Wednesday, 28 April 2010

160 years

With their myriad names and designations, German wine labels are often a thing of beauty for anoraks like me. To the uninitiated, they can be utterly bewildering. Admittedly, things have improved on that count in recent years, with an increasing proportion of wineries choosing to move all the mandatory stuff to a "back label", as it were. Bottles don't have front or back sides, but I hope you know what I mean.. The result now is that the "main" label is free of the statutory teutonic clutter.

While some such labels can still be rather hard on the eye, often little more than an abomination of pseudo stripes and squiggles in assorted garish colours and shades, others are beautiful to behold. The following bottle from Weingut Blankenhorn falls into the latter category.

Weingut Blankenhorn, Spätburgunder QbA trocken Barrique, 2007, Baden
Opened last Saturday. Of course, I didn't buy the wine for the label (honest!). However, it is quite an unusual specimen, celebrating 160 years of the Blankenhorn estate. Sourced in Karstadt, the well-known German department store, this was a touch more expensive than the winery price of EUR 15.

On the nose, typical Spätburgunder cherry, coupled with wild bramble and a lovely savoury character (including dark mushrooms). Decanted over two hours beforehand, these aromas had developed nicely by dinner time. On the palate, refined, well-integrated tannins. An elegant body - as light as a feather but with a supple contours and some complexity. The barrique influence beds in well. "Chapeau" (Hats off!), as they say in Switzerland.

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