Monday, December 31, 2012

Nobody's Perfect

Someone asked recently if I ever drank a bad wine in recent years.
The answer was 'not if I could help it'
With all the years of experience...I should never have to drink a 'bad 'un'.
Blanc de Roc d'Anglade 2005
Remy Pedrano,
Anglade, France

However...I was caught out recently...with a wine I had tried a few times over 4 years had impressed...and my notes had been to maybe lay the last bottle down and see how it improved. For red wines 4-5 years will not harm...but the years have flown by...and the white I chose to share with buddy Volker at our local Bistro was not keeping it's age well. It had a slightly oxidised smell...and so I was on my bicycle for the short ride home to get a substitute.

Velich Tiglat Chardonnay 2009
Neusiedlersee, Austria

Honey...caramel...the nose is intriguing...a glass grower...excellent balance of acidity and fruit...long in the mouth...
the bicycle ride had been worth it and Volker gave it
Points 18

The red wine chosen was down to a quick phone call to the property. Herr Becker advised it was perfect to drink now
Friedrich Becker
Steinwingert Spätburgunder 2007
Pfalz, Germany

My tip...when drinking Becker not compare them with another red alongside. My experience is...with the soft style...a comparison with
a more 'sturdy' style would leave the Becker wine showing TOO much cream and vanilla. Alone...they are a delight...with the nose here so enticing...a soft creamy layer on the palate...and a gentle ripple of tannins. Herr Becker was right...for drinking now.
Points 17.25

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Scrooge

Wine coincidences...and it was only after I prepared a post for the blog....that I noticed a Vintage coincidental to all three whites drunk over the Christmas period.
You remember how Christmas used to be...?  if you are of a certain age....then you will!
Now the supermarkets are decorated in the middle of November...and I receive a Christmas card on the 28th of that month and grimace.
This has turned me into a Christmas Scrooge...but over the THREE Christmas days I was willing to open a few bottles.
As a starter...a photo of a decorated corner of our living room.

Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru 2008
Burgundy, France.

My guess is that younger wine lovers probably never even think to buy or try white Burgundy. The worldwide choice is so large that many other 'Chardonnays' are purchased.....after says Chardonnay on the label.
If you are a touch older...I am a club member...then your 'wine youth' meant that the only decent 'Chards' were from France. You learned the best properties by knew that a Chassagne-Montrachet could be topped by a Puligny-Montrachet...and the height of ecstacy was a Montrachet!
Classic wines...elegant...sexual...
Louis Jadot was around back then...producing a complete range of all that is Burgundian...operating both it's own vineyards and also having a Négociant business.
They are still with us today...and a tip from a wine magazine tempted me to buy a couple of bottles. Good Burgundy was and is...never cheap.
This is not for your oaked Chardonnay lovers...this is delicate...and fine Burgundy is sometimes is just IT. Citrus with a nutty touch. The gentle creamy feel spread over the palate...and the where you just know it must be Burgundy.
Points 17.25

Christmas day and my wife had prepared three Fondue varieties. One normal Broth with four sorts of meat...and an Asian Broth for the Prawns.
The variety asked for a white that could cope with all of the the assorted sauces.

F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 'M' 2008
Wachau, Austria

One of my favourite whites is the M from Pichler. My decision to open this was down to the fact that I have two try one to see it's developement.
Ripe aromas of tropical fruit...I served this in large glasses...hidden acidity...which emerged when it had gasped at did the minerality which these top Smaragd wines need.
They initial 'sweetness' is only part of a delicious package. Layers of fruit...and surprisingly ese wines can age up to 10 years or more.
Perfect with the food...great length...super.
Points 17.75

Christmas means eating the rest of the food over the next few on Boxing wife conjured up a 'Thai-Style' curry from the Asian Broth and it was served with some more Prawns.

Into the cellar and my only bottle of Condrieu...2008...
Guigal Condrieu 2008
Rhone, France

Condrieu hardly ever ages...a couple of properties I have tried have been fine...Yves Cuilleron's Les Chaillets and Guigal's La Doriane...but these are exceptions. Unlike other White Rhone...they need to be drunk fairly young.
This is Guigal's basic Condrieu...and the nose was a touch flat...then a hidden smell of almonds emerged...there is not much acidity...which there never is...but the wine is still very palatable.
Points 16.5
This had me comparing the Viognier of the Rhone with Grüner Veltliner from Austria...with the latter usually offering a more mineral flinty touch...I never thought I would be untrue to an old love!!!

