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



Recent comments

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    Thank you for your comment, Paul. I think the situation in the UK is not as bad as it may sound - depending on which market you are considering. There are new importers and a few wine merchants who really champion German wine, the wine trade is really interested and more and more sommeliers but German wine on their menus. However, here we are talking about the premium market. In the supermarkets (who control around 80% of the market), well, you have seen it.

    Sadly I don't right now have the time to discuss this in more detail, but take a look at the "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" section in a lengthy article on Riesling and food matching and a summary on a panel on German wine in the UK.

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    Hi guys. What a sad inditement of the British knowledge and understanding of German wine, despite all the massive efforts of the DWI in both Mainz and London, however having spent 2 weeks back in the UK over Xmas and shopping in the dreadful supermarkets with my wife, it is obvious that Liebfraumilch still rules; the merchandising in stores still places this and it's Black Tower cousins in key positions on the shelf, and it's only in Waitrose with their army of MW's who are giving quality German wine the space it deserves. I would also add that my wonderful army of German winemaker friends do nothing for the general public to understand what is inside a bottle of "Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Spatlese Trocken Erstes Gewachs"' and now with the recently revised rules by the VDP it is becoming even more goddam difficult to fathom, and I'm not the only 1 saying this as I just spent 1 month back in September at 4 VDP auctions and without naming names, many of the top winemakers are aghast at these changes. These masters of winemaking need to understand that marketing plays a very important role in the sale of wine, and in all honesty if I was an English customer I too would play safe by only purchasing wines that I had a faint idea of what's inside. I noticed that Erni Loosen now sticks a "DRY" sticker on his GG's, an admirable start that it no way detracts from the usual illegible (and often artistically beautiful) wine label, how about the others follow suit? Or what about a "traffic light" system on the reverse as some Riesling makers in Australia follow? As you might guess I am a passionate devotee of German wine and Riesling in particular, and having lived in Asia for 17 years and sharing my German wines with both foreigners and locals, once you get a Mosel Riesling in the mouth of a Vietnamese or Thai person to go with their very light and delicate cuisine, you will have a follower for life. What do we need to do guys to spread the word?

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing this, Solomon. As I mentioned in my comment above I am not really concerned that so many people search for Liebfraumilch or Black Tower. After all those who search for these wines are at least curious and willing to do a little research. Maybe one day they will feel more adventurous. So I guess I agree with you, every single person convinced to enjoy wine is a good thing!

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    Thank you for taking the time to comment, Colin. It is really good to meet some of the readers we can track in our stats but don't know much else about. I am happy to hear that you found something that interests you here. Also, just for the record, Liebfraumilch used to be an outstanding vineyard - until the law was changed so that pretty much every wine could be labelled as such. I still plan to taste an original Liebfraumilch and maybe then we will find a wine that reflects the unique reputation - in a good way!

    Also, I don't despise about the statistics. Yes, quite a few of those who randomly find us through search engines move on after, but others come back. When we started this we did not expect that was essential was (or is) a dialogue between two friends separated by hundreds of miles and a few borders would attract hundreds of readers every day. Cheers to all of you!

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    Based on the special features of the Champagne posting that you mentioned, here's what I think took people so long:

    1. Listen to Oasis song
    2. Go to dictionary to puzzle out cool Latin motto
    3. Listen to Oasis all over again
    4. Look for place to scribble down or file to save cool Latin motto
    5. Look for more Latin mottos / Oasis videos, leaving browser window open
    6. Reflect on laddism and classical education as two equally doomed social phenomena

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    That's lovely, Colin, many thanks for your encouragement. Torsten does all the stats, cogs and wheels on the Rambler, so it's really he that should comment here. Myself having been absent from the blog these few weeks, though, I'm really glad to hear from people who don't come for the quick fix, as it were, but enjoy what we're trying to do here over the longer term.

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    No I didn't look up Liebfraumilch, no I didn't look up sweet Riesling or any of this other rubbish. I came across the Wine Rambler while reading Wine Searcher and it was a good find.

    I think that although its beyond sad how most people come across this blog, but the end result is the most important; as if you get just a few people telling their friends, family members and acquaintances saying the following:

    "There is a wonderful world of German wine beyond that plonk of Liebfraumilch, Black Tower and other rubbish. If you want to play it safe then drink Riesling in all of it's many hues and tastes. Then if you're truly brave try some great aged Spatburgunder Spatlese and have a real grand time".

    Yes, German wine has a pretty bad rap, but let's not forget where other wine regions and countries were at 10, 20, 30 years ago and where they are at today. If others can re-invent and re-brand than so can we and we had better do it soon, before the South Africans and Portuguese leave us in the dust!

  • Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership   1 year 39 weeks ago

    I confess that I came across your blog via a search for Liebfraumilch, after wondering one day why it has its somewhat unique reputation. (And you saved me the trouble of tasting it myself.) But I stayed, and have been an RSS subscriber for nearly a year now, so don't despair too much about your most viewed pages!

  • Matching food and wine: oven roast pheasant and Pinot Noir   1 year 39 weeks ago

    Happy to hear you enjoyed the bird - pheasant is lovely; shame the season is ending... And cheers to Côte-Rôtie!

  • Matching food and wine: oven roast pheasant and Pinot Noir   1 year 39 weeks ago

    I have tried the recipe yesterday…taste was very good….just instead of pinot noir I took Cote-Rotie…combination was lovely..mmm

  • German Riesling Rap (Must Be Seduktion)   1 year 40 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 40 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 41 weeks ago

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

  • Markus Molitor, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Riesling Spätlese, 2006   1 year 41 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 42 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 42 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 42 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 42 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 42 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 42 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 42 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 42 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.

    Cheers!

    Solomon Mengeu

  • 2012 - looking back over a year in Wine Rambling   1 year 43 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 43 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 43 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,

    namri