Category Archives: Dornfelder

Moselland “Avantgarde” 2011 Dornfelder

Qualitatswein Halbtrocken, Mosel, Germany; 11.5% ABV
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 3 March; gone now

Usually, I avoid gimmicky bottles, but this one got me.  Plus, it’s a Dornfelder, of which we’ve had only one previous example.  “Halbtrocken,” translated literally, means “half dry,” so I was expecting it to be kind of sweet, and chilled it.  It turns out it’s not that sweet, and I don’t recommend chilling it.  🙂

Rather than a “sweet red,” the wine really is more of a “soft red.”  It has tasty enough flavors of grapey red-purple berry-cherry, perhaps a little plum, not all that complicated, smooth and easy to drink, with a reasonable amount of acid to balance the sweetness.

The next day it’s very much the same, maybe a little more supple.

More on the gimmicky bottle.  The base is pretty much one third of a circle, with the front rounded and the back having two edges that would be radii of the circle, coming to a corner at the center of the circle.  The top is of course completely round with a normal cork, and a sealing wax-type thing just on top of the cork itself.  Unlike many apparently colored bottles that are actually clear glass with a colored plastic wrapping, this appears to be red glass, the color of which you can see at the very top.  This photo was taken before the bottle was opened.

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2010 A. Diehl Dornfelder trocken

Gutsabfüllung (what does this mean?), Deutscher Qualitätswein, from Pfalz, Germany, 1 liter bottle with screw cap, 13% ABV
This was an excess buyer’s sample purchased for $3 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 25 May.  I had been saving the 1L bottle for a special occasion, but finally gave up and opened it.

2010_ADiehl_Dornfelder_PfalzI didn’t recall having tasted Dornfelder before, but I could not resist trying a 1L bottle of an unknown German red wine with a nice label at a very low price.  I liked it a lot, but others are less fond of this style of wine.

The first pour revealed a bit of the sort of sulfurous funkiness I’ve come to associate with screw-capped reds, but this blew off as the wine started to come around after about 50 minutes in a decanter.  It then sweetened to develop a red candied fruit character.  The wine was fully aired after about 90 minutes, when the candied character largely gave way to very tangy red and purple plum, black raspberries, some other red / purple fruit I couldn’t identify, a darker herbal component, and a little lively spice on the finish.

This is not an especially substantial wine, but it’s quite different from anything I usually drink, and I found its novel aspects entertaining and tasty.  It went well with ground pork and red chard, gently seasoned with nutmeg, allspice, and caraway, over rice.

I never saw this show up as regular stock in a store near me, but Bin5 said he saw a Dornfelder in the Seattle area that was most likely this one.  Did anyone try it?