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Cabernet Franc from the northern Pfalz? Hell ja! Daniel and Jonas got their hands on a clone with slightly looser bunches, which works well for this hot vineyard site (the vines are now five years old). I was able to try a new bottle and one that had been open for one and a half weeks, and both were stunning. Starting with cherries and salty capers on the nose, black and red plum on the medium-bodied palate, the wine proved to be deeply layered and elegant. The pre-opened bottle was still great, settled and soft, more black currant and plummy. A fascinating look into Pfalzer Cab Franc! Cari Bernard
'Elis' is short for Elisabeth, the previous owner of this parcel of 78-year-old Sylvaner, grown on gravely, sandy soils; 50% of which was hand-harvested early and allowed to ferment on the skins for one week. Fermentation and aging in used barrel, no fining, no filtration, no problem (also no sulfur added). A very, very tiny amount made, and we've ended up with just a case. If you love Sylvaner (and you should), this is mandatory drinking. White tea, pear, quince skin on the nose, elegant and concentrated notes of apricot, quince, and white strawberry on the powerful, lengthy finish. An incredibly sophisticated wine from such young winemakers, we eagerly look forward to future vintages! Cari Bernard
Made from organic estate-grown Riesling, along with grapes sourced from their Uncle (also organic), this is a liter of off-dry deliciousness! Refreshingly juicy flavors of fresh nectarine, strawberry lemonade, lime zest, apricot, and crystalline acidity to balance the touch of sweetness. Pair with any spicy cuisine or your next backyard BBQ! Cari Bernard
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
Sourced from multiple sites on the Marienburg, this is the highest Prädikat Clemens produced in 2016. Fresh and light, this Spätlese drinks more like a Kabinett: the high acidity balancing the notes of ripe peach, mango, and strawberry candy with a delicate touch--a testament to the charming elegance of the 2016 vintage. 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 heady notes of caramel, burnished peach, yellow apple, white blossom, balanced by juicy nectarine and vibrant tangerine acidity. 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
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
Hailing from their Saumagen vineyard, south to southeast-facing with a blend of predominately limestone with marl, the must spontaneously ferments and ages in used, German oak of various sizes. Fragrant with white flowers and spearmint, the palate is linear and very dry, herbal with notes of yellow apricot, peach skin, and tart lemon juice on the finish. 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
Covered in eroded gray slate, Unterstenberg is the site on the Ayler Kupp that has some of the most water retention due to its location at the foot of the hillside. Notes of peach, orange zest, apple compote, and red grapefruit on the nose open up to a rich and fruit-forward palate boasting ripe apricot, yellow apple skin, and pineapple. Spicy and bold! Pair with grilled Thai curry squid, crab cakes over a citrus salad. Cari Bernard
Lauer ‘Senior’ is Florian’s nod to making a style of wine his grandfather (Peter Lauer Sr.) would enjoy. His aim is to make a feinherb, weeknight wine from 70-year-old, ungrafted vines on the Kupp. With each passing vintage, Senior always seems to over deliver--for the price, the level of complexity is outstanding. 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
The Loewen parcel is higher up on the Longuicher Herrenberg, the slope being predominately Devonian slate with some volcanic elements and ungrafted vines planted in 1902. A fantastic Mosel Kabinett! Crisp, scintillating acidity perfectly balanced with sweet juicy nectarine, green apple, and delicate white florals. Incredibly delicious with choucroute and schnitzel, cheese fondue, char siu. Cari Bernard
Organically farmed, hand harvested, and spontaneously fermented in a mix of stainless steel and concrete tanks, then aged for 9 months in neutral oak; Dornfelder, Sankt Laurent, and Portugieser come together to make for a refreshingly juicy, dry chillable red, with notes of black raspberries, red plums and a undercurrent of soy sauce and meaty, mushroom umami. Delicious with grilled meats, pizza, fried chicken, burgers! 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
Alexander Götze and Christoph Wolber met while making wine in Burgundy. Their friendship led to their return to Germany, and they've made it their mission to find unique old-clone parcels of old vines, their total hectareage is currently at 1.5 ha. The vineyards range in soils from shell limestone, loam, loess, and gravel, to volcanic soils on the Kaiserstuhl. The Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) is from 30-year-old vines, planted on loess and volcanic soils; whole-cluster basket-pressed, and aged in two 600 Liter barrels for twelve months followed by six months of settling in stainless tank before bottling with low amounts of sulfur. Delicately floral on the nose with whispers of stone, the wine is beautifully concentrated with lively acidity playing off the ripe apples, yellow pears, and just a touch of herbs on the finish. Cari Bernard
Enkircher Zeppwingert is home to old vines on weathered Devonian (blue) slate, and the soil here has a bit more water retention capacity. Yields in 2016 were catastrophically low, and Alexandra and Konstantin don't make much of this Sekt in the first place, so we were only able to grab a single case, and have not been able to try the wine yet. That being said, we can never say no to the wines of Weiser-Künstler, a long-standing shop favorite! Méthode Champenoise with very low dosage. 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