Monthly Archives: August 2017

Pflüger of Pfalz

I met German winegrower Alexander Pflüger at a tasting yesterday, and tried the five wines that he had brought. Pflüger took over the family estate in 2010, fine-tuned the viticultural practise and started exporting. All the work had been organic since the 1980’s, but some biodynamic principles were introduced, and there is still a constant work to maintain a healthy biodiversity.

20170825_110542 Alexander Pflüger

The farm is found in Bad Dürkheim, in the central-north part of Pfalz. All the wines are authentic, full of character and tell about their origin.

The vines grow on a terrace in Michelsberg vineyard. The St. Michael chapel is located at the top of the vineyard, and there has been winegrowing here since the 17th century. The vineyard faces south, and the soil consists of fossil limestone and a mixture of red and yellow sandstone. The must is macerated for about fourteen hours, and there is no filtering nor clarification before the spontaneous fermentation in large 2400 liters old wooden vats. Batonnnage is carried out over a six month period.

Pflüger Pflüger’s Pferd in Pfalz…

In Pfalz vintage 2016 gave generally fruit-driven, elegant wines. This one is certainly no exception.

Michelsberg Riesling Trocken 2015 (Weingut Pflüger)

Light yellow, a touch of green. Clean, fruity, appley with a touch of lemon and canteloupe melon. It’s a relatively rich wine, but with a steely structure that keeps it wonderfully together in a perfect balance. It’s still young though, and I expect that it will continue to reveal more layers over the next few years.

Price: Low-medium

Food: Fish, shellfish, light meat, cheeses…

 

A new chapter at Ainé

It was some thirty years ago that I wandered through the legendary Chapelle vineyard in Hermitage. Little did I think at the time about the level of organic practice. Since then I have tasted an occasional wine, and to my taste many have been good, especially during the latest years.

And it was around ten years ago that the Frey family purchased the property, and Caroline Frey took over as the new oenologist. They started converting the estate vineyards to biodynamic principles.

This Côte du Rhône has its background from 40 years old vines of grenache 55%, syrah 35 and mourvèdre 10. The yields were low and it was finally raised in steel tanks.

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Biographie 2015 (P. Jaboulet Aîné)

Dark purple red. Fruits from garden and woods (raspberry, black cherries, blackberry), and an amount of typical spices. Quite fresh with decent acidity.

Price: Low

Food: A variety of produce, from meats to tasty salads, hard cheeses…

 

 

This is not Cava

Much can be said about Cava. The Spanish wish for not to be compared to the more famous and more glamorous Champagne will be left aside this time. But Cava is not a wine DO (meaning designated area) like others, in fact the map is a real labyrinth denoting production method rather than geography. During the last couple of weeks we saw both the Rioja contigent announce that they would leave DO Cava and label their sparkling wines under their own geographical name, and the Cava council has declared 12 vineyards to be of an extraordinary quality. It remains to be seen what effect this can have.

The vineyard where this wine comes from is not among them. Why? Manuel and Pepe Raventós, father and son, decendants of the founder of Spanish sparkling wine, left DO Cava some years ago. One can maybe say that this was to get away from the general poor reputation of Cava, but surely they wanted to focus on the positive side: To create an interest in the river basin where the wine is born. It’s called Conca del Ríu Anoia, which is different from any other sparkling wines.

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The estate totals 90 hectars between the Montserrat massif and the coastal ranges, where respect for the existing biodiversity is paramount, and the land is worked biodynamically.

The Textures de Pedra is an expression of the local black varieties xarel.lo vermell, bastard negre and sumoll, the Penedès climate and a stony soil, and the result of long ageing on the lees. The name suggests the stony origin in the vineyard called Vinya Més Alta (‘the highest vineyard’) that is found on top of the Turó del Serral, which is the highest point of their estate. Raventós explains that the roots have to dig deeper into colder layers, thus the concentration and structure in the wine. The wine was aged 42 months on fine lees.

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Textures de Pedra 2011 (Raventós i Blanc)

Deep yellow. Clear evidence of autolysis (toasted bread and nuts), baked apples and a citric note. Concentrated fruit, completely dry and with inspiring and food-friendly acidity. Talking about textures, it has a dry mouthfeel and the expected stony minerality.

Price: Medium

Food: Light meat, lamb, carpaccio, a variety of fish dishes, and the best serrano hams

 

From the dramatic interior Galicia

From the steep slopes of Ribeira Sacra in the interior of Galicia comes this charming white wine. These canyons are some of the most dramatic you can think of.

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The Carballocovo vineyard by Doade (Sober municipality) overlooking the river Sil (photo: Algueira)

Amandi, one of the five subzones of DO Ribeira Sacra, is essencially a small canyon by the river Sil. It has schist and slate-rich soils, vines planted on “solcacos”, small terraces and an extreme Atlantic climate.

Fernando González and Ana Pérez run 11ha of old vines in Amandi. And so they have done for more than 30 years, but it was only in 1998 that they started to bottle their own wines.

I have tasted the wines of Algueira at a few occasions, and I like their reds and whites, all from autoctonous grapes. This one is from godello, hand-picked, spontaneously fermented, and treated in inox tanks.

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Brandan 2015 (Adega Algueira)

Light yellow with some green. Stony, perfumed aroma, citric notes, some herbs. Full in the mouth, with yellow fruits and good level of acidity.

Price: Low

Food: Fish, shellfish, cheeses…