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David M. Bueker

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December: Holiday Sweets

by David M. Bueker » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:28 pm

It's the holiday season for most, so to keep it as festive as possible we'll be focusing on sweet wines for December.

Let's keep it fairly loose. Sweet wines from anywhere. Bring out the Sauternes, German BA, TBA and Eiswein, the delectable wines of Kracher, Port(!!), Loire Moelleux & Quarts de Chaume, Alsatian SGN, those Aussie Liqueur Muscats and just about any other nectar you can think of.

Forget the Christmas cookies - they rarely live up to the hype. Grab a sweet wine & settle in for some holiday cheer!
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Dave Erickson

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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Dave Erickson » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:43 am

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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by JC (NC) » Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:46 pm

I'm ready. I will probably open a couple Ports, a late harvest Riesling from Washington State, possibly a Sauternes, and possibly a Vin Santo.
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Bill Hooper

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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bill Hooper » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:50 pm

And just where the HELL am I going to find any sweet wines in the Pfalz? :shock:
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by David M. Bueker » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Bill Hooper wrote:And just where the HELL am I going to find any sweet wines in the Pfalz? :shock:


Catoir!!
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Salil » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:02 pm

Not to forget Darting, Lingenfelder, Eugen Muller, Messmer, Minges...

Surely not everyone in the Pfalz has been sucked that far into the trocken dogma.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:57 pm

Echo Dave`s idea of Moscato! I have tasted some fine examples over the years.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bill Hooper » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:03 pm

Yeah, just messing around. You can find lots of Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslesen in the Pfalz (my guess is that more Riesling BA and TBA is made here than in any other region in Germany.) It's just the delicately off-dry or sweet table wines that are a problem.

It seems that M-C is sold out of the Rieslaner Auslese, but there is some Muskateller TBA and Rieslaner TBA still available (but at 80€/375 :cry: ) I might have to splurge.

I don't know how you guys feel, but I dislike writing tasting notes on dessert wines. It is too hard to put into words just how much concentration is contained under glass (for me.)

I'll do my best.

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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:06 pm

I agree with Bill about tasting dessert wines, especially the really sweet ones. Port has a lot more appeal in my opinion but that is just me!! As I said before, I think I might focus on some muscat/moscato however? Fair selection downtown.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Jenise » Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:09 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Echo Dave`s idea of Moscato! I have tasted some fine examples over the years.


Speaking of Moscato and sweet wines, yesterday I took the coolest wine to Bill's monthly Vancouver lunch group: a 1927 Domaine Bory Rivesaltes. It's only the second Rivesaltes I've ever had and the first one that was even vintage, let alone seriously aged if even that descriptor isn't an understatement. The very occasional notes on this board about this style of wine have intrigued (Tim York, didn't you have a 1909?) and so I jumped at the chance to buy a few bottles of this when I got an internet offer from a California supplier I deal with from time to time.

And: WOW. The chumps were duly stumped: first, just to sort out what in the heck it was, and secondly to guess the vintage as the wine's so youthful that at first it seemed but ten, 15 years out. Then they guess 70's, 60's, and so on, and finally giving up when "30's" still got a 'no'. At that point, I hit them with a history quiz. "What year did Lindbergh make his first transatlantic flight to Paris?" "What year did Al Jolson open The Jazz Singer on Broadway?" "What year was the first Ryder Cup in London, in which the U.S. beat England?" "What year was the first transatlantic phone line, between New York and London, activated?" Talk about fun!

The wine was a light golden tan in color, and very slightly cloudy. The nose was somewhat Madeira-like, but refreshingly lighter in body and with brighter acidity; with lovely scents reminiscent of a mug of tea seasoned with honey, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and a dash of whiskey, the kind that is so good when you have a bad cold. Also, notes of date, fig, maple and dried pineapple that linger on and on in the finish.
Very worthy way to finish out the last lunch of 2011, and mosdef one of my best wines this year.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bill Hooper » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:37 am

2007 Weingut ########### Mußbacher Eselshaut Gewürztraminer Eiswein –Pfalz, Germany 12,0% alc.

I’ve withheld the name of the winery, but I’ll say that they have a very good local reputation and many fans, though I generally do not like their style.

