Monday, March 29, 2010

Wine, Soccer & A Good Sleep

Saturday wine-tasting is usually not something I agree to....Sunday I play soccer...and at my age I need all the help (good night's sleep) I can get. Our local wine merchant and friend, Robert, wanted to try some whites...and as the time was 6pm...I gladly agreed. The clocks were put forward in the night...but the end to this intro is...I slept well...and felt as fit as ever on the Sunday morning soccer pitch.








The tasting was to take place at friend Volker's house...and he had been underway very early to buy fresh fish. Trout Tartar...followed by Tuna Carpaccio...a bouncy mixed salad...and some delightful fresh shrimps on a lentil bed. All beautifully prepared...and a fine selection of cheeses (and tasty salted butter) meant the food was as good at ever at Chez Volker.






The flight of whites...3 covered bottles
1.
Paso Robles Barrel 27 Wine Company
High On The Hog Paso Robles 2008
California, U.S.A.
A cuvée of 39% Grenache Blanc, 36% Viognier, 20% Rousanne & 5% Marsanne...so the style obviously showed what you get in the Languedoc. Vanilla and some peach on the nose...on the palate this had some sweetness which detered from the pleasure slighly...BUT...with the tartar was very good...and methinks this needs a good airing...or even a decant at the moment.
Points 14



2.
Patrizia Fellugi & Figli
Zuani Vigne Bianco Collio
2008
Friaul, Italy
Patrizia, daughter of Marco, produces two versions of Zuani...this is the unoaked one...
I traced some Sauvignon Blanc at it opened in the glass...the actually mix is Tocai Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio...good mineral notes...gentle pear & apricots...good.
Points 15





3.
Patrizia Fellugi & Figli

Zuani Zuani 2007
Friaul, Italy
This is the oaked version...a year older...hay, flowers, some citrus and more dominat gooseberry.
Points 15
With white wine tastings...I feel the wines don't get a fair marking sometimes...maybe other tasters find it easier...but I am sure the above three would have faired better drank alone...




The evening had started with Robert saying...'after the whites we have some Pinots'...and a vision of me lying on the soccer pitch like a drowned whale passed before my eyes! But hey...I am known as Mr. Pinot around here...and was not about to refuse.

The information was...

3 Countries
4 Vintages
4 Growers
in other words...no hope of guessing anything 100%...but that was fine by me...no pressure in advance.
1.
Hansruedi Adank Pinot Noir 2008
Fläsch, Graubünden, Switzerland
Pale colour...and this reminded me of something tasted recently...only after it was revealed did I pin-point the up-front dark berry style that can be found in Switzerland. This is a basic wine...costs around € 15,--...dark smoke...juicy...fruit-driven...with hardly any oak. It would be interesting to step up in quality to see what Hansruedi has to offer. Fläsch is the home of the Swiss Pinot God..Gantenbein.
Points 16.25





2.
Antica Terra Pinot Noir 2007
Willamette Valley, Oregon, U.S.A.
I have to admit...Pinot makes you honest...and after we had tried all 4 wines...I went back again and again..to steal from the decanter. I just had to...this was so perfect from start to finish. Has the be French I said...how wrong I was. Perfect bright aromas of strawberry and raspberry...maybe the decanting helped...but this smelled older...and the dustiness said to me French...as I said...how wrong I was. Fragrant...with lovely layers of gamey fruit...a delicious bouncy acidity..and some oaky smoky oak. A very good finish.
As an afternote...Maggie Harrison used to work for the cult property Sine Qua Non...
Every year, the Antica Terra Pinot Noir is different. Antica Terra wines are blends of estate and purchased fruit, and the mixes change each year. The palette of purchased fruit changes - Maggie buys fruit from a handful of sources. And the quality of the estate fruit varies with each vintage. Check this out...impressive.
Points 17.5

3.
Jean Javillier & Fils Volnay-Caillerets 2005
Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Robert had searched for a French Pinot ( a German would have been a good choice as an afterthought). Chewy fruit...gentle smoke...a touch short on fruit...and suffered from being placed after the Antica Terra.
Points 15.5








4.
Sine Qua Non A Capella Pinot Noir 2000
Oregon, U.S.A.
This had been brought along by a fellow taster. As I mentioned...Sine Qua Non is the cult wine...and baby of Manfred Krankl. Crazy bottle shape...and a hefty 14.3% on the bottle. Medium deep colour....a slight mustiness...muted...needed air...peppery aroma...mushrooms...tobacco and very herby. This is maybe just past it's best...there were traces of what had been...but the mid-palate was lean. It is an 'interesting' wine...just not sexy enough though. I am still waiting to be 'seduced' by this property!
Points 16.5

