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Acquired in 2014, Dhroner Has'chen is a terraced monopole of ungrafted vines planted in 1933, east-facing and slightly cooler, being shaded from the sun from mid-afternoon onward. High-toned, green, fresh scents on the nose with notes of white cherry and pink grapefruit, the palate is a touch more tropical, yet still has a lightness and edge. Cari Bernard
Andreas is working around 30 different plots on this mostly south-facing hill, a small portion of which remains terraced. No ungrafted vines remain, but these are still old vines, being planted in 1953. Andreas spoke about the grapes for the Spätlese as being small in size, but not in compact bunches, with violet skins. 2015 gave grapes with no botrytis, which was perfect for Andreas, who believes Spätlese with botrytis can verge on being 'baroque'. This is a Spätlese with lift: incredibly floral on the nose with a vibrant palate bursting with peach, mango, honey and stone, candied orange peel and grapefruit zest. Cari Bernard
Translating to 'in the garden of the rectory', this is a plot planted in the 1960s on a flat terrain of heavy, alluvial soils mixed with eroded slate from the Hofberg above. As one can guess from the name, the vineyard once belonged to the rector for the parish of the town of Dhron. Fermented with natural yeasts, unfined, and aged in stainless steel, the wine is bright and green on the nose, with notes of flower petals and stems. Fresh, fruity and balanced with a prickle of acidity lifting the slightest sweetness of ripe mango with vibrant orange and lemon oils. Cari Bernard
Rothenpfad hails from the old-vine Riesling grown in red slate parcels of the Marienburg hillside. Deeply golden in color, the nose is a veritable spice box of aromas including cinnamon, cardamom, red peppercorn, juniper, cedar, and mace. The palate is mouth-coating but with an underlying minerality that carries notes of spiced pears and cinnamon through to a beautifully long finish.
Encouraged by the interest shown for the the initial release of his wines, Jochen agreed to send a limited number of magnums stateside. The 2010 Geyersberg in this larger format shows all minerality, one would expect from the vintage and all the added depth of flavor that magnums can offer. It shines a rich, brilliant golden yellow in the glass, while the nose is equally compelling. Aromas of lilacs, ripe red peaches, starfruit, and lemon zest are interlaced with star anise, freshly ground ginger, and smoky tones. The palate is refined, ethereal, and its towering minerality glides effortlessly. Fine floral notes are followed by a crescendo of Meyer lemon, cardamom, and star anise leading to a smoky, perfectly ripe nectarine finish. This is powerful and nuanced, dry Riesling! - David Salinas
Müller-Thurgau from both estate vineyards and fruit from Stefan Steinmetz, fermented on 25% of the skins for 5-6 months. Tropical aromatics and orange oil on the nose, the palate is tart and savory with notes of golden raisin, yellow apple, sandalwood, and juicy pineapple. Cari Bernard
Made with grapes from a section of the Herrenberg, with more than 12 months spent on the lees in bottle, this Sekt is just asking to be popped for any occasion (A birthday! A Tuesday! Apéro!). Crisp and flinty, but also leesy on the nose, the palate is fresh and lively, with stone fruit, young ginger, fennel bulb, and a brisk minerality. Cheers! Cari Bernard
Semi-carbonic, from grapes planted in the 1980s; the wine doesn’t go through malolactic fermentation, so there is still a bright malic, green note. The Webers made a deliberate choice to print ‘Spätlese’ on the label to confirm that there was no chaptalization of the must. The wine is fresh and tart, with notes of red apple skin, pomegranate, red flowers and cherries, balanced by just a touch of umami savoriness. This is your new summer red, with taught acidity and bright flavors. This can also be your fall red, to pair with those transitional dishes that still harken back to summer, but are a touch more warming. Cari Bernard
The Bremmer Calmont is known to be the steepest vineyard site still under cultivation in Europe. Grapes for the Kabinett come from the 'Fachkaul" parcel near the top of the Calmont; younger vines planted by Kilian Franzen's father. Stone and fresh roses on the nose, the palate reflects the warmth of the vintage with flavors of ripe mango and lush peach; the wine also shows the searing acidity of the vintage, tempered into balance by the residual sugar. A delightful Kabinett to pair with a variety of foods, spicy and bold. Cari Bernard
