Two great intriguing German wines

by Russ Anderson on February 27, 2021

Hello from The Caviste,
Today we are presenting some of the German wines in the store.  This coming year, we will be broadening our offering of these wines for their quality, value, deliciousness and our personal likes.  Did you know Germany is where my wine education began?  Like many, I was surprised and thrilled to learn that syrupy sweet wines were nowhere near the standard there.
We look forward to the return of some favorite rosés (Kruger Rumpf, Diel, and more) but that is in the future.  Germany is also home to some fantastic red wines like the Pinot Noir below and some intriguing whites like the one from Enderle & Moll.  Finally, we have one of the great value rieslings in the store and while sweet only like fresh fruit picked at perfect ripeness. A perfect pairing for some green curry or hot bowl of soup.
And, yes, we do like cute labels too . . . .

“Lovely Lilly,” named after their (previous) vineyard and cellar dog Lilly. Lilly sadly passed in 2014, though the energy remains at the winery with a new young pup who has taken over all jumping, chasing, panting, running and bouncing-around duties. The vineyards of Hans-Bert and Silke at Shelter are north of the Kaiserstuhl. To be fair, they’re only about a half-hour north. But a lot changes in those thirty-or-so minutes. First, you have a much cooler microclimate, with the Black Forest cooling down the area. Second, the volcanic soils of the Kaiserstuhl give way to limestone and loess. You can likely see where this is going: Pinot Noirs with lower alcohols and higher acidities.  If you’ve heard anything about “quality” German Pinot Noir and Baden as a whole, you’ve likely heard someone say “Kaiserstuhl.” This region in Baden – a collection of volcanic hills toward the south – is where the “famous” German Pinots have come from, at least in the last few decades. It’s a hot place, and twenty years ago this factor was probably important for ripening. Not so much anymore, let’s just say that.  Although the region is trying to redefine itself, for many the “Kaiserstuhl” has become synonymous with over-oaked, unbalanced and high-alcohol Pinot Noir. $21
 
Weiß & Grau
Enderle & Moll are some of the top new-ish winemakers in Germany today.  I say newish because they have been on the national and international scene for sometime now, but in German terms their estate does not date back centuries as some do.  They make a delicious range of wines that while not mass market refined, a refinement that sometimes leans to boring, have an elegant finesse. Like a very well worn pair of expensive boots, these are a delight.  
 
What you can say with certainty is Sven Enderle and Florian Moll fly in the face of just about every conventional estate in Baden. It’s hard to emphasize how contrarian (and even confrontational) their vineyard and cellar work appears to the powerful coops of the region, to say nothing of the “famous” estates who still seem to pursue efficiency, ripeness, size, alcohol and, yes, new oak, with abandon. Sven and Florian work with very old vines.  They farm all the vineyards organically and biodynamically. Absolutely everything is done by hand in the vineyards (which are quite steep) and in the cellar.
 
This wine is a 60/40 blend of two “Burgundies” – Weißburgunder and Grauburgunder. To non-Germans, these are known as Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. They are fermented on the skins for 3-4 weeks, pressed and moved to a 2500-liter oak cask.  There is just enough skin contact to lend an almost salmon pink hue to the wine and a breath like kiss of tannins.  Both gorgeously frame the abundant aromatics of the wine.
Spices, fruits and flowers, oh my!!  There is an intermingling of red spices like clove and cinnamon, delicious fruits notes of citrus and the subtlety of asian pear along with some white flowers, hints of fresh honey and more.
 
People have asked about pairing for lentil soups, barley risottos and white fish cooked with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs, this would be a perfect pairing for each but also enjoyed contemplatively all on its own.  But, beware, it is close to “glou glou” and may be a short contemplation.
 
Please Note – do not serve this wine too cold, please please don’t.  There is too much here and much will be lost in the frigid temperatures of an ice bucket. Also, depending on your palate, you could consider decanting the wine off the remaining lees in the bottle. This will keep the palate crystalline to the last glass.

