This is a very good pinot noir from Bernard Huber in Baden, Germany. Stylistically, it is much closer to Burgundy than new world pinot noir. Its aroma has herbal and cherry notes, and is both savoury and restrained. The palate has resolutely firm acidity and good length. Ready to drink now, this moreish pinot noir/spätburgunder may improve with with short cellaring. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $65. Website: na.
JJ Prum is one of Mosel’s leading wineries and there’s a little bit of anticipation in opening one of this producer’s bottles. This particular wine was sourced at auction, and presented as quite developed. A yellow gold in colour, it opens to aromas that remind of lemon and has a lactic overlay. The palate is off dry, fresh and retains a youthful spritz typical of Kabinett. It has great length and quite developed characters of clarified butter. Seek out well stored examples, but even this more developed version remains a very enjoyable wine. (Alc: 9.5%, Region: Mosel, Germany, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now to 2022, Price: >$50, Tasted: October, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
There is a word to be coined to describe the combination of despair, resignation and exasperation that is the discovery that a German wine that you thought would be dry, is in fact is off dry or defiantly sweeter than that. Let’s run with trockened. The fear of trockening (sorry, I did say I would run with it), itself can cause its own issues – a syndrome of sorts. For example, a pleasant conversation with a retailer might quickly take on tinges of the unreasonable. Just how “trocken” is this particular “trocken”? Have you tasted the wine? This particular vintage? When? Questions of the actual quantum of residual sugar and total acidity might suddenly seem a sensible thing to be discussed. The abv might be mentioned too. 7.5%? No chance. 12.5%? Surely we are getting near the potential abv for riesling near its northern limit?
Now back to actually writing about this wine. It’s from the Pfalz – a sunny and dry German region that I think of as a northern extension of Alsace – and is a good one. Your dentist won’t recommend it, but your enamel should recover. Eventually. Its aromatics remind of stones and minerals. The palate is resoundingly dry, has bracing acidity and is medium bodied with notes of underripe grapefruit and lemon. I’d buy this again. (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Pfalz, Germany, Rating: Good, Drink: now to 2026)
Part of studying for the MW means tasting random wines from time to time, and then realising that entire industries are built around what ostensibly appeared an excursion along a less well trodden path. Even this German pinot noir from Baden – and normal people have tuned out long before the subregion of Baden is mentioned – proved to be a wine I’d tasted an earlier vintage of (here is my rather glowing review). Oh well. The 2013 vintage tasted here is very good though and is worthy of your attention. It has aromatics that remind of roses, potpourri and sour cherry. The palate has distinctive acidity, but holds its balance with lovely flavour and some tannic grip. A great buy. (Alc: 13%, Region: Baden, Germany, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now to 2020)
Incomprehensible German wine labelling laws aside, I should drink more German riesling. This is a very typical example of a good quality Mosel Cabinet riesling from Dr. Loosen. Its aromatics are very attractive, with expressions of white florals, stones and lemon rind. The palate is off-dry, perhaps even medium-dry at a pinch, but well balanced with refreshing racy acidity and some youthful spritz, producing a wine with a crisp and mouth watering finish. Its alcohol barely registering at 8%, this is a lovely, fresh Mosel riesling. Good
Abv: 8%, Price: $30, Vendors and website: http://drloosen.com, Tasted: 2015
JJ Prum’s wines rarely disappoint, and this wine is no exception. From the Mosel, the 2011 vintage of the Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett has delicate aromatics of stone, lemon and lemon rind. Its palate is off dry, framed by high acid and its delicate aromatics carry through to the palate. There is a lovely harmony and balance with this wine, as the high acidity seamlessly knits together the fruit flavours and a medium to long length finish on the palate.