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December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey


A busy year is coming to an end. We built a house, moved (again) from temporary living to the new home, unpacked hundreds of boxes that had been on storage for a complete year.  We visited the garbage station a gazillion times (which we, by the way, had already done in Sweden too), as we still had way too many things that no-one wanted, needed or liked anymore. Carpets, pictures, furniture pieces that do not fit into the new place. Frustrating on the other hand to discover that other things are lacking. Being so exhausted from the entire process, our minds have kind of locked now and we cannot even decide about where to put up a curtain and where not. So we decided to take a break from decorating, until inspiration kicks in again. Then came Christmas and all that stuff had to be unpacked again - I was trying to keep it minimalistic, but the kids insisted on stockings, etc. etc.... And now I am looking forward to take it all down again! However, some more decisions will have to be taken in 2012. But not today.


Today, we just enjoy the day and night with some lovely people. That was one of the great things of 2011 - we met so many nice people and made so many new friends. I am very thankful for that. We get lots of happy moments out of this and inspiration too. Fantastic! Life is good.


Lars asked the kids today if they had any resolutions, but none of us really has. A good sign. We are happy with the things the way they are. So no need for stress with resolutions that won't be kept up in the end anyway. :) Ok, a few more sit- and push-ups, and some more running through the wine fields...


I will continue to discover wines in general and to write about the Pfalz and its wines.
And I am looking forward to do more work in 2012. I truly enjoy the vinegar tours at Doktorenhof; English speaking, some Scandinavian and of course German groups. It makes me happy that the family Wiedemann trusts me and lets me take care of guests in their name. And to keep in touch with my vinegars that have grown so important to me during my years in Sweden. Further, I will increase writing for the Invinitum blog, the Danish/Swedish online wine shop. I wish them all luck and success, not only because I am happy for every little marketshare that the monopolist Systembolaget loses... And another opportunity seems close, where I will be working with wine directly. But more about that later. In 2012. 


Have a wonderful New Year!














December 18, 2011

Swedish Glögg, or: When the Postman rings Twice

... you better go and open the door. Could be, he delivers to you a box loaded with Swedish Glögg!




The Glögg party was saved and the guests (all none Swedes) liked this sweet, full-bodied, strong(er than German Glühwein) (15 % abv) drink from the North. We got it via the internet, from www.hagengrote.de. Price in Sweden 72 kr (we paid more 12 €).


This Blossa Starkvinsglögg is the absolute classic version, made of red wine and then fortified with 3 different Sherry-type of wines from Spain, made exclusively for this brand. 
It has aromas of dried fruit, cardamom, the classical christmas-spices. It is served warm with some raisins and almonds in the glass. The recipe has remained unchanged since 1917 and originates from wine merchant J.D. Grönstedt out of Stockholm's gamla stan. Other variations are the same glögg, but made purely from wine, without any additional alcohol and a light version. The supermarkets in Sweden even sell an alcohol-free version which people then mix with alcohol at home, or drink it as it is. (Very sweet.)
Then there is a yearly version, which is a nice marketing idea, I wrote about it before...


See my previous posts on glögg: vinumdiligo.blogspot.com/2009/12/swedish-glogg.html
vinumdiligo.blogspot.com/2009/12/blossa-glogg-09.html

December 16, 2011

2007 Ghost Pines & Irony Chardonnay, USA

Lucky as we are, we met many wonderful people and made good new friends since our arrival to the area (now almost 1.5 years ago(?!)). 

Among them are 3 families from the U.S. (ok, one of the husbands is German), which we were allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving with this year. The 3 ladies have touched my heart in several ways and we 'clicked' right away, sharing with each other the experiences (fun as well as not-so-fun) of living in the Pfalz. A source of support for certain issues, but really for lots of laughter and giggles, I so much appreciate their friendship. And - lucky again - even the guys get along well and so really, it always is a very pleasant atmosphere during our get-togethers. To protect their privacy, I will not mention their names - I would hate for people not daring to be with us anymore, because it all ends up in my blog... ;)

Thanksgiving was now sort of crowning it all. While we hosted the dinner, everyone was helping and preparing their part of the menu and bringing to the table for 16 people: two huge birds (called 'Viech' by the Pfälzisch salesclerk), stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, veggies, salad, mashed potatoes, cornbread, appetizers and pumpkin pies plus ice cream for the dessert. It was so good! All of it! 

We all share the love for a good local Riesling, which we enjoy together every now and then and at many different places. But this time, I wanted to surprise them with wine from their 'home' - from the US. So glad, I could get these two via Belvini.de, it turned out a fun moment for everyone! A blind tasting had to be done before I did tell them what it was in their glass. But, they understood quickly that it was not a local Riesling this time...   

