TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis

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  • German Riesling Rap (Must Be Seduktion)   1 year 11 weeks ago

    See, I had not even thought of that, but now that you have brought it up I almost feel I should consider which of us would look better with such a wig...

  • German Riesling Rap (Must Be Seduktion)   1 year 11 weeks ago

    I would say that, too. Maybe because I stand above such foolishness, but just maybe it's also my failed youthful dream of rap stardom gnawing away resentfully at my civil servant soul with sad, defeated eyes saying that. Also, the question of who is Big Swanky and who is Dr. Hans in this here operation is better left unanswered.

  • German Riesling Rap (Must Be Seduktion)   1 year 12 weeks ago

    I _would_ say that Julian may just have a sense of human dignity...

  • Markus Molitor, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spätlese, 2006   1 year 12 weeks ago

    I should have trusted my Co-Rambler Torsten when we had the second bottle of this on New Year's eve. Why I thought I needed to dampen expectations on this and raise all kinds of concerns, I can't even remember. Maybe I was worried about the vintage, which is known to have been problematic, or I half-remembered a lukewarm review, or, and this is the most probable explanation, I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. "Not to worry, from what I remember, this will be pure peachy goodness.", Torsten said. "So you think it won't be too much of a disappointment?". "Julian, it's gonna be allright. Peachy goodness, depend on it". When I still mumbled incoherent objections while opening the bottle, Torsten countered with a curt, just ever so lightly irritated "peachy goodness". It was, of course, peachy goodness.

  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 13 weeks ago

    Readers should be aware the these mega-coops do not merely produce those wines which bear their own moniker on the labels.
    In fact, the majority of the BWB and WZG wines are marketed with the bottles and the labels of their associated single coperatives.

    In the case of Württemberg, allow me to recall the example of the vintner Helmut Dolde (from Frickenhausen-Linsenhofen, described here in the blog). In his immediate neighbourhood, the small cooperative of Metzingen (they also have a nice winegrowing history museum next door, which I visited) have their wines vinified in Möglingen by the WZG. The amazing fact now is that these wines from the mega factory show a similar style and character, hence terroir, as Dolde's handmade wines. You can actually identify the sub-region and its traits. Amazing faithfulness of the WZG.

  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 13 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing this, Alexander. I have come across the Winzerkeller of course, but not often enough to have formed an opinion on the wines overall, so it is good to have knowledgeable insight from someone who understand not only the wines but also the background. Cheers!

  • Wine myth: sweet wine makes you fat, or why fruity German Riesling is good with a diet   1 year 13 weeks ago

    Well looks like I will have to switch to Reisling most of the time. You can make sure that Spatese will not be totally cut out. LOL

  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 13 weeks ago

    That is actually quite interesting. "Graf von Kageneck" (mostly known here for their ubiquitous sparklings, but they also produce still wines) is _not_ an old noble estate of long standing, with a tall castle hovering over 500-years old caves, as one would be very much inclined to think. It is a brand name and product line of the Badischer Winzerkeller in Breisach, one of two largest cooperatives in Germany. They bought to right to use the name for some wines from an (aristocratic) name owner who is not a vintner.

    Big however can be beautiful at times, contrary to comnon wine writer and wine snob prejudice and both the Badischer Winzerkeller and the Württembergische Weingärtner-Zentralgenossenschaft make excellent, technical perfect and above all, even very individual and differentiated (!!) wines.
    The reason for this my assessment, which may be unexpected by some foreign observers, is their very high standard of training and winemaking technique, the perfect timelines (both coops operate through a full 24 hours at day and night at the grape acceptance and pressing stations, during harvest times), and the plethora of small and smallest tanks, vats - including barriques - and many glass vessels, which both possess. I have repeatedly found that these mega-coops are able (and willing) to get the utmost out of the respective terroir heritage (ahh, the dreaded buzzword), wherever the vintners in the vineyards had done their part before. Absolutely no "generic" taste thus in that category.

    Of course, it is entirely different for branded "grape wines" or "trademark wines" in the lower segments, which these mega-coops strive to produce faithfually and reliably every year, with taste and characteristics as closely matched as possible. They do an equally good and credible job on this mass market side, a feat for which they also deserve to be commended I feel.

  • 2012 - looking back over a year in Wine Rambling   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Well, there will always be ups and downs, in any wine region and in any year. Overall we have had much success with Württemberg. In fact, we have had much success with wine overall - but then we pay normal prices for almost all the wines we drink, so we put in quite a bit of effort to find wines that are worth the money. When it does not work, well, at least it tells our readers that we don't like a wine just because it comes from Germany - it has to deliver the goods. Thankfully, they mostly do; and Alexander seems to suggest that the Duke of Württemberg also usually delivers...

    Anyway, thank you for your kind words and encouragement, Solomon!

