Friday Night Flights 15 June 2018, Linz Edition (I)

I’ve been visiting the Department of Economics at the Johannes Kepler Universität in Linz, Austria this week.  I have known Rudolf Winter-Ebmer and René Böheim for a long time it’s been great to spend a little time in Linz.

And of course there is great wine in Austria!  More on that later and next week…

I asked René if he’d want to do a Friday Night Flights with me and he organized an amazing evening of wine with Linz friends and colleagues.    We’d been through three flights of two Austrian wines each (see below) before we got to the “Friday Night Flights” comparison.  As you can imagine, we were warmed up and in a good mood!  René was great about drinking everything blind and so the usual FNF conditions apply.  Let’s get to it!

Wine A

Our first wine (well, technically our 7th wine of the night, but…) has a beautiful deep ruby color. On the nose it’s got a mix of green pepper, tobacco, chocolate, plum, and spices.    It’s really great.

The palate has pronounced but well-integrated tannins and it’s clear that this is a wine that built for aging.  There’s tobacco, a bit of plum, some eucalyptus, perhaps some white pepper. The acid is in balance, but restrained.  Between the fruit and tannins, the wine has pronounced body.  There a lot of great things going on in the glass, and the finish is long and pleasant.

Wine B

Our second wine is also ruby, but a little lighter than the first wine.  On the nose it offers more vanilla than the tobacco of the first wine with spicy notes.  There are definite black fruit notes as well.  The nose here is great, but perhaps a bit less complex than Wine A.

On the palate, I get black cherries, blackberries, plums and again vanilla.  There’s very nice fruit here as well as decent acidity.  The tannins are a bit silkier than Wine A, but definitely present — another wine built for the bottle.  It’s full bodied and round in the month.   The finish is not quite as long as Wine A, but still great.

Since I brought these two wines (but don’t know which is which), I’m glad.  René has been so generous sharing his own wines both at this grandiose tasting, but also at dinner on Tuesday, and he’s been so enthusiastic about my new wine ventures, that I didn’t want these wines to disappoint.  They definitely didn’t and our group of five definitely enjoyed them.

So which of these is from Germany and which from elsewhere?

Click here to see what we were drinking…

Friday Night Flights 8 June 2018

Welcome to Friday Night Flights for 8 June 2018…  a humid and sticky night in Bonn, indeed.

I’m without my trusty sidekick Alison Beach tonight and so I won’t be able to give you a “blind” report in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed.  Alison is off leading a class of Ohio State students to the Blackfriary Archeological Field School in Trim, Ireland.  Clearly her priorities are not in order…  and she has the good camera with her. I’ll try to solider on, two bottles staring me in the face, without her.

I don’t think drinking these wines “nonblind,” as it were, will affect my judgement much, as you’ll see.  But I won’t break format, and so there will be some suspense for you until the “reveal,” as usual.  I will note, though, that both wines were slightly chilled before tasting.

Wine A

Wine A in the glass

Wine A presents with a medium ruby color.  It has a lovely “pinot” nose, with light floral notes, along with vanilla, raspberry, and a hint of strawberry.  It’s quite delicate and lovely.

On the palate, Wine A has refreshing acidity, balanced by good fruit flavors of raspberry, red cherry, a bit of kirsch, and a touch of spice on the nice finish, which is medium(+) in length.  The body here is on the low side of medium, with silky tannins and the acidity balancing the excellent fruit.

Overall, a very pleasant wine.


Wine B

Wine B in the glass

Wine B is lighter than Wine A, a pale ruby.  On the nose, one notes that it is definitely matured at least partially in new oak, but these vanilla notes, while strong, are pleasant. There are some light cherry and strawberry aromas as well.

The acid in Wine B is more restrained than in Wine A and on the palate there are notes of cedar and sour cherry, with a bit of spiciness.  The tannins here are slightly more pronounced than in Wine A, with medium alcohol and a shortish finish.

This is a good wine, definitely well-made and drinkable.

Click here to see what we were drinking…



Friday Night Flights 1 June 2018, Ireland Edition

Welcome to Friday Night Flights for 1 June 2018… we’re in Ireland this week and not drinking Guiness.  Sorry for the late post.  Sometimes the rotwein|jaeger has to attend to that pesky career as an economist.  The more you read and like, the sooner I can give up that silly research stuff and concentrate on the important business of tasting wine.

So we’re in Ireland because trusty cork puller and wine pourer extraordinaire Alison Beach is here leading a lusty band of students from Ohio State in a study abroad course at the Blackfriary in Trim, Ireland.  We’re joined today by a few graduates from the class of 2017 from Middlebury College:  Eliza Jaeger, Sofy Maia, and Tom Canaday.  As you can guess, Eliza is our daughter.  And Sofy and Tom are getting married this month!  What better reason to open a few bottles of great wine…

Getting down to business…  [Sorry, no glass pictures this week… they’ll return next week]

Wine A

Wine A has a medium ruby color in the glass.  Really a lovely color, but rather Pinot Noir-like.