 
Ghost Pines 2007 became the common favorite that night. Very much American oaked chardonnay, as we commonly associate it: rather bold, lots of yellow fruit, citrus, fried butter, honey, vanilla and oak.  Creamy, rather full bodied, but with a good acidity and a long finish. Ideal to the meal we had. The grapes are from the three areas: Sonoma, Napa and Monterey. Another nice coincidence was to then hear that one of the couples had lived in Monterey and are actually planing to retire there. 14% abv., price 13 €.


Irony, the 2nd wine, was even more full bodied and had even more of ripen yellow fruit. Had we served just one wine, this one would have had a better chance than it really got, being our 2nd wine. As I see it, it is way easier to drink several glasses of Riesling - over hours of socializing - than it is with oaked Chardonnay. With its powerful oaky style, it 'fills' you up quick. But, I still have one bottle left and will give it a fair chance at another time.

However, we all liked the story behind 'Irony': the two brothers that went out to explore working world America, before they returned home to the vineyards where they as boys had already helped out their grandpa every season. They gave up their other professions and took over the winery instead. Unplanned as it happened, they found it ironic...


One of our giant birds being carved from he who has done it before...


Thank you, dear friends.

December 15, 2011

Ölberg


Rainbow over the Ölberg, as seen 10 minutes ago. While discussing how to put up a certain shelf in the living room, my dear husband and I suddenly get distracted by this beautiful image... (Sorry, my iPhone doesn't allow for better quality)


The vineyard Ölberg is situated between Neustadt-Königsbach and Deidesheim and sloping south-east, thus spoiled by sunshine from early morning to the later afternoon. Soils are a mixture of clay, sandstone and chalky substances. The name goes back to a small chapel that once was built here and which showed Jesus at the Mount of Olives (as the Ölberg is referred to in English).

Riesling and Spätburgunder (German Pinot Noir) are grown here. We will be starting with tastings of wines from the Ölberg, soon. Some of the wineries that own sections of it are Bassermann-Jordan,  A. Christmann, Ohler, Weinland Königsbach.


The other important vineyard of Königsbach is the Idig. 

December 14, 2011

In Situ Gran Reserva 2008, Chile


With 14,5 % abv., this wine is definitely at the higher end of the alcoholic spectrum - normally, not really 'my thing'.  However, it also has a beautiful richness of aromas of ripen dark and red berries, spices, woody accents and vanilla. The acidity is there and so are the tannins, which by the way are very soft and almost velvety. All in all, a lot of all. Well balanced, full bodied, with quite a finish too.  


A wine with power for about 10 €, bought at the supermarket. 

90% Carmenère, Chile's signature grape, and some Cabernet plus Syrah add up to a real nice wine in the glass! Will go back and get a few more bottles...

December 13, 2011

2000 Came for a Last Drink

In Munich, last Saturday over 2000 people came to drink their last alcoholic beverage on one of the city's S-trains. To say (drink) Goodbye, so to speak, before the new no-alcohol policy would be implemented on Sunday, the day after. 


The party-goers organized themselves via FB and the intention was for this to be a peaceful event, just like it had happened in Hamburg before. However, while apparently turning into a great party, the peaceful bit didn't quite work out. In the end, some 50 trains were damaged and  some disturbance was caused for none-celebrating travelers. 


The ban came in the first place because of travelers feeling disturbed or even partly unsafe, with violence increasing around train stations. It is valid for inner city and close distance trips. Long distance traveling is not affected.


Do bans really achieve their goal? Will it be the conducters' job to control all the passengers? Ticket please. No alcohol please. Put that bottle away. And then? Isn't the average train-user just getting herself from A to B anyway and will those who wish to cause trouble cause it anyway?   


Cheers.
Heike



December 12, 2011

Last night the Glühwein saved my life

In the 80's it was the DJ saving my life... Now it is the Glühwein. Boy! Did I catch an ugly cold this time! I am totally off everything. I mean, entirely off. We had 3 wonderful invitations for Saturday, which we all wanted to attend to, but really, we had to decide for one of them and had been looking forward so much. Instead, the night (and day) was spent on the couch, with me coughing like a horse. My dear husband made things a little easier to take by getting Glühwein for us.





I am not describing this one for you, because all my senses can detect is the warm feeling it spreads all over my body. If I now said it tasted good, it would probably be an insult to it, because with this cold of mine not one single molecule would ever make it through my nose... But, since the spices are there anyway, they did help me feel better for a while, at least. 


And, by the way, the plain fact, that we can just rush away and get some (in this case warm) wine still feels special and luxurious to us. Most of you won't really understand, but others will, without me going further into details...


And if you don't remember the song I was referring to: 


Cheers!
Heike

December 09, 2011

Phew...

I have to admit that I was way too optimistic. The work load that comes with moving into a new house, unpacking two containers, and getting a whole family settled (with 25% of us being constantly gone somewhere else) was enormous. It is first now that I am getting the chance to even think blog again... 


I missed tons of wine events in our region, Stuart P who came to introduce his new book and God knows what more. To make matters worse, I have been suffering from a bad throat since July, which did not really help me tasting wine. But, there is hope (always).


