The heatwave-styled August 2019 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) has just been released.
This month, Decanter does exactly what it says on the cover. The two panel reviews are of Austrian Grüner Veltiner and Provence rosé, and it's noticeable that the cover goes to town on the latter and not the former (not surprisingly: more below).
The main story for us is that we have one of the two 95-point, Outstanding Provence rosés at a UK-best price (and it's hard to find in any event)! of £18.95. There's more detail below.
The wines featured this month in Decanter - and that we list - appear at the foot of this page. The reviews for each wine from this current Decanter appear on each product page.
First... rosé ... always a divider of opinion. For some (many?), it's not seen as 'proper wine'. This time last year, Decanter reviewed French-but-not-from-Provence rosés. We forcefully made the case then that rosé is not (at all) to be seen as not-very-good just because it's pink in colour.
Indeed, if that case is easiest to make anywhere, it's with the rosé of Provence, which has managed to define itself as the homeland - certainly in aggregate - of the world's best rosé. Provence, one might contend, has become to rosé what Champagne has long been to sparkling.
Some part of that is fine marketing and branding, of course: Châteaux Miraval and d'Esclans (they of Whispering Angel) have been paramount here. But much lies in superior (often higher/cooler) vineyards, careful vineyard management and superior rosé-making techniques. As said last year, much of the best/most elegant/refined rosé is made by the direct pressing/pressurage direct method. Here, where one is essentially making a white wine from red/black grapes, only the best-quality juice is used and this has a large impact on overall quality, albeit at a price (the volume of wine yielded is markedly lower when compared with the saignée method).
The Decanter review puts 90+ Provence rosés through their paces and finds two Outstandings of 95 points. Interestingly, although there are some 15 Highly Recommendeds (90+ points), none rise above 92 points, making the two Outstandings just that.
Ours is the Abacus 2018 from Domaine des Mapliers; it's categorised as a Cotes de Provence AOP, from Lorgues in the Var département. There's a bundle more info on the domaine, its owner etc on both their website and our product page.
It's a rosé minimalistically made (and very much made in the vineyard), so there's only so much one can say. But, crucially and manifestly, this is a very-well made rosé. It stands out, we would argue, for a few key reasons:
- it comprises a rare - and not insignificant/token - proportion of Cab Sauv, which adds a sense of something extra - body, flavour - than is typical. With Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache as the other components, this is a rosé of some substance.
- it's silky and smooth in a way that many rosés are not; and
- it's organically produced (seeking certification).
It's telling that the Abacus out-shines such major names as Châteaux Léoube and Minuty; it's also interesting that neither Miraval nor any of the Angels from d'Esclans were submitted for test.
Here's the Abacus's review:
Availability/delivery: we have 150 bottles that can be with you (in the UK) by Friday of next week (5th July) - beyond those, it's 2-3 weeks before new stocks will arrive from the domaine. So, if you want this to provide refreshment while watching the tennis/rowing/World Cup cricket/footy etc, we do suggest speed of ordering. We're not limiting order size, but it's worth saying that the domaine only have quite limited supplies left (it was a small harvest), so don't linger too long.
And beyond Provence rosé(s) altogether...
- Sorry, Grüner Veltliner fans: there are no Outstandings to report in the other panel review. In fact, nothing here cleared 92 points (and the three wines that did were ~£30 or more), although there was a huge stack of (37) Highly Recommendeds. All a bit of a surprise, really - we tend to associate GV with very high standards and quality indeed. Among the upper echelon of those Highly Recommendeds, we offer the 91-point Rabl Langenlois 2017 from Kamptal, offering really great value (doubly so for an Austrian GV) at £14.15.
- There's a look at organic and biodynamic wine production in Languedoc-Roussillon - La Roc des Anges' delicious Segna de Cor fares very well.
- An early look at the 2015 vintage of Barolo (and 2016 Barbaresco) reveals many gems: we seldom take emerging Barolo, but are pleased to offer the first new wines from E Pira (Mosconi), Conterno Fantino (Sori Ginestra) and the 94-point Vietti Lazzarito.
- We've made quite a fuss about La Rioja Alta's 'new' Gran Reserva (if such a thing can be said to exist for a wine of such age), the Viña Arana 2012 (its first vintage). Fresh from taking a Gold medal at the DWWAs. it gets a fine review and 92 points from Stephen Spurrier. We're also still a daftly good price on this!
