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.
MAX FERDINAND RICHTER 2010 RIESLING EISWEIN 375ML MULHEIMER HELENENKLOSTER #73 HALF-BOTTLE GERMAN ICEWINEItem #: i_362380Bottle Size: 375ml**Please note, this is a half sized bottleWINE ADVOCATE - 91 POINTS The Richter “two-star” 2010 Muhlheimer Helenenkloster Riesling Eiswein Fass #73 (that cask number being in effect merely a nick-name) represents the optically more concentrated, table-selected portion of December 3’s harvest (which constituted most of what little fruit there was in this site, though some had been picked out earlier and declassified to generic Riesling). Not surprisingly, acidity and residual sugar are elevated vis-a-vis the corresponding “regular” Helenenkloster Eiswein bottling; and the alcohol yet lower. High-toned intimations of herbal distillates mingle with fresh lemon and quince preserves on the nose. Intensely bright yet soothing, glycerin-rich as well as buoyant, on the palate this resembles a vanilla-, quince jelly-, and zest-laced lemon-lime sorbet. Sheer viscosity, as well as almost severe concentration and the integration of considerable bitterness preclude this offering quite the finishing refreshment of its reverberative, levity, and ostensibly lesser sibling. With tine perhaps it will prove the more complex and/or longer-lived of the pair. I would monitor any bottles along the way but anticipate its meriting 20 or more years of attention.
“The last time I had acid levels as high as in 2010,” reports Dirk Richter, “was in 1980, and I don’t need to tell you that vintage was a disaster even by then-prevailing standards. What’s more, that was the last time I had de-acidified. Even in challenging years like 1981, patience at harvest and the right upbringing of the young wines – maceration, later bottling, encouraging tartrate precipitation, etc. – sufficed to deal with high acids. In many cases this year, we double-salt de-acidified twice, in must and then again in wine – after having done nothing for thirty years; I couldn’t believe it was happening! But it was the only way to remove a sufficient share of the malic. The finished wines are still plenty high in acidity, but I did not want to repeat my experience from 1990, in which I bottled wines with as much 11 grams acid. The second year, they started to taste sour, and that never left them even as their textures eventually creamed-up. I think that two years from now many de-acidified wines will start fatiguing whereas our best will be coming into their own.” In 2010, needless to say, the grapes were essentially ripe – indeed all met the admittedly weak legal minimum for Auslese – but as Richter notes “I had to keep revisiting parcels again and again taking just what had properly ripened because the condition of bunches was so heterogeneous.” Precautionary levels of sulfur combined with the naturally low pH levels of 2010 material are, he speculates, the reason why he ended up having to yeast most of his musts this year to achieve satisfactory fermentation. Richter reports having managed to pick-out 20 and 30 liters respectively of B.A. and T.B.A. but at such pathetically small levels he felt it made more sense to blend them back selectively into the vintage’s Auslesen. “I’m laying everything on the table,” he noted with his usual candor when we began tasting, “some are quite good, some are meager, but I’ll let you judge for yourself.”