If I manage to find the photos I took with my phone, I'll be able to at least share a few more wines that I came across recently, with you.


Cheers!
Heike

September 14, 2011

I am back (almost) !

The house is built and we moved in one week ago! I now live in the middle of two vineyards, one bordering to our garden. Heaven!

Two containers have been brought from storage, where they were sitting in one year, waiting to be delivered to the new address. I am slowly seeing the end of the tunnel (hoping for it not to be another train coming). We are finding our socks and tooth brushes in the mornings and I am confident the rest will be fixed within the next weeks and months. Amazingly enough, not much damage was done to our goods. Excep for my Jura coffee machine that won't work anymore, but here I am hoping it is just a matter of cleaning the pipes. Sad to discover though, that exactly my notes and files from the sommelier school had gotten wet (somehow - and I am convinced it is not wine) and during the year in the container started to rotten, being now covered with mildew! :( Historical files, which cannot be replaced. I am bothered and need at least one (big) bottle (box) of sparkling wine to get me through the mourning period.

Besides that, fall has arrived and it is busy in the wine fields. The weather during the last weeks was way too humid and too many rain showers caused grapes to rotten. To minimize the damage, vintners are out and either harvesting earlier than planned or at least cutting off rotten clusters of grapes. As I can hear from my friends, especially the Burgundy varieties are at risk. However, the weather seems to stabilize now and let's hope for the best in the next weeks to come.

Looking forward to being back on my wine track and to get to interact with my fellow bloggers again! Cheers!

June 15, 2011

In Riesling Heaven


A few nights ago, I went out with the love of my life to taste the grape of my life: Riesling.

14 wines from various regions of this world. Blind. 

I enjoyed it big time and took the freedom to use the word 'lecker' (yummi) right away! (Still feeling my freedom, after wine school, where such adjectives were banned from vocabulary...)

This tasting was another great experience to confirm what many wine lovers already know: the many different aroma pictures that can come with this variety is just stunning. From green apple in very young wines coming from cool climate, via yellow stone fruit to very ripe and tropical fruit up to dried apricot in wines from warmer climate and/or depending on the wine's age. Then the grassiness, herbal and flowery notes, the minerality, telling their own stories of the soils the vines have grown in - or/and the vine's age. Riesling with very deep roots, that have grown over decades and thus reached deeper and deeper will show yet different aromas again. This just to touch the surface of instruments the Riesling orchestra can be playing...


All the while the wine remaining true to itself: proud, distinct with a strong back bone. Despite all the variations, one will always (well... as long as the winemaker didn't mess it up completely) recognize: it's a Riesling! That is what I looove about this wine, I guess. In this ever changing world, my Riesling will give me reassurance and a sense of 'coming home' - no matter where that might be...

I will spare you a long list of wine descriptions of last night's wines - I am too impatient myself to read blog articles that are too long... So, I am getting right to the point: my favorites of this one tasting. Please note that it in no way reflects any general preference of region or winery - this here is only about the specific wines tasted this particular time! Another tasting with different Rieslings might (no, will) give a total different picture again. (Which is also why all of this wine tasting remains so exciting.)


No. 1: 2005 Winninger Uhlen Blaufüsser Lay Spätlese "Erste Lage", Heymann-Löwenstein, Winningen Mosel
Dominated by its wonderful minerality from the blue slate this is a truly intense wine with a looong finish. 12,5 % abv keep it lean. The residual sugar makes for a nice balance to the great acidity. I  just   l.o.v.e   it.


No. 2: 2002 Ruppertsberger Gaisböhl "Grand Cru" Riesling trocken, Bürklin-Wolf, Wachenheim, Pfalz
Developed aromas of ripe yellow fruit, herbal, honey and more. Still fresh in taste due to the great acidity. This estate simply knows how to do wine.


No. 3: 2006 Riesling Sheldrake Point, Finger Lakes, Yew York State, USA 
A light bodied wine full of freshness. Not the same mouthfeel as most German Rieslings seem to have. But therefore interesting in its own, perhaps more 'simple, streight forward' style.


No. 4: 2006 Riesling Les Princes Abbes dry, Domaines Schlumberger, Alsace 
Dry! Yes! Loooots of lemon and lime. Most of the tasting group found it too 'sour', missing other fruit aromas. Even I had my problem at first, but the 2nd sip already warmed up my heart to it. I could suddenly taste the freshness of a wonderful summer salad (w/o Ehec)with a good, light vinaigrette to this one. Or some fresh shrimps in a sauce of lemon.... Yum.


