Sunday, January 22, 2012

La Hermitage & Ebay

The photo shows Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1978
If you think I am going to post a note on this half-bottle...wrong. Why is it here? on.
Our wine group met up a couple of weeks ago...and one of the wines I had brought along was the bigger sized normal bottle.
It was good...but we thought not great. I mentioned I had 3 half-bottles still and Robert (with his Wine-Merchant hat on) suggested I sell one. I come. Seven days was sold...€ 400,--! Thank you Mr. Parker...the phrase ''100 Parker Points'' obviously still has swing.
I mentioned to the group that if I sold it...I would take them out for a meal...and so it was that we ended up at La Fattoria...a Restaurant near Frankfurt.
I ordered a taxi for five people...Steffi, Volker, Robert, my wife & I.
We arrived to be greeted by Chester the owner and the head waiter Agnello.
The restaurant offers a long list of what is available on the day...but there is also the main menu card. Volker wanted to see the menu card....opened his glasses find he had forgotten them. His wife gave him a quick run-down...but then he was forced to concentrate as Chester reeled off the daily goodies.
Needless to say...everything we ate...starters...second starters...and main courses...were all super.

I had taken the wines along the day before...and had asked Agnello to open them all at 6pm.

The white...covered up as were all of them...was to convince Robert that there is a Sylvaner of top class to be had....

Zehnthof Luckert Silvaner * * * 2009
Franken, Germany
Like a mix of Riesling and maybe some Grüner Veltliner. Put some Burgundy in the mix and you will describe this wine perfectly. Just a beautiful nose....a trace of cream...honey...compact...the flavour just melts in the mouth...that 'classy' Burgundy feel again...but...this is Silvaner! And what a Silvaner! There are spices to combat that cream...and a minerality to add to it's pluses. As perfect as it can get with the grape. None better has passed my lips.

After choosing the three reds for the evening...I realized that they had all been Ebay purchases! Strange as the wine that was paying for the meal had ended up there.

Heger Ihringer Winklerberg
Spätburgunder *** 2004

Baden, Germany
I had called the property a day before to ask what the wine was tasting like. The lady on the phone said she would go into the cellar and ask Joachim Heger and then call me back. The call came...'Fantastic' was the reply.
Slightly musty at first...but it opened to show roasted aromas...wild red fruit...perfect now...marzipan on the palate...and a lingering acidity of finesse that holds it together.
Will still hold a few years...but we caught this one just right...
Points 17.5

Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape,
Les Cailloux 1998

Rhône, France
Animals...wild...smokey...that lovely old sweet musky smell that I have missed over recent years in CdP. Almost pinot-like with strawberry and cherry fruit rising from the glass. Perfect integrated acidity...sweet palate...with some liquorice and those dusty tannins that appeal.
Points 17.5

Antinori Pian delle Vigne
Brunello di Montalcino 1997

Toscana, Italy.
In hindsight we should have drank this before the above it was tighter with dry tannins. The nose was very aromatic...spices...leather...cherries...and the palate craved for food...which it got.
Certainly good but a long decant or a few years more would soften it. We certainly didn't refuse it...just that the first two were more open.
Points 17

Five happy people set off home...thank you Paul Jaboulet!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Austrian Trio

In a perfect world I would be drinking Austrian whites and German Spä I guess the world is perfect at the moment!

Walter Skoff
Sauvignon Blanc Royal 2009

South Styria, Austria
Exotic aromas...lychees...tobacco and vanilla...sweet defies the 14.5% alcohol...sparkling diamonds....roast nuts...minerals...Walter Skoff is known as Mr. Sauvignon Blanc and one can see, and taste...why. I didn't hurry this...and it helped...this opened and developed over 3 days.
Points 17.75

Erwin Sabathi
Pössnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc 2009

South Styria, Austria
Smokey...minerals....chalky soil...exotic...good acidity...the Limited 111 is my favourite from this property...but this is very good.
Points 17.5

What I don't miss in most Austrian Sauvignon Blanc...the absence of cat's pee...or extreme gooseberry. A step up from those New Zealand examples of years gone by.

