Topic: TN: Nobody's Pfalz but mine - a weekend in Vermont
Author: Thor Iverson
Date: 20050614013259

A Friday night dinner in Vermont…just the two of us:

Sparr 2002 “One” (Alsace) – Sweet pear, light spice, bright fruit, and summery fun. What’s not to like?

A Saturday night dinner in Vermont with the Buekers, after a somewhat wretched round of golf (bonus Quotes of the Evening included):

Vilmart Brut Champagne “Cuvée Rubis” “1er Cru” (Champagne) – Very light brett, strawberry, raspberry, and rosemary with a silky, juicy, cantaloupe-like texture. One of the most obvious pinot-dominated Champagnes I’ve ever tasted, and inevitably I find it delicious.

“Steve Edmunds makes Terry Theise look like Paris Hilton.” (No, I don’t quite know what it means, either.)

Bott-Geyl 1995 Gewurztraminer Sonnenglanz “Grand Cru” “Vieilles Vignes” (Alsace) – A restrained, funky nose speaks of the excess sulfur that these wines always seem to carry. Unlike many previous attempts at this wine, however, what’s left is strong enough to emerge from the eggy miasma. Ripe banana and Rainer cherry with a gritty, gravelly and hollow metallic core spiked with terrific, zingy acidity. Solidly built, and turning creamy on the finish. Quite nice.

“We need better design flaws.”

Müller-Catoir 2001 Haardter Bürgergarten Muskateller Kabinett Trocken 08 02 (Pfalz) – It’s a shame that non-experts will find that name completely incomprehensible, because novice drinkers would absolutely adore this wine. There’s stuff for non-novices, as well. Floral – mostly apple blossoms – with firm acidity and a starlike texture.

A Sunday night dinner in Vermont with the Buekers and David Cornwell, after yet another wretched round of golf (bonus Quotes of the Evening included):

Schoffit 1996 Pinot Gris “Cuvée Caroline” (Alsace) –Grossly oxidized pear, but nothing else. Cork failure, of course. Gosh, isn’t the natural cork romantic?

Müller-Catoir 1998 Haardter Mandelring Scheurebe Spätlese 21 99 (Pfalz) – Tropical sweat, pineapple, grapefruit (mostly on the finish) and concentrated mango. Great acidity, but there’s not much doubt of the grape’s identity. A very tasty wine, coming into its own.

“When did I get into the habit of smelling with one nostril? Wait…it was in New Zealand. It was on Waiheke [Island]. Why was it? Was it Sue [Courtney]? Is she a one-nostril smeller?”

Kesseler 2001 Rüdesheim Berg Roseneck Riesling Spätlese Trocken 07 02 (Rheingau) – Lime spritzer, crystalline green apple, light petroleum, and a gorgeous, sharp-edged purity that’s just utterly captivating. Wonderful, inspiring riesling.

Pinon 1996 Vouvray Sec (Loire) – Ripe, forest cedar and apple with light, dried sugar and wet leaves drenched and dripping after a spring rainstorm. Ripe white flowers, too. This tastes surprisingly mature, which of course means it has a few dozen decades to go.

Willi Haag 1997 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 09 98 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Molecular iron and creamed flowers, yellow roses sprayed with a light mist of petrol, and a soft-textured sweet nectarine sorbet with icy minerality. Incredibly long and delicious, and certainly not mature, but showing incredibly well already

Merkelbach 2004 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 10 05 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – A huge bouquet of white flowers and peachy acidity (David terms it a “fruit bomb” with “strawberry Sweet-Tarts”), terrific intensity and balance, and showing the first delicious fruits of a precocious youth. Let it age, or drink it now, but the most interesting time might be the vast in-between. Or not.

JJ Christoffel Erben 1993 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese *** 19 94 (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) – Soft and elegant, showing baked nutmeg-infused apple and mixed spices. Lush, yet lithe, and while it’s fully mature it’s definitely a beauty in its later years.

Edmond & Fils “Domaine Santa Duc” 1990 Gigondas “Prestige des Hautes Garrigues” (Rhône) – Musty morels and bubblegum with roasted cherry skin, thick licorice and bitter, unsweetened chocolate tannin, horse sweat, and grilled plums finishing with a strong dose of concentrated blueberry. Stunningly youthful, with a hint of oak, but one wonders what they had to do to make a 15-year-old Gigondas a primary-colored fruit bomb. Still, it’s undeniably delicious.

de Bartoli 1987 Marsala “Superiore” “Vig’na la Miccia” Oro (Sicily) – Almond liqueur, sweet almond essence, nectarine pit, dried apple rind, and walnut with mild oxidation, a long, high-acid finish balanced by sweetness, and a friendly, mature aspect. Interesting, but not indicative of the best de Bartoli can do.

“Sop up thine ooze.” (Perhaps this should have been the 11th Commandment.)

Gonzales Byass Palo Cortado “Muy Viejo” “Apostoles” (Jerez) – Stale almond, mild flor-like tones, turmeric, paper and dried apricot rind with a stunning concentration on the finish. Much better than it sounds, though it finds only one fan (me) at the table.

Thanks to Larry Stein for the title.