Saturday, 29 October 2011

Exchanging Rings

Not too long to go before our wedding day. Almost everything is in place except for a few minor things. I'm taking advantage of a slight pause in proceedings to post a short synopsis of some recent wines.

Weingut Markus Schneider, Riesling Kirchenstück trocken, 2006, Pfalz, Germany
The last bottle in my possession, which was opened over a month ago now. And, frankly, I was glad to see the last of it. The 2006 vintage was not kind on this wine. Harsh, malty, banana-like aromas, followed by an austere, harsh palate. The wine feels slightly oxidised, and then it's the piercingly citric finish that puts paid to any enjoyment. Compare this with my previous notes on this wine, and make your own conclusion.

Weingut Claus Schneider, Weiler Schlipf Spätburgunder CS trocken, 2007, Baden, Germany
The third bottle of a six-pack case bought nearly a year ago. The contrast to the previous wine is like day and night. In fact, I opened this immediately after the Riesling in order to end the evening on a better note. Jenny was away on her hen do at the time, so I needed solace from some source or other.
Lovely ethereal minty note showing cool herbs and spice (cloves). On the palate, profoundly pure and light-footed with a wonderful coolness borne of the acidity. And yet, there is plenty of sweet chalky extract to lift this wine into luscious territory. This is "exhibit A" in the case against those who think that the quality of red wine is directly proportionate to how opaque it looks.

Weingut Rings, Das kleine Kreuz, 2009, Pfalz, Germany
Rings Estate used to be a bit of an insider tip, but their astronomical rise to prominence in recent years has probably put paid to that. Jenny and I stayed a night at the Rings family's adjacent B&B a couple of summers ago, so we have quite a soft spot for this property. Happily, their prices are still on the fairly sensible side in relation to the quality of their wines. Whether this continues to be the case remains to be seen.

A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, St. Laurent and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is the "little brother" of the winery's flagship "Das Kreuz". Both are named after the "Schwarzes Kreuz" vineyard just to the south of the picturesque village of Freinsheim. With gravel being the predominant soil there, big, red, Bordeaux-style blends are de rigueur.

On the nose, luxuriant chocolatey aromas, with cocoa, black cherry and hints of Black Forest gateau. With silky albeit substantial tannins in the mouth, backed up with some vanilla and no lack of richness and concentration, this is showing well already. One of those wines which immediately please yet are demanding enough to be stored for many years. I'm curious as to how "Das Kreuz" might taste. The Rings brothers, Andreas and Steffen, also make a killer Syrah which would be worth trying provided I parted with 30 euro (that's their most expensive wine).

"Das kleine Kreuz", on the other hand, is worth an entirely palatable EUR 16 (cellar price), and - for what you get - is worth every penny. Two bottles of this are lying in our basement.