Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two Pegasai?

The Donaldson family were one of the pioneers of this very special area just one hour’s car ride north of Christchurch. The area comprises a narrow valley protected on the east and west by mountain ranges. The soils are a mix of clay, limestone, glacial deposits and gravels.
Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2006
Waipara, New Zealand
Popped the cork...nope...I am lying....screwcap here...and an instant aroma of raspberries...developed a mix of wood fruits..more blackberry as it evolved...really enticing. Very well-balanced on the palate...with grainy tannins..and a delicious juicy flavour. I have been waiting to be impressed by a red wine from New Zealand..and this certainly does. The Waipara area is said to be the next one to watch.
Next day...the wine had another surprise...it had deepened..showing a 'dark' side...more intense..like Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde..but in this case...both sides were appealing.
Points 17.75

Next day....another Pegasus
Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2006
Waipara, New Zealand
My first taste of Sauvignon Blanc was a Sancerre..years and years ago..in the 70's Then up popped the New World..and a whole host of wines from Marlborough were on the market...and I remember how Cloudy Bay was hyped. Styles were so varied..but most were like sucking a gooseberry or drinking a glass of cat's pee....this precarious road...I decided not to travel for a while....and found my heaven in Italy or France. A recent tasting in England gave the Pinot Noir 5 Stars..which I can identify with..but also this mix had been awarded the same...
Quite full...matchstick/gunfire..some spices, lychees..and a layed-back amount of pussy's liquid..which is fine by me.
I tried this with some Sushi & Sushimi..a few of which were spicy..and the wine contrasted perfectly. I am not going to rate this as highly..but it's a well-made gooseberry!
Points 16.5

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Salad & Wine

One of my favourite salad dishes..and I have become more a lover of salads recently. Good 'Feldsalat' is a joy..it seems the translation is Lamb's Lettuce...but I can't remember seeing it in other countries. This was mixed here with 'Rucolasalat' (Rocket)..the two lumps are goat's cheese wrapped in bacon....delicious..believe me.

Flick Herrgottspfad Riesling 2007

Rheinhessen, Germany
A first vintage for this wine...the best from this young family concern.
Soft delicate nose..prickly fruit..trace of pears..and then a grapefruit-like acidity....minerals to the fore..a decent drink. A glassful left in the bottle was tried 2 days later. All the edges and 'youth' had gone..a soft delicious mouthful...real velvet..what a difference.
A bargain at around € 7,--
Points 15 (Day 1) Points 16 (Day 3)

Salwey Henkenberg Weißburgunder *** G.G. 2007

Baden, Germany
One of the reasons I am not a big fan of the grape in Germany is...
they are usually overblown..and most have a touch too much alcohol. This is instantly different..with a more stone and mineral style..and only 12.5 %. A nose of ripe pears..smoke...some vanilla from the Barrique...
The vineyard Henkenberg is ideally situated..sun pure...and is a 'First Growth' (Grosses Gewächs)..citrus aroma developed...lies gracefully on the palate...good long finish. Salwey knows how to please..
A wine that should age well..and I suppose I really should leave a bottle in the dungeon...
Incidentally..this was voted a top Weissburgunder... 94 points in a recent tasting....
Points 17...but maybe because I am not a WB freak....yes I know..lay one down..yes...yes...maybe

Salwey Spätburgunder 'RS' trocken 2006
Baden, Germany
The Flagship wine from this excellent grower. Easy to divulge...ripe fruit..classy oak smell...sour cherry..upfront..earthy style..dry..nicely balanced..fun to drink..but still serious..not going anywhere..drink it over the next year or two..
Points 16.5

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dancing Queen & Ugly Duckling

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

Baden, Germany
Made from vines over 40 years old..it spent 20 months in 'barrique' It is no surprise that this wine is excellent..but the surprise is the lightness of style for the vintage. Even the best have a weight to them..it was very hot in 2003!

Enticing but discrete aroma...a light classy fruit crosses the lips..lively soft tannins dance on the tongue...ripe fruit fills the mouth..soft smoke rises from the palate..this is a Dancing Queen of a wine. I still have one bottle..but for how long?
Points 18

The plant was a present just before Xmas...an ugly duckling at the time..now look at her..'I'm A Swan, I'm A Swan' (Hans Christian Anderson)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Coincidencies and Ramblings.

