Wednesday, 28 January 2015

One litre of Riesling, please.

This is worth a quick mention (in German).

Weingut Markus Schneider, Ein Liter Riesling trocken 2013, Pfalz
Grünliche Reflexe im Glas, allerdings auch mit etwas farblicher Dichte. Frisch und fruchtig in der Nase. Nix für Mineralienlutscher. Dieser Wein hat vor der Abfüllung sicher nur Edelstahl gesehen, und dies auf sehr reduktive Art und Weise. Man riecht die üblichen Verdächtigen Düfte wie Pfirsich, Mango und Maracuja. All dies setzt sich im Gaumen fort. Weiterhin fruchtig mit einem erfrischenden Säureader. Erfrischend kurz im Abgang, aber verdammt lecker. Ein Wein zum Wegtrinken. Eher "geiles Zeug" als "grosser Stoff", aber was soll's.

In diesem Sinne verweise ich Sie/Euch/Dich gerne auf folgenden Blogbeitrag von Herrn Felix Bodmann alias dem Schnutentunker:

www.schnutentunker.de/wein-social-media-bullshit-bingo

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Chalk

Another random buy from a wine shop in Basel, although I'd already heard favourable things about this winery situated down near Perpignan.

Domaine Gauby, Les Calcinaires Rouge 2011, AOC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
This is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan.

Opaque with a purple-hued edge. The smell of chalk, chalk and more chalk. Dry chalk like on a blackboard. Very serious and somewhat reticent at first. This needs plenty of air for some amount of time. As the wine opens up, it begins to show blackcurrant and plum. Very elegant indeed.

Very chalky again on the palate. Do you see a theme here? It is as if the grapes have literally sucked chalk out of the ground. This distinct mineral characteristic creates a certain austerity, which becomes less pronounced the longer the evening goes on. Black fruit eventually emerges from under the gleaming white layer of chalk. Very dry and pure. Medium body. Certainly, a wine that demands contemplation and time. Not easy to like at first sip, but ultimately quite wild and charming. This is Gauby's entry-level red. The much more expensive Muntada is their flagship wine.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Boar-ish behaviour

The bottle of the following wine is shaped the same way as the type of glassware Jack Sparrow and his lads might glug directly from. Ah, shiver me timbers.

Villa Wolf, Phaia 2010, Pfalz
Mosel doyen Ernst Loosen acquired Villa Wolf when it was an ailing shadow of its former self back in the mid-1990s. Things picked up from then onwards, although you tended to hear less about the winery from around the early to mid-2000s. If you believe the critics, things dipped again a while ago. Nevertheless, fresh blood arrived in 2011 when Loosen handed the day-to-day running of the estate to Patrick Moellendorf and Sumi Gebauer, a young couple who met while working at Dr. Loosen.

As Villa Wolf is based in Wachenheim, it almost goes without saying that the estate's main focus is Riesling. However, this red blend (of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Dorsa, Merlot and Dunkelfelder) is worth mentioning in its own right.

Phaia, also referred to as the Crommyonian Sow, was a wild pig in Greek mythology that "ravaged the region around the village of Crommyon between Megara and Corinth, and was eventually slain by Theseus in his early adventures" (Wikipedia). According to the bottle, this wine is for those who find Villa Wolf's Spätburgunder too elegant and refined for their tastes and prefer nozzling their snouts in something a bit more rough and ready, hence the reference to a "Drecksau" (or "filthy swine") on what is also an attractive back label.

The wine itself is very dark and brooding in appearance, with slightly purplish edges. Promising on the nose: brambly, ripe dark and red berry fruit (particularly morello cherries and some minty notes). Definitely some class and poise here. The alcohol is "only" at the 12.5-percent mark, but there is a notable level of concentration. Both dark and red again on the palate. Very smooth and I don't mean to damn with faint praise exceptionally tasty. Simply fun to drink and easy to understand. Medium-bodied with a very decent finish.

I bought this bottle at a 30-percent discount for CHF 12 at a store in Basel, which is maybe even a little less than what it retails for in Germany, even after pricing in the euro's very recent dramatic fall against the Swiss franc.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Three stars

Now for something faintly Burgundian from the Kaiserstuhl. This is the second of two bottles, the first having been opened almost four years ago.

Weingut Reinhold & Cornelia Schneider, Weißer Burgunder Spätlese trocken *** 2009, Baden
Pale golden yellow with greenish gold-leaf glints. Quite a savoury vegetative smell of the root variety (fennel? parsnip? potato mash?) along with some woody scents. Peachy notes on the first day, but these dissipate 24 hours later. Fairly dense and concentrated. A little salty with slightly waxy suggestions.

