Inspired by Simon Jones' Markgräflerland report, I have opened a bottle of this. If you have read it (and if not - why not?), then I don't need to tell you what the Markgräflerland is, nor what Gutedel means, nor who Ziereisen is. With all that competently taken care of, let's dive right in:
Recently on this very site, we had a little discussion on the future of German reds going that put the spotlight on German wines in the global scheme of things. We enjoyed that. Making great sweeping claims about the future of wine is, after all, the bread and butter of any self-respecting wine blogger. What we enjoy even more, though, is when we can go regional on you, for there is nothing, really nothing that enhances the enjoyment of wine more than a sense of place. We can't do nearly as much wine travelling as we would like to, but we have been lucky enough to have very special guest bloggers reporting on regions and issues that they know intimately. This time, we have asked Basel-based Simon Jones, whose not-just-wine blog From Blackpool to Basel we recommend warmly, to share his knowledge about a patch of land that is not nearly as well known as it deserves to be. As always with our guest rambles, we invite you to do what we have done: Enjoy, and learn.
After two years of mostly going for Riesling, I currently find myself drinking more and more Pinot, specifically Pinot Blanc and Gris. Well, surprise, this is another of those bastards, and despite being made from the same grape variety it is not exactly like your average Italian Pinot Grigio. It is Grauburgunder time, and yet again am I turning to the warm South-West of Germany, to enjoy a wine from the Kaiserstuhl region.
The first thing to notice about it is the colour. Colour is always difficult to capture well in a photograph, and this one does not quite bring across the fairly dark, gold-brown that the Salwey wine radiates. Pretty, really pretty.
Silvaner time again. After our Silvaner appreciation campaign last year, we were not planning to keep quiet about it in 2010. But it still needed Lukas Krauß engaging defense of the grape here to put it back on the immediate menu. Based on the river Main north of Würzburg, in classic Silvaner territory, Rudolf May is making his Wine Rambler debut today (he must be so nervous...).
If you have read the Wine Rambler recently, you will have been introduced to the Knipser family as specialists for red wine - from Syrah to the Cuvée X, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon / Franc and Merlot, the Knipser winery in Rhineland-Palatinate does it all. Among the many other grape varieties grown is Riesling, and today I have the distinct pleasure to write about a late harvest Riesling that is not only a great example of a dry, focussed white wine, but is also, I like to think, seriously good value.
I cannot drink, or even think of, this wine without the memories coming back. It was a couple of years ago, and almost summer, and the Wine Rambler committee visited the Mosel. One of our stops was the village of Traben-Trarbach, where we visited the Müllen winery - and we got more than we bargained for. The full story is better to be told over a glass of Riesling, but very generous tasting samples that kept and kept and kept coming are part of it. And stories that kept and kept and kept coming. And there was a bit about a cat. We sampled many Rieslings that day, different styles too, and also a few other varieties. Among them was an impressive Pinot Blanc, a Weißburgunder, and today I opened the last bottle.
Recently we reported on a somewhat unusual German wine, a Syrah from the Pfalz. As this wine got a lot of interest, I decided it was time to open a bottle of another, unusual, red wine from the same producer. After having sampled the 2003 Syrah it was time to try the flagship wine of the Knipser winery, the Cuvée X, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot - all grow in Germany, just a few miles left of the Rhine.
One day it will become summer again. And when that happens you will want to drink a wine like this one here - or at least you should. The aptly named 'Sommer Cuvée' ('Sommer' being German for 'summer') is one of the basic wines of the Salwey winery. They make it from 95% Silvaner and 5% Riesling, two grapes the Wine Rambler loves. Together, they produce a light and fresh wine that is just a pleasure to drink.
It is time again to drink a Salwey wine - this time with Borough Wines and the Winesleuth as part of my mission to spread the word on German wine. Salwey is a producer I really like. Based in the hot South-West of Germany, they specialise in Pinot (Noir, Gris, Blanc), but do also demonstrate that you can make good Riesling and Chardonnay in the hot, volcanic area of the Kaiserstuhl.
This Pinot Noir comes from the Oberrotweiler Käsleberg, a terraced vineyard with loam soil that is said to produce wines that develop quickly and have an elegant note to them. Is this reflected in the Spätburgunder in front of us?
This second, sadly wine-free, instalment of the series on how to fight comment spam (read the first here) is looking into identifying and fighting spammers in a slightly different way. While the method I describe in this posting is not for everyone, the information may still be of interest to you, especially if you want to understand how many visitors your website has, what Google Analytics does, what server logfiles are and how to interpret these numbers through software such as Webalizer or AWStats.
