Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Power of Zelt

Zelt Laumersheimer Kirschgarten
Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken 2009
Pfalz, Germany
Took this along to a local eatery and popped the cork...and an hour later...poured a glass. A little bit shocked...cos if you
expect a gentle Pinot then you are going to have to wait. Loads of dark red fruit...intense...brooding even. The Weingut is across the way from the top property Knipser...and is a tip for anyone looking for real value. It remiinded me more of Knipser's Cabernet's than a sultry Pinot. I tried the Großkarlbacher Burgweg Spätburgunder 2008 in May this year...which was very drinkable...but this is a step upwards...and at € 23,-- there is a lot of wine here. Ripe cherries...fine but still firm tannins...quite complex...and has potential
Points 17
....but give it time

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Leftovers and Favourite Grapes












Over a couple of days I have been eating the Xmas leftovers...still delicious.
As the year closes...I can only reiterate...my favourite white grape is Grüner Veltliner...and my favourite red...wait for it...yes...you guessed...Pinot Noir.

Emmerich Knoll Smaragd Schütt
Grüner Veltliner 2009

Wachau, Austria
For a Knoll...this is layed-back...I always expect a voluptuous wine. H
erby and some tobacco on the nose...yellow fruits...glossy on the palate...velvety... already approchable....
Points 17.25











H.J. Kreuzberg Spätburgunder
Ahrweiler
Silberberg GG 2009
Ahr, Germany

The 'first division' group of properties in the Ahr are Adeneuer, Deutzerhof, Meyer-Näkel and Stodden. The 'second division' probably comprises Burggarten, Nelles and Kreuzberg.
There are a few more that could make a name for themselves....but unlike Baden & Pfalz...there seems to be very few 'finds' in this area. Surely in one of the best red wine areas in Germany there should be a whole host of new growers making a name for themselves. We will see... This is practically a 100% red wine property...with Spätburgunder comprising of 70%...and Ludwig Kreuzberg is improving year by year. Heading for the first division maybe. They have plots in Neuenahrer Schieferlay und Sonnenberg, Ahrweiler Silberberg und Dernauer Pfarrwingert. The 2009 vintage promises to maybe even surpass 2004 & 2006...so I was excited about trying this GG...albeit very young. Hoppla...as I caught the first whiff...a bit special. New oak...creamy...ripe forest fruit, cherry...tannins firm but approachable. Very good. After an hour the wine closed up...showing it's youth...so...best tip for anyone here...pop in the cork...and try next evening. Twenty-four hours later...out with the cork and it all started over again... but now the palate was rounder...quite thick cherry fruit with a minerality that made a package to enjoy. I like this...and will try to keep the other bottle hidden...very enticing though.
Points 17.75

Monday, December 26, 2011

Magic Magnum

The Germans celebrate Christmas Eve...and this year...my wife had offered to prepare the evening's delights...and our daughters offered to help.
I had purchased the planned red from Ebay...hoping that a Magnum would still be drinkable after 12 years. How to be sure?...just call the property. Werner Näkel's daughter, Meike, answered and informed me the wine would be just perfect in the Magnum. Extra information was that the Magnums were hand-written back then. Not nowadays as they would probably get wrist sprains as this is one of the top properties in Germany and sell all over the world.




Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder S
Magnum 1999

Ahr, Germany
Light colour....and a mature brown rim. Soft burnt smoke on the nose...this is a beautiful aged Pinot...with some pepper. Smell of forest undergrowth...just perfect on the palate...nice layer of mature strawberry fruit...and
a touch of age...which the magnum carries well...a bottle may have been too late!
Points 17.5

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Old Wines

A few days before Christmas and Volker, Robert and myself met up to try Volker's cooking....but also some hopefully 'great' wines.
I had thought about some aged Brunello di Montalcino and also some top Pinot Noir....but decided to raid the older part of the cellar.






