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Weingut Braunewell

Tasting Year



The Braunewell estate is in Essenheim, not far from Nierstein in the Rheinhessen hinterlands. Driving in from the south one encounters quite the wall of vines, as steep and imposing a hillside as can be found in the generally rolling landscape. This was encouraging. One also discovers a family estate of some 27 hectares,  (35 if you count the vineyards of the sister in law) operating with both wisdom, sentiment and competence – this isn’t a wee grower with a piece of straw in his gnarly teeth. This is contemporary, but not “modern.” In general the soils are unusual for Rheinhessen, limestone and limey marl and loess, and only a little clay.

The stated aim is to produce wines that are “salty and quivering,” less relaxed than many Rheinhesen wines. The estate does a lot of local business, both in restaurants and to private customers, and this entails a focus on the Pinots (which are feverishly popular in Germany) whereas I came in search of Riesling and Pinot Noir.

The two “GG” sites are Blume (which means “flower”) and Teufelspfad (“devil’s path”) and they do the tiered thing of estate/village/vineyard bottlings – all of which are smart and excellent.


2018 Pinot Noir Trocken

(Estate-level, from clay with marl and limestone.)

They describe it as having “corners and angles,” but it smells comely and charming. On the palate there’s a slim edge of tannin and limestony bite, leading to a finely bloody dusty finish.

It’s equivalent to a good Bourgogne Rouge from a careful grower. It’s also unfiltered (that’s a nice touch) and aged in large casks – I’d guess 3,000-liter. It has both suavity and a balancing sharpness, though suavity leads; it reminds me of Dautel’s PN in some ways.

It’s an effective estate PN, that accomplishes its mission and has marked finesse for a hot-vintage wine.  It leaves a lingeringly perfumed finish. It’d be churlish to ask for more.

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2018 Essenheim Pinot Noir Limestone


A serious jump in quality here, bringing some of Ziereisen’s wines to mind (especially the Schupen) , with a juiciness poised against admirable steely kick; spicy, many-faceted and showing notes of dried porcini. This is not (merely) “effective,” it’s full of character and vitality.

Some tasters could find it rustic, but those are actually the qualities I most appreciate here. It has its share of nubs and crags, allied to a generous liveliness. It feels more Oregonian than Burgundian. That said, we have a green-tomato fruit speaking to a limestony adamance, with hints of a rude edge many PN drinkers appreciate – as do I.

Three days later it goes one way in this glass and another way in that glass. In Spiegelau it knits into a soberly serious wine with a pleasingly gravelly texture and a non-fruity dustiness and earth. In the Jancis it goes all tannic and the other flavors are wrenched away somewhere. In general these Pinots have seemed to thirst for oxygen, and all these impressions are snapshots of wines in motion. I respect this wine, considerably, and just because a wine isn’t grinning doesn’t mean it’s scowling. But I sense it will appeal to the drinker who’s actually repelled by the quality we call “drinky.”


2018 Pinot Noir Blume

(single vineyard GG type, 30% new barrique, 70% 2nd use.)

The site is marl and clay. Aromas are refined and dusty, but the palate is surprisingly spazzy and jittery after the settled-ness of the fragrance.

Possibly it’s too cold. It sat in a section of the cellar where the fresh air came in directly through an open window (cooling the place down with our 55º temps outside). In any case, the wine feels tense and agitated; I’ll track it over the days and decant the last half.

I have only scant acquaintance with these wines, so perhaps I shouldn’t be taken aback. I’d formed the notion that Blume was the whispery caressing one – and the aromas suggested as much – so we “await developments.”

48 hours later the wine is more coherent, and while it isn’t calm, it’s settled. It’s finding its shape, which seems to be a core of GG intensity wrapped in a caul of sweet fruit and then in a scratchy jacket of tannin and acidity. I also find a slight carapace of oak the wine will wriggle free from, given time. If you were drinking it this very day, I’d decant in the morning to pour in the evening. There’s an enticing world in there getting closer and closer to the surface.


