Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baden Miles Apart

I am trying to taste / try every German property producing (good) Spätburgunder...and if I made a list of Baden...there would be very few that have not passed my lips over the last few years. On my recent trip...Rebstock owner Karl Hodapp had mentioned nearby Renchen. The wine was on his list. I drove past the property...did not visit...but a couple of days later at a local I hate to leave any place without a bottle( smile)... I purchased a Bimmerle wine..the basic Spätburgunder 2009. My 'goodbye' present from Karl, however, was the wine tasted here.
Siegbert Bimmerle
Spätburgunder trocken Holzfass 2009

Baden, Germany
My guess is that quite a few properties will take a step forward with the very rewarding 2009 vintage. This was a gold medal a warning
anywhere...says you are only as good as the competition. However...the competition in Baden is any prize winner is worth taking notice of. A delicate aroma...and with soft, sweet fruit. You say sweet fruit to some drinkers and they cringe...thinking...I want it dry...but that is what it is...but you can't stop a ripe vintage showing it's best side. This filled out with some airing...spicy..a good bite...and certainly easy to drink.
Points 16

The next wine would fool you tasted blind....not your typical Badener. But checking the label...and you see Tauberfranken. belongs to Baden but is a whole lot nearer to Würzburg than Freiburg.
And it shows in style...

Weingut Schlör
Spätburgunder Barrique 2008
Baden, Germany

Not a property I would then get to visit when in this is so way off the beaten track...I just am not going to be ever near the place. Quite by accident...
when ordering another wine from a merchant...up popped this one and the top of range version. As a basic wine always shows the craft and knowledge of any property this got my attention at once. More chirpy cherry than strawberry fool...smoke on the nose...and I love the gentle tannins that accompany the medium weighted fruit...and the way it never lost my interest.
Points 16.5

I need to make a list to see what properties I have not tried yet....and there are a few in the cellar which I will try over the next few weeks.
What a lovely obsession!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Top Konstanzer

Two 'brothers' interesting tasting from my new 'find'....

Konstanzer Ihringer Winkleberg Spätburgunder Spätlese Barrique 2008
Baden, Germany
What a fine wine.
The oak is layed-back...lingers in the background and draws you into the glass to find traces of almonds and bay leaves. Enticing juicy flavour...mild and natural... very terroir plays a role here...and the price only adds to it's plusses.
Points 17.5......€ 20,--

Konstanzer Ihringer Winkleberg Spätburgunder Spätlese Barrique 2009 Baden, Germany
Nose at first reserved....dark berry fruits...much fuller on the palate...I doubt the 2008 ever had this weight...this is a rose waiting to bloom. A few hours in the glass helped...intense richness of this great vintage in Baden...drink the 2008 now and tuck this one away for 2 years
Points 17.25....again...€ 20,--

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vintage 2009 A World Apart

Across the world...2009 is a Pinot Noir vintage. Two wines miles apart....
Craggy Range Te Muna
Pinot Noir 2009

Martinborough, New Zealand
Medium light in colour....instant cherry on the nose...and some raspberry follows...complex...and the youthfulness appeals at the moment...but this will develop with a few a second bottle needs to be left alone.
Although earthy at the moment...satin smooth tannins...a touch of tar...rose petals...violets...difficult to fully appraise fully and be fair...
Points 17.25...but I am maybe being a little mean as we have a very good wine here

And so to another wine purchased on my recent trip to Baden...

Horst and Petra Konstanzer bottled their first wine in 1983, and in the initial stages from then on considered their winery to be a part-time occupation. However, the success of their products encouraged them to take over the operation of their parents in 1989, which had until then supplied grapes to the local co-operative, and to make a full-time job of winemaking from then on. Today they tend 9 hectares of vineyards. A vineyard to watch....

