Sunday, November 30, 2014

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER -- 2013s from Barrel, 2012s from Bottle

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny)
2013s from Barrel, 2012s from Bottle

This is one of the iconic domaines of Chambolle-Musigny with wines of finesse and overall sensuality. Unfortunately, demand has skyrocketed, and one is likely to find the wines only at speculative prices.

Fred Mugnier said that he began harvesting on 5 October. The week before, the sugars had been sufficient to permit harvesting, but the grapes felt too firm, so he waited. It was his latest harvest since 1984. He began with the Clos de la Maréchale vineyard in Nuits-Saint-Georges. He said that he did not have much rot at the beginning of the harvest, but after harvesting the Clos de la Maréchale , he could see that rot was developing very fast in Chambolle, and so took in all the Chambolle  grapes in two days.  Plenty of triage was necessary, and it was all done by the harvesters in the vineyard.

The grapes were entirely destemmed, and chaptalization added less than 1º of alcohol to each cuvée. Malolactic fermentations were slow, the last ones finishing only in September 2014. Overall, yields were barely above 20 hl/ha (1991, for comparison, was 19.25 hl/ha). He expects to bottle the wines earlier than usual.
Below are the wines in the order presented at the estate this past October 27:

2013 Chambolle-Musigny
This wine shows floral red fruits in the nose. The mouth is smooth, long, and elegant. The wine is not powerful or especially deep, but it has good length, displays lots of charm, and the acidity is well-integrated. As always, roughly half of this wine is made from grapes grown in the premier cru Les Plantes vineyard.  (87-90)

2013 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale
This sample is from the whole, assembled cuvée. The nose is earthy (in a positive sense) with some spice. The mouth is spicy with dark berries and shows some elegance, as well as firmness and well-integrated acidity. Like the Chambolle, this is not a powerful wine. The 2012 here (discussed below) seemed more typical of Nuits, but this vintage has reverted to showing the Chambolle origins of its producer. (89-92)

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Fuées
This vineyard is located just south of Bonnes-Mares. Some spice in the nose is followed by dark fruit and some spice in the mouth with more body than the previous two wines. Yet again, well-integrated acidities. (90-94)

2013 Bonnes-Mares
In 2013, Mugnier has but four barrels (1200 bottles) of Bonnes-Mares. The nose shows animality characteristic of Bonnes-Mares, and also refinement. The mouth has acidity that is more prominent than in the previous wines, but it will meld with time. The fruit is dark and intense with good depth, substance, and concentration here – the effect of the small yields is quite apparent. (91-95)

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Amoureuses
The nose is intensely floral – the roses one so often finds in Amoureuses. The mouth shows less fruit than I found in the Bonnes-Mares, but it is spicy and there is plenty of acidity showing. I expect this wine will need some time. (91-95)

2013 Musigny
This wine is the least evolved of Mugnier’s 2013s. It shows beautiful dark fruit and is rich, velvety, and quite concentrated, but here, too, the acidity is quite marked, although I have no doubt that it will integrate with time. (94-97)

2012 Chambolle-Musigny
The attractive nose has floral overtones. The mouth is round, generous, sensual, and harmonious with red fruits and some spice. I’d look to 2025-2040 for peak drinking. 92/A

2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Fuées
The Fuées has floral, earthy aromas that are quite attractive. The mouth is round, pure, deep, and complete – this may turn out to be the loveliest Fuées I’ve known from Mugnier. There are some tannins, so this is a wine for aging. I’d expect 2027-2047+ to be the prime drinking period. 93+/A

2012 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale
This wine is dark with more power than is usual for Mugnier’s Clos de la Maréchale, but the wine also has sensuality, roundness, and breadth. I’d look to 2027-2050+ for prime drinking. 94/A

2012 Bonnes-Mares
The Bonnes-Mares has attractive earthy aromas and flavors that one often finds in Bonnes-Mares. The mouth is more elegant and less powerful than that of the 2013 Bonnes-Mares, but there is very good concentration here. I’d look to 2030-2060 for prime drinking. 95+/A

