What a year it’s been! So long 2009, Hello 2010…

I’m not really one to look back, I’m either daydreaming about the future or looking forward to tonight’s wine – more or less the same thing. But I saw one of Niamh’s tweets about her year-end round-up and it got me to reminiscing about my vinous adventures this past  year. The great thing about a blog – I’ve got a record of many of my favourite drinking adventures. Not all of them mind you, because many I just never got around to blogging about but I did manage to put up almost 120 blog posts this year! I would have done more but I was computer-less over the summer after my laptop was stolen in June. This was definitely the year that The Winesleuth embraced video in all it’s gory messiness. Whether the videos made any sense, well, I’ll let you decide but I sure did have a lot of fun making them. I’d like to get a bit more creative in 2010 and maybe even, dare I say it, a bit more professional. My favourites of the year include ones I made with my good friend and fellow wineblogger Wine90 – she just cracks me up. Here we’re reviewing the Balfour Brut Rose…. But Bibendum Dan was another excellent foil, here we are talking about hairy armpit wines… Fun events, as when Catavino came to town and their winetasting at Vinoteca… [viddler id=74e84e69&w=437&h=333] or the Naked Wines Argentine wine auction….. [viddler id=f70e4865&w=437&h=392] and then there’s just amusing and charming winemakers…Etienne Hugel of the Alsatian winemaker Hugel & Fils… [viddler id=9fe1ae3d&w=437&h=392] and Neil McGuigan of the Australian McGuigan Vineyards, to name a few… [viddler id=49575c47&w=437&h=392] And, of course, the vids of my wine reviews, my favourite has to be one I did in S. Carolina while I was on holiday – every time I see it, it reminds me of what a great holiday I had… Of course there was Twitter as well and the Foodies, most especially Eatlikeagirl with whom I did the...

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Riesling on a cold and dark December evening

I was reading the new wine social media portal, Bibendum Times the other day and they had a great article on bicycling through the Mosel. Sure you get your exercise but even better are the pitstops along the way to sample all those wonderful Mosel rieslings. Readers of  The Winesleuth will know that I absolutely adore riesling, especially German riesling  – pronounced REEZ-ling, that’s how I say it and that’s how my friend the wine blogger and Munich native, The Wine Rambler says it.   So I found myself last  Sunday evening on my way to Torsten’s (the Wine Rambler)  to sample some, unavailable in the UK, German rieslings. Torsten has such great German wine connections that he doesn’t even bother with buying anything here. I think German rieslings have a bad rep because of their startling fruitiness. Don’t be tempted to associate that fruitiness with “sweet” or call rieslings “sweet wines” even if they do have a good amoung of residual sugar. Despite that residual sugar, well made rieslings will have a fantastic streak of acidity running through them that perfectly balances the fruit, as well as a wonderful minerality, giving wines that are full of intense fruit but at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of being a cloying sugary concoction. Goldtropchen – “little drops of gold”. From the Mosel. Piesport to be exact.  The Piesporter region is known for it’s steep slopes, good exposure to the sun and slatey soils, all of which contribute to produce these top knotch wines. The Reinhold Haart Goldtropfchen Spatlese 2007 may still be in it’s infancy but it was a delicious drop of gold. Produced by one of the oldest and most prestigious vintners, the Haart family have been making wine since 1337, are one of the oldest wine-making families and have one of the oldest private wine estates in the Mosel. Although at 7.5 acres, it’s not exactly huge. The Haart’s use minimal intervention in the vineyards and are almost entirely organic. In order to allow...

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Was that….Blue Nun?!?

When I was a kid I remember my Mom having a bottle of Blue Nun on the fridge door among the milk and jars of mayo and mustard. She’d have a glass after a long day at work and I remember being  fascinated by the tall blue bottle. I once snuck a sip to see what it was like – ewwww!! That was about the extent of my winedrinking exposure until university and even then I didn’t take much of a step up. Luckily, I grew up and came to love German wines but I still had those lingering memories of Blue Nun as a “Mom” wine and not that good to boot.  I had heard that Blue Nun had relaunced their wine not long ago and wandering around the wine aisle of Sainsbury’s the other day, talking on the phone to my mom, I spotted that long tapering bottle on the shelf. I don’t know what it was, maybe it was because at that moment I was talking to my mom in faraway Nevada (we even had a laugh about the wine when I mentioned that I’d spotted it on the shelf), maybe it was just curiosity but for whatever reason I popped it into my basket and headed off to the checkout line. When I say they relaunched, they really relaunched. Those Germans are serious about rebranding Blue Nun, changing the label to one nun instead of 3 and making the label more modern, all in an effort to make it a player in the under £5 range. They are even starting a new campaign to trumpet the fact that one glass is the equivalent of one unit of alcohol, mind you, that is a 12.5 cl glass but one unit nonetheless. The wine comes from the Rheinhessen which is the biggest wine producing region in Germany, it’s the traditional home of  Liebfraumilch, which helps to explain the medium-dry style of Blue Nun and it’s a blend of Silvaner and Müller-Thurgau with an abv of 9.5%. Since the new reclassification, the...

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Like German riesling? I love’em…

I’ve been so busy with the US Winebloggers Conference  that it seems I’ve been neglecting my old favourite, The Bluebird on the Kings Road, but that’s just not true. Last week I went there for a tasting of excellent German Rieslings. Let me just say right now, if you didn’t know already, I’m a BIG fan of German Rieslings! I love them and last week’s tasting hasn’t changed my mind one bit. The wines from Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Basserman Jordan were on display. Such a long name but I love it, gives the French a run for their money with their appellations and chateaus and vineyards. etc. This estate is one of the major estates in the Pfalz or Palatinate, as it’s often referred to, and the estate was founded in the 18th century. The aim of the winemakers is to reflect the heritage of the estate. There is even a wine museum which houses of collection of wines from 1880 to the present. I’d like to get invited to any tastings they might have at that estate. The tasting was lead by the Managing Director of the estate, Gunther Hauck. Gunther’s goal was to show how quality German riesling doesn’t conform to the old stereotype of sickly sweet sugar water but is rather  complex, fruity and dry. Gunther also wanted to emphasize the minerality and freshness of the fruit in their wines. The first riesling was the ’07 Estate Riesling. An apple/citrus nose with a strong mineraly current running through it at first, on the palate, it was extremely dry, drier then almost any riesling I ‘ve ever had. I was really enjoying it, it was not like the usually off-dry spatlese and auslese that I’ve always thought of as typical german riesling. Notes of green apple, lemon and a lime finish almost a bit bitter on the end, like the rind of a lime. We then moved onto the ’07 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Trocken. Ungeheuer is the vineyard that the grapes come from, it has been designated as a “first class” or “first growth” within...

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