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“Midnight in Paris” Blind Tasting: The Whites

Finally I’m back home after 2 weeks of agitated travelling, and I have lots of stories to tell from my trip to Shanghai, and some more from my subsequent getaway to Paris. But let’s start time-incoherent with a blind-tasting that kicked off my weekend in Paris. I was a guest at my friend Didier’s home and, as usual, we couldn’t meet without popping a few corks. We each added a couple of bottles to this tasting and they were served to us mixed and blind by Didier’s wonderful wife Mizuki, who has developed a hand for pouring the right bottles. Of course, I mostly brought German wines, as I also know Didier has a weakness for these (one among a few) and they’re rather hard to get in France. Here’s the first half of the tasting, dedicated to the white wines.

2007 Château des Tours blanc

2007 Château des Tours, Côtes du Rhône – Pale golden color. Nose is a little closed, but also reminiscent of peaches – you might wanna think there’s Riesling somewhere. On the palate it hits with alcoholic strength and bitterness, quite unpleasant. There’s also some yeast notes, some herbs and traces of pear: I now realized it must be a Rhône white. The wine isn’t too long, except for the bitter-notes which now remind me of biting into a raw eggplant. We were also suspecting a cork flaw, but it didn’t really concretize as we tasted it over 3 days. Maybe some other defect? Quite a disappointing wine for coming out of the Château Rayas cellars.

2009 Keller Kirchspiel Riesling

2009 Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Trocken, Weingut Keller, Rheinhessen – Chalky and peachy Riesling nose, also some herbs. Not overly intense, but aromatic. It got stronger over the next 3 days, though. On the palate it appears light as a feather but with lots of flavor,with peach fruit and chalk-like minerals. On the other hand though, it seems to lack acidity and falls off a bit on the back-palate. So are the 2008 and 2010 the better Keller-vintages? For my taste, this Kirchspiel seems like a hint towards this conclusion. But I also instantly guessed this wine (pride!) which seems to prove it is conform to some kind of typical Kirchspiel-taste. A good wine nevertheless!

2007 Berg Schlossberg Riesling Breuer

2007 Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Trocken, Weingut Georg Breuer, Rheingau – I sense a little anise note in the nose but there’s lots more: some herbs, a glimpse of petrol, grapefruit, lemon… On the palate the wine feels tight and light but at the same time full with lots of minerals and fruit. Here’s Peach and citrus fruit again. The wine even has a tannic edge building up, could this be a way too young wine? Pleasure is great now, for sure: aromatics stick to the palate like glue and the empty glass smells on for minutes. You could qualify this one as “liquid rocks”. And the beautiful, balancing acidity makes me think of a “great white that requires some jaws” at the same time. Clearly the winner white of the evening, both for Didier and me. I guessed it a Riesling, wrong producer though. Should have known it’s that Breuer, already raved about it here.

1995 Coulée de Serrant Nicolas Joly

1995 Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, Nicolas Joly, Savennières  – Robe is between a shiny copper and brown with a reddish hue, there’s clearly some age here. Nose is of raisins, feels sweet, also with some honey and a slight walnut touch. Hence it’s kind of surprising to take a sip and then realize it’s actually dry on the palate. The flavors here are again of dried fruit, somehow dried figs stand out, but there’s also a touch of orange peel. The wine shows a certain tightness and a little heat from the alcohol, but which is not bothering at all. Further, although the wine reminds me a bit of (over)aged Riesling, the taste of oxidation isn’t as pronounced and there’s still a persevering freshness. Also, the reappearing walnut notes are rather reminiscent of Jura wines. It is definitely an interesting wine that is still good to drink with aromatic depth, I am sure though I’d enjoy much more drinking a younger Coulée. By the way, it didn’t change much over 3 days although the label states it profits from long airing.

2009 Kirchspiel Riesling Seehof

2009 Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Trocken, Weingut Seehof, Rheinhessen – Still lots of CO2 coming out of this one. The nose is one of a Riesling with some peach and apples, not too intense at first. On the palate it shows a slight sweet edge with a hint of brown sugar and also some chalky minerality, but I’m alone on this one. Compared to the Kirchspiel of Keller this one has a better acidity but on the other hand it appears to have much less depth, aromatically speaking. A nice wine still, that had showed better before (unless my memory is playing tricks on me) but still represents a bargain at 10 Euro.

2001 Pazo Senorans Albarino Seleccion de Anada

2001 Pazo Señoráns  Albariño Seleccion de Añada, Rías Baixas – The nose of this wine contains a beam of stink reminding “wet dogs” or even a dead mouse (smelled from far), but there’s also a yeast aroma underneath. Fruit is hard to find or define.  On the palate it shows juicy and concentrated structure-wise, but something’s not right here: a dusty thing is going on and even if there seems to be fruit hidden somewhere underneath, it is covered by an unbreakable layer of dirt. I definitely get a little something of honey but sadly, I had to agree with Didier when he claimed that this wine is dead. I am quite disappointed since this is supposed to be one of the finest Spanish Albariños. I am somehow even more disappointed that the wine shop sold it to me for nearly 30 Euro. Ok, it was in their bargain and remainders section, but still!

