Friday, December 29, 2006

Seeger Blauer Spätburgunder 'R' Baden 2004

Seeger Blauer Spätburgunder 'R' 2004
Heidelberger Herrenberg
Baden, Germany

Good medium deep colour;
big meaty nose, reserved,
sweetness not yet developed;
full mouthfull, velvety, soft & juicy,
elegant style..needs a year or two..
flavour better than nose but it's all there
waiting...very good wine.
Points 17.5 (probably a point more in future)

Quinta De La Rosa Reserva 2004

Quinta De La Rosa Douro Tinto Reserva 2004
Grapes:Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional & Tinta Cao.

Deep colour; chocolate on the nose,
even porty;
spicy tannis, backward still,
slight bitterness of
youth spoiled it for me;
needs time and at the
moment not a
wine I would return to.

Points 15 (more later)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

White Grapes

Three Whites from the New World...all with the grape origens in France.
Tasted on different days.....

1. Fairview Viognier 2004
Paarl South Africa

Yellow gold colour; first sniff before my wife took a sip; quite good....half an hour later..gone.. just winey...very strange; decent enough fruit with dryness at the end.
Points 14.5
The grape at it's best is in the Rhone..
called Condrieu...memories of a Hotel/Restaurant 'Beau Rivage'..on a hot summer evening with the Rhone river just 50 yards away..and a wine list of local Condrieu to choose from. Bliss!

2. Louisvale Chardonnay 2004
Stellenbosch South Africa

Rich golden colour; butterscotch nose at first, faded with airing, burnt aroma: medium weight, nice balance; as I went back to bacame very one-dimensional.

Points 15.5

Chardonnay, of course, is best from Burgundy in France. Expensive, but the great wines Meursault,
Puligny Montrachet & Chassagne Montrachet..along with Chablis are at the top of the Chardonnay tree.

3. Gravitas Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Marlborough New Zealand

Nice reserved nose, some others from NZ have been to upfront with the gooseberry and Cat's Piss smell!(believe me..that is what they can smell like).
This is much better tho, melons and passionfruits..lovely juicy wine..herbs..
and a good balance and nice finish.
Points 17

Sauvignon Blanc best known in the Loire.. Sancerre..
but my favourite comes from Italy from
Vie di Romans..the Piere Sauvignon.

Menu For Four

No..this will not turn into a food blog & don't go thinking I eat like this every day!
I eat well because my wife is a great cook. The reason for the menu was a visit from my wife's oldest friend and her partner.

Selbstgemachte Feigensauce
Gänsestopfleber Kalt
Gänsestopfleber Warm

Homemade Fig Sauce
Foie gras d'oie (Cold Goose Liver)
Foie gras d'oie (Warm Goose Liver)

Shrimps und
Jakobsmuscheln mit
Cocos-Chili-Zitronengras-Ingwer Sauce
Grüner Spargel-Mango Salat

Shrimps and Coquille St. Jacques(Mussels)
in Coconut-Chili-Lemon Grass-Ginger Sauce
Green Asparagus-Mango Salad

Frische Pasta mit brauner Butter und

frisch gehobelten weißen Trüffeln

Freshly Made Pasta with
Brown Butter and
Freshly Grated White Truffel

Wachtelbrüstchen in Cognacsauce mit
Kräuterseitlingen und
Kartoffeln 'Dauphinoise'

Breast of Quail in Cognac Sauce
with 'Pleurotus eryngii' Mushrooms in Herbs
and Potato 'Dauphinoise'

Schaumeier in Vanille-Creme mit

frischem Kirschenkompott

Oeuf a la Nage(classic dessert from France)
with Cherry compote

And the the gentleman visitor was a grower from the Pfalz..we drank
Knipser Steinbuckel
Riesling Spätlese
Trocken 2003


Knipser Cuvée X Trocken
Barriqueausbau 2003

Click on wine name to see previous posts for tasting notes

Friday, November 24, 2006

New World Pinot Noir 2004

New World Pinot..both grown in cool climate areas of their
respective countries and tasted on different days.

