Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Mark Of Quality

Jürgen von der Mark rented the vineyard in 2003...it contains 35 year-old vines...and his first vintage was concentrated & full (the vintage). The following year the wine became more elegant..and the 2005 is perhaps how he wants the wine to remain.
He lets the quality of the vines speak and the wine is given as little 'help' as necessary.
The old saying' a little is more' is a perfect description.
Those eagle-eyed will note a Xmas card as background to the bottle on the right..IT'S NOVEMBER!!!!!!! signed..Scrooge.

Jürgen von der Mark Pinot Noir 2005
Lied an den Mond
Bad Bellingen, Baden Germany
Pale colour; wild strawberry nose, very aromatic; medium bodied, lovely mouthful, soft, velvety and fine with just a nudge of oak, very elegant..this dances on the tongue..and the music is Mozart ..not Wagner.
Even drinking it with the ice weather outside..you can imagine cooling this in summer..get out the Bar-B-Q....oh man.. I'm dreaming already and winter has only just started!
Points 17.5

Olé Olé Olé Un Buen Chardonnay

For those not familiar with Europa—Mallorca (pronounced Ma-Yor-Ka.. only Homer Simpsons' say Mall-Orka) is an island where my 'youth' went on holiday for wine, women and song..( Beer actually..I was oblivious to the grape back then).
Times have changed...over recent years the drunks etc.have been told they are not welcome..and the wine ain't bad nowadays.

Miguel Gelabert Chardonnay2004
Mallorca, Spain
Fermented in new French oak casks and matured for 6 months.
Reserved oak nose..some vanilla and smoke..an excellent balance in the mouth..oak held in place by the natural fruit..never feels heavy...citrus and tropical fruits..some butter and cream. This is really delicious and a pleasure to go back to..very good next day as well. The price is maybe hefty (30 Euros = $ 44) and at times I said..not a re-buy..then you taste again..and maybe it is worth an odd bottle again.

Points 17.5

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Little Bit Of Spice Does You Good

It's been a while since I had a good South African...Glen Carlou was the only memorable one I can remember...the reds have been mostly 'wannabe's'..never really doing it for me..so it's nice to report....

Spice Route Malabar 2003
Malmesbury, South Africa

The blend varies from vintage to vintage..
this one is 72% Shiraz, 11% Pinotage,
11% Mourvedre, 4.5% Grenache, 0.5% Viognier
(which to me makes only 99%...
did the vineyard dog add the rest?)
Deep crimson red; very attractive nose of ripe plums, some marzipan, spices and a 'freshness' that begs you to go back to it; upfront fruit...quite rich with healthy acidity.My fears on another 'South African Bulldog' proved ungrounded.. this is a fine example of how South Africa is maybe now getting it right at the premium level.

Points 17.5

The Devil Ain't Always Right

Of all the white Burgundies..Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet & Meursault..the latter has always given me the most pleasure. Years ago there was always a bottle on a restaurant menu..and wine merchants had a few to choose from. Where are they now...Japan & China maybe...the label drinkers have taken them!
In my desperate search to re-live a 'Meursault Moment' I purchased this one recently..I was a little cautious
..12 years old...I shouldn't have listened to that devil on my shoulder.
Meursault Blagny 1995
Joseph Matrot
Meursault, France

Yellow gold colour...sherry aroma, oxidated nose...medium-full body...
balanced, this is quite rich..
but should have been drunk a few years ago
if you are a 'nose' man(or woman).

Points 15.5

Monday, November 19, 2007

Walking The Vineyards

I've walked the vineyards in Romanee-Conti..
I've been to the Chateau in Cheval Blanc...
and when I drink these wines..it is somehow
a little special.
Well..on our recent trip to the Black Forest..we walked the vineyards in Waldulm...Karl Hodapp has some vines behind his Gasthouse and we inspected the grapes (albeit the 2007 vintage)
He kindly gave me a bottle of his 2005...50cl to be exact...as a present. (Why aren't there more wines in this size..perfect for one person)






Waldumer Roter
Barrique Trocken (Spätburgunder)
Selection Karl Hodapp
Baden, Germany
Fresh Pinot with a strong berry aroma..some cherries; soft tannins in marriage with the
sweet fruit..spicy..charming..
good finish.
Points 16.5


PS....one point less than the Yakka Jack...but a wine I would enjoy at any time..as I said..it's down to tastes and styles

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yakka Jack Moan

You're moaning again..what's wrong? Is the wine bad?
No..not really..
Well then, stop moaning. Is it thin, weak, watery?
No..No..none of that..it's just.......
Has it been highly rated?..
Oh yes..Parker probably gave it 92....James Halliday gave it 94..
Well....they can't be wrong..
It's not all about right and wrong..it's about personal taste and style.
Tell us more about this wine then...
Well...it's a blend of 73% Cabernet Franc and 27% Sangiovese....and has a French nose and an Italian body..
Charles de Gaulle and Sophia Loren you mean...
NO!...my choice would be Sophie Marceau and Claudia Cardinale...but let's
get back to wine...
The Islander Estate
Yakka Jack 2004

