Friday, August 29, 2008

Glühwein

A neighbour came round and gave me this photo. It was taken at Christmas 2007. I had been asked by the town to DJ for 3 hours..I agreed with the stipulation...no Christmas songs..just Soul & Gospel. It was the coldest night of the year I think. I wrapped up well...note the white gloves..and pleased some of the people part of the time.....dedicated 'Silent Night' lovers only got a gospel version. Why post this on a wine blog? Well...sympathetic fans..on seeing me freeze my **** off....kept offering me Glühwein. Glühwein is prepared from red wine, heated....and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar. It is the cheapest red you can get..is my guess...and probably only drinkable when hot. As a dedicated wine lover..I opted to have my **** freeze over before taking even one sip of the dreaded stuff!
See..I can post without mentioning Spätburgunder....oh damm...done it again. Wonder how it tastes slightly warmed?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Better Früh Than Never

A recent comment to a post...not another Spätburgunder!
If you were a fish in the ocean...you'd eat what was around you. Right?
I am the fish..surrounded by Baden, Ahr, Rheingau, Pfalz and Franken.
You get my point?
But.. I am trying to change...see this post.
A Frühburgunder! What is that you say...or maybe you don't say..if you are a clever dick!
Well...work it out........you can't?..OK..Früh means early...you get it..Spät means.....give the man a prize........late!
It is a mutation of a Spätburgunder...sounds like something from outer space!
Only grown in the Ahr area as far as I know....but no doubt I'll get an answer to the contrary.

A recent comment on this wine was that it was OK on first sipping..then faded to be short and flat. Surely the point was missed. Think Pinot Noir-Burgundy for Spätburgunder but for this Frühburgunder..think Gamay-Beaujolais. It is a dead-ringer for a Beaujolais Village...what I would have guessed at....tasted blind.
OK..down to the nitty-gritty...
Oh yes..the background 'tree' has a flower like a toilet brush..or maybe a bottle cleaner would be more appropriate...comes from Portugal.

Meyer-Näkel Frühburgunder 2006
Ahr, Germany
Burnt cherry nose...creamy layer...which takes you into a smooth, up-front fruity wine. Well balanced...more berry fruits...goes down a treat...no big ending..but horses for courses...and this would be a fairly serious wine for sausages (Bratwürst to you)..which was on the plate. The bottle 'almost' emptied..and as the evening cooled down...it did not suffer as many wines can...a little cooler it was also delicious..and the mid-fruit..seemed to enjoy the challenge.
Points 16.25
The Adeneuer 2006 was a little more 'serious' than this one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ugly Duckling

Spätburgunder vintages...the 2003 produced some fine wines if you chose well...after the hot summer....and 2005 was a real crowd pleaser..from birth...no matter what you taste...whether they will age 10 years remains to be seen...but who cares....
As to 2004...an 'ugly duckling' vintage...and in Baden...exceptions of course...but the general impression is closed and needing time...will they become beautiful swans?...
The reason for this purchase...was because after tasting the Zalwander..I was interested to see what the cellermaster, Odin Bauer, did at the day job.
Freiherr von Gleichenstein Spätburgunder
Oberrotweiler Eichberg Spätlese trocken 2004
Baden, Germany
Quite deep in colour..for a Pinot...thick cherry fruit hits you from the glass...then a delicate perfume developes...medium deep fruit on the palate...very 'masculine' in style...big..even chunky..slice it with a knife...spicy..about as fiery as it gets for the grape. I let it settle overnight...had held up well...
but still staying 'ugly'
Points 16.25

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Baden Style, Nahe Class

Not a comparative tasting...
but tried on consecutive evenings...
The wine won 3rd prize at one of the 'Best Riesling' competitions held in Germany. The winner was...Papa Andreas Laible's Weingut. This is the top wine of this young project.
For terroir fans..father's vines are on granite..Alexander's on mainly marly soil.
Alexander Laible Riesling *** Chara 2007
Durbach, Baden, Germany
Bright, fresh...nose offers some grapefruit..a lot of citrus fruit..my wife thought orange peel...
If you froze this and sold it as an ice-lolly...you'd get complaints. This is 'real' dry..but not the mouth-puckering stuff...just a massive amount of minerals..mixed with some spice..mid-fruit...filled out as the bottle emptied. Trace of smoke..and again..a real spice bomb. Good finish.
Points 16.75 € 16

Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen
Riesling trocken 2007
Nahe, Germany
To show how good the above Laible Chara is..I decided to travel north...what better way to measure quality than against a top Vineyard from the Nahe.








