Showing posts with label Pfalz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pfalz. Show all posts

Friday, October 12, 2018

German Riesling A Winner

German wines tend to fall beneath the U.S. wine drinker's radar.  Aside from Riesling, you'll be hard-pressed to find a German grape variety or even a German version of a more familiar grape, on a supermarket shelf.  Specialty wine stores will dig deeper, but depending on their inventory they may not have a very wide coverage.  With this in mind, I was thrilled to be asked to participate in an online tasting event involving German wines, with Matthew Kaner, wine director and partner at several wine bars in the Los Angeles area.

Kaner says of the new world of German wine, "there's more than just Riesling," and he went on during the event to cover a Muller-Thurgau, a Pinot Blanc and a Pinot Gris as well as a Riesling.

Another invitee, Dezel Quillen (@myvinespot) commented that he appreciates "the brightness, raciness, and lower alcohol levels in these wines. But those characteristics are trademarks of Germany's refreshing, cool-climate wines. Not to mention their food-friendly nature."  He knows what he's talking about.

Kaner spoke about German Rieslings, with their ability to age incredibly.  He said they are "time capsules" that can age for a century and called them the "archetype of an age-worthy white wine."  He also offered up an interesting tidbit for wine travel buffs, that the best way to experience Pfalz wine country is to "fly into Frankfurt and make the drive. It's quicker than LA to Santa Barbara."

The Von Winning 2015 Riesling called "Winnings" is a good way to do just that.  Imported by Skurnik Wines of New York, the Terry Theise selection scores big while delivering its attributes in a most understated way.

The Von Winning Weingut has been around for awhile, since 1849.  Leopold Von Winning really started the emphasis on quality wine in 1907, practically current times by European standards.  The team is led today by Stephan Attmann, whom Theise calls an "obsessive winemaker" on the Skurnik website.  The Von Winning grapes are farmed organically while the wines are fermented in oak barrels and handled as little as possible, often bottled unfiltered.

This Riesling from the Pfalz region hits 11.5% abv and sells for about $20.

The 2015 Winnings Riesling shows a golden tint in the glass and a nose which makes me glad I inhaled.  It's austere, with huge slate notes backed by hints of petrol that are starting to show and a whiff of citrus zest to finish off the scent.  The palate is smart and savory, with a sedate acidity softened by the almost creamy mouthfeel.  The finish stays long and leaves tangerine notes to remind the sipper of the pleasure.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Messmer Spätburgunder 2008

The desire for a late night stop after a movie hit us on the way home.  For Denise and me that's something which used to be reserved for vacation time. Since I'm on "involuntary extended vacation" now, we thought we'd take advantage of the fact that - for the moment, anyway - there's no such thing as a school night.

Vintage Enoteca is a small, dark "New York style" wine bar on Sunset Boulevard with a half dozen high tables inside.  The decor is spare and modern-looking.  The clientele appeared to be in coffeehouse mode - some chatty, with one woman even sitting alone working on her iPad while sipping a vino.  The service was quick to recognize that we were there, but problems ensued.

When we asked about the cheese plates, we were told they had over 50 cheeses available.  "Great," we said, because we like a good cheese selection.  "Can we see the cheese menu?"  "Uhmm," she purred, "There isn't a cheese menu per se but I can send her out to tell you about them.  "All 50 of them?"  "If you like."  To save everybody a big headache, we simply asked for "her" to surprise us.  We ordered the cheese and meat sampler - three cheeses and two meats for $15.

The three cheese selections we received were briefly stammered and the two meats were pointed at as well, but forget about digging any deeper.  Compared to the sort of attention  places like Cube and Artisan Cheese Gallery give to making sure the diner is aware of what's on the plate, this sort of approach was decidedly inferior.

The wine list looks decent - what I could see of it in the dark - and when my eyes were able to make out the word "Spätburgunder" I ordered.

Spätburgunder is German for Pinot Noir.  It's not something you see very often on restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles, so Vintage Enoteca get points for encouraging their patrons to explore off the beaten path.

The German Pinot I ordered is from Pfalz, the second-largest of Germany's 13 wine regions (Rheinhessen is the largest.)  Pfalz is said to be the sunniest and warmest of the German regions, with a climate that would put one in mind of Alsace.

The Messmer Spatburgunder appeals to me quite a bit. The smoky raspberry and black cherry nose is tempting and the palate offers a tart spread of cherry and raspberry.  The acidity is nice, and it went well with the cheeses and meats, whatever they were.

Denise ordered an Icelandic Ale.  It was an uncharacteristic order for Mrs. Now And Zin, but she's known for those.  She liked it, but the ale was so floral in aroma and flavor that it was a bit off-putting for me.  I'll stick with the Spätburgunder.