallet and something I would assume is liked by almost everybody. And yes, for me this is an aperitif, I would not pair it easily with food. Not at least with my current experience. But the website gives some suggestions that I believe make a good start for picking something to eat with the wine. All in all, I would like to give this wine 3,5 stars.

So here is what you can expect from my reviews. Suggestions on what else you would like to hear about are welcome. I run a never ending improvement program. Not to say I am not happy with what has been achieved or with what I have; on the contrary. I just get excited about new ideas and improvements even to the smallest things; this not being small, but the actual purpose of my blog, reviewing wines. So go ahead, share your ideas!

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