Friday, December 31, 2010

2004 Agrapart "Vénus", Champagne

(The new labels from Agrapart)

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Ages of vines: 51 years (Planted in 1959)
Dosage: 0 g/l
Vineyard: “La Fosse” – soil: Mainly chalk
Production: Around 1.500 bottles
Bonus: Vénus was the name of the horse that worked in the vineyard. Vénus sadly passed away a few years back.
Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red wine”

True, I have tasted 2004 Vénus about 4 times already, but this is the first real Tango @ Casa Mad Aboout Wine.

I presumed an extremely young Champagne would await me – and true this was the case, but it’s one of those Champagnes you simply have to take for a test drive in it’s youth in order to get that mineral sensation.

Already from glass one I encountered a vinous Champagne of incredible seamless personality and crystallized clarity. The nose is unbelievable complex and the first thing which came to my mind was a fresh breeze of the sea with seashells and seawater. It’s defiantly the result of an out of scale driver of chalk, which gives the wine this raw, pure feeling and the chalk note infects the wine from all corners. The other notes of the nose and small dozes of; straw, yellow cherries (in Denmark we call them; Moreller), toasted bread, butter, flowers, anise, and hay. The taste is one hell of a rush for those who adore soil expression and all the notes from the nose is almost transported to the finish line and crushed in a mineral and stony expression. The mousse breaks so gentle and releases the very last perfumes of minerality.

My God, what a Champagne. You almost have to pinch yourself in the arm, to be sure your not dreaming. It’s that good my friends – majestic, masterpiece…I almost lost for words here.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2002 Tarlant "La Vigne d'Or", Champagne

Blend: 100% Pinot Menuier
Ages of vines: 64 years (planted in 1946)
Vineyard: Pierre de Bellevue
Soil: Sparnacien (chalk mixed with clay).
Disgorged: 22 June 2010
Dosage: 3 g/l
Other: Debut release was the 1999 Vintage
Glass: Spiegelau Adina “Red Wine”

The small memory film, which is set in motion, when we smell a glass of glass of wine covers many personal stories and it’s one of the treasures about being a wine lover. I came to think about this, when I recently opened the 2002 La Vigne d’or from Tarlant.

In this film, Benoît Tarlant plays the leading role and I can’t help to think of this playful – yet very skilled, committed and curious winemaker – which I have been lucky to meet both here in Copenhagen and in Champagne. It simply makes smile, before I even open the bottle and realizing how important it is to go and see winemakers in order to have an even more memorable and multifaceted wine experience.

This is rather concentrated baby, which opens with a bold dark fruit combo, which initially made me think of wheat tones and freshly baked bread. On the second sniff you get; brown apples, hazelnuts, forest, quince and a note of citrus, which is really important for the balance. The taste is full throttle creamy and waxy style - yet very energetic also, with afterburners of those brownish apples and spices.

Even if this Champagne is dynamite full-bodied stuff, it still feels a bit compact and should unfold additional secondary layers in the coming years. I would however not recommend hands off at the moment if you like me can’t hold that curiosity back.

This is once again proof how splendid a Pinot Menuier can be in the hands of the right winemaker.

Fantastic Champagne!!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2007 Vouette et Sorbée "Blanc d'Argile"

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Production: Roughly 2.500 bottles
Ages on vines: 10 years
Vineyard: "Biaune" (Western Exposure)
Soil: Kimmeridgian marl
Disgorged: 12. January 2010
Dosage: 0 g/l
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red Wine"

It’s important, when I am drinking wine at home, that the experience will be more a result of relaxing with the wine and not a hard-core analysis of the wine.

However here, with the 2007 Blanc d’Argile, I did the exact opposite and tasted the wine over 2 days without food, solely writing notes and focusing more detailed, than I usually do. I did it, because I knew this wine would be way too young and not exactly friendly. This is in fact the case, but I tell you it’s a fascinating wine, but also a very demanding wine.

The nose comes out rock hard, only with greenish apples, baby banana and a very “bio” driven. Like with the 2006 vintage of this wine, the oak is beautiful controlled, only giving character in the background and providing depth and never taking focus. But it also means, there is no immediate appealing help from seductive oak perfumes. But in the long run, this is - in my humble opinion – a big plus for this wine.

