Tag Archives: German Wine

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5PM – 8PM

Dec. 29, 2017

Last tasting of 2017!

Weingut Rita & Rudolf Trossen, Pyramide Pur’us Riesling 2015, Mosel, Germany

Rita and Rudolf Trossen’s vineyards in Mosel are full of slate, which resisted phylloxera, so many of their vines are completely ungrafted and approaching 100 years old. In 1978 they converted their entire estate to biodynamics, well ahead of the trend. In 2010 they decided to take the plunge into natural winemaking with their Pur’us line of wines. This line has no intervention at all, with zero additives, including zero sulfur, and are unfined and unfiltered. They allow their wines to sit on the lees for an extended period of time, all of these factors come together to create a truly unique expression of Riesling in Pyramide Pur’us.

Grapes are of course hand-harvested, then whole bunches are fermented in 1000 liter stainless steel tanks. The tanks are cooled by ambient air, and fermentation takes about 6 months, followed by about 11 more months of aging in tank.

Champagne Perseval-Farge ‘Terre de Sables’ Premier Cru, Montagne de Reims

Notes from the importer: Champagne Perseval-Farge is a 4 hectare estate in the 1er Cru village of Chamery which is in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. The Perseval family traces its roots back to the early 18th century in the village and today it is Benoist and Isabelle Perseval who carry on the tradition. Benoist farms sustainably, what he calls “viticulture integrée” with the commitment of taking care of the land for future generations. The four hectares are planted with 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. In 2004 a small parcel was planted with Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromentot (Pinot Gris). Atypical of Champagne, the Perseval’s four hectares are largely in one single parcel with the greater portion being on the mid to upper slope with calcerous-clay soils and the smaller part on the lower slopes with sandy-clay soils. Besides his commitment to sustainability in the vineyard, Benoist has worked to decrease the use of sulfur in his winemaking and at 26 to 35g per liter, his dose level is below 50% of the norm.

The Terre de Sables is a blend of one third each Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It is also a blend of vintages, with the base of 50% coming from 2006 and the rest a blend of 2007, 2004 and 2001. The cuvee is made from grapes grown on the domain’s sandiest soils and is sharply marked by it, with notes of marine minerals being supported by bright acidity. The Champagne is held “sur lattes” for four years before disgorgement and finished with a dosage of 7g/L.

Domaine La Grange Tiphaine, ‘Rosa Rosé Rosam’ 2016

Notes fro the importer: La Grange Tiphaine was established at the end of the 19th century by Alfonse Delecheneau, followed by three generations: Adrien, Jackie, and currently Damien. Coralie, Damien’s wife, has joined the family as a fully active partner in the life & work of their 10 hectare vineyard. Damien’s talent as a winemaker is evidenced by the multitude of beautifully balanced, elegant, precise, red, white, rosé & sparkling wines that he crafts from five different varieties: Chenin blanc, Côt (Malbec), Gamay, Cabernet Franc, & the ancient & rare Loire variety called Grolleau. The vines are in the AOCs of Touraine Amboise & Montlouis sur Loire. The wines are all different: tender or round, fine or fruit filled, dry or sweet, but they all share the common thread of careful work in the vines that make for beautifully balanced, terroir driven, precise wines. They are certified organic.

Rosa Rosé Rosam is a blend of Gamay, Grolleau, Cot, & Cabernet Franc from vines that average 80 years old. It’s a pet-nat rosé, made via methode ancestrale, and is a fun addition to the holiday season. Off-dry, ripe strawberries and cherries, a little tart & hazy…it’ll look beautiful in your glass.

La Vignereuse, ‘A la Santé des Mécréants’ Duras, Gaillac 2014

Marine Leys farms 5 hectares of hillside vines planted to Duras, Syrah, Braucol, Mauzac, Loin de l’oeil, and Gamay, in the town of Tarn, in Gaillac. Marine comes from a background in film production, and in that role she travelled across Europe. The job also took her to Canada, then Ireland, and eventually Turkey, where she was introduced to the world of wine through her employer, whom she helped plant a vineyard. It’s there that she eventually began working in the cellar and, after studying in Beaune, handled the winemaking as well.

In 2012 she moved to Gaillac to work and learn from her winemaker friends at Domaine Plageoles. In 2014, she found the 5 hectares of vines in Andillac and the Vignereuse that now make up La Vignereuse.

