Showing posts with label Lingenfelder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lingenfelder. Show all posts

Thursday, September 17, 2020

O’Briens Wine September Sale In Full Swing

 O’Briens Wine September Sale In Full Swing

The O’Briens Wine September Sale is in full swing. With about 100 wines reduced you might be in need of some pointers and here are a few of my picks!

Chanson Chablis (AC) 2018, 13%, €16.95 (25.95)

Pale gold is the colour. Aromas are delicate but persistent, citrus fruit, and floral notes too. Fruit flavours are assertive and harmonious and it also boasts the benefit of a fairly rich mouthfeel. A palate full of life plus a refreshing lingering finish. What’s not to like?

It is, of course, one hundred percent Chardonnay, raised on limestone hills south of the village of Chablis. The year had its up and downs before the August harvest was carried out in perfect conditions, grapes ripe and healthy, the wine precise with a beautiful fruit combination.

Food pairing suggested: Pâté, lobsters and poultry as well as some goat cheeses.

O’Briens are enthusiastic: With Chanson's wines now performing at the top level thanks to more than a decade under Bollinger's wing, this Chablis has never been better. … electrifies the palate and has considerable richness for Chablis - ..a real stunner!

Domaine Chanson dates to 1750 and lies in the heart of Burgundy’s Beaune region. In 1999, the estate was sold to Champagne Bollinger.

Chanson Fleurie (AC) 2018, 13.5%, €16.95  (18.95) 

In Beaujolais generally, there is a continuity of quality, almost a guarantee of it, if you move up a step or two to the ten crus and the villages that ring them. Fleurie, like all the crus, is in the north east of the Beaujolais region. Here the Gamay grape thrives on the granite soil, the wines always refreshing and never short of acidity.

Colour of this beauty is a bright mid-ruby. Abundant aromas of cherries and spice. Juicy in the mouth; no shortage of red berries (strawberries, raspberries) and sweet cherry in delicious combination, smooth and well balanced, refreshing too with excellent length. It is, of course, 100% Gamay and no oak has been used by the winemakers.

Did you know that the Gamay grape is an “exile” in Beaujolais? In 1395, it was outlawed by Royal decree, using Trump-like language, as being “a very bad and disloyal plant”. Sixty years later another edict was issued against it. And so it was pushed out of Burgundy and south into neighbouring Beaujolais where it has thrived on the granite based soils.

By the way, the ten crus that produce the flagship wines are: Chiroubles, Saint Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent.

Ortas “Prestige” Rasteau (AOC) 2015, 14.5%, €17.95 (19.95) 

Rasteau, about 40 minutes east of the Rhone, sits on a hill in the Vaucluse, one of the five departments of Provence, and the climate is typically Mediterranean (meaning a high level of grape maturity). It is to the north of better known villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise. The village also has the distinction of making fortified wines (vin doux naturel) including a deep coloured red.  

I’ve long had a soft spot for Rasteau reds and this dark-red coloured wine keeps me very much onside. Just have to love its rich nose, the red and darker berry flavours, the juice on the velvety palate, a good dash of spice too and those smooth tannins.Terrific balance between wine and wood and a super finish as well. 

The grape varieties in this Prestige are the GSM trio (from old vines) of Grenace, Syrah and Mourvedre. Serve at 15 to 16 degrees and you’ll find it goes well with red meats, roast small game and rich cheeses.

Lingenfelder “Bird Label” Riesling 2018, 11.5%, €13.45 (15.45)

The Lingenfelder family, winemakers in the Pfalz area of Germany since 1520, produce this Bird-Label Riesling, one of their "Vineyard Creatures" series that also includes the Hare (Gewürztraminer) and the Fox (Dornfelder) .

Pfalz is in the south west of Germany. It is one of the driest and warmest areas there but still a cool climate. Wines can be more full bodied here in good years. 2018 was warm and dry and some of the 2018 are "not too heavy". All hand-picked, all wild fermented, they rely on the natural yeasts that are all around the cellar. “Authenticity is very important to us,” Georg,  the 14th generation of the family in wine, told a Cork audience last year.