- It's also gone a bit Tasmanian Fizz (see also: methode tasmanoise) this month, too. The outstanding House of Arras comes in for a feature, with both their super-premium (and catchily-titled) EJ Carr Late Disgorged and the more everyday Grand Vintage Brut landing very big scores indeed (98 and 97 points resp). At a rather more modest price-point below £20, Jansz's Premium Cuvée does very well in Weekday Wines.
- There are fine, fine Eastern European representations from Dobogo and Matosevic respectively in an Expert's Choice on Hungarian dry Furmint and a regional guide to Croatia. Both are superbly concentrated takes on their respective styles.
- Last but not least (especially where quality is considered), Dreissigacker's Morstein Riesling (Grosses Gewächs) 2014 tops the scores (96 points) and bill in a regional profile of Germany's revered Rheinhessen region.
Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition panel tasting of Provence rosé (see blue link below).
When Brigitte and Jean-Pierre Fayard first discovered Château Sainte Marguerite in 1977 it was love at first sight, and the beginning of an ambitious venture which was to inspire the whole family. Over the years the children, together with their spouses, became part of the project, each of them contributing their various skills across all the estate’s activities: viticulture, oenology, design, commerce…. A dynamic and close knit unit, the Fayard family is driven by enthusiasm, a sense of rigor, perseverance, and animated by a permanent quest for excellence.
Recognised since 1955, Château Sainte Marguerite is one of only 18 prestigious wine estates that have been awarded the status of Cru Classé of Provence. With their concern for the environment, the Fayard family are precursors in the field and have practiced 100% organic farming since 2003, certified by ECOCERT. Going a step further than organic agriculture, Château Sainte Marguerite’s production is 100% vegan, with no use of animal products or derivatives.
The Fayard family describe the Symphonie wines as "the fruit of a permanent quest for excellence and the skilful command of an exceptional terroir." This wine offers a good example of the best of Provence in an exceptional bottle of stunning design. Subtle and harmonious, it offers a gustative symphony that will render sublime your moments of pleasure and gastronomy.
It was made using Grenache 70%, Cinsault 30%.
This wine is floral and delicate with aromas of white flowers and passion fruit. Symphonie Rosé is a great wine for matching with food and is at its best when served with fine cuisine and high quality produce. Enjoy with truffle and scallop risotto, seafood, sushi and Thai dishes.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition panel tasting of Grüner Veltliner (see blue link below).
Located in the prestigious Kamptal-Donau wine region of Austria, Weingut Rabl is a byword for wines of the highest quality. The winery enjoys a vine growing tradition dating back to 1750. Now under the careful eye of Rudolf Rabl Jr. the estate comprises 100 hectares of the best hillside vineyards in and around Langenlois. The Kamp Valley has a unique microclimate and rich soils with an abundance of minerals. Rudolf Rabl combines these natural resources with sustainable practices in the vineyard and modern winemaking techniques to produce a multi-award winning range of complex wines.
The vineyards sites surround the town of Langenlois, providing the option of selecting grapes from cooler, more windy sites that yield wines with vibrant acidity and combining them with those of more sun-exposed terraces producing rich wines. The vineyards are situated on broad loess terraces that are up to 40m deep, which yield powerful wines with vibrant acidity and mineral elegance.
Cold conditions in February and March led to later-than-usual budding, which meant the buds were not damaged by late frosts. The second warmest spring since 1767 enabled the vegetation cycle to catch up. Flowering took place early at the end of May. The hot summer was characterised by drought, young and shallow rooted vineyards were irrigated to protect them from extreme stress. Cool air at the end of August helped to retain freshness. The harvest started in August and was completed by October, with healthy, ripe grapes providing beautiful varietal typicity; full bodied wines with moderate acidity.
The harvest for this wine took four weeks; a careful combination of different harvest states that ranged from fresh and fruity with good acidity levels to later harvested grapes which contributed richness and more body. The wine was fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks, preserving the unique characteristics of each terroir.
100% Grüner Veltliner.
Subtle apple and green pepper aromas through to a spicy and vibrant, full flavoured and clean palate. A spicy opening with subtle aromas of apple, soft honeydew melon through to a well defined, creamy body with good fleshiness and juicy cascading acidity. A dynamic palate with a savoury peppery spicy finish. A lovely example of the Grüner Veltliner grape. Perfect with regional Austrian dishes such as pan-fried meat (schnitzel) with potato salad but also delicious with grilled seafood and creamy risottos.