Schlossgut Diel Pinot Noir Cuvee Caroline 2008
Nahe, Germany

Opened before Christmas...but fits in nicely with the Vintage theme.
Pale ruby...freshness on the nose...cherries...and a dry spice...elegant and pleasing if a shade disappointing when I compare it to previous years. A second bottle will be given sleeping time.
Points 17

So those were my Christmas drinks...
Oh...and before I forget...HAPPY EASTER!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Austrian Trio

Bernard Ott Grüner Veltliner Fass 4 2011
Wagram, Austria

Bought a mixed case of Ott's wines...and the info on this one was that the grapes are taken from different parcels of the Rosenberg vineyard.
This had a fresh style...more green apple than honeyed melons wines suggest they need longer than most
Points 16.5

Tement Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg 2008
South Styria, Austria

I suggest regularly that the top SB wines improve with age...I think this has flattened out. The intensity of lychees and grapefruit has lessened...something I found appealing a year ago.
Still good though...
Points 17

Prager Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd 2008
Wachau, Austria

This had impressed a year ago..and is still at that level. Lovely feel to is...flowery...white peaches...traces of petroleum(yummy)...lemon tones.
Dreamy palate...very good.
Points 17.5

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gault & Millau 1 v Eichelmamm 0

A question...this Weingut is mentioned regularly in one of the 2 German Wine Guides. Gault & Millau give it 3 Bunches of Grapes. The other one...Eichelmann does not give it a mention.  Surely not 'politics' or some misunderstanding!? is Eichelmann's loss...
There are plans for a new cellar at the property.  Thomas Nelles is slowly passing the reins over to his son Philip
1479 was the birth year of the property. His top Spätburgunder is the B52..2009 was a re-order recently..this B48 being the next one down...but only just...
Nelles Heimersheimer Landskrone
B48 Spätburgunder 2009
Ahr, German
I really like the Nelles style...the fruit just leaps at you from the glass...OK...there is oak...but not overdone. It spends time is small Barriques and has a rounded tannin feel...vanilla and winter spices...AND...something that happens seldom....I almost finished the bottle in one slips down beautifully...and the small glass next day was still delicious. Re-ordered...Tie my hands behind my back...or they won't be around too long!
Points 17.5

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Love Tuesdays!

I was never one to plan good food and wine on a 'special' day...or only on a Saturday. Why not drink fine wines on a Tuesday.? Friend Volker decided to cook...and I said I would supply the wines. Wine Merchant Robert was also there...and well as Volker's wife Steffi...

A starter of cold octopus salad...followed by warm octopus in a tomato sauce (and a good dose of garlic)

F.X.Pichler Grüner Veltliner M 2004
Wachau, Austria
Opened 3 hours in advance...nose was instantly glossy...had this maybe lost it's zip?. Quite full-bodied...honey notes...and then the lift of minerals...lovely balance...not for the long haul...just about right now...and maybe paired better with the second course.
Points 17.25
As usually happens...Robert brought along a bottle covered up. He said it was 2011. We tried it...and he asked me for a tip. I thought...and something made me think...Nahe. goes...'Nahe...Dönnhoff'...and followed that with a vineyard 'Hermannshöhle'. The answer was ...'you are half correct...and half false!. Now...although the feeling must be a Riesling...I never mentioned that grape in my 'guess'. Laugh...we had to laugh...because as the label was revealed...I saw 'Dönnhoff!'....of course...I had not got 6 in the Lottery...maybe only 4...because it turned out to be a mineraly 'Weißburgunder'. Robert was adamant I had said Riesling...which I had 'indirectly' in naming a Riesling vineyard. I then jokingly claimed they had maybe planted a few Weißburgunder vines in that was just so funny.
This paired well with the cold octopus salad.

The main course was a leg of lamb...

My 'theme' for the evening's red wines...was to remain vintage 2004.

Both reds were served blind...
Markus Molitor Brauneberger Klostergarten
Spätburgunder ** 2004
Mosel, Germany

This is a fairly' heavy' bottle...which would add to the mystery with the Au Bon Climat bottle weighing 3 times a Bordeaux bottle! You can't give your wine-drinking friends too much help!
This was an instant delight for all...still lively...delicate gentle vanilla aroma...and a palate that showed a soft earthiness...which started the guys thinking Pfalz. They then tried for New Zealand...then Baden...I won't list the rest...but we were by 14 before they gave in. To be fair...the Mosel is not the hotbed of red wine...but the quality of this begs to ask why not. It will, it must come...with the changes in temperature. A wine for wine-lovers...not one that would impress young 'punch you on the nose' drinkers.
Points 17.5

Au Bon Climat Isabelle Morgan
Pinot Noir 2004
California, U.S.A.

