Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Pfalz blending

The 2007 vintage of the following wine has been covered in The Wine Rambler. My focus of late was on the 2008 version.

"Basic range" red blends costing anything from 7 to 13 euros are all the rage in the Pfalz at the moment, it seems. The Pfälzer, in particular, have cottoned on to a winner here: combine international varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and the like with indigenous grapes such as Dornfelder and Portugieser, with new crossings such as the voluptuous Cabernet Cubin or Cabernet Dorsa, or with old Mitteleuropa favourites such as Blaufränkisch (Lemberger) or Zweigelt, and, hey presto! The result is affordable, smooth dark red wine with an individual, interesting and faintly Germanic personality. At least that's the idea.

Without doubt, some bottlings are better than others. Mano Negro, one of Philipp Kuhn's interpretations, would probably make it into the category's top echelon - though that's not to say I don't have my quibbles.

Weingut Philipp Kuhn, Mano Negra 2008, Pfalz
Opaque ruby. Haven't seen a wine this dark for a long time; "Mano Negra" is Spanish for black hand, by the way. It used to be called "Terra Nigra" at the beginning, but the property had to switch from that for trademark-related reasons, I think.
Spicy nose with some oak sweetness and dark chocolate. Restrained at first with notes of green paprika. Over the next couple of days, forest fruit emerges.
Supple on the palate but with an acidic backbone and blackberry flavours. There's a bitterness in the tannins, though, which remains throughout and tempers my enthusiasm and enjoyment. Maybe this is a characteristic of the relatively cooler 2008 vintage.

The density and yet balance of this wine are impressive. However, I'm missing some lighter notes. Not necessarily my type of wine.

PS: I attended the Badische Weinmesse on Sunday and tried lots of Pinot Noir; it made me remember how much I love that grape.

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