This wine has so many strikes against it that I should have my head examined for purchasing it, but I have to admit that I was curious, thought that I could learn something, and the price, though not cheap, wasn’t too bad. But really, this is the perfect storm of Eiswein failure -and fail it does. Spectacularly.

First of all, Gewürztraminer is a poor choice for Eiswein. It has very low acidity if left to ripen into Auslese-level, which it routinely does and certainly does before the first hard frost. Low acidity is something that is unthinkable for the creation of classic Eiswein which relies on acid to balance the highly-concentrated sugar contained in the frozen berries.
2007 was also a vintage not prized for acidity; in some cases it had rather low acidity. I am left to wonder whether or not these bunches came from lateral shoots and if not, what the picking date could possibly have been.

Eiswein requires immediate whole-cluster pressing so that the grapes don’t warm up in the press or in holding vessels. But Gewürztraminer is a very highly-aromatic grape variety which depends on a rather long maceration on the skins to extract all of the compounds that give its typical, amazingly floral bouquet. You simply cannot have it both ways without Cryo (which isn’t allowed in Germany).
Finally, twelve percent alcohol is rather high. It may work for some Eisweine, but this wasn’t one of them.

So how did it taste? Like a much muted Gewürztraminer BA with too much alcohol. It was too dry, too creamy, and too low in alcohol for me to take it very seriously.

Cheers,
Bill
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Hoke » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:32 pm

Had a 1999 Chateau d'Yquem with friends in Bordeaux. Also had a 2008 Chateau d'Yquem while we were touring the Chateau on a sunny November afternoon.

They were both good. :D
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by David Lole » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:48 pm

Unlike Bill Hooper's most disappointing experience above with the German Gewurztraminer Eiswein, I had the considerable pleasure of opening a superb late-picked French (Alsace) version of this variety with Hugel's 1989 Selection de Grains Nobles. Languishing in my "drinkers" fridge for some time, I took the plunge of serving this with an apple crumble at dinner last night and although not the world's most perfect match, the small group at the table seemed happy with the combo. The fill level of the bottle was exemplary, less than 1.5 cm from the base of the cork which was extracted in one piece with that most reassuring "pop" of a good seal whilst leaving the bottle. The wine's colour was a most attractive glowing yellow gold - remarkably youthful for a wine of such an age. The bouquet was an ethereal mix of oranges, lush tropical fruit, apricots and sweet baking spices housed under a generous lick of gewurtz lychee. In the mouth, the wine excelled with abundant freshness, a beautiful rounded, almost creamy texture and plenty of sweetness in the forepalate, terrific flavour profile (ditto what I found on the nose) and then, most suprisingly, a clean, almost dry finish, fashioned in the classic Trimbach mould, with terrific carry, cleansing acidity and a lightness that had me bedazzled. There's just the slightest hint of excessive alcohoic lift in the finish that detracts. This lovely example is testimony to what can be done with gewurztraminer given all the right ingredients - Hugel, a master of the style, a great vintage, the quality grapes that result from such a harvest and then some decent cellaring for two decades.
Cheers,

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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:10 am

2007 Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé
This seems nuttier than prior vintages of this wine that I have had, but still posesses that striking fresh apricot element that makes it so appealing to me. The wine is not overly syrupy, and overall quite fresh in mouthfeel. Good stuff as usual.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:12 am

David L,

Nice note on the Hugel. Hugel SGN seems to have largely disappeared from the market, so I don't get to try it as often as I would like these days.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Andrew Bair » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:28 pm

Bill -

Sorry to hear about the lackluster Gewurz Eiswein. I'm guessing that it wasn't from a producer who I have heard of - nobody that I know of who owns land in Eselshaut grows Gewurz, as far as I know.
As David L. said, there are certainly some nice Alsatian SGNs from Gewurz (including the Weinbach QGN).