2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Amoureuses
Although there are rose hints in the nose, it is largely closed when I sample this wine. The mouth shows roses, spice, and red fruits in a medium-full body with sensuality. Still, this wine needs time to develop and could be substantially better than I perceived it on this occasion. 93+/A
2012 Musigny
The Musigny is round, sensual, deep, dark, voluptuous, and complete. From cask the year before, I thought this the greatest Musigny I’d ever had from Mugnier, and I still think that may well be the case. But like all top Musignys, it will take 20 years at least to reach full maturity. I’d look to 2032-2072 for best drinking. 98/A+

2013 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale blanc
Mugnier’s white Nuits-Clos de la Maréchale is mineral with a touch of fatness, good acidity, and good promise here. 90/B+

2012 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale blanc

The 2012 version of this wine has finesse and none of the fatness one often finds in this vintage. The wine is airy and light with good minerality. One out of seven of the barrels was new. 91(+)/A-
2012 and Earlier Pfalz and Rheinhessen Wines

Below are notes for 2012 German wines that I previously have not reviewed and other late-released German wines. As 2013 (which I shall shortly be posting reviews on, was small and somewhat uneven vintage, and it appears that 2014 will not have been an easy vintage, readers should seriously look at remaining stocks of 2012.

GG is used as an abbreviation for Grosses Gewächs, a designation for top dry wines from top vineyards, but only those in the hands of members of the prestigious VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter) organization for Grosses Gewächs, the designation that the VDP uses for top dry wines of its producers from their top vineyards. As a result, though, vineyards such as the Maximiner Grünhäuser Abtsberg and Herrenberg of Dr. C. von Schubert cannot qualify for GG status because the estate is not a VDP member. Nevertheless, the vineyards and the wines are universally recognized as among the best in Germany. See for further information on GG

In the notes below, I have mostly used the wording given on the label I have seen. Thus dry = trocken, halbtrocken = off dry (but halbtrocken today usually means dry-tasting, and feinherb is usually used to designate an off-dry wine), Pinot Noir = Spätburgunder. Words in parentheses are not found (by me) on the front label, but are indicated on the back label. However, labels can vary significantly by market or shipment. Scores in parentheses indicate that I tasted a cask sample.

One increasing, and I think positive, trend is to label all trocken wines as QbA; it makes sense because a Kabinett trocken and an Auslese trocken are the same style of wine, which is not true with fruity-style Kabinett and Auslese.

The Pfalz wines, especially, are worth your effort to track down. This is overall the most successful vintage I can remember in the region since at least 1998.


2012 Riesling (trocken) 91/A-
2012 Eisbach Riesling (trocken) 91+/A-
2012 Hohen-Sülzen Riesling (trocken) 91+/A-
2012 Am Schwarzen Hergott Riesling    gg 93+/A
2012 (Hohen-Sülzen) Kirchenstück Riesling gg 93+/A
2012 (Nieder-Flörsheim) Frauenberg Riesling gg 93+/A
Hans-Olivier Spanier’s trocken is an outstanding entry-level wine. It is focused, tight, sleek, and mineral with outstanding dryness, purity, liveliness, and firmness. The Eisbach is rounder, fuller, and less dry-tasting. This wine is juicy, intense, focused, and mineral with excellent length and more complexity than the previous wine. The Hohen-Sülzen is stony and chalky in the nose. The mouth is intense with chalkiness and hints of red currants. The wine is less juicy than the Eisbach and not as austere as the first wine. Excellent length and good acidity here. We finish with a trio of equally outstanding GG’s, each reflecting its own origins. The Am Schwarzen Herrgott GG is dry, light, and fairly austere but with great depth. The Kirchenstück GG is dry and has more flesh than the previous wine with saltiness and a touch of spice. Last, the Frauenberg GG is medium-weight and dry with good acidity, a touch of iron, and excellent penetration.

2012 Riesling trocken 91/A-
2012 Riesling 1763 90/B+
2012 Westhofener Riesling trocken 92/A
2012 (Westhofener) Aulerde Riesling gg 94/A
2012 (Westhofener) Kirchspiel Riesling gg 95(+)/A
2012 Westhofener Riesling    alte reben 93+/A

