Sunday, November 15, 2015

Italy, France & Spain

As the days get the wine changes colour. Our monthly meeting was 'pre-planned' by telephone. Volker and Robert would be bring reds...could I supply a white? Pas de problème Messieurs.

Now...after so many years collecting...there are various 'odd bottles' in the cellar. The secret of having something mature to drink is down to the amount of wines in your cellar meaning that you have something to drink without opening anything too early. Did you understand that? Good. Well... I remember the early days when I told my wife I had very little I could drink. She gazed at the partly filled cellar...and then I explained...that most have to be left alone! Those days are gone...and with 700 bottles at the last count...there will always be something for everyone at the right time. The white I took along I had purchased about 9 years ago...had tried and enjoyed...then decided to leave it a couple of years. Time flies by...and the bottle gets lost in the masses. To make sure I would not be opening an old, undrinkable liquid...I had tried it the day before...taking a small drop with my Coravin. It seemed was transported to our meeting place...Restaurant Schaab Louis. Bottle opened and I waited for the guys to arrive with their offerings for the evening.

Vie di Romans Piere Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Friaul, Germany
What can I say...just perfect. As per usual..the others have to try to guess what, where, year, grapes etc. Robert said Sauvignon Blanc...then they headed all over the world until finally arriving back in Italy. Then it was easy as Robert remembered some excellent bottles way back when. The vintage however...was more difficult...10 guesses before the only one left was 2004. To be would have been impossible for the wine shows absolutely no ageing. It reminded me a touch of a red...drink this warmer and blind and you would be lost. Absolutely lovely drink...all components a point. Hard to describe wine...most of the primary fruit is gone but the smoke, minerality and candied character that remains is most pleasing. Beautiful, savory, creamy.
Points 18

Domaine des Grécaux Héméra 2001
Coteaux de Languedoc, France
Volker had just returned from the South of France...and had visited this property. He had been given the bottle by the owner. Even when we had narrowed our guessed to Languedoc...there was no way this was so old. 2001!  The colour alone would have stopped you even venturing a guess. Almost black in the middle...and still tight...the nose offering pencil, fruit compote...a touch ethereal. Gingerbread and raisons. The palate shows softness...with an easy tannin mix...rum top...very enjoyable surprise.
Points 17.25

Nin Ortiz Planetes de Nin Vi de la Vila de Porrera 2011
Priorat, Spain
Robert had just returned from Priorat...but did not bring this with him.
We had tasted a white from this property at a previous tasting...and Robert had told us the reds were impressive.
70% Grenache, 30% Cariñena. Fresh red berry nose...with a touch of blood orange. Silky tannins and a style more akin to Pinot Noir....which is where we started with guessing. Quite full flavoured and well integrated acidity.
Points 16.5

Next meeting early December...

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Bistro Mitch

My idea of winding down from the day to wander to local eateries...with a bottle from my cellar. My second eating home in recent weeks has been a Bistro that has been offering good quality for more years than I can remember. It is within staggering distance...and the brisk walk home is good for the digestion. The lady in charge is Layla...who runs the service alone. In the Kitchen is Jimmy...from Algeria. He cooks with mediterranean flair. Below are some dishes from the past 6-7 visits. As I was tired of listening to the CD's that were on offer...I took along a 'soul mix' which has hardly left the player since. Two more have followed. It seems they are also liked by other guests. So...I take my music and my own wine...even took a corkscrew once to open an old bottle. Those 'waiter' corkscrews tend to pull too one-sided at times.

One evening I met up with two friends. They asked if I wanted to join them. I was not sure...but my wife said to go ...she wanted to stay home. I called the friends and said OK...and they asked if I would bring a couple of bottles. We joked at the table that they only wanted me so that they would have something excellent to drink.

Erwin Sabathi Chardonnay Merveilleux 2009
South Styria, Austria

A wine that had been in and out of the fridge over the past few weeks.
Reasoin being...that I was afraid there would be too much oak.

