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What an absolute treat to get to check in on this beauty from 2009! Harvest for the Auslese contained around 40% botrytised grapes from the southeast-facing Rothenpfad parcel on the Marienburg. The nose is redolent with muddled fresh mint and the wine is creamy and lively, with soft, rich peaches, honeyed pear, elegant depth and layers. Enjoy now to blow minds with your cheese course or fruit-based desserts, or hold for at least ten more years! Cari Bernard
Riesling with extended skin-maceration time can sometimes lose its footing, falling into the spectrum of 'cidery'. And of course there's a place for that, but it's very exciting to find wines that still hold onto the acidity and balance of fruit and minerality. Clemens has hit this note, with the 2016 vintage of the (alter) Native—we see extended skin maceration and the wine spends 15 months sur lie in large old German oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Decant for at least a half hour to fully enjoy the subtle texture with notes of burnished peach, yellow apple, white blossom, balanced by juicy nectarine, green herbs and vibrant tangerine acidity. Cari Bernard
Hand-harvested from vines grown on gray slate on the Marienburg, the 2016 is focused and stony, with green apricot and white florals on the nose, salted grapefruit, nectarine with mineral cut on the palate. Cari Bernard
Also old vines (some up to 60ish years in age) planted on the other predominate soil type of Baden, colored sandstone (red/brown). Buntsandstein can often lead to a bolder type of structure and intensity, in contrast to the Muschelkalk. Cari Bernard
'Liaison' is from 45 to 50-year-old vines planted on both Muschelkalk (shell limestone) and Buntsandstein (colored sandstone) and is a beautiful example of the elegant coupling of these two terroirs. A beguiling nose of stone, crushed strawberries and red florals, the palate is radiant with red cherries, strawberries, blood orange, and a hint of tart red currant. This makes us very excited for the rest of the line-up of this vintage! Cari Bernard
'Liaison' is from 45 to 50-year-old vines planted on both Muschelkalk (shell limestone) and Buntsandstein (colored sandstone) and is a beautiful example of the elegant coupling of these two terroirs. A beguiling nose of stone, crushed strawberries and red florals, the palate is radiant with red cherries, strawberries, blood orange, and a hint of tart red currant. This makes us very excited for the rest of the line-up of this vintage! I can't remember if I've ever seen Enderle & Moll en Magnum, so this was a no-brainer. Cari Bernard
Vines planted in 1953/54, on shell limestone, which often imparts lift and focus to the wine, usually making this the lighter counterpart to the Buntsandstein. Cari Bernard
Sometimes a barrel will take its sweet time fermenting—in the case of the 2016 ‘Zeit’, the fermentation took 461 days to finish. Sourced from the Bremmer Calmont, one of, if not the steepest vineyard in Europe, the Franzens let the barrel take the time it needed, and the finished wine is delightfully dry-tasting. Lots of times winemakers will increase the temperature in their cellars or tanks to spur on a slow/stuck fermentation, and some winemakers add yeast to kick it back into gear to ferment to full dryness, but the longer a fermentation sustains, the more possibilities arise for development of esters and flavors, complexity, and sometimes, problems. Luckily, the ‘Zeit’ from 2016 made it through and is so fresh and youthful, even spritzig upon opening, it works as a time capsule of the 2016 vintage (it feels like we are opening this bottle in 2017, not 2019); green and herbal, lime zest, white florals, green mango, green plum, and the slightly sweet/tart tang of Lemonheads—an eye-opening Riesling! Cari Bernard
Jour Fixe is a blend of (mostly) ungrafted, single-post trained, old-vine Riesling sourced from a high parcel in Ellergrub, the western part of Zollturm, and a steep portion of the Oberemmeler Altenberg in the Saar valley. Zero-dosage, zero free sulfur remains as the base wine only had a small amount added in the cellar. Spontaneous fermentation occurred in barrel and the wine finished its journey via the méthode Champenoise, with second fermentation in the bottle. A warmer vintage like 2015 means a scintillating balance between ripeness and acidity, and a more lush palate. When first opened the wine shows textbook high-toned Riesling, with punchy acidity, a racy mousse and slightly underripe stone fruit with a slight herbaceousness. With a touch of time open, the wine really broadens into an elegant experience, with notes of burnished orange peel, toasted walnut, ripe peach, mango, apples and apricots on the lengthy finish. Cari Bernard
