Round to Geoff’s to taste a couple after 11 days away in France.
The first wine (Martin Schaetzel’s Grand Cru Kaefferkopf Granit 2011, bought from the producer at about £16) had an unmistakably riesling nose, some petrol, lemony tint and was clear and bright. However the taste, to me, was not classic Alsace. Some acidity, some honey, a little hard but some complexity. So I guessed ‘not French’. This was embarrassingly wrong since the wine was from Alsace and I’d actually bought some a few years ago. In fact – we’ve already blogged on it, this year. We weren’t totally happy with it then but Geoff suggested that it has improved with age – certainly the nose is now more typical – and I think we could have usefully kept it for a few more years.
The second tasted was a red with a perfumed, spicy, rather spirity nose which I was sure I had encountered before. That’s unlikely since I can recall drinking only one Italian merlot and that was completely different. And it was nothing like a Bordeaux. So I had no idea. The taste was a little raw, quite short, with some pleasant strawberry fruit. An interesting wine from M&S.
[Yes, the riesling would have been better given some bottle time; the initial high acidity should have told us that. It was richer, less aggressive and more characteristic of the grape.
As regards the Merlot, it was leaner than the usual plummier Merlot style and better for it, in my opinion. It was quite refreshing, if a little simple and one-dimensional. It went well with the fatty duck breast and damson sauce. The Fruili DOC is in the extreme NE of Italy, close to the Slovenia border.]