Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sausages, Thai Food and Good Wines

Steffi & Volker are off to the Steiermark in Austria...Kitty(photo) is over from the U.S.A. and Robert...well...he brought some wine. We decided it was time to meet up and enjoy good wines. I was asked to bring a white and a red...and along with my wife...we set of to find Volker grilling various sausages. may think otherwise...but as far as I know know...neither America, Britain or any other great sausages like the Germans. And if to prove a point...the three variations we were offered were very good indeed.

All the wines were covered up...and Robert's first offering I had to guess at. I got the first part right...Weissburgunder...thought maybe 2008...but was in Baden. It turned out to be from the Nahe and from the very top property in that area..

Dönnhoff Significa Weissburgunger
Stückfass 2009

Nane, Germany
With every new experience I can see that German growers are getting to grips with the grape. The 'fatness' of old seems to be disappearing presenting a more balanced style.
The bouquet shows a cocktail of yellow fruit. Developed well in the mouth...lots of finesse...a great example of the grape.
Points 16.5

The second wine was from my cellar...and I checked and saw I had last tasted it in June 2008..three years ago!. Not that the wine was going downhill...what hit me more was the time that had flown by!
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
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. Herbs and a gentle sweetness tie this one up..and the 13% alcohol you just never notice. I wrote back then 'A teenager without spots that will develope into a tasty young lady!'...I was right!
Points 17.5

On to three reds...the first up was not easy...the colour was dark...but seemed to be Pinot Noir. As Robert said...always trust your first guess...and I was thinking U.S.A. but was off down other roads before it was revealed.
A bottle from the States...brought over by Kitty.
Domaine Serene
Pinot Noir

Evenstade Reserve 2005
Oregon, U.S.A.
As I mentioned...the colour was cherry aroma and toasty oak..quite full on the palate...with blackcurrant and raspberry to the fore...very good.
Points 17.25

My red wine was not happy to follow the Serene.....
Meyer-Näkel 'S' 2004
Ahr, Germany
Completely different to the above..and having drank it a few times...I know it shows better but seemed light compared to the Serene. was delightfully well-balanced with soft sweet fruit...and a slight trace of age.
Points 16.75....

Herman Story
On The Road Grenache 2008

California, U.S.A.
Robert had brought this...and Volker & I had no idea.....
Dark colour...bacon and smoke...velvety...ripe berries...good acidity...which was has 16% Alcohol as we found out when the covers came off...liquorice and cocoa...we really should have guessed Grenache...but we didn't.
Points 17

The Kauer white leads me into the next report very well.
Bacharach is in the Mittelrhein area...and as you leave the Autobahn between Bingen and Koblenz and drive downhill through the woods...then you reach this picturesque town.
Take the ferry across the Rhine on a sunny day...something I never tire of....then you on the Rheingau side...and will reach Rüdesheim...where you can take photos of Japanese tourists taking photos of this much visited town. Carry on for a few miles or kilometers and you reach Wiesbaden. The city was not touched with destruction in the the beautiful old buildings still stand...and even though they say there is a financial along the Wilhelmstrasse of an evening and the parked vehicles will be full of Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi and other elite cars. Our reason for a visit was to get the family together...and my wife & I love GOOD Asian food. All too often though...the oil is overdone...and there are 'added' ingredients....but a year ago our daughter (who lives there) recommended a Thai Restaurant...Erawan. Every visit has been a pleasure...but I usually end up driving so can't drink too much. This time I was being took 2 bottles of red along. My daughter says that the owner hardly ever visits tables...but whenever I had been there...I had always asked for a good white...and it seems to have got his interest.
The wine list is a 'catastrophe' hasn't changed for years...the vintages are 2001, 2002, 2003...none of which they still have...and on our first visit when I inquired about a Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2001...I was told they had one but from a younger vintage. Needless to say I ended up behind the bar checking the bottles of white they had in the fridge or the reds which the owner brought up from the cellar. This visit I asked for a Rully 2007...which was adequate...but not worth taking notes. The food was excellent again...although a long break between starters and main course meant that by the time we had finished...the restaurant was empty. The owner had asked what reds we were drinking...and I sent a glass for him to try...which brought him happily to our table to join in the banter (there is always laughter when our family are out together).
The two reds were last bottles from the cellar...the Michel had cost € 11,-- and the Johner € 17,-- and with a Thai curry these wines make great marriages

