Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Have you met Dornfelder? Let me introduce you.

Lingenfelder Dornfelder 2011, Grosskarlbacher Osterberg Pfalz, 12.5%, €18.95 O’Brien’s

The Dornfelder grape is a modern (1955) crossing which is well suited to the cool climate of Germany (and getting popular in England too). It is packed with red berry fruit and soft round tannins and this delicious example is reminiscent of good Pinot Noir.

The Lingenfelder brothers, Karl-Friedrich (left) and Georg, gave me a crash course on the grape when I met them at O’Brien's November Wine Fair. Their Dornfelder grapes come from a single vineyard Osterberg (Easter Hill). 

They practice sustainable viticulture and promote bio-diversity on all their vineyards and in the cellar there is no yeast culture addition, no fining, minimal filtering and no chaptalisation. The family, centuries in wine-making, are best known for their Rieslings.

The Dornfelder, which has spent six months in big oak barrels, ancient containers, has a rich ruby colour. The fresh and fragrant aromas speak of red fruit, floral notes too, herbs, maybe something even wilder. It is full bodied, red berry fruit (cherry, blackberry), slightly spicy, a touch tannic too. I found it very satisfying at the Wine Fair last November and this bottle confirms that good first impression. Very Highly Recommended.


Grapes and Wine may not go as far (perhaps they haven’t tasted the Lingenfelder version) but admit the grape, the second most planted red in Germany, has a certain honesty: “..it doesn't pretend to be more than a well-coloured, juicily fruited grape… and it fulfils that role very well.”

Pinot Noir is the most important red wine grape in Germany. Known as Spätburgunder, nearly 11,5% of the vineyard area is planted with it. On the white side, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau account for some 43% of Germany's 105,000 hectares of vineyards. (source: http://www.germanwines.de/ )

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Exciting White Trio. Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling

Terras Gauda Abadío de San Campio Albarino, Rías Baixas (DO) 2014, 12%, €20.35 Le Caveau

Thought to be related to Riesling and presumably brought by Cluny monks to 12th century Iberia, via France, the recently fashionable Albarino grape is now mainly associated with Rías Baixas in north western Spain. It is also grown in neighbouring areas in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho.

I was expecting good things in this bottle and I got them, even better than anticipated. Colour is mid-gold, bright and clean and there is no shortage of white fruits in the aromas. On the palate, it is bright and fruity, citrus in the tingle, minerality to the fore, a superb combination overall and that includes the long finish. Ticks all the boxes for a classy Albarino and is Very Highly Recommended.

The producers say it is ideal with seafood, shellfish and fish and especially with Tuna steaks.

Elgin Ridge 282 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 2014, 14%, €19.95 Le Caveau
At 282 metres above sea-level, we are at the ideal height to create cool climate Sauvignon Blanc in the Elgin Valley. The organic farming methods give the wine its elegance and unique flavour.

So says Marion Smith, ex Ballyjamesduff, who now runs the winery with her husband Brian. By the way, Dexter cattle, a native Irish breed, figure in the organic farming, grazing between the rows of vines and indeed Marion has the biggest herd of Dexter in the Western Cape.

Dexters aren’t the only “helpers” for Marion and Brian, who planted their first vines here in 2007. They also use Dorper sheep, chickens and Peking ducks to control the weeds and pests. Looks like the combination is working very well indeed.

Colour is a medium-gold with green tints. The aromas are fresh and cool. That freshness extends to the palate, tingly with concentrated white fruit, including gooseberry, citrus also prominent, pepper and spice too and then an excellent finish. Highly Recommended.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling trocken, Rheingau 2015, 12%, €17.80 Karwig Wines

Grapes are hand-picked and indeed the vinification is focussed on “preserving the natural fruit”. This is facilitated by natural and gentle fining and slow cool fermentation. As usual Carl Ehrhard gets it right.


Colour is pale gold with greenish tints and you'll note micro bubbles clinging to the glass. Aromas are a gentle mix of apple and citrus. It tingles the palate; the intense fruit, now with more than a hint of grapefruit, and a super refreshing acidity combine well all the way to a long finish. This dry wine is Very Highly Recommended. Perfect for aperitif and with seafood and Riesling is regularly recommended for Asian.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Go East For A Classy Pair

Go East For A Classy Pair


Diwald Grüner Veltliner, Grossriedenthaler Löss (Wagram, Austria) 2014, 12.5%, €16.00 Mary Pawle
“We don’t like Coca Cola wines or Glass House tomatoes,” declares this organic pioneer from Austria, their way of saying they prefer to make their wines in the vineyard. Organic it is and it also looks and tastes very much like a well-made classic Gru-Vee.


