Saturday, October 31, 2009

Becker Boom Boom Lemberger

Seeger Lemberger 'R' 2007
Baden, Germany

The property is in Leimen, near Heidelberg..and the main claim to fame of the town is that Boris Becker was born here....which gives me the chance to tell my favourite Becker 'story'.
Boris got married recently and he was searching for a house in London. He has found one... 1 Dining Room, 2 Bedrooms...and 20 Broom Cupboards!
OK..back to business....Leimen is also north Baden.......Württemberg is in view..if you know what I mean. The grape Lemberger has it's German home's brother is also 'a la maison' in Austria going by the name of Blaufrankisch.
Now..Seeger interests me..the recent Cuvée Anna had I decided to buy his Blauer Spärburgunder 'R' 2007...and it sits in my cellar..waiting for it's master. On the merchant's list was today's I was tempted. Now...what I like about the grape is when it is lighter in a medium Bordeaux.....the impression here is that it is a little spends 18 months in oak..hence getting an 'R' for it's loss of light over that is slightly gritty..which is fine for me..cigar-like smell..again fine by berry fruit..just maybe a touch too plump..and it ain't cheap at € 30,--. So...I'll cross the 'border' next time I get that Lemberger craving.
Points 16.25

Wachau Awakening

Veyder-Malberg Grüner Veltliner
Loibenberg 2008

Wachau, Austria
Peter Malberg was cellermaster at the Graf Herdegg property. 2008 they went their separate ways and he bought a few acres in Spitz, Wachau. Riesling and Grüner Veltliner...and he is the first grower with a 'hands-on' approach. No machinery in sight....Loibenberg with 40 year old vines to work with....

The first impression is of a clear style...the bouquet gives out a light delicate aroma...needs working on..trace of cream...on to the palate..and it is quite complex...if you want a Smaragd bomb..then this is not for in between...and this is still a little reserved..and left me wanting a touch more...but time may give it more polish.

Points 16

Friday, October 30, 2009

World Class Pinot Noir

An Englishman, A Frenchman, an American and a Mexican are on a small plane. The pilot shouts over the intercom...'We are losing height..we need a volunteer to jump off the plane'. The Englishman stands up and shouts 'God Save The Queen'..and jumps out. Ten minutes later..the pilot again saying it hadn't helped. The Frenchman stands up..shouts 'Vive La France'..and springs from the plane. Fifteen minutes later...another call from the pilot..the American gets up..shouts 'Remember The Alamo'..and throws the Mexican out.

A similar mix was on offer at our local Bistro....I took along wines from the U.S.A, New Zealand, France and Germany. My guess is..the first three would have thrown the German out....if only to shine more than they did. Volker, Robert and Axel were given the information...4 Countries, 2 Vintages..points were awarded..10 for country..5 for the vintage..and a bonus 5 if both were correct. From 80 points Robert had helped catching a glimpse of the screwtop New Zealander..I must be more careful next time. He is a wine merchant and shouldn't get any help.

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2007
Martinborough, New Zealand
Deep, dark berry aroma...concentrated..a wildness to it...smoky, truffles...quite is firm..but with subtle attractiveness now...very good

Friedrich Becker Spätburgunder Schweigener
Sankt Paul Grosses Gewächs trocken 2007
Pfalz, Germany
Long 'legs' in the glass....gorgeous elegant aroma...silky & sexy....believe me...impossible to get much more in a I have mentioned before..the vineyard is in France..and this would need a very good Chambolle-Musigny as spends some time in new oak barrels...smoky bacon smell...compact..perfectly balanced..the fruit just layers the tongue...the best Sankt Paul yet?....need to compare it side-by-side with the 2006...
Points 18.25

Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St Georges La Charmotte 2005
Burgundy, France
At first suffered a lot following Becker..but developed it's own appeal with airing...quite meaty..and very French..juicy, earthy...some tannins still...dry smoke..needs a year or two
Points 17

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir,
Bien Nacido 2005
Historic Vineyards Collection
California, U.S.A.
A terroir wine..Amaretto...marzipan...spices of the orient...thick but subtle tannins... and although drinkable..will benefit from 5 years in your cellar.
Points 17.5

