Tag Archives: Rheingau

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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Johannes Leitz – 7/02/2012

Once you get into the single vineyard wines, you start to see the quality of the vines and the subtle difference between each soil type and exposition.

Berg Roseneck Riesling 2010
A fascinating hint of beeswax on the nose, something I’ve never seen before.

Berg Kaisersteinfels Riesling 2010
An interesting white meat complexity, and the Schlossberg had a white berry character.

Berg Rottland Riesling 2010
A darker almost earthy mineral texture, more concentration yet slightly harsher acids.

The wines all had a certain richness from balanced residual sugar, and great depth of flavour. Johannes Leitz is getting the most out of his vineyards, that is for sure.

Johannes Leitz wines

Johannes Leitz wines

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Georg Breuer – 7/02/2012

The red wines are understandably lighter and fresher than most pinot noirs, showing fresh strawberry and cranberry notes, and they reminded me of the pinot noirs I tasted in the Finger Lakes.

Tasting through the Rieslings I found they displayed great purity of fruit, balanced acids and lovely fresh dryness. It was fascinating trying each of the vineyards, as they each had their own unique qualities and characteristics.

The standout of the 2009 vintage for me was the Berg Rottland.

The Nonnenberg 2009 had good minerality, but lacked any real character and definition, not bad but not exciting.

Considering the quality of the vineyards, I think there is so much more to be got out of them.

History of labels for the top Georg Breuer wine

History of labels for the top Georg Breuer wine

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Weingut Kuenstler – 8/02/2012

Finesse Trocken Riesling 2011
Such an approachable and versatile wine with a little residual sugar to offset the acids.

Hochheim Holle Riesling 2010
Very concentrated and exuberant.

Hochheim Holle Riesling 2009
More approachable now.

Hochheim Holle Riesling 2008
Tasted younger than the 2009.

Kosteim Weiss Erd Riesling 2009
A ripe tropical pineapple element to it, richer and fuller on the palate but still fresh.

Hochheim Kirchenstuck Riesling 2009
A sherbety juby character, and was more in the peach and mango spectrum of fruit. I actually found this was the best of the three single-vineyard wines I tried.

Hochheim Holle Auslese and Beerenauslese Riesling
Both had the same faint beeswax aroma I had seen before, but were both exceptionally concentrated without being overly cloying. These are wines of distinction, but also wines that require time in the bottle.

Weingut Kuenstler wines

Weingut Kuenstler wines

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Schloss Johannisberg – 8/02/2012

Rotlack Kabinett trocken and Feinherb)
More ripe tropical characters, and also a slight sweet herb note.

Silverlack Trocken Riesling 2009
Much richer and fuller, with a slight sweet corn and hot butter complexity.

Grunlack Spatlese Riesling 2010
Lovely rich ripe peach and apricot fruit notes, whilst retaining the freshness of acidity.

Goldlack Trockenbeerenauslese 2010
Sweet artichoke and olive oil viscosity and texture, lovely raisined richness and superb length.

Schloss Johannisberg wines

Schloss Johannisberg wines

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Balthasar Ress – 9/02/2012

Von Unserm Trocken Riesling 2010
Very sharp and lean on the palate, fresh and vibrant, but a little aromatically shy.

Hattenheimer Feinherb Riesling 2010
Lovely and approachable, exactly what you want out of this kind of wine, as it is malleable with food.

Hattenheim Engelmannsberg Riesling 2010
A much more textural and rich wine, and exhibited some nice wild honey characters on the back palate.

The wines in general were all very good examples of the variety and region, but for my under-developed but unbiased palate, seemed a little on the simple side, lacking distinct character or austerity. It will be interesting to see how the wine style evolves over the coming years, as there are apparently some big things happening in the winery currently.

Balthasar Ress wines

Balthasar Ress wines

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Does size count? (Rheingau, Germany – Day Three)

One of the greatest things about German white wines is the high levels of acidity that keep them fresh and make them live for so long in the bottle, also make them food-friendly and mouth-watering. The result is they make you hungry like an aperitif should. In the current climate, you naturally want robust hearty food that warms you up, such as bratwurst, wiener schnitzel and sauerbraten. Thus any of the weight I lost in France three weeks ago, I have subsequently put back on as my appetite has gotten bigger and I have been eating more protein and carbohydrates. This is why German Riesling and Asian food is so great together, as everything tends to be fresher and lighter. Not to mention the higher sugar levels and lower alcohols really keep the spice in check.

Robert Weil estate

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Weathering the storm (Rheingau, Germany – Day Two)

The previous evening it snowed in the Rheingau, so in the morning I got to see parts of the region under a beautiful blanket of white. It is amazing when you consider not only how small the Rheingau region is, but also how close you are to several other regions. For fun I put some of the other wineries I plan on visiting in other regions when I was in Rudesheim on the previous day. Amazingly, a winery in the Pfalz which is virtually two regions away, was still less than an hours drive. It really shows how such a small area can have such a big difference on a wine, particularly if it is made from the same variety. The Rheingau sits on the northern bank of the Rhine, the Nahe region on the eastern side of the Nahe River, and the Rheinhessen sits on the western side of the Nahe between the Rhine.

Commemoration statue at Schloss Johannisberg

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Let it snow (Rheingau, Germany – Day One)

The past week in Germany has highlighted that classic adage that timing is everything. As mentioned in my last post, due to the confluence of the time of year (post-Christmas, mid-Winter), estates being small and very busy (bottling, in Australia for the Frankland Estate International Riesling Tasting) and the short notice I was giving many estates, I wasn’t able to secure any appointments in the Rheinhessen. So it was with some regret that I move onto the Rheingau, again hoping that I will be able to meet with some producers at Prowein.The drive up the Rhine towards Mainz was quite lovely, and the clear days improve the extreme cold temperatures. The Rhine River itself is the largest in Germany, and the influence it has is quite profound, as the large body of water has a mitigating influence on temperature oscillations between day and night. In such extreme conditions as the Rheinland-Pfalz region of Germany where it can get very cold at night, this is essential for slow even ripening of the fruit. In conjunction with this it is important to find sites that have good steep exposition to the sun, which shines from the South in Europe. The Rheingau region is warmer than many of its neighbours, and thus achieving ripeness isn’t as difficult as it is in the Mosel. The climate also means that vintners can work with other varieties such as spatburgunder, grauburgunder and weissburgunder, as well as the noble Riesling variety. The region stretches for less than 50 km between Wiesbaden and Lorch, and includes vineyards on the Main River.

Vineyards above Rudesheim

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