Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No Pfalz starts

Orchestral tours are fun but sometimes you end up at a loose end in a place like Ludwigshafen. If you happen to have a free day in one of Germany's least attractive cities take a trip of 22 km's to Laumersheim and you're in the heart of one of the great wine areas. Accompanied by three intrepid low brass colleagues, three of whom actually admit to being able to play the ophicleide (a wondrous feat in itself), I arrived at the famous Knipser winery at 10.30. We were truly well looked after and spent the entire morning tasting just about everything this superb winery has to offer. And there were some truly lovely offerings. I wasn't completely overwhelmed by the dry Riesling Kabinett's, but realised later that perhaps my morning palate had been rather ruined by my after breakfast ablutions. For morning wine tasting lose the toothpaste. But after a while the superb quality of Knipsers wines began to win through on my palate. The highlights were both reds, although the Weissherbst (Spätburgunder) is a truly delightful wine which I look forward to revisiting next summer. A 2004 Spätburgunder Spätlese really captivated me with memroies of my Grandad's tobacco pouch mixed with ripe cherries and distant roadworks... as well as those lovely farmyard aromas. The Cuvee X was also terrific but a tad expensive, and needing cellaring time which I can't really give . Another delightful and unusual offering was a Gelber Orleans, a grape that Knipser is reviving with remarkable results. Reports will follow, the wine is in as of today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Weiser-Künstler Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling Spätlese 2008

There seem to be quite a few German wines that bear the name Künstler. Artist. In Holland it's become almost a dirty word, if we were te believe Geert Wilders, all artists are just a bunch of sponging layabouts. Anyway having not blogged for a few weeks, I feel I really need to indulge my true left wing hobby... sniffing into wine glasses. And what better than to indulge in a great Mosel Riesling. Weiser Künstler is the producer of this truly wonderful Spätlese. To be drunk by wise artists...
Explosive nose with honeydew melon, pineapple, and lemon zest. Wonderfully summery and tropical. On the palate the balance is extraordinary with added minerality and spiciness. Clean and long. Gorgeous.
Sourced from Rieslinghuis

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This week's riesling delights

Jos. Christoffel Jr. 1994 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese*

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this wine. Auslese? I expected quite a bit of sweetness and depth. What I did get was a blast of petrol in the nose, or maybe even asphalt, as well as fruitiness more in the realm of not quite ripe peaches, as well as mineral notes and orange peel slightly dried. It seemed rather enormous actually and once I got used to this pungent concoction I must admit to it drinking rather well. But any great expections of fruity sweetness were not realised. I couldn't quite decide if this was all of a piece, or perhaps just slightly past it's best. Or maybe not even there yet. I definitely have to try this again...just to make sure. Bought this from Rieslinghuis and still 15€!

Van Volxem 2007 Schiefer Riesling (Saar)
This is van Volxem's basic riesling. Doesn't seem too basic to me! Seemed very much in harmony with itself. Clean fresh citrus and mineral nose and very subtle flavour which didn't force itself on me. But... for slightly less €....

Becker Steinhauer 2008 "Die Steinmauer" Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese Trocken

This wine just knocks me out! Yeasty peachy, orange zest and grapefruit with fresh dry acidity. A really uncompromisingly dry Spätlese. Powerful nose with such fabulous complexity for around 10€! What a steal. Sourced from

Hexamer 2009 Meddersheimer Rheingräfenburg Riesling Spätlese

Quite an intense spicy sweet centre on the nose. This one really has a lot of bite and zippy acidity to set off the almost intensely sweet centre. Plenty of fruit in there too. It's just bursting out of the glass and with low alcohol 7.5% too. I get the feeling Hexamer rather likes more extroverted acidity. Bought direct from Hexamer at €12.80 which seems to say... buy more. I reckon this will just be amazing in 5 years time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Awash with new goodies

It's a grey and murky day in The Hague. But the gloom has somewhat been lightened by some very welcome arrivals. Firstly a box of goodies from Weingut Hexamer in Meddersheim (Nahe). A riesling spätlese 2009 Meddersheimer Rheingräfenburg really hit the spot for me lately. Incredible sappy fruits, melon peachy but tingling with zippy racy acidity. This is one you really have to drink on the second day after the half bottle you carefully save has calmed down a bit. Wonder how this one performs in 5 years time. I doubt that the 6 bottles still left will last that long. A couple of Kabinetts from '08 and '09 completed the package.

Then a call came in from my excellent retailer Le Bouchon in the Valeriusstraat, that my selection from the last tasting was ready for collection.

Highlight of this lot will be a 1997 Amarone from Monte Zovo. But the Ripassi and Ca linverno should really hit the spot as well.
The complete list of today's arrivals
Weingut Harald Hexamer (Meddersheim, Nahe)
2009 Riesling Auslese** 2x
2008 Riesling Kabinett 2x
2009 Riesling Kabinett 2x
From Le Bouchon
All reds...
Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella Selezione 1997 1x
Monter Zovo Ca'linverno 2004 6x
Monte Zovo Valpolicella Classico Sup. Ripasso 2005 3x
Guerrieri Rizzardi Valpolicella Classica Ripasso Pojega 2007 3x
Barone Ricasoli Guicciarda Chianti Classico Ris. 2006 3x
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia La Serre Nuove 2006 1x
St Pauls Blauburgunder Exclusiv 2007 1x

I'll be posting my impressions as we go.

So, I'm blogging.

I never thought I'd start a blog, but here we are!
I'll be covering some of the subjects and passions of my life. Trombones, music and wine especially German and Italian wine. I've always enjoyed wine but recently I've begun to try to write down my thoughts and become a bit more logical and systematic in my approach. Ít's been an incredible pleasure to make the acquaintance of excellent German wine. Living here in Holland I'm quite close to several great areas like the Ahr and  Mosel Valleys. I can be in the Ahr in less than three hours and one river further it's the great and spectacular Mosel valley. I've long been under a serious misapprehension about German (and especially Mosel) wine. I'll be sharing some of my tasting notes here.