Saturday, October 21, 2017

2016 Red Wines from Beaujolais and Southern Burgundy Recently Sampled -- Chermette, Coudert, Dupré, Foillard, Gauthier, and Guillot-Broux

When it's done right, the 2016 vintage down here is most attractive with classic wines that have good liveliness, crispness, and firmness, plus excellent expressiveness of fruit -- a classic vintage. But depending on where one was, there were problems with freezes and hail, and so not everyone had the same chances to work with top fruit. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Prelude to Reports on Burgundy Visits: Summary of 2016 Vintage Conditions

This coming Monday, 23 October, I begin my annual visits in Burgundy to taste the most recent vintage, mostly from cask (2016 this year), and to taste many of the wines of the one before that from bottle (2015 this year). As I have time, I’ll be providing reports on the wines while I’m still in Burgundy and then I’ll continue to write up my notes until all visits have been reported. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Domaine Paul et Marie JACQUESON (Rully) -- 2015s Tasted from Bottle

With the double-whammy of small harvests and increasing demand for the top Côte d’Or wines, many Burgundy fans have been crying out in despair. But the wise ones have known that the top producers (and their numbers are increasing each year) on the Côte Chalonnaise have been producing outstanding wines at moderate prices.

Jacqueson, in particular, is one of my favorite estates in the region, both in red and in white. Should you come across the outstanding 2014s, reviewed heredon't hesitate about them, either. (Continue reading here.)

2016 Reichsgraf von KESSELSTATT (Mosel)

This is the first vintage made of Kesselstatt wines since the tragically premature death of Anagret Reh-Gartner, and I’m pleased to say that the quality continues just as high as before, notwithstanding the challenging conditions that included a long flowering period, downy mildew, and hail. But those conditions did take a toll in the amount of wine produced; in the past thirty years, only two other vintages have been smaller. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Albert MOROT (Beaune) -- 2015 from Bottle

This is a very good Beaune estate whose wines, for whatever reason, I rarely see. Whatever the damage from the hail in 2012-13-14, it did not seem to carry over to 2015, except in reduced yields. 

All of the following wines are red. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Red Wines from Northern Burgundy Recently Tasted: Cadette. Soeur Cadette, Montanet, Camu, Dauvissat, Savary

This region, including areas not far from Chablis, used to be a tough one for red wines. But with global warming, recent vintages and increased experience of the producers with Pinot Noir, and in some cases the César grape, are changing things, making for attractive, affordable red wines with elegance. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 and 2014 Lemberger from Württemberg: Dautel, Haidle, Kistenmacher-Hengerer, Neipperg, Wöhrwag

Out of fourteen wines from 2015 and one from 2014 presented in Wiesbaden, the wines below are the only ones I found worth reviewing. Too many others were hot, jammy, alcoholic, and otherwise unimpressive. The situation is emblematic of the weakness of the GG program applied to Lemberger (better-known for its name used in Austria, Blaufränkisch). Why apply the name Grosses Gewächs to so many wines not reviewed here that are mediocre and not better than the average wine of this type? It only cheapens the GG image. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 Spätburgunder from the Ahr: Meyer-Näkel and Nelles

In the past, the Ahr VDP producers who showed their Spätburgunders at the Wiesbaden tasting were perhaps the worst offenders for over-oaking and over-extracting. The good news is that the wines are less extracted and oaky than before. But there is still work to be done here. Fewer than half of the wines exhibited merited a write-up here, and even of those four wines, none was truly exciting. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 Spätburgunder from Baden: Bercher, Freiburg, Dr. Heger, Heitlinger, Huber, Keller, Lahr - Wöhrle

There were a few wines presented that did not merit writing up, but on the whole Baden showed as well as, if not better than, any region for Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) in 2015. The overripeness one might have feared from a hot, dry vintage did not show here and the producers have learned to back off from overdoing the wines. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, September 29, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 Spätburgunder from Franken: Castell, Fürst, Klingenberg/Baltes, Zehnthof Luckert

Limestone is, of course, the key to most of the wonderful Silvaners and Rieslings in Franken (Franconia), as well as the great wines of Burgundy. So it’s not surprising that there are quality Pinot Noirs here; but note, not all (e.g., Centgrafenberg with sandstone) are from limestone soils. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

VDP GG Tasting -- 2015 and 2014 Spätburgunder from the Rheinhessen (Ingelheim, Nierstein, Westhofen): Gutzler, Keller, Neus, St. Antony

With the exception of Keller, I don’t think of Rheinhessen for Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), and the 2014s and 2015s presented validated that view. (In addition to the wines reviewed below, I tasted several others that did not merit reviewing.) The wines below are pleasant wines for drinking, but except for Keller’s Morstein, they don’t merit the title grand cru (common parlance in Germany for GG), especially since that name evokes Burgundy's greatest red wines.

The good news, as I’ve mentioned before, is that the producers are getting away from over-extraction and over-oaking. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, September 25, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Weisser Burgunder (Böchingen, Burrweiler, Duttweiler, Godramstein, Ilbersheim, Laumersheim, Schweigen, Siebeldingen): Bergdolt, Berhart, Kranz, Kuhn, Meßmer, Minges, Münzberg/Keßler, Rebholz, Wehrheim

To my palate, this was not a great vintage for Weisser Burgunder (also known as Weissburgunder, Weiss Burgunder, and Pinot Blanc), but the top producers came through — Bergdolt, Münzberg, Rebholz, Dr. Wehrheim, and Kranz.