Nautilus Pinot Noir 2004
Marlborough. New Zealand

Light colour, age at rim; raspberry & plum aromas;

cool climate style, juicy flavour, cherry toned, ripe and sweet, reminded me of a good Cote Chalonnais from Burgundy.
Points 17

Now..this wine was what is smelled like until it's finish..unlike the following one.

Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2004
Walker Bay.South Africa
Medium colour; strawberries and dark fruits on the nose;
medium full mouthful, sweet at first then dry tannins..

Old World restraint,
New World fruit...
certainly better with food..
what was left in the bottle later
was losing fruit...
I do have problems with wines like this..
are not sure what they want to be..
will try again with guests..
maybe I am being to hard on it

Points 15.5

Monday, November 20, 2006

Knipser Vineyards Rheinland Pfalz Part 3

Continuing the Knipser is the final flight

Knipser Steinbuckel Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2003
Now here is the exact opposite to the South African Chardonnay...taste the difference...
Already traces of petroleum(it's what I smell & love in aged Riesling), mineraly & flinty; medium weight in the mouth, perfect balance, acidity integrated with the fruit..long finish.
Points 17.5

This is the perfect wine for
1. Mild Curries
2. Sauerkraut with Leberwurst
3. Sushi..which is what I ate with this excellent Riesling
and just about anything really..a most flexible grape!
PS..for all those who think of Kabinett, Spätlese and Auslese as grades of sweetness..forget is a sign of the quality!

Knipser Syrah Auslese Trocken 2003
Twenty months in new oak;deep colour; meaty and animal aromas(it's how I describe this grape at it's best);plenty of ripe juicy fruits in the mouth, no 'corners'..this is just about ready to drink..but is so well put togther it will certainly improve and develope more and will merit maybe a point more with age.
Points 17.5

Friday, November 17, 2006

Old Labels #2

Xmas Day Evening ..December 25th home..wines all from my cellar.. I forget who was there..but it certainly wasn't any beer drinkers.
The 4 wines were
1. Meursault Michelot-Garnier 1973 Points 18
2. Le Corton Domaines Du Chateau De Beaune 1959 Points 19
3. Leoville Barton 1945 St Julian Bordeaux Points 19.5
4. Solera Schultz Malaga 1885 Points 18
Here is the Corton label and the tasting notes.

Le Corton Domaines Du Chateau De Beaune 1959
Very fine colour, 1959 was a GREAT vintage; elegant nose, one you could work on..every time you went to it it had developed other characters; medium weight, not the blockbuster type that many think Burgundy are..superb flavour, class, exquisite balance and a long long finish, classic..and the Bordeaux was better?
Points 19

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2005

Now..South African Wines and myself haven't yet fallen in love..we have had the odd affair..but nothing that made the earth move! My first experience was about 15 years ago..and a 'Dieu Donné' Chardonnay was impressive and very reasonably priced. Back then though, my tastes were different. Which brings me to this wine and style.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2005
Oaky nose, lime, but closed and reserved; disjointed at the moment...trying to be elegant but the oak is needs a year or two maybe..but would I go back and want to drink it?..I doubt it..mainly because my tastes have changed (an age thing)..and I search for 'natural' wines and not the Chard with oak style. Others may love it..
Points 15

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bistro Tasting

Met up with 2 friends, Robert & Volker, at a local Bistro where we take our own wine and pay corkage. First up was a bottle Robert had brought with him.
Domaine Yves Cuilleron 'Les Chaillets' Vieilles Vignes 2005
Buttery nose, traces of peaches and honey; not as 'heavy' as previous vintages, a slim-line model and all the better for it, good acidity makes this a fine drink. Condrieu of this quality will age but tends to fill out and become 'voluptuous' and too much for one man! We ate chopped cuttlefish in garlic sauce(the cook is in love maybe...cos it was a GOOD dose)...but the wine combatted the food and we came out unskaved. Condrieu is about the only style of wine that could cope with menus 'al la' El Bulli in Spain.
Points 18

