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P.J. Each year I get a case of current releases. By and large, it was a very nice year for new releases.
2012 Castell-Castell Franken silvaner trocken ($18). Lightly sweet with bright floral notes and apricot flavors, the wine is very viscous and full, spicy, long on the palate. A satisfying wine, if not an elegant one.
2012 P.J. Valckenberg Deutscher pinot blanc ($13). Another full-bodied wine, a little "heavy" in its flavors. Yet, it has pleasant notes of citrus and ripe tropical fruits.
2012 Liebfrauenstift Rheinhessen dry riesling ($18). Smells like a fresh, floral meadow. A little ponderous in weight, it nevertheless has complex citrus, apricot, and mineral flavors and a pleasant, raspy finish.
2012 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Mosel riesling ($31). Very lush fruit with well-defined flavors of orange, lemon, and tangerine and good acidity.
2012 Baron Knyphausen Keidricher Rheingau riesling kabinett ($21). Crisp and clean, with juicy citrus and citrus peel and a minerally under layer.
2012 Schloss Saarstein Mosel riesling kabinett ($27). Characteristic varietal flavors with ripe fruits — lush and full with a touch of candied-fruit sweetness.
2012 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt "Josephshöfer" riesling kabinett ($31). Not very fresh, more on the savory side of riesling with a touch of spritz.
2012 Johannishof "Charta" Rheingau riesling ($24). A compact wine that is a little short on the finish but with pleasant violet and citrus flavors.
2012 Prinz Salm Berg Roxheim riesling spatlese ($49). Very nice, sweet but balanced wine with apricot, figs, and fresh orange flavors.
2012 Graff Graacher Himmelreich Mosel riesling spatlese ($17). Lots of lush fruits, including apricots and plums — with some woodsy notes. More ripe than juicy.
2012 Undone Rheinhessen pinot noir ($11). A savory style pinot, and a simple but enjoyable one. Dark cherry flavors with a hint of carbony ash in the finish.
2011 Neipperg Württemberg lemberger trocken ($24). Lemberger isn’t often seen in the U.S. Pleasant dark cherry flavors with savory edges and a vinous finish.
4 German Wines Most People Don't Know
Ask almost anyone and Riesling is usually the only wine they seem to think comes out of Germany. You can’t really blame people for this assumption, since Riesling is the wine that truly put Germany on the map they’re considered to make it better than anyone else and it represents 57% of all the wine produced in the country. But Germany is much more than just Riesling, and we’re not talking about their beer, though that’s delicious too. Germany has a rich history of winemaking, and they make several other wines you should give a try. Even if you have trouble pronouncing their names, you may be surprised to learn you know more about the other German wines than you think. Here are four German wines most people don’t know, and should:
If you look at this name and have no idea how to pronounce it – it’s SHPAYT-bur-GUHN-der if you must – have no fear, it’s just Pinot Noir! Spätburgunder means “late Burgundian” in German, and it’s the most widely planted red grape in the country. While the wine can be a bit hard to find in the U.S., consumption of it in Germany is rising, which means more is making it to our shores as well. Look for Spätburgunder made in the wine regions of Baden, Ahr, and Pfalz, whose regions, thanks to global warming, are producing fantastic versions of the wine that many are comparing to and even pitting against great Burgundies.
Another tongue twister – this one is pronounced VICE boor-gun-der – Weiurgunder is simply Pinot Blanc, a grape that is thought to have originated in Burgundy, which is why the wine’s name literally translates to “white Burgundy.” While this white wine will never eclipse Riesling in its popularity, it’s quickly growing a following with current numbers showing it as one of the top five whites produced in the country. Weiurgunder creates a light, tart and refreshing wine that’s perfect for food and just like Spätburgunder, two of the regions to look for it are Pfalz and Baden.
This ancient grape is incredibly easy growing, which is probably why it’s the third most planted white grape in Germany. While it isn’t as revered as Riesling, the wine has its loyal fans. The knock Silvaner receives most often is that it can be boring and bland, but when made well it has a great minerality with nice floral and herbal notes. It’s a great wine for warm weather sipping, and is usually pretty affordable. The region most famous for producing great Silvaner is Franken, which is located in Bavaria and makes Silvaner the go-to wine for Oktoberfest.
