Category Archives: Travel

Marie’s Kellerkinder 2015

Kellerkinder, it sounds so sweet. Marie’s little children, the 2015 wines fresh up from the cellar. You could have suspected them to be a little shy, so newly awekened and hastily brought up in daylight for public display – and taste. Well, perhaps a few of them, a little, on the nose, but overall it seemed like they loved to be on stage; “we are here, come taste us, we are so lovely!”

Villa im Paradies, Familie Menger-Krug, Deidesheim

We, the two winelovers from Sweden, where on the road from Alsace and had actually set the GPS on Landau in southern Pfalz, when we decided to continue a bit further north. To Deidesheim, where we last year met with Marie Menger-Krug. Then it was in the middle of March, cold and still no leaves on trees and bushes. We wanted to see the garden behind Villa im Paradies dressed in green. And we wanted to see Marie again. No appointment made, so just hoping for luck.

Vinothek, Villa im Paradies, Kellerkinder 2015, Menger-Krug

Now we can assure you. Villa im Paradies’ garden is beautiful in green, just as we thought it would be. A relaxing place, so nice just to sit under the big tree, sipping on glass of white.

Vinothek, Villa im Paradies, Kellerkinder 2015, Menger-Krug

Wait, what’s up? We see a long row of wine coolers and bottles on a table outside the vinothek.

We ask if Marie is there. We are lucky, She is.

Marie Menger-Krug

So good to see Marie again, even if it’s just a short meeting. Full of energy and very happy with the new vintage. She has other guests waiting for her, but insists that we must stay and taste all the new wines.

Jahrgangspresentation weekend, she explains, a presentation of the new 2015 vintage. Aha, that explains the line up of wines.  We must have missed the sign outside.

So, we sit down under the huge green parasol and and tuck into the wines. However, Marie, we must admit, not all of them.

 Villa im Paradies, Kellerkinder 2015, Menger-Krug

Beautiful, that is the general impression: young (of course), clean, refreshing acidity, minerality and that so important mouth feel. Boxes ticked off.

We start with the off-dry, lightly aromatic Motzenbäcker-Pfalz Muskateller QbA with nice mouthfeel and length. The Motzenbäcker-Pfalz Sauvignon Blanc QbA trocken is refreshing, green of gooseberries and elderflower and enjoyable palate feel.

Then a real hit! Marie 2015, Motzenbäcker-Pfalz trocken.
We liked Marie’s first vintage of Marie, the 2014, but now the 2015 is superb. A Riesling – Weissburgunder blend, picking up the best of each variety. A chalky minerality, lemon, green pears and a bit spicieness. Dry, well balanced, fills every inch of the palate with delicate, aromatic aromas, fresh integreted acidity and a gorgeous length. Energetic!

Three Weissburgunder follows. The Bechtheimer Rosengarten Spätlese trocken from Rheinhessen becomes our favourite with its deep flavours, fresh young green fruit, pears and lemon and a bit smokey, chalky minerality and superb mouth feel and length. (All three Weissburgunders are dry, but this one has a little bit more residual sugar. Perhaps that seduces us?)

Riesling Alte Reben 2015, Menger-Krug

Outstanding is the Riesling Alte Reben, Ruppersberger Reiterpfad Spätlese trocken, Motzenbäcker-Pfalz. Concentrated rich aromas, almost dry fruitiness with focus on lemon. A bit spicieness. Crispy, high acidity, fresh minerality. Superb on the palate. Want!

But also the other two Rieslings, the Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Kabinett trocken and  the Riesling …dem Himmel so nah! Ruppertsberger Reiterpfad Spätlese trocken show very well. Riesling role models with high, integrated acidity, minerality, balance, length and superb mouth feel. Especially the Reiterpfad shows a lovely cotton fabric texture. We would gladly put a number of these in our cellar.

However, we have to be patient and wait. Wait till all the little wines graduate from Menger-Krug’s finishing school and as bottled adults are prepared for a life outside the cosy cellar.