2012 (Westhofen) Kirchspiel Riesling Spätlese 93+/A
Given the small quantity of wine that Fritz Groebe produces (he has 9 ha of vines after taking on 2 ha from an uncle who retired) it’s difficult to find his wine, but he consistently is one of the top producers in all of Germany, one that you should jump on, should you ever see the wines available. Fritz said that he sees 2012 as complementary to 2011 with no botrytis and classic wines. If it had occurred in the 1980s, it would have been touted as a vintage of the century. The trocken shows acidity that is outstanding without being aggressive. The wine is medium-weight and minerality with a touch of lime and outstanding overall balance. 12.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 015-13. The 1763 is the wine that in past vintages had been labelled Kabinett trocken. With the VDP now trying to make all its producers avoid Prädikats for their dry wines, the year that the estate came into the Groebe family is now used. These were the first grapes harvested in 2012, at 88º Oe. The wine shows light grapefruit peel aromas (possibly from the spontaneous fermentation). In the mouth, the wine is medium-weight, fleshy and dry with lightness and purity with long grapefruit flavors. It is a very good everyday-drinking wine. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 007 13. The Westhofener trocken is made up equally from grapes from the Aulerde and the Kirchspiel vineyards that are 10-25 years old. The wine is pure, crisp, dry, and very focused with its minerality. The Aulerde GG is light, pure and weightless with excellent acidity, dusty stoniness, a hint of butter that goes with the minerality. The wine is pure elegance. Some grapefruit and lemon-lime flavors. The Kirchspiel GG has floral aromas. The mouth is medium-weight and penetrating with minerality, and length. The wine is rockier and stonier than the Aulerde and attractively salty. It is a super wine. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 018 13. The Westhofener alte Reben is 60% from the Aulerde vineyard. 14.5 g/l sugar here, so the wine cannot by labelled trocken. Nevertheless, it is essentially dry-tasting. It is light on the palate with elegance, acidity, good penetration, roundness, quince fruit, and great length. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 013 13.

The Kirchspiel Spätlese doesn’t come across to me as especially sweet (95 g/l residual sugar, about 8 g/l acidity, no botrytis). The wine has great finesse and shows yellow fruits, fine acidity, and lightness. 7.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 014 13.

2012 Riesling trocken 86/C+
2012 Nierstein Riesling (trocken) 86(+)/C+
2012 Nackenheim Riesling (trocken) 88/B
2012 (Nierstein) Pettenthal Riesling gg 89/B
2012 (Nackenheim) Rothenberg Riesling gg 87(+)/B-

2012 Riesling Kabinett    jean baptiste 90/A
2012 (Nackenheim) Rothenberg Riesling Spätlese  91/A-
Alas, less inspiring than I had hoped here. This used to be one of the most exciting estates in all of Germany, but recent vintages have been variable; let’s hope that the old path can be recovered. The trocken is smooth with a bit of sugar showing(!). The wine nevertheless has some race to go with its golden plum fruit. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12 13. The Nierstein is entirely from fruit of the celebrated Pettenthal vineyard and the site of the GG vines, just the second selection. It shows red plum fruit and decent acidity. It is drier than the previous wine and even shows some crispness, but it si not exciting. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 07 13. The Nackenheim is more pronounced than the Nierstein with raciness, minerality, red plum fruit, and more liveliness. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 06 13. The Pettenthal GG is smooth with red plum fruit, saltiness, and some depth. It is a good wine, but not overly exciting. The Rothenberg GG is soft and introverted for a Rothenberg. It shows some red plum fruit and some saltiness, but no great depth or life.

The Kabinett “Jean-Baptiste” (in some markets, I believe this is sold as a halbtrocken) is off dry. It shows more depth, tightness, density, and crispness than the wines above. The fruit is dark and golden plums with some minerality. The weight is medium/medium-light. The Rothenberg Spätlese is sweet and intense with penetrating yellow plum fruit. The wine is smooth but not creamy. Acidity comes across as moderate to low, but sufficient. Importer: Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.

