Tag Archives: German wine

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.