Gernot's parcel of the Ellergrub is 2.2 hectares of ungrafted vines, over 80 years old. Farming is organic, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wine ages in a neutral oak barrels. In a shocking twist, the 2016 Ellergrub is slightly off-dry! The wine boasts a floral elegance and herbal freshness on the nose, yet is still quite dense and rich, with notes of yellow apricot, roses, and white peach skin giving way to a touch of citrus zest and strawberries on the finish. Cari Bernard
Blaufränkisch, Spätburgunder, and Zweigelt fermented separately in neutral demi-muid, blended in tank before bottling without any added sulfur. Hauntingly aromatic with notes of bramble and soy, blueberries, violets and spice, the palate is juicy and vibrant, with a mélange of wild berries, dark chocolate, and red plums. A healthy choice with BBQ-anything! Cari Bernard
Holger Koch makes some of the most elegant wines in the Baden region (located in southwest Germany). Working mostly with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc, he's been making wines with a singular finesse in a region where the co-op is king. The Scheibenhardt Weissburgunder is Pinot Blanc grown on a southwest-facing terrace (loess and volcanic soils) at 350 meters above sea level. Grapes are hand-harvested, ferment spontaneously, and the wine ages on the lees for seven months in a 1200L barrel. Flabby this is not—deeply mineral and floral on the nose, grass, apricot, apple blossom, the palate has a distinct saline cut and bright minerality to balance the radiant pear, green strawberry, and lemon zest with a delicate herbal bitterness. Cari Bernard
Grey sandstone and pebbles mark the Steinacker vineyard, which sits just across the road from the Saumagen vineyard, Koehler-Ruprecht's grand cru site. Gardenias and lemon zest on the nose, the palate is soft and delicate with notes of white strawberries, apricot, peaches, and sweet fuji apple. Cari Bernard
While we love the Rieslings from Koehler-Ruprecht in Kallstadt, Pfalz, they also make magic with Weissburgunder (and Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, you get the picture)! 40 to 50-year-old vines planted on calcareous soils (Annaberg, Steinacker vineyards), fermentation is in stainless tank and the wine ages in used wood. Just shy of medium-bodied with piquant notes of sour orange oil, quince, and tropical flavors of ripe pineapple and young ginger, rounded out by subtle creaminess. Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the cooler climate and wind at this altitude makes for a site that is often harvested last. We haven't had a chance to try a bottle yet but will report back as soon as we do! Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the meager soils, cooler climate and wind at this altitude makes for a site that is often harvested last. Technically off-dry, the residual sugar manifests as fruit and just a bit of weight and creaminess to balance out the acidity. White florals mix with notes of orange, nectarine, and tart tangerine on the finish. Delicious now, should start to really shine in at least 5 years. 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. The Lauer family rented vines on the hillside until the 1990s, when the owners chose to pull up the vines. Florian purchased the plot in 2010, cleared and replanted the 0.2 hectares in 2012 with old-vine cuttings from five different vineyards. 2017 marks the fourth vintage (third as Kabinett) from this predominately southeast-facing site where large pieces of gray slate litter the ground between the vines. Tasting notes forthcoming. Cari Bernard
Schimbock is a west-facing, slightly cooler, tiny parcel of gray and blue slate terraces with ungrafted, old vines with smaller, looser bunches (less-prone to botrytis). The grapes are pressed in a basket press over the span of 18 hours, and the wine ages in old fuder (1000L), whereas Daniel's other wines age in stainless tank. Three and a half days of skin contact gives beautiful structure and balance to the notes of soft white cherry, nectarine, and underripe pineapple--delicious! Cari Bernard
The 'GE' (Grosse Eule) is Alexandra and Konstantin's 'GG' for the vintage, and in 2017 Ellergrub took the honors. Not a surprise though, as the parcel is home to 100-110 year-old ungrafted vines on blue and gray slate, known for concentration, tension, and age-worthiness. Cari Bernard