Konstanzer Ihringer Winkleberg
Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken 2009
Baden, Germany
This has more instant appeal...very juicy...but with a good backbone and perfect balance. Full of ripe fruit...these 2009 reds from Baden are going to be essential buys...but back to this one...and as Herr Konstanzer said...a real glass full of wine..
Points 16.75..and a good value at € 15,--

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wachau + Baden = Pleasure

Jamek Grüner Veltliner
Smaragd Ried Achleiten 2009

Wachau, Austria

Green tinges to the medium yellow colour...yellow fruits on the nose...yellow apples...that's enough yellow...quite full...and a touch exotic...and thanked me for the 2 days in the fridge...the aformentioned weight is no
problem as it dances over the palate...a terroir wine...Jamek wines always seem to show this...a pleasure to drink.
Points 17.75

Konstanzer Pinot Noir 2008
Baden, Germany
Konstanzer owns vines in the well-known Winklerberg vineyards. He recommended I try this and as the 'basic' wines of any property are a sign what the big boys can do....I took his advice and on opening said 'I Like This'. Why?....just because from start to finish it is a real enjoyable wine. Honest red fruit...fresh and soft and juicy...but with a character that makes you sit up as it only cost € 12,--!!! Smokey and a good soft tannic grip...slips down nicely...looking forward to the top wines that I bought.
Points 16.5

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Liquid Wages

I have been back just over a week...and the body is slowly realising it has to work to pay for the wines it is given. Here a few of the 'liquid' wages I have been paid this week.

Schloss Gobelsburg
Grüner Veltliner Lamm 2009

Kamptal, Austria

No way a layed-back wine...this has power...lots of 'up-front' fruit...a little awkward...definite caramel aroma...and some
toast...nutty...ripe yellow apples...hidden minerals...which showed better 2 days later. Give this a couple of years and you will be rewarded.
Points 17...with a definite upward tendence.

Gut Nägelsförst Pinot Noir 2005
Baden, Germany

The „Gut Nägelsförst” est
ate is located in Varnhalt, on the outskirts of Baden-Baden (Ortenau area) in the Baden wine-growing region in Germany. The red wines are all sourced from the Waldulmer Pfarrberg site, which is where our Gasthaus Rebstock is situated....and from the neighbouring Bühlertal valley, which is particularly suited for red wines, as the mountain formation collects the heat. In order to make the most of the tremendous potential of these sites, yields for the top red wines, are kept, where possible, to a level below 20 hectolitres per hectare. The Pinot Noir wines are matured in barriques, mostly of French oak, with 50 to 60% of the barriques being new. The first of many reds I bought on the recent holiday. From the north and there is a more earthy style to it. Dark berry and cherry is what you get from the glass...a touch of in character...juicy...cedar...dry smoke..this improved well in the glass...the initial empty middle palate filled with soft strawberry fruit. Will improve surprisingly...
Points 16.5

Off to the local Bistro to meet up with the children...
and took along 2 recent buys ...again from Baden. It was going to be a fairly rowdy meeting...we ain't quiet when we a Bistro who know us is the best place. Good fun was had by all. I don't take any BIG wines along...and the two I chose had both been given 88 points by Gault Millau. If I had the chance...try to compare them.
It turned out to be not that I said...we laugh a lot and wine becomes secondry.
Just a few notes I made...and remember...both these wines under € 10,--

Hofgut Consequence
Blauer Burgunder 2008

Baden, Germany

Dry, eathy, spicy...liquorice in the mouth with a nice gentle tannin bite. Perfect Pizza wine or with the kids (all in their 40's) in a Bistro!
Points 16

Hermann Spätburgunder 2008
Baden, Germany

This was softer and more rounded....and really completely different to the above. Maybe not too much going on...was nevertheless real value for money
Points 16

Alphart Rotgipfler Rodauner
Top Selektion 2009

Thermen Region, Austria

Never had the grape? neither. Rotgipfler sounds red...but is a white...and what a white. The nose throws up aromas of pear...and is very Burgundian...bananas, mangoes...very exotic. It
spends some time in new oak...and all the above evolves seamlessly onto the palate....compact bundle of minerals rolling around the mouth...salty even......delicious...and always something new to find. Beautiful harmony here. Am I getting to easy to please?...or all my recent white wines just hitting the 'spot?
Points this if you see it