Taste is frightful demanding – almost poor and spartan, as it’s so incredible dry and harsh on the finish line. However, the purity, energy and soil attack makes you listen and wanting a second fill.

On day 2, the apples scents had some grease added and brilliant notes of hay and straw comes forward. However, what I found most appealing was to give the Champagne a big spin in the glass, making the mousse completely die – but only realizing what a beauty you have in front of you and what rewarding potential there will be for the patient taster.

Cellar my friends – for maybe 5 years or so.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

1990 Krug

Blend: (40% PN, 23% PM, 37% CH)
Glass: Spiegelau Adina Red Wine

Finally I can actually write a tasting note where I wasn’t a Friday night zombie after a weeks tango with the financial markets. No – I had a super week in Sweden, where I attended an absolutely brilliant course in Personal Leadership.

I believe very much we are moving targets and a good wine experience feeds out of many variables and me feeling stressed down and reborn is one of those variable. This needs serious addressing and in this case we are talking Champagne – 1990 Krug it was.

Krug is something I rarely drink at home – in fact this is the first time I have a Krug Vintage outside a tasting with the wine club.

But let us not waste more time and open the bottle.

Okay, so I have been mumbling about how much I adore Champagnes with soil-driven appeal and this Champagne is in fact NOT at all about that. If you had to say it a bit square you could say it’s not a terroir Champagne but more about wine making. But let me just reveal to you, that I simply had to throw in the towel here - forget my criteria’s for a while and surrender myself. The nose unfolds one layer after another with; honey, sourdough, brioche, smoke, vanilla (oak perfumes), marzipan, coffee beans, exotic evening perfume, flowers and mild fragments of citrus fruits, providing the salt on the egg appeal. The fruit core feels oily like a Montrachet and so unbelievable deep. You can raise the Champagne to 15 degrees with no problem what so ever – in fact it’s at this temperature it shines the most and reveals its true greatness.

The taste is, how odd it may sound, almost even better with an overwhelming concentration and majestic allure with an aftertaste, which never seems to end. The last thing you notice is firm and vibrant acidity running down the middle of the wine.

This bottle blew my mind and I think it has reached perfect maturity. Sure it can provide excellent drinking for 5-10 years, but why wait?

Monday, November 15, 2010

2007 Alexandre Jouveaux

100% Chardonnay
Vineyard: 0,2 ha
Production: 1.120 bottles
Soil: Clay and limestone
Wines age: 50 - 104 years old
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

More updates – or?? You see – I have written to you about the wines from Alexandre Jouveaux before. But I presumed there was only two – and it turns out there is actually three – well maybe even four. Well, now I have an image on two of them (Le Mont and this one). But Alexandre Jouveaux doesn’t make it much easier with calling all his wines “vin de table”. I don’t know which one I like best – maybe even the most moderate priced “Le Mont”, as it’s so energetic, insane and life confirming. But this wine – might be his best, seen from an objective scope, as it has more complex layers.

There is a red line in what I have tasted so far. The wines possess incredible freshness, which is being brought to life from a very direct soil attack and filled with frightening high acidity. They also – likes this 2007 have lots of freshly pressed apple juice, a warm newly baked bread feeling and a yeasty tone, which combined with the limestone notes, makes me think of Champagne. I embrace such wines, because they are able to hold your tastes buds alert and fresh at all times. This 2007 expands itself a bit more on the palate with multiple layers, compared to “Le Mont” and yet the acidity and soil attack are high and direct.

The wines from Alexandre Jouveaux are small-undiscovered treasures and they are still made so challenging, so geeks like you and me can hopefully keep them for ourselves before the big rating cavalry comes riding.

2006 Jêrôme Prévost, La Closerie "Les Béguines"

100% Pinot Meunier
48 year old vines
Dosage: 0 g/l
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red wine"

Just an update – but what an update.

There are indeed bottle variations with Prévost. But you know what – I can live with that. Especially when one bottle is presenting itself young and sophisticated – and the next bottle is slightly more evolved and filled with complex layers. This bottle belongs in the last section and it’s the best bottle of 2006 La Closerie "Les Béguines" I have tasted so far.

