Friday, 8 July 2011


Throughout my 11-year career as a translator in Switzerland, if I'd have earned ten francs for everytime I had to translate a Powerpoint presentation produced by some Swiss banker talking about "ein Win-Win-Szenario", I'd be a rich man by now. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. And yet, the phrase "win-win" is one that is beloved of the German-speaking corporate world. Bankers, pharmaceutical executives, HR managers, humble project leaders, IT bods... They're all at it.

And just because they did their MBAs in Boston, speak with an American accent or spent two years in London, it doesn't mean they can write perfect English. I'm a native speaker and I can't write perfect English either - though I hope you get half the gist of what I'm trying to say. On the other hand, I wouldn't think for one minute that my written German was good enough to translate into. Why should it work the other way round?

Anyway, rant over.

Weingut von Winning, Riesling "Win Win" trocken 2009, Pfalz
When wealthy local businessman Achim Niederberger bought Weingut Dr. Deinhard in Deidesheim a few years ago, he completed a treble of sorts following on from his previous acquisitions of Bassermann-Jordan and Von Buhl. This is because these three Deidesheim wine estates make up what is still called the "Jordan'sche Teilung" - the result of a bumper inheritance of vineyards that was split among three respective siblings in 1848.

From 1907 until the Great War, the winery was splendidly known as "Hauptmann von Winning’sches Edelweingut", before reverting back to "Dr. Deinhard" in 1918. It was only after Niederberger arrived on the scene in late-2007 that new life was breathed into the old "von Winning" moniker. Many of the estate's top wines now go by this name, although there is also still a very serviceable "Dr. Deinhard" range of wines, and - slightly confusingly - a Dr. Deinhard website.

But now onto the wine and that "win win" situation.

Appearance: quite a vivid yellow-straw hue, but nothing jaw-droppingly unusual.
Nose: a sheer precipitous wall of dry herbs; at first, it's hard to scale over this wall, but then hints of tobacco emerge (the sort people use to make their own roll-ups), followed by some red berry fruit and lemon zest sprinkled with sugar.
Palate: herbs continue their narrative here; there is a slight (and welcome) sweetness on entry, but that is quickly enveloped by a minerally dryness; this wine is far from austere though - a very Pfalz earthiness persists, and the herbs continue singing right through to a satisfying finish.

This is the most emphatically classy Riesling in its specific price bracket (EUR 10) that I've drunk in a long while - and you can't say fairer than that.

PS: The wine label deserves an honourable mention. It's really beautiful, and reminds me of a Picasso painting the name of which escapes me. The gold-leaved labels for the higher-rated classified vineyard wines are even more wonderful.

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