Nothing better than Chinese cuisine and Riesling! Here’s our winemaker, Ernie Loosen, with dinner pals Ross Miles-Cadman, Arthur Yan, Christian Eggers, Dieter Grun, Grace Ling and Lisa at the Shangri-la in Wenzhou, China.
Archive for March, 2011
Heading to Wine Riot Los Angeles, March 25 and 26?
If you’re going to be there (and we’re sure you are, because who in their riot mind would miss it?) be sure to attend our Riesling Rocks! crash course. Here’s the blurb from the Wine Riots site:
Why is Riesling so hot (and so cool)?
All the cool kids are drinking it. Riesling has been the secret, kickass wine revered by winos because it has this incredible depth of flavor. The grape makes wines that span from bone-dry to super sweet and complex. If you’re not a fan, you need to be. Come taste a slew of awesome wines and get yo’ Riesling on!
We’ll be running the seminar FIVE times on the following schedule.
Saturday (March 26) – Room A
Riot 1: 2:00 / 2:30
Riot 2: 8:30 / 9:00 / 9:30
See you there! More info at www.secondglass.com.
Be sure to stop by our tasting table or catch one of our Crash Course Riesling Seminars. First three people to post a pic of themselves at our tasting table to our Facebook page will get a free Dr. Loosen Pulltaps screw pull.
When: March 25/26
Time: Opening Night: Friday, March 25, 7-11 PM. Riot one: Saturday, March 26, 1-5 PM. Riot two: Saturday, March 26, 7-11 PM
Where: Santa Monica Place, # 315 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
Why: Because it’s the coolest wine event ever.
Hi everyone. Ernie Loosen here, at The COOK restaurant in the Kerry Hotel in Pudong Shanghai. Isn’t it awesome, the armada of Dr. L Riesling in the Enomatic Decanter System?
Here’s a really great vid of our winemaker, Ernie Loosen, giving a tour of the harvest in the steep Dr. Loosen Mosel Valley vineyards to photographer/ filmmaker Andrea Johnson of Holmes and Johnson Productions.
Be sure to visit Andrea’s beautiful website to see more stunning pics and vids.
Every third Tuesday of the month, Ned Ludd Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, hosts a “wine salon”. The February salon featured J. Christopher and Dr. Loosen wines, and was such a good time, we thought we’d let Ned Ludd wine manager Jess Pierce tell you all about it.
“We were so excited to have Loosen Bros as part of our Wine Salon at Ned Ludd. The idea of the Salon is to create a space in which folks in the service/wine/grape/food industry can get together to talk about our place in Oregon and the wine industry as a whole. We are here because we all have wine in common, but everyone involved is so dynamic that the event goes many ways and lets everyone have real conversations about any number of things. It’s not just a wine dinner even though wine and dinner are involved.
Our February salon was great! Having (Loosen Bros. VP) Kirk Wille speak about Germany is always really exciting. His level of knowledge is astonishing. I love the chunks of slate that he carries around for people to touch and smell, and it gives even more of a tangible sense of place than with just drinking the wines. The wines were showing really well and the comparison of blue and red slate wines is so interesting. We also poured the BA (Beerenauslese), which is one of my favs, with dessert. It was rad having Kirk and (J. Christopher winemaker) Jay Somers pair up to do the salon together because they both have so many great stories about each other’s wines and do a great job of telling Ernie’s (Ernst Loosen) story as well.
The Wine Salon is something I am really excited about. Meeting folks in the biz as well as getting a chance to spend time with friends is such a fun opportunity.”
If you have a chance to attend one (or many) of Ned Ludd’s wine salons, we highly recommend them!
Riesling Lovers in Southern California: Our winemaker, Ernie Loosen, will be at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa this Thursday, March 10. Join us to meet Ernie and taste an array of wonderful Rieslings.
WHAT: Wine Tasting with Ernie Loosen
WHEN: Thursday, March 10
TIME: 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
WHERE: Hi-Time Wine Cellars, 250 Ogle Street, Costa Mesa, CA
MORE INFO: 949.650.8463
If you’re a fan of J. Christopher Wines (and who isn’t?), check out this vid of winemaker Jay Somers’ band, Poncho Luxurio, playing at the White Eagle in Portland, Oregon. (Credits to videographer Kirk Wille.) That’s Jay on guitar, second from left.
February 22, 2011
Harvest notes from Ernst Loosen, owner, Dr. Loosen & J.L. Wolf
Last year, we talked about the “new normal” — the recent trend toward earlier and earlier starts to the growing season, apparently due to global climate change. In 2010, however, we had a very cold winter that seemed to be putting us back to the old days. But then our spring was warmer than usual, so we ended up with an average bud break — back to the “old normal” of the 1990s.
In May, it turned cold again, which delayed the flowering by a couple of weeks — back to the historical average — but also caused a very poor fruit set. This was the first factor leading toward a very low crop, especially in the best sites, which normally flower the earliest.
Cooler sites — those higher up the slope or in side valleys — started to flower later, when the weather had improved a bit, and had a much better fruit set. So the historically inferior sites often fared better than our “first growth” sites.
Let the contradictions begin!
