Category Archives: I Am Wine

Wine of the Month July 2011


2010 Schloss Schwabsburg Riesling trocken ***

Weingut Georg Gustav Huff

€ 9,-

Nierstein on the left bank of the Rhine just south of Mainz has been famous for its elegant Rieslings for more than a century. However, during recent decades it was also a bit infamous for the schlock sold under the name „Niersteiner Gutes Domtal“, though almost none of this originated in Nierstein, nor does Nierstein have a Dom, that is a cathedral. Schwabsburg lies just west of Nierstein and Schloss Schwabsburg is both the most westerly and least well known of the great vineyard sites of the Red Slope. Nobody would have heard about it at all it weren’t for the two Huff estates there (Fritz Ekkehard Huff is the other). Due to the long and heavy late summer rains 2010 was certainly a difficult vintage for Riesling where the vine was growing on water-retentive soils, but on stony soils like the Rotliegendes sandstone (often incorrectly refered to as „Rotschiefer“, or red slate) here the results were far superior as this wine shows. Maybe it’s Jungwinzer Daniel Huff’s best wine from this site to date with a wonderful bouquet of candied pineapple and a scintilating balance of ripeness and minerally racyness on the palate which sends a joyful jolt through my nervous system. And because this site’s still little-known this great Riesling is a steal at 9 Euros direct from the Huffs.

Weingut Georg Gustav Huff

Woogstrasse 1

55283 Nierstein-Schwabsburg/Rheinhessen

Tel.: 06133 / 5 05 14



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My Wine Telegram 128 – finally, the Long Night of German Wine in NYC

Thank you Paul Grieco of Restaurant Hearth and Terroir wine bar in NYC !

“So you found a home in New York,” Paul Grieco said to me as I sat in a corner of  Restaurant Hearth ( with a glass of Mosel Riesling from  Weiser-Künstler lost in thought +++ I was thinking back 24 hours to when the first Long Night of German Wine in NYC had filled the room with people and excitement +++ my partner in this charity project in Berlin, where we already staged 14 of these events, Roy Metzdorf of Restaurant Weinstein and I were bowled over by the response in the Big Apple +++ within minutes of the door being opened at 11pm it was hard to get through the crush to taste the wines which Roy and I had donated from our cellars +++ “hey, pass me the 2001 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger !” someone begged me and it made seem so worth while to have waitted so long to open that bottle +++ just like in Berlin the atmosphere was one of uninhibited celebration and we opened numerous doors of Riesling perception +++

Serious tasting at Hearth meant serious donations to WEIN HILFT (Photo Marc Metzdorf)

many of the visitors who each made a $40 donation to WEIN HILFT (see – under which motto we collect money for the “Hope” HIV/AIDS foundation in Cape Town) were amazed by the way the dry 2006 Berg Rottland Riesling from Weingut Leitz in Rüdesheim/Rheingau seemed to effortlessly balance in spite of its 15% alocholic content +++ Roy’s “house wines”, which all make a serious style statement for the palate and eye were admired, also for the way the Weinstein name or logo were nowhere to be seen +++ finally Berlin style Dada Marketing has crossed the Big Pond and Madison Avenue will never be the same again ! +++ but for me the biggest surprise that evening came from Bruce Schneider (see below) who I knew as director of Wines of Germany in NYC, but who turns out to also be a talented New York  winemaker +++ he brought with him several vintages of Schneider Cabernet Franc (saldy no longer made due to the vineyard having been ripped out) and the 2006 was the most elegant red wine I ever tasted from Long Island +++ but yet more New York wine surprises followed the next day +++

Renaissance wine man of New York Bruce Schneider

the next afternoon I walked over to Hearth feeling pleassantly dazed and confused from the Long Night of German Wine to clear my head for a big tasting of 2010 Rieslings from the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York +++ Peter Becraft of Anthony Road Wine Co. drove into the city with 26 wines from more than a dozen producers which were the most exciting range of Finger Lakes wines I’ve ever experienced +++ my New York colleagues Josh Greene (editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine) and Howard Goldberg were no less imporessed than Roy and Marc Metzdorf +++ we agreed that although the excellent 2o10 vintage certainly helped achieve this, it wasn’t the only factor, rather improved winemaking also played an important role +++ stylistically the wines seemed to know where they wanted to go in a way that was seldom the case just a few years ago, so Olanet Wine it is TIME TO WAKE UP AND TAKE NEW YORK RIESLING SERIOUSLY !!! +++ then as we our tasting table was being cleared for restaurant service to begin at 6pm Josh Greene told me that he was staying at Hearth to have dinner with Stephen and Prue Henschke, the (Hill of Grace) famous winemakers from South Australia +++ and suddenly there they were and I was invited to join them; not only “shit” happens in America ! +++ and I learnt a lot from Prue about what sustainability demands in the often harsh Australian context (much sensitivity and hard work) +++ after dinner I ended up at the bar with several glasses of that Riesling watching Paul Grieco work the restuarant as if it were his second home, which it is in a way that their workplaces rarely are for restaurateurs +++ then before I knew it he’d told me that it was my second home, and who am I to argue ? +++ for the Long Night of German Wine and for Stuart Pigott, in NYC home is where the Hearth is