You have a slightly oxidized tone – deeper toned honey fruits, but with the companionship of the most gorgeous aromas of orange blossoms, bay leaves, and the always traditional sophisticated spices, which is a trademark of this Champagne. It’s an unbelievable complex breed and the taste is long, deep and filled with an overwhelming hedonistic appeal.

Having just said all of the positive things about this Champagne – I think it has even more gears and layers hidden over the coming years.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Three wines in a tree

1999 Egly-Ouriet

Blend: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
Vines: Old vines from Ambonnay
Time on lees: 112 months (that’s a lot)
Disgorged: Nov-2009
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red wine"

The arrival of winter almost invites the more dense and bold Champagne in. For me Egly-Ouriet belongs in the section of winter Champagnes with their oxidized and bold style. Let’s jump straight into the 1999, which was released later than the 2000 Vintage. Either this Champagne is in a sleeping phase – I hope so, because it was a huge disappointment in my book. First impression on the nose is a confirmation of the style – dense, oxidized, heavy oak infection with a fruit spectrum bringing out softer and deeper scents. You have; quince, honey and toasted notes of butter and almonds. Thing is, with such a fruit composition and concentration – you have to have some sort of refinement in order to preserve allure and refreshment. This is not the case and it’s slowly killing both complexity and creating a fatigue every time you return to the glass. Maybe the taste can create better balance? NO – it’s even worse as you get heavy notes of caramel and no real fresh attack on the palate. Even worse, which is a trademark of the 1999 vintage – is the low acidity, which in this case makes the Champagne loose tallness.

So as you can see, I wasn’t really happy. Even if this might be a phase – the absence of vibrant acidity are of concern, even it there is tons of mass here. I doubt if this Champagne will ever be great. But let’s see – it certainly feels like a clumsy monster, which just was release from its cave with no idea where to hide.

2006 Zidarich "Vitovska"

Blend: 100% Vitovska
We are in the Carso Mountains just above Trieste
More details here
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

In October I had pleasure to have dinner at one of Copenhagens hottest restaurant at the moment – Restaurant Relæ (the chef is former Noma). It was brilliant – just my type of place, honest food, relaxed ambience and a great wine list. As it was a business dinner I left the responsibility of wines in the hands of our skilled Sommelier; Ulf (he is also former Noma employee) and I didn’t regret it. However, when he told me the next white wine was from Trieste in Italy and made from the Vitovska grape (which I had never heard about) I looked like someone who has just wet his pants. You see - I haven’t been that lucky with Italian whites, as they in general (rudely generalizing of course) way too oak infected or have that annoying fennel thing I don’t like. The reds are a different story. However, something happened here and I decided to try the wine a second time at home. The wine is completely blurred in the glass and made in a way, which makes it feel slightly oxidized. The notes are; dark honey, beeswax and browned butter. These notes sounds bold and oily – but in fact they are presented in a very silky and refined manner. Taste confirms this style – and despite the oxidized tone, it’s a sleek and refreshing wine. The minerality tone feels more like licking a cold plate of iron than a lime stone acidity smack.

I don’t know if this means a lot – but it’s one of the best Italian white wines I have ever tasted – BRAVO!!!!

2007 Fanny Sabre "Pommard Chaponniéres"

100% Pinot Noir
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

I always want to say something positive about the wines from Fanny Sabre as she seems so gifted to bring us wine with such big personality even if they use very little “volume” to bring out their message. This is exactly such a wine – even though the first 30 minutes after I pulled the cork was pretty concerning. The wine was totally muted – NOTHING came out of the glass. My nose is still suffering from a big cold, but my wife confirmed my concerns. So out with the Zalto Decanter and fingers crossed. 30 minutes later it started to come alive with classic Pinot Noir scents. But it’s a very fragile wine, with a film of dust covering sensual raspberry skin flavours and notes of olive stones. Taste is very refined, silky and almost weightless with pure and feminine perfumes of red raspberry skin. This wine is really not a wine for cold winter season, but it brings me in a state of springtime. Wonderful stuff.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2002 Michel Arnould "Mémoire de vignes"

100% Pinot Noir
Age of vines: 40 years from Moulin de Verzenay hillside
2002 is the debut release of this cuvée
Glass: Spiegelau Adina "Red Wine"

Bugger – I can’t find the paper were I scribbled a few lines down about this wine. Oh well – I will have to do it from memory then.

