There are many wine regions I want to know more about, but two chiefly above all: 1) Piedmont and 2) Mosel, Germany. These are of course classic wine regions and nowhere exotic or foreign to even the most casual drinkers however they remain mostly a mystery aside for a handful of top wineries such as Roberto Conterno, Egon Muller, JJ Prum etc. Sure I can recite off the cuff, the types of grapes, the general climate and characteristics of the wines but am at all familiar with the nuances of each sub-climate and the different styles of wines made? No fucking clue.
In my late attempt to remedy this situation, I was glad I was finally able to try a Riesling that was not Egon Muller or JJ Prum — I know this makes me sound like wine snob. Donnhoff is also next on the list. Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch, Erben Thanisch is a historical estate that dates incredibly back to 1636 during the Thirty Years’ War, with head winemaker Sofia Thanisch the 11th generation in this family and the 4th female winemaker to run the estate. Wwe stands for witwe, meaning widow in German, something akin to Veuve Cliquot I suppose as the estate was taken over by Dr Hugo Thanisch’s wife Katharina, which is when the estate started garnering fame in the 19th century. Remarkably, wines produced here have not been widely distribute even though their wines stand shoulder to shoulder to their more famous neighbors. The wines themselves minus the GG and the ‘Doctor’ series are competitively priced as well.
The top vineyard is the Berncasteler Doctor parcels, which have been in the family for over 200 years. The difference in quality is discernible as the the wines themselves are much intense and complex. On the other hand, the GGs are a notch above, being radically different stylistically than the other wines. There is a unique finish to the Trocken that others may find unpleasant but personally I think it goes it great character and singularity that is not seen elsewhere.
Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2017: Relatively simple on the nose and palate now but has great potential once open. It is pure and floral but does have the same mineral intensity as the others. However acidity is beautiful and makes it easy to drink despite being off-dry.
Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2016: This is noticeably more substantial than the previous wine. A vintage earlier, already it is more expressive, showing more nuanced notes of delicate honeysuckle, honey and slate. However on the palate, it is still very pure in flavours but lush. Huge potential and already a favourite.
Bernkasteler Badstube Spatlese 2015: This wine is a touch richer however still on the more delicate side of things. For some reason, though completely different in grapes and terroir, I keep thinking about Puligny and if Puligny grew Riesling, this is what it would taste like. The level of finesse is impressive.
Bernkasteler Badstube Auslese 2014: It is very noticeably pronounced in nose and palate of the previous notes. The nose is gorgeously complex as there is layers to the floral and mineral characteristics that is also evident in the mouth. The freshness of the acidity keeps the wine from feeling too weighty and gives a clean, precise, long finish that is very much enjoyable.
Berncasteler Doctor Spatlese 2016: Super intense in minerality on nose — we all noticed it was quite durian-like in character and almost borderline sulfuric. The petrol notes are very noticeable as well and the more delicate floral notes seen in previous wines fall largely to the wayside. However I take this to simply mean the wines do need a long to cellar to be more integrated, as the palate itself was fresh with similar durian and tea-like notes and an impossibly long finish. Ridiculously complex wine.
Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Grosses Gewachs Trocken 2017: After going through the other older wines, it is interesting to come back to the 2017. Only one foudre was made (around 1,500 bottles) so this is a wine to behold and appreciate. Stone fruit and honeysuckle notes are most apparent here but surprisingly ripe-tasting since the year is on the cooler side. Overall a wine that needs age to fully reveal itself but I can’t wait.