Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2017 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt

Before her untimely death, Annegret Reh-Gartner took steps to assure that this estate would continue to produce outstanding wines, and that’s been the case. This is one of the stronger sets of wine that I can recall from this estate.

There are no current release GG wines; as with some other estates, von Kesselstatt is holding them back for release next year, a policy I fully approve of. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

2017 Willi Schaefer

This selection of wines constitutes a new first for me: I don’t believe that I’ve ever tasted through a range of several wines from a producer and given each one an A+ rating. The downside is that due first to frost, and then to hail that came at the beginning of August and hit all of the estate’s vineyards, there’s only 50% of a normal crop in 2017. So if you are fortunate enough to see these wines, you need to jump on them immediately.

Christoph Schaefer said that there was a very short window from ripeness to overripeness, so he had to harvest quickly. Additionally, the botrytis was often not what he wanted, and it had to be selected out. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, October 22, 2018

2017 Joh. Jos. Prüm

Unlike several of the other estates I visited, the harvest was almost normal — only off 5% from a full harvest. The quality is extremely high across the board, and the wines are due your most serious attention.

All wines were bottled between late June and mid-July. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2017 Schloss Lieser -- Thomas Haag

Thomas Haag said that as a result of frost, hail, and sunburn, his crop was down about 30% from a full yield. As always, the estate (which has now grown to 23 ha.) has remarkable quality from top to bottom.

The dry wines are all 12.5% stated alcohol, fermented with natural yeasts, and fermented and raised in stainless steel. (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2017 Fritz Haag Rieslings

Production was 30% less than normal, said Oliver Haag. In part, it was due to the frost, but also, the juice in the grapes was less than normal.

This is an outstanding collection of wines. The GG’s especially are notable. (Continue reading here.)

2017 Zilliken/Forstmeister Geltz Rieslings

In 2017, production was about 15% less than average, said Hanno Zilliken. Hervesting began on 2 October. The wines are characterized by very high dry extracts; already at the Kabinett level, there are 30 g/l dry extract. This is a most successful vintage across the board. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Egon Müller and Le Gallais 2017s

For a number of years, low yields have been a problem, and so driving the prices of these wines. 2017 was no exception, with a production of only 18 hl/ha. Thirty percent of the harvest was lost in the spring frost; the weather then continued dry until June, when there was some rain. Some botrytis developed in August, but not a lot, rather like 2006 and not as much as in some other years. The harvest was from 25 September to 18 October. Acidities are normal.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Maximin Grünhaus (von Schubert) 2017 (and 2016 Pinot Noir)

Riesling yield was only about 29 hl/ha in 2017 (half of 2016) because of frost that killed young vines. The harvest started 18 September, and the picking necessarily was fast because of rot in the vineyards. Acidities almost same as 2016, but different type, more herbal in 2016, observed Dr. Carl von Schubert. Fans of this great estate will find all they could desire in this vintage except overall quantity and lots of late harvest wines. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, October 5, 2018

Pfalz GG Riesling 2017 and 2016 Part II (Forst): Acham-Magin, Bassermann-Jordan, Buhl, Bürklin-Wolf, Mosbacher, Siben

Forst is the Vosne-Romanée of the Pfalz (a region that has more than passing resemblance to Burgundy’s Côte d’Or). Both are the location of the region’s greatest vineyard and other vineyards of nearly equal quality, and both have high concentrations of high quality estates working biodynamically for their magnificent holdings. This selection of wines was a pure joy to taste.

Von Buhl and Bürklin-Wolf recently have been holding back wines one vintage, so this year they showed 2016 and next year they will show 2017. The non-appearance of von Winning at this tasting suggests that estate, too, will not release its 2017 GGs until next year. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Rheinhessen Riesling GG 2017 and 2016 (Bingen and Siefersheim) Part I: Kruger-Rumpf, Salm, Wagner-Stempel

Although these technically are Rheinhessen wines, the Bingen vineyards border on the Nahe appellation and the Siefersheim vineyards are not far away. As a result, these wines can be viewed as from an extension of the northeast segment of the Nahe appellation. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mittelrhein Riesling GG 2017: Jost, Lanius-Knab, Ratzenberger

Mittelrhein wines are not often seen, but they can provide surprisingly good drinking experiences. (Continue reading here.)

Rheingau Riesling GG 2017 Part V (Johannisberg, Rüdesheim, Lorchhausen): Allendorf, Eberbach, Fendel, Hessen, Johannisberg, Johannishof, Kessler, Künstler, Ress, Wegeler

I found a bit more irregularity here than in the other sectors of the Rheingau, although the producers I consider best made the best wines. (Continue reading here.)

Rheingau Riesling GG 2017 and 2016 Part IV (Oestrich, Mittelheim, Winkel, Schloss Vollrads): Allendorf, Eser, Hessen, Kühn, Schönleber, Spreitzer, Vollrads, Wegeler

Continued quality in this part of the Rheingau. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2017 Riesling GG -- Part VI -- von Othegraven and van Volxem

Who doesn’t like great Saar wines? (Continue reading here.)

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2017 GG -- Part V: Karthäuserhof and Maximin Grünhaus

Only three wines from the Ruwer Valley. (Continue reading here.)

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer GG 2017 -- Part IV: Grans-Fassian, Haart, Lieser, Weis

The riches continue as one moves upstream on the Mosel. (Continue reading here.)

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer GG 2017 (and a 2016) -- Part III: Fritz Haag, Lieser, Loosen, S. A. Prüm, Wegeler

This excellent group of wines includes a fascinating duel between the Haag brothers at Fritz Haag and Schloss Lieser. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Franken Silvaner GG -- 2016 and 2017: Part I: Bickel-Stumpf, Bürgerspital, Juliusspital, Am Stein/Knoll, May, Schwab

It’s still early, but many of these wines were showing quite well, already. (Continue reading here.)

