Wednesday, 25 November 2015

From the Markgraf

A villages-level Pinot Noir from Bodensee (Lake Constance), produced by a local member of the German nobility no less.

Markgraf von Baden, Schloss Salem, Birnauer Spätburgunder trocken 2013, Baden
Ruby with slightly purple edges. Quite obvious and up-front fruit. Blackcurrant and a some cherry too. Initially a little beetrooty and kitchy in a boiled sweets sort of way. Stemmy aromas counteract that to an extent. One day later and the impression on the nose has settled somewhat. The kitch has gone. Any wooden influence is completely hidden. I wouldn't be surprised if someone said this wine was aged in good old inox (stainless steel). Quite sappy in the mouth, again with an overridingly fruit-driven personality. Strawberry and raspberry. Plays quite a straight bat, as it were, in that it is easy to understand. The finish is refreshing. Should gain complexity with age, I daresay. For the moment an enjoyable and non-too-taxing wine.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Le Kottabe

A producer from Alsace whom I've heard a lot about.

Domaine Josmeyer, Riesling Le Kottabe 2012, Alsace
Pale straw with some slightly greenish hints. Expressive nose of candied lemon and a touch of grapefruit. Maybe also a medicinal, eucalyptus hint in there, too. The aroma promises more concentration than the palate delivers. In the mouth, the wine is quite featherweight and appley with a limpid, clear feel and a slight iodine note reminiscent of mineral water. Lovely citrus freshness holds things together and lends a good deal of length on the finish. The ultra dryness, the relative lightness and the neutrality of this wine would go well with sushi, I daresay.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Alsace Pinot Noir

A first for me: Pinot Noir from Alsace. It's not supposed to be the region's forte, but this wine was impressive.

Domaine Muré, Côte de Rouffach, Pinot Noir 2013, Alsace
The town of Rouffach is situated just south of the village of Pfaffenheim where I spent summer 1998 working with a wine-growing family who, like Véronique and Thomas Muré (and his father René), practise biodynamic viticulture.

Translucent edges. Ruby with purplish suggestions. On the nose, quite reticent at first. So, in the decanter it goes for a couple of hours. Finally, something lovely emerges: blackcurrant and herbs, a hint of strawberry. Minty? Definitely chalky.

Bone dry in the mouth. This lends a chalky feel with considerable tannic grip. Feeling almost austere on the one hand, but overtly fruity on the other. Strawberry on day one, metamorphosing into blackcurrant on day two. Medium body, ample concentration. Exceedingly pure. Less mushroomy and "damp autumnal undergrowth" compared to some of its counterparts directly over the Rhine. In this sense, the wine is imbued with a different type of quality based more on fruit and purity. Maybe its personality is linear in the sense of being precise, direct and refreshing (but by no means simplistic). Any wood influence is barely perceptible and merely provides a skeleton-like structure for the fruit to take effect. The finish lingers for some time.

This is the lesser of three Muré Pinot Noirs - the other two in ascending order being "V" and "Clos Saint Landelin". "V" is grown in the Vorbourg grand cru vineyard. The abbreviation is used because Pinot Noir can't be classified as grand cru in Alsace. The renowned Clos Saint Landelin is a lieu-dit situated within the Vorbourg grand cru and owned exclusively by the Muré family.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Halbstück Réserve

I first wrote about this wine three years ago. This, my penultimate bottle, finally got to breathe some lovely, pure Basel air over a couple of days in August 2015.

Weingut Knipser, "Halbstück Réserve" Riesling trocken 2004, Pfalz
Matt golden with maybe some
rusty hints (see photo). All in all, very savoury and complex on the nose. This wine has clearly taken on additional layers and dimensions over the last three years. For example, I can now detect distinct notes of iron. The effect is quite stark and untamed. Pungent red berry fruit too, reminding me of raspberry ripple ice cream - which, in turn, takes me back to my childhood. Definitely some lime in there, along with blackcurrant maybe. Notwithstanding the aforementioned nuances, this is still smelling as fresh as a daisy, even after 11 years. Bone dry on the palate, reverberating between intense iron/iodine notes and raspberry/strawberry. If truth be told, feeling somewhat leaner than the nose would suggest - but imbued with an innate succulence, freshness and concentration of flavours. Which goes to show that a medium body and a mere 12 percent alcohol need not be an obstacle to complexity. The wine's various nuances seem to be in constant flux all the way through to a long finish.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Scraping a living has had to take priority over blogging in recent months. But I'm back - at least for now.

Weingut Emrich-Schönleber, Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling trocken 2011, Nahe
This previously spent three years in my cellar. An attractive yellow tinge to this one. Peach, blossom and apricots on the nose. Then citrus (especially lime). A dense waxy note balances out these high tones.

More waxiness on the palate. Medium body at most, quite light-footed if truth be told. Bright with good acidity, yet at the same time dense and ripe. Long finish. Highly drinkable and mouthwatering, this wine is unashamedly fruit-driven (for exact constituents, see above) with only minimal minerality for now. And yet, it is an elegantly woven, complex package. Nominally, this is the Schönlebers' premier cru from Frühlingsplätzchen, but I fancy it would give most GCs, sorry GGs, a run for their money.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Paradiesgarten is German for "Garden of Eden". It's also a lovely vineyard that overlooks the western tail-end of Deidesheim near the open-air swimming pool (I went for a refreshing dip there once, lovely place). A stone statue of a naked Eve also adorns the scenery.

Weingut von Winning, Erste Lage, Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten "Selection MAX" trocken 2014, Pfalz
The "Selection Max" is a nod to Swiss wine merchant Max Gerstl for whom the winery made this bottling.
Straw yellow in appearance. Surprising open on the nose for a wine this young. Predominantly white fruit notes - something along the lines of white peach, as well as yellow apple and pineapple. Almost translated like-for-like on the palate, along with some gooseberry. Light-medium body and plenty to commend this. A suggestion, or sense, of (tropical) sweetness, but this in itself is an endearing trait and not a weakness. Great for sipping (or swallowing in huge gulps).

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Pinot Rosé, Martin Wassmer

Time for some bubbly.

Weingut Martin Wassmer, Pinot Rosé Brut, Baden
I've always been mildly amused by Martin Wassmer's chutzpah at having a bottle label that is suspiciously reminiscent of a certain famous Champagne label. Salmon orange in appearance (see photo). Raspberry and melon aromas, biscuity hints. A little bit savoury. (Bacon?) Raspberry on the palate with a refreshing apple tartness that keeps my mouth watering. The raspberry is very pure and moreish. Perfect for mid-summer. This doesn't necessarily hit the true heights, but it's a pretty adamant, good-value sparkler that knows its worth. I might be inclined to get more.
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