Saturday, 15 February 2020

Historical grape variety wines suddenly appear - as if out of the blue.




On March 28th we published a post 'Andreas Jung, intrepid grape hunter and archaeologist'. This told the strory of this exceptional person, Andreas Jung who had found 58 white varieties and 37 red ones in the Sudpfalz vineyard area and was trying to re-establish them, some from the small nooks and crannies where they had lingered on since the middle ages and beyond. Many had been assumed to have been extinct.

In particular the varieties for possible winemaking wereconsidered to be

Affenthaler
Schwarzurban
Blauer Elbling
Zinfandel
Grünfränkisch
Adelfränkisch
Räuschling
Kleinberger
Honigler
Roter Veltliner.

Andreas Jung

Ulrich Martin






















You can read  in our post of 28.3.17 what efforts were being made to realize this ambition including a 'Paterschaft' scheme (a version of 'adopt-a-vine') but the initiative was costly as professional assistance had to be called in, Andreas Jung being a scientist and not predominantly a 'Winzer.'

Wine had been made from grapes including Orleans Gelb but the word was that it was excessively acidic and didn't find favour. Sadly that seemed to be the end of the project and we left it there in spite of having been keen to acquire a bottle just for interest.

Sam Doncaster (right) with Paul Troop at the Plumpton College Blattner tasting.

Fast forward to January 2020 when our good friend Sam Doncaster, arch PIWI proponent, sent us a leaflet from Germany put out by a familiar company, Rebschule Martin (whom we had known previously as producers of PIWI vines for Germany and abroad) together with Andreas Jung himself offering 'Historische Rebsorten' under the rubric 'Schmecken Sie die Geschichte.'

Taste history

It seems that Ulrich Martin has propagated the following 'Jungian' varieties;

Grünfränkisch
Blauer Hängling
Schwarzurban
Grüner Adelfränkisch
Bettlertraube
Schwarzblauer Riesling
Blauer Muskateller
Roter Veltliner (more common in Austria. Rare in Germany)
Schwarzblauer Affenthaler
Weisser Lagler (Synonym for Arbane)
Schwarzer Heunisch (Heunisch = Gouais, but according to 'Wine Grapes' a black mutation of Gouais has never been observed)
Gelber Kleinberger
Blauer Kölner
Schlehentraube
Zinfandel (the same Primitivo/Kratoshija/Crljenak Kaštelanski variety as found in California)
Süssschwarz
Blauer Gänsfusser
Muskat-Gutedel (natural Muscat/Chasselas crossing)
Roter Muskateller
Roter Hänisch
Weisser Räuschling (aka Räuschling)
Schwarzer Malvasier
Weisser Traminer
Blauer Elbling (morphologically and genetically distinct from white Elbling)
Fränkischer Burgunder (nothing to do with Spatburgunder or Pinot Noir)
Hartblau
Arbst

From these, 8 wines have been made and are now listed on the 'Historische Rebsorten' site;




2016 Red Cuvee from Schwarzurban, Sussschwarz, Hartblau, Frankischer Burgunder and Arbst (no longer available). '[Arten-] Vielfalt' 13%


2017 Fränkischer Burgunder 'Der echte späte Burgunder' 13.5%





2017 Hartblau 'Älteste Rotweinsorte Deutschlands' 13.5%


2018 Roter Veltliner '2017 Wiesoppenheimer „Vom heiligen Häuschen“ ' 13%






2018 Blauer Muskateller 'Ursorte aus Indien' 11.5%





2018 Gelber Kleinberger  'Weinanbau in der Kleinen Eiszeit' 12.5%





2018 Grüner Adelfränkisch 'Edelsorte im Mittelalter' 12%





2018 Grünfränkisch 'Wein der Liebfrauenmilch' 13%





2018 Weisser Räuschling 'Berauschte schon im 10. Jahrhundert' 12%



Each grape has been given a red number


You may still be able to get them from schmecken-sie-die-geschichte. All are white apart from the red cuvee of course.

We enquired about the 'Probierpaket' of 6 wines at 97,90  but shipping was only within Germany. To our amazement the next thing we knew, there was a delivery to us of this 6-pack in London without so much as a bill enclosed. Our plea for a bill has so far gone unanswered although we are sure one will be forthcoming in the fullness of time, 'Spedizion' costs being what they are. Still there is a serious point here; Messers Martin and Jung are obviously passionate about sharing their fascinating discoveries and important work in reviving these historical varieties.