Kangaroo Island, South Australia
This winery is on Kangaroo Island and is owned by Frenchman Jacques Lurton.
The first whiff is the Cabernet Franc..cedary oak;
as you work your way to the body..the Sangiovese takes over...velvety and smooth, some chocolate..returning to the nose..the Sangiovese is showing now..no sign of Monsieur de Gaulle anymore. Ripe fruits throughout..and I would have prefered the Cabernet to have remained more dominant( I believe they are increasing the amount for the 2005 vintage)
BUT..the old story for me..1 or 2 glasses..then I need a break..
I drank it over 2 days( it held up without any problems)..
would I buy it?..no...a one night stand..unless Sophie really begs me to...
Points 17.5

PS.. I bought 4 bottles from this vineyard..
and started with the top wine..
the others are..
Bark Hut Road 2003
Majestic Plough 2004
Wally White 2005
I'll try not to moan.......

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dowie Doole In Hooley Dooley Deutschland

Robert has a wine shop..he has been in business for 15 years now..which is saying something in these days of Supermarkets etc.He had heard that one of the co-owners of Dowie-Doule, a vineyard in Australia, was coming to Europe for 10 days..and so he organised a tasting followed by a meal at a local restaurant.The project is the brainchild of 3 guys who own their own vineyards.
Norm Doole, Drew Dowie and Leigh Gilligan are behind it all.
It's rather like neighbours asking each other for some milk or sugar for the coffee..as they forgot to get it at the shops..They'll take and mix to make it work..and it does...the range is interesting..vibrant...and with potential...it is still early days yet..and you get the feeling there is more to come.

The wines that could be tasted were:
Hooly Dooly White 2006...................
Simply Sunshine Red 2005

















Dowie Doole Merlot 2004...................Dowie Doole Shiraz 2004


















Also available were the 2 wines that accompanied the meal
I was asked to sit next to Drew Dowie
( because I speaka da lingo?....
or because of my wine experience?..
or maybe just because only the 2 of us understand Cricket?
)

He is charming, talkative, down to earth..and it was a splendid evening.

The three course meal was accompanied by the Chenin Blanc 2006 and the Hooley Dooley Red 2004.




Dowie Doole Chenin Blanc 2006
The grapes are from 70 year-old vines.
Pale straw in colour.
Cut grass, some apple and pears on the nose.
The palate shows tropical fruits and melon

with excellent balance and length.
Points 16.5








Dowie Doole Hooley Dooley 2004
The guys have come up with a fun easy drinking not too serious red blend that is just right. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Petit Verdot ( last 2 minimal) and is well oaked making it very drinkable. An aromatic nose dominated by ripe plums & cherries.. some spice and toasted oak. Again..on the palate..plums with chocolate and spice, well integrated oak and soft tannins.
Points 16







The highlight of the evening was the Syrah Reserve 2004


Dowie Doole Shiraz Reserve 2004
Opaque black crimson colour with black crimson hue.
Super nose...ripe plums and marzipan...
herbs..and oak.The palate shows

mouthfilling flavours of liquorice, white pepper,
spices and vanilla. The tannins are soft and 'sweet'.
Perfect balance..not OVERFAT as many Aussies are...
this is a pleasure now...how long will it age?..
well..7-10 years with ease.
Points 18

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knipser Riesling 2003

About a month ago Volker and myself went to the
annual Künstler tasting in Hochheim..he has recently moved premises..now in a large villa...very posh..
There is always a guest 'vigneron'..
and this year it was Knipser..Rheinland-Pfalz.
We waded though Künstler's Rieslings..
for me mouth-puckering at times

(Volker is a better taster of these babies)..
whether they will be worth the prices he now charges..we will have to wait and see.

Knipser's selections were mainly Vintage 2004.
and I was not overly impressed. In the middle of all the wines..one had stood out for us both ( was it the alcohol..or were our taste-buds still intact?).
We split a 6 pack...and left.




Recently Volker asked me..if I had ever gotten some Knipser wine for him
(DOH!!..his memory is going). I said we had purchased at the tasting.
So..a couple of days after this conversation..my wife prepared
some Sauerkraut and Liver Sausage at home..and a Riesling was required.

Knipser Riesling Auslese Trocken Halbstück 2003
Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
This spends it's infancy in 600
Liter 10-Year-Old Oak Barrels.
Citrus fruit aromas, melons and peaches, AND..petroleum!!
( I'm often seen down the local petrol station..inhaling)
Ripe fruit, very clear definition, full, again citrus acidity
but the fruit (Restsüße) just wraps it up to present a
super Riesling...minerals and spices and a long finish
make this a bargain ( about 15 Euros if I remember)




Points 17.5








Wednesday, November 14, 2007

J.J. Adeneuer Frühburgunder 2006

Frühburgunder is a clone of the Spätburgunder grape..a sort of 'early' Pinot.
It is trickier to grow than
it's big brother..and you probably won't find it outside of Germany..
only 130 hectares are grown.


