Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2007 Vintage in Germany - A Barrel/Tank Tasting Hosted by Rudi Wiest

This is the second year in a row that I have been able to get a sneak preview of a German vintage by attending the barrel/tank tasting hosted by Rudi Wiest and his company. This is pretty fun because we are tasting wines about 4 months ahead of their release here in the U.S. so it is a true sneak preview.

I have already heard that the 2007 vintage in Germany is spectacular. Compared with the 2006 vintage, there will be more wine available because fewer grapes succumbed to rot, so there had to be fewer bad grapes selected out and discarded, and less botrytis affecting the grapes, so more Kabinetts could be made. I really enjoyed the 2006 vintage wines, but that was because the wines I tasted were from estate that did that rigorous selection and dumped half of the grapes they normally would have used and only made wine with the very best grapes - so of course everything was stupendous and delicious. 2007 in comparison had a long growing season due to early bud break (I was told April was super hot, like summer, so bud break occurred very early), and the growing season all summer was mild, and vines had a long time to pull nutrients from the soil, making for minerally, complex wines.

Yesterday's tasting of 23 wines took place in Irvine at the Wine Cellar Club, a place I had been meaning to visit since they are supposed to have a great wine storage facility. So I'm doubly glad I went because now I know where the Wine Cellar Club is, finally. It's a nice place in an industrial mall-type area, just off the 405 freeway. Very professional appearing, and large.

So I arrive at the tasting about 12 noon, and there is Rudi Wiest with Allie Mitchell and both are happily pouring to an enthusiastic crowd. It is always fun to see them; they are both charismatic and charming and add a certain wonderful vibe to the world of German wine. So not only are the wines great, but you get this excitement for them that is indescribably and makes the wines irresistable.

I'd like to think that that's how I sell German wines also - with an unbridled enthusiasm. Yeah, that's it. :)

Well, onto the serious stuff. Here are my notes. I'm glad this blog is here so that I'm motivated to transfer my notes into typed form right away, which will help me in the end, and also hopefully share with the world around....

2007 Schnaitmann Muskattrollinger Rose

The first wine to be tasted was a rose of a grape called Muskattrollinger - a grape related to the red grape Trollinger from the Wurttemberg. This is a pale rose, light in body and fresh and fruity in flavor. Very, very nice. This is not your Aussie rose, full of red color and 15% alcohol. Of course not! This is more like a finely made Provencal rose, something that is light on its feet and you could down a whole bottle on a warm summer's day. This is made from a rare grape variety that is not planted much in the world; in fact, there is only 30 hectares of this planted in the world, and Rainer Schnaitmann is interested in keeping it alive by making this fine rose.

Okay, here is the interesting story - at least for me. Last year in September when I was in Germany on the Rudi Wiest tour, we visited Rainer Schnaitmann at his estate in Wurttemberg, and he took us up into his hilly vineyard, which was passed on to him from his parents who were growers who sold all their grapes to the Co-operative. Rainer is the first generation to make his own wine from his own estate grown grapes, and he is a wild success in Germany in the fine restaurants. At any rate, he took our group up into the vineyards just at the time of sunset before dinner, and the took out glassware and his bottle of Muskattrollinger Rose (probably vintage 2006) and we clinked glasses there and drank this wine overlooking Stuttgart and the soccer stadium and the Daimler-Chrystler plant where many people in this area work now.

A view from Rainer Schnaitmann's vineyards down onto the Wurttemberg's capital city, Stuttgart:


2007 Kunstler Estate Riesling Dry

We currently have the 2006 of this wine, which is very lean and dry (not that there is anything wrong with that). The 2007 seems weightier and not too lean, but still very zippy, fresh and lively, with grapefruit and lime.

2007 Pfeffingen Estate Riesling Dry

Jan Eymael makes this wine as he took over from his mother Doris Eymael a couple of years ago. This wine is rich in flavor, with medium weight, minerally, grapefruit and lemon flavors are present for me.

2007 Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Riesling Dry

A notch up in acidity in this wine, razor-like in its attack, along with significant minerals. This Riesling seems bone dry to me. Great for fans of serious acidity and minerality.

2007 Rebholz vom Muschelkalk Riesling Dry

This is the first vintage that owner/winemaker Hansjorg Rebholz made Riesling from the vom Muschelkalk vineyard, which is normally planted to "Burgundian" or Pinot varieties (Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc) due to this soil being Burgundian, ie. rich with limestone. The Riesling vines in this vineyard are finally producing, so here is the inaugural wine from the limestone terroir. Pretty white flowers on the nose; on the palate, the wine is rich in body, floral, and a bit chalky, in a nice way.

2007 Wirsching Iphofer Kronsberg Riesling Dry

Totally different from the previous wine, this Riesling fills the glass with its rich aroma which is distinctively Riesling. On the palate, the wine is firm, bold, balanced, and mineral-rich and dry. This wine comes from soil that is gypsum and marl-rich.