The nose has definite floral notes, with red cherry, raspberry, blueberry some white pepper.  We all agree that there are vanilla notes as well.

On the palate, it has high acid, with raspberry, red cherry, lingonberry, and vanilla, and white pepper on the finish.  The balance is super between the acid and fruit and medium tannins.  This is not a “big” wine, and has medium body.  The finish is pleasant and long.

Overall, we all agree this is a really good wine, but I think that of the group I probably like it best.

Wine B

Wine B is definitely darker than Wine A, a deep ruby.

The nose here is more complex than Wine A, with more black fruit (black cherry, blackberry) than red.  There’s also a bit of forest floor and cedar and vanilla.  It’s really lovely and I think my young co-tasters are especially enamored of it.

The palate has all of the things we detected on the nose plus some black pepper on this finish, with really nice acid.  The tannins are restrained, but the great fruit in the wine gives it more body than Wine A.  The finish is long and great.

Boof… a couple of great wines, but I can see where my young tasting colleagues are headed with their preferences.

Click here to see what we were drinking…

Friday Night Flights 25 May 2018

Welcome to Friday Night Flights for 25 May 2018!

This is the third installment of “Friday Night Flights,” where we drink two wines blind and give you the scoop.  One will always be from Germany, and the other can be from anywhere, but we choose them to be comparable on varietal and price point.

Wine A

Wine A in the glass

This week’s Wine A is medium ruby in color.  The nose offers blackberries and black cherries and definitely has some mushroomy/forest floor and green asparagus overtones.  There’s a bit of clove, and I suspect that it is matured partially in new oak.

The palate offers a bit more black cherry than on the nose, with blackberries, and a bit of cassis.  The smooth and integrated tannins are on the high side of medium, with high acid.  Overall the wine has nice (medium-plus) body.  The finish is a bit disappointing, but not unpleasant.

I find the wine to be well-structured with a nice balance between acid, tannin, and fruit.  There is clearly aging potential here, probably for 10 years or more.

Wine B

Wine B in the glass

Wine B is a bit lighter in color, with definite hints of garnet on the rim.  The nose gives substantially more evidence of new oak than Wine A, with notes of toasty vanilla.  The fruits here are a bit more pronounced than in Wine A, with a mix of black fruits (black cherry and blueberry) and red fruits (raspberry).

The palate offers the same lovely mix of fruit along with white and black pepper.  The smooth tannins here are perhaps less pronounced than in Wine A (medium rather than medium-plus), but there is also high acid.  The fruit is more pronounced than in Wine A here as well, but with similarly high acid.

Wine B has a lighter body (medium) than Wine A, but a longer finish.   There is still aging potential, but it is probably less than Wine A, which is more tannic.

Click here to see what we were drinking…

Friday Night Flights 18 May 2018

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

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.

Overal, 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

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.

Click here to see what wines we were drinking…

Friday Night Flights 11 May 2018

Welcome to our first “Friday Night Flights”!

How it works:

The flight is randomly picked from a set (5 or so) of pairs of wines.  I’ve chosen the pairs to be comparable on varietal and price (so that I’m not comparing apples to oranges) and then the wines are tasted blind.  I’ll describe them and offer a few comparisons and then reveal them on the next page.  In the future we’ll also discuss the food we paired the wines with.

So… on to the flight…

Wine A

The first wine presents a pale ruby color.  It’s rather translucent, but a lovely color.

On the nose, Wine A is totally fragrant with notes of red cherry, raspberry, blackberry and vanilla, with a definite floral overtone.  It is clearly oaked, with aromas of vanilla and baking spices.  I detected notes of forest floor as well…

The palate presents red cherries, raspberries, and vanilla, with light tannins and high acid.  The finish isn’t long, but the overall impression is lovely, with nice balance between the fruit and acid.  I was impressed by this wine… it’s lovely.

This is clearly a Pinot Noir.

Wine B

Wine B is ruby as well, but is darker.

The nose on Wine B is also darker, with black cherries, red plum, and blueberry.  But there is also a strong hint of white pepper and tobacco as well as meat.  This wine is more substantial on the nose.

The palate is similar to the nose, with black cherries, tobacco, and plums.

In contrast to Wine A, Wine B is definitely more tannic, but with decent acid and more body.  Its finish is also a bit longer.  Again, clearly a Pinot Noir.

Wine B probably has more potential age (maybe 3-5 years) compared to Wine A, which should be drunk relatively young.

Click here to find out which wines we were drinking…