2018 Pinot Noir Teufelspfad

(single-vineyard GG type, same barrique regime, and unfiltered)

 The “devil’s path” is marl and clay but with more limestone now.  (Though the limestoniest sections are used for Riesling.) There’s a 1er-Cru concentration and pointedness in the fragrance, and the wine is adamantly iron-like on the palate. Ziereisen comes to mind again. Spicy and peppery, the mints and violets are atypical for PN but certainly impressive. Was ’18 perhaps too hot to produce PN with the delicacy and deftness I’d tasted before? Hard to know, but plausible.

Though the wine is on the sauvage side it’s actually more of-a-piece than the Blume. It has a logical flow, in its forceful way. Again, I’ll baby it along and we’ll see where we’re at in a few more days.

48 hours later this is even more obstreperous, especially in contrast to the knitting-together Blume. It’s nicest in the hedonically oriented MacNeil Silky & Creamy glass, and I actually think it will outgrow its tics and twitches – not to mention it could simply be travel-sick. Patience is warranted, and will be rewarded.

Another day has passed, and the wine’s finding its way back, suggesting – at last – what it might seek to be. So what are we to believe? The impression of fresh-opened is at odds with the impression of day-3 and at odds again with what I’m tasting a day later – and we give POINTS to wines???!?


2020 Riesling Trocken

(estate level)

You gotta love a wine that perfumes the whole tasting room as soon as it’s poured. And this little beauty is all kinds of vital and exotic. Even on the second day it started scenting the space as soon as I unscrewed the cap; the wine springs out of the glass and smells you.

“Exotic” isn’t a word you’d usually toss at a Rheinhessen Riesling of “mere” estate quality. A charming lively neutrality would more than suffice. This one’s a sponti that sat on its primary lees until March after the vintage, and for whatever reason it is exceptionally herbal. Literally: summer savory, tarragon, bee balm,  all in a dialogue with mints, lemons, ylang-ylang and juniper.

There’s a superficial (but discernible) thread between this and Schloss Lieser’s estate dry Riesling, an element of the wild-yeast that rides over the more fundamental flavors (which obviously differ decisively) and gives rise to a subversive question. Insofar as wild (or ambient) yeast fermentations are said to be more faithful to terroir, how then do we account for them smelling so similar to one another? Sponti is a most specific, distinctive and informing aroma, one I happen to like, but I must ask – does it promote terroir or does it obscure terroir? Sponti always smells like itself before it yields to whatever may be behind it.

Back to this most engaging and agreeable little beast, it’s a bracing fresh tonic of Riesling, maybe a tiny bit too dry but it lets the spice emerge. If they told me they put 2-3% Scheurebe into the cuvée I wouldn’t be shocked. In any event it tastes that way – manic mizuna and frisky quince.


2019 Riesling Essenheim Limestone                                           +


Also a sponti, on its primary lees until the summer after the vintage. It’s a typically ripe ’19 (13% alc) with the golden aroma of the vintage, veitver, flowering fields, all leading to a wonderfully juicy palate that’s generous but not without its points and jabs. For which we are thankful!

Warm-hearted and sharp-witted, the wine is delicious but not ingratiating, with that both-and quality that leaves you oscillating happily between two ostensibly incompatible impressions, one disarmingly attractive and the other cerebrally persuasive. All that, and DRINKY.

Day-2 shows some effects of the long lees contact. Generally this is positive, it contributes to texture and complexity, as it does here. But other times there’s a funk that develops in-bottle which we don’t seem to see for a couple years. In this case it is present but not blatant and not even obvious, and some people will like it. “Tasting” really is a kind of spelunking, as we seek to excavate flavors. I wonder to what it pertains, sometimes, as you know. We taste in a sort of laboratory of nuances.

The MacNeil Fresh & Crisp glass is more hedonic, and the wine shows its 2019-ness. That said, with 13% alc I’m not sure “Fresh & Crisp” really applies. Though the wine is more open and sedate today, I liked it better yesterday freshly broached, and I find its primary pleasures are the most fun.