Michel Spätburgurgunder
Alte Reben 2007

Baden, Germany
An aroma of strawberry and sour cherries...a really attractive palate...with a soft...slightly sweet fruit without being overdone...the tannins just hovering...and a trace of acidity means this is delicious now...but could hold for 5 years.
Points 16.5

Weingut Karl Johner
Spätburgunder trocken 2007
Baden, Germany
Screw cap...instant opening...instant pleasure...just a delicious aromatic smell of sweet cherry fruit...a touch of 'aged' smokiness...and some extra herbaceous aromas...along with the well-used oak. There is a lively acidity that drags the fruit around the palate.
Points 17

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lamb without Wine

One of my favourite foods....lamb carré...and it looks good before and after.
The wines I chose...what can I say?....was it a full moon?...or a change in the weather?...whatever...they did not please.

Bodegas Muga Rioja
Reserva 2004

Rioja, Spain

Dark purple in colour...blackberry on the nose...and onto the palate, smoky meats, leather & tobacco...medium tannins...2004 is a very fine vintage in Spain....but this seems brawny...not a trace of charm.

Points 16

Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva
Prado Enea 2001,
Rioja, Spain
In desperation after the Muga...I opened this...and expected a creamy vanilla old style Rioja smell...but this seemed dry and plain...even left overn
ight it gained no plus points. Has the oak drained it of it's fruit? Very strange....I'll blame it on the moon.
Points 15

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cru Beaujolais 2

Repetition can be boring! Just think...if I had to watch a Britney Spears or Lady Gaga concert every bored I would be. With tongue in cheek...ONE concert would put me to sleep .
These concerts would keep me awake: James Carr Sam Moore & David Ruffin.
Now....that is music!
Repetition can be boring if you only drink the same wine...I have never understood people who buy cases of their 'favourite' white and drink it until the next vintage. How boring is that!

Repetition in the case of this post...happened without planning.
The previous post had me drinking a Grüner Veltliner 2009 from Wachau, Austria over a few day....and is repeated here....followed by a Cru Beaujolais 2009.
Repetition it was...with part two improving on part one.
The post is titled Cru Beaujolais but the star was a Grüner Veltliner!!!

Leo Alzinger
Grüner Veltliner Reserve 2009

Wachau, Austria

Nobody gets more minerality into his wines than Leo Alzinger. Super nose...pears...touch of Botrytis...14.5% A
lcohol which is swept under the carpet...tried this over 4 days!!! and it did not stop giving enormous pleasure. Liquid broken glass on day one...a crystallized diamond...slick elegant palate...perfect balance...and a large glass on day four had me thinking....if you don't buy any other GV 2009....make sure you get this one.
Points 18

Dom des Terres Dorées Morgon 2009
Beajolais, France

This domaine is located in Charnay, a village just north of Lyons in Southern Beaujolais. Jean-Paul Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate. The intent is to make old style Beaujolais using traditional techniques and the use of the grapes indigenous yeasts.
Dark colour...with dark cherry throughout...very forward but this disguises the fact that it will develope well. Scented nose...lots of ripeness...earthy...the tannins are hidden...a touch more to it than the Fleurie...but we are splitting hairs here.
Points 16.75

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cru Beaujolais

Not a bad opener before trying the Beaujolais!
Rudi Pichler Grüner Veltliner
Smaragd Hochrain 2009

Wachau, Austria
This was very good on day 1...although not given much air. Until day 3 it spent lounging in the fridge and it met me with intense aromatic honey and had held them back initially.
Thankfully the taste is clean and minerals...creamy texture...and as the 3 day improvement usually means...plenty of time to improve in bottle.
Points 17.25

Who remembers those balmy days...or should it be barmy days...when people used to queue in November for Beaujolais Nouveau? Did we really enjoy it? Only in the VERY best years did it seem worthwhile.
Maybe 2009 would have been one of those years.