And the other wines:
2010 Riesling qbA dry, Metzger, Grünstadt-Asselheim, Pfalz (Value for money!!)
2010 Riesling Close Encounter, Paul Cluiver, Elgin South Africa (Hm..?)
2009 Riesling Kabinett trocken, Deidesheimer Mäushöhle, Kimich, Pfalz (Home.)
2009 Riesling Kab. trocken, Deidesh. Kieselgarten, Kimich (Home. Intense!)
2009 Riesling Magic Mountain trocken, Leitz, Rüdesheim, Rheingau (Yum!!)
2009 Riesling Kamptaler Terrassen trocken, Bründlmayer, Austria (Ok)
2009 Riesling Château Ste. Michelle, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (Sorry...)
2009 Riesling Kirchenstück Spätl. trocken GG, Buhl, Pfalz (taste i 3-5 yrs again)
2007 Riesling Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Spätl., Faubel, Maikammer, Pfalz (Nice)
2005 Riesling Schodener Herrenberg Trockenbeerenauslese, Herrenberg, Mosel (TBA...)

Matthias Mangold explaining the vineyard sites of the Mittelhaardt
A great evening in totally relaxed atmosphere at Genusstur in Venningen. Matthias Mangold as the host and guide through the evening, even prepared, cooked and served wonderful food for us.


I hope I got your tastebuds animated and wish you many good Rieslings. Cheers!

Related posts: My interview with Matthias
My visit to Bürklin-Wolf and to Reichsrat von Buhl
Plus more about Riesling

April 28, 2011

MyPfalz: Weingut Weegmüller

MyPfalz (6): Winery of April
Weingut Weegmüller,
Neustadt-Haardt

Gabriele (l) and Stefanie (r)
The womanly art of making wine. Or: Girls Rule! Certainly at this winery. Stefanie Weegmüller-Scherr, very down-to-earth and all big smiles, is the gifted winemaker of the estate. For 25 years now, she has been among the first women to set foot in the male-dominated winemaking industry. Her sister Gabriele is completing her by taking care of all marketing matters. She is the hospitality manager and I can witness, she does this well! We came there at a rather busy day, when they had opened up for their yearly spring event. Lots of customers were there, trying wines, but Gabriele was there for us - taking a lot of time talking to us and explaining the wines. Thank you, Gabriele.
Wine list at Weegmüller's Wein Frühling (spring)
And the wines! I tried 12 of them that day. Summary: ALL very clean in style, crisp, clear, fresh, yum. Silvaner, Scheurebe, Grüner Veltliner (the first vintage), Rieslaner and Gewürztraminer and - of course and above of all: Riesling.

My personal favorites:

URGESTEIN 2007, Riesling Dry 9.50 €
with a developed nose, mineral and petrol aromas, and long finish, high acidity
I was very happy to find a Pfalz Riesling with 0.5 g residual sugar, but still just 12% abv. and yet not tasting flat, empty, thin or anything - but all the opposite. Great!
My question to Stefanie, why Urgestein (Ur=primeval, gestein=stone), was answered with: 'I just didn't do anything with this wine, but to let it run it's course'. There you go Stefanie!

Herrenletten 2008, Riesling Dry 11.50 €
very balanced with ripe yellow fruit, pineapple, flintstone, good and long finish, medium-bodied with nice acidity
A must-have!

Council members of Zürich, the Weegmüllers emigrated to Pfalz in 1657...


More crowded today, but still as beautifully located...
300 years of wine making history, 11 generations and with ancestors looking over their shoulders, the Weegmüller sisters are clearly deeply rooted, just as the good old vine... And those vines at Weegmüller's, by the way, are taken care of by Stefanie's husband Richard Scherr.

The dominating grape variety is Riesling. 15 ha of best vineyards around Haardt (90%) - i.e. Haardter Herrenletten, Gimmeldingen and Mussbach belong to the estate.

Go to the website to learn more about Weegmüller, if you got inspired...

April 22, 2011

Amethystos 2007

One of Sweden's leading newspapers is calling readers to boycott Greece as a vacation destination. There is trouble in EU regarding Greece. And so on. 


However, I decided to try a 'better Greek wine' (whatever the exact definition here might be), last night. At our local Greek restaurant I asked for something 'more' than just the usual wine by the glass. Before, I had consulted with a Twitter-friend, @elloinos, an expert of Greek wines, what he would recommend. Whether it was my Greek that was too bad or the very pleasant restaurant people who did not understand Greek good enough, I do not know. Wild gesticulations ended in me just accepting whatever they would propose. And this is how I we got to taste a bottle of this wine:


Amethystos 
Regional Dry Red Wine of Drama 2007
Costa Lazaridi
Cabernet Sauvignon, Limnio, Merlot
14.5 % abv
Price Germany internet: ca 14 €. We paid 30 € at the restaurant.


Very intense, dark purple red color. A nose full of very ripe dark berries and secondary tones. Dry, full-bodied, with loads of ripe dark fruit and berries, green capsicum, vanilla and more. Strikingly velvety tannins. Those were actually taking my attention, the image of velvet just popped up in my mind, before I could formulate it. A good acidity and a long lasting finish. The high alcohol content is acceptable to me (who usually is very sensitive to too much of it), because of the wine's complexity. 
I will remember this for a long time because of its velvety.


Read Markus' 10 years tasting notes of this wine here ... 