In 2006 the word 'Spätlese' was on the label..but the powers that be in the Nahe decided not to show it with 'trocken' wines in this vintage.

Looks like a green apple in colour...aromas of grapefruit..and..yes..you guessed it..apple. Steely..and to be expected..minerals from the top shelf. The acidity lingers while the fruit dances.....a terroir wine with vines nicely matured...juicy apple finish.
Emrich-Schönleber wines just ooze class....
Points 16.5 €14

A salad of class as well...marinated strips of sushi tuna on a bed of red beetroot.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bargain Baden Burgundy

You wait for a bus for ages..then 2 come along at once.
Not really a great comparison as I have been drinking plenty of wines with very good price/quality ratio. It just seemed I am blessed by the wine god at the moment. After the Laible..I opened this little gem.













Fritz Waßmer Spätburgunder Barrique 2005

Baden, Germany
Dried, sour cherry nose..just a faint beetroot smell...and a fair dollop of barriques (spends time in a big one)..just lovely to smell...and the palate offers soft, spicy, ripe fruit. Very Burgundian which is the Waßmer style..and I am a fan...! Drink this with anything barbecued..or even in a menu with pasta maybe....for lovers of young, upfront Pinot. The French are improving..but find me a Burgundy of this quality for the same money...€ 11,--
Points 16.5...perhaps worth a little more..but surely not for the price!!!
Send me the next bus...
Try repeating the title 10 times...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Young Laible, Old Vines

Alexander Laible Riesling ***
Alte Reben trocken 2007
Baden, Germany
Oh yes...I like this one.
One of my likes when popping a cork..is the instant whiff that has you jogging to the glass cabinet. Not so in this case....no cork. Screwcap..still had me jogging though...
I mentioned on a previous post how this new venture started...
The Weissburgunder had been pleasant..but the family Laible are know for their Rieslings.
At first the imprssion is a typical young Riesling....but there is a whole lot more here.
Traces of lavender...some peach and a tight spicyness....still....this doesn't prepare you for the first mouthful....mid-weight...compact..minerals...that 'old vine' taste...fills the palate..just a touch of acidity at the end..and a very good long finish.
We are not talking about breaking the bank here. This cost....wait for it.......I said wait...
10 Euros!!! Amazing value...and this is the cheapest of the three Rieslings I purchased from Alexander Laible.
For all you terrace-sippers..this would be a favourite..but this would impress any dinner guests with a pasta salad( which is what I ate with it)...some Asian food (Fish and Chips?..who knows after the Olympics)...or really any Fish course. Buy this by the bucket-load (is there such a size?). Best price/quality wine of the 2007 vintage up to now.
Points 16.75

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clouds Knowhow

A recent post from fellow blogger Joe on white Graves sent me into the cellar...
I have a couple of 'golden' oldies down there somewhere.
Three bottles...all different vintages.
In the late 80's I was in Bordeaux with some Americans...and one of the Chateaux we visited was Domane de Chevalier. It
is situated in the middle of a forest area on the outskirt of Léognan town, around 17 km south of Bordeaux city. There are 5 ha of "white" vines planted with 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, and these are 25 years old on average.
Vintages 1970-1982 were made by previous owner Claude Ricard, who sold the Domaine to the Bernard family in 1983. He stayed,however, at the property until 1988, in order to help and teach young Olivier Bernard the art of making white wine. Vintages 1983, 1984 and 1985 were made with increasing influence of Olivier Bernard, and vintage 1986 was the first one Olivier Bernard stood 100% for.
We had been promised a few reds to taste and a white. Th
e reds arrived..all were very good....but then the surprise. Monsieur Bernard served the white at the finish...and it blew the previous wines away. It was the 1984..and I purchased a bottle there and then.
The other two in the photo were acquired..and have all been sitting there (well...lying there..)..feeling lonely and unwanted. Sorry girls..but I just forgot you...anyway...the rule with this white Bordeaux is...let it age....so..again.. sorry girls..I was waiting for the wrinkles to appear.
It was a warm evening but the heavens above were on overtime..a constantly changing cloud formation.
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 1992
Graves, Bordeaux
Yellow colour..like a sweet corn.....from then on....not so bright...oxidised nose....receeded with a little work...well...more than a little...twisting, shaking...moving the hips..anything to make this one good. I guess your moves are no longer up to it Barry....hardly a difference...altho the feel on the palate was good...and there is fruit there...one more shake of the butt...nope...nada....
Points.....can't, won't, shan't...the clouds above should have warned me.