It is light gold in colour, bright and clean. White fruits in the aromas (apples and gooseberries, I thought). Refreshing white fruit flavours follow with a perceptible tingle, superb body though and excellent balance and a good long finish. Very Highly Recommended.


The vineyard is located north of the Danube, roughly equidistant from Vienna to the south-east and Melk (with its famous monastery, where they serve an excellent sauerkraut) to the south-west.





Kilian Hunn Spätburgunder 2009 (Baden, Germany), 13%, €18.30 Karwig Wines


Lots of talk, including some guff from this quarter, on Pinot Noir from Burgundy, New Zealand, Chile, even Oregon. All good for sure. But do be sure to add Germany to the short-list. With confidence.


And yes it is Germany. Lots of Badens around. More than one in Germany, one in Switzerland and there's even a Baden-Baden in Austria (the only one I’ve visited). Baden means spa so that accounts for the many towns with the same name.

Colour is a youthful red, red to the very edge, despite its relative age. There are good berry aromas, mainly strawberries. Super fruit flavours, dry, elegant, then a persistent finish. Simply excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings. Reasons to Remember

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings
Reasons to Remember
Happy days with Joe (left)

We had joy. We had fun. We had Rieslings in the sun. And in the rain too! It is after all, one of the most versatile of wines and was a particular favourite of the late Joe Karwig as Beverly Mathews reminded us when she introduced an evening of Joe’s Rieslings at L'Attitude Wine Cafe last Wednesday. 

The rain of the day persisted in to the night on the nearby quays and streets. But the constant downpour failed to prevent a full house. “He was an incredible man,” Beverly continued. “He knew so much about wine and so much about Riesling in particular. He had these wines selected for an Autumn tasting and we thought it would be a shame not to go ahead with it.”

“It is a great demonstration of the styles of Riesling from the very dry to sweet, yet just a small sample of what they have in Karwig Wines, and the proceeds are going to the Cork Simon Community.”

She then introduced us to Joe's son Jurgen and asked him what were Joe’s favourite wines in general. Jurgen: “German whites were his main love and Italian reds. He loved the Old World wines in general.’

Marcus Gates of Karwig’s was introduced as “Cork favourite Australian” by Beverley, and he took us, enthusiastically, though the wines. He too remembered Joe: “I wish I wasn't doing this. I’d prefer to have Joe here.”

Furst Von Metternich Riesling Sekt trocken NV Rheingau
“Creamy mousse...brioche...great with Foie Gras…”, drooled Marcus as we sipped this 100% Riesling sparkling wine. “Made by a man who had 3 wives and 19 children and wanted to unite Europe”. This is genuine, made with the traditional champagne method. That creaminess, the bubbles and acidity worked very well with L’Atitude’s canape of Brie. Goes well too with pork belly, according to Marcus.
Full review (30/12/15) of this wine here.

Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2013 South Styria Austria
“This is from one of the highest growing areas in Austria,” said Marcus. “Very minerally, for sure. Makes you pucker! With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great with seafood. This is a baby and definitely another few years in it.”  Riesling is great with Asian and this was underlined when L’Atitude paired it with prawns. Both the flavours of the wine and the prawn improved when they met on the palate. Can't ask anymore of a match!
Marcus
Georg Muller Hattenheimer Wisselbrunned GG Riesling 2012 Grand Cru Rheingau
This has the VDP eagle displayed on the neck, “a guarantee of pure wine pleasure”, not a bad start. For many years the winery was a foundation for the benefit of the town of Eltville in the Hattenheim region. In 2003, it came back into private ownership. Peter Winter, a one-time boss and long-time friend of Joe Karwig, is the new owner and kept the existing name.

Jurgen was involved in a recent harvest here. “This vineyard is a top site. ..less juice per vine.. flavours more concentrated. It is more quality, less about quantity.” Marcus enthused: "Very complex, big mouthfeel..I’d like to see it in 15 years time. But it is drinking very well now, a cracking wine and one to watch.” My favourite too!

Woollaston Estate Riesling 2006 Nelson South Island New Zealand
“This is from rainy Nelson,” said Marcus. They are certified biodynamic now and were getting there ten years ago”. The petrol aromas dominated this one even though the excellent salmon ceviche (made by L’Atitude’s Chilean Francisca) helped moderate them.
Golden oldie
Dr Heinz Wagner Saarburger Kupp Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2010 Mosel
Back to Germany for the 5th wine, an off dry, made by the 5th generation of the family who have been here since 1880. “Very steep”, said Marcus. “Even steeper than Patrick's Hill. Some minerality but a little bit of residual sugar means it's off-dry (feinherb). But it is addictive!” Great match here with a skewer of pork, apricot and red onion, very enjoyable pairing indeed.


Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2011 Mosel
We would, naturally, finish on a sweet note though this, from the south facing slopes, is not quite a dessert wine. “You have peach, grapefruit, honey. You see very few ausleses in restaurants around here.” It proved quite a match with a piece of Bleu d’Auvergne, the sweet and the salty going nicely together.


Time now for a toast to Joe as Jurgen and Marcus introduced a surprise: a 1988 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch. “There is a little bit of oxidation, just showing its age!”, said Marcus. “But still clear, vibrant, a nice little treat. Give it a moment or two for the aromas to open up. Would have been sweeter once but now drying, on its way to fading away.” And then we toasted Joe with the old Riesling and a “chorus” of clinks.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three Fine Bubbles to Ring in the New Year.

Three Fine Bubbles
To Ring in the New Year

Champagne can be expensive, sometimes very expensive indeed. But there are some excellent alternatives out there at more attractive prices. And I’m not talking Cava or Prosecco here. The three below come from France, Germany and England. And one, the Saint Hilaire, was being made a hundred years before champagne and indeed I’ve read that Dom Perignon may well have learned a trick or two here. Don’t know how much truth is in that one.
Saint Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux brut 2010 (Languedoc-Roussillon, France), 12%, €23.35 Karwig Wines

This is France’s oldest sparkling wine, produced by the Methode Traditionnelle where it is naturally fermented in the bottle. It was first created by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Hilaire over 450 years ago. Written records survive from 1531. The abbey is 25 miles south of Carcassonne.

The main grape in the blend is the Mauzac which is called Blanquette locally. This accounts for ninety per cent of the mix with Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay also used (up to a maximum of ten per cent). White fruits (peaches, apples) feature in the aromas. The palate is fresh and fruity, rather intense in flavour with no shortage of fine bubbles, persistently on the up. This is real bubbles. Think non-vintage champagne at a fraction of the price! Very Highly Recommended.

Furst von Metternich Riesling Sekt  (Rheingau, Germany), 12.5%, €23.50, Karwig Wines

Riesling, believe it or not, is the grape here, one hundred per cent, displaying its amazing versatility in a rather elegant wine, “a wine for special moments”. You’ll note the fountain of extremely fine bubbles, always a good sign, rising through the pale yellow colour. This is a serious sparkling wine, with a fresh fruitiness (peach and tangerine), and again Very Highly Recommended.

Not sure that Karwig Wines carry them but the producers also do a sparkling Chardonnay and a sparkling Rose made from Pinot Noir.

This German winery also has quite a history, over 300 years, though their sparkling is more recent, dating from the mid 19th century, the current brand from the 1920s. The Schloss Johannisberg headquarters was destroyed in a 1942 bombardment and rebuilt by 1965.

Dermot (left), pictured with wine writer John Wilson
and Simon Tyrell (right)

Wiston Estate Blancs de Blancs NV (South Downs, England), 12%, €53.00 Le Caveau

The Wiston Estate has little by way of wine history but the South of England has in a few decades carved out quite a niche for itself in the high end of sparkling wine and one of its leading men is Dermot Sugrue from County Limerick, the winemaker at Wiston. Amazingly, the first Wiston Vines were not planted until 2006 and the first grapes picked in 2008. There are now 16ha of vines planted on the chalk slopes (same chalk as Champagne).

I won this rather expensive bottle at a pre-Christmas dinner raffle and I am keeping it for the big night - not long now! I’ve tasted it before and it is a notably agreeable companion!  

This Blanc de Blancs NV has been voted the best in England and Dermot himself told us all about it. “It has a sense of richness that belies its youth. It is one hundred per cent Chardonnay, mostly 2011 plus reserve from 2010 and has spent 18 months on its lees.” It has indeed a delicious palate, a depth of flavour with excellent balance, bubbling all the way with finesse and elegance. Again, Very Highly Recommended. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

White Across The World. Chardonnay-Riesling-Gruner Veltliner

White Across The World
Chardonnay-Riesling-Gruner Veltliner

El Grano Chardonnay 2013 (Chile), 13.5%, €14.30 Le Caveau
Sun, the snow capped Andes, and the Pacific Ocean have all influenced the character of this El Grano Chardonnay. So too has the French father and son winemaking team of Denis and Gregoire Duveau. Chile is their Pays de Rêves, their country of dreams, and their organic wines are known for their very pleasant roundness.