Jean-Paul Brun
Terres Dorees Fleurie 2009
Beaujolais, France
Every few years I try a top Cru Beaujolais...then leave them a while. What made me decide to try again? Well...something red to drink on a summer evening?...maybe...and also fellow Blogger Alex had mentioned he had recently tried one from the vintage 2009 which had impressed.
Jean Paul Brun seemed a good way to start so I bought a bottle of his Morgon and the one tried here.
Deep ruby...even a touch you know you are not going to get the normal stuff here. Intense violets and roasted meats hit the nose...tart cherries...earthy tannins...good grip...and next day it was even better...pure and Gamey grapiness here...this veers more to big brother Pinot.
Points 16.5
and ver
y good value at
€ 12.50
mind you....
they saved some money on the label!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hysteria in South Styria

Maybe not that dramatic...but headlines sell papers.
It is certainly worth getting excited about...the Südsteiermark (South Styria) is making some excellent wines with the Sauvignon Blanc grape. If you are looking for the tart, green style...look away now...cos you ain't gonna find it in SS.
My first experience of Sauvignon many back then in the 70's...was Sancerre. Then New Zealand burst onto the scene and it became very 'in'. Many were green and too tarty for me....something I don't like in my wine (and never had liked in my choice of women!...meaning those before I married...phew...good job I added that or my wife would hit me with the frying pan!). Vie de Romans Piere 2004 from Italy was memorable...and the aforementioned Sancerre...François Cotat's wines are very special. Recently a couple of German versions have impressed...and many properties , especially in the Pfalz, are producing good SB. But...the place to get the best right Austria. Prove it you say! Read on...

Jaunegg Muri Sauvignon Blanc 2007
South Styria, Austria
Large oak barrels...I was getting excited about this one...yellow-green colour...An explosion of ripe gooseberry and lychees really make you sit up...elegant, juicy...cassis even...and very fine me thinking I should purchase this.
Didn't enjoy being left overnight...not it's fault. Buy it maybe...and share it with someone...or drink a whole bottle at once and dream of the fairies!
Points 17.25

Sattlerhof Sauvignon Blanc
Kranachberg 2007

South Styria, Austria
Top property...Willi Sattler in the saddle (I like that description)...
Glass Screw back in the drawer...

Barrique...This is top cinema...a slick slider...a smooth operator. A nose that appealed and evolved over 2 days....oily gooseberry...but if you are looking for the razor sharp kind...please leave the room now.
You won't find them in the 'Steiermark'...and that's why I am here. This has low residual sugar is a middle-weight boxer with a light-weight's dancing feet. 'Don't dare call me fat' it says....and then defies your criticism by bouncing over the palate...great feel in the mouth...and if you only gave me one word to describe it...'glossy'.
Points 17.5 -17.75...don't nail me down....cos this will get even better.
PS...I also bought the 'Private 2007' which is supposed to be even better that this wine!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Green Grows The Garden & Veltliner

I hate the cold....and, even though I am English, I hate rain. I hate snow (in Germany...we have to daily clear away any that lies outside our house)... and I hate bad wines. do I love. The warmth of summer, sitting in the garden with the flowers in full bloom, sipping on a glass of wine as the last rays caress the body (very exotic I know...but it really is the best part of a hot day).

My mixed case of Austrian whites is disappearing. Grüner Veltliner notes can sometimes sound so similar...but trying various properties over a period of days...watching them develop with airing, smelling and feeling the individuality of the grower....yes...I love it!

Holzapfel Achleiten Grüner Veltliner 2009
Wachau, Austria
Ripe yellow apple smell...this seems light & fluffy...and there is a 'spritz' feel to it...developed the usual pepper...
Points 16

Nigl Grüner Veltliner Reserve 2009
Kremstal, Austria
Flowery nose...this reminded me of a Condrieu...sweet apples flavour...and some lemon acidity...super minerals...ripe fruit...complex...exotic fruit and good finish.
Points 17

Cheeses were...Brie, Swiss Mountain(forget to ask), Brillat Savarin and one of those that a cheese lover would frown on.

Salomon Undhof Grüner Veltliner Lindberg Reserve 2009
Kremstal, Austria
Honeyed melons, yellow apple aroma, tobacco, white pepper palate, spices...although the palate slightly contradicts the bouquet...minerals and vibrant acidity...two days later...the palate catches up...
Points 16.75

Tegernseerhof Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Höhereck 2009
Wachau, Austria
Best of the four...and another I could compare to a fine style of GV...opulent...pear and apple aromas...a layer of fruit treats the palate...could not stop drinking this...bottle almost empty....sun gone down...tomorrow that as is hard sometimes...but you get rewards like this...anyone listening?
Points 17.25

