Tag Archives: Mosel

The Vincast with Johannes Hasselbach from Weingut Gunderloch

Weingut Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen region of Germany is one the greatest wineries in Europe if you are in the know. They are the only winery in the world to have received 100 points for the same wine in three separate vintages, for their incredibly rare trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). Johannes Hasselbach hadn’t intended on running his family’s estate, until in 2010 when his father became ill (since recovered), and his sister who had been involved with the winemaking relocating to Austria to work with her husband. An intrepid philosophy led Johannes to travel and explore, and he has slowly began to introduce this into the winery since then. He joined me in the Treasury Gardens of Melbourne on a sunny morning to talk about his journey.

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Vintage 2012 - Day 23

Johannes Hasselbach from Weingut Gunderloch working hard in the vineyard

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The Vincast with Tom Barry from Jim Barry Wines & Clos Clare

Someone like Tom Barry is rare indeed, as he is probably one of only a few third-generation qualified winemakers in Australia. His grandfather Jim Brazill Barry was an early winemaking graduate of Roseworthy college in 1944, the first agricultural college in Australia, and the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley. Tom’s father Peter James also studied at Roseworthy, and Tom himself recently completed the course at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide which Roseworthy merged with some years ago. Being based in the Clare Valley, one of the most important varieties for Jim Barry Wines and Clos Clare (which he and brother Sam took over a few years ago) is undoubtedly riesling. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his background, the Clare Valley, and how important riesling is.

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Tom Barry

Tom Barry

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Eurocentric Tasting – 9/07/2013

Neville Yates imports wines from Europe, South Africa and New Zealand under his Eurocentric banner. I was first introduced to him when I was the wine buyer for King & Godfree, tasting a few of the wines with him. On my journey I visited some German wineries and caught up with several more at Prowein, leading me to surmise that he has one of the best collection of German producers in Australia. His range is eclectic at times with more than a few ‘natural’ producers that come up with some interesting examples. He was showing some of the new arrivals at Pei Modern in Melbourne.

Francesco Scanavino Diamant Blanc 2008
Very classic metodo classico nose. Generous fruit, fairly simple and clean on the front, hint if creamy texture.

Lancelot-Pienne Blanc de Blancs
Fairly developed open autolysis notes, very yeasty bready. Nice oxidative citrus.

Champagne Geoffroy Expression Brut
Cleaner tighter yeast notes. Rounder more earthy savoury dark berry notes, heavier on the pinot noir?

Champagne Secret Rosé
Open generous ripe red fruit nose, but tight fine and crisp savoury texture on the palate.

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Brut
Fine pure but very complex cheesy charcuterie nose. Bold full expressive combination of red citrus and subtle savoury meats.

Benoit Ente Bourgogne Aligoté 2009
Oak dominant chardonnay style. Soft gentle vanilla creamy texture, some white peach.

Gautheron Chablis 2011
Sharp fig kiwi skin, overly leesy. Flat and dull.

Domaine Oudin Chablis 2009
Rich creamy buttery chardonnay openness. Overworked flabby lacking focus and crispness.

Domaine Arnaud Tessier Meursault Casse-Tetes 2010
Nice developed stone fruit and oak maturity integrated. Bold and generous but not heavy or hot, fairly rich and creamy from malo, but elegant and complex.

Arnaud Ente 2008 Meursault
Much more exuberant and flintier, more citrus than stone. Fuller smokier toaster, better malo integration, dense.

Dombeya Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011
Big whack of ripe creamy juicy pineapple. Fairly soft subtle but showing that sweet vanilla pineapple crumble character.

Domaine Montvac Mélodine Vacqueyras 2011
Spicy quince apricot kernel. Open light round spice fruit friendliness.

Willi Schaefer Graacher Trocken 2011
Clean pure lime sherbet. Crisp very light pure and excellent for the price.

Schloss Lieser Dry 2011
More intense mineralic ripe deep fruit notes. More intensity and character, fuller fresher.

Emrich-Schönleber Monziger Halenberg Trocken 2011
Slightly earthy red soil minerality, subtle orange sherbet. Bold texture, generosity and density of fruit and acid.

Rebholz Kastanienbusch GG 2011
Open savoury earthy natural wild style. Subtle subdued broad. Singular.

Pierre Frick Riesling 2010
Candied oxidised pear banana caramel. Nondescript middling Alsace wine.

Grunhauser Bruderberg 2011
Intense quince floral kumquat notes. Density of viscosity and sugar, nice bite of acidic quince notes.

Emrich-Schönleber Lenz 2010
On the stripped side, de-acidified? Flat on the finish.

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Riesling 2009
Nice density and ripeness. Great depth and character, dry sweet well-balanced.

William Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Kabinett 2011
Spicy savoury mineral complexity, nice lively fruit profile, round and yet brisk.

