Wine Talk

Snooth User: EMark

Anselmann Trockenbeerenauslese

Posted by EMark, Jul 22, 2012.

I'm a bachelor again this weekend.  So, in order to make sure I did not starve, I went over to Trader Joe's, this morning, to see what I could pick up that would be (1) tasty and (2) easy.  (I ended up with a refrigerated lasagna and a Greek olive medley.)

I also figured what's the harm in checking out the wine selection, and before I knew it 3 or 4 low-dollar drink nows were in my cart.  Then this caught my eye:


Anselmann 2006 Trockenbeerenauslese Ortega Pfalz--$19.99 (U.S.).

I've only had one or two TBAs in my life and they were much more expensive than $20 (for a half-bottle).  So, I added it to my cart.

Does anybody know anything about this wine?

The first thing that struck me was the price.  That seemed amazingly reasonable.  Some quick on-line searches seem to indicate that $20 for a half-bottle is pretty much the street price for this.

I was also curious about the production grape variety--Ortega.  I'd never heard of it, but I was curious about how a grape with such a latin name was being used in Germany.  Another on-line search led me to Wikipedia.  The Ortega grape is a cross between Muller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe (definitely, much more Teutonic names) by Hans Breider in 1948.  His creation was named after Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset.  So, now my knowledge of the Ortega grape has increased tremendously.  (If we could divide by zero, I would say infinitely.)

My suspicion is that I have a fairly pedestrian dessert wine here, although, it does have a pretty lofty pradikat.  I probably did OK spending the $20.  I would appreciate it, though, if anybody else could add to my new-found knowledge--about the grape, about the wine or about the producer.


Reply by outthere, Jul 22, 2012.

Nothing of note to add except that I have rarely been led astry by a late harvest wine.

Reply by shsim, Jul 23, 2012.

I havent seen that before. But let us know how you like it, i might just grab a bottle to try the grape! 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 27, 2012.

Well, Riesling TBAs are usually waaaay more expensive.  Interesting.  The designations are based purely on sugar levels, so maybe Ortega gets to that level without the benefit of botrytis and is therefore cheaper?  Or with more regularity?  The costs of TBA wines, I am told, are partly because the grapes have to be picked individually in successive tries to insure the high levels, and those picking costs alone have made the wines economic losers for the manufacturers.  Riesling is of course prized for dessert wines because its high acid keeps the wines from becoming cloying. 

I haven't been a dessert wine guy in the past, but GdP's oddball tokaji from the October event and Clay Mauritson's "port" wine, Independence, have got me reconsidering: both were very high acid wines that could cut through the sweet stuff.  Oddly, my wife liked the port but passed on the tokaji which, in any case, is apparently a one-off that I will never see again.

Let us know how it drinks; maybe I will find some up here and give it a try.  At $20, it's worth a risk.

Reply by EMark, Jul 27, 2012.

Fox, I think you hit it on the apparent pricing anomaly.  Going back to the Wikipedia article, the Ortega grape appears to have a pretty high sugar content.  It is also used as a table grape.  That alone tells me that it has high sugar content.  So, the labor involved in the harvest could be understandably less than combing the vineyard looking for botrysized individual grapes.

I'll try to get to this bottle soon and report back to everyone. 

Reply by Luxon Glassing, Mar 17, 2013.

Also picked this up at Trader Joe's (Santa Clara) for $20.

Tasting Notes: Viscous. Deep golden colour. Clover honey on the nose. Quite sweet (best served 4-5 degrees Centigrade). Not entirely pleasant aftertaste (reminds me of that of Hershey's chocolate kisses). Caramel notes, roasted apple, honeysuckle. Acidity balances out the sweetness when served chilled.

Would I buy this again? Sure.

Reply by EMark, Mar 18, 2013.

Thanks for the notes, Luxon.  I still haven't opened the bottle that I bought last summer.  As much as I enjoy dessert wines, I actually very rarely have them.

Reply by John Taylor, Dec 5, 2014.

I bought one also - have not opened it yet.  Loved the bottle and the IWSC Gold winner in '09 for Best In Class.  Let

Reply by EMark, Dec 6, 2014.

Whoa John.  You pulled this one from the past.

I eventually opened up that TBA.  I enjoyed it . Not an "epiphany" wine, but, certainly worth the $20.

Welcome to the Forum, BTW.  We look forward to exchanging more ideas with you.

Reply by jcosindc, Sep 3.

Going through and cataloguing my collection when I discovered I have this same bottle.  I have no recollection of where I picked it up, but nevertheless, having found it, I had to research (when I came across your note) since I know nothing about it.  Apparently this is a dessert wine.  I'll have to figure out something to pair it with and try it out.  Hopefully it's still drinkable after 10 years.  Ha!

Reply by EMark, Sep 3.

Jcos, welcome to the Snooth Forum. 

Congratulations, also, on finding this trhead at the bottom of the barrel.  :-)

Unless your stored your wine in a kitchen cabinet above the range, it should be fine.  Dessert wines have a very long life expectancy--decades.

In our household, we enjoy dessert wine with fruit and cheese plates.  Apples and pears are our favorite fruits (especially, pears). The saltiness of blue-veined cheeses provides an excellent foil to the sweetness of the wine, but we have also enjoyed it with Bries.

Please keep in touch and advise us of your wine adventures.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 3.

Depending on how they harvest, the low price could be understandable. The grape itself, being a cross of a cross of a cross (Müller-Thurgau is a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale, which is a cross between Pinot and Trollinger) is certainly one that's not in great demand, and likelihood is high the vineyards are planted on cheaper land, too. As a rule of thumb for that part of the world, the further you get from riesling the cheaper the grapes get. There was a time not so long ago when $20 for a half bottle was not considered cheap.

Also curious if it is actually botrytised. Tasting notes with any detail would be interesting...

Reply by zufrieden, Sep 4.

Ortega (named for Jose Ortega y Gasset - a Spanish follower of Nietzsche) is a slightly neutral, inferior grape variety developed for winter hardiness and (possibly) over-cropping; it is sometimes seen in New York State, Ontario and British Columbia.  I have tasted eiswein made with Ortega, and with the appropriate addition of sucrose, it makes a decent quaff.

Having said these less-that-flattering remarks, let me say that most grapes in the hands of the right person will always produce a decent bit of juice.

Interesting entry that I must have missed a few years back...


Reply by dmcker, Sep 4.

Yeah, tons-per-acre count is also probably pretty high. Assuming normal harvest before letting hang on the vine too long would probably be way early, too--some of the German crosses can be harvested in July.

Was going to use the eiswein analogy, Zuf, but didn't need to since you did.  ;-)  Wanted to point out that the cacheted term TBA is of less import than the actual grapes and winemaking going into the bottle with that label--just as in the eiswein case, especially for Canada as opposed to Germany.

"Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia". I always saw Ortega y Gasset as being influenced by William James, with Jesuit twist. His influence on Llosa is pretty clear. Though certainly Nietzsche does make his appearance: "The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will."

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