TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



8%

A list of all wines reviewed on the Wine Rambler with 8% alcohol by volume.
Posted by Torsten 09 May 2012

Following Julian's recent debacle with a Württemberg Riesling I felt our shocked and terrified readership is in need of comfort and reassurance. Will the Wine Rambler now drink Liebfraumilch only? Has German Riesling failed? Will Modern Talking re-unite? The world may indeed be doomed, I won't dare speculate what Dieter Bohlen might do, but I can assure you that German Riesling has not gone bad.

And to give us some comfort after the shocking events of last episode, here is a classic: Riesling Auslese from the Mosel.

Posted by Torsten 08 Feb 2012

When touring the Mosel in 2008, we visited, amongst other places, a village called Leiwen. It was chosen for very practical reasons, as the wide and comfortable cycle paths along the river lead right past it, but more importantly for bacchanal reasons as it is the home of the St. Urbans-Hof winery. Small by New World standards, the 33ha vineyard area owned by the Weis family actually make the estate one of giants of the Mosel/Saar region and they include sections of several prestigious vineyards.

One of them is the Bockstein, near the village of Ockfen at the Saar river. There was no time to visit Ockfen in 2008, and until that can be remedied I will have to make due with enjoying the odd bottle of Ockfener Bockstein Riesling.

Posted by Torsten 12 Sep 2011

This is a story of failure. Not a failure of the wine in question, quite the opposite of it. The wine was great. Instead it was me who failed the wine, in a way at least. Having said that, perhaps someone else is to be blamed for this ramble being a little different. As it happens, I have a photo of the culprit, and they look like this:

the real culpritthe real culprit

What has a pure, innocent grasshopper to do with an aged late harvest Riesling? Well, it is all about focus and light.

Posted by Torsten 16 Aug 2011

I concluded my recent exploration of the ageing potential of cheap German plonk with a reference to what is a, well, reference point for white wine that often has to age before being at its most enjoyable: a Mosel Auslese. Ideally, these Rieslings have two key ingredients for ageing well - sugar and acidity. A good Auslese can easily improve for a decade and will often last much longer than that.

This means that the 2007 Auslese from Mosel producer St. Urbans-Hof could still be considered a youngling. On the other hand the wine has been living in my wardrobe since I bought it at the winery in 2008 (for €24), hardly the best place to age slowly, and who says you cannot enjoy an Auslese when it is still young?

Posted by Julian 24 Jul 2011

I'm always honoured when people who have stumbled onto this blog contact us for expertise on German wine, even while I find myself guiltily hoping that we are not the only source that they rely on, given the patchiness and dabbling character of this our whole undertaking. But here is a piece of advice that I guarantee you will not regret following: When looking for mature-ish Mosel Riesling in great drinking condition, look no further than the 2002 vintage, underrated in many quarters, but in my humble experience as safe a bet for lively, nuanced wines as you are going to find.

Martin Müllen's 2002 Kabinett from the aptly named Paradies ("paradise") vineyard is a case in point. Over and beyond being a minor classic of the neo-traditional style of Mosel winemaking (whatever the hell that is supposed to be), it also has a long and distinguished history in this Wine Rambler's cellar, being one of the very first wines ordered directly from the producer. And I'm happy to report it has never before tasted this good:

Posted by Torsten 28 May 2011

Even Wine Ramblers do have a birthday. Just recently, it was the birthday of THE Wine Rambler and also of my co-Rambler Julian. My birthday is already a few months past, but there is still something to report on: When I met our Munich branch as part of my birthday celebrations, I found myself presented with a special gift.

Co-Rambler Julian likes to hunt for aged wines on eBay (great if you are in Germany, imppossile in the UK because of legal restrictions), and for my birthday he managed to find a bottle of a suitably aged Riesling from a Mosel winery that has my personal seal of approval.

Posted by Torsten 23 Jan 2011

A good Riesling wine of Auslese quality will usually need a few years before it really shows its potential and some of the outstanding ones may need a decade or more to get there, depending on whether you like them fruitier or a little more sophisticated. The other day, the time for Theo Haart's 2001 Auslese had come, and as it was my last bottle we will never know whether it would have been even more delightful had I waited five years more.

"Haart since 1337""Haart since 1337"

Posted by Torsten 29 Dec 2010

Seeing how good their reputation is, it was high time for us to review a wine made at the Willi Schaefer winery. The Schaefer estate is run by Willi and Christoph Schaefer, father and son, who on a few hectares of steep Mosel land exclusively grow Riesling. They feature a label design that just screams traditional Germanic Mosel style, bordering on cute cliché. I like it, of course. The family also seem to be traditional in other ways as they still don't have a website. Or they hide it. There is nothing that needs hiding about this wine though. Not only highly enjoyable on its own it also paired very well with Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow on a cold autumn night.

It was a cold and windy night. Suffering from a somewhat congested nose, I still desired a glass of wine to keep me company while I watched Christopher Walken decapitate fat blokes in the woods. Just a little light-hearted fun, what could be better than a Mosel Kabinett?

Posted by Torsten 05 Oct 2010

New York City is hipster territory - or at least that is the message it is trying very hard to project during my current visit. Interestingly, most things German do seem to be considered hip, especially German beer culture. The Lower East Side for instance welcomed me with German brass music, schnitzel and beer served by busty wenches dressed in pseudo Bavarian outfits. German Riesling, it turns out, is also very popular among the cool wine kids here, so it was quite fitting I brought one over to share with my host: a late harvest Riesling made by one of my favourite producers at the Mosel, Theo Haart. Usually, I would have opted for a Haart Riesling from one of the famous vineyards such as Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, but a few years ago I came across this late harvest from several vineyards around Piesport, which to me seemed almost more interesting than some of the wines from the top sites. Did it hold up as well as Haart's premier wines though, I wondered, or were we in for a disappointment?

