Friday, November 25, 2011

Great Wines

I love going to our local Bistro and taking along wines that I hope will impress friends.
What is a great wine? that is world wide known or a wine that few have tasted and only known to the few.
Cuilleron's top Condrieu and Guigal's La Doriane are both great it was good to hear my fellow tasters compare the first wine with the aforementioned.
They tried to nail it down...but the exotic feel had them struggling.
Erwin Sabathi Limited 111
Sauvignon Blanc 2008

South Styria, Austria
Quite full...but in no way fat. I can see this aging well...but the general consensus of opinion was...why wait?
What an aroma...cassis and top class gooseberries with a touch of lychees.
After all would expect a fruit bomb maybe...nope...this is elegant classy fruit...tropical with a dash of citrus... a hedonistic juice...and
Points 18.25
A great wine.

The first red was a property I had only just found after returning from Baden and checking out a wine forum.
Enderle & Moll have 3 reds...a Villages...the Muschelkalk...which I tried a couple of weeks ago....and this one which has had people raving about it.
Did it live up to the hype?
Enderle & Moll
Buntsandstein Pinot Noir 2009

Baden, Germany
We concentrated on this we it told us it needed nourishment...and the Hollerith was a completely different animal.
Opened 24 hours in advance but left in the bottle to air.
A whiff of glue at first...and a general feel of minerals and reserved fruit. It had the guys guessing...New World...Rhone...Syrah...but not a German Pinot...and it does not
taste like one. Earthy...and changing it's spots as it evolved in the glass. At the moment the Muschelkalk 2009 is the easier....but I bow to those on the net who think this will evolve into a GREAT wine....
A reserved marking here...a wine in it's infancy
Points 17

We had had a quick smell of the next wine...and a sip...the unanimously decided not to compare it with the Enderle & Moll.
It would be drank and enjoyed all on it's own.
Joachim Hollerith Maikammer Heiligenberg
Maximus Pinot Noir 2007
Pfalz, Germany
Opened only one hour before drinking.
Instant messing around sticking your nose deep into the glass...the bouquet came out to greet you. Classy smokiness with smells of cherries & forest berries. The fruit just so perfect... and rolled over the tongue. Just a touch earthy...and with a length and elegance that says...GREAT wine. The guys were getting close to saying Gerrman....but I kept telling them the bottle was heavy with a large punt....ha ha...and they opted for U.S.A. Jim Clendenen.
Now that is a compliment!
Points 18

German Victory

Five of us in all at Volker's place...with his usual delicious food.
Robert offered us a 3 Glas Gamberro Rosso Prosecco...not for me...spend my money elsewhere.
Two Rieslings tasted blind...the first we thought was definitely a 2010 with extreme acidity.
The second...much more like it...had to be 2009.
The first turned out to be
Karl Schäfer Forster Pechstein
Riesling GG 2009

Pfalz, Germany
Had to be a 2010...but no...a 2009 and not a style that appeals to a non lover of stomach burning acidity.
Points 14.5

The second was from a top Nahe property..
Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle
Riesling GG 2010

Nahe, Germany
I presumed this to be the 2009...this is very good...and showed very well in it's youth with a perfect balance. A couple more years and you have gem.
Points 16.5

The five Pinot bottles had been decanted by Steffi...I had to choose the order...and am now obviously the king of blind tasting arranging. The way the wines turned out in quality was the order I chose them. You just can't plan any better! The first two did not please...

Albert Bichot Domaine Adelie
Champs Martin Premier Cru 2005

Mercury, Burgundy, France

No character...dry disorder

Points 13.5

Domaine Joblot Clos Marole
Premier Cru 2006
Burgundy, France

A shade better that the above...but nothing to write home about
Points 14

OK..these are not from the medium to top level in Burgundy....but the prices should ensure you get something worth the effort.

Cortijo Los Aguilares
Pinot Noir 2009

Ronda, Sierras de Malaga, Spain

Some cassis here...and I guessed it was maybe from an unknown area...but I never knew they were planting the sexy grape down on the south coast of Spain.

Points 15.5

Studach Malanser
Pinot Noir 2009

Graubünden, Switzerland

Finally a smell of the grape I love....fine balance...soft raspberry fruit...the oak just noticeable...give it a year or two...delightful.
Points 17

Adeneuer Walporzheimer Gärkammer
Spätburgunger GG 2009
Ahr, Germany

Who planned this to be served last? was me...and it blew everything away. A full Pinot nose...cassis and cherry...with gentle biting tannins and a wonderful 'feel' on the palate. Length and style. This is what it is all about!
Points 17.75

We were then shown a list of the five wines and asked to correctly call them. I was on a role...but it was not difficult.
The Ahr wine was the most expensive...with the two French wines costing maybe € 20,-- less. Money well spent if you choose the Adeneuer....and for the prices of the French wines I will list a 100 German reds that would knock them sideways.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

