This past week I've had two surprises. Firstly, I've been smitten by two two unheralded German grapes. Secondly, those same two wines got my attention as examples of the potential virtues of wines aged under screwcap.
The notes first, and then my thoughts on the screwcap revelation.
Villa Wolf, Silvaner, Pfalz 2006
Low key but fresh and nice nose of orchard fruit, with a hint of flowers, petrol, and smokey mineral. Full bodied and richly textured on the palate, with slightly tart plum upfront, pineapple, lime, petrol, a hint of guava, lots of mineral, a touch of sour cream, all with steely acidity. In many ways similar to an excellent Riesling, but fatter and richer in texture. I like this a lot. Under screwcap, and very fresh. 5 more years? 3 Stars [9/23/13]
Lingenfelder, Dornfelder, Pfalz 2004
Excellent, wonderful, and aromatically fascinating nose: forest floor, roses, campfire embers, a hint of evergreen, a hint of leather/tobacco, and a prominent note of citrus oil, all on top of nice notes of sweet red berries and a hint of cassis, and with nice undertones of dark, rich earth. On the palate, a note of pure, fresh raspberry upfront (like biting into one), black cherry, red and black currant, something almost like a hint of mint, cola, prominent citrus, and stone/mineral. Medium bodied, soft and delightful, but with that vein of citrusy acidity keeping all in balance. Showing maturity but only in good ways. I love it! best German red I've had, in fact. Drink now. Screwcap. 3.5 Stars [9/27/13]
Until now, my impression of wines that had aged for more than a few years under screwcap had been that they were merely preserved, but had not truly aged, at least not in the direction of "traditional" maturity. But, these two Germans had what are distinct notes of maturity, and yet were still perfectly fresh an clean, with none of the notes, good or bad, that come with the slow oxygen exposure allowed by corks. This was a revelation. A few years ago, Hoke had suggested that we might someday come to prefer the character of wines aged under screwcap. I said at the time that I would only be in favor or screwcaps that could somehow allow "traditional" aging. Now, while I expect that traditional maturity will continue to hold sway over my palate, I'm now quite ready to explore screwcap wines as an alternate path with its own merits.
Last edited by Ryan M
on Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)