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Weingut Müller Catoir

Tasting Year

2022

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the arrival of Martin Franzen as cellarmaster at this venerable estate. That’s an entire generation of drinkers, writers and customers who’ve only known the estate under Franzen’s careful guidance. 

 

There is, let’s say, a celebrated history here, but I don’t think we ought to write about it any more. It muddies the waters and obscures the purity of the modern narrative. Yet it isn’t as if the new broom swept entirely clean. The tradition of not only cultivating but also cherishing varieties such as Scheurebe, Muskateller and Rieslaner has been carried forward, thankfully. Nor does this conflict with Franzen’s central focus on Riesling – and recently, Spätburgunder. It simply adds complexity to the portrait.

 

The Pfalz is a place of cheery commotion these days, especially in the “classic” corridor consisting of the triumvirate of Deidesheim, Forst and Wachenheim. The first of these is home to Bassermann-Jordan, Von Buhl and to those impassioned radicals at Von Winning, who have upended every existing notion of what German Riesling could be. Forst in turn is home to several excellent small growers, while Wachenheim offers up both Loosen’s J.L Wolf estate, and of course the resurgent youthful team at Bürklin-Wolf. These aren’t the only top estates in the region, of course; there’s Knipser and  Rebholz among others.

 

And then there’s Müller-Catoir,  rather off the main drag, up the hill below the villa, cultivating an air of remove that can suggest the monastic, and certainly indicates the introverted. Proprietor Phillip David Catoir will demur, and he’s certainly doing more outreach than did his forbears. But perhaps he’ll forgive my observing that among the most important producers in the Pfalz, Müller-Catoir is the least in-the-mainstream. And this is also true of the wines, stylistically.

 

Martin Franzen’s wines are diligently explicit but not overtly so. The Rieslings especially are interior wines, and as such they stand out in the Pfalz, a place of sometimes-bellowing extroverts. When Martin arrived, the standard rap was his wines were “like Mosel wines,” since he hails from a Mosel family. This truism was specious and inaccurate, (not to mention Mosel wines have all the affect in the world) but it seemed to stick as a dismissive shorthand. Among the society of significant reviewers, only Schildknecht and Pigott seemed to see the wines clearly.

 

Another critical error was to judge the estate exclusively from its Rieslings. As diffident as these might (plausibly) appear, Franzen carried on the work of his predecessor in making one of the few greatest dry Muscats in Europe, and certainly in continuing to set the standard for Scheurebe. And then we have the Rieslaner to contend with, and if you’re thinking “But these are ancillary grapes,” well shame on you. To understand Müller-Catoir you have to engage with its entirety, and these Muscats and Scheurebes and Rieslaners are – I don’t hesitate to claim it – great wines. Their quality is not exceeded by anyone else making wines from those grapes. If the wines are relatively extravagant they are by no means radical. They are classics.

 

But what of the Rieslings, after all? A few years ago Franzen began to want to “open” them up, to render them more animate and more approachable in their early youth. This was discernible in the warm vintages 17-18-19 but less so in 20-21 – but what does it matter in any case? Franzen, who is gregarious and unpretentious, seems to enjoy an ethereal streak where his wines are concerned. Yet even that is facile. He really wants to refine the wines are far as is sensually possible, and in so doing he touches upon the ethereal incidentally. Yet even when the wines are as expressive as the human mind can ascertain, they have a piping, fluting chirrup of melody that you may not appreciate if you need your shoulders shaken.

 

Recently the estate has entered the fray with Pinot Noir. But being Müller-Catoir, they’ve done so in such a way as to suggest a new language for that variety to speak.

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2020 Haardt Spätburgunder                                                              +

This is the village-wine from Haardt, which is officially a suburb of Neustadt. You’ll have heard of its prominent sites Bürgergarten, Herrenletten and Herzog.

 

We have a limpid cherry color but no dearth of ripeness (13.5%) and I doubt that Franzen chaptalized it.  Given his general wish to micro-pixilate flavors, the precision of the PN fruit aromas won’t shock you. Nor will the lack (if “lack” it is) of opulence or flirtatious elements. 

 

Yet the palate will surprise you with its silken sensuality and with a fruit-sweetness that’s nearly adorable. An open texture suggests the use of barrels – I’d guess large ones (1,000 liters) and I’d also guess they are used but not old. The diligent clarity is almost caricaturized from the Jancis glass, from which a mintyness and smoke arise, feinting toward Blaufränkisch. (It’s said that mature Blaufränkisch starts to resemble Pinot Noir, so this isn’t as far fetched as it may seem.)