2019 Riesling Teufelspfad Trocken                                           +

The GG type. In the stupid-heavy bottle. The estate belongs to my very favorite eco-certifier “Fair ‘N Green,” so please, again, as many times as it needs to be repeated, CONNECT THE DOTS. Nobody likes these pretentious bottles.

The wine is truly excellent, showing the estate at its deftest and most stylish and showing the ’19 vintage at its most elegant and beautiful. With a blissfully moderate 12.5% alc, there is more true richness and generosity here than in 95% of the “riper” wines.

What it reminds me most of, is Alzinger. And among them, of Loibenberg. And within Loibenberg, of a curious theoretical amalgam of Riesling and GV, with the most engaging attributes of both.

But the colder you drink it, the less true that seems. Then you perceive more minerality and a cooler stonier profile. The colder glass is more interior and preoccupied; the warmer one is more hale and content. But how is it I have two different temperatures? Because it’s a very tall bottle, the top of which stuck out from my cooler, and that was the first glass I poured. A little beneath it came the next glass, and a different “mood” entirely.

You can choose – and this is a wine you really should own – but as is true for most ambitious dry Rieslings, cellar temp is best; quite cool but by no means cold. 50-54º is perfect.

This is all so encouraging. I mean, we’re not looking at the acknowledged genius of the Kellers or the Wittmanns of the region; nor are we considering the great terroirs of the Wagner-Stempels or of any of the red-slope Niersteiners. This is in effect just “stuff from Rheinhessen.” And yet the wine is a bliss of ruddy joyfulness. At an amenable price, one might add.

After four days (!) the wine is almost obdurately stable. I can’t add to my notes because the wine is the same. It’s among the (much) better ‘19s I’ve tasted, honestly.


G700  MMXVIII                                                                            ++

Back-label reveals, it’s a Riesling Trocken 2019, and the website reveals it’s a Teufelspfad vinified and aged in a granite “egg” the details of which can be seen here -

This actually is amazing. It’s far more angular, slinky and mineral than the “GG,” offering an entirely different family of flavors, blatant rocks and garrigue, almost more Austrian than German….I’ve had Bründlmayer Steinmassl  and Nigl Goldberg with these elements, the caraway and spearmint and alisier. The estate is convinced the granite-egg phenom will spread, and based on this splendid wine, it should.

I can’t remember a German Riesling so emphatically coniferous; it’s like some weird fir liqueur mixed with ylang-ylang, and yet it’s amazingly delicious, and mineral to the Nth degree.

On day-4 its edges are blurring a little, in contrast to the adamantly stable “regular” Teufelspfad. It’s still marvelous but I’m going to drink the rest of the bottle this evening while it still has its wicked concentration.


2020 “Unser Täglich Scheurebe” Halbtrocken                         ++

Give us this day our daily Scheurebe! 

Cards on the table: I am ga-ga over this wine. It curls my toes. It is an apex of dee-lish-ness in perfect balance, Scheu in the pink grapefruit idiom with ridiculous vitality.

It is more than even these things, but you’re going to think I’m in the grips of my giddiness, or else just silly. I’ll risk it.

This is a wine of cheer. It will lift you if you’re bummed out.

This is a wine of healing, of convalescence; it is the return of health, in liquid form.

This is a wine of giggling, of all the times you laugh despite yourself.

This is a wine of bliss unmitigated by “mind.” Your baby laughing at some stupid thing you do. The moments when (to quote James Wright) you are “abandoned to entire delight.”

Finally this is a wine where aesthetic instinct is honed to a point of genius. Why precisely this amount of RS? Because it darts in and out of the picture, sweet-ish at first, dry-ish at the end, as if the wine is teasing you. Yes, it’s “simple” wine, but it’s far from inert.

If I were meeting someone for whom this really was a daily wine, who had it in the cellar constantly and who ran through a bunch of cases each year, I’d immediately feel “This is a person I could love.”


