Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sexy Snails

Two snails mating in the garden....ah..back in the days..they would have ended in the pan.........the French ate everything...this time they were 'disposed' of........
The sight of copulating was not the reason to open a sexy Pinot Noir.....a recent article in 'Wein Gourmet'..all about the Graubünden area of Switzerland..had meant I ordered a 3 bottle set from Eichholz...owner is Irene Grünenfelder who started out in 1995...and learned at George Schlegel's vineyard..and was advised by the King Of Switzerland..Gantenbein. The other two bottles are a Pinot Noir 'Eichholz' 2006..the big brother of the one below..and a Sauvignon Blanc 2006. All were highly recommended by the magazine.

Weingut Grünenfelder Pinot Noir 2006
Jenins, Graubünden, Switzerland
Shiny cherry red...light purple rim....intense spicy plum nose at first....then strong cassis...quite dominant....very up-front. More elegance on the palate...feminine style..touch of sour cherries...mineral notes..charming
Points 17...looking forward to trying the top wine 'Eichholz'

Friday, June 27, 2008

Call Me Don

I am a godfather (The Don Corleone of Wine?)...2 times is my niece in England..and the other is here in Germany..Merle is her name...'little stinky'(my name for her) on the right. She and her sister (Lisa)...and their parents..came over and we barbecued....wonderful evening..fascinating to see youngsters evolve..Merle is 2 years 'older' than her birth certificate..and understands my wicked sense of choice really..I was 'chosen' before she ever got asked. The parents Christiane and wine...and a bottle of the Zalwander followed the white...
Dönnhoff Weissburgunder trocken 2007
Nahe, Germany

I have to be honest..I am not a big fan of the grape in Germany...nice wines..but usually leave me saying...don't ring us..we'll ring you! Nice to say then..that this was delicious. Soft and creamy..quite full..with an elegant style..and nice acidity..keeping it lively..minerals evolve on the tongue...perfect for a warm summer evening.
Points 16.25
€ 11.50

The Three R's

The three R's..back in school..used to be Reading, (W)riting & (A)rithmatic.
More to my liking nowadys are Rheingau, Rebholz & R...which means this is a Grosses Gewächs.
Rebholz is a dynamic young grower....probably the best in the Pfalz...

NB: Background to the wine is a new book 'Weinatlas Deutschland' far as I know only in German as yet....essential....the best book on German wine..hopefully an English version will become available for you 'foreigners'.
Ökonomierat Rebholz Spätburgunder 'R' 2003
Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

This spent 20 months in new French and Pfälzer oak.
Spicy....sour cherries and cream on the nose...clear spicy fruit is the first taste impression....thick for a Spätburgunder...intensive, dark,even brooding..showing it's muscles....on the palate..quite soft though..but very firm guess I am catching this when it is just becoming drinkable...a whiff of mushrooms..this reminded me of some of the mid-Spain reds....very untypical compared to any other Pinot's from Germany.
Points 17.75..but will no doubt get better and better

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Sheep, A Dog & Crazy Joe

We GBWT's (Great Blogging Wine Tasters) all have good taste...we know what a good wine is...but once in a while..we agree to differ...
How can I explain better..let try this..
I love women...(sorry darling..liked) won't work unless I say love women...but we all have our own taste...actually..some women love women..and some men love men...this is getting confusing...and then there are sheep...
Which reminds me of a story.
Shipwrecked..a man, a sheep & a sheepdog find themselves on a desert island.
They live happily together for a few weeks. One night..on the the sun goes down..the man has urges...he moves over to the sheep and puts his arm round it...a loud Grrrrrrr from the dog makes him quickly remove it. He tries again over the next couple of luck. A few weeks later..another ship goes down nearby..and a woman arrives on the island. this part of the can add your own in Dolly Dollar..a blown up Barby..with fish lips and Michelin tyre get the picture?. Anyway..she arrives..and they all live happily together for a few days. One've guessed it....beach, sun....etc.. and the man turns to the woman and says...
'Dolly..I have been here a while..and a man has urges...I haven't had sex for ages...can I ask a favour?'. Dolly's eyes light up..'Yes, how can I help?.. 'Well', says the man..'would you mind taking the dog for a walk?!!'
How does it end?...The dog and Dolly run off together ( swim actually)..the others are rescued by a Captain Shepherd..who also takes a fancy to the sheep....and the man..well..he starts writing a blog about wine.
Which brings me nicely back to the start...
Crazy Joe drank a wine a while Aligoté.. or as I called Ali Goat..but we've had sheep so I'll stop here.
He loved it...gave it 18 points...I bought 1000 bottles (fibbing here..was only 12)...I tried a couple of bottles..ended up in hospital ( fibbing again)...and after cooking most of have only one left in my cellar. If the sheep hadn't run off..I'd have used it to marinate...
His 'woman' was not my taste in this case.
Joe recently posted about a wine..another 18 pointer...which I was able to purchase...( see..I never lost faith in him)
Chateau La Nerthe Blanc 2004
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone

Full notes are here....JOE...