J.J. Adeneuer Frühburgunder 2006
Ahr, Germany

Pale rimmed..no denying it's what it is..
Family Pinot..this is good stuff..
sweet(as opposed to mouth puckering),
full, velvety............tannin..forget it..
this is 100% juicy fruit..but more than a 'gulper'.
Take this seriously..lots of harmony, some
liquorice appeared..it is said these wines can age 6-8 years..and I can believe it..only trouble is..
this was the 5th bottle of a 6er pack!..
You know how it is..you go into the cellar..
something with pasta...or a cold platter....
and the long bottle is more visible than others..
anyway..that's my excuse.

Points 17


As we near the end of 2007...this vineyard was
tops for price-quality..all 4 of the wines I drank
were excellent in their price range.

Here the other notes
J.J. Adeneuer No1 Spätburgunder 2005
&
J.J.Adeneuer Spätburgunder 2006


J.J. Adeneuer No 2 Spätburgunder 2005

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mas La Plana

I used to drink this often..
years & years & years ago...
Torres was new to us then..
and had (still has) a great range.
It has been a while since I
tasted the Flagship wine.

Torres Mas La Plana 1998
Cabernet Sauvignon
Penedés , Spain
Quite dark in colour; spicy oak..
with some vanilla; complex and balanced,
brimming with black berry fruits
Big tannic palate, but with fine
sweet cassis fruit.
Decant this as it still showed well the next day.
Will go on improving..3-5 years.
Points 17.5


My memory tells me this was a different mix all those years ago.. ...has the Cabernet Sauvignon increased over the years? These are now old-vines.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ripe Riesling

Dr. Bürklin-Wolf
Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen

Riesling Spätlese trocken 1999,

Rheinland Pfalz, Germany

Drank over 2 days..firstly with some
Smoked Salmon sandwiches..
then a day later with Sauerkraut.

Clear classic nose..trace of petroleum
on the second day..but not too forthcoming...
what you do get are some peaches;
soft spices on the palate...
this is where the wine gets plus points..
just so finely weighted...
a real pleasure... at it's peak now...



acidity integrated into the fruit.
I wavered between 2 scores..so decided on

Points 17.25

Friday, November 09, 2007

Expensive Swiss Pinot

Mattmann Pinot Noir 2004
Churer Rheintal
Bündner Herrschaft, Switzerland
Clean fresh aroma of cherries..
plenty
of finesse..tobacco...similar flavour..well-balanced..very well
made and like any
good wine...
consistant from start to finish.

Points 17

So why not more...this is supposed to be THE top Swiss Pinot. Well...give me Gantenbein anytime.


This wine is not cheap..and for
a third of the price I could buy
one of the new-wave Spanish wines
(which it reminded me of).
I have stated previously.. I like my Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder to be 'Burgundian' in style...
the Austrians have their own style..
and in this case..this Swiss winemaker
and I are not completely compatible.

White Man's Red

Can white man produce red indian?..this answer simply in this case..is no.
Cuilleron makes perhaps the one of the best Viognier in the whole world.
His St. Joseph Rouge, is made entirely from Syrah, and vinified into three separate cuvees:
"Les Pierres Seches", "Cuvee Prestige L'Amarybelle" and "Les Serines".
About 25,000 bottles of the "Pierres Seches" are produced yearly

Domaine Cuilleron Saint Joseph Rouge
'Pierres Seches' 2001,
Rhône, France

Tangy but giving nothing on the nose. Bright and crisp on the palate, but initially offers little in the way of texture or fruit flavour. Dry in the mouth...gave a little with airing and food...but not a glass you want to go back to...unless pushed....a bit boring..

Points 15

Monday, November 05, 2007

French Spätburgunder

What with the short holiday break..then the cold I had afterwards...there were bottles 'en masse' in the cellar to be tried. On top of that..couldn't do my
Radio Show due to technical difficulties...so some form of compensation was needed...and after much thought I decided on one of the bottles I had purchased while in Baden.
Weingut Wassmer Spätburgunder
Rotwein 'R' 2004
trocken, Barrique
Baden, Germany

Decided to purchase this after reading that 'Gault Millau' had voted Fritz Wassmer as 'Find Of The Year 2005'
Pale-rimmed (boring I know..but most are). VERY French in style...if I had tasted blind..I would have chosen Burgundy. Lovely strawberry nose..still reserved and should develope. On the palate much more to enjoy...really lovely mouthful of ripe fruit..silky & 'sweetish' as all good Pinot's are..but of course dry..just about the right weight—held beautifully as you roll it around...and the finish was long and capped a really good glass of my favourite grape. This is the first 2004 that I have raved about...and I have no choice but to give it
Points 18.5



Checking out more about Herr Wassmer..he spent a long time in Burgundy learning about the grape..and had gotten to know someone who had worked with Domaine Romanee-Conti...so my first impression was about right..and he most definitely has a winner here.

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