F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner M 2000
Wachau, Austria
Rich, power...no sign of any downhill turn...the 'M' is always built to last. This had me thinking dry d'Yquem. Strong smell of honey...rich and intense...perfect balance....amazing for it's age...slight touch of boytritis.
Points 18













Chateau Trotanoy 1978
Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Of all the wines I chose...this had me worrying that it would not stand up and be counted after 30 years. I have opened a few vintages over the years and Volker is a big fan. He had no dea what was in the decanter...but was saying 'Merlot' and 'Bordeaux'. Still deep red...farmyard nose...meaty...earthy...holding up very well and a delightful old Bordeaux.
Points 17.5 although Volker rated it higher











Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1978
Rhone, France
Ah....Mr. Parker...rated this with 100 points. I had given it 7 hours in the decanter. This is still full of blood, smoked meat...loads of herbs. The palate is still firm and there is no danger that this is anywhere near it's end.
It was not the blockbuster one would expect...and although the bottle has been in my cellar 30 years...there could be bottle variation. Certainly very good.
Points 17.75






Fonseca Vintage Port 1977
Douro, Portugal
Quite light surprisingly...and a reserved nose. Strawberry fruit....and some chocolate. Not a big port but nice finish to the evening.
Points 17.25

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Scrooge

Ah...Christmas...what used to be 2 days has become almost 2 months. All the stress...the buying of food in case of an emergency...like the Third World War or a famine! Well...if one of those does happen...then my cellar is full as well...and we could live through the winter. Joking aside....or am I?...my wife still wants to buy me something...and what do you buy someone who is only happy when he gets a good bottle?....you buy wine of course. Influenced by our local merchant....these are the 5 which proudly stand in front of the tree (another stress with 200 lights and 150 balls). They will lie themselves down in my cellar after the Xmas evening celebrations are over and wait for the owner to pop the corks in the future. I guess Christmas ain't so bad after all....the liquids swung it for me. Merry Christmas from Scrooge...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Two Recommendations from the Pfalz

Two properties practically unknown...not only all over the world...but in Germany as well
Jakob Pfleger Pinot Noir 2009
Edition Curator

Pfalz, Germany

A property that is not mentioned in Gault Millau...which is down to the politics that pops it's head up regarding mass tastings. Eichelmann rate it highly though.
Roland Pfleger is a Pinot Noir man...he knows how to entice you with his style of wine. The 2007 version has been regularly drank over the last year... and I had ordered this vintage on my visit to the property a year ago. Six bottles of this...and 6 of the top wine 'R'****'. Cream pure on the nose...cool fruit....ripe fruit as well...this is another sexy vintage for Spätburgunder. A gentle bite...perfect balance...and a snip at € 16,--. The top wine must be pretty special methinks...
Points 17



Joachim Hollerith Maikammer Heiligenberg Maximus Pinot Noir 2008
Pfalz, Germany
The property is in Neustadt / Hambach. Joachim Hollerith returned to Germany in 1999 after 20 years learning his 'trade' in Virginia / U.S.A. His son Jonathan has taken over the reins since 2006.
Maximus contains grapes from the vineyards in Heiligenberg in Maikammer. The recently tried 2007 had reminded me to ask when the 2009 would be available. In the Spring of 2012 was the answer...but they had the 2008. As I think the vintage is underrated I had no hesitation in ordering and no hesitation in opening a bottle with some friends. It knocked them out... they were very impressed. Whereas the previous vintage was all ripe and upfront...this is more typical...a touch reserved in comparison. Roasted aromas...prickly cream...expansive...liquorice...marzipan...and fine grip. Like it now...or love it in a couple of years. Priced has remained to same since the first vintage of 2005...€ 25,--
Points 17.75



