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We here at Chambers Street love German wines. Not only are they terriffic at the table, but terroir expression is everything with as much minutae as even the most stalwart nerd could ask for. And while we are impressed by the majesty of the Großes Gewäches and brought to our knees by the nobly sweet wines, there is also a multitude of beautifully expressive everyday wines that are just the thing for weekday evenings or a trip to the beach. Below are a few of our recent favorites, all fresh, juicy, racy, with a fine core of mineral character and zesty, mouthwatering acidity. Why not put together a mixed case of these beauties for a house white or schlosswein? Happy hunting! John McIlwain
Bottled under screw cap. The palate is a very pale yellow with greenish flecks. Aromatically unrevealing verging on dumb upon opening. With air the nose reveal pretty aromas of white peach, Mirabelle plum, be pollen and herbs. The palate is a touch more expansive that of the Rudesheim Estate bottling, with a bit more gras, but slightly less tension. Notwithstanding, flavors of stone fruit, citrus peel, wet rock, and green tea dominate with notes of malt, pollen, and peach skin making up the balance of the profile. This is a touch more overtly ripe with a suspicion of sweetness cloaking the salty, vibrant core of stone within. This is by no means flabby, but one does get the sense that with time in the cellar for the ripeness to integrate with the structure, this could really over-perform its class. A fine pairing with risotto with yellow peppers and green beans. Lovely bottle with plenty of charm and an excellent upside. John McIlwain
Bottled under screw cap. The wine has a pale-yellow green robe. Upon opening the nose is a bit reticent and shows a touch of reduction. Aromas of citrus oil, apricot, and Rainier cherry with wisps of mineral smoke and crushed herbs emerge with air. The palate is lithe and racy with a juicy, piquant, medium-length finish with just enough salty sea breeze elements to shade this to the savory side of the flavor spectrum. A bonny companion to a cucumber salad with smoked salmon and an herb-mustard dressing. This is excellent currently, but should benefit from another couple of years in the cellar. Lovely juice! John McIlwain
Located in the balmy (for Germany) village of Forst in the Pfalz, Weingut Heinrich Spindler farms 20 hectare of vines organically. The soils are comprised of colored sandstone, shell limestone, and even a bit of basalt. The grapes for this wine are sourced from Spindler’s vineyard holdings in Friedelsheim, Niederkirchen and Forst. Fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts. The 2019 has a bright fresh nose and zesty mouth-watering palate redolent of stone fruit, pear skin, and peach stone. There is fine length and an electric finish to this bargain-priced schloss wine.
The 2019 Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Erste Lage is a delicious entry in the Von Winning lineup. From vines planted in the red sandstone/ loamy soils above the village of Deidesheim. Fermented with native yeasts in a combination of 500 Liter and 1200 Liter used barrels and aged on the gross lees for a year before bottling. The wine has a pale lemon yellow robe. The nose offers a kaleidoscopic array of white florals and fresh orchard fruit aromas. The palate is juicy and brisk, with deceptive depth and a fine balance between perfectly ripe stone fruit and briny mineral flavors and a persistent, rising finish. This has fine depth and layers of earth nuance. This is just electric! John McIlwain
C.A.I. stands for Carl August Immich, owner of the estate in the 19th century, who used gunpowder charges to blast out part of the mountainside in order to plant vines. Grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Mosel and Saar valleys, vinified in stainless steel. The 2018 has a pale robe. There's a malty, yellow-fruited richness to the nose along with wisps of peach skin and lime zest giving way to a subtle and enticing mineral character. The palate is dry with stone fruit and salted pineapple notes, with a fine mineral core and long, zesty, lifted finish. This is delicious, though it should gain with a year or two in the cellar. John McIlwain