WFA German Varietal Tasting

Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore

Tasted October 23, 2009 by Paul S with 773 views

Introduction

Really interesting masterclass conducted by Alexander Stodden of Estate Jean Stodden - a leading Ahr house. This was meant to expose us to the breadth of German varietals, and it certainly succeeded. 13 wines, with only one Riesling to show. One of the most interesting and educational tastings I have had for some time.

Flight 1 (13 notes)

White
2008 Staatsweingut Weinsberg Kerner trocken Germany, Württemberg
87 points
Strange wine - not unpleasant, but not altogether good drinking either. Made from rare grapes bred in 1929 by August Herold by crossing Trollinger (a red variety also known as Schiava grossa) and Riesling, and named after Justinius Kerner, the Swabian poet. Yellow green in colour. Really nice nose, with white flowers, yellow fruit, ripe gooseberries and quite a large amount of limestoney mineral. A bit of sulphur at the start, but that blew off quickly. The palate was very challenging though. Acid was super sharp, almost shrill at first, making it really tough to drink. Got better after some time in the glass to show more mineral, some simple flower and fruit tones, like pink guava and mangoes. along with lemony tones and some spice on the finish. A little skinny on the palate. Drinkable with the right fruit I'm sure, but I was not impressed with this.
White
2007 Graf von Schönborn Hallburger Schlossberg Silvaner S.E. Spätlese trocken Germany, Franken
86 points
Not to my taste. I have absolutely no idea what the "S.E." in the name of the wine stands for, but it is supposed to denote a higher quality, or at least pricier Silvaner Spatlese, not that I could really tell from the glass. Nose had a little sulphur. That blew off to show lots of papaya notes mixed in with earth, musky flowers and some white fruit. Plenty of mineral on the palate, along with some gooseberries and neutral white fruit flavours. Typical Silvaner, or so I am told. Problem was that it was really watery on the mid-palate. There was acidity, but somehow the wine came across as rather flat, listless and without any real life or energy. Finish was okay, with little lingers of guava, breadfruit and spice. Not a disastrous drink as wines go but, all in all, this was a singularly uninspiring wine.
White
2007 Weingut Bercher Burkheimer Feuerberg Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs Spätlese trocken Germany, Baden
87 points
Now, this is one of the strangest wines I have ever tasted. An oaked white Pinot Noir from Baden in Germany - not a bubbly either, just a still white wine. Not too bad, but not altogether a good wine either. Rather Chardonnay like on the palate - some wet wood, walnuts, white stone fruits and a slight peachiness, along with a layer of chalk and soil. Some promise here I thought - almost like a still Blanc de Noirs Champagne. Palate was different, but certainly interesting to say the least. Creamily texture with high acidity, it showed some power in its ripe lemon and little cherry-ish flavours, along with a minerally touch. Rather shrill on the acidity unfortunately, especially towards the finish which showed of sour cherries and lemons. Unusual.
White
2007 Weingut Salwey Oberrotweiler Eichberg Grauburgunder Großes Gewächs Germany, Baden
92 points
The first really good wine of the tasting, and I thought this was rather an outstanding Pinot Gris. Started off good, but just got stronger and stronger in the glass. Deep yellow colour. Rather sticky on the nose, with nice yellow fruit, crushed flowers, some tangerines and orange zest, apricots and funky earthy notes replete with chalky mineral. Very complex, especially when compared with the first few wines we had. Palate was a world away from the acidic thinness of those wines as well. This was rich, almost oily textured, with layers of honeyed flavours, some nectarines, some papaya and plenty of spice, all balanced out by nice acidity. Finish was similarly long and textured with pretty good length in its spicey tail. Very nice, and quite age worthy too. Would love to try this in 5 years' time.
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White
2008 Juliusspital Würzburger Abtsleite Traminer Spätlese trocken Germany, Franken
92 points
We were on a mini-roll here with this wine - the second really nice one in a row. I have had nothing but good experiences with Juliusspital thus far. The nose on this wine got expressions of delight from all over the room. My handwritten notes go "wow! flowers!! poutpourri!!". There was just this melange of flower petals, rose water and chamomile wafting out of the glass, along with a little spice, some nectar and little lychee hints floating along with a toss of earth. This was about as intensely perfumed a nose as I have ever smelt on a wine. This was gorgeous for that alone. Thankfully, the palate, while not quite as complex and expressive, was no slouch either. Rather ripe feel on this, with sweet lychees galore and more flowery notes. Rather oily textured, and quite markedly lower acidity than the other whites on show. I may have liked it more with a touch more freshness, but it was essentially pretty well balanced given its richness. Finish had a nice juicy length to it, with some minerally, spicy notes that grew as the wine warmed up and opened up in the glass. Good when first poured, even better when I returned to it at the end of the tasting. An enchanting wine.
White
2008 Schloss Proschwitz Scheurebe Kabinett trocken Sachsen Germany, Sachsen
89 points