These is virtually translated like-for-like on the palate. Still fresh despite the evident ripeness of the vintage. This wine has a medium to full body but remains very lean, minerally and athletic, with a lingering savoury aftertaste. Impressive and pretty much ready to drink.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Bernhard Huber's Spätburgunder Schlossberg

Starting the year as I mean to go on. ... That would be wishful thinking, as it's not every day I get to enjoy a wine like this. I bought this bottle courtesy of a little monetary birthday present from my mother-in-law. Vicky, you are the best mother-in-law ever.

Weingut Bernhard Huber, GG Schlossberg "R" Spätburgunder trocken 2011, Baden
Had it not been for Vicky's kind donation, I would have been highly reluctant to spend so much on one bottle. As it happened, it gave me the chance to enjoy a top "Burgundian" red wine still at a fraction of top Burgundian prices.

Bernhard Huber passed away last summer. Judging by the tributes that poured in, he was revered not only in his home country but admired by his colleagues and kindred spirits in Burgundy and beyond.

Starting the year? Ending it more like. It was New Year's Eve and my wife cooked a lovely meal for us consisting of rack of lamb, new potatoes, roasted carrots and balsamic cherry tomatoes. In anticipation, I had opened the bottle 24 hours in advance, putting the cork back in immediately. The bottle was then bought back up from the cellar an hour before the meal was served, so as to warm up slightly but not too much.

Hecklinger Schlossberg is a steep gradient of 72 to 96 percent with the same type of yellow limestone soil that prevails on the Côte de Nuits. Quite a dark reddish sort of ruby. Immediately very approachable on the nose. Extremely pure and fresh, but imbued with great aromatic density. Cherry, plum and a distinctive minty scent, along with nuts, hints of curry and the finest and most unobtrusive note of cedar you could imagine. What sets this wine apart is its incredible freshness in the mouth. And I really mean fresh. For all its individual aromas and flavours, it is the scintillatingly mouthwatering acidity that leaves the most indelible mark. Frankly I've barely tasted a fresher wine, red or white. Multi-layered and concentrated on the one hand, yet finely boned and cooling on the other, with not an ounce of fat. A bone-dry chalky mintiness emerges, lending complexity and elegance. It goes without saying that the finish is exceedingly long. Even for a wine in its relative infancy, this must be one of if not the best Pinot Noir I've drunk in my life.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Von der Fels 2009 - second and final bottle

Originally I had two bottles of this wine. The first one was opened in October 2010. Now over four years later ...

Weingut Keller, Riesling trocken "von der Fels" 2009, Rheinhessen
Pale gold in appearance, with a slightly candied glaze of citrus, stone fruit, beeswax hints and a touch of honey on the nose. Certainly, some initial signs of maturity are detectable. Medium-bodied on palate, with a waxy glaze you could refer to it as "Schmelz" in German along with dried herbs and a certain innate sweetness within what is essentially a dry-tasting construct; not fruit as such, but more a caramel-like sensation with some mealy notes. The wine has evolved over the last few years. The 2009 vintage was pretty ripe. Nevertheless, the amount of liveliness in this Riesling is commendable. Having said this, the acidity has bound itself somewhat into these savoury elements and is therefore very well integrated. A finely structured and complex wine with a lingering finish.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mouthwatering

Here are two quite different wines that got the juices flowing in their own unique ways.

Weingut Carl Loewen, Riesling Alte Reben 2013, Mosel
Pale straw in appearance. Reticent at first on the nose, but gradually evolving into grapefruit scents with suggestions of red berry, sweetish spice, stone fruit and ethereal herbs. Spice on the palate, with a light to medium body and warm undertones. Very juicy and succulent. The acidity is perfectly integrated, generating a silky feel in the mouth. Reddish berry hints again (mainly raspberry). Medium finish. With its slightly off-dry taste profile, this reminds me of Clemens Busch's "Vom roten Schiefer" another Mosel Riesling that I've enjoyed over the past year on account of its slightly creamy, "reddish", mouthwatering personality with that very subtle hint of sweet fruit lifting the wine onto another plane.

Weingut Egon Schmitt, Lagrein trocken 2009, Pfalz
Very opaque purple/garnet with a velvety rim. Dark, spicy berry aromas with a red fruit underlay. There is also a distinct stemminess that lends an interestingly sappy and enticing element, as well as pencil lead shavings and floral notes. Fresh and slightly spicy on the palate, with red and black fruit and a lingering finish. Last tasted in spring 2012. The ensuing couple of years have done this serious but highly drinkable wine a world of good. The tannins have loosened since last showing and are more integrated with the other elements (fruit, acidity, alcohol, body). A Lagrein that seems quite ready for drinking now but should retain its brilliantly sappy personality for a good few years to come.