Monday, November 22, 2010

Wine Guides and Claudia

I'm still wine-less...and what better way to 'suffer' than to, purely by coincidence, receive three wine-guides within 2 days.
How can one compare....
A Carrot dangled in front of a donkey comes to mind....or...back in my youth (gotta say that or the wife will kill me) would have been Claudia Cardinale in the bed...and the door is locked. No doubt readers will have their 'own' comparison.

The Falstaff is the first time I have had it in my hands....dedicated of course to Austrian Wines. Marks the whole world does(except me) ..out of 100.
I am now searching wine merchants for the goodies.

The other two are German Wine Guides. The Gault Millau is now mine for the third year running....and is pretty essential. There are only wine notes on the very top wines...the rest are given points...and is recommended even if you can't read German.
The other I get to read when I visit our holiday haunt...but I decided this year to buy it as well. Eichemann is the author...and the difference to the GM is that all the wines have wine-notes. Now...this is commended...but as most bloggers and wine-writers can only say so much about a wine. Therefore there are repeated descriptions. Eichelmann tends to mark slightly less than it's competitor. Both mark properties with grapes and stars...5 being the top....and both use the 100 point system.

On first check I did notice some variation between the two....for wines and properties I know.
Carl Schneider(Weil am Rhein) in Baden is rated poorly in Eichelmann but highly in GM.
Michel(Achkarren) also in given 3 grapes in GM but 5 Stars in Eichelmann.
Whether there are 'politics' involved...or just personal taste...I cannot say. No doubt there are many more differences.
One I knew about before purchasing.. My recent 'find' in the in Eichelmann with 4 Stars...but is nowhere in GM. Herr Pfleger made some comment when I visited him...but as to the reason...big secret.
Weingut Hollerith in Hambach is in neither...surely a 'fauxpas'. I wait for the green light to sip again...I will plough my way through all volumes...and think of Claudia!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grapes, Stodden and Pamela Anderson

Crazy post title...I know...must be the Anesthetic still in me...although...some people say...I am crazy anyway.
Another note from before the Nose operation...and I am still recuperating. Visitors are welcome and when you visit a sick patient you usually bring about an aged Stodden...I need convincing.

Jean Stodden
Recher Herrenberg Frühburgunder 2007

Ahr, Germany
Stodden's style is not the soft forward version...which is typical of most properties in the Ahr Valley. Think North Burgundy...otherwise you will be disappointed when you taste them young.
And...I always do...taste them young...and have only ever tried one 'aged' wine...and it was a poor vintage. Still I keep ordering a bottle when released...and the notes repeat themselves.
Gerhard Stodden makes wine with plenty of tannins....and wants them to age and show their better side a few years down the road.. He releases his reds later than most...leaving them at least 15 months in new oak.
The nose gave off dark fruit aromas...and some smoke....compact...and a bundled package. Even after a day in the is still very reserved.
Man...this is hard work...and I bow to those who know his wines better....and accept patience is needed.
Dry tannins dominate on the first day....needing again 24 do you mark a wine like this...
What you have now...what you hope it will be...what you feel will happen....what Stodden fans know it will earn?
One thing is could identify Stodden's reds in a blind Ahr tasting as certain as you could Pamela Anderson in the dark!
Points 16.5

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Good Nose Day

Tuesday 16th was D-Day...or in my case N-Day. After two years of constantly trying to clear my nose and what is behind it....I decided an operation was the only way. It seems with age that the way to freedom is not as wide as it was with youth and with winter ahead...I knew I would have permanent pressure.
Nothing after 10 pm the night before I was told. It is going to be a couple of days before a glass of wine can pass my lips...even soccer for 2 weeks.
After my Radio Show on Sunday...I decided to open a bottle that I could drink over 2 days. Part 2 would send me to sleep happy....not the case as it happened...but not the wine's fault.
No matter how much you say to yourself that it will be over in 24 hours...the mind still insists on keeping you awake.
Well...operation over...a tampon hanging under my nose...I can report on my pre N-Day wine.