Domaine Wachau Smaragd Axpoint
Grüner Veltliner 2009
Wachau, Austria
Suffered a little after the two Sauvignon Blanc. This has fresh, zippy acidity....dark pepper...some tobacco...and will benefit from bottle age.
Points 17

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Great South African Pinot

I have always steered clear of South African wines...there have been exceptions...but most have been over-done.
As this had been recommended...and my quest for good Pinot Noir is never ending...I searched the net for a German merchant who had the 2009 vintage. I 'found' it....ordered...checked the item number...'2009'...and waited for the 3 bottles.
A few days later and I was pulling open the package to be presented've guessed it...the 2010 vintage!!
I contacted the merchant and was told that they only had the 2010 now...then why oh why...don't you change your website!!!
I was offered a small rebate and decided to keep the wines rather that send them back. Next step...try that I would calm down. And so it was.. a few days later...that I popped the cork on this wine
Crystallum Pinot Noir
Cuvée Cinema 2010
Walker Bay, South Africa
The aroma...well...pure Pinot...and a smile from me. Bingo...there are sometimes positives in negatives. Strawberry and cherry followed...very enticing. The smell dragged me into the glass. There are tannins...but so velvety...and the fruit has a delicious acidity as partner.Juicy fruit...mouth filling...I could have emptied the bottle...but a few sprays from my gas bottle...and in the was tasted again next evening. Still all there...even fuller maybe. The wine spends 10 months in barrel...but this is no overdone, overoaked example. It is the future for South Africa,
Points 18
PS. ..I am off to the UK in a few weeks...and checking a merchant there...found he has 5 bottles of the 2009 and a single bottle of 2008. They are ordered and
will be transported back to Germany...personally.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Baden Sun & Vitamin D

With the wind and the rain and the storms and the cold....I do need to start taking those Vitamin D tablets get me through the winter months without the sun. Three wines from an area of Germany that boast the most hours of sunshine....Baden.

Hofgut Consequence
Blauer Spätburgunder 2007 ***
Baden, Germany
Probably no longer availa
ble. When I was there Eva Maria Schmidt explained that the property was now owned by Abril...another property a few doors down...since 1 January 2010. There was a new building being built on the outskirts of Vogtsburg-Bischoffingen. Her husband Manfred was now in charge of the grapes. So the wines with the Hofgut Consequence label were the last. I purchased 3 bottles of the top wine mentioned here. The style is very much easy Pinot that encourages big mouthfuls of the strawberry fruit. Great vintage...and at four years old just about ready to go. Tasty....and one can only hope Manfred Schmidt chooses well for the new project. The winemaking will be done by Sebastian Faber & Armin Süttler.
A snip at € 18,--

Points 17

R & C SchneiderSpätburgunder
Parzelle Schönenberg 2006
Baden, Germany
I purchased a few bottles of this after trying the 2005...and hearing that it was even better in this vintage. Well...I have tried them over a 2 year period...trying to give it all my love in the hope that it will give something back. One bottle is left and I think Ebay calls for this lady. She has never shown a sexy seduction...and I can't see it changing much. The nose is slightly raw...and the fruit just ordinary...a puzzle. If it had been one bottle I would have put it down to a bad-un...but every time I have been left wanting. Next wine please...
Points 16.....

Schloss Staufenberg
Durbacher Schlossberg
er trocken 2009
Baden, Germany
If you want to buy direct from this is up a winding road with room for one vehicle(and you just hope a bus carrying tourists doesn't decided to appear round the corner) the top of the hill overlooking Durbach.......park your car...and walk up round to the 'castle'. You will be rewarded with a sensational view...and some good 'Flammenkuchen' in the restaurant. This is the top red...and the 2009 vintage was on offer. Was it worth the trouble?...hey...after the Parzelle I needed reassurance. What the 2009 vintage offers is a perfect package. From start to finish you have the great vintage feel. Ripe and forward...sweet fruit...rounded...a soft bristling tannin layer...which held it up for a day later...nice.
Points 16.75