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For some reason I always seem to be tasting these when our crabapple tree is blossoming. When I visited the estate there was always a blackbird singing outside in the garden (along with a funny roombah-type object that cut the grass, lest you find this too lyrical…), and maybe I’ll let myself think that metaphors line up just so, at times.

As usual, the great wine in the lineup is Christopher Loewen’s sublimely atavistic “1896,” one of two wines from that remarkable site. Recently the indispensable (online) magazine TRINK  published a piece about ancient Riesling sites, and Mr. Loewen had this to say to the author: Christopher Loewen of Weingut Carl Loewen in the Mosel town of Leiwen believes [ancient ungrafted vines]…” have a much greater network of fine roots, aren’t as explosive in their growth, the grape bunches are smaller and looser, and they don’t struggle with botrytis,” he says. In autumn, the grapes turn yellow sooner, gain in aromatics, and settle into the winter dormancy earlier. “You can’t get them out of balance,” he says. “The harmony between leaf growth and root growth is perfect. And when the vines need water, communication between the roots and trunk, the body of the fruit and the leaves is much better than in clones on American rootstock.”

Consider the alignment of concept here. If the vine knows what it’s doing, it’s hardly far-fetched to surmise the wine might also know what it’s doing, and will find its ideal harmony when it isn’t constricted to fit within the narrow demands of the “GG” category.


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Before starting in on the samples, I had a quick look at a few 2023’s last week, not enough to offer a judgment but enough to offer a speculation. In Germany, based on samples from Dönnhoff and Selbac

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(14. 6.)

The CSW wines were always some of my hold close to the heart favorites. Then came the Loewen 1896 wines and my heart burst.

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