Vinothek, Villa im Paradies, Kellerkinder 2015, Menger-Krug

Suddenly so dark in the garden. The lurking thunderstorm had reached Deidesheim. We moved inside for the last wines. Rain poured down, electricity disappeared and candles lit up the vinothek for us and some other guests without umbrellas.

The clock had passed opening hours since long when we hurriedly walked through the rain. Then we saw the sign. The one we missed a couple of hours earlier: Kellerkinder 2015.

Kellerkinder 2015, Villa im Paradies, Familie Menger-Krug, Deidesheim

Previously on Lovely winegrapes about Marie Menger-Krug and our visit in Deidesheim 2015:

 

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Distilled Salwey

I nibble gingerbreads and sip on Salwey spirits. At last. The Salways are delicious but He has been stingy. We visited Kaiserstuhl in March, but the Trester was not opened until a couple of weeks ago. So tonight, when the cat’s away… I  look around, find the Apfelbrand. And the gingerbread tin.

Sandi Benzarti at Weingut Salwey-0198

In the winery in Oberrotweil it is Sandi Benzarti who puts his soul in the making of the spirits. Cellarmaster for the wines and master distiller. A responsibility including the column still as well as the cellar where the flavours slowly grow and mature. The ones not on barrel is stored in big brown stoneware vessels, reminding me of old, traditional Höganäs stoneware from the south of Sweden.

Not only pomace, the left-over from the wine production, is put through the distiller. Fruit are also found among the raw material. Apple is a speciality, where the fruit pulp is distilled directly, i.e. skipping the step to first make juice from the apples.

Even if the range has been tightened up the last years, I count to about 15 different spirits on the list. What to choose? At the recommendation of my host I put a Trester matured in oak barrel and an Apfelbrand on the purchase list.

Salwey Destillat

Trester vom Kaiserstuhl is distilled from Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) pomace and then matured three years on oak barrel. The alcohol, 45%, attacks but softens fast to fruity notes. A lot of flavour, from the start to the very long end. Suits my taste buds, very fine!

Rinzbergwasser Apfelbrand is made of apples grown around Glottertal in the south of  Schwartzwald. Three years on barrel for this one too. 42%. The nose full of yellow fruit, soft and spicy. On the palate additional notes of almond paste. Soft, focussed, pensil in its very good length. Excellent, delicious and my favourite!

Both really nice pairings to Nyåker’s Gingerbreads. Better put these bottles out of sight and save to Advent.

Sandi Benzarti at Weingut Salwey, Oberrotweil

Länk till Weingut Salwey’s homepage, list of spirits.  

Previously on Lovely Wine Grapes about Weingut Salwey and our trip in Pfalz and Baden:
-Salwey in Grauburgunder Heaven
-Bone dry Salwey
-Kaiserstuhl Weekend
-Wine Route Impressions from Pfalz and Baden
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Weingut Salwey winery in Oberrotweil, Kaiserstuhl

Bone dry Salwey

Driest around Kaiserstuhl they say. Philipp confirms. Thats how it is. Minus 10 degrees Öechsle the latest harvests. Lower alcohol comes as a consequence. The essence lies in the acidity, which in this rather hot area calls for earlier harvests. Or, as sometimes happen, a combination of an early harvest together with a later to optimize flavours and acidity level in the wine.

Weingut Salwey winery in Oberrotweil, Kaiserstuhl

Konrad Salwey was one of three reasons for our trip to Pfalz and Baden early this spring. We met him, together with Monika Dapprich from Siegrist in Pfalz and Robert Schätzle from Schloss Neuweier in the north of Baden, in the impressive line of German VDP producers gathered for the Sommeliers’ Day in Gothenburg in the beginning of the year.

Konrad Salway, Weingut SalwayWith a yearly production of around 300.000 bottles Weingut Salwey is one of the bigger producers around Kaiserstuhl in the South of  Baden. Member in VDP since 1926.  The Salwey family has a history of wine growing in Kaiserstuhl since the middle of the 17th century, but it was in 1950 that the present winery in Oberrotweil was started by Benno Salwey. Konrad is the third generation and took the whelm after his father Wolf-Dietrich’s demise in 2011.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Konrad Salwey again. He was in sick bed, but Philipp Hettich who takes part of the cellar work during harvest, is involved with the blending of the wines and work as a sales representative, welcomed and guided around the winery in Oberrotweil.