Colour is quite a pale gold. There is a nice aromatic drift of white fruits and blossoms. The palate is loaded with fruit, fresh and round and smooth, a very pleasant balance and long echoing finish. Does this please me? Answer is a resounding yes. Very Highly Recommended.


Finca Pasion Mi Vida Chardonnay 2012 (Argentina), 13.5%, €13.50 Karwig Wines
Another everyday wine, unoaked, from Mendoza. If giving this as a present, you can add your own personalised greeting on the specially designed back label.

And there’s no reason why you wouldn't give it as a gift. Its colour is a light gold, very bright. White fruits and floral notes on the nose, a good feel, flavours and finish from a lively and pleasant wine. Recommended.


 Carl Ehrhard Rudesheim Riesling trocken 2014, Rheingau (Germany), 12%, €16.50 Karwig Wines


Colour is a shiny light gold, totally clean; micro bubbles cling to the glass. Aromas are citric and orchard, even a weak drift of petrol. Tempting flush of fruit on the attack, crisp with a little tingle too in the mouth, a refreshing acidity and a long flavourful finish. Another thoroughbred from the Ehrhard stable and Very Highly Recommended.


Johann Strauss Gruner Veltliner 2013, Kremser Sandgrube Kremstal DAC (Austria), 12.5%, €16.15 Karwig Wines

Colour here is a light to medium gold, not quite as golden as the famous Strauss statue in the Stadtpark in Vienna. White fruits in the aromas, some blossom too. Minerality and fruit front the initial attack and then refreshing flavours take over, yet balance is perfect; all combine for an excellent finale, little wave after little wave.
The Kremser has long been recognised, the Romans among its early fans, as excellent for viticulture and this Gruner is Very Highly Recommended. The producers suggest matching it with asparagus, fish, pork and scallops. I found it excellent too as an aperitif.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sauvignon Blanc. Graham Norton in on the act! Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile

Noble Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Graham Norton in on the act!
And Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile.

Sauvignon blanc is one of the best known and best loved grapes on the planet. The Loire Valley is regarded as its heartland but it thrives too in New Zealand, especially in Marlborough, and in Chile and indeed in many other places around the world.

And it is to New Zealand that West Cork born Graham Norton went to try his hand at making a bottle. Personality in a bottle or a personality with a bottle? The answer is somewhere in between.  


Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon blanc 2013, Valle de Casablanca (Chile), 12.5%, €13.99 Bradley’s Offlicence

According to the recent Wines of South America, Cono Sur (the first winery to be recognised as carbon neutral) is “one of the most consistent and reliable wineries in the country”. The country is, of course, Chile, and this is an excellent example and Very Highly Recommended.

The pale gold colour is bright and healthy looking and there are fresh aromas of white fruit and blossoms. Fruit flavours in the crisp and elegant palate, lively acidity and a decent finish too. Ideal as an aperitif or with seafood dishes.




Graham Norton’s Sauvignon blanc 2015, Marlborough (New Zealand), 12.5%, €12.00 at SuperValu from November 6th

Norton is a shareholder in the Invivo Winery and the wines for blending were brought to him in London. Winemaker Rob Cameron came too and together they came up with a wine that quickly won a string of awards.

Critics say:
“Fresh and lively… fabulous juicy finish”.
“Tongue tingling….full of punch and personality”.
“Savvie….full of lime zest.”
Norton says: “It’s lovely! Tropical fruit...a bit of zing...cheers to that!”

Colour is just about present with hints of green. Aromas are fresh, white fruit, some herbal elements too. There is a generous flush of freshness and fruit, matched immediately by balancing acidity (just like a Norton put-down!). Must admit this is an excellent drop indeed (unlike his red chair!) and Highly Recommended.

Emiliana Sauvignon blanc 2014, DO Valle Central (Chile), 12.5%, €12.95 Bradley’s
This is an organic wine by Eco Balance, made for “relaxed everyday enjoyment. Integrity, sustainability and an earth friendly focus inspires all that we do”.

This is light yellow, green also evident, clear and bright. Aromas include herbal elements, white fruits too (including grapefruit). It is fresh and fruity with a zingy acidity, a decent mouthfeel and a moderate finish. Very good value and Recommended.


More good news for Cono Sur and chief wine-maker Adolfo Hurtado. Their Silencio Cabernet Sauvignon, launched in Dublin 12 months ago,  has been named as the best red wine in Chile, gaining an unprecedented 98 points.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Four Countries. Four Bottles. Your Euro Wine Trip.