2011 (Nieder-Flörsheim) Frauenberg Spätburgunder   gg 93/A

2012 Scheurebe trocken 88+/B
2012 Riesling trocken 90(+)/B+
2012 nierstein riesling 88/B
2012 Riesling   von der fels 92/A
2012 (Nierstein) Pettenthal Riesling gg 93/A
2012 (Nierstein) Hipping Riesling  “r” 93/A
2012 (Westhofen) Kirschspiel Riesling   gg 95/A
2012 (Dalsheim) Hubacker Riesling gg 95/A
2012 (Westhofen) Morstein Riesling gg 95/A
2012 (Westhofen) Abtserde Riesling gg 95(+)/A
Klaus-Peter Keller has established himself as the Rheinhessen’s most celebrated producer, and as these wines show, there is a good basis to make the argument. Some of the finest dry wines of the vintage are from this cellar that is below an unpretentious house and literally down by the railroad tracks. Klaus-Peter (Klaus is his father) said that the quality jumped after the late October frost. We start with the 2011 Frauenberg Spätburgunder GG, bottled in August 2013, a late bottling by contemporary standards. The nose shows pure black cherries. The mouth has nice acidity and is medium-weight with pure black cherry fruit that is long, very elegant and fine.

The Scheurebe trocken is raised in a 2400-liter oak cask. The wine is entirely from 50 year-old vines in the Morstein vineyard. The wine has grassiness that is typical of Scheurebe and not offensive. The mouth is steely, mineral, light, and round with good supporting acidity. 12.5% stated alcohol. The trocken is from a selection of young vines in the Grosse Lage vineyards that formerly had been included in the von der Fels bottling. The wine is steely, mineral, and floral in the nose. The mouth is off-dry tasting, floral, steely, and light on the palate. The Nierstein is from land in Pettenthal and Hipping that was planted in 1978. The wine shows good acidity and is light, mineral, steely, and nervy, but only of medium intensity. 12.0% stated alcohol. The von der Fels shows some vanilla and flowery limestone aromas. The mouth is medium-light, elegant, and has fine acidity to go with great minerality, steeliness, and nervosity. 12.5% stated alcohol. The Pettenthal GG has dark plum aromas. The mouth features exciting acidity and is a bit edgy with the plum flavors. 12% stated alcohol. The Hipping “R” could not be a GG because it has 12 g/l residual sugar, above the 9 g/l limit. The wine tastes essentially dry and is light with a good mineral attack, length, and edginess. 12% stated alcohol. The Kirchspiel GG is from two parcels harvested before the frost and four harvested after it. Klaus-Peter believes that the later-harvested parcels gave extra complexity to the wine, but did not increase in sugar (that is, increase the alcohol). Certainly, beginning here we move to a new level and some of the greatest wines of the vintage. The Hubacker GG has more red in the soil, while the Hubacker has more yellow. The wine has flowery aromas. The mouth shows a bit more breadth than the Kirchspiel with acidity underneath, plum fruit, and purity. Keller’s Morstein GG is from gray and blue soils. The vines are at 180 meters above sea level. The wine is intense, pure, penetrating, elegant, deep, salty, and weightless, but it also has some power. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last, the Abtserde GG is the most refined, maybe the most open in the nose of these wines. It shows more body than the others, but it is still light on the palate with great density but finesse. 12.5% stated alcohol.  Importer: Dee Vine Wines, San Francisco.

2012 Oppenheim Riesling trocken 91(+)/A-
2012 Nierstein Riesling trocken 91/A-
2012 Nackenheim Riesling trocken 92/A
2012 (Niersteiner) Pettenthal Riesling gg 92+/A
2012 (Niersteiner) Ölberg Riesling gg 91/A-
2009 (Nackenheim) Rothenberg Riesling würzelecht    gg 89(+)/B

2012 trocken   gemischter satz 91/A
2012 was the first time in many years that the estate achieved a normal yield (55 hl/ha), said Caroline Gillot. Her husband, Hans-Oliver Spanier (of Battenfeld-Spanier) is responsible for these wines. All these wines are less than 13% alcohol. The Oppenheim trocken is in fact entirely from the Sackträger vineyard. Red plums dominate both nose and mouth. The wine is round, dense, and pure. The Nierstein trocken is from the Pettenthal and Ölberg vineyards. The nose shows lead pencil aromas. The mouth is relatively austere with golden plum fruit, but paradoxically, there is breadth here. The wine has good focus, and although perhaps not quite as crisp as the previous wine, there is good vivacity here. The Nackenheim trocken is entirely from the Rothenberg vineyard. The wine is from 12 year-old vines and from another plot recently acquired by Kühling-Gillot. The nose shows good crispness, power, and yellow plum fruit. It is medium-weight and dense with excellent depth to its golden and dark plum fruit, and it features very good energy and acidity. The Pettenthal GG is pure, intense, steely, and medium-weight with intensity and penetration. The Ölberg GG has density and spiced red plum fruit of good intensity and penetration. The Rothenberg “Würzelecht” GG is from ungrafted vines. It was crisp with good acidity in a medium-light body with length, some energy, and apple fruit, when I tasted the wine. I suspect it may be even better with time.