Zenhthof Luckert
Grand Noir *** 2007

Franken, Germany

It is what is says on the label....BLACK...and I remembered I had the 2005 a few years ago...and scared a baby when I grinned. This leaves it's colour in the system for 24 hours.
A Cuvée of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. This is a BIG wine...meaning complex and not a heavyweight. One thing remains throughout...a coolness. Cassis, of course, dominates the nose.. and there are super layers of dark fruit...dark chocolate...tobacco...and can be enjoyed now, maybe with a juicy steak...but the second bottle will be put away for 5 years.
Points 17.5....more to come

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rebstock Report

Rebstock Waldum, Baden August/September 2011
It has been a hard year...and our twice a year visit to the Rebstock had not been possible back in May...due to my wife losing her gallbladder...and not being in any state to enjoy a holiday. I, myself, was as empty as I had ever been. I needed a break.

Tuesday 23 August 2011
We arrived early afternoon...the Gasthaus Rebstock is closed Monday and Tuesday midday and we were met by a new addition to the staff, Verena. She kindly helped to carry all our luggage the 3 floors to our room at the top. A lift or elevator will never be built here but my soccer training stands me in good stead. After a car journey then 4 times up and have go to be fit!
Karl Hodapp was in the kitchen and I gave him a bottle of wine. We have this ritual now...and at the end of the holiday he gives me a bottle.
Unpacked...I sat out on the balcony to take in MY view. I have seen it many times but it never fails to move me. A tear and a smile. I decided then & there...every second of this holiday I was going to enjoy. After 9 months of illnesses and up and downs generally...My wife & I have earned this holiday.
We already had the menu and wine list. It was 32 degrees on this we both decided on a light dinner...and as I had abstained from wine for a week...a white would be a good choice.
A brisk walk into the vineyards...where the Spätburgunder grapes were looking healthy...then got ready for dinner.
We, of course, sat outside on the beautiful terrace.We sat under the covered part as my wife does not want the sun when she is eating. It was a wise decision in at 9pm a 10 minutes shower arrived which had everyone heading for cover.

A 'Grüß aus der Küche' arrived from Herr Hodapp...
A Paprika Terrine...light and refreshing.
My wife chose three of a possible 5 'Tasters'.
Tartare von Freilandrind mit Salätchen in der Knuspertüte, Carpaccio von Thunfish mit Melonenperle and kaltes, erfrischedes Gurkensüppchen mit Shrimps.
All very tasty...the only one I would not go back to was the Cucumber Soup....I was once 'overfed' on Cucumber sandwiches in my youth...maybe that is why it is one thing I will try...but never enthuse about.
I decided on the Carpaccio vom Rinderfilet mit kleinem Sommersalätchen und gebackem Strudel vom Ziegenfrischkaäse. Deliciously light again...just a perfect start to a gastronomic adventure.
My wife chose gebratenes Zanderfilet auf hausgemachten Nudeln mit einem Sössle vom gelben Paprika and I opted for Filet vom Steinbeisser unter der Heukruste, angerichtet auf einem 'Gitter' von grünem Spargel mit Pfifferlingsrisotto.

As I mentioned...I had had a short chat with owner Herr Hodapp...and mentioned I was very impressed with the Sauvignon Blancs from South Styria.
Therefore... I was particularly pleased to see an addition the wine-list. My choice on the very warm evening was...
Tement Sauvignon Blanc
Zieregg Barrique 2008

South Styria, Austria
It only confirmed what I already knew...these wines shoud rule the world if you love this grape....or, as in my did not love because you tried those with extreme tarty cat's pee. This has gooseberry but with such a class and style...incisive...steely minerals...a gentle sweetness from the barrique...smokey...I sent the usual glass into the kitchen and was told 'delicious'. I heartily agreed
Points 17.75