This Riesling is off dry and delicious. It has the typical Riesling aromas (citrus-y), is fresh and elegant and may be enjoyed as an aperitif or with light or spicy dishes.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Authenticity is very important to us. Lingenfelder Masterclass in Cork

Authenticity is very important to us. Lingenfelder Masterclass at O'Brien's Winter Wine Festival in Cork
Georg Lingenfelder. Thanks to Liam Campbell for the pic from the Dublin show.

“Half the production in Germany is red.. that is not internationally known. There are big steps in red wine.” This was the surprising opening statement by Georg Lingenfelder as he introduced us to the estate’s wines at a masterclass, part of the O’Brien’s Winter Wine Festival in Cork last Thursday evening. Climate warming may well be a factor in the increase.

O’Brien’s Lynne Coyle MW had introduced Georg, a regular visitor to ireland. “This is the first year of the masterclasses. Georg represents the 14th generation of the family in wine in the Pfalz. Next year is their 500th anniversary.” 

He told us that Pfalz is in the south west of Germany. “One of the driest and warmest areas but still a cool climate. Wines can be more full bodied here in good years. 2018 was warm and dry and some of the 2018 are not too heavy. All hand-picked, all wild fermented, we rely on the natural yeasts that are all around our cellar. 
Georg, at home, with father Rainer

Fermentation is spontaneous - that makes it more individual, unique to our place. It is of course more risky for us and some vintages can be not so good. With wild yeast, you never know how it works. We try and get the temperature to 18 to 20 degrees but it is still unpredictable. But we’ve been doing this forever so we have the experience.”

“The wines with our house on the front label are single plot. We are right next to the Rhine but our vineyards are not too steep - easier to work there. We use sustainable methods, lots of other plants between the rows. This gives bio diversity, very important to us.”

In response to a question on sulphites, Georg explained that sulphite is necessary to make a wine stable. “Sulphur levels in wine are often very low, compared to other foods. Our levels are quite low.”

“We use German oak, from about 15/20 kms away, as authenticity is very important to us. We use some barrels that are 120 years old. There is a big difference between new and old oak and our Pinot Noir is aged in fresh oak.”
The Dornfelder grapes

And he had an invitation for everyone in the audience. “We are a small family winery, always happy to see visitors. Stuttgart and Frankfurt airports are not too far away.”

The first of the three wines in the tasting was their Hare-label Gewürztraminer Qba 2018. “Very aromatic, almost perfumery. Yet this is a dry style, herbal, with an almost bitter finish though the acidity is not too high.” In general, this grape and its “so distinctive” wines, “divides opinions”.
The Hare. The House. The Fox.

The second wine tasted, a Riesling, had the house on the front, so the fruit came from a single plot, quite a small one in this case. The Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2018 is dry, aromatic with crisp, refreshing acidity. Georg pointed to the higher acidity though he also said it was a little sweet on the finish. It certainly has the typical Riesling aromas (citrus-y) and that “little sweetness is well balanced by the acidity. It is, as Georg said, “straightforward and elegant”. He also emphasised that Riesling is a grape “for cooler climates”.

The final wine was the Fox-label Dornfelder Qba 2010, a light red wine, with notes of red berries and a bit of spice and a smoke taint. However it has a nice intensity on the mid palate and is a great match with lamb, beef carpaccio or cheese and is quite close to Pinot Noir.

Georg told us that it is a local grape, initially bred in 1955. It is handpicked, skin fermentation in stainless steel, on the skin for 3 to 4 weeks, the juices take all their colour from the skin (without that, the wine would be white). “It then spends one and a half years (can vary) in German oak, 5,000 litre barrels, so there is really no oak influence. It is a little on the light side, 12.5% abv, cherry fruit, smoke and pepper. It has a lot going for it, including slow -ripening which increases the flavour.”