Philipp Hettich at Weingut Salwey-58

In the barrel cellar we also got a chat with Sandi Benzarti who came to Salwey 33 years ago. The mechanic from Tunisia who became cellarmaster with responsibility for all the wines in barrel, found in the cellars. And destiller master. Because this place is not just the origin for fine wines, but also for stronger beverages.

However, on this rather chilly day in March, it is the barrels with  Spätburgunder that require attention. The humidity is high in the cellar tunnel, built as late as 1997, but the content of the barrels still evaporate. To the delight of the cellar angels, a yearly total of 1000 liters rise from the barrels. Topping up is needed every week. Each time, a days job.

Sandi Benzarti at Weingut Salwey-0198

Weingut Salwey red wine cellar

Two grape varieties rule at Salwey, counting for around 80% of the production from the 40 hectars, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), half of each. On third place we find the Weissburgundern (Pinot Blanc) with 18% and then only two percent are left for some additional classical German varieties. The grapes for the higher qualities come from vulcanic soil in the west of Kaiserstuhl. The yields are lower here than on the loess terraces on the eastern parts of Kaiserstuhl.

It is almost a liberating feeling, after the first overwhelming experiences of super long wine lists from so many producers, to be able to focus on three grapes in three qualities: the entry level wine, gutswein, then “RS” Reserve Salwey and on the top, the grand cru wines, Grosses Gewächs (GG) from different sites.

Salwey white wine

Salwey’s dry Grauburgunder is a real favourite. Super dry, complex, light and fresh, sailing among the highest summer clouds in the heaven of Grauburgunder/Pinot Gris, that was the summary in the last post.

The samples from the grand cru sites Eichberg and Henkenberg 2013, tasted a week Before bottling, confirmed the impression. Attractive, palate filling and slender Grauburgunders, where some extra nerve in the Eichberg brought it to the favourite position. Philipp thought the 2013 to have great storage potential, even better than the 2012. Would love to go back and fill our car boot.

The Weissburgundern is also very good. Henkenberg GG Weissburgunder 2012 paints with yellow fruits, butteriness and floral notes. Fills the palate beautifully with good acidity, tension and nerve. Delicious from the vulcanic soil topped with loess and calcareous clay.

Salwey white wine

Up to 2007 Salwey’s vinification was traditional with destemming, very clear juice and quick fermentation. But in 2008 Konrad went for new tactics. For all wines, at the same time (no cautious use of smaller test vinifications, oh no, full scale from day one). Today the grapes are destemmed and then left for about 24 hours of maceration. Then slow pressing and no sedimentation or clarification of the must. Fermentation with the natural yeast.  Then to barrel. Battonage or not? Depends on the vintage. And if so, most often only up to the start of the malolactic fermentation, which usually starts by itself. Malo is made on all wines, whites as well as reds.

2003 was the last year Konrad’s father used small barriques for the white wines. It became too powerful. Today larger oak barrels are used. The oldest 40 years, the newest only a few. The wood comes from Kaiserstuhl, but the barrells are made of coopers in Burgundy. All wines get 12 months in barrel.

“In general, Kaiserstuhl is more influenced by Burgundy than Alsace,” emphasized Philipp. The use of oak barrels is one example, the drier wines another, not to forget the admiration of the Burgundy style. And that even though Alsace is just a short distance away, on the other side of the Rhine.

Salwey Spätburgunder wine

We continue with the reds. Philipp explains that the philosophy for the Spätburgunder is to make it fruity and soft with pronounced cold climat character. The entry level Salwey Spätburgunder 2012 from loess is just that light and soft, really dry with appealing strawberries and ruburb in the fruit. The bottle we opened yesterday had developed notes of compost and vegetables. Grape typical, basic quality, easy to drink, for consumption in the near future. Very nice to our grilled Friday burger.