We noticed on the website another cuvee which is not part of the Historische Rebsorten series but a wine from Andreas Jung's 'Rebenpatenschaft' (adopt-a-grape) initiative called 'Alte Sorten' bearing the name Weingut Andreas Jung 'Rebsortenarchiv' of the Sudpfalzweinberg. This wine is a 'Rotling' which apperently is a mixture of white and red grapes (sometimes called promiscuous) described as a "Historischer Mischsatz mit über 100 Sorten" - Ein Wein wie aus dem Mittelalter.

The '100 Sorten' may include many of the following list of varieties identified by Andreas in the South Pfalz vineyard and first quoted in our 2017 post:

The 58 white varieties in the Sudpfalz Weinberg; 

  • Adelfränkisch / Weißer Grünling
  • Agostenga / Früher Leipziger / Frühweißer Malvasier
  • Alexandriner Muskat (*)
  • Alicante Weiße
  • Augster Gelber
  • Auxerrois / Kleiner Heunisch / Moselriesling
  • Bouquettraube
  • Bukett-Silvaner
  • Chardonnay / Echter weißer Burgunder
  • Corinthe Weiße
  • Edler Weißer Tokayer / Furmint
  • Elbling Weißer
  • Elbling Roter
  • Frühe Lahntraube
  • Frühmuskat
  • Fütterer Weißer
  • Geisdutte Weiße / (falsche) Geisdutte Weiße (*)
  • Gewürztraminer Roter
  • Grauburgunder / Tokayer Grauer
  • Gros Meslier / Großer Honigler
  • Grünfränkisch Weißer
  • Großer Veltliner Violetter
  • Gutedel Weißer / Chasselas blanc
  • Hartheunisch Gelber / Braunes
  • Hänisch Roter / Pamid
  • Heunisch Roter (*)
  • Heunisch Weißer / Grobweisse
  • Heunisch Dreifarbiger
  • Honigler Gelber
  • Kleinberger
  • Kleinedel
  • Lagler Weißer / Später Malvasier Weißer
  • Madeleine Angevine
  • Mädchentraube Weiße / Feteasca alba
  • Mittelgroßer Veltliner Roter
  • Muskateller Roter
  • Muskat-Gutedel Weißer
  • Ortlieber Früher Gelber
  • Rosenkranz Weißer / Fitzrebe
  • Petersiliengutedel
  • Plantscher / Gros Bourgogne (*)
  • Räuschling Weißer
  • Räuschling Roter
  • Riesling Weißer
  • Rugische Rebe (Rak Szölo)
  • Scheurebe
  • Seidentraube Gelbe / Luglienga bianca / Luganer-Rebe
  • Silvaner Grüner
  • Silvaner Blauer
  • Tokayer Weißer
  • Traminer Weißer
  • Traminer Roter
  • Versoalin Weißer (*)
  • Visitator (fränkischer Fütterer)
  • Vogelfränkische Weiße
  • Weißburgunder / Pinot Blanc
  • Welschriesling Weißer
The 37 red varieties;
  • Affenthaler Blauer
  • Arbst Blauer
  • Black Prince
  • Blank Blauer (*)
  • Champagner Blauer / Blauer Kölner
  • Champagne-Traube Schwarze / Schwarzer Prinz
  • Claret Ordinärer Blauer (*)
  • Clävner
  • Cot (Kaiserstuhl)
  • Cot Rouge (*)
  • Elbling Blauer
  • Frühe Violette
  • Geisdutte Blaue (*)
  • Gouais noir / Blauer Lampart
  • Hartblau / Auvernat tinto
  • Heunisch Blauer / Sehr Später Burgunder
  • Kleiner Fränkischer Burgunder / Pinot Franc
  • Hrvatica Blaue / Crevatizza / Kroatische Traube (*)
  • Kracher Blauer / Bettlertraube
  • Malbek
  • Möhrchen (*)
  • Mohrenkönig
  • Morillon tocony
  • Muskat-Gutedel Blauer
  • Oeil de morion
  • Portugieser blauer
  • Samtrot
  • Schaaftraube / Mohrenkönigin
  • Schlehentraube
  • Spätburgunder Blauer / Pinot noir
  • Schwarzriesling / Pinot Meunier
  • Süßroth / Tauberschwarz
  • Süßblau
  • Süßschwarz
  • Trollinger Blauer
  • Tschagelle Vernatsch (*)
  • Zinfandel / Primitivo /Kratosija
(*) fewer than 4 vines extant!