2020 Riesling Kabinett

A perfect fragrance, more like a Nahe than a Rheinhessen wine. A certain pungency, a little sponti. It’s a fascinatingly risky wine, because it has unusually moderate sweetness and an acidity that most drinkers wouldn’t relish, and some wouldn’t tolerate. I admire its strictness and rectitude, and I really approve of their resistance to the over-sweetening that’s so common in “sweet” German wines these days.

If you’re someone of a certain age, with decades of experience with German wines, then you’ll have lamented the dearth of Kabinetts with these attributes. Racy and neon to a degree even I can barely remember any more, and the barely perceptible sweetness, render this wine a sort of specter of a bygone time.

I approve, and am grateful, and Impressed they opted to craft such a wine. But I am content to have tasted and admired it. I’m not eager to drink it. These days I find the acidity uncomfortably high, but for palates that feast on really bracing crispness, this for you will be a rare find.


2018 Scheurebe Eiswein

The back label identifies it as Essenheimer Teufelspfad, our old pal. 

The refined Eiswein fragrance isn’t especially varietal at first. Curiously it is rather low in acidity (and quite high in RS) and thus doesn’t present as typical Eiswein. There are (what I call) “golden” notes that suggest there may have been a bit of botrytis in play. Some growers have told me they feel the best Eisweins include at least a small measure of botrytis, though it’s harder to get those berries to freeze.

Considering the rarity of Eiswein in the new climate, and considering the efforts they undertook to make this at all, I feel almost boorish that I feel so little excitement. It takes a lot to get me jazzed over dessert wines these days.

Don’t misconstrue me; this wine is certainly attractive but to me it is merely attractive, and a little anonymous.


2018 Pinot Noir

estate-level, 12.5 alc.

The color is appropriate and the first aromas are markedly “northern.” Even in the hot year ’18, the green elements of PN – the unlikely ones – are expressive here.


This is less evident on the palate, which has the urged-along feeling you get from hot years, without going all the way to cola. There’s tannin and muscle; it’s as weighty as one of the higher categories – even the GGs – without their minerality or the specifics of terroir. It sweetens in the glass – the Spiegelau red-wine stem – and has reasonable length on the palate.


Basically the wine delivers the goods, works a little overtime, and over delivers in vinosity and concentration. It’s shape-shifting as it gets oxygen, growing more floral, with more cerise, resolving into a kind of funky cherry blossom. With no affectation of Great And Lofty Purpose, this is both generous and interesting. I’ll use a Jancis glass when I taste it again, and see if the maple and sorghum notes are more than the over-firing of my imagination. Like that never happens….


It’s now 48 hours later, tasting again, this time from a Jancis glass. (We drank a little with lamb chops the day I opened it, but those guys wanted Blaufränkisch, not PN.) I must say the wine grows ever more winsome and tempting. I doubt there is a bettervalue for basic PN on the market, but do decant it about 2-3 hours out, and try not to serve it warmer than about 62º.

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Sparkling Wines:

The estate is known for these, and has won several high prizes and many accolades. They didn’t send me any last year (but they did send all the Pinot Noirs, so I can’t kvetch). German Sekt is having a moment, and none too soon.

Blanc De Blancs

Back-label indicates 2018 Chardonnay, deg. 11/21 after 28 months of tirage. Most significant, they make it themselves. (Many German Sekt are custom-made by various operations which deliver the finished wine back to the grower.)


There is just enough cork here to preclude an accurate tasting note, and little enough to suggest how fine this might have been. On the other hand, these borderline bottles can surprise you with air, so I’m letting it sit while I taste….


Nah, it’s corked, damn it.


Riesling Brut

Back-label indicates 2018, deg. 2/22, 31 months of tirage. (Their website has already moved to a 2020, so I don’t have full analytics for this wine.


