Subjectivity, Objectivity and a Chardonnay from Rheinhessen

Subjectivity, Objectivity and a Chardonnay from Rheinhessen

I had a surprisingly charming Chardonnay from one of Rheinhessen's countless family wineries with sunday lunch today (full review). It was recommended via twitter and co-rambler Torsten by German wine guru Mario Scheuermann.

Going on an "objectively" correct ranking like WeinPlus wine guide's 81 points ("Nicht allzu tief. Ordentlicher Abgang"), I wound never have bought it. I can just about see what Scheuermann means by the "lustvolle Subjektivität" (joyful subjectivity) that he would like to see in wine journalism. After emptying the rest of the bottle, I couldn't care less if he plays cards with Runkel's second cousin, or his critical neutrality was impaired in any other way.

Subjectivity: 1
Objectivity: 0

Objectivity will get it's chance next, when I manage to get hold of the dramatically named 06 Spätburgunder "Ex flammis orior" from Württemberg's Fürst Hohenlohe, which WeinPlus has just called a benchmark in german pinot noir, a result which would in all probability not have come about in an open tasting, given the rather low standing of the region and the producer's lack of any history of outstanding quality. In that case, I want to be absolutely sure that the WeinPlus people don't have their lawns trimmed and their cars washed by Fürst Hohenlohe's nephew (an admittedly unlikely scenario, but there are many dangers for journalistic integrity...)

Submitted by torsten Monday, 13/07/2009

Again, a shame I was not there to taste it with you... I am quite looking forward to the Hohenlohe though. First of all that name constantly came up in school (Chlodwig!); secondly, how can you not love a wine called "Ex flammis orior"? I do already love it for these two reasons alone - so even if it is great, we might want to count this as a triumph of subjectivity...

Submitted by Julian Tuesday, 14/07/2009

In reply to by torsten

Ah, but Chlodwig was Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, while our princely winemaker there is Hohenlohe-Oehringen. I don't know if they're even on speaking terms...

And the "ex flammis..." is already on the way!

Submitted by torsten Tuesday, 14/07/2009

In reply to by Julian

Family rivalries... As long as the in-fighting between various branches of the Hohenlohe family does not irritate the grapes enough to turn sour I am happy to leave that to the Hohenlohes. Nevertheless, I do think Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst is a really cool name, so it seems fair enough that the Hohenlohe-Oehringens invest into fancy names for their wine to make up for it.

I am of course writing this with the painful memory of yesterday's faulty pinot blanc, a wine that was obviously so upset about someone that it turned into the most disgusting wine sensation on my palate ever. And yes, I have once tried a 1 Euro per liter wine in a tetra pack that was sold as 'red wine from various European countries'.

Anyway, I will leave these memories behind and think about the pinot. I am sure you know this, but Ex flammis orior is actually the family motto of the Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen-Öhringens. I am sure that these names will amuse all English speakers to no end. So I would be brave enough to say: if you are an Anglo-Saxon native speaker of some description and you can pronounce Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen-Öhringen vaguely correct I would invite you to a nice glass of German wine in south west London.