A blend of Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Roussanne and Clairette, most of which are rarely seen outside of France. Its haunting nose changed constantly over the evening, with notes of creamy custard, quince, lychee, spring flowers, lemon peel, wet stones and some gentle oakiness – an interesting greenness (wet ferns?) as well. Stunning on the palate – opulent, with a nice oily texture, lemony cream flavours and a nice bitter finish – so unusual, I'd almost use "rustic" if the wine wasn't SO elegant and polished.
I would only add that I caught some freshly peeled walnuts on the nose...and I love Rousanne..(that's a grape put down that frying pan!)
A delicious wine....Joe is back on my Xmas list..and I won't tease him again about the goat.

Points 17.75
PS...If Joe liked this so
much..then I have no hesitation in recommending a woman Hildegard

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Doing The Dont's

In the world of wine..there are DO'S & DONT'S...
One DO is....Do give Barry a good wine if he visits you!
DONT'S include....Don't offer him Aligoté (sorry Joe..hee hee).

One definite DON'T is...when you receive a case of wine and open it..DON'T decide to drink the bottle a few hours later. It's not fair to the wine....
So..there I was...looking for a white to go with oven chicken in a creamy paprika sauce.
I needed a break from the Rieslings...and there was this white..potentially soft and creamy( like the sauce)
Look..before you start criticizing....ask yourself this....have you ever done it?
I rest my case......
Anyway...only reds suffer after a journey..whites are more sturdy(see how I am convincing you & me) I popped the cork.
Yes yes...I know..I am like a kid at Christmas when a package arrives.
Schloss Halbturn Imperial Weiss 2005
Burgenland Neusiedlersee, Austria
Drive into the village of the 2
set of traffic lights turn right...then the next left..
you can't miss the's a castle!(Schloss).
Graf zu Königsegg (Marcus to you & me) has invested $$$$. They produce some reds which I have yet to try..and this cuveé from Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc. The wine spends 14 months in part new/part used Barrique.
Medium-pale instant aroma of flowery honey..cream and smoky tones....but overdone oak here. The Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect foil for big sister Chardonnay. Palate was perfect..the creaminess...touch of rosted flavours...plenty of finesse here...and a good spicy finish. Perfect now...but this could evolve.

Points 17.25 € 20

Friday, June 20, 2008

Magpies & Rosé

A couple of magpies visit us about the same time every evening. They are known to be attracted by silver things. They are welcome to stick long as they don't land on my head!
On ordering the
mixed case of whites..I promised myself I wouldn't make up the case with ANY red. True to myself..I sneaked a Rosé in there as a compromise.Me..drinking Rosé...if you don't tell anybody...I won't either.

Schlossgut Diel
Rosé de Diel Pinot Noir
Nahe, Germany
The complete grapes are pressed in making this
Rosé...and the best of the top vineyard Cuveé Caroline are used. It has a flowery freshness...racy fruit..cherries and wild berries...touch of acceptable acidity...creamy texture and minerals. A serious Rosé for Spätburgunder drinkers who keep their word to themselves.

Points 16 € 14

Not much on the front you get to see Rosie's rear!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sons Of Haag

After the Lieser..with one of Wilhem Haag's is his own vineyard now run by son Oliver Haag who has taken over from father and the quality has continued. He learned by Helmut Dönnhoff in the Nahe...not a bad schooling!
This is from the Juffer vineyard..the Juffer Sonnenuhr is still waiting for a cork pull....
Fritz Haag Brauneberg Juffer
Riesling Kabinett 2007

Mosel, Germany
Elegant style...dry Kabinett compared to some of the recent wines...aromatic...dances over the tongue..8.5% alcohol meant this bottle emptied quickly...vibrant wine...that started out with pear and grapes on the nose..less spritz than the Lieser...clean finish with just the right amount of sweetness.
Points 16.25 € 11

