17 October 2009

Riesling Pur

A note in advance: Readers/subscribers likely will see a great deal of notes covering the wines of Weingut Kruger-Rumpf. Not only are they a sensational VDP estate, but they're an amazing family, whose sons and daughter have all become great friends of ours over the years. I simply can't recommend the wines enough-especially their scintillating reds and Grand Cru Rieslings-and the estate's restaurant may be the best in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. I have yet to meet its competition for exceptional quality, seasonal integrity, progressiveness (but not for its own sake), and rational pricing. A visit to the Rumpf family winery should be compulsory when you're exploring the lower Nahe region (the town of Muenster-Sarmsheim, where the winery is, sits next door to Bingen).

One of my favorite vineyards in the lower Nahe is the Muensterer Dautenpflaenzer, both for its candid, exotic forthrightness in youth and its potent, familiar smell of sweet Autumn. Back in August I had the good fortune to dive into the Rumpf's 2008 Dautenpflaenzer Riesling Spaetlese, an extraordinary bottle of late-harvest wine displaying wintergreen, pear, extremely ripe kiwi and apple mash on the nose, alongside the Dautenpflaenzer's typical scent of dried or even burnt leaves (there are at times faint traces of smokiness that I associate more with the slatey aspects of this site). Palate-wise, there is distinct structure, an electric liveliness, if you will, that creates an instant desire for another drink...NO sips here; just full-throttle gulps. There is an abundance of crackling acidity in this beauty, even a degree of grip that keeps all the tropical nuances taut and nimble, not cloying, gooey and boring. Lots of sweetness here though, but I'm struck by how sophisticated it is. When you bury your nose in the glass you still get the slightest hint of fermentation aromas. When you take the first gulp, however, any overt yeastiness has given way to an extremely polished, tropical-fruit-cocktail-meets-middle-of-the-forest-floor iteration of a truly Grand Cru site...the Muensterer Dautenpflaenzer. Folks, this is the stuff: Riesling, auf Deutsch. Drink up!

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