If you’ve never tasted German Pinot Blanc and you get the opportunity to do so, don’t pass it up. These wines are completely different from what is produced from the same grape in France and Italy. Specifically, the German versions are much racier and more penetrating. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Riesling Part IX (Gimmeldingen, Haardt, Idig, Ruppertsberg): von Buhl, Bürklin-Wolf, Christmann, Müller-Catoir

Here, the vineyards are not as well-known as those in Forst and Deidesheim, but there are outstanding wines that regularly come from the vineyards, especially Christmann’s two Idig vineyards.

Note that one of the von Buhl wines and the Bürklin-Wolf wine are from the 2015 vintage. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Part VI (Ungeheuer): Achim-Magin, von Bassermann-Jordan, von Buhl, Mosbacher, von Winning

The Ungeheuers showed very strong and very good for drinking already. (Continue reading here.)

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Part V (Kirchenstück): Achim-Magin, Bassermann-Jordan, von Winning, and 2015's from Bürklin-Wolf and von Buhl

In my opinion, Kirchenstück is the greatest vineyard in the Pfalz, and indeed one of the very great vineyards of Germany. 

Unfortunately, with the holding back of wines for a year by Bürklin-Wolf and von Buhl (and possibly Mosbacher, which did not show a Kirchentsück) and my not visiting Eugen Müller, who is not a VDP member but produces Kirchenstück (and other wines) on the same level, this gives, for now, an incomplete picture of Kirchenstück. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Part IV (Jesuitengarten): Acham-Magin, von Bassermann-Jordan, Mosbacher, von Winning

Like a kid in a candy store. Not as great as some vintages, maybe, but still hugely enjoyable. (Continue reading here.)

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Part III (Pechstein): Acham-Magin, Bassermann-Jordan, von Buhl, Mosbacher, von Winning

Here, we begin one of the most amazing parts of every GG tasting — the vineyards of Forst, followed by those of Deidesheim. Forst is the equivalent of Vosne-Romanée — the most complete, sensual wines of the Pfalz and a tremendous agglomeration of the greatest vineyards. (Continue reading here.)

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Riesling Part II (Ungstein and Bad Dürkheim): Fitz-Ritter, Pfeffingen/Fuhrmann-Eymael, Rings

All these wines received the same scores, yet if you read the descriptions, you’ll see that each is different.  (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Pfalz Riesling Part I (Dirmstein, Kallstadt, Laumersheim, Zell): Knipser, Kuhn, Rings

As I stated in a previous post, the Rheinhessen remains the most exciting area in German wine. This is in part because for most of our knowledge of German wine, most of the Rheinhessen, including the areas that are now making some of the greatest wines in Germany, were not producing quality wines. For much of the Pfalz, adjacent to the Rheinhessen, this situation is different — the wines have a long history of celebrated wines (although there are other areas at the extremes of the Pfalz that have only relatively recently begun to produce top quality wine).

Interestingly, the Pfalz in many ways resembles Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. Among other things, both arebacked by a range of mountains with the slopes generally facing southeast, and the hearts of both are in the center of the region, although the extremes at both ends have recently been contributing very fine wines. In Burgundy, the wines grow higher on the slopes, possibly a reflection of the more southerly latitude.

We’re starting here with wines from the northern limits of the Pfalz, and which are not on the slopes of the mountains. They actually are a continuation of the Rheinhessen nearby (e.g., Hohen-Sülzen) more than they are related to the Pfalz further south; but the political boundaries determine the region here. (Continue reading here.)

VDP 2016 Tasting -- Rheinhessen Part IV (Westhofen and Dittelsheim): Groebe, Gutzler, Winter, Wittmann

This group of producers and vineyards typically supplies some of the greatest moments for me at the annual Wiesbaden GG Preview. The wines showed well here in the context of the vintage, but not as well as they have in the past. Is this just the way the vintage is or is this because the wines were tasted so young (this year, the Wiesbaden tasting was moved up a week from what has already been a very early preview of the wines)?  Hopefully, I’ll have another chance to retaste these wines with some more age on them. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Rheinhessen Part I (Bingen, Siefersheim, Nackenheim): Gunderloch, Krüger-Rumpf, Kühling-Gillot, Wagner-Stempel

Rheinhessen, as I’ve been saying for more than a decade, is the most exciting region in Germany right now (not that there isn’t plenty of excitement in most of the others). The GG’s showed extremely well, and from the whole Rheinhessen, there wasn’t a single wine that I declined to write up. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

VDP 2016 GG Tasting -- Mittelrhein: Jost/Hahenhof, Lanius-Knaub, Müller, Ratzenberger

This region is on both sides of the Rhein north of the Rheingau and Nahe, and even extending on the east side past Koblenz, where the Mosel empties into the Rhein. It’s not well-known as there have been few quality producers. But as these wines show, there are some, and they are worth investigating, should you come across them. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

VDP GG Tasting 2016 -- Nahe Part IV: 2015 GG's from Gut Hermannsberg

As I indicated in my introduction to the 2016 VDP GG Preview, Gut Hermannsberg has been one of the "early adopters” of the trend to hold back GG wines an extra year before releasing them, a practice that many of us heartily endorse. 

These wines show very good quality, as well as potential to improve still more with time. (Continue reading here.)