Archive for the 'German Wine' Category

1999 Jakoby-Mathy Riesling Kabinett Kinheimer Rosenberg Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

06092009When I think of great wines for summer sippin’, I think crisp and light-weight, with a lip-smacking refreshment factor. Well, this one hits all those marks – it has the lime zest and diesel on the nose and a flavour burst of lime zest along with tart green apple and honey. The crisp finish goes on for a bit with a honey-licked-from-a-rock minerality.

Added on to all that is the fact that it’s 10 years old and is starting to show what’s so good about well-made, aged Rieslings. You folks need to drink more of this stuff.

It’s tasty. If you’re a fan of Riesling and come across this wine, I’d recommend giving it a try.

$29 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

No comments

1996 Schloss Schönborn Estate Riesling Qualitätswein, Rheingau

It’s been a busy and hot night, so I’m going to keep this short. I dropped by Kits Wine Cellars tonight before grabbing sushi and wanted something cool and tasty. The folks there pointed me to this wine… and I’m glad they did.

Hey, it’s a 1996 vintage wine (an OK vintage for Germany), which is pretty cool. I like being able to try a wine with some age on it. I’m not always the best at keeping bottles in my cellar. :)

Sipping it on the patio was a pure touch of tasty summer. The diesel nose typical of German Rieslings has mellowed with age to citrus and honeyed apple. A juicy sip is pure ripe apple dipped in honey. It’s a tasty bottle of wine for a warm night… or any night, really.

$29 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars

No comments

2006 Dönnhoff Riesling Estate QbA

02122009This’ll be short and sweet, but I wanted to get it onto the site. I’m about to head out to dinner with Candace and popped this open as an aperitif – a tasty sipper, if you will.

Wow. Anyone who reads this site knows I’m a sucker for a crisp and fruity Riesling and this has that in spades. It’s a beautiful mix of light diesel and citrus fruit on the nose (much better than that sounds – you Riesling folks know what I’m talking about) with flavours that burst in beautiful fireworks on the tongue. It zings across the tongue. There’s lime, grapefruit and orange with a long mineral-edged finish. It’s the classic dip a flinty rock in a citrus cocktail and give it a good lick kinda’ wine.

I love it. ‘Nuff said. Drink more Riesling, especially the German stuff. You’ll thank me.

$40 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

5 comments

2008 – My Favourites in Wine and Music

It’s the time of year that the “best of” lists make their appearances. Despite what some folks may say, these lists are pretty fun to put together and it’s always good to hear what others liked the most in the past year. What better thing to do on a snowy Saturday than to sit down and make my list? :)

Music and wine are a natural match. I’m a music freak/I’m a wine geek. Almost every memorable bottle of wine I’ve had over the years was drunk while music was playing. With that bond in mind, I thought for fun that I’d put together a list of my most memorable albums of the year and pair them with the wines I loved most in 2008 (in no particular order and based only on full bottle samples).

mgmt12000 Paitin Barbaresco, Sori Paitin paired with Oracular Spectacular” by MGMT
I’ll lead off with this one because they were both my top choices for the year. The wine was memorable in a way no other matched and the album still gets regular play. There’s more going on with both than you get at first taste or listen. They both just get better as you go. The wine was, in a word, stellar. The album had standout tracks such as “Time to Pretend”, “Kids” and “Electric Feel” – great stuff.

tvontheradio2001 Yalumba The Octavius, Barossa Old Vine Shiraz paired with Dear Science,” by TV on the Radio
What can I say about these two?.. This was what I popped open on my fortieth birthday and TV on the Radio have put out three of my favourite albums. Both have layers and layers and make you think as much as they are just plain good. The more you taste the wine, the more it comes alive – the same goes for the album. It requires multiple listens to worm its way into your consciousness… and I’m glad it did. Standout tracks include “Halfway Home”, “Golden Age” and “Dancing Choose”.

