Thursday, 7 June 2012


"H" for Horcher.
Another cuvée to present to you today.

Having bought the Eichelmann this year instead of the Gault Millau, I've managed to gain a slightly different perspective of how the land is lying. Thanks to the Eichelmann's democratic alphabetical layout, I've also "discovered" a few new names I may have otherwise passed over when reading the Gault Millau.

It was in the Eichelmann that I recently chanced upon the name of Horcher. Based in Kallstadt in the Pfalz, they aren't mentioned in the Gault Millau guide at all (the same applies to one or two other wineries). Then again, the Eichelmann doesn't mention Ziereisen either.

Weingut Horcher, Cuvée CM 2008 trocken, Pfalz, Germany
The "C" stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, the "M" for Merlot.

Quite understatedly ruby coloured. Subtle vanilla and lead pencil shavings. Red fruit on the nose but also on the softly-softly side. I'm glad I bought six bottles of this, as it sold out not long after ordering. Elegant, cool fruit on the palate, almost Pinot-like. The finish is long.

The qualities of 2008 as a red wine vintage come to the fore here, in that the delicate, almost watery fruit shines through and that nothing feels overblown.

Paradoxically, this wine still carries a little more substance than my previous offering "Red Moon". Despite its freshness and elegance, it is more a wine to enjoy in small sips, leaving you more satiated than you would expect. But that is not a criticism as such, because Cuvée CM is a surprisingly brilliant wine.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Red Moon

"Football, bloody hell..."
For Manchester United, it was a cruel, teasing way way to lose this season's Premier League. However, Manchester's other club did ultimately deserve to finish ahead of United. I can also understand the emotional reaction to winning the title for the first time since 1968 among City fans. Despite the rivalry between United and City, I don't begrudge someone like Barry Fowden who has experienced the life-long rollercoaster ride of being a City fan. I thought his experience of the events of Sunday 13 May on his blog was quite poignant.

But enough of that.

City fans like singing something called "Blue Moon". This was meant to be my retort after City fell at the final hurdle. Alas, it was not to be. There's always next season.

Weingut Erich Stachel, Red Moon trocken 2009, Pfalz, Germany
I recently left a comment on The Wine Rambler about the value for money that red blends (or cuvées, if you prefer) offer right now in Germany. In hindsight, maybe I expressed myself a little too much in "black and white" terms, but it was more the sentiment I was trying to get across.

As a blend of Pinot Noir, St. Laurent and Cabernet Sauvignon, Erich Stachel's particular specimen fits the bill in that it manages to offer unadulterated fruit without losing any elegance. While notable exceptions abound (and "Red Moon" is one of them), the danger - in my view - in blending international varietals of the Merlot/Cabernet ilk with those closer to home is that it can sometimes result in a "rough and ready" personality that's neither here nor there.

Red Moon shows both red and black berry fruit. It is very polished, but not too polished. It is very approachable. It is very Pfalz. And, above all, it is extremely balanced. It doesn't overdo it on the alcohol front either, leaving you more than inclined to keep pouring and pouring. The Pinot - I would hazard a guess - lends the elegance, the St. Laurent provides the red-fruited sappiness while the Cabernet dots the i's and crosses the t's in terms of substance.

Sir Alex Ferguson is a bit of a red wine connoisseur himself. I'm sure he'd like Red Moon.