Answer...get outta here you fool. Gorgeous nose...just perfect Chardonnay. The palate was more of the same..and a thrill to drink.
Points 17.75

Claus Schneider Pinot Noir Weiler Schlipf Barrique 2007
Baden, Germany

No real notes made as we were chatting and laughing.

They had been impressed by the less so with this
perfectly aged Pinot Noir. Soft burnt/smoke aromas and a palate
that applauded your patience Barry
Points 17.5

Dr. Heger Spätburgunder Winklerberg 2011
Baden. Germany

Sometimes I leave a small amount in a bottle. Layla or a regular customer get to try. A few days later...a lawyer...had tried it. He had googled and seen the costs. It was originally € 30,-- but obviously cost more nowadays. What is expensive for one is a deal for another. I told him there are people who bungy jump for high amounts of money...I get my pleasure less dangerously.
This has the brittleness of youth that needs food...spiky strawberries I find is a good description.
Points 17

F. X. Pichler Riesling Smaragd Dürnsteiner Kellerberg 2008
Wachau, Austria

Lovely, lovely scent. Thick and way to describe this. Any fatness is

quickly a second thought as the zippy acidity forces you to be fair and enjoy this until the bottle is empty.
Points 17.5

F. X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Kellerberg 2005
Wachau, Austria

Apricots and peaches leapt out of the glass....fatness at first...then the mid-palate showed pepper and spice. Complex and with pertfect balance.

Points 17.5

Keller Kirchspiel 2007
Rheinhessen, Germany

Ripe..sucking on yellow fruit...then orange peel. How on earth does Keller get all

this going on and with a lightness that makes it a pleasure to drink or gulp.
Points 18

Keller Hubacker Riesling 2006
Rheinhessen, Germany

Had this  acouple of days after the Kirchspiel...and it seems more top heavy and unready. Decant or leave a few years. At the moment...
Points 17
F. X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd M 2008
Wachau, Austria

Not joking...the palate showed liquorice. Soft complex

and just about starting to spread it's wings. Opulent but with a fresh
acidity. Love it!
Points 17.75

Wittmann Riesling Morstein 2009
Rheinhessen, Germany

Faint petrol note...exotic yellow fruits...citrus injection...lovely easy to drink...light of foot...and a wine that I would have had difficulty with 5 years tastes are changing with age. I am becomming a Riesling freak!
Points 17.75

Sattlerhof Sauvignon Blanc Kranachberg 2007
South Styria, Austria
It is four years since I last tried this.The lonely bottle was transported by foot...and the glass stopper need to take my corkscrew.
Top property...Willi Sattler in
the saddle (I like that description)...
Barrique...hhis is top cinema...a slick slider...a smooth operator. A nose that appealed and evolved...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

Leth Grüner Veltliner Gigama Grande Reserve 2012
Wagram, Austria
Layed-back oak...complex stone fruit on the nose. Smoky
minerals...tropical fruit...a touch of sweetness...held back by perfect acidity.
I was wary that this would be too young...but they say..if you are young enough you are good enough...or is that a football phrase (smile).
A new find for me...
Points 17.25

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Godfather of Wine

I am the Godfather of two in late brother's daughter...and wife's nephew's daughter. ( Understood?)
Her parents love fine along with Merle's older sister...we went to our favourite restaurant....La Fattoria.I refrain from saying the kichen comprises of Moroccans. And they cook well.
We are never disappointed.
I took along two bottles...both mature.

Hirtzberger Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel 2001
Wachau, Austria

What an great smell...creamy stone fruits. Some petrol...and a touch of quince. BUT...
This is bone-dry. The mineral veins have kept this lively and perfect now. Without them you would be looking maybe at a dessert-style wine. Citrus acidity...peach palate...long finish. Very lovely.
Points 18.25

Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy 2000
Tuscany, Italy

Having tried the 2008 in April...then the 2004 in early September...the chance to buy this one on Ebay was a no-brainer. Popped and poured...sweet cherries...just so elegant...leather...pipe-tobacco.Delicate silky fruit on the palate...just a trace of oak...with grainy tannins..and a lightness that makes it perfect with good Italian food.
Points 18.25

We order accross the board...and taste and exchange over 4 courses. Taboo in fine restaurants...but we don't go there. Here my choices.