Out of all the grapes we’ve mentioned, Dornfelder is the clear baby, having only come into existence in 1955. Created by scientist August Herold, the grape is darker in skin color than the other red grapes being successfully grown at the time of its invention, and its cultivation allowed German winemakers to create darker fuller-bodied red wines. Currently the wine is second only to Spätburgunder in German red wine production, with the best wines coming out of Pfalz and Rheinhessen. The grape usually produces a wine with lovely floral notes that also ages very well in oak, taking on the wood’s spicy and vanilla characteristics.
2008 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling ($44)
Jeffrey Grosset’s single-vineyard wine, from the South Australian region of Clare Valley, practically defines the potential of Australian Riesling. It’s entirely dry, with sparkling acidity and flavors that float between chalky minerality and fresh lime fruit.
2006 D&rsquoArenberg Dead Arm Shiraz ($65)
The gruesome-sounding name is a reference to a vine disease that, by killing one 𠇊rm” of the vine, often produces tremendously intense grapes on the other. Certainly D𠆚renberg’s flagship Shiraz is intense, with notes of white pepper and tobacco and layers of red and black fruit.
2007 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet ($12)
Penfolds introduced this Cabernet-Shiraz blend in 1976, naming it after a vineyard at the northern edge of Australia’s Barossa Valley. It’s been one of the world’s top red wine values ever since. Full of ripe blackberry fruit with a slightly spicy edge, this red also ages surprisingly well𠅊 rarity for a wine so inexpensive.
Is Bordeaux worth the vast sums some collectors are willing to pay on mere speculation? That depends on whom you ask as Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson write in The World Atlas of Wine, "fine Bordeaux has, regrettably, become a trading commodity" in the form of futures, or purchases of wine still in barrel. A hyped vintage can yield four-figure asking fees per bottle.
Blame Napoleon, who got the ball rolling back in 1855 when he commissioned a ranking of the top châteaux in this western region of France. The resulting classification has held up surprisingly well, as the five so-called First Growths — Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, and Haut-Brion — still take top slots in regional price rankings. They're all located on Bordeaux's Left Bank, venerated for its Cabernet Sauvignon–based red blends. Also on the Left Bank is Sauternes, which received special mention for its exceptional sweet white wines (primarily blends of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc) their reputation, exemplified by Château d'Yquem, is still unparalleled. But many Second Growths also command pretty pennies today, as do many relative upstarts from the Right Bank — most notably Le Pin and Pétrus — where Merlot takes center stage.
In any case, at their best, the châteaux of Bordeaux are in Johnson and Robinson's words "the world's archetypes for blends of Cabernet and Merlot."
Ten Great Wines You Need To Try Now
This list promises to get you out of your wine rut and open up new possibilities with ten great wines to try now. There is so much amazing wine in the world today it is hard to defend drinking the same selection over and over—below Chardonnay lovers will read about a few silky options from France to try—plus scoop on where you can go in Burgundy for a full Chardonnay immersion tasting. You’ll also discover a red wine from Italy with pedigree but not at a premium price. Several American wines make an appearance too---why not try Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley, or Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands? And last, but never least, a truly special wine from a winemaker who sleuthed out the oldest vineyards in Washington State (1957, thank you) for her latest wine project.
The Best In Chardonnay:
Olivier Leflaive Chassagne-Montrachet 2016 ($85) dances on the palate with a lovely satin texture and a distinctly vibrant and fresh finish. The Olivier Leflaive Meursault 1er Cru Boucheres 2012 (avg. $100 online) delivers a softer, more rounded expression with rich notes of peach, apple butter and lemon. For a complete and total Chardonnay immersion, I suggest paying a visit to the Domaine’s restaurant (Restaurant Olivier Leflaive.) and inn in Burgundy. Here, they offer tastings of six or nine Chardonnays from a range of mostly grand and premiere cru appellations in Burgundy. Leflavie’s vineyard holdings are impressive and the wines offer a wonderfully thorough perspective of Burgundy’s extraordinary terroir.
Domaine du Roc des Boutires Aux Bouthières Pouilly-Fuisse, 2016. A sophisticated and elegant Chardonnay with notes of buttered nuts and lemon cream all cross stitched with mineral freshness. Juicy, silky and profound. Made from 55 year-old Chardonnay vines. What a wine.