Watch even Markus and Gary V. talking Greek wines here..


Drama is situated in Macedonia, where there is evidence of wine making dating back 5000 years.


Limnio is a autochtone grape variety and one of the oldest of about 300 original varieties found in the area of Makedonia/Thraki.


Greek wine legislation foresees two (2) broad Greek wine categories: (source: newwinesofgreece.com)

• «Designation of Origin Wines” (VQPRD or Vin de Qualité Produit Dans Une Région Déterminée), a category which includes all OPAP and OPE wines, i.e., those bearing an “Designation of Origin of Superior Quality” and a “Controlled Designation of Origin”, respectively (PDO wines of Greece).

 • «Table Wines,” a category which includes all “Regional (Local) Wines” –PGI wines of Greece; wines of “Traditional Designation”; and ordinary Table Wines. 

March 29, 2011

MyPfalz: Andres und Mugler, Riesling brut

MyPfalz (5): Monthly sparkling wine - March
Riesling Brut 2009, Sekt b.A.
Andres und Mugler,
Ruppertsberg
12 €

A medium-pale golden yellow color. A nose that is a bit shy, but with nice yeasty-brioche notes and ripe pineapple peeking out. Lots of small bubbles, giving a nice towards creamy mouthfeel. Baked apple on the palate, toast, citrus. Fresh and zesty, nice and lean with a rather expressed finish. Really, really liked it! Will go and get more...

I would love to tell you how I got to this bottle of wine, but can't... (Thank you, Mr. Andres!) Let's just put it that way: almost magical, steered by satellite with an adventurous touch to it, but certainly a very trustful encounter led me into owning this bottle. (Not what you are thinking..!) It was actually one of the moments where I felt very thankful and blessed to be back home.

However! Andres und Mugler is a sparkling wine manufacturer that does just that: sparkling wine, the traditional method. Two young men started out in 1989 when they decided to not want to have to buy sekt anymore, but make their own - better - one. Ever since, they were in the spotlight of many wine critics, Stuart Pigott is only one of them, who gave lots of praise for their products. They came up with a different design for their corks, which should be something for my minimalism-loving Swedish friends.

Both men have also their own wineries, where they make, market and sell their own brands each. 

Andres und Mugler is located in Ruppertsberg, the tiny village close to Deidesheim. Check out their website and call before you visit! 

And to you who already tried this wine, I would be very glad to hear what you think of it. :)

Cheers!

Read more posts MyPfalz:
Bürklin-Wolf Riesling 2001
Hirschhorner Hof Riesling brut
Johann F. Ohler
Dr. Wehrheim, Rotliegendes Riesling S 2008

March 21, 2011

Mandelblütenfest Gimmeldingen

almond blossom
Japan. Libya. Knut. The depressing and troubling news we are to absorb everyday... What a great, great break we got yesterday! Very much appreciated and welcomed indeed!! We walked pass the vineyards Ölberg and Idig from Königsbach over to Biengarten to make our first stop at Mugler's out in the wine fields. Beautiful pink and white almond trees everywhere. Sun, sun, sun. The sky so, so blue. I am still going on all those impressions from yesterday!

And we were not alone, several ten-thousands had come to Gimmeldingen, yesterday! Cars along the vineyards and roads all over. We never made it all the way to the center into the 2600-inhabitant village. It was so lovely, out in the vineyards and under the trees. And in the garden of JFO.









Nice Riesling, Sekt and Schorle. Saumagen, Bratwurst and Crépes. Everyone was happy and glad. Now spring is here.

March 18, 2011

Prunus dulcis


© Lars O. Larsson
Spring is here! The almond trees are in bloom. Our photo shows a single one between Ruppertsberg and Königsbach. At most places though, they are lined up and form wonderful frames of vineyards, streets or fields. Over 3000 trees are found around Neustadt alone. Nobody knows how many there are along the entire wine route.

The colors of the blossoms vary from almost white over light rosé to bright pink. Since a few years, the ca 60 km long 'Mandelpfad' (almond path) invites for walks along the beautiful allees. Countless places are welcoming the thirsty and hungry walkers along the road... A map has been established to show the areas with most trees. Several monuments, like i.e. the Hambach Castle, the Weintor (wine gate) at Schweigen, etc. are lit up in pink between February and April 17, the time of the almond blossom. And in Birkweiler you can have your own almond tree planted with your name on it... All this and more you can read about at http://www.mandelbluete-pfalz.de/ 


About 8 differents sorts of almonds are found along the Weinstrasse. Almonds are a good source for vitamin E, have a good balance of saturated and unsaturated fats and lots of other important nutrients. A daily intake of 25 g nuts or almonds is recommended by several health organisations. They also make for a tasty snack to a glass of wine.  

This weekend, Gimmeldingen is inviting to the first winefest of the year, the Mandelblütenfest (almond blossom festival). The weather has been gorgeous, up to 20 C, but unfortunately the weekend's prognoses are not that bright. However, we'll take it as it comes. Spring is here, whether we need thick jackets or thinner ones...