Beef Carpaccio

Pasta in Gorgonzola Sauce

Duck with dates...the Classic

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kosher Winner

The gap between the last meeting and this one...had been over 5 I had been on holiday.
Same venue...but this time inside...the weather for the garden was just too cool. With that in mind...two of us...Robert and myself...had opted to bring reds...the white was down to Volker.

Ökonomierat Rebholz Riesling Im Sonnenberg 2008
Pfalz, Germany

This reminded me so much of a Riesling from Alsace...that up-front fruit...then the dryish finish.
Wrong of course. After a guess from Robert of the Mosel area...I opted for the Pfalz....because of the border to Alsace. Then, after much further guessing...we ended up at Rebholz. This 'lesser' vintage is squeezed between two top vintages...but I always feel that wines show what they are made of...without being over-helped by perfect conditions. It went admirably with the Flammkuchen. The strong Grapefruit finish softened with air and the wine showed good balance. Volker always brings a good Riesling to our meetings.
Points 16.75

Tzora Vineyards Misty Hills 2009
Judean Hills, Israel

At our last meeting I had been fairly successful guessing Robert's Riesling from Australia.
He was not going to make the same mistake again.
We started with Europe...answer NO...New World...answer NO...then had a discussion as to what the New World means. It did not help...we finally had to give up...which pretty much satisfied Robert. He felt 'kosher.' I thought it was a 'schlamassel'
What we did manage to guess...was the main grape...Cabernet Sauvignon(70%)...and that it was a Cuvée...but the other grape just never occured to us. Syrah(30%) was the answer. The colour was quite deep with young purple...the nose was spicy...eucalyptus...dark fruits...earthy. The palate...with the 18 months in French oak barrels...revealed a smoothness and lovely blackberries...easy tannins...and a fine finish.
Very good.
Points 17.5

Now...all I need to do for my choice next time find a vineyard on the moon....Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée...and wait for Robert to start guessing!
My choice had been tried a few years ago Pinot Perfection
It had been a time to try the last bottle from my cellar.
Fritz Wassmer Spätburgunder XXL 2009
Baden, Germany

The nose enticed...they easily guessed Pinot...and Baden...but I was not trying too hard this time round.  This had won a trophy way back when. Maybe after the lithe wine above...this showed less elegance...and probably needed more acidity. The style is typical Fritz Wassmer...I generally prefer the reds from brother Martin.
Points 17

I had packed the half-bottle in my rucksack...and halfway through the Wassmer...asked if I should open it.

Silly question really. My 'Butler's Friend' easily removed the cork.
Chateau Latour 1971
Pauillac, France
Dry tobacco, cedar...still drinkable...but in the half-bottle...a few years too late. 

Volker left to catch a train.
Robert went to the bus stop.

I walked 400 yards back home.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rebstock's Wonderful World

Been here many times...and I needed a break away from work...everyday...and the negative world out there.
What better place than the Rebstock's Wonderful World

Friday 28 August 2015

I arrived at midday...a wreck. No way I could turn went for a stroll into the vineyards. The sun had not yet fought it's way through the clouds.
Owner Karl Hodapp joined me on the terrace for a quick chat.

I browsed the food possibilities.
I struggled down to the restaurant that evening...ordered the wine and food...and was amazed at my recovery.
A greeting from the kitchen...cucumber terrine...which I have grown to love.
My memories of the vegetable had always been food issued by the wives when I had played cricket.
Cucumber Sandwiches. Talk about repeating on you!