All but the Becker wine I have tried before..and all scored a fraction more...the problem for them here was..the Becker just overawed us all. World class Pinot.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saying GoodBye To A Friend

How do you say goodbye to an old friend.....he (or she) has been part of my (wine-drinking) life for as long as it's been my hobby. She (I have decided..being a Pinot Noir lover) has to go.....she is taking up space..and to be honest...has been lying there, doing very little..for almost 35 years.
At this point I had better explain. My wine drinking started back in 1975....after arriving in Germany and trying to sell French wines while learning the language. As if she knew I needed monthly help...Decanter emerged in September of that year...a wine magazine that helped and encouraged...that introduced me over the years to the wonderful world of wine. I purchased the very first issue...years later the binders...then I stopped the binders and just piled them up wherever there was space. the reason for this 'mild' rant. My wife says we need it for other 'important' things....and, to be honest, when was the last time I read the October 1979 version..or the January edition in 1991. Probably a few weeks after I read them...then they were hardly touched again. New issues tasting regions to try. So..the question do I 'lose' an old friend. Do I 'bury' a plot in a nearby vineyard....or is a 'cremation' necessary...with a glass of Dom Perignon at my lips and a tear in my eye. She has to go....I need sympathy and advice...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Great Minds Think Alike

Volker rang...he and his wife Steffi were going out for a meal...join them? Eva & myself walked the short distance...Volker was bringing a I was quickly into the cellar and pulled out my choice of red...along with the GV to get the taste buds going. We sat, chatted, laughed..enjoyed the food..and the reds were covered up. I had to guess the Salwey..Volker the Gantenbein.and the saying 'Great Minds Think Alike' came to mind. We couldn't have planned the 2 reds better....they just paired so well.
Hiedler Grüner Veltliner Thal 2007
Kamptal, Austria

Palate is more dominant is the initial impression...aromas of minerals...layed-back smokiness...a peppery touch sends you to a quite full-bodied wine....surprises a oiliness...even exotic..but remaining dry throughout. We all agreed..excellent value at € 13,--

Points 16.5

Salwey Kirchberg Spätburgunder G.G. 2006
Baden, Germany

This showed a slightly soft burnt bouquet which opened with a few swirls..then fine ripe fruit..decent oak...and the palate was full of cherry flavours...very well made...the tannins just caressing the fruit. I guessed Germany..and 2006...then gave up.

Points 17.5

Gantenbein Pinot Noir 2005
Fläsch, Switzerland
After a recent try of the was time to open this one....Gorgeous nose...the Salwey lost out here...intense sweet crushed fruit...velvet Pinot..and it just lies so perfectly as you slurp and taste...cinnamon..very ripe fruit...gentle tannins and delicate wine that is at it's peak now...we discussed how long it would age...and I still have three bottles...but why would you want could you resist it.....and this would be difficult to beat in ANY blind tasting. Top wine from Switzerland.
Points 18

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Früh Bird Catches The Blogger's Eye

A simple explanation for all non-german that the Frühburgunder is ready 2-3 weeks before Big Brother Spätburgunder. This example from a property known for it's reliable, if not earth-moving, whites showed what improvements are being made with reds in Franken.
Zehnthof Luckert Frühburgunder *** 2006
Franken, Germany
Wild, spicy berry aroma..fresh and spritely it shows itself from the glass...cinnamon ...very inhalable...on the palate..again that slightly wild feel..with a soft tannic bundle...about as much as you want with this variety...very well made..and a surprise to be honest. Is Luckert one to watch in the future?
Points 16.75

PS...not worth a post of it's own...
The Paris Cornas Granit 30 2005 from the Rhône was purchased after a recent note I saw on the 2007 raving about the wine. Methinks this had a failing...the soft chewy tannins were outdone by a strong acidity that marred any further real pleasure for me. Next day..still not softened...strange and a disppointment. Not even the background still-shot of Catherine Deneuve..the French legendary actress could tame this one.
PS again...
I called the merchant..and he is sending another this space.

