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17 April 2007

non sequitur Tuesday

Br23 Blonde Redhead
Something of an airy, stripped down, more melodic Portishead (note I am obviously not a music critic).  Listen here

German Pinot Gris
Were I to ask you what countries are known for their Pinot Gris/Grigio, Germany would likely be utterly absent from your list, or perhaps, registering somewhere in the 40s - after Argentina. Heger Pinot Gris 'Sonett' 2004 ($20-ish), imported by Rudi W, brings German PG one step closer to notoriety by not using the German name for this gray mutant Pinot Clone - Grauburgunderwerdenwienerwaldseinworden (sp?).  As with most P.Gris, Heger is more about texture than flavor.  This German offers a nifty viscous mouthfeel accented by light flavors of fresh pineapple and orange.

Great Service in SLC
Salt Lake City is not known to be one of the great dining cities of the world (unless one counts salt water taffy).  However, this reputation is undeservered as there are many restaurants offering very good, innovative dishes.  Unfortunately, service is a concept all too often absent from most establishments.  Example 1: "Can I reserve one of the tables by the fireplace?" "No."....(dead air, and yes this actually happened).  Example 2: "Excuse me, our entrees are cold." "I'm terribly sorry." (takes entrees, returns 5 minutes later with same cold entrees on warm plates! - again, this actually happened).  The one and only restaurant, at which I can guarantee unfailingly good service is SLC's high end, posh spot, The Metropolitan.  Now, if I can only get them to eighty-6 a few of the $18+ by-the-glass wine offerings...

05 December 2006

MT: Random 10 + Dr. Pauly

Music Tuesday Random 10

  1. Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode
  2. Diario de Viaje - Federico Aubele
  3. Random Celebrity Insult Generator - Mclusky
  4. I'll Take the Woods - Mocean Worker
  5. Alone - Ben Harper
  6. Assessment - The Beta Band
  7. Lonely in Love - Lyle Lovett
  8. Lazer Beam - Super Furry Animals
  9. Oslo Skyline - Jaga Jazzist
  10. I Don't Want to Get Over You - Magnetic Fields

Paulybergweiler_1 + Dr. Pauly

Nothing says German winemaking like, "Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler."  Dr. Pauly is actually owned by Dr. agr. Peter Pauly.  While D.P.'s, "Noble House" may not be this winery's top offering, it does however make for a fine introduction to the racy-semi-sweet style typical of many good German Rieslings.  Noble House offers what many value-priced wine from Deutschland lack: Harmony and balance between acidity and sugar.  Sure this wine is slightly off-dry.  However, its bright acidity livens things up, and conveys fresh, rather than overripe peach & pear character.  Give the 2005 vintage of Pauly-Bergweiler Noble House a spin alongside tuna or chicken salad (we can still dream of picnic weather can't we?).  It's ten bucks well spent.

28 November 2006

MT: Random 10 + 1 German Pinot

Music Tuesday: Random 10

  1. I Gotta Move - Ben Kweller
  2. North Hanging Rock - British Sea Power
  3. Your Heart is an Empty Room - Death Cab for Cutie
  4. Doxy - Miles Davis
  5. Statecontrol - The Hives
  6. My Petition - Jill Scott
  7. From Which I Came/A Magic World - Eels
  8. America's Most Blunted - Madvillain
  9. The Other Side of This Life - David Byrne
  10. Destination 24 - Wellwater Conspiracy

+ 1 German Pinot

Georgb_1 Georg Breuer Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), 2004 ($20) - imported by Classical Wines.  Surprise! An excellent quality red wine from Germany's Rheingau region.  In a region - nee a country - known for racy Riesling, good old Georg puts his teutonic touch on Burgundy's grape. And the result is one of the zestiest white-wine-in-red-wine-clothing you'll ever taste.  This Pinot is damn near coral in color - more a dark rose than a red wine.  It offers up scents of just-ripe strawberry, tart cherry and woody spice.  In the mouth, Breuer's Spätburgunder possesses nearly invisible tannins; making for a sheer, silky mouthfeel.  It imparts flavors of red raspberry and cherry, followed by a delicate finish.  This wine is definitely for the fragile wine lover.  Don't clobber it with food.  Try Breuer's Pinot with roasted chicken, fresh goat cheese or sashimi.

04 August 2006

Mighty Morphin Power Riesling

Pjriesling PJ Valckenberg Estate Dry Riesling 2004; Rheinhessen, Germany; 12% alcohol ($10)

This wine begins with flavors & scents of fresh nectarine..


It quickly develops crisp, lemony-citrus flavors..


Valckenberg, while dry, finishes off with distinct honey notes..


