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To begin, it is necessary to tell you that I love these wines. I don’t love them indiscriminately (I don’t love any grower’s wines that way) but I find they speak to me, and that is because of the way I cherish clarity and brilliance in white wines. This would seem a self-evident virtue, but I sense my taste is not universally shared.

I also like umami-driven wines, and inference is at least as valuable as explicitness, and so I do not claim that brilliant wines are “superior” to other types of wine. They happen to appeal to me, and at times I’ve found myself arguing for them, which in turn suggests a degree of resistance among other wine lovers. I’ve wondered at times – assuming my intuition is accurate – that wines I find “brilliant” could strike other drinkers as “cerebral” in a way that suggests a sort of hermetic bloodlessness or a brittle intellectuality. That’s a risk, but an extremely remote one. These kinds of wines don’t tend to be made by Hegelian philosophers or instructors of integral calculus. They tend to be made by passionate vintners who are driven to eke out every possible flavor from their land and their grapes.

As such, my response to them is only indirectly “emotional.” Rather, I am jazzed, even thrilled, and deeply satisfied, because it’s fun to be fascinated and to engage with wines that actually help you understand things.

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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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