Mi Sueno Chardonnay Los Carneros 2015: A marvelous classically styled Chardonnay made by Rolando Herrera and his wife Lorena. Herrera started as a dishwasher at Napa’s esteemed Auberge du Soleil restaurant and ultimately worked his way up and into winemaking we should all be grateful he stuck around. FYI--The 1999 vintage of this wine was served at a White House state dinner. $42
History Cabernet Sauvignon from a 1957-era vineyard
Marchesi di Gresy Nebbiolo Martinenga Langhe DOC 2015--This complex, flavorful Nebbiolo wine from the Martinenga vineyard exudes dark cherry fruit with a whiff of violets and spice. For $22 it is a terrific value in red wine and a perfect choice to pour with a dinner of roasted pork tenderloin –or to sip with aged cheeses. $22
VALUE and SPLURGE---The producer Poliziano is one of my all-time favorites, crafting polished, silky wines that pair beautifully with food and fit just about every wine mood. They craft a terrific Rosso di Montepulciano ($15) for everyday drinking but the ultimate expression of their winemaking talent and terroir is Poliziano “Asinone” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, 2014. This gorgeous single vineyard wine from 50-year-old vines is ripe, savory and full-bodied, dense with black cherry and spice. Aged for 18 months in French oak produced only in exceptional vintage years. $60
Pinot Noir Perfection:
Scheid 2015 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands. The Scheid family (and it truly is a family-run enterprise) crafts seven different pinot noirs from their range of terroirs, but this one from the Santa Lucia Highlands delivers a dense, silky expression laced with spice, peat and raspberries. $75
Hazelfern Cellars Yamhill Springs Vineyard, 2016: Yes another wonderful family-run winery makes this list—the mom and pop team at Hazelfern focuses on small-lot expressions from a range of Oregon terroir and they make a pinot noir for just about every personality. The Yamhill Springs Vineyard 2016 is a sure crowd-pleaser with its silky mouthfeel, dense and intense cherry-strawberry notes and spicy finish. $48
America’s Ancient Vines:
History 1957 Otis Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014—Bookmark this wine for a special occasion, made from a Yakima Valley single vineyard (that was established in 1957—the oldest known cabernet vines in Washington State). Stoller Winemaker Melissa Burr sleuthed out this vineyard, among a few others in her History series, and in partnership with Bill Stoller brought the project to tasty fruition. Very rare and small bottlings, best to contact the winery directly to find a bottle. $75
Protea Rose 2017: From South Africa’s Western Cape, this juicy mouth-watering rose shows raspberry, cherry and citrus notes. Fresh and lively just what a rose should be. $17.99
Carhartt Vineyard Estate Syrah 2016: Family owned since the 1950’s, and yes, related to the famed Carhartt clothing company, the winery sits in the heart of California’s Santa Ynez Valley. The Estate Syrah oozes with blackberry fruit, leather and white pepper notes. Elegant and polished--made in a more cool-climate style. $48
Amazing Wine Tips You Should Try Out
You can be a little lost when pairing wine with foods if you’re like everybody else . Most of us don’t determine what whine will best compliment our fish and what is perfect for dessert . You will be able to confidently pair wine with food after looking at this post .
Play around with all the wines you purchase . You can study a whole lot about different countries by trying new wines . Try wines from all of the different regions , including ones you could possibly see on the bottom shelf . Experimenting with and studying different wines will help you choose one which you love .
Don’t limit yourself to countries which are renowned for exporting wines including Spain or France . The truth is , some of the best wines out there come from Argentina or from New Zealand . You must not form your opinion of your country after tasting only a couple different wines . These days , however , nearly every continent is producing a delicious wine including Australia, Brazil and the US.
Don’t consider wines with screw caps . A lot of quality brands are switching to these types of caps . In comparison with corks , this type of lid maintains the purity of the wine . Air is unlikely to get into the bottle via a screw cap , so you certainly won’t need to bother about cork breaking off within the bottle . Screw caps are definitely the norm in wineries in a few countries .
Visit wine country to determine upfront the method behind producing the wines you cherish if you love wine . Wine country is a beautiful spot to visit , and you will definitely gain new appreciation to your favorite wine , along with comprehension of its origins . You’ll garner a whole new appreciation of wine on such a trip . Touring a vineyard could also expand your understanding of wine and wine making . This trip could be educational and fun .
Becoming a wine expert is no easy feat , and yes it doesn’t happen overnight . You are on the right path of becoming a wine connoisseur within your right if you utilize the recommendation mentioned from the article above . Make certain you enjoy yourself in your wine education and make certain to drink responsibly .
SA wines to try before you die
It’s a global guide, so financially and logistically, a modest one bottle a week could be a goal – and would keep your palate in adventures for the next, oh, 19 years and 3 months. And, of course, you’d be arguing with the publisher for 19 years about the selection.
Who decides what the world’s most memorable wines are?