The two bottles I had brought were covered up so the other two had to puzzle over land, grape etc...nothing like it to build up an appetite.
ConoSur Ocio Pinot Noir 2003
Casablanca Valley Chile
Purple colour, medium deep; the nose reminded me of a children's drink 'Ribena' which is very strong cassis, wild strawberries as well; juicy flavour, with the cassis touch continuing, no tannins, easy drinking and a good length. This wine spends 12 months in French oak and the grapes foot-trodden by young Chilean woman
(last bit is not true..but the alcohol is taking over by now)
Points 17

Ziereisen Jaspis Pinot Noir Alte Reben 2004 Baden Germany
I first encountered this Vineyard a year ago..and drank the 'Rhini' 2002 over a period. It had won a gold medal in Decanter magazine. I recently ordered some half bottles of 2004 'Rhini' and some bottles of this.This is the next step up..and was top of a flight of Spätburgunder wines tasted in Germany.
The vines are 45 years old and the wine spends
22 months in oak.
We realised as we drank..this needs decanting..after every visit to the glass it had changed, opened and improved. Full, classy Pinot, cranberries; excellent weight, meaty wine but elegant and with perfect balance. This is super now but will improve over the next few years.We stayed with this one until it was empty before returning to the previous wine.
Points 18

Both wines went well with the lamb in mustard sauce and a good havana and a Latte Machiatto ended the usual excellent evening

Monday, November 13, 2006

Finca Sandoval 2003 Manchuela Spain

Finca Sandoval 2003 Manchuela
This cuvee of 80% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre, 7% Bobal, and 4% Tempranillo was bottled unfiltered having spent eleven months in French oak.

Dark colour; blackberries, pepper, licorice, cassis, and chocolate on the nose;
soft 'brittle' tannins..which will keep the wine top for 10 years..but so beautifully balanced that it can be drunk now; velvety mouthful with an enticing long finish
Points 18

Knipser Vineyards Rheinland Pfalz Part 2

Continuing the tastings of Knipser's wines....................

Knipser Grauburgunder ****
Barriqueausbau Trocken 2003
Medium deep colour, rather like Apfelwein(Cider):ripe pear aroma, fresh; flavour much more dominant than the nose, peachy with a soft explosion at the finish; perfect balance of fruit and oak, exotic. Enjoyed this wine..but not sure I would want to drink it regularly
Points 16.5

Knipser Cuvée X Trocken Barriqueausbau 2003
As I mentioned in the previous post..I first tried this in March in a half bottle at the Restaurant Clos St Urban.I wanted the half bottle of Lynch-Bages 2001.Pauillac..but was told it was sold out
so ordered this wine. It was decanted
I thought they had found the Lynch-Bages.
A dead ringer..

I ordered some half bottles from the vineyard but was sent the normal size.
As I usually only manage 2/3 of a bottle..I hoped any opened bottles would last until the next day.
Deep colour; dark fruits on the nose with that typical cedar aroma of Cabernet Sauvignon, elegant; quite full-flavoured, perfect balance with the Merlot. The wine has 14% but never feels 'heady'. With this first 'bottle' I need not have worried about it holding overnight...I finished it!
Points 18

Friday, November 10, 2006

Old Labels #1

I used to remove labels from the bottles..and paste them into a scrapbook with tasting notes alongside.I decided to stop in 1992 after 15 years of bathtubs full of swimming bottles etc..
I will add some of these old labels every so often..and a small tasting note made at the time.

Domaine de Chevalier Graves 1950 Bordeaux
Drank on 6th September 1990
1950 was not a good year in Bordeaux.

Pomerol and Graves made decent wines though.
Lovely nose which developed in glass...gravely..typical Graves;
soft entry with a dryness and then immense length of flavour.
Superb condition at the time.

Points 18.5

Wine & Food Trip

A 7 day break was planned for my wife and myself.
It was mid October..the sun shone for 7 days..we saw not one drop of rain.
Ah..when Angels travel...
Three days on the Mosel, 2 in northern Alsace & 2 in the Baden area.

Our first stop was a hotel/restaurant we had discovered in March. A wonderful tranquille hotel with a top restaurant, run by the Rüssel family.
Landhaus Clos St Urban in Naurath..near to Trier. Great food and a winelist to match.
Some wonderful half bottles which gives you the chance to try glasses of the local white before your half bottle of red. Three I tried were all from Baden.

Becker Blauer Spätburgunder 1998

Recommended by the I was doubtful it had held up. It was labelled 1996 and Friedrich Becker had changed it to 1998 as he had some labels left over. It was a Musigny.
Points 18

Duijn Spätburgunder 2003
Serious Pinot...great year..will develope
Points 17.5

Huber Spätburgunder Trocken 2002
Softer style..easier drinking

Next stop was Baerenthal in northern the middle of nowhere..

believe me!!
Here is the three-star restaurant L'Arnsbourg..plenty of photos here
They have built a hotel nearby...
no way you can drive yourself along those roads after a few glasses.

The first evening I had a glass of Alsace Riesling..and followed it with a half bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Telegraph 2003. The sommelier and myself got to I dined alone this evening and he had seen all my wine literature on the table. We both agreed..although a very good wine..nothing like the Pape style..more mid Spain!The following evening we took the 'smaller menu' and with all the extras you're going to need all your stamina. After perusing the winelist all day..I decided on a top Burgundy from a weaker year.

Musigny Joseph Drouhin 2000
Good colour; elegant style, softer, fragrant..maybe missing that UMPHF! I enjoy in good Burgundy..but the bottle emptied pretty quickly with all that food.
Points 17.5

Last stop of our trip was a recommendation of a wine friend.We wanted good food and a quiet hotel.
What we got was more...a little gem!
A short trip from the motorway is Kappelrodeck - Waldulm..a mouthful for you non-Germans.

Gasthof by Karl Hodapp who also has his own vineyards.
Pleasant comfortable rooms, friendly service(open all day!!), great down to earth food and a winelist to die for. As Herr Hodapp is a Spätburgunder lover..the first 4 pages of his list only have red wines from the area..and at prices only a little more expensive than if you bought from the vineyards. A wonderful collection of a top year for reds in an extensive list of whites from Germany. The rest of the world is also worth a look.
* They even had a Cheval Blanc 1962 at only €uros 210,--*

I had narrowed it down to 4..and my choice on the first evening was...
Salwey Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken***
Oberrotweiler Kirchberg 2003

Fine colour; nose opened in glass, creamy classic Pinot; full mouthful, warm, soft flavoury and a super long finish
Points 18

The following evening I sent my list into the kitchen and the answer came back..try the Bercher!
Bercher Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken

Burkheimer Feuererg 2003
A different style to the above..which I was told was why it was recommended.a lighter style although by no means easy drinking..needs a few years then should be a very elegant wine.
Points 17

A wonderful week..with long walks in the beautiful countryside...
Heaven is on earth...sometimes!!

Knipser Vineyards Rheinland Pfalz Part 1

Five years ago you would not have found me near any German wines..let alone a red..and I have lived in Germany since 1975! But man.. what a change over those 5 years.. I love German Rieslings..and I also loved Burgundy(love I mean..but the prices)..and Pinot Noir is a secret love(don't tell my wife). Recently I have been tasting Spätburgunder wines from Baden..but on a recent short vacation I found a wine from Knipser Vineyards in Rheinland Pfalz..a Cuvee X 2003(Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc..tasting notes will follow). I contacted the company and ordered the Cuvee X and some singles bottles to taste.