ABV = 12.5%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article on organic and biodynamic wine production in Languedoc-Roussillon (see blue link below).
Marjorie and Stéphane Gallet, both incomers from other parts of France (Côte-Rotie and Normandy, respectively), have constructed a biodynamic wine sanctuary (certified 2014) in the Vallée de l’Agly, a nearly deserted vineyard land dominated by co-ops and famous for producing fortified wines. The locals continue to abandon vines every year because the yields are tragically low and make it one of the most difficult places in France to make a living in vineyards.
Since she began the project in 2001 (at age 23), Marjorie’s intuitive and peaceful contemplation have resulted in wines that carry a signature of purity, focus and elegance unlike anything made in the region. They are low alcohol, hands-off, mind-on wines bottled by varietal from single sites on specific and unique soil compositions. In smell and taste, their structure and style more closely resemble that of their earthy and salty cousins from the middle of France’s Loire Valley.
Roc des Anges’ biodynamically farmed (since 2011) vineyards sit in one of the lowest yielding areas of the Roussillon in the Vallée de l’Agly, a north-facing amphitheater closer to the mountains than the sea and between the villages, Latour-de-France and Cassagne. Cool air from the mountains rushes in at night, creating an extreme diurnal shift, which contributes to the development of complexity in the grapes. Margorie said that the nighttime cold also makes it almost impossible to have a dinner outside, even during the summer. The sun, the intense winds and the nutrient-spare but character filled soils (mostly schist) all contribute to the concentrating of the grapes and their resulting wines.
Segna de Cor ('Blood of the Heart') is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan and 20% Syrah produced from the estate's youngest vines (15-30 years of age).
Technical: Whole bunch, manual harvest. A traditional press is used, exerting the mildest of pressure, extracting juice. Vinification is in concrete tanks ranging between 24 and 50hl, and the shape of the tanks and the level of the fill determine appropriately gentle extraction. Ageing takes place in two types of containers; concrete – which exalts the aromatic purity and freshness of the wine - and wood (for about 30-40% of the elevage) in the form of one-to-three year old barrels.
Dark cedar in colour. Aromas of blackcurrant, cassis and dark chocolate on the nose. These are joined by black cherry and spicy notes on the palate. Ripe tannins and a very smooth mouthfeel make this an excellent match with rustic stews and roast meats.
** THE NEW GRAN RESERVA FROM LA RIOJA ALTA!! **
Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition's Spurrier's Fine Wine World (see blue link below).
Quality, elegance, innovation, evolution... They are the pillars on which the five founding families erected La Rioja Alta winery in 1890 and built a way of living, feeling and producing wines of the highest quality that continue to evolve subtly, perfectly adapting to new tastes. This is how the permanent pursuit of excellence started; a pursuit that continues into the 21st century with identical enthusiasm. They draw the best from their winemaking tradition and wisdom — their own cooperage, manual racking, long ageing periods, etc — and combine it with the most modern winemaking technology. Today, La Rioja Alta wines are an international exemplar of the great wines of Rioja.
See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at La Rioja Alta.
The Arana 2012 is a brand new Gran Reserva from La Rioja Alta to complement its fabled 890 and 904 labels. It is not a rebadge of the Arana Reserva (although LRA have made that trickier to explain by plumping for a name already in use!), using, as it does, a different blend of grape varieties and drawn from different vineyards. The wine was named after one of the families that have long been at the helm of La Rioja Alta, a company founded in 1895. This wine will replace the original Arana Reserva, whose last vintage was 2011, and will only be made in vintages that meet the winemaker’s high standards.
95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano.
Dark-cherry red with a garnet-red rim. High aromatic intensity, with outstanding notes of ripe red fruit, red berries, wild strawberries and plum jam, leading to tertiary aromas from meticulous aging in oak: vanilla, cedar, tobacco, coffee, caramel and sweet patisserie notes. In the mouth, its initial freshness and structure, typical of this brand, predominate. Balanced, with soft, flavoursome tannins. Elegant, complex finish, where the ripe red fruit and balsamic notes provide a splendid end.
ABV = 13.5%.
** AVAILABLE IN APRIL. **
The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 review of the emerging 2015 Barolos (see blue link below).
