Monday, December 31, 2007

Ahr First Growth # 5

The 2003 Vintage was not officially a
Grosses Gewächs....the following year
was the first year he could use the description.
Stodden Recher Herrenberg
Spätburgunder 2003 JS Auslese *** trocken
Ahr, Germany
Nose a little rough and ready to start with...lightly roasted..then in the Burgundy glass the red and black fruits moved their butts..and we got a real nice smell. This is a cooler style of wine and quite dry..thick in the mouth and a juicyness followed by a dry finish..the acidity giving it a fresh feel. On the bottle it recommended decanting..but as time was not available.. I used a massive glass....but maybe I was the next day the wine had lost it's charm..slighty maybe TOO much airing was not correct.
Points 17.5

A Cool Australian?

Norfolk Rise was established in 2000 and named
after the impressive and dominating plantation

of lofty native Norfolk Island Pines. The Shiraz spends 14 months in French oak.
Norfolk Rise Shiraz Noolook 2004
South Australia, Australia
Interesting first whiff...some minerals mixed with reminded me of a drink from my youth..Ribena (that version being quite sweet)...the first mouthful was soft and quite smooth then the chalky tannins followed and the overall impression is of a 'drink now' wine.
It says 'cool climate' wine on the bottle....the 14.5% alcohol is not a's just that after 2 glasses..I needed a little more it became one-dimensional. Not bad really...and if the price is right( it was a present)..then a wine to please most.
Points 16

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ahr First Growth # 4

The Nelles estate is located in the commune of Heimersheim in the Ahr wine-growing region in Germany. The Nelles family has been involved in wine production for more than 500 years. Current owner Thomas Nelles served an apprenticeship in winemaking with Julius Wasem in Ingelheim, then worked at various estates including Adeneuer, before going on to study viticulture and fruit farming in Weinsberg. On completion of his studies, he took over the estate from his father in the early 1970’s. Soon after that, the manor house, which had been built in 1950, had to be demolished to make way for a road. When the Heimersheim co-operative merged with the Ahr Winzer E.G. co-operative in 1976, and gave up its production facility in Heimersheim, Nelles had the old co-operative buildings, except for the hotel, demolished, and rebuilt his estate on top of the old cellar. The vineyard area totals just on seven hectares, with holdings in the top-rated Burggarten and Landskrone (Heimersheim) sites, as well as in the Schieferlay and Sonnenberg (Bad Neuenahr) sites, which are however usually not stated on the labels. Wherever possible, the best red wines are not filtered before bottling.

Nelles Heimersheimer Landskrone
Spätburgunder 2003
"Grosses Gewächs" trocken
Ahr, Germany

The striking bold labels are emblazoned with the date of the birth of the winery (1479). The B52 is the top wine..with a gold capsule...which this bottle had..but there was no sign of the B52 figures.

Medium deep with browning rim; sweet strawberries, wild fruits..slightly burnt aroma...which seems to be consistant with Ahr wines; first impression on tasting..some liquorice, concentrated rich attack..The Landskrone vineyard at the eastern end of the Ahr Valley – has steep slate soils warmed up in the sun, storing heat which is released during the night, making some of the wines carry quite a punch! With the vintage being one of the best for the grape in Germany...this is quite full..with ripe fruit..and showed it's fullness by being just as good when tasted a day later.
Points 17.75

The 18 point mark is, for me, a bit almost made it...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve Indulgence

In Germany it's Christmas Eve when we have our celebratery meal.
The children!!( all in their 40's)
come over and we laugh and guzzle

This year we had platters of Smoked Salmon,
Shrimps, Bean Sa
lad, Tello Tonnato,
Marinated Prawns and a Paprika Terrine.
Enough to feed a regiment..
think my wife worked in an elite canteen
in an earlier life..maybe around the time of
Oliver Twist..he was
always asking for more)
To ensure a smoothness from starter to main
course (Veal Steaks and Pasta) with the wines..
I chose the Islander White..followed by
Wassmer's Spätburgunder
Rotwein 'R' 2004
and finished with the
Bodegas Castano 2004.
The reds I have tried before so I'll just note the white...

The Islander Estate
Wally White Semillon/Viognier 2005
Kangaroo Island, South
With the diverse food..I always like to have a slightly exotic wine and the Viognier on the label decided me. Then I checked..only 5%...the rest being Semillon..Screwcap off..first smell..really delicious..smokey, new oak.
This is a cool climate no Aussie Headbasher here..some elegance and the acidity keeps it lively and crsip..and the Viognier kept it a perfect match for the food.
James Halliday..well-known wine critic...gave this 94/100...
I wouldn't go as far as that but
Points 17

PS..the Wassmer went perfectly with the smoked salmon....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Presents and Spiders

I hate winter.....need sunshine. It's icy cold outside..but at least dry..and the spiders are at work even in the winter...the web highlighted by the frost.
The Christmas tree is finished and a few presents lying underneath.
The left one is a Chablis from Laroche 2003.. given to me by a business aquaintance..he read the article in the newspaper and said he only then realised that I knew something about wine.
The Quinto do Crasto Reserve 2005 from the Douro Portugal is a present from my secretary...I must be a good boss eh?
The middle one is a simple table wine from the Rhone..Côte-Rôtie La Turque 1999 from Guigal..a present from my I said..we don't give each other presents.

