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Bernhard Eifel 2009 Trittenheimer Apotheke Spätlese

June 8, 2011

I came across this producer when I and my wife went for dinner at the Eifel’s weinstube unaware the owner was actually a well reputed producer. The weinstube itself was actually pretty impressive in terms of both food and ambience and I strongly recommend a visit should you happen to be in Trittenheim. The wines are all of sound quality and excellent value for money, this one is a good example.

This shows a ripe and sweet aromatic profile with  minerals, honey and green apple taking the lead. On the palate this offers Spätlese weight, comes over round and well balanced by a very ripe acidic structure.  The zesty edge I am looking for is somewhat shadowed by the wine’s concentration, nevertheless a very enjoyable drink. Rebuy: yes.

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Kuehn 2007 Gewürtztraminer Vendages Tardives

June 5, 2011

Light gold.  This displays immediate perfurmes of tropical fruit (lychee) together with minerals and delicate scents of rose petals. The wine then yields an undercurrent of soft spiciness to end with a captivating soffused smokiness. The palate is similarly characterized by juicy tropical flavours, spice and moderate sweetness with no allusion to cloying impressions. This is enjoyable and has a good QPR, however some additional depth and acidic kick would have been preferred. Rebuy: maybe.

Joh. Jos. Prüm 2009 Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett

May 31, 2011

The vineyards of Graach are part of the six kilometer long slate-mountain above the right bank stretching from Bernkastel, via Graach and Wehlen reaching Zeltingen and incorporating such world famous Riesling sites as Berncasteler Doctor and Badstube, Graacher Dompropst and Himmelreich, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr and Schloßberg. The vineyards have a total of 135 hectares and are planted nearly 100% with Riesling vines.  A great portion of the vineyards was in the hands of the church until the 18th century which explains the ecclesiastical origin of some of the site names such as Himmelreich, “Kingdom of Heaven” and Domprost, “Provost”. These two cover 87 and 28,5 hectares respectively. The exposition is facing south-west with a height of 110 to 260 meters above sea level. The soil consists of fresh weathering medium-depth slate soil, combined with a low content of clay.

Light brilliant green tinged gold in the glass. Delicately fruity with perfumes reminiscent of citrus zest, pink grapefruit, peach and white flowers. This has good aromatic intensity that is run through by an appealing mineral vein. Fresh like air and very pure, shows weight but stays light and zesty in true Kabinet style. Rebuy: yes.

Absurdity and self destruction

May 29, 2011

I’ve been waiting in the hope of a last chance but it now looks like chances are no longer there. The latest I read about this is that the new Mosel bridge or Neu Hochmoselbrücke project had its final sign off.  Hopes had arisen when in March the Green Party took power from Angela Merker’s CDU in Baden-Württemberg and obtained nearly 15% of the votes in Rhineland-Pfalz. Here, where the bridge is planned, the Green Party had to enter into a coalition with the still ruling Social Democrats (SPD) in favour of the bridge. At some point at the end of April it was looking like the Green Party where standing up (or at least pretending) to their old proposals and intentions for a stop to the project requiring a revision of the traffic forecast and cost estimation. Coalition talks have ended in the first week of the current month with the Green Party ceding to SPD’s leader Kurt Beck and resulting in the project’s final go ahead by the coalition.

Discussion of the project began in 1968 with the bridge thought out as a way to shorten connections between US military bases back then. The plans went through plenty of revisions, impact analyses and opponents’ protests in the last few decades.

This is a complete nonsense project from all points of view that is utterly appalling. I am not just saying this but I truly have a deep feeling of emptiness overwhelms me every time I come across one of the many projected pictures as the one above.  Nature has gifted this region with unimaginable, breath-taking beauty and we are now willing to destroy this magnificent landscape forever. This mad and above all unnecessary concrete monster will be 158m high (high enough to contain Rome’s St. Peter’s Chapel) and 1.7km long (Germany’s biggest bridge) cutting through the world’s best Riesling producing slatey slopes. Among the directly affected vineyards will be Ürziger Würzgarten, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and all the vineyards of Graach and Bernkastel out of which I (and maybe you) have been enjoying astonishing world class Riesling. Construction of the bridge is supposed to end in 2016(!) and cost EUR330m. This is apparently a very conservative cost estimation as rumors have it this could easily be in the region of bln of Euros. Not only the aesthetics of the ever curving world’s longest vineyard-patched river stretch will be completely ruined but the vineyards themselves and the resulting wines will be detrimentally impacted. The vines will be affected by the shadow from the bridge and the elimination of the water reservoir contained by the to-be-destroyed forest on the hilltop will drastically change the water balance. All this in addition to the 5+ year long on going disruption caused by the construction works.

This is to me one of the hardest-to-swallow example of the self-destructive attitude mankind is imposing on itself and that we have been experiencing many times before. Well, this is a time too many! Whoever has been in that part of the world cannot think in any other way. This is especially more serious as there is no objective justification. No benefit would derive from tourism (if anything this would be badly affected), no real gain in time or speed will be achieved and this world cultural heritage will be deeply humiliated by tons of concrete. What is seriously striking is also that rather than promoting and pushing for acceptance as genuine cultural heritage by UNESCO (for some mysterious reason this has not happened yet) Germany is promoting its disfigurement. The Greens, who are now one of country’s ruling parties, were looking like the biggest opposer up until a month ago. This is an extract of what I read on their website in a document dating Sep. 9th 2010: “We call on the state and the federal government to immediately stop the building of the planned B50neu and stop the enormous waste of taxpayers’ money” . Everybody is free to change their mind but I would think this was quite a fundamental topic and should have left little room for compromise. Compromise it was. As simplistic as my view can appear I believe there is not much more to it and that this all ended up in one more pure buy/sell agreement. At the end of the day, better to rule than stick to your principles! Who will remember who did what in 5 years anyway.