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Kabinett 2011
Very quiet subtle nose, but delivering plenty on the palate, wonderful length and focus, but plenty of personality.

Rebholz Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Spätlese 2011
Wild green pepper spice fig. Generosity yet exquisitely balanced sweetness. Loving this producer.

Schäfer Frölich Halenberg Spätlese 2009
Nice talcy flinty lifted citrus floral minerality. Bold full viscous sweetness, but just a hint of complex savouriness.

Schäfer-Fröhlich Halenberg Spätlese 2005
Nice generous soft rich ripe but not heavy. Still plenty of life but looking simple currently.

Dombeya Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2012
Tight green under-ripe.

Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2012
Big tropical passion fruit. Delivers exactly what people want and is very good to boot.

Sebastian Riffault Akmèniné Sancerre 2008 (naturel)
Smells like pure honey. But still dry. Interesting, not sure it’s great though. Hipster wine?

Intellego Chenin Blanc 2011 Swartland
Interesting texturally. Different in terms of fruit to Vouvray etc.

Domaine de la Tournelle Trousseau des Corvées 2011
Clean sharp precise but good personality. Most certainly a food wine.

Roland Pignard Beaujolais Villages 2010
Strawberry spice. Very lovely.

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2011
Lean spicy under-ripe.

Pierre Thillardon Chenas Les Boccards 2010
Mean and lean, sharp.

Emile Ballard Le Grand Chemin 2008
Nice soft berry notes. Still on the sharp acidic side, a little aldehydic.

Scanavino Barbera d’Asti 2011
Tight brisk, great balance of dark fruits and spicy mulberry.

Domaine Des Espiers Cotes Du Rhone 2011
Bright fresh sufficiently savoury spicy but light and friendly with a touch of length.

Domaine Des Espiers Gigondas 2010
Earthy savoury spice, base of dark fruits underneath. Round soft yet fresh savoury red berries.

Domaine Faury Syrah 2011
Quite spicy and peppery. On the boring side…

Domaine Faury Saint Joseph 2009
A tad too much sweet oak.

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Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt – 31/01/2012

Kaseler Trocken Riesling 2010
Very mineral and flinty nose, nice balance, very approachable, apple and pear crispness, fresh and friendly, nice purity and lines.

Wiltinger Trocken Riesling 2010
More struck-match minerality, nicely balanced, less fruit character, hints of kale and parsley, fresh and clean, great finish.

Nies’chen Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
More gunpowder, floral honeydew melon, hints of paw paw, nice dry balance, complex and full, delicate pineapple tropicality.

Juffer-Sonnenuhr Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
Very subdued, a little sour, reminiscent of apple juice.

Josephshofer Kabinett Riesling 2010
Wonderful integration, lovely balance, off-dry and long, delicate fruit and floral notes.

Scharzofberger Kabinett Riesling 2010
Salty briny nose, slightly different texturally, good acid freshness, wonderful finish, nice balance, ageing potential.

Scharzofberger Kabinett Riesling 2010
Richer on the palate, lovely savoury off-dry, slight Japanese flavour.

Brauneberger Juffer-Sonneuhr Spatlese Riesling 2005
Beautiful richness, wonderful balance, nice long finish.

Auslese Gold Cap #10 Riesling 2010
Lemon barley cordial apple, extremely concentrated, amazingly deep and rich, lovely and fresh, great finish.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt tasting

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt tasting

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Clemensbusch – 30/01/2012

Vom Roten Shiefer Risling 2010
Slatey mineral, very fresh zingy nose, ripe lemon smoked honey, lemon sherbet, great brightness, textural fruit, zesty lime.

Marienburg Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2008
Peach blossom apricot and honey, nice clean and fresh, great concentration of fruit, nice balance, lovely pure expression, lime and grapefruit.

Marienburg Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
Really lovely zingy fresh fruit, fresh citrus and green papaya, citric acid spritz, very young.

Marienburg Grosses Gewachs Rothenffad Riesling 2010
Candied aromatics, dried banana, creamy soda, coke lollies. Intense minerals, rich fruit on the mid-palate, more complex and deep.

Marienburg Grosses Gewachs Falkenlay Riesling 2010
Rounder fuller depth, bright acid freshness, nice balance, very vibrant and fresh.

Marienburg Grosses Gewachs Falkenlay Riesling 2009
Riper tropical pineapple aromas, hints of oily kerosene, fuller texture and viscosity, ripeness and sweetness, some savoury earthy smokiness.

Marienburg Erste Lage Spatlese 2010
Talcy soapy, very delicate semi-sweet, ripe citrus and stone fruit, viscosity and texture.

Auslese Riesling 2006
Oiliness starting to show on the nose, quite treacly and syrupy, nice complex savoury elements, lovely warming fruit salad & custard.

