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Black Tower, Rivaner 2008

When you find a bulky black bottle that looks like it holds Black Forest schnapps or some unspeakable cod liver oil in your supermarket, it will almost certainly be a German wine: Black Tower, a brand designed for the UK mass market. Perhaps it makes the Brits think of German Gemütlichkeit of the rustic type.

I was actually after the Black Tower Liebfraumilch, but as I could not find it I went for this Rivaner for £3.88 instead (Rivaner, btw, is another name for the grape variety Müller-Thurgau, if you wondered).

Very pale colour. The nose is not unpleasant, a little flowery, liquorice and a little exotic fruit. The same goes for the palate, smooth, fruity and quite off-dry, the first few sips are surprisingly pleasant. I even wanted a second glass, something I did not expect. So far, so good. I can clearly see why Black Tower appeals to a certain segment of the British market.

However, what it has going for it in pleasantness the Black Tower lacks in character, so after a while the sweet became a little too sweet and the pleasantness a little dull. There were two reasons why I liked it at first: the finish has a nice liquorice twist and a second Rivaner, which we opened as a comparison, turned out to be quite bitter - against that the Black Tower was welcome with its sweetness and easy-to-like palate.

If that is what you are after I will not stop you, especially as you might not care too much that the effect of a couple of days of exposure to air clearly demonstrates that this is not a wine of quality. It certainly is easy to drink. However, I will tell you that after two small glasses I lost my interest in it and I do somehow doubt that I will finish it tomorrow.

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