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



Pfalz

Juicy, powerful Rieslings and more - often more climate and winemaker wines than vineyard and soil wines
Posted by Torsten 20 Feb 2010

If you have read the Wine Rambler recently, you will have been introduced to the Knipser family as specialists for red wine - from Syrah to the Cuvée X, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon / Franc and Merlot, the Knipser winery in Rhineland-Palatinate does it all. Among the many other grape varieties grown is Riesling, and today I have the distinct pleasure to write about a late harvest Riesling that is not only a great example of a dry, focussed white wine, but is also, I like to think, seriously good value.

Posted by Torsten 17 Feb 2010

Recently we reported on a somewhat unusual German wine, a Syrah from the Pfalz. As this wine got a lot of interest, I decided it was time to open a bottle of another, unusual, red wine from the same producer. After having sampled the 2003 Syrah it was time to try the flagship wine of the Knipser winery, the Cuvée X, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot - all grow in Germany, just a few miles left of the Rhine.

Posted by Julian 13 Feb 2010

When german Riesling is praised for its "finest perfume of fruit supported by a lightweight frame", it would seem that its ever-delicate balance must be so fragile that it would never survive contact with heavy, savoury food. Not so. To realise what Riesling can do with Sauerkraut, black pudding and liver sausage, you need to have tasted this classic german pairing* (do not, I repeat do not, take the Wine Rambler's word for anything).
For this, you need a Riesling that is dry rather than fruity, steely rather than floral, firm rather than ethereal. You need, in short, a dry Kabinett from the Pfalz. You also need good Sauerkraut and freshly made (raw, that is) sausages, of course. In what may simply be a local tradition or may have deeper and more sinister reasons of carnivore logistics, Munich butchers offer these every Friday.

Posted by Julian 10 Feb 2010

We have enjoyed his wines. We adore his website. We follow his tweets. And we are now proud to present palatine wine grower, hat fashion model and Silvaner advocate Lukas Krauß as a very special Wine Rambler guest blogger. Without further ado, enjoy what he has to say on a grape close to his, and our, heart. Enjoy, and learn.

Posted by Torsten 10 Feb 2010


... even more good things arrive!

Posted by Torsten 03 Feb 2010

The more Pinot Blanc I drink, the more I appreciate this grape variety. While you will find Pinot Blanc in France and, known as Pinot Bianco, in Italy, Germany is the country that grows more of it than any other: Weißburgunder, as it is known here. The Weißburgunder I am reporting about today was grown in the Pfalz, near the village of Gimmeldingen where the Christmann winery is based. The estate has been owned by the Christmann family for seven generations. It is headed by Steffen Christmann, who also happens to be head of the 'Prädikat Wine Estates', Germany's club of premier estates. In 2004, Christmann changed to organic production and recently even to biodynamic methods. I could not say whether this is the reason for a consistently high quality, but Christmann is certainly doing something right. Now let's have a look at this Pinot Blanc, shall we?

Posted by Torsten 25 Jan 2010

So we were drinking this German Syrah one night and - Wait, a German Syrah, you say? Yes, that is true - a Syrah from Germany, and a bloody marvellous one too.

Posted by Torsten 24 Jan 2010

If you have ever come across the German village of Laumersheim, chances are it was because of a wine. Laumersheim is home to the Kinpser winery, a family owned estate that makes some of the best red wines you can get in Germany (and marvellous white wines too). And it is home to the Kuhn winery that is getting more and more attention, especially after Philipp Kuhn in 1992 - at the tender age of 20 - got involved in the family owned estate. You may be surprised to hear that the winery is not only producing some red wine, in fact about 50% of the wines made there are red. The delivery that brought this Riesling to London also included a Merlot! The story of red wine made by the Kuhns in the Palatinate will have to be told another night as tonight we are drinking the entry level Riesling from the Kuhn winery (entry level, by the way, does not mean mass-produced: harvests are limited to below 75 hl per hectare).

Posted by Julian 09 Jan 2010

Nine days into the new year and we're already sticking our noses into the sparkling wine again. Is that hedonistic cheek on our part or a commendable discipline in making good our new year's resolution number 2? Actually, it's neither, since this is a postscript to our new year's eve.

