Santa presented us membership in the Weinheuer Weinclub. They present themselves well online and offer a friendly and professional service. The first wines arrived: a crowd pleaser from Minervois and a very interesting Loir Chenin Sparkling. We look forward to the Weinheuer Wine Tour 🍷📖🔬
My wife and I ventured to Luxembourg on the weekend. Although our time was limited to 24 hours, I can definitely recommend the following:
- Hotel Parc Beaux Arts – A1 positioning, friendly service, comfortable
- La Bulle de Vin – Excellent hosts, wines and food, you will learn something here, best cake we’ve ever had.
- Konrad Cafe – buzzing crowd and staff, tasty beer on tap, perfect afternoon activity
- Schmit-Fohl Mosellia – an elegant, fortified Pinot Blanc from the region
The most interesting wine event in Germany at the moment. Silky-smooth devotion to a grape variety the Germans do best….
Vinokammer Vol.1 – Italian Red, clearly indicated a need to re-enter the chamber for some intensive palate-training. The following data has been locked away (A BIG thank you to the Vol.1 – Italian Red Crew for sharing the wealth):
Wine 1. Valpolicella Ripasso: beefing up Valpolicella (mainly Corvina variety) by re-fermenting the young wine on the unpressed skins of Amarone wines (dried grape wines). So you’d expect some serious astringency and possible bitterness? If the grapes used for Amarone are dried correctly, polymerization of tannins in the skins lead to a rich, balanced blending partner for the Valpolicella (Corvina).
Wine 2. Nero d’Avola (also known as Calabrese) is at home in Sicilia. This bold red wine supports naturally high tannin levels with adequate acidity. Our 2010 example from Lamera was showing signs of excessive oxidation which encouraged most of us to push it back a few years on the vintage scale…..Jan and Tom seemed to know something the rest of us did not. The lads found some youthfulness in there somewhere and positioned it correctly.
Wine 3. Barolo continues to make cracking examples of Nebbiolo.
Wine 4. Negroamaro (native variety to DOC – Salento in Puglia) is a dark-skinned grape which produces really enjoyable, primary fruit-driven wines.
Wine 5. Sagrantino is a vicious protein-binder. I haven’t experienced tannins like this for a long time. The 2006 Fongoli example was surprisingly youthful on the nose and palate. Add this to the glue-like tannins and you can easily mistaken these wines for a recent vintage.
Wine 6. Brindisi is a DOC in Puglia which also produces some interesting Negroamaro. Our 2008 example from Conte di Campiano was well-balanced and looking very youthful.
Wine 7. Primitivo came back on to the scene thanks to it’s DNA similarities to Zinfandel. Also grown in Puglia, thought to have been introduced from Croatia. Unfortunately our example was green all over.
Up next from Vinokammer Vol.2 – >100g/L Restzucker….
My mother in law, Gudrun, stayed with us a couple of months ago whilst we adjusted to an expansion in family life. This image was taken during one of those special events when time stops and all focus is placed on the moment. Gudrun has been the catalyst of such events in my life for the past ten years. This was no exception:
It’s classic how often you find images of food on the web after people come down from such sensory experience highs. I’ve been reveling in this current comedown for months.
Two hands sent me back to 2005 at the Barossa in a bottle of Shiraz whilst Gudrun conjured up the smells and tastes of a Rethem forest in Germany. Australia to Germany and back with every sniff, slurp and chew…
I had the pleasure of meeting a friendly group of wine-lovers from Finland on Sunday morning. It is so refreshing to be in the company of people who have a real interest in wine and how it is produced.
I asked them if they would like to hike to the vineyard or risk life and limb in a trailer behind the tractor…they opted for the trailer 😉
We sampled a few styles of Mosel Riesling at the vineyard whilst they bombarded me with questions – it was fantastic. These are the type of people who buy their food direct from the farmers ensuring themselves and the farmers the opportunity to control prices and quality. Today, I have been investigating the logistics of sending wine to Finland. The government-controlled company, Alko, is the national alcohol retail monopoly in Finland and 45% of the costs involved with buying a bottle of wine are tax related (Australia isn’t far behind with its 29% WET and 10% GST system). Funnily enough ‘Alko’ has to collect such taxes to supposedly cover the healthcare costs due to Finns drinking too much.
Sadly for Finland, the climate isn’t suitable to grow vitas vinifera varieties like Riesling. My Finnish friends pointed out that due to the high taxes and the inability to grow grapes, everyone turns to producing alcoholic beverages from berries, flowers and anything else that they can extract starch/sugar from. I have visions of many underground fermentation vessels and people rolling wooden casks of newly fermented alcohol out into the alleys for the midnight bootlegging markets….somebody reserve me a seat on the next Ryan Air flight from Traben-Trarbach!
The Graifen asked me to hold a tasting for a group of girls celebrating a hen’s night. My hat goes off to the Düsseldorf girls for electing to get the ball rolling with high quality vino as opposed to sangria and tequila shots. I had lots of fun exposing you to the Mosel riesling.
December is a great time to reflect. What worked well? What could be done better? How can we achieve this next year? It’s also a great time to step outside the realm of Riesling production at the Mosel. One of my biggest fears as a Riesling producer, is developing a ‘cellar palate.’ Because we work so intensely with one variety, adaptation can lead to acceptance – losing your ability to be critical. Exposure is the key. A colleague, Daniel Vollenweider, had invited me to a Burgundy tasting he was hosting. I knew Daniel had acquired much knowledge through a passion for Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Without further delay, I reserved my seat with Pinot&so and took the sensoric journey through Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise……wow, what a trip! If you find yourself all Rieslinged out whilst at the Mosel, expose yourself by visiting Pinot&so in Traben Trarbach.
Below are a few questions I had for the team at Pinot&so:
Who is Pinot&so?
Daniel Vollenweider, Riesling winegrower; Roland Hölzenbein, a true Mosel guy out for red experiences, and Peter Wurm, Berlin based wine-photographer and grafic artist deeply in love with the Mosel and Burgundy.
Why Pinot Noir?
Other than Riesling (plus Silvaner and some Piemont varieties) the most interesting grape for our taste – a red with as much delicatesse as it’s got muscles. Perfectly balanced between refinement and being straight forward, more firm than the Bordeaux styled wines, and singular, unimmitable.
Describe Burgundy in one sentence:
Still the best place to grow Pinot Noir – forgive me, all you other regions …
Which characteristics do you look for in a Pinot?
Delicacy combined with strength, etheric fruitiness underlined with minerality, seductivity with a hint of intellectual challenge.
How do you choose your Burgundian producers?
Recommendations, own research in the British and French wine journals. And sometimes, chance helps, like picking a good glass in a vinotheque.
When is the best time to visit the region?
Any time from May to October … depending on what you expect. During harvest (late September to mid October), tastings may be a bit hard to arrange … Winter or spring may be better for cellar visits.
What should I eat when I get there?
Try the typical dishes: Sausages, Beef Bourgouignon, Pâtés, Quiches … In Beaune, there is also a special Gingerbread, and in Dijon, mustard is a typical.
But good look if you’re vegetarian. The Saturday market in Beuane is highly recommended for a visit.
Which wines would you recommend I buy to get an overview of the region?
Red: A Mercury, a Volnay, Beaune or Pommard, a Nuits-St-Georges, Morey-St.-Denis or Gevrey-Chambertin.
White: a Pouilly-Fuissé, a Rully, a Meursault or a Chablis. But keep in mind that like with the reds, the higher qualities need quite a few years to show up their full potential.