  • 2012 - looking back over a year in Wine Rambling   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Thank you, Alex! That should ideally go for all of us. If only there was more time for wine adventures...

  • 2012 - looking back over a year in Wine Rambling   1 year 14 weeks ago

    *Smile* Well, Solomon, tradition is a duty to bear, and the House of Württemberg is aware of that (the famous or notorious colloquial quip of HRH Duke Carl is: "this state, which bears _my_ name...").
    A structural problem of the estate is that its famous vineyards are not very close to each other, and that each of them - in principle - thus really ought to have an own viticulturist (proper South Africanese for the somewhat misconceived German term "Außenbetriebsleiter"), which demand however would be expensive.
    They have divested themselves recently from the Asperger Berg; they never managed to get great wine out of that old, very impressive, but much neglected vineyard. [I once hallowed or desecrated it, depending upon your view, by drinking a bottle of Egon Müller's Scharzhofberger right on top of the summit]
    I am quite sure that the 2011 Großes Gewächs may have its act together. Is that enough for the whole estate? My question is maybe rhetoric... send them an email !

  • 2012 - looking back over a year in Wine Rambling   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Hello Torsten

    A rather interesting post to be sure, I started reading the Wine Rambler in mid-2012 so it was great reading some of your earlier posts from the past year.

    What I found particularly interesting was the fact that from the same region, Württemberg you had that nasty Riesling Kabinett Trocken, but later in the year a nice Cabernet Franc as well. And yes its always disappointing when a bottle of wine from our home town or region fails so miserably, thankfully I haven't experienced it yet; but probably will one day.

    Perhaps this shows that while us Germans have made strides of progress there is still a ways for us to go, and as you said if you've had an estate for 500 years then you'd better damn get your act together and do it right. Either that or get out of the wine business and stop pretending to be something that you are not.


    Solomon Mengeu

  • 2012 - looking back over a year in Wine Rambling   1 year 14 weeks ago

    May 2013 bring equally interesting wine stories for the 2 of you! Cheers, Alex.

  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Happy New Year to all of you, and thank you so much for your comments! It was interesting to read through some of your wine adventures. There is lots there that brings back great memories: Künstler's Hölle, Raumland Sekt, Bercher's Feuerberg, to name just a few. There are also new names to tempt us - I quite like the sound of the Graf von Kageneck, and the Barolo sounds great (as it happens we discussed Barolo on New Year's Eve).

    The list that Julian put together is about our German highlights. Sadly, we also had German lowlights this year and of course stunning wines from other regions; the Loire did pretty well for instance. I have put these and other memorable wine related stories in a new post, Looking back over a year in Wine Rambling. Cheers!

  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Dear Ramblers,

    my top 5 (Germany) in no particular order from the top of my head (and as they say: Alle Ergebnisse ohne Gewähr):

    Künstler: Riesling Hölle Auslese 2003
    J.J. Adeneuer: Spätburgunder No.1 2006
    Knipser: Spätburgunder Kirschgarten GG 2007
    Raumland: Blanc et Noir Brut nature 2005
    Bercher: Spätburgunder Feuerberg GG 2007

    And it would be interesting to hear your letdowns of the year. I'll kick things off:

    Salwey: Spätburgunder Kirchberg GG 2007 - shallow
    Raumland: Triumvirat V. 2005 - alcoholic/Tequila-like
    Johannishof: Riesling Spätlese Retro Domos 2008 - flabby

    Best regards from Berlin,


  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 14 weeks ago

    It's challenging to reminisce about the year and which wines stood out to me this year and which I can remember most clearly, for some of these I took detailed tasting notes and for some its just a general memory.

    I've narrowed it down to wines which I could clearly remember so here goes:

    Casa Roja 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah & Petit Verdot

    An amazing wine from Rioja, quite unlike your average Tempranillo from Spain.

    Parusso Mariondion Barolo 2007

    This was a great Barolo smooth, elegant, structured and simply wonderful in each and every way, a great introduction to Barolo for me this year.

    Vinum Liturgicum

    Aldozoi Aranyveltelini 2003

    This was an amazing Hungarian wine, a late harvest Gruner Veltliner so you got the citrus, lemon and herbal notes of a Veltliner, but due to it being a late harvest you also got some Muscat, honey and sweet notes.

    Another one was the Baden Chardonnay that I wrote about in an earlier post when you wrote a post about Chardonnay.

    A good Riesling I had this year was the Graf von Kageneck 2011 Kenzinger Hummelburg Kabinett Trocken from Baden. Lots of floral notes, some kiwi, and citrus and somewhat flinty even.

    For sweet wine my best experience was a Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2004 on the nose lots of peach, apricot and honey; then on the palate vanilla and stone fruit. While being pleasantly sweet it also had good balance and acidity.

