Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maximus & A Birthday Meal

My brother-in-law had a 60th Birthday and he and his wife wanted to treat us to dinner. They asked where we would like to go...and with the memory of our fine evening in the Ambiente still vivid...we chose to go again. By coincidence the restaurant is celebrating it's 3rd Birthday...and were offering a special menu. Owner Ricardo Re was, as always, charming and attentive and had an old colleague back on the team.








Schlemmer-Menü
Amuse Bouche
*****

Degustazione di Salmone con Zafferano dell’Aquila e Caviale
- Spielart vom Label-Rouge Lachs mit Navelli-Safransauce und Imperial Kaviar
*****

Crespelle con Spinaci e Tartufo Crêpes - Cannelloni gefüllt mit Spinat und Ricotta vom Milchschaf auf Fonduta-Käse und gehobelte schwarze Trüffel













Merluzzo del Nord Atlantico con Radici nere
- Gegrilltes Skrei-Kabeljaufilet mit Schnittlauch-Kartoffelpüree und Schwarzwurzeln à la creme
*****
Guancette di Vitello con gratin di Patate e Fagiolini - In Rotwein geschmorte Kalbsbäckchen mit gratinierten Kartoffeln und Keniabohnen

Only one wine drinker in the quartett...who is that?...answers please on a postcard
......
I took along the first of three bottles purchased from the property.
Joachim Hollerith
Maikammer Heiligenberg
Maximus Pinot Noir 2007

Pfalz, Germany

Instant appeal...no messing around sticking your nose deep into the glass...the bouquet came out to gree
t 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....Barry...you made a very good buy here. Ricardo managed to get a small glass of it...the rest disappeared easily over the evening. Chameleon character as it went with the first four courses as if they had been made for it. Bravo Family Hollerith!
Points 17.75


Pré-Dessert Sorbet „Ambiente Italiano“
*****

Crema Catalana con
Latte di Capra e Ananas - Crema Catalana von Ziegenmilch mit Ananas-Ragout
*****
Golosità Feine Patisserie zum Kaffee













The 'Birthday Boy' enjoyed it as well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Pleasing Burgs

Salwey Oberrotweiler
Eichberg
Spätburgunder
Großes Gewächs 2007

Baden, Germany
I was wary opening this...as the RS 2007 had been oak dominated...needing time to even out. I risked it...and was rewarded
Instant appeal from the glass...caramel & vanilla ice-cream. My wife does not drink red wine...but was so fascinated by the smell..she had to taste.
She is still not a red-wine drinker...had me worried for a while...I thought I may get limited supply! A cool feel to it...which pleased me..and the oak is well integrated...and a bouncy acidity propelling the fruit upwards. Very well made...and frighteningly forward...but that happens with some 2007's...two more bottles to try...so leave it to see what developes further.
Points 17.5
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Jakob Sebastian
Heimersheimer Berg

Spätburgunder Alte Rebe 2006
Ahr, Germany
This property has two Spätburgunders...the other being the Ahrweiler Daubhaus. It's also not listed in Gault Millau or Eichelmann...but it exists...see the photo...and read the notes
Peppery...tobacco notes...still some minerality...and a soft tannin layer. Medium weight...this showed well next day with a slightly sweeter bouquet developing.
Points 16.5

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celler Overload

No extensive notes made...just a few words...from wines drank over the last 10 days. Most were bought during the period of abstinence...and had not even been allocated a place in the cellar...they were just standing there waiting for a bus....

Schnaitmann Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Württemberg, Germany
Ripe pear aroma...spices and minerals abound...soft acidity on the palate...perfect with Sushi.
Points 16.5






Jamek Ried Achleiter Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 2005
Wachau, Austria
Needed plenty of air...and showed better after 24 hours...cream to the forth...but retaining the steeliness.
Tried alongside the Schnaitmann...and just about won the battle.
Points 16.75




Fürst Frühburgunder Centgrafenberg 2008
Franken, Germany
Pale colour.. aromas of smoke and strawberry...the palate throws up a drinkable...very much drinkable sweet fruit...careful not to gulp this...finally some success trying to photograph the colour of a wine.
Points 17


Klumpp Pinot Noir *** 2007
Baden, Germany
The 2008 version had been a favourite a few months ago...so...thinking the 2007 would be worth a try I managed to purchases a bottle.
The oak seems to dominate more...plums...and plump...preferred the younger vintage...but this may open again. Roast Chicken was delicious.
Points 16.25


Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder S 1999
Ahr, Germany
Opened this because I saw another bottle available. Burnt smell at first which eventually cleared. Cherry fruit...it grew on me...but
not with any future. I have a magnum which will be a better proposition
Points 16.25


Markowitsch Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2009
Carnuntum, Austria
Light yellow...which lulls you into thinking you get a lightweight. Wrong...intense old vine fruit. Very perfumed...and was delightful with the Cheese Fondue...
Points 16

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Thank You Cheval Blanc

Out with friends to Restaurant Ambiente...where the Patron is Ricardo Re, who I have known many years. He is starting a new venture which opens in March...Alte Oberförsterei in Kelsterbach...and will finally give up the present premises in 2 years.
The reason for the visit...was a wine I had sold on Ebay. I had decided to relieve my cellar of a bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc 1982. I would have shared it with my wine buddies...so when it was sold I invited them out for dinner. The first glass of white we drank was raised and we toasted 'Cheval Blanc '82'. It was a wonderful evening...the food has 'grown' over the years and you feel the kitchen has matured. I took along four wines the previous day with instruction that the whites be open at 5pm...and I would open and decant the reds on arrival. The round table by the window was where Steffi, Volker, Robert, my wife Eva and myself sat and chose the food. I opened the two reds and gave them a good 'airing' into the decanters.
We ordered a thin Pizza to share out while we chose. The majority went for the Octopus but my wife likes the Carpaccio.
The main courses were four Steinbuttfilet...I opted for the Lamb.
I had covered up the wines...and the first white was served.


