The starter was 3 tasters...always a must when you visit the Rebstock. The fish was Dorsch (Hake)

I needed an injection of Riesling tonight...and not too much I intended to finish most of what was in the bottle. Karl always get his glass in the kitchen

Robert Weil Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling trocken 2007
Rheingau, Germany

I loved this...floral notes...peaches...perfect time with the minerals and acidity stroking the Rheingau fruit. Exciting wine...harmonious...just my style.
Points 17.75

Saturday 29 August 2015
I have decided not to go to I hardly eat at home at that time of day. A piece of bread and butter and a glass of milk and I was off to Achern for a massage. You would not have guessed how hot it would be later as the forest clung to the clouds.

Strangely...after a massage...I always have an appetite...and was on the terrace for lunch. Forelle(Trout)...from the area...was delicious...and then into Smoker's Corner for a cigar...Leaf...long and satisfying. Then a stroll with the headphones a 5pm I went to refresh.

As on the previous was warm enough to sit outside. I had asked the service to open the Pichler 5 hours in advance.
The Wachtel(Quail) is with Blood Wü I decided on a light salad to prepare myself.

F. X. Pichler Loibner Steinertal Riesling 2012
Wachau, Austria
Peaches...complex....still very young. Thankfully the striking minerals drag back the upfront baby fat.
Points 17.25 at the moment...
Sunday 30 August 2015
Slept long...then bread and butter...and off high into the vineyards...through the woods and down to the Zuckerbergschloss. It was hot...and an alcohol free beer and some Reibeküchle. Then down through Kappelrodeck...up the steep hill and back down the vineyards. The sun was beating down...not a complaint...just a fact. A quick shower and change...then coffee and cigar outside with the terrace full of guests.

Again a beautiful evening...
Perlhühn (Guinea-Fowl) was the main course choice...

The evening's drinking...
A bottle I had brought with me...
Polz Sauvignon Blanc Hochgrassnitzberg Vinotheksfüllung 2007
South Styria, Austria
I have the Reserve of this vintage...and thought I had found a couple of bottles of the same from a merchant. On arrival here in Waldulm I saw the label...but as the Vinotheksfüllung can be a step up I had great expectations. This seems to be a little fatter and could have done with more zip. These wines have nothing to do with ripe gooseberries or cat's pee and can be a revelation if you try them for a first time.
Points 17...going to leave the other bottle in the cellar and hope it becomes competition for the 'Reserve'

Monday 31 August 2015
Another gorgeous day.

Warm Goose-Liver and 'Schnittchen' of Pike-Perch & Salmon...were the choices as I sat out again on the terrace.
On the next table were a couple...Karl had placed them there I think as he had been told they knew about wine. They did...something you notice with a few exchanges. They were drinking the Gantenbein Pinot Noir 2009...which was a real coincidence. The previous evening they had drank the Gutedel 10 Hoch 4 and the half of the Gantenbein Riesling 2011. Gantenbein changed the style in 2013 to be dryer...but the 2011 had some rest had been left overnight to try with a dessert. I was offered a glass and the evening ended with us agreeing to meet for dinner the following day. 

Gantenbein Chardonnay 2011
Fläsch, Switzerland
Complex aroma...grapefruit, nougat, candied honey. The palate is full...a touch too much...but I wanted to try cannot blame the wine. As it aired the acidity popped up...and the wine gained length. A wine to share at the moment...
Points 17.25

Tuesday 01 September 2015
I had made an appointment at my favourite Thai massage. The lady has power and 90 minutes later my shoulders and neck were feeling the benefit.
The threatened rain appeared at midday and the temperature fell by 10 degrees. I had been to Achern to buy shoes and found a pleasant eatery to eat a salad with Maultaschle. 
At 5pm I asked Bettina to open and decant another of the bottles I had brought with me. 
Knoll Loibner Riesling Smaragd Vinothekfüllung 2006
Wachau, Austria

The couple arrived...Caroline und Franz-Josef.
I told them one wine was from my cellar...and they told me to choose 2 others for the evening.
As I have happy memories of the Keller Kirchspiel 2011 and it was chosen.
The Knoll was a touch disappointing with an unbalanced sweetness...needs time on this tasting.
The first red of the holiday...Knipser Reserve du Patron 2009 went very well with the Entrecote. See later in the week for a repeat drinking.
No notes were made...we chatted until late and enjoyed food and wines 

Wednesday 02 September 2015
Took me ages to drag myself out of bed...I think the relax mode is finally setting in.
A repeat of the walk through the vines and down to the Zuckerbergschloss...and the pleasant fall in temperature making it an easier version.

