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Though the cork dropped in our bottle of 1970 Cheval Blanc, the NV Peter Lauer, Riesling Brut rocked!

February 8, 2016 1 comment

Lou and I managed to squeeze in a quick tasting last week at his house.  As I had never tried the NV Peter Lauer, Riesling Brut, Saar Lou opened up a bottle. Wow! Wow! Wow!  This was such a lovely bottle so much so I saved none for the next day.  It is a particularly satisfying sparkling wine which already tastes quite complex and mature.  I see no reason to cellar this further.  It is a stunning wine for the price.  As Lou pointed out, you would not mistake it for Champagne but it is far more satisfying than many bottles available in our area at that price.  Also tasting fully mature and still from Germany was a bottle of 2001 Weingut Kurt Darting, Rieslaner Auslese, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Pfalz.  With a botrytis note, dried apricot flavors, and just enough acidity this is a fully mature Riesling to be drunk now.  I should add that the Peter Lauer overshadowed everything this evening.

When rummaging around for wines to drink I thought of the 1970 Chateau Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion.  With very top shoulder fill it seemed like a good candidate.  Unfortunately, when I looked at the bottle a good length of the cork was visible in the neck, beneath the end of the capsule.  Originally, only a tiny bit of cork was visible.  Every time I looked at the bottle the cork seemed to be lower and lower.  Once I realized this was not an illusion I decided it had to be drunk.  I cut the capsule, gently pushed the cork in then sealed it up.  Though it cleaned up on by the second evening, this was just a robust relic of a curiosity.  Not sure of what to drink next we tried an unknown bottle of 2013 Stephane Montez, Cuvee du Papy, Saint-Joseph.  The wine was completely underwhelming so I saved my part of the bottle and returned to drinking the Peter Lauer.  On the second night the Montez was very attractive on the nose and in the mouth.  It was a complete surprise.  In the end this is a beautiful wine which I think could stand some cellar time so that there is more access to the flavors.  It is not a wine you want to mature into a different spectrum of flavors,  it just needs to open up.

WithLou1

NV Peter Lauer, Riesling Brut, Saar
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports for vom Boden.  Alcohol 12%.  This aromatic wine was very flavorful with floral fruit and a sense of maturity.  The soft bubbles popped immediately leaving a creamy mousse with a firm underlying foundation.  This ripe, flavor wine had some animale flavors before the soft, chalky finish.  **** Now.

WithLou2

2001 Weingut Kurt Darting, Rieslaner Auslese, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Pfalz
A Terry Theise Selection imported by Michael Skurnik Wines.  Alcohol 10.5%.  The amber color matched the sweet and weighty flavors in the mouth.  As Lou pointed out there were notes of botrytis which mixed with dried apricot flavors.  It took on some apple orchard notes with extended air.  There is enough acidity right now but no need for holding on any longer.  *** Now.

WithLou3

1970 Chateau Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion
Shipped by Compass Wine Ltd.  Imported by Direct Import Wine Co.  There were aromas of blood, meat, and medicine that were slightly off putting.  Though the nose eventually cleaned up, it was better in the mouth.  It was only a shell of what it should be with leather, roast, and dust.  Not Rated.

WithLou4

2013 Stephane Montez, Cuvee du Papy, Saint-Joseph
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from old vines.  Alcohol 13%.  On the second day the strong, floral nose revealed pure, purple aromas.  In the mouth were very clean, with a finely ripe and textured core of dense flavor.  The acidity was very tightly bound in along with the very fine tannins.  The wine developed a sense of grapiness and graphite by the finish.  There is a good mouthfeel right now with some ink.  However, this deserves to be cellared so that it opens up not necessarily for the flavors to develop.  ***(*) 2017-2022.

WithLou5

More images from 16th century German wine books

February 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Image from Arnoldus de Villa Nova "Diser Tractat helt yn von bereytung der wein, zu gesundtheit und nützbarkeit der menschen". 1522. [1]

Image from Arnoldus de Villa Nova “Diser Tractat helt yn von bereytung der wein, zu gesundtheit und nützbarkeit der menschen”. 1522. [1]

I have been slowly looking through 16th century German wine books with an eye towards some 17th century research.  I last did so one year ago when I published Two title pages from German wine books of 1580.  Four of the images in today’s post come from three books originally written by Arnaldus de Villa Nova.  He was born in the mid 13th century and died in the very early 14th century.  This Catalan born physician studied medicine in Montpellier and published a number of books relating wine and medicine.  These books were later published in Germany during the 16th century.  These publications typically include one or two engravings which I have selected for this post.