There are 44 contributors, and presumably the last word belongs to the tome’s general editor, Briton Neil Beckett. His biography tells us that he has a ‘first class honors degree in English and Medieval History…’ though that’s not the relevant part. What’s relevant is that he made his hobby pay, as contributing editor to Harper’s Wine & Spirit Weekly, and editor of The World of Fine Wine. He’s one of the big knobs of wine tasting in Europe, on the Grand Jury Européen.
Leaving the wine credentials of the contributors aside, I was delighted to see we have a mountaineer, a professor of criminal law, a handful of journalists including the chief editor of Madrid newspaper El Mundo, and a bunch of academics. They’re not just spit-or-swallow snobs then. The only South African contributor is Capetonian Tim James of www.grape.co.za, and of Noseweek.
For practical reasons, you’d want to start your vinous journey with the wines closest to home to celebrate with the 30-odd locals which make the cut for, to use the rather defensive term employed by the book, having ‘a record of high quality and, even more important, distinctive character’. Knowing how snippy the wine world can be (witness the current spat around the next Platter guide, even before it comes out), I’d also be defensive.
Theoretically, our 30 champs could take you through to early next year, giving you time to source wines for the rest of your journey from those other great wine-producing countries featured, like, oh, India and Lebanon. Our local heroes are:
You see why I say theoretically?
What were you thinking, Tim James? Where do you expect us to find 1953 Jerepigo, 1966 GS Cabernet et al? I flipped through one of the better online wine shops looking for prices for the more current vintages, and drew a blank even with those – not one of these 30 wines was for sale there.
So maybe it’s not going to help you plan dinner parties, but consider this a reference book of note. It’s as thick as a brick and as heavy as one too, and if you’re a wine anorak, then it gives you a challenge you could die (and bankrupt yourself) trying to meet.
Far more useful to Food24 readers: let’s draw up a list of our own favourite wines, and vote on them. I’ll start by backing, from the list above, Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Bouchard-Finlayson Galpin Peak Tête de Cuveé Pinot Noir, and Vin de Constance – but any vintage, you hear me, Tim! And then I’d add anything from Springfield, but especially the Special Cuvee. And then…
Heather Parker is the editor of Health24 and Bride magazine. She is one of SA’s most respected journalists, and a serious foodie to boot.
- Nino Franco Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut Veneto NV $10/$42
- Pierre Peters Blanc De Blancs Brut Champagne NV $18/$100
Ray&aposs Wine Pick: Pierre Peters is a great maker of Blanc de Blancs, a Champagne style that&aposs lean, crisp and very food-friendly.
Chris Blanchard, Down by Law Consulting: Since your menu is locally driven, why not offer a sparkling U.S. wine like Schramsberg? You could sell it for $55.
6 Weird Fruit Wines You Must Try
Most of us have only one question when it comes to wine&mdash&ldquoRed or white?&rdquo&mdashwhich means we've been seriously missing out. Turns out there's a new trend in winemaking: using anything but grapes. Winemakers have moved beyond the vineyard to bottle everything from strawberries to elderberries, and the results are ridiculously tasty.
In addition to the array of fresh, fruity flavors these new vinos offer, there&rsquos also a health benefit: Each variety comes with its own unique blend of disease-fighting chemicals. &ldquoFermentation may improve the health benefits of fruit,&rdquo says Elvira de Mejia, PhD, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois. &ldquoWhen the sugars are removed by fermentation, some key chemicals, like anthocyanins, become more powerful.&rdquo
Need any more motivation to pop the cork? Didn&rsquot think so. Try a glass (or two) of these six delicious fruit wines.
&ldquoThis is a versatile wine,&rdquo says Dominic Rivard, an award-winning wine master and author of The Ultimate Fruit Winemakers&rsquo Guide. &ldquoYou can use apples for dry wine, cider, sparkling wine, or ice wine.&rdquo For a palate-pleasing bottle, look for a blend of aromatic apples (like Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Red Delicious) and acidic ones (like Jonathan and Winesap).
Combining different types gives you complexity of flavor, but also nutritional variety. &ldquoApples that have been bred for size, color, and sweetness have lost a lot nutritionally,&rdquo says Mary Ann Lila, PhD, director of the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University. &ldquoThose closest to the wild aren&rsquot very flavorful, but they&rsquore chockfull of health-beneficial compounds.&rdquo By combining several varieties, you get a pleasing flavor with lots of health benefits. The primary player: quercetin, which helps build up your immune response.