Knipser Großkarlbacher Burgweg Spätburgunder
Auslese Trocken 2003
Medium deep, light rimmed(typical Pinot); raspberry nose,cinnamon was my wife's comment and she does not drink red wines(drank a fair size glassful after smelling it),intense nose developed in the glass; wonderful mouthful, rich & full, long finish. Superb..who needs Burgundy.
Points 18.5

Price was €uros 26..considering the quality.. a bargain

Knipser Mergelweg Spätburgunder
Auslese Trocken 2003
Drunk this the following evening...Deeper colour; BIGGER intense nose, not as forthcoming as the Burgweg; superb. sweet mouthful, complex, chewy soft tannins; this needs a couple of years, but has so much potential.
Points 17.5 +++ ....a point more in 2008

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bordeaux 1970

Decided to tidy up the wine cellar, which had also become the home of every object that didn't have one.This took a whole day but it finally took shape. Sorted all the bottles into areas, found a few I had fogotten about and decided to baptise it with a tasting of Bordeaux 1970 with a few wine friends.Got the lighting correct but still kept the atmosphere of a dark romantic wine cellar.

Tuesday 7th November 2006 7pm
As my wife was out I had arranged for some pizzas made privately by an Italian.
The wine we drank was a Cain 5 1987,a californian which I had found in an original wooden box when tidying the cellar. It seemed appropriate to drink it.
It was good back in 1993 and has black cherries and tobacco aromas,
delicious, gentle cedar, more layed-back with age..and perfect with the pizza.

Bordeaux 1970
All the wines had been in my cellar for years so the quality was hopefully going to be as good as it gets.
Decanted at 6 pm...the group tasted them blind.We started at 7.30pm
Points are out of 20
1. Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
Bought July 1979
Medium deep colour; pleasant sweetish nose, dry, aggreeable but with a touch of the acidity to follow; lean and a bit raw with the promised acidity. If you have this one..drink with food and impress your guests with the Marc Chagall label.
Points 15

2.Chateau Lynch Bages. Bought December 1978
Deeper colour; reserved nose; developed a cassis aroma: fine weight with gentle tannins.One of those wines that was constant from start to finish. I have happy memories of a tasting about 15 years ago where this wine topped the 70's.
Points 17.5

3. Chateau Giscours. Bought October 1985
Very young looking; mouldy nose at first.. a real stinker..but opened up, tar;
peppery with tannins still prominant. I have tasted this wine a few times alone and that's the best way cos it is not really typical Bordeaux.
Points 17

4.Chateau Palmer. Bought December1978
Medium deep colour; gentle nose which enticed with airing, sweet touches;
soft(Merlot) flavour, very attractive. Fine balance and drinking very well indeed.
I have had this a few times over the last 10 years..this was the best bottle
Points 18.5

All 5 tasters generally had the same tasting marks. Palmer won and the Mouton was 4th.

Soon after starting to buy wine(1976) I took the advice of the experts at the time and invested what money I had in Vintage Port. As you don't empty a bottle on your collection is still quite intact and I open one bottle a year maybe..with a few friends..4-5 is ideal.
I still have some 63's and 66's but decided the perfect end to the evening should be a 1970.

Warre 1970 Vintage Port
Thirty-six year old Ports don't pack the punch they did after 25 years. The start to take it easy, soften, even become elegant.Medium-sweet flavour, perfect weight, marzipan, absolutely delicious now.
Points 19.5

As if to prove how well these fortified wines hold up in bottle.. I had found a bottle of Harveys Bristol Old Bottled Cream Sherry 1962 and a 10 year old Tawny from Reid Wines in the UK. Both had been open at least 5 years with only a stop-cork keeping out the air. In both bottles there was a small tasting glass amount. The tawny was still very good..the Oloroso superb, liquid caramel. Quite amazing considering the circumstances.