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Month: April 2023

Wine of the Week

Kritt from Kreydenweiss

I was lucky to get a table at Vinkontoret (The Wine Office), Stavanger, Norway on their last day. Now they have closed the doors.

This is a biodynamically farmed pinot blanc, also with some auxerrois. The vineyards sit on iron-rich clayey soils outside Andlau village. Some keywords: Hand-harvested, whole bunches, natural fermentation in old Alsatian foudres without additives, aging on the lees for up to a year, bottled lightly filtered with only a tiny quantity of sulphites.

Kritt Pinot Blanc 2019 (Marc Kreydenweiss)

Light golden. Flowery, with pear, mature yellow apples and some herbs. Concentrated, round, creamy and somewhat buttery in the mouth, a small quantity residual sugar well balanced with the acidity. Long salty finish.

Price: Medium

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German Pinots: Time is the best filter

Last Monday our local wine club tasted German pinot noirs. The tasting was hosted by Erlend Egeberg Aasland, a musician who tours quite a lot in Germany. For the tasting Erlend had selected personal favourites and other interesting wines.

Pinot noir has a long history in Germany under the name Spätburgunder. Today it is widely planted across the country in reaction to the effects of climate change. The tasting showed a generally high level. And for those seeking an alternative to Burgundy, the wines surely offered something, although they are not necessarily much cheaper. The aged wines were maturing well. I found no bad wines among the 12. It is just a question of style; for instance I found a few wines wines too heavily oaked or extracted. Here are four of the best:

Ahrweiler Forstberg 2018 (Bertram-Baltes)

For me this was the big revelation of the tasting, and I must taste the other wines on the market. Julia Bertram is a huge fan of the spätburgunder grape and practises organic farming, spontaneous fermentation, minimal sulphur additions and no filtering. Together with her husband Benedikt Baltes she now owns 7 hectares in Dernau, Ahr. The Forstberg is a south/southwest-oriented vineyard on soils of greywacke and sandstone. The grapes were partly destemmed and fermented in large used oak.

This wine was amazingly expressive; garnet colour, a bit reductive at first, then giving way to raspberries, cranberries, herbs/cloves and a hint of smoke. In the mouth it’s highly energetic, with a delicate juiciness, integrated acidity and some structure. Long and fruity finish. Seductive and elegant.

Köningsbecher 2010 (Weingut Heitlinger)

Heitlinger is one of our host’s personal favourite producers. They cultivate their vineyards organically with biodynamic practises. I have enjoyed their delicious economic pinot at several occasions. This one is a more serious grosses gewächs from the south face of the Kraichgau hills, on limestone-rich sedimentary soils.  

Light red with shades of brown. Mature red berries, autumn leaves and some dried fruits. Full-bodied with good structure and concentration, some bitterness in the finish. It’s lovely at the moment, maybe at its peak. I would not cellar it. 

Wallufer Walkenberg Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken 2013 (J.B. Becker)

Rheingau is a riesling bastion with a long tradition for long and winding wine names. Mineral fertilizers and herbicides are never used at J.B. Becker, and the company has carried organic certification since 2008. Hans-Josef Becker, who is currently in charge, believes in long maturations and says, ‘time is the best filter’.

Clear red with a somewhat developed rim. Mature red fruits (cherry), mushroom, a bit earthy. Full-bodied, structured with good acidity and concentrated fruit.

Weiler Spätburgunder 2019 (Weing. Claus Schneider)

This wine originates from southfaced limestone vineyards in Weil, Baden. The grapes were handpicked and spontaneously fermented, and the wine aged for 18 months in big oak barrels.

Ruby red. Red fruits (raspberry, cherry), some smoke and earth. Full-bodied, fresh and juicy in the mouth, tasty, with some carbonics and a touch wood (pun intended). Due to the oak and the concentration of flavours this is for me a wine for medium term ageing.

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Wine of the Week

Monkeys in the mountains

4 Monos are four friends who all had fallen in love with the garnachas and the freshness of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range. Javier García and Laura Robles are a married couple, and their friends David Velasco and David Moreno are the two other monkeys.

We are in the town and the Madrid subzone of San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Here is a high proportion of clay in the soils. The wine is made with garnacha from three different plots at 750 to 840 meters of altitude. In short, it’s made with whole bunches, fermentation with native yeasts and maturation in barrels for 15 months.

Tierra de Luna 2017 (4 Monos)

Ruby red. Aroma of mature red fruits (raspberry), herbs (rosemary), earthy notes and a tiny sweet sensation (caramel). Medium-bodied with fine tannins, a taste of ripe cherries, good acidity.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Delicate Chilean bargain

This week’s wine is a bargain, a delicate Chilean red at an exceptionally low cost. I really don’t understand why it retails this cheap (149 NOK, 10.000 CLP in winery). Maybe that is why it hasn’t got more recognition.

Juan Segura is a family-firm, now in its 5th generation, in the Itata valley, not far from the city of Concepción. They make wines in the same line from cinsault and carignan. This one is from the variety país, from up to 200 years old bush-pruned, dry-farmed vines. The wines are labeled with DO Secano Interior.

Juan Segura País 2021 (Empresas H. Segura)

Ruby red. Aromas of red fruits (cherry, raspberry), red apple, herbs (nutmeg). Fresh and vibrant in the mouth, juicy, with a delicate structure, quite long. Serve a bit chilled.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

Premsal at Zaza

I tasted this wine with its maker Carlos and his wife at wine bar Zaza in Barcelona during the Vins Nus and Vella Terra fairs of April.

Carlos Rodríguez Furthmann began his project in 2015, focusing on native varieties made by minimal intervention. He is found in the small settlement of Selva in north-central Mallorca, where he farms around one hectare organically from clay and limestone soil, while purchasing a small amount of other grapes from local growers.

Premsal is a native Majorcan grape variety, here grown in a single vineyard in Felanitx. The winemaking process involves spontaneous fermentation, with part of it kept on its fine lees for two months.  A small percentage of the wine is fermented in a Mallorcan clay amphora. Only a small quantity of sulphites were added. The wine is not clarified or filtered. 

Premsal 2018 (Selva Vins)

Light straw colour. Aromatic, red apples, melons and citrus. Medium-bodied, dry, with good acidity.

Price: Medium

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Visit to Descendientes de J. Palacios

First day in beautiful El Bierzo, now winterly cold. Descendientes de J. Palacios are kings of the hill of Corullón. We visited the steep Las Lamas vineyard, watched Moncerbal from a distance – and saw the differences in soil displayed in the magnificent cellar, made by the famous Rafael Moneo. Here I also include a video where you can watch Corullón village, then over to the El Ferro hill, where you can also spot the mythical La Faraona vineyard. Eventually we tasted the 2022 vintage. Thank you, Ricardo and Iris!

(This post will be updated with a lot more information later.)

Ricardo Pérez Palacios in front of Las Lamas (?)
A display of the soils of the Moncerbal and Las Lamas vineyards
Iris Fernández in the Las Lamas vineyard
La Faraona vineyard in the paraje El Ferro
Geographical details on the back labels
Rafael Moneo is the architect behind the stylish and practical bodega
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