A la Santé des Mécréants (which we think translates to “cheers to miscreants”???) is 100% Duras (from 40 year old vines) that’s hand-harvested, fermented in cement, and bottled with barely any sulfur. It’s a humble little wine with crunchy-fresh fruit, white pepper, and a touch of earth and spice.

Tasting Texier Cotes du Rhone and Meyer-Nakel Rosé in the Shop, 5pm – 8pm

adele texier Éric Texier “Adele” Cotes du Rhone Blanc, 2014

Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In 1992, after years as a nuclear scientist, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…

As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.

Adele is mostly Clairette with the remainder Marsanne, fermented in cement tanks with native yeasts. It rests for about 8 months on its lees, without sulfur, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined. Very little sulfur (25 ppm) is used at bottling. Buoyant and aromatic, with notes of apricots and pears, and a rounded texture punctuated by refreshing acidity.

Meyer-Näkel Spatburgunder Rosé 2015, Ahr, Germany

This is a Pinot Noir based rosé from the Ahr Valley in Germany. Winemaking in Ahr goes back at least to the time of the Romans, 1,000 years ago, but there’s evidence to suggest the cultivation of vines back to the year 770. The region has been known for growing red varieties since the 13th century, and specifically for Pinot Noir (Spatburgunder) since the 18th century. This 19-hectare eco-friendly estate has been in the same family for 5 generations. Winemaker Werner Näkel has taken his show on the road in recent years and also produces wine in Stellenbosch, South Africa and in the Douro in Portugal.

This is a beautifully produced rosé. It’s elegant, precise, perfect.

Here’s what Jancis Robinson has to say about this producer: It would not be exaggerating to say that Meyer-Näkel makes some of the most outstanding Spätburgunder in Germany – Werner Näkel was Gault Millau’s winegrower of the year in 2004, and won Decanter’s International Pinot Noir trophy amid a host of worthy rivals from Burgundy, New Zealand and Oregon. I had a chance to taste his wines at The WineBarn’s annual tasting earlier this year (2010) and was bowled over by their elegance.

Éric Texier “Chat Fou” Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2014

This is a light and lively blend of mostly Grenache and some white Rhone varieties from Eric’s biodynamically farmed vineyard in St-Julien. Roughly a 3rd of the Grenache is fermented in large wooden vats, with the remainder in stainless. This is a fresh, spicy, perfumed and peppery red. It can handle a little chill, and is perfect for sipping on its own, or with bistro-style meals and meats & veggies off the grill.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5-8PM

2013 Schloss Hallburg Dry Estate Silvaner, Franken, Germany

This property has been farmed since the 11th century and has been in the von Shönborn family since 1806. It’s a 35 hectare certified organic estate planted mostly to Silvaner, then Riesling & Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and equal amounts Muller Thurgau, Bacchus & Pinot Noir. Total case production is 20,000 per year. The Hallberger Schlossberg vineyard is biodynamically farmed and produces top quality Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

This Silvaner is mineral-driven, dry, herbal, racy and elegant.

2014 Éric Texier Chat Fou Cotes-du-Rhone Rosé, France

Éric Texier came to wine without any family connection or romantic, multi-generational story. In fact, he was trained as a nuclear scientist. In 1992, after years in in the world of science, he opted to follow his passion for wine and formally study viticulture and oenology at Bordeaux University. He read a lot, visited winemakers around the world, and worked in Burgundy with wine-savant, Jean-Marie Guffens, at Verget. There he learned the benefits of minimal-intervention wine-making: native yeasts, little to no herbicides, no machines, etc…

As a beginner, he was unable to afford his own vineyards, so he became a négociant, buying only from small growers philosophically aligned with himself. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in long-forgotten Brézème with Syrah and Roussanne. All of his wines are aged in the underground 16th-century cellar at his home in Charnay-en-Beaujolais.

Chat Fou is 100% Cinsault, made using the direct press method and bottled unfiltered with noSO2. While only 11.8% alcohol, it’s dark in color & spicy & complex on the palate. It’s like fresh-picked flowers and strawberries, lightly dusted with dried herbs and crushed pepper. But there’s lots of acidity here too, keeping it lively and thirst-quenching. Serve it chilled and let it flesh out a bit, revealing light tannins on the finish.

2013 Perrini Negroamaro, Salento (Puglia), Italy

Brother and sister Vito and Mila Perrini converted their family’s centuries-old estate to organic farming (now biodynamic) in 1993, way before it was cool. Before that, the family mostly sold their grapes to local négociants, as they didn’t have the means to finance estate-bottled production. Vito and Mila then built an underground cellar, where the cooler fermentation temperatures would aid them in their goal of producing wines of more subtlety and elegance than was normally encountered in the region.

