I scored a bunch of 2009 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling Kabinetts and I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast them. Peter was in Town so he came along as did first-time visitor to casa Strange Guy Dennis. He said he likes this site, which clearly marks him out as a chap of style and taste. He asked if the tasting could be sedate as he had an early appointment on Saturday; I am not sure I really do sedate, we were drinking until midnight…
Champagne ‘Grand Cru’, Raymond Boulard
Guy brought along this rather spiffy bottle of fizz. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I’ve never had a Raymond Boulard Champagne before. So, what is it like? Very dense on the nose, its 90% Pinot Noir content shows very strongly. There is some red fruit here and a very intense brown bread character. This smells full-bodied, almost thick. The palate is also weighty and dense, with powerful red fruits and more of that whole grain breadiness. It tastes almost thick too. In all honesty it is not terribly refined or svelte, but this has the body and power to be drank with hearty food; if you ever need fizz with steak then this would seem like a good option.
Riesling Kabinett Trittenheimer Apotheke 2009, Josef Schmitt
The chemist’s vineyard: it looks very impressive and amazingly steep when one drives past it. This wine, alas, is more than a shade on the simple side. It has some good fresh lime fruit on the nose and that is pretty much it. The palate is also perilously lacking dimension: there is limey fruit again and some good acidity but perilously little else. It is not bad, just a modest wine which thankfully only cost at a modest amount. However, cheap necking wines are not my style, my remaining bottle will be donated to lesser people.
Riesling Kabinett Oberemmeler Hutte 2009, von Hovel
Cripes, this smells like a type New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc! It has all of those piss mixed with nettles and freshly crushed blackcurrant aromas. I don’t really view this as a positive character; Sauvignon Blanc is vastly more tedious than Riesling should be. As I’ve been furiously swirling this in my glass the micturition aroma has slightly subsided and been replaced by a hint of something more limey, but this nose is all wrong. Very wrong. The palate is more like a Kabinett Riesling should be, but sadly it is like a fairly boring Kabinett Riesling. Sure, there is good fruit and fine acidity, but it is very short and has only the merest hint of minerality. This is boring me to tears, please let me stop drinking it. I’ll be good, I promise, just take it away.
Riesling Kabinett Eitelbacher Karthauserhofberg 2009, Karthauserhof
Now this is much more like it, it is fizzing and bubbling with nervy life. The lime fruit is so fresh it is still on the tree and there is a distinct stoniness to the nose. It is a racy, exciting wine to smell and it is not short on class or complexity. It tastes exhilarating too! There is a lot of ripe lime fruit, powerful slate minerality and stunning, coruscating acidity. It is certainly very well balanced, but it is a wine that is living on the edge of sanity; its take-no-prisoners vivacity is so intense that it has taken more than a few steps down the unhinged path. Speaking as a nut-case myself I can see the positive aspects of such qualities. This is a really top Kabinett, and it wasn’t expensive either.
Riesling Kabinett Graacher Domprobst 2009, Willi Schaefer
Hell’s bells this is sulphur-tastic, it smells like the Domprobst vineyard is the site of an active volcano. Once I’ve got used to that I can see the really refined, beautiful fruit and stylish minerality this also has on the nose. It has a set of aromas which engage my intellectual faculties but also make me quiver with visceral lust. The palate is the embodiment of precision, with thrustingly well defined lime fruit, minerality and acid. The interplay between fruit, sugar and acid is scintillating and they are in throbbing harmony. This is even better than the previous wine and that was a serious goodie. What can be a step above ‘serious’? Is this a solemn goodie, a grim goodie? No, its a stelliform entity of hilarious pleasure. I’m so pleased that I ordered six bottles of this, it’ll be tweaking my fancy for many years to come.
Fontalloro 2004, Fattoria di Felsina Berardenga
This positively reeks of Sangiovese; ripe, clean and quite attractive Sangiovese. Its sour cherry fruit character is very Tuscan and, in its slightly spiky way, really rather pleasing. The palate has rigorous tannins and a bitter character which is what one is looking for in these kind of wines. There is plenty of ripe cherry fruit and its not aggressively booze-themed; it is a lot more delectable than some of the dried-out wines of crapulence that Italy can produce. I think one should be drinking wines like this when they are young rather than old, you want to enjoy all that ripe fruit whilst it is in balance with the prodigious tannic structure.
Côte-Rôtie 2001, Bernard Burgaud
This is really rather stinky on the nose, there is one hell of a lot more than than a hint of Brett shittiness here. The fruit is very nice but that crap character is extremely distracting and, even though I have a high tolerance for Brett, this is worryingly close to, if not actually, being faulty. When a wine has this much Brett arsehole action going on there will be non-uniform aging between bottles. When you pull one from the cellar you never know what you’ll be opening, will it be youthful or over-mature, you can never tell. The palate has Burgaud noble tannins, pretty good dark fruit, but it is decidedly dirty. I really like Burgaud wines normally, and none of his other 2001s I’ve tried have been so themed on filth, but this is just too poo permeated to be enjoyable.
-  I will admit that at midnight I suddenly felt so spent I had to give up and go to bed. I was asleep within 30 seconds of my head hitting the pillow, which made a nice change ↩