Pretty German Riesling and a detestable Crozes-Hermitage

German 2009 Rieslings are generally a complete delight, tonight’s example demonstrated this quality reasonably well. The neighbours, editor Daniel and I found it to be perfect for lubricating the kind of psychological apparatus that often gets a touch out of alignment at the start of the week.

The Crozes, on the other hand, buggered my imagination with its unadulterated vileness.

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Riesling Kabinett Oberemmeler Hutte 2009, von Hovel

Oh how winsome this smells with its muscat-y floral tones and fizzingly fresh lime character. There are hints of minerality present as well which give the nose some dimension but the thing that is winning me over about this nose is that pretty fruitiness. The palate is extremely lively with a good dose of acidity and ample citrus flavours, but again only reasonably mineral with quite a short finish, so not stupendously sophisticated. That being said, balanced, dainty drinks that evince enough style to prevent one from getting instantly stultified definitely manage to skulk into the pantheon of meritorious libations. This is one such wine and for the pleasingly low number of fun tokens it cost I’m chuffed enough.

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Crozes-Hermitage ‘Domaine Raymond Roure’ 2003, Paul Jaboulet Aine

The label claims 14.5% alcohol but one hesitant sniff shows that to be perfidious mendacity, or total bollocks as the lower ranks adroitly put it. This is an inordinately booze suffused monster of screamingly gargantuan proportions. I’m mortified by its ginormous booze level which is, I fear, only the beginning of what will be a traumatic experience for a lover of refined beauty. I’m surprised I can smell anything beyond the fearsome alcoholic burn it blasts up my nose but there is also repulsively stewed, jam-themed fruit which is massively monolithic in the most one-dimensional sense I can articulate. This is a huge, simple, painful confection to smell and radically revolts my sensibilities. Since I was laughably deluded enough to buy it I may as well cut myself off a slice and taste the rebarbative beast. Oh wow, the palate is flabbergasting in its array of noxious, noisome flavours. There is so much alcohol and the fruit is so vastly over-ripe that it has the texture of heavy syrup. This thick, heavy, distinctly sweet consistency is the antithesis of all one wants in a wine to be drank, savoured and enjoyed; you have to fight, plod and struggle your way though each little taste. Little tastes are all I want. No, no tastes are all I want, but I’ll finish off the note first. The fruit is pondorous and jammy with no freshness or vibrancy. There also seems to be a unsavoury acrid bitterness to the tannins which suggests that sun-burnt grapes made it into the fermentation vats. There is a definite dearth of acidity too – ‘unbalanced’ is far too polite an understatement to begin to describe how it tastes. Drinking it is just a detestable, wearisome chore that is so far removed from having even a single redeeming feature that even the slightly lacklustre wines of Jaboulet’s new owners seem an improvement. [link2post id=”913″]Mollydooker Shiraz was not this bad[/link2post].

  • ed tully

    In honesty I think you enjoy the filth. It give you a chance to unleash your venom and vocabulary. In this case what were you expecting?

  • Some 2003s can be quite nice: Lambrays, for example, or the Pommard I had the other day.

  • ed tully

    But a Rhone? And from a producer hoping to impress after dismal form? Dearie me, no. Mind you, your invective is more entertaining than a more neutral opinion. Have you used “meritricious” yet? A very useful little word.

  • I’ve read some incredibly glowing reviews of that Crozes; how people could write such drivel I don’t know. Surely even the lovers of overblown Australian contrivances have their limits? It was tiresome in its relentlessly over-whelming nature.

    I think you mean ‘meretricious’ and yes, it is an excellent word that I must make a point of using should I encounter a Brummagem wine or meal.

    Do you like my little piece of Roman glassware?

  • ed tully

    I am too jealous of its pulchritude to comment.

  • I had a similar experience with an Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir at Hawksmoor last week. An entirely meretricious wine if ever there was one: looks pretty, seemingly good producer, but all booze and one-dimensional simplicity. And yet Jancis adores the stuff. Perhaps it was just a dodgy bottle, but at the price it goes for that really isn’t good enough.

  • Geoff Nicholls

    Riesling Kabinett Oberemmeler Hutte 2009, von Hovel

    Took a while to come forward, then a big mid palate and decent finish.
    Custard. Modern style (meaning approximately, fresh clean fruit, no
    oxidised apple).

    14 fun tokens where I shop.

    There is a Maxim Grunhauser Bruderberg Qba, von Schubert 2009 at FT10
    or thereabouts at Loeb. Big loose structure. Nice mix of acid, apple
    and sulphur. Good value I rekon.

    Cheers, Geoff

  • Hello Geoff,

    Those German Rieslings are just so much better than NZ Sauvignon Blanc, eh? You really should give the Wine Soc or Howard Ripley a ring and give some Willi Schaefer or Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg a try.

    I hope the family is well.