Tag Archives: Pfalz

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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Weingut Christmann – 15/02/2012

Trocken Riesling 2010
An orange blossom nose with a great lemon pith texture in the mid-palate. There was great balance and freshness in this wine, vibrant acidity and purity of fruit.

Gimmeldingen Trocken Riesling 2010
A slightly dustier reductive citric nose, and was more delicate in its mineral complexity.

Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling 2010
Even more subdued in character, but had a fuller and richer palate structure, and included some roasted vegetable complexity.

Mandelgarten Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
Much more intense in colour and viscosity. On the nose it was slightly toasty and flinty, but on the palate was loaded with minerality. This was a wine of pure personality, and would cry if it were drunk too young.

Weingut Christmann wines

Weingut Christmann wines

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J.L. Wolf – 15/02/2012

Weissburgunder 2010
Thrilled to see a balanced yet textural weissburgunder that actually had some personality.

Grauburgunder 2010
Disappointed to taste a very simple grauburgunder, presenting as out-of-balance with too much sweetness and lacking in extension on the palate.

Riesling Trocken 2010
A great expression of cool-climate riesling, lovely and fresh citrus notes with good acid fruit balance.

Wachenheimer Riesling Trocken 2010
Lovely floral peach nectarine freshness on the nose, and some residual sugar derived texture and viscosity to offset the acids.

Wachenheimer Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2010
Much more subtle and haunting on the nose, and significantly more complex and intense, finishing with a slight herbal spice element.

Pechstein Spatlese Trocken 2010
Sourced from the top parcel, and has a very volcanic explosive nature on the nose and palate, with everything turned up to 11. It also presents as very wild and unpredictable, something that would be fascinating to see develop in the bottle.

J.L. Wolf tasting

J.L. Wolf tasting

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Mueller-Catoir – 15/02/2012

Haardt Riesling 2010
A lovely talcy citrus nose, great freshness and intensity.

Gimmeldingen Riesling 2010
A fuller and richer mid-palate grapefruit white berry character.

Musbach Riesling 2009
Presented a steely minerality and more opulent yet sea-salty palate.

Buergergarten Riesling 2010
Had a shy and complex nose, but showed the density and depth of the lower yields and higher ripeness level.

Herrenletten Riesling 2010
In a similar vein, but had a more tropical and floral component on the nose, and richer earthier mid-palate structure, a more powerful expression.

Mandelgarten Riesling 2010
Expressed slight porous rock minerality, and a fossilised salty texture but not flavour.

Breunel in den Mauern Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
From the Buergergarten vineyard, was astonishingly complex and elegant, expressing superb consistency of fruit and a unique mineral texture and balance.

Two of the Mueller-Catoir wines

Two of the Mueller-Catoir wines

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Dr. Bassermann-Jordan – 16/02/2012

The basic rieslings are all very clean and fresh examples of the variety, and possibly the best value I have tasted, particularly the Pionier 2011.

Jesuitengarten Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
Had a rich mineralic honeyed peach nose, ripeness and texture on the palate and wonderful concentration and balance.

Jesuitengarten Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2008
Quite closed but slightly perfumed, had some richness and savoury elements, and was beginning to pick up some oily nectarine complexity.

Kalkofen Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
Much quieter than the Jesuitengarten, showing more earth and citrus with a firestone warmth on the palate.

Kalkofen Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2009
Brighter and juicier, and more approachable now than the 2010 is. It still has some of the earthy notes, but it is also picking up some subtle toasted nut complexity.

Pechstein Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2007
Unmistakable brooding contemplative nature of other vintages and estates. After almost five years it is showing some great tertiary characters, such as a sweet oily texture, dark currant concentration and superb volume. It is not a riesling for the feint of heart.

Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen Auslese 2007
Lovely and fresh with good balance of acids and sweetness, but isn’t really a patch on the sweet wines of the Mosel.

Hohenberg Kabinett Riesling 1976
Lovely and rich golden but not at all brown in colour. On the nose there was a fascinating lemon barley cordial and orange peel aroma, along with candied ginger and blackcurrant tea. On the palate there was so much complexity it was hard to pinpoint, but I did see some caramelized onion and hard cheese in there. It was nice to take the taste of this wine with me as I said farewell.

Two vintages of Dr. Bassermann-Jordan Jesuitengarten

Two vintages of Dr. Bassermann-Jordan Jesuitengarten

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Dr. Buerklin-Wolf – 16/02/2012

Gaisbohl GC Riesling 2009
A monopol vineyard owned exclusively by the estate, a rich and slightly oily nose, and ripe strawberry lime cordial viscosity and weight, with full texture from a little residual sugar.

Hohenmorgen GC Riesling 2009
A very delicate toasted nut and green minerality, with less intensity of fruit and more mid-palate savoury texture and length.

Pechstein GC Riesling 2009
Similar to the J.L. Wolf I had tasted the previous day, showed the influence of the unique volcanic basalt soil composition. It showed a much darker more intense yet subdued fruit character, was quite brooding for a riesling, had great purity yet many dimensions.

