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Some fine German wines


German Riesling

It has passed almost a week since my southbound escapade for a day-long tasting of German wines, barbecuing and dozing off in the sun flooded vineyards. Even after waking up early in the morning to avoid the scorching heat, and 5 hours of driving through one of the most crowded highways in Romania, I feel immediately recharged when I contemplated the yellow hills of Dragasani, heavy with ripe grapes.

In Dragasaniregion -and also probably in the rest of Southern Romania- the harvest of the grapes is already completed (at least for the white grapes), almost three weeks sooner that last year. In spite of the unusual drought, there have been a couple of summer showers in late July that provided just enough moisture for the grapes to ripe properly. Also, heavy rains and storms have been announced for the coming days, therefore the  magic window of opportunity for harvesting was too good to miss.

So this was and interesting opportunity to celebrate both the beginning of the harvest, and to scrutinize closer an amazing flight of German whites and reds, alongside some fine dining. Not to mention the great company of the dear friends I found there.

12 wines have been prepared by Oliver in advance for this feast, in a specific order: either pairing wines from the same producer but from different vintages, or contrasting two neighboring wine regions, or simply matching the wine with the food. My notes and impressions are the following:

2010 Riesling Wallufer Walkenberg, Kabinett trocken, J.B.Becker: this wine from Rheingau, with 11.5% alcohol is coming


from one of the largest (by German winery standards) properties -16 ha. Pale yellow, with a delicate nose of beeswax and lemongrass, its body is surprisingly full and ripe, with round flowery flavors. The acidity is very high, green and grassy;

2001 Riesling Wallufer Walkenberg, Spatlesse trocken, J.B.Becker: this is the older brother of the first wine, and displays the potential path for evolution. Greasy nose, with the typical gasoline flavor, very mineral (matchstick, flint stone) and some rye bread. The body is very ripe yet lively and elastic, the acidity is balanced, hinting of Granny Smith apples, lime, early peaches; very long and citric aftertaste;

1983 Ruedesheimer Berg Schlossberg, Schloss Schonborn. This deep golden Rheingau Riesling has a very dense nose, full of wallnut, toasted almond and rum. Dense and deep body, with ripe and textured fruit flavor -dried mango, dried apricots; acidity lackink a bit of the „kick” but still ively. Log aftertaste, slightly pungent -ginger, cellery.


Ripe grapes

1986 Rauenthaler Baiken, Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern. A bright golden colour emphasizes that this Riesling has reached its best years. Complex nose, of nuts, pastry, dried dates. Honey flavors fill the mouth, rich and textured, supported by a perfectly balanced acidity; a refreshing and creamy aftertaste, of lemon curd.

2009 Aulerde GG trocken, Wittman. Pale and greenish color, followed by a light and airy nose. In the mouth the acidity is high bout not overwhelming, supported by rich grassy flavors, reminding of a forest after rain. A slightly smoky aftertaste brings a nice, elegant touch. This wine very much reminds me of the local Cramposie grape.

2009 Hubacker GG trocken, Keller. This is an „international” style of Riesling, very appealing: bright greenish yellow color, flavorful nose of chamomile and gardenias; slightly waxy in the mouth, with a balanced acidity, finished by a refreshing aftertaste.

2007 Oberhauser Brucke, Spatlese, Donnhoff, from Mosel. The bright and rich yellow color and fruity nose (apricots, ripe Golden apples) make this Riesling very approachable. Fine and discreet acidity, perfectly integrated with the mellow flavors, and a short but intense aftertaste, somehow tropical.

2007 Wiltinger Gottesfuss Alte Reben, Lange Van Volxem. This Riesling from Saar displays a dark and deep golden color and a rich nose, round and flavorful. In the mouth its is rich and chewy, lacking in freshness but compensating with lasting flavors. The aftertaste is short and slightly abrupt.

We had a small break after the white wines, to allow the mouth to rest, and to make sure the mutton stew, cooked in a cast iron pot over an open fire, is tender and juicy. Needless to say, the smell was overwhelming, and the mouths were drooling.

tocana de berbecut / mutton stew

1998 Dornfleder Evolution, Schloss Sommerhausen.  Initially intended as a transition to the more solemn reds that followed afterwards, this wine was very much a surprise. I knew little about Dornfelder, except that it had little value by itself, and was used in assemblaje with other wines, for its rich colour and acidity. I discovered that the 14 years have made it richer and smoother. The dark violet color shows no signs of aging, but the nose feels ripe and mature -bitter cocoa powder, walnut leaves and iron rust. The taste is intense and pungent; no complexity and finesse, but lots of nicely ripe tannin. The acidity is still high and the flavors are dark and rustic. A perfect wine for the mutton stew, reminding me of a Californian Zinfandel.