A delightful salad had been prepared by Mrs Blogger...Eva-Maria...the one who I have been married to for 32 years...you remember...previous posts...
Some spinach, Rucola and various others salads...a selection of paprikas and goat's cheese in a cloak of bacon.









The clouds looked a little friendlier....

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Sonnenuhr
R
iesling Spätlese trocken 2007
Mosel, Germany

Lightish..delicate....nice bright wine...some pear..and a touch of honey...Spätlese trocken..and it is what is claims to be. Although seeming light and easy..it has depth and a fine reserved acidity...methinks this will develope nicely....
Points 16.25





Sunday, August 17, 2008

Number One Still Second

J.J. Adeneuer No1
Spätburgunder trocken 2005
Ahr, Germany
Long 'legs' in the glass....grainey nose of subdued fruit...still holding back......style..well..almost Bordeaux compared to Burgundy...developed a sweet aroma..seems even more closed than a year ago tho...
again..soft but grainey tannins wrapped around some cherry tones...leave it alone...and I mean ALONE..for 2-3 years
Points 17.25
The 2005 No 2 from this vineyard is still at the front in this 2 horse race

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Itchy Twitchy Feeling

I don't give up easily...if at first you don't
succeed......try another bottle!..no..that's not right.
If at first you don't suceed..work on it..try it again later...maybe tomorrow..maybe next week...no...that's no good either...instead of being a 'Wino'..I'd become a 'Vinegaro'. Where am I going with this?....well....in the case of the wine below...nowhere at the moment.









Peter Jakob Kühn
Riesling Landgeflecht trocken 2007

Rheingau, Germany

Small 'pearly' bubbles in a glass of medium yellow...the recent young Rieslings have shown this at times...no need to get twitchy!....first sip....light 'Prosecco'...oops...first twitch. Left it till next day...a little more body...an OK aperitif at the moment. If you want flowers...you only get stalks at the moment....a bunch of Roses in a year or two?.....at € 19.....I need more convincing. It needs fattening up....one of those Riesling that I find difficult to appraise when in it's youth. The name and vineyard suggest it MUST get better than this...
Points 14.5

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Doolally Barry

Hang on you say...Barry has gone doolally..
drinking the same wine again..and
posting it.
Well..you blind fool..take another look....same background (flowers for our anniversary) and a different glass..AND..a different wine. How could you ever doubt me?
Am I drinking too much Spätburgunder? Maybe....but it all tastes so good.
AND..if it's not broken..don't mend it. Maybe I should start drinking more Syrah(Shiraz) from Australia or Cabernet Franc from the Loire...I may then still smile..but not have the big grin I get when trying MY grape. The best kept secret...not really...but thankfully the rest of the world only get a small
proportion of German reds....so.. I have DEDICATED myself to tasting them..and passing on the information. That's my excuse JOE..and I'm sticking to it.
Back from the dentists..the choppers working fine...I had the suckling-pig again..which always tastes better next day...it obviously needs 'airing' like many reds. As promised (as Annette Snell sang..'Promises Should Never Be Broken')..I opened the top of the range 'S' from Meyer-Näkel.
Meyer-Näkel
Spätburgunder 'S' trocken 2005