    As far as Spatburgunder is concerned a good one I had this year was the Peter Steger Barrique 2009 Spatburgunder which had good balance, acidity, structure and good mouth feel. Not a great wine but a better quality of a Spatburgunder from Baden.

    For my final wine its a Hungarian red cuvee Raspi Magus 2008 which is a cuvee of Blaufrankish, Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose dark plums, dark chocolate and on the palate herby, and spicy notes.

    And a happy New Year to the both of you.


    Solomon Mengeu

  • Formidable five - presenting the Wine Rambler favourite German Wines of 2012   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Hi guys....
    a few friends and myself drank the Molitor a few weeks ago...all loved it. I think I managed to buy the last 2 bottles...would have loved more...and surely must tempt more Mosel properties to take the plunge with Spätburgunder. A wonderful Pinot experience from Molitor!

  • Not tasting wine at the Samos Wine Museum   1 year 14 weeks ago

    Another rule when in the company of academics (& especially archaeologists) with free wine: never underestimate the ability of an academic to fill a/your glass such that the meniscus is convex rather than concave.

    It's a shame you missed out on the wine tasting as Samos is the only place where, when walking in the hills & happening upon a small taverna for lunch, I emptied my water bottle and had it filled with wine from the barrel!

  • A Merry Wine Rambling Christmas 2012   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Belatedly but no less merrily, I join in those greetings. I also supply the Bavarian picture that was missed earlier, and hope it's not too gloomy for the season.

  • The Riesling Retribution by Ellen Crosby. A cozy wine mystery book review   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Well, it seems that cozy will only get us so far. Can I suggest the Silvaner Silencing, a terrifying piece of social criticism-cum-murder mystery? Mass homicide, political corruption, general decay and a depressed, Silvaner-sipping private detective, fresh off the Swedish presses.

  • Hansjörg Rebholz, Chardonnay "R", 2009   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Contrary to common perception, there *is* drinkable and even good Chardonnay in Baden. Eichelmann's guide is a good and reliable truffle pig for finding those. However, the bad Chardonnays here still outnumber the good ones 5:1 at least; and that assessment is charitable. :-(

  • A Merry Wine Rambling Christmas 2012   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Thanks for another year of great reading. All the best for 2013.

    A fan from Oregon

  • Hansjörg Rebholz, Chardonnay "R", 2009   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Thank you for your kind words and Christmas wishes, Solomon. Frohe Weihnachten and all the best for you and your family too!

    My co-Ramber Julian (who is currently far far away from any internet access, to celerate Christmas in style) seems to have a similar scepticism towards Chardonnay. And frankly, there is a lot of Chardonnay out there that is best avoided; however, that is no reason not to seek out the good stuff. I am glad to read that you have had success with Baden Chardonnay. There are other producers in Germany who make excellent Chardonnay, at different price points (the Chardonnay tag below the post will lead you to some of them).

    You will probably have looked into this already, but if you haven't I would also like to encourage you to explore Chablis - should be more readily available and usually not heavily oaked (or not oaked at all of course), so it should also excite Krista.

  • Hansjörg Rebholz, Chardonnay "R", 2009   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Liebe Torsten

    Ich wünsche Ihnen und deiner Familie Ein Frohes Weihnachtsfest!

    Zum neuen Jahr Gesundheit, Glück und viel Erfolg!

    Another interesting post Torsten, yes the subject of Chardonnay is always an interesting one, as its the one of the only two white grapes that English speakers are generally familiar with, the other one being the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc.

    Actually it was after some nasty experiences with Chardonnay that I gave white wine a wide berth for a number of years and only last spring started learning about the wonders of white wine, particularly the noble Riesling grape.

    But alas I am rambling on the Wine Rambler,and I now come to my point. I had a Wilheim Zahringer Ecovin 2004 Baden Heitersheimer Maltesergarten Markgraflerland Chardonnay Trocken in October, in Baden of course. Generally when I see Chardonnay on a wine bottle I am pretty suspicious of it, but I decided to be brave and open it and see what it could say to me.

    Surprisingly enough it was earthy, nutty, quite well balanced and layered, it had an underlying minerality, almost a little bit flinty and had a nice long finish. I was quite well surprised as was my fiancée as we for the most part give Chardonnay a wide berth, but this one was pretty good.

    I doubt I will ever find it and/or drink it again, but it was a good experience and showed me that us Germans can make a good Chardonnay that is much better than plonk Chardonnay coming out of California, Chile, or the many other places that produce Chardonnay.


    Solomon Mengeu

  • Hansjörg Rebholz, Chardonnay "R", 2009   1 year 15 weeks ago

    Yes! Mission accomplished, I want some. Light on the oak, a little of the cool climate minerality and fruity/floral nose are what I enjoy in a Chardonnay.