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Like Manna from Heaven, the siren song of our importer telling me the new Clemens Buschs were landing in March brought tears of joy to my eyes. In addition, Chambers is proud to announce a surprise tasting with him and another winemaker to be announced soon at our sister restaurant at the end of the month...more manna from heaven! In honor of this great bounty of beauty, we are proud to offer the most comprehensive lineup to date of his breathtaking wines from the humble trockens to the GGs.
As a recap, or for those whom aren't familiar with the winery, Clemens Busch hails from the dividing line on the Mosel between the Middle Mosel, or the home of the "Hollywood Mile," and the more remote northern Lower Mosel. As per the importer: " The geology here is unique, based on a volcanic formation hundreds of millions of years old, manifested in a long, undulating cliff face that is nothing short of epic. The three main colors of slate (blue, red and grey) are all found here, dominating different parcels along the slopes across the river from the village. Clemens identifies the different terroirs of the original hillside on his labels by their historical names: Fahrlay, Falkenlay, Rothenpfad, Felsterrasse, and Raffes. He further delineates his wines by their soil type, using an ingenious method: the color of the capsule on the bottles indicates the type of slate (blue, gray or red) that dominates the source from which each wine comes." Most importantly, Clemens is considered to be The Master of Biodynamic Viticulture in Germany; converting to organic viticulture in 1984 and then certified Biodynamic in 2005. Billy the goat pictured above is one of his most important vineyard workers and a relative rarity in the Mosel.
The majority of Clemens's production is grown on the extremely steep Pündericher Marienburg, a 25 hectare vineyard that spans and entire hillside facing the village of Pünderich. Exposed full South/Southwest and right on the edge of the river, it is widely considered amongst the very best sites in the Mosel.
We start our exploration with two of his entry level trockens; the 2021 Roten Schiefer (Red Slate) and Grauen Schiefer (Grey Slate). They illustrate perfectly the difference the soil type makes in the wine's profile and I highly recommend trying them side by side. Next, we were lucky to scoop up an older vintage, the 2015 Grosse Lage (Premier Cru) Falkenlay before moving on to the current release of 2021 GGs (Grand Cru) : Marienburg, Rothenpfad, Falkenlay and .Fahrlay. Upon tasting the GGs, the aromatics were so pronounced and evocative that I immediately associated them with various Chanel perfumes that I know. As a disclaimer, I never have this reaction, but I find that these perfumes, if one is familiar with them, perfectly describe the wines olfactorily! Match your perfume to your wine!
65-90 year old ungrafted vines planted on grey slate. A dry wine from a site famous for its noble sweets. Firm, vivid, gingery, incredibly ripe and saline with acidity that elevates it to a quiveringly “alive” state of being.
This large grey slate parcel is from the original Marienburg parcel which has been in the Busch family for generations.
Clemens’ only parcel of blue slate on the Marienburg, which imparts luster, florality, sizzling acids and fantastic staying power to the wine.
The Big Red One. The Rothenpfad interestingly is the terminus of the iron- and copper-rich red-colored geological formation that starts in the Saar, pops up at the Ürziger Würzgarten, Erdener Prälat and Enkircher Steffensberg sites in the Middle Mosel, and ends at Pünderich. Clemens’ GG from here, like all wines made from such soil, is pungent and exotic with pronounced ripeness and great staying power.
In order to provide the most complete lineup of Clemens Busch, we are offering exceptionally, a discounted tasting pack of all 6 wines of the 2021 vintage! (The 2015 is just too limited) All wines will be available next week for delivery, shipping and pickup (except for the 2021 Roten Schiefer which is already in stock). Giselle Hamburg
From grey slate parcels on the Marienburg, The sister wine to the Vom Roten Shiefer is always more linear, stony and drier tasting. The 2021 opens with aromas of white wet rocks, white flowers and citrus whilst the palate bursts with brilliant acidity, minerality and lemons. The epitome of dry yet delicate riesling. Giselle Hamburg
The fruit for this wine is grown on the Pündericher Marienburg, one of the best sites in the Mosel from, in part, the red slate parcel Rothenpfad lending a pronounced spicy and expansive note. The nose opens with aromas of forest floor moss, pine cones, smoky rocks, yellow peach, grapefruit and ginger. The wine coats the palate with juicy limeade, orange blossom and a slight mintiness. The mouthfeel is balanced by the zippy acidity and undescored by the wet stone minerality and spicy ginger. The finish goes on for miles, rendering the wine ethereal yet simultaneously luscious; technically trocken yet neither angular or austere. Absolutely breathtaking! Giselle Hamburg
Although the entire slope or mountain is called the Marienburg, the GG vineyard Marienburg is the oldest parcel that was always in the family's possesion more or less in the center of the bulleye. Composed of grey slate, the vines are a minimum of 40 years of age and ungrafted! The difference is clear between this GG and the entry level Vom Grauen Schiefer sourced from multiple grey slate parcels; The GG is intensely aromatic with a plethora of baby's-breath white flowers in addition to the white rocks and citrus aromas. the palate is very linear and even more citrusy than the entry level. Bordering on austere, this a wine that could benefit from several years in the cellar till it's exuberance mellows out a bit. Giselle Hamburg
The Rothenpfad (Red Path) is a large parcel of iron and copper rich red slate. Pungent and exotic compared to the Marienburg, Falkanlay and Fahrlay, the nose is ablaze with sunny yellow fruits and flowers whilst the palate is all spicy ginger, juicy melon and peach ccktail underscored by red warm rocks. On the perfume scale, this falls under the Chanel no 5 camp. Although it can definitely age, this is a rare current release GG one could drink now with some Indian or Thai curry! Giselle Hamburg
The grey slate Falkenlay ( Falcon Lair ) lies at the top of the Marienburg between the red slate Rothenpfad and blue slate Fahrlay and was traditionally thought of as the prime parcel along the Marienburg slope. The nose starts off as ethereal with whisps of white pepper wafting above the flinty white stones and delicate lily of the valley white flowers. Very pretty and bright on the palate with charming creaminess, juicy melon and ripe peach underscored by more white pepper and saline minerality. On the Chanel perfume scale, this falls under the Chanel no 19 camp. Giselle Hamburg
From Clemens' only parcel of blue slate on the Marienburg which imbues the wines with steely acid, florality and fantastic staying power. The nose opens with black pepper and blue flowers (iris, bluebells) and pure slatey minerality. The palate is full of green pears, steely minerality and broad shouldered body. The most masculine of the the GGs, it hence falls on the perfume spectrum under the Bleu de Chanel camp. For anyone who's seen the commercial for the latter, drinking this, one can totally imagine bobbing in the Mosel at night looking up at the sky whilst Bowie's "Starman" plays in the distance. Otherwordly! Giselle Hamburg
As the distributor only had a limited amount of bottles left, I was unable to taste this vintage. I will quote a review from Robert Panzer and Down To Earth Wines citing " This offers a gorgeous and comparatively airy nose of bergamot, candied lemon and herbs. The wine is elegant and well balanced on the palate and leaves a beautiful intense feel of minerals in the long finish. This vibrant expression of dry Mosel Riesling should develop nicely at maturity. 2020-2035". Please note that in 2015, the vintage was very ripe and the wine had a smidge more than 9 gms RS to qualify as a GG, hence the Grosse Lage title. Giselle Hamburg