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Tasting Reviews

Kerpen 2015 Mosel Wines and Older Heim, Lauer and Schwaab Kiebel Bottlings

Weingut Kerpen has a history of viniculture stretching back around 250 years. The company is in the hands of the immensely popular Martin Kerpen, eighth generation, with daughter Marie-Luise and son Matthias becoming fully immersed in the business. The Kerpen Estate is a model of the Mosel, with 7.5 ha of vines spread over a number of sites, many in prestigious vineyards. The jewel in the crown is the significant 3 ha in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr site. The wines made are classical fruit-sweet in style with no real pandering to the modern tend for trocken dry wines.

The Kerpen wines are imported and distributed in New Zealand by MacVine International, Michael Jemison having a strong relationship with the family for 14 years. Recently, Martin Kerpen came across stocks of older Mosel Rieslings from his friends and contacts, and managed to export some to New Zealand. The first shipment was sold out very quickly. This led to a second shipment, which were offered for tasting and purchase in conjunction with Dean and Rama Derwin of Centre City Wines in Waring Taylor Street in Wellington.

Michael Jemison was unable to present the tasting, but his place was taken by his Wellington-based business partner Craig O’Connell. The evening was well-subscribed, and made more lively with the presence of well-known Marlborough wine people Matt Thomson and his wife Sophie Parker. Credit must be given to Centre City for taking on a selection of these esoteric wines. There is a limited, but very loyal market for these wines, which though are variable, have been aged for the consumer.

The Wines
The wines were presented one at a time, identity known. There was considerable bottle variation with the older wines, sealed with cork, but thankfully generally not affected dreadfully so as to obscure the true character of the wines. Here are my notes on the wines tasted.

The 2015 Kerpen Wines
The 2015 vintage is seen as a very good one, and this is apparent in the wines. This is a vintage to stock up on. They are youthful and will keep well.

Kerpen ‘Handpicked’ Mosel Riesling QbA 2015
Pale straw-yellow colour. The nose is very fresh, fine and tight with aromas of lime fruit and minerals with notes of fresh herbs, and a little SO2 adding firmness. Medium in sweetness and lightish bodied, this has a tight core, the sweetness showing and carrying the wine. The acidity is fresh and cutting, and the wine follows a lime of lime fruit and florals, with some SO2 showing. The fruit is delicate and nuanced, with limes, florals and herbs. Moderate length. 10.0% alc., 36 g/L RS. 17.0+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $30.99

Kerpen ‘Alte Reben’ Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese Feinherb 2015
Pale golden yellow colour. This has a rich, deep nose with an array of florals. The nose is elegant in presentation, and with ‘texture’, showing honey, funky minerals, savoury notes, all with good density. Medium-dry to taste, the palate is deep, rich and solid, with a little drying SO2 and some underlying alcohol power. The palate has depth and density, with rounded, honied citrussy fruit, on a soft and rounded palate. The soft acidity adds to the solidness. This has good fruit extract. 11.0% alc. 18.0/20 Jun 2017 RRP $49.99

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2015
Bright, light straw-yellow colour. The nose is very fresh, intense and penetrating with fine lime and floral fruit showing great purity and excellent concentration. Off-dry to taste and refined with tightly bound flavours, the fruit is delicately nuanced with limes, lemonade, white florals and honeysuckle, along with thirst-quenching steely minerals. The palate is crisp and zesty, and carries with honied elements and a little grip on the finish. A classical Kabinett. 9.0% alc. 18.5-/20 Jun 2017 RRP $39.99

Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese * 2015
Bright, even, pale straw colour. The nose is soft and gently layered with aromas of lime fruit, honeysuckle and honey, with a steely edge. Medium-sweet to taste, the palate is rich and luscious, with succulent fruit, but balanced by good acid cut. The palate unfolds limes and yellow florals, growing in richness, to softly fill the mouth. The richness and opulence grows, revealing exotic detail as it carries to the long, lingering finish. 7.5% alc., 82 g/L RS. 18.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $47.99

The Older Heim and Lauer Wines
Wines from the same and neighbouring sites, but under different ownership. Bottle variation was manifest, some bottles looking better than others. Ah, the joys of cork! Essentially, these are all ready to drink now.