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Wine of the Month June 2011

The next Fritz Haag ? Matthias Meierer, vintage 1982

2010 Kestener Riesling trocken

Weingut Klaus Meierer


Sometimes I get a lot of flack for insisting its possible to find wines for under 5 Euros a bottle which taste really good. Here is further proof that this idea isn’t ridiculous. I recently got to know Jungwinzer Matthias Meierer at a meeting of the dynamic „Moseljunger“ group of young Mosel winegrowers. His 2010 is a prototypic sleek, racy Riesling (with just 11.5% alcohol), a cuvée of wines from six different vineyards around the village of Kesten. The aromas of apple, white peach and vanilla leap out of the glass at you. After tasting it I wasn’t surprised to discover that he works for three days a week at the world-famous Weingut Fritz Haag in nearby Brauneberg, for there’s a clear stylistic similarity between his wines and those of Fritz Haag. It isn’t a case of imitation, rather of amazing value for money. I don’t think you’ll find a better dry Riesling in this price category anywhere in Germany’s 13 winegrowing regions. If you do though, make sure to let me know ! Exchanging this kind of hot tips is one of the things WEINHIER will be all about. Please be patient with us during the next few weeks as we work on overcoming the technical difficulties to get this new internet community fully operational.

Weingut Klaus Meierer

Am Herrenberg 15

54518 Kesten

Tel.: 06535 / 70 12



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My Wine Telegram 127

Randall Grahm extends his antenne to catch cosmic "terroir-waves"

If you think that I’m sometimes crazy then look at winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon winery of Santa Cruz in California (above) with whom I recently spent a fascinating afternoon in the Waterbar/San Francisco talking about whether terroir and wine journalism exist in America in the positive sense +++ the last thing I want to do is give the impression Randall is not serious so there’s a second picture of him (below) +++ I tasted many wonderful new Bonny Doon wines with him including the first impressive American Alvarinho and Nebbiolo I ever encountered, plus two great Syrah reds from 2007 (Bein Nacido and Alamo Creek vineyards) with terroir written all over them +++ I’ve known Randall since 20 years and it was inspiring both to see him scale new heights and to see that all the money from the sale of his Pacific Rim winery (how many million dollars is a 2 million bottle per year super-premium brand like this worth ?) did not go to his head +++

Is what America is really lacking "terroir-bodylangauge" ?

no time today to report on the first Long Night of German Wine in New York, but the whole point of not calling this a blog is that I can take my time to gather the right photos, quotes, etc to make the story worth reading +++ all of course, according to the motto:     NO FACEBOOK, NO TWITTER, NO BULLSHIT !

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My Wine Telegram 126 with an urgent question to Renate Kunast

a whole week later I’m still trying to recover from the bolt of lightning which hit me as I walked down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan +++ an SMS from Uerzig in the Mosel told me that the Green Party of Rheinland Pfalz had caved in to Kurt Beck’s demand that construction of the monstrous Mosel Bridge continue in order to get into bed with him in a coalition government +++ they want us to believe that they had to do this (though they put up no fight at all), and they probably believe their own argument, but I don’t buy it +++ the truth is they were desperate for power and willing to do whatever it took, including a 180 degree turn on this issue +++ so Green political greed and opportunism sold the Mosel down the river +++ Shame on You Eveline Lemke !!! +++ given this spectacular u-turn in the direction of anti-enviromentalism and voodoo economics how can we believe any policy of the Green Party in the future ? +++ Renate Kunast, I think we urgently need an answer to that question ! +++ more on this issue during the coming days, also a big story on WEINHIER when it goes online at 18 hours Central European Time on Tuesday, 17th May

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Wine of the Month May 2011

We will all pay for our Sinß (unless someone else picks up the tab)

2009 Rivaner trocken

Weingut Sinß


So in the launch month of WEINHIER, my wine of the month is a humble MüllerThurgau (the old name for Rivaner)?! Have I completely lost my mind? Am I overworked or am I worrying that the new project will bankrupt me? The answer to all these questions is a decisive „no“ just as my answer to this wine is an emphatic „yes“. Why ? For the simple reason that in spite of the rainy late summer weather which was fatal for many German wines made from early-ripening grapes like Müller-Thurgau, this wine hits the target bang in the middle. All kinds of white fruit aromas, a touch of elderflower, some citrus and great freshness without any sharpness make this wine perfect for white asparagus or a salad this evening. Nahe Jungwinzer Johannes Sinß has made some other 2010s which will give us plenty to talk about over the coming months and years, but this wine is all about pleasure now. What are arguments are there against that ?

PS the last letter of the estate’s name and winemaker’s name is a sharp S, and is pronounced like the double is in Miss.

