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Translating to 'in the garden of the rectory', this is a plot planted in the 1960s on a flat terrain of heavy, alluvial soils mixed with eroded slate from the Hofberg above. As one can guess from the name, the vineyard once belonged to the rector for the parish of the town of Dhron. Fermented with natural yeasts, unfined, and aged in stainless steel, when tasted in June 2019, the wine was a bit closed on the nose, reflecting the recent bottling; thankfully the palate is fresh, mineral and balanced with a prickle of acidity lifting the slightest sweetness of green plum and mango along with white grapefruit zest, a delicious feinherb that should settle in nicely. Cari Bernard
The amphitheater-shaped Kirchspiel vineyard faces south-southeast with soils of limestone, marl, and clay. Jochen Dreissigacker farms these vines organically, and all spontaneous fermentation and aging occurred in stainless steel for this vintage. This is truly spellbinding Riesling with the beautiful concentration of 2015 balanced by bright acidity and the slightest bit of residual sugar. Honeysuckle, orange oil, mango and just-ripe peaches dance on the palate and linger on for ages. A delightful bottle that should age with grace for the long-term, and a thoughtful gift for the Riesling-head in your life. Cari Bernard
Andreas Durst lives but a stone's throw away from Daniel and Jonas Brand, in Bockenheim, a small town in the northern Pfalz (very close to the Rheinhessen border). Working less than a hectare in total, and making wine out of his garage, Andreas has managed to produce some incredibly spell-binding Pinot Noir (not to mention Portugieser and Sylvaner), aged in old barrique. Really quite elegant, with subtle flavors of ripe sour cherries, red apple skin, baked strawberries, and a touch of lees, layered with savory notes of red flowers on the lengthy finish. In this case, 'S' is to mark that there is just a slight amount to sulfur added at bottling. Pair with roasted root vegetable tart, mushroom gratin, turkey and herbed stuffing. Cari Bernard
Andreas Durst currently farms just shy of a hectare of vines, and works out of his garage in the town of Bockenheim, fairly close to the Rheinhessen border. His 'Alte Reben' bottling is from 50-year-old Sylvaner vines planted on limestone, fermented and aged in a mix of stone and steel tanks, and bottled with a low amount of sulfur. Tasted just a week ago (July 2019), the wine was showing its chalky terroir, clean and bright mineral salinity, white fruit (apples, pears), and shimmering stoniness. Cari Bernard
The Falkenstein Red is sourced from 25-year-old Pinot Noir vines planted near the estate on the Herrenberg. Grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation and the wine ages for 18 months (in Fuder of course) with enough natural acidity to stave off malolactic conversion; this makes for a fresh and bright red! Showing a subtle nose of red currants, cherries, and graphite, the wine is medium light in body with more balanced acidity than the 2016. Ripe red cherries and plum skin, raspberry coulis, blood orange and strawberries sustain on a lengthy finish. Enjoy with rustic mushroom dishes, roasted salmon, charcuterie platters, winter squash soups. Cari Bernard
Fuder Großschock Kupp
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. CB Fuder Klaus Lang
Fuder Meyer Nepal
Yellow peach and blossoms on the nose, fruity and fun, perfect balance; the feinherbs from Falkenstein are often some of my favorite wines in the collection. This vintage is bursting with ripe nectarines, tangerines, green mango lemonade, and yes, residual sugar, but the acidity it poised to make this just the most refreshing and invigorating wine you never knew you needed. I love these wines because they are usually 10% alcohol, are incredibly affordable, and are the darling of any dinner situation they attend. Pair with Mexican food, Szechuan food, Thai, Indian, fried chicken and mac 'n' cheese, Schnitzel, most anything really, and come and tell me it's not the favorite wine of the night. Cari Bernard (Fuder Palm)
‘1,000L’ is a reference to the capacity of the traditional barrels (Fuder) of the Mosel. Year in and year out, this wine is dangerously easy to drink, and even in the warm 2018 vintage, Julian has managed to preserve the signature freshness and verve of this 'dry-tasting' wine. Peach blossoms on the nose, the palate is crispy and angular with notes of green apricot and green apple skin, fresh herbs and stone. Delicious! Cari Bernard
When first opened, the energy in the Haart Piesporter (declassified Goldtröpfchen) was practically vibrating on the palate, and only subsided to reveal a dense and beautiful silky core of fruit: just-ripe apricots and nectarine skin mixed with salted green apple slices; lemon ice and florals peeking out on the nose with time in the glass. An interesting play between weight and acidity giving structure and poise, looking forward to revisiting this in at least 7-10 years. Cari Bernard
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
Lauer's parcel of the Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Ayler Kupp, closer to the base of the slope. Rocks and green apple skin, lemon balm, apricot, and white florals peek through on the nose and the palate, along with green mango, peaches, and orange juice concentrate (I'm talking frozen orange juice concentrate), with a beautiful tension--a graceful push-and-pull between the racy acidity and silky fruits, with a driving mineral thread throughout. Enjoyable now, this would be a real treat to check in on in 5-10 years. Cari Bernard
Don't let the name fool you , this is Saarfeils, a Grand Cru site across the river from Ayler Kupp, with a warmer climate and higher levels of gravel in the soil. CB
The grapes for this GG come only from mid-slope Ayler Kupp, at the turn of the hill. This legendary location makes for age-worthy wines with verve and complexity. CB
