Thursday, April 30, 2015

Friends, Wines, The Good Life and Surprises

I had invited my nephew way back in October to join me for 2 days in the Black Forest. Finally we had been able to fix a date. I called Karl Hodapp from the Rebstock and said I was coming. 'I'll take a night off' he said 'and we will drink some wines.' I suggested I send 3 bottles...and on either a Wednesday or Thursday the 3 of us would drink them. Five days before the trip Karl's wife Sandra called me. I knew it was going to be bad news. A member of the kitchen staff had left that day...and Karl would have be in the kitchen on the 2 days we were there. My nephew Flo and I were still looking forward to the trip and I thought that we could drink the Cote Rotie on the second evening and send a large glass into the kitchen for Karl.
We set off early Wednesday morning...arriving in Achern at 11.30 and visited Cafe Glatt as I had orders from my wife to bring back chocolate. We sat in the garden area and had a very good home made potato soup.

Five minutes drive and we were in Waldulm and were greeted by Sandra Stark. Into our rooms...not much to unpack...we were round the back at 1pm and setting of up the vineyards.

Great weather...sun with slight breeze. Down the other side to the Zuckerbergschloss Cafe. My nephew Flo was is just a lovely place. Coffee and 3 in photo. 

Then through Kappelrodeck...past the football stadium...along the nature path and back to the Gasthof to sit on the terrace for a cup of tea. As we sat there planning what we would eat for the next 2 evenings...and what to drink...Karl appeared and sat down to chat. Then...out of the blue...he said...'all ok for tomorrow thursday'...there were no heavy booking..and the kitchen could cope. What a lovely surprise. He would prepare something and we would sit in the restaurant. He said he would like to invite a friend...Wolfgang...who I knew. No problem...but we needed a 4th wine. Kellers Absterde 2012 was not yet on the wine-list and needed to be tried. That sounded fine. Karl left and Flo and myself grinned. The world was in a good place. We had to then decide what to eat and drink for ONE evening.

In the restaurant I got a note from Karl in the kitchen. Could we also invite Klaus...another from a previous visit. We answered yes...but we needed a 5th wine. A note came back Ornellaia 2008. Fine by me I replied.

We both chose the 4 small starters...and as I had enjoyed the Keller on my last visit...I was prepared to 'suffer' again so that Flo could try it. We enjoyed the starters and wine over 30 minutes...he is very enthusiastic and is willing to learn endlessly.

Keller Riesling Kirchspiel GG 2011
Rheinhessen, Germany

Wow...first smell...enticing, classic aroma. Mint and firestone.
Finesse pure...yellow stone fruit. Combines a quite full body with
an elegance that is classy . A wine to go back to again and again.
Points 17.5

Flo had decided on Zieglein for the main course...I opted for the Veal.

The main wine...well...another repeat from last September...a Gutedel EXTRA SPECIAL from Ziereisen.

Ziereisen Gutedel Jaspis Alte Reben 10 Hoch 4 2011
Baden, Germany

Opened 4 hours before drinking...and served in a large Burgundy glass.
Wow...again...close your eyes and you are in Burgundy.
Nutty oak...seductive...layed-back style...
intense minerality...memories of great Puligny Montachet. 

A last drop sent to the boss in the kitchen...
Points 18.25

Two satified freaks retired for the night...

Breakfast next day...not too that the sun shone on the terrace from 9.30 am

Then a drive along the Black Forest High Road...lovely views...and of course the Mummelsee.

I never tire of the views...then around lunchtime we were in Durlach. Drove up the scary road to Schloss Staufenberg and sat out in the open restaurant. Flammküchen...and views to die for.

Returning to the Gasthof...we made the short walk round the back...and heard a shout. Karl came came running down from his jogging through the vineyards and said could his father-in-law Robert also join us. He also said we would do the tasting in the Brennerei...and a 6th wine was needed. Huber's Sparkler that was it. Flo and I sat on the bench...sun beating down...can it get any better?

We met up outside the Brennerei at 17.30.
Karl had opened both Rieslings and the Ornellaia and Cote Rotie after midday
My chore was the Cheval Blanc. is a strange thing. When packing the day before we left...I knew of course that the Cheval Blanc would be left in Waldulm for the next visit in the hope that Karl would have time. I had, however...put my 'Butler's Friend' into the bag. Not a corkscrew...but an essential gadget for old bottles. Why I did it...I do not know...there must be a Wine God after all. It was not the cork slowly slipped down the neck...but then there was grip and it was slowly drawn from the bottle. The Ornellaia was sniffed and I decided on a decant. The Cote Rotie had been opened midday....and as it was the last wine planned...I decided to leave it in the bottle.