Friday, December 16, 2011

Worlds Apart...A Tale of Two Chardonnays

Worlds apart...in distance and in style.
A Tale Of Two Chardonnays
.
The first...a wine I 'discovered' about 6 months ago. Ordered it after reading high praise in a Decanter tasting...and willing to try the 'new' Australia...it has taken that long for the wine to come from Australia via Belgium to Germany. Left to 'relax' after that trip...it needed to be tried to see how good it really is.
Bird In Hand Nest Egg Chardonnay 2008
Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Smokey oak...a real old fashioned Chardonnay smell...nu
tty. The palate shows a creamy texture...very crème brûlée...with some refreshing minerality. Drinking over two days..the oak is fairly dominant on the lips...and needs a year or two to integrate. Potential...
Points 17.5








Very little white Austrian in the cellar...after a warm Autumn...so I needed to replenish. Lots of Grüner Veltliner...and this Chardonnay. As different again as two wines could be...
Johann Topf Strasser Chardonnay
Ried Hasel 2008

Kamptal, Austria

Minerals dominate here...the grape is masked at first but slowly developed. Exotic fruit...and compared to the Aussie...a reserved vanilla aroma. Green apple flavour...this begs you to leave this a year or two...but for different reasons again to the above...zippy acidity this time.
Points 17





My wife makes the best Hamburgers...
Impossible to eat with the hands though...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Great Wines

I love going to our local Bistro and taking along wines that I hope will impress friends.
What is a great wine?....one that is world wide known or a wine that few have tasted and only known to the few.
Cuilleron's top Condrieu and Guigal's La Doriane are both great wines....so it was good to hear my fellow tasters compare the first wine with the aforementioned.
They tried to nail it down...but the exotic feel had them struggling.
Erwin Sabathi Limited 111
Sauvignon Blanc 2008

South Styria, Austria
Quite full...but in no way fat. I can see this aging well...but the general consensus of opinion was...why wait?
What an aroma...cassis and top class gooseberries with a touch of lychees.
After all that...you would expect a fruit bomb maybe...nope...this is elegant classy fruit...tropical with a dash of citrus... a hedonistic juice...and
worth
Points 18.25
A great wine.



The first red was a property I had only just found after returning from Baden and checking out a wine forum.
Enderle & Moll have 3 reds...a Villages...the Muschelkalk...which I tried a couple of weeks ago....and this one which has had people raving about it.
Did it live up to the hype?
Enderle & Moll
Buntsandstein Pinot Noir 2009

Baden, Germany
We concentrated on this one...as we ate...as it told us it needed nourishment...and the Hollerith was a completely different animal.
Opened 24 hours in advance but left in the bottle to air.
A whiff of glue at first...and a general feel of minerals and reserved fruit. It had the guys guessing...New World...Rhone...Syrah...but not a German Pinot...and it does not
taste like one. Earthy...and changing it's spots as it evolved in the glass. At the moment the Muschelkalk 2009 is the easier....but I bow to those on the net who think this will evolve into a GREAT wine....
A reserved marking here...a wine in it's infancy
Points 17

We had had a quick smell of the next wine...and a sip...the unanimously decided not to compare it with the Enderle & Moll.
It would be drank and enjoyed all on it's own.
Joachim Hollerith Maikammer Heiligenberg
Maximus Pinot Noir 2007
Pfalz, Germany
Opened only one hour before drinking.
Instant appeal...no messing around sticking your nose deep into the glass...the bouquet came out to greet you. Classy smokiness with smells of cherries & forest berries. The fruit just so perfect... and rolled over the tongue. Just a touch earthy...and with a length and elegance that says...GREAT wine. The guys were getting close to saying Gerrman....but I kept telling them the bottle was heavy with a large punt....ha ha...and they opted for U.S.A. Jim Clendenen.
Now that is a compliment!
Points 18

German Victory

Five of us in all at Volker's place...with his usual delicious food.
Robert offered us a 3 Glas Gamberro Rosso Prosecco...not for me...spend my money elsewhere.
Two Rieslings tasted blind...the first we thought was definitely a 2010 with extreme acidity.
The second...much more like it...had to be 2009.
Wrong!
The first turned out to be
Karl Schäfer Forster Pechstein
Riesling GG 2009

Pfalz, Germany
Had to be a 2010...but no...a 2009 and not a style that appeals to a non lover of stomach burning acidity.
Points 14.5




The second was from a top Nahe property..
Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle
Riesling GG 2010

Nahe, Germany
I presumed this to be the 2009...this is very good...and showed very well in it's youth with a perfect balance. A couple more years and you have gem.
Points 16.5










The five Pinot bottles had been decanted by Steffi...I had to choose the order...and am now obviously the king of blind tasting arranging. The way the wines turned out in quality was the order I chose them. You just can't plan any better! The first two did not please...




