What a great time I've been having the last 10 days or so. For the first time since my retirement, I took some time to visit my daughter in Colorado. She was having a graduation party for herself (that sounds like MY daughter) for having completed schooling for Esthetician. Look I could barely spell it, let alone explain it.
There were some very interesting developments to this trip. Having not flown in a while, I was concerned about my ability to get through a flight, especially if it turned out to be, shall we say, bumpy. Good news, the flight was smooth and got through it just fine. Not to inject too much negativity, I should mention that I flew on a 737. Not sure how I would have felt if certain recent incidents had occurred PRIOR to my departure.
I was pleased to have more time to spend not only with my daughter but with her, do we still use, boyfriend? I left feeling like I really got to know him better. Most of our time together was spent eating and drinking. Two peas in a pod!
What was really great was that I didn't have to worry about coming back to work and seeing just how much paper was stacked on my desk for me to deal with. I always used to say, "the most stressful part of my vacations, my return."
The other thing I learned, and here's where we're getting closer to this being about wine, is that I found that my own daughter usually only reads my blog posts when she was mentioned in them. I will say that I'm thinking seriously about putting her into each post, that way I know at least one person will be reading what I write. At least until she gets bored.....
In her defense, she has been very busy with school and work and she did readily admit that one reason she doesn't always read the posts is that if and when she does, she ends up wanting to buy the wine in the blog for herself. Again, a chip off the ole block.
After getting back safe and sound, I got ready for the rest of a busy week. Who am I kidding? I slept in, hung around in my sweats and only left to restock the fridge. At least that was the couple days after returning home. On Thursday, and somewhat reluctantly, I had previously RSVP'd to a wine seminar/tasting featuring German wines. Since I had to go back to the same store to pick up my Ramey Chardonnay that I had ordered from that tasting, I felt like I was accomplishing a couple things. Oh, I did stop at a grocery store as well as they had lactose free sour cream. Three chores in one burst of energy.
So NOW I'm turning my attention to the matters at hand. This wine seminar/tasting featuring German wines, and their most famous grape variety, Riesling. I love attending seminars that include wine owners or makers, winery reps or in this case, the Midwest Sales Manager for the importer, Rudi Wiest Selections, Elke Girresch. What made this event even more impressive is that Elke is German and spoke with a German accent. I could almost feel myself sailing down the Mosel river as she talked about the wines. Okay, would you believe a German Hofbräuhaus while we all sang and danced? I thought not.
Okay, so I'm sitting in this large wine store listening to our very knowledgeable and informative speaker. Happy now?
The selection of 10 different wines was impressive as well. The first, Von Buhl Riesling Sekt 2015. Sekt is German for sparkling wine. Riesling-based but having a distinct Riesling flavor. I think it may have been my first German sparkling. Very nice. While not a Riesling, wine number two was the Becker Pinot Blanc 2016. As a big fan of Alsatian wines, and especially Pinot Blanc, I loved this wine. Stone fruit on the nose and palate with nice minerality and a touch drier than most of the Riesling we tried. The perfect wine for seafood or shellfish. Scoring 91 Points from Wine Spectator and an $18 price tag makes this a winner in my book.
Next up was the Von Buhl Jazz Riesling 2016. Created by Von Buhl and named for musicians. This one is for the jazz musician, Maria Schneider. Another good wine to try if you're just getting started.
The pièce de résistance of the tasting was wine number four, Von Buhl Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2015. One of the Single Vineyard wines of the evening and once you figure out German labeling laws (I've said many times you need a Ph.D. to understand said laws), you find that the term Grosses Gewachs (which means Great Growth) is synonymous with the Grand Cru designation in France. Thus making this a VERY special wine. Drier than most wines of the evening, and sporting more complexity, this is a wine that can only get better with time. It will also benefit from a serious decanting before consumption. In its 94-96 Point review, Wine Advocate says: "it might turn out to be one of the best dry Rieslings in the Pfalz, and probably in all of Germany in 2015."
The Gunderloch Estate Dry Riesling 2016 was next. Great Fruit aromas with stone fruit at its core and nice minerality, this is a wonderful wine for those looking to get into German Rieslings. Those at my table concurred and remarked how much they liked this wine. 20 bucks and a 90 Point Wine Spectator review, you can't go wrong. We then went off in a totally different direction. From the Pfalz region of Germany, we tried a Pinot Noir. This is only the second Pinot I've had from Germany. The first was while I was at the wine shop and another buyer brought it in. This is a much different style of Pinot Noir as compared to France or domestic. Dried Cherry flavor with minimal acid and tannin. It wasn't my cup of tea, but I would encourage you to try if you get the chance. Elke mentioned that they produce a Grosses Gewachs Pinot Noir. I would have loved to have tried that one!
The next two wines were of similar quality and flavor. The Schloss Lieser Estate Riesling Feinherb 2014 and the Monchhof Urzinger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2015. What did I tell you about labeling? Both nice wines, slightly sweeter than the previous wines, that was by Elke's design (dry before sweet). Again, these are good wines to "get your feet wet" with German Rieslings. Both under $20.
The next wine comes from one of my favorite producers, J.J. Prum. Coming from my favorite region, the Mosel, they represent not only consistent quality but a range of wines sure to please any palate. The wine poured was the (and here comes another labeling issue) J J Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2014. To simplify. Wehlener Sonnenuhr denotes a single vineyard. Spatlase refers to when the grapes were picked, generally a little later to give them a higher sugar level at picking and to create a slightly sweeter wine. Although should the label use a word like Trocken, then that means it was vinified dry. Since I'm on this kick, there is also Auslese, BA (Beerenauslese), TBA (Trockenbeerenauslese) and Eiswein. Anything not one of those is usually a QbA, sort of "table wine." This was a great wine garnering 94 Points from Wine Advocate and 93 Points from Wine Spectator and a price tag around $40. For another wonderful J J Prum wine, refer to my "Wine of the Week" for the J J Prum 2015 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett.
Last wine was from the Monchhof Estate, the Monchhof Slate Riesling Spatlase 2015. Another great wine from Mosel and the extraordinary 2015 vintage. Great aromas and palate for a wine sporting a slightly sweeter finish. That Mosel minerality and crisp acidity make this a wine that would pair so well with spicy foods. Think Thai. Garnering a 92 Point review from Wine Spectator but coming in around $20, this is a wonderful representation of quality at a great price.
Before ending I want to thank our hostess, Elke Girresch, once again for her insightful and enjoyable seminar.
Thanks for reading this slightly lengthy blog, but if I've spurred your interest in German wines, than my work is over. Fat chance, I've got lots more to work on with all of you!
Tech sheets for the 10 wines, click here.