boniver2003 Russell Creek Winemakers Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley paired with For Emma, Forever Ago” by Bon Iver
This is one of my favourite Washington State wineries, owned by a cantankerous and interesting guy, Larry Krivoshein. I bought this wine at his tasting room in Walla Walla and really liked talking and tasting with him. Both the album and the wine are the work of solitary guys in relatively remote locations – Justin Vernon in a remote Wisconsin cabin during a cold winter and Larry down in Walla Walla (seriously, do the drive some time). Both of them doing it their way. In 2008 they both put out products worthy of praise and enjoyment. Standout tracks on the intimate and beautiful album are “Skinny Love”, “The Wolves (Act I And II)” and “Blindsided”.

m831997 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico paired with Saturdays = Youth” by m83
Both the wine and the album had many layers… Hell, the wine was in the running for my wine of the year. Everyone who knows me knows that I love the Amarone.. and this is a helluva’ bottle of the Amarone. The wine was absolutely seductive – with raisins, plums, cherries, brandy and spice in its flavours. The album? Amazing. m83, aka Anthony Gonzalez, pulls off stuff you wouldn’t think anyone is trying these days. It’s symphonic in parts, with a sense of pop melody that leaves many of the songs in your head long after you’ve given it a listen. It’s also a “grower”, which is a good thing – it’s one of those albums you like more with each listen because you’re getting more from it. Strong stuff. I’d say it’s in my top 3 albums of the year. Tracks such as “Graveyard Girl”, “Kim & Jessie” and “Couleurs” help show why this album made my list.

elbow1999 H. Billiot Millésime Champagne paired with The Seldom Seen Kid” by Elbow
Classics… that’s what both of the wine and the album strike me as. The Billiot is amazing… and to me, is what a Champagne should be – toasty, complex and sexy, with an everlasting finish. The flavours were all about baked apples, along with some peach, honey and ginger spice. Onto the album – Elbow is one of those bands about whom I constantly marvel they’re not more popular. The singer, Guy Garver has an amazing voice that sounds like Peter Gabriel on a bender… and they consistently record strong albums. Great songs on the album are “Grounds For Divorce”, the cheery, hopeful and amazing “One Day Like This” and “The Fix” which just begs to open a British gangster film. I may have listened to this more than any other album this year.

fleetfoxes1998 Castello di Verduno Barolo, Massara paired with Fleet Foxes” by Fleet Foxes
Both of these choices were unexpected finds in 2008. I stumbled on the wine while having lunch in Verduno, Italy. It may have been the setting, but I loved this wine. The Marsala sherry, nuts, leather, cherry and flowers led to a sexy cherry brandy finish. Likewise for the album. At first it struck me as too softly harmonic and folksy (very Simon & Garfunkel-y)… but the more I listened to it, the beauty of the music won me over. It’s a mellow-day album that will leave you in a better mood for having heard it. I can’t say there are standout tracks. It’s a complete and round achievement that stands as an album.

hercules2005 Mazzocco Sonoma Zinfandel Pony, Dry Creek Valley & 2004 Mazzocco Stone Ranch Zinfandel, Alexander Valley paired with Hercules and Love Affair” by Hercules and Love Affair
These choices represent the good-times party choices of the year. If you’re at a party and drag these wines out, anyone who likes wine (especially a great Zin) will love them… and the album will get their booties moving. Both the Mazzocco Zins are made in that crushed blackberry syrup and briar style with balanced structures and finishes. Winemaker Antoine Favero does a great job there. I think they were my favourite Zins of the year – and that’s saying a lot. The Hercules album has the fantastic tune “Blind” that Pitchfork chose as their track of the year. I have to admit, it is pretty bloody good.

neonneon2006 Orin Swift Cellars “The Prisoner” paired with Stainless Style” by Neon Neon
Both of these choices are just plain unique and rock n’ roll. Dave Phinney heads a small (when we visited last January, there were 4 people doing it all) operation that turns out phenomenal wines. I first tried this wine in their offices and then gladly took one to enjoy that night. Graham’s review noted, “the Prisoner has a vibrant blackberry and ripe plum on the bouquet, which opens into briar and with some dark chocolate in the mix.” Loved it. Neon Neon grab you right away with their brand of tense early-80’s musical nostalgia and take it from there. It’s a lot of fun for someone who actually became an adult in the 80’s. I loved the tracks “Dream Cars”, “Belfast” and “Michael Douglas”.