Four Countries. Four Bottles.
Your Euro Wine Trip.


Itinerary: Meet at Karwig Wines, Carrigaline 11.00 any weekday. Countries visited: France, Germany, Spain, Austria. Virtual trip possible on-line.

Chateau Mouret Graves blanc (AOC) 2014, 12.5%, €16.90, Karwig Wines

Advice from Graves on choosing a wine.
Start without preconceptions, start simply. I like. I do not like. Then try to explain why. But always return “to the notion of pleasure”. This wine made ​​me happy . Did not make ​​me happy. So yeah I bought. No, I did not buy.

I was also talking to Joe Karwig about the Mouret and he admitted that he loves the blend. He was speaking to the converted. Still, the question remained: Would this wine make me happy?

The blend of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon can vary quite a bit but this is of classic proportions with sixty per cent SB. The nose and finish are probably more Sauvignon. On the palate it delivers fruit and refreshment; it is light, clean and crisp. Green fruit, herby and grassy aromas are followed by a bright acidity in the mouth, all the characteristics you’d expect to find in a blend of these proportions.

This classic example did indeed make me happy and is Very Highly Recommended.

Moselland Riesling Classic 2014 (Mosel), 11.5%, €13.60, Karwig Wines

When people chat about Riesling, there is often a noticeable division of opinion between those it pleases and those who don't like it. This one could go some way towards bridging the divide as, on the label, it is recommended for a chat. It is also recommended for chicken, salads, fish and seafood.

It has a light straw colour and pleasing floral aromas. Nicely balanced and pretty full-bodied with no shortage of fruit, no shortage of finish either from this crisp dry wine. Moselland, created over 25 years ago, is the largest wine-growing co-op in the Rheinland-Pfalz. It pleased me and is Highly Recommended.

Las Renas Monastrell 2013 (Bullas DO), 14%, €12.45 Karwig Wines

We reviewed the 2012 edition of this wine a few months back. The 2013 is also good, maybe even a little better. Monastrell is the Spanish equivalent of Mourvedre.
Bullas

Color is cherry red and it has rather intense aromas of red and black fruits. It is fresh, young and fruity, smooth, medium bodied, very pleasing and easy drinking, well balanced with average persistence at the finalé. An excellent well-priced wine and Highly Recommended.

Winzer Krems, Sandgrubel 13, Blauer Zweigelt trocken 2013, St Severin (Austria), 13%, €14.45 (check net) Karwig Wines

Blauer Zweigelt, or just plain Zweigelt, is the grape here and the colour is a light red, almost see through. Red fruits, cherry (mainly) and strawberry, in the aromas. Fresh and fruity too on the palate, traces of spice, mild and velvety, with good acidity. Light and lovely indeed, ideal for summertime recreation rather than winter mediation. Delightfully different and Highly Recommended

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Excellent Ehrhard Riesling. .. from the source..

An Excellent Ehrhard Riesling

from the source

Carl Ehrhard Rheingau 2010 Rudesheimer Riesling Kabinett, 11%, €17.80, Karwig Wines

The Rheingau is the spiritual heart of German wine, the birthplace of Riesling, according to the World Atlas of Wine. This bottle from the source is excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

The colour is a light honey and you’ll see quite a few tiny bubbles clinging to the glass. And yes there is a wee whiff of petrol in the aromas. On the palate, it is lively, full of fruit flavour, even a hint of sweetness too but it is tart as there is a crab apple acidity at play, all making for a lovely finish. Well worth a try.

Kelly’s Patch Chardonnay 2013, Australia, 13.5%, €11.05 Karwig Wines

This crisp Chardonnay, all the way from Victoria, is highly recommended. Colour is light gold, with green tints, and it has white fruit aromas. Crisp and fruity (melon, peach, and citrus), it has moderate acidity and not a bad finish at all. The year was a good one and this well made wine is Highly Recommended.

The story here is that Kelly’s Patch is named after the Kelly family whose homestead stood here long before the vines. The notorious Ned Kelly was born here and his iron mask features on the bottle. His father was a Kelly, deported from Tipperary in 1841. His mother came from Antrim, so it is rather appropriate that the wine is now imported via Magherafelt.

Winzer Krems, Grüner Veltliner Kremser Goldberg Kellermeister Privat, Kremstal DAC.


This is another superb white wine from Karwigs, that I tasted with the two above. Did a review of it late last year and you may see that here.