TNs: Schlossgut Diel (Nahe) and E. Guigal dinner

Some of the pairings were not quite spot on, and most of the wines were good rather than great, but still a really fun dinner with great company. From this rather casual and limited tasting, my rough impressions are:

  1. Diel is not quite as good as Donnhoff or Schaefer-Frolich
  2. Guigal makes rather modern styled Rhones at the lower range. Still clearly old world, but not what I would call traditional


2007 Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Riesling - Germany, Nahe
Did not like this all that much at first, but it opened up rather nicely in the glass to make a pretty decent QbA. Nose had a sticky sweet nectar like quality, along with flowers, and melange of spice and slatey mineral. A little too sticky sweet for me actually, but that toned down a little. The palate attack with piercing acidity when served very chilled. Again, that toned down a little, to show simple grapefruit flavours in a creamy, almost fat texture, and a seam of spice and mineral running through the juicy mid-palate. Lots more spice and mineral on the finish, but just that bit heat crept in and unsettled the wine a bit. All in all, not great, but not bad - a very decent aperitif wine, only if it was priced like one, rather than like a decent Kabinett. (88 pts.)

Insalatina di Rucola e Cappone, condita con Parmigiano e olio al limone
Rooster chicken breast with shaven Parmesan cheese, arugola salad, and lemon oil

2007 Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Nahe
Painfully young and undimensional at this stage, but there was plenty of quality here - this was head and shoulders better than the QbA. Nose was rather tight, showing a little rubber, a floral touch and some tangerine, orange notes - pleasant, but very understated, and rather clenched at the moment. Much the same could be said about the palate as well. Absolutely beautiful balance, lovely integrated acidity, Spatlese-like weight and almost, but not quite, Spatlese sweetness. Again though, flavours were rather tight-fisted and simple, with citrus orange and lemon, with a slight pink pomelo lilt and little drops of mineral. Good length on the finish, again nice weight, with a touch of spice livening things up. This needs a lot of time, but should be a really nice wine in a decade or so. (91 pts.)

Ravioli di ricotta e tartufo con la crema di Parmigiano
Truffles and ricotta cheese ravioli with butter and sage

2005 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage
I found this extremely pleasant, if just rather unspectacular. Nose showed lots of exuberant fruit in the shape of sweet berries and plums seasoned with plenty of peppery spice, a sprig of garrigue and some earthy, meaty funk. A bit simpler on the palate, but more or less what you would expect after that nose, with ripe plums and red berries - pretty nice, pure fruit expression - held up by a fined-boned structure and juicy, high-toned acidity. Veyr balanced I thought. Again, there were hints of brush, dried herbs and just that little bit of minerality moving into a mid-length finish. A little wash of alcoholic heat at the end marred the experience for me. Otherwise, very pleasant, easy-going wine that will age well for a long time yet. (89 pts.)

Triglie alla Livornese
Pan fried red mullet fillet with garlic, onion, thyme and fresh tomato sauce

2005 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Very young, but clearly a very nice effort. For the price, it is certainly worth getting a couple of bottles, sticking them into the cellar, and forgetting about them for 15 years. Nose was rather lovely. A bit much on the glycerol for my tastes, but with plenty of deep cherry tones, garrigue herbs, earth, chalky mineral and peppery spice swimming alongside the alcohol - all in all macking a pretty attractive proposition. Palate was oh so young and shy. Very tight indeed. Just bits of earth, mineral and dusky cherries seasoned with touches of dried herbs and spices and a bit of smoke. Very subtle, very primary. What was obvious though was good concentration, a nice poise and elegance and just perfect balance between the fruit, the high acidity and the fine tannins. Very nice finish too - good elegant length, bits of spice. Once again, just marred by a little alcohol, but overall, a really nice wine that should develop into quite a beauty in time to come. (92 pts.)

2005 E. Guigal Gigondas - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas
A bit simple, but I pretty much enjoyed this. Nose showed cherry candy and bits of garrigue. A pretty straightforward introduction to the well balance and rather elegantly shaped palate. Again, there was high acid and fine tannins lending support to dark cherry flavours with a touch of herbs moving into a nice, clean finish that showed a linger of fruit. A very decent quaffer at the moment, this should put on some complexity and weight with time in the bottle. I think it will reward another 4-5 years of patience. (89 pts.)

Medaglioni di manzo saltati in padella con funghi porcini e prezzemolo Medallions of Beef tenderloin sauteed with porcini mushrooms and freshly chopped parsley
Medallions of Beef tenderloin sauteed with porcini mushrooms and freshly chopped parsley

2005 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
The priciest wine in the line-up, also supposedly the most representative of Guigal’s work, but it was unfortunately my least favourite - an opinion shared by most on the table. Sure there was quality of fruit, sure there was plenty of substance, more than the other wines on the table, but this was far, far too young. All its good qualities were pretty much buried under oak and alcohol at the moment. Nose showed lots of vanilla, plenty of yeats and little bits of mineral, garrigue and earth alongside sweet, ripe plums and berries. Godo balance between clean acid, tight but finely crafted tannins and pure dark cherry and cassis flavours on the palate. Good weight too. Unfortunately, the disparate elements came across a bit disjointed at points, with alochol and vanilla-laced oak notes weaving in and out of the wine rather too obvsiouly all the way into the shortish finish. I think this will always be that bit alcoholic, but it should nevertheless improve dramatically with time - just that a lot of time is required. I would give it 10 years at least. (88 pts.)

Coppa di Fragole calde al Moscato e gelato alla vaniglia
Fresh strawberry flambé’ with Recioto sweet wine and vanilla ice cream

2005 Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling Auslese - Germany, Nahe
Not well-liked by many around the table, but I thought there was plenty of quality here. Just far, far too young to drink. On a night with many young wines, this showed the most infantile. Nose was tight, but pleasant enough, with subtle hints of Indian spices and incense dancing about understated sandlewood and jasmine accents, plenty of nectre and white fruit and bits of high tone floral notes and just that bit of rubber. Very ripe, very sweet on the palate. There was clearly acid there, but such was the weight of the wine that it threatened to come across as flabby over parts of the mid-palate. It certainly did not have the cut and definition of the best of Nahe wines. Very monolithic on the flavour profile too - just nectarines, a bit of peachy notes and hints of mineral. Still though, there was enough texture, concentration and weight, with that little seam of sparkly acidity here to suggest that it should come together very nicely given plenty of time in the bottle. If you have some of this, I would not recommend broaching it for a very, very long time to come. (91 pts.)

I haven’t had the 2005 Guigals. Your summary of the Crozes is similar to my reaction to other recent vintages, nice serviceable wine with some garrigue. I quit buying the Guigal CdP after a couple of very ordinary bottles. The Cote Rotie I generally like, although they definitely like hitting it with noticeable oak.


Very noticeable oak indeed! I get a feeling most of the wines take a long time to come around.

I thought this particular CdP was pretty good. Although the Gigondas was rather anonymous. The difference between Northern and Southern Rhone bottlings and styles may be because they buy finished wine and in the South and do the elevage in the North, while they buy grapes and do the vinifying themselves in the North.