2008 St. Nikolaus Riesling Kuehn

2008 Mittelheim St. Nikolaus Riesling Trocken, Peter Jakob Kühn, Rheingau – Dark golden color. Lots going on in the nose: some yeast, peach fruit, bread and biscuit dough, a hint of petrol but then again: not really petrol. It changed on day 2 and 3, showing more herbal notes mixed to Riesling fruit and definitely no petrol. An intense beauty, for sure with the most intense nose of all whites of tonight. On the palate it’s also the most voluptuous of all 3 Rieslings, but without appearing baroque or overdone. There’s always a certain balance and roughness through the bright acidity and a grippy, maybe tannic feel. The peach fruit and herbs mix again and are underlined by a great mineral aspect, again reminding chalk. This wine shows flawless proportions and dynamism, it has curves but isn’t fat: I have the image of Scarlett Johansson in my mind. So how come the Breuer is still our winner of the night? I guess the latter shows more Burgundian refinement (Natalie Portman?) while the Kuhn has this high-end gourmand and gouleyant character. A hard decision! Both are great, but also the Keller follows closely, probably a safe number 3!

Anyway, good times! Reds are following soon!

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  1. Magnus Heinz Said,

    Schön. Am Samstag hatten wir zu Hause den 2008er St. Nikolaus zu einem in Mangold eingehüllten Schweinefilet. Das hat grandios gepasst. Beeindruckt hat uns der “ernste” Charakter des Weins. Tiefgründig und nobel.
    Beste Grüße
    M.H.

  2. Blindtaster Said,

    Ja, er hat auf jeden Fall Charakter! Verstehe auch, was Sie mit “ernst” meinen, aber er ist auch gleichermassen saftig und fruchtbetont. Die Verbindung mit Mangold klingt auf jeden Fall spannend, vielleicht hat diese aber auch etwas die Bitterkeit im Wein betont? Grüße! Alex

  3. Magnus Heinz Said,

    Der Mangold war überhaupt kein problem und wir haben nichts Bitteres wahrgenommen. Mangold ist ja näher an Roter Bete als an Spinat, hat wohl keine Oxalsäure. Rote bete ist immer ein sehr schöner Riesling-Partner. Den Doosberg haben wir kürzlich auch mit großem Vergnügen genossen. Von beiden gibt es noch etwas im Keller und jetzt darf er sich mal Zeit nehmen. Mit einer Flasche “Amphore” wartet noch ein größeres Abenteuer auf uns. Frau Kühn hat uns beim Besuch vor zwei Jahren schon mal ein Schlückchen probieren lassen und unsere Erwartungen auf etwas ganz Besonderes geweckt.
    beste Grüße
    M.H.

  4. Blindtaster Said,

    Interessanter Einwurf, da hab ich wohl den Mangold auf die schnelle etwas falsch eingeordnet. Hab ich auch nicht so oft auf dem Teller. Die “Amphore” hab ich auch in Weingut probiert: Ein singulärer Wein. Da muss ich sofort an die “Vins Naturels” aus Frankreich denken, die dort zur Zeit en vogue sind (viele zu Recht!). Grüße.

  5. Magnus Heinz Said,

    Wegen der Oxalsäure habe ich nochmal nachgeschaut. die ist sowohl im mangold als auch in roter bete, aber geringer als im Spinat. Der Clou bei dem Rezept (habe meine Frau noch mal genau interviewt) ist die doppelte Ummantelung. Erst eine Masse aus gerösteten Croutons und gemörserten Wachholderbeeren, ein Blatt Mangold dann als Hülle. Der Wachholder hat sich toll bemerkbar gemacht und ist möglicherweise das brückenmodul zum St. Nikolaus. Wir hatten jedenfalls enormen Spaß. An die französischen “Vins naturels” müssen wir uns auch mal wagen.
    Beste Grüße
    M.H.

  6. Blindtaster Said,

    Das Rezept klingt sehr interessant, werde ich am besten selbst ausprobieren! Vielen Dank für den Tipp! Gruß

  7. Magnus Heinz Said,

    Zusatz: Nelken und etwas Zimt sind in der “panade” auch noch mit von der Partie. Mangold wird in Essigwasser blanchiert.
    Beste Grüße
    M.H.
    P.S. am 29. April verkosten wir bei Kühns auf der Terrasse den neuen Jahrgang

  8. Blindtaster Said,

    Ihre Frau scheint ja eine wahrliche Zauberin am Herd zu sein, die Kombination klingt zu verführerisch! Danke nochmal für die Tipps. Kühn am 29. hört sich auch verlockend an, es steht aber noch nicht fest, ob ich dann im Lande sein werde. Grüße!

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