Wednesday 24 August 2011
I dragged myself out of bed...the sun was already beating the right was going to be another hot one. A good breakfast…eaten alone…the usual ritual being that I take coffee and bread roll to wifey who is still sleeping!
A visit to the Mummelsee on the Black Forest High Road. This is a lake high into the hills, frequented by tourists who buy masses of Black Forest ham and Mummelsee bottled water. It is, however, a pleasant walk around the lake.
Back at Rebstock and we sat on the terrace at around 3.30pm...with a couple of tables still eating from lunchtime!
My first Havana...a Siglo 11 and a Latte...and as usually happens...I ended up chatting to a couple who had just arrived. ..friendly fellow that I am!
Around 5 pm the rain came down...and how...and the staff had to clear all the tables not covered on the terrace.
Our usual table undercover is where we chose for this evening. My wife had enjoyed the Gurkensüppchen taster from the day took two portions...maybe tomorrow three!
I decided to try one of the delicious soups as well...Schaumsüppchen von gelben Paprika, mit einem leichtem badischen Klösschen aus Weck, Rahmkäs und Sommerkräutern.
Eva chose the im Ofen geschmorte Tomate mit einer Fülle von Badischen Rahmkäse und Oliven, angerichtet auf grünem Spargel dazu leichte Klösschen mit Sommerkräuten.
I needed Duck for the red I was going to try.
Gebratenes Brüstchen von der Bauerente mit Blütenhonig glasiert, angerichtet mitBühler Zwetschgenmaultäschle- und Kompott, dazu Kartoffel-Quark-Rädle.
The gentle sweetness of the plums and the perfect roast Duck needed something special.

On our last visit the Molitor had been on the wine-list.
Not yet delivered I was told then...and every day I waited in vain. Two days after we got back home...I got an email that is had arrived. Too late to try in 2010.
One year on...was it worth the wait?
Markus Molitor
Graacher Himmelreich *** Pinot Noir 2007
Mosel, Germany
Mosel? Red? Are you crazy?...we'll discuss the answer to the last part another time.
If the world climate keeps changing there will be more Pinot Noir wines coming out of this, primarily Riesling, area in maybe 10 years. And if the Molitor is anything to go by...we are in for a treat.
The bottle has what would have Jim Clenenden in California smiling...a large punt.
But what's inside...the answer heaven. PPC...Perfect Pinot Colour...and a gorgeous ripe nose.The palate throws up gentle spices...toast and smoke...clear incisive fruit...a youthful bitter note which is positive...tannin present but woven into the whole....14% would scare me usually but nothing scary about this top wine. Very drinkable now...which I did...sending the usual glass into the kitchen for the boss to try.
Points other choice...Mosel Red Rules!

Thursday 25 August 2011
Checking the weather forecast before we seemed the first 4 days were going to be hot. We may have to change that outlook as there are some clouds still hanging over the vineyards at 11 am. Some rain later I have been told...we will see.
I bought a headset for Eva.She watches TV until late....has to turn up the volume as I usually snore after red wine.
Just lazed really all day and around midday it was very humid...and the body is not quite sure why it does not have appointments or has to answer a phone.
Dinner out on the terrace and the weather was cooler.

My wife opted for only two portions of the cucumber soup...and I remembered the day in Burgundy eating snails by the dozen...and ordered the Schneckenrahhsüppchen.
A kross gebratener Spanferkelrücken mit cremigen Wirsing, Pfifferlingen und Kartoffelgratin was the plate that Mrs Fowden received.
A last minute decision had been made regarding the wine...I was going to drink white...but the Schitzel vom Kalbrücken mit einem Rahmsössle von Pfifferlingen und Kässpätzle swayed me to a red.

Aldinger Fellbacher Lämmler
Lemberger G.G. 2007

Württemberg, Germany
On a previous visit I had asked Herr Hodapp if he had considered putting a wine from Wurttemberg on his list. I didn't get exactly a shocked look...but he wasn't instantly responsive.
The whole area is Baden-Württemberg...but 2 completely different wine areas and I guessed you didn't talk about the 'other side'.
Therefore...on opening the wine-list this time I was pleased to see additions from other areas...and...would you believe from over the 'border'
A top property...Aldinger makes Lemberger in the style I like. A medium deep colour...and 'tears' streaming down the glass. Cool was my first impression...a lazy easy style...soft but earthy...and as it aired the fruit sweetened...was there some cinnamon in there?...definitely some spices...and it slips down without any pain at all. Ready now but would hold 10 years.
Points 17.5