I have tasted this Champagne once before in a big Champagne tasting I held in May-09 – but this is the first real date. I bought this Champagne from the recommendation of Richard Juhlin and having the chance to ask him when he thought it would enter a drinking window he said; “10 years”. Well I can’t wait this long – but it’s certainly a Champagne with further potential. It’s also a somewhat old school bottle of Champagne – but in a good way. Old School is notes of dark bread and sour dough and the autolysis notes just slowly starting to shine through. But there is a brilliant harmony and intellect to be found in the spicy section – which are both adding edge and sophistication. The taste is very concentrated and the spices are also found here and again they provide beautiful balance to a long vibrant, very smooth and mouth-coating aftertaste. I can’t help to compare it a little bit with cuvée Winston Churchill from Pol Roger.

A solid and very good bottle of Champagne.

2002 Dom Pérignon

49% Pinot Noir
51% Chardonnay
Production: Secret (a good guess is 5 million bottles)
Dosage: 6 g/l
Glasses: Spiegelau Adina "Red wine"

A new release of Dom hit's the street and it never goes by in silence. One of the newsletters I received – was not exactly humble – but okay, it’s cool to strut if you have what it takes.

"The 2002 is already a living legend" and Parkers quote "Call your bank - line up the truck". Even a beforehand approval from Richard Juhlin, which says - exclusively to this retailer - that it's better than 1996 - even equal to 1961, 1964 and 1976. The e-mail ends with "Empty your bank account and fill up the cellar". I guess this obligates – don’t you?
Let’s taste the beast, which I did with my good friend, Dan.

I don't like Dom Pérignon – period. In fact it has to be the most overrated wine there is. So I am a little biased and it’s probably a waste of your and my time to write this tasting note.

The ’02 are basically the same like most other DP. Same toasted profile, same ridiculous vanilla scent and lack of life and nerve on the palate. It has better citrus appeal than the previous vintages and the spices are not so impure and reductive - which makes it stand taller in the glass. Neither is it heavy on dosage, which can sometimes be the case for big house juice. But my God its boooooooring and I simply don't like how clumsy it feels on the palate, with so little soil energy - just "designed" to be round, pleasing and conservative. I can't go back to drink a Champagne like this - I have tasted so many other things I can't deny.

So I could conclude – once again – a big disappointment. But as my friend Dan here said – it’s probably a supreme Dom Pérignon, if you like this style of Champagne. Well said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2008 Bernard Van Berg "La Terre"

Blend: Pinot Noir and Gamay
Age of vines: 45 years old from Puligny and Mersault
Production: 300 bottles
More details here:
Glass: Zalto Burgundy

In late September I visited the newly opened restaurant Geranium and on the wine-menu a wine appeared which I had never heard about. (I will write a few lines about this dinner in an upcoming summary).

Served blind – I went directly towards Burgundy and Pinot Noir. But it wasn’t exactly all pure Pinot Noir, was it. I liked the wine so much, that I decided to examine it a bit closer and was lucky to obtain a single bottle.

Nose instantly provides bleeding red fruit, but a very silky, subtle and refined way of presenting it. There is a brilliant weightless feeling – taking both complexity and allure to higher ground. But when knowing there is also Gamay here – you can sense the second window of sweet spices and some earthy forest components emerging. Everything is again toned very subtle, making the balance perfect and the wine to feel genuine, seductive – yet very intellectual as well. Taste is simply divine – curls with amazing sleek, energetic and pure mineral appeal.

No more 2008 on the market here – 2009 is next, I am already ordering some – I suggest you do the same – if you can find it ;-).

Monday, October 11, 2010

2009 Germany dry Riesling Bonanza

25th of September I participated in Berlin Riesling Cup 09/2010 , which theme was the best dry German Rieslings GG (Grosses Gewächs) from the 2009 Vintage.

2009 Vintage is by many, even though it’s still early days, considered to be the finest vintage ever seen in these parts. German dry Rieslings has been on a string of success since the 2001 vintage. Climate change or not – 2010 won’t be at the same level and I don’t really know if we should be cheerful about a possible legendary vintage after 2009 vintage – but that’s a different discussion.