March 11, 2011

Earthquake Japan

My thoughts are with Japan, today... All these people going through this horrible catastrophe right now... Families being ripped apart, beloved ones loosing their lives. Feeling so helpless, vulnerable and totally exposed. Fears for more to come. Another big desaster where mother Earth is flexing muscles. How it puts so many things into perspective again, right?   

March 02, 2011

MyPfalz: 2001 Riesling Tasting at Bürklin-Wolf

MyPfalz (4): Monthly Riesling - February
Dr. Bürklin-Wolf
Riesling 10 years on
Wachenheim, Pfalz

I am cheating and taking this wine tasting as the Riesling of the month, because I really liked them all and it would be very difficult to name only one as this month's wine...

One of my nicest wine tastings so far! Very nice ambience with a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere spread by Tom Benns, wine consultant at the prestigeous estate Dr. Bürklin-Wolf. And the wines! 3 Premiers Crus, 4 Grands Crus, and a (Muskateller) Beerenauslese - all from 2001. 10 years on. The theme of the evening.

BW has since 1994 established their own appellation system, by distinguishing their wines by their sites. Very best are the Grands Crus, followed by the Premier Crus - just like in France. However! The classification is really old and dates back to 1828. Long before Germany started the mustweight-qualification m(adn)ess.

Ok. As you figured before, I am not falling for 'big names', 'gurus', 'grand crus' etc... Rather, I am out there to explore the wine world and to see what _I_ like. So, to start this text by mentioning the 'Crus' could be misleading... It is not about their status. But about their taste. (Which of course most propably explains the status... :) ). 

2001 - seperating the men from the boys. That's how some winemakers would discribe the vintage. The year before, 2000, was one of the worst of the area. Too much rain, taking it's toll. For Bürklin-Wolf that meant 180.000 liters compared to normally 400.000. No G.C., no P.C. that year. Instead all remaining grapes from top sites were used for the basic estate wines (Gutswein). So, in 2001, when rain set in in late summer, many vintners harvested their grapes earlier than planned, in order to get some quantities - even if for the price of lower quality. BW though needed G.C. and P.C. wines this year, so they decided to wait anyway. Gambling. They were lucky! After the shorter rain period came a golden October and the grapes could develop at a slow pace, hence collecting lots of flavours.

Tom Benns, Wine Consultant Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, and me at the
Gault Millau sign Best Collection 2010
Tasting different wines of one grape variety, one vintage, and one wine estate, you can assume that there is a red line going through all those wines. Which it is: all
- have wonderful developed, ripe aromas,
- felt very fresh and clean, with a still high acidity, 

- have a higher residual sugar content than you can taste,
- have nice minerality,
- have a long finish, dominated by grapefruit flavours.
The difference lies in between: some
- are fuller bodied, some leaner,
- some are almost of oily consistence
- some have smoky tones,
- some more herbal.
Reflecting their originality - the terroir. Very exciting to experience it so distinctly!


Tom opening the wines for us
The tasting:

2001 Wachenheimer Goldbächel P.C. € 19.50 (the welcome wine)
Very ripe, sungolden fruit, apricot, petrol, towards oily, light-medium bodied.Goldbächel: 4,3 ha total vineyard, BW owns 3. Sloping south. Red and yellow sandstone.
 
2001 Wachenheimer Altenburg P.C.  19.50
lean, young, floral, nutty, fresh, light-boded
Vineyard: 1,22 ha total,  BW 0,4. Sloping east, shady afternoons. 130-150 above NN. White sandstone.

2001 Wachenheimer Böhlig P.C. 19.50
medium-bodied, creamy, ripe yellow fruit
Vineyard: 4 ha. Sloping south. Yellow and red sandstone gravel, upper part of site limestone.

right: Altenburg P.C., left: Böhlig P.C., middle behind: Goldbächel P.C.
2001 Deidesheimer Kalkofen G.C. 37.-
nutty, apple compott, creamy, medium-full bodied 
Vineyard: 5 ha. BW 0.7. Slightly sloping, warm position. Clay and lime gravel on a limestone bank.

2001 Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen G.C. 42.-
leaner than Kalkofen, ripe yellow fruit, minerality 
Vineyard: 4 ha. BW 0.5. Slightly sloping, warm position. Neighbor to Kalkofen.

2001 Ruppertsberger Reiterpfad G.C. 37.-
dark golden color, very ripe golden fruit, hints of vanilla
Vineyard: 2002 was last G.C. from this site. 2004 new vines were planted.

2001 Forster Jesuitengarten G.C. 57.-
my favorite of the day! Very lean and elegant, with distinct flint stone
Sloping east. Vulkanous basalt. 2nd best vineyard of the Pfalz (classification 1828).


2001 Muskateller Beerenauslese 57.-
239 g/l sugar. Sweet? Yes. Good? In small doses: Yes - because the acidity is still so high, that there is a fine balance to it. Wonderful with some nice ripe, soft cheese.