I like this style and so does Georg who admits to not being a big fan of oaked red: “This is very versatile (in terms of food). It has great ageing potential, good at five to ten years but can get better as the years cool on. Incredibly better.”

Great to have the chance to hear from the latest generation of this remarkable family and to hear how enthusiastic he is about local and authenticity. And so the commitment continues so that the next 14 generations “get a chance to live off the land as well; without herbicides, without irrigation, only minimal fertilisation and lots of biodiversity”.
See also: O'Briens Winter Wine Festival Cork

Sunday, November 10, 2019

My Shortcut Through 228 Wines at O'Brien's Festival Cork

My Shortcut Through 228 Wines at O'Brien's Festival Cork

Jose Maria and Yours Truly

The amazing O’Brien’s Winter Wine Festival posed a problem or two, even for experienced tasters, at the Clayton Hotel  in Cork on Thursday evening. No problem at all with the wines, just the sheer scale of it: no less than 228 wines on show. My solution was generally to take the organic route and that worked out well enough. 

And that gave me time enough to catch up with friends, such as John Wilson who was launching his Wilson On Wine 2020 and Jose Maria Frail owner of the small family-owned Tandem Winery in Spain’s Navarra.

Indeed I had planned to attend the Tandem masterclass in an adjoining room but it was booked out in no time. Still, there was the considerable consolation of attending the masterclass on the wines of Germany’s Lingenfelder Estate, given by Georg, a member of the 14th generation of the family that has been making wine here for some 500 years! We’ll return to that and to John Wilson’s book later this week.

A few years ago, we enjoyed a lovely lunch and wines at the Lynch-Bages owned restaurant, Café Lavinal, in the village of Bages, at the gates of the Chateau. JM Cazes are the owners of Lynch-Bages and also own high-quality sites in key wine regions. Our “starter” on Thursday was the Michel Lynch Organic Bordeaux Blanc, an attractive aromatic blend of Sauvignon Blanc (85%) and Semillon, dry and refreshing with a crisp palate, well priced at €15.95. It is organic and the label is made from recycled paper.
Café in Bages

Gérard Bertrand has quite a reputation for his wines in the Languedoc region and it was his Prima Nature Chardonnay 2018 that the we tried next. This is organic, vegan, with no added sulphur and no oak either. It soft, elegant, refreshing with apple and pear flavours and also well-priced at €16.95. 

Also well priced and also dry and refreshing is the Cortese Nostru Catarratto Lucido with its eye-catching label. It’s an organic white from Sicily made from the local Catarratto grape. It is a fresh and light wine with a ruby robe. Red berries and a hint of spice in the complex aromas. It is fresh and lively, again that spice and fruit, elegant with silky smooth tannins, harmony throughout right to a very satisfying finish.

The reserve Chin Blanc 2018, from Ken Forrester in the Stellenbosch (South Africa)  has spent some 9 months on lees. It is harmonious all the way through to a very satisfying finalé. M.A.N. Vinters, also from South Africa but from the Agter-Paarl, had the seriously impressive Bellow’s Rock Chenin Blanc, also 2018, aromatic and fruit. Hard to separate these two, especially since both are priced at 15.95 for November and December.
South Africa, well represented.

Looking for an organic vegan Merlot, juicy and lively, at a good price? Then go no further than the Prima Nature Merlot from Gérard Bertrand. Good fruit flavours, fresh acidity and a juicy finish. And no added sulphites by the way.

Back then to Sicily for a couple of Cortese Nostru reds. The Nerello Mascalese 2018 is smooth and silky, organic too, and “a great match with tuna”. It’s down from €14.95 to 12.95 in O’Brien’s Nov/Dec sale.

From the same table, the same stable, comes the Nero d’Avola 2018. Unoaked, aged on lees, pure and silky. It is organic, no added sulphurs and “drink it young” was the advice from the table.

