Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2007 German Rieslings for August

We love the 2007 vintage in German riesling. It was the longest growing season that anyone can remember. It was a very warm spring, followed by cooler weather in July and August, and then perfect weather in September and October allowed growers to select the optimal harvest point in each of their parcels. The wines are richly fruited and also show laser-like focus and acidity. Some of our favorites show resoundingly perfect balance, pungent and complex, and still delicate and graceful.These are wine that unfold gradually and provide several different experiences in the same glass. Here are a few of our favorites from the 2007 vintage:

Heike and Ernst Clusserath grow grapes and make wine in Trittenheim, in the Mosel. Their parcels are mostly on weathered slate at a turn in the river as it begins to flow north. They prune heavily for better fruit, cultivate natural herbs to encourage insect bio-diversity and natural balance. Only natural yeasts are used.

Ernst Clusserath Riesling Classic - A shy nose that comes out with a little encouragement, and then it's very pretty lime, apple skins, and honey. It hits immediately on the palate with a very awake bold character and was absolutely ripped with acids. As we recently drank this, some one said "Wow, there is no doubt you have wine in your mouth." Nicely, this avoided robust fruit flavors and gave more the impression of summer fields, flowers turning into something woodsy, very savory. Finishes and washes away very cleanly. This wine to us suggests earthy foods - morels maybe. Now that would be an interesting pairing...

Ernst Clusserath Trittenheimer Altarchen Kabinett - This was immediately open and friendly, showing a sign of matured mellowness. Aromas of dill, coconut, fresh honey, warm quince and grasses. Underneath all of that is butter, real creamy butter from the crock. As expected then, it hit the palate graciously, silken with a prickle here and there of lime like acids. It breathed a bit of petrol and the skin of clementines, and gave the gentle reminder that there was some residual sugar here. The acids played a nice supporting role but in the long, long finish, the sugars made the final statement, opening up the fruit on the sides of the gumline. Delicious!

Jurgen Schwabb of Domaine Sankt Anna farms 4 hectares of slate and schist soils in Erden, in the middle Mosel. All of his vineyards are farmed sustainably.

Sankt Anna Classic - Right from the bottle this is mmediately fragrant, with candied fruits, flowers, and pink grapefruit. Behind it was a tone of nut butter, distinctly pistachio and a scent of fresh dairy cream. The palate is fierce, fiery and distinctly perky right through the fat of the wine. It avoids the lacquering fruit texture in lieu of pink grapefruit zest, and it comes across very dry. Only a tiny feeling of sugar slipped around the palate. As the wine breathed along, it showed green, savory tones, something akin to spring ramps and intense savory herbs. It was full of intensity and very awkening to the palate.

Sankt Anna Kinheimer Rosenberg Kabinett - The nose shows a curious scent of smoky campfire, with white peaches and fresh grated ginger. The fruit is right upfront, almost like peach preserves. These aromas carry through on the palate and then the with evolves and shows smokey dried grass and then grapefruit flavors. There is a stunning combination of richness and very jumpy acids, clean and so stony, very refreshing. This wine is big and dynamic for a Kabinett, and there is a lot to say in the glass.

Gunter Scheu took over at Weinhof Scheu in 1996. His vineyards in the Pfalz are located near the French border in Alsace and northward, mostly near Sonnenberg. Scheu wants to make wines that reflect individual microclimates and show detailed terrior expression. His vineyards are mostly heavy clay soils with limestone deposits. Yields are extremely low and planting is at high density for the greatest concentration in fruit.

Weinhof Scheu Riesling Feinherb - This shows class and refinement with lean pit fruits with a curious warm wooden tone, and dry cheese. It reminds us of a French wine. It hit the palate with a neutral weight, very proper and squared off. The wine is dry and tactile, leaving a obvious minerality and mild pleasant astringency. It is bold and focused, not open and showy, with a pretty almond flavor. This is a seriously beautiful wine.

Latitude 50 Riesling Kabinett Feinherb (Rheingau) - This opens with a mature autumn nose, loaded with pure grapey aromas, overtly ripe and ready. Still, there is a sense of something zesty, flinty.As it opens there are baked dough or biscuits, perhaps something like Chinese fried noodles. The wine is extremely soft all the way around the palate, with dense full fruit. The acids are just strong enough to keep it clean and lifted. It tastes of pure ripe autumn pears, lemon oil and fresh honey that evolves into a mild sense of mineral stoniness.

All of these wines are very well priced right now and will be further promoted in August - please contact savio@savioselections.com for more information.