But I do have a charming and inviting Riesling fragrance. It hails from an early picking among their top parcels, and sits on its lees until the following June, when it enters tirage. It’s a classy sparkling wine with no particular cognate to Champagne other than detail and floweriness – though in place of the lemon and jasmine of Champagne we have mandarins and peaches here. There’s still some disgorgement gear-grinding in play and some nice warm autolytic note trying to push through. The astringent mouthfeel (at least in the “tasting” environment) is acceptable for something half the price of Champagne.  And I suspect this will improve on retasting.


DAY-2 is essentially what I expected; the wine is more coherent, creamier and more yielding. It still needs another six months on the cork, but it reminds me somewhat of Margaine’s “Le Brut” in its basic nature. It has charm, class, cunningly poised dosage, and will become a riotously great value if it goes the way I surmise. It is also, not incidentally, an excellent Riesling. And you gotta snuggle up to that Tarte tatin finish.


Grande Année 2015                                                                             +

Chardonnay Brut Nature, deg. 4/22 after 70 months of tirage. Grown on chalk, vinified in “Stück” and used barriques, and they’re claiming true-zero RS, though this is rare as there’s usually at least a little after the second fermentation.


The aromas are intriguing, which is hardly surprising. Toasted brioche – maybe just slightly over-toasted – and apple eau-de-vie. The palate is serious business, and this has real depth and remarkable balance; I know of few “zeroes” in Champagne with this generosity and deftness. And this wine does suggest a connection to Champagne, perhaps Marne Valley or even the area around Ecueuil or Jouy-les-Reims. (A little more recherché and it might have been Aubry….)


But be patient. The best thing is the finish. Wait for the warmth and the porridgey generosity. It’s the gift you appreciate later, after your friend has gone, and your house is silent and lonely and yet you feel consoled. This beauty is inferential and not hedonic, and yet it is clearly beautiful.


On my third encounter it’s a bit more pensive, naturally, as the mousse is less overt. The finish - not the flavor element but the tactile sensation at the very end – is kind of scratchy, which might have been mitigated with even a gram or two of RS, which you wouldn’t have been able to taste. (As an aside; don’t you wonder whether there’s a sort of machismo with zero-dosage wines? Like “My wine has such a big-swinging-d**k it doesn’t need dosage…?” This is not an accusation leveled against Braunewell, but rather an intuition that there can sometimes be an unsavory mentality at work in such determined purism.)


Rosé Brut

2020 Pinot Noir, deg. 4/22, so fruit is the point here.


The fragrance is really pretty. It isn’t complex – how could it be with such a brief tirage? But there’s a lot to be said for clean laughing primary fruit. As it happens, its boisterous nature is partly a question of commercial necessity. Stefan says: “We sold double the amount of sparkling during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, that is why [this is] younger. But especially for Rosé will come some changes, we do experiments with Riesling and Pinot for Rosé [which] is really interesting stuff. More precise, more fruit …”



We have surprising vinosity on the palate. This is ripe Pinot Noir, and shows sandalwood alongside the heaps of cherry. The mousse could be less aggressive, but the wine is young. The two previous wines had things to say while this one has A Job To Do. It’s brash and a little full of itself, and the Elder taster may be heard issuing a tut-tut-tut at the wine’s youthful high spirits. I fear the joke’s on him, for the wine begins to unfurl itself in a manner we tasted before with the estate Pinot Noir – and with similar effects. Stealthy little devil.


It is calmer a couple days later. The puppy energy has worn off.




2021 Riesling

“Dry” (or Trocken) only appears on the back label. Estate Riesling in Germany is presumed to be dry, I guess.)


Okay! We are up to our ass in sassafrass. A little sponti aroma peeks through. Root beer and chocolate. Juniper too. The weirdest gin & tonic you ever sniffed, wonderfully. The palate is feverishly racy. These are not words one connects to “Rheinhessen,” but that world has changed.


Recalling my diffidence to the last vintage, I brought out the MacNeil ”Crisp & Fresh” glass, which likes to coax each bit of charm from the wines you pour into it. That happens here too, but the herbal determination and the (agreeably) chicoree snap of bitterness are not to be subdued.  Acidity, not freaky-high on paper, is expressive on the palate.