Still fairly chunky...will develope over the next five years...the oak receded with airing...although it had now been opened 4 hours. Dried the Mosel headed this at the post.
Points 17.25

Warre Vintage Port 1966
Douro, Portugal was always Port at Christmas...but I needed no excuse to open one of my old bottles.
1963 and 1966 were the top vintages...and this was at it's peak. My bottle's label had suffered over the 30 years in the you get an extra photo of how it maybe looked in it's youth.
I had decanted 12 hours in advance...and as it had been stood up for 3 days...all the sediment remained where it should have. No way you can use a cork-screw on these wines...the trusty waiter's friend does the job perfectly.
No sign of cherry and liquorice...gorgeous fruit...smooth and elegant...and although one thinks 'heavy' with Port...this had a beautiful lightness in weight. Perfect Vintage Port
Points 19

I love Tuesdays!!!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Pumpkin, Panko and Pearls

My wife has  spoiled me for over 35 years with her cooking talents. Nowadays...we try to cut down her time in the kitchen...and leave it to her 'wanting to' compared to 'having to'.

I love the starter of Prawns in a light Pumpkin sauce had me heading for a good Sauvignon Blanc.

Sattlerhof Kranachberg Große STK Lage
Sauvignon Blanc 2010
South Styria, Austria

Aroma of mandarin orange...some smokey tones...zippy grapefruit...yellow fruits...dry tangy...needs time.
Points 17

The fish stall at our local Market had 'Kingklip' on offer...a new one to me...and done in Panko Thai Lobo Bread Crumbs...called for a great Grüner Veltliner...well...maybe that is overdoing it...but that is the first bottle that my eyes set on when entering the cellar.

F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner
Smaragd Loibner Berg 2002
Wachau, Austria

Colour...pale gold... nose...gorgeous...yellow stone fruits, citrus, apricots...some sign of age...vanilla, good dose of white pepper, thrilling perfect as a GV can be...
Points 18

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nelles and St Martin

Sunday 11th November was St. Martins's Day...the Patron Saint of Geese is the clever answer.
On Monday the 12th our local Bistro were doing the traditional bit...and 4 of us were confronted by a large bird with red cabbage and dumplings.
I can't remember ever remembering a good version...but this feathered friend was very tender...and enjoyed by all.
I had been off the juice for 2 weeks...and had received a case of reds from Nelles just before the 'diet' started.
Two bottles were taken along to swill things down.

Nelles Ruber
Spätburgunder 2009
Ahr, Germany

Strawberry nose...vibrant young fruit with cherries to follow...almonds and some coffee
Points 16.5

The next step up on the Nelles range
Nelles B
Spätburgunder 2008
Ahr, Germany

Again the strawberry Pinot smell...more thickness on the palate...full and extended.
Points 17.25

A couple of days later...not able to resist anymore...the top of the range wine
Nelles B-52
Spätburgunder 2009
Ahr, Germany

Delicious fruit with vanilla notes. The wine spends 15 months in Barrique...great weight in the mouth and excellent length.
Top wine.
Points 17.75

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Constant Konstanzer

A spontaneous visit to the local eatery...Mitch...before...into my wine cellar...grabbed a bottle I knew would please...just wanted to sit, eat, read and relax.

Always a board with daily offers...and I like Squid / Octopus...and this was fresh.
The lady owner knows I always take lamb...but I was determined to try something else. Saw the board...she grinned...I nodded...and took the Lamb Carré in a Mustard Crust...and the fresh sliced potato chips were a perfect neutral partner.

The wine was a 'find' a few years ago...I had visited the property...and you could tell that there was potential.  Nice to get there before the big boys.
Gault Millau is currently giving good marks...have increased their marking from 2 to 3 bunches of grapes and has voted the property 'Aufsteiger' (fast climber) status.
The 2008 Vintage was very good in Baden...something often forgotten between the hyped years 2007 and 2009.
Konstanzer Ihringer Winkleberg
Spätburgunder Spätlese Barrique 2008
Baden, Germany

Horst and Petra Konstanzer started back in 1983 with less than a Hectare...and over the last years have increased to the total of nine nowadays. A property to watch in Kaiserstuhl.
The oak is layed-back...lingers in the background and draws you into the glass to find traces of almonds and bay leaves. Elegant soft earthy fruit and enticing juicy flavour...mild and natural...very terroir plays a role here...and the price only adds to it's pluses. This ONLY costs € 20,--. Grab the 2010 at € 21,--
Points 17.25

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Good Week's Drinking

A week's drinking...and some real delights.
Tried over a couple of days...two very different styles of GV from two areas in Austria
First up...
Bernhard Ott Grüner Veltliner
Rosenberg 2009
Wagram, Austria

They call Bernhard Ott 'Mr Grüner Veltliner' I purchased a mixed bunch of his wines...mainly 2010 & 2011.
A single bottle of the 2009 vintage seemed the best choice though to drink at the moment.
The vines of the Rosenberg vineyard are around 50 years old.
Deepish yellow when you compare to other examples...white pepper...spices...tropical fruit. The mouth feel is fairly weighty...which increased with the second glass.
An Auslese in style...residual sugar I left it for 48 hours...and it seemed to have calmed down a touch. Very glossy though and would have faired better...if the Alzinger hadn't shown more minerality.
Points 17

