Tag Archives: 2010

Two Fall Reds: 2010 Bartenura Rosso di Montalcino and 2005 Coume del Mas Collioure Quadratur

Just some tasting notes today. Work continues to be crazy, but I had these two quite different wines lately and wanted to share my impressions…with fall approaching, we’re all looking for soothing reds, right?

The first was the 2010 Bartenura Rosso di Montalcino DOC. Rosso di Montalcino, the little brother of Tuscany’s famed Brunello di Montalcino, can be an affordable and good choice if you are longing for some Italian earthiness in a younger wine. Made from 100% Sangiovese (like Brunello) and grown in the same area, the main difference is that a Rosso only needs to spend six months in oak (compared to two years for Brunello) and one year of total ageing before release.

Bartenura is a big, Italian-wide producer mostly known for its Moscato in a blue bottle (which I was not aware of when I picked up the bottle…) and its current website does not list the Rosso di Montalcino. We bought the bottle at Costco where it retailed for $12, which is definitely on the lower end for a Rosso di Montalcino.

In the glass, the wine showed a lighter red color. The nose was full of pecan pie, slightly burnt cookies, blackberry, cherry and unidentifiable vegetables. That left quite the impression! On the palate, the wine was weirdly bubbly (which was not noticeable when looking at the glass), with initially strong acidity. There were some earthy and cherry pie aromas, but in the middle it showed surprising bitter aromas. The finish was so, so. I don’t know. Something seemed off balance with the wine. The acidity was too strong for me. There were moments that were better, but overall I don’t think I will buy this again…

2005 Coume dell Mas Quadratur

2005 Coume dell Mas Collioure Quadratur

The second wine we had was a 2005 Coume del Mas Collioure Quadratur from Languedoc-Roussillon in France. I bought this wine during a blow out sale on Last Bottle Wines mostly because of its logo. I loved that! The price was right ($12). According to the wine guide Gault Millaut it retailed for 24 euros (over $30) when they reviewed it.

The winery is the opposite of Bartenura, owning a mere 8 hectares planted with red vines, 11 hectares in total. I was looking forward to trying this aged mix of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan.

In the glass, I found a very dark red wine, with hints of rust on the sides. The nose was perfumy with raspberry and blackberry aromas. Nina noticed butter and cookie aromas as well. On the palate, I got jammy berry aromas to begin with which soon gave way to tobacco and wood, with vanilla interspersed. The wine had decent acidity and the tannins seemed nicely integrated. The finish was a bit short and thinnish for me. I think this wine might be on its way out. It is still good, especially the beginning and mid-palate with its earthiness and rounded aromas. But the finish just wasn’t up to par. If you have a bottle, you might want to start drinking it soon…

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2010 Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese Grauschiefer

2010 Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese Grauschiefer

2010 Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese Grauschiefer

The second and final German wine we tried after our Finger Lakes Tasting was this Spätlese by Kurt Hain. Regular readers should by now be familiar with this winery, despite the fact that the wines are practically impossible to find in the US. At one point, Gernot Hain, the winemaker and current owner, told me that he saw no need to export because he was able to sell all his wines in Germany…

Let me give you some background (cobbled together from earlier posts):

The winery is located in Piesport, home of the Goldtröpfchen (literally “Gold droplets”). People in the United States mostly know the ubiquitous Piesporter Michelsberg, a cheap and sweet wine. That, unfortunately, is the least appealing vineyard in Piesport. Unlike the other Piesport vineyards Goldtröpfchen, Domherr and Falkenberg, it is not located on the Northern side of the Mosel, where it would get full sun exposure all day, but on the South bank of the river, in flat terrain that used to be farmland and was not used for growing wines until a couple of decades ago. The Goldtröpfchen, in contrast, features steep vineyards and some of the best wineries all have holdings there. Another thing one should know is that the Goldtröpfchen used to be much smaller and was extended significantly under the German Wine Act of 1971 (as happened to most well known vineyard sites in Germany).

Steep vineyards in the Goldtröpfchen

Steep vineyards in the Goldtröpfchen

The winery Kurt Hain has been one of my favorite wineries in the Mosel village of Piesport. Gernot Hain, the winemaker (follow the link for a photo and his philosophy), has been making high quality wines for quite a bit now, and they rarely fail to impress me. They have a balance and sophistication about them that just draws you in. There is someone who knows exactly what he is doing…and he is doing it remarkably well. Whenever I want to really impress friends that are not very familiar with German wines, I pull out one of his bottles. They hardly ever fail to make their point.

Hanging out with Gernot Hain

Hanging out with Gernot Hain

2010 was what many people called the crazy vintage along the Mosel: Lots of acidity and lots of sugar led to levels of each that were puzzling to many winemakers. It wasn’t easy to make great wines in that vintage but those who succeeded made wines that are to die for. They have all the beauty of ripe grapes, but then take you away with their rather racy acidity. It is unclear how they will age, but they are still drinking phenomenally right now!

But to the wine, one of two of Kurt Hain Spätlesen from the Goldtröpfchen. Gernot selects the grapes from different holdings in the vineyard that have different soil types, namely grey and red slate (Grauschiefer and Rotschiefer). He used to give them numbers to distinguish but as of late has started just putting Grauschiefer or Rotschiefer on the label which helps a lot (I am numerically illiterate). This wine was a Grauschiefer, so grey slate soils. In the glass, it had a great, light yellow color. In the nose, there was a combination of citrus and honey, with underlying white peach aroma. Just as gorgeous as a Mosel Riesling can be. On the palate, it was a classic, exciting 2010: light to medium-bodied, sweet. But boy was the sweetness carried by wonderful acidity that kept it fresh and enticing. The acidity never dominated the wine, just gave it structure. Stunning in its balance and fruit. Very long, lingering finish. Just an excellent piece of work.

I tried a 2007 vintage of this wine last year, the review is here.

The best thing, though, was the reaction by The Drunken Cyclist, whose Twitter post I am sharing here:

You’re welcome! :)

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2010 Bex Riesling Nahe

Bex Riesling

2010 Bex Riesling Nahe (Photo from the producer’s website)

So, the 2010 Bex Riesling Nahe marks Riesling’s return to this site! Regular readers may know by now that it is hard for me to walk past a bottle of Riesling on a display shelf without at least looking at it. There are some wines that I have not bought and am not considering buying (most of them come in blue bottles or play with German umlauts on the label in weird ways…), but when I saw this bottle I checked it out: A 2010 (a vintage I am very fond of for its acidity and because Nina and I got married that year), a German Riesling, a pretty cool looking bottle, grapes sourced from the Nahe region which I know hardly anything about, and the price tag of around $8 were the principal reasons.

I ended up buying it and opened the screwcapped wine the other night when we were in a Riesling kinda mood (when is that not the case you might rightly ask). The screwcap is by now no longer a sign of cheap(er) wines. A lot of German winemakers have switched to either screwcap or glass lids for their wines simply because the chance of a cork spoiling the wines is greater than with these closings. I miss the cork sound, but appreciate a winemaker’s decision to sell his wines in a way that better ensure I get to enjoy them.

I tried to find out more about the producer of this wine but it turned out to be tricky: The website shows clearly that it is meant for the party crowds without interest in who made it. It makes absolutely no mention of a producer, curiously labeling itself “Bex Winery”. The talk on the website is marketing gibberish deluxe (Sample: “A powerful departure from the norm, BEX Winery specializes in Riesling of unparalleled quality and flavor.”).  Luckily, German wines have to have the A.P. Nr. printed on their labels, a code making every filling unique and therefore one can discern who made the wine (I wrote more about that here). Unfortunately, this number is only meant for the wine authorities’ use so there is no online database to check it for consumers. However, a Google search showed that the “280” in this wine’s A.P. Nr. stands for Moselland eG, one of the largest German wine cooperatives.

Now, it could seem weird that Moselland, which is located at the Mosel (duh) would produce a wine with grapes from the Nahe region, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Many big producers do that.  Moselland makes a ton of different wines of varying degrees of quality and owns other cooperatives in the Palatinate and Rheinhessen. When I found out they produced this wine, I actually had mixed feelings…

But to the wine: The website states it has 9.5% ABV, 8.5g of acidity per liter and 2.9% of residual sugar (whatever that means, I am used to g/liter). Apparently, the Tasting Panel Magazine gave it 90 points. A comparison with its 2011 brother shows that that wine has less acidity (7g) but the same amount of residual sugar which one could have assumed given 2011s lower acidity levels in general.

The 2010 Bex Riesling Nahe was quite light in color, slightly greenish. In the nose, I got grapefruit and other citrus aromas. It was quite refreshing. On the palate, the wine felt rather heavy actually with a viscous mouthfeel (not what I expected at all). It is dry with a healthy acidity and aromas of grapefruit and lychee. The finish was quite peachy and nice. I actually enjoyed this wine quite a bit. Not complicated, refreshing, the acidity doing a good job. Nina however, did not like the wine very much. She ventured out and grabbed a bottle of 2010 Dr. L Riesling. I couldn’t blame her. While this wine was decent, there definitely are better wines around from the same year and around the same price point. Still, if you are looking for an affordable German Riesling that delivers rather typical flavors, this is a good starting point.

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