Friday 26 August 2011
My wife joined me for breakfast...which meant we could make an early start. We set off along a small back road and ended up driving on VERY narrow lanes for about 30 minutes. Impressive countryside...although my wife closed her eyes a few times...and I had to concentrate on the driving. We hit Ottenhöfen and set off up to the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse continuing on the highest point where there is a single Wind Machine. Wild and impressive views abound. On the way back we entered Oberkirch. I have a stamp album about 100 years old and wanted someone at a Auction House to have a browse. They sent an unsympathetic person who quickly turned a few pages and then said it was worth nothing. So the 6 course lunch with a bottle of Krug was cancelled!
Seriously has been in the family so long...I guess it deserves to remain with us. Lunch in Oberkirch was a light salad and a glass of Apfelschorle.
The weather was still holding...32 degrees...but there was something in the air. I had the daily Latte and cigar on the terrace...then went up to the room where my wife was relaxing. We had met a couple from Ravensburg the previous day and had asked them to join us for dinner. A table on the terrace had been reserved. No way was that going to happen.
At 6pm as we saw the dark clouds roll over the vineyards...all hell broke loose. It was as if someone was throwing golf balls right and left. After the initial onslaught...the size lessened but was no less intensive. Scary and amazing....and no way could we sit outside tonight.
This was confirmed when we went down to the restaurant...and so a large table in the corner had been reserved.
Herr & Frau Reiff appeared and after the few exchanges of what had been done all day...they both agreed that they had complete trust in me choosing the wines.

My wife
chose the Klares Süppchen vom Tafelspitzbmit Markklöschen und Pfifferlingsmaultäschle and I finally got round to trying the gebratene Jakobmuschel auf Lauch und Pfifferlingen.
The wine I had had a few times on previous remains on the list because not many people would know much about Grüner Veltliner in Baden. I found out a few days later that this was the last bottle.
Hirschberger Rotes Tor
Grüner Veltliner 2003

Wachau, Austria
Perfect now...and it impressed our dinner guests.
Points 17.75
It seems the American market has found Grüner Veltliner giving it a 'modern name 'Groovy' (a play with words...Grü-Ve)
As long as they don't take too much of it and spoil it for us GV lovers.

The main course for my wife had been decided the previous I had enjoyed the Schnitzel vom Kalbrücken very much. My choice for the planned red was Medaillon vom Kaninchenrücken im Achtertäler Salamimantel, Rosette vom Sommergemüse und Thymianröstkartoffele.

Dr. Heger Achkarrer Schlossberg
Spätburgunder 2007

Baden, Germany.
Heger is one of the top properties and I can't ever remember tasting a disappointing wine from him. This was not exception. While the 2007 vintage has always been accessible...only now are the top wines leveling out and showing real class. Burnt caramel and marzipan...which involved into Strawberry. My description of Marzipan is more an impression than a definite is just something that I associate with fine Pinot Noir from Baden.
Points 18

The rain was still coming down and never seemed to stop all night. What would tomorrow on dear readers.

Saturday 27 August 2011
The sun crawled over the hills...and is was definitely 10 degrees colder than the previous morning. My wife had the usual appointment at the midday.
A light lunch in the restaurant (soup) then we set of for Sinzheim, a small village south of Baden-Baden...for no particular reason...just to have a short drive. The aray of clouds above were impressive if disturbing. Hanging over the hills...the sun trying to fight it's way through...and the woods on the hills showing why they call the area The Black Forest.
A short visit to the church in Sinzheim...the third one in a couple of days...and the same as before...riches beyond belief. The Catholics of a few hundred years ago certainly put plenty in the collection box!
Checking my Gault Millau I saw that the property of Bürg Nägelsförst was situated nearby in the village of Varnhalt. I've learned not to always trust the Sat-Nav in the car when surrounded by vineyards...and even though I asked directions...the instructions from the lady in the dashboard were good. The property is up on the hill....and we drove into the courtyard shortly before 4pm...just making it before closing time. A delightful small shop was where the friendly lady greeted us. As I knew what awaited me in the evening...I said I would not try anything...and purchased 3 Spätburgunder. There was a offer of some 2002...and after trying a 'small' glass bought 3 bottles. It was holding well...and would find it's way to a couple of friends.