Text Color

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Liking Lieser

After a hard day..some cold ham with GREEN asparagus( my favourite over the white variety) was quickly prepared..and to save myself going to get the corkscrew...amidst the various Rieslings waiting to be tasted in my cellar..the screw-cap bottle was chosen. Opened and poured.....even we wine-freaks can do things simple when needs be.
This Estate is one of the new stars of the Mosel.
The winemaker at Schloss Lieser, and since about 1994 the owner as well, is none other than Wilhelm Haag's eldest son Thomas (Wilhelm Haag is the elder statesman of the Fritz Haag estate, one of Germany's most elite estates.)
Schloss Lieser Riesling Kabinett 2007
Mosel, Germany
Blind tasting it....well..if I had..I might have thought Asti Spumanti at first.
Let me explain...there is a slight 'spritz' to the wine....the bouguet showed slate minerals..and then the flavour surprises you. Clear broad fruit...mouth-tingling minerals again...citrus fruits..flint and stones...considerably more richness than the
Kabinett designation implies.This borders on Spätlese level, at 90º Oeschle. The 9% alcohol means this is very gulpable and a perfect match for the green asparagus...and would be superb with Asian food.
Points 16 but check the price € 9

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heger versus Heger

Joachim Heger of Dr.Heger wines took over the 'Weinhaus Heger' in 1986 and produces wines from vineyards grown on loess and loam soil. They are different wines to the 'Mother Weingut' where the Spätburgunder is grown on vulcanic rock.
Heger Spätburgunder
Auslese *** 2003

Baden, Germany

This spends 15 months in barrique which surprised me as it is very fruit doubt down to the soil it's grown on. The auslese wines are from old vines...hence the ***. This has a soft mushroom nose at first...some exotic spices..then clear dark fruit..mainly cherries...then a touch of cream sets in..that's the barrique..but as I said...the fruit is
dominant..dry chalky tannins and a slightly burnt aroma which may be down to the hot vintage. An interesting wine as I am a big fan of Dr.Heger's wines and this was a commendable comparison.
Points 17.25

Monday, June 16, 2008

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Some wines remind me of music.....
and as I drank this I thought of the
'Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling'

Helmut Dönnhoff is one of the 2
top growers on the Nahe..
wines of elegance and finesse.

Dönnhoff Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg
Riesling trocken 2007
Nahe, Germany
This is a downgraded Spätlese...and was given 3 hours airing....

Medium deep yellow..with sparkling green tinges....a bouquet of apricots..some ripe citrus fruits..later a touch of wild raspberry..and lovely minerally aroma....all this continues onto the palate..the acidity bounces over the tongue..flinty...and the minerality is just perfect.
Drink it now or over the next 5 years....that 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' will remain with you.
Points 17 € 20

Friday, June 13, 2008

Grauburgunder Highway

The simple things in life can
be very pleasing...fresh bread,
some Black Forest ham and
green asparagus in a
walnut vinaigrette.

After a few wines from the
Riesling Route..I decided to
take the Highway to

Emrich-Schönleber Grauburgunder S trocken 2007

Nahe, Germany
Creamy vanilla first up out of a large glass...ripe peaches with raisiny touch...the palate was quite full..but still showing finesse...spicy...gentle peachy fruit...acidity nicely integrated here...and for the price..quite complex.
Points 16.5 € 14

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Havana Pleasure

I am a non-smoker...and as my wife gave up 10 years one is allowed to smoke in the house. When the evenings are warmer...after a meal..out in the garden...once in a while..I treat myself to a good Havana choice is light and easy..Hoyo de Monterrey...anything stronger and I'd get high!The children came round..brought Sushi with them.

Binki is heading for 50..actually 44...but time does fly by quickly....I tell her.
is looking for a man at the local supermarket...she has hit the big 40...and that may be the reason for the change of tactics.The sushi was good...and in case you are wondering why I am waffling..well..the white wine comments hardly fill a posting...
Christmann Gimmeldinger
Riesling trocken 2007

Pfalz, Germany

The usual comments...crisp, elegant, youthful austerity...reserved acidity..but this one was not going to pop it's head up and me now....I found it very ordinary...and just a touch too dry with the fruit available. I guess this young Riesling search is gonna be swings and roundabouts..and down to personal styles.

