I spent Sunday sitting amongst the Redwood trees in downtown Larkspur watching the 49ers vs. Cowboys game with some friends. This included a 4th quarter sprint to the local dive bar, where we finished out the game with a crowd of enthusiastic football fans. I spent most of my life in rural Germany watching and playing soccer (which, by the way, is still by far the superior sport!) and rarely getting to enjoy American football. Once a year, we would wake up to watch the Super Bowl at 3AM, but watching the game half asleep with your family is just not as thrilling as cheering along real-time with your peers in a bar.
While Germany doesn’t have much American Football, it does have some great wines. Our white this week is actually the first German wine we’ve featured at Wine Friends, and I’m very excited about it.
This wine is from the region of Baden in the Southwest of Germany, close to the French border. It is among a handful of estates in Germany that are publicly owned - this one by the city of Offenburg and the Ortenau county. The estate dates all the way back to the 1500s when it was founded as a means of supporting the local hospital and hospice care. Through the disturbances of WWII the estate became the property of the city, and still to this day is run publicly.
Their 2016 Riesling is all about minerality; a fresh, balanced expression of the grape with lower alcohol and piercing acidity. The light notes of lemon rind, white peach, apple blossom and distinct Riesling mineral oil combine wonderfully with an elegant, round palate and complexity that will keep you engaged for a long time. Such a smooth glass of wine.
Our red this week is celebrating its 20th year in the bottle. There is something special about opening a well-aged wine. It’s like a time capsule waiting to tell the story of the vintage from which it was born. When Simon and I sampled this one, we couldn’t believe the value. Simon, who has vast experience with Bordeaux wines, mentioned that 2003 had initially been a somewhat closed off vintage, meaning the flavors needed more time to develop, and prices were lower. However, decades in the bottle has served this wine well and transformed it into the expressive, vibrant red it is today.
A well-aged wine of this quality and price is a rare occurrence indeed. At twenty years in bottle, it has really unfolded gracefully. I urge everyone who is curious about well-aged wine to give this one a try. The Bardet family is an established producer on Bordeaux’s right bank with four St. Emilion Grand Cru estates under their belt, and one more in the neighboring Côtes de Castillon (now Castillon - Côtes de Bordeaux), from which this wine originates. Intense red cherries, stewed strawberries, elderberries and plums combine with notes of leather, a slightly candied nature and incredibly fine tannins. This wine is a marriage of power and grace that just keeps on giving. At $26 a bottle, we cannot encourage you enough to snatch up a case (or two!) as the flavors will continue to develop for years to come, while also being delightful to consume now. Simon and I could not get enough of this one!