The Taste of Smoke

by Harry Eyres
I write in a time of ashes. Not only have certain political dreams and projects recently gone up in smoke; the destructive fires have been raging more literally, all across...
91

2018 Palataia Pinot Noir, Pfalz

( £9.00, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp used to be a buyer at Marks & Spencer, but has now gone back to his original career as a winemaker in the Pfalz. People are often surprised to learn how much Pinot Noir (aka Spätburgunder) Germany produces and just how good it can be. For Pinot lovers who’ve almost given up on finding enjoyable expressions of their beloved grape under £10, this unoaked example is a godsend: smooth, supple and strawberry fruity with crunchy acidity and a sweet core.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Germany, Red, Pinot Noir

Misunderstood Wines

by Chris Wilson
There are certain rights-of-passage conversations that take place as we make our journeys in life. Which football team do you support? Where did you grow up? What was your first...

How the other half drinks

by Matt Walls
Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or browsing their bookshelves? Both feel like a little glimpse into their soul....
90

2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Mosel

( TBC, 12%, www.sybillekuntz.de )

A little less concentrated than the Spätlese release (as you’d expect) but this has ghe focus and freshness that are typical of all of Sybille Kuntz’s 2015s. Citrus, green tea and spring flower notes are underpinned by minerally acidity and stony, mouthwatering crispness. As pure as Riesling gets. 

Drinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Germany, White, Riesling
94

2015 Sybille Kuntz Riesling Auslese Feinherb, Mosel

( TBC, 12.5%, www.sybillekuntz.de )

One of a series of delicious releases from Sybille Kuntz in 2015, this is rich, but not heavy in the slightest, handling its 50 odd grams of residual sugar with ease, thanks to its thrillingly vivid acidity. Honey, spices, lime and remarkable palate length are the hallmarks of this classic-meets-modern Mosel style. 

Drinking window: 2016-28Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Germany, White, Riesling

Some like it cool

by Matt Walls
At the first wine course I ever took the tutor explained that Syrah and Shiraz are actually the same grape but under different names. It felt like an illuminating nugget...
90

2013 Palatia Pinot Noir, Pfalz

( £10 (down to £8), 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp used to buy wine for Marks & Spencer before he returned to his former life as a winemaker in Germany. M&S’ loss is our gain (and they are still stocking his wines anyway) because this is an oustandingly well priced Pinot from a country that has more of the variety in the ground than New Zealand does. It’s a smooth, savoury, easy-drinking red with some spice, sweet plum and raspberry fruit, good texture and a long, supple finish underpinned by subtle oak. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Germany, Red, Pinot Noir

Guerrilla winemakers

by Matt Walls
One wine, in one place, for one year only. It’s hard enough making wine in the same place each year, so as winemaking philosophies go it doesn’t get much more...