Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Report from ... Germany – Uber Wine Tasting - May 6, 2008

With winery names well beyond the pronunciation capabilities of your average North American, Germany has long been a tongue twister of a wine region for many. Unfortunately, I’m not about to facilitate anything. Having sat through a lecture on Terroir, Ripeness and Style – with each presenter getting up and speaking better English than I could ever speak German, rhyming off names of vineyards, wineries and regions which rolled off their tongue like butter on a hot roll and then they’d segue back to English with ease. I still can’t get some of these names out, and I heard them being said a few times; the good news is you don’t have to be able to pronounce it to enjoy it – you just have to be able to find it.

Riesling is still king in Germany (20,627 ha); Pinot Noir seems to be her Queen (11,371 ha) and the rarely-seen-on-a-label (over here anyway) Rivaner, their prince, in the middle (14,983 ha). Today I tried a few Rieslings, but also looked at a grape not even listed in the top 8 of Germany’s white grapes: Gewurztraminer, with some very good results.

Riesling …
Tops in the seminar, and a continued favourite throughout the day, was the St. Urbans-Hof 2007 Riesling Spatlese Oakfener Bockstein ($ high-30’s low-40’s) … fabulous single vineyard offering, big acid citrus bite in this, a sweet wine; good complexity of fruit and minerals; long floral spicy finish … great sippability. As you sit and sip somehow it all comes together in ones mind, both Riesling giants of Ontario: Cave Spring and Vineland – have links to this winery, and it shows in their wines.

Other Rieslings of Note …

Studert-Prum Maximinhof 2007 Riesling Kabinett Wehlener Sonnenuhr - $19.95 (Mosel) … very nice clean sweetness to this wine. Apples, pears, peaches – classic Mosel smells and tastes – and it is very tasty.

Reh Kendermann 2007 Kendermanns Terroir Schiefer Riesling Dry - $13.00 … the beautiful nose leads one to believe sweetness is destined for the tongue, but the very dry lemon-mineral palate tells a different story.

Foundation Estate Blue Nun Winemaker’s Passion 2006 Riesling – under $11 … don’t laugh, this is not the nun you grew up on – balanced apples and peaches … very hip and now, not the sickeningly sweet white you remember from yesteryear.

Markus Molitor 2005 Riesling Auslese Zeltinger Deutscheherrenberg - $48.00 (Mosel) … we’re getting up there on the sweetness scale, but the balance here is amazing – peach and apple brings the sweet, pear and apricot brings the flavour and there’s just a touch of fizz which keeps this from cloying. Yum-my!

Schloss Reinhartshaussen 2002 Riesling Kabinett Erbacher Schlossberg - $17.95 (Rheingau) … muted nose gives way to a powerful palate. Petrol developing nicely with apricot and dried pear woven in. Coming August 2008.

St. Urban-Hof 2007 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling - $17.50 (Mosel) … besides telling you it’s tasty, fruity, and well-priced for something ageworthy or drink now, and a touch sweetness guiding it along; what more is there to say. Quality is excellent (see above). Coming early 2009.

Gewurztraminer …

Darting 2005 Gewurztraminer Kabinett Durkheimer Nonnengarten (Pfalz) … big spicy nose, full in the mouth with a bit of telltale Gewurzt oiliness – great rose petal finish. Was at Vintages, let’s hope it comes back.

Weingut Gunderloch 2006 Gewurztraminer - $19.95 (Rheinhessen) … floral, spicy, rose petal with good, clean, smooth finish – none of the oiliness. Very nice.

Two More of Note …

Antigua Rotwein Eiswein - $40/375ml … a Pinot Noir Eiswein with great cherry and black fruit sweetness. Yum! Only 10.5% alcohol.

Weingut Fitz-Ritter Riesling Sekt bA Extra Dry - $16.00 (Pfalz) … dry, crisp, clean yet fruity with fresh minerality – perfect for summer or anytime, and at a great price. (Consignment through Vinexx).

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