Joachim Hollerith
Maximus Frühburgunder 2005

Pfalz, Germany
The property is in Neustadt / Hambach. Joachim Hollerith (photo) returned to Germany in 1999 after 20 years learning his 'trade' in Virginia / U.S.A. His son Jonathan has taken over the reins since 2006.
Maximus contains grapes from the vineyards in Heiligenberg in Maikammer. This was the first vintage...only one Barrique (225 litres) available. I bought this bottle from a Bistro in is no longer available from the property.
A large glass shows it's thick legs...hey...I like thick legs...if it's wine! At first a cool reserved nose...only tempting you. The palate was more forthcoming and the first sip showed very fine structure. A swallow and the back palate left you with a ripe fruit feel. This is a complex wine. Thirty minutes later and the nose had opened...dark cherry fruit...thick marzipan.
Next day...the aromas had intensified...plenty going on...layers of fruit on the palate...leather feel...and can I add here...this reminded me of a wine from Southern a wild Syrah maybe...not your typical 'Pinot' style.
Points 17.75

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GV, SB, PN & Syrah

Local wine merchant Robert had some wines he wanted to taste with his buddies. Friend Volker would cook and Volker's wife Stefi would add her 'female expertise'
We have found that the fairer sex do have a way of describing wines that we males sometimes miss.
Robert told us...2 whites and 2 reds were the evening's drinking. 4 Regions, 4 different Vintages and 4 different Grapes.

Martin Nigl Grüner Veltliner
Privat Reserve 2009

Kremstal, Austria
I am ashamed to say I didn't think GV....Grauburgunder maybe. Smoky herby aromas. Pear fruit...spicy...touch of mango...should age well
Points 16.25

Sattlerhof Sauvignon Blanc
Kranachberg Große Lage 2008

Sütsteiermark, Austria
No difficulty with the grape here...and thankfully no overdone cat's pee. Green yellow colour...and then the honeyed exotic Grapefruit smell...goes on for as long as you want it to. If you are expecting a full-bodied continuation...then you would be disappointed at the first sip. This showed a steeliness that surprises...and minerals abound.
A second glass was fuller as it aired and it was lively throughout and a fine long finish. As Robert said...Streiermark is where you gotta go for top Sauvignon Blanc.
Points 17.25

Schloss Halbturn Pinot Noir 2006
Neusiedlersee, Austria
Strange...I have just bought a 2003 of this wine... and the 2005 was excellent. It pleases everytime and this is no exception. As the two whites had been revealed we seemed to be remaining in Austria ( you will read below) and I guessed Pinot Noir....which should be no problem with what I drink regularly. This went very well with the food (Rouladen)....creamy vanilla rising from the glass...with some ripe cherries and a leathery smokiness. Very attractive nose...and it moves smoothly onto the palate.The gentle sweet fruit is accompanied by a refreshing juiciness. Could drink this every day.
Points 17.25

Lillian Whitehawk Syrah 2007
California, U.S.A. we had been lured into the trap...I was guessing at Blaufränkisch...thinking it the only grape type left in Austria that could maybe produce the intensity...certainly could not be Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
It was then Robert gave us the tip...that he had said..'Regions'...and had not stipulated that only ONE country was involved. We headed abroad...and ended up in the U.S.of A.
Lillian is a limited production project by Maggie Harrison, a former apprentice at Sine Qua Non. From winery: This is a blend of 78.6% White Hawk Vineyard, 9.6% Stolpman Vineyard and 11.8% Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah. It spent 21 months in 82.4% new French oak.
Marzipan and cinnamon bouquet...there is plenty of oak in there...I guessed 83% (smile)...powerful...evolving...some eucalyptus. This had been decanted...and the palate showed quite forward...lots of juices revolving and a delicious length. I was offered the last glass from the bottle...and it showed it's teeth with a gritty tannic bite...what a difference the decant made.
Points 17.75
Small point...what is the point of a front label that you can't read!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Guzzling Gutzler

Weingut Gutzler Westhofener Morstein Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs 2007
Rheinhessen, Germany

It was a monday...and we had to drive north...a family bereavement. He had liked his red wine as well...and was taken from us too soon. The four of us set off back as darkness fell just after 5pm.
The day was a 'National Holiday' in Catholic areas...and the Autobahn was full of those who had crossed the 'border'...although...for the life of me...why do they bother? Didn't they go shopping on the Saturday? Of course...there was the usual odd accident...made worse by 'Gaffers'...those who slow down to have a good look. You know that is the soon as you are past the accident..the traffic speeds up. As you can read...I was not exactly smiling....and we arrived home with me just wanting to eat and relax. I grabbed a bottle from my cellar and we headed for our local eating place...and we just sat and chatted and chatted. Now...I will never be an alcoholic. Even in my youth...3 pints of beer and that was it. Nowadays...0.5 liter is the happy measure...anything more...and it serves me right if I suffer. Never with a headache...usually the lower system. If the wine had been good...then I suffer and shut-up. This was good...and the type of wine that you just enjoy...from start to finish. Spicy aromas...toasty oak...Pfalz style...which to me is with a slightly earthy feel to it. I have to admit...that I emptied the bottle...drinking the last glass as I was putting my coat on...not very had been a hard day and I 'deserved' it
Points 17.25
The next day I decided to open a bottle of Gutzler's basic Pinot Noir Barrique 2008...which he had suggested I try. It was 'safe' and didn't hurt...but not a 'bottle to empty in one go'. Thank liver needed some relief!

