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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
The Marienburg GG comes an all from gray slate parcel. Fermented with native yeast. Aged in fuder, bottled with low sulfur. The 2019 Clemens Busch Pündericher Marienburg Riesling Großes Gewächs has a pale green-yellow robe. The nose offers an attractive array of wild flower and red fruit aromas, with hints of orange oil, ginger, and wet slate. The palate is concentrated and coiled, with ripe orchard fruit entwines with a firm mineral core on a long, persistent finish. This is only showing nascent complexity, but is showing great promise and should really begin strutting its stuff with another 3-5 years in the bottle and beyond. John McIlwain
Jochen Dreissigacker took over his family's estate in 2001 and works organically (certified). The entry-level trocken a mix of estate and purchased grapes (all organic), from mostly south/southeast-facing sites on loess and loam. Fermented with native yeasts and aged in stainless steel tank.
The Eva Fricke 2020 Rheingau Riesling Trocken has a pale green pale yellow robe. Bottled under screw cap, this shows some reduction and a hint of spritz upon opening, which blows off to reveal aromas pretty aromas of lime skin, white flowers, and stone on the nose. Flavors of grapefruit peel, apple, and salt on the palate with racing acidity and ripeness following. Good depth and incisive stoniness on medium length finish. Harmonious and energetic. Very good.
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
A fantastic Auslese from a warmer vintage: subtle and elegant nose of herbs and ripe citrus with no botrytis, the palate is layered and fresh, stone fruit and deep minerality with lemon candy and delicate florals. A bottle to cellar for at least ten years to begin to see the balance and intricacy of this wine. Cari Bernard
The Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg Riesling Trocken Alte Reben is comprised of ungrafted vines dating from 1896 planted in red Devonian slate. Farming is organic and fermentations are in fuder with indigenous yeasts.
Thorsten Melsheimer has been farming organically in the Mosel since 1995 (certified ECOVIN) and became Demeter (biodynamic) certified in 2013. The 'Handwerk' is actually a blend of three different barrels: a QBA trocken, Kabinett, and Spätlese. Off dry, and high-toned with a fine bead of mineral character within, brimming with energy and perfect for the soft shell crab, flowering chives, or soy sauce noodles at Great New York Noodletown, or your favorite neighborhood Chinese spot.
When there's Beerenauslese available from this legendary estate, you just say yes. (AP 16) Cari Bernard
Comprised of multiple small parcels on the Himmelreich in blue slate soils. 100% ungrafted vines averaging over 75 years old. Ulli Stein, the mineral magician of the Mosel somehow lives up to his stellar 2019 Himmelreich Feinherb with this glorious 2020. Less flamboyant, but somehow more knit and balanced, this still displays the Stein energy. Just off-dry, with lifted aromas of Meyer lemon zest, apple blossom, white cherry, and rock dust on the nose. The palate is focused and stony, with white stone fruits fanning out from a sneakily substantial mineral core, yet this intensity is seemingly weightless—quite a feat. This is a joyful feinerb, wearing its whisper of sweetness deftly and electric acidity and minerality with confidence. Fabulous. John McIlwain
A kabinett trocken positively begging for superlatives and far-fetched analogies Uli Stein's 2020 Palmberg Alte Reben is sourced from steep parcel of 90+ year-old un-grafted vines. Decidedly pale yellow robe. The most ebullient nose of the wines: white flowers, bee pollen, apple blossom, honeysuckle nectar, underripe white peach skin, a faint hint of acacia honey (were it not sweet) and salt (whew!). The palate is the most dynamic and concentrated, seeming to reach skyward and plumb firmly the mineral depths of the site simultaneously. The mid-weight, dry palate offers flavors of salted plum, peach pit, orange oil, salt, and lady apple, girded by a firm slatey core and imbued with wave upon wave of white and yellow orchard fruit flavors, giving way to a savory, palate-staining finish. This is excellent but only revealing a hint of what’s to come. This is showy and long without seeming flashy and cries out more time in the cellar to allow the dry extract and fruit to knit with the crystalline structure. Beautiful stuff and worth tucking away for the 5-10 years and beyond.
The Ellergrub is a top-tier vineyard site with an extremely steep grade and ample amounts of dark blue and gray slate at various states of erosion. The old vines here give grapes that are perfectly suited for wines that exemplify Weiser-Kunstler's pursuit of tension and structure. This year's Ellergrub Kabinett struck me as one with incredible aging potential. Pale green yellow robe. The nose is Spring fresh, and redolent of white flowers, white peach, and orange flower water. The palate has similarly vivid white stone fruit and citrussy flavors, with a firm salty core of slatey soil notes. And though this shows Spätlese ripeness and a bit of residual sugar, this is cloaking a deeply soil-driven core that lends an electric drive to things and leaves the mouth watering. Really tasty and nervy. And though already displaying fine depth, there is nothing but upside here and it will be a genuine struggle to keep one’s hands off this to give it a chance to knit (it's just that delicious). A shimmering Ellergrub and a testament to Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler's work in the vines and cellar. John McIlwain
Pale green/yellow robe. A bit of dissolved CO2 and a touch of reduction (more than sponti), but a brisk decant and this blows off. The nose offers cool toned aromas of lime zest, lemon blossom, cool herbs—is that fennel?— and sea spray. The palate shows a bit of the ripeness of the vintage, not screaming with acidity, but a bit of dry extract that takes a minute (or 20) to settle in before a punchy mineral/salty core reveals itself. On the palate there’s plenty of white fruit and a faint nectar-ish sweetness, but there’s a sapid bitterness (Champagne grower Olivier Horiot terms mineral expression in Riceys), rather than acidity, which seems apt in the the glass. And while this doesn’t display leanness of cooler vintages, it comes off as “complete.” If one were to insist upon a vintage comparison in recent-ish memory, 2005 comes to mind. It was a year that didn’t struggle for ripeness, but seemed a bit fleshy relative to the tangy 2004s. That said, anyone who has opened a 2005 recently, can probably affirm there is beautiful balance between ripeness and terroir expression on the wines currently and I can’t imagine they’re looking to unload any bottles they’re holding. There’s real depth here and this is deeply satisfying with a salad of smoked salmon and cucumbers with an herb mustard crème fraîche dressing. John McIlwain