Ahr, Germany
As is usually the case..in younger vintages..the 'lesser' wines shows better.
This is tighter than the Blauschiefer...dark cherries...mushrooms..and what I always seem to smell and taste in good Spätburgunder..a sort of soft marzipan...... a trace of hidden vanilla...decent acidity..and as it opened..a soft, even velvety mouthful....quite concentrated..and fine finish. It overtook it's sibling as the bottle emptied with ease (still a glassful there if anyone wants it).
Points 17.75

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wine For Dentists

Sunday was my 32nd wedding aniversary....
breakfast in the garden...my radio show...and a meal of Suckling-Pig and 'Pfifferling' mushrooms. I had 'lost' a tooth the previous evening..so was gonna have something real nice before the repair work started next day at the dentist.

Meyer-Näkel Blauschiefer
Spätburgunder trocken 2006

Ahr, Germany

Vineyard with Blauschiefer(Blue Slate)..the wine spends 10 months in mostly used barrels...the oak stroking the grapes....and that's the general feeling in the glass. Before I got there I had to pull the cork...and the first whiff of freedom made me smile...where is that glass?....Sour cherry dominant..but there are small berry fruits there as well..raspberry..and maybe blueberry..and then a smokeyness followed by juicy full fruit on the palate..with soft tannins..perfectly packaged...and at € 20..a top wine. Meyer Näkel says it was a superb vintage in the Ahr...many other areas harvested in rain...not here..and it shows in this wine. The 2006 'S' must be wonderful...will let you know after the dentist.
Points 17.25..need to buy a few more bottles..recommended

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Two Whites Don't Make A Wong

Alexander Laible Weißer Burgunder 2007
Durbach, Baden, Germany
I am not a great lover of Weissburgunder..altho recently..I have had a couple of real 'goodies'.
Alexander Laible...son of Andreas Laible.. and who..along with his brother Andreas Junior..has been helping make the family concern one of the top stars for Riesling in Baden.







By coincidence..Alexander saw an empty bakery and, on the spur of the moment, decided to do it..and start making wine in his own name. His first
vintage 2006 earned him accolades...and signs of a good future.
I bought 3 Rieslings and this Weißer Burgunder....which was showing it's baby-fat on opening..still slightly fizzy, ordinary sweet fruit...but had filled out next day...showing good middle fruit and a nice balance. That's a good note from me..not being a BIG lover of this grape. Started with 15.5..next day...
Points 16

Domaine Le Pas de L'Escalette
Les Clapas Blanc 2005

Languedoc, France
The 'clapas' are drystone walls surrounding the vineyards.Julien Zernott is the winemaker at the exceptional Domaine Henry Pellé in Menetou-Salon, so he knows about good wines.
No 'bulky-hit ya in one' wine here...you have to be prepared for these southern whites.
Made to make you work..and you usually are rewarded.
Elegant..finesse...a subtle mix of Carignan and Terret Bourret. You can get a touch of sweet oak in among all those minerals that exude from the glass.The wine is aged half in vat and half in wood. While you get a fresh young feeling...this has a lot of character and should age for a couple of years.
Points 16.5
Two Whites to keep me away from the TV..watching the 'modern' Olympics in 'Mr.Wong' China...full of professionals and drugs....the good old days comes to mind....when only 'amateurs' were allowed..and your drug was maybe a quick smoke after training...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Purple People Eater

A day ago.. I had lunch with relatives and friends....The host gave me a glass of red..I guessed at New World 'Bordeaux'..the wine on offer was a South African Cuvée..
Springfield Estate 'A Work Of Time' 2001
Robertson district....it was 40% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Cabernet Franc. Asked what I thought..I said a really nice glass...deep crimson colour..ripe blackberry fruit..very up-front and acceptable for all drinkers. A second glass, however, was becoming boring. One-dimensional..it will win tastings (one sip..next please)..and was around € 14,-- a decent wine for that price.