Barry and The Butler''s Friend and Karl's Son Basti
Karl and Basti

The Gang of Six

The sun shone down on us as we drank Huber's Blanc de Blancs 2008.

We drifted inside....where the oven had been it would get a little cooler later.

Fresh bread and a few snacks were ready for the onslaught.

Keller Riesling Abtserde 2012
Rheinhessen, Germany

This was the first vineyard purchased by the Kellers after much investigation, but they showed super-human patience in the negotiations. Consider that they bought their parcel way back in 1996 yet were forced to wait nearly ten years for the current lease to end in 2005 before they could produce a single bottle under their label.
Lovely nose of oranges and grapefruit...a field full of flowers.
Very pure...soft explosion on the palate...complex...with honeyed tones...and a very fine opener.
Points 17.75

F.X. Pichler Riesling Unendlich 2006
Wachau, Austria

Mediem yellow with green tinges...touch of Botrytis...but this is dry.
Honey again...with wistful minerals...ripe yellow fruits...a great acidic balance...I have waited long for this and the airing gave it chance to expand and show what it is. A great Riesling. A finish of ripe grapefruit with some exotic fruits. Will hold for years.
Points 18.5

The kitchen had prepared 'Färse'...young beef before calving...and it was delicious.

I decided the Tuscan would be best for the meat.

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2008
Tuscany, Italy

Deep brooding colour...cedar...pencil...blackcurrant...liquorice...yes....all that along with black cherries. There is a touch of vanilla which made it more approachable that I expected. The 2 hours in the decanter had given it a push.
This was very good...but with the meat...even better. Finish was long with some cocoa.
Points 18

Chateau Cheval Blanc 1964
Bordeaux, France
Oh some point I was going to be a touch dissapointed this evening. Before I go on...the others enjoyed it...but it just seemed to be missing that wow factor. Like an elderly favourite singer who's voice is not what it was...but you love him the memories give him plus points
This is 46% Cabernet Franc and 54% Merlot.
The 2 hours  were enough...a decant may have kicked it off the stage.
Loads of dry tobacco...elegant...discrete...leathery....but just not the star it

should have been. As I had read lots of good reviews of recent tasting...many just this bottle.
Points 17

Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque 1999
Rhone, France

We were intoxicated...not necessarily with alcohol..but with the fine wines.
This had been well aired...but in hindsight...a big decant would have thrust it upwards and onwards.
Black olives leapt from the glass...some espresso...intense...some sweetness...tannins well integrated...mocha. Syrah is 85% and there is the dollop of Viognier...which always surprises people. Long finish and a real cracker to end the evening.
Points 18.25

The next day as we drove home...we tried to think of anything negative from the 2 days.
Still searching....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Superb Polz

Saturday evening and a quickly planned excursion to our local Bistro.
One guest is vegetarian so we had to be sure there was fish on the blackboard.

My wife also loves Dover Sole and they had it fresh. I chose the 'Zanderfilet (Pike Perch) and it was super.

I had been down into the celler earlier and 'found' I still had a bottle of the wine. Checking my notes over the past few had never been less than
very good. it was unscrewed a couple of hours before we left.

Polz Sauvignon Blanc Hochgrassnitzberg Reserve 2007
South Styria, Austria

What can I was perfect. Like a hedgehog dressed up for a glitzy ball...soft spiky minerals with velvety cream...and very silky. The nose threw up raspberries...bananas...the gooseberries showed on the palate. Polz claims his top wines can age for 10 years. At 7 years old it seems he knows what he saying. The fatness of youth has been whittled away. I remember I had advised myself to rebuy and that is why I still had this bottle. Wise decision Barry....but I doubt it is still around to repeat.

Points 18

Friday, April 17, 2015

Flowers & Friends

The photo above has nothing to do with this post...but this is to please my wife.

Meeting up with friends is always a pleasure...and wine friends more so as you all have a one-track mind. Good Wine.
Volker, Robert and myself have decided to meet once a month at our local eatery Schaab Louis and each bring a bottle along. As Volker has moved away and whites wine would have been a little warm on his arrival...I took along 2 bottles. Robert, our local wine merchant provided the first of our trio. All tasted blind and the guessing began.

