Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lämmlin-Schindler Chardonnay

This wine is quite an improvement on the previous offering, in my view.

Weingut Lämmlin-Schindler, Mauchener Sonnenstück Chardonnay Kabinett trocken 2011, Baden, Germany
Fairly nondescript pale straw in appearance, but the nose is far more interesting - initially showing some Nivea-like notes (The Wine Rambler ™), prickly minerals, a hint of yellow stone fruit and pineapple. Over time, the aromas open up into something more floral. There is maybe also a suggestion of banana. At the risk of over-simplifying, the wine is light, fresh and moderately fruity on the palate. Pineapple again, followed by a mellow wave of soft and crumbly yellow apple.

The flavours here are less "showy" than those of your average Chardonnay, with the emphasis on finesse rather than texture. I would say this specimen is not too dissimilar to a Pinot Blanc/Weissburgunder. It's not the first time I've noticed this phenomenon with light, unoaked Chards from Markgräflerland that often share the same chalk-rich soils. Could this be a regional characteristic?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lämmlin-Schindler from Mauchen

Lämmlin-Schindler joined the VDP, Germany's trade association of elite wine estates, back in 2006. However, I would say that they have remained slightly under the radar compared to their peers in the southern Baden sub-region of Markgräflerland. Banal as it may sound, I would hazard a guess that their secluded geographical location may have contributed to this impression. Although still a stone's throw away from the Rhine valley, their home village of Mauchen is rather hidden away in a bucolic little dale in the foothills of the southern Black Forest. I have cycled through on a number of occasions and can vouch for its idyllic setting. It's the sort of place I can imagine a lot of people would enjoy if they knew about it. Mauchen still has a very quiet, rural character, and that's no bad thing.

The vineyards of Mauchen create an amphitheatre-like setting around the village and, as such, enjoy welcome shelter from westerly, northerly and easterly winds. Pretty good conditions for growing wine in anyone's book.

Weingut Lämmlin-Schindler, Spätburgunder Kabinett trocken 2009, Baden, Germany
The temperatures were touching 30C when I bought this bottle. I wanted red wine but something lighter and easier to enjoy on a balmy summer's evening. At least that was the idea.

Intense ruby turning to purplish or almost pinkish red round the edges. Surprising to find such a hue in what is supposed to be a lighter Pinot Noir. The aromas also belie the wine's "Kabinett" weighting, showing spice and black cherry, Christmas cake and a slightly marzipany note. Everything still feels rather diffuse though. Things change 24 hours later, with more precision emerging. The nose now gives off a distinctly "Mon Chéri" whiff.

On the palate, this translates into a fairly substantial wine for its 12% alcohol. The tannins are quite present, as is the acidity. A day later, the wine tastes somewhat sweeter - in a more confectioned than fruit-driven way.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of it. Maybe the ripeness of the 2009 vintage has played a part, but the wine feels so very dense - and oddly so. What is clear though is that I expected more elegance. On balance, not really my cup of tea.

Having said this, I need to persevere with Lämmlin-Schindler. A white wine of theirs will have to be next on the agenda.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Mosel connection

My wife and I bought a couple of bottles of this via local favourite Hanspeter Ziereisen. He is friends with some famous wineries further north, of which Markus Molitor is one. As the photo here shows, Hanspeter Ziereisen, Markus Molitor and Roman Niewodniczanski (of Weingut Van Volxem on the River Saar) share a stand at the annual Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Weingut Molitor, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett trocken 2009, Mosel, Germany
An explosion of peach, exotic fruit (mango and passionfruit) and pungent slate on the nose. I wouldn't necessarily guess this was a dry wine, but it dry it most certainly is. Again, exoticism dominates on the palate and the slately notes persist. The finish is middling. Nevertheless, this is highly refreshing and has just 11.5% alcohol. We killed the bottle in record time, hence these meagre notes.