Welcome to Friday Night Flights for 18 May 2018!
As a reminder… we randomly pick one of several pre-chosen pairs and then drink the wines blind. Wines are paired based on varietal, vintage, and price, so that we’re as close to comparing apples to apples as possible. Within the pair, one wine is from Germany and the other from somewhere else. Which is “Wine A” and which is “Wine B” from week to week is random.
Wine A has a pale ruby color. On the nose there are notes of lots of red fruit (cherry, raspberry, and a hint of strawberry), a bit of white pepper. There a bit of the (pleasant) smell of newly fallen leaves. The wine is clearly oaked, with a round toasty vanilla aroma.
A dry wine, on the palate there’s a high degree of acidity, but this is balanced by nice red fruit (cherry and raspberry again), with vanilla, cedar, and a bit of white pepper. The wine has a medium level of alcohol with restrained tannins and a medium body that largely comes from the rounded fruit. The finish pleasant but somewhat abbreviated.
Overall, I think this wine is very nicely balanced with a lovely nose and good fruit on the palate. The use of oak is tasteful and complements the rest of the wine. A very good wine and one that would go well with smoked meats or game. Clearly a Pinot Noir.
Wine B is darker than Wine A — a medium ruby color. The nose exhibits black cherry and red plum notes, with some herbal overtones from lavender.
Like Wine A, this wine is dry, with high levels of acid and medium levels of alcohol. It is more tannic than Wine B, in the medium(+) range. These higher levels of tannin lead to a medium body. But the palate is a disappointment, with the tannins dominating what little fruit there is (mostly a vague sense of red or black fruit). The finish is short and leaves a bitter aftertaste.
While Wine B is not flawed, it’s hard to like. The nose is unexciting and the palate is just plain unbalanced (too much tannin and very little fruit) and boring. It is not a wine that I enjoyed drinking. With some more bottle age, the tannins would soften, but there is so little fruit that I would be concerned that the end product would be quite dull indeed. In the short run pairing this wine with a grilled steak might also soften the tannins and reveal some fruit, but overall I think this is a lackluster effort.
Wine A is a 2014 Bernhard Huber Malterdinger, 13% alcohol, maturation in old oak barrels.
Huber is a member of the VDP from the Baden wine area. Since the death in 2014 of Bernhard Huber at the early age of 55, the winery has been run by Julian Huber (Bernhard’s son) and Julian’s wife Barbara. Huber is a young winery, having first produced wine under their own label in 1987. They have about 22 hectares (54 acres) under cultivation.
The “Malterdinger” is a VDP Ortswein the equivalent of a “village” wine in France. The fruit comes from Huber’s home town of Malterdingen.
Wine B is a 2014 Louis Jadot Couvent des Jacobins Bourgogne, 12.5% alcohol, maturation partially in old oak barrels.
Maison Jadot is a well-known producer-négociant in Burgundy. Founded in in 1859, it has grown to have 220 hectares (54o acres) under its control.
Fruit for this wine can come from anywhere in Burgundy, but Jadot notes that it comes from the Côtes d’Or, Côte Challonaise (specifically Mercurey), and Auxerrois (Irancy).
Both wines retail for about EUR 17 (about USD 20 / GBP 15 at current exchange rates).
Unlike last week, when I felt that the 2015 Nelles Pinot Noir and the 2015 Domaine Michel Noëllat Bourgogne were outstanding wines offering exceptional value, this week I have a very strong preference for the 2014 Huber Malterdinger. The wine has a great balance of fruit, acid, and tannin. In terms of body I’d probably put it roughly between the Nelles and the Noëllat. This is wine that will go well with all sorts of food.
The 2015 Jadot Couvent des Jacobins Bourgogne on the other hand is not a great wine and does not offer good value, in my opinion. While it may benefit from aging, it’s hard to imagine that it will evolve into a decent wine.
Thanks for reading and see you next week!