Thursday, July 21, 2011

Report from ... Reh Kendermann Wine Dinner @ The Toronto Hunt Club - May 11, 2011

Philippe Dandurand Wines (agent) invited Reh Kendermann's winemaker Philipp Maurer to Toronto to lead an experience of German wine with food.  Many think of Riesling as a sweet sipping wine and it's unfortunate that the only food most people think of is oriental, when Riesling pairs with so many other dishes. 

Many will find themselves scratching their heads wondering who Reh  Kendermann is and what wines they make.  Little do you know that you've probably experienced Reh's wines more than once in your lifetime ... Black Tower should ring bells with many of you, so yeah Reh has quietly been a part of your drinking past for many years, and now part of your future if you'll let him back into your hearts.

A Little About Reh ...
This winery has been family owned since 1920, they export 60% of their production and have four wineries (3 in Germany, 1 in Romania)

Tonight we got a chance to try the wines with their young winemaker (32), Philipp Maurer, who has been with Kendermann since 2005.  We sampled 7 different wines from the portfolio: the 3 opening wines, 2 Rieslings: Black Tower and Bend in the River; and an absolutely stunning Kendermann 2007 Pinot Noir (did you know that Germany is the 3rd largest Pinot Noir producer in the world?)

I have to admit the pairings with the food were a little awkward and clumsy at times - the food was excellent and the wines ranged from good to excellent, but together they did not seem to mesh as seamlessly as all had hoped.  So let's just focus on the wines here.

Tonight's Wines ...
Favourite wine of the night was the Carl Reh 2008 Riesling Kabinett ($12.95) from the Mosel region and with only 8.5% alcohol.  This is a classic style Riesling with slate, stone and mineral all over the smell, followed by a more mineral driven palate that has crisp fresh apples within - a bargain at under $13 and available at selected LCBO locations, stock up for what is left of summer while you still can. (****)

There are also two sister wines Kendermann produces and they are based on the saoil in which the grapes are grown: Roter Hang (Red Hill/Slope) and Kalkstein (Limestone) - they use the same winemaking style for each wine, the only difference is the soil: the Roter is grown in 200 million year old soils, while the Kalkstein is grown in a very youthful 20,000 year old soil (youthful for soil anyway).  I have tried these wines in the past and seem to gravitate towards the younger wine with its pure limestone and slate nose, and chalky mineral mouthfeel ... I have a 2004 version of this wine in my cellar that I look forward to trying soon (Philipp says I have a few years yet).

Our final wine was the decadently sweet Kendermann Laurentiuslay Riesling Auslese with its palate of ginger candy, pear and great balancing acidity that keeps it in harmony within the confines of the mouth without becoming all cloying and sickeningly sweet.  Lovely as a dessert all on its own.

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