A whole movement

There are over 20 other producers who have planted historic vines from Rebschule Martin. One of these actually had a historic variety, Grünfränkisch in their vineyard which they had mistaken for Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). A few of these help out with the bottling of wines from historic grape varieties of other vineyards.

Surely all this constitutes a whole movement?

Stefan Böhm                                               Gruner Affenthaler, Schwarzurban, Weisser Rauschling
Weingut Hermann Dorflinger                     Muskat-Gutedel
Weingut Eller                                              Bettlertraube
Familie Ellwanger                                      Schwarzurban
Weingut Jacob Steffen Erben                     Gelber Kleinberger
Familie Goldschmidt                                  Grunfrankisch
Michael Gutzler                                         Frankischer Burgunder, Arbst
Weingut Tobias Hahn                                 Gruenfrankisch, Hartblau, Sussschwarz
Matthias Herber                                         Blauer Elbling
Andreas Jung                                              'immense Vielzahl' (over 100 varieties)
Jonas Kiefer                                               Roter Veltliner, Grunfrankisch, Frankischer Burgunder
Weingut Leonhardt                                    Gelber Kleinberger, Weisser Rauschling, Roter Veltliner
Ulrich Martin                                             Gruner Adelfrankisch, Hartblau, Schwarzurban, Suss-
                                                                   schwarz, Weisser Rauschling, Weisser Traminer, Gelber
                                                                   Kleinberger, Blauer Muskateller, Grunfrankisch,
                                                                   Schwarzblauer Riesling, Blauer Gansfusser, Blauer
                                                                   Hangling
Martin Metzler                                          Arbst, Frankischer Burgunder, Hartblau
Schloss Reinhartshausen                           Gruner Adelfrankisch, Grunfrankisch, Roter Veltliner,
                                                                  Weisser Traminer,
Familie Richter                                         Gelber Kleinberger, Gruner Adelfrankisch, Affenthaler,
                                                                  Grunfrankisch, Weisser Traminer
Stefan Sander                                            Grunfrankisch, Frankischer Burgunder
Heiner Sauer                                             Grunfrankisch
Klaus Scheu                                              Grunfrankisch (aka 'Philipp Cuntz')
Weingut Schmitt                                       Arbst, Grunfrankisch
Winzerhof Schmitt                                   Gruner Adelfrankisch
Stefan Steinmetz                                       Frankischer Burgunder, Hartblau, Schwarzblauer               
                                                                  Affenthaler, Schwarzurban, Sussschwarz
Hanspeter Ziereisen                                  Arbst, Muskat-Gutedel



One of Andreas Jung's vineyards. Spot the 100 varieties.









Saturday, 1 February 2020

Australia Fair







The Australia Trade Tasting 2020 was our chance to find out how the horrendous forest fires had been affecting vineyards. From what we could gather New South Wales and Victoria have been the worst hit but real facts thus far were somehow hard to come by possibly becausethey won't be fully known until this year's and next year's vintage has been made.

We had always missed the Australia tasting somehow so it was doubly important to get down to B1, the basement in Victoria House, Southampton Row, Holborn, London where the tasting was taking place (it's just over the road from where Sir John Barbirolli was born - everyone knows where that is of course).


In the entrance our concerns were immediately addressed by a leaflet entitled 'Bushfire Update.' In this we read that 'the start of 2020 has been a difficult one. People have lost their lives, their homes, pets and livestock - and our wildlife ecosystems have been dramatically affected.'

But also 'The wine sector has been very fortunate that the losses to date have been limited'...

'Around 1 per cent of Australia's vineyards are in areas affected by fires. Fortunately not all vineyards in these areas are fire damaged.'




That is good news. The season is far from over however and worse may be to come but for the moment we can cross fingers and buy Australian wine as the best way of helping out.


the great man himself, Darby Higgs.


The Slotovino relationship with Australian wine is the closest of any of ours in the southern hemisphere. This is partly due to a wonderful person, Darby Higgs. Darby has been devoted to diversity, Australian diversity in particular longer than anybody. His site is calld VinoDiversity and is described as the only website solely about Australian wines made from alternative grape varieties of which there are over 100 described on the site. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay, Zimbabwe - are you listening?








