Hello, Excellent Feastlings,
In our continuing efforts to remind people to turn the bottle around and see what’s on the other label, we’re continuing with our Trust Your Importer series for this month’s wine tasting. Our guest this month will be Dale Sparks of Quench Fine Wines, distributors of the wines of importer and whacky fellow Terry Thiese. Thiese is renowned for his portfolio of German and Austrian wines, with a smattering of Champagne thrown in . I think that, as it is, people around these parts don’t drink enough German and Austrian wines, but with any luck, it’s only because we’re exposed to so little of it. Dale will be here on Sunday the 31st to show you what you’ve been missing. If you’d like to join us this Sunday at 3:30 for the tasting, give us a call to hold a spot, and bring twenty-five dollars and an appetite for good wine and tasty snacks. You can call us at 326-9363. The comments below are Thiese’s own (I love the way this guy writes about wine.)
N.V. Champagne A. Margaine “Cuvee Traditionelle,” Champagne $57.00
An island of Chardonnay in a sea of Pinot Noir creates near Blanc de Blancs giving the most simply delicious Champagnes in this portfolio. They have their own minerality and tropical fruitiness; they’re bigger-bodied than wines of the Côte de Blancs, and to my mind they’re just about as pretty as Chardonnay can be. My sense is this particular terroir is predestined for flowery feminine Champagne. These are some of the most hauntingly beautiful and original Champagnes you can ever drink.
2008 Nigl “Kremser Freiheit” Gruner Veltliner, Kremstal $21.00
No one would deny this estate’s inclusion among the absolute elite in Austria, and many observers wonder if there’s anyone finer. Extraordinarily transparent, filigree, crystalline, mineral-drenched wines of mindboggling clarity.
2008 Schloss Gobelsburg “Gobelsburger” Riesling, Kamptal $21.00
This replaces the Schloss Gobelsburg Urgestein bottling and saves us money in the process. It’s sleek, cool, iris-y Riesling; the palate is lithe, frisky, slim and lovely, less minty than the GrüVes; there’s a hint of the Kupfergrube here, and the wine is coolly dry, but I admire its flowery delicacy.
2009 Reuscher-Haart Piesporter Riesling (1-liter), Mosel $20.00
Something seems to be up at Reuscher Haart. Maybe it’s the influence of Bernd and Mario Schwang, Dad Hugo’s two sons (who look like members of Limp Bizkit) or maybe it’s just one of those things. In any case, the past two vintages reminded me of the majestic 1990s and brilliant 1993s. At their best one can see why their wines are held in such renown. Schwang’s wines can have impressive, almost majestic corpulence without being fat, plus a positive depth and stuffing from the lees. When that happens the Piesport fruit shows its raison d’être; an almost lurid court bouillon of bewitching fragrances and flavors; patchouli, passion fruit, bergamot, mango. And all in a voodoo voluptuousness that’s the wine equivalent of an erotic trance. We should have to get our PARENTS’ permission before drinking them. My parents would have refused !
2009 Leitz Rudesheimer Magdalenenkruez Riesling Spatlese, Rheinau $23.00
Extraordinarily aromatic, vigorous wines from a vintner who grows more commanding each vintage. They have the lusty vitality of wines that were never racked; he bottles them off the gross lees from the casks in which they fermented. They have a remarkable reconciliation of weight, solidity and buoyancy. They tend to run stony, as is the Rheingau type—when it’s true! And they are fastidiously specific in their site characteristics. The dry wines are better than most! Still, almost none of Johannes’ wines taste “sweet.” They have the coiled power of a tightly closed fist. They are intensely fragrant, as though they wished to convince you of something. They are like Wachau wines; they crave oxygen, and they do show their best ice cold. They are, to my way of thinking, the most exciting wines currently made in the Rheingau and they didn’t get there with bazillions of yen or with mega-technology or with a Kantian superstructure of philosophy: Just a man, his dog, and their wines.
2009 Berger Zweigelt (1-liter), Niederosterreich $15.00
A spicy, direct and fetching aroma; fruit-times-fruit-times-fruit, but not silly or cloying; rather zingy and gurgly and oddly long considering its forthright simplicity.