The trocken “Gemischter Satz” is a 50/50 mixture of Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The wine is bigger than one would expect from a Riesling and tightly-knit, and although spicy, the spiciness does not dominate the way it does in most Gewürztraminers. In short a good synthesis.

2012 Silvaner trocken 88/B
2012 Weissburgunder trocken 88/B
2012 Grauburgunder trocken 88/B
2012 Riesling trocken 90/B+
2012 Scheurebe trocken 91/A
2012 Siefersheim Riesling (trocken) vom porphyr 90+/B+
2012 Siefersheim Silvaner (trocken) 90+/A-
2012 Siefersheim Weissburgunder (trocken) 91/A
2012 (Siefersheim) Höllberg Riesling gg 93+/A
2012 (Siefersehim) Heerkretz Riesling   gg 92/A
Located near the northeast border of Rheinhessen, the wines here really have more relation to those of the Nahe (which is very close by) than to the majority of other Rheinhessen wines. Dan Wagner said that 2012 was a cooler year with a great September, even though one week was rainy and cool, and then there was a perfect October, finishing with rainy and gray weather in November. Overall, the year was cooler than 2011. He said the grapes were very healthy, had high acidity, and the alcohols were lower than in 2011. The Silvaner trocken is flowery and mineral in the nose and mouth. The wine is juicy, has good tension, and is delightful. The Weissburgunder trocken is round, racy, and steely. 12.5% stated alcohol. The Grauburgunder trocken is refreshing and steely, and in contrast to the style one usually finds further south, has no oak overlay. The wine is light on the palate with good acidity and length. 12.5% stated alcohol. The trocken is penetrating, light, nervy, mineral, and steely with good acidity. Last of the generic wines, the Scheurebe trocken is pure and crystalline with a bit of grapefruit and some spice in the nose. The mouth is nervy, steely, firm, and a bit floral with an excellent acidic attack. The wine is from a loam and porphyr-soil vineyard in Weinsheim that faces south.12.0% stated alcohol.

Passing to the village-designated wines, the Siefersheim “vom Porphyr” shows green fruits and is very mineral and nervy with penetration and a medium-light body. The wine is a blend from the Heerkretz and Höllberg vineyards; part of the wine is raised in large oak casks. The Siefersheim Silvaner has some butteriness in the nose to go with the floral notes. The mouth is smooth and creamy, but light and clear with length and minerality. 13.0% stated alcohol. The Siefersheimer Weissburgunder is very lively and energetic with some creaminess, excellent minerality and race, and good length. We finish with the two Grose Gewächse. The Höllberg GG was harvested before the frost. The wine has open peach aromas and also shows some peach skin. The mouth shows great complexity and minerality, medium-weight, and fleshy yellow peach flavors. In contrast to the Höllberg, harvest for the Heerkretz GG took place after the frost, and indeed the vines had lost all their leaves by the harvest time. The nose is more floral than that of the Höllberg. The palate is lighter and mor ethereal and shy than that of the Höllberg, but the wine has length and depth. 13.0% stated alcohol.  Importer: Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.

2012 Riesling trocken 89/B
2012 Westhofener Riesling trocken 92/A
2012 (Westhofener) Aulerde Riesling (trocken)    gg 93+/A
2012 (Westhofener) Kirchspiel Riesling (trocken)    gg 94(+)/A
2012 (Westhofener) Brunnenhäuschen Riesling (trocken)   gg 94(+)/A
2012 (Westhofener) Morstein Riesling (trocken)   gg 94(+)/A
2012 Riesling trocken  alte reben  “la borne” 96/A+