Growers think about their dry estate Rieslings, because they make them in “volume” (such as it is with small domains) and because they’re the calling-card of the winery. So it’s fair to consider the “semiotics” of their choices, the meta-message they seem to wish to send. You can make such wines to be agreeable, you can make them fruit-forward, you can make them miniatures of mineral, but however you make them, you are saying something. So, what is being said here? As it happens I posed that very question to Stefan Braunewell, who told me they make their Liter Riesling to be easy-drinking but this wine intends to express the character of the Selztal, which I infer is essentially zingy.


I’d have to await a ripe generous vintage to see whether the tolerance for asperity and pepperiness is inherent to the vision for this Riesling , or whether it just so happened two years in a row. I have great respect for uncompromising wines, but this wine is expressive in curious ways.


On day-2 I used the Jancis glass alone, and only tasted one wine ahead of this one. For whatever reason – perhaps some sulfur blew off when the screwcap was open – its strident voices have been stilled and its sharp angles filed smooth – though it remains a minty (tarragon, lemon grass) sort of critter.


Should you ever wonder (which you don’t any more, right?), this is why I taste every wine multiple times over many days. To render an absolute or even a confident judgment based on a first impression is…folly. Okay, it’s stupid. Don’t trust a taster who does it. First impressions are inherently valid as long as we never forget their limitations.


2021 Essenheim Riesling Limestone

Their motto’s on the back label, “wines of character with edges and corners.” There’s also a surprising 13% alc (for this vintage).


The aromas are beautifully naked. Rock-hewn Riesling, with summer savory and marjoram leaves pushing upward through each little fissure. This has what the estate wine seemed at first to lack – dialogue, dialectic, an intelligent argument among its components such that minerality bounces off warmth and the herbals are green but not bitter. I have a fir tincture in the kitchen than I can use to perfume a dish (and confound my guests) by adding just a drop or two. This wine virtually reeks of Fraser-fir, along with the omnipresent limestone.


It’s very dry and not without acidity yet tastes entirely rounder than its estate sibling. Sponti aromas emerge with air, and wild-yeast ferments offer a less austere texture, which converses with the peppermint and with a sense of incipient stone fruit (which I could be imagining) to produce something almost juicy, and certainly interesting. This is ambitious, very dry, and cerebrally delicious.


On the second day it doesn’t seem dramatically better than the estate Riesling, but it’s significantly more mineral and interesting. “But wouldn’t that mean it’s better?” a sensible person might ask. I dunno. The first wine punches above its weight, whereas this one ought to be more interesting, and is. I find them equivalent, in my lovely arcane world where “points” went extinct eons ago.


2020 Teufelspfad Riesling                                                               +


This single-site wine isn’t offered as a GG, nor is it (thankfully) in a stupid-heavy bottle. It has a Cru aroma (avec le sponti) that I’d have guessed was Nahe. It is fine, and the stone-fruit nuances are actually there (!).


2020 lives an obscure life alongside ’21. If I try to tell you what it’s like, I’ll get silly. But here goes; you’re on a walk in some woods where it’s rained in the last few days and everything is grippingly fragrant and you feel like you can smell all the mushrooms you can’t see, but you can also smell the last-of-the-season peaches you have in your sack for the lunch you planned – so, earth, fruit, woods, the leather from your boots, all these things that weren’t there a year ago in those infant ‘20s. Baby, they’re here now.


This is a fine, lovely, stylish wine, with grace and fluidity, lift and cut, and a complicated mélange of stone and fruit and herb the palate “reads” sweeter than it actually is – and it is very dry.


Terry descends into total weirdness: There’s a restaurant in France that serves blood sausage with a quince chutney, and I’m smelling it now, whipped along by who knows what firing of synapses, yet this shoots me to that. As Zippy says, reality is a sandwich I did not order.


