Sunday, 12 December 2010


In the Pfalz, Bassermann-Jordan are one of the three "b"s, alongside Bürklin-Wolf and von Buhl - the three wine estates whose wines have graced many a royal dining table over the last 150 years or so.

The following bottle was purchased last June at the winery's vinothèque in Deidesheim.

Weingut Bassermann-Jordan, Forster Ungeheuer "S", Riesling trocken, 2009
I love Stelvin enclosures. So easy. The only problem with a wine like this one is treating it like a bottle of pop and forgetting to open it in good time before tasting. Into the decanter it went for some fast-track airing...

Laser lime-yellow appearance in the decanter, this shows a salty minerality on the nose somewhat reminiscent of flint. The soil in Ungeheuer has smatterings of basalt running through it, and one is indeed tempted here to make that association with the terroir. On the palate, a certain richness emerges, with stone fruit and more exotic notes. The acidity is taut and fine, lending elegance and structure. There are also some hints of redcurrant and, again, some stoney saltiness. What I like about the finish is the total lack of alcoholic heat. Instead, the faintest hint of sweetness is gently smothered in warm minerals and a talcy powderiness. This is less of a charmer and more a wine with pretentions.

As legend has it, Otto von Bismarck is supposed to have taken a shine to wines from Ungeheuer (German for "monster"), once exclaiming, "This Ungeheuer tastes monstrously good." Depending on whom you believe, the name Ungeheuer dates back either to 1460 when the term "Ungehuwer" is supposed to have been recorded, or to Johann Adam Ungeheuer, a scribe who lived in nearby Deidesheim and died in 1699.


  1. Ungeheuer - as it happens I had a wine from the Ungeheuer vineyard just a few days ago. It was a GG Riesling from Mosbacher and quite something. I had made a mental note to check where the term originated from, but it seems you have done the work for me. Thanks - also for sharing your impression of this monster.
    Torsten / The Wine Rambler

  2. Hi Torsten,
    Belated reply..
    You're welcome. The legend involving Bismarck is sort of a red herring, in a way. Quite more mundane origins, alas. Hope I haven't stolen your "ungeheuerliche" thunder, as it were. Although it seems your Mosbacher GG had enough "thunder" as it is. Looking forward to the write-up.