Points 15 € 10
But there was that cigar....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spotless Teenager

The estate is located in the town of Bacharach in the Mittelrhein wine-growing region in Germany. It was founded in 1982 by Dr. Randolf Kauer and Martina Kauer. The vineyard area totals slightly more than three hectares, mostly on steep slopes, spread over the communes Bacharach (Kloster Fürstental, Wolfshöhle), Oberdiebach (Fürstenberg), Oberwesel (Oelsberg) and Urbar (Beulsberg).
Kauer Oberweseler Oelsberg
Riesling Spätlese trocken 2007

Mittelrhein, Germany

Ah ha...this is more like it..and what I had hoped for with the vintage.
Aromas of apricots and juicy apples..lazy, hazy citrus fruits..minerals and some intensity.....smells
like a winner. More apricots on the palate, some peach..real lively easy to accept with that whole bowl of fruit covering it. Herbs and a gentle sweetness tie this one up..and the 13% alcohol you just never notice. A teenager without spots that will develope into a tasty young lady! Roll on the next one...
Points 17.25 € 13

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Prosecco from Baden

A hot summer evening....a freshly-made salad...and after 'Feinschmecker' enthused about the 2006...the time was right to try the first 2007 of my 'bag of goodies'
The Auxerrois belongs to the Pinot group of wines, the name refers to the Auxerre region in France.
Huber Auxerrois Malterdinger Bienenberg
Kabinett trocken 2007

Baden, Germany
Small pearls...I am not a Prosecco lover....fragrant, delicate nose..light bodied..some minerals..fruity..a touch sweetness..but I thought it seemed flat....missing a zing
...easy summer drinking for someone who likes this style...not for me.
Points 14 € 12

Monday, June 09, 2008

German Whites Vintage 2007

Talk about keeping up with the Joneses...I have to keep up with the Joes of this world.A photo of reds he is hoping to drink..who knows what this man has in mind? Behind every great man is a good woman..and before every great red is a good white!

After hearing only positive information about the 2007 vintage in Germany I decided to purchase a whole host of whites...practically all Riesling...and mostly trocken. It's going to be hard I shy away from young acidity..but I'm hoping that the vintage will take care of me. Below a list of the wines that will eventually pass my lips.

Dönnhoff Riesling trocken 2007
Dönnhoff Weißburgunder trocken 2007
Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese trocken 2007
Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese 2007
Emrich-Schönleber Grauburgunder trocken -S- trocken 2007
Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling trocken 2007
Christmann Riesling trocken 2007
Christmann Gimmeldinger Riesling trocken 2007
Kühn Riesling Landgeflecht trocken 2007
Kauer Bacharacher Wolfshöhle Riesling Kabinett trocken 2007
Kauer Oberweseler Oelsberg Riesling Spätlese trocken 2007
Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinnet 2007
Clemens Busch Riesling Kabinett trocken 2007
Lieser Schloss Lieser Riesling Kabinett 2007
Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett 2007
Fritz Haag Brauneberger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese trocken 2007
Van Volxem Saar Riesling Alte Reben 2007
Schnaitmann Riesling ** Fellbach trocken 2007
Huber Auxerrois Kabinett trocken 2007

Short-Sighted Spätburgunder Drinkers

Home made gnocchis in gorgonzola sauce. One of my favourite dishes...but can so often disappoint in restaurants. The secrets are:
1. Fresh Gorgonzola ( not some old piece you want to use up)
2. don't overdo it..the cheese should be
part of the dish..not THE dish.
The wine chosen I have tried a couple of times...and didn't make previous notes as the situations were not ideal (visitors, telephone etc). I wanted to be fair to the wine..and to myself!

I find the Spätburgunder wines of the Pfalz a little more austere than other areas...Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot are both grown succesfully here..and I usually get that 'dryer' feeling.

Marcus Schneider Spätburgunder M 2005
Pfalz, Germany
Made of Pinot grapes harvested from 2 different terroirs....
A gentle restrained softness at first..which gradually do many from this wonderful vintage. Dark cherries appeared....and the fluffy first taste filled out to show a full-bodied wine..some tannins..but the wine is more open than I remember from the previous 2 bottles..some spicy oak and vanilla traces...and for the price ( about 16,-- Euros)..this is excellent value
Points 17
Recent tastings notes of mine of Spätburgunders wines from the mid-range have hopefully & finally put to bed the criticism that many aimed at this category. Growers are now producing 'basic' wines to compliment the top range..which, to me, are still better value than anywhere in the world!
Compare the label here to the Zalwander wine...are growers appealing to short-sighted drinkers!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good Friends, Good Wines

What is the best thing about drinking wine? The wine has to be good..yes...but doesn't it always taste a little better with fellow wine lovers...and I am sometimes like a kid..wanting to share my goodies..
Volker, Robert and myself met up for our regular visit to the local Bistro...I take along the wines..and they try to guess.
The first wine you know...ABC Hildegard...and I wanted to share it with them. I was just as impressed as before and, although they gave it fewer marks than I did, they rated is highly. It went well with fresh Octopus on a light salad.
(Interesting....we weighed the empty 'heavy' bottle of Hildegard..1200 grammes..compared to 400 grammes that a 'normal' bottle weighs)

The first red I had purchased in a shop in
Freiburg..never seen it before..and it is nowhere to be found elsewhere..just this little old shop....
It was superb. Dr Heger himself described the work on the Achkarrer Schlossberg in 2003 as extremely hard and the yield was low. had been worth it. The 40 year-old vines produced what he states to be the best they have harvested. The wine spends 20 months in barrique.