Albert Bichot Domaine Adelie
Champs Martin Premier Cru 2005

Mercury, Burgundy, France

No character...dry fruit...in disorder

Points 13.5





Domaine Joblot Clos Marole
Premier Cru 2006
Givry,
Burgundy, France

A shade better that the above...but nothing to write home about
Points 14




OK..these are not from the medium to top level in Burgundy....but the prices should ensure you get something worth the effort.

Cortijo Los Aguilares
Pinot Noir 2009

Ronda, Sierras de Malaga, Spain

Some cassis here...and I guessed it was maybe from an unknown area...but I never knew they were planting the sexy grape down on the south coast of Spain.

Points 15.5



Studach Malanser
Pinot Noir 2009

Graubünden, Switzerland

Finally a smell of the grape I love....fine balance...soft raspberry fruit...the oak just noticeable...give it a year or two...delightful.
Points 17








Adeneuer Walporzheimer Gärkammer
Spätburgunger GG 2009
Ahr, Germany

Who planned this to be served last? Oh...yes...it was me...and it blew everything away. A full Pinot nose...cassis and cherry...with gentle biting tannins and a wonderful 'feel' on the palate. Length and style. This is what it is all about!
Points 17.75

We were then shown a list of the five wines and asked to correctly call them. I was on a role...but it was not difficult.
The Ahr wine was the most expensive...with the two French wines costing maybe € 20,-- less. Money well spent if you choose the Adeneuer....and for the prices of the French wines I will list a 100 German reds that would knock them sideways.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

La Fattoria

Over the last 30 years we have visited La Fattoria...an Italian Restaurant in Mörfelden, near Frankfurt...more times than we can remember. Due to various circumstances it had been a year since our last visit! Our loss....but we rectified this with a visit on a Friday evening. We were greeted by the, always buoyant, Agnello...who has been running the service for a long time. He looked slimmer and we complimented him (his answer...'my wife said lose weight or I will divorce you...so I decided a diet was cheaper'). Owner Chester appeared without the menu card...which is fine by us. Now you gotta concentrate. The first 10 dishes I could have eaten there and then....then about 8 fish possibilities and 6 meat. Some of the selections were the trio which included some very fine Squid....a Carpaccio with white truffle...Scallops...warm Goose Liver...some Pasta dishes...and an old favourite of mine...the Duck with dates and almonds.

















































My wife had requested I took no wine with me...so I quickly checked the wine-list and chose the following...
Lageder Löwengang Chardonnay 2007
Alto Adige, South Tirol, Italy
100% Chardonnay...I remember earlier vintages were more oak influenced...so pleasantly surprised by this more delicate style. Alto Adige is a cool climate area... Yellow gold colour with a tinge of green...and a soft buttery aroma which opened nicely in the glass. There is a fresh acidity that lifts the fruit and it was a perfect match with all the starters. Good finish. Very enjoyable.
Points 17






The choice of red could have been a Barbera d'Asti “Bricco dell' Uccellone 2007...but fellow Blogger Alex who lives near to La Fattoria had enthused about a Barolo on a previous visit...so that was decanted.


Burlotto Barolo Cannubi 2005
Piedmont, Italy

Intriguing aroma...leather and spice and cherries...and dark roses. The mix of acidity and tannins is just about right...and the palate welcomed red berry fruit. A good choice...and perfect again with the food.
Points 16.75


A great evening...and we won't leave it so long until the next time.



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