Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Let Your Friend Choose The Wine

A warm summer evening..and friend Volker came over for dinner. My wife promised him 'something simple' but it never works out that way. Once she starts....








I led him into the cellar

1. So he could decide the white....he chose the GV over a 1989 Riesling from Alsace
2. To browse the Pinot Noir / Spätburgunder section...choose what he wanted.
I returned after 10 minutes...and he mentioned the Schmitt's Kinder.
Now...I have been mulling over drinking my last bottle for a few months now...but always thought...'drink it with somebody'
Why not tonight....? The wine had been a Pinot Cup winner in 2006 alongside a Gantenbein 2004! I had called the property and managed to buy 2 bottles


Someone wrote recently on the net that they liked GV's but it was difficult to fit them in a fridge. I don't have that problem. Part of the mid-tray opens up to make room for long slim bottles. Dedicated GV drinkers have to buy a new fridge!
Knoll Grüner Veltliner
Vinothekfüllung Smaragd 2004

Wachau, Austria
All you can ask for from this grape....creamy without any overweight...soft spices...slightly peppery...richly extracted...nutty...just delicious with both starters..and à point at the moment.
Points 17.25






Schmitts Kinder
Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl

Spätburgunder trocken „S“ 2004
Franken, Germany
Gorgeous perfumed aroma...fine...elegant ...cherries..persistant...very seductive..medium full velvety mouthful...so much charm...liquid marzipan with a juicyness to set the taste buds off...and a long finish. I doubt the property have bettered this...and if I had another bottle I could enjoy it in 5 years. Blame Volker!
Points 17.75

Saturday, June 19, 2010

French Competition

France is the home of Pinot Noir. Great wines from Burgundy. A recent evening had some from the competition. Why mention France then?.....read on dear readers.
Frustated by the poor initial games from the World Cup....two friends invited me for dinner. I took along two wines....an Austrian and a German.




The food was, as usual, full of interest and 'lecker' (delicious).

Some 'Frikadellen' (Rissoles to you!)...spicy and tasty.
The main course...fresh local Chicken, Dal & Pak Soy.

A white offered by Volker...purchased from a holiday in the Wachau...was readily accepted.


Johann Donabaum Grüner Veltliner
Spitzer Point Federspiel 2009
Wachau, Austria
Delightfully fresh...reminded me of an Apfelwein Schorle (cider with a dash of fizzy water). It is lively...some aromatics...nicely weighted...12.5 %....it fairly 'prickles' on the palate...''Spritzer' would have been very appropriate instead of Spitzer.
Points 15.5










The vintage 2003 I remember well in Europe. HOT, HOT, HOT!
I often sat in my office in bathing t
runks. They said this was the future....but it has never repeated itself.
Hot vintages can be very difficult for growers....too much heat...too much alco
hol.
Schloss Halbturn Pinot Noir 2003
Burgenland, Austria

I had tried the 2005 about 18 months ago...v
ery good indeed. When this earlier vintage popped up on Ebay...I grabbed it. Intriguing aromas...almost too difficult to pinpoint...slightly funky...farmyard...wild cherry...whatever...really very fine smell. The success continues onto the palate...where you get a real juiciness...a gentle tannin grip...still some well-bound acidity....minerals...are you guessing I liked this?....you'd be right.
Points 17.75





Dr. Heger Achkarrer Schlossberg
Spä
tburgunder *** Spätlese trocken 2003
Baden, Germany

To be honest... I expected something a touch different...but this showed many similarities to the Austrian. Lighter colour...and some animal aromas...and the juices again. The strawberry & raspbe
rry I expected...were hovering. Maybe a touch roasted oak. The heat of the vintage is nowhere to be seen, heard or tasted. It was maybe a yard behind the Austrian...but with airing was making up the distance. The finishing line came...and it only made
Points 17.5



A we sipped the last drops...we decided to risk watching the evening game of soccer. Mexico versus France. Great viewing...and the French lost. A good thing I hadn't risked a Burgundy...it was not their night...and the competition was top-class.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day & Night

Summer is here....well...some days it is...and the Soccer World Cup has started. After 4 days of watching every(boring) game....the first sight of sunshine and I was out in the garden. The soccer will get better when the minnows are gone....and the vuvuzelas are quieter. Two evenings spent outside...with a slight breeze threatening to tip my glass over. The wines...like day and night.