This wine is named in reference to the soils rich with Quartzite and oxidized Devonian slate that are found in this region of the Mosel. The grapes come from a handful of sites, including some from the sides of the Bremmer Calmont. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, the Quarzit-Schiefer trocken is salty and lush, redolent with scents of delicate magnolia and gardenia, the palate shimmers with nectarine, pineapple, and freshly cut flower stems around a core of stony minerality. Cari Bernard
Eight terraces of old-vine Riesling planted in weathered gray slate, along the steep slope of the Starkenburger hang, provide the fruit for this pale straw yellow single-vineyard wine. Aromas of sultanas, hickory, and hyssop give the Zeppwingert a distinctly memorable nose. The palate is lifted by a zippy minerality that carries notes of cinnamon and coconut water through to a bitter orange pith finish. David Salinas
This wine is sourced from a portion of a 1.1 hectare monopol within the Zeppwingert; created during the winters of 1841-1845 by blasting through the gray slate with gunpowder charges. This area of the slope is extremely dry, with cooler temperatures and lower yields (~25hL/ha). The wine can definitely take a decant; at first sip tart and salty, with a distinct stoniness balanced by the light fruitiness of white peach, underripe pineapple, and a touch of white flowers. Cari Bernard
Viewable from the estate, Steffensberg is the warmest site, boasting both gray and red slate with deeper soil. Gernot works a total of 1.5 hectares spread between some of the finest plots with mostly ungrafted vines. Portions of the hillside have been partially replanted due to Flurbereinigung (a remodeling/restructuring of the vineyards, adding access roadways and consolidating plots) starting in the 1960s. The warmth of Steffensberg comes through as fragrant, ripe peach and mango on the nose. The palate is structured with some weight, with notes of slightly less-ripe peach and strawberry, lemon zest, and green herbs. Cari Bernard
Although the Zeppwingert surrounds the Batterieberg on three sides, this wine is only made from grapes harvested on the eight terraces jutting out on the right flank of the Batterieberg. Soils are richer here, with dark gray slate and ungrafted vines upwards of 100-years-old and beyond. Tasted after being opened for three days, the wine is highly expressive, with notes of peaches, stone, citrus oil, beeswax, and orange blossom on the nose. The wine is vibrant and balanced, with hints of green herbs, mango, peach, and dark stone--showing great power and length. Cari Bernard
Andi Knauss is making beautiful wines in Württemberg-Remstal, near the Black Forest in southwest Germany. His dedication to quality and focus in the vineyards and cellar is clearly reflected in his wines. His Sekt Brut Zero is sourced from vines grown on limestone, made in the Méthode Champenoise with no dosage and no added sulfur. Chalky and bright acidity, with an aggressive mousse and notes of tart apricot with yellow and green apple skin, this wine is a stunner. Cari Bernard
Lambertskirch is a parcel, not too far from Schonfels, that during its long history has gone from vines to fruit trees and forest overgrowth. Florian cleared and replanted the 0.2 hectares in 2012. 2015 is the second vintage from this predominately southeast-facing site where large, gray slate stones litter the ground between the vines. Floral with nectarine skin on the nose, the wine is practically vibrating, shimmering with acidity and tension. The palate is a touch more linear and lighter than the Fass 8 Kabinett, with fresh flavors of ripe nectarine, floral stems and petals, salinity and finely-integrated residual sugar. Cari Bernard
The Domprobst Auslese #11 has richer, more typical Mosel aromas than many of the soft-spoken wines in this year's collection and it's again delicate and poised. Elegant and mineral-laden with just about perfect balance and gentle concentration. This is when Willi says he's looking for "not increased sweetness, increased complexity and sustained balanced." The latter is certainly an understatement here. There was a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of botrytis-affected grapes included in this Auslese, but, in keeping with the house style, its purity and freshness comes from the perfectly ripe, tiny, golden berries they normally reserve for Auslese and that were in abundance this vintage. -jfr
Long considered the finest vineyard in the Pfalz, the sandy-loam, basalt, and limestone soils of the Kirchenstück are known for yielding Rieslings with tremendous verve and tension. Markus' Kirchenstück is no exception with aromas of orange blossom, pine, hazelnuts, lime zest, and petrol tones. Yet, the palate retains a light touch with a lively minerality and aromas of apricots, spiced peaches, and thyme leading to a finely dry finish. A Riesling worthy of the vineyard and the grower.- David Salinas