Posted by Julian 11 Aug 2010

It may not be a polite subject, but there's no dancing around the issue: Deep-dyed mosel Rieslings from slate soils can give off a bit of an odour. You expect a bit of a mosel funk, you appreciate a bit of a mosel funk, yet in my humble mosel experience so far, here's the undisputed sultan of stink: Andreas Adams's Kabinett gives you your petrol spill, your car dealership, but throw in used motor oil, a sulphur spring and some rotten eggs, and you're getting closer. Very distinctive, if you like this kind of thing. And I certainly do. Beneath the stink, or maybe it's better to stay borne on the stink, are ripe apricots, deep stony minerality and a whiff of caramel. The fruit is really subdued at this stage of early maturity, the acidity is not much of a presence either, and it's really the hard-core slate minerality that is the blood and bones of this ultra-trad Kabinett.

Posted by Julian 06 Jun 2010

Karthäuserhofberg. Nothing demonstrates the place vineyards occupy in german wine culture like wineries that are synonymous with the vineyards that surround them. This must put some pressure on the staff, must it not? If you work at a place called Karthäuserhof and produce wine from a site that has been called Karthäuserhofberg from time out of mind, you better not screw it up. Not to worry. They never do.

Posted by Torsten 01 Jun 2010

Recently, I found myself drinking with friends who were discussing which type of vegetable they would like to be. When I asked them how they would rate me, Charlotte suggested I could be a squash. Unfortunately I never really found out why she classified me in this way, partly because she went on to say she would quite like to be a courgette. Today's wine, luckily, is not like a vegetable. Instead it is very easy to describe in terms of fruit: take the most deliciously juicy peach you can imagine, add passion fruit, and caramelise it with lots of sugar and some gold, sprinkle finely with herbs and serve in a stony cup with a dash of menthol, spice and lemon juice. As you can see this description really does not work in relation to vegetables, but I can tell you that if this wine were a human being it would have to be the young Liv Tyler - just in blond.

Posted by Torsten 28 Mar 2010

If you ask me to name a winemaker who has really impressed me with consistently, year for year letting the quality (let's avoid the word terroir here, shall we) of an outstanding vineyard shine, well, then I would probably name Theo Haart. Sure, there are others, but I have now tasted his late harvest Rieslings from the famous Piesporter Goldtröpfchen for the vintages 1999 and 2001-2008 (the 05 though is still sitting here, waiting for its day), and not only are they all first class wines, they are also very distinct and consistent in style. The '08 is no exception and, boring as it may sound when I write about Haart late harvest Riesling, just a lovely wine.

Posted by Torsten 25 Aug 2009

If you like aged Riesling, if you want a perfectly balanced, well rounded wine, if you crave the sensation of a wine that makes your palate feel smooth and peachy - go for this gem from the Mosel. Followers of the Wine Rambler will have noticed that we do tend to like the fruity Rieslings Theo Haart makes and this one is no exception. It is, in fact, the oldest Haart we have tasted for the Rambler and it demonstrates the potential of these wines. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 17 Aug 2009

Is there anything better than a nicely aged, excellent Riesling? I am not sure, but drinking this late harvest from winemaker Haart makes me think there may not be many things that would be better.

The colour is just beautiful, shiny gold with a hint of green. The nose is sophisticated, juicy peach with light herbal notes, cool, buttery mineral and the slightest hint of petrol. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 02 Jul 2009

Not many things in life beat a late harvest Riesling from the Mosel - sweet, yes, but usually well balanced with acidity and mineral that combine to a perfect sensation that is way too elegant and vibrant to be simply considered a sweet dessert wine. On top of that many of these wines are low on alcohol too. One of my favourite producers of sweet Riesling is Reinhold Haart, a small family owned estate overlooking the Mosel river in the old winemaking village of Piesport. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 26 Jun 2009

Mosel Tributary with 5 letters? RUWER

Rieslings from the Ruwer are known for their strong acidity and their slim elegance. From the Schlosskellerei (more commonly known as Maximin Grünhaus), one of the three top estates from there, comes this delightful cabinet: [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 22 May 2009

If you ever wanted to know what a toad puddle (=Krötenpfuhl) tastes like, here comes one. Well, it is not as muddy as you may now think, but Krötenpfuhl is the name of the vineyard on which the grapes for this late harvest Riesling were grown my one of the grand wizards of German Riesling.

Starting with a taste that was a little bitter, this greatly named wine soon developed into something really yummy. Delicate colour; a somewhat delicate nose that combines mineral with a little bit of lemon and apple. Certainly not an immediate in-your-face fruit explosion, but still with the promise of several layers of taste. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 10 Aug 2008

Looks quite fizzy, lots of small bubbles, greenish colour. Fresh in the nose. Everything about this wine is very fruity at first, almost like an exotic fruit explosion. Also, it seemed to me somewhat unbalanced at first, going through various stages in a short time, sometimes emphasizing fresh lemony acidity, a little mineral, then suddenly grapefruit.

However, after two hours or so, everything settles down, the mineral gets stronger, the rest of the flavours order themselves around it and a nice and orderly German fashion.

Still very young, but quite nice after two+ hours with air. Especially for the price!