Wow, this doesn't look very German! - with these words an English friend of mine greeted Philipp Kuhn's Mano Negra. I opened this bottle recently at a small tasting I had organised for friends. Most had never tried a German red, and none had ever seen anything (German) quite so intense in colour. This cuvée of Blaufränkisch (literally 'Blue Frankish) and Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Pfalz, a region that keeps impressing me with its variety of exciting red wines.
The Kuhn winery is one of those specialising in red wine. While they make great Riesling, Chardonnay etc. over 50% of their wine is actually red. So far I have tried the Pinot Noir, which was great, and a 'fucking' Merlot is still sitting in my wardrobe cellars (recently called 'London's tastiest wardrobe'). Kuhn also use very elegant bottles, and Philipp seems to have an eye for good labels too. More beautiful than the bottle though is the wine, by the way, with a really dark, intense colour that seems to promise a heavy hitting, tannic beast.
The nose is even more fruity than you would expect from the colour. Deep berries (blackberries in particular) blend with cherries, wood and pepper, all spiced up by orange peel and cloves. 'A wine to drink at Christmas', was the comment one of my companions gave. On the tongue, however, Mano Negra is not as heavy as you would expect. Still a substantial wine though, make no mistake, but of a certain elegance and smoothness that makes it very drinkable. It has fine tannins and nice acidity, which I mostly 'blame' for it being fresh and comparatively light. The good finish brings out the vanilla and wood a little more, but everything stays balanced.
A very drinkable wine that yet again demonstrates that Germany can make good, more substantial reds for a reasonable price. This is the most convincing red blend I have had in a while. Keep in mind that this is Kuhn's basic cuvée - I cannot wait to try some of the more expensive stuff.