Every so often we have the rare opportunity to taste exceptional imported wines while the winemaker or someone from the estate is here visiting from his or her own country. This was certainly the case on the evening of April 9th when the importer of German wines, Rudi Wiest, was here at Beltramo’s with producers from Germany for the aptly titled “Dry Wine Tour” tasting. Indeed, the wines that evening were surely dry, or “trocken” in German terminology, and are becoming more and more sought after. This is especially true for many Chefs who can now pair their creative dishes with the enticing and often exotic flavors of Riesling without being sweet. But this is certainly true for the rest of us as well, whether you are preparing a special dinner dish or you want an excellent wine that is fresh, clean, dry, and not too heavy for appetizers.
All eight Rieslings poured were outstanding with their own unique personality and reflection of terroir but I was particularly taken by the Wagner-Stempel offerings, the 2012 Riesling “Estate” Trocken and the 2012 Riesling “Heerkretz” GG (Grosse Gewachs – Great Growth Vineyard Classification for dry wines of select sites). This 12.5 hectares estate is located in the western district of the Rheinhessen in Siefersheim. It was founded in the mid Nineteenth Century and is now owned by winemaker Daniel Wagner who represents the ninth generation of the family. We were fortunate to meet Oliver Muller, the estate manager, who was pouring the wines and was very informative about the estate regarding terroir and winemaking. For example, over 50% of the vineyards planted to Riesling are on volcanic “porphyry,” more common in the Nahe, which is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as fieldspar or quartz. Almost all the harvest is by hand, especially so for the two Grosse Gewachs vineyards, Heerkretz and Hollberg, which lie on relatively steep slopes for the region. It’s obvious after tasting these wines that attention to detail in all facets from vineyard to finished wine is a practiced philosophy at this estate. If you are looking for German Rieslings of exceptional purity, balance and mesmerizing aromatics and flavors then I highly recommend you experience these two wines from Wagner- Stempel.
This stunning wine is without a doubt one of the best buys among our entire wine selection! The aromatics soar with exotic tropical fruit and floral notes interlaced with a signature minerality on the finish. Its silky texture is so beautifully expressed that it almost has an ethereal weightless feel. This is a serious wine, yet delightful because of its charm, and sure to please!
Here’s a wine on such a high level that it is now recognized as one of the finest Grosse Gewachs in all of Germany. And rightly so, for this wine really shows the vineyard’s near salty mineral terroir from this cooler microclimate site. Combine this characteristic with piercing citrus notes with nuances of peach and apricot along with subtle herbal notes and you have a powerful concentrated Riesling of exceptional complexity. In its early stages now, though certainly worth trying, this wine will only excel as time goes on. The combination of freshness, finesse, purity and power all in this one wine is truly remarkable!
Gary M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant