Friday, May 30, 2008

Best Co-Op In Baden

no doubt about that with the experts....
and 80% is planted with Spätburgunder vines

The Pfarrberg vineyard faces to the south-east and gets a whole dose of morning sunshine..which the above experts say is better than the evening version. So it is..that the wines are as good as it gets for the price you pay. Most folk will know Co-Operatives in France. The German equivalent is Winzergenossenschaft. A recent visit showed a massive range to choose from. Most of the growers in Waldulm belong to this WG.. it was founded in 1928. Cellermaster is Urban Laible.

Winzergenossenschaft Waldulm

Waldulmer 'Selection' Pfarrberg Spätburgunder 2005

Baden, Germany
Tight aroma..liquorice..which opened with a few swirls..cherries, blackcurrant/blackberry jam...some vanilla...easy on the palate tannins...thick fruit..typical 'sweet' style of the area...very tempting..maybe not elegant..but age may help...
Points 16.5

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rest Of The Best Of The Rest

No time to open a bottle after a day when the rest of our plants arrived in the garden.The last three bottles tried were still half-corked in the cellar. All three I placed on the table in the garden, and from a distance, it would have made the neighbour think I was on a binge!
First one was the wine opened 3 days ago..Männle...which had been lying on it's side..and I thought..get this one out of the way..the 2 newer examples will be better. How wrong...still all there..maybe a touch freshness missing..but a real surprise. The perfect wine for when you get told 'One Glass A Day'(I have BIG glasses Doctor).
Next up..Hauvette..which had been standing..with half a glass in there..and it was taking on a slightly metal touch..I didn't continue with it.
Last..was the ABC from the day before..and this powerpack was certainly holding up...
Usually when I leave bottles with the thought of trying them a day later...well... I weaken and open something new. This was a pleasant surprise.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Power Pinot Noir

Jim Clendenen celebrated 25 years of winemaking in 2005 and says it was the best vintage in his time. He decided to look back at his "roots" and honor the vineyards that furnished grapes for his (and others) ground-breaking wines that put the area firmly on the world's winemaking map. The Historic Vineyards Collection on the label is being used to highlight the original important sites.

In Bien Nacido vineyard there are extreme temperature differences..with warm days changing by up to 15° in the night. It is this difference that characterises the wine.

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir,
Bien Nacido 2005

Historic Vineyards Collection
California, U.S.A.
Cinnamon and cloves stream from the glass...and various spice mixtures..intense dark fruits..thick tannins..but approachable ..a mix of rich fruit that reminded me of sliced marzipan. This is not your typical Pinot is a wine that is true to it's terroir...and although drinkable..will benefit from 5 years in your cellar. An iron fist in an iron glove...this is a power Pinot..probably not found anywhere else in California.
Points 17.75+

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Breast Dreams

I have this recurring dream..I am being breast-fed by this buxom lady...the right one has Pinot Noir and the left..Spätburgunder. I am too young to differentiate..but both taste great. I can't wait to grow up in this dream and learn to appreciate what that baby is missing. My psychiatrist tells me I should change my drinking habits once in a while..that should help. Listen 'Mr. Couchman'...I think I would have more problems if I was starved of it..the grape I mean...

The last non Pinot/Spätburgunder was over a month ago..and that was a Zinfandel...hang on..I did drink a Chardonnay...but you know what I to pull the cork of this wine from the south of France.
50% Grenache, 30% Syrah & 20% Cabernet Sauvigon (can't imagine that lady with this mix..and I am certainly not gonna dream about Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a possible 13 grape varieties!!!)

Domaine Hauvette

Les Baux de Provence rouge 2001
Provence, France
Light meaty nose..some cassis and raspberry..animal aromas..some balsamic..earthy..very soft opening mouthful..gentle Provence spices..elegant....this would have gone with the salmon from the previous post..but I was worried it would be too tannic..not the case...very discrete..a cool style that the French do so well..imagine a cross between a Bordeaux and a
Châteauneuf-du-Pape....and you would end up with this.
Points 17.25

Monday, May 26, 2008

Back Door Bargain

After a warm sunny was hot on the football pitch(the round-ball version)...poached Salmon for the evening meal.... and a perfect match is any Pinot Noir...this marriage convinces even the most stubborn folk about red wine and fish. Actually..I could drink Pinot with anything..but we won't go there. There are ways and means on how to obtain wines...and sometimes you end up getting something via the back to speak. While at 'Rebstock' I had planned the week's wines..and a 'reserve choice' was this wine from Männle. I had read that it was under the top 10 Spätburgunder wines from Baden..for the 2005 vintage...confirmation is on the bottle neck. It was on the list at Euros 29,-- but was not really gonna get drunk this time round as the days ran out. We visited the vineyard..but all that was on offer was the new 2007... not in barrique this cost Euros 11,--. On the day we left Rebstock I decided to purchase the 2005 from the wine-list and said that they should add it to my bill..which I paid...and only later saw that they had charged Euros 11,--....probably what they paid for it 2 years ago. Thank you guys! Was it a bargain at the back door?

Andreas Männle Durbacher Bienengarten
Spätlese trocken Barrique 2005
Baden, Germany

Medium deep, gradual light rim paleness here...bouquet was muted at first..then opened up to show thick compact strawberries....real power package...then after 30 minutes it was like someone had left the door extra freshness fresh air..became more elegant. On the palate..delicious up-front fruit..again the stawberry layers...integrated soft tannins..some liquorice flavour..slighty spicy..touch of oak(12 months in barrique)..but only hovering...not attacking...all-in-all..a quite complex wine..elegant and firm....and should develope very well. Next time at Rebstock....

Points 17.75

Feinschmecker..a top German magazine..issue a pocket book of German Growers every year....very helpful when travelling....they mark the vineyards with F's..the highest marking is 5 F's....this grower only gets one...methinks they need to check their palates with this vineyard.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some You Win, Some You Lose

The same shopkeeper that recommended the Zalwander suggested this wine as well.
Never come across this grower before.
Schlumberger Pinot Noir 'Eich' 2005,
Baden, Germany
Pale colour..heading for rosé territory...short bouquet...there one second..then gone...on the palate..'sweet' as in bon-bon and jam....some jammy pinots when balanced are a treat...this just had the sweetness and no more...not a bad wine..but the style is poor..and overall it
seemed synthetic and contrived...not one that I would want again...strange...
Points 15

The suggestion on the back label to decant would only have prolonged the agony.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Baden Bargain

There used to be a radio program...probably still is.....that was about Desert Island had to choose 10 records you would take with you..and one essential 'extra'. Let's change the idea a little..10 different wines...and a corkscrew...
I'm not going to start listing all the great wines I have drunk over the years that I would pack in my rucksack...but amongst my selections there would probably not have been one under
today's priced wine. of the most satisfying things about wine drinking is 'finding' a wine..then being told a price. Well..this was the other way round....and was purchased in Freiburg on our recent visit to the Black Forest. I asked the shopkeeper to recommend a couple of Spätburgunder from the vintage 2005...he handed me a wine and told me it cost Euros 13,--...I took it home to see if it was a 'find'
And so it is that a week later I decided to try it. go to the local market and see some white truffles costing £1 each..
you go to your local car-lot..and they have a Jaguar for $ 100,--
down at your local liquor store..let's say called Crazy Joe's..they have an Aligoté that cost $23.85..Canadian Dollars that is..and you give it 18/20.

Well..the truffles sound a bargain..unless there is a worm in them..
and I haven't checked the engine of the Jaguar..
and the Aligoté....well..let's say that is the 'dream sequence' in this little story..
rather like Bobby Ewing in the shower on the Dallas soap TV show....some things just can't be true!

'What About The Wine!'....OK OK...but after all this you should be convinced......
'How About Some Notes!'.....who could be green with 3 eyes and no nose...well,..actually no nose would be a bummer.
I suppose as this is Barry's Wine Notes & Memories and not 'The Rantings Of A Wino'..I had better write something.

The vineyard, in Köndringen, is owned by two guys..Elmar Lehmann und Odin Bauer (his day job is Cellar Master at Freiherrn von Gleichenstein) ..they got together in 2002 and purchased it..with only 20-30 year-old Spätburgunder vines in it...good way to start I suppose.They have since planted Lemberger und Grauburgunder but it's the Sexy grape we are talking about here. Their first vintage was 2003...which had good reviews....but my guess is that this vintage, in my opinion, perfect for the better. It spends 12 months in Barrique.The name Zalwander in South Baden dialect means 'togetherness'..and so that this young venture has no financial is run as a part-time concern. Fairy-tale really...

Zalwander Spätburgunder 2005
Baden, Germany

Light-medium colour..with a watery rim...just ignore that all you lovers of thick dark red wines....the aroma is quite complex...Burgundian style...cherries and some vanilla..the palate was medium full with spices, cinnamon..again soft vanilla..and that slight peppery feel on the tongue that gives good Pinot the necessary balance. I have tried many wines at double the price.....are you now convinced? Who wants a bottle sent to them?...even with the postage you are getting a bargain!

Points 17.5...I feel I may even be cheating the wine here....maybe if it had cost double I would have given it 18.....maybe I will next time...