The last couple of days have meant late decisions as what to drink. The cellar is cooler than normal..due the minus temperatures...hence my choice of the 'Pinot' grape...
J.J.Adeneuer Spätburgunder trocken 2006
Ahr, Germany
The basic wine from a most reliable grower..this was the last of a mixed bunch I had purchased.
The basic wine of any winemaker should be good and well-priced. Drink this with anyone..and you will be happy with it's clean, juicy fruit. No pretentions..juts good honest wine.

Knipser Riesling Auslese Trocken Halbstück 2003
Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
With a light salad on the menu..I really fancied a ripe Riesling.
This wine had pleased many times...but was corked.

Quickly down to the cellar again...hmmm.. let's try a Spätburgunder.
Fritz Waßmer Spätburgunder 'R' 2004
Baden, Germany
Lovely nose & soft velvety palate. This wine is more Burgundian than a Dijon Mustard.

The late night reading was the new 'Weinwelt' magazine...and opening the first page was an article about Albert Kallfelz, a Mosel grower,
winning a court case after 9 years. He had lost 37.000 bottles of 1996 & 1997 wine.
The company responsible for the corks had to pay out € 136.000.
The final comment in the article was that it would not happen too often on this scale..as it was always difficult to prove.

Reichsgraf & Marquis zu Hoensbroech
Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken 2003
Baden, Germany
Next day...I decided to try a bottle that I received as a Xmas present. It had been sent by an appointed
merchant....and he is selling it for around € 25,--. Maybe he thought he could get rid of it..because..it is awful. Imagine some hard-boiled sweets...fermented in water...it was pale & thin. The 'full-bodied' description on their webpage is *****!!! Good job I am not giving points on this particular post.
Quick decision....a half-bottle...
Ziereisen Blauer Spätburgunder Selection
Rhini 2004
Baden, Germany
This half bottle is softening down...no doubt by the last bottle..it will be perfect.

I had been surfing the net about a possible purchase of a Russian River Chardonnay.
Two hours later I received an email 'spam' titled
'Holy smokes! The bats will stay at Russian River Vineyards.'
Nothing against the bats..what worries me about the net is the speed a mere 'google' somehow passed on my email information. I know Big Brother may be watching us...but now Little Sister is in on the act.

After all this 'winey' activity we were off to a 60th Birthday party...fancy dress....Barry The Kid! There was not going to be wine available (not true..but you know what i mean) and the music to be played I had prepared..so I needed to keep a clear mind. I ended up drinking 4 bottles of water..which as any doctor will tell you..is very healthy.
It was a great night..and the music...from the 50's, 60's and 70's went down very well. Back in the day Rap was a talk-in intro to a song..not an excuse for someone who can't sing! Hip-Hop was what the rabbits did to each other. It was 2am before we left....and I woke with a 'musical' headache....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bonzai Blog

The Bonzai plant as background is really appropriate..the reason being that I was looking for information about the wine and stumbled on a Blog from Japan. Written in English, although as the Blogger states, his master of the language is not great. I remember the early days in Germany...learning to speak German...and having people smile as I made amusing mistakes. I now speak it probably 95% perfect..but still say something funny.
So..I am entitled to be amused by our Japanese Wine Lover's notes....but..reading between the lines..you know that he loves wine....and I have added him to my links.

Domaine de Montcalmes Rouge 2005
Coteaux du Languedoc, France
The wine is made from 75% Syrah, 15% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. The parcelles and varietals are vinified separately, and the wine undergoes 24 months elevage in barrique, with the Grenache being transferred back to stainless steel after the first 12 months.The slightly wild smell of the Languedoc...forest fruits..herbs..pepper & tobacco...and some dark olives. The tannins are medium tight..with a soft bite into the wild fruit...reminded me in style of a Côte Rôtie.
Points 17