La Fattoria

Over the last 30 years we have visited La Italian Restaurant in Mörfelden, near Frankfurt...more times than we can remember. Due to various circumstances it had been a year since our last visit! Our loss....but we rectified this with a visit on a Friday evening. We were greeted by the, always buoyant, Agnello...who has been running the service for a long time. He looked slimmer and we complimented him (his answer...'my wife said lose weight or I will divorce I decided a diet was cheaper'). Owner Chester appeared without the menu card...which is fine by us. Now you gotta concentrate. The first 10 dishes I could have eaten there and then....then about 8 fish possibilities and 6 meat. Some of the selections were the trio which included some very fine Squid....a Carpaccio with white truffle...Scallops...warm Goose Liver...some Pasta dishes...and an old favourite of mine...the Duck with dates and almonds.

My wife had requested I took no wine with I quickly checked the wine-list and chose the following...
Lageder Löwengang Chardonnay 2007
Alto Adige, South Tirol, Italy
100% Chardonnay...I remember earlier vintages were more oak pleasantly surprised by this more delicate style. Alto Adige is a cool climate area... Yellow gold colour with a tinge of green...and a soft buttery aroma which opened nicely in the glass. There is a fresh acidity that lifts the fruit and it was a perfect match with all the starters. Good finish. Very enjoyable.
Points 17

The choice of red could have been a Barbera d'Asti “Bricco dell' Uccellone 2007...but fellow Blogger Alex who lives near to La Fattoria had enthused about a Barolo on a previous that was decanted.

Burlotto Barolo Cannubi 2005
Piedmont, Italy

Intriguing aroma...leather and spice and cherries...and dark roses. The mix of acidity and tannins is just about right...and the palate welcomed red berry fruit. A good choice...and perfect again with the food.
Points 16.75

A great evening...and we won't leave it so long until the next time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Baden Sandwich

A couple of Austrian whites sandwiched between two reds from Baden. Nothing like a light snack to oil the machinery.

There were always rules about wine and food when I started out in the 70's
Fish with white and meat with red was never broken...or you had no idea about wine! I was always prepared to change...but it was on holiday in Portugal in the 80's with my daughter...who prefers red...that we often drank the soft fruity wines with the local fish.
Obviously the preparation plays a role.
Also for the last 30 years I have been pulling corks but more and more we see screw caps...something that has never really been as much a problem as you would think for this old traditionalist.
All this brings us to the wine featured here.
The food....well...a very good Thai Curry.
Now...I once had a 1966 top Red Burgundy with a Chinese curry...perfect.
Obviously an Indian curry would not be suitable....but Thai food is a regular diet for me and the curries lend themselves beautifully to Pinot Noir. The Zalwander (see previous post) would have had too much dry I needed something rounder and softer.

Alexander Laible
Spätburgunder *** R trocken 2009

Baden, Germany
Alexander is the son of Andreas Laible a couple of kilometers away in Durbach. Over a short period he has built a modern property and is a 'rising star'
It may not please a few he is buying vineyards as far away as Sinzheim near Baden-Baden...but...needs must. But is what you do with it all.
His Riesling wines compare favourably to his fathers' run by his brother Andreas Jnr. My recent visit to obtain his reds...particularly the 2009s...was not a success in the fact that all he had were 2010s...just this one bottle of the very fine vintage.
Screw cap...kissed by oak....only the tongue-kissing here. Quite full and an aromatic smell...some blackberry...and..most important for the food...a rounded feel with soft tannins. The Curry and wine hit it off...rather like a tennis match that ended all square.
Points 16.5

Gross Ratscher Nussberg
Sauvignon Blanc 2009

South Styria, Austria
Probably the most difficult new Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted. It's all wrapped up...but not ready to go. Limes, mint, cassis...and some lively acidity. Two days later it popped it's head out...but then back in again.
Very complex and a cellar occupier for the long haul.

Difficult to you could look a fool in 12 months time.
Points 16.5........but more to come

Alphart Rotgipfler Rodauner
Top Selektion 2010

Thermen Region, Austria
Don't you just hate it when a wine merchant sends you the 'new' vintage when you ordered the previous one!
After raving about the 2009 I had re-ordered....and down in the cellar putting away a few recent delivers and searching for a white to drink...I saw this.....2010. Oh well..saves you searching anymore...try it I thought.
As I mentioned previously...not a grape type you often see on the label. 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. Leave it open for 24 will thank you.
So...the merchant won't be getting an earful....
Points 17.75

Jürgen von der Mark
Pinot Noir 2008
or Unto Us A Child Was Born'
Baden, Germany
A property that only started out in 2003.
A soft gentle sweet oak whiff is the first impression...but with air this becomes more fact...the whole is like freshly squeezed raspberries. A real juice to activate the senses. Smoke developed...the wine spread itself but never loses a feel of freshness and minerality. A property to watch.
Points 16.75