Tag Archives: German wine

Expensive wine 78: Raumland Marie-Luise Brut 2008

 Raumland Marie-LuiseGerman sparkling wine made in the traditional Champagne style? How much wine geekier does it get? Not much, but the Raumland Marie-Luise is well worth the trouble to find and the price you will pay.

The amazing thing about the Raumland Marie-Luise ($40, sample, 12%) is not that it’s well made, but that it’s such a value, even at $40. I’ve tasted Champagne (before the boycott) at that price and even $20 more that wasn’t as pleasurable to drink — mass market plonk at high-end prices. The Raumland is made with pinot noir, astonishing in itself given the rarity and inconsistency of German pinot, but even more so given the wine’s subtlety and style. This is not an oaky, yeasty sparkling bomb, but a wine with fine, tight bubbles, hints of berry fruit, an almost spice-like aroma, and bone dry.

Highly recommended, though it may be difficult to find. If you can, serve it on its own (chilled, of course) or with seafood and chicken. We had it with a shrimp boil during the infamous wine samples dinner, and the Raumland was gone in minutes. This is also a fine gift for any open-minded sparkling wine drinker.

Mini-reviews 70: Ponzi, white Rhone, lemberger, pinot blanc

wine reviews PonziReviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

? Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris 2014 ($17, sample, 13.2%): Needs more time in the bottle, but when this Oregon white is ready in a couple of months, it should be classic, elegant Oregon pinot gris — fresh tropical fruit, rich mouth feel, and long finish.

?Dauvergne-Ranvier C tes du Rh ne Vin Gourmand 2012 ($15, purchased, 13.5%): Uninspired white French blend that was overpriced and lacking in anything to make it interesting. A hint of viognier (peach?) and not much else. We do this kind of wine much better in Texas.

? Weingut Schnaitmann Lemberger 2012 ($15, sample, 13%): Unfortunately for those of us who like lemberger, a red grape that’s hard to find, this isn’t the answer. There’s lots of red fruit, but this German wine is disjointed and needs something more than just the fruit.

? Rudi Wiest Dry Pinot Blanc 2012 ($12, sample, 12%): This German white was delightful, with candied lime fruit, fizzy acidity, and just a touch sweet. It was everything I hope it would be; the catch being that availability is limited.

Mini-reviews 62: Hot to Trot, Sauzet, Dr. Pauly, Chateau St. Jean

Mini-reviews 62: Hot to Trot, Sauzet, Dr. Pauly, Chateau St. JeanReviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

? 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red 2012 ($9, purchased, 13.5%): The problem with this red blend is not that it’s very ordinary and slightly sweet (probably somewhere around E&J Gallo’s Apothic), but that it doesn’t say, on either front or back label, that it isn’t dry. As has been noted many times here and elsewhere, producers have an obligation to share that information. Otherwise, dry red drinkers will buy something they don’t want and sweet red drinkers will pass it by. The Wine Curmudgeon expects more from 14 Hands than this kind of winery sleight of hand.

? Etienne Sauzet Bourgogne Blanc 2012 ($43, purchased, 12.5%): Impeccable white Burgundy (chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France) from one of my favorite producers. Layers and layers of complexity, just like much more expensive wines from specific appellations within Burgundy. Still young, and I could have held on to it for six months or more. Some oak when first opened, but the wine eventually evens out to become a traditional Sauzet with white pepper and green apple fruit. Very reasonably priced considering the quality. Highly recommended.

? Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkasteler Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Kabinett 2010 ($27, purchased, 7.5%): Gorgeous German riesling, rich and full, with honey, lemon, and minerality — exactly the way it should be, as anyone who appreciates this kind of wine can attest. Yes, it’s sweet, but it’s supposed to be; in fact, it’s surprisingly heavy and needs food (tuna steaks, perhaps?). Highly recommended.

? Chateau St. Jean Fum Blanc 2012 ($12, sample, 13.5%): California sauvignon blanc is flabby, heavy, and without any sort of style or grace, to say nothing of fruit. This used to be one of those wines that you could always count on; now it’s stuff sold at the grocery store.

Wine to drink when your tree falls down

2013-08-06 07.10.27The picture pretty much tells the story. The biggest tree in my front yard finally succumbed to old age and the Texas heat last week, leaving a gaping spot on my lawn.

So what does one drink while commemorating the yeoman job the tree, a Bradford pear, did over seven years of blocking the sun and doing what it could to keep the house cooler? Obviously, nothing with oak:

? Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkastleler Riesling Kabinett 2010 ($21, sample, 7.5%). The high temperature was 104 the day the tree fell, so it was a trifle warm when my neighbor, Dave Hangar (perhaps the best plumber in Dallas) sawed while I gathered most of the branches out of the street. The Dr. Pauly was everything German riesling should be — lovely and balanced and off-dry, with low alcohol, candied lemon fruit, and a little petrol. A beautiful wine.

? Bodegas Valdesil MonteNovo 2010 ($18, purchased, 12.5%). I bought six bottles of this Spanish white (made with the godello grape) for $4 each at a sale, little knowing how handy it would come in over the past couple of weeks of 100-degree weather. It ?s still fresh and lively, with enough lemon and citrus to be noticeable and refreshing. More sophisticated than less expensive Spanish wine, and more of a food wine — seafood paella, perhaps?

? La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2012 ($8, purchased, 12%). The Wine Curmudgeon ?s antipathy to pinot grigio is well known, but I also have tremendous respect for La Fiera, which makes some of the best $10 wine in the world. In this case, the producer won out: This is quite possibly the perfect pinot grigio — a little lemon fruit and a restrained, quinine-like finish, three flavors, and not overdone in any way, Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.

Wine review: Becker Estate Pinot Blanc 2009

10298036tThis is not the sort of wine that shows up on the blog much, since it's a little pricey and not necessarily easy to find. And, in fact, my tasting notes are not as complete as they should be, since I didn't expect to write about it.

But the more I thought about it, and as distressed as I have been with far too many of the wines that I've tasted this fall, I thought this German white wine worth a review. The Becker pinot blanc ($20, sample) is wine that is not just well made, but made honestly and with passion. It's the antidote for all of the cynical, market-driven wines that I've had to taste, and it was a pleasure to drink.

Becker is one of Germany's best regarded modern producers, and its pinot noirs are compared with some of the best in France. The pinot blanc (or, as Germans call it, Wei erBurgunder) may not get those kind of raves, but it certainly deserves its own. It's a lush wine that somehow combines rich fruit (apricot, candied lemon) with the crispness and minerality typical of German wine. At 12 1/2 percent alcohol, it's dry, but fruity enough to give the impression of sweetness for those leery of wines that are too acidic. 

Chill this, and drink it on its own or with almost any holiday dinner. It would go especially well at Thanksgiving, and the sweet wine drikers at the table should be both stunned and pleased that they're enjoying a dry wine so much.