Image from Arnoldus de Villa Nova "Diser Tractat helt yn von bereytung der wein, zu gesundtheit und nützbarkeit der menschen". 1522. [1]

Image from Arnoldus de Villa Nova “Diser Tractat helt yn von bereytung der wein, zu gesundtheit und nützbarkeit der menschen”. 1522. [1]

The first images come from Diser Tractat helt yn von bereytung der wein, zu gesundtheit und nützbarkeit der menschen (1522) or “This treatise contains the making of wine, for health and usefullness of mankind”.  This book includes two lovely images, one of a man and woman harvesting grapes from a trellised vines and another of a man in a wine cellar looking at a glass of wine fresh from barrel, perhaps checking for clarity.

Arnoldus de Villa Nova, "Tractat von bereyttung der Wein". 1529. [2]

Arnoldus de Villa Nova, “Tractat von bereyttung der Wein”. 1529. [2]

From the second book Tractat von bereyttung der Wein (1529) or “Treatise of making of wines” comes another image of a man in a wine cellar.  He is surrounded by the tools, perhaps, to top off wine.  The man is standing next to one cask holding a rod that goes into the bung hole.  Due to his two-handed grip and body position, it looks like he is stirring the lees in one cask.

Arnoldus de Villa Nova. "Ein Schöns buchlein von bereytung der wein und bier zu gesundheit und nutzbarkeit der menschen". 1532. [3]

Arnoldus de Villa Nova. “Ein Schöns buchlein von bereytung der wein und bier zu gesundheit und nutzbarkeit der menschen”. 1532. [3]

The third book Ein Schöns buchlein von bereytung der wein und bier zu gesundheit und nutzbarkeit der menschen (c. 1532) or “Of making and using of the wines for the Health and usefulness for mankind” illustrates yet another man in a wine cellar.  He is inspecting a glass of wine he poured from a faucet in a cask.  All three wine cellars have windows for light or ventilation.

"Kellermaysterey : Gründtlicher bericht, wie man alle wein Teutscher vnd Welscher landen, vor allen Zufällen bewaren, die besthafften widerbringen". 1559. [4]

“Kellermaysterey : Gründtlicher bericht, wie man alle wein Teutscher vnd Welscher landen, vor allen Zufällen bewaren, die besthafften widerbringen”. 1559. [4]

The final images comes from Kellermaysterey : Gründtlicher bericht, wie man alle wein Teutscher vnd Welscher landen, vor allen Zufällen bewaren, die besthafften widerbringen (1559) or “Winemaker: Thorough reporting on all wine Teutonic and Celtish, beware all coincidences that best resist”.  In this image the man is topping off a cask.  In the cask behind him a rod is sticking out of the bung hole.  It is possible that he is gauging the cask but given the previous image, it is also possible the rod is for stirring the lees. Thoughts?


[1] – Arnoldus <de Villa Nova> / Wilhelm <von Hirnkofen>: Diser Tractat helt yn von bereytung der wein, zu gesundtheit und nützbarkeit der menschen, Straßburg, 1522 [VD16 A 3665]. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. URL: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0002/bsb00025687/images/
[2] Arnoldus <de Villa Nova>: Tractat von bereyttung der Wein …, Augspurg, 1529 [VD16 A 3666]. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. URL: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/bsb00007500/images/
[3] Arnoldus <de Villa Nova>: Ein Schöns buchlein von bereytung der wein und bier zu gesundheit und nutzbarkeit der menschen, Zwickau, [ca. 1532] [VD16 A 3673] Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. URL: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0003/bsb00034053/images/
[4] Kellermaysterey : Gründtlicher bericht, wie man alle wein Teutscher vnd Welscher landen, vor allen Zufällen bewaren, die besthafften widerbringen …, Augspurg 1559. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.  http://www.mdz-nbn-resolving.de/urn/resolver.pl?urn=urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb11217801-0

I find all of the right flavors in the 2014 La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine

February 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Philippe Cambie and Eric Solomon continue to highlight their joint efforts with the latest vintage of the 2014 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cotes du Rhone.  The 2014 vintage has produced an early drinking wine which still bears all of the familiar dark flavors of the cuvee.  This is in essence declassified Vacqueyras at an attractive price.  If concrete tanks and red Rhone wine make you excited then buy this by the case. I know that I will.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cotes du Rhone – $16
Imported by Eric Solomon.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah sourced from 60-90 year old vines.  It was aged for 12 months in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  The aromas precede the flavors which bear the unmistakable low-note of Vacqueyras.  There are good flavors, akin to previous vintages, along with a bit of watery acidity.  There is a sense of lightness but the wine has the right amount of textured and ripe tannins.  *** Now – 2018.

LaGarrigue2

19th century map showing vineyards surrounding Herat, Afghanistan

February 3, 2016 Leave a comment

This late 19th century map of Herat, Afghanistan is centered on the citadel of Herat which dates back to 330 BC.  The map also details plots of cultivated land surrounding the citadel.  These plots are divided between vineyards and gardens.  If you look closely at the map you’ll see that there are many vineyards surrounding all four sides of the citadel.