Weingut Sinß

Hauptstraße 18

55452 Windesheim / Nahe

Tel.: 06707 / 2 53



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My Wine Telegram 125

Upon returning to Berlin from many long and intense days of tasting the 2010 vintage German wines and I felt seriously confused +++ although there are plenty of good 2010s and some great wines, just what are the “typical” characteristics of the new vintage ? +++ when I tasted the sweet Riesling Spätlese from the Mosel at the Mainzer Weinbörse on Monday (many of which belong in the “great” category), there was a common thread of lightning-bright acidity and enormous aromatic intensity running through them +++ the Rheingau wines I tasted at the Weinbörse the day before also had plenty of acidity, but this often tasted aggressive and many of them were also rather thin +++ yesterday in Franken the dry Silvaner I tasted nearly all had a moderate to low acidity content, often tasting tasting positively creamy +++ that could be very pleasant, for example at Weingut Horst Sauer in Escherndorf, but some 2010 Franken Silvaner tasted like a big dollop of butter-cream, which I found too much +++ neither the successful 2010s, nor the unsuccessful wines conform to any sort of pattern +++ it’s a bizarre situation I never encountered before

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Wine of the Month April 2011

2009 Riesling trocken

Weingut Deutzerhof


Of course, regardless of whether they’re claiming that it’s the vintage from hell or yet another miracle German vintage the entire wine scene here is currently obsessed with the 2010 vintage, because a lot of wines from which have just been released with many more to follow during the coming weeks. No doubt some of you are wondering what’s got into my damned head that at exactly this crucial moment I’m recommending a 2009 dry Riesling of the regular quality level, a so-called „Gutsriesling“. What makes this look even more crazy is that it comes from a grower in the Ahr Valley, just south of Bonn on the Rhine, where over 60% of the vineyards are planted with Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). Wolfgang Hehle is famous for his Pinots, not his Rieslings. But just wait until you taste this stuff ! It is a wonderfully racy Riesling, still very fresh with lots of youthful fruit aromas (mostly lemon and white peach) and it has great balance. For 8 Euros direct from the producer that makes it a real bargain. Either you insist on drinking those 2010s many of which strike me as very good (but still too rawly youthful for my palate) or you pounce on this miniature masterpiece. Beware: stocks of this won’t last much longer !

Weingut Deutzerhof

Deutzerwiese 2

53508 Mayschoss / Ahr

Tel.: 02643 / 72 64



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Wine of the Month March 2011

Deep Blue terroir !

2009 „Deep Blue“ (A.P. Nr. 01 11)

Weingut Tesch

€ 9,-

Much of what we think of as taste impressions, also those of wine, are actually things we smell or feel the texture of in our mouths. In the brain signals from the organs of smell are fused with tactile impressions from lips, mouth and throat and the genuine taste impressions from the taste buds on our tongue to create what we perceive as taste impressions. In fact, the tongue can only detect five things: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. The last of these was discovered by Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1908 when he realized that the Japanese dashi broth (made from dried kombu seaweed and katsuobushi flakes of cured bonito) had a taste which was neither sweet, sour, bitter or salty, nor an aroma or texture. Grapes are rather rich in umami, but some wines are even richer due to very long contact between the young wine and the yeast. The second bottling of Martin Tesch’s 2009 „Deep Blue“ (look for A.P. Nr. 01 11 in small print on the back label) is an umami Rogue Wave  thanks to an alcoholic fermentation that lasted a full year.  A very pale rosé colour it is richly textural with a mountain of „savoury“ tasting umami. If it wasn’t so dry and straight that might make it taste too extreme, but instead it takes you on a wild ride to the outer limits of contemporary German wine. Warning: an umami Rogue Wave can sweep you off your feet !

Weingut Tesch
Naheweinstrasse 99
55450 Langenlonsheim / Nahe
Tel.: 06704 / 9 30 40
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Wine of the Month, February 2011

2009 BREVA Riesling „Edition No.4“



Why is this wine of the month so expensive ? But wait a moment, isn’t the right question why is it so cheap ? What do the best dry white wines from Burgundy cost ? There 138 Euros isn’t enough to buy a single bottle of many of the Grand Cru Montrachets and one of them (from DRC) costs almost ten times that ! The reason is not that these wines are enormously expensive to produce, rather that they have a great reputation which results in an enormous demand, and the quantities are very limited. BREVA „Edition No. 4“ is a dry Riesling from one of the top sites of the Terrassenmosel, the Valwiger Herrenberg. Here growing a top quality wine is far more expensive than on the gentle slopes in Burgundy and the yield is also very limited. The problem is that this site is nowhere near as famous as the Grand Cru Montrachet.

Changing this situation is the goal of the BREVA association and to this end the members have both created a 2 mile long hiking path through the dramatic, rocky landscape of the Valwiger Herrenberg and produced a joint venture wine each year since 2006. The 2009 is the best so far, a richly-textural, but elegant dry Riesling with a complex bouquet of white peach and blossoms. The price aims to cover the considerable costs of manual cultivation, since none of the work in this site can be mechanized in the way it can be in flat vineyards (thereby drastically reducing production costs). If in the future nobody is willing to pay the price of this manual cultivation, then this great vineyard site will surely die. By the way, the Grand Cru Montrachet is nothing very special to look at, whilst the great amphitheatre of the Valwiger Herrenberg is drop-dead-beautiful.

Quelle: Weingut Göbel-Schleyer-Erben
Klosterstraße 12
56814 Ernst/Mosel
Tel.: 02671 / 74 44
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