This steep site basically dead-ends into a cliff above the river and I found myself walking about one-third of the way down into the vines before deciding I still had things I wanted to do with my life, and tumbling off a cliff wasn't one of them. Proximity to the river gives adequate warmth and cooling breezes to provide the key diurnal temperatures that influence acidity and expressiveness of aromatics. The soil here is mostly blue slate, which also helps to absorb the heat from the sun. Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the meager soils, cooler climate and wind at this altitude make for a site that is often harvested last. A nose flooded with gardenias and magnolia blossoms, sorrel, stone and wild strawberries, the Stirn is singing with zesty green plum and mango, key lime zest, grapefruit, and nectarine, great balance and tension built on a mineral core. Cari Bernard
Covered in eroded gray slate, Unterstenberg is the site on the Ayler Kupp that has the highest capacity for water retention due to its location at the foot of the hillside. Nicely balanced florals and yellow nectarines, Fuji apple, just slightly off-dry. Cari Bernard
Much like the Kabinett, grapes for the Spätlese are pre-selections from multiple vineyards on Ayler Kupp. Tasting notes forthcoming...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, with slate at multiple levels of erosion, warmed by the afternoon sun. When we tried the wine a few months ago, it was showing a bit more reticence than expected (but we assume that's an unfortunate side-effect from tasting suitcase-carried bottles right after arrival). Subtle notes of green herb stems, delicate florals, and juicy orange, balanced with just a hint of sweetness. We look forward to re-visiting this bottle! Cari Bernard
Lauer's parcel of the Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Ayler Kupp, closer to the base of the slope. Tasting notes forthcoming...Cari Bernard
New to the US, sourced from a parcel adjacent to Stirn on the Ayler Kupp. Fass 3 is that electric, ever-so-slightly off-dry Saar Riesling we love: bright notes of juicy tangerine and nectarine are focused and practically shimmer on the palate. A lively pairing for ceviche, fried chicken, salty snacks, dry hot pot. Cari Bernard
Another newcomer this vintage, Fass 4 is sourced from the Scheidterberg and Rauberg vineyards, located west/northwest of the town of Ayl with south/southeast exposition and much softer gradient to the slope. Fass 4 is more citrusy than the Fass 3: key lime juice, tangerines, starfruit and nectarines are punchy, light and fresh with kaleidoscopic acidity balancing the 36 g/L of residual sugar and sustaining a lengthy finish. Brilliant Riesling in all senses of the word. Cari Bernard
Biodynamic Riesling grown on loess and loam soils in the Southern Pfalz, fermented and aged in stainless steel.
Jan Matthias Klein is the 7th generation winemaker at Staffelter Hof, in Kröv, Middle Mosel, a long-standing estate with a total of 9 hectares. The 'Little Bastard' is an example of his more recent forays into natural wine. The steep, slate vineyards are farmed organically, which is not business as usual in the Mosel. Little Bastard White Blend is Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Müller-Thurgau and Muscat, all spontaneously fermented in stainless and then aged in old fuder separately. Blended and bottled unfiltered with no added sulfur, this is a delightful skin-contact white for everyday enjoyment. Just enough texture to balance the heady tropical fruit and floral notes, with flavors of peach and tart apricot coming through from the Riesling. Cari Bernard
When was the last time we had a BA from Schaefer at the shop? April of 2014. Have we tasted this one? No, but when there's Beerenauslese available, you just say yes. (AP 16) Cari Bernard
The Schaefer family still only farms 4.2 hectares, the majority of which tower behind their hometown of Graach (2 ha on Domprobst, 2 ha on Himmelreich), as well as .2 ha on the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, all in total, they work over 100 separate parcels. Graacher Himmelreich (Kingdom of Heaven) is home to Devonian slate soils (blue/gray) with a south/southwest exposition; the Himmelreich and its neighboring vineyard the Domprobst both have access to a unique network of underground water veins that bring a cooling element and much needed support to the vines on this fairly warm site. Grapes are hand-harvested, gently pressed whole cluster, and spontaneously ferment and age in old Fuder. In contrast to the incredibly low yields of 2017, 2018 was practically a bumper crop (I exaggerate). Delightfully floral on the nose, the Himmelreich is creamy and medium-bodied with notes of freshly-cut Fuji apple, smoke, peach candy, mango, salted orange on the lengthy finish. This would be a delightful Riesling to pair with the mix of sweet and richly savory elements of your holiday table, just make sure you open maybe thirty minutes before serving. Cari Bernard
Beneath a layer of sandy-loam, Pechstein's soils hold basalt or pitched stone, the source of this vineyard's name. Along with the Jesuitengarten this wine was one of the clear stand-outs of Markus' 2014 campaign. It shines a golden honey yellow in the glass and welcomes with aromas of lilacs, chrysanthemums, grilled pistachios, lavender, and cranberries. The palate shows a fine minerality, offering tremendous length with notes of white truffles prior to a linden blossom finish. This is nuanced and impeccably detailed, dry Riesling! - David Salinas
Beneath a layer of sandy-loam, Pechstein's soils hold basalt or pitched stone, the source of this vineyard's name. Along with the Jesuitengarten this wine was one of the clear stand-outs of Markus' 2014 campaign. It shines a golden honey yellow in the glass and welcomes with aromas of lilacs, chrysanthemums, grilled pistachios, lavender, and cranberries. The palate shows a fine minerality, offering tremendous length with notes of white truffles prior to a linden blossom finish. This is nuanced and impeccably detailed, dry Riesling!
- David Salinas
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
A new offering this vintage, from vines in the historically renowned Trarbacher Schlossberg vineyard. Tasting notes forthcoming!
Rhini has similar terroir to the Talrain vineyard (limestone and iron-rich clay), located mid-slope on a large hill. Grapes are hand-harvested, undergo spontaneous fermentation in wood followed by two years of aging in barrique (30% new oak). Many of the barrels in use are from a cooperage in Franken. Salty raspberry seeds, herbs and incredibly grounding earthiness with just enough texture from the oak, vibrant red berries, juicy cherries, balanced by elegant acidity. Enjoy now or put down for ten years. Cari Bernard