German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) are situated. Germany as the eighth largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production. Among enthusiasts, Germany's reputation is primarily based on wines made from the Riesling grape variety, which at its best is used for aromatic, fruity and elegant white wines that range from very crisp and dry to well-balanced, sweet and of enormous aromatic concentration.
- Item #: i_372051Bottle Size: 750mlProduced from 38+ year old vines in the historical Premier Cru vineyard of Neuberg. Red slate soil is unique to Uerzig and the 60%gradient slope makes for a very difficult time in the vineyard. The wine is aged a minimum of 18 months after bottling before release andis off dry.
This bottling exhibits what i like to call "hidden sweetness" namely an effacious level of residual that barely if at all reaches the threshold of perceived sweetness. Bright lime and fresh strawberry supply a Wuerzgarten typical nose and palate. Polish and buoyancy go delightfully hand in hand. The sustained finish is vivacious, a consummately refreshing, mouthwateringly saline, invigoratingly accented with apple and strawberry seeds and transparent to subtly smoky, stony nuances. A generic Mosel bottling seldom if ever gets better than this. David Schildknecht, Vinous
- Item #: i_374428Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE - 93+ POINTS From ungrafted 20- to 40-year-old vines (massal selection), the 2018 Niedermenniger im Kleinschock Riesling Kabinett is shockingly clear and precise on the nose. Silky-crystalline and lush on the palate, this is a very elegant and salty-piquant Kabinett with huge tonic talents, a lingering mineral grip and tension. Tight and expressive, this is still a baby—yet highly promising. Tasted in June.
- Item #: i_374426Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE - 94 POINTS From grafted 50- to 60-years-old vines in the steep Förster Ternes lieu-dit, the 2018 Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Spätlese (AP 14) is cool, ripe and intense on the crystalline, flinty, concentrated and aromatic nose. This is a mountain stream of Saar Riesling coming from one of the greatest terroirs in the Saar. Lush and firm, with challenging mineral acidity and tight structure, this is an expressive terroir wine that is sharp and precise as a knife and complex as a construction plan. Tasted in June 2019.
Unfortunately, the Falkensteiner Rieslings are fast-selling wines. You need to have a great relationship with your supplier, because even at the domaine you won't get a bottle to buy, only to drink. Erich and Johannes Weber could sell each bottle at least two times. There is no other domain that is as "hot" as the Falkensteiner Hof right now. The Webers are real farmers who do everything themselves and by hand. The vines have just one arch, and the soils are kept meager, with natural green cover between the rows. "After 42 years of farming the same way, we have an evolved system," said Erich. Whole-cluster pressing and natural fermentation in traditional fuders in the old, humid cellar are part of the system, too. Father and son know each single vine, and both (plus one employee) care about the plants as if they were pets. Some call the Webers (and their "wine historian" Lars Carlberg) crazy, and that's exactly what they are—but there is no better way of craziness. Just check out the wines, they speak for themselves.
The current vintage is the 2018, an early but ripe year. The Riesling harvest began on September 15. "As soon as the grapes have 80° Oechsle we get nervous, because we want to keep the acidity Saar-like and Falkenstein-like," said Erich Weber. Like most of the domains, the yields were reduced on the press. "The first must that is running from the press is 'winzerblond' [untranslatable: bright] or colored like ice tea," he said. With more than 0.8 bar of pressure, the juice becomes dark and reflects the enormous sunshine of the vintage even in a dense canopy wall. "It was easy to lose two grams of acidity if pressed for too long, so we stopped early. This is also a kind of intervention, but it's not a chemical one," Erich told me. He described the look of the grapes as "beautifully golden and healthy like in 2015." Since he is striving for lightweight wines, which he loves to compare with a ballet dancer, he doesn't de-leaf the grape zone, doesn't pick too late and does no maceration. "We don't want to have holes in the dance floor because the dancer is too heavy." In 2018, the Webers stopped pressing at 0.8 to 0.9 bar, while in normal years and also in 2017, the pressing went up to 1.1 to 1.2 bar. "We also need the last part of the pressing, otherwise the acidity would be too high. Ours is already self-confident, but we don't need 12 grams of total acidity."
Due to spring frost and botrytis, 2017 was a more difficult vintage, and the parts that were left on the press in 2018 were discarded in 2017. The selective picking paid off: the Hofgut Falkenstein's 2017s are extraordinary good, especially the Auslese from the Euchariusberg.
- Item #: i_362378Bottle Size: 750mlJOHN GILMAN, VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 94 POINTS The 2018 Fass 8 Kabinett from the Kupp is a beautiful example of this Pradikat level. The wine comes in at 7.5 percent alcohol and carries sixty-eight grams of sugar, but these are countered by truly exceptional acids of 10 grams this year. The bouquet is pure and nicely “cool fruit” in its composition, offering up a lovely blend of lemon, grapefruit, salty slate minerality, white flowers and an esthery topnote of bee pollen. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, filigreed and light on its feet, with lovely intensity of flavor, great purity and focus, zesty acids and a long, dancing and complex finish. There will also be an Auction Kabinett from the Kupp this year, which will be marked as Fass 5, but which I did not sample. However, the Fass 8 is a beautiful bottle of Kabinett. 2019-2060. 94.