Herat, Afghanistan. Wyld, James. c. 1880. [1]

Herat, Afghanistan. Wyld, James. c. 1880. [1]

The vines at Herat were typically trained for climbing.[2]  The grapes were, according to some, considered the “finest”. While they were largely used to produce raisins and treacle, some wine and spirits were produced as well.


[1] Herat, Afghanistan. Wyld, James. c. 1880. American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. World Digital Library. URL: http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/agdm/id/499
[2] A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, Volume 6, Part 4. 1893. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=dd10bZS6IDsC&pg=PA2#v=onepage&q&f=false

Categories: History of Wine Tags:

The bocksbeutel is back!

February 3, 2016 Leave a comment

The 2014 Weingut Hans Wirsching, Iphofer, Silvaner Trocken, Franken is a lively wine with pure white fruit flavors and a chalky finish.  It drinks best over two nights when it offers up some fat and dried herbs. It is a good example of acidity and minerality which I recommend you drink now.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

Franken1

2014 Weingut Hans Wirsching, Iphofer, Silvaner Trocken, Franken – $17
Imported by Rudi Wiest. Alcohol 12%.  The white fruit flavors became nutty in the middle followed by a chalky stone finish.  The wine is rather lively, almost with a prickle, from acidity that carries it through the finish.  It does take on some fat and ripeness at the start followed by dried herbs and some tannins.  ** Now – 2017.

Franken2

A 16th century illustration of Vitis Vinifera in a Spanish edition of De Materia Medica

February 2, 2016 Leave a comment

De Materia Medica is an encyclopedia and pharmacopoeia written by Pedanius Dioscorides who was a Roman physician of Greek origin.  Published in the first century it was translated, copied and published for some 1500 years.  It was first translated from Latin into Spanish during the 16th century.  Andres Laguna, the doctor of Pope Julius III, published his Spanish edition around 1555.

In the section on the grape vine and wine appears a single color image of Vitis Vinifera.  It is a particularly attractive illustration perhaps due to this copy being a gift for the future King Phillip II.  I find the illustration more akin to the 17th century water colors of John Tradescant’s grape clusters than other 16th century Herbal Illustrations.

DeMateriaMedica_Laguna_Page502

“De Materia Medica” by Dioscorides. Published by Laguna c. 1555. [1]


 

[1] “De Materia Medica” by Dioscorides. Available at the World Digital Library through the Biblioteca Digital Hispanica. URL: http://bdh.bne.es/bnesearch/detalle/bdh0000037225

Casual notes on four Sicilian red wines

February 2, 2016 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago we were joined by another family for a late afternoon gathering.  The kids played while we tasted through a selection of Sicilian wines.  It was a casual evening so I only jotted down brief impressions.  To cut to the chase, the 2014 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso must be the most forward and generous vintage yet.  It is a fruity, affordable wine from Etna to drink right now for our bottle seemed tired by the end of the evening.   Still, it made for an enjoyable drink while we waited for the other bottles to come around.  Whereas the 2013 COS, Pithos, Vittoria Rosso remained distractingly tannic and the 2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Aglaea, Etna  too simple, the 2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Talia, Etna surprised us all. After 3-4 hours it became aromatic with an elegant style of complexity that had us all proclaiming it as our favorite as we then rapidly drained the bottle.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

Italians1

2013 COS, Pithos, Vittoria Rosso – $34
Imported by Domaine Select Wines.  This wine is a blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato. It is fermented in terracotta amphora of 250 and 400 liter capacities. The fermentation is allowed to take its own course so there is no temperature control and it typically lasts for seven months.  Alcohol 12%.  The somewhat floral nose is followed by tart red fruit and a wall of very fine tannins.  It remained distractingly tannic, even with extended air, leaving the impression the structure will outlast the fruit.  *(*) 2020? – 2026?

Italians2

2014 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso – $17
Imported by deGrazia Imports.  This wine is a blend of 95% Nerello Mascalese and 5% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from 5-50 year old vines on volcanic soils. It was fermented then aged for 11 months in large French oak barrels then aged a further month in stainless steel. Alcohol 14%.   Generous flavors of ripe red fruit tastes young in nature.  Perhaps the most forward vintage yet it drinks well from the very first glass with supporting acidity and tannins.  ** Now.

Italians3

2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Talia, Etna – $26
Imported by Simon N Cellars. This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from 40-50 year old vines planted on volcanic ash soil located at 2250 feet in elevation. It was aged for 8 months in old oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  After several hours of air the nose became very aromatic with floral and herb aromas.  In the mouth were fine, red and black fruit flavors with a vein of lively acidity.  The complexity and depth for aging is there but requires hours to come out.  *** 2018 – 2024.

Italians4

2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Aglaea, Etna – $18
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from 10-30 year old vines planted on volcanic ash soil located at 2250 feet in elevation. Alcohol 13%.  Brighter, more acidity, and simpler than the other bottling. *(*) Now – 2017.