Salwey RS Spätburgunder 2012 has its origin in three grand cru vinyards near Oberrotweil with vulcanic soil; Kirchberg, Henkenberg and Eichberg. 30% new oak. The fruit is darker and the strawberries mixed with morello cherries. The tannins are marked and fine grained. Fine balance, concentration, texture. Structure with backbone. Like!

We jump up to the grand cru level, always matured on new small barriques. First we try the Henkenberg GG Spätburgunder 2012 characterized by Philipp as “entry level GG” with an optimal storage time of five to six years. The nose is complex with oak and fruit, compost and spiciness. On the palate concentrated mature fruit and a big dose of tannins. Very fine balanced and excellent structure. Delicious!

Kirchberg GG Spätburgunder 2012 is “best of the best” and Philipp consider it to win with storage for at least ten years, with potential up to 20. The nose reveals its youth with a lot of red fruit and oak. The tannins are fine grained and the concentration large. The length eternal. Pure, young, exquisite, to hide and forget for many years.

Weingut Salwey

Bone dry Salwey? Yes, it is so, both for whites and reds. Dry and delicious. A visit to the winery in Oberrotweil is recommended for those passing Kaiserstuhl.

Link to Salwey’s website.
Previously about Salwey on Lovely Wine Grapes: Salwey in Grauburgunder Heaven
About our visit to Kaiserstuhl: Kaiserstuhl weekend and Wine route impressions from Pfalz and Baden.

Salwey in Grauburgunder Heaven

High, high up in the beautiful Grauburgunder heaven hovers Salwey. Super dry wines light as the most slender summer clouds. Unfortunately they rise almost out of reach for us Swedish consumers, but everyone who fancy a trip to Baden (and who doesn’t?) can fill the boot with Grauburgunder from the winery in Oberrotweil.

With origin in the slopes of Kaiserstuhl, Konrad Salwey’s vines can almost look across the river Rhen to Alsace where their relatives carry the name Pinot Gris. Those are the ones we see as the lower clouds in this grape heaven. Not that we don’t like Alsace Pinot Gris. We are happy to let well chosen wines refresh our palates. But as they often are heavy of residual sugar, it is not that strange that they descend to lower height. It is another World. In Sweden, the monopoly feeds us with a range of wines that, although marketed as dry, normally have around 10 grams/litre.

Weingut Salwey is one of the bigger producers around Kaiserstuhl. Big, but also a member of VDP with Grand Cru-plots  in the vineyard portfolio. Renowed for his Grauburgunder that comes in three qualities.  The entry level, “gutswein”, is the bestseller with around 40.000 bottles per year. Uncomplicated, lightly perfumed and of course dry. Salwey is known to make the driest wines in the area around the old vulcano Kaiserstuhl. Needing to be careful with the car boot space for the road back home, we however prefered to raise the level of quality for our purchase. RS, Reserve Salwey, gets our liking. A QbA wine that gets a dose of grapes from the very best plots.

“2013 is perhaps our very best vintage ever,” said Philipp Hettich about the Grauburgunder RS when we visited Salwey earlier this spring. Delicious of very good quality we thought already back then, but Philipp emphasized that some more months in bottle should be beneficial. Thus we uncork now and cannot resist to pour the top quality in glass number two. We enjoy to compare them again already now, even if Salwey considers the wines to have a beautiful life ahead up till 2025-2030.

Salwey Grauburgunder

The grapes for Salwey Grauburgunder RS 2013 come from clones giving small grapes. Philipp underlines this, they strive for small grapes. 80% comes from loess soils in Käsleberg. The remaining 20% has the origin in the grand cru plots in Henkenberg and Eichberg where the roots bury themselves in old vulcanic soil.

The grapes get 24 hours maceration before pressing and fermentation, without sedimentation. Then raised on its lees in large 1200 liters barrels made of oak from Kaiserstuhl. The malo is also made in the barrels. Regular battonage increase the body of this slender, very dry wine. Bottled without filtration. Residual sugar stops at low 1,5 grams/litre.