2007 F. Becker Pinot Blanc Kalkgestein Dry

This label will probably say Weissburgunder but here on the tasting sheet it says Pinot Blanc - same thing, different language. Very aromatic on the nose with the white flowers again; on the palate, nice acidity, dry, and the feeling you have blanched river-worn stones on your tongue. Probably a great oyster wine here.

2007 Schafer-Frohlich Estate Riesling Medium-Dry

High, high acidity on this wine, so much that I can't taste the "medium"-dry aspect here. I'm sure there's some residual sugar there but I'm still on the acidity. This wine will probably mellow out later and be great!

2007 Karthauserhof Riesling Kabinett Feinherb

Feinherb means medium-dry. This Karthauserhof is so light on its feet with a mineral water type of weight, a touch of fresh fruit sweetness, and just barely there sweet ripe peach. Very delicate and wonderful.

2007 Wegeler Rheingau "Pure" Riesling Medium-Dry

We have the 2006 of this wine in the store. The label here is sharp and great, very modern. This wine is easy-drinking and indeed medium-dry. Good food wine. Round mouthfeel and very succulent.

2007 Wegeler Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

My words: delicate on its feet, very sweet and concentrated with red fruits, peach, nectarine, cherries - addictive! Rudi Wiest's words: "Compact and elegant." That does kind of say it all. This is a wonderful wine, delicious, and easy to love.

2007 Monchhof Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett

Fresh with a great mouthfeel, a winner of a Kabinett. Classic Mosel. Wow, this is ready to sell right now! (to me)

2007 Kunstler Hochheimer Reichestal Riesling Kabinett

Reichestal means "rich valley." These wines are approaching 40 years old now. I got guava and grassy notes on this wine - interesting! Not what I usually get from Riesling. Maybe that will develop away. Not sure.

2007 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett

There is the aroma of wild yeast on this wine, we were warned, not sulphur. I actually got the aroma of beer, a fine beer, like a Belgian beer that referments in the bottle. So beer - yeast - makes sense. The wine is rich and full-bodied on the palate, with the flavor of fine beer and wild strawberries.

2007 Von Hovel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Spatlese

High in acidity - I guess that makes sense since this is from the Saar region - minerally, with flavors of lemon/lime.

2007 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Spatlese

Also from the Saar, but this wine I liked better, probably because Zilliken does everything in old barrels, making the wine rounder and more integrated. Beautiful aroma of fresh-cut apples. Sweet and delicious on the palate, creamy with a certain je ne sais quoi. This was a hard wine to spit out and I think I didn't. There's acidity in the wine but it is soft and buffered, just the way I like it.

2007 Wegeler Rheingau Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spatlese

Spritzy on the palate, with rich red fruit such as strawberries, cherries, lychees and other unctuous tropical fruits. Yummy.

2007 Pfeffingen Ungsteiner Herrenberg Scheurebe Spatlese

On the nose, I thought it was a Gewurztraminer - roses and lychees. On the palate, very weighty, low in acidity, good wine with cheeses.

2007 Rebholz Estate Gewurztraminer Spatlese

Okay here is the Gewurz. Beautiful nose of a bouquet of roses. Round and delicious on the palate, lots and lots of roundness and low in acidity, full of tropical flavors and a touch of what I thought was cherry Kirsch.

2007 Monchhof Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese

Full bodied and very nice.... probably need to taste much, much later. I still have the 2005 and 2006 vintages of this wine at the store. A wine for the cellar.

2007 Gunderloch Rothenberg Riesling Fass GU 22

I wondered what "Fass GU 22" meant - it just is the cask name - later this will be a Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Auslese. Fantastic, spritzy, full of pineapple, concentrated peaches, with a huge, long, lingering finish. Another wine I found impossible to spit out!

2007 Von Buhl Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Auslese

The name of this vineyard, Ungeheuer, means "monster" and it is famous because it is historical figure Otto von Bismarck's favorite vineyard. He was quoted to say "Dieses Ungeheuer schmeckt mir ungeheuer" which roughly translated means "This Monster wine tastes monsterly!"Literally, Forster Ungeheuer means "forest monster" but actually the vineyard was named after the family who owned it years back, whose last name just happened to be Ungeheuer. Anyway, I learned this story from Von Buhl's Christophe Graf, who is a wealth of information.

The wine: full of pineapple, honey, a nice salinity, very, very yummy and ripe.

2007 Robert Weil Kiedricher Grafenberg Riesling Auslese

Amazing lazer beam of a wine with focus and precision and nothing out of place. 10.5 grams of acid and 155 grams of residual sugar makes this possible, a balancing act like a tight-rope walker or a ballerina on her tippy toes. Beautiful.

And that's it! 23 wines from the 2007 vintage!

8 comments:

Lyle Fass said...

Great notes....

I did the Schnaittman thing too but did it at 9 in the morning! That rose will wake you up at nine in the morning. 2007 sounds great. I tasted Heger's (unreal)and around 25 Schnaittman 2007's which were brilliant! Can't wait to taste in June when Rudi comes to town . . .

Nancy Deprez said...

Yes, can't wait till June either!

Glad you liked the Rose also.

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