Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sometimes it's not just the wine

Apart from the quality of the wine (or otherwise), the personality of the wine-grower can be a big turn-on or turn-off for me when it comes to making purchasing decisions. I'm often doubly satisfied if the wine I buy is from a winemaker who comes across as a modest, self-effacing, hard-working member of their profession. Conversely, I almost sub-consciously think twice about a very small number of producers - naming no names - who have got my back up for whatever reason in the past (although perceived arrogance is normally the common denominator). But let's not go there. Happily, I can easily count them on one hand.

I've never met Stefanie Weegmüller-Scherr, the winemaker at Weingut Weegmüller in Haardt, a neighbourhood of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in the Pfalz, but thanks to power of social media, she has a certain profile that comes across well to me at least (and I don't mean in Facebook). While browsing in a wine shop a few weeks ago in the middle of Neustadt, this very thought not only crossed my mind but also informed my eventual purchasing choice.

Weegmüller, Der Elegante Riesling Kabinett trocken 2014, Pfalz
From the Haardter Mandelring vineyard site. The main village street in Haardt is also called Mandelring - a name that conjures up good memories in my mind thanks to a number of wine-fest visits many eons ago.

Typical straw with greenish reflexes. Clear on the nose, showing an airy concoction of pineapple, wet stone and apple (of the juicy red variety) with an imagined hint of sweetness in my mind's eye. Quite poised. Pineapple and apple again on the palate. Clean, pure and indeed elegant. This has enough of everything, but not an ounce too much. Spicy with good freshness. Not overly complicated, but full of goodness and refreshment. A mere 11.5 percent abv on the label means it's finished in no time.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

No faffing around

One of the things I love about the current German wine scene are the numerous hard-working families who still grow beautiful handcrafted wines at extremely customer-friendly prices. Some of the larger family operations on the flats of the Rhine valley in the Pfalz are also able to pull this off thanks in part to the relatively large volume of wine they are able to produce. If anything, this makes the quality they achieve all the more remarkable. Weingut Karl Pfaffmann are a case in point. I defy anyone to show me a better wine for EUR 6.49 (supermarket price).

Weingut Karl Pfaffmann, Riesling Silberberg trocken 2014, Pfalz
Beige in appearance. Lime, pineapple and white peach on the nose. Clear as a whistle on the palate, with the aforementioned flavours showing through again. Delicious, pure and unhurried. Dry-tasting, refreshing and digestible. Sure, this wine lives on its primary fruit to some extent, and I daresay it might come a cropper with the number-crunching trocken police who frown on residual sweetness above 4 g/l (notwithstanding the 9 g/l ceiling), but this is a lot of wine for your money. No faffing around.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


"Jay-Jay" Prüm are a hallowed address on the Mosel. This is their entry-level wine.

Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm, Riesling Kabinett 2013, Mosel
Very pale straw. Reticent at first, then opening up to show apple and slate. Puckering slate notes on entry. Appley as well. Light as a feather. Keen acidity lends ample refreshment and reduces the sweetness to a mere whisper on what is a long finish. Very digestible and gratifyingly easy to comprehend.

The label shows a drawing of the eponymous sun dial in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr ("Wehlen Sun Dial") vineyard.