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After being part of the local co-op for years, the Beurer family decided to make the change to crafting wines for their own label in 1997, and began to shift to organic farming starting in 2003, eventually becoming Demeter (biodynamic) certified. The wines of Jochen Beurer come from vines planted on the 'Keuperlandschaft', a local landscape that contains layers of different rocks from the Upper Triassic period. The land here is striated with different soil types, from Gipskeuper (gypsum) at the base, to Schilfsandstein (flaked sandstone), Bunte Mergel (colored marl), Kieselsandstein (pebble-strewn sandstone), and Stubensandstein, which attempting to research this particular layer brings one to the rather niche subject of European lithostratigraphy, which is another story for another day. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Jochen works with biodynamic treatments in the vineyards, and in the cellar, only spontaneous fermentation will do. His 2016 Weiss Trocken is a blend of estate-grown Kerner, Müller-Thurgau, and Weissburgunder, fermented and aged in stainless steel. A truly joyous wine with stones, herbs and pollen on the nose and a fruity splash of limeade, raspberry seed, yellow apricot, and tangy, tropical pineapple core on the invigorating palate. Pair with lounging outside, spring and summer-inspired salads, grilled fish tacos with citrus-dressed coleslaw. 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
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
(AP-7 Altenberg) Altenberg stands further afield from the estate, with mostly gray slate, a cooler microclimate, and south/southwest exposure.
(AP-18 Lorenz Manni) The Webers were able to obtain this 0.2 hectare parcel three years ago, located on the Krettnacher Altenberg with old vines upwards of 70 years in age on green basalt soils (with quartz and gray slate): a 'dream parcel' according to Erich Weber.
(AP-8 Gisela) All of the Falkenstein Kabinett bottlings are technically from 'Alte Reben' or old vines, but the vines for the Alte Reben bottling are 80 years old and ungrafted. Thanks Lars Carlberg, for the info!
(AP-12 Kugel Peter) Beautiful, silky texture, citrus oils and stone fruit -- bright and concentrated. CB
(AP-14 Forster/Ternes) The two different Euchariusberg Spätlese bottlings (AP 6 and AP 14) are sourced from two separate parcels, found further up the Großschock slope from the plots used for the Kabinett wines.
(AP-6 Klaus Lang) The two different Euchariusberg Spätlese bottlings (AP 6 and AP 14) are sourced from two separate parcels, found further up the Großschock slope from the plots used for the Kabinett wines.
(AP-11 Meyer Nepal)
(AP-1 Mutter Anna)
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. Lemon oil, stones, salt spray on the nose, this wine is dry and crisp, with notes of yellow apricot, lemon zest, and underripe nectarine. An energetic introduction to the Immich-Batterieberg style of wines. Cari Bernard
Wines made by Andi Knauss have been gracing our shelves for years now; his sparkling wines are a highlight, and we always look forward to his high-toned, light and lively Trollingers. The 2016 Rot (red), a blend of Portugieser & Lemberger, is cut from a different, bolder cloth. Cherry and plum liqueur aromas with blueberries and purple florals, the palate is juicy, lush, and deep, with a lengthy presence. Succulent, ripe forest blackberries and bramble, stewed plums, and a hint of dried herbs meld with a dark minerality. Not tannic by any means, it still maintains a structure that can stand up to an array of meatier options. Judging by the weather ahead of us, this is a BBQ wine through-and-through! Cari Bernard
Grey sandstone and pebbles mark the Steinacker vineyard, which sits just across the road from the Saumagen vineyard, Koehler-Ruprecht's grand cru site. Gardenias and lemon zest on the nose, the palate is soft and delicate with notes of white strawberries, apricot, peaches, and sweet fuji apple. Cari Bernard
Our favorite Pinot Noir rosé from the Pfalz returns! The 2017 vintage boasts good fruit with a saline mineral cut; flavors of wild strawberry, tart lemon zest, orange oil, peaches, and sour cherries are vibrant and punched up by the mouth-watering acidity. 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
Kern is a parcel on the west-facing side of the Ayler Kupp, extending from the top to the bottom of the slope, a cross-section of slate at multiple levels of erosion, warmed by the afternoon sun. A tropical nose of kiwi and passion fruit, the wine has a sharp, juicy attack of white grapefruit zest and kumquat, balanced by notes of green herbs, salinity, and wet stone minerality on the finish. Cari Bernard
Lauer's portion of Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Kupp closer to the base of the slope. Piquant, with vibrant red grapefruit, tangerine, and apricot notes that continue onto the palate followed by ripe mango, peach candy, yuzu and orange zest with ginger spice on the lengthy finish. Complex and fruity with great tension! Cari Bernard
The AP numbers chosen by the Schaefer family reflect a style rather than a specific vineyard plot, with the #10 often having a bit less concentration than #5 and a bit more lift and minerality. This year's #10 boasts ginger spice with a touch of white flowers on the nose, the wine is both juicy and mineral, with linear flavors of green mango and apple--a bit tight to open now, this bottle should age wonderfully!! Cari Bernard
Winemaker Max von Kunow took over his family's estate in 2010, and has made an ambitious effort to radically change both the farming and winemaking in just a short period of time. There has been a conversion of the vineyards to organics and the cellar to a focus on spontaneous fermentation and a range of dry and dry-tasting wines along with a fresh take on the Prädikat wines. The estate farms vineyards in top sites including Oberemmler Hütte (where they hold a monopol), Kanzemer Hörecker (also a monopol), and the legendary Scharzhofberg. The 2016 Scharzhofberg Kabinett is lean and fresh with finesse; a saline green dream of a wine, with notes of apricot, green mango, nectarines, lemon candy, green plums and strawberry tops. Cari Bernard
Andreas Schumann has been making wine at Weingut Odinstal since 2004, biodynamic since 2006 and they've been organic since the 90's. The estate sits up from the town Wachenheim in the Haardt Mountains far back behind a forest, butting up to a basalt quarry, representative of one of the many soil types found in the 5.5 hectares of vineyards, which as a monopole, Schumann chooses to differentiate parcels by elevation above sea level and soil type. The herbs needed to make the biodynamic preparations grow near the vineyard and cows graze further afield. In the vineyards, a mix of tall grasses and delicate flowers reach upward, at times higher than the vines. The Riesling 350 N.N. is from the highest parcel in the vineyard, and shows its basalt pedigree in the nose, with a mineral nerviness and the intoxicating scent of stone fruit on the cusp of ripeness. A juxtaposition of stone and opulence plays out on the palate, concentrated and luxuriously textured with notes of soft mango, apricot, and orange zest. Cari Bernard