The vines here are 30-35 years old and are spread across hills and along the shoreline. Yields are kept low, grapes are picked by hand and fermented in stainless steel, then aged in stainless and glass-lined tanks. This Negroamaro is silky, perfumed and earthy, with bright notes of blackberries & cherries.

Friday Wine Tasting in the Shop, 5pm-8pm

wines 7 31 15Marcel Giraudon Bourgogne Aligoté 2014, Chitry, France

The Giraudon family has been farming and making wine in Chitry (one of four viticultural communes of the Auxerrois) for centuries. Their vineyards are on hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl, the same one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. In fact, in the 19th century the wines of Chitry were sold under the name Chablis. In 1929 they were given the name “Bourgogne des Environs de Chablis”. Currently, they go by Chitry, or Bourgogne Chitry.

Aligoté accounts for only about 5% of Burgundy’s total vineyard area; it’s the regions little known “other white grape”. In Chitry though, it makes up 40% of vines planted. Marcel Giraudon keeps yields low, harvests by hand, and allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation to temper its naturally high acidity. That acidity makes this wine a perfet partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads. It’s lemony, mineral-driven and refreshing – especially on a hot day.

Hobo Wine Company “Camp” Chardonnay 2014, Sonoma County

We tasted Hobo Wine Co. Folk Machine last week; here’s another.

Kenny Likitprakong started Hobo Wine Company in 2002, at the age of 26. He grew up in Healdsburg, spending much time at Domaine St. George, the winery owned by his great-uncle Supasit Mahaguna. Likitprakong sells his wines under three labels: Banyan Wines, Hobo and Folk Machine, all of them under the umbrella of the Hobo Wine Co. He doesn’t own any vines, instead he gets fruit from top sources, although he does farm about an acre of Branham Estate Rockpile Vineyard Zinfandel.

From the start, Likitprakong intended to make lower sugar, lower alcohol, higher acid, more food friendly wiines than what was being produced in California at the time.

Producer notes:
The 2014 Chardonnay is 95% from the Lloyd Vineyard in Alexander Valley off of Soda Rock Road and 5% from the Prior Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. The Lloyd portion was harvested in 4 picks, two were early for acid, one in the middle for bright flavors and the fourth was a few weeks later to add some lusher flavors. All lots were whole cluster pressed and then fermented together in stainless steel then transferred to neutral oak barrels for 10 weeks before being racked and prepared for bottling. A delicious, approachable, and affordable wine.

Becker Family Pinot Noir 2011, Pfalz, Germany

Becker Estate is made up of 28 sustainably farmed hectares in Schweigen (in southern Pfalz), on the border of Alsace. Now on its 7th generation, Becker is known as a top producer of German Pinot Noir. Since the vineyards have been in the Becker family, the border between France and Germany has changed many times, the last time in 1945. Now, 70% of their holdings are actually in Alsace; the winery is in Germany. A 1955 accord grants them and five other vineyards the right to continue to call themselves German. In exchange, the French got water rights to the springs of Schweigen and some lumber rights from the local forest.

The 2011 Pinot Noir contains some fruit from the estates top Grosses Gewachs vineyards. Think black cherry, blueberry, cola & cocoa mingling with freshly picked herbs and flowers. Chalky, limestone soil adds a fine mineral edge, and velvety tannins bring it all home.

Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl Dornfelder, 2011, Pfalz, Germany

Von Buhl is a 62 hectare organically farmed estate in Pfalz. It was founded in 1849, and was at one point part of the Jordan Estate, a leader in fine German wine production. The Von Buhl estate and its buildings are protected as national monuments.

Dornfelder is a dark-skinned grape created in Germany in 1955 by August Herrold. He crossed Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe to create Dornfelder (the other two varieties were also of his creation). All of this was to produce red grapes that were not as light and pale as traditionally grown in Germany. Dornfelder is now the 2nd most popular grape in the country, behind Pinot Noir.

The 2011 Von Buhl Dornfelder is aromatic, spicy, dry & velvety. It’s fermented in stainless steel and then a portion of it spends a bit of time in barrique, but not enough to overwhelm the wines lively acidity. Have it with grilled meats and vegetables, smoky eggplant, hot dogs, sausages and kraut!