New Von Racknitz! Plus The New York Times and Us

12/9/13 -


(One of the Nahe's most special sites, Schloßböckelheimer Königsfels)

We are huge fans of Eric Asimov and his excellent wine columns in the New York Times. Often we find his taste lines up with our own, and he's done more than almost any other writer to help bring attention to the lesser-known regions and categories of the vinous world that we focus on. Just this week, for example, the lineup for his column on no-dosage Champagnes looks strikingly similar to what's on our shelf, and we enthusiastically endorse each of the growers in his top ten. Sometimes, though, his columns get us in a bit of a bind. Take last month's Thanksgiving recommendations, for example: Matthias Knebel's excellent Estate Riesling was chosen as the paper's #1 white to go with Thanksgiving dinner. This is a wine we stock year-round, keep in the refrigerator and stack at the front of the store. We believe in Matthias and his wines and are huge supporters, yet when the article ran our last 5 cases disappeared in a matter of minutes and we spent the rest of Thanksgiving week apologizing to longtime fans of the estate and potential converts to the greatness of dry Riesling.

Another instance of the Times causing us a bit of trouble was their recent tasting panel devoted to dry Rieslings. The assembled tasters chose the Von Racknitz Estate Riesling as their best value. We couldn’t have been happier, but, naturally, the vintage had already sold out about a week before the article ran. More disappointed customers, more awkward phone calls, more apologies. Fear not! We've re-ordered from the estate; the superb 2012 Estate Riesling is here, and ready to be enjoyed through the holidays and beyond. As much as we loved the 2011, the 2012 is even better. Reflecting the general trend across all Germany, the 2012 is even racier, more focused and still surprisingly mineral and pure for an every-day estate wine.

While the Estate Riesling is lovely, it's just the tip of the iceberg of what Von Racknitz can do. They work some of the best sites in the Nahe, a few of which are currently well-known and in vogue (Niederhäuser Hermansshöhle, for example), while others are world-class vineyards that Von Racknitz is helping to return to the spotlight, such as Traiser Rotenfels and Schlossböckelheimer Königsfels. After their Estate wine, the next level up are Schieferboden (slate) and Vulkangestein (volcanic rock), blends sourced from multiple sites that share the same soil type.

The single vineyard wines are generally dry and, in our opinion, are among the best of the Nahe; there's stiff competition here as the region is filled with superstars, but we were bowled over by the quality of the 2006s and 2011s, two vintages we wouldn't normally expect to love so much. These were challenging years and the wines that Von Racknitz produced prove that their cellar-work and vineyard-work are at the highest-level; unlike many of their peers, they were able to craft taught, tensile wines with great acid, mineral-hues and classic Nahe fruit. Lovers of great dry Riesling need to start checking these wines out; those of us who still love a little sugar should be sure not to miss the wonderfully exotic, fragrant and electric Auslese and Spätlese at the end of the offer. -jfr

You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered