Saturday, November 10, 2007

Teutonic Takeover - Austrian & German wine tasted today

Today in the shop we had a killer line-up of Austrian and German wines:

Schloss Gobelsburg Brut Reserve NV - This is a combo of Gruner Veltliner, riesling and pinot noir from the '01 and '02 harvests. As always, this is amazing bubbly; it seems to be getting better each year I taste it. And, as always, this is my favorite bubbly that is not Champagne, better than many an NV champagne that I taste. All this for under $30. On the nose the GruV comes through with its spice and clean citrus tones. Pure, pristine and invigorating on the palate, with excellent length. I'd love to stash a few of these away for 2-3 years. In fact, I'ma gonna do it.

August Kesseler Spatburgunder Assmanshausen Hollenberg 2004

Dark cherry, pommard like nose leads to a juicy, focused palate of PN fruit, with some good minerality. Serious wine, this. It is just as I remember it: very good spatburgunder, if a bit pricey for what it is.

Renner Zweigelt Burgenland 2005 -

Plums on the nose. On the palate, this wine is a solid, persistent mid-weight, with the density and dryness that I prefer my Zweigelts to have. Some versions run a bit too sweet, this one is just about right. Persistent as well.

Gritsch Singerriedel Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2006 -

Sort of like a vinous, Playskool 'My First Gruner Veltliner.' Similarly, one might consider this as a gateway GruV. In other words, this is pleasant wine, with stone fruits on the nose and palate and an easy-going, round, mouthfeel. It does not have the snappiness and acidity of a light-weight gruner veltliner, nor does it have the spice, weight, minerality or flavor authority of more ambitious gruner veltliner. As such it's not the wine for me, but maybe for someone who wants to say they're drinking GruV but would really rather be drinking something else?

Nikolaihof Riesling Wachau 2005

I really like this wine. A lot. It must have taken me 5+ minutes to get over this wine and move on to the next one. Maybe 10. The nose was full of that lees goodness, like some oatmeal with milk and dried apricots mixed in. More of the same on the palate, with a beautifully soft, rich character, and completely seamless. A lesson in texture. As I type this note, I'm listening to the best reggae version of an R&B or funk song I've ever heard - it's distractingly good. It's some Jamaican studio band I don't recognize covering 'Shaft,' on a Bigga Bush compilation. WOW!!!

Freie Weingartner Domaine Wachau Achleiten Riesling 1993 -

14k gold color. Intense, baked stone fruits on the nose. Lots of other things going on as well, really intense and complex aromas. As exciting as the wine was on the nose, it was equally boring on the palate. Very soft, subtle and understated, so much so that I wondered what happened to the beautiful wine that I smelled. Either I need a lesson in appreciating subtlety, or this wine is just in a weird point of its evolution. Too bad there was not enough left in the bottle to put in the fridge for a few days and track its development. I had a bottle of 1982 Cuvee Fallstaff from this winery that was a lot more impressive.

Heidi Schrock Weisburgunder 2006

Clean pear and white nectarine on the nose lead to a delicious, delightful palate of Pinot Blanc from one of its most skillful growers in Austria. Fun wine, great producer.

Jakoby-Mathy Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Kabinett 2006

Aromas of lime, spiced pear and slate jump from the glass and lead to one pretty, tasty, Riesling. Very drinkable, and it tastes the way a Mosel Kabinett should.

Heribert Kerpen Bernkasteler Bratenhofchen Riesling Spatlese 2006

Way ripe, one-dimensional and simple Spatlese. I have liked H. Kerpen's Wehlener Sonnenuhr offerings before and was looking forward to tasting this. Unfortunately, there is just not a lot there.

Hauth-Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 1996

More '96 - YES! I was not familiar with this producer, but the wine definitely left a huge impression on me. I'm wondering how this estate has fallen under the radar. A tropical guayabana-like nose leads to a palate of delicious, silky, maturing Kabinett. Loads of kaffir lime flavors and mouth-watering acidity. Delicious wine that should still have a few years of improvement ahead of it.

Hauth-Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 1994

Even better than the above. The nose had a bit more sweetness, almost a sweet quinine aspect to it. Very similar to the '96 Kabinett on the palate, with more length and a minerality not as thoroughly integrated as on the Kabinett. Delicious now and probably a lot more so in 5 years.

MYSTERY WINE (I think it was Kurt Darting Durkheimer Spielberg Riesling Spatlese 1977)

This was very mature Riesling, with creme brulee and a strongly caramelized nose - which would make sense given the caramelized notes Pfalz rieslings tend to show. The fruit is barely hanging in; it tastes like bitter oranges and limes that have been hanging out in the fridge for too long but you have to use them because it's all you have. Also there is a lack of purity on the nose and palate that I can't ignore. An interesting wine to taste, but I'll pass this dutchie to the left hand side - and probably not come back to it.