First night....and my wife makes Hamburgers you can try to eat with your hands...but only if you have a mouth like a hippopotamus. Knife and fork for us normal people...eat your heart out McDonalds!
Luis Pato Vinha Pan 2005
Beiras, Portugal

Dark, brooding colour...stern...deep fruit...tannic grip...but no sexiness. Like the dark nights of winter. I could not get into this...and ended up watching the evening game of soccer
Points 16









Less breeze this night...and a bottle presented to my by Karl Hodapp at the end of our recent holiday. It is on his wine-list...I just never got round to trying it. He promised it was good...and it is. Just perfect with Veal Schnitzel and new potatoes.
Ewald Kopp Spätburgunder trocken 'S' 2007
Baden, Germany
A property that gets better and better...
The best wines are matured in new barriques for up to 24 months.
This is a wine that compares itself to bright long days.
Just delicious...a lovely whiff...aromatic...dark fruits...cherries...perfect weight...delicate...
you could almost 'gulp' this...don't you dare...not when I am looking...touch of acidity to liven up a rounded finish.
Points 17.25

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wine & Water

Hotel Restaurants are usually a no-no! The reason for our visit to Favorite in Mainz was on the recommendation of fellow blogger Alex.
There was a new wind blowing....with Tim Meierhans now in charge of all things edible.

Six of us arrived on a Sunday evening....My wife & I, our eldest daughter and husband-to-be and the parents of my godchild. The photo is my daughter & I...yes...I know it is hard to believe...but we are not the same age!
Weather outside...slightly cloudy skies...so the chance of sitting out on the terrace were null. Frau Abend is in charge of the restaurant and the staff were well drilled. We ordered menus and A La Carte...but it was no problem for Frau Abend....very flexible.


























I had received the wine-list per email...2 days in advance....this saves me getting impatient looks from fellow guests...although....they know it is worth the wait. So....the Sommelier arrived...and I showed her my list...and the four wines were decided. Now...the whole evening the general consensus of opinion was...really excellent food....across the board...it is not cheap here...but quality abounds...and it was a complete success.
Why am I giving kudos up front.....?....well....here we go.
Two things always annoy me in top restaurants. Firstly...the constant filling up of water glasses...even when they are 2/3 full...we know why of course....at € 8,-- a bottle...there is profit to make. I have learned to live with this. My problem this evening was....I said to Frau Kantwerk...the Sommelier … as were were finished ordering...'I have 2 wishes...please don't fill the white wine glasses with too much wine..as it is warm here in the restaurant..and..only fill them when the glass is empty'. It makes sense...and all seemed clear. You think so?....The second part was managed...BUT....the first wine arrived...I was given a small drop to taste...then on to our guests...and guess what...mighty drops into the glass...and even after the first...I said..not so much...but it seemed it was something strange for them. The second bottle of white had been decanted...and the same procedure....it got to the point where we passed the glass from guest to guest to share out. Now...I'm not saying they filled to the brim...let's make that clear...BUT...it was a warm evening...and 5 minutes in the glass...etc. As one guest said...'it seems the learning curve of the lady is low'. Maybe the 'water system' was in use.....fill up the glasses in the hope we sell more. At first it was annoying...then irritating...and as we left..I pointed it out to Frau Abend. Next time....bottle next to the table...I will serve the wines. Which brings me to marks for the whole evening. Food, wine-list etc. 8 out of 10....so you see...we enjoyed it...just that some people have 'cloth ears' as the saying goes...and don't listen.

And so to the wines...not too much noted as the conversation was priority.

Eric & Walter Polz Hochgrassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Steiermark, Austria
It had been a choice between Sabathi's Pössnitzberg 2007 or this one. The 2007 was now the 2008...so that decided it. With all the New World SB's around...I have to admit I am wary ordering the grape. That 'over-done' gooseberry is not what appeals. The other question here was....too young?...and therefore not a good opening for our guest. No worries though...an aromatic opening...intense grassy smell...pineapples....yes...and gooseberry...but nicely done...juicy with good filling....it was just lovely...and has loads of things telling you this will also age.
Points 16.75



Keller Westhofen Kirchspiel Riesling trocken GG 2008

Rheinhessen, Germany
This had been decanted...which was just as well...because otherwise it would have been more closed. Potential...and maybe should have been tried before the Polz. A layer of smells and flavours....grapefruit, citrus....and the palate shows minerality extreme. At the moment ...a racy youth...and bound for a long mature future...but not easy at the moment. Alex had tried the 2007 and commented very positively...but...he is a lover of young Riesling. Difficult to appraise with the meal...At the moment....
Points 16.75
Maybe the lesser wine 'Von der Fels' 2008 would have been a better choice for the evening.




