September is back to school month. After the joys of a long summer, it's back to the grind. Not just for the school kids but for the wine trade too. This week and for most of this month merchants are showing off their wares all over town every day and more.
I have resisted for three days (well two and a half really) so felt within my rights to attend one today.
There is a monster tasting of 550 wines from the Liberty Wines portfolio at the Oval today but frankly I couldn't be arsed with that. Instead I preferred for the more relaxed and serene surroundings of Grays Inn near Holburn for Howard Ripley's tasting of 2015 Gross Gewachs Rieslings (Germany's Grand Cru dry white wines), JJ Prum's 2015 off dry and sweet Rieslings (always released a bit later this than the rest of the German producers for some reason) and some German Pinot Noirs (or Spatburgunders) from 2013 and 2014.
There were clear stand outs from each of these three categories so I will focus on these.
The stand out Gross Gewachs for me were the two offerings by Schloss Lieser from the Mosel Valley. Both priced at £111 for 6 bottles in bond (note all pricing below is for 6 bottles in bond), I thought they were good value compared to the other wines. The Juffer was all limes juice
flavours with a beautiful waxy texture and excellent length.
The Niederberg Helden on the other hand had a sweet nose of pineapple. It had great poise and acidity and a long ruby grapefruit finish, almost pithy at the end. Fantastic stuff.
Wines of this quality from Burgundy are double the price of this and more....
The JJ Prum wines were a different proposition. More fun.
The Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett was full of delicious tropical fruit sweetness, perfectly balanced with acidity. Like posh Lilt.
The Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese was similar in flavour profile to the Kabinett but it was richer and longer with more energy on the palate. Still a bit like Lilt though. Just to be clear Lilt is a good thing as far as I am concerned.
Moving onto the Pinots, one estate shone way brighter than the rest. Weingut Holger Koch from Baden. The three wines in the range were all superb.
The entry level Herrenstuck 2014 was the best value wine in the room at £60 a case, which is less than £15 on the table. It had savoury, meaty notes and great minerality. Flavours of cherries ended with a smooth spicy finish. So good.
The 2014 Pinot Noir* (dunno what the * means...) was another great wine. Richer than the Herrenstuck, spicier with more red fruits and great acidity on the finish. Still good value at £84 a case.
The top of the Koch tree is the 2014 Pinot Noir *** and it shows. Total balance, power and finesse and a finish that goes on forever. A very serious wine.
A mention is merited for the 2014 Pinot Noir from the Shelter Winery, also in Baden. It had a lovely spiced cherry nose with nice sweetness on the palate followed by an attractive sour finish. £114 per case.
If you think you don't like German wine, give any of these a try and you'll change your mind.