German cider revisited II: a Sparkling Surprise from Joachim Döhne

For various reasons I’ve been into clearing stuff and tidying up recently, cleaning dark, dusty corners and getting rid of unnecessarities. This has been leading to some great discoveries. When I went down to the cellar to grab a sparkling to open dinner procedures the other night, there were those cider bottles, sparkling cider. Fill level was low, my expectations accordingly and I put three bottles in the fridge instead of just one, to be prepared for the worst. Oh, the negativity in me… dear Joachim Döhne, I sincerely apologize.

Döhne05CorkJoachim Döhne originally trained as a dairy man but years ago started to make sparkling cider on the side. He lives in Schauenburg-Breitenbach, near Kassel in the north of Hessen where they have an old tradition of making “apple champagne” (you paranoid Champagne people, relax, don’t sue me for just using the C word, please) which had been almost extinct. Döhne has done a great job in bringing it back, using the local connection with the Grimm Brothers (them of the fairy tales) for his label. He does a really dry Brut bottling and a slightly off-dry Trocken version, as well as a single variety Boskoop one in some years. I’ve always liked his wines and found them very pleasant bordering on elegant. Until this 2005 Brut landed in my glass: it surpassed all my previous tasting experiences, being sooo unbelievably good in its dark golden yellow robe, with a truly refined mousseux. I showed just the tiniest hint of maturity, having grown up nicely in the bottle. Döhne05LabelOn the palate it translated the most aromatic, small yellow orange Goldparmänen apples, ripe and soft in a good way (the opposite of green crunchy Granny Smith) into gently alcoholic (10%) liquid… The wine more than filled and deserved the Willsberger Anniversary Champagne glass (my favoured one right now – it really works). Definitely not a fairy tale, but the most wonderful reality. I’m much looking forward to opening the 2006…

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