Back to the Rebstock...the weather somewhat calmer...but we chose our usual table inside the Gasthof.
Earlier that day Herr Hodapp had taken me down the cellar and said he had a wine that I could drink that evening...on the house. Hardly the house wine...but a top Huber. He hadn't tried it yet..and the usual ritual when I drink in the evening is to send a glass into the kitchen. As my intake is around 0.5 liter it is the perfect solution.
The bottle, decanted, was waiting for me on arrival. Some warm soup for the cool skin....even after a shower to warm you's inside where the most warmth is needed.
The Quail was on the menu for the first time....on arrival we had search for it. Last year's version had been with a Blood Sausage filling. This time....aus dem Ofen: gefüllte Wachtel (entbeint) mit cremigen Wirsing, Pfifferlingen & Kartoffelgratin.
Huber Hecklinger Schlossberg R
Spätburgunder 2008

Baden, Germany
I had purchased the 2007 from the property last May and am tryint to leave it I didn't expect anything to spring out of the glass. Cool, spicy aromas...definite violets....very savoury...a touch of polish at first but the airing released a cherry flavour...the tannins are medium soft and there are traces of the silky texture. This is not a brooder needing time...a more delicate style but still requiring some years to sprout it's buds.
Points 17.5

Sunday 28 August 2011
My wife was going to sleep I was down for breakfast at 9 am. If the weather is fine...I sneak out onto the terrace to finish off my cup of tea and read. Claudi is out there today....wiping down the tables after all the rain...and the heavens are blue and the sun is warm. Typing these notes , glancing up to see the surrounding beauty of the area, stretching the legs, breathing in the clean air....this is still our little Heaven On Earth.
With the sky still very blue I set off up the hill at the back of the hotel...the view seen from our hotel balcony...and wandered through the vineyards for an hour. The grapes are looking healthy although a few corners had been affected by the storm on Friday.

Then out on the terrace for some lunch...the Filet von der Rotbarbe auf einer Art Bauerngröstl (mit Bratkatoffel, Parmaschinken, Kräuter und Tomatensalsa) and a non-alcoholic cocktail. The restaurant is usually packed on Sunday...and with the fine weather was bursting at the seams. Then over to the smoker's corner for a Siglo 1 Cigar and a Latte. The suntan had been improved as I had been out in it for 3 hours...perfect temperature though and again...the world was at peace.Typing this as I sit on the balcony...must decide what to drink tonight...there is a Riesling Smaragd 2006 from F.X. Pichler that needs trying....and a Adeneuer Walporzheimer Gärkammer Spätburgunder G.G. from the Ahr...although it is a 2008 and may be still too beefy. Maybe try the Becker St Paul Spätburgunder 2007...which I have in my celler back home or the Fürst Bürgstadter Centengrafberg Frühburgunder R Reserve 2007. There are some 'foreign' red wines from France, Italy and the New World...but I have been there before...and drinking them alone leaves you gasping for someone to share....whereas the Pinot grape just lends itself to the food and the single drinker.
We had been warned it could be a little cool later on the terrace but it was so inviting...and everyone was out there. One thing that suffers with a cool evening a red wine...I usually end up with the bottle between my legs. So I decided it would be the Riesling and chose appropriately.
Zander und Jakobsmuschel im Parmaschinkenmäntele, angerichtet mit Achtäler Steinpilzsössle, und selbstgemachter Spaghettinudeln.

F.X. Pichler Smaragd Steinertal 2006
Wachau, Austria
As with the GV...I found out late this was also the last bottle again...perfect at 5 years old...a beautiful ripe Riesling with a light sprinkling of minerals keeping it lively.
Points 17.5
With the addition of a light pullover...we enjoyed a delightful summer evening.

