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_376691Bottle Size: 750mlImporter: Jenny & Francois
No temperature control.
Total Sulphites: 7 mg/L (LOW!)
This wine is fermented spontaneously.
A blend of Muller-Thurgau and Silvaner, aged on the lees in stainless steel tank, unfined and unfiltered with no sulfur added. At first, the lactic note cuts through and gives the wine a citrus-laced sour, salty beer (Gose) vibe when first poured. Then, the palate fleshes out into juicy tart underripe peach, starfruit and pineapple, and evolves onwards to notes of olive brine and key lime curd.
- Item #: i_328015Bottle Size: 750MLJAMES SUCKLING - 91 POINTS Green apples, pear drops and chamomile are in play here. Lightly off-dry with some softness and a fruity finish, but some pretty acidity crunch. Drink now
“A PERFECT VINTAGE OF THE BEST WINE VALUE IN THE ENTIRE DAMN WORLD, any color, any grape, any country, any price-point. This year for the first time it also contains fruit from a new acquisition, a hectare in the (Niederhauser) Klamm (see also Jakob Schneider; the site is a mélange of Rotliegend and weathered porphyry, and has both steep and flat sections.)” - Terry Theise
JANCIS ROBINSON - 16 POINTS The QbA bottling, described as 'fruchtig'. TA 8 g/l, RS 29 g/l. Richer and riper on the nose than the Höllenpfad Riesling trocken. Medium sweet but balanced. Creamy in the mouth thanks to the fruit ripeness but still deliciously fresh. Reasonably persistent too. JULIA HARDING, MW (JH)
JOHN GILMAN, VIEW FROM THE CELLAR - 89 POINTS The 2018 Estate Riesling Feinherb had also been bottled at the start of the week, ahead of my Thursday afternoon visit, but it was showing quite well indeed (despite having to follow-up all of those GG fireworks). This wine comes in at 10.5 percent alcohol, has acids of 8.5 grams and sports around twenty-five grams of sugar this year. The bouquet is very pretty, offering up scents of white cherries, apple, salty minerality and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and juicy, with very good backend mineral tug, bright acids and lovely focus and grip on the absolutely delicious finish. Another bargain! 2019-2040. 89.
"This is from two main vineyards Oberhauser Felsenberg (volcanic) and Kieselberg (slate) as well as declassified fruit from the Grand Cru sites and Klamm, a new acquisition, a hectare in the (Niederhäuser) Klamm which we know from Jakob – it’s a mélange of slate and weathered porphyry, and has both steep and flat sections.. The idea here is to make a village wine, basically, though it’s sold and marketed as a Gutswein or Estate bottled basic wine. The Estate wine combines the two major soils that dominate the holdings for the estate, giving the drinker a look into what Donnhoff is all about. The basic wine is a calling card and thus Cornelius wants to make statement" - Importer
- Item #: i_318015Bottle Size: 750mlBIODYNAMIC. A great, rare rose of Pinot Noir, the grape must sees up to six days of skin contact, making for a wine with great texture that begs to be sipped with hearty food. Cherries and red flowers fill the nose; the palate has high-toned sour cherries, red hibiscus, and cranberries, contrasted by savory notes of black tea, and earth.
- 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 - 95 POINTS Exclusively from the Gisela parcel and bottled with 9% alcohol, the 2018 Krettnacher Euchariusberg Riesling Kabinett Alte Reben (AP 08) offers delicately fine and weathered slate and flint stone aromas, indicating great complexity. On the palate, this is an immensely straight, fresh and linear Riesling with highly mineral acidity and generous, intense and concentrated fruit. Very complex and amazingly long this is an expressive terroir wine that needs a decade to show its class. Great transparency, tension and mineral grip here. Great expression. Tasted in June 2019.
If you are interested in superb, classic, highly individual Saar Rieslings, Hofgut Falkenstein is one of the very best addresses. As in old times, each plot is vinified and bottled separately, and only a very few wines blend the fruit of two similar parcels that are too small to fill a 1,000-liter fuder. Each parcel has a given name—so, there is an "Uncle Peter" or "Gisela" fuder—though it is never mentioned on the label. Thus, the wine you get is only officially the Euchariusberg Kabinett Alte Reben, but in truth—and among freaks—it's "Gisela." Like any other wine, "Gisela" always goes into the same fuder every year, and so, if you want to speak about terroir, the terroir begins here: inside the traditional Mosel barrel that is cleaned but never filled with water between the bottling and the advent of the new vintage. Instead, a part of the sediment is conserved with sulfur and helps shape the new "Gisela," as does the vineyard plot with its old, ungrafted vines. The Webers say this is how they keep the soul of each fuder alive.
By the way, "Gisela"—or Euchariusberg Kabinett Alte Reben—is the finest Kabinett I have tasted in the Saar Valley this year. It has the luminous, precise and airy character combined with vitality, depth and complexity like Egon Müller's finest Scharzhofberger Kabinetts used to have. Really, I don't think I'm exaggerating. There was no Kabinett like Muller's Scharzhofberger before I met the Euchariusberg Kabinett from the 2017 and 2018 vintage, which actually outshine the famous neighbor in both years.
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.