Try: Earle Estates Meadery Apple Enchantment 100% Apple Wine ($13.99, meadery.com)
Strawberry wine is best consumed fresh, so grab a corkscrew and start sipping&mdashyou don't need to let the wine breathe. &ldquoKeep it light&mdashit lends itself to the Rosé style very nicely,&rdquo Rivard notes. &ldquoIt&rsquos a fun, easy-drinking, summer-type wine.&rdquo
In your body, however, this wine gets down to business. &ldquoThe main component in strawberries is anthocyanins&mdashand in the wine, they&rsquore concentrated,&rdquo says Dr. Lila. These compounds are bursting with health benefits: In a University of California Los Angeles study, anthocyanin-rich strawberry extract was shown to destroy human colon cancer cells (even more effectively than blueberry, cranberry, or blackberry extracts).
Try: Ackerman Winery Strawberry Wine ($10.95, ackermanwinery.com)
Low in sugar and high in acid, blueberries are ideal for dry table wines, which are best served at room temperature, says Rivard. As for flavor? &ldquoBlueberry wine can fool a lot of people into thinking it&rsquos a grape wine,&rdquo he says.
Even though the two have a similar taste, the nutritional impact of blueberry wine is superior to the grape-based stuff: A 2012 University of Florida study found that blueberry wine has more free radical-fighting power than 80% of reds and 100% of whites&mdashwhich translates into more protection for your heart, digestive tract, and eyes, the scientists say.
Try: Boyden Valley Winery Blueberry Wine ($15.99, boydenvalley.com)
One of the few fruit wines that ages well, &ldquoblackberry wine reminds people of merlot,&rdquo says Rivard. &ldquoBlackberries are usually a little less acidic than other berries, so they give you a very round, smooth flavor.&rdquo
The deep color comes from the healthy chemicals inside: Each little orb houses a range of disease-fighting anthocyanins, but perhaps most notable is delphinidin. &ldquoThis compound helps decrease inflammation,&rdquo says Dr. de Mejia, &ldquoand we have found that it inhibits some enzymes related to type 2 diabetes.&rdquo
Try: Honeywood Winery Blackberry Wine ($12, honeywoodwinery.com)
Cranberry wine is characterized by a slightly acidic flavor, balanced out by a delicate sweetness. When it comes to its health benefits: &ldquoA lot of people who have urinary tract problems like drinking cranberry wine&mdashit&rsquos more fun to drink than the juice!&rdquo says Rivard. And it&rsquos a proven protector: &ldquoCranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins,&rdquo explains Lila. &ldquoThese wash pathogenic bacteria out in your urine stream, which helps avoid infection.&rdquo Cranberry wine also contains nearly 99% less headache-inducing histamine than red wines, a recent Canadian study found.
Try: Rodrigues Winery Cranberry Wine ($14.50, rodrigueswinery.com)
Elderberry wine is a serious overachiever. A single glass houses more health-protecting antioxidants than Chardonnay, peach, apple, and plum wines combined, according to a recent study from Canada. You can credit Mother Nature: &ldquoElderberries grow in the wild&mdashand they can&rsquot run away when there is danger,&rdquo says Dr. Lila. &ldquoSo they have to have this wonderful cornucopia of compounds to protect them from adversity&mdashthings like UV rays, bugs, or drought.&rdquo The dark-hued berry also boasts magnesium, a mineral few of us get enough of.
As you can probably guess, this powerhouse fruit doesn&rsquot produce a weak wine. &ldquoIt is very full-bodied,&rdquo says Rivard. &ldquoElderberry wine has a lot of tannins in it, so it has a very long shelf life and will improve quite a bit over the years.&rdquo
Alsace Riesling Is Sweet, Right?
I often find that people are confused about the difference between wines from Alsace and those from Germany. Why do you suppose this is? First of all, your confusion could be justified since both wines are sold in tall bottles with tapering necks. Just to confuse you further, Alsace and Germany specialized in similar grape varieties. But when you think of Riesling, what are your associations? You'll probably answer "Germany" and "sweetness."
That's a very typical response, and that's because the German winemaker adds a small amount of naturally sweet unfermented grape juice back into the wine to create the distinctive German Riesling. The winemaker from Alsace ferments every bit of the sugar in the grapes, which is why 90 percent of all Alsace wines are totally dry.
Another fundamental difference between wine from Alsace and wine from Germany is the alcohol content. Wine from Alsace has 11 to 12 percent alcohol, while most German wine has a mere 8 to 9 percent.