News from the Rhine, white on red: Gunderloch and Kühling-Gillot

Once upon a time, a real long time ago, Rheinhessen wasn’t cool at all. The word as such was almost an insult back then, before the new dawn broke with all the wonderful, adventurous young wine producers we take for granted nowadays… However, there was some excellent wine, above all Riesling, and it grew where the Rhine flows along steep terraces with deep red soil, between Nierstein and Nackenheim, on the so-called Roter Hang. » Weiterlesen…

2011 Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Kesselstatt and Beenleigh Blue

We all have those films in our head which are triggered unintentionally by certain keywords. Take blue cheese: shouldn’t you have sweet wine with that? The Roquefort people have told us so many times about Sauternes being the perfect match with its sheeps‘ milk sweetness and penicillium spicyness, and for obvious reasons the Sauternes producers never contradict them… Well, my cellar isn’t exactly overflowing with Sauternes, and really good Roquefort is a rarity (so much of the stuff tastes overly salty and sharp)…  » Weiterlesen…

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. » Weiterlesen…

German cider revisited I: Apple Heaven from Andreas Schneider

I could start this with saying that Ebbelwoi, traditional apple cider from around Frankfurt, doesn’t exactly enjoy a great reputation. But that would be so yesterday and predictable. I could also be totally honest and admit that for some unknown reason, a 12 bottle box just re-emerged from the depth of my cellar, containing 2011 and 2009 (!!!) apple wines from Andreas Schneider in Niedererlenbach near Frankfurt, Germany’s leading cider producer. Kind of embarrassing and unprofessional, I know. However, as life goes, it made for some amazing stuff in the glass. » Weiterlesen…

It’s been a red red night: German Pinot Noir x 3

Pinot and me, we have a real love hate thing going on. He (yes, definitely he) can be so delicious and utterly attractive, basically non-resistable, and yet so cruel. Next morning, that is. Nothing worse than trying to tackle your morning run with a head full of pinot fumes… I’m not sure why that is, but I think that the low yield, slow fermentation and long skin contact necessary for great pinot produce some stuff on the side that has that not so special effect.  » Weiterlesen…

The same, yet different: 2012 Roter Riesling from Corvers-Kauter, Rheingau

In case reading that heading makes you feel dazed and confused: yes, it does mean red Riesling, and it’s not a joke. The white queen has a red sibling! Well, red… let’s make that pinkish  in berry and white in the glass. But it’s rare. To my knowledge it’s been almost extinct until 2006, when a few producers in the Rheingau started to look after it. » Weiterlesen…

I want to go to Cappadocia: 2012 Kaya Kapadokia from Kocabağ

Dedicated Heinzelcheese followers will have noticed that I’ve been into Turkish red wine since a year or so… Well, I’ll be completely honest with you: I fell in love with Öküzgözü, one of Turkey’s many indigenous varieties (for German readers: here is the full story from Effilee). And our little fling is still going strong. » Weiterlesen…

Sooo good with salmon: 12 Silvaner Quarzit from Riffel/Rheinhessen

Some NYC wine guys recently had a discussion about tasting notes on Twitter. One of them pronounced a stranger’s tasting notes about as meaningful as a Beijing bus schedule.  Which tells me that a) presumably Beijing busses don’t run on time, b) these guys are tired of writing them (tasting notes, not bus schedules), and c) they might not read the right ones (tasting notes, again). Of course, translating sensual impressions into words is as tricky to get right as any other translation, perhaps even more so. » Weiterlesen…

Summer memories of Portugal: 2012 Defesa von Esporão

That’s one of the beauties of wine: it can transport feelings and memories through time and space. In early October I’ve been to the Alentejo in Portugal where it was still summer, the golden sunlight bathing the beautiful roughness of the landscape. Of course, that trip was all about wine and food and the first stop was at Herdade de Esporão, the region’s most important wine producer. But instead of a wine tasting, we went first to their vegetable garden and then straight to the kitchen. » Weiterlesen…

Taste twice before you think: Rheingau Riesling from Anthony Hammond

It’s really nice when people stay on one’s radar through several lives. I met Anthony Hammond when I was at sommelier school in Heidelberg, back in 1992, when our motley bunch of wine-crazy fulltime students went to every single tasting we could possibly fit in, geographically, financially and timewise. He worked for some wine merchant then and we kept running into each other, then lost touch and for a while I wondered what had become of that nice guy who is just as American as he is German. But the big plan hadn’t finished with us: In my next life, in Berlin (November, grey) and jobless, I walked past a wine shop and suddenly stopped in my tracks: I had just caught a glimpse of a familiar figure… you guessed it, Anthony. » Weiterlesen…