Friday, 14 March 2008

100th anniversary of VDP Pfalz

Last weekend saw the VDP Pfalz (the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter - or Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates - for the Pfalz) celebrating its 100th anniversary. The highlight of the festivities were the Weinbergsleuchten, whereby the top dozen or so grand cru vineyards of the region were lit up at night. I would have loved to have seen that, given that the Pfalz is probably my favourite wine region of all, but I couldn't because of work commitments. Photos of the event are currently on the front page of the VDP Pfalz website.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Ötlinger Sonnhole

Markgräflerland, Baden

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Weiler Schlipf Spätburgunder trocken 2005 - Weingut Claus & Susanne Schneider

I opened this bottle yesterday evening. For what you pay (EUR 7.20), you get a very dignified wine that punches above its price category. Very elegant pinot noir aromas, and quite nervy on the palate. Mineral notes and discreet earthy fruit that isn't too "in-your-face". Quite dry, and noticeable acidity without bordering on astringency. Carries its 13.5% alcohol well. Forgive these rather unsystematic tasting notes!

Saturday, 1 March 2008


Last year, I tentatively launched a blog entitled "Teutonic vineyards" devoted to my passion for wine, and German wine in particular. After a promising start, my contributions dried up owing to lack of time. I subsequently aborted the project and eventually deleted the blog and the contents thereof. Now, with the dust having finally settled a few months later, I've decided to start afresh but with a slightly different approach. This time, in addition to random notes and photos concerning German wine and vineyards, I will also endeavour to include tasting notes now and again.

Anyway, to kick off, this is my "home vineyard", Weiler Schlipf. This is Germany's most southwesterly vineyard. Rising steeply from a residential area in Weil's most easterly neighbourhood, it rewards the casual walker with impressive views over the Basler Bucht (Basle Basin) and the Rhine valley. Back in the 18th century there was an earth-slide on this hill that took away a huge portion of vineyard. This was probably due to non-porous nature of the soil which became so saturated that the earth - literally - moved. True story!

It's no coincidence that the verb “to slide” in the local dialect (Alemannisch) is “schlipfen”.

The main grape varieties in this vineyard are the Pinot varieties, and especially Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder). Facing south to southwest and situated close to the house below that reflect the heat back up the hill, Weiler Schlipf is a heat trap. With average temperatures and precipitation similar to the levels found in Germany’s warmest town, Ihringen, by the Kaiserstuhl, grapes have little difficulty ripening here. Weingut Claus & Susanne Schneider, in particular, make impressive wines from Schlipf's chalky terroir.