Durif from Rutherglen Estates at Songkran in Bangkok

April 13, 2013

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Rutherglen Estates 2008 Durif

It is the Thai New Year, called Songkran, the water festival. In down town Bangkok the mob is celebrating, dancing, and splashing people with water, a cleansing ritual and a good omen.

Instead of mingling with the crowd, we are enjoying some beautiful red wine on our terrace. From Wine Connection in Thonglor I got a bottle of ‘2008 Durif Single Vineyard’ by Rutherglen Estates, one of the largest wine and grape producers in the region (more than 300 ha under vines).

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2008 Single Vineyard Durif

The wine is big with 14.5% alcohol. It has not much of a nose. The first sip comes as a bit of a shock, sucking your mouth dry like a vacuum cleaner. The second mouth full is already better, and then you are sailing. Some red fruit, some vanilla from the oak. Pleasant and satisfying, a warm climate red whispering in your ear the hot air of the northern Victorian sun.

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Bavaria Blue

We had some Bavaria Blue cheese from Bergader Creamery with it. This is my favourite Bavarian cheese, and not only because I worked as a young man on a dairy farm in Petting which delivered its milk to that company.

Every time I am in Germany I bring some of this cheese with me. It is super delicious. And the red wine from Rutherglen was just the right complement, a perfect match so to say to the strong and hearty cheese.

More such glorious days can come, with wine and some good food.

Happy Thai New Year to all of you.


Good friends and good wines

April 12, 2010

Enjoying good wines together

It is always a pleasure to visit Gayle and Phillip at their Spingvale farm just outside of Yarra Glen. They served us wonderful wines. A ‘2005 Tappa Pass Shiraz Vineyard Selection’ by Henschke from the Barossa Valley in South Australia and a ‘2008 All Saints Estate Durif’ from All Saints Winery in Rutherglen, Victoria. Both wines are wonderful, lush and full of flavor, the right stuff for a long chat on the lawn. Needless to say, we had a great time.

An afternoon with red wines

The 2005 Henschke Tappa Pass Shiraz

The 2008 All Saints Durif

The Henschke Shiraz with a glass enclosure

When its over: bottles on the ground


Connoisseurs delight: a wine tasting in Berlin of a special kind

January 15, 2009

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While in Berlin an old friend of mine, Gerhard Schlaudraff, had invited me spontaneously to join and celebrate his birthday in his new home near Warschauer Platz. Since Gerhard is not only a wine lover but a real wine expert, the feast promised to be something special. And indeed, it turned out to be a wine tasting of a special kind.

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I was about an hour late and many wines had been already swallowed up by gay drinkers. I came just in time for the two reds, the ‘1995 Corton Grand Cru Domaine Bonneau du Martray and the ‘1996 Grand Vin Château Beychevelle Saint-Julien’.

We all agreed that the two wines should have been drunk some time ago, they had, unfortunately, already passed their prime. That’s why we moved on swiftly without loosing too much time.

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The ‘2003 Kuenstler Reichestal Spaetburgunder’ from the Rheingau was a ripper of a wine. It can hold itself against the best Pinot Noirs from Burgundy. The wine was well balanced despite the “horror” announcement of 15% alcohol on the label. So forget about France and Burgundy and explore this wonderful drop from the Rheingau. More and more Germany is showing itself as a Pinot Noir producer of high distinction. My tip: get a bottle of this wine now and enjoy it, preferably over a good meal, with family and friends.

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After that we moved on to sweet wines for dessert. We started with a ‘1999 Deidesheimer Grainhübel Riesling Auslese’ from Weingut Dr. Deinhard, Pfalz. This wine was “heaven on a stick”, a dessert Riesling which you want to try. Our eyes rolled in their sockets with delight and our taste buds were exposed to an opulence and richness from which mere human palates are often excluded.

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The last wine came from my adopted home, Victoria, Australia. It was a Muscat from Rutherglen, a wine region about three hours north from our own place in Glenburn.

The ‘Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Grand Muscat’ was the highlight of the evening. Chambers produces outstanding Muscat wines of superior quality. The average age of its Grand cuveés is about 70 years.

The Chicago Wine Company gives the wine 98 out of a 100 and has given up to describe the wine, because tasting notes would read the same year after year.

For me this wine was the perfect ending to an utterly enjoyable wine and birthday celebration. From here on only spirits with a much higher alcohol content could be taken. I left the diners to it when I made my way home on the subway.