Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hundertgulden II

I must say, I'm liking Rheinhessen's dry Rieslings more and more. Again, this one is from the Hundertgulden vineyard.

Weingut Knewitz, Appenheimer Hundertgulden Riesling trocken 2012, Rheinhessen, Germany
Not straw-yellow, but "on the yellow side of straw" according to my initial scribbled note. There is also a slight honey/reddish tinge.

Orange, peach and ripe apricots on the nose. Forty-eight hours later: minerals, starfruit, citrus and gooseberry. Fairly opulent at first on the palate. Ripe apricot again, with middling-to-soft acidity for a Riesling. Everything is very much in concentrated form with the sort of interwoven density that is hard to capture in a few words. However, two days later and the acidity has suddenly turned quite a lot more pronounced and electrifying. Gooseberries comes to the party. Both similar and different to Hofmann's interpretation similar in that both have an unusual gooseberry touch and are extremely enjoyable, marginally different in that Knewitz's version maybe has a little more body.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Middle-High German

"Gulden" is the old German word for gold coin (from the Middle-High German guldin) and is translated into English as "guilder". I came across the word quite frequently while dabbling in Middle-High German for a semester during my first year at university. The course in question given by Dr Ashcroft mostly consisted of trying to make some sense of "Moriz von Craûn", a book of verse written by an unknown author at around the beginning of the 13th century. Sounds boring, I know, but it was still more exciting than German Linguistics with Dr Beedham ...

It was with this in mind that I recently bought three different wines all grown in the exact same vineyard called Hundertgulden, but produced by three different Rheinhessen wineries. Here is the first one.

Weingut Hofmann, Appenheimer Hundertgulden Riesling trocken 2012, Rheinhessen, Germany
I love the bottle label. It makes things fairly clear, don't you think? Each different Hofmann wine has its own individual label, incidentally. I particularly like the drawing of a kiwi (the flightless bird, not the fruit) on the Sauvignon Blanc bottle.

Along with Niersteiner Oelberg, this is Hofmann's "grand cru".*

"Only" 12.5% alcohol. Aromas of freshly sliced, dripping mango and apricot on the nose, with some pineapple and prickly gooseberry hints along with a slightly creamy note. Dense, complex and salty on the palate. As with Winter's Riesling, the acidity is very well integrated. The soil in Hundertgulden a steep south-facing slope is dominated by Muschelkalk, or shell limestone. What I do know is that this particular soil does tend to temper the acids, as do other similar chalky soils in the relative vicinity, e.g. Saumagen (Koehler-Ruprecht, Rings etc.), Am Schwarzen Herrgott (Battenfeld-Spanier), Burgweg (Knipser, Kuhn, Zelt).

Twenty-four hours after opening, I can smell a greater minerally component, although the wine still has a lovely fruity warmth. The finish is long. This is an excellent wine.

[* Although he also produces a super-premium version from old vines.]

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Winter in summer

I'd been wanting to try this Riesling for a long time. Why? Simply because of I've heard and read a lot about Stefan Winter's wines. Winter may not be quite up there yet with the likes of Wittmann and Keller, but he appears to be on the right track.

According to the VDP's classification system, this wine belongs to the Ortswein category (equivalent to a cru villages) only the next step on the ladder after Gutswein but frequently offering the best value for money of all the levels. Winter's Ortswein is effectively the second wine from his grand cru Leckerberg bottling.

Weingut Winter, Dittelsheimer Riesling "Kalkstein" trocken 2012, Rheinhessen, Germany
Straw with honey-like glints. Reticent at first, but a sophisticated whiff of honey, yellow fruit and citrus gradually emerges a theme that continues on the palate. Medium-bodied with a leesy, almost creamy texture. Full of extract and earthy tones, yet the alcohol is moderate (12.5%). The acidity is extremely well-buffered I would definitely recommend this wine to people with slightly lower acid-sensitivity thresholds than mine. The finish is noticeably longer than that of Wittmann's Gutswein a wine I covered last month.

I would say that this is a very unhurried, "relaxed" wine, i.e. it seems to have been given the necessary time to bed down in the cellar and gain added complexity before bottling. It has no grand cru pretentions but would certainly give some lesser grand crus a run for their money.