Monday, 27 April 2015

Riesling "R"

This is just tremendous.

Josten & Klein, Riesling "R" trocken, 2013, Mittelrhein
A very healthy yellow straw with a green tinge. Much riper than their entry-level Riesling. Wild with minerally notes, yellow stone fruit, hints of red apple and a certain herbal personality. Much of the above translates onto the palate. Anything but mainstream. Very complex. This is a lot less acidic than the estate wine. Very well integrated, very delicious and very drinkable. Wine of the year so far?

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Josten & Klein

My goodness, this is hardcore.

As a preliminary, I would implore anyone who has a bottle of this to GIVE IT ENOUGH AIR. I can't emphasis that enough.

Josten & Klein won the Gault Millau award of Newcomers of the Year in Germany a couple of years ago, if I recall correctly. Their cellars are based in Remagen, near the apex of where the rivers Rhine and Ahr meet. This is no coincidence as Josten & Klein have vineyard holdings in both the Ahr and the Mittelrhein regions.

Josten & Klein, Riesling trocken 2013, Mittelrhein
The white wines invariably come from the Rhine, the reds from the Ahr. Light straw with a greenish tinge. Already, the appearance gives a slight suggestion of what lies ahead. Mint leaves on the nose, with a greenish minerally hint that's hard to describe, along with citrus and maybe a suggestion of blood orange. What greet me on the palate are iodine notes reminiscent of mineral water. Anyone who lives in the Basel area will have heard of or drunk Eptinger mineral water at some stage. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but that extreme iodine characteristic of Eptinger is certainly there. Bone dry, and no fruit is discernible at all. Instead, we have acidity on the very edge of what could be considered harsh. Some might describe it as being shrill and sour. However ... this is a wine that grows on me. The acidity levels are borderline, yet the more I sip, the more I like. This is electrifying. The 2013 vintage is challenging even for acid hounds. The acidity in this wine is incredible. And yet, ultimately, the wine is not only balanced but ... exhilarating.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Farmer Giles

That's the nickname my wife and I gave Hanspeter Ziereisen after tasting his wines back in early 2010. Most who grew up in the UK would understand what we mean. For all others, it's simply our affectionate way of referring to one of Baden's most brilliant wine-growers. I would imagine the original "Farmer Giles" to be a down-to-earth, red-nosed, hearty, bucolic sort of character. No idea whether how he would react if he ever read this, but, let's face it: Hanspeter Ziereisen looks, dresses and talks like a farmer. I mean this in a good way. Down here, we're more than a little bit proud of the Ziereisens.

It was a while since I last tried this. One bottle still to go after this one.

Weingut Ziereisen, Spätburgunder "Schulen" 2008, Baden, Germany
Cherry-coloured, or pale ruby as it were. Dark cherries on the nose, with resiny, stemmy notes. The whiff is quite perfumy now, yet still very delicate and fresh. Beautiful cedar aromas. Elegant. Minerally on the nose with assertive tannins. Not necessarily silky - this has more of a rustic than elegant charm. Very fresh and vital still.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bürklin-Wolf Riesling

No point beating around the bush: this is my type of wine.

Weingut Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Riesling trocken 2013, Pfalz
Vivid yellowish straw in appearance. You can already tell that this has stuffing. Beautiful succulent peach along with hints of apricot. Hm, you can't beat the Pfalz for a bit of peach and apricot. Generous as it washes away inside my mouth. On the one hand showing a dark spicy, earthy characteristic, on the other fresh yet well-integrated acidity. Very clean. If anything, purer and a little more austere on the second day, but essentially a wine that is easy to understand. This is their estate wine and as good a calling call as any.

Monday, 6 April 2015


The vineyards of Schlatt are a little unusual in Markgräflerland in that they are situated on what are otherwise the valley flats, albeit on a gentle incline. You could barely call it a hill. The nursery slopes of the Black Forest are still a good few kilometres away. To the west nondescript asparagus fields, to the east the spa town of Bad Krozingen. And yet, Martin Wassmer produces some of the region's best Pinots Noirs from his Maltesergarten holdings.

Weingut Martin Wassmer, Schlatter Maltesergarten Spätburgunder trocken 2010 , Baden
Light ruby with slight brownish suggestions on the rim. A whiff of raspberry along with a savoury, earthy, mushroomy suggestion of undergrowth. Ripe and dense, if a little reticent (the wine needs up two full days to open up). Well-integrated oak, generating a savoury "wet wood" aroma. A fair amount of grip on the palate, yet the tannins are velvety. The overall effect is elegant yet concentrated. Good acidity, as one would expect for 2010. Just a great bottle of Pinot with a lot of sophistication for the price bracket (around 15 euros).

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Max Geitlinger

This is a new local name I've only heard of recently. Great label. The winery adjoins an interesting-looking restaurant that I'd like to discover some time soon.

Max Geitlinger, Gut & Edel 2013, Baden
Good and noble ... Gutedel, of course. A healthy yellowish straw colour. Clear on the nose with a yellow-fruit characteristic, even some melon. An ever-so-slightly nutty tone along with a squeeze of lime. Very pure on the palate. Fruity, yes, but also very elegant. Low alcohol (11 percent) but with quite a bit of interesting intrinsic concentration. Very classy for just six euros.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Baden vs Pfalz (entry-level Weissburgunder)

This was just a little bit of fun. What the following two wines have in common is that they were both made by organic producers and from the same grape, Weissburgunder (or Pinot Blanc). They are also similarly priced. I bought the one from Baden at a wine shop just over the border in Germany, and the one from the Pfalz at a German supermarket a couple of Saturdays ago. The former cost me a little under nine euros, the latter just under seven (the cellar-door prices are €8 and €5.70 respectively).

Firstly, the Pfalz.

Weingut Wöhrle, Bockenheimer Grafenstück Weißer Burgunder trocken 2013, Pfalz
The 1920s-style typeface on the label is quite elegant. The thin shape of the bottle accentuates this impression.

Straw coloured. Quite reticent on the nose, with vegetative and stalky suggestions. Some smokey notes emerge over time. Clean and refreshing on the palate. Yellow apple and a touch of handcream. There is a slight bitterness on the finish which, in itself, can be no bad thing ... in a Riesling. The wine's lower acidity means this particular characteristic stands out more. Overall, quite straightforward but with a slight chewy glaze that lends some weight. Alcohol is 12.5 percent.

Weingut Rieger, Weißer Burgunder trocken 2013, Baden
Very pale straw in appearance. Paler than its cousin from the Pfalz. Shouldn't it be the other way round? Much more expressive on the nose than its counterpart. Blossomy notes, a whiff of apricots, honeysuckle. Even hints of sour cream. Pure, bone dry and minerally on the palate. Yellow apple and floral hints. Virtually no signs of any bitterness. Overall, this wine is more "floral" and open than its Pfalz counterpart. Fresher and lighter too, weighing in at 12 alcohol.

Any conclusions? Well, I enjoyed the latter wine more than the former wine. And this is no April Fool, but no one should take the above match-up too seriously.