lykkeli2001 Damilano Barolo paired with Youth Novel” by Lykke Li
I loved this wine… it was one of my finds at the Vancouver Wine Fest and was helping me set up for my forthcoming trip to Piedmont at the end of March. Like I wrote back then “…it’s a complex mix of brandied cherry, plums, leather, tar, and spice along with a violet-floral thing going on.” This family-owned winery located near the town of Barolo consistently turns out some of the best values (and wines) from the Langhe. Production on the album is provided by by Bjorn Yttling of Peter Björn and John and are just plain catchy – with Lykke’s sexily fragile voice. Standout tracks are “Dance Dance Dance”, and “Let it Fall”.

cutcopy2007 Seghesio Zinfandel, Sonoma County paired with In Ghost Colors” by Cut/Copy
An amazing wine and an equally impressive album. The Seghesio Zin was tapped by the Wine Dictator as their #10 wine of the year and given a hefty 93 points. I can’t disagree with them much. Personally, I enjoyed the Mazzocco Zins more, but I also loved this wine. We’ve gone through 6 bottles in the last while. It’s got ripe and juicy blackberry fruit long with a form and tannic backbone showing a brambly and spicy finish. Wow. The album is also a “Wow”. I loved it the first time I heard it and have listened to it countless times since then. It’s another 80’s-influenced wonder, is funky as Hell and makes you want to shake your ass. I’m still digging tracks such as “So Haunted”, “Far Away” and “Hearts On Fire”.

frenchkicks2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough paired with Swimming” by French Kicks
I’ve drunk a helluva’ lot of this wine this year. It’s amazingly diverse in its food pairings and is mouth-wateringly tasty… and it’s the wine I ordered on my first date with Candace in 2008. We still drink it regularly. It’s got lots of tropical and citrus fruit, with a crisp backbone of acidity. It’s also a pretty amazing deal at $21.99 here in BC making it my value wine of the year. The album. I loved it. It’s one of those albums you put on and like pretty much every track. I’ve listened to it a tonne this year while preparing dinner, driving and working. It stands pretty strongly as an album, but also has great tracks with chiming guitar like “Sex Tourists”, “Abandon” and “Love in the Ruins”.

lsp2005 Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards “Three Hills Cuvée” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley paired with The Age of the Understatement” by The Last Shadow Puppets
OK, last on the list, but certainly not least… I grabbed this bottle on a trip down to the Willamette Valley last year and had been saving it… for a Pinot craving. I popped it open after Candace and I visited Portland in October and it was all it should have been – blackberry, dark cherry, dark chocolate and earthy spice. The album? Again, I loved it. It’s a very stylish side project from the Arctic Monkey’s singer, Alex Turner and  good friend of his, Miles Kane, the guitarist of the Rascals. What they came up with is a stylish and catchy sound that’s like a 60’s garage band that has developed a sudden taste for martinis. I personally think it’s a crime that the amazing tune “My Mistakes Were Made for You” wasn’t the theme for the latest Bond film, “Quantum of Solace”. Other good tracks are “The Age Of The Understatement”, “Standing Next To Me” and “I Don’t Like You Anymore”.

Honourable mentions for wines in 2008 (based on me just really likin’ them):

5 comments

2006 Deidesheimer Paradeisgarten Riesling Kabinett Pfalz

We’ve gone through a bunch of this wine in the last couple of months. First of all, it’s a Rielsing, so it just goes bloody well with so much food (we had it last night with a Thai red curry with pumpkin)… and secondly, it’s just so damn tasty.

You know why I haven’t written it up? It’s because this wine is so quaffable (and low in booze at 10%) that it drinks like pop. Before you know it, the bottle is empty and it’s tough to write an empty bottle up. :)

So, before this one empties out, I’ll get down to it. It’s just so tasty, folks. The nose is all about the grapefruit-citrus and lightly mineral edge. It’s when you take a sip that this wine smacks you. There’s suddenly a mouth-filling bunch of slightly sweet grapefruit juice along with its spicy and zippy acidity. That’s followed up with a lingering honeyed minerality on the finish.