Dr. Heger Achkarrer Schlossberg
Spätbugunder ***
Spätlese trocken
"Grosses Gewächs" Barrique 2003

Baden, Germany
Almost at once there was a cherry aroma of real elegance, forest smells and a little burnt wood, really classic...the palate showed great concentration..ripe fruit...was very soft, slightly sweet with a gentle spiciness..perfect it's peak you would think..but will certainly please for
another 5-6 years. We were thouroghly impressed and agreed together on
Points 18.5

The second red I had decanted..and as the wine developed in glass...which we all like to enjoy...maybe a longer airing would benefit it more next time.
Ojai "Melville Vineyard"
Santa Rita Hills Syrah 2003
California, U.S.A.
Deep opaque colour..thick 'long legs' filled the glass...gamey nose with ripe berry fruit...deep spices..a little dry at first( which meant the blind tasters went elswhere with their thought) then expect a tannin bomb...but the wine is surprisingly soft. As it opened in the the palate became a touch sweeter showing thick ripe berry fruit...the tannins are there for it's future..but the whole balance made it all a very enticing wine...with more airing..drink it now..but 5 years will do it no harm
Points 17.75+

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Big O!

I play football (soccer to you lot outside of Europe) every sunday. One of the group stopped me on the street recently and, knowing my love for music and my DJ hobby, asked me about a song his wife had heard on the radio called 'Mystery Girl'..she loved it..and had somehow managed to catch the name. I knew already but waited.. 'Do You Know Roy Orbison'?...
Know him...The Big O! ..I have everything he ever did..................!!!!.

'Only The Lonely'..'Dream Baby'..Pretty Woman'.....but hang on..this is a wine blog.....where were we?..Anyway...I told him I would put all Roy's hits on a CD..he wanted to surprise his wife. Next day he called to collect the disc..and kindly gave me the bottle of wine ( he must have also heard I drank once in a while)
Some mild Indian food was the order of the day...and so I decided his present would match well. I collected the food from the restaurant...and it always amuses me when I hear a foreign language..then a couple of English or German words thrown in. In this the waiter called into the kitchen inquiring about the food..and the ingredients...he suddenly threw in 'Mint Yoghurt'..then continued on his merry way in Indian. Maybe there is no translation...must go to google...

Flick Wickerer Mönchsgewann
Riesling Spätlese trocken 2006
Rheingau, Germany
Flick was one of the few growers who had success with the 2006 Vintage.
Clean, light Riesling nose..some peaches...a touch of the rest sweetness....but this complimented the food.
13% alcohol...which you never notice. Pleasant, easy drinking.

Points 14.5 stated..the 2006 Vintage was very difficult in Germany....but 2007 is gonna be a bomb. Already ordering a whole range of this space.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Männle, Mini-Golf & My Reputation

The village of Durbach has 2 Männle's, one Laible and a mini-golf course! Heinrich Männle I did not visit, Laible I did..but as he only had 2007 basic Rieslings..I did not purchase...he is a star and everything older had gone..the better wines still waiting to be bottled.
Andreas Männle is at the other end of the village...they are like book-ends to the village. The mini-golf course has a scorecard of 18 holes...after 12 holes my wife and I searched but never found the other six. After a 12!! at the first
( I had to get used to the putter)..I found my form and managed to retain my reputation. After the 'exertions'..we visited the Männle vineyard..where the wine cost only 11,-- Euros

Andreas Männle Durbacher Bienengarten
Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken 2007
Baden, Germany
This is the youngest Spätburgunder I have ever tasted...just to think that 6 months ago this had been on the vine.
Firm nose at first..but it quickly developed some strawberry and a little tar. This, unlike the 2005, obviously never saw barrique. The flavour is full, quite rich for the price...some spiciness..but soft overall...all that for 'little' I said after the 2005...the vineyard is a little secret waiting to be spread.
Points 16.5