German Großes Gewächs Overview: 2017 and Earlier

At the end of August, I participated in the preview of Großes Gewächs wines in Wiesbaden. My reporting on the tastings has been held up by subsequent tastings in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Franken (Franconia), and Austria, but later today the first of my notes will go up.

The vintage generally looks excellent for Riesling, especially for the Pfalz, Rheingau, and many Mosel-Saar-Ruwer producers. The Nahe, Rheinhessen, and Franken also look good for Riesling. The Silvaners from Franken additionally are quite good. Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is a bit more mixed, but there are some very good ones. Weiß Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) was not as interesting as usual.

As in the past few years, many producers have come to realize that late August is too soon to release and evaluate the wines, and so they are holding the wines back an additional year. This means that for whites, many of the wines reviewed are 2016, rather than 2017, and for Spätburgunder, many are earlier than 2016.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Off to Germany and Austria for Tasting

On Saturday, 25 August, I'll begin four days of tasting German wines, mostly Grosses Gewächs. I'll follow that up with some visits in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Franken regions, then I'll be off to Austria for some more tasting.

I'm hopeful that I'll be able to have notes up beginning this Sunday or Monday.

Background on the 2017 German harvest is that it is an early vintage with low quantities, largely due to frosts in April, but in some regions also due to hail later on. Preliminary figures show quantities down 18% from 2016 and from the 10-year average. In the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, it was more serious, down 15% from the already short 2016 harvest and down 25% from the 10-year average. In contrast, Franken is an exception, with 4% more than in 2016 and 10% more than the 10-year average.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Domaine d'EUGÉNIE (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

The last three wines here are from the old René Engel estate. 2006 was the first year under the new regime, directed by Frédéric Engerer of Pauillac’s Château Latour. 

In the past, I’ve not been enthusiastic about the wines under the new regime, finding them to be more like Pauillac than expressions of their respective Burgundy terroirs. Something may be beginning to change; I did find these wines are moving in the direction of terroir expression, although there is still a ways to go. But they are enjoyable to drink. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Domaine Éric de SUREMAIN (Monthélie) -- 2015s Tasted from Bottle

Monthélie, just around the corner from Volnay, is a colder climate, and so it does well in warm years such as 2015, offering competition with the wines of its better-known neighbor. De Suremain is a top source for Monthélie, and there are also very good wines from Rully to be had here. 

The two Monthélie wines bear the designation Château de Monthélie. (Continue reading here.)

Domaine Henri GOUGES (Nuits-Saint-Georges) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle

My notes on vintage conditions and these and other 2015s tasted from barrel (and the white Nuits-Perrière from bottle) at the estate are here. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Pierre-Yves COLIN-MOREY (Chassagne-Montrachet) -- 2015 Whites Tasted from Bottle




To my taste, Colin-Morey’s wines are good, but for some years have not been as ravishing as they once were. I was a bit hesitant to make that statement, butthen I checked with some friends involved in importing and selling the wines around the world, but they were in complete agreement with me.

All wines below are white. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Domaine Albert GRIVAULT (Meursault) -- 2016 Whites from Bottle and a 2015 Red from Bottle


This estate, dating to 1879, has been up and down over the years. It is best known for its monopole Meursault-Clos des Perrières, often considered the best part of the Perrières vineyard. 

On this showing, the estate is producing wines worthy of attention. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Domaine Gérard JULIEN & Fils (Comblanchien) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle



I have no previous experience with this estate, although I have seen the wines in some Paris stores that generally have very good Burgundy selections.

My understanding is that this estate comprises 10 hectares, mostly in Nuits and Côtes de Nuits-Villages, cared for in lutte raisonnée (i.e., organic except as a last resort). Son Étienne has recently taken control and is perceived as upgrading the quality. The cellars are located in Comblanchien.

My response on tasting through this set of wines is that they were good, not great, and this is an estate I would want to see more of. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Domaine Anne et Hervé SIGAUT (Chambolle-Musigny) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle



This estate practices lutte raisonnée in the vineyards (i.e., only use non-organic ingredients as a last resort). All grapes are destemmed, and use of new oak is modest: 10 - 33%. The estate produces two village Chambolles, six Chambolle premiers crus, two Morey premiers crus, and in white, a well-sited village Puligny (Enseignières). 

The prices of top Chambolle (and Morey) producers such as Roumier and Mugnier has skyrocketed, creating an opening for less well-known producers to bring their wines to the fore. Sigaut is one of them; there are others in that category that I would more willingly search out, as I find some rusticity here and terroir expression is not strong. But still, there are good vineyards here, so this is an estate worth watching. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Domaine HEITZ-LOCHARDET (Chassagne-Montrachet) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle




The wines from this estate have only appeared on the market beginning with the 2013 vintage; prior to that, Joseph Drouhin was fortunate enough to take the harvest; as you can see below, there are some very choice appellations.

Production is now biodynamic.

The wines I’ve tasted have been good to very good, but there is a lot of promise here, and this is an estate worth watching. (Continue reading here.)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Étienne SAUZET (Puligny-Montrachet) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle





For the most part, this selection of wines seems more about the vintage than the respective terroirs. There’s a touch of tropical fruit to several of them and except for the Combettes, terroir is not a strong element. Perhaps with time they will shape up? (Continue reading here.)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

Domaine du CROIX (Beaune) -- 2015 Tasted from Bottle




David Croix has made very good wines whenever I have tasted them, although one the whole, these wines were a little below what I was expecting. It will be interesting in the future to see how his additional duties at Domaine Roulot affect the white wines there.

All wines below are red wines. (Continue reading here.)