A mixed case of wines arrived... I had asked the merchant to pop in one bottle of his choice in red..up to € 25,--The bottle below arrived..he hadn't taken advantage..this cost € 14.50
Olivier Pithon 'La Coulée' 2005

Côtes du Roussillon, France
A wine from Carignan, Mouvedre and Cinsault grapes.
Deep deep colour with 'Purple People Eater' rim...after a few sips of this..you will scare the baby if you smile...
Imagine crushed red and black berries in a bowl..sat out in the fields...you get all this in the bouquet (or was it the sun playing tricks on my senses)... you don't notice the alcohol...this is full of flavour..but no heavyweight....rich textured..ripe fruits, spicy.....'funky' fruit..and the tannins hanging in there at the finish...a great food wine..but also a pleasure on it's own. This is what the French do well...particularly in the south...
Points 17

Purple People Eater

Monday, August 04, 2008

Mr Pape and Days Gone By.

Twenty years ago..I was drinking various bottles of Chateauneuf-du-Pape..mainly the excellent 1978 vintage..what a treasure they were..and still undiscovered..price-wise also very reasonable. All the legendary names were tried..old sweet smelling wines..that sounds unattractive..but it wasn't. Times have changed, of course, the wines nowadays are BIGGER..MODERN...and generally over-priced. The best..well..one of the best (Pegau and a few others would contest this statement)..was Beaucastel. The whites close up after a couple of years..and the reds are similar..get them in their blooming youth..otherwise..hibernation time before they sprout again.

Chateau de Beaucastel 1994
Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Rhone, France
Pape colour...medium ruby with orange-brown rim..this certainly looks good...first whiff..mouldy old aroma which disappeared with a few swirls...funky nose....a real melange of all things animal...some peppers, plums..leathery saddle..earthy. Now..this has developed quicker than expected..and has a 'lighter' style than most..tannins are soft and brittle and integrated..a palate of currants..some dark truffle..meaty...and a good finish. It all sounds very good..and it is..BUT..this is not a GREAT wine for Beaucastel. Certainly ready now....
Points 17.25

Have decided..older wines get an older looking 'Font'

Peace Brother Peace

Once you have had the best...everything else...no matter how hard it tries...just doesn't make it. We discovered a Chinese Restaurant about 10 years ago..they closed after two years..and since then..a vacuum...nothing compares.
My first Sauvignon Blanc was probably a Sancerre...as it was all that was available back then.
New World wines brought a wide variety of the grape..mainly the sweaty armpit - overdone gooseberry style.I took a step back (well..you would..wouldn't you) and took my interest elsewhere. About 7 years ago I heard of an Italian grower Vie di Romans..he made two styles of Sauvignon Blanc..one in wood..the other in steel. Both were a revelation...but Mr Steel came out on top. I have not drank enough of it since..last one was HERE..but I do still have one 2004 in my cellar.This is the benchmark for me.


Ataraxia 2006
Kevin Grant

Western Cape, South Africa
Layed back gooseberry aroma..which made this instantly a friend..green asparagus, which as you know,I love...ripe fruit..no teeth-clenching stuff...just a touch of lemon...soft and grassy..the acidity binds the creaminess well..exotic juices..not the TOP..but agreeable SB.
16.5
To be honest..I
forgot what this had cost...10 Euros..so really very good for the price.

"The term Ataraxia is used to describe emotional tranquillity, or in more expanded terms, the freedom from disturbance that characterises a balanced mind and constitutes its first step towards the achievement of pleasure, the Greek word for which is hêdonê, from which we get the English word, hedonism. It’s really about conveying the very essence of what drinking good wine does for and to us as human beings."

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Knox Knox.....Who's There

Au Bon Climat 'Knox Alexander'
Pinot Noir 2005 Santa Maria Valley,
California, U.S.A.

Don't you just hate it when the last glass is the best? The bottle was opened and aired....and showed all the fighting qualities the 'Knox' has. The 2004 was more approachable a few months ago. Big bold flavours here....and tannins are tightly packaged..of all the ABC wines..this always shows a masculinity.







Next day..the last third of the bottle..raspberries on the nose...
still slightly funky...juicy flavours..and now showing why it is so highly rated. I promise to open the next 'Knox' 2 days in advance in future.
Points 17.5+

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