 

The wine is sophisticated but not aloof; it’s both impressive and enticing, a kind of elemental PN, full of complexity. At the end there’s a salty, almost limestony grip guided by a jot of crushed stones and tannin and even dried flowers. I’m sitting here not quite able to believe, or even to understand, how good this is.

 

Tasting it for the third time, and using the Spiegelau “red wine” stem, which tends to emphasize umami and mid-palate. But like all these wines, this one is relatively inert over the days, which I don’t mind at all. If anything it seems more silken and floral, but I may be reading that in. You know how wild lavender is a curious overlap of the floral and the feral? This lovely wine straddles the line between spicy (fennel and caraway and anise seeds) and flowery (veering toward the pungent, like day lilies). 

 

I never tasted anything like this. Given that anyone who makes Pinot Noir has Burgundy as a paradigm or lodestar, even people who protest they’re “not trying to make Burgundy,” this tastes like it was made by someone who never tasted Burgundy and doesn’t even know it exists. It is a beautifully weird PN, painted upon a blank canvas, referring to nothing but itself, and speaking a beautiful language of make-believe.

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2020 Mussbach Spätburgunder                                                        +

Another village-level wine, a little less ripe than the above (13%); the color is darker and the wine smells bloodier, and more (I hate to say it) “Burgundian.” It’s expressive and clearly delicious, juicy and redolent of cêpes and summer truffle.

 

This is a language we know. The wine is less studious, more roasted, more hospitable and warm and enveloping. Oak is also more overt, which makes the wine a little facile, but it’s senseless to resist its seductiveness, albeit it swims in the mainstream with lots of other German PNs. It’s an upstanding citizen of that world, mind you, but it’s also popular and gregarious.

 

And that said, in turn, it is also silken and detailed, markedly so given its creamy texture. Curiously, as it sits in the glass it gets stonier and more peppery, encouragingly. I suspect this will surprise me when I taste it again tomorrow.

 

Well, it does and it doesn’t. It remains disarmingly delicious, yet it continues showing a host of suggestive subtexts. Oak is prominent but neither unbalanced nor gaudy.

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2020 Neustadt “V” Spätburgunder                                               +

 

Still officially a village-wine, but the taller bottle (and the enigmatic “V”) suggest we’re stretching higher now. Speaking of which, the letter that looks like a “B” in the Fraktur is actually a “V” and it stands for Vogelsang, the cadaster holding Catoir obtained, is developing, and which will eventually be a “GG” when the vines reach the necessary age. The soil is fossil-bearing limestone (“Muschelkalk”). 

 

Fragrances are more adamant, darker, rockier – and woodier.

The palate is Very-Serious-Business. If you took the limestony bite from red Burgundy and took away every trace of animality or earthiness or even spices, you might arrive here, at a kind of primordial Pinot, as if the grapes were picked by well trained dinosaurs. 

 

It has more of the stuff we all pay more money for, but I wonder whether it’s actually “better.”  It depends on the degree you’re willing to pony up for intensity, and most of us would find there’s more to this in every way. There is saliently more tangible structure, some of which has to do with oak tannin, but a lot of nuances ride along that spine of grip.

 

I drank a bottle of 2013 Clos Saint Denis from Stephane Magnien last night – lucky me! (We had some pintades and a Burgundy truffle thanks to a sale at D’Artagnan….) For all the profundity of the Burgundy, it was something you wished to absorb into your body, whereas this wine, delicious as it is, is something you wish to engage with your mind. It’s like someone reading a complicated poem and suddenly the obscure syntax makes sense and you get it.

 

I can imagine someone saying it’s too woody, or that it’s more Tempranillo than PN, or any number of things we might glean because the wine is so explicit, like tweezer-food in a glass.

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2020 Herzog Spätburgunder

Now the single vineyard (Erste Lage in the parlance) and ostensibly the top of the quartet. The color, though, is happily limpid – I like PN like that.

 

I thought we might be dealing with cask once more, and we are. It’s neither crude nor blatant, but I’m always a wee bit distressed when a vintner thinks this is the dialect that “must” be spoken to indicate your wine is Serious. Yet within its idiom, it’s a successful and tasty wine, and that in turn is because Martin Franzen doesn’t seem to know how to make a wine that isn’t transparent and articulate. I mean, it’s a luxury for me to focus on my dismay, considering the many ways this wine might have been vulgar and sloppy. 