Payment For (Im)Patience

Some wines just don't make it easy for you. In the old days (late 70's) Barolo was a different animal to what it is today. I remember sitting with friends in a restaurant in North Italy...and we worked our way through the wine list. Vintages were varied....and either the wines were brooding giants...or were brown and decaying. My comments then after one 'brooder' were....try this on Friday 26th 1984 at 10.37...or it will fade before your eyes. Barolo is much more stable nowadays.
Another example is the wine that goes into it's 'Shell'. You try it young...very a few bottles....and want to share it with friends 12 months later. NADA....Hamster....Hibernation!

Which leads us to the wine we have here.
Ziereisen Jaspis Pinot Noir
Alte Reben 2004

Baden, Germany

In a previous post I told about the 'lost case'. I thought I had only 2 single bottles of the Jaspis. After finding the of the single bottles I had was tried to see how much of a treasure I had discovered.
It was closed and told me to leave it alone for years. This was a wine I had tried in it's early days....but the 'shell' effect had taken over. Now...I had a similar experience with Ziereisen's Rhini 2002...until...with only 2 bottles left...and at 6 years blew me away. Not tempting fate...the last bottle was shared with a friend. Back to the Jaspis...and searching the cellar for the evening wine...without really thinking...I took the last odd bottle As I pulled the cork I was having second thoughts...what are you doing Barry...this needs TIME. Too late now...cautious sniff...mmm...but that does not tell me what it will taste like. Big glass needed...nose dive in...mmm....and oak (checked...100%)...this has turned the corner...very enticing. The palate will have to work hard to keep up...and it does. Fine fruit and a perfect structure. Still a little tight but you don't want this going downhill with another 6 bottles boxed in. Burgundian style and a lazy elegance...tannins are hanging around...good long finish.Super Duper!
Points 17.75
Wine expert Jancis Robinson tasted this in 2006 in it's 'Ugly Duckling' days.... stating it could become a is certainly a fancy duck already.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pain & Pleasure

Buy some young wine...try one...put the rest away. Two on the list....
Weingut Keller
Spätburgunder trocken 'R' 2008

Rheinhessen, Germany
Mention Keller to any lover of German Riesling and their eyes will light up. Being adventurous...I am always on the hunt for Spätburgunder...and a tip from a fellow wine-lover pointed me in the direction of this wine. This is made from the grapes destined for the 'Buergel' bottling. None of that 'gem' is I gladly purchased 3 bottles of the 'R'. I decided to open a bottle..knowing I was being premature This is essential when you have 3...learn the wine in it's's brashness, it's pimples, it's potential. Now...while the post says Pain & Pleasure...neither of these 'extremes' are really on show...but it makes a good post heading! Promises, promises is what my thoughts were during the intake over 2 hours. The initial aroma was tight...with a trace of vanilla and some caramel. You just know this will expand and be more loveable in a few years. It opened and closed as it fought to b
e noticed. The palate is slightly burly...the fruit intense but a touch 'raw'...a fair dollop of acidity and you have a wine that has super potential...and will give a lot of pleasure. Can I have some more 'pain' like this? or am I being masochistic?
Points.....can I say 16.75 with a future 17.5

Mas de Daumas Gassac 2008
Languedoc, France
Good deepish purple...'leave me alone look' gotta hurt to learn ....underlying blackcurrant aroma...which really broadened...cassis extreme...the tannins are soft and rounded...and the oak nicely reigned in.
No pain to drink now...and it may go into a shell until you should risk it again.
Points 16.75....and again...a future 17.5

This 'basic' wine from the same property had been put into the case of wines I had ordered. No comment from the merchant...just a 'present'...nice touch. Full of young up-front fruit...ideal pizza wine...