E.Pira (e Figli) is a key player in the history of Barolo. The Pira family, whose members have been vignerons for generations, started producing and bottling wine at the end of the 19th century, receiving immediate recognition for their stellar quality
When the Pira lineage ended tragically with the death of Luigi Pira, the estate was sold to the Boschis family, of Giacomo Borgogno Figli. Chiara Boschis took the reins in 1990 with a clear vision of what she wanted to accomplish; to marry the extraordinary power of Barolo with approachability, enticing elegance, and lush, intense aromas. She vinifies exclusively from proprietary vineyards, located in the very best crus of Barolo: Cannubi, San Lorenzo, Via Nuova and Mosconi, for a grand total of 32 acres.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the team at E Pira.
ABV = 15.0%.
Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 review of the emerging 2015 Barolos (see blue link below).
The Vietti family has been producing wine for four generations in Castiglione Falletto, at the heart of the Barolo area. Carlo Vietti founded the winery in the 1800s and his son Mario and the next generations carried on his legacy, focusing on improving the production.
Then, in 1952, Alfredo Currado (Luciana Vietti’s husband) was one of the first to select and vinify grapes from single vineyards (such as Brunate, Rocche and Villero). This was a radical concept at the time, but today virtually every vintner making Barolo and Barbaresco wines offers “single vineyard” or “cru-designated” wines.
Alfredo is also called the “father of Arneis” as in 1967 he invested a lot of time to rediscover and understand this nearly-lost variety. Today Arneis is the most famous white wine from Roero area, north of Barolo.
Today, the winery is in the hands of Luca Currado Vietti and is considered to be one of the very best Piedmont producers. Their wines are highly sought-after, with beautifully designed labels as well as wonderful wine.
To see the winemaker's notes/information sheet for this wine, please click on the blue link below.
ABV = 14.0%.
** AT PRESENT, WE CANNOT OBTAIN THIS WINE (there is very little available in the UK). HOWEVER, THIS SITUATION MAY ALTER AND WE WOULD ADVISE CALLING US IF YOU ARE PARTICULARLY TRYING TO TRACK IT DOWN. **
Awarded Tre Bicchieri - 2020 by Gambero Rosso.
The 2014 was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Italy 2019 supplement as part of an article on Barolo (see blue link below).
Aldo Vaira's wines are characterised by pristine flavours and clearly defined perfumes. These characters are attributable to the position of his vineyards at about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne in the commune of Barolo. GD Vajra was established in 1972 and named after Aldo's father, Giuseppe Domenico. Aldo has been gradually increasing the area under vine to 60 hectares, of which 10 are Nebbiolo for Barolo, located in such strategic spots as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne. A traditionalist, Aldo adheres to old-style winemaking methods, though blends these with new techniques, such as temperature controlled fermentation, to produce such superbly elegant wines.
The 'Bricco delle Viole' vineyard is located at altitudes of 380-470 metres above sea level in the commune of Barolo and covers 4.79 hectares. One part of the vineyard is planted with vines which are now over 60 years old and yield less than 30 hectolitres per hectare. Its high altitude and long ripening season gives the wine an aromatic complexity and richness that is lacking in lower vineyards.
Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures up to 31°C and lasted four weeks, with regular pumping over. The wine was then matured for 42-48 months in Slavonian oak barrels.
Brilliant ruby red, this Barolo has aromas of cherries, dark berries, violets and dried roses with nuances of citrus fruits and mint. On the palate, there are silky tannins. The wine is well balanced with a long delicately spiced finish.
ABV = 14.5%.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition expert review of dry Hungarian Furmint (see blue link below).
Reviewed in The Times by Jane MacQuitty on Saturday 8th March, 2019 in her round-up, "Fancy a Furmint"? (see blue link below).
Tokaj is a region bordered by the rivers Bodrog and Tisza in the northeastern corner of Hungary, 120 miles from Budapest. It consists of 28 villages spread over the Tokaj hills at approximately 220 metres above sea level. Founded in 1869, the Dobogó estate is in the centre of Tokaj and today belongs to Izabella Zwack, the youngest member of the Zwack family (the producers of Hungary's famous liqueur, Unicum).
Grapes were grown in the 40-year-old vineyards of Betsek and Szent Tamás in Mád. Both vineyards are planted with three of the permitted Tokaj grape varieties - 60% Furmint, 30% Harslevelú and 10% Muscat Lunel, although for this wine, only Furmint was used. Yields were restricted using short spur pruning which ensured that the vines did not yield more than one kilogram of fruit per vine. Soils in this area are volcanic.
