A German red at Trader Joe’s! In fact, when I picked this one up, I also saw a Dornfelder from Joseph Händler there, too. I had tasted the 2012 Händler Riesling not too long ago, so I thought it would be better to try something from a different wine house now. I’ll go back for the Dornfelder, to be sure.
Winemaker: Weinhaus Hans Lang
Wine: Edition Maximilian, Pinot Noir
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Rheingau, Germany
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s*
Notes: Well, this was an interesting selection! First, it had quite a pungent bouquet of strawberry with little hints of earth and spice. In the glass it was a light ruby color. On the palate is where it got interesting. I might even say unusual for a Pinot Noir. In this light German red I found a core of ripe strawberry with a cranberry accompaniment. There was also a very present tartness that surrounded but didn’t completely obscure the other flavors. On the mid-palate came the sweetness (alcohol is at 11.5%) along with some suggestions of spice. As the wine approached it’s finish, the tart returned and was joined by the modest tannins which – while bringing a very pleasant fuzzy-tongue feeling – added just another touch of tart. I was not sure if I liked this wine. And remember: cranberry sauce is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner.
After tasting it, I certainly didn’t imagine the 2009 Edition Maximilian Pinot Noir was going to be a wine I’d like to just sip and savor. Still, I thought it had it’s good points for a cheap table red. And I suspected it might stand up to light spicy dishes. So I took the whole grain pasta I was going to have for dinner, added a little more fire (red pepper flakes), and tried them together. Indeed, the light sweetness of the wine moderated the pepper a bit while the pepper reduced the tart quotient of the wine considerably. So, for me, I could drink this wine to accompany a light and spicy pasta or pizza, but I wouldn’t serve it to guests whose tolerance for tartness I don’t know well. Because if you don’t like tart flavors, you will definitely not like this wine.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.
* Initially, I mistakenly posted a price of $4.99. But somehow it just didn’t seem right. So upon rechecking my receipts, I have updated this post to reflect the correct price.