Our host was my good friend, Martin Zwick – aka Riesling geek times a zillion and also Mr. We could be in no better hands than here and Martin had selected his favourite 30 bottles from the VDP-Wiesbaden tasting, which he attended some weeks before.

The drill was to have a great evening – but also find a winner. That meant that all tasters had to hand in their scores. Oh dear – me a points. An old skeleton came out of the closet. But fair enough, I was in Berlin to have fun and points are fun, as they address difference in taste. But at the end of the day I haven’t changed my opinion – points are a joke. No more talk about this – let’s taste the wines and have some fun.

Tasting wine this concentrated and having such sort time – and only one glass, always leads to a shorter path to the conclusion. In addition - these wines are insane young, so take not only my scores – but also the end result with a grain of salt.

Everything served blind – in pair of two’s. Label revealed after each flights. All wines had their cork pulled in the morning in order the breath and reach perfect serving conditions.

The line-up had been put together by Klaus-Peter Keller

(My points / group result from 12 tasters)

Flight 1

2009 Schloss Johannisberg, Riesling “Silberlack”

The note of fennel is a note I often detect in German Rieslings. I seek to avoid this note – but it depends, how the note is toned. When it’s bad, it turns alcoholic, going almost into a schnapps resemblance and this is not good. This wine has some of this tone and despite solid level of freshness – emerging from citrus and grapefruit - it takes some overall balance away. The taste is a fraction better – but fades quickly. A fair wine – but too simple to be great. I had by far the lowest score. (84/88,1)

2009 Crusius, Riesling “Felsenberg”

On the first nosedive – this wine is more reserved and no way near as fresh as wine no.1. The style is rounder – juicer with more vivid fruit sensations, which makes it a more friendly wine. We have moved some notches up – but there is still lack of complex layers. I was lowest again (86 / 90,1)

(HO Spanier)

Flight 2

2009 Dönnhoff Riesling “Hermannshöhle”

When the label was revealed, I was really disappointed. I consider this wine to be dynamite stuff – and despite knowing what it is – and having the chance to taste it again after it’s identity was revealed, the result was the same. We have moved a few notches up from the intro flight, but the wine is fighting with some dilemmas. We have fairly intimidating scents of exotic fruits; pineapples in particular - but also honey melon and peach. These notes are good – but also a note of body odour and this fennel note intervene and so we have problems. Taste has an overweight of fat peaches and it may sound nice, but there is not much complexity there. We later learned that Hermannhöhle, despite the GG has some botrytis – and this would explain the style. It’s a fair wine – but a very disappointing for a “Hermannhöhle” in my opinion. I continued to be the lowest score. (88/91,7)

2009 Breuer “Schloßberg”

Despite I had tasted 3 fairly good wines so far – I wasn’t really dazzled yet, where was the magic from the 2009 vintage? It was here…oh yes… standing in glass number 4.

I didn’t rate this wine with the highest ranking – but still it made a significant impact on me. This is the kind of Riesling you would like to spoil yourself rotten with. It’s a delicious example, representing a delightful style of deep fruits scents of peach, petrol and orange blossom. The latter is a note I am particular fond of, as it’s always adding grace, character and in this case simply enhancing the sexiness of the wine. A young wine, yes – but the notes are not reserved, they are merely pitched a few notches down, to a subtle volume, which creates a splendid balance. Taste is beautiful – almost weightless with remarkable purity and a finale, which consist of anise perfumes and mouth coating residual sugar fragments. (93/92,8)

Flight 3

2009 Keller "Hubacker"

The first Keller wine enters. Among my Riesling friends, Keller – under the management of Klaus-Peter Keller, are considered to be the absolute superstar on the German dry Riesling scene. But as we couldn’t see the label here – we should be a bit immune to the influence from the Rheihessen magician.

