Sunday, 17 November 2013

Philippi Pinot Noir 2001

Bernd Philippi made a name for himself for his world-class dry Rieslings from the Kallstadter Saumagen vineyard named after an original Pfälzer delicacy. His Pinots Noirs play more of a secondary, niche role, but the temptation of a bottle of 2001 vintage was too great for me to resist.

Weingut Köhler-Ruprecht, Pinot Noir "Philippi" 2001, Pfalz, Germany
Dark ruby with a light brownish rim. As almost expected from a wine of this age, mushroomy notes of autumnal undergrowth come to the fore. Sweet strawberry and cherry with a complex whiff that reminds me partly of something ferrous and partly of something more savoury (think meaty or "animally"). There is also a slightly ethereal greenish note, but overall the effect is maybe a little darker than some other Pinots I've recently tried.

The savoury theme continues on the palate with the tannins adding a slight astringency and grip. While the wine exhibits undoubted complexity, its personality is also a touch rustic (or "unaffected", shall we say). Less of the cool elegance and more of something borne of the farmyard with wellies on... Nevertheless, this Spätburgunder is very structured and balanced - thanks not least to the sweet dark red fruit notes that soften the mouthfeel at the end. Bought for 21 euros at a wine shop in Freiburg, and good value for that given the age and the quality - even though I suspect at least another five years of being left alone would do it no harm at all.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Brücke Spätlese 2003

This went well with homemade Masala curry but was also a treat on its own.

Weingut Dönnhoff, Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese 2003, Nahe, Germany
Light shimmering gold. Showing much less age in appearance than the Keller Spätlese. Clean as a whistle if a little shy on the nose. With more air, wax, spice and creamy notes emerge, but no fruit as such. The palate is more expressive. Creamy and immaculate with serious substance. If it were human, this wine would have a supple physique. There is a lovely sweetness but the acidic backbone hits home midway through. Great balance. Then it's a story of candied citrus and cream on what is an impressively long finish.

Slightly embarrassing to say, but this was my first Dönnhoff wine ever. This, an older wine in Helmut's flagship disciple, was nevertheless the best possible introduction, I daresay.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Hubacker Spätlese 2000

On our wedding anniversary last week, my wife and I went to Freiburg to eat some sushi and then go shopping for some household items. The latter activity wasn't necessarily my idea, but afterwards I was allowed to browse around a wine shop stocking an excellent collection of German wines, young and old. For a few minutes, I was as wide-eyed as a boy in a sweet shop...

Despite the fabulous array of dry German Rieslings on show, I opted for two aged Riesling Spätleses and a 12-year-old Pinot Noir. This is one of the Rieslings.

Weingut Keller, Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Spätlese 2000, Rheinhessen, Germany
Beautiful deep golden with an amber tinge. It's obvious that this has a few years under its belt. On the nose, it has a wonderful beeswax aroma along with honey, caramel and a slightly savoury, buttery whiff. Clear on the palate with honey and wax. Despite only having 7.5% alcohol, this is far from the sugary gloop that certain people would have you believe (usually those who think they just like "trocken" and nothing else). Its silky body feels almost weightless in the mouth. This is thanks to the acidity which just about keeps the lusciousness in check and contributes to what is basically a dry-tasting, complex finish that still manages to remind me of caramel and, specifically, of those Highland Toffee bars I used to enjoy as a child. It is a sensation that lingers in the mouth for a good couple of minutes.

It's great to try older Spätleses. They remind me of when I first got into German Riesling.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Lügle reloaded

I opened the first of two bottles of this in early 2010, and the second last Sunday. The fact that it had been laid down for almost four years in total had done it no harm at all. On the contrary...

Weingut Ziereisen, Weissburgunder "Lügle" 2007, Baden
"Lügle" is the name of the specific plot of vines in which this wine was grown, although Efringer Ölberg is the official generic name for the vineyard in which this plot is located.

Dull golden straw in colour (actually a bit like brass, come to think of it). Aromas of freshly cut pineapple, then some melon and lemon curd. Maybe some red berries too. Expressive with vanilla hints that are well-integrated and enhance complexity. These then bring out an additional animally whiff, delicate citrus and some dried leafy notes. On the palate, pineapple and maybe some apricot to begin with. An intensely salty tang then takes over midway though. This positively cuts through the fruit, although some bright and harmonious savoury hints linger throughout. The saline sensation continues into a long and satisfyingly complex finish.

I opened this a good four or five hours before trying it with dinner but, considering the intense smell I caught when sniffing from the bottle immediately after pulling the cork, I suspect the wine would also have showed well right from the off.