A fine tasting dry German Riesling at a great price..


(download the morphs by clicking on the pics; Quicktime format)

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05 May 2006

How To Spit in German, French & Italian

(Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and Basic Juice readers.  If you are interested in being a guest author on Basic Juice, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Author: Emily of Winemonger - an importer and online retailer of Austrian wine.

Spit How To Spit in German, French & Italian

In honor of Beau’s upcoming Live Austrian Wine Adventure, and for all of you out there who are planning your own wine tours abroad, I thought I would put together this small guide of words you may find yourself needing to say when you are in a German, French or Italian winery (in that order).

AGE: alter – age – eta

ALCOHOLIC CONTENT: alkoholgehalt - teneur en alcool - gradazione alcolica

BOUQUET, NOSE: bukett – bouquet – bouquet

CORKY TASTE: korkgeschmack – gout de bouchon – sapore di tappo

DRY: trocken - sec - secco

EARTHY: erdig – gout de terroir – terroso

FAT: fett – gras – grasso

FRESH: frisch – frais – fresco

FRUIT: frucht – fruit – fruttato

GRAPE: beere – baie – acino

GRAPE CLUSTER: traube - raisin - grappolo

GRAPE VARIETY: rebsorte – cepage - vitigno

LEES: geläger – lies – feccia

Continue reading "How To Spit in German, French & Italian" »

04 February 2006

Big Reds and Ham


GreeneggThis picture from the Caveman's lair caused me to immediately think of Dr Seuss and this rhyme from my childhood:

    I do not like them in a box.
    I do not like them with a fox.
    I do not like them in a house.
    I do not like them with a mouse.
    I do not like them here or there.
    I do not like them anywhere.
    I do not like green eggs and ham.
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

The Caveman has been dealing with the dilemma of pairing wine with ham.

"The Ham in question is a smoked shoulder, pricked with cloves and cooked in a mix of beer, onion and molasses. The meat is red and smoky, rich and fleshy with an obvious touch of sweetness. This would theoretically lend itself to a ripe new world red, however, the salt factor has always proved to be the bug in the system, turning the softest tannin into iodine. And the powerful flavors have always seemed a bit overbearing."

To distill his sentiments into impish Dr. Seuss-isms, I present, "Big Reds and Ham"

I do not like it with a red
I do not like it lying in bed

I do not like it with burly tannins
I do not like it with fruity grapeskins

I do not like it with an Aussie or Cali
I do not like it in Poughkeepsie

I do not like big reds and ham
I do not like it, C-man-I-am

He actually recommends a tasty Spätlese German Riesling (Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2001 from S.A. Prüm). 

I'm not sure I'll be able to build a string of rhymes based on "Spätlese Riesling and ham."

Tagged with:   + + +

25 January 2006

They're Both Blue

BluenunThat's it! Both Saint M and Blue Nun are, well, blue.  But wait; I'm confused.  Once upon a time a wine guru explained to me that wine from Germany's Rhein river regions (Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz) were bottled in brown glass.  So I did a little research.  I possess a painfully boring book about German wine.  I couldn't find anything in the book about traditional bottle-glass colors.  I moved online and, perhaps not so unexpectedly, came up with some contradicting results:

"Confused? Well, the most famous German wines are instantly recognizable by special bottles:
Mosel = green; Rheingau, Rheinhessen and Pfalz = brown; And from the Nahe region = of course, blue."

"Clad in the traditional dark-blue Mosel bottle, this is perkier than the standard mosels from this spot, due to the superior riesling grapes in the blend"

"The color of a bottle of German wine telegraphs whether the wine is from the Rhine River valley (brown) or the Mosel (green)"

Let me get this straight.  Mosel bottles are traditionally green or blue?  However, Saint M, from the Pfalz is blue.  And aren't Pfalz Rieslings supposedly clad in brown glass?  Perhaps Saint M's blue glass is designed to stand out from the crowd (it worked, I purchased a bottle).

Not that this is terribly important; however, I would like to know, if there are indeed traditional glass colors for Germany's wine regions.  If you are a German wine lover with this bit of trivia lying in your brain, please enlighten me.

And, while we're on the topic of German wine bottles, can you tell me what's up with the Bochsbeutel?