Actually pretty good, but I am given to understand that this is not a cheap bottle of Scheurebe. Nevertheless, very pleasant. Green apples, Indian incense, ripe gooseberries and passionfruit filled the nose, along with a little green grassy inflection at the edges. Palate was clean and balanced, with fresh acidity running through more passionfruit notes, some spice and more of that green grassy freshness. Simple, but this had a good intensity to it. Finish was nice as well, with lingering pear notes laced with stoney, slatey minerality. I liked this.
White - Off-dry
2008 Bürgerspital zum hl. Geist Würzburger Stein Scheurebe Kabinett feinherb Germany, Franken
88 points
Not quite as nice as the Schloss Proschwitz Sachsen Scheurebe, but not too bad a drink - not one I would rush out to buy though. Nose showed grapefruit, pears, some musky spices and more tropical papaya and guava notes. High acidity on the palate provided a nice foil for otherwise rather sweet, sugary feinherb texture, along with fresh grass and gooseberries tones, along with a mossy, stoney note. Finish had a medicinal twist, antibiotics like, that I did not really like, along with more regular grapefruit and guava nuances. Some length to this one. An okay wine.
White - Off-dry
2008 Brüder Dr. Becker Scheurebe Spätlese Germany, Rheinhessen
87 points
Did not like this that much. More reserved on the nose than the other 2 Scheurebes, with a sweet ice-cream soda note along with bits of peach and some stoney mineral. Simple on the palate too, with peach, nectarine and some musk. Decent flavours, but all a little sweet and rather flat unfortunately. Finish was decent - stone fruits and mineral lingering for awhile - but not really a nice wine.
White - Off-dry
2007 Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Grünlack Spätlese Germany, Rheingau
93 points
Unusually, the only Riesling in a German wine tasting. Surprise, surprise, this was easily one of the best wines out of the 13. Lovely nose - very stately and reserved for a Rheingau - almost Mosel like, with some petrol drops, some white fruit, a little spice and a whole explosion of minerality, with stoney slate and flint notes all over. Very nice. Palate was more classic Rheingau though, full of charming fruit, with madarin orange notes and sweeter, peachy tones. Sweet for a Spat, but very well balanced and seamlessly integrated, with layered complex flavours stretching the palate all the way into a long finish which showed ripe grapefruit nuances along with subtle minerality. I really liked this wine - another excellent 2007 Spatlese.
Red
2005 Markus Molitor Brauneberger Mandelgraben Spätburgunder trocken Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
88 points
Not bad at all. Oaky on the nose, with vanilla tones infused with bubblegummy cherries and earth. Plenty of depth and concentration though. Bit of acetone in there, but that melted away soon enough. Again, some sweet confected tones on the palate - cherries in cream I thought, along with a slightly bitter mineral note. In spite of that, I thought the wine was really well balanced and had a clean, pure fruit expression which was very pleasing. Finish again had sweet cherries, quite candied here, some vine stems and coffee grounds. Not a style I like at all, but there is no doubting that this has some quality in it.
Red
2006 Jean Stodden Recher Herrenberg Spätburgunder Großes Gewächs Germany, Ahr
92 points
This was far and away the best German Spatburgunder I have ever had. Made me wonder whether the 2005 I had last year was an off bottle. While that was all oak and sweetness, this was just oozing restrained classiness. Nose was extremely tight, but with obvious complexity. I got peppery spice, little savoury, meaty undercurrents, some dried earth, soil, chalky mineral and lurking dark fruits. I got much the same impression on the palate - lots of depth and complexity, with layers of concentration, but all super tightly coiled at the moment. When I first tasted it, it was all stony mineral with super fine, silky tannins providing some grip. With time, some dark, dark cherries began to slowly ooze out from beneath that elegant structure. Finish was nice and fine too, not too long, but satisfying, with bits of bittersweet mineral and spice. Superb potential here. I would give it 10-20 years easily in the bottle. 92-93 points for now.
Red
2007 Fürst zu Hohenlohe Oehringen Verrenberger Verrenberg Lemberger Trocken Qualitätswein Butzen Germany, Württemberg
87 points
My first Lemberger. Not a confident-building first exposure for sure. This was just about passable as a quaffer. Strange preserved winter melon note on the nose, along with cherries and flowers and an earthy, meaty note. Some depth to this I thought. Palate did not carry through though. Nice clean acidity, grippy mouthcoating tannins with some grip, but it was altogether a little insubstantial, with sweet red fruit showing rather thinly on the mouth. More grippy tannins and a twist of herb rounded the wine off at the finish. Very simple wine.
Red
2007 Weingut Drautz-Able HADES Lemberger trocken Germany, Württemberg
87 points
Second Lemberger - rather better, but not all that great either. Not sure I like the nose. A bit too oaked I thought, with vanilla and butter, along with sweet creamy fruit of the raspberry and strawberry ilk, along with some darker cassis tones. A modern interpretation maybe. Palate was much better. Some grip and structure to this in the shape of round, sweet tannins, pretty decent freshness, and bits of spice and a little umami touch added interest to the fruit. I thought this a bit more textured and less airy-fairy than the first wine as well. Finish showed more oak and some distinct preserved winter melon scents. Not a great wine, but this was slightly better than passable to my tastes. Still though, not one I would buy for my own consumption.
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