First time I wrote “good energy” on my paper. Energy, as you might have noted, is a note I adore, as it’s a path to freshness and if everything else is in place, it makes you – as a taster, come much closer to the wine. This is in fact the case here – but closer in this case means heading towards a brick wall of raw chalk and an outrageous level of dry extract, which is released on the palate. Fractions of honey emerge from the fruit core – but also troublemaker note; fennel appears. As it stands in the glass, it’s an incredible clinical breed. For sure a different wine in 10years time – but currently struggling to show personality and overall drinking pleasure. (91/94)

2009 Weil “Gräfenberg”

This wine was very shy. The impression you got from the nose revealed sealed citrus fruit and some flowery tones. But above all, because of this closed phase, it had a lot of dark spices flying around, going more and more towards herbal characters. Of course such a wine is not something you immediately fall in love with, but the taste is actually rather nice. It has brilliant tallness – but no magic appears as the herbal notes are also here, making it a bit square in the mouth. It’s obvious that such a wine is in need of serious cellaring. (90/91,1)

Flight 4

2009 Schäfer-Fröhlich “Felseneck”

This wine rocked my world. It’s outrageous clean – presenting something, which reminds me of crystallized rose water. But underneath this zippy fresh nose, there are lots of layers and even a funky tone of potatoes appears. Taste doesn’t disappoint and delivers samurai precision with and ocean of minerals flushing down your palate. Now we are talking – bring me some more. (96/94,95)

2009 Kühling-Gillot “Pettenthal”

There is always the risk of not being the best in a beauty contest, when your rival is better looking. This wine was no way near the quality of “Felseneck” – but still it’s a rather good wine. It’s has a far more gentle feeling – compared to the samurai sword which just cut you. By gentle I mean a more elastic fruit core, but also an extremely concentrated Riesling. You have some spicy elements interfering with apple sensations’, but it actually gives the wine better complexity and also a strong personality. It’s on the palate the problems appear to me. It has too much alcohol burners and on paper it’s a big wine – but the alcohol is a problem for me. Still young – oh yes, maybe some cellaring will create better harmony. (91/92,6)

Flight 5

2009 Christman Königsbacher “Idig”

As wine no.9 enters you are now at a stage where you have seen good, great and magic wines and it seems easier to find which level the wines are at now.

This wine was a big pleaser with honey, melon and a lush appealing style. However a not of curry interferes, which simply doesn’t do any good for the wine. On the palate it’s mouth coating at first – but it doesn’t have the ability to hold a firm, vibrant and great aftertaste. (89/91,3)

2009 Battenfeld-Spanier “Frauenberg”

Better wine. Somewhat easy to understand, but easy is not negative, as it delivers divine floral scents and zippy fresh apple sensations. The taste is pure, feminine with exceptional drinking pleasure. Even more complex layers are required for me to go higher. (92/93,6)

Flight 6

2009 Keller “Morstein”

It’s always easy to play the role of Mr. Wice guy, when the label has been revealed. But when several Riesling nerds are present, I decided to play it safe and keep a low profile. You see, I was about to guess Keller on this wine. A why is that? It’s the same brutal style of Hubacker. The chalk here really hurts your palate and it’s impossible to find it pleasurable at this stage. On the palate it’s only microscopically elements of honey, which escapes and rock hard and chalk / slate infected taste. Cellar and we will see – should be a much better wine in 10-15 years. Very hard to give points here, potential or right now? We go with for now: (92/93,1)

2009 Bürklin-Wolf Pechstein

Anything beside Morstein will been seen as “fruity”. This is also the case here, as you have a lot of candied citrus fruits, which takes this wine into something easier to understand. However on the palate it’s only mouth coating and falls short. (90/91)

Flight 7

2009 Bürklin-Wolf “Kirchenstück”

Actually pretty good. Very bright wine, where the main driver is greenish apple and grape notes, but also a profile, which emerges from very high-pitched driven acidity, which penetrates the entire wine. Some thought this acidity was too greenish and the sign of too early picking, but I most admit I am somewhat of an acidity junkie, so I liked it. So everything is good – well, almost. I detected some notes of gunpowder, which could be linked so sulfur. Sulfur or not – It’s always a problematic note for me. Despite this lovely bright acidity, which refreshes the palate, it doesn’t have that many layers. (91/92,13)

2009 Keller “Abtserde”

Brilliant wine, which has an utterly clarifying appeal of tightly packed floral perfumes, but also an equal doze of tropical fruits. These sweet and lush tropical fruits, gives the wine an elastic personality, which is a big plus to me. On the taste it’s the same – long energetic taste and a slightly sparkle on the tongue. Too young, but still nice. (94/94,25)

Flight 8

2009 Adam/ Haart Goldtröpfchen“ Laychen“

Say what? Something different has entered. Interesting nose for sure, which holds; green tea, honey, pine needles and mineral sparkling nerve. The taste is pure with a primary delicious, mouth coating any honey-infected style. This wine falls into a category of a juice pleasurable drink – yummy. (93/94,25) / Bonus info. Only 400 bottles made.

