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The wines of Rainer Lingenfelder

Lingenfelder Estate, Hauptstrasse 27, 67229 Grosskarlbach, Germany
Tel.: +49 6238 – 754 Fax: +49 6238 - 1096
Email: wine@lingenfelder.com Website: www.lingenfelder.com

Rainer Lingenfelder is an immensely likeable but rather eccentric winemaker, making some interesting wines from his base in Grosskarlbach, which is in the Pfalz, the warmest and driest region of Germany. He’s proud of the fact that his family tree records 13 generations of Lingenfelders, back to 1520, all of whom have been winegrowers in this region, but he’s quick to distance himself from the image of an aristocratic wine dynasty. ‘Our story is not one of nobility and grand estates but one of hard-working farmers who worked the land and made the wine’, he emphasizes. Rainer sees himself as a custodian of this history and manages his vineyards in an ecologically responsible manner. Altogether there are 15 hectares of vineyards, planted mostly with the grape varieties Riesling, Scheurebe and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). According to a brief biography of him on the informative Lingenfelder website, ‘he views his role as steward rather than as king.’ (see: www.lingenfelder.com/our_estate/

Rainer Lingenfelder (the chap on the right in a black jumper) with his bird mobile outside an Oddbins store: he visited 240 Oddbins stores to promote his 'Creatures' range and as a way of saying thanks to Oddbins. What a dude!

Rainer achieved commercial success in the UK with his ‘bird’ Riesling, a fresh zippy white offering a lot of wine for its £4.99 price point, and which was sold in Oddbins. Its continued success led to the recent creation of the Creatures series of wines, exclusively for Oddbins. They are affordable, characterful wines, each of which is known by the name of a creature. In an endearingly eccentric move, Rainer decided to visit every Oddbins store in the UK to help promote these. He explains, ‘When I decided to create an exclusive series of wines for our friends at Oddbins that focus on the clear, crisp, vibrant flavours of the vineyard, I realised that I wanted to say thank you to all the members of the Oddbins family that made the original Bird Label such a huge success in the UK. As I thought about the various ways of saying "Thank You", it dawned on me that the best way was simply to do it in person – at every store – where I could give the Oddbins gang a chance to taste and discuss the new wines,’ says Lingenfelder. ‘Oddbins has grown a lot since I did my last tour for the launch of the Bird Label Riesling, and with over 240 stores to visit, I knew I would have my work cut out for me. To make it all possible, I created the Bird Mobile – a state of the art, satellite navigated, almost all terrain, vineyard camouflaged, ambassador for a return to the simple pleasures of having fun with wine.’ With an attitude like that, he deserves to succeed. I like the wines a great deal, and they’re brilliantly packaged.

The ‘Creature’ series

Lingenfelder Pinot Grigio ‘Owl label’ 2003 Pfalz
Inviting nose is honeyed with slightly floral fruit. Rich but well defined. The palate is rounded with very pretty, peachy, spicy fruit flavours. Quite far but finished dry: this would work very well with Asian food. A very impressive effort with plenty of personality but good overall balance and freshness. Very good+ 88/100

Lingenfelder 'Fox label' Dornfelder 2002 Pfalz
Bright colour. Soft, sweet cherry fruit nose with a liqueur-like edge: very approachable. The palate shows a good concentration of seamless, smooth cherry and berry fruit. Low tannin. Very fruity and easy to drink but while it’s not a big structured wine it does have a hint of seriousness. Very good+ 88/100

Lingenfelder Gewürztraminer 2003 Pfalz
Quite a deep yellow colour. Heady, rich nose of sweet, herby, musky grapey fruit. The palate is rich and concentrated with dense, herby fruit and hints of honey. Very full with some sweetness on the finish, but this may be from the fruit. Thought provoking. Very good+ 88/100

Lingenfelder 'Bird label' Riesling 2002 Pfalz
Fresh, bright, fruity and almost aromatic, with a limey edge, but also a rounded, nicely textured palate. The overall impression is dry but I’m guessing there’s a reasonable amount of residual sugar here. A clean, pure, fairly expressive wine that’s good value. Perfect for casual sipping. Very good+ 87/100

Lingenfelder 'Fish label' Riesling 2003 Mosel
Rich, ripe limey nose with some freshness. The palate is rich and ripe with a relatively thick texture, some sweetness and a bright spicy finish. Not complex, but a nice Riesling with good balance between the sweetness and the spicy finish. Medium sweet. Very good+ 86/100

(These are all available from Oddbins, priced from £4.99 to £6.99. There’s also a Morio Muscat, not tried here)

Regular wines

Lingenfelder Grosskarlbacher Osterberg Dornfelder 2000 Pfalz
Sweet fruit on the nose: nice weight and very accessible. The palate shows approachable, savoury edged sweet berry fruit. Soft and full. Very good+ 86/100

Lingenfelder Riesling Spätlese Trocken Freinheimer Goldberg 2002 Pfalz
Concentrated and intense with a herby edge to the limey fruit and high acidity. Very fresh and intense. Very good+ 89/100

Lingenfelder Scheurebe Kabinett Halbtrocken Freinheimer Musikantenbuckel 2002 Pfalz
Quite rich and herby with savoury herby fruit and good acidity. Unusual but nice in a savoury style. Very good+ 86/100

Lingenfelder Riesling Spätlese Grosskarlbacher Osterberg 2002 Pfalz
Taut and herby with a limey edge to the nose. The palate shows a good concentration with high acid and savoury lemony fruit. Full flavoured. Very good/excellent 90/100

UK agent: Charles Taylor

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