Monday 29 August 2011
My wife was up early...I knew there was something brewing. 'Can we drive to the town where they sell the chocolate?' Kenzingen is about 70 kms away and the shops close at we set of just before 11 and got there with 20 minutes to spare. One of the shops had gone 'bust' was no more...but my Eva found some fine chocolate at the other one. They had a couple of Huber reds so the 'taxi driver' was paid very well.
Nothing else was wife said the rest of the day I could plan. I had most of my notes and books in the I decided to visit a few properties. The larger ones have their wines generally available on most good lists...and I do enjoy searching out the 'lesser known' Weinguts.
It is better to call in advance as with small properties you may find the doors closed as they are out in the vineyards,
First up was a short drive to Köndringen...and I had first tried
the wine 4 years ago when a merchant in Freiburg had recommended the 2005 Spätburgunder.
Weingut Zalwander
While the wines were being collected the lady told us to walk around the garden. There was everything in there...but the 'highlight' were the Wasp Spiders.

Lunch over Bötzingen
We had made a couple of sandwices from the breakfast buffet...and on arriving in Kaiserstuhl found a bench in Bötzingen overlooking the beautiful countryside. I called the three properties I had chosen and all agreed I could come....100% success!

Weingut Konstanzer
Ihringen is where Dr. Heger is situated...and I was tempted...but wanted to take in Herr Konstanzer. His wife greeted us and her husband led us into the tasting room. I hardly ever taste...I know what I want and will try it at home...and then order.
Six bottles found their way into the car....even some from the 2009 vintage.

Weingut Hermann
Next stop was Vogtsburg...
No 2009 available yet...late September was Frau Hermann's reply...
Another 6 bottles in the boot.

Hofgut Consequence
Last on the list was a property I had tried to visit last year...Hofgut Consequence in I was particularly pleased to get the chance today. Frau Schmidt met me and I asked what vintages were available. She gave me a list and explained they were the last in the name Consequence. Their future grapes would be going into a new project. A few houses along is another Weingut 'Abril' and there is building going on as you leave the village.

We set off back to the Rebstock...which is closed on Monday. It had been a long day...and my wife was having second thoughts about driving again that evening. I had searched for a good Thai restaurant in Baden- I was pleased my wife agreed. It is a 30 minute drive into a town of wealth. Our restaurant was, however, down a side street and on entering only confirmed what I had heard. There were tables, a bar, one of the staff looking after her baby, a Karaoke bar downstairs...and nobody in there. I knew all this so was prepared. A mixture of guests started to arrive...and the food was VERY Thai which is why I was happy to ignore the surroundings. If you are ever in is called An An Restaurant.
I had parked in a side street and needed to find the main road to the autobahn and we set off with the navigation system on the car telling us to turn left, right, left....all within a few hundred I decided to do what I have done in 45 years of driving...follow my nose....and we arrived back in Waldulm still discussing exactly what the restaurant really was!

Tuesday 30 August 2011
After breakfast I asked Verena to open the terrace door ( the restaurant opens again this evening)....and here I am typing away with another fine day of weather ahead.
Three hours later, after listening to some music on the Notebook ( Ben. E. King....perfect), my suntan even better...(People will think I have been to Spain) my Sleeping Beauty awoke and asked to be driven to the Mummelsee to buy some Ham....and this done...and ANOTHER walk round the sea...we returned for dinner.
Obviously after a week there will be repeats from the menu...but the Wachtel tasted even better this time around.

In May 2009 I had tried the Gantenbein had been completely uninterested in being drunk.
Time to try it again.
Gantenbein Pinot Noir 2007
What an improvement! Very fine classy nose...more dry wood than wet moss...soft earthy moment the medium tannins are there...then you brush them aside with the next swallow and you can feel the gentle fruit emerging. Cool wild raspberries seemed to fit nicely.What a cracker of a wine..and it is not finished yet. Next year...try again.
Points 18.25