We had the pleasure of meeting the great man a few years ago in Melbourne and he gave us a really wonderful bottle: a Bianco D'Alessano from Salena Estates in South Australia.


John Thorne of Portal, Dingwall and Norris

Our enthusiasm for this example of Bianco D'Alessano was such that we imported a case thanks to John Thorne who persuaded Fells agencies to put the wine with one of their shipments from Australia to the UK. John has earned our eternal gratitude ever since and indeed it was he who prompted us to come to the Australian Trade Tasting this year.




So it was with justified expectancy that we entered B1 - we were not disappointed. Of course there were no unique varities although Australia has been active in producing new ones such as Tarrango, Cygne, Cienna, Rubienne, Taminga and so forth. Nevertheless the diversity was impressive. Here are just a few of the varieties that appeared on the labels;

Brachetto
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Chardonnay
Chenin Blanc
Glera
Graciano
Grenache
Gruener Veltliner
Kerner
Malbec
Mataro/Mourvedre
Nebbiolo
Pedro Jimenez
Petit Manseng
Pinot Meunier
Pinot Noir
Rousanne
Sagrantino
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc
Sciacarello
Saperavi
Semillon
Shiraz
Sousão
Tempranillo,
Tinta Cão,
Touriga Nacional
Viognier

 We thought that was pretty good.

The actual wines were also pretty good; there were none that fell below a certain standard. All were pleasant to drink and some of course were exceptional.


In a break with our usual format we're just going to add labels to the above.

But before we do here's a quick roundup of two of the more interesting blends:



Mazza Wine's 'Cinque' is a blend of  Graciano, Tempranillo, Tinta Cão, Touriga Nacional and Sousão. Mazza seemed right away to be our kind of producer. Quoting from their website:

Anne and David Mazza specialise in growing Spanish and Portuguese varieties on a small, family-run vineyard in the Geographe Region, near Donnybrook, 200km south of Perth, Western Australia.

Our Story
In 2002, we planted six red grape varieties - Bastardo, Graciano, Tempranillo, Tinta Cão, Touriga Nacional, and Sousão. From these we produce a unique Bastardo rosé, a range of straight varietal red wines and delicious blends like our Cinque - The Five. We also produce fortified wines....
 

Our plantings have been inspired by our travels through Spain and Portugal and the fantastic wines of Rioja and the Douro Valley. We are proud to produce an Australian translation of these Old World heritage varieties and believe we are the only Australian vineyard to present this collection from a single site. We look forward to planting other interesting grapes in the not too distant future.



and




Koerner have gone with Sangiovese, Grenache, Sciacarello and Malbec.

They are another producer who immediately struck us as on our wavelength. They even have some Mammolo. Koerner describe themselves thus;

We are the Koerner brothers. 2019 Young Gun of Wine Award winners and wine lovers from way back. Our wines are produced from fruit grown in Watervale, Clare Valley, with the majority of our grapes coming from the Koerner family vineyard, Gullyview. With a focus on fruit quality and transparent winemaking, our wines are textural and approachable, light, fresh, and ultimately drinkable. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Damon and Jono Koerner


So now to some of the monovarietals:


Brachetto



Pizzini have been on our radar for many years. They are not just Italian orientated, they are Italian full stop. As well as the usual Italian grapes (lots of Glera/Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese) they grow Arneis, Verdicchio, Verduzzo, Barbera, Canaiolo, Sagrantino, Teroldego and this Brachetto. Bravi.

Chenin Blanc



We hadn't associated Australia with Chenin Blanc but why not?

Glera





As well as Pizzini mentioned above, others seem to have mounted the Prosecco bandwagon. We didn't taste this one from Alpha Box and Dice. Another estate whose website is worth quoting;

Based in McLaren Vale, South Australia, Alpha Box & Dice are embarking on an Alphabet of Wine. Each 'letter' embodies an individual winemaking project, with the end goal being a complete collection of wines that celebrates the diverse styles and varieties found in South Australia's famous wine regions, including McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley. Since its beginning in 2008, AB&D has become a champion of South Australia's alternative – particularly Mediterranean – varieties, exhibiting innovation at every step of the process by bending tr, aditional winemaking norms. 

Surprising varieties include Aglianico, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Nero D'Avola and Tourigas Nacional and Roriz.

Grenache



Good to see Kiikanoon repersented here by a Riesling (see below) and this Grenache among others. Their 100 year old port was unaccountably not on offer for tasting.