The RS is  slim, aiming for elegance. Beautiful golden yellow hue with hints of well polished coppar. Very smokey, champignons, forest and barque. It is dry, so dry, the fine acidity almost attacks. Fruity towards butter-pear and a slice of apricot. Gentle floral notes and light minerality. Spreads in the palate and stays so long.  

Easy drinking delicious, a bit straight forward. That is the sum up of the RS. More dimensions are offered by the grand cru quality. Grosses Gewächs Henkenberg is even drier and is showing itself in layer upon layer.

The vineyard in Henkenberg, on the road from Oberrotweil to Burkheim, is Salwey’s most important for Grauburgunder. The vulcanic soil dominates but is complemented with loess and calcareous clay on the top. The vinification is almost the same as for RS, but added stems during maceration give more texture and even a touch of tannin. This is even drier than RS.

Salwey Henkenberg Grauburgunder 2012 Grosses Gewächs is a bit more shy today and wants to aerate its copper golden body to release the aromas of smoke and apricot. Enjoyable fine sandpaper texture on the palate. Dry, dry, dry and at the same time rich palate filling fruitiness against a backdrop of smokeyness, champignon cream and minerality. The complexity is revealed in the glass, layer by layer, as time goes. The aftertaste is long and fruity with a vaxy feeling in the end. Complex, integrated, strict and soft at the same time. Delicious, so, so lovely.

Complex, light and fresh, that is what we find among the upper white clouds in the Grauburgunder/Pinot Gris heaven.

Weingut Salwey

Link to home page: Weingut Salwey

 

Wines without mascara

Add makeup-free  winemaking to organic grape growing and spice it with personal energy and intuition. The sum will be the Minges wines in a nutshell. A reflection at the same time as I resist the reflex to spit. This Riesling is marvellous. Still, according to Regine, from a medium year, that however later turned into one of the most loveliest vintages.

“Wine is not a ‘head thing’, it is a ‘stomach thing’,” states Regine Minges with a lot of energy in her voice. “That is why our wines are better in the bad vintages. A good vintage, and you think too much, just because you have the time.” There it was, the intuition which pops up quickly when we talk and taste some of the white wines from Weingut Theo Minges, Flemlingen, Pfalz.

Regine Minges, Weingut Theo Minges
Regine Minges.

The Theo Minges Riesling 2010  from sandstone has so much energy, tight structure and the clear acidity brings nerve. At the same time fine juicy aromas, honey, pollen, bicycle tires, peaches, tomatoes. Superb aromatic length. I find the words ‘can’t stop smile’ scribbled beside the tasting note in my notebook. Guess I must have looked peculiar for Regine, just sitting there silent, with a silly smile on my lips.

The 2010 was the last in a range of impressive Rieslings. The very special Froschkönig Rieslings you could read about in the previous blog post. But the day started, in usual manners, with a basic quality wine, in this case although filled with lovely ‘rays of sun in the glass’. The Riesling Aura trocken 2013 is light, mild with nerve.

“A yellow wine”, declares Regine. I raise my eyebrows and listen curiously. It is the second time in a week I hear someone say they think of wine and grapes in colours. Both of them young female winemakers. Riesling was yellow for Marie Menger-Krug too.

For Regine  it does not stop with colours. Wines are personalities, she thinks of them in pictures. Already in her early teens she made drawings of them. One a young girl with freckles, another more like a Renoir painting. Not peculiar that the Froschköning became the Froschköning, the Grimm brothers’ frog king with its golden crown.

Weingut Theo Minges Riesling

Then, entrance for a couple of potent spätlese trocken: First the lively, vibrant Riesling Spätlese ‘Buntsandstein’ trocken 2013 raised in stainless steel. Then the Riesling Spätlese ‘Kalkstein’ trocken 2012 which had ten months in wood barrels. So different from the Buntsandstein with a darker impression, dried herbs, oregano, thyme. High density, mouthfilling roundness. Would be a perfect pairing with white meat or grilled tuna spiced with herbs to match the herbiness of the wine. Can of course be stored some years. Regine and her family drinks the 2008 now.