Like most bloggers we are curious to know who is reading our blog. Some of our readers we know through the comments they leave, emails that they send, through Twitter or even personal contacts - which, I hasten to add, makes them more than just 'readers' but partners in a conversation. Even so, as a blogger you also want to know about those who just read your blog and do not directly engage with you – maybe to boost your ego ('Hundred people visit my blog every day.') or because you want to know if you are doing a good job engaging the visitors, i.e.: do they return? do they spend much time on the site? what proportion of your readers leave comments? where are they from?
Basically, there are three ways of finding out about this. [read the full post...]
When german Riesling is praised for its "finest perfume of fruit supported by a lightweight frame", it would seem that its ever-delicate balance must be so fragile that it would never survive contact with heavy, savoury food. Not so. To realise what Riesling can do with Sauerkraut, black pudding and liver sausage, you need to have tasted this classic german pairing* (do not, I repeat do not, take the Wine Rambler's word for anything).
For this, you need a Riesling that is dry rather than fruity, steely rather than floral, firm rather than ethereal. You need, in short, a dry Kabinett from the Pfalz. You also need good Sauerkraut and freshly made (raw, that is) sausages, of course. In what may simply be a local tradition or may have deeper and more sinister reasons of carnivore logistics, Munich butchers offer these every Friday.
We have enjoyed his wines. We adore his website. We follow his tweets. And we are now proud to present palatine wine grower, hat fashion model and Silvaner advocate Lukas Krauß as a very special Wine Rambler guest blogger. Without further ado, enjoy what he has to say on a grape close to his, and our, heart. Enjoy, and learn.
... even more good things arrive!
You may find a wonderful surprise delivered to your doorstep! I can already say I am going to enjoy this. A lot!
It is time again to write up some wine relate news: the juicy, the interesting, the random and all other sorts of miscellaneous wine information the Wine Rambler happened to stumble upon over the past few weeks.
I don't know how this always happens, but again we have a few miscellanies on the wide and, potentially, attractive topic of 'women and wine'. 'Potentially attractive' would perhaps be a good way of referring to something I came across the other day on the website of the Austrian Kronen Zeitung. Every so often you will find men and women stripping in front of a camera, to produce a calendar that supports some good cause (fight against cancer, making money etc.). Recently, the Austrians got a dozen women (almost) naked to support the Austrian wine industry. Personally, I think Austrian wine is good enough not to need that kind of support, but the organiser feels that the calendar will support the marketing of Austria's good wine in a 'modern and personable way'. 'Who', she say, 'would be better suited for this than our own vintner offspring?' So they put twelve (almost, I hasten to add again) naked daughters of vintners in wine related surroundings (vineyards, cellars etc.), decorate them with stockings and all the like and think that this will help to improve the image of Austrian wine. [read the full post...]
Uncertain what you are looking at here? Somehow strangely attracted yet also confused? Doubtful whether this actually belongs on a wine blog?
If this is what you feel looking at the above picture then welcome to my world of confusion and doubt about a wine of which I am not sure if it should exist at all. What do you do with a wine clocking in at 15% alcohol? How do you feel when you realise it is a white - and from one of the coolest wine regions of a cool wine growing country? Should Mosel winemakers really do this? Should any (white) wine be so strong? Is it actually drinkable? If you want a definitive answer to these questions, please do not read on.
If you ever come across ruddy-cheeked, twinkly-eyed, chatty Hanspeter Ziereisen, do me a big favour: Don't underestimate him. And do yourself another: Try his wines. There has hardly been another Pinot Noir winemaker in Germany who has a more consistent, sharp-edged stylistic vision for the grape, or taken a more principled, self-critical and determined path to realising it. Excepting maybe Bernhard Huber in Malterdingen, we know of no greater francophile in german Pinot than Hanspeter Ziereisen. High time he made his debut on the Wine Rambler.
The more Pinot Blanc I drink, the more I appreciate this grape variety. While you will find Pinot Blanc in France and, known as Pinot Bianco, in Italy, Germany is the country that grows more of it than any other: Weißburgunder, as it is known here. The Weißburgunder I am reporting about today was grown in the Pfalz, near the village of Gimmeldingen where the Christmann winery is based. The estate has been owned by the Christmann family for seven generations. It is headed by Steffen Christmann, who also happens to be head of the 'Prädikat Wine Estates', Germany's club of premier estates. In 2004, Christmann changed to organic production and recently even to biodynamic methods. I could not say whether this is the reason for a consistently high quality, but Christmann is certainly doing something right. Now let's have a look at this Pinot Blanc, shall we?