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Today was no different than any other April day in Iowa.

Slightly cloudy. Rain drizzling down with a generous gust of wind.

Is that snow?!

I spent the afternoon dissecting

a stellar German white wine with a good friend.

As we threw out comments like

limestone, tangy acidity, and tangerine,

I mentioned this weather makes me want nothing but German white wines.

My friend looked perplexed, so I explained.

The weather in Germany is so similar to an April day here in Iowa.

Overcast, damp, and never quite sunny.

In German wine terms, this is fantastic.

It keeps ripeness levels in check and

allows the trademark racing acidity to shine.

I mentioned my affection for this exact flavor profile and an idea was born.



You know we are going

to start in Germany!

1. Weingut Hans Wirsching,

Iphofer, Silvaner Trocken, Franconia, Germany 2020

When I travelled to Germany,

Wirsching was the first winery my group visited.


Featuring its15th generation owner/winemaker,

Wirsching dedicates much of their planting to Silvaner-

an ancient white varietal declining in numbers in Germany

due to the rising demand for Riesling.

The Wirsching family in Franconia more than competes with the

great producers of Riesling in the Mosel,

they truly showcase their long history in the production

of other varietals like Silvaner and Scheurebe,

and continue to use the ancient bocksbeutel bottle!

This Silvaner shows notes of tangerine, blood orange,

and pink grapefruit combine with limestone and lip-smacking acidity.

Although fermented dry, this wine will age for decades!

Gorgeous for $32.99/bottle

2. Weingut Robert Weil,

Riesling Trocken, Rheingau, Germany 2019

Very few winemakers get to experience a classic vintage-

the type of season, harvest, and production

oenophiles glorify for generations.

The 2019 vintage in Germany was epic-

more than noteworthy, it was downright perfect.

Fourth generation owner/winemaker, Wilhelm Weil

took full advantage of the perfect conditions-

no harsh swings in temperature or moisture,

and a harvest that came naturally,

not with severe weather at his back.

I have tasted several German wines from this vintage,

and they all have one thing in common- balance.

This Riesling boast bright reductive stone fruit on the forward,

lush but lean mineral power on the palate,

and a ridiculously clean acidic finish.

Perfect for $30.99/ bottle

3. Rootdown Pinot Noir, Cole Ranch, California 2020

What does a winemaker do when

he loves a piece of land so much!?

He buys the entire AVA, of course.

The Cole Ranch AVA is the smallest in North America,

totaling less than a quarter of a square mile.

It is nestled in between the much larger

Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley AVAs.

Winemaker/owner Mike Lucia cut his teeth in the business

making wine at Copain and Goldeneye before setting his

sights on the Cole Ranch property.

A true monopole expression, the Rootdown Pinot Noir

features classic cool climate characteristics of

dark red and blue fruit, within a slightly hazy texture.

The punch of almost sweet fruit on the forward

is balanced by the more herbal, bacon fat finish.

Drink up for $39.99/bottle

4. Sindicat La Figuera, "Vi Sec," Garnatxa Negra,

Montsant, Spain 2020

Speaking of history and special dedication to a piece of land...

The Sindicat La Figuera was founded in1932

at the highest altitude, 550 meters, in Montsant.

The co-op rose to great success early with its 100% Garnatxa wine,

but suffered a devastating blow in the 1950's,

when a terrible storm took out much of the vineyards and town.

Now, only 25 people still live here,

and only 3 are responsible for the renovation

of the winery and replanting of vines.

Master Sommelier Ian Cauble,

co-owner of wine group SOMM SELECT,

said this wine was

"the best $25 bottle of Grenache we've ever tasted, full stop."

I have to agree!

The amount of minerality and lift this wine

is able to express is breathtaking.

It is not hard to imagine that the altitude,

and choice to bottle 100% Garnatxa,

are responsible for the nuances that separates this

Spanish red from the pack.

Illustrious at $28.99/bottle

(sorry, Ian gets a better price than I do!)

5. Domaine de la Janasse,

Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France 2018

Guests often ask how I remember so much about wine.

Do I take excessive notes, or carry around an old school recording device?

Actually, neither.

I am one of those lucky few that file away

all sensory information in my brain immediately after tasting or smelling.

This CDP takes me to one place in particular-

I warned you an ex-boyfriend may pop up!

The first time I enjoyed this bottling, I was on Jimmy's balcony,

under the warm Vegas sun, and thought it was the cleanest,

finest expression of CDP I'd ever tasted.

Bad boyfriend... GREAT WINE!

The family operation at Janasse know how to achieve a lasting memory.

This wine has perfect balance from start to finish-

juicy red fruits, a slight sense on game and spice on the mid-palate,

and a finish for days. It's almost hard to share!

Remarkable at $69.99/bottle



Read the other posts on the

SOMM Tasting Journal blog!

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