Always have a soft spot for the Kangarilla Road in the McLaren Vale since the days of Wine Alliance. Now the Australian winery has a new generation on the road, Charlie O’Brien. He brought two reds with him. Our first was the Street Cred Shiraz, fruity and soft. Very quaffable indeed. The second, Terzetto 2013, had the edge though. It’s a blend of three Italian grapes, rich and robust, well balanced too. Something different and well worth a try.

By then, it was time to catch up with Jose Maria, just back having enjoyed meeting the punters at his masterclass. We were on his Ars in Vitro, a blend of Tempranillo and Merlot, that is as smooth as they come and, unoaked, it comes full of juicy fruit. Worth a try, especially as it’s down to 10.95 in the Nov/Dec sale.

Another smooth red, Ars Nova, features the Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the local Tempranillo. It has been aged for 24 months, the last 9 in oak. If the previous one is art in glass, this is class in a glass and we gave it five out of five. Good price too at €17.45.

The French varieties, Cab Sauv and Merlot, also feature in the Mácula, a serious wine with intensity of aroma and flavour yet rounded with a long and satisfying finish.

Ars Memoria 2012 was our final wine from Tandem, a rich and robust red that has spent “14 months in new French oak”. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon, dark of colour and rich of flavour, a superb wine to be drunk with friends, even in their memory (it was made in honour of friends and members of the Tandem family who have passed on).

See also:
Lingenfelder Masterclass 

Monday, October 14, 2019

A World Of Wine Coming To Cork Next Month. O'Briens Wine Festival

A World Of Wine Coming To Cork Next Month.
O'Briens Wine Festival 
The Lingenfelder brothers from Germany

They’re coming from many corners of the world, from California, Chile, Argentina, from South Africa, from New Zealand and Australia, all coming to Cork on Thursday November 7th. People will be there too from the Old World, all heading to the O’Briens Wine Festival at the Clayton Hotel in Lapps Quay, Cork. And watch out too for Kate and Denis from the local Kinsale Mead Company - they’ll certainly have something for those on your Christmas present list (including yourself!).

Wine Masterclasses are an additional feature this year. There will be three of them on the night, including one by Jose Maria Fraile of Tandem. This winery in Spain’s Navarra is one of my favourites. 

I see also that the Lingenfelder brothers, the double act of Georg and Karl, will be in attendance. Not too sure whether both will be doing the masterclass or just one but one way or the other you’ll have a laugh along with some very interesting wines to taste. 

The third masterclass will be given by Maison Schröder & Schÿler (they’ll have three reps at the festival) and they have some terrific Bordeaux wines under their wing, including Châteaux Kirwan (classified Grand Cru Classé in 1855); should be interesting!
Kangarilla's Charlie O'Brien (centre) pictured a few years back with his parents Helen and Kevin.

The Delicato Vineyards are one of the leading family producers in the US and produce under a variety of labels including Gnarly Head that you will see in Ireland. They’ll have Jonas Hillergen in attendance.

What’s going on in Chile these days? Check it out with Javier Letamendi from Viña Leyda (DO Leyda Valley). You won’t have to trek over the Andes to check out the wine scene in Argentina as Bodegas Norton from Mendoza will also be in Cork.

We recently highly recommended the Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch (South Africa) 2018, relatively new to O’Briens, and this excellent South African producer will have Louw Strydom on hand to tell you all about it and their other wines.
A beauty!

Looking forward to meeting Charlie O’Brien of Kangarilla Road in Australia’s McLaren. Hope he’s got some of the Devil’s Whiskers with him! New Zealand wines are always welcome here as are the country’s producers. Sacred Hill’s man at the Clayton will be Ben Stuart.

There’ll be bubbles of course, perhaps to begin the evening. Check the champagne by Champagne Beaumont des Crayères. Gilles Francois will have it at the perfect temperature.

And would you like to finish with a drop of Port? Ah, go on! The person to see is Lorna Rouse of Taylor's & Fonseca.

Tickets are selling fast for this outstanding event (199 wines, 45 winemakers). Check at your local O’Brien’s or order online here. Cheers, Cork!

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: “ 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: )