Weingut Theo Minges is since 2008 a member of the VDP and consequently are the top wines marked GG, the short for Grosses Gewächs, i.e. the VDP Grand Cru-level. The 2012 is Minges first GG vintage.

Weingut Theo Minges Riesling Weissburgunder-13

The GG Riesling Gleisweiler Hölle trocken 2012, is made for a long and beautiful life. The vines grow in a soil of sand- and limestone. Raised in stainless steel on its primary lees. Strong, at the same time soft, fresh delicate acidity. Very dry, mouthfilling, white fruit, citrus, macadamia nuts. Eternal length. Excellent.

The GG Weissburgunder Böhinger Rosenkrantz trocken 2013 confirms our new love for this grape. Regine means it is a feminine wine and compares it with a Renoir painting. The soil of the Rosenkrantz vineyard is loess. In the cellar, stainless steel. Fruity, floral notes, a hint smokiness. High density, lovely creamy texture. Eternal length. Excellent. This is summer, with sunshine flowing and glowing.

Regine explains that the fundamental thesis is to keep a natural approach in the winemaking. The wines should have contact with the lees, but battonage is never used.  The respect for nature is high, emphasized by the recent organic certification in 2013. So, to keep things along the whole process natural, sound and sane. I would call the result truthful wines. Regine speaks of sensitive wines and sums up the philosophy with another witty statement:  “I like wines without mascara.”

We continue the tasting and the Rieslings are followed by a Burgundy grape. A true beauty, no makeup needed. The appealing Chardonnay Spätlese ‘Kalkmergel’ trocken 2011 with yellow apples and citrus, delicious creaminess, round impression, yet with fresh distinct acidity.  Proud and palatable.

Weingut Theo Minges Scheurebe

Scheurebe is a rather new acquaintance, but an acquaintance that based on today’s meeting has good potential to develop into deep friendship. Regine says the Minges are renowned for their Scheurebe and promises that it will develop beautifully for up to 30 years.

The lovely Scheurebe feinherb 2014, bottled just two weeks ago, shows a charming herbal character, almost dry, fine mouthfeel and good length. Its older brother, the Scheurebe Gleisweiler trocken 2012, is amazing. Complex aromas reminding of boxwood in spring,  smokey, dried herbs, fresh, dry, excellent length. Wines to line up and queue for. Only 8% of the production are ‘Scheu’.

A trio of seducing Gewürztraminers completes Regine’s selection for our tasting. The Gewürztraminer Spätlese trocken ‘Edition Rosenduft’ 2013  is medium bodied, dry, delicate with spiciness, roses and herbs. The Gewürztraminer Spätlese 2013, lightly sweetish, delicate elegant with roses, spices, cardamom.  Chic ladies, both of them.

Weingut Theo Minges Gewurztraminer Herrenbuckel

Finally, the sweet Gewürztraminer Auslese ‘Flemlinger Herrenbuckel’ 2012, marvellously delicious. Very spicy, litchie, quince, round, attractive body, eternal length. Complex aromas constantly developing in the glass. As Regine says, a wine that needs full attention. And she compares it with the ‘Lavendelzimmer’, the lavender room.

Then we are back where we started. The book traces to the winemaker. The Lavendelzimmer is a book by Nina George, translated into English with the title ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’. Regine recommends it. I’ve just finished it a couple of days ago. Sad and joyful at the same time. That is the difference compared with the wines, they are just joy, immense joy.

Then comes the problem. How should I be able to select which of the joys we shall buy and bring home with us? A sudden impulse and I do something I’ve never done before: “Regine, please, choose the wines for us!” A good choice and almost as Christmas Eve when the boxes are unpacked at home.

A big warm thank you Regine, for sharing your time, wine and passion. We will come back and we hope your next visit to Sweden will be to the beautiful, sunny westcoast.

Weingut Theo MInges

Previously on Lovely Wine Grapes about our visit to Weingut Theo Minges:

Link to Weingut Theo Minges’ website.