David B. -

Thank you for the note on the Donnafugata Ben Rye. I have enjoyed earlier vintages of this wine in the past.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by David M. Bueker » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:05 am

Well Catoir has Gewurz in the Eselhaut. Haven't seen a Gewurz Eiswein from them in years though.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bill Hooper » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:38 am

No, it wasn't MC. The producer may be imported to the US, but I don't think so. Either way, I try not to post notes on wines that I don't like. This one was a good example though of a style that doesn't often work and I thought that it might be of interest to folks.

I love Gewürztraminer though (again -after a long and rocky relationship). It is absolutely a wonderful variety for table wine with or without RS and makes for amazing BA and TBA (and VT and SGN) where Maische Standzeit (skin maceration) is a necessity. Eiswein is just the opposite in that it needs to be very quickly pressed. I've tasted a few Gewürztraminer Eisweine through the years and feel that it never lives up to the billing for reasons that I've outlined above.

It is a difficult variety to cultivate -maybe the most difficult to produce excellent wine with, but well worth the effort.

I haven't seen a MC Gewürz in a few years. I don't think that they still make one.

Cheers,
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by ChaimShraga » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:17 pm

Speaking of Pfalz Gewurtz, I really enjoyed the Koelher-Ruprechts. Sadly, the importer seems to have given up on that specific wine.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:27 pm

Interesting discussion on Gewurztraminer, learnt something here.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Carl Eppig » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:39 pm

2008 Tobin James Charisma ($20 U.S. 500ml). This is as it has been for several years a blend of Late Harvest Barbera and Late Harvest Zinfandel It is a lovely after dinner sipper with creamy strawberry, guava, mango, nectarine and many tropical flavors. Happily it always come with an effective bottle stopper.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Andrew Bair » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:55 pm

Two from this past weekend - just got around to catching up on typing my notes.

2005 Domini Castellare di Castellina Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC “S. Niccolò”
60% Malvasia/40% Trebbiano Toscano. From 375 ml bottle. Lightly oxidative nose of roasted nuts, caramel, and baking spices. Moderately viscous, smooth, elegant, and well balanced, with good underlying acidity. More of an oxidative flavor on the palate; tastes of pecan pralines, roasted chestnuts, orange liqueur, and Tawny Port-like woody notes. Excellent.
The bird on the label this time is the Stiaccino (Saxicola rubetra), know n in English as the Whinchat.

NV Adriano Ramos-Pinto 10 Year Tawny Porto Quinta de Ervamoira
I can’t remember seeing a single-Quinta Tawny Port before. 30% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 25% Tinta Barroca, and 15% Touriga Franca. Full-bodied, fresh, lively, well balanced, and sweet, with aromas/flavors of caramel, wood, roasted nuts, honey, and oranges. Good length. Excellent younger Tawny.

Oddly enough, I don't have any German sweet wines that are really ready to open right now. Sorry. :cry:
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Joe Moryl » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:22 am

NV Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserve Porto
We always have a bottle of fortified wine around for sipping, and most of the time it is not a 20 year old tawny or vintage port, but something more humble. This week's victim is the Dona Antonia, which is a tawny that lies between the basic tawny and the 10 year old tawny - according to Sogrape's website, this has wines aged 4 to 12 years with the average age of 7. The color is still deceptively ruby with just a bit of amber creeping in. Very bright and balanced on the palate, with marzipan, raisins and bitter orange notes. Good length. The nose is a bit hot, which is a slight detraction. When you don't want to spring for Ferreira's 20 year tawny, the lovely Duque de Braganca, this is a solid purchase.
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Re: December: Holiday Sweets

by Fredrik L » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:31 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Well Catoir has Gewurz in the Eselhaut. Haven't seen a Gewurz Eiswein from them in years though.


I haven´t seen any Gewurz from Franzen and Catoir in years. I thought the vines had been up-rooted. Gewurz Eiswein is indeed tricky, the best results I have seen were from Seppi Landmann in Soultzmatt. (The one Bill mentioned was probably from Schäfer.)

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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