Georg Heim Neumagener Rosengartchen Riesling Spatlese 2001 
Even golden-yellow colour. The bouquet is solid with tertiary aromas of earth , a little decrepit, with slight oxidation and some toastiness. Some positive waxy notes and depth were in its favour. Medium-sweet, the palate has waxy fruit with earthy notes, along with honey and toast. Some decrepit tertiary development apparent and oxidation also. The palate retains zesty acidity, enhancing the sweetness and richness, but there is grip. Clearly a lesser bottle. 8.5% alc. 15.0/20 Jun 2017 RRP $55.99

Burgermeister Lauer Neumagener Rosengartchen Riesling Spatlese 1996
Bright, light golden-yellow colour. This has a soft and rich bouquet with cream and custard secondary and tertiary development, along with honey and toast and a little earthy detail. Sweet to taste, the palate is bright and lively, quite fragrant with fine florals, citrus fruits, cream and custard and toast with honied elements. The palate has finesse and concentration, with lively acidity to balance the richness and sweetness. This is just starting to show some dry grip and texture. 8.0% alc. 18.0+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $57.99

Burgermeister Lauer Dhroner Hofberger Riesling Spatlese 1994
Golden-yellow colour. The bouquet is tight and concentrated with intense aromas of limes, florals, honey, toast and fennel herb. A little prickle shows on the nose. Medium-sweet to taste, the palate has good aromatic flavour profile, with a core of lime fruit, herbs, florals and toast. This is well-concentrated and the acidity is still lively. As the wine flows, a little dryness and grip grows, leading to a subtle finish of herbs, toast and petrol. This has individuality. 8.5% alc. 17.5+/20 June 2017 RRP $57.99

Burgermeister Lauer Dhroner Hofberger Riesling Auslese 1992
Bright, light golden-yellow colour. This is full and voluminous, with a broad and layered bouquet with cream custard, citrus fruits, honey and toast, with a little kerosene development. This retains richness and full fruit integrity. Sweet and rich on palate, the palate is rich, luscious and succulent with lime and citrus fruits, honey, toast, and decadent tertiary cream custard notes. This is softly textured, with fresh, lacy acidity, and just a tough of drying grip appearing. But this has complexity, balance and length. 8.5% alc. (500 ml) 18.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $58.99

The Older Schwaab-Kiebel Wines
As with the earlier wines with age, there was considerable variation in condition. Here, the development flavours and vintage characteristics were stronger than the expression of the Erdener Treppchen terroir.

Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese 1998
Straw-yellow colour. The bouquet is tightly bound and firm with mineral aromas, unfolding lime, toast and herbal notes. This has good depth and well-developed complexities. Very sweet to taste, the palate is definitely honied with secondary complexing toastiness, along with hints of limes and minerals. The palate is remarkably refreshing with good acidity to match the fine textured line. This is mature and reasonably attractive for it. 7.5% alc. 17.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $76.99

Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese 1995 
Even, light golden-yellow colour. The bouquet is full and voluminous with attractive toast and honied aromas, along with piquant herbs and a slight prickle. The nose retains a steely mineral freshness. Very rich and luscious on palate, this is plush and opulent the mouthfeel smooth and seamless with soft flavours of citrus fruits, honey, toast and cream custard. The palate richness is balanced by a thread of acidity, and a drying grip is beginning to emerge. This has a good, concentrated line that carries the wine to a long finish. 7.8% alc. 18.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $78.99

Schwaab-Kiebel Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese 1994 
Light golden yellow colour. The nose is deep and solid in presentation with packed aromas of honey, toast and fresh and dark herb nuances. Certainly secondary and tertiary with earth and mineral nuances. Sweet to taste, the palate has a robust expression, but with richness and lusciousness. The acidity is soft, lending a rounded mouthfeel, enhancing the density of the wine. Citrus fruits, honey toast and a little fennel herb is present. Attractively alive, now with a little grip. 7.4% alc. 17.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $78.99

The Spatburgunder
German Pinot Noir is gaining acceptance, especially when from the warmer districts and in warmer years. The serious wines are aged in oak barriques, with France still the model. There is coming the time that German Pinot Noirs will have a global respect.

Regnery Klusserather Bruderschaft Spatburgunder Trocken QbA 2015 
Light red colour with some depth and lighter garnet hues on the rim. This has a very fine, firm and taut nose, somewhat slender in expression with aromas of light red cherries and herbs, unfolding spicy, cedary oak with aeration. Dry and light-medium bodied, the palate is slender in presentation with a taut and tightly bound core of dark cherry fruit, entwined with soicy oak. The mouthfeel features modest tannin extraction, but brisk acidity. The palate has moderate body, presence and grip, and the fruit sweetness at the core carries the wine to the finish. Somewhat oak dominant, and the fruit just lacking richness and flesh. This is fairly typical of the lighter and more common examples. A Mosel wine, aged in barrique. 13.5% alc. 16.5+/20 Jun 2017RRP $63.99


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