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 varietal--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 philosper 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.