As Sortes 2006
Valdeorras, Spain
This is 100% Godello...and...with a touch of mischief...I said to my guests they could name me 20 different white grapes and they wouldn't find the right one. I was right...hardly surprising though...as it is rare. Quite complex aroma...citrus...zesty minerals...spicy...delightfully light on the palate...and reminds me very much of a White Burgundy on the finish.
Points 17








The second white knocked us out!
Wieninger Chardonnay Grand Select 2007
Vienna, Austria
What an aroma...Coconut, Nougat Toffee...the oak very much in the background...we were scared to taste in case it disappointed. It didn't...and was not the heavyweight we thought it might be. Creamy texture...complete harmony...lemon flavoured...and a complete success. Not cheap this wine...but a must-buy again. Fascinating...
Points 18

































When choosing the reds at home I had been uncertain about the next red. Having had younger recent vintages I was not sure how this 2002 had matured.

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Isabelle Morgan 2002
California, U.S.A.
Meaty was my first impression...and the wine seems bigger than younger vintages. Did Jim Clenenden change his style to ensure younger drinking...or is this top year just a little stubborn?.
Nose seems backward...not the intensity that I usually get from ABC. This is built for a longer life...the food helped and the biting tannins needed the Lamb. Austere...is a good description....not something I use with red wines...hard work...and if you have a bottle...leave it corked for 5 years.
Points 16.5





The last wine is regularly voted the top Red in Germany. I had the 2007 on our last visit to Rebstock. The Sankt Paul and Kammerberg have also passed my lips whenever possible.
This had been on Ebay...and a chance to catch a mature version was not to be missed.
Friedrich Becker Pinot Noir 2004
Pfalz, Germany
Eucalyptus, liquorice and spicy cherry fruit. Smooth...and here lies maybe why I would prefer many other top reds. I prefer just a touch of bite even when Pinot is enticingly soft.
Hedonistic...a very fine wine indeed...and with fine acidity to see it through a few years yet. Would I buy it again?...I doubt it...as for the price I can buy 2-3 bottles that would please me as much.
However..as a wine freak... I 'sacrificed' myself for my readers. My guests were not complaining either.
Points 17.5






We shared a dessert and drank coffee. Ricardo joined us and we chatted about the new venture. I wish him well.

Austria Rules!

A simple Lamb's Lettuce salad...the secret is some wonderful Walnut Oil and Apple Vinegar
What to drink....some Austrian whites...
Smaragd...for those who don't know their Austrian whites...is the top quality award indicating the best wines.




Two great properties...the same vintage...F.X. Pichler is a master tending towards a lighter style than Knoll...although my experience with the latter has been with their Grüners....
F. X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner
Smaragd M 2007

Wachau, Austria
A 'slim' Smaragd...as I expected...enticing aroma...mineral tones...a gentle feel to it overall...perfect balance...peaches after airing....this has a touch of boytritis...the usual white pepper....honey and a yellow apple finish...trace of citrus...beautifully layered...a soft explosion with every mouthful...and a good finish. I just kept thinking STONES....a masterclass wine.
Points 17.75






Next day...the Riesling from Knoll

Knoll Riesling Ried Schütt
Smaragd 2007

Wachau, Austria
I was really surprised by the reserved style...I love the Grüners from this property...but they can sometimes be a touch overblown...this Riesling was dry...no way austere though...very much what I like...reserved acidity...enticing smoke on the nose...what is that other aroma...tropical fruit maybe...I tried this in a large glass...and it thanked me....lemon on the palate...zippy...again loads of minerals...leaping over the tongue...like a ballerina...great balance and a lingering finish.
Points 17.5

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Four Pleasures

Schloss Halbturn Pinot Noir 2003
Burgenland, Austria
This was available again 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...a lovely back palate of thick fruit... no sign of fading.
Points 17.75






Guigal Condrieu 2006
Rhone, France

Another Ebay purchase...maybe from someone who shied away from a Condrieu with a couple of years in bottle. The 'norm' is...unless they are the top wines...drink them within 2 years. Golden colour...reserved aroma...slighty burnt...palate shows a fairly full layer of fruit...quince and melon...maybe just saying goodbye as the minerals are mssing...still a good drink though.
Points 16.75






Ziereisen Spätburgunder Schulen 2007
Baden, Germany

Pulled from the cellar on the spur of the moment...it was cool. However...it fairly thanked me for this as it showed well...the style lending itself to the coolness.
That's not to say you don't get all the Pinot qualities...ripe aroma...dark forest fruits...instant appeal...raspberry fruit...slightly salty...and tasted older that it is. Drink now...on a hot summer evening...with some grilled meat.
Points 16.75





Möbitz Koepfle Pinot Noir 2008
Baden, Germany

Henrik Möbitz is a hobby vigneron.and he kindly sent me the four Pinots from the 2008 vintage...at a special price.
This is supposedly the most open of the four... Very French in style...or more Pfalz than the sweeter Baden style. Earthy, dry and a wine with character...complex...white peppery nose...dry cherry fruit on the palate...a good dose of acidity...and minerals abound. Still tightly held by the medium tannins...this begs to be left alone...although two hours later was more rounded. Maybe a long decant if you ever get to try it but I'll not be touching the other three for a while.
Points 17

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