Kuhn Mandelberg Spätburgunder trocken Barrique2006

Pfalz, Germany
There were a few wines on the list that I had already tried...and this was one of them.
I knew what I was getting here. So full of aroma...strwaberry and marzipan...still a touch firm...but good Pinot needs that tannin to
show it's very best. Creamy..and it evolves in
the glass...exciting wine.

Points 17.75









Karl Johner Spätburgunder SJ trocken 2002

Baden, Germany
The memory of a memorable 2003 drank a couple of years ago...urged me to try this...although...at the back of my mind I was a little tentative. I maybe should have listened to that little guy back there. Not dead yet...but the sweet fruit is becoming a little 'mouldy'...no doubt a decent drink a couple of year ago...
Points 15








Those were the four wines...but the poor showing of the Johner meant a quick decision...
and there was a very good selection of cheeses....and we tried all of them.
They cried out for a Bordeaux....so I chose the German version.
Knipser Cuvee X 2005

Pfalz, Germany
A year ago with friends...I opened my last bottle of the 2003 vintage...which was suberb.
Talking to them recently..they told me they had purchased a double magnum and had drank it at Christmas. It was ages away from maturity....which...is normal in a large bottle. This 2005 in the usual size....is very good indeed...but needs maybe 2 years to attain the 2003 standard. Deep opaque colour...power...sweet cassis nose...packed with fruit...long...and with substance. The cheese needed this...and this needed the cheese.
Points 17.25



Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Durbacher Buys

Following our break in Baden....it was time to open a few of the wines purchased.
The first four are from Durbach......the last from Kappelrodeck.

Alexander Danner has some mouth-puckering Riesling on offer...but only for the real masochists at the moment...lay them down if you have a touchy stomach.
Danner DZ Pinot Noir Barrique No. 3
Baden, Germany
Brick red...delicate style...the nose was a little backward...but slowly filtered out of it's shell...
trace of liquorice...very much an individual style...if you are looking for comparisons then Mercury in France would be my choice. Soft vanilla from the oak...enjoyable but maybe a little overpriced at €26,--
Points 16.5



Heinrich Männle Durbacher Kochberg
Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken Barrique 2007
Baden, Germany
The thing that struck me about all four of the wines over a few days...there was an individuality about them...no 'over-use' of oak...and especially with this wine...the hand of the grower and the grape agreeing what the end product should be. A Bordeaux-shaped bottle...and strangely...the first impression was in that direction...but this because of the style...fragrant enticing aroma...coolness...earthy with a touch of oak...we could become good friend...Männle & I...liked this very much. Cost from the property € 26,--
Points 17

Weingut Schwörer Durbacher Plauelrain
Spätburgunder Barrique 2007
Baden, Germany
Rather untypical....rustic style...dried almonds came to mind from the glass...very 'dark' berries...backbone....a slightly austere feel....missing a little 'sexiness'...hey...that is what Pinot is all about! Well priced though ...€ 10,--
Points 16











Weingut Graf Wolff Metternich
Durbacher Schloßberg
Spätburgunder Auslese
Barrique trocken 2007

Baden, Germany
The label is is even more difficult for the foreigners...Gräflich Wolf Metternich'sches Weingut....but hey...it's what is in the bottle that counts. Thirty minutes is all it needed to show an intense strawberry nose...depth here...filled out with every sip...the fruit layered nicely...very Burgundian...was just behind the Männle as regards my favourite of the bunch.
Price was € 26,--
Points 16.75


and the final one...from Kappelrodeck

Tobias Köninger Pinot Noir
Reserve trocken 2007

Baden, Germany
The normal bottle of Pinot Noir 2007 is delicious and easy at € 9,--
The harvest too
k place on 28 October 2007...all grapes hand-picked according to Tobias. It's time before bottling...17 months... was spent in new French Limousin Oak. This has surprisingly an 'aged' bouquet...tangy Pinot...good concentration of flavour...minerals...medium bodied...soft spices....and at € 15,--...good value.
Points 16.25


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