Ungeheuer Riesling Trocken 2003
Retaining very ripe tropical pineapple primary fruit, but picking up some nougat and honey bottle-aged characters, lacking in oiliness though.

Reiterpfad Riesling 1999
Some wild sweet spice subtlety on the nose, and a glazed orange and custard palate, very soft and slightly toasty.

Pechstein “R” 1998
A special sweet wine produced from an outstanding vintage. It had a lovely rich yet haunting nose of kerosene, nuts, caramel and lime, with astonishing complexity and depth on the palate, creamy toasty and earthy at the same time. I was tempted to buy a bottle at only 35€.

Pre-biodynamic wines of Dr. Buerklin-Wolf

Pre-biodynamic wines of Dr. Buerklin-Wolf

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Weingut Knipser – 17/02/2012

Blauer Spatburgunder 2009
Quite intense dark fruit, and is more like a cabernet franc than a pinot noir.

Kalkmergel Spatburgunder 2009
Very aromatic, having a red berry and slight leather component, and was quite dense yet supple on the palate finishing somewhat earthy like the Blauer Spatburgunder of the same vintage.

Kirscharten Grosses Gewachs Spatburgunder 2007
Very intense yet subtle, combining forest fruits and black cherry with velvety tannins and persistent length.

Kirscharten Grosses Gewachs Spatburgunder 2008
Much tighter in the tannins and brighter on the nose, showing more minerality and freshness.

Burgweg Grosses Gewachs Spatburgunder 2008
Much softer earthier palate with broader tannins, red fruit freshness and less acid concentration.

The winery also makes wines from other red varieties such as syrah and Bordeaux grapes, but the wines are less consistent and better in warm vintages.

Laumersheimer Kapellenberg Trockenbeerenauslese 2003
Deemed the best dessert wine in the world by Decanter Magazine. It was a rich bronze colour, had a very subtle quiet nose, and on the palate combined walnuts, cornbread, treacle and dried muscatels.

Knipser Burgweg 2008 GG Spatburgunder

Knipser Burgweg 2008 GG Spatburgunder

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Outside the square (Pfalz, Germany – Day Three)

After two and a half weeks of sub-zero temperatures, seven degree temperatures feel positively balmy in comparison. It’s almost to the point that I don’t need to wear my thermals under my clothes every time I go outside. It is nice to get to the point now when I am actually noticing a difference in my understanding of not only riesling, but also German riesling. My palate has picked up enough experience in the past three weeks to be able to detect subtle differences between vineyard sites within the same region, and the subtleties of style between producers and regions. My limited experience with German riesling back home was negligible at best, but at least I was able to determine quality. It is so nice to be able to take that further and understand the nuances, particularly when working with the top grosses lager wines and sweet wines. My appreciation and respect for these wines has risen sharply, so much so that German white wines are some of the finest and diverse I have ever tasted.

Old barrels in the cellars of von Buhl

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Heir splitting (Pfalz, Germany – Day Two)

There seems to be a revolution taking place in the German wine industry, perhaps in reaction to market perceptions of the wine they produce. During the 1990s and 2000s there seemed to be a move away from the large volume blended sweet and fruity white wines of the 1970s and 1980s, towards very steely crisp and bone-dry wines. Today there seems to be a movement away from the aromatic and bright dry wines towards more complex textural and rich wines that retain concentration and mid-palate structure. Wineries also seem to be shifting towards more traditional techniques in an effort to craft wines in this style. Firstly in the vineyard the VDP is introducing classification of better parcels of vineyards, much like the French appellation system, and there also seems to be a movement to organic and biodynamic viticulture. Secondly in the cellars winemakers are reintroducing practices like extended must contact, barrel fermentations and oxidative handling. After almost three weeks in six German regions I am starting to wrap my head around the varietal, and see how each region expresses the variety using terroir and winemaking.

Vineyards near Bad Durkheim

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Pfalz start (Pfalz, Germany – Day One)

After four and a half months of visiting a few hundred wineries on three continents, it’s interesting looking back and deciding which were the best to visit, but not necessarily had the best wines. When I had the owner of the winery as a host it was always fascinating as you get the full story, and can ask any question and get a thoughtful and clear answer. Whether they own the winery or not, it is also great to get the perspective of the winemaker as they are the ones determining the style of the wine, and can also provide much more technical answers. Sometimes it has been great to get the perspective of a commercial/marketing director, as they provide insights on dynamics and branding. With no disrespect intended (particularly as I have worked in the position myself), rarely do hospitality/cellar door hosts provide any insights into the winery, and often are unable to provide all the answers. This is not to say that I don’t have enjoyable or interesting visits with these hosts, but I don’t always learn something. Occasionally they also don’t understand the nature of my visit, and in extreme cases ask if I would like to buy any bottles in spite of my restricted budget. This mostly happened in North America though.

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