Friday, August 24, 2007

German Wine Tasting At Giaconda (Aug. 24, 2007)

I tasted the following wines at a very recent tasting at Giaconda. The tasting cost 125 NIS (30 USD) and the prices are quoted from their catalog and are for non-club members. I'd tasted most of the wines before but was interesting in following their development.

Schafer-Frohlich, Nahe, Weisserburgunder (Pinot Blanc) QBA, 2004

Initially closed aromatically, leaning towards tropical fruit, but after a few minutes, green apples take over as well as a chalky minerality and hints of oatmeal. A nice wine, albeit not especially complex, that didn't really really catch my interest when I tasted in winter (at a Nahe tasting at Giaconda in the pre-2GrandCru days), so I was moderately surprised by the minerality. 99 NIS.

Donnhoff, Nahe, Weisserburgunder (Pinot Blanc) QBA Trocken, 2004

I prefered this Pinot Blanc in the aforementioned tasting and likewise this time. Surprisingly slow to open, it too showed minerality, though more intense and edgier than the Schafer-Frohlich's. The nose, with an abundance of flint, is almost Burgundian but the palate is very German, with sweeter fruit than you'd get in a decent white Bourgogne, balanced by ripe acidity. Decent length but lacking the complexity of the nose. 139 NIS.

Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfaltz, Kallstadter Steinacker, Gewurztraminer Spatlese, 2005

This is a wine I'd been waiting to taste since I saw Giaconda were importing it, since I thought Gewurztraminer would thrive within the Koehler-Ruprecht style. And I was right, although it's an unexpected spin off a typical Gewurztraminer, and I loved it as much as I usually do this producer's wines. The signature rose petals are there so it's recognizable as a Gewurztraminer but it's a cooler kind of Gewurztraminer than you'd get in Alsace, say, with varietal intensity but little lychee or spices. It's also very, very young and disjointed right now, with a sweet attack followed by Gewurztraminer spiciness but as separate elements and not as a harmonic whole. My guess is it needs a couple of years of cellaring and I intend to follow it. 118 NIS.

Koehler-Ruprecht, Pfaltz, Kallstadter Saumagen, Riesling, Kabinett, 2004

I had this wine a couple of times, most recently with friends where due to lousy logistics on my part it was served too warm. Very intense and complex minerals on the nose, with the fruit in the background. Again, the palate is overshadowed by the nose: it's balanced enough, but closed and right now simply doesn't have the intensity nor the complexity of the aromatics. But at least I was reassured that the lack of acidity we noticed last time was due to the temperature and I intend to cellar my bottles and see how it develops. 130 NIS.

Muller-Catoir, Pfaltz, Mussbacher Eselshaut, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2004

Another wine I'm familiar with. It's starting to emerge from a slightly fizzy stage and shows gentle fruitness complemented by flint and, once again, sweet dough, oatmeal or whatever you want to call the yeast induced aromas a lot of Rieslings imported by Giaconda show (which I enjoy, mind you, and which I suppose will be gone within a few years as these wines mature). It's much more approachable than the Koehler-Ruprecht Saumagen, but less intense and complex. 130 NIS.

Schafer-Frohlich, Nahe, Vom Porphyr, Riesling QBA Trocken, 2004

Like their Weissburgunder, this wine had failed to impress me in the past. It's much better now, with simple fruitiness on the nose but surprising acidity and crispy minerality on the palate. Giaconda has a couple of QBA's that surprisingly manage to seem to be in a league above QBA; this one doesn't but it's still at the very top of the QBA league. 139 NIS.

Heymann-Lowenstein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Schieferterrassen, Riesling, 2004

I tasted this wine rather offhandedly because I'd had it so many times in the past months, but it surprised me for feeling lighter than I remembered, despite being higher in alcohol than the other wines at the tasting. 129 NIS.

Peter Jakob Kuhn, Rheingau, Graziosa QbA Feinherb, 2006

The fruitiest wine of the tasting, but not a blockbustery kind of fruitiness, but rather the usual German kind: mellow, pure and clean. So clean, in fact, that I started looking for some minerals and yeasts to capture my interest. And they do come in time, hints of them anyway. I've tasted Kuhn's Quarzit QBA so I know he produces wines that are QBA only because it says so on the label, but the Graziosa seems like a 'regular' QBA, albeit an expensive one. 139 NIS.

Langwerth Von Simmern, Erbacher Marcobrunn, Riesling Kabinett, 2003

I was looking forward to this wine in order to get a gist of how Kabinetts fared in hot 2003. This one did very, very well and seems to be at the start of its mature drinking window, with traces of petrol on the nose and the beginning of a complex palate. Despite the ripe fruit, it is not at the least over the top, but shows instead a very taut structure. Better for my money than the 2004 and decently priced. 103 NIS.

Leitz, Dragonstone Riesling, 2005

Terry Thiese, Leitz's US importer, raves about this wine in each edition of his catalog and though he's obviously biased, he writes so well that my curiousity was aroused. So naturally, I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely wine, classic German for its sweetness but I was looking for a bit more, maybe just more focus and intensity. I'll try it again in a few months. 109 NIS.

Unckrich, Scheurebe Kallstadter Annaberg Auslese, 2004

It never fails. Whenever I drink this cute (and I mean that in the most positive way) wine, an inner voice tells me this is a wine for immediate enjoyment, not note writing. So, if you must have a note, here it is: guayava sherbert. NIS 89.

All in all, a nice couple of hours, with very pleasant company (both customers and hostesses). Perhaps not the greatest Rieslings in the world, or even in the Giaconda catalog, but very good ones, some of which are starting to become the main staples of my home consumption.

2 comments:

Medusa said...

Impressive!

2GrandCru said...

I must say this was an entry-level tasting. I've tasted better wines from the Giaconda portfolio but having said that, it was quite an enjoyable event.