 

Among this impressive quartet, this is the least upfront of them. The flavors of the other three come down from above; this comes up from below. It seems to be hiding its cards. It’s a little more fleeting on the finish.  It’s the saltiest among them.

 

All the wines are smart and lovely, and I judge them more or less as equals. Yet the one I like the most is the first one, the original, the uncanny, the sui generis. Fine, right? I like the waifs. Here again, we get more juju with oxygen, more counterpoint to the woody sweetness, and we have a more deftly poised wine overall than, for example, the Mussbach. It is churlish of me to observe the wine is perhaps too plausible, but for now, I’ve seen this show before.

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2021 Spätburgunder Rosé

This joins the superb Rosé from Caroline Diel as a high water mark for class in this category, though Diel’s wine is richer and this one is more filigree. One would expect Franzen to limn the outer limits of diction in his pink wine, and so he does.

 

It’s the Rosé you imagine they drank at the court of Versailles, as they made their arch remarks and remembered to extend their pinkies. That doesn’t mean it’s effete; it means it’s refined, and this is a word seldom deployed to describe a rosé. The wine is admirable and courteous in every way. It takes off its shoes when it walks in your door. It’s full of fruit but isn’t “fruity.”

 

It is exactly the sort of careful, fastidious wine you’d expect the estate to produce, and I give it my full respect. Here was a case where they might easily have pandered, but didn’t.

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SEKT, Riesling, Brut, N.V.

Well this smells good!

 

30 months on the lees, and from the look of the cork it was probably disgorged about a year ago.  It’s as fine as one would expect, with an appealing aroma (lemon balm, and something linking white nectarine with heirloom apples) and yet, while nothing this winery offers is ever careless, this could be even further refined.

 

Do they keep it for a while post-disgorgement? Have they considered a lower dosage? I’m curious to see where this goes when I taste it again in a couple days, because as it sits in the glass its mid-palate richness arises, and the wine could make a fool of me.

 

As it happened, it didn’t. There’s an awkwardness here that’s at odds with the prevailing dialect at this address.

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RIESLINGS, UP THE LADDER:

2021 M-C Riesling                                                     glug-glug-glug

Trocken goes without saying. Damnably. I had a bespoke feinherb bottling of this that barely surmounted the crucial price-point for by-the-glass – with today’s Dollar it would be comfortably below it – and thus it was discontinued after my “retirement.” Pity, because it was as singular and perfect a Riesling as you could ever taste.

 

<sigh….> I tried.

 

Still, I always liked the original dry version, and now I like it again. I mean, really like it. It’s more fun than all the Mel Brooks movies put together. It is the purest expression of the riotous herbal and citric notes of ’21 and yet for all its zing, it’s also limpid and at-ease, and almost casually delicious, like it came naturally, like it was no effort in the least to just blast this perfection out to all of us. It’s the kind of wine you taste and think Why would anyone drink anything but this?

 

When ’21 is good it offers a totally unlikely conciliation of zip and flow, tension and calm. Now in its first year it’s not just drinky, it’s stupid-drinky, and I see no reason not to dive into these wines right now, and roll around the floor together giggling.

 

I’m leaning toward saying that the ’21s warrant young drinking. What???? All that acidity, and you don’t want to keep them? Well I really do wonder, and part of why I wonder is that four days in, this giddy beast is starting to nip with puppy teeth, and what I think’s happening is, a sharpness was huddling beneath a quilt of irresistible baby-fruit, and as that facet retreats the “expressive” acids start “expressing,” and what transpires in four days in the bottle is often a harbinger of what’ll occur with several years in the cellar. Thus my sacrilege. If you drink them young, you’ll enjoy the giddiest possible primary fruit, and if you wait you will squander that gift on a riskthat the wines will develop according to an Idea you cherish – but it’s only that: An idea.

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2021 Haardt Riesling

Trocken of course. Same alc as the M-C, interestingly. We have some attitude now. More demanding, less appealing, but we have to get serious some time. And here we’re introduced to an umami of the fields – if that doesn’t sound too precious. I mean sun-heated grass and herbs, cut hay, weedy greens. Even a small voice of gooseberry peeps up.