Friday, June 03, 2011

Syrah, Soccer & Shikarpur

Last Saturday I went to a Syrah tasting...arranged by fellow Blogger Alex.
As I a previous post...Sunday morning is holy...not church-wise....but soccer-wise. I play football...and at my age...need to have a gentle evening beforehand in order to keep up with the 30-40 year olds!
Alex had said we would be around 9 people with 11-12 wines. I had given him my contribution a few days before...and early Saturday evening set off by taxi to his place. Nearly all our taxi drivers are from Pakistan....and to complete this story up-front...I had to guide him there...and, on the return him out of a dead end back on the the road. Alex....if you lived in would have been easier for one of us in that taxi!
On arriving...I was met by Alex and his parents...and chatted until the other 6 arrived. I took a photo of the 12 !!! wines. I might just make that lot I thought....but a couple of the new arrivals brought the starting total was 15 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
A friendly bunch...we started with the first of which was from India...not bad at all...and one from Australia. The only 'clean' comment I will make about this winemaker is...What is the ****** point of having a wine with 17% Alcohol????. This 'Boxer' had lead in it's gloves!!!
A short break while we ate Alex's prepared meal...then on to the next four, one of which was my bottle Cayuse...which showed well. Phew....made it to 8....and had made some sort of notes....but had by then told Alex that his blog would have to report extensively on the tasting. Wines 9-12 were tasted (I think) then I was outta there. My palate was crying out for help. Alex is a lot younger and I am...and seemed to have it all under control. Check out his blog...there were wines 13 - 15 but they never passed my lips.
At football next took me 20 minutes to run off the alcohol...but then somehow played a decent game.

Crowd Pleaser

Following the post about Prosecco...I guess I could add this style of wine. I'm sure there is an Argentinian wine that doesn't hit you with both fists...but I am yet to taste it. I bought this from a supermarket in England....seeing the Decanter award label.
Bodega Norton Privada 2006
Mendoza, Argentina
This won a trophy at last year's Decanter Wine Awards...and I can see why. Can I say before we go on...this is not for me. Can I also is not's just not my is just a 'one glass wine' for me...that can win prizes...but for someone who likes to drink maybe two-thirds of a bottle some is just TOO much of what it is!

Now we have cleared that up...on to the notes.
Malbec, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet cherry, dark spicy fruit...smooth, soft mid-palate...sweet, savoury...I all sounds fine...but someone wrote...a little tedious...and this is how I find this type of wine...I gave the half of what was left to my secretary...she agreed...A one glass wine!. A 'crowd pleaser'...but maybe I don't belong to the crowd!
Points 16

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Prosecco Substitute

As the summer evenings are with us...there are magazines full of Prosecco tastings and the best Rosé wines. for me! OK...there are cheaper wines than what I drank below...but if you get at least double the pleasure...why opt for something that has never really turned me on.
What is Morillon you may ask?...well...the Austrians have their own language at times...and in the South Styria...where they make great Sauvignon Blanc by the way...they call Chardonnay 'Morillon'
Manfred Tement is a top property I decided to try two of his examples.

Manfred Tement Sulz Morillon 2008
South Styria, Austria
Glass-stopper...Medium yellow green...stoned fruit, green apples, nose-watering smells...perfect for a hot summer evening...but it doesn't end there....soft toffee flavour which carried the two days in bottle with ease. The intense minerals just bounced back every time you asked for them...lively acidity...a real living wine. A lovely wine with which to watch the sun go down....
Points 16.5 chance. Oh yes...around € 20,--...but Prosecco...still no chance.

Tement's top wine...and to be fair...not exactly a wine for daily drinking....unless you win the lottery. At € 35,-- this is serious.
Manfred Tement Zieregg Morillon 2007
South Styria, Austria
To quote 'The part of the Zieregg site on which Morillon is grown varies in composition from shell limestone to limestone marl, a soil type that has even greater potential for retaining heat, and which is therefore particularly suitable for the production of a fine Burgundy-style wine. Longish maturation in small new oak barrels is also necessary, though, in order to bring out the full complexity of the vineyard and grape variety once the wine is in bottle'

Natural Cork...A step up from the Sulz...there is an instant soft kiss of oak...this broadens showing tobacco and nuttiness. The positive remains faithful to the style of Tement...showing elegance, fine balance...even a shot of citrus...
and a constantly changing wine over two days.
Points 17