PS...they also produce a 'better' Spätburgunder called EEE..using the older vines....heaven knows how good that one is...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sex In A Glass Vintage

The vintage 2005 was excellent in both Germany and France....for the sexy grape...Spät-Pinot-Burgunder-Noir.
After my trip to Baden..I decided to try some bottles that were awaiting a cork-pull....all from the vintage. Points for wine, as usual, out of 20...followed by sexiness..out of 10.

Jayer-Gilles Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2005
Burgundy, France
Top domaine...and a mid range wine..cost Euros not cheap for the label...but that is no longer what you look for nowadays. Villages wines etc..can be excellent. It's the man who pops the cork in...that matters....
Good medium colour....aromas of toast and dried black fruits....this has good acidity...plenty of style
and character..noticeable oak in there but nicely placed....cherries, chocolate, and some spice...a masculine style of Pinot.
Points 16.5 Sexy 6/10

Bergdolt Duttweiler Kalkberg Spätburgunder trocken

Grosses Gewächs 2005
Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Baden and Ahr have definite styles of Spätburgunder. The Pfalz is no exception...and it's no surprise that the wines remind me of some of the Cabernet Sauvignons...a grape grown with success there..not too predominant in the other areas. It's down to the 'terroir'...Kalkberg..light sand and loam soil..
This is a slimmer wine than most..the juicy nose after opening was intriguing...this strangely
lessened in the glass..but returned later to show red berries...palate has packed tannins..the dry style of Spätburgunder with CS character.....slighty astringend....became fuller..dried fruits came to mind as well...and was constantly changing. Not sure if the fruit is enough to keep this afloat though...Cost..Euros 23
Points 16 Sexy 4/10

Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St Georges La Charmotte 2005
Burgundy, France
Getting into the big-boy country now..and the price was higher..Euros 33.......lovely ripe raspberry Pinot..sleek and silky..some tannins...but they only hover...filled out with airing..maybe a decant if you approach this today..but still very delicious.
Points 17.25......I have 2 more bottles..leave a year or two... Sexy 7.5/10

So..the French won this 'battle'..but mainly because there were no wines from Baden or Ahr....the Pfalz wine was a poor third.
The Schneider 2005 tasted at the 'Rebstock' a few days before would have gotten 9/10 sexy points

Monday, May 19, 2008

Heaven On Earth.....Again

At short notice we had added a day to our trip...5 days this time..and had to spend the first night in a smaller room as our usual one was occupied. As 'Gasthof zum Rebstock' is usually closed on Mondays we had booked a table for dinner elsewhere.It was only after we arrived that the staff said they would be open as it was a national holiday. We did have a light lunch tho..on the terrace..more of that later....
We ordered a taxi to take us from Kappelrodeck-Waldulm
to Sasbachwalden(the Waldulm is important as we know some people who relied on their car navigation system..and ended up in the wrong place...there is a Rebstock in every second village!!!) ...outside waiting was a bus!...enough for 20 people...the owner was driving and explained she had just taken a group somewhere and wouldn't have got to us in time if she had changed cars. Arriving at Restaurant Fallert..the staff must have had a shock as well...but only two people appeared...
Hotel Talmühle.. with Restaurant Fallert has a large garden area but a light breeze kept us in the main room.
During the evening
we had been informed they had received a star in Michelin. The food was good..the lady serving us very friendly...

A young waitress..away from her 'safe' serving area...saw that my wife had finished a course...and although I was still eating..happily removed the plate...we both smiled..but very much a no-no in a one-star establishment.
Martin Wassmer Spätburgunder
SW Schlatter 2002

Baden, Germany
Medium deep...a nose that says WOW as it jumps from the glass..smoky, a bag of red typical Pinot..touch of oak..this all leads into a similar
flavour...fine oak again..but well integrated..with some minerals and spices...perfect now.
Points 18

Next day..a lazy one..just chilled out...the change of rooms took 15 minutes.

The biggest surprise was the new garden terrace.

The weather was great so Tuesday evening gave us the chance to sit outside again. It had been 2 months of building...but was taking shape..and as the sun was was decided to use it. Marvelous to sit outside with the evening sun going down..better choose a good wine. Hardly a the list is superb..and I have a copy permanently in our room!
On a table next to us were a pair..well..let's say they were two people. From what we heard...and man...did we hear a lot..they had lived together..were probably now separated..and spent the whole evening discussing money, houses and family. Annoying..but the funniest part was the woman talking..and her husband opened a large newspaper and started to read it...the woman continued to talk.. but threw in an 'Hello'....Hello'.. in the hope he would be listening. Funny, sad and irritating. Luckily they left before the main course or I would have taken my chair and joined them in order not to miss
ANYTHING they said.