 

You choose. You won’t find anything more than hints of apples or stone fruits here, but you’ll find flavors you’ll like especially if you like high-toned Grüner Veltliners. I like it, up to the slightly astringent finish, yet I also appreciate that this winery offers the opportunity to cavil in tiny ways, because everything is smart and snappy and wickedly articulate. My recoil (such as it is) from the sardonic bite on the finish could be something another taster relishes. It’s a privilege to be persnickety when all the wines are this good. And saying that – this isn’t my favorite.

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2021 Neustadt “V” Riesling                                                          ++

Tall bottle, alc 13%, Trocken naturally. An overt aroma reminding me of the old clone-90 fragrance – mandarins and pink grapefruit and tilting toward Scheurebe. But oh; this palate……

 

The reputation of 2021 will be made from wines like this. The question is to what degree these qualities are perishable, and this I do not know. But I can tell you that what’s in my glass right now is bloody superb. It’s still a little “wild,” and it has less fruit than it has spices and savories and almost a Nahe accent. Acidity could be seen as pointed until it’s buffered by a ludicrous saltiness. And for a winery as cerebral as this one can seem, this wine is awfully sexy, especially right from the freshly open bottle.

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2021 Bürgergarten Riesling                                                              +

This isn’t the “GG” but rather the Erste Lage (1er Cru) single site wine, Trocken, alc 13%. It shows the classic fragrance from the site, mandarins, bergamot, sautéed apple sprinkled with cinnamon – those kinds of things. Especially silky and refined in ’21.

 

It’s the melody the Mussbach played on an alto-sax, now played on a soprano sax – even the same notes in the same register, just more piping now. We have a lemony citricity, but early-season Meyer lemons, before they grow too rich. And the wine is generally more reticent – yet I wonder what’s being held in reserve? Sometimes wines like this one can seem refined beyond all sensual existence, though I haven’t had the chance to review them when they’re 5-10 years old.

 

Again, it’s ludicrous to quibble when faced with such beauty. Much of what I love about Dönnhoff’s Leistenberg wines is evident here. I’m looking for the comfort that lives beneath the thrill.  But perhaps my quest for consolation is misdirected. What grows clear is, this remarkable family of wines -22 of them in all – will speak differently as they are sampled differently, and I’ll spend the next 7-10 days twisting the sequences to catch myself up in errors I ought not to have made.

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2021 Bürgergarten “Im Breumel” GG                                             ++

Pretentious heavy bottle – as always especially egregious when a certified organic estate uses it. And – the word “Riesling” only occurs in teensy print on the side label.

 

The first time I had a Riesling from this then-new acquisition was back in 2002, when the only way to distinguish it was the AP # 2134. I sometimes wonder whether this estate would have greater “status” if they had five “GGs” instead of just this one.

 

It’s a clos in the heart of the Bürgergarten, yet as the years have gone by – and now especially – it distances itself ever more from the “parent” site. In effect it has none of the ingratiating elements of Bürgergarten, replacing them with an ancient-tasting kind of solidity, and what one might call a rectitude of minerality. There’s also a high-cheekboned chiseled sort of deacon-reserve here, a Shaker probity. It entails no small courage – or else just sang froid – to present your “GG” without it trying to “impress” the tasters who do their rankings early on.

 

Perhaps Franzen, for all his geniality, has a mystic streak where his wines are concerned, and if I might paraphrase him, if the ethereal is effective, the earthbound will follow. Not to mention, ’21 is hardly a come-hither sort of vintage. And really not to mention, it’s fairly straightforward finding paths among the fruits and flowers, but it’s another matter to pick ones way among the stones. And Breumel, bless its stringent heart, is a warren of stones. And ginger. And celeriac.

 

I’m tasting it for the fourth time, and have been consistently impressed. Yet it didn’t “show” well one evening when we drank a flight of the dry Rieslings in the kitchen while dinner was cooking. I was actually baffled, because I’d assumed the stature of this wine would prevail under any circumstances. It doesn’t change my opinion of the wine, but it does affect my feelings about it. Our pedagogical friend seems happiest when being carefully attended to.

 

Well I’m willing. Will there be a quiz?

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2021 Mussbach Riesling Kabinett                                               +

It’s good that the estate still bottles a Kabinett and a Spätlese each vintage, for the clientele who prefer them or who simply have flexible taste. At times I have thought these wines over-sweet, but that could be because the dry wines, the many dry wines, are so dry that an ordinary sweetness seems blatant.