Man, I love this bottle of wine. It may not be quite in the league of a few more expensive Rieslings I’ve tasted lately, but it’s also ~$20 cheaper. For the money, this is my favourite white wine of the moment.

Buy it if you can find it and drink it chilled.

$26 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars
(verging on 4.5)

No comments

1993 Zilliken Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Saarburger Rausch

I’ve been on a Riesling kick lately, so when I stumbled on this at Kitsilano Wine Cellars last week, I had to try it. I mean c’mon… it’s a 15 year old wine and I don’t get many chances here in Vancouver to try a Riesling with more than a few years on it.

I opened it up and took a big sniff. The wine didn’t disappoint. What I got up front was a nose full of diesel-like petrol. There wasn’t much fruit in there – some lemon zest. An eager sip gave more of that petrol edge, along with crisp citrus fruit, green apple and a finish that was like licking honey off a rock.

The wine was vibrant and lively. It drank much more like a 2007 than a 1993. There was no browning going on or a mellowing of its acidity. It was crisp and clean with fresh fruit. I loved it.

If you love Riesling, this is well worth picking up to sip at home.

$50 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2003 Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Trittenheimer Apotheke

Oh. My. God. Anyone who has read this site for a while knows I’m a fan of a good Riesling… and this, folks, is a good Riesling.

The nose is a classic light mix of that diesel fuel-citrus nose that only the Germans seems to get down with in their Rieslings. A sip really shows what this wine is throwin’ down. There’s a bunch of stone fruit (peach & apricot) along with lemon/lime and a beautiful, slightly sweet mineral-laced finish.

It’s really just so damn good… and one sip makes you want another. At 9% booze those bunches of sips won’t put you under the table either. :)

$39.99 at Liberty Wine Merchants here in Vancouver.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2006 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Qualitatswein

OK, let’s take a little break from my catch-up on the Italian trip. I’ve been home for just over a week and have had a few good bottles, so let’s get one off my list.

I was out for a bit tonight and had some Thai leftovers at home, so I dropped into Marquis Wine Cellars here in Vancouver looking for a Gewurztraminer or a Riesling. Both just go so damn well with Thai. I spent so damn much money on wine in Piedmont that I’m on a bit of a value search right now. This wine, at $20, fit right into that slot.

There’s not a lot going on with the nose – a bit of lime zest and mineral – but it really gives it up when you take a sip. A big dose of puckering acidity surrounds the lemon-lime, honey and some sucking-on-a-stone minerality to finish it all up.

It’s really a bloody tasty drop for the dough. I know I have all your sympathy when I say that it’s nice to have a straight-forward and tasty white after all the complex and tasty reds I had in Italy. This wine fit that bill nicely.

Now really, if you don’t like Riesling, give your head a shake. Go out, grab some Thai take-out and a bottle of this and just try to tell me it doesn’t taste great.

$20 at Marquis Wine Cellars.

4 stars

1 comment

2005 Balthasar Ress Riesling Kabinett Rheingau Hattenheimer Schützenhaus

11192007.jpgSweet Jesus, this is a tasty Riesling. This is one of those wines that get me thinking that I should drink more Riesling.

It’s got a beautiful nose with and edge of that petrol (yes, smelling a touch of diesel fuel is a good thing with Riesling), a bunch of peach, apricot and flinty stone. Taking a sip is a delicious experience – the flavours are all lemon-edged peach, with a long gently acidic apricot finish.

Seriously tasty stuff that would pair with many foods at the drop of a hat. Buy it.

$22.99 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

1 comment

Wine – 2005 Balthasar Ress Rheingau Riesling

Mmmmm…. I just made some Thai green curry and what better wine pairing for it than a Riesling? This one is crisp, citrusy, slightly effervescent with acidity, low in alcohol (10%) and has a slight honeysuckle sweetness that pairs perfectly with the spicy curry. Good stuff for ~$16 (here in BC).

3 1/2 stars

No comments

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