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Temperamental SB

After obtaining one of the winners of this year's Pinot Cup, Wegelin ..I managed to get 6 bottles of the other. A week later I took a bottle along to a restaurant where we tried diverse food and the wine did not show well..so...this is it's second chance...
Knab Endinger Engelsberg Spätburgunder *** 2006 Baden, Germany
First impressions..cherry nose with almonds...the palate showed thick bitter cherries...but this became a little less as it evolved in the glass. Medium tannin grip and a fresh acidity will help it age well...at the moment not the 'winner' it was voted...but let's give it another go in a year. In style..more southern Burgundy...certainly elegant...and whereas many Spätburgunder wines match up well with most foods...you need to be choosy with this one.
..it's temperamental.
Points 17

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wine & A Pouch

Out to a local eatery with my staff...one of them has been with the company for 40 years. As I had been given a pressie at Xmas by a business contact in southern Spain..I took the bottle along. We had some wonderful fresh Antipasti as a starter and an interesting white. Colle di San Domenico
Fiano di Avellino 2005

Campania, Italy

100% Fiano...straw coloured...with green tinges. Roasted nuts in the glass..intense stones and minerals...think of Chablis and you are not far away. Ripe fruit...well balanced..and at 3 years old..a perfect foil for all that Antipasti. A surprising surprise.

Points 16.25

Pasta as main course and by this time the bottle of red had been opened.
The business contact is in Almeria..where this wine comes from...and I have never had a red from so far south before. Next stop..the ocean.

Tetas De La Sacristana
M Seleccion
Vinos de Fondon

Laujar-Alpujarra, Spain
First smell was intoxicating...thick rich fruit..and while it appealed..it also worried. Was I gonna get a 'fruit bomb' after recent Ne
w World examples? A quick sip told me I was on safe ground. A real gem on the palate..the Tempranillo flaunting itself with the Merlot giving it style. It softened with airing..the intensity of aroma diluted...but not in any way losing it's best point. This has 13% alcohol..not 15%..and here lies the secret. It spends some time in French & American oak..about 12 months at a guess.. Nowhere to be found elsewhere...which is a shame.
Points 17.5

The pouch came with the wine...but no way would I put such a goodie into it.
I'll use it next time I take the goats into the mountains....1 1/2 is inscribed on the side...enough for a magnum?...poor thing..stretched to it's limits.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chilly Chile

In this chilly (sorry about the pun) climate..white wine is not an obvious choice..but needs must with a light fish dish.
Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2005
Casablanca Valley, Chile
Very layed-back in a French style...stones & minerals to the fore...complex..a 'mexican wave' of flavours..one moment cream & butter(aged in French oak)..then pear flavour..then the minerals. It's been a year or more since I last tried this...and the oakiness has mellowed...an 'interesting' wine to drink.. with something new developing at ever visit to the glass.
Points 16.5

A Spanish Mystery

Look closely at the label...not a lot there..don't bother turning it around...nothing out the back door.
OK..so we Googlers check the net..Nada!
As it was a gift over the festive season..no information there either.
Neus 2003
Castilla y Leon, Spain
First impression..raw, slightly burnt smell...then spices developed....then a more intense blackcurrant. An earthy style...dry tannins...and a swig of acidity. My guess is there is some Cabernet Sauvignon in there.
Left half the bottle to try next day.....and it showed much softer..rounded flavour...no edges...and again..some CS in there....not bad. Will I ever know more...?
Points 16

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Montezumas Revenge

Our eldest daughter just got back from a 5 week holiday in Goa and India. The three of us met up at our local Bistro..we should have been 4..but her hubby had a 'funny tummy'..after the trip..(can't call it a 'holiday!!!). Streets filled with trash, cockroaches in most hotels, dirty sheets...the food was OK..but ever 7 days they had a dose of Montezumas Revenge! What she needed was a decent meal and some red wine.
The two bottles I took along....first one up...
Agostino Pavia Moliss Barbera d'Asti 2005
Piedmont, Italy
Moliss (a Piedmontese word, not Italian) is a single vineyard wine, old vines, matured in large oak ovals, the closest thing to a tradional Asti but cleaner and much more concentrated.
If you purchased this wine, even at restaurant mark-up you would be happy. Lots of firm manly fruit...bound by a loose grip of tannins in some soft oak. Easy to drink and pair with any food.
A poor man's Barolo...they used to call it..but Barbera should be searched out whenever available.
Points 16.5