 

This is colder than my other samples – the cellar isn’t quite cold enough (in mid-November….alas) to leave everything out of the fridge  -  and this hasn’t warmed up enough. But: It’s a sterling example of the genre, and it isn’t too sweet, and it smells gorgeous, and if it is a little too rich, that can be blamed on climate change. It’s an apple tart in a glass, both the baked fruit and the buttery puff-pastry crust – and it ends day-1 of tasting with a fine send-off.

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2021 Mandelgarten Riesling Spätlese

Another heavy bottle. There are too many of these.

 

And an Erste Lage, a sandy vineyard giving Rieslings at their least “fruity” and most…one could say wild, almost feral. And what can sometimes feel too austere in a dry form can really sing when sweet. As it does here. I wouldn’t have minded a bit less sweetness, but how much would that have taken from the riotously vivid aromas? (Nor is the residual sugar high at all, at least on paper.)

 

It’s all too easy to second guess the mind of the cellarmaster, tasting the bottled wine in my kitchen almost a year later. I’m sure the ’21 acids felt like a warning – don’t spare the horses. Acid will swallow sweetness. People who buy these wines sometimes want to wait many years to drink them, and a paucity of sugar will tire them too soon. But the more I drank this, the better balanced it seemed.

 

We have a zingy sort of Spätlese without the usual citrics or malics or stone fruits but with something resembling shrub made from every herb in your meadow.

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2021 Herrenletten Weissburgunder

I’m happy they sent this. In the interests of time, when I used to visit on buying trips, I often bypassed the Pinots (Blanc & Gris) just to make time for everything else. So, this Erste Lage wine is something new to me.

 

Many German estates offer Pinot Blanc to provide a dry wine that’s both lower in acidity and more neutral than Riesling, and these are hugely successful there. So what will Mr. Franzen make of this variety, our hero of the N-th degree of specificity?

 

In fact I like the wine quite well. It has the approachability of PB alongside the detail of M-C wines. It’s not the way I happen to like to drink Pinot Blanc, but that’s just my subjective preference. This is explicitly, emphatically varietal – if I were teaching varieties to students I’d use this to demonstrate “Pinot Blanc”  (before anything was done to it), and it’s certainly pleasurable to drink. Maybe more than just pleasurable. I need to get out of my own way sometimes….

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2021 Herzog Weissburgunder

As the above, this is another Erste Lage. It has a different structure, more tensile, more filaments and twigs and spices. It made me think of the Boxler PB from the Brand, perhaps the best in Alsace.

 

A curious wine. The things I like I really like; the minerality, the tension, the embedded richness, even the slightly-too-much treble. What perplexes me is the brevity, in the face of all that energy. It sings a clamorous song, and is exhausted. But not before it flings a phenolic bite at you as it’s taking leave. In the Jancis glass it asserts a Riesling-like stoniness, which at first is quite impressive, until it crashes into incoherence. You won’t notice this if you drink it with food.

 

However! I did not taste the two PB together, but rather one per day. I’ll retaste them as a duo and see what can be gleaned.

 

This I did two times, and each time I liked them even more. I used my “rounder” Spiegelau white-wine stem and found the wines singing. 

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2021 M-C Muskateller                                                                    +

I want to do my first run-through in two flights, so 12 wines per day – more than my usual tempo. This came near the end of day-1, as a reward for my enterprise (!). That’s because Catoir Muscat has been a totem-wine for me for the last thirty years. I think it is among the Great Wines of the world, not because it is exalted but because its very lack of (what we’d call) profundity is itself profound.

 

I wonder if Martin, tasting these wines over all the 20 vintages he has stewarded, ever thinks “Who could ever have imagined I’d be so good with this variety??” I have never quite found a Muscat equivalent to these wonders from Müller-Catoir. The Goldert from Zind-Humbrecht is the north-star for the variety, yet I doubt even that wine can approach this one in detail, psychedelic brilliance, and improbable varietal nuance. This is simply one of the very greatest not-great wines in the world!

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2021 Haardt Muskateller                                                            ++

To clarify (if needed) the so-called “Muskateller” is in fact the Gelber Muskateller, the yellow-Muscat or small-berried Muscat or, to reduce it to its essence, the effing difficult Muscat. My friends and I call it “the good one,” or would, if I had any friends who shared my ridiculous crush on this variety.

 

In effect this is the “GG” of Muscat, wherein its assertive varietality is (to some degree) subsumed into a general vinosity that has a boggling quality for the unwary taster. Here I must wonder….has any vintage of ZH Goldert been better than this? I love that wine, buy it whenever I can find it, order it in restaurants even if it doesn’t go with my food, yet this is at least its equal. 

