May 2009

Some wine merchants seem to be a little confused

The other day I opened a bottle of a lovely Pinot Blanc from Markus Molitor's winery. After a little search online I found two wine merchants who have this wine in their online catalogue. One of them was the Alpe Adria Weindepot in Austria.

I emailed them, only to get a reply saying that it was a) too difficult to deliver wine to the UK; b) too expensive (even though that should be the customer's decision, I think); and that c) they specialised in Austrian and Italian wine and could therefore not offer this one.

Markus Molitor, Niedermenniger Herrenberg, Auslese ***, 2005

Half bottle Rieslings are very tempting. Not because getting half the amount of wine is exciting as such, but because these small bottles often contain some of the highest quality drops of sweet molten gold. A three star Auslese ('selection') wine from top Mosel winemaker Molitor would have to be a candidate for a top quality sweet wine. Or is it?

Weingut Seehof, Grüner Silvaner trocken, Edition Pinard de Picard, 2007

A good food companion, this wine combines flinty mineral and green apple with a little hay, spice and nut. A nice dosage of acidity adds to the freshness but also introduces some bitter notes to this otherwise nicely balanced wine. Very pleasant with food (asparagus and fish in our case).

Saladini Pilastri, Rosso Piceno 2007 (Organic)

Cherry red, with a purple edge

Smells vaguely of sour cherries and green wood, a little unpleasant funky, sweaty component as well.

Cherries again in the mouth, plums maybe, some sweetness, but also bitterness and a rough edge of tannin. Somehow, the fruit doesn't quite come through.

This has been one of our pasta wines for a few years, and it has done okay, but it doesn't deserve unwavering loyalty: Hard to believe there are no fresher, more focused Italian reds for under 5 €.

Hermann Dönnhoff, Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl, Riesling Spätlese, 2006

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.

Ökonomierat Rebholz, Weißburgunder Spätlese trocken "Im Sonnenschein", Großes Gewächs, 2002

Very dark straw colour, a tinge of gold

Smells of peaches and pineapples pickled in petroleum (there's German white wine for you...), marzipan, dried herbs, and smoke. Reminded me somewhat of the more powerful Grüne Veltliners.

Great density and an oily, liqueurish mouth-feel, some maturity (camomile tea, bread), but most of all great smoky minerality. The finish of dried peaches, smoke and salted almonds is long and intense.

London wine snobs go for vino

Perhaps once or twice every fortnight I have to endure the London underground. It is usually a painful and in no way enlightening experience. To help the Londoners endure it better, the Lord has created free newspapers. The most substantial one is cleverly called "Metro", and today's Metro has an article about wine, cleverly called "You decant hurry love". Actually, the two pages of the "Good Taste" section are not so much about wine, they are about "vino".

torsten Tuesday, 26/05/2009

Wine Rambler-approved german wine merchants: (2) K & U

Product range: Europe, and a bit of the world. Very good covering of France and, unusually in Germany, California. Ambitious and original range of biodynamic and all sorts of alternatively made wines. Fairly great turnover, as the program is remade every two or three years and producers no longer worthy of the concept are ditched mercilessly.

Van Volxem, Saar Riesling, 2005

So far wines from the Van Volxem winery have not let us down, so when I came across a bottle of the 2005 Riesling from the Saar river at my favourite Battersea wine merchant last year (the notes are from September) I had to take it home with me.

A wine of shiny golden colour and a nice nose of mineral, smoothed over with caramel-plum and herbs, with the addition of a little petrol. In the mouth, a rich, almost saturated experience, a Riesling with some complexity and also well rounded.