By June, the vineyards were several weeks behind recent averages, but then it got hot and they quickly caught up, making a remarkable turnaround in just a few weeks. By the beginning of August, everything was looking better again: somewhat lower than average yields, but still a promising crop. Then the roller-coaster weather took another dive, turning quite cool again, with a lot of rain. This slowed the ripening and kept the acidity very high.
Extremely heavy rain in late September brought on extensive botrytis. When the rain finally stopped, the dehydrating effect of all this botrytis was a triple-whammy: it caused must weights to rise, acidity levels to rise, and the harvest yield to drop even further. October, fortunately, was mostly dry and cold, which help to slow down ripening and contain the spread of botrytis, while allowing the acidity to drop at least a little bit.
At J.L. Wolf, in the Pfalz, we started the harvest on September 26 and picked everything in less than two weeks. But there wasn’t all that much to pick, because the yield in this region was extremely low — down as much as 50 percent. In the Mosel, harvest began on October 11, with an average yield that was 40 percent lower than normal. Here, too, we had to work fast to get Kabinett grapes in before the must weights got too high. Ideally, we look for a maximum of 83° Oechsle (20 Brix) for Kabinett, but in this vintage we had to push our upper limit to 85° Oechsle (20.5 Brix).
Top Sites and Lesser Vineyards: A Paradoxical Difference
What really astonished me was the paradoxical difference between our top sites and what we usually consider to be lesser vineyards. Normally it’s the warmer first-growth vineyards that give us the concentration and purity we want for our best wines. But this year, the lesser sites often did better, because their cooler microclimates delayed the flowering until after the weather had improved in the spring. And when the onslaught of botrytis hit in September, the less-ripe fruit on these vines wasn’t as vulnerable to mold infection.
It was crazy. Some of the cleanest, healthiest fruit we saw this year was from a colleague’s minor vineyard with neglected, unpruned vines and a heavier crop load, while our impeccably well-tended grand cru sites suffered from poor fruit set and heavy botrytis, resulting in drastically reduced yields.
Still, our single-vineyard sites produced some brilliant wines, especially the higher-Prädikat botrytis wines. It was another labor-intensive harvest, with a lot of work to separate the healthy fruit from the botrytis fruit, and then to further select for Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese. With these high-octane sweet wines, the extreme acidity of the vintage shines through like a beacon. The very low yields gave us enormous extract in the wines, so they are extraordinarily dense and concentrated.
In the single-vineyard sites, we produced all Prädikats, except for Eiswein. Because the crop was so small, we decided not to gamble on the chance of a freeze, and picked our Eiswein parcels along with the rest during the main harvest.
2010: A Winemaker’s Vintage
This is what we call a winemaker’s vintage. You really have to know what you’re doing in the cellar to cope with a year like 2010. We had high must weights, as in 2006, but with twice the acidity! It’s going to take some loving care in the cellar to help these wines find their balance. But I think we’re up to the task, and the numerous cask samples we’ve tasted have gorgeous depth and concentration. I’m looking forward to reporting back to you about the finished wines.
Vineyard Reorganization in WehlenAn interesting side note to the 2010 harvest is the vineyard reorganization (“Flurbereinigung”) that is now fully underway in the village of Wehlen.
This is a complicated process, years in the making, to address the problem of vineyard fragmentation that resulted from Napoleon’s egalitarian inheritance laws. The Napoleonic Code instituted equal inheritance rights for all of a wine estate’s heirs, regardless of gender or age. As you can imagine, after 200 years in a heavily Catholic area with lots of kids, a wine estate’s vineyards were divided into smaller and smaller pieces.It was the same for us. Our six hectares (15 acres) of vines in Wehlener Sonnenuhr were broken up into 186 individual parcels, all of them varying in size and configuration, and some containing only 10 or 15 vines. It was an absolute nightmare (and quite costly) just to move the harvest crew from one parcel to another. At the end of the 2010 harvest, however, the reassigned parcels were announced after many years of political negotiations and horse trading among the growers. Our six hectares are now down to just nine parcels. It’s a most welcome improvement.
— Ernst Loosen
Chicago Riesling Lovers! Get ready for a great evening of Riesling and food pairings at Park Grill, Chicago’s award-winning destination restaurant on Chicago’s world-class Michigan Avenue.
On Wednesday, March 9th, our own Dr. Loosen USA’s Doug Krenik (who is one of only 174 Master Sommeliers in the world) will be on hand to share his extensive knowledge of Riesling during a tasting and wine seminar.
Date: Wednesday, March 9
Time: 6:30 pm – 8 pm
Where: Park Grill, 11 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Flight tastings will be paired with Park Grill’s Chef Bernie’s bites. Here’s the line-up:
’08 Robert Weil “Trocken” Riesling, Rheingau
Himachi Crudo – citrus, toasted coriander
Burrata cheese & La Quaercia Ham – smoked sea salt
’09 Dr. Loosen “Wehlener Sonnenuhr” Spätlese
’09 Dr. Loosen “Bernkasteler Lay” Kabinett
Jumbo Scallops – clams, pistachio & pork belly
Smoked Lamb Sausage – country greens, radish salad
’09 Dr. Loosen “Red Slate” Dry Riesling
Roasted Venison – vanilla, pineapple
’07 Dr. Loosen Riesling Estate Eiswein
Banana & Chocolate Bread Pudding
This is going to be a great evening. If you’ll be in Chicago, make your reservation today!