Alzinger Grüner Veltliner Reserve 2011
Wachau, Austria

Opened the day after the Ott...and this had a tobacco smokey smell...delightful aroma of pears with airing...considering this is young it was very approachable. That is the plus with these GV's...they are good young...but will benefit with a few years aging. The rest of the bottle was then compared the next day with the Ott wine...and showed great minerality...a touch of sweetness...but this will disappear with a year's aging.  Perfect balance almost...and was the winner of the two wines
Points 17.5

and yet a third version...this time Kamptal

Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner
Ried Lamm Reserve 2011
Kamptal, Austria

If I remember correctly...the first GV I ever tasted was from this property.
Green-yellow in colour...tobacco fruit...honey notes...and a full palate...but with a thrilling dose of minerals...leaving you with a slim wine...a contradiction to all that went before.
Points 17.25

Markus Molitor, Brauneberger Klostergarten
Spätburgunder ** trocken, 2004
Mosel, Germany

A real find...almost missed it. Still available at € 35,-- (PS...3 days later I hear that I had the last 2 bottles)
You would think it risky maybe...2004...8 years for a Mosel red...but you would be wrong...and delighted to drink this.
The Mosel has very few properties who seriously deal in Pinot Noir. The top wine from Molitor is just beautiful...and the wines are very Burgundian in style...both the vines and the large bottles are from France.
Delicate gentle vanilla...this does not hit you just pokes you in the cheek...then rubs your eyes...then tickles your nose. You get my drift...gently does it...and I love the whole. You can't buy this smell...well...not often enough.
The palate gives you smooth velvet...and it still has some tannins in there keeping it lively. A wine for Mozart...not Beethoven. A wine for Soul Lovers...not Heavy Metal Freaks.
17.5...but I am being mean...just forget about marks held up great it should age for a few years more. I need to check if there are more available.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Trio Plus One

A Trio of Austrian whites...three different grapes...and a nice aged red from Germany.

Weingut Alphart Rotgipler Rodauner
Top Selektion 2010
Thermenregion, Austria

Yellow fruits...honey melons...quite full...even an up-front exotic Austrian with broad texture...I would have liked more minerals...
Points 16.5

Polz Sauvignon Blanc Hochgrassnitzberg Reserve
Große STK Lage 2007
South Styria, Austria

Always trying to be original with tasting notes...this was easy. Wham! Bam! Kapow! a super-hero cartoon.
An aroma full of spiky grapefruit....extreme peaches...lovely balance...spicy oak...smooth as silk. Wham! Bam! Thank You Mam!
Points 17.75

Tegernseerhof Riesling Smaragd
Steinertal 2009
Wachau, Austria

Peaches and petroleum...blood oranges...stone fruits...has a sprightly feel...but will age beautifully
Points 17.5

Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder 2005
Ahr, Germany

Perfect now...that slightly mouldy smoke...more attractive than it sounds...taste of caramel...laying back and relaxing with it's age...
Points 17.25

Gemischter Satz

Roughly translated, Gemischter Satz means "mixed matter" which describes the many grapes that are blended together to create these wines. To qualify as a Gemischter Satz, the grapes must be grown in the same vineyard and produced together. This type of “Field Blend” production style was common in Austria after the First World War. The economy was down and farmers needed to ensure that they would make a profit despite any harsh weather conditions. They decided to plant a variety of different grapes in a single vineyard, and blend the grapes together to make the highest quality of wine. Having a diverse grape portfolio helped the farmers to prevent risk during poor harvests. Gemischter Satz has become a very popular wine, and its unique profile and history is still celebrated today.
It could lead you to believe it is a way to use up the rest of a harvest...but that would be far from the case here.

Wieninger Gemischter Salz
Alte Reben Rosengartl 2011
Vienna, Austria

The grapes used here are taken from the prime area in the center of the Nußberg. Opened and sipped...and I gazed a the label...I like this old fashioned style. The sip reminds me of something...not that we should ever have to want to compare these wonderful whites from Austria...they stand alone... and while I am thinking...I had a good sniff....pears and some orange peel...leads into a smokey flavour...and that was it for day one...OK...but missing something...not sure yet what it reminded me of. As I repeat often...the young whites from Austria enjoy a night in my fridge...rarely have I be left wishing I had emptied a bottle early. Day 2...and that glossy feel had been joined by fine minerals...taking the flavour a step higher...the Restsüße less dominant...and the wine was juicy and uplifting. Got this reminded me of a Condrieu...stick with it Barry...your memory is still good. A backdrop of acidity and you could leave this a few years...will only get better.
Points 17.25...and well priced at € 22,--