Gruener Veltliner




Tomich was not the only estate producing Gruener Veltliner. Australia seems to be sensitive to world trends all right.

Kerner




This was a surprise but then Kerner has a niche in the Alto Adige so why not also in the Eden Valley? Kontrapunkt Kerner is made by Chaffey Bros. From Fechner grapes. Chaffey Bros' website:

100% Kerner (A.K.A. Weißer Herold) from the revered Fechner Bros’ vineyard in the Northern Eden Valley. The Kerner grape is a 1929 cross-breed of Riesling and Vernatsch. Graeme and Michael Fechner brought cuttings to their Eden Valley vineyard in 2001 following a research trip to Germany.
In the last few years we have incorporated the Fechner Bros’ Kerner into our aromatic blend “Düfte Punkt”, cofermenting it with Riesling and Gewürztraminer from the same vineyard. “Kontrapunkt” however is the first wine we have made solely out of Kerner grapes and is Australia’s only varietal Kerner!.

Mataro/Mourvedre


We include Mataro here not because it is rare in Australia (quite the opposite) but because we love it.

Nebbiolo




Nebbiolo seems to be on the up in Oz.

Pedro Jimenez



This was an exquisite desert wine by Turkey Flat. It belongs to our Mmmmm category.

Petit Manseng




Zoe and Rollo Crittenden don't say it on the Hispanic style label but this is Petit Manseng - a grape of which we thoroughly approve. Daughter and son of the famous Gary Crittenden of the Mornington Penisula they refer on the back label to having fallen foul of EU regulations in the first name given to this wine, but what could that have been? Petit Manseng is at home in Jurancon, near but not in Spain.

Riesling




Roussanne



Lobenthal Road is in the Adelaide Hills. As well as all the usual varieties found in Australia they have this Roussanne and Tempranillo.

Sagrantino



Another surprise; Sagrantino is made by more than Pizzini (see above). This one is from Oliver's Tarango Vineyard in MacLaren Vale. Sagrantino from its home in Umbria can be hard to love. Australian versions may be more approachable.

Tempranillo



Two versions of Tempranillo by Pizzini. Quite a few other producers are working with this grape now in Australia. That fact was one of the many brought to us by this show.

Sangiovese



Saperavi



We had first heard of Australian Saperavi when coming across Domaine Day years ago. Nice to see there are others producing a monovarietal Saperavi as this one by Patritti.

Semillon



Mount Horrocks, Clare Valley



Keith Tulloch, Hunter Valley





3 different Semillons from Gundog Estate, Hunter Valley


David Franz's Long Gully Rd. Ancient Vines, Barossa Valley 12.8%


McWilliams' iconic Mount Pleasant Elizabeth from the Hunter Valley
We have just read that the great and venerable McWilliams producer has just gone into receivership. Perhaps that is why their iconic Mount Pleasant Elizabeth has until recently been available at markedly low prices and a sparkling Semillon of theirs could be bought from Sainsburys for under £7 not so long ago - the bargain of the century for sure. We very much hope that the estate will be taken over by new sympathetic owners who will continue to make these great wines.


A Margaret River Semillon.

No apologies about featuring Semillon in particular in this blog. Here are some interesting facts about this variety;

At the start of grape growing in Australia, Semillon was the most widely planted variety.

It is still made in various regions including the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Margaret River.

Each of these regions produces a Semillon of different character with alcohol levels varying from 10% - 13.5%

In the Hunter Valley at least, Semillon never sees wood but the wine nonetheless has the taste of having been in barrel.

In our experience Semillon is the last to spoil. Somehow, it remains fresh even when oxydised to some extent.

Maybe this is a by-product of its being incredibly age-worthy; the longer you keep it the better it is.

It comes in both dry and of course sweet versions (think sweet Boreaux). There are even very successful sparkling examples.

Auberon Waugh wasn't keen on it.

Shiraz



Can't mention Australian wine without mentioning Shiraz. Major Kong is available from Bottle Apostle.

Tempranillo





Mazza again.


Tempranillo with some Viognier.

Tempranillo a-plenty.

Touriga Nacional




Only slightly less plentiful than Tempranillo.

Vermentino/Pigato


Vermentino is called Pigato in Emilia Romagna. Koerner again. Good on yer!

So plenty of Australian wine here that you can buy and help Australia in their worst ever natural disaster at the same time. Diverse, interesting, original - so where the bloody hell are you? to coin a phrase.