The end:
Tom's reparation wine, or, as he calls it: method in my madness.
2009 (!) Riesling Hohenmorgen P.C.
too young to mention in this context ;)

I now understand much better, why these wines need to be put on shelves for some years to really get most out of your payment. And why Riesling is not just Riesling.
A happy tasting group
Thank you Tom for a great evening - we'll be back for more!

Nice gift to the wine lover? The G.C. Box

Dr. Bürklin-Wolf is one of the 3 B's, the Pfalz estates that have since long been known around the wine world. I will get back to this in a separate post, leaving this one with the wine tasting for now.

www.buerklin-wolf.de

MyPfalz: http://vinumdiligo.blogspot.com/search/label/MyPfalz

Day at von Buhl: http://vinumdiligo.blogspot.com/2010/11/2009-gg-tasting-reichsrat-von-buhl.html

February 25, 2011

Bubbles, Bitching & Sauna

Ah, it is so good to be home again... A few days ago, I took a day off to spend some hours at the sauna. Lady's sauna. You know, here in Germany, in most saunas genders are mixed and people naked. Very naked. Now, after having lived abroad for quite some years, I have lost the concept of mixed and naked. Prefer lady's sauna instead. Although I could - for the sake of relaxing - do without all the chatting. But, there is a price tag to everything, right?

So, there I am, in this - actually - rather nice and big sauna area of the public pool. Several different saunas, warmer, less warm, dry, steam, lights blue and red etc... A real nice silent room with comfortable relaxing chairs. Carpe diem. Big windows (walls of glass) opening up the view of a wonderful blue sky. And the ladies (ages 50-70) that have gathered outside, occupying an entire row of chairs. [Reminding me of my English friend Doreen, who once told me about the jokes the Brites do about us (beware of the) Germans, throwing out our towels on the pool chairs of the Mallorca hotels early in the morning...] 

10.30 a.m., they talk and chat and giggle. And with the window between us - who'd care? Then: one of them reaching down into her bag, coming out with a bottle, wrapped in newspaper (which looked like the page of daily death notices). Over the coffee cups with the bottle - out comes... not coffee, but sparkling wine. Of course. No desperate housewives here!(Or?) A little moment of small significance. I smile, and am reminded of that I am back home in the Pfalz, where life sometimes is a little lighter than perhaps elsewhere.

11.00 a.m.: time for my next session of sauna. Two different ladies sitting in there, chatting all the time (with no window between us). Bitching about those outside that apparently are having more fun then they themselves do. I smile. Life here is just like anywhere.

February 24, 2011

February Pruning


Vineyard Deidesheim
Someone has been busy. And freezing. While the vines are still dormant, things are happening in the vineyards. Read more here...

February 22, 2011

Fassweinprobe - Barrel Tasting

Winemaker Stefan Giese
 Last night I was invited to my first barrel tasting. An internal tasting, I mean. Not for customers and buyers - just for friends of Weingut Johan Ohler. I feel privileged to have been invited too. In a very relaxed atmosphere, the wine maker Stefan Giese introduced the wines of 2010. Out of the barrels - and tanks, as a matter of fact. Of course, all wines are extremly young at this stage and will do well with a few more months, but this is what I take with me from this evening:

Arnim Jost, Sabine Ohler-Jost,
Stefan Giese
2010 - a difficult year in the Pfalz (and elsewhere), with drastically lower quantities. However, the quality of yesterday's wines is throughout the range very good and I assume those wines will be sold out quickly. If you want to try - you better hurry up. Filling is happening now in March, most of the wines will be available shortly thereafter.

We started with two rosé wines. Easy drinking, fresh and fruity wines, with the one made from Cabernet Sauvignon being my favorite. Strawberry, red current and hints of green capsicum. Summer can come! (I know, the wine world is working hard for us consumers to drink rosé all year round - which of course I could. But. I am self confident enough to keep associating rosé wine with summer. Ha.)

Then came the burgundy varieties:
Blanc de Noir, made of Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). I don't really know why - but that wine style is just not mine. It is fashionable and popular, but I'll pass.
Then: Weisser Burgunder, Grauburgunder and Chardonnay. All showing the for our region and that age of wine typical aromas. My favorite was the Chardonnay. No oak. No malo. Plain Chardonnay. Tropical with a very nice acidity and without any disturbing sweetness (which I have sometimes found in German Chardonnays) (not that I can say that I have had that very many German Chardonnays yet) (remember? I'm the Riesling girl).

A Sauvignon Blanc was to follow. Which is a little project of Stefan himself and his father-in-law. Nice! The blackcurrant leaves and classical gooseberry, nice and dry with a good acidity. Fits well in row with my previously tasted Sauvignon Blances, two of which I have written about here... 