Tailor Made

If you are looking for a grower who will try anything, and is not afraid to fail, then Markus Schneider is your man. I have enjoyed his red 'Steinsatz' and this is a step up. The 'only Sansibar' seems to be a special bottling for some merchant. The wine is a cuvée of Cabernet Franc and St. Laurent. The bottle is a heavyweight...hang on...I don't mean the wine inside...just the actual bottle weighs as much as a magnum...as I said...Markus Schneider doesn't do things by halfs!
Markus Schneider Tailor 2007 - only Sansibar
Pfalz, Germany
Deep purple colour...intense blackcurrant...reminded me very much of the liquor Crème de Cassis. Smooth on the palate and enticing...then the grainy tannins set in...but this only adds to it's charm. Rich, ripe fruit...and an attractive coolness...I can only recommend you try this...don't smile at the baby afterwards though...that purple leaves it's mark...as does this 'one-off' style of Herr Schneider.
Points 17.5

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ebringen Trio

Situated south of Freiburg...Markgräflerland...and an area with great potential. This is a Weingut to keep an eye on. Decent 2006 reds and 2007 whites showed promise. Now, a year later, improvement is there. I ordered 3 bottles direct from the property.
Pinot Noir trocken 2007 (2008 was sent but as you will see...no pain), Pinot Gris trocken 2008 and the top red...Pinot Noir trocken Barrique S 2007. Let's look at the prices...
The simple red was € 10,-- ...the Pinot Gris € 12,-- ...and the 'S' € 22,--.
Andreas Engelmann has a fair pricing system.



Schlossgut Ebringen Pinot Noir trocken 2008
Baden, Germany
For the price... a really delicious mouthful...strawberry fool...and the slight simple sweetness with gentle tannins make this a red for the summer months ahead.
Points 16




Schlossgut Ebringen Pinot Gris trocken 2008
Baden, Germany
A real surprise here...pear aromas...and fine vanilla...and a body not to be sniffed at...no lightweight here...medium-bodied and quite complex...complete harmony.
Points 16.25



Schlossgut Ebringen Pinot Noir trocken Barrique 2007
Baden, Germany
As I mentioned...comparing the 'top' wines to the basic ones...you have to work harder with the better stuff...the compexity needs patience. These vines are grown on the best plot...Ebringer Sommerberg...spending at least 14 months in Allier oak...forest berries...with the layer of vanilla...and secondary notes beginning to show...like a mirror of the basic wine....with complex overtones. Very good
Points 16.5


Monday, March 22, 2010

A Birthday Bash

And so to another Birthday.....I've been a '60 something' for a few years now...my mispent youth was in the Beatles' years...they even wrote a song about my age....'When I grow older, losing my hair (still got plenty)...many years from now....will I still be drinking German Pinot Noir'...or at least...that should have been the lyric!
Family & Friends...we met up to eat, drink, be merry...and in my case...suffer the next day.
The wines...well...a white of my favourite grape nowadays...another white from Italy...my favourite Sauvignon Blanc...and then 4 German Pinots from the excellent 2007 Vintage
Willi Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Alte Rebe 2005
Niederösterreich, Austria
Rich 'old vine' nose...white melon...ripe apples..still steely...grew in glass...even 2 hours after opening
Points 16.25






Vie di Romans Piere Sauvignon 2005
Friaul, Italy
Showing age I thought...but it can't be...then the reason...not a definite 'cork'...but most definitely 'tainted'. Something had fallen into this one...and ruined any total enjoyment. Strangely...if I had pulled the only other bottle I have from my cellar...we would no doubt we waxing lyrically about it.
Points...not scored




The block of four reds were planned...the first 3 had all received the same 'marks' in Gault Millau...
Hartmut Schlumberger Spätburgunder S 2007
Baden, Germany
I had tried the top wine a few days ago....this was slightly jammy...not a negative in these basic wines...smokey...lots of juice...and backbone...
Points 16







Weingut Schumacher Garten Spätburgunder 2007
Pfalz, Germany
Medium deep...gentle sweet strawberry...and the earthy style of the Pfalz. Some tasters rated this one higher...other prefered the Schlumberger. The price would swing it...this costs € 19,--
Points 16





Weingut Michel Achkarrer Schlossberg Spätburgunder *** 2007
Baden, Germany
At €19,-- this was the winner of the three...complex nose...elegant...touch of vanilla...and a good backbone...I have tried this before and it was no surprise to see it do well.
Points 16.75




The last wine was a Großes Gewächs.
Phillip Kuhn Steinbuckel Grosses Gewächs Pinot Noir 2007
Pfalz, Germany
Cherry fruit...a slab of marzipan on the palate...backward, compared to all the others...but give it a year or two...real pedigree
Points 17.25

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pinot Patience

Two recent purchases...that...although give pleasure now...need time to 'beautify'...spots, pimples and gawkiness still evident...but a treasure lies beneath. How's that for an erotic start to this post!