Clemensbusch wines

Clemensbusch wines

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Heymann-Lowenstein – 30/01/2012

Schifeterassen Reserve Riesling 2010
Nice floral botrytised aromas, pear peach nectarine, brisk zippy acids, nice balance, hints of minerality, good concentration, a bit of texture, great clean finish.

Von Blauern Schiefer Riesling 2010
Slightly more candied nose and citrus, grapefruit concentration, sweetness doesn’t stand out, quite sharp, immense minerality.

Kirchberg Erste Lage Reserve Riesling 2010
Different minerality, slightly deeper, lime and peach, seems more complex and floaty.

Rottgen Erste Lage Reserve Riesling 2010
Much more intense, fuller more depth, riper stone fruit, acids more tempered, longer on the palate, very aromatic floral notes.

Uhlen Erste Lage B Reserve Riesling 2010
Very serious wine, blue slate, brooding complexity, very long, builds on the palate.

Uhlen Erste Lage LaubalyReserve Riesling 2010
Sweetness more prominent, broader rounder style, textural floral minerality.

Uhlen Erste Lage Rothlay Reserve Riesling 2009
Juby candied apricot, texturally very different, acids much lower in this vintage, apricot and orange.

Heymann-Lowenstein slates

Heymann-Lowenstein slates

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Max Ferdinand Richter – 2/02/2012

The wines from the Mulheimer Sonnenlay vineyard, which is a monopol owned exclusively by the estate, are more vibrant fresh and zingy in their acidity.

The Brauneberger wines tend to be more concentrated and subtle, with distinct minerality coming from the brown slate soil.

Moving up through the quality and sweetness scale, the wines began to exhibit some elderberry and tropical fruit characteristics with nice delicate viscosity to coat the mouth.

The Veldenzer Elisenberg wines contribute a further element of spice and herbs to them.

We finished with an Eiswine from 2010 (there will be no Eiswine from the 2011 vintage as the first frosts for winter only happened this week), which was extremely concentrated and syrupy, but having great acidity carries the flavours across the palate beautifully.

Max Ferdinand Richter wines

Max Ferdinand Richter wines

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The Vintage Experience

After two months an important part of my trip has concluded. Important not just because I learnt a lot about wine, but also as I needed work to get a working-holiday visa to remain in Europe all year. After 10 months of solid visits to wineries with a few brief intermissions, I was grateful for a break in wine when I travelled through the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands and Northern Germany before returning to wine, this time on the other side of the fence. Another thing I was grateful for was some money and the chance to stay somewhere for free for a few months, thus saving me some money that I didn’t have. It is with all sincerity that I thank first the Hasselbach family from Weingut Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen, and second Annegret Reh-Gartner and her team at Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt in the Mosel, for their generosity in welcoming me and allowing me to gain first-hand insights into German riesling.
Picking grapes in the Rheinhessen

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Vintage 2012 – Weeks Eight & Nine

My final two weeks of vintage were for the most part uneventful as the harvest concluded and the vast majority of work was cleaning and checking the fermenting tanks. I was very generously taken out for dinner and lunch by the domestic sales manager and the owner respectively, and on both instances got to eat some lovely German food. There were a couple of dinners to celebrate the end of vintage; first with the Romanian vineyard workers and then the cellar team who are all locals. The winery also welcomed a journalist and they opened some bottles going back to 1983, all of which I had the chance to taste as well.

Bernd working hard pressing botrytised fruit to get juice with high sugar content.
Niklas compacting grape marc for future distillation to make schnapps.
Range of wines tasted going back to 1983.
Freshly and heavily hand-pruned vines in the Scharzofberg vineyard.
Old shoots clinging to the trellis wire. Always reminds me of snakes.
Just so you know who owns this vineyard.
This is Alexandra, one of the Romanian friends I made in the vineyards.
Walking up those steep slopes pruning requires a rest break.

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Vintage 2012 – Week Seven

Week two at Kesselstatt was mostly the same as the first. The fruit coming in is of a very high quality, but unfortunately it is in quite small quantities. With the very cool and wet weather we have been having the ripeness is not as high as Wolfgang would like, but they are very healthy bunches with little rot. It is nice to get into a routine of checking the ferments followed by transferring filtered juice into fermentation tanks each day, but it can also be a little dull doing the same thing every day. Such is the beauty and the curse of working exclusively with white wine, as they require much less work than reds. Some of the days have been a bit shorter with much less work to do in the winery as a by-product of lower volumes but healthy fruit. Thursday was a holiday in Germany and Wolfgang was nice enough to take the team to a local restaurant for some hearty schnitzels.

Gorgeously ripe berries in the vineyards opposite Schloss Marienlay, covered in morning condensation.
Schloss Marienlay, the headquarters of Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt.
The Piesporter vineyards in the heart of the Mosel Valley.
The famous blue slate soils of the Mosel.

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