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



great

Wines that we really liked - they might not be in the absolute top, but you will not go wrong with any of them.
Posted by Julian 19 Dec 2009

When you see one of the Knipser brothers behind a table at a tasting, good-naturedly chatting with his customers while stoically pouring glasses for the thickening throng, there is nothing to suggest he might be anything more than another ruddy-cheeked wine grower from the Pfalz. And yet, the Knipser estate is arguably germany's most accomplished winery, in that they overachieve so consistently in every category and style - white and red, heavy and light, sweet and dry.

This one is light and dry, and, surprise surprise, perfectly made: Wonderful fresh acidity, clean, fragrant, slightly exotic Riesling fruit (think grapefruit and passion fruit), lean structure, light on the alcohol. Not deeply mineral or complex, but so flawlessly made it's a joy to drink.

Posted by Torsten 15 Dec 2009

Imagine the Winesleuth comes to visit. Well, a good week ago fellow London-based wine blogger Denise did actually come over for dinner. And as Winesleuths and -ramblers cannot be without wine for too long, we had to taste two German Rieslings. One was the a deliciously sweet Riesling, the 2007 Goldtröpfchen Spätlese from the Haart winery, which was reviewed here before. The first was a Riesling too, but a dry one the Löwenstein winery. Here is what Denise had to say about it (so I guess this is our first guest-blog, in a way): [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 03 Dec 2009

Wittmann needs no introduction, neither in the german wine scene nor on this site. They are well known as one of the leading lights from Rheinhessen, although it's always worth pointing out that they went seriously organic long before that became fashionable. The Westhofener is their mid-range dry Riesling, somewhere in between the single vineyard Große Gewächse and the simpler varietal QbA.

And you couldn't wish for better if, say, a friend had just fried a piece of tuna in a sesame crust for you:

Deep peachy Riesling fruit, razorlike yet ripe acidity, minerality, a great mixture of fruity power and mineral tension.

Another winner from an estate that seems incapable of making mediocre wine.

Posted by Torsten 22 Nov 2009

When you have a Bordeaux style French red in your glass and it is actually German, it could very well be Thomas Seeger's Cuvée Anna. I opened a bottle Friday night for a group of friends without telling them what it was and the guesses ranged from Argentinian Cabernet to Syrah or French Malbec. In fact, Cuvée Anna is a blend of Pinot Noir, Schwarzriesling and Lemberger. Lemberger is a grape variety also know as Blaufränkisch (especially in Austria), and is know to create wines with sometimes spicy dark berry flavour, some tannins and good acidity - 'Anna' has all of the above. Schwarzriesling, literally Darkriesling, is also known as Pinot Meunier and is interestingly used in the production of Champagne (although Pinot Noir is much better known in this respect). [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 17 Nov 2009

What to write about a wine that's so annoyingly perfect that it has the peachy fruit, has the stones, has the sweetness, has the acid, has those first camomile and petrol hints of age, has the balance and has all the elegance that sweet Riesling can bring.

Not much to say about a wine which will let any of the Wine Rambler's snobbish bonmots and bad puns roll of it anyway.

I'll make this confession, then: Us having enjoyed this with a dear friend who not only makes a fiendishly good mousse au chocolat, but also likes good Spätlesen, amid general contentment, I couldn't help this thought creeping its way into my sluggish brain: This wine is too nice. Yeah, it's boring. There, I've said it.

Posted by Torsten 18 Oct 2009

Here in the UK, most people would probably associate the Shiraz grape with Australia. Germans and Austrians, however, like to call it Syrah, and if they were into wine they might know that Austria produces a few nice ones too - and this Syrah is one of them.

The colour is a shiny ruby-red that almost borders on dark chocolate or very reduced balsamic vinegar. I am quite definitive about the latter as I served the wine with slow roast lamb, potato mash and balsamic glazed baby carrots. But back to Count Hardegg's Syrah. Both nose and mouth brought some nice ground pepper thunder to the table - and lots of dark berries, embedded in an almost chocolaty smooth structure and garnished with roast bread and some notes of vanilla and roast oak. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 18 Oct 2009

The very discreet notes of tobacco in the nose of this wine went almost unnoticed when I opened the bottle yesterday to go with a raspberry desert - but that was simply because of the quite intense raspberry smell dominating the table. Despite the fruity dessert we could easily pick up apple, peach and herbs, embedded in a fresh, mineral creaminess. A very pleasant nose coming from this 'feinherb' (=off-dry with perhaps a bit more acidity) Mosel Riesling - and a very good reflection of the sensation awaiting your taste buds. The apple is perhaps a bit more dominant on the tongue than the nose; the Riesling manages to be both smooth and a little rough (in terms of acidity think more vegetable/apple than citrus fruit) with firm minerality, good structure and a nice finish.

Posted by Julian 15 Oct 2009

Brick red colour, going brown on the edges.
Surprisingly wild smell, a little animal even, leather, some tar, some cocoa.
Slender-bodied in the mouth, very fresh acidity, aged cherry and plum flavours, surprisingly rough-grained, rustic tannin that has retained its sharp edge. Nice aftertaste of prunes and coffee that lingers for quite a while. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 07 Oct 2009

Just one glass. This was my excuse to try this Silvaner. Why just one glass? Well, I have been down with the flu since Thursday night (six days, I know), but earlier tonight I felt well enough to think about having a small (!) treat.