A day later, sanity having been tenuously restored, we’ve left the blood sausage hallucination and are now swimming in sweet fern and woodruff. The wine remains civilized, introverted and lovely.


2011 Teufelspfad Riesling

It is Trocken of course. It was bottled in 2012 and (I assume) held back to be their ne plus ultra.


2011 was a hot year that we assumed would be quick drinking. We are usually wrong about such things, especially among the hot years, which often seem to confound us by aging well. What happens is, they take on secondary characteristics very quickly (2-3 years after the vintage) which makes us think they’re aging rapidly, but then they stay there as if they were frozen in place, and here we are ten years later, considering this strange smoky animal.


It starts with sweat and fennel. I know this vintage, and it tastes like ’11 – but it isn’t polite. It shows a clamorous vegetal note like celery or parsley root, alongside the usual ’11 note of hot hay. The wine may have tricks up its sleeve, but I’m surprised (at first glance) that it would be offered as the crowing-glory of the estate’s Rieslings.


And now I remember. 2011 was a ladybug vintage, but only in a narrow band of latitude which encompassed this winery’s village (and all of Champagne, alas). As it sits in the glass the pyrazines grow more blatant, and this makes me sad. I hope they tried again from 2012. In their defense, some of the ladybug notes became more apparent over time, and we know there are tasters who don’t register pyrazine. It really annoys me, as it happens, and so I find it indefensible, notwithstanding my great respect for this estate.




(2021) “Unser Täglich Scheurebe”                         glug-glug-glug!!!

Give us this day our daily Scheurebe (feinherb).


Give it to me in any case, because I’m drinking this by the boatload, it is so addictively tasty. A mere “Landwein Rhein” that punches above its weight, I’m here to tell them that it lasts much longer than the 3 years they guarantee.


I have nothing to add to last year’s effusions on behalf of this criminally habit-forming thing, except to say that if you have a house-slopping wine other than this, you have a worse wine than I do, Schnookie. 


2021 Scheurebe Kabinett                                                                ++

Not very sweet, and for the variety, high in acidity – so in effect along Feinherb lines. It’s rampantly aromatic – big shock – and considerably delicious.


From what I’ve been able to suss about ‘21` Scheu, it is typical (which it isn’t always) but restrained, so that it shows a “polite” degree of pink grapefruit and a polite degree of cassis and none of the cat-pee it will show when it’s not ripe. It’s a Scheu vintage for people who usually don’t like its blatancy. 


This is really finely rendered, and if Scheu can be graceful it’s doing that now. It also has a caressing cling (that prompted the “plusses”) and a sonority that’s at once breathy and murmuring, even as it sings its lilting, piping melody. I like Scheurebe – like you couldn’t have guessed – and therefore I like it x-treme, yet I can’t recall a soft-spoken example I have enjoyed more than this. The balance is perfect, the length is lovely and unexpected, and then there’s the thing I can only call the wisdom of touch; the way your skin feels when you get a superb massage. This wine knows you. It isn’t extravagant or even intense; it just knows exactly how you like to be touched.


It hasn’t changed a day later. This will be a highlight of my tasting year, and this almost demure beauty is purring and haunting.


2021 Riesling Kabinett

The fragrance sings “I am Riesling!.”


Pause for just a second to think about that. It’s clear I love Riesling in all its guises, yet there’s something ineluctable about the aroma of Riesling with RS, that seems to draw right from the ur of the thing.


It was a 2016 Kabinett that led me to this domain in the first place, and here’s another high-acid vintage with restrained RS, in a classic form. If you wanted to enact a genre of “Riesling Kabinett” you could do it here – which I mean as a compliment. It’s better than the angular ’20, not as sublime as the ’16, the acidity lends a subtle grassiness, and the structure is stingingly zippy even while the fruit is discreetly but definitely present. But food is called for, unless you enjoy trips to your dentist. A couple days later the aroma is a riot of wisteria and day lilies before they start getting funky. The palate just zooms along, and the entire effect is in a register so high you need a dog to hear it for you.    



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