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



Mosel

The world's finest fruity Rieslings from steep, slate-covered hillsides
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 Torsten 12 Oct 2009

Sometimes something is in the air. A few days ago I realised that we actually never reviewed a wine made by Reinhard Löwenstein. And as it so happened a bottle of his Riesling found itself uncorked last weekend - and not only here in London, but also in Munich where fellow Wine Rambler Julian enjoyed a 2004 Heymann-Löwenstein (we did not coordinate this). Read his excellent review of a gorgeous wine, especially as it will tell you why you should keep an eye on this extraordinary winery. As Julian has already set the context, I can keep this review of the more basic 2008 Schieferterrassen Riesling rather short. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 10 Oct 2009

It's high time one of the legends of german wine made his first appearance here: Mosel winemaker Reinhard Löwenstein started using "slow" winemaking techniques like natural fermentation and prolonged skin contact when they were unheard of. He talked about terroir in the dark 1980s, when few within the German must-weight bureaucracy had heard of such a thing. A communist activist in his earlier days, and a natural-born rebel by temperament, Löwenstein has been mistrusted and reviled all along the conservative Mosel, but ridicule quickly turned into envy as his Rieslings won critical acclaim and commanded high prices from raptured customers. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 26 Sep 2009

I bought this wine when I last visited Philglas & Swiggot, one of my favourite London wine merchants. Apparently, Paulinshof is one of their long-term favourites, so I was curious to try one. Paulinshof is an old winery from the Mosel region, exclusively focussed on Riesling. So let's see what they have to offer! [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 19 Sep 2009

Would you drink wine from a winemaker who is member of a group called 'Mosel Disciples', or Mosel Jünger in German, who market their wines as 'Mosel mal jünger' (Mosel a little younger for a change), or with the label 'Riesling Reloaded'? Well, I am doing it right now. I did not, however, buy the wine because of the marketing - I bought it earlier this morning because Philglas & Swiggot, one of my favourite wine merchants in London, recommended it. Only later did I find out that there really is group of Mosel winemakers called the Mosel Jünger. And the Regnery winery is part of that group. They promise a focus on quality in order to give the Mosel area a new and better image. [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 12 Sep 2009

The experiment of drinking British supermarket wine has been a disappointment, especially in the cheaper range the Wine Rambler has ventured into so far. Now I am back to drinking supermarket wine, but this time it is a little pricier, crossing the £6 barrier. Dr. Loosen is one of Germany's leading winemakers and very successful at selling in Britain too - Sainsburys stock the more expensive Kabinett and this entry level wine. And what can I say? This is the best wine I bought from a British supermarket below £8 so far. [read the full post...]

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

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

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 17 Aug 2009

The yellow foil combined with the greenish glass of the bottle give this Pinot Blanc a warm and friendly appearance, while the simple label indicates that this wine is part of the entry level range of Molitor wines. [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 Torsten 10 Aug 2009

While writing these lines I am sitting at my computer, looking out into the garden, a nice glass of German Riesling in front of me - and a friend from Germany connected via Skype. And as it happens, she also has a Riesling in front of her. It may be hard to believe, but we did not plan it this way. But then it may not have been hard to guess for her that I would not be without a glass of wine.

What are we drinking? Benita has a 2007 Reinhold Haart Spätlese, a guarantee for delicious yumminess. While she is enjoying the more fruity option, I have the dry 2008 Riesling Kabinett from Robert Weil's Rhinegau winery - fresh, lemony acidity and peachy mineral vegetable; certainly not bone-dry. Very drinkable!

While the darkness descends over London, it is time to share some of the music that I am playing while we ramble about this and that, and life in particular.

"Merciful faith rocks this night"; here is the great great John Darnielle, aka The Mountain Goats:

[read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 21 Jul 2009

Nice yellow colour and even nicer mineral in the nose; also notes of vegetable, citrus fruit and peach. The nose is not very intense, but quite pleasant. Pleasant is also a key word for my palate reaction to this wine. Mineral, a bit of candied peach with nice, almost creamy mineral and well integrated fresh acidity. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 02 Jul 2009

This Riesling from yet another Mosel tributary, the Saar, has a very understated smell, in fact, apart from a little ripe grape and mineral hints, it has little smell at all.

The taste is all ripe fruit as well, "yellow" taste, sweet ripe grapes again, dried herbs, some honey, fairly concentrated. This is a very ripe and smooth style of Riesling, very well made I'm sure, and great for people who can't have too much acidity, but frankly, I was looking for something a bit livelier, and this seems prematurely aged somehow.

This is not a summer wine. Very likely the "boring"-ranking will seem very unfair once I've tried the second bottle of this on some chilly october day. But right now, it didn't work for me.

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 13 Jun 2009

You are British, your white wine has to be rich Chardonnay and you think German white is evil and sugary? Then go and try this dry late harvest Riesling from Clemens Busch.

A little mineral and stone fruit with herbal notes in the nose, this Riesling feels like a full-bodied candy in the mouth - but mind you, it is not very fruity, it just fills your mouth. Lots of depth; strong and present enough to go with a wide range of food, including meat. A little peach mixed with green vegetable and some notes of wood. Strong finish, showing some tannin, even a tiny sip fills your mouth.

Posted by Torsten 11 Jun 2009

This is our second wine from the supermarket wine category. After the Liebfraumilch, it only could get better. And it did. At first, I was not really impressed. Drinkable, but not too much in the nose or mouth, apart from a little lemon. With a little bit of air, this wine did improve a lot. [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...]