2009 Wittmann “La Borne

Next wine – magic appears. It has a sensational and utterly complex nose of rosewater, pear, peach, candied citrus, straw and hay. The taste is outrageously good – with a weightless experience of little feather dots on the palate - but yet, with so much class, grace and harmony. Seriously one of the best dry Rieslings I have ever tasted (97/96,25). Bonus info: 1040 bottles produced – 800 will be held privately and the remaining 240 bottles will be auctioned.

Flight 9

2009 Keller “G- Max”

G-Max is by many Riesling nerds considered to be the Nirvana of dry Rieslings. I have been lucky enough to taste it on a number of occasions and it’s indeed a masterpiece. This night it rocked the boat and won the “Cup”. Already at first nose-dive you are taken to the twilight zone, with an enormous energy which almost feels like someone is screaming from the inner core of the glass. It’s “Keller raw” again – but the magnitude of the fruit core is simply so overwhelming and it also contains ripe fruit, so that “raw” becomes secondary and just an element of the wine. There is big pot of wet and warm stones, plus a note of gunpowder, which accompanies this mineral overload. On the palate it almost knocks you over with this outrageous energy, but again – as you combine minerals with ripe fruit, G-max has the ability to stretch itself and this elastic feeling is another trophy to prove how insane and good this wine is. G-Max is the most impressive wine so far – but also a monster, which of course is in need of cellaring. (97/96,75) – Could go higher in 10 years time.

2009 Emrich-Schönleber “Halenberg”

When G-Max is moon walking in the opposite glass you have to stay focused, because any rival will be a lesser wine. I have tasted “Halenberg” before in other vintages, and it’s always a stunner. The 2009 is much softer compared to G-max’s scary style, but I especially like the feminine touch of Halenberg, which unfolds by a lovely note of orange blossom. Taste delivers a delicious harmony, which has this floating and elegant style. If to put a grain of skepticism in the bowl – the wine is a fraction too polish. Still beautiful stuff and fairly priced. (95/96,13)


Martin served us a great rabbit dish with turnip. We flushed it down with Philipp Kuhn Steinbuckel GG Pinot Noir Pfalz. A wine with too much sweet oak appeal and alcohol burning. But it went down –we where thirsty ;-).

Flight 10

2009 Loosen “Prälat”

Right – let’s move back to Rieslings again.

Good wine in the glass. Very perfumed Riesling with notes of hand soap and lavender. These notes are very high-pitched and you can almost imagine how they take the wine into a higher fresh and brightness. Taste is a replicate of the nose – with this perfume things flying around in the glass and extremely amount of dry extract on the finish line. (92/92,38)

2009 Kühling-Gillot “Rothenberg”

Doesn’t hold the same clarity as its flight rival. More mystical, heavy dozed and also more concentrated. It has notes of Christmas, pinecone and pine needles – which usually are nice. But the freshness is lacking somewhat. The taste is pretty bold with white pepper and caramel. A wine with potential, but a bit clumsy at this stage. (91/93,63)

Flight 11

2009 Von Winning “Langenmorgen”

A wine, which on paper holds notes that will usually make me dance – but sadly it can’t hold the distance. Very bright profile again, with adorable zippy fresh greenish apples, grape, white fruits, lemon, seashells and with tons of energy. Taste embraces the energy well also, but it simply doesn’t have enough edge to preserve and hold onto complex layers. For the energy and freshness I will give it: (91/90,69)

2009 Stuart Pigott “Müller Thurgau”

First I thought it was just shy, as there were some distant fine notes of citrus fruits. But it feels like there is a haze covering the wine, which makes it hard to analyze. Taste is too warm with notes of white pepper and schnapps. (88?(87,83).

