Philipp Kuhn, Incognito, 2008

Philipp Kuhn, Incognito, 2008

Is there any wine that feels truly like Easter? I have been pondering this question for a while in order to pick the most suitable wine review to publish today - but I have failed miserably. For me every year Easter feels different, and every day of Easter feels different and stands for something else. Good Friday officially would be about loss, death and most importantly sacrifice, but I am not sure I'd enjoy a wine that tastes like this nor does today actually have any resemblance to these feelings.

So with Easter being so elusive I have decided to write about the most elusive wine I have tasted recently: Philipp Kuhn's "Incognito".

Even that does not feel quite right as there is nothing elusive about this wine from the Pfalz (Palatinate) region of Germany as such. It has a great presence and is very clear about what it aims to be. Still there is a touch of mystery as Philipp does not want to share what went into the wine:

Like famous chefs de cuisine, vintners too have their secret preferences. This cuvée wine consists of various national and international red wine grape varieties. However, they do not want to reveal their identity; they want to remain INCOGNITO.

It may be that the grape varieties used vary every year, or if they don't even the wine merchants who offer this wine cannot seem to agree what actually went into each vintage. This one, I am reasonably confident, was made from "international" Merlot and "German" Dornfelder, a reasonably robust, fruity and dark variety. Incognito, that much is certain, was aged for 15 months in used French oak barrels, which is clearly noticeable in both the smooth finish with its touch of soft oak and the aromatic wood and cocoa aromas in the bouquet. The Incognito also smells of fresh herbs, ripe cherry, red berries and in particular currant. The medium-bodied Incognito also tastes of lovely fruit, its fresh and charmingly well-rounded and just goes down very easily, without being simplistic.

This is a reasonably priced wine for every day (at least the every day of the discerning drinker who is not prepared to sacrifice quality) and left me in a very jolly mood. If that suits your Easter I don't know, but it works for me!


Submitted by Simon Jones Friday, 06/04/2012

Thanks, Torsten, for this thoughtful piece (I like the photo too).

In my humble opinion, blends (or cuvées) like this one currently offer the best value for money in terms of German red wine at the moment. Of course, Spätburgunder can be world class, but prices are very rapidly starting to reflect this. (As you may have heard, Ziereisen, for example, recently raised the price of their top Pinot Noir from 35 to 70 euros.) And understandably, not everyone necessarily wants to wait five to ten years before their Pinots are ready for drinking either. Well-made blends costing, say, up to 12 or 13 euros, can often appeal to a wider spectrum of people, plus they normally don't need to laid down in the cellar for too long, if at all. I need to buy more of them, to be honest!

Of course, the Cuvée X's, XR's and Luitmars of this world are a different story altogether!


Submitted by torsten Sunday, 08/04/2012

In reply to by Simon Jones

You are right, good Spätburgunder seems to become ever more expensive (Molitor is another name to be mention here, but there are more), although to be fair the likes of Knipser and others still have really nice Pinot Noir around €10, sometimes even below. Especially for those guests who are more used to "international" reds, and to go with the right food of course, the good entry level blends are perfect.

Happy Easter and cheers!