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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Previously on Lovely Wine Grapes about our visit to Weingut Theo Minges:
Link to Weingut Theo Minges’ website.