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Ökonomierat Rebholz, Pi No "R", brut, 2005

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.

So much for objective note-taking. But what was it really like? It is, said Mr. London Wine Rambler, like a slice of cake. A slice of fruit cake, offered Mr. Munich Wine Rambler, with apple and quince in it. And, added Mr. London Wine Rambler, that has a slightly burned crust, then a layer of something creamy and is topped by juicy fruit. Or, offered Mrs. Munich Wine Rambler, it is like an old cellar in which apples are stored, that smells dusty and a little musty, but fruity at the same time.

You see where this is going: Was this "objectively" better than other sparkling wines in the same price range? Was it "as good as champagne"? No idea. Truth be told, we haven't tried much champagne, nor, come to that, much sparkling wine, before. So what? It worked marvellously for us, it got us to thinking about fruit cakes and old cellars, and fruit that we could remember the taste of, but had not had in years. What could be better?

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