Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Ahahr (revisited)! More wines from the Ahr Valley

I know - like buses, you wait for ages for a blog post from me, then two come along at once! Anyway, as promised in my previous post (of literally minutes ago) here's one I wrote earlier, using my new little smart phone gizmos...............

These are my notes from a recent tasting of wines from the (relatively under-the-radar) Ahr Valley region of Germany. This follows on from a similar tasting in November 2010, and the wines certainly seem to be on the up. Just two growers were featured in the latest tasting, namely Weingut Meyer-Näkel and Weingut Kreuzberg, and the prices (from the cellar door) seemed eminently reasonable. As with the 2010 tasting, the wines were presented by Kevin and Ena-Marie Scott, who are regular visitors to the region. Apologies for the standard of the photo, by the way, but it was the only one I took - and is useful, if only to illustrate how Ahr Valley growers for some reason like to put their top Pinot Noir wines into tall bottles!

1. Meyer-Näkel 2012 Illusion No 1 Blanc de Noir
A decent, if rather unremarkable, fizz.

2. Kreuzberg 2013 Blanc de Noir
Nettles and Pears, apples and a touch of wet wool. Lots of acidity, but not a lot else - again, unremarkable.

3. Meyer-Näkel 2013 Weissburgunder
A bit more like it, with some varietal character, albeit in a slightly sicky way. Nice rich, fruity and slightly nutty on the palate, with plenty of juicy acidity and steely minerality. Decent stuff.

4. Meyer-Näkel 2013 Riesling
Cut limes and mineral/Stone. Slightly herbaceous and a hint of orange, which shows even more on the palate. Otherwise, very steely and high acid, but quite enjoyable, though not a lot of Riesling character.

5. Kreuzberg 2013 Spätburgunder
All sour cherries and tobacco, with a tiny hint of oak. Sour red and black cherries on the palate, with a real /asp of lemon juice and quite tarry tannins. Young but promising. €10.80.

6. Meyer-Näkel 2009 Spätburgunder
€10.80. Meat and tobacco on the nose, hints of damp earth. Rich and concentrated, almost sweet, jammy fruit - Stops just short of NZ Style OTT-ness. Quite complex, but a little short on acidity. Decent, but not special.

7. Meyer-Näkel 2013 "G"
This does smell more Burgundian, akin to a Nuits Saint-Georges. Subtle dark cherry and raspberry aromas, with minimal oak influence. Palate is lovely, with Sour Cherry and a slight bitterness that actually contributes to the freshness and structure, with ripe tannins and good acidity. Very good stuff. €14-ish.

8. Meyer-Näkel 2008 "G"
Smoky, slightly bretty nose, almost shitty, with a touch of Band Aid. Palate is really quite dull and flat. Over the hill? I think so.

9. Meyer-Näkel 2013 Frühburgunder
Elegant, complex nose, ranging from red cherry to mandarin Orange, with tobacco and herbs. A nice prickle to the palate, with good acidity and soft tannins, allied to bright red fruits and soft citrus. Manages to be complex and elegant and easy-drinking at the same time. Lovely.

10. Kreuzberg 2009 Unplugged
Ooh, yum! Complex, elegant fruits and damp earth, tobacco and herbs. Lovely palate, pure, high-toned, cherry and raspberry, fine tannins, lemony acidity, elegant and really lovely. Cracking wine.

11. Kreuzberg 2013 Neuenahrer
Dirty, slightly musty nose, but not detrimental to the wine itself. Again, very sprightly, almost lemony, tight, but really quite enjoyable, in a youthful way. Probably wont age, but why wait. Very nice. €13.50.

12. Kreuzberg 2009 Neuenahrer Schieferay
Classy nose, tobacco and earth, subtle oak. Another complex wine, with masses of sour cherry and raspberry fruit, earthy notes, a hint of mixed spice and herb, polished wood and myriad other things going on. This is *really* cracking wine! A stunner. €17-ish, so great vfm. 

13. Meyer-Näkel 2012 Blauschiefer
Equally complex, in a savory, meaty way, with plenty of underlying fruit, hints of flowers. Again, a slight spritzy bite, which heightens the sense of an elegant, complex, fruit-filled wine. Soft tannins, but plenty of juicy acidity, not to mention a really quite Burgundian structure and flavour profile. Really delicious and reasonable value at around €24.

14. Kreuzberg 2009 Devonschiefer
Very Morey-St-Denis, with its exotic spice-laden fruit nose, a gentle meatiness and a touch of damp earth. The palate also reminds me of MSD, with soft spice, raspberry and strawberry fruit, a welcome touch of jamminess and excellent structure. Another winner, which I can see ageing nicely for a few years. Lovely.

15. Meyer-Näkel 2012 "S"
This is another really good wine, which - almost in spite of its similarily to NZ Pinot - hits the Spot in many ways. Tarry, quite rich, but still nicely balanced, if not reaching the heights of the previous few wines. Still very good, though!

16. Kreuzberg 2008 Schieferlay "GG"
Deeper, darker, but with some elegance. Again, more NZ than Burg, albeit very good. I just like it less than some of the more recent vintages.

17. Meyer-Näkel 2006 Demauer Fruhburgunder Pfarrwingert
There is a good wine in here, but the slight oxidation or madeirisation gets in the way.

In conclusion, I would say that (as with the 2010 tasting) the whites from the Ahr region are decent but unexciting. The reds, on the other hand, are getting better and better - and are in some cases genuinely world class.
If you would like more information on these two growers, here are links to their own websites........

Weingut Kreuzberg

Weingut Meyer-Näkel


AlanM said...

I keep reading Germany's reds are improving but have yet to be totally convinced, I must seek out something better. Austria however, I am convinced !

Julian O said...

There are a number of rather interesting pinot noir makers around Assmannshausen on the Rhine. Worth a look I would say.