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November 01, 2010

2009 GG Tasting Reichsrat von Buhl

Reichsrat von Buhl offers 7 GG wines, 5 of which we got to taste during our visit to the estate. The tasting was to show and give an understanding of how the different terroirs of each wine will/can be detected. And it was clearly a good lesson! 
Forst with Ungeheuer, Kirchenstück, Jesuitengarten
All 5 wines were dry wines, as the GG label indicates. They all had under 4 g/l residual sugar, which was a new experience for me, as most of 'my' German wines tasted before had 6 and 7 g/l. I totally liked the taste of this 'new dryness'!

All wines were Rieslings and had the grape's significant high acidity which I - of course! - like so much too.

All wines had nice, nice mineral tones. Many German wines can seem fruity 'only' - none of these would match that description.

All wines were complex, had a lot to give both in nose and on palate. They were like stories, opening up more and more and telling more the longer in the glass. That duration though, was of course limited, as part of a tasting, so there is need to try again at home with more time!

All wines had 13 + abv. That is the part where I am having my own little problems. It seems, I am quite sensitive to 'too much abv' - whatever that means, as it is a rather subjective matter. Of course, it is logical: you want a dry wine, meaning, most sugar should be fermented to alcohol. You want ripen grapes, so you have considerable sugar levels. So either you need to have some sweetness, or you need to have alcohol... However, I will store some wine and see how it developes within the next years. Maybe it was also just a bit too early to try such great wines from only one year ago?

All wines are expensive. This said as a non-collector, just a wine lover. Needless to say, price has to be put in perspective. As all these wines will develop further under years/decades to come, it can be fun and interesting to follow just that. Even if you are not a collector or connaisseur. Open a bottle once in a few years. Remember the day you bought it, perhaps other meaningful things of your life worth remembering, connected to that date. Maybe a graduation, a child birth or the first kiss from the significant other. Of course, this is to most people not a wine for daily use. Although: carpe diem - maybe it should be! But that is for everyone to decide.

Here comes the list of wines, sorted by 'Heike liked best':

1. 2009 Kirchenstück Forst, Riesling GG, 0,7 l, 49 €
Served as the last wine of the flight, my notes were very short. I was too busy smiling with the wine in my glass. By such means, it was a good wine: it made me feel good, made me smile.  It was very complex, with a distinct smoky minerality and earthyness, herbal and ripen, yellow fruit. Rather full-bodied, but still very elegant. Mouth-watering. I want more, now as I am writing about it....

That I liked that wine most, seems not to speak for my individual taste, though... This vineyard Kirchenstück is world famous and that since many, many years. In 1828 (note: Bordeaux classification wasn't happening until 1855...) this site was already granted absolute top-status. Rieslings from here were called 'Royal Riesling'. Surrounded by a sandstone wall, this site gains extra warmth.

2. 2009 Ungeheuer Forst, Riesling GG, 0,7 l, 29 €
Very aromatic. Citrus and ripe peach, herbal. Some minerality. Rich and rather full-bodied. Can take it up with food that does not lack spices. A wine that has a lot of a lot. Complex, distinct, elegant.

3. 2009 Pechstein Forst, Riesling GG, 0,7 l, 29 €
Want to bite into a nice rock? Basically not, I assume. But why does a wine that brings that association taste so darn good? Does it make it more interesting? I don't care why.... I just like it. Perhaps it is the nice teenager-memories of biking on wet asphalt on warm summer evenings, where the rain was evaporating on the warm ground? Those times, where you knew you knew it all, your self-esteem was higher than ever again? The aromas of this wine brings it all back to you - and some more! Exotic fruit, citrus, grapefruit, saltyness.

4. 2009 Jesuitengarten Forst, Riesling GG, 0,7 l, 29 €
Exotic, herbal, mineral. Somehow, it did not really open up to me, I need to re-taste this one to be able to say more...

5. 2009 Reiterpfad Ruppertsberg, Riesling GG, 0,7 l, 29 €, Almost towards a creamy consistence. Again, ripen yellow fruit and minerality, herbs and a bit vegetal. It did not give me the 'wow' effect, for which I would want to pay that price. Sorry...

I enjoyed the tasting very much, but need to mention too, that it was not held for a group of professional wine tasters, but rather for a random mixed group of visitors. Not everyone was 'in to wine', so it was hard to concentrate on the wines at times... However, Monika Schmid did a great job of introducing the wines and sites to us!

In a separate post, let's look at the vineyards and their special characteristics...

VDP Erste Lage - First Growth - Grand Cru



As I wrote about in my recent posts, we spent a great day at the estate Reichsrat von Buhl. Part of the event was a tasting of 2009 Grosse Gewächse - the dry wines from Erste Lagen (First Growth, Grand Cru). This is to explain a bit more....:

The definitions are very strict and set by the VDP, Verband der Prädikatsweingüter, Germany's elite estates.

Erste Lage (First Growth, Grand Cru):
"A site’s absolutely finest, narrowly demarcated parcels with discernible terroir qualities. Designated grape varieties and taste profiles. Maximum yield of 50hl/ha. Selective harvesting by hand. Minimum must weight equivalent to Spätlese. First release on 1 May for wines with natural sweetness, on 1 September for Grosses Gewächs the year after harvest, red wines a year later."
The terroir is defined as follows:
"Only wines that reflect the character of their terroir are permitted to bear the name of a vineyard site. Terroir is determined by three components, a “magic triangle” that includes (1) the overall quality and character of a vineyard site; (2) the skill of a grower; and (3) the quality of a vintage. Terroir is recognizable in a wine. The quality of a vineyard is defined by its soil (topographical position, climate and microclimate). Only certain grape varieties are well-suited for a specific terroir. Our knowledge about the best sites and the most suitable grape varieties is based on centuries of experience."
Fruity wines with natural sweetness will carry the Prädikat Spätlese, Auslese... instead of 'Grosses Gewächs', which can always only be a dry wine (= per definition max 9 g/l residual sugar, but most GGs have max 4 g/l). This will help us, the consumers, to distinguish a wine by it's terroir and level of sweetness. Grosse Gewächs is shown on the label with GG and it does not have to state 'trocken', as always dry. The Rheingau refers to Erstes Gewächs (instead of GG). All the bottles filled with wines from First Growths, show the logo as above.


Grape varieties that are allowed for GGs are different in the individual wine regions as follows:
Ahr: Spätburgunder, Frühburgunder, Riesling (only sweet wines)
Mittelrhein: Riesling
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: Riesling
Nahe: Riesling
Rheingau: Riesling, Spätburgunder
Hessische Bergstraße: Riesling, Weißer Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Spätburgunder
Rheinhessen: Riesling, Spätburgunder
Franken: Riesling, Silvaner, Weißer Burgunder, Spätburgunder
Saale-Unstrut: Riesling, Silvaner, Weißer Burgunder, Spätburgunder
Sachsen: Riesling, Weißer Burgunder, Spätburgunder
Pfalz: Riesling, Weißer Burgunder, Spätburgunder
Württemberg: Riesling, Weißer Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Spätburgunder, Lemberger
Baden: Riesling, Weißer Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Spätburgunder

In 2009, 360 different wines from 143 German estates and 209 vineyards were marketed as GG / Erstes Gewächs. The first wines by this new definition (building on traditional aspects) were marketed in 2001.

The Pfalz has some 42 vineyards that qualify as Erste Lage. Deidesheim and Forst have 12 of those and the most famous ones are found here. Which brings me to the GG tasting at Reichsrat von Buhl in my next post.