Tagged with: + +

This Saint Aint No Nun

SaintA few days ago I was perusing the surprisingly rich German wine collection in my local wine shop (Keep in mind we’re talking Utah’s alcohol monopoly.  So by surprising, I mean approximately 20 different German wines).  For kicks I like to keep tabs on the entry level stock - the stuff that costs between ten and fifteen bucks.  The reason?  Well, when German wine newbies come to this particular store, they quickly learn that their beloved eight-buck ‘Peezportur’ and ‘Bloo None’ aren’t sold here.  This is the one shop in town that doesn’t sell lower end sugary Ries-plonk (at least from Germany, anyway).  In the past, those brave enough to expand their German wine horizons likely stepped up to ten-dollar Dr. Pauly or thirteen-buck Dr. L.  However, these selections are no longer available.  In their stead appeared the slightly enigmatic “Saint M.”  My curiosity got the best of me and I took the Saint home.

As I drove, with Saint M as my co-pilot (almost as good as god, I suppose), I observed that the wine seemed familiar.  Obviously, it’s a German Riesling, so the wine is housed in the typical narrow bottle common to most Deutsche Rieslings.  Yet there was something else about the bottle that seemed familiar.  I couldn’t put my finger on it…

SaintmThe Skinny

  • Saint M Riesling 2004 ($10) [imported by Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle]
  • Riesling from Germany’s southernmost wine region - the Pfalz
  • Qualitätswein with 11% alcohol
  • Very pale mellow yellow gold in color
  • Saint M provides ‘German Riesling 101’ scents of fresh apricot, peach, bits-o-honey and a hint of mineral zing
  • This Riesling is fresh and fancy-free.  The flavors are mostly peachy fruit.  And this Saint is slightly sweet, but doesn’t fall off the syrup cliff - it’s got enough zesty acidity to place it somewhere between the dry and off-dry camps

*** (3 stars out of 5)

I took Saint M for a three-day culinary spin.  It was unobtrusive, if not downright pleasant next to roasted broccoli spiced with Cayenne and made less-healthy with melted sharp Cheddar.  As a Mexican food amigo, this German was also more than happy to join the fiesta.  Finally, Saint M bid me Aufwiedersehen as a one-glass accompaniment to spiced sweet potatoes.  This was the best match of all.  The theme seems to be, “pair Saint M with slightly sweet & spicy food.”

Still, what is it about the bottle that’s so damn familiar?  Stay tuned.

Tagged with: + +

27 December 2005

Chubby German

Augustus1971"Augustus! Stop eating your fingers."
    "But I taste so good."

-- Augustus Gloop and his Mother (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, 2005)

Think of Schloss Saarstein's Pinot Blanc as a soft, slightly chubby expression of the white Pinot mutant clone (known locally as Weissburgunder).  This wine, imported by the fine Volks at Valckenberg, is one of the few German non-Rieslings I've seen in my neck of the woods.

The Skinny

Schloss Saarstein Pinot Blanc 2003 ($20)

  • Schlosssaarsteinpb03Pinot Blanc [12.5% alcohol] from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Southwestern Germany
  • Shiny yellow-gold in color with noticeable stickyness/leggyness in the glass
  • Scents of canned pears (in light syrup!), oranges and custard
  • Medium-bodied with lowish acidity - heading towards off-dry, but not yet over the line.  Saarstein Pinot offers simple, refreshing flavors of citrus coupled to hints of blossom and almond.  The in-mouth texture is rich, with a slightly overripe character on the finish

*** (3 stars out of 5)

I was on a veggie kick when I sampled the Schloss, and it paired quite well with roasted Swiss chard and sautéed  baby red potatoes in garlic & butter.  I recommend keeping your foods firmly in the salty/savory camp with this wein.  Otherwise the sweetness might be a bit much.  If you see S. Saarstein Pinot Blanc for $15 or so, grab it.  I think $20 is too high.

27 November 2005

Riesling Reviews From the Cave

Introducing a new category, "from the cave," by wine blogger extraordinaire, "The Caveman."  Some of Bill's work will be cross-posted here, a few pieces will be posted here exlusively, while other posts will be found on the Caveman's Wine Blog.

Mosel_saar_ruwer_1The Unity of a Grape and a Terroir
The Mosel, Riesling, and St. Urbans-Hof
(posted at The Caveman's Wine Blog)

I make no bones about it, I love German Riesling. If I win the lotto my first ridiculous expenditure will be to add the Mosel tap right next to the Hot and Cold.

I asked one of my confreres cavistes if he had tasted anything great from Germany recently. He smiled and said all of it. There exists an incredible consistency amongst the better winemakers in the region. In the best examples there is a naturally razor-sharp tension between acidity and richness, minerality and fruit. After a difficult 2003 vintage where the razor was definitely dulled and the Rieslings were too rich, it was a pleasure to taste a couple of classic 2004’s where words like aerian, fresh, steely and opulent could be tossed between smiles. Damn do they drink well.

Continue reading at The Caveman's

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