Tag Archives: Riesling

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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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.

 

Kisses for the frog king

A little green frog. In the world of fairytales not that cute, but instead fat and ugly. Certainly not a golden crown on the head. However, helpful and persistent. Magic is involved. A kiss from a princess, and wow, frog transformed into a handsome young prince.

Grimm Frog King and Princess

In Palatine Flemlingen the princess is named Regine. A kiss, and wow, a beautiful wine is brought to life. The king is her father Theo Minges, the kingdom Weingut Theo Minges.

“It was my father’s idea,” says Regine Minges. “The wine rests untouched in the tank, when opened, kissed awake.”

Well, the idea may be her father’s. The label is of princess Regine design. Der Froschkönig, that is the King frog in German.

Theo Minges Der Froschkönig

Riesling is the grape. Of course, the king of grapes.  Spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tank without temperature control. Dry or sweetish, nature will decide. No sulphur added, neither during fermentation nor when it rests in the tank on its primary lees. The tank kept closed the whole time. No tastings. After 18 months opened and the wine is kissed awake. Just like the frog king.

The fairytale brought into the world of wine. While sitting at the big table in Minges tasting room I suddenly get some pictures in my head. A cellar, a shiny tank and the princess of Flemlingen in beautiful frock throwing kisses. Tank opening, excitement, tasting. The sparkling moment, magic worked.

The first vintage  kissed was the 2007, the latest bottled the 2011. In cellar waits the 2012, which probably will get a shorter time on the lees, an experiment. Regine pours the 2011 and the 2009; time for me to throw some kisses.

Weingut Theo Minges Froschkönig Riesling 2011 and 2009The Froschkönig 2011 came out as a dry wine. Complex aromas with typical Riesling notes. Some bicycle tires I propose and notes how the aromas evolve in the glass while we are talking. Regine adds the idea of fresh bay leaves and fetches a leaf for me to smell at and compare. Yes, she is right. On the palate very clear and slender. Dry, the acidity fresh and integrated. multifaceted, excellent length. Such an attractive prince. Love at first sight.

Froschkönig 2009 is a breathtaking spätlese. Complex aromas, starting to get a mature touch. A delicious little sweetness, balanced by a fresh acidity. A very special, pleasant mouthfeel. Very complex with citrus, herbiness, bay leaves, bicycle tires. Very much Riesling,  full of character. Super long aftertaste. Elegant, handsome. Worth a stylish golden crown.

Delicious beautiful Rieslings, I’m seduced.

My little green garden frog and Theo Minges Der Froschkönig

So, that was the third clue from the pile of books, the children’s storybook by the Grimm brothers. (Even if the princess in my old book prefers to throw the frog in the wall instead of kissing it, but I like the romantic kiss version of the old folktale so much more.)

The Minges make some more beautiful wines, to be continued…

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

Link to Weingut Theo Minges’ website.

Regine Minges, Weingut Theo Minges
Regine Minges

 

Illustration above of the princess and the frog king made by Janusz Gabianski and found in my old storybook,”Bröderna Grimms SAGOR”, Albert Bonniers förlag, 1963.

The Sonnenberg Tears

Tears well up in my eyes. Just like that. Touched by a single sip of wine, a sip of magical wine. How it tastes? Overwhelmingly delicious, although I can’t be so much more specific. As Terry Thiese [1] writes: “The greatest wines are the ones you can’t write notes about because you’re weeping, overcome with their loveliness.” This is one of those.

Siegrist vineyard Sonnenberg

We stand in the Leinsweiler Sonnenberg, surrounded by old vines. On the top of the hill, a big building, the Slevogthof with its white tower, for some years the home of artist Max Slevogt, one of the most important German impressionists painters. At the end of the slope, the small, but very beautiful church of Leinsweiler. Further down, the village.

Already 1200 years ago, this place was covered with vines. Today a VDP Grosses Lage for Siegrist’s Riesling and Pinot Noir. A southfacing slope with calcarious soil. One of those favoured places where soil, climat and vine merge together and create exceptional wines.

A moment ago we walked in the vineyard, talked and looked at the vines, the soil, the view. Took some pictures. The vines have been pruned, the sap rising, no signs of buds. Of course, it is only mid March.

Then Thomas Siegrist takes out a small bottle from the car and pours us a glass each.