Karl Johner Blauer Spätburgunder SJ 2005
Baden, Germany
You don't see the SJ on winelists too often...the last time I had it was in a restaurant...the 2003...
Deepish colour...dark cherry aroma...in fact...a real 'dark' feel to it...until the palate...where there is sweet strawberries and a very lively acidity...needs a few years
Points 17




Schlumberger Altenberg Pinot Noir GG 2007
Baden, Germany
A first from this property...I am going to try the basic 'S' in a few days...but can't resist a 'Grosses Gewächs' when I enter my wine cellar.
This spends 12 months in...mostly...new oak. Tears can make you happy...the glass dripped with them (see photo)...soft cherry fruit...with a layer of vanilla...and the complex tannins saying...drink me now if you are impatient (I admit it!)...but lie me down in some dark corner (which reminds me of my mispent youth...ahhh..the girls I left behind).And...the best dressed girls are not always the best...but I do like this label...very classy...
Points 17.25

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chateau Germania

As if the French don't have enough problems with competition for Pinot Noir. How can the Germans compete with the Bordelais? Well...there are plenty of very good Cabernet wines here...Knipser's Cuvee X is a great example...2003 & 2005. Which leads me to this Lemberger. A grape grown primarily in Württemberg...and if you want the best...then Herr Aldinger is for you. A recent 2005 had been a 'wow' wine...
Aldinger Fellbacher Lämmler GG***
Lemberger 2007
Württemberg, Germany

Deep colour...ripe cherries and a forceful blackberry nose...fine spices...surprisingly soft...the 20 months spent in oak along with the soft, rounded tannins make for a very pleasant mouthful. A port-like feel in it's youth...but elegant...and will develope beautifully...and as you can read...a wine to keep you interested...even some cigar...which pulls me back to the Bordeaux comparison. The price was € 25,-- and you would have difficulty finding similar quality with 'Chateau' on the bottle.
Points 17.5

PS....A recent post threw up the question as to what the object in the background was. Here a better view. It is a piece if a tree...you can see the bark...hand made from then on...with sliding drawers for small objects...the ladies would no doubt place their jewelry in there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bathroom Delight!

You can read this post...but don't even think about finding a bottle...it is as rare as...errmmmm...a decent live Britney Spears vocal? Why?...well...this is what they call a 'Boutique Weingut'...Henrik Möbitz is a part-timer. He began in the mid- 90's with some acres near Freiburg that nobody wanted. The fermentation took place in the bathroom (something that has maybe happened to all of us!!!). He has around 2.5 acres nowadays( or if you prefer...around 3000 bottles)....some Gewürztraminer..and his love.. Pinot Noir.


Henrik Möbitz Kanzel Pinot Noir 2007

Baden, Germany

Not sure if I should try this tonight...but as it was a screwcap...it was open before I could say 'corkscrews to you! Looking at the bottle...11.5% alcohol...intriguing aroma of fresh strawberries...and there is a gentle earthy feel to the wine...saying...I am more French Burgundy (the label reminds me of a French property) than German Spätburgunder. Extreme juiciness...some animal smells (nice ones!) and black pepper. Minerals abound and there is more smell than body to this wine...and the bottle empties quickly with the alcohol content. An interesting addition to my 'finds'.
Points 17

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ebay Success

This is a first...I have never bid for any wines on Ebay before...but on a whim...and finding 3 different offers of Mayer-Näkel wines...I made some offers...and had 33.3% success with 2 bottles of the 2004 Vintage...at about half the price it would have cost in the shops. I guess the important points when bidding are...
1. Set out your price limit and
2. Decide you really want the wine..and are not just bidding because a wine may be cheaper.
The 2 bottles arrived...and after the usual rest period...I opened one...to go with some mild Indian food. Man...was it delicious.

Mayer-Näkel Spätburgunder S 2004
Ahr, Germany
An instant nose success...smoke, tobacco...some mushrooms...enticing smell...surprisingly...this is very mature...red berry fruit...layed-back coolness...the tannins rippling alongside the gentle acidity which covers the oak beautifully. Am I waxing lyrically here...YES...I AM!!!...and I am very proud of my first auction-wine. I asked the seller why he was offering it...he needed the money elsewhere was the answer...and he had a couple more bottles. Marks...well...I get told I overdo it with my favourite grape...and the 18 point mark is holy...so I'll give it..
Points 17.75

Friday, March 05, 2010

Red Portugal, White Italy, Green Austria

No...I am not repeating the last post by mistake....just a similar selection from some mixed cases recently purchased....
Passadoura Reserva 2004
Douro, Portugal
Deep purple-rimmed...a very 'cool' nose...not a blockbuster...but a gentle introduction....enticing you back....as with the prevous posted red from Portugal...ripe, dense tannins...with super fruit...a touch chewy if you are adverse to this style...but...as I said before...great reds from Portugal really appeal to me.
Points 17.5

Cusumano Chardonnay Jale 2007
Sicily, Italy
Another white from Italy...100% Chardonnay...from 10 year old vines...this one way down at the 'foot'...a strong metallic impression...something I detect often in young Chardonnay...it throws it off for a while...but never really loses it...a delicate style for the hot area...none of the overdone oak...did show some vanilla.....needs a year or two methinks...
Points 16





Can I convince you 'non-converted' to try a good Sauerkraut?...probably not with this photo as it bubbles away...with blood and liver 'Würst'....perfect for Riesling...but also a 'marriage' for a GV.





Weingut Knoll Gruner Veltliner
Smaragd Ried Schütt 2002

Wachau, Austria
A difficult year I am told...yellow-gold colour...much deeper than most...ripe, ripe melons...very intense...extreme spices...but the minerals just about reign it all in...I love Knoll's versions of this grape...and one of my favourite 'old-style' label...
Points 17.25

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