After the warm but rainy summer of 2016, grapes were harvested in September. The yields were lower than usual but the quality of the grapes was excellent.
The grapes were harvested by hand. Fermentation took place using natural yeasts in three and four-year-old Hungarian oak barrels of 300-500-litre capactiy. After undergoing battonage, or stirring of the lees, for a period of six months it was aged for one year before bottling.
This, according to winemaker Attila Domokos is one of the most lean and mineral Furmints in the history of Dobogó dry whites. It captures Mád, Tokaj and the philosophy of Dobogó excellently all in one. It is pale golden in colour and sparkles in the glass. The minerality of Tokaj appears undeniably on the nose, embroidered with fresh citrus and hints of orange peel. Rich and characterful on the palate.
ABV = 13.0%.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition supplement on Croatia (see blue link below).
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their May 2019 "Spurrier's Fine Winer World" (see blue link below).
Described by Steven Spurrier as “Croatia’s best winemaker”, Ivica Matošević has established himself as a force of nature in the country’s burgeoning wine industry. This is due to his unbridled passion, which led him to divert his career from a PhD in agriculture, to winemaking. This passion is reflected both in his wines, which are exuberant, fresh and true to their nature, and in what he has achieved for the reputation of Croatian wine. Widely recognised as one of the leaders of the quality revolution amongst his peers, he was instrumental in setting up the Istrian appellation and establishing the wildly popular annual wine fair which takes place there to promote the wines. We believe that Ivica’s view on his personal journey is reflected in his wine: “[I am a] better man today, more honest and common, more natural and more savage, all due to changes in my life circumstances.”
The grapes are sourced from the Brdo vineyard in Central Istria. The vineyard is afforded exceptional conditions – a Mediterranean climate, close proximity to Lake Butoniga and lots of sun. The steep southern slopes, at altitudes of 260-300 metres above sea level, are elevated away from the threat of frost. The soil composition of the vineyards is pseudogley on flysch. It is Matošević’s goal to slowly cut off the use of any chemicals by using a minimum of pesticides and no herbicides. Instead, mechanical cultivation is applied, as well as mulching between the rows. Only organic fertiliser is used to restore the soil’s balance. Strict pruning maintains low yields.
Before processing, the grapes were manually sorted before destemming, crushing and fermentation on the skins for up to two weeks. This was followed by a period of 15 months of ageing in French oak barrels. The wine was then further blended and aged in stainless steel vats prior to bottle ageing.
60% Merlot, 30% Teran, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wine has a lovely ruby complexion with hints of spice, black fruit and oak aromas on the nose. On the palate, it is dry with medium acidity and a full body. The flavours of red berries, sour cherries and chocolate bring this wine to life.
ABV = 13.0%.
Awarded 98 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article on Australian (and especially Tasmanian) Fizz (see blue link below).
As the pinnacle of House of Arras, EJ. Carr Late Disgorged is a wine of great intensity and character, with excellent structural elegance and flavour persistence. After 10 years on lees the wine has amazing complexity and yet retains the remarkable freshness of the character typical of a world class prestige cuvée. A true expression of Tasmanian terroir and impeccable winemaking - the 2004 vintage is only the seventh release of this wine.
Crafted with all the best winemaking and viticultural methods, including whole bunch pressing, primary fermentation on light grape solids, 100% malolactic fermentation of base wines to add sophistication and structure, and the inclusion of a small percent fermented in new French oak. Meticulous blending of only the best parcels of Tasmanian fruit and 10 years on lees has ensured this wine shows amazing complexity and yet continues to retain the remarkable freshness expected of a typical world-class prestige cuvée.
See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at House of Arras.
66% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot Noir.
A true prestige cuvée based on attributes of pristine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the finest Tasmanian vineyards, crystal clear in appearance with an enticing fine and persistent bead. This wine is medium deep straw in colour with a fresh gold hue. The bouquet displays lifted nuances of brown lime, butter biscuit and oyster whilst the palate reveals a complex flavour profile, exhibiting characters of honey, nougat, sourdough toast and truffle. A richly flavoured and intriguing palate, with a strong natural acid backbone, elegant structure and great persistence.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition review of Festive Buys (see blue link below).
In 1986, esteemed Champagne house - Louis Roederer partnered with the owners of Heemskerk Wines to produce Tasmania’s first premium vintage sparkling wine. They saw the similarities between the climate here and the famous wine region of their homeland. In 1997, the Hill-Smith family purchased the vineyard and began the journey that has seen Jansz Tasmania become the most highly regarded sparkling wine house in Australia.
