Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Songs of Innocence and Experience

Actually, my title for this photograph is ‘Unschuld,’
which is the German word for innocence.
I shot it at least a dozen years ago in one of Rainer Lingenfelder's vineyards in the Pfalz.

Weingut Lingenfelder has resurfaced in the market, and is now working with Martin Scott. Rainer has been around a couple times in the past few months, and I've had the good fortune to spend a couple hours with him—and the even better fortune to be given a couple bottles that he'd carried from the estate in Grosskarlbach. Which is smaller than Kleinkarlbach, which I have always found amusing.

once upon a time I played a favourite trick on the lusty crew of degenerates I ran with in Los Angeles. We drank a couple magnums of 1979 Veuve Clicquot rosé, and then a mag of 66 La Tache (thank you Phil Ramey)—but in between, I served a bottle of 88 Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet Ruchottes Rouge. Well, you know and I know that Ramonet didn't make one—what I'd refilled the Ruchottes bottle with was a similar vintage of Rainer's very expressive Spätburgunder. And actually had these not-inexperienced wine-snoots thinking that they were drinking a rare 1er Cru red Chassagne.

but that was then, this is now:
two bottles from Lingenfelder:

2007 Pinot Gris Großkarlbacher Osterberg Spätlese (06-08)
I was on a plane to Paris that eve, so the bottle went home with Ellisa—surfaced out of her fridge some months later, accompanying her lobster salad with sweet corn, lemon and thyme.
Herr Grauburgunder wore the French alias on his sleeve, a very German wine—there could've been no way to confuse this with an Alsace PG—certainly, 12.5 alcohol, but a really nice and complementary bit of residual sugar, I would guess just over the halbtrocken hurdle.

but most importantly, the Osterberg showed a beautiful almost weightless/chiffon-esque rather startlingly light texture. grace and delicacy. which did not prevent it from digging in to the lobster—and the residual sugar provided a very nice lift into the finish aromatics—oddly enough, Ellisa liked it better with the salad, on account of the r-s—whereas most frequently r-s strikes most tasters as better on its own... pretty hazelnut and butterscotch tones, no preponderant minerality, but a wonderful mouthcoating texture—I liked it both ways, but thenagain, I'm easy.

the other bottle was actually a 375ml,

2003 Großkarlbacher Burgweg Auslese (20-04)
in keeping with the vintage, nicely ripe, but without significant (any, actually) botrytis.
had we been paying attention, we would have shared this bottle among two people, but it ultimately got split four ways one night at my place,
and given a hell of an assignment to cope with, foodwise:
portabellos stuffed with reduced and pureed mission figs, prosciutto and gorgonzola+black pepper
and the wine spoke fresh pear paired with poached pear—an aromatic evocation of innocence itself:
pairs of pears, not to mention the challenging cheesepairing implied out of the blue.
lovely texture, not heavy, not overly sweet—around 12% alcohol, perhaps 11.5—pretty mineral underlay, the wine showing the staying power of youth, no whiff of the petrol pump as yet—a very discreetly persistent acidity rounding it all out, glistening bright. long life ahead of it.

...only thing wrong was the bottle was too small. not enough wine in it ~

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