Monday, October 19, 2009

X Marks The Spot

My first taste of a Cuvée X goes back over 3 years ago...
I wanted a half bottle of Lynch-Bages 2001 Pauillac in a restaurant..but was told it was sold out so I decided to try the 2003 Cuvée X. It was decanted and I thought they had found the Lynch-Bages. A dead ringer..
The last bottle was superb.....
Time to try the about the same age span....
Knipser Cuvee X 2005
Pfalz, Germany
This spends 28 months in new French oak..cuvée is Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc und cassis...power nose...liquorice traces..tobacco and the usual cedar...deep and intense...big chewy tannins but with a velvet touch...there is a dark fruit feel..plums and blackberries....just leave it a year or two..and watch it develope.
Points 17.5

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Rare Substitute

While trying to purchase some of Becker's Sankt Paul' 2006.. I was offered this as an alternative. HE Dausch is the son of a teacher...and since 2001..without a property.
He inherited the vineyard Eschenbacher
Herrschaftswingert...where the vines are around 18 years old. His good friend Fritz Becker Jr. has filled 3 new barrels with the
ey stay in there for 19 months. I know many readers say they hardly see many of the wines I drink in Germany.....sorry to say..this one is even more rare than most.

HE Dausch 'the gurus'
Pinot Noir 2006

Bottled by Friedrich Becker

Rhein, Germany

Medium colour..with an orange rim..looks older than it is...very French nose...touch of smoke...the palate shows compact fruit..minerals...classy...more female than male..if you get my drift...lovely balance..gentle spices.
Points 17.75

A Fiery Softie

Württemberg is just so exciting at the moment...the properties there and always trying something different..and stamping their own style on the wines
J. Ellwanger Cuvée Nikodemus
Hades trocken 2005
Württemberg, Germany
Rich deep colour...a juicy wasabi...hits the front tongue with an almost extreme spiciness...this is a fiery softie..layers of fruit...mostly Merlot with a some Syrah and Lemberger thrown in...reminded me in style of a good Loire...
Points 17

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bercher's Burkheimer Best

Many of the German reds I drink will not be seen outside Germany.....whether things will change as the world awakes to the rising quality..we will see. Until on dear bloggers....and pine...
Weingut Bercher Burkheimer Feuerberg Spätburgunder G.G. Spätlese trocken 2005 Baden, Germany
Bercher has his own style..drier than many...definite terroir...the 2003 was maybe TOO hot a vintage..and never appealed to me...the 2005 style is maybe more suited....medium red...dark berry aroma..earthy..elegant fruit of new oak...tobacco....harmonius tannins...went down easy...but has staying power.
Points 17.25

Friday, October 09, 2009

Restaurant Buchholz & A New Car

Having just bought a new car (actually..4 years old and it's only my third car in 35 years)..we decided to celebrate and go out with some friends Marianne & Jupp to a restaurant in Mainz. As is my want..and being a crazy wine freak...I was there a day earlier to browse the wine-list. This is for my satisfaction...but it also cuts out the delays caused by me on the evening. Foodies will know what I mean. I met the owner while I was checking the list...Herr Buchholz...who was probably wondering what a customer was doing mid afternoon in his restaurant. After a short was 'bis morgen'..and off home.
The following evening we drove to Mainz-Gonsenheim in the new car (no ..I didn't drive home). They have a parking service at the restaurant..give up the keys..and hope the young guy doesn't drive off and show his girlfriend his 'new motor'. We were shown to our table...large enough for 8 we had plenty of room. There is a main restaurant..and small pockets where tables are available...well set out. We decided to eat 'à la carte'...a starter and a main course. A very good variety of fresh breads with various salts....and an 'amuse gueule' preceeded the first courses.
Ökonomierat Rebholz von Muschelkalk Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2007
Pfalz, Germany
I had this 6 months ago..and was impressed. No chance of getting anymore..the 2008 was on the market. Last chance to try it again here then. Jupp makes wine in the Rheingau....and he was surprised how little acidity was showing...and that is the reason that it pleases me. That's not to say it is flat..far from it..but the whole bundle is perfectly balanced. There is an intense aroma...classic Riesling...needed some airing..then filled out on the palate...spices galore...layers of minerals. Lovely wine.
Points 17.5

Decided to overdo it with the red.....The Meyer-Näkel looked me in the eye from the wine-list....