To all readers of the blog:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ahr First Growth # 3

Weingut Adeneuer must be my
'Vineyard of the Year' in 2007..
as all the wines I drank have been fairly priced
and excellent quality.

Ahrweiler Rosenthal
Spätburgunder 2004

"Grosses Gewächs" trocken

Ahr, Germany

Quite deep ruby (for a Pinot)...roasted aromas.....with careful amount oak giving off a very fine creamy, vanilla bouquet; sweet fruit on the palate, some spices...slightly dry from the tannins..closed..didn't fill out even with airing.....the 'lesser' wines of 2005 are more attractive and drinkable at the moment.Give it a year or two.

Points 17 +

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ahr First Growth # 2

Owned now by Wolfgang Hehle...The new winery was commissioned in 1980. It was decided to call the new wine estate „Deutzerhof“, making it independent of any family succession. The vineyard area totals nine hectares, with holdings in the following sites: Berg (Laach), Daubhaus and Forstberg (Ahrweil), Eck (Altenahr), Burgberg and Mönchberg (Mayschoß), Herrenberg (Rech), Kirchtürmchen (Neuenahr), as well as Landskrone (Heimersheim). Only some of these are mentioned on the labels, for example the Altenahrer Eck and Mayschoßer Mönchberg. Pinot Noir represents 75% of all grapes planted. He is now making wines that needs some laying down.

Deutzerhof Altenahrer Eck
Spätburgunder 2004
"Grosses Gewächs" trocken
Ahr, Germany
This 2004 is a wine with potential....completely different to the Kreuzberg. No pale rimmed colour here..but a medium deep red; nose in the sniff..another and another..each time a sweet smell of classy Pinot...blackberries and cream came to mind; flavour showed some dry tannins..the fruit struggling at the moment..this is simmering..holding back...very good indeed..subtle and with backbone...filled airing next time.
Points 17.5 + and will probably be worth more with a year or two in bottle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ahr First Growth # 1

Kreuzberg Neuenahrer Schieferlay Spätburgunder 2004
"Grosses Gewächs" trocken
Ahr, Germany

First one of the 'Ahr Six' is probably the least known...start at the bottom and work up I thought..but this will take some beating.
Medium deep fading to a most definite orange denying what this is....served in a large Burgundian glass..the perfume was..well...perfumed..with a burnt aroma at first...first sip gave an impression this is gonna be a real elegant wine...swilling it in the mouth as I made for the kitchen to try some paprikas in just developed with every stride..juicy fruit..just so perfect..a soft explosion and a good finish...I returned to the bottle and poured we are getting to another stage..elegant, delicate WILD persistant..and the whole wine just formed itself as one...really delicious...and 14.5% would not know it..I was gonna finish it off the last third next day..but my wife beat me to it...
Points 18

White Pape

White Chateauneuf-du Pape is not a
wine you find regularly on the shelves...
it's only occasionally one comes along..
maybe because the consumer just does not know it and therefore not sellable for a merchant.
The greatest is from Chateau de Beaucastel..
where they produce 2..the 'simple' one..
and another with Vieilles Vignes (old vines) where the cépage is 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc .
Both are very attractive young..but are made to age...and the only drawback is that they go into a shell..if you try them in their 'hibernation'.. you may be disppointed.
I have 2 vintages..the 1991 looks distinctively dark...has anyone tried them recently?

Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2006
Domaine Du Vieux Lazarat
Côtes du Rhône, France

This one is in the 'drink me now' style..the mix being 45 % Grenache blanc, 30 % Clairette, 20 % Bourboulenc & 5 % Roussanne.
Fresh acidity, minerally nose..honey, nutty...leading into a flowery flavour. Good length and lively in the mouth, with a touch of apricots..exotic finish..which may be the Rousanne..
A good aperitif or with fish(fresh salmon was my choice).
Points 16

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ahr First Growths

My wife & I are at the age where we don't give each other presents at Christmas..we save the money for a break or to go out for a meal. There are no rules about giving ourselves gifts tho..well..that's my excuse...

Continuing my search for Spätburgunder from the Ahr...I purchased a case of top-end wines from the 2003 & 2004 vintages...all 'Grosses Gewächs'(First Growths)..

Looking forward over the next 2 weeks to tasting these (hopefully) gems.