Riesling. Coming home. From a liter wine to three different vineyards. Just getting better all the time. Liter wines (Gutsweine) are often mixed with mineral water here in the Pfalz, to drink as Schorle (Spritzer). It gets more exciting, moving up to the vineyard wines.
All Rieslings were good - in their different ways. My personal favorites are the Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten, where the vines are 35 years old, which gives this beautiful, elegant minerality that is going so well with the white stone fruit aromas. And the Königsbacher Idig, that has a bit more of flintstone to it, it even showed herbal tones, very nice. All Rieslings were crisp and dry with high acidity - which I like.

The tasting was completed with a red wine from 2009. Spätburgunder that now came out of the barrique. It had all the structure, fruit and secondary aromas, but will now need some time on the bottle. I will buy that one and put it in my new cellar which is to be finished by summer, hopefully.

I love being home again and now getting the chance to meet these enthustiastic winemakers. How every inch of them is into this process. There was a lot of interesting expert-talk about different clones and yeasts, taking out old vines, planting new ones, deciding here and there and everywhere. Again, I got so excited just by hearing about all those many small (and big) steps, the different circumstances that every vintage year brings along, all that is within the chain of pre-vine to wine in glass.

February 19, 2011

I want my € 1.39-per-liter wine! Now! Gulp.

The DWI (German Wine Institute) has just announced the 2010 sales numbers of the German wine market. The total sales of wines (both, German and international wines) have gone down by 2,7%, while the quantities have remained more or less stable. This is connected to the increasing sales of wines at the discounters, where extreme price politics are usual business. Having read that, I need to formulate a few thoughts around this.

Last week, we spent a few days at Feldberg in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) region. We went to Lidl to get a few breakfast items... No, wine isn't really on our breakfast table - but can I pass a wine shelf without checking the bottles? No. Only, this time, what caught my attention was the signs, not so much the bottles themselves. Lot's of 1 € somethings... Reds and whites and rosés.


Jesus Christ. Where are we heading with our cheap-cheaper-cheapest mentality.........? W. T. H? Rotten meat, Dioxin in food chain, and several other scandals have shaken the country in the recent past. One important factor behind all this is undoubtedly the pressure to keep prices down, down, down. We - as in consumers - seem to not care, as long as we can get our food at low costs. Instead of cutting down on meats, going back to not having meat dishes every day of the week and therefore rather a good piece of it, we want it all and now and all the time. And the same goes for wine?! Hello? Can't afford a bottle of wine for 7, 8 € - well drink less of it then. Which is better anyway, right?

What is the low price per liter leading to? Are we going to drink a lot more for the same money? Or are we going to drink less, and thus actually saving money? That remains to be seen.

What is our goal? 0,30 € / liter - are we happier then?

Now! I am not at all a friend or a believer in Sweden's alcohol politics. But, at least there are people spending thoughts on alcohol and young people. I am not saying that they are doing the right thing with their constant taboos and brain washing with partly simply plain lies and misleading facts. But, there certainly is a certain awareness, that we seem to be lacking in our liberal (God, how thankful I am for that we are liberal!) society:

Considering all the problems we do have with young people (13, 14 year olds) becoming alcoholics, I can't see this new trend being of any help. Yes, we know, it was the alcopops (and their marketing) that started that problem for our society, the flat rate drinking at the discos, parents not having any time for their children anymore, schools ending too soon, leaving kids alone and without supervision at early age. So, yes, we need to work on this issue from several different starting points. We need to be using our common sense thing and we need to sharpen up. And yeah, and perhaps there are no statistics showing an increased risk for even more alcohol dependent children, just because Lidl and co are giving away the wines. WTH, it just feels wrong. Especially since there is no positive effect with this price dumping. (Or is there?)

And how does it help the local producers? With higher production costs in our country, compared to many other countries - how long and how far will they be able to keep up with this? And should they? And what happens now, with 2010 being this enormously lower quantities... Will they be thrown out of the discounter shelves?

Well, for now, it seems to still be working. As the DWI reports, 46% of the volumes and 52% of the sales of wine in Germany, are German wines after all. German wines are market leaders in Germany. That's nice.

February 08, 2011

MyPfalz: Hirschhorner Hof, Riesling Brut

MyPfalz (3) Monthly Sparkling - February
Hirschhorner Hof 
Riesling Sekt Brut 2007
Königsbach, Pfalz 
€ 16,50


Yellow apple and soft notes of peach mingle with brioche - the nose likes it! The crisp acidity and fruity taste are completed by wonderful minerality and end with a pleasant tickle of saltiness. Pronounced and quite lasting... Good... I want more. The bubbles (did I tell you I   l-o-v-e   wines with 'em) are many, small and cute and mouth filling. I keep it! Oh... it's empty.
Organically grown grapes are the base for this wine, which is fermented in a 1200 liter cask. Done the traditional way (2nd fermentation in the bottle), the degorgement was done by hand in 2010, with 2 g of dosage (grape must) added.

http://www.hirschhorner-hof.de/


This was entry no. 3 of my new series MyPfalz, click here to read more.