Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Klingelberger Kabinett

Continuing the off-dry Riesling theme, but from a totally different locality to the Mosel:

Weinhaus Siegbert Bimmerle, Klingelberger (Riesling) Kabinett feinherb 2012, Baden, Germany
Riesling is commonly referred to as "Klingelberger" in the Ortenau, that small Riesling enclave within the otherwise Pinot-dominated region of Baden. In this case, however, Klingelberger is only mentioned on the back label. I tried this winery's flagship "Riesling Réserve" at a local wine fair a couple of years ago and was ever so slightly blown away (in the positive sense). The following wine is a more basic offering.

Overtly fruitier than the previous blog post specimen. Lime and pineapple dominate on the note along with a slightly prickly gooseberry hint, although these components need time to come to the fore showing a lot more expressively 24 hours later. Pineapple again on the palate, with refreshing, pinpoint acidity. Unsurprisingly given its more southerly origin, this has a little more "oomph" compared to the more subtle, classical Mosel Riesling from Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium. Yet, what both have in common is sheer drinkability.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

School of Riesling

Some of my most favourite wines are off-dry Rieslings. Not only are their alcohol levels lower, but I often find them more versatile and harmonious with food than their trocken cousins. I also find them extremely tasty, full stop. Wines for quaffing, and unashamedly so.

Dating back to the 16th century, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium is one of Germany's oldest schools (Gymnasium is German for "grammar school"). It's also the name of a winery of the same name. How cool is that?

Weingut Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium, Riesling feinherb 2012, Mosel, Germany
I had only half-turned when the screw-top enclosure popped up into the air and hit the kitchen ceiling of its own accord. Quite a bit of carbon dioxide in there, then! However, this quickly dissipated, leaving a nose of fresh red apples and apricot. Ripe apple initially on the palate, then with some steely acidity and a satisfying, lip-smackingly juicy yet dry finish. This is a beautiful wine with just 11 percent alcohol. It is also straightforward in that it doesn't tax the old grey cells too much. On the other hand, it is as clean as a whistle and full of integrity. Simple pleasures are sometimes the best.

Friday, 14 February 2014


Elmar Schauß is a little-known producer from Monzingen on the Nahe. Although, if you have Emrich-Schönleber as one of your neighbours, it's not hard to be overshadowed somewhat. Be that as it may, this wine is imported to Switzerland, so Herr Schauß must be doing something right.

Weingut Schauß, Riesling Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Hochgewächs trocken "vom Rotliegenden" 2011, Nahe, Germany
Exotic nose with tropical fruit to begin with, then gradually giving way to candied lemon and blossom. Lovely yellow fruit (apricot) with some peach to boot. Those are all the vague tasting notes I made, but this is genuinely good stuff.

Moving on to something completely different now, here's a powerful red blend from Austria:

Weingut Muenzenrieder, Grand Cuvee 2006, Neusiedlersee, Austria
Dark ruby with purpley/velvety hints. Notes of chocolate and herbs on the nose, along with super-ripe dark fruit. Quite mellow and viscous on the palate, with rippling, bustling tannins and a cool yet dense mouthfeel. Drinking great seven and a bit years since harvest, but there is still potential for improvement in terms of the tannins bedding in, I would say.

Completing this unlikely triumvirate, an Austrian "GrüVe":

Weingut Weinrieder, Grüner Veltliner Vinotheksfüllung 2009, Weinviertel, Austria
Light matt yellow. A dense, concentrated nose with peppery notes as well as slight oak cask hints on the one hand and a faint vegetable whiff on the other. The latter I would describe along the lines of fennel and sweaty socks ... Very forceful on the palate. Yellow fruit and cream, with a salty notes lending balance. Quite chewy. The finish is long.
This final wine was my favourite by a small margin, but all three shone in their own particular way.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Not quite GG

Although the customary VDP grand cru symbol was embossed onto the side of this bottle, the "GG" initials were missing from the label. Indeed, this wine is simply referred to as a Spätlese trocken on the back label. The man at the wine shop was slightly confused by this, too. Upon subsequent research, I learned that the Knipsers chose not to classify this as a Grosses Gewächs at all in 2005.

Weingut Knipser, Riesling Steinbuckel Spätlese trocken 2005, Pfalz, Germany
Golden yellow in appearance. Showing a herbal and waxy opening on the nose before various notes of lemon and cream emerge. These twin components play an olfactory game of ping-pong right the way through. Quite bitter notes to begin with on the palate; not exactly what I was expecting. However, peachy lemon gradually takes the upper hand in tandem with a mellow, viscous mouthfeel. This is quite complex but, at the same time, not really at the level I would expect of a GG. This wine is simply a very good Spätlese trocken. Nothing more, nothing less.

But contained in one of those heavy GG bottles? Hm.