Meyer-Näkel Dernauer Pfarrwingert G.G. Spätburgunder 2006

Ahr, Germany

Cassis...blackberry...cream.....stop there....just smell this all night....what a compact bouquet...scares you sometimes....maybe you will be disappointed when you taste...but no chance here. Dry fruit...just layers and layers....this is class...and fully deserves the
Points 18

That would have been it.., Jupp & I were on a roll...and the alocohol hadn't set a selection of cheeses needed a slightly more biting the half-bottle was just right. No photo of the Burgundy....I think the alcohol was taking over..I forgot...
Domaine Chantal Lescure à Nuits-Saint-Georges
Pommard les Vaumuriens 2006
Burgundy, France
This was not going to be easy after the M-N wine...earthy, drier fruit...walnuts..very much terroir..with a bite of acidity and a soft tannin grip...just right with the cheese.
Points 17.25
Food was very good....maybe pricey on the list..but with all the extras it balances itself out.
One small point...some sort of small potato addition with the main courses would have been better.
Here some photos...with a list of what was on the menu...the rest you can work out for yourselves!
Gelbschwanzmakrele mit rote Bete und Sauerrahm
Tatar vom Taschenkrebs mit Langustino, Radieschen und Avocado
Marinierter Kalbskopf mit Kartoffel und Entenstopflebercroûtons

Gebratene Jakobsmuschel mit Zweierlei von Kürbis und Mangold
Cannelloni vom Kalbsschwanz auf Stielmus und Rote Bete-Vinaigrette
Kartoffelravioli in Geflügel-Olivenölnage und schwarzem Trüffel
Hummerconsommé mit Büsum Krabben

Steinbuttfilet mit geräuchertem Süßkartoffelpüree, lauwarmen Selleriesalat und Anisschaum
Saiblingsfilet und marinierte Muscheln auf gebratenem Spitzkohl und Zitrusfrüchten
Roastbeef und geschmorte Wange vom Westhofener Rind mit Safranschalotten,
cremiger Polenta und Steinpilzen
Zweierlei vom Lamm mit Auberginencaviar, Quitte und Olivensauce
Ente in 2 Gängen serviert
Rosa Brust mit Servietten-Nssknödel, Kräutersaitlingen und Senfkörnersauce
Geschmorte Keule an Selleriepüree und Rosenkohlblättern

Warme Apfeltarte mit Rumeis
Lasagne von Buttermilchmousse und Orangen-Mandel-Blättern mit Rosmarineis
Leicht geliertes Champagnersüppchen mit Cassis-Sorbet und Karamellkrokant

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Drinking Between Phone Calls

As the business has been taking most of my time recently....the daily ritual has been to go into the cellar shortly before dinner...choose a bottle I deserved for my efforts that day...and just try to enjoy and relax.
The 3 that follow were welcome 'payment'....and as the phone inevitably rings during a meal...only sparse notes of the wines....
Weinmanufaktur Untertürkheimer Lemberger Barrique *** trocken 2004
Württemberg, Germany
Dumb nose at first....not too forthcoming....but was better after the first phone call. Thick juice..intense...berry bomb with chewy topping..built to last.....earthy ..reminded me of old style Bordeaux.
Points 16.5

Sirloin Tips in a creamy sauce with Pasta.....can't remember which day...but I remember how good it was.

Sometime in between all these wines..I opened a bargain. I say that as it was a gift with the case of Spanish wines I purchased. Even if you had to pay for still gives you plenty for your dollar..price was about € 4,-- vintage visible..100% Tempranillo...furry tannins....raspberry fruit...liquorice...and my wife used some in a sauce..commenting..'Perfect for cooking'

Kuhn Kirschgarten PinotNoir G.G. trocken 2006
Pfalz, Germany
I like Kuhn's wines.....his Sauvignon Blanc had had the other Spätburgunder of this vintage. First impression...class...Pfalzer terroir..excellent balance..lovely weight in the mouth..and a fine even finish. This held up over 2 days which says a lot for this fine grower.
Points 17.5

Reinhold & Cornelia Scheider
Spätburgunder *** C trocken 2006

Baden, Germany
Priced at € 20,--.......this offers a perfumed wine. Fruit driven..elegant..small strawberries..but no softy..plenty of grip...which gave pleasure a day later. Another property you can rely on.
Points 17