Beneath a layer of sandy-loam, Pechstein's soils hold basalt or pitched stone, the source of this vineyard's name. Along with the Jesuitengarten this wine was one of the clear stand-outs of Markus' 2014 campaign. It shines a golden honey yellow in the glass and welcomes with aromas of lilacs, chrysanthemums, grilled pistachios, lavender, and cranberries. The palate shows a fine minerality, offering tremendous length with notes of white truffles prior to a linden blossom finish. This is nuanced and impeccably detailed, dry Riesling!- David Salinas
The GK stands for Gambacher Kalbenstein, a terraced vineyard site that has concentrations of both colored sandstone and limestone. Because of this duality, Stefan has made two different wines, each one focused on the grapes grown on the predominant soil type. This is the sandstone bottling, which makes for an expressively textural wine. Floral with apricots and peaches on the nose, the palate is savory and spiced with notes of bergamot and yellow apple. Cari Bernard
As the name would suggest, the vines are on terraces with limestone soils with vines at around 30 years of age. Whole bunch pressed, fermented and aged in old barrel, unfiltered. Tropical aromas of starfruit mix with freshly milled pine; the palate is lively, fresh, and layered with texture, minerality, flavors of green mango and greengage plum. Cari Bernard
Ungrafted Sylvaner planted in 1934 on a mixture of red sandstone and limestone soils. Evoking thoughts of Chablis with its linear and stony intensity; the palate is bright with tart lemon juice, underripe nectarine, and a chalky minerality. Beautifully nuanced and fresh. Cari Bernard
Made from an assortment of Franconian apple varieties, with second fermentation in the bottle, and no sulfur added; the nose is oxidative, with hints of brown butter and apple blossom. The palate is savory and tart, balanced with notes of burnt caramel, yellow apple and a stony minerality: think savory like Asturian sidra but with more bubbles and darker tones. Cari Bernard
Let's be honest here: this is basically a Beerenauslese, with 140 g/L of residual sugar and 12.5 grams of acidity! 100% botrytis-affected grapes, this wine can (and should) age for quite some time. The nose hints at peach candy, cinnamon, and button mushroom, on the palate the wine shows both intensity and density, rich with honeyed peaches, orange oil, and apricot preserves. A fantastic bottle for those who wait! Cari Bernard
I must say I've been a tad obsessed with 2015 Kabinett and Spätlese wines from the Mosel. This is not to knock Auslese and above, but the vintage made for such intense levels of ripeness and acidity, that many Auslesen need ample time to right themselves, or even 5-10 years to really begin showing their layered complexity. I'm not a patient person by any means, so the possibility of the instant gratification of Kabinett and (at times) Spätlese wines is always tempting! The Goldgrube Kabinett from Vollenweider is a great example of this magical vintage in a bottle. The nose is quite floral with a whisper of tropical fruit; this expands on the palate into exotic mangoes, tart yellow-skinned apple, ripe peaches, with sky-high tension between the acid and residual sugar. Cari Bernard
While I love dry German Riesling and am constantly evangelizing about its virtues, I still love wines with some sweetness more than most Germans and perhaps more than the proprietors of Von Racknitz themselves. That's most likely why this was the first wine I tasted at the estate that got three stars in my notebook (out of a max of three -- it's not a particularly precise system, I admit). As excited as I was by it, the note is somewhat brusque: "Very ripe aromas; concentrated peach and herbs. A lot of depth. Like the sun exploding in my mouth. So succulent. Exceptional!" The vines are over 60 years old, the wines are fermented spontaneously in stainless steel, the yields are absurdly low (30 hl/ha) and it's just an outright delicious, lip-smacking Spätlese. (Picture: Von Racknitz' parcels in the Klamm are on the right. On the left? Not so much....)-jfr
Riesling from the Zeppwingert vineyard, old vines on steep slopes of weathered blue and gray slate. Made in the Méthode Champenoise with very low dosage. This Sekt is balanced and bright with notes of brioche and lime blossom, apricot, peaches, with a crisp acidity and lingering finish of lemon oil and yellow flowers. Cari Bernard