I got a few Xmas presents in the form of wine. One came from the owner of out favourite holiday restaurant 'Rebstock'..of which there are many posts on the blog. I presume on our next visit the wine will be on the list.
Laible Durbacher Plauelrain
Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken 2004
Baden, Germany
This is a 'Großes Gewächs'
Known for his excellent Riesling...Laible does devote some time to the old SB. This is the first I have had...but as it was from Herr Hodapp..I knew it would be good....and good it was.
An enthralling aroma of strawberries in hay (strawberries in straw would be overdoing it)...like ripples on a stream..the gentle fruit covers this medium weighted goodie. You have to keep going back for another whiff. No tannin to write home about..although there is still grip and maybe this will hold 5-10 years....but there is really no chance of that...its too enticing. A really delicious bottle...
Points 17.25

Sunday, January 04, 2009

World Premier

A World Premier post..no tasting notes on this wine on the net.....no..not a long lost wine..or a new cult monster....just a first from the Doc...called Black Dog. It's a Cuvée from his best barrels of Frühburgunder & Spätburgunder..both of which I have tried recently. Crusius doesn't make expensive reds..that's not what he aims for. This new project costs around € 14,-- and would convince anyone who ever said this price range for German reds does not please. It will only be released in special years.
Dr. Crusius Black Dog 2007
Nahe, Germany
Spring flowers spring from the glass...then a sweet oak..Rioja-like..following by a more elegant aroma...the palate shows definite traces of liquorice and a juicy sour cherry flavour. A fine tannin cloak surrounds the attractive fruit...I drank this direct from the cellar...so a little cooler than usual. Difficult not to like...which is what we all search for in wine.
Points 16.5

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Pamela of a Wine

Herdade do Esporão, Esporão Reserva 2007
Alentejo, Portugal
Made from the local varieties Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto. At first there is a grapefruit-like freshness..but as the wine opens...peaches, melons...Pamela Anderson..oops...sorry ladies..my mind is wandering...not that I am a fan of her..or hers in this case..and she probably doesn't know how to hold a wine glass..she maybe just balances the vessel on one of them as she cooks for her 'man'...anyway...where were we?...ah yes...melons

Aged in new American oak...which is more than we can say for Pamela...this is sweet & juicy without ever starting to cloy as there is excellent acidity in there. Plenty of cream..similar to Pamela.... and quite complex for the price..which she isn't. Sorry Pammy...I promise to write a more positive post about you in the future.
Points...now..my fingers want to type a comment here...but this is a family blog..
Points 16.25

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Bacon, Bacon & Bacon

Out to dinner..at friend's house...
All twines tasted blind...Prieler from the bottle..the other 2 from decanter.
Prieler Pinot Noir 2002 Silvia Prieler
Burgenland, Austria
My first impression..an aged Rhone wine..maybe Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Why?..well..animal aromas..meaty..quite full..thick spices. I then saw what was in the bottle.
OK...search for Pinot...still think it is a Rhone!!!
Seriously though..the Austrian's style of the sexy grape is completely different to Germany...and you won't find many French wines like this either. Bacon aromas....well-balanced tannins...ready to drink now.
Points 17

Sine Qua Non In Flagrante 2000

Ventura, California, U.S.A.
Manfred Krankl is the man behind Sine Qua Non.
The mix is..86% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 4% Viognier
Deep, dark colour...tight asian spices...lead pencil...bacon...palate offers more softness..creamy cassis..very port-like...a velvet glove..in an iron fist. They give the exact alcohol content as 14.9%. Did I detect 000.275 more?
Hmmmm...it is a big wine...but it only gets
Points 17.75...I'll get messages and phone calls...but these heavy-weights.........
Remember when the world champion was Cassius Clay...a lighter heavy-weight. Nowadays..you get a 2 Meter Man from Russia who weighs more than a bus.. The wines are following suit...STOP NOW...or forget about me.

Lillian Syrah 2005
Oregon, California, U.S.A.
Maggie Harris used to work for Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non
Fresh baked bread.....then bacon....more juice here...tobacco and minerals. Dark berries thrust to the fore...15.5% alcohol...mature for it's short life....but has depth to age.
Points 17.75
Now..although the last two pointed higher..what did I want to drink again..?
Yes..the Austrian....I wonder why?