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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
Another punchy 2019 German. Julian Haart’s Moselle is mostly sourced from Goldtropfchen with an assist from Ohligsberg and Gu¨nterslay. 11.5% abv. The robe is a pale greenish yellow. Upon opening a the is a touch of reduction; with ten minutes in the glass aromas of lemon blossom, apricot fuzz, lemon balm, and sea spray emerge. This gives way to ripe white peach, preserved lemon, and crushed herbs. The mid-weight, but agile palate is dry and racy with a firm mineral spine and tangy acidity buoyed by loads of white orchard fruits. This coltish offering shows great charm (and certainly energy over mass) but is rooted enough in stoniness to for the dedicated Mosel geology freak to derive satisfaction . This improves with air and a brisk decant isn’t out of order—though a couple of years in the cellar should take care of the reduction and certainly allow the mineral, acid, and vibrant cool fruit to knit. And while I’ll admit to a preference towards pradikat wines from the Mosel, this is compelling and vivacious and certainly worth a look. A fine pairing with a braised scallion and English peas starter anointed with fine olive oil, burrata, and fresh mint, though I’d also love to pair this with softshell crab or scallop crudo. John McIlwain
100% Pinot Noir. The 2020 Rose Marie has a a pale salmon robe. The nose has aromas of tea rose, and cranberry. The palate is lithe and racy with enough juicy freshness to beckon the next sip. This sassy, pink sipper from Elbling maestros Hild is a joy to drink in this torrid heat and humidity. -JCM
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
Escheburg is a blend of old vine (about 60 year-old) parcels from remarkable terroirs in Enkirch. And the 2018 edition is a beauty. The robe is a pale lemon sherbet yellow with touches of green. The nose hints at yellow flowers and bee pollen, before picking up stone fruit, spice, melon, and lemon verbena notes. The palate is dry, but by no means austere, with good concentration, an array of white and yellow orchard fruit flavor,s and a salty mineral kick that carries on to the lengthy and mouthwatering, stony finish. This offers plenty in the way of geology lessons, but manifests in a salty/rock collection manner rather than mouth-puckering acidity. Not only is it layered and nuanced, but it was positively delicious with Thai curry noodles and mango salad, the texture holding its own with the coconut in the dish while the “inner mouth perfume” (terminology lovingly stolen from David Schildknecht) is captivating. And while everyone is scrambling to grab 2019s, to neglect this would be to miss out on one of the marvelous 2018s. Kudos to Gernot Kollman for a lovely wine in a woefully under-appreciated vintage. There is fantastic potential here and 5-7 years in the cellar should be rewarded amply. John McIlwain
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
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.
Hailing from the Pfalz, Germany directly north of Alsace, this is a trocken (dry) riesling of brilliant purity! Immediate aromas of petrol, kefir lime, white peach and wet rocks blast the nose. On the palate, flavors of limeade and peach nectar burst with vivid acidity and minerality. Sporting a long, dry yet juicy finish, this is a super refreshing , classic riesling perfect for end of summer pleasure. I'd serve it with grilled swordfish and a veggie medley of zucchini, cherry tomatoes, cipolline onions with a balsamic glaze (last night's dinner pairing!) or a spicy Thai seafood curry. Giselle Hamburg
Sourced from old vine parcels in Ürzig and Zeltingen in the Mittelmosel. The 2016 Alte Reben from Molitor displays a pale yellow, hinting at gold, robe. The nose offers pretty aromas of white flowers, citrus blossom, spices, and peach skin. The mid-weight palate has a zesty mineral attack, followed by a flush of ripe stone fruit flavors and filigree of cool crushed herbs, culminating in a long sapid, mouthwatering finish. Though dry, this is by no means austere and will charm on its own, though I'd love to give this a whirl with sautéed scallops in brown butter atop a celery root purée or morels and English peas stewed in butter. John McIlwain
When there's Beerenauslese available from this legendary estate, you just say yes. (AP 16) Cari Bernard
Different German estates use their AP numbers for different reasons. For example, at Hofgut Falkenstein, they use the AP numbers to refer to specific fuders (1000L barrels). At Willi Schaefer, numbers correspond to a 'style'. So for the Graacher Domprobst Spätlese there is a #5 bottling and a #10 bottling. Both Andrea and Christoph Schaefer have explained that the #5 is more concentrated and dense, whereas the #10 is lighter and fresher. This holds true in 2018, the #5 is SO YOUNG, wound up and dense, notes of Fuji apple, peach candy, wildflower honey, and a creamy finish. Hold onto this bottle please, this beautiful wine has so much to show, give it ten plus years to get there (will age even longer en magnum)! Cari Bernard
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
Alexander Götze and Christoph Wolber of Wasenhaus met while working in Burgundy. The friends returned to Germany with the idea of finding old vines and making pure, low-intervention wines. The 2020 Grand Ordinaire—formerly Baden Nouveau— is fermented 100% whole cluster under CO2 for 10days before pressing off and finishing fermentation in tank. Bottled under cork rather than crown cap with a minimum of sulfur. The robe is a purplish ruby. The nose offers aromas of crushed strawberry, pomegranate, and cherry stone. The palate is lightweight and racy, with wild berry fruit, a hint of stemmy spice, and a crunchy mineral kick on the finish. And while one wouldn't mistake this for a bottling from the Cote d'Or, this has a satisfying savory core to temper all that exuberant fruit. John McIlwain
From roughly 85 years-old ungrafted vines on iron-rich gray slate next to Ellergrub. A little late in getting a note up for this. But holy moly! what a wine! There’s a pale yellow with hints-of-gold robe. The nose is effusive, verging on flamboyant with gorgeous aromas of yellow flowers, perfectly ripe white peaches, comice pear, and white pepper and a whisper of spearmint. The lush palate is ripe, juicy, and concentrated on the attack, with a deep undercurrent of spice and ferruginous mineral character with a snappy bit of acidity to keep things lively. This has just suspicion of residual sugar and is already offering layer after layer of complexity. The nose alone is worth the price of admission (our friend Kara S. described it as akin to receiving a huge bouquet of expensive flowers), but the length and depth of the palate is extraordinary. This is extravagantly good and should age beautifully for 20 years or more. Absolutely ravishing and a glorious expression of Gaispfad. John McIlwain