Why a Silvaner, you may ask? First of all it is the year of the Silvaner grape in Germany. Secondly, I was planning to have sage risotto with caramelised apples and roast walnuts, and I wanted to have a light apple-y yet robust wine to go with it. And thirdly, I just had a discussion with Kathryn from Artisan & Vine about natural wines from Germany - and this surely is one. Wittmann is one of the leading German estates and for quite a while now they have been focussing on organic wine. And this Silvaner here, well, it is quite something, for a 'simple' wine.

Posted by Julian 01 Oct 2009

The wine rambler could not agree more to the statement from the excellent german WeinPlus online wine guide "Year after year, Bercher impresses us with their completely unpretentious, yet deep and expressive wines".

This mid-range single vineyard Pinot Blanc justifies the praise with effortless precision wine making: Dense straw colour, a nose of caramel, buttered biscuits and melon juice spilled over hot stones. Dense, polished fruit in the mouth, mineral background, good acidity, and above all, a freshness and drinkeability that is not a matter of course, the Kaiserstuhl almost having turned into a hot-climate wine region in recent years. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 27 Sep 2009

Germany has cast its vote in the general election and looking at the result I felt the need to drink some wine. I leave it to you whether you want to see it as a comment that I am not drinking German wine tonight - I am off to Spain. This may be a bit unfair, but so far Spanish red seems to me to be the most exciting Mediterranean red wine (leaving out most of France as not Mediterranean) - send those flame emails and, even better, recommendations for Italian, Greek and southern French wines that will blow my socks off. At the moment, however, I enjoy this Navarre blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 18 Sep 2009

Three bottles. I managed to get my greedy hands on three bottles of this wine last year - regular readers of the Wine Rambler will know that I am a big fan of the lovely wines Theo Haart creates at the Haart family estate overlooking the Mosel river. Most of the wines are sweet, but every year there are a few bottles of dry wines. 'Großes Gewächs' is German for 'great growth' and indicates that you are drinking a dry wine from a top vineyard as certified by the German Association of Premier Winemakers (VdP). Basically, think of it as a dry Spätlese (late harvest) or Auslese. So three bottles. One went down the drain last weekend because it was corked - it tasted of burnt smoke and vinegar. This means I am now down to two. [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

I would like to recommend this wine to all Anglo-Saxon wine lovers who enjoy the uniqueness of German wine labelling and, especially, naming. You might know that trocken means 'dry' and that Kabinett indicates that this wine is to be ranked among the quality wines. However, this is just the boring part of the classification system. Much more interesting is the name of the wine - artist's hell. How do the serious Germans come to such an usual name? [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 17 Aug 2009

This is one of several wines we bought during our 2008 Mosel tour. Clemens Busch was the last winery we visited on a busy day of tasting wine and despite a certain exhaustion we were very impressed with the dry Rieslings, a style many people might not expect from the Mosel. So how does the wine taste when taken out of the winery's tasting room? [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 04 Aug 2009

Zehnthof Luckert has put out a masterly collection of wines in 2008. After the explosively fruity dry Muskateller, the earthy and rich Müller-Thurgau, this old vine-Silvaner brings some more thunder (and these are all from the affordable section...).

Nice deep straw colour, almost a golden tinge. Smells of ripe pears, peaches, ginger. More peachy and Riesling-like on the second day.
In the mouth, ripe apples and peaches, textbook earthy minerality, quite creamy and rich, but with good acidity, vibrant, that great ginger spiciness again, and - is that curry? Not over-typical for Silvaner, as it could easily pass for a unusually creamy and spicy Riesling, but that doesn't take anything away. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 22 Jul 2009

No one in their right mind would open a 14.5 % wine on a hot summer evening, I know, but we had a chicken in a wonderful creamy tarragon sauce to take care of, we needed a heavy hitter, so I took a desperate gamble. It was a crazy plan, but it might just have worked...

In the nose, classic pinot blanc: honeydew melon, salted almonds, biscuit, a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, think - and I've had time to think, tasting this on the second day - think melon again, artichokes, aloe skin cream. Now coat this mixture in white chocolate with salted pistachio pieces, and you have it - it's a meal, really. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 19 Jul 2009

K & U have been having quite a winning streak in my cellar for the last couple of months, so I had high hopes for this argentinian malbec, a variety I felt pressured into trying by all the buzz about it - on this blog and elsewhere.

And a wonderful bottle it is: [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 11 Jul 2009

K&U is frothing at the mouth about this Mont Ventoux red made by a Norwegian from California - it's all very special, you understand...

At first, this tasted devastatingly like a cheap Cotes du Rhone - alcoholic, sweet, and fizzy. But oh, the wondrous change that comes over this wine, as it becomes drinkable after 10 minutes open, quite tasty after 30, and an iconic Southern Rhone wine after an hour: Thick raspberry jam, dried herbs, salty smoked bacon, and a mouthfeel that was pure and smooth, but at the same time viscous and fat. The high alcohol became unnoticeable, but hadn't gone away, as I found out this morning.

Still, a killer wine for those who like reds to chew on.

Posted by Julian 05 Jul 2009

From the Loire valley comes this nicely named Cabernet Franc ("Day of thirst").
Nice colour for a start: dense, purple-tinged red. Nice smell, too: Sour cherries, some cassis. Bone dry, fresh, pure fruit in the mouth, reminds me of a lighter Bordeaux, but with none of the unpleasant greenness you can get there. This is fresh and nicely rustic, but ripe and with harmonic tannin. Two things I particularly like about this wine: No oak at all, and a kind of vegetable earthiness, like tasting a spade you've used to dig up vegetables.

Original, yet very easy to drink, this is a rare thing: a terroir summer wine. To me, this says "grilled vegetables" all over. Nicely chilled, I would even give it a go with grilled fish.