My first wine trip of the new season was to Germany, where I visited a number of important wine regions: Saar, Ruwer, Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau and Rheinhessen..all in one week! The purpose of the trip was to taste the wines from the very good 2018 vintage, which are on the market now. But it also gave me the opportunity to take stock of the latest developments in Germany, for which I am very grateful to the many wonderful producers who received us so generously at a busy time of year.
2018 was another warm, excellent vintage in Germany, and was particularly successful for dry Riesling. The sweeter styles can be wonderful, but can also be a little heavy. The top wines in 2018 are the Grosses Gewächs (GG) dry wines from the top sites, which show the terroir differences between vineyards so radiantly and purely.
For several years, I found GG wines to be dry to the point of austerity, with considerable acidity. But I think recent warm vintages and a stylistic turn have made Germany’s wines more balanced and delicious today. And at around $50-75/bottle, the GGs are remarkable value for such outstanding expressions of the Riesling variety.
This article published in Barron’s Penta magazine this week contains some thoughts from me on wine investment, and contains a brief profile of my business.
The Best Wines I Drank this Month
Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Auslese 1971: Christoph Schaefer kindly poured us some of this timeless wine when we visited. A combination of lightness, perfect sweetness and a slatey minerality made this a memorable glass.
Haut Brion 1995: this has always been an underrated wine and can occasionally found for rather low prices at auction. Today it is still young in typical 1995 fashion, but it is elemental Haut Brion: ferrous and luxuriant, all within a firm structure.
Margaux 1989: talking of wines that seem eternally young, Margaux 1989 has a nose that is wide open, bespeaking pure Margaux breed, while the palate remains youthfully dense and concentrated. It is a particularly beautiful wine, especially aromatically. An excellent Rauzan Segla 1989 showed similar, youthful mid palate concentration - clearly a hallmark of this fantastic Bordeaux vintage which has many years still to run.
Rene Engel Clos Vougeot 1996: pretty much everything you could hope for in a mature Burgundy from this late master: a completely mellow wine, at peace with itself and with a deep core of iron, iodine minerality. A wonderful experience.
Selosse Initial NV: disgorged September 2018. Just a superb Selosse experience: so much volume and honeycomb richness while remaining completely dry. So gourmand you could almost eat it.