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



Pinot Noir

This grape is known as Spätburgunder (=late Burgundy) in Germany. If Riesling is the quintessential German white grape, Spätburgunder can be considered the top red. The traditional style of German Spätburgunder is lighter in colour, body and tannic acidity than its counterparts from warmer climates.
Posted by Torsten 14 Nov 2009

Wine tastings are like battlefields, it is everyone for themselves - or so I have heard people say. Actually, at least the recent VdP tasting in Munich was more like playing a part in the submarine movie Das Boot. Periscope out, zoom in on the next lovely wine and then you give the order: 'Both planes zero. Stand by battle stations.' 'Bottle one through four are ready.', the reply is almost instantaneous. However, before you can strike your helpless target, sonar picks up that sound again: Swoosh slurp swoosh schrub slurp. A split second of panic, then you go: 'Close bow caps! Dive!' Luckily, the enemy passes above you and disappears again. 'Is it getting louder?' 'It seems constant. Ahead of us.' The awaits your next move. As the Old Man said in Das Boot: 'Now it gets psychological, friends.'

That it was, but also great fun with some amazing wines, this year's VdP wine tasting in Munich. VdP stands for 'Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter', or Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates, a group of highly decorated German estates, 'the world’s oldest association of top-quality wine estates'. Every year in November some VdP members hold a wine tasting in Munich. And the Wine Rambler attends, hungry for prey.

Posted by Torsten 29 Sep 2009

Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach - this Pinot Noir was made by a state owned winery in the German state of Hessen. The Staatsweingüter (state wineries) are among the largest wineries in Germany, growing wine on about 200 ha. The Domaine Assmannshausen, one of three domaines that are part of this estate, focus exclusively on red wine, something quite unique in Germany. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 31 Aug 2009

Every so often I leave German Pinot Noir behind and venture into the New World. This time it is Californian Pinot - and a very pleasant one. It is made by the guys from the Calera Wine Company, a Californian winery founded by Josh Jensen in the 1970s. K&U, where I bought this wine, are giving Josh a lot of praise for his 'slow', handmade and sustainable style of winemaking (actually, they do praise almost all their winemakers in that way). The grapes for this Pinot were indeed harvested by hand and fermented with native yeast. So let's have a look! [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 17 Aug 2009

Last Friday, the London branch of the Wine Rambler assembled a crack team of wine lovers and socialites from half a dozen countries for a particular mission: take down eight bottles of wine. The team members were selected following the ancient wisdom of Brigadier General Gavin from A Bridge too far: I need a man with very special qualities to lead. He's got to be tough enough to do it and he's got to be experienced enough to do it. Plus one more thing. He's got to be dumb enough to do it... Start getting ready. Gavin knew what he was speaking of, after all he knew the enemy from first hand combat experience; and the enemy was/is German:

Posted by Torsten 17 Aug 2009

This wine is an impostor! While it is a rosé made of Pinot Noir grapes, it is so pale in colour and so light and fresh on the tongue that you could almost confuse it with a white wine. Expect an easy to drink and very enjoyable rosé with fresh acid (apple and citrus fruit) that has just a hint of vegetable and roughness to it. Very enjoyable.

Posted by Torsten 17 Aug 2009

When we poured this wine, we were a little surprised - the colour is a fairly dark red that seemed unusually intense for a (German) Pinot. The nose, however, is quite typical for this grape and combines cherries and berries with creamy-smoky bread and a hint of pepper.

In the mouth, cherries again and woodland berries, bread, some pepper, a hint of morbid vegetable and surprisingly creamy tannins. Just a really well balanced and drinkable Pinot Noir!

Posted by Julian 19 Jul 2009

I'll just quickly finish the report on Fritz Keller's and Aldi's project begun here with the rosé, third of the bunch:

Fritz Keller RoséFritz Keller Rosé

Posted by Julian 19 Jul 2009

Is this the first rosé review on this blog? I'm nervous...

Very pretty salmon-copper-colour. Much lighter than the really pink stuff, but far from the dull brownish-orange that you get in many german rosés. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 21 Jun 2009

Nicely transparent cherry red colour (good. No tampering and pampering by adding juice from more colour-intensive grape varieties here)
This wine smells seriously good - a real pinot nose of raspberries, sour cherries, and a hint of manure (which is also good - embrace it). [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 21 Jun 2009

From Baden's interesting, but little known sub-region of Markgräflerland,an area between Freiburg and Basel, named after the ancestral territory of the margraves of Baden, comes another unexpectedly serious, yet fairly priced Pinot Noir:

Surprisingly dark and dense cherry red.
Concentrated smell of earthy cherries, a few plums and leafy forest floor. Very very promising. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 01 Jun 2009

It has been quite a while since I tasted the sibling of this wine, the Graacher Himmelreich Spätburgunder of the same vintage; so sadly, I cannot really compare them against each other. What I can say though is that both are excellent Pinot Noirs.

The Trabacher Schloßberg ('Schloßberg' means 'castle mountain') comes in the massive bellied bottle Molitor use for their burgundy style wines. The Pinot has great colour, a very nice, intense earthy brown. The nose is gentle, very autumnal, but also fleshy; it showcases black truffle, rotten leaves, a hint of tobacco and black cherries, with a pleasant bit of vanilla and cocoa. [read the full post...]

Posted by Sabine 29 May 2009

Wine and pregnancy don't go together too well. Which leaves grape juice. We have that at home from time to time anyway since our son (4) is partial to it. Today's juice, though, had little to do with the grape juice you normally get:

Weingut im Zwölberich, Spätburgunder Traubensaft 2008Weingut im Zwölberich, Spätburgunder Traubensaft 2008

Posted by Julian 11 Apr 2009

Surprisingly dark colour for a Pinot. Smells very ripe, black cherries, some marzipan and some smoked bacon. In the mouth well integrated, but still a tad too dominant oak, very dense and powerful, nutty, no signs of age.

Undeniably classy and powerful, this Pinot ranges between the "german" (oak, warmly nutty) and the "french" (tight acidity and tannin, cherries) style. Impressive and very yummy wine from Baden's Kaiserstuhl, but I would have liked it with a bit less oak.

Posted by Julian 28 Aug 2008

Cherry red, with an orange-brown rim.
Phantastic smell, finest red berries, sour cherries, dry autumn leaves, a nice sour touch.
A bit morbid and smoky in the mouth, like eating berries by a wood fire, enormous minerality.
A melancholy, touching wine with secrets, like a trail into the woods ("down from the door where it began..."). Loved every drop of it.