Domaine Les Aurelles Aurel Blanc 2009

Coteaux du Languedoc, France

One grape I can usually guess early in Rousanne. This is 100%.
The estate uses no wood and sells it's wine after longer aging.
Yellow/gold can see the sun shining on the vineyards...
Buttery aroma...some spices...lovely weight in the mouth...smooth...
and warmed as it warmed in the glass. Nice surprise.
Points 16.5

Keller Riesling Kirchspiel 2006
Rheinhessen, Germany

I had drank a bottle of the Kirchspiel last September...vintage 2011...

and had been knocked out by it. Hans-Peter Keller is the top man inRheinhessen...and the G-Max Rieslings sells for horror prices.
I saw this on Ebay...and as nobody was around...I stole it for a fair price.
Yellow/ gold again...I love the nose...aging beautifully...peaches and grapefruit...nice minerals wrapped around the sames fruits...with some Litschi in there. The acidity is just right ( for me I find too much is TOO MUCH). Again..improved as it warmed in the glass...this was my favourite.
Points 17.5

F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Von Den Terrassen 2001
Wachau, Austria
There is always a cry of...'hopefully it is not too old for a Grüner
Veltliner'... and the answer is...a Smaragd is made to age...maybe not always

14 years as in this case...but 2001 was a very good vintage...and F. X. is one
of the masters in the Wachau.
However, being wary...I had zapped of a small glass the previous day. Coravin, I thank you!
The nose throws up some intense herbal smells. Tobacco as is usual. smells elderly (not old) and is maybe an aquired taste...but once in a while you gotta do it...the palate shows plenty of balance...although I will admit that the minerality has gone AWOL. Still with enough power to wander the planet for a few years...but we won't go there.

Points 16.5

Trio Mix

Australian white wines were always top heavy with oak..but I have heard (and seen at Wine Sapien)  that they are changing. The press also bumps them as I am into more whites than reds at the moment...this well-rated wine was seen on a list. Only one bottle...and screw no way to use the Coravin.
Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2012
Tasmania, Australia

On was bright and fresh....lean and lemony. Sulpher apples...but generally only promise. Treid agian next day...and over a 5 days period. it seemed to not want to please me and the acidity held back any creamy fruit . The finish left me wanting some...and after the hype..I was disappointed. Did I just get a poor bottle?
Points 15

As I am refraining from drinking red wine (in one week I will be indulging in something special) I decided to purchase a rosé. This must be the first in 10 years!! There was some 'iffy' stuff back in the day. South of France you took a 5 litre plastic container to the Co-Operative...and with the sun beating seemed just fine. I once took home a few bottles...but the climate and surroundings...or merely the thought that you were back home...made the enjoyment null.

Rosé de Diel 2013
Nahe, Germany

Diel wines I like...both red and white. This is a real rosé and not cheap (hey ...if you are gonna drink the stuff...don't be cheap).
Delicate trace of Pinot with a lively acidity...not over sweet..and with enough interest to enjoy a couple of glasses. I would never buy cases of an rosé...but when needs take what you are allowed.
Points 15


The final of this mixed trio is from South Africa...where...if you believe all the where the next rush of excellent wines will emerge.

Springfield Estate Methode Ancienne Chardonnay 2009
Robertson, South Africa
The technique with wild yeast and no fining/filtration is the information I got.
Only made in top years. Old vine nose...quite funky really...touch of toast. Butter and cream but in no way fat. Quite complex...and should age well.

Points 16

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Nun Vinya Del Taus

Cal Raspallet Nun Vinya Del Taus 2013
Penedes, Spain

Enric Soler is the man behind this rare white from Spain. He is a Spanish sommelier and his grandfather left him the vineyard. Don't we all wish for a grandparent like that! Planted in had been an airfield before. Now it is flying high ( that's the last joke I promise). The grape is you win all bets if you ask your friends guess.  The first vintage of a white wine was 2004 and the vines were too young but now they are rolling.
First night I had used the Corovin to try a small glass...and the potential showed. This needed 3 days later I took the rest along to a local eatery. The nose is still backward...but wild and having fallen into a bramble bush but knew the fruit was worth it. White fruit and fresh flowers. Lively persistent acidity keeps swirling the fruit around. Oak perfectly integrated and the palate throws up a creaminess that reminds me of White Burgundy. I am any Meursault look-a likes (in this case smell & taste-a-likes) are fine by me. Conncetrated and a wine maybe for advanced wine instant crowd-pleaser here. Elegant and with a long finish. Buy and air before drinking...or leave it alone for a year or two.

The 2011 had been tried a few days before...I remember more softness obviously

here you have the adventure and the excitement of youth.

Points 17.25