Two Italian Favorites Return

by Russ Anderson on February 27, 2021

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Giamello Pinot Nero 

Arneg” is a local Piemontesse term meaning “renegade,” but this wine is anything but that.  While Pinot Noir is not the ‘normal’ grape for the area it provides some striking interpretations in the right hands. While unexpected to some, this wine is strikingly authentic, distinctly Piemontese and classically Pinot Noir.  There is a nose of fallen leaves, earth-tinged bright red fruit, and a tar-like mineral streak that lead to an intermingling of dried orange and crushed red fruits on the palate.  It is a delicate Pinot Nero offering a transparent expression of its place of origin.  A value bottling $28but a great interpretation of Pinot Noir from Italy’s Piemonte.

 

Giamello Langhe Nebbiolo 
This 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo, meanwhile, comes from the same parcel as his Barbaresco and therefore could qualify for the Barbaresco DOCG. He prefers to keep only the most outstanding, age-worthy juice for his Barbaresco, however, leaving out the remaining, still-tremendous juice for this bottling, which costs half the price. How many producers do you think can affix a more prestigious label to their wine—and make more money—but choose not to?
 
More approachable in its youth than both Barolo and Barbaresco, Giamello’s Langhe Nebbiolo is fresh and vibrant, evoking cherries, roses, and a touch of tar. Nebbiolo’s natural acidity makes this wine incredibly versatile at table, pairing well with roasted squash, sautéed mushrooms, roast fowl, polenta, and pizza, among many other dishes. This just might end up being our value of the year.Almost a crazy value at $22/btls.
 

These wines will drink wonderfully after an hour open or in a couple of months, just in time for summer sipping.  

Italian values, and a movie recommendation

April 6, 2020

Hello from The Caviste, Here is hoping you are safe and staying healthy at home.  We’ve just begun this journey and hopefully everyone is getting through these times healthy and perhaps with a bit of humor from time to time. We are still open and hopefully can help with some of your food and beverage needs.  […]

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Thierry Germain’s Cabernet Franc

June 14, 2018

Cabernet Franc is an often under appreciated grape in the wine world. Getting lost in the shadows of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon this grape is a little more unassuming and few people realize the deep and elegantly delicious wines it can produce. If poorly handled it may sometimes show a slight vegetal side, in […]

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Bastide Bandol Blanche Rosé

June 14, 2018

Each year it seems as if this rosé cannot arrive soon enough only to pass through the store equally quickly. It has been a perennial favorite at home and in the store since we opened our doors. As you explore rosé you learn that they are not all simply “pink wine.” There is a range […]

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Rosé

March 22, 2018

Many people mistakenly think rosés are a new phenomenon, but they have long been popular in Europe, especially in the south of France. Rosé, rosato, rosado, etc has been drunk for years, usually a dry wine that gives some feel for the vintage and provides a wonderful bridge for what I call the “in between.” […]

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White Burgundy = Chardonnay

March 16, 2018

Most people don’t know white Burgundy is predominantly made from Chardonnay.Still some of the most striking whites made today they satisfy those looking for less oak influence on their white wines. I thought it would be fun to explore these wines by also exploring the regions of Burgundy. Today we will start with the southern […]

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Two Rose Favorites

March 10, 2018

Houchart – Provence Rosé It’s not just a pretty label, this is a delicious bottle of wine and the best selling rose in the store. Whatever quantity we are able to get this year will probably, like last year, move quickly. Houchart – Cotes de Provence (France) From the sunny hillsides of Provence comes this […]

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Featured Wines

February 6, 2018

Gaston Chiquet Champagne One benefit of running an independent wine shop, is “extra” inventory taste incredibly good sometimes. This past weekend, we were lucky enough to share a bottle of Gaston Chiquet Champagne with some friends that more than demonstrated this fact. First a note on “grower” Champagnes, they truly reward a year or two […]

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Champagne for the Holidays

December 29, 2017

In the northeast corner of France, and at its closest, only 100 miles from Paris, is one of the best known wine regions in the world – Champagne. Originally a home for still wines, it is now known almost solely for its sparkling wines, certainly they are the most celebrated. For much of the production […]

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