The Jansz Tasmania vineyard sits to the northeast of the island state within the Pipers River region of the Tamar Valley. This cool little corner is colloquially known as ‘Sparkling Tasmania’. Temperatures here are moderated by close proximity to Bass Strait. The ocean breezes keep the temperature up during winter – minimising risk of frost, and down in summer – allowing our grapes to ripen slowly and develop intense, delicate and refined flavours. Resting on a bed of pure, red, free-draining basalt soils, the Jansz vineyard truly is the perfect site to grow grapes for world-class sparkling wines. At Jansz, the focus is on the vineyard.They believe the vineyard is where the wine is born. Every day during the growing season, the winemaker walks the vines and tastes the grapes to gain an intimate understanding of each of the twenty-three one-hectare blocks. This experience informs every decision Jansz make from picking to fermenting. That focus on the vineyard has been instrumental in establishing Jansz as Australia’s sparkling wine specialist.
Classical sparkling winemaking techniques are used here: grapes handpicked, gentle whole-bunch pressed, cool fermentation, 100% MLF, complex assemblage and extended ageing on lees after bottle fermentation all combine to produce a stylish and complex wine. In particular, to maximize blending options and complexity in the final wine, batches are kept separate during winemaking. Secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle and is aged on yeast lees for as long as possible. The perfect balance for the Premium Cuvée is reached at just over two years.
60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir.
Honeysuckle and citrus scents are immediately apparent with slight aromas of nougat, roasted nuts and a hint of strawberry from the Pinot Noir. A well-balanced palate of delicate fruits and creaminess fills the mouth with a lingering finish of citrus and nougat.
Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article on Germany's Rheinhessen region (see blue link below).
Jochen Dreissigacker has caused a considerable stir both in his native Germany and abroad, winning high praise and points wherever his wines are sold. His 21 hectares of vineyards are based in the Rheinhessen, which is currently undergoing what might be termed a 'Rheinhessen revival', with Jochen at its forefront. From the 2010 vintage, Jochen's wines all have organic certification and he also uses biodynamic methods for much of his estate (although he has chosen not to be certified). He reduced the yields in the vineyard to gain better concentration of flavour in the grapes and identified the best parcels of vines which he vinifies separately. As expected of an organic estate, his approach in the cellar is as natural as possible. He uses only wild yeasts to ferment the must and harvests only fully ripe grapes (rather than chaptalising, or adding 'süss-reserve' to sweeten the wines after vinification for the Auslese styles).
Dreissigacker has 1.2 hectares of 40-year-old vines in Morstein, the most prestigious vineyard site in Westhofen, with a great reputation for wines with fantastic ageing potential. The soils are clay-marl on a limestone subsoil and the vineyards are on a south-facing slope at altitudes of 180- 230 metres above sea level. Due to this relatively high altitude for the Rheinhessen and the vineyard’s exposure to cooling breezes, the grapes undergo a slow ripening process and retain the backbone of acidity which enables them to age so gracefully.
Due to warm, damp weather, the 2014 vintage was a challenging one. Budburst started in early April during a warm, dry start to spring. The flowering period was slightly earlier than usual, with great weather facilitating a good fruit set. An overabundance of rain in July and August (three times the normal amount in some areas) resulted in prolific growth in the vineyards, requiring a lot of canopy management. Despite all the wet weather, the grapes stayed healthy and achieved good must weights. A perfect start to September took an unexpected turn right before harvest, and rain forced fast picking to ensure the grapes were in by the first week in October. Quantity was on a par with the ten-year average and quality was very good, thanks to attention to detail and hard work in the vineyards.
The Riesling grapes were macerated on the skins for up to 60 hours prior to fermentation, this ensured maximum extraction of the aromas and flavours from the grapes. The must was then fermented with natural yeasts, 70% in 1200 litre oak barrels and 30% in stainless steel. Following a period of lees ageing, during which the wine gained further complexity, the 2014 vintage was bottled in September 2015.
A bright straw yellow with hints of gold. Intense and lifted aromas on the nose with a lean fruit character. The palate is extremely concentrated with a great acid balance and an attractive steeliness. The finish is complex, elegant and very long. This wine is drinking beautifully now but also has great potential to age for at least a further 15 years.
ABV = 13.0%.