Adeneuer 2004 Ahrweiler Rosenthal
Spätburgunder "Grosses Gewächs" trocken

Deutzerhof 2004 Altenahrer Eck
Spätburgunder "Grosses Gewächs" trocken

Kreuzberg 2004 Neuenahrer Schieferlay
Spätburgunder "Grosses Gewächs" trocken

Meyer Nakäl 2003 Neuenahrer Sonnenberg
Spätburgunder "Grosses Gewächs" trocken

Nelles 2003 Heimersheimer Landskrone

Spätburgunder "Grosses Gewächs" trocken

Stodden 2003 Recher Herrenberg
Spätburgunder JS Auslese *** trocken

Friday, December 14, 2007

Barking Up The Right tree

After the Yakka Jack I have been bypassing the other bottles
when I visit the cellar...finally decided to 'risk' it..
taking the one with the least alcohol...13.5%

The Islander Estate

Bark Hut Road 2003

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah, 5% Viognier

Dark garnet colour; sweetish aroma of the Shiraz and some cedar from the Cabernet..and it works..some cherry and a little vanilla oak..this all takes you into a similar flavour..the ripe Shiraz gives the feeling of sweet tannins..some alcohol but held fruits...I went back to this which is always a good sign..nicely put together..see..I didn't moan this time!

Points 16.5

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Genie from Portugal

Back in the early 90's I used to go on holiday to the Algarve in Portugal. I took my time driving across France and Spain..stopping off and visiting some wonderful eating places. The car was full of our luggage (my wife flew there)...and also there were a couple of cases of wine. Most of the restaurants on the Algarve had a half-decent Vinho Verde..but no real good red wines. So..with my own wine..I was never dissappointed in all the restaurants we visited. Pay corkage and be happy I say...altho owners thought I was 'loony' and never bothered to charge..
It was only to the end of our visits to Portugal in the mid 90's that I noticed a few wine shops with some excellent red wines. This saved me taking any wines with me...I just bought them there and took them to the restaurants. We are talking about a golfing area here...and many visitors would be happy with a house wine...but I want a good wine no matter what I eat .. or where... etc.

In an English run restaurant...which had an adventurous wine-list for the period..I first drank an Esporão wine..and was instantly was pleased to get hold of the following bottle...

Esporão Reserva 1999
Herdade do Esporão

Reguenos de Monsaraz
Alentejo, Portugal

Medium deep colour; instant rich nose..some spices and herbs and a touch of oak to rein in the masculine style of Portugal. After 30 minutes in the glass..the components knitted together nicely and gave a flavoursome wine with good
fruit..tannins a little robust...but try it with a veal steak (as I did)..and it is perfect.
Points 17+

Can't remember the turbanned gent

being on the label...maybe he
was the
genie in the bottle..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Styles And Tastes

After finding the excellent wines of Adeneuer I have been investigating other vineyards from the Ahr. I read about Maibachfarm and ordered a 6-er mixed case. I was quite excited when I received them..and decided to work my way through them over a period of days.The vineyard was founded in 1998 by the Gatzmaga family.

Maibachfarm, Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
Ahr, Germany
The wines are all Spätburgunder trockens and
all spend time in Barrique

The first one was
Bachemer Karlskoff 2006
and the next day
Dernauer Hardtberg 2006

I could not separate them tasting-note wise...both closed, very rustical in style...with tannins masking any attractiveness that may or may not appear in the future.Both in a cocoon stage.. there are moments when you think you find something..plummy fruit..strawberries...

Points 15 for both

After the disappointment of the 2006's I decided to open a 2005 next..
Neuenahrer Sonnenberg 2005

This was much better...pale
colour..soft gentle oaky nose..strange..but this reminded me of a Bordeaux...St.Emilion...nice easy mouthful.. a completely different style. Whereas the previous two were like heavy footed bouncers..this was the slim go-go girl
Points 16.5

and finally
Ahrweiler Usulinengarten 2005
Again..very rustical in style..quite decent fruit..but not enticing..I need more from my Spätburgunder
Points 15.5

There is no doubting these wines have their own's just not mine...
They may develope late..I can only guess.

They all won Gold Medals at tastings..but it's down to styles and tastes
The other 2 bottles I will hold on to..maybe get a surprise...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rioja Goodie

Back in the 'Good Old Days'..(late 70's) you could buy Rioja from the mid 60's for little money..and they just gushed with oak and vanilla..happy the youth of my wine-drinking. Into the 80's and many growers tried to 'stretch' their wines to accommodate public demand. It was 15 years before Rioja convinced me that they were making wines to be trusted.
Nowadays there are some Bodegas still using the traditional method..but many produce a more modern style. This vineyard seems to have found the 'happy medium'
The vineyard only releases in great years...

some of the vines being 60 years old.
100% Tempranillo..spend 16 months in new
French (Allier) oak barrels.

Esculle de Solabal 2004
Bodegas Solabal
Rioja, Spain

Ruby red with a dark core; very good nose of blackberries and forest fruits..reserved oak...some honey; concentrated flavour, although 14.5% alcohol..this is so well balanced and no heavyweight in the mouth..oak again integrated in firm soft tannins..a little masculine at the moment...some cassis and eucalyptus..good long finish...still youthful but can be drunk...methinks this will develope..and maybe be worth a point more in 5-10 years.

Points 17.5+