One of the biggest mandates at the store that I manage, is to have regular tastings – educational seminars to inform our customers about different styles, varietals and regions of wine that they may not otherwise taste or be interested in. Our aim is to have different professionals in the house presenting and educating. This past Wednesday, we had our first winemaker sharing his wines with us. Andreas Bender, winemaker from the Mosel region of Germany was in the house and a sampling of 5 German wines were tasted. Add to that great food pairings from Privada, a local wine and tapas restaurant, and cheese pairings from the Cavern, PLUS 3 additional French wines, it was indeed a Bender! (I hope Andreas doesn’t mind the play on words with his name…he’s a good natured guy!
A Gewurztraminer, dry Riesling, Auslese style Riesling, Pinot Noir and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc); we tasted almost the whole gamut of grape varietals we typically see in this market, coming out of Germany. The Pinot Noir was especially exciting, as there are not too many of these in the Canadian market (French Pinots, yes…German Pinots, NO!) From the reaction of the sales two nights ago, I would say it was an enjoyable wine. And truly it is. Red berries with a hint of vanilla, balanced by mouthwatering acidity and tannins, this could be anyone’s “everyday” Pinot. ($22.95) Then there’s the 2013 Gewurztraminer ($22.95) that is hugely aromatic and full of roses, lychee, with those nutmeg hints, again with mouthwatering acidity and an exceedingly long finish. This wine was sold out during the Christmas season (GREAT turkey wine, btw!) and Bender dubbed this “luggage wine”, as he brought a couple of bottles in his suitcase especially for this tasting! Drinking superbly now, but Andreas says will age beautifully over the next 3-5 years. Why not buy three and experiment? You’ve got nothing to lose at this price! The Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) is fresh and lively with flavours and aromas of apples, stone fruits and an obvious minerality.
Let’s not forget about the 2013 Hofpasch – Bender’s Auslese style of Riesling…yes, it’s sweet, (for all you geeks out there, 135 g/L residual sugar), but so far away from cloying with its laser sharp acidity that balances the sweetness perfectly! This one would be incredibly fun to age. I would love to see where age takes this wine, and well…Andreas literally JUST told me I could age it for 120 years….umm…20 maybe, because I think the wine will outlive me! Haha!! This one is $35.95 – a little more of an investment but SO worth that price!
It was a great evening! Everyone left satisfied with smiles on their faces, along with an autographed bottle (or 2) of German wine. For those of us who are wine geeks, a winemaker is like a ROCKSTAR so you DO want him/her to sign your wine bottle(s)! If I were to guess, I’d say that approximately 30 bottles of Bender wine left the store that night…good for all parties involved in the whole circle of wine. So, here’s to a successful wine tasting and many more to come! Cheers!