 

Why? Iron, volcanic (black) salts, Thai basil, not to mention a virtually incomprehensible complexity of herbs – plus wild lavender – not to mention a subtle but discernible minerality, all leading to a cogently great example of this admittedly emphatic variety, which has never been nobler than it is here. The final mystery is the fragrance of peach in the empty glass, which let’s face it is completely batshit crazy.

 

I cannot fathom the poverty of my world if it didn’t contain wines like these.

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2021 M-C Scheurebe                                                                         +

A high-tones neon buzz of Scheu aromas, especially sage, savory and pineapple. It smells like it wants you to faint into it.

 

This is ridiculously good quality for a wine of this modesty. It’s deft, amazingly complex, both expressive and courteous, crazily herbal and citric and even mineral. Yes the finish is a little shrill – ’21 is not without its claws – but its discretion in the face of its absurd animation is almost without compare, as if the wine insists “Don’t mind me….” while it scatters the craziest most intricate flavors in its wake.

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2021 Haardt Scheurebe                                                                     ++

Village-quality now.

 

Look, it’s well known that I love Scheurebe; I loved it at first sip, at a long since vanished winery in Wachenheim back in 1978. Because I adore it, I don’t mind when it’s emphatic. It shows, at such times, a sort of noble profanity. A dally in the profane is good for a person, I think, and so I indulge both myself and the wines.

 

Sometimes, though, a Scheurebe can also show a delicacy and considerateness that seems to have no equivalent. You’d look to Sauvignon Blanc, and I often like Sauvignon Blanc (and sometimes love it) but SB speaks a wild kind of tongue, while Scheurebe will sometimes recite in a Riesling timbre.

 

I started to write “like this one…” but drew up, because this actually feints toward Grüner Veltliner in its slimmer more herbal dialects. (An aside: There are hack growers in Austria who’ve been known to deploy an enzyme that makes their GV taste like Scheurebe, and so the sorry circle is complete.) In any case 2021 is kind to Scheurebe, giving it a dialectic and discretion it doesn’t always show, while preserving its ornery varietality and also encouraging a refined tenderness that does make a guy think of Riesling. Only the acid bite of so many ‘21s obtrudes upon the eerie and tender affection of this almost-great beauty.

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2021 Haardt Sauvignon Blanc

Apropos of which…..

 

It’s one of the very few times I’ve thought this winery took a false step. SB is trendy, and while I wouldn’t ever accuse them of pandering, they do not need SB when they already make the world’s best Scheurebe. Or?

 

Bearing in mind, again, that ’21 seems to have been hostile to SB in Germany, this aroma is really uncouth on the heels of those lovely Scheus. The palate is excessively vegetal, and while it doesn’t careen about the room upending the bric-a-brac, it’s not a welcome guest.

 

They tried for a deftness here (and there seem to be a few grams of residual sugar in the mix…) but the glare of the Scheurebes cast a pitiless light on this fellow.

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2021 Herzog Rieslaner Auslese

Alc. A remarkable 11.5%, signaling either a not-very sweet wine or a massively ripe wine – so let’s see. 

 

Or let’s not see, for a fear this may be corked. There is massive botrytis, with which TCA can be confused….but this is, tragically, unmistakable.

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2021 Herzog Rieslaner Bereenauslese                                              ++

The signal genius of Martin Franzen, and of the proprietor who enables and applauds his work, is to render even the richest wines with the same sleek lines that move like calligraphy throughout the entire range. This can make a wine like this one both explicable and inexplicable.

 

Explicable because you can taste it; its flavors are not washed over by gooey blankets of fructose, and inexplicable because you are entirely defeated by the complexity of what you taste. If a wine like this doesn’t pin your shoulders to the mat, you never entered the ring.

 

Rieslaner can (and often does) reach mega-ripeness by dessication rather than botrytis. You gather clean raisins. I think that’s what I’m tasting here. Because this is more an orgasm of clean Rieslaner than a wine wrapped in a heavy cloak of noble rot. At this level of concentration the talk is “bananas” or plantains, within which is all the fundamental insanity of this astonishing variety. I’ll keep taking teensy sips of this over the next bunch of days, but on first approach the wine is galvanic rather than enveloping. It sends a bliss-taser to your palate. It shrinks you, until you are ecstatically puny.

 

2022
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