Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Boar-ish behaviour

The bottle of the following wine is shaped the same way as the type of glassware Jack Sparrow and his lads might glug directly from. Ah, shiver me timbers.

Villa Wolf, Phaia 2010, Pfalz
Mosel doyen Ernst Loosen acquired Villa Wolf when it was an ailing shadow of its former self back in the mid-1990s. Things picked up from then onwards, although you tended to hear less about the winery from around the early to mid-2000s. If you believe the critics, things dipped again a while ago. Nevertheless, fresh blood arrived in 2011 when Loosen handed the day-to-day running of the estate to Patrick Moellendorf and Sumi Gebauer, a young couple who met while working at Dr. Loosen.

As Villa Wolf is based in Wachenheim, it almost goes without saying that the estate's main focus is Riesling. However, this red blend (of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Dorsa, Merlot and Dunkelfelder) is worth mentioning in its own right.

Phaia, also referred to as the Crommyonian Sow, was a wild pig in Greek mythology that "ravaged the region around the village of Crommyon between Megara and Corinth, and was eventually slain by Theseus in his early adventures" (Wikipedia). According to the bottle, this wine is for those who find Villa Wolf's Spätburgunder too elegant and refined for their tastes and prefer nozzling their snouts in something a bit more rough and ready, hence the reference to a "Drecksau" (or "filthy swine") on what is also an attractive back label.

The wine itself is very dark and brooding in appearance, with slightly purplish edges. Promising on the nose: brambly, ripe dark and red berry fruit (particularly morello cherries and some minty notes). Definitely some class and poise here. The alcohol is "only" at the 12.5-percent mark, but there is a notable level of concentration. Both dark and red again on the palate. Very smooth and I don't mean to damn with faint praise exceptionally tasty. Simply fun to drink and easy to understand. Medium-bodied with a very decent finish.

I bought this bottle at a 30-percent discount for CHF 12 at a store in Basel, which is maybe even a little less than what it retails for in Germany, even after pricing in the euro's very recent dramatic fall against the Swiss franc.

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