Flight 12

2009 Bürklin-Wolf “Jesuitengarten”

Honey, candied citrus and a note of fat exotic peach scents. Sounds good….ahhhhr…not really, as the sweetness is too pushy in this sort of wine. Taste is juicy – molds too much and doesn’t really have that mineral kick I am looking for. (89/90,63)

2009 Wittmann “Kirchspiel”

Young – very young. Here again is the note of fennel, which I simply don’t like, but it has companionship of hay and a very raw style of chalk, which (even though they aren’t appealing) takes the wine into a more complex zone. Taste is a rough ride, with enormous concentration, but just too young. Give it some time. For now (91/91,38)

Flight 13

2009 Rebholz “Kastanienbusch”

Not so much to say other than a very energetic wine, which is really well defined. It’s the missing layers that prevent it for going higher. But I have to praise it for a very appealing, juicy and pure Riesling with simple high drinking pleasure. (91/90,13)

2009 Haart “Goldtröpfchen”

Good and bad. Good first, which basically is simple allure for just being different, mysterious and have the ability to stand out. The fruit core is exotic, leaning towards pineapple – but it’s a note of curry that ruins the pleasure and balance of this wine. Taste is a fraction better defined, but missing complex layers. (89/88,71)

Flight 14

2009 Schloss Lieser “Juffer-Sonnenuhr”

Next wine, was again in the very young section. Raw Riesling style with notes of hay and straw. – Which I tend to like in a wine, but the fruit is sealed here – almost frozen and overall it’s hard to get some personality from this wine. Taste is clean and bright, but so hard to get any real character out. Cellar. (89/90,56)

2009 Wirsching Julius-“Echter-Berg”

I like the energy of this wine, but unfortunately my evil note of fennel is also here – both on nose and palate. Sure it’s clear and bright on the taste, but this fennel note is annoying to me. (87/90,63)

Flight 15

2009 Becker “Sonnenberg”

Still raw style of Riesling, but balanced out with lovely citrus fruits with greenish apples – which creates good harmony. Taste is mineral driven, but too simple in complex layers to go higher. (91/92)

2009 Van Volxem “Pergentsknopp”

It’s never easy to be the last wine is such a big line-up. However the nose is really sexy here, with some smoky scents and overripe peaches. Taste is creamy, delicious and with a slightly sparkle on the tongue. Sounds good – but it just becomes too indifferent to me – I missed some nerve, edge and complex touch. Did it suffer from being served last? Maybe. (89/92,86)

The group rankings

1 Keller, G-Max 96,75

2 Wittmann, “La Borne” Alte Reben 96,25

3 Emrich-Schönleber, “Halenberg” 96,13

4 Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck 95,06

5 Julian Haart/Adam Goldtröpfchen “Laychen” 94,75

6 Keller Abtse®.de 94,25

7 Keller Hubacker 94,25

8 Kühling-Gillot, Rothenberg 93,63

9 Battenfeld-Spanier Frauenberg 93,63

10 Keller Morstein 93,25

11 Breuer, Schlossberg 93,00

12 Van Volxem Scharzhofberger Pergentsknopp 92,86

13 Kühling-Gillot, Pettenthal 92,75

14 Loosen Erdener Prälat 92,38

15 B-W Kirchenstück 92,13

16 Becker Sonnenberg 92,00

17 Dönnhoff, Hermannshöhle, 91,88

18 Christmann, IDIG 91,63

19 Wittmann, Kirchspiel 91,38

20 Dr. Crusius, Felsenberg 91,13

21 Weil, Gräfenberg 91,00

22 B-W Pechstein 91,00

23 Von Winning Langenmorgen 90,69

24 B-W, Jesuitengarten 90,63

25 Wirsching Julius Echter Berg 90,63

26 Lieser Juffer Juffer Sonnenuhr 90,56

27 Rebholz, Kastanienbusch 90,13

28 Haart, Goldtröpfchen 88,71

29 Schloss Johannisberg 88,13

30 Pigott Müller-Thurgau 87,83

So there you go. 30 of the finest German dry Rieslings from the 2009 vintage.

Conclusion: well, there is a winner and a looser. But like always, I am skeptical when it comes to one glass tastings. These wines are really young – some maybe 10 years away from a drinking window. They even have the ability to be open for several days and still change character, structure and gain other small nuances.

I leave it to my friend Martin, to conclude and I trust him when he states the 2009 to be one of the finest ever.

One thing is certain – I will return to Berlin and share wines with my good friend.


(Our host, Martin)