Thursday, August 31, 2023

Tasting 14 Wines at Al's (August 2023)


Al Guber likes to invite wine aficiniados over to his home in Bristow, Virginia, to taste some good wines. This time, in August 2023, we were able to join. 

We were a small group:

Al Guber, host, former President of the American Wines Society,

Bill Stefan, current President of the American Wine Society,

Grant Crandall, President of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association,

Kevin Ringham,  

Annette Schiller, ombiasy WineTours,

Christian Schiller, schiller-wine blog and Vice-President of the German Wine Society (Wahington DC Chapter)

The Wines

We had 14 bottles of wine.

1984 Domaine Aufray, Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru 

I found the almost 40 years old Chablis grand cru drinkable, an aged senior citicen, but the group thought the wine was beyond that point.

1982 Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon 

Oxydized, but still bubbly. The current avarage price of the 1982 Dom Pérignon according to wine-searcher is US$1599.

1989 Domaine Chante Cigale, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
1992 Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Last year, we spent half a day at Domaine Grand Veneur. Owner Hélène Jaume was our host:

Vineyard and Cellar Tour at Vignobles Alain Jaume, Domaine Grand Veneur, with Hélène Jaume in Courthézon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Rhône Valley Tour 2022 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Culture and History, France 
Wine-pairing Lunch at La Table d’Alain Jaume with Hélène Jaume at Domaine Grand Veneur in Courthézon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Rhône Valley Tour 2022 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Culture and History, France


2020 Booker Vineyard, Vertigo, Paso Robles, California

1992 Winzergenossenschaft Vier Jahreszeiten, Wachenheimer Königswingert, Bad Dürkheim, Scheurebe, Beerenauslese

The wine was dark brown. Produced by a co-op, but still a rare wine.

We discussed that in Germany it is legal to add sweet reserve (sterilized juice) to the finished wine - at both Qualitätswein level and Qualitätswein mit Prädikat level - to increase the remaining sweetness in the wine. 

Julia Sevenich: Süssreserve is the German term used to refer to unfermented grape juice that is used to sweeten a wine AFTER fermentation to soften acidity.

Its use in Germany is allowed for all quality wines including the wines predicated Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. In Austria, its use is prohibited for predicated wines.

In the past, Süssreserve was preserved by adding high doses of sulphur dioxide. Today it typically undergoes near sterile filtration and cold stabilization to precipitate tartrates. It is stored refrigerated for up to 12 months.

The practice of sweetening wines post fermentation has decreased significantly. Most producers that wish to intervene in residual sugar content of a wine prefer to arrest fermentation before all the sugars have been converted to alcohol. Adding süssreserve also changes the composition of sugars. During fermentation glucose is fermented more quickly than fructose. A halted fermentation will thus render a wine with residual sugar comprised mainly of fructose, while the use of süssreserve will yield a wine with a residual sweetness comprised of both glucose and fructose.

2009 Weingut Heidemanns-Bergweiler, Bernkasteler Badstube, Riesling, Auslese, Mosel

Again, not an elite wine producer, widely available in the USA at Total. 

2008 Weingut Lützkendorf, Karsdorfer Hohe Gräte, Riesling Spätlese, Saale Unstrut

Annette and I brought 2 wines. One was a Spätlese from the late Uwe Lützkendorf, made in Saale Unstrut, Germany, in a renaturalized brown coal open pit in the former East Germany. 

We thought it was a sweet-style wine, but it was a wine fully fermented to dryness. In the future, an error like this can not happen any more. Under the new German Wine Law of 2021, w with a Prädikat are sweet. Previously, wines with a Prädikat could be dry or sweet.

Tasting at Weingut Uwe Lützkendorf, with Uwe Lützkendorf, in Bad Kösen, Saale-Unstrut – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

2019 Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, 5e cru classé, grand vin, Pauillac

1996 Moulin de Duhart, Château Duhart-Milon, 4e cru classé, second wine, Pauillac

2018 Weingut Schneitmann, Simonroth Cuvee MC, Württemberg, Germany 

An ultra-premium Bordeaux blend from Stuttgart, Germany, made by Rainer Schnaitmann. MC stands for Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The wine,  wrapped up in a brown bag, left an excellent impression on the goup but nobody could guess that this was a wine from Württemberg, Germany.

At Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann with Rainer Schnaitmann. See: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany 

2012 Guerrieri Rizzardi Lugana, 3 Cru, Amarone

Annette`s Comments on Facebook

Excellent, very unique tasting. I very much appreciate aged wines and this tasting hit the spot for me. Thanks Al for organizing this. My favorites were the two CdP: the 1989 Chante Cigale and the Domaine Grand Veneur. The two Bordeaux wines had also aged gracefully: the Moulin Duhart 1996 ( second wine of Chateau Duhart Milon ) and the Chateau Haut Bage Liberal were delicious. Unfortunately the Champagne Dom Perignon 1982 was oxidized, but what an honor to even taste such a historic bottle.

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