2007 Spatburgunder QbA trocken, Assmanhauser Hollenberg, Hessishe Staatsweingutter. The colour is light and bright, and the nose displays nicely ripe red fruits -cherry, cassis- followed by fern and moss. Supple and lively body, balanced acidity and fine tannin make this wine smooth and silky.

2007 Spatburgunder „Tschuppen” trocken, Ziereisen. This wine from Baden region shows and intense ruby color and an elegant nose: red fruits mixed with meaty flavors -blood, smoked bacon- dried leaves. Very silky taste, with very fine and discreet tannin, and a slight trace of exotic wood. Short and bitter aftertaste.

2009 Spatburgunder trocken, Laible. Dark sparkling ruby, with violet traces. The nose is complex and shifting from ripe fruits to aromatic herbs, with a base of rum and vanilla. Thin body, balanced acidity, flavors not keeping up. Short and fruity aftertase, hinting of yeast.

2004 Spatburgunder Wallufer Walkenberg Spatlese trocken, „Alte Reben”, J.B.Becker, magnum bottle. This wine was my personal champion of the tasting event, difficult to sum up in a few words. I was particularly impressed by its silky touch in the mouth and the endless complexity of the nose: blackberries and dark earth, then dried leaves and smoked wood, followed by a twist towards herbal notes: lavender and laurel. Very fine tannin in the mouth, with stronger flavors of licorice, plums and blueberries. The aftertaste is surprisingly refreshing, peppermint flavored. A great wine.


Instead of desert, we opened yet another bottle, turning again to Riesling: 2006 Beerenauslese Urzinger Wurzgarten, Merkelbach. I was the perfect ending of such a rich evening, with its decandent aromas of ripe apricots, wild honey and lemon cream, refreshing acidity and a pastry aftertaste.

Along and in between these great wines, I had the interesting opportunity to taste fresh grape juice, brought straight from the stainless steel tanks of the cellar. I tried to guess the grape at each sampling, and to anticipate the coming flavors and features of the wine: Cramposie, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignonasse, and Tamaioasa Romaneasca. It is a very useful exercise, and tasty too 🙂

And for the late hours of the evening, a bottle of 10-year old Laphroaig has no match. More photos from the event can be viewed here.

Laphroaig 10 years


10 comentarii la “Some fine German wines

  1. Pingback: Articole de revizitat | Vinul din Cluj

  2. Pingback: The eight-months long journey of the grape juice | Vinul din Cluj

  3. Charlie
    3 septembrie 2012 is a private project of 4 wine lovers. I’m one of them and I painted most of them in the tool. The sources are very different and some other people help as well. It’s all free to be used similar to the wikipedia principal.

    • Mihai Oprea
      3 septembrie 2012

      Very interesting initiative. The vineyards marked on the maps are your favorites?

      • Charlie
        3 septembrie 2012

        No, I simply try to enter all vinyards that appear on a wine label. There are 2400 in the database at the moment. BTW: do you know of real single vineyard wines in Romania?

        PS: stiu si romanste dar nu am vrut sa raspund in romana la un blog englez.

        • Mihai Oprea
          3 septembrie 2012

          There is a series of wines from Halewood Prahova Valley, that claim to be single-vineyard; I can’t find the link right now.

  4. Charlie
    31 august 2012

    Inmpressive choice. Dönnhoff is Nahe, not Mosel.

    • Mihai Oprea
      31 august 2012

      Thanks for the point, it was a mistake in my notes.

      • Charlie
        31 august 2012

        btw: the exotic notes in Dönnhoffs Brücke are typical and can be well expianed by the position of the vineyard: It is near the river and often affected by botrytis, ripeness is very high.
        I find your notes for the wines I know very good. JB Beckers Pinot Noir 2004 Old Vines is great indeed!

        • Mihai Oprea
          31 august 2012

          Thanks for the appreciation, it is encouraging to find out that someone actually reads my articles in English.
          JB makes some great wines indeed, after tasting four of them (three whites and a red) I can say I have a pretty good insight on his wines. I would even dare to say that his PN is comparable with some Burgundy Grand Crus.
          Where do you get these maps, they are fascinating!

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