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March 02, 2011

MyPfalz: 2001 Riesling Tasting at Bürklin-Wolf

MyPfalz (4): Monthly Riesling - February
Dr. Bürklin-Wolf
Riesling 10 years on
Wachenheim, Pfalz

I am cheating and taking this wine tasting as the Riesling of the month, because I really liked them all and it would be very difficult to name only one as this month's wine...

One of my nicest wine tastings so far! Very nice ambience with a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere spread by Tom Benns, wine consultant at the prestigeous estate Dr. Bürklin-Wolf. And the wines! 3 Premiers Crus, 4 Grands Crus, and a (Muskateller) Beerenauslese - all from 2001. 10 years on. The theme of the evening.

BW has since 1994 established their own appellation system, by distinguishing their wines by their sites. Very best are the Grands Crus, followed by the Premier Crus - just like in France. However! The classification is really old and dates back to 1828. Long before Germany started the mustweight-qualification m(adn)ess.

Ok. As you figured before, I am not falling for 'big names', 'gurus', 'grand crus' etc... Rather, I am out there to explore the wine world and to see what _I_ like. So, to start this text by mentioning the 'Crus' could be misleading... It is not about their status. But about their taste. (Which of course most propably explains the status... :) ). 

2001 - seperating the men from the boys. That's how some winemakers would discribe the vintage. The year before, 2000, was one of the worst of the area. Too much rain, taking it's toll. For Bürklin-Wolf that meant 180.000 liters compared to normally 400.000. No G.C., no P.C. that year. Instead all remaining grapes from top sites were used for the basic estate wines (Gutswein). So, in 2001, when rain set in in late summer, many vintners harvested their grapes earlier than planned, in order to get some quantities - even if for the price of lower quality. BW though needed G.C. and P.C. wines this year, so they decided to wait anyway. Gambling. They were lucky! After the shorter rain period came a golden October and the grapes could develop at a slow pace, hence collecting lots of flavours.

Tom Benns, Wine Consultant Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, and me at the
Gault Millau sign Best Collection 2010
Tasting different wines of one grape variety, one vintage, and one wine estate, you can assume that there is a red line going through all those wines. Which it is: all
- have wonderful developed, ripe aromas,
- felt very fresh and clean, with a still high acidity, 

- have a higher residual sugar content than you can taste,
- have nice minerality,
- have a long finish, dominated by grapefruit flavours.
The difference lies in between: some
- are fuller bodied, some leaner,
- some are almost of oily consistence
- some have smoky tones,
- some more herbal.
Reflecting their originality - the terroir. Very exciting to experience it so distinctly!

Tom opening the wines for us
The tasting:

2001 Wachenheimer Goldbächel P.C. € 19.50 (the welcome wine)
Very ripe, sungolden fruit, apricot, petrol, towards oily, light-medium bodied.Goldbächel: 4,3 ha total vineyard, BW owns 3. Sloping south. Red and yellow sandstone.
2001 Wachenheimer Altenburg P.C.  19.50
lean, young, floral, nutty, fresh, light-boded
Vineyard: 1,22 ha total,  BW 0,4. Sloping east, shady afternoons. 130-150 above NN. White sandstone.

2001 Wachenheimer Böhlig P.C. 19.50
medium-bodied, creamy, ripe yellow fruit
Vineyard: 4 ha. Sloping south. Yellow and red sandstone gravel, upper part of site limestone.

right: Altenburg P.C., left: Böhlig P.C., middle behind: Goldbächel P.C.
2001 Deidesheimer Kalkofen G.C. 37.-
nutty, apple compott, creamy, medium-full bodied 
Vineyard: 5 ha. BW 0.7. Slightly sloping, warm position. Clay and lime gravel on a limestone bank.

2001 Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen G.C. 42.-
leaner than Kalkofen, ripe yellow fruit, minerality 
Vineyard: 4 ha. BW 0.5. Slightly sloping, warm position. Neighbor to Kalkofen.

2001 Ruppertsberger Reiterpfad G.C. 37.-
dark golden color, very ripe golden fruit, hints of vanilla
Vineyard: 2002 was last G.C. from this site. 2004 new vines were planted.

2001 Forster Jesuitengarten G.C. 57.-
my favorite of the day! Very lean and elegant, with distinct flint stone
Sloping east. Vulkanous basalt. 2nd best vineyard of the Pfalz (classification 1828).

2001 Muskateller Beerenauslese 57.-
239 g/l sugar. Sweet? Yes. Good? In small doses: Yes - because the acidity is still so high, that there is a fine balance to it. Wonderful with some nice ripe, soft cheese.

The end:
Tom's reparation wine, or, as he calls it: method in my madness.
2009 (!) Riesling Hohenmorgen P.C.
too young to mention in this context ;)

I now understand much better, why these wines need to be put on shelves for some years to really get most out of your payment. And why Riesling is not just Riesling.
A happy tasting group
Thank you Tom for a great evening - we'll be back for more!

Nice gift to the wine lover? The G.C. Box

Dr. Bürklin-Wolf is one of the 3 B's, the Pfalz estates that have since long been known around the wine world. I will get back to this in a separate post, leaving this one with the wine tasting for now.


Day at von Buhl:


  1. More impressions of the estate and the vintage 08&09:

    Liebe Grüße aus der Hauptstadt,
    Martin "BerlinKitchen"

  2. Now I have aged wine envy, Heike. Older (yes, I am aware that for some Rieslings ten years is not that old) Rieslings are much harder to get her in the UK - and yours sound fantastic!

    Liebe Grüße,
    Torsten / The Wine Rambler

  3. Thank you Martin! :) Very interesting, I will really check it out!

    Torsten, but you could certainly order your good Rieslings via the internet? Else, you might have to start THE UK Riesling store!