Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Weil Riesling trocken 2012

The wines of Weingut Robert Weil are totally new ground for me. This is the winery's entry-level dry Riesling.

Weingut Robert Weil, Riesling trocken 2012, Rheingau, Germany
Light straw with a greyish hue. Apple aromas initially, before developing more luscious fruit notes over the evening as well as a whiff faintly reminiscent of moisturiser. Apple and white peach flavours with good structure. The acidity is buffered noticeably by a mildly creamy sensation and ever so slightly stoney hints. Otherwise, this is tasty, uncomplicated fare. On the wrong side of 10 euros by some distance, however - which is my only quibble irrespective of how prestigious the producer and vineyards are.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Autumn Austrian

Saturday saw the start of this year's Herbstmesse (Autumn Fair) in Basel, Switzerland's oldest fair spanning over 500 years of history. Meanwhile, the local wine fair (Basler Weinmesse) also began, and I for one intend to pay this event a visit over the course of the coming week.

I first acquainted myself with the following wine at Basel's wine fair around seven or eight years ago (I can't remember when exactly). Normally, you can't buy bottles for immediate consumption there, but the man at the stand showing this one for tasting purposes kindly made an exception. What followed, if I recall correctly, was a Riesling-fuelled Saturday evening back at my place.

Fast forward to September 2013 and I spot the 2010 vintage of the same wine lying forlornly with other bin ends in some random wine shop in Basel. My mind immediately wanders through the haze of time back to that day in the mid-Noughties. Despite the years that have passed, the bottle is imminently recognisable on account of its beautiful label. I never made notes on the original wine (2003 or 2004 vintage, most likely), so this has been a long time in coming.

Weingut Jäger, Riesling Smaragd, Ried Achleiten 2010, Wachau, Austria
Greenish straw in appearance. Lovely minerally whiff. Honey, peaches and ripe, red-cheeked apples. Crystalline and highly structured on the palate. Bone dry with ample alcohol, but totally balanced. The acidity is electrifying and will ensure that the wine will stand the test of time. Yet at no stage does it feel harsh. Salty minerals, candied lemon and peaches all the way. The finish is long.

Absolutely top class. What is refreshing is that this wine has not been filled into one of those heavy bottles that are meant to elicit reverence among wine lovers but feel like lead weights when you lift them. There is no point in that anyway when a wine like this speaks for itself.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Malterdinger Riesling

Bernhard Huber is renowned for his Pinots. Riesling might not be the first thing on your radar when you think of him. However, the following wine was mightily impressive.

Weingut Huber, Malterdinger Bienenberg Riesling Kabinett trocken 2009, Baden, Germany
Nice bright yellow straw in appearance. An expressive nose with stone and citrus fruit, then yellower fruit notes gradually taking over proceedings. There is also a whiff that almost reminds me of lacquer (this is more pleasant than it sounds).

Quite a voluptuous body for just 11.5% alcohol. Feels quite "urgent" in the mouth in that a lot is going on here. Definitely in the yellowy apricot camp in terms of fruit. Mineral, herbs, a sweetness than actually isn't sweet but is more of a sensation reflecting the aromatic ripeness of the grapes and the extract that goes with it. The acidity is fresh and pure, but I love the overall succulence. And the finish is long.

Don't be put off by the fact that this is from the Pinot-heavy region of Baden. Based on this, Huber makes cracking Rieslings too.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Idealistically speaking...

I don't normally do something so extravagant, but I Regional Bahn-ed it all the way to Schliengen just to buy six bottles of this at Blankenhorn.

Weingut Blankenhorn, Pinot Noir Idealiste Barrique trocken 2009
Ruby in appearance. Nose remains reticent throughout with raspberry, spice, chocolate and an ever so slight greenish hint. Velvety, elegant and amply structured. Quite a grippy sensation throughout on the palate. Dark berries, raspberry and a touch of chocolate. Already complex and great with food, though it still needs some time to bed in and shed its puppy fat.

Friday, 4 October 2013


I discovered a bottle of this in a wine shop in Lörrach. The only other Nebbiolo produced in Germany that I can think of is from Brenneis-Koch in Leistadt in the Pfalz.

Winzergenossenschaft Laufen, Laufener Altenberg Nebbiolo trocken 2008, Baden, Germany
Bright ruby with a beige rim. Redcurrant, then blackcurrant, then redcurrant again. Some rusty iron hints and leathery notes.

Similar red/blackcurrant ping-pong on the palate. And then come the tannins... Whooomph! They pucker the mouth almost instantly. The acids, on the other hand, are keen but no more than that. Once the tannic attack subsides, the aftertaste lingers a fair while and reminds me of black chocolate.

I really shouldn't be surprised by all this, given that Nebbiolo is the sole constituent of Barolo which, on account of said tannins, often takes at least a decade to soften. However, all is not lost. Combined with food, the tannins show themselves in a more merciful state, allowing the wine to mellow nicely. This saves the day to a certain extent, leading me to conclude that this particular Nebbiolo is still just about worth the experiment (on my part), the effort (on the part of the vintners' cooperative in Sulzburg-Laufen) and the cost (EUR 17.50).