Bernhard Huber
Hecklinger Schlossberg *R' Reserve
Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs
Baden, Germany
Vines grown on similar 'terroir' to the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy.
Cranberry, smoke and cherries.. warm and full..with a softness but still with firm fruit, superbly balanced, long long finish...the vintage is perfect for this wine....will age beautifully..but very approachable now.
Points 18+

Next day we spent primarily in Offenburg..stopped off at Durbach to
buy some wines..bought some 2007 Spätburgunder from Männle...7 months ago I was admiring the grape on the vine...and
2. play my wife at mini golf!

Weather was gorgeous..


Across the fields as we sat outside on the terrace..was a farmer..cutting his grass with an electric saw...took about an hour..all dentist haters would understand...the sight of a fire meant peace to the eaters...
The sky was clear..except for a few of which reminded me of New Zealand...

Bernhard Huber Hecklinger Schlossberg
Chardonnay trocken 2005
Baden, Germany
Drinking a whole bottle alone in a restaurant..means Spätburgunder or Pinot Noir for me..alcoholic fruit bombs or tannin terrors are meant to share with friends. We sat outside again..and so I decided on a white....but to be honest..I generally get bored after a half bottle..and crave for red....
Made from 40-year old vines..the oldest German Chardonnay vineyard...the previous elderly pair..thought the vines were Weissburgunder. Bernard Huber bought the property..and discovered the correct grape...and this was confirmed by the Freiburger Wine Institute.
Yellow gold...light oaky aroma..minerals with rich Chardonnay fruit..citrus....but for me..just a touch too much rest oak on the palate at the moment...give it a year or two..and it may be worth the proclamation..
'Best German Chardonnay 2005!'
Points 17.5... but with more to come

The third day we planned to drive to Freiburg..stay for a short while....then to some vineyards in the Kaiserstühl area....Freiburg took all day...they have a superb market..and an old town with TOO many shops to interest a wife! time for Kaiserstühl.
We had a storm on the way was dry back 'home'..but too cool for the we ate in the main restaurant.

R & C
Schneider Spätburgunder 2005
'Parzelle Schönenberg'
Baden, Germany
Brick red with a brownish rim...tight strawberry fruit..opened quickly....full....lovely aroma streams from the gets the impression this is SO soft..but there are dry brittle tannins...this will age as well..but why wait..2005 is a terrific vintage..and it slipped down a treat. The Burgundians should be wary....
Points 18.25

The last day..and the weather was warm with a slight breeze..we walked the vineyards at the back of the Hotel..and into the forest...

We started the evening in the restaurant as a few drops of rain appeared but it halfway through the meal..we were on the terrace again....

Bernhard Huber Wildenstein Spätburgunder 'Reserve'2004
Baden, Germany
I almost tried this 6 months ago..but the vintage and Huber style stopped me..would have been infantile....decided to give it a go now....if you don't buy a don't win a raffle...
'Wildenstein' is a small parcel of vines in the 'Bienenberg' vineyard.
Burnt ripe cherries...minerals to the fore..very fruit driven but with a massive firm backbone that masks it again and again...musty tannins..power gotta work hard at the moment..and the vintage is not sympathetic. Will age for a decade..but should be better in 3-4 years.
Points doubt a point more with time..

As always...a wonderful stay..great food...very friendly staff..ain't life wonderful?

If you have the time..a short's no Hitchcock movie.....just some film I took.
Explorer users click link above..Firefox bottom left of video screen

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Black Forest Trip

Just in case you start to pine as there will be no notes from
Sunday 11th May until Sunday 18th May..don't worry...
I'll still be drinking..but in the Black Forest....
no..not in the actual forest...but in our little hideaway..
Don't drink any bad wines while I'm away!!!

Barry Drinks Beaujolais

Don't ask...OK......if you insist..the last time I bought..let alone drank....a Beaujolais was yonks (a long time) ago. It used to be a headache wine...
New wine drinkers would ask why Beaujolais does not appear on the gotta learn the 'Villages' names..then you will know that Moulin à Vent, Chiroubles etc were the 'better' wines....Morgon belongs to that group.

I was interested in the 2005 as Burgundy had a wonderful vintage..and if the Pinot Noir was OK..then why not Gamay. As the 2004 was also lent itself to a comparison tasting.
As the photos show..perfect Beaujolais weather...the 2004 photo is particularly
attractive..with the evening sun casting shadows.

Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2004

Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Milky colour...light to medium bodied.....odd smell at first..seems a little volatile...earthy..dusty cherry..seems like it is bubbling under in the glass...never really got going...a poor bottle..or is it a closed period...whatever it is...not a pleasure at the moment
Points 14.5

Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2005

Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
This is another kettle of fish(where does that saying come from?)..bright colour, clear...light purple..firm, tight nose...very more...palate shows sweetish fruit with lively acidity..cherries...needs a year or two if the nose is anything to go by...
Points 16