Siegrist Sonnenberg Riesling Beerenauslese 2007 is lusciously sweet with beautiful golden colour. Eternal length. Overwhelmingly delicious. Just a single sip is needed and I’m overcome with its loveliness. Eyes wet by Sonnenberg tears .

Monika Dapprich, Thomas Siegrist with The wine
Monika Dapprich, Thomas Siegrist and the Wine

Monika Dapprich and Thomas Siegrist

Many thanks to Monika Dapprich, Thomas and Gisela Siegrist, Bruno and Kerstin Schimpf for so kindly receiving us at Weingut Siegrist and sharing your passion for wine, for great wine.

You first read the story about “The Sonnenberg tears” on Lovely Wine Grapes. All post on Lovely Wine Grapes about our visit to Weingut Siegrist in March 2015:

Links to Weingut Siegrist homepage and on Facebook.

Note [1] From the highly recommended book (although only to passionate winelovers), “Reading between the wines”, by Terry Theise (2011, page 22): “The greatest wines are the ones you can’t write notes about because you’re weeping, overcome with their loveliness. This happened to me in a restaurant in Paris one evening; the waiter must have thought my wife had just told me she didn’t love me anymore and was absconding with the plumber. Nah, it was just the damned Jurançon. This like all wine experiences, will jump out of the darkness at you, but it’s ok, it’s part of the spell. Don’t fear the weeper.”

Sonnenberg Leinsweiler

The Moon in a Glass

It is said that Stradivarius had a preference for it. Old builders too. It is about wood, strong wood, cut when it is as driest and the pors as smallest. The romantic name moon wood comes from the point of cutting, made in the first full moon phase after the new year. The Menger-Krug family has cut moon oak and made barrels for wine from it.

The oak originates from Schwaben in the southwest of Germany and was cut in 2004. After drying, the cooper had to tackle it, but at first he was a bit doubtful. The wood was so hard, however the outcome was great. Four barrels, between 1530 and 3460 litres in size. In 2007 they were delivered and ready for the first vintage.

The grapes for the moon oak wines come from Pfalz and the Menger-Krug estate Motzenbäcker, more precisely the Paradiesgarten vineyard. Each year a Riesling and a Chardonnay are made. The must ferments on the moon oak barrels and then gets a rest of about 10 months on its lees. The label says “In mondeiche gereift”, matured in moon oak.

Marie Menger-Krug and the Motzenbäcker moon oak Chardonnay.
Marie Menger-Krug och Motzenbäcker moon oak Chardonnay.

Marie was at first not keen on the idea to put Riesling on the moon oak, but mother Regina was of a different opinion. She won. They tested. The result was excellent.

“The Riesling is not influenced of the wood as a Chardonnay, it does not get that oak character, ” explains Marie. “On the other hand, the vinification accentuates the pure Riesling character and gives more structure to the wine. No expert can say it has been fermented on barrel.”

Villa im Paradies and moon oak wines from Menger-Krug

2012 Motzenbäcker Chardonnay Spätlese trocken, Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten. In mondeiche gereift.
Delicate, fine fruitieness where apricots are emphasized in nose and on palate. Good body, fine texture and with a light kiss of oak. The Chardonnay character is clear. Very good length.  

2012 Motzenbäcker Riesling Spätlese trocken, Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten. In mondeiche gereift.
Pronounced nose with petroleum, complexity, citrus and a very light vibrating hint of wood. Fresh, with the acidity deliciously integrated. Grows and develops in the glass. Very good length. 

These are wines that speak to you and develop new dialects when resting in the glass. Real signs of quality. Furthermore, typical representatives of each grape, full of character, slender and with straight backs. Beautiful.

The fact that the Menger-Krugs plans to make more moon oak barrels, confirms that they are very happy themselves with the result.

Our time in the paradise, yes at least in the garden of Villa im Paradies, is coming to an end. Before we say good bye to Marie, we pose a last question: in five years, what has happened then, what is the vision? The answer is long, but we like especially one part of it:

“Have fun with the wine! Make straightforward wines. Play around, more extreme in a natural way.”

Thus, joy and a desire for experimentation. An attitude that promise good for the future.

Previously on Lovely Wine Grapes about Marie Menger-Krug and the wines from the Familie Menger-Krug:

Link to Villa im Paradies home page.  

Villa im Paradies-9580