Wednesday 31 August 2011
A drive to Durlach...The Andreas Laible property is situated at the back of the village on the right...up a hill...and this is where the two sons grew up and learned their trade. Five years ago the younger, Alexander, decided he wanted to go it alone leaving elder brother Andreas to take the reins at their father's Weingut.
When I tasted Alexander's Riesling wines a couple of years ago it was obvious he was a talented winemaker. For a short time he used an old bakery as H.Q. then started to build a permanent place to rest.
This is where we headed for...and I had called in advance as Alexander Laible is not always around.
Two miles further on from his elder brother's property we found it in Durbach-Unterweiler...and very impressive it looks. We entered the shop and he greeted us...and I knew then that we had an instant rapport. He knows what he is doing, what he wants, and where he is going. He has already been voted one of the young rising stars in Germany.
He is 32 and his pretty wife is expecting a baby. I asked about 2009 reds...and was told they were all sold!!!! See what I mean...he is going places...and he asked about whites...but it was the darker colour I was after. The 2010 vintage was available and although I had my doubts...I have the feeling I will be happy with the purchase. He asked if I could help to get contact in the UK...and I said I would try and get back to him.

The weather was hot...and if you are in
Durbach at lunchtime...the place to go is Schloss Staufenberg...the castle on the hill overlooking miles of countryside. It can be cool up there...but today it was perfect. They serve Flammenkuchen...and have a basic menu card....lots of hikers & walkers appear...and the place if full in no time. Breathtaking view.

I popped into the shop and bought some 2009 then back to Waldulm....parked by the soccer field and we walked along a pathway we know well...where every tree and bush has a sign explaining what it is. At the end of the path is the duck pond...with the birds going about their business...great viewing.

My wife needed a break from I dined alone...catching up on some reading I had wanted to do all holiday.

I chose the Steak...Entrecote vom Weidenrind mit Kruste von Senf, Thymian und etwas grünem Pfeffer, angerichtet mit Bohnenröllchen und Bratkartoffelpüree...
and chose a wine that Herr Hodapp had warned me not to try last time. However...he had tried it again in December...and in the FINE is given a postive tasting note.

Dr.Heger Ihringer Winklerberg 2003
Baden, Germany
The vintage had been VERY hot...and many wines are now showing the heat...but it seems the Winklerberg managed to deal with it. It has certainly held well and is still in fine balance...defying it's age with it juicy feel...acidity and tannin nicely intact and well-balanced.
Points 17.25

Thursday 1 September 2011
Medium deep clouds hanging over the hills...then at 11.30 the fruit burst through and expanded onto the palate. By midday it was a beautiful day again...and a lunch on the terrace and a final cigar. After lunch we went to a VERY good local supermarket in Achern to stock up for the coming weekend at home. A refreshing drink on the terrace then a short rest before going down to dinner.Thankfully the heat of the day meant we could spend our last evening outside.
A taster curtesy of Herr Hodapp was the Gooseliver on sweet Sauerkraut...something we had missed this time...I guess next week it would be on the menu somewhere. I opted for the gebratene Jakobmuschel auf Lauch und Pfifferlingen again and as a main course the Medaillon vom Lammrücken im Mantel aus Thymian-Ziegenkäse, dazu eine Garnitur von Tomaten und Ratatouille, mit Olivenplätzchen.

It is rare that I order a wine in a restaurant if I have it in my cellar...but the Becker is good...and not overpriced on the wine-list.
Weingut Friedrich Becker Spätburgunder trocken
'St. Paul' Grosses Gewächs 2007
Pfalz, Germany
Great nose!...intense dry strawberry...gentle rippling is this just lies so beautiful on the palate...
The normal procedure every to send a glass to Karl Hodapp in the kitchen. Same again this evening...BUT...with difficulty***!
Points 18

Friday 2 September 2011
Those clouds were there again...and this time there was rain...making it easier to pack and leave. We said goodbye to all the staff....Karl Hodapp gave me a bottle of wine...his wife Sandra Stark wished us well...and we were gone.
We have to say many thanks to Karl & Sandra...and their team in the restaurant.
Bettina, Claudi, Ina, Jeanette, Moritz, Simone & Verena...and to all the unseen ones who perform in the kitchen...Bettina's husband Oliver Vogel is now joint Chef de Cuisine. He is a Manchester United fan (I am a Manchester City fan)...but we still eat what he cooks (smile).
We look forward to our next visit.