Four very fine Rieslings: Germany, Italy and New Zealand

It seems to be a bit of a season for Riesling. Here are notes from four bottles tried a while back which I have found in a notebook, and feel compelled to write up now because they just deserve to be written up.

Wittmann Morstein Riesling GG Trocken 2009 Rheinhessen, Germany
13.5% alcohol. From limestone soils, this [...]

My life in Riesling, with Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, David Motion and Stuart Pigott

Thursday night was the Riesling Fellowship dinner at Vintner’s Hall. It quite grand – gentlemen were required to wear jackets and ties. [Aside: whenever I attend a wine trade event in a suit it is amazing the number of people who come up and complement me, as well as expressing surprise that I should be [...]

Two lovely Nahe Rieslings from Schäfer-Fröhlich and Dönnhoff

I’m going through a bit of a Riesling phase at the moment, and here are two exceptional bottles from the Nahe. There’s one from the king of the Nahe, Helmut Donnhoff, and one from a winery to watch, Schafer-Frolich.

Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Trocken Grosses Gewächs 2013 Nahe, Germany
This dry Riesling shows incredible intensity. It’s dry [...]

In the Ahr Valley, Germany, home to some great Pinot Noir

I’ve spent the last day and a half in the Ahr Valley in northern Germany. It’s my first visit here. This is a small, compact region that’s a tight valley with vineyards on either side, many of which are incredibly steeply sloped. The predominant soil type is slate, and this is Pinot Noir country. I [...]

Stepp Riesling 'S'

This is a pretty serious Riesling. It’s made by Gerd Stepp, from a single vineyard, Kallstadter Saumage, with loess and loam rich soils with a high limestone content, in Germany’s Pfalz. The soils here have lots of tiny fossil shells, resulting in high calcium content. Apparently Saumagen translates as pig’s stomach. Gerd used to buy [...]

Erni's remarkable dry Riesling

One of the star wines at this year’s IPNC was actually a dry Riesling. Erni Loosen popped by the table I was at with a remarkable dry Riesling, aged for two years in large barrels on the lees.

It was the 2011 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Reserve Trocken, and it was remarkably complex, textured and detailed. It’s [...]

Two great own-label wines from Fortnum & Mason - Franken and Margaret River

You have to love the way Fortnum & Mason get the world’s greatest wine producers to make their own-label wines. Here are two such examples, which we drunk yesterday afternoon while judging the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards. They were superb. The judging was fun, too. Anthony Rose, Victoria Moore and I were [...]

A lovely German Pinot Noir

I like this. It’s a German Pinot Noir in a modern, almost New World mould. I’ve had some good German Pinots in the past, but the best ones have been really expensive. And many have had a green herbal/sweet fruit combination that has been a tiny bit sickly, and has stopped them being serious. Now [...]

A lovely Mosel Riesling from Max Ferd Richter

This lovely Mosel Riesling deserves a plug. From a vineyard I’ve never heard of before.

Max Ferd Richter Veldenzer Elisenburg Riesling Kabinett 2011 Mosel, Germany
10% alcohol. From grey slate and quartz soils, and a cool microclimate. Complex, precise and lively with lovely sweetness balancing the minerally acidity. Spicy and crisp with grapefruit, lychee and apricot, as [...]

A quick comparative Pinot Noir tasting (and drinking)

So tonight, I have four Pinot Noirs open. A chance to do some comparative tasting.

I love Pinot Noir. It’s such a great grape variety. So, for me, this is a joy of an evening. How do the wines rate?

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir 2011 Casablanca Valley, Chile
I actually opened this wine yesterday evening, and [...]