Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bürklin-Wolf Riesling

No point beating around the bush: this is my type of wine.

Weingut Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Riesling trocken 2013, Pfalz
Vivid yellowish straw in appearance. You can already tell that this has stuffing. Beautiful succulent peach along with hints of apricot. Hm, you can't beat the Pfalz for a bit of peach and apricot. Generous as it washes away inside my mouth. On the one hand showing a dark spicy, earthy characteristic, on the other fresh yet well-integrated acidity. Very clean. If anything, purer and a little more austere on the second day, but essentially a wine that is easy to understand. This is their estate wine and as good a calling call as any.

Monday, 6 April 2015


The vineyards of Schlatt are a little unusual in Markgräflerland in that they are situated on what are otherwise the valley flats, albeit on a gentle incline. You could barely call it a hill. The nursery slopes of the Black Forest are still a good few kilometres away. To the west nondescript asparagus fields, to the east the spa town of Bad Krozingen. And yet, Martin Wassmer produces some of the region's best Pinots Noirs from his Maltesergarten holdings.

Weingut Martin Wassmer, Schlatter Maltesergarten Spätburgunder trocken 2010 , Baden
Light ruby with slight brownish suggestions on the rim. A whiff of raspberry along with a savoury, earthy, mushroomy suggestion of undergrowth. Ripe and dense, if a little reticent (the wine needs up two full days to open up). Well-integrated oak, generating a savoury "wet wood" aroma. A fair amount of grip on the palate, yet the tannins are velvety. The overall effect is elegant yet concentrated. Good acidity, as one would expect for 2010. Just a great bottle of Pinot with a lot of sophistication for the price bracket (around 15 euros).

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Max Geitlinger

This is a new local name I've only heard of recently. Great label. The winery adjoins an interesting-looking restaurant that I'd like to discover some time soon.

Max Geitlinger, Gut & Edel 2013, Baden
Good and noble ... Gutedel, of course. A healthy yellowish straw colour. Clear on the nose with a yellow-fruit characteristic, even some melon. An ever-so-slightly nutty tone along with a squeeze of lime. Very pure on the palate. Fruity, yes, but also very elegant. Low alcohol (11 percent) but with quite a bit of interesting intrinsic concentration. Very classy for just six euros.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Baden vs Pfalz (entry-level Weissburgunder)

This was just a little bit of fun. What the following two wines have in common is that they were both made by organic producers and from the same grape, Weissburgunder (or Pinot Blanc). They are also similarly priced. I bought the one from Baden at a wine shop just over the border in Germany, and the one from the Pfalz at a German supermarket a couple of Saturdays ago. The former cost me a little under nine euros, the latter just under seven (the cellar-door prices are €8 and €5.70 respectively).

Firstly, the Pfalz.

Weingut Wöhrle, Bockenheimer Grafenstück Weißer Burgunder trocken 2013, Pfalz
The 1920s-style typeface on the label is quite elegant. The thin shape of the bottle accentuates this impression.

Straw coloured. Quite reticent on the nose, with vegetative and stalky suggestions. Some smokey notes emerge over time. Clean and refreshing on the palate. Yellow apple and a touch of handcream. There is a slight bitterness on the finish which, in itself, can be no bad thing ... in a Riesling. The wine's lower acidity means this particular characteristic stands out more. Overall, quite straightforward but with a slight chewy glaze that lends some weight. Alcohol is 12.5 percent.

Weingut Rieger, Weißer Burgunder trocken 2013, Baden
Very pale straw in appearance. Paler than its cousin from the Pfalz. Shouldn't it be the other way round? Much more expressive on the nose than its counterpart. Blossomy notes, a whiff of apricots, honeysuckle. Even hints of sour cream. Pure, bone dry and minerally on the palate. Yellow apple and floral hints. Virtually no signs of any bitterness. Overall, this wine is more "floral" and open than its Pfalz counterpart. Fresher and lighter too, weighing in at 12 alcohol.

Any conclusions? Well, I enjoyed the latter wine more than the former wine. And this is no April Fool, but no one should take the above match-up too seriously.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Late January in Basel

Thursday, 29 January 2015


Valentin Schiess first got into wine 25 years ago, working in a wine cellar in Spain. He subsequently gained winemaking experience in Australia, New Zealand and California, before studying oenology in Dijon. He now has his own winemaking cellar in Gundeldingen or "Gundeli", as the locals like to call one of Basel's grittier neighbourhoods just south of the railway station. What is unusual is that he is situated in the middle of a big Swiss town, while his grapes come from three disparate corners of Switzerland: Walenstadt (canton of St. Gallen) on the eastern shores of Walensee, Salgesch (Valais) in the Rhône valley, and Jenins (Graubünden) in the Rhine valley. Winemaking isn't his main job. During the day, he works as a quality controller for a large German enterprise. Local rag Tageswoche wrote a profile on Herr Schiess last year. This is his white wine.

Valentin Jakob Schiess (Vinigma GmbH), Priora 2013, Switzerland
Made from Humagne Blanche and Petite Arvine. With the corresponding website not yet fully up and running, and without a smartphone to hold over the QR code (I'm still the proud owner of a daftphone), I'm making an educated guess in stating that the grapes were sourced in Valais. *** (Correction, 3 March 2015: the website is now very much up and running! Thank you Valentin Schiess höchst persönlich for pointing this out to me!) *** A very healthy light yellow in appearance. Immediately, a distinctly flinty whiff rises up from the glass, along with smoky notes, pear and some succulent yellow fruit. Smoky minerals on the palate, with brioche-like notes. This is on a par with, and faintly reminiscent of, an excellent Silvaner I tried a few years back. It lingers on the finish. Otherwise, this is clean as a whistle and medium-bodied but, at 13.5 percent alcohol, actually quite a hammer of a table wine in the best sense of the meaning.


Weingut Bassermann-Jordan, Forster Ungeheuer "S", Riesling trocken 2009, Pfalz
Vivid straw/lime yellow. Flintstone, lime and dried herbs. However, the most distinct whiff is of quince. I drank a quince spritzer once last summer and it reminded me of the smell of countless Rieslings. Not only was the spritzer refreshing, but it refreshed my memory too. The scent is quite bright and breezy, but ripe. There is a slightly glazed characteristic too, along with more tropical notes on the second day.

Quince is even more pronounced on the palate, but dried herbs also take centre stage. Overall, the effect is fairly expressive. Nevertheless, any fruity elements there may be are concealed behind what is a bitingly mineral middle part and lingering finish. On day two, the wine feels somehow silkier in the mouth.

This bottle (with a screwcap enclosure) was in our cellar for four and a half years. The wine still tastes very youthful.