Browse Tag


My bell

Meinklang 2009 “Burgenlandred” (Burgenland) – 60% zweigelt, 30% blaufränkisch, 10% st. laurent. For better or worse, these neighborhood grapes are much more compatible than the thuggish cabernet and merlot interlopers they’re so often asked to mingle with in red Austrian blends. To my mind it’s better, because the mix of slightly chilly aromatics – dried-floral, dried-herbal, dried-earthen – and richer, bluish-purple fruit of medium-mild intensity, is much more distinctive without the interference of the Bordelais buddies. Slips down easily, and with pleasure all the while. (3/12)

Jiggle the Schandl

Schandl 2008 Rust Furmint (Burgenland) – There’s an aroma to furmint that I struggle to identify: herbal, almost tea-like, but far from any vegetal expression thereof. Rather, it’s metallic, and yet the wine’s minerality is a separate issue. Anyway, this has the foil-wrapped brittle herbality I’m talking about, floating in a fulsome bisque of soft liquid sandstone – no, I don’t know how that would happen either – and with some but not quite enough structural acidity. It’s a good wine, but the volume is just a little bit high for the space in which its music is being played. (3/12)

Gyotaku bell

Domaine Mittnacht 2010 “Cuvée Gyotaku” (Alsace) – A blend of pinot blanc, muscat, pinot gris, and gewurztraminer. Usually, such blends are completely dominated by those last three listed grapes, and in reverse order. They’ve managed to avoid that here, whether through sensibly early harvesting or some other technique, and the wine is rather better for it. I’m still unconvinced that blends in Alsace are, in general, more than pleasant quaffing wines except from rare and exceptional terroirs (and often not even then). So this is a pleasant quaffing wine, but its pleasantries are more lavish than most, its whitewashed stone-fruitedness buffed and stony. The name is an apparent reference to an art form in which paper is pressed against an ink-covered fish (perhaps making cuttlefish the Jackson Pollocks of the form), but the clear implication that this is meant to pair with things that swim is a peculiarly Alsatian one; it would take a rich, oily fish indeed to make a deft pairing with this wine. (3/12)

Busch league

Anheuser 2008 Kreuznacher Scheurebe 024 99 (Nahe) – Fruit salad and sugar, makrut lime, fading to more abrupt leafiness in the finish. Surprisingly primary, though its my recollection that this possessed more duration when it was young. (2/12)


Torres 2010 “Viña Esmeralda” Moscato (Cataluña) – Sweet, simple, friendly, boring in a very predictable way. I’m glad for the world’s commercial wine ventures that muscat’s popularity is exploding, because drinkable muscat is something all but the truly incompetent can pretty much make in their sleep. And if it means grafting over a few zillion acres of useless chardonnay, all the better. (2/12)


Voyager Estate 2003 Shiraz (Margaret River) – Impatience is what caused this. I probably should have waited another ten years, at least, but curiosity overcame sense. This isn’t even particularly ambitious or artsy shiraz, and yet it has held and oh-so-barely developed without so much as a blink or a nod. Intense peppered blackberry compote, bark, a touch of tar. If one is waiting for this to turn into something, one will of necessity wait longer. (2/12)

A miti wind

Lageder 2009 Vigneti delle Dolomiti Pinot Grigio (Trentino) – Pinot grigio for those who don’t like pinot grigio, and this is only the basic version: firm, rock-infused, with restrained, polished fruit and just enough grip. (11/11)

Terrassen match

Tegernseerhof 2008 Terrassen Riesling (Wachau) – Is this difficult because it’s tight or because it’s not very good? It is certainly reduced, which doesn’t help, but grapefruit rind – unleavened and unadorned by aught else – is not sufficient for both foundation and glass house. (1/12)


St. Urbans-Hof  “Urban” 2010 Riesling (Mosel) – Step into the sulfurous cloud. Emerge a while later, a bit shaken but still on your feet. Pick up the paint-a-riesling-by-the-numbers canvas in front of you, and start painting. Done? Good job. Your colors are a bit thin, but they’re all correct. (1/12)

Chehalem, which hunt?

Chehalem 2009 Dry Riesling “Reserve” (Willamette Valley) – Surprisingly vibrant up front, solid in the middle, but it tails off into confusion. Ripe, well-buffed crystalline minerality, fruit more of the pear than apple realm, and nicely balanced. If that finish could just be brought into coherence, they’d have something here. (1/12)