Albert Bichot 2007 Nuits Saint Georges

May 29, 2011

Hmm, single bottle holding…Better be nice if it wants to make it back to the cellar…

Classic ruby colour, of medium intensity. Just a touch of light garnet too. Soon after poured this comes across very masculine and dark, oak.  This initial “aggressiveness” fades away after a few minutes revealing elegant and pure sour cherry harmoniulsy blended in a piercingly fresh balsamic current. The plentiful sweet spice mix becomes nearly physical here. Wow, the palate bursts with juicy fruit, intense and sappy all the way. This achieves great balance through an impeccable acidic lift. The spiced finish is marked by appealing creaminess. Comes across as resolute and elegant. Rebuy: yes.

Kuehn Riesling 2008 Grand Cru Kaefferkopf

May 26, 2011

The latest addition to the Gran Cru spots of Alsace, Kaefferkopf of which Kuehn is one of the best examples around in my modest opinion.

This does not pass visually unnoticed with its seriously intense and shining gold.  Plenty of aromatic weight and ripeness offering. Green apple, candied citrus and a touch of tropical are encased into sappy and spice-laden honey

scents. There’s serious loads of fine spices here and the nose comes out as viscous. Serious depth here. The palate retains fleshy texture and ripe fruit kept in tight tension by a terrific acidic structure. Strikingly long finish on a bed of captivating spices. I am again impressed by the way this achieves this weight, structure and presence with such agility with a very reasonable alcohol level (12%) while managing at the same time to come across bone dry. Rebuy: yes

Paired with…

Tagliolini al tonno

Tagliolini al tonno

Boucherville’s Deutschland 2010 grossen Jahrgangspräsentation and Von Othegraven

May 22, 2011

I could not hide my overexcitment in attending the long awaited German wine degustation today at Boucherville, Switzerland’s biggest German wine distributor / retailer.  Obviously Riesling was the focus, and producers from the Mosel, Saar, Ruwer as well as the Nahe, Pflalz and Rheinhessen regions were there to present their just bottled wines. The purpose of the degustation is to personally  introduce the public to the latest vintage wines in their very early stage of youthfullness. This could be quite a challenge considering the peculiarity of the latest vintage. Year 2010 saw a variety of weather conditions resulting in a significant decrease in yields and tremendous levels (quantitatively and qualitatively) of acidity, compensated by higher fruit concentration. Read here for very interesting notes of the 2010 vintage by Ernst Loosen of Dr. Loosen. The setting is also quite remarkable as the event is held in Boucherville’s 100 year old vaulted cellars within a rather large industrial-looking goods warehouse in the center of Zürich. Among the producers were some of the most renowned such as Karthauserhof, Müller-Catoir (only two wines), Pfeffingen, Theo-Minges, Bassermann-Jordan.

An extra factor of attraction for the public (excluding myslelf being unaware of the celebrity in question) was the presence of Günther Jauch, the TV presentator of the German version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. The celebrity was there as the 7th generation owner of the newly acquired cultural-heritage wine estate Von Othegraven together with wife and wine director Andreas Barth, successfully in charge for the past 5 years. The estate, founded in 1805, is located on the lower bank of the Saar river opposite the village of Kanzem in an idyllic setting with 100% Riesling cultivated vineyard holdings. These include Kanzem Altenberg, Wiltingen Kupp, Ockfen Bockstein with some reaching inclinations of over 65 degrees. Every single wine I tasted did impress me in a way, particularly striking was their superb texture and mouthfeel. These were all 2009 bottlings as with the exception of the Kabinett Bockstein the 2010 are yet to be bottled.

The basic 2009 Max Riesling trocken showed plenty of character with lots of fresh peach and a slight tropical accent, offering great mouthfeel, density and purity of flavour.

The Riesling Kupp trocken Erste Lage 2009 from the Ayler Kupp vineyard (above) was on similar lines but with even more weight and depth and a an extra-dimension on the palate.

The Riesling Bockstein Grosses Gewächs trocken 2009 is from grey slate south / south-east facing slopes offered great finesse and typical fruit flavour.

The Altemberg Grosses Gewächs trocken 2009 comes from south / south-west steep iron-rich red slate vineyards. This displayed terrific depth, fullness and a serioulsy long long finish.

The 2009 Riesling Kabinett Bockstein Erste Lage 2009 (RS 40gr , A 8gr) came across delicate, round and mouthwatering. Super.  Similar story for the Spätlese Bockstein Erste Lage (RS 80gr) which offered luscious silky texture, delicate and generous on the palate, light, intense and loaded with spicy flavour and shiningly elegant acidity. Finally, the Auslese Bockstein Erste Lage (from 20% Botrytised grapes), offered super concentration yet never a hint of heaviness, rather very elegant, agile and playful with a superb acidic structure and captivating spiciness.

Looking forward to enjoy the bottles I ordered!