Lively, but not over-strong bubbles, a smell of ripe apples and quince. Bone dry and almost austere at first taste, but at the same time fairly creamy and intense, with the tiniest hint of oak maybe, and in the end, it's mature quince and apple fruit again, maybe also a hint of tangerine, with very fresh acidity all the way through.

Posted by Julian 29 Dec 2009

Winter evenings, we are constantly reminded, are the time to open the big reds, bring out the big guns, release the heavy hitters. That may be so, but light, elegant reds that do not clobber the food or the taster are always in season.

From Blauer Portugieser (a red grape once common across Germany, Austria and eastern Europe but now declining), and Schwarzriesling (nothing to do with Riesling, but Pinot Meunier, of blanc-de-noirs champagne fame), Lukas Krauß makes this wonderfully bright cherry-coloured wine, named in honour of his grandfather.

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 Julian 06 Dec 2009

Lukas Krauß, 21 years old, is a winemaker, no that's wrong, he is, proudly, a wine grower („Weinbauer“) from the Pfalz. And not the most prestigious part of the Pfalz, either. He is not listed in many wine guides nor will you have heard his name dropped in the wine blogosphere. But if you, like the wine rambler, are sometimes tired of the visual soft pornography and the worn out old clichés that are wine marketing, and want something that is personal, honest, stylish and funny, here is a name for you to remember, and here also is a site for you to look at:

http://www.lukaskrauss.de

We liked him instantly, and you will soon hear more from Lukas on the wine rambler, something that we look forward to very much. [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 22 Nov 2009

Yellow colour with a shiny golden sparkle - very promising. The nose even better: cool mineral, herbs, lemon and peach - very pleasant peach indeed, but not overwhelming, and some apple, which adds just the right amount of bitter. The peach continues right onto your tongue, giving the Riesling an elegant juiciness, while the apple and especially mineral dominate the first half of the long finish. A wine with good structure, elegance but also a certain assertiveness, Georg Mosbacher's dry late harvest Riesling convinces from start to finish - even two days after I opened the bottle it stays sharp and clear. What can I say, a really good wine!

Posted by Torsten 05 Nov 2009

A nose of mineral, citrusy acidity and tobacco welcome you when you pour this Riesling from the Palatinate into a glass. Add some herbs and peach and you get a really pleasant nose that is fresh, crisp and light at the same time. The Riesling is quite similar on your tongue too, light and fresh with notable acidity and some slightly bitter vegetable elements that are a nice balance to the juiciness and, yes!, the tobacco. This organic wine seems quite light at first, but can also show some teeth. Enjoyable and fresh, with quite interesting tobacco notes, the Christmann wine is a pleasant companion, but also not quite a revelation - with a little more substance it could have been though. A decent showing for the price.

Posted by Torsten 31 Aug 2009

After having tasted some of the best Germany has to offer this month, the Wine Rambler now jumps right back into the range of the cheapest German supermarket wine available in the UK. Today it is the dreaded Liebfraumilch wine again, this time 'selected by ASDA', the UK arm of retail giant Walmart. As all good and ethical shoppers know, ASDA is evil. However, we do still seem to go there because the temptation of the Cheap is strong. In a way, this wine is very similar: like evil, once you have tasted some, you find it hard to stop. [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

Markus Schneider, an up-and-coming wine maker from the Palatinate, seems to like very simple, clean labels - a no-nonsense approach that has nothing of the sometimes overly decorated, old-fashioned German wine labels.

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 13 Jun 2009

Very light straw colour with a greenish tinge
At first, this smells and tastes overwhelmingly and quite explosively of green berries and fresh green leaves and grass, also grapefruit. After some time, it goes into a Riesling-direction, and unripe peaches and minerality come out more.
Dominated and defined by razor-sharp, but clean and well-integrated acidity, this is a zesty and appetizing wine that friends of straightforward dry Rieslings will enjoy very much. It tastes much lighter than the actual 12.5 % and makes me think of a picknick beside a mountain stream.