Ziereisen Gutedel 10 Hoch 4
Baden, Germany
Had this last year...then in April...and again with our monthly meeting...and it pleases every time. Will be interesting to see how it develops...the balance is perfect...and the fruit lingers...all the components for a fairly long life.
Points 18

Thursday 03 September 2015
A long hike up the opposite side...lunch on the terrace...half portion of Dorsch. A cigar and a Latte...then watched a couple of episodes of an English comedy...'Men Behaving Badly' funny.

As I had only 'shared' the bottle of the Knipser on Tuesday...I needed some more...and had actually forgotten to take a the dinner guests had taken my attention.

Knipser Spätburgunder Reserve du Patron 2009
Pfalz, Germany
Medium deep...and  aromas of cherries and plums from the glass. 
This is not the sweet Pinot...but typical of the Pfalz and very Knipser in style. 
Fine veins pumping through the ripe body..and an earthy texture. 
If I had to describe this in a few words...a Pinot for Cabernet Sauvignon lovers.
Points 17.5

As a of the classics...Schneckenrahmsuppe...Snail Soup. I had noted an addition the evening before...Bauernente...and a perfect match for the red.

Friday 04 September 2015
Sat in the corner...
Tasters from the kitchen...Pfifferling Terrine...Pumpkin Soup...then a Steak with Münster Potatoes....

Huber Hecklinger Schlossberg 2008
was opened...but not in good condition...a sour touch.
The next choice...

Adeneuer Walporzheimer Gärkammer Spätburgunder GG 2009
Ahr, Germany
Medium deep with pale rim...cherries...closed at first...dark fruits...and it enjoyed the steak as much as I did.
Points 17.25

Saturday 05 August 2015
I had asked waitress Claudi if there were any Asia restaurants in the area...having the need for a Thai curry. Bühl had been the dragged myself out of bed...I arrived midday. It was OK...not typically Thai...offerings were from China to Vietnam. The little town was bustling with Market Day. On the way back I collected chocolates from Cafe Glatt in Achern then returned to my 'home' for a Latte.

Familia Nin Ortiz Selma de Nin 2012
Catalonia / Spain
A wine that fascinates...the Rousanne heads you to south France...then the Marsanne to north Spain...this also needs air...I had forgotten that...when last tasted it had been aired. Large glass and then sit back and wait...
It just never reached the heights from a few months ago when Robert had produced it alongside my Gutedel from Ziereisen. Was still evolving when I sent a glass into the kitchen. Karl agreed it was not showing as I had promised.
Points 17
Sunday 06 August 2015
The weather was cool...grey clouds...but there were blue spaces...and I set off for a last walk. Arrived at Zuckerbergschloss and the sun came out.
At about 5pm I met with Karl...he had 30 minutes...and we chatted. We must meet again when he has time...I understand...only something you can associate with when you are self-employed.

Pfifferling Vol-au-Vent as a 'last' greeting from the kitchen.
All 4 'tasters' (hey..last understandable)

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2004
Tuscany, Italy

Just 'Ornellaia' between friends...
Ripe blackcurrants...tobacco, leather and cedar...sounds like an old style Bordeaux...and it is that good. Finessse and elegance.

The first mouthful is again...elegant...dusty silky tannins...perfect balance.
Graphite...and a faint sweetness to tempt you again and again. What a wine to finish my holday with. Sent a LARGE glass into the came back...very positive.

Points 18.5

Monday 07 September 2015
If you gotta go...then go as soon as possible. No point hanging about. A quick chat with Karl...I had ordered two quail and some Spätzle to take home. See you soon...I said...was not there long enough to see it the sun made it over the hills.