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....

No comments: