Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Brenneisen, Grauburgunder 2012

The wines of local vintner Dirk Brenneisen have featured on this blog before. The odyssey now continues with what, for me, is the most impressive of the lot so far.

Weingut Brenneisen, Grauburgunder trocken 2012, Baden, Germany
This was fermented in a large oak cask and then left on its lees for seven months. The result is an expressive, multilayered aroma with only very delicate cask notes lending a lovely savoury feel. Strawberry, honeydew melon, cashew nuts and complex smoky hints.

Well-integrated and balanced on the palate. The cask notes lift the other flavours into clear relief: mainly red berries and melon with a slight starfruit twist at the end. The wine is bone dry 0.7 g/l according to the label, but there is a fresh sweetness that belies this. Smoky, flinty notes emerge on the finish tasting blind, I might have mistaken this for a Silvaner. The alcohol level is only 12 percent but there is an amazing density of flavour. I'm not saying this is grand cru quality, but for a measly eight euros, this is the best-value wine I've enjoyed in a long while.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Naturschönheit / Nature-made beauty

***Blatant commercial plug alert***

Further to my related blog post in January, the book launch for Vinipazzi, Vol. 1 (Naturschönheit / Nature-made beauty) I did the English translation will be taking place at Restaurant Café Boy, Kochstrasse 4, Zurich on Wednesday 19 March. Vintners Helmut Dönnhoff, Peter Jakob Kühn and Clemens Busch will be there, as will Stephan Reinhardt, author of The Finest Wines of Germany (2012).

The event will kick off at 6 p.m. with some Riesling (what else?) and nibbles, followed by the actual book presentation at 6.30 p.m. From 8 o'clock, a three-course meal will be served in the company of the three wine-growers:

Filet vom Loup de Mer mit Ofentomaten auf Erbsenstampf an weissem Tomatenschaum (Sea bass filet with oven tomatoes on a pea mash with white tomato froth); wine: Roxheimer Höllenpfad (Dönnhoff)

Coq au Riesling mit Perlzwiebeln, Speck, Champignons und Croutons mit Magerquarkspätzli (Coq au Riesling with pearl onions, bacon pieces, mushrooms, croutons and low-fat spaetzle); wine: Pündericher Marienburg GG (Busch)
Dessert variations; wine: Oestricher Lenchen Auslese (Kühn)

The event is free from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost of the meal from 8 p.m. onwards is CHF 100 (including water, coffee and wine).

To sign up for the evening meal, please visit

Friday, 7 March 2014

Rock solid

Daniel Vollenweider originally hails from the Swiss canton of Graubünden. His is an unconventional story. This was recently the first Vollenweider wine I've ever tasted:

Weingut Vollenweider, Felsenfest Riesling 2012, Mosel, Germany
No trocken on the label, but this is certainly dry. It's Daniel V's basic dry estate wine. "Felsenfest" literally means "rock solid", but the "-fest" bit in the name also has festive connotations, surprise surprise.

At first, this wine showed slate, slate and more slate but not much else. In fact, it felt quite thin, bony and austere on the palate. However, I should have known that this would improve 24 hours later. On the second day, it also showed mint and lemon on the nose, while the palate suddenly felt decidedly more mellow and fruitier: citrus and some tropical notes, mainly with some lacquer/varnish hints, the latter characteristic being very pleasant and not as bad as it might sound. Refreshing and sustained on the finish. Rock solid indeed.