2012 Riesling Auslese 94+/A
Philipp Wittmann is on my short list of greatest white wine producers on the planet. His wines are naked Riesling in its purest form, and I urge all readers to make an effort to locate some to try for themselves. The entry-level trocken shows good acidity, is crisp, medium-weight, flowery, and stony. This wine is mostly from the Morstein vineyard. 12% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 06 13. But there is a serious uptick in quality with the Westhofener trocken. The wine is creamier in texture, medium-weight, more expressive and more limestone-influenced with floweriness. The wine has enough length and acidity and shows saltiness. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 012 13. The Aulerde GG is pure, stony, and deep with plenty of attack. The wine is medium-weight, dry, and deep with limestone-influenced fruit. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 016 13. The Kirchspiel GG is crisp, pure, and direct with perhaps a touch less weight than the Aulerde. The wine shows length and saltiness and should develop well. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 17 13. The Brunnhäuschen GG comes from the same area that Klaus-Peter Keller calls Abtserde. There is some red in the soil here. For now, production at Wittmann is small – there are more vines planted, but for the moment they are young. The wine is finer than the Kirchspiel but less open. The limestone floweriness comes through, as well as an attractive saltiness. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 018 13. Wittmann’s Morstein GG is rounder and shows more stoniness and a bit more power than the Brunnhäuschen but is still elegant and has a very good attack. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 19 13. The La Borne is from old vines in the Morstein vineyard at 300 m altitude. Just a few hundred bottles are produced and it was sold at the Bad Kreuznach auction. The grapes here were picked later than most of the others – along with the last grapes from the Morstein. It is simply a great wine that is pure, ripe, and penetrating with great acidity and minerality to go with the limestone stoniness, nervosity, and length in both the mouth and on the finish. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 22 13.

The Auslese is entirely from grapes in Witmmann’s Grosse Lage vineyards. The nose is steely with botrytis and honey scents. The mouth shows gripping acidity and is medium-light with good penetration and long apricot/nectarine flavors. Importer: Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York.


Geheimer Rat Dr. von BASSERMANN-JORDAN
2012 Riesling 89/B
2012 Forst Riesling 89/B
2012 Ruppertsberg Riesling 90/B+
2012 Deidesheim Riesling 90/B+
2012 Deidesheimer Kieselberg Riesling 91+/A-
2012 Deidesheimer MÄushöhle Riesling 91/A-
2012 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling   ziegler 92/A
2012 Deidesheimer Grainhübel Riesling 93/A
2012 Riesling trocken    auf der mauer 92/A
2012 (Deidesheimer) Kalkofen Riesling gg 94/A
2012 (Deidesheimer) Hohenmorgen Riesling gg 93/A
2012 (Forster) Pechstein Riesling gg 94/A
2012 (Forster) Ungeheuer Riesling gg 94/A
2009 (Forster) Jesuitengarten Riesling gg 95/A
2012 (Forster) Kirchenstück Riesling gg 95/A

2012 Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen Riesling Auslese 95/A
2012 Gewürtztraminer Auslese 94/A
If one wants a demonstration of the greatness and consistency of the 2012 vintage in the Mittel-Haardt region of the Pfalz, one need look no further than this lineup. The estate is working along biodynamic methods, although its certification is only organic. Maximum yields for the Grosse Lage vineyards were 30 hl/ha or less, and the wines are notable for their great extracts. The wines of the first set are all dry, although I could find no mention of it on the label. As such, they represent the evolving norm, especially for the southern regions of Germany, that a wine is dry unless otherwise indicated. If you see an alcohol in the 11 or 12% level, it will almost invariably be dry. The Riesling is medium-weight, dry and shows a good attack with crispness and minerality. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13 13. The Forst is round and mineral with good acidity, length, and structure. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 90 13. The Ruppertsberg has floral aromas, especially almond blossoms. The mouth is lighter than that of the Forst, round, and floral. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 48 13. Bassermann-Jordan’s Deidesheim is crisp, light, penetrating, elegant, and direct. 12.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 56 13. The Deidesheimer Kieselberg is stony with white peach flavors. The wine is medium-weight with some power, and it has length and penetration. 12.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 84 13. The Deidesheimer Mäushöhle has a bit of juiciness and is medium-light and elegant. 12.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12 13. The Forster Ungeheuer “Ziegler” is from a part of the vineyard that can make excellent wine but Bassermann-Jordan prefers not to include it with its other vineyard locations that make up the GG Ungeheuer. The “Ziegler” refers to the pre-1971 name of this part of the vineyard. The nose shows white peach and floral elements. The body is medium-weight and the wine is dense with very good length. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 22 13. The Deidesheimer Grainhübel has powdered elements in the nose. The wine is dense, smooth, round, and very elegant, pure, and long. This is of GG quality, even though it does not qualify as a GG. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 02 13. The trocken “Auf der Mauer” is young vines from the Grosse Lage vineyards. The wine is raised in large oak casks, some barriques, and some stainless steel tanks. It has a smoky nose. The mouth is medium-full and has medium power to go with peach flavors and minerality. It makes a good transition to the GG wines. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 59 13. The Kalkofen GG is smoky and mineral in the nose. The mouth is medium-weight with minerality and long yellow peach fruit. It is a voluptuous wine. 13.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 43 13. The Hohenmorgen GG is round with melon and peach fruit, a chewy texture, and there is some creaminess, too. The Pechstein GG is rich, deep, and pure with nice acidity, depth, length, and fig fruit. The Ungeheuer GG has peach blossom aromas. The mouth is dense with peach flavors that are pure. The wine is round and balanced. The plot from which the Jeuitengarten GG comes is in the center of the vineyard. The nose is chalky and floral. The mouth shows some saltinessto go with long plum fruit, and the wine shows finesse. The Kirchenstück GG is pure and light with finesse on the palate. The wine is round with peach fruit, a touch of tropical fruit, and it has notable length.

The Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen Auslese was picked at the same time as the Hohenmorgen GG, mid-October. The grapes here came in at about 115-118º Oe. The wine is creamy, medium-full, and long with elegance, peach skin flavors, and overall harmony. Last, the Gewürztraminer Auslese has typically spicy aromas and flavors. The wine is creamy, medium-sweet, and also shows vanilla and tropical fruit flavors.10.5% stated alcohol.

Reichsrat von BUHL
2012 Riesling 88/B
2012 Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker Riesling trocken 89/B
2012 Deidesheimer Kieselberg Riesling trocken 90+/B+
2012 Forster Musenhang Riesling 90+/B+
2012 Deidesheimer Mäushöhle Riesling 91/A-
2012 Riesling trocken   f.p. buhl 91/A-
2012 (Ruppertsberg) Reiterpfad Riesling gg 92/A
2012 (Forst) Ungeheuer Riesling gg 93+/A
2012 (Forst) Kirchenstück Riesling gg 93(+)/A
2012 (Forst) Jesuitengarten Riesling   gg 92+/A
2012 (Forst) Pechstein Riesling gg 93/A
Although labelled Riesling only, the wine is essentially dry with minerality and the nose and the mouth. It is a good entry-level wine. 11.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 30 13. The Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker trocken is a bit broader and shows a little sweetness to my sweet-sensitive palate. The wine has nice acidity, a smooth texture, and good length. The Deideshimer Kieselberg trocken, from white pebbly soils (Kieselberg means pebbly mountain), has mineral aromas. The mouth shows a step-up in quality with elegance, smoothness, cherry fruit, and length. The Forster Musenhang is from black volcanic and chalk soils. The wine shows more structure and attack than the previous wines with yellow peach fruit and minerality. It is tangy. The Deidesheimer Mäushöhle is from sandstone soils. The wine is smooth, mineral, and round with depth, nice acidity, and length. The trocken “F. P. Buhl” is 95% from the great Ungeheuer and Pechstein vineyards. It gives an introduction to GG quality at a lower price and maybe earlier maturity. It shows fig leaf aromas. The mouth has firmness and is dry with good length in a medium-light body with peach and plum flavors. Moving to the actual GG’s, the Reiterpfad has lemon blossom aromas. The mouth is medium-weight, a bit chewy, and has long lemon flavors. The Ungeheuer GG is a bit nutty in the nose. The mouth is medium-weight, nervy, and round with white peach fruit. Buhl’s Kirchenstück GG has floral aromas. The mouth shows peach and tropical fruits with medium-weight, and the wine has depth and penetration. The Jesuitengarten GG is floral with peach blossom fruit in the nose. The mouth shows good acidity and nervosity and is medium-light. Last, the Pechstein shows good acidity, purity, and roundness. The wine has floral and peach flavors. Importer: Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.

2012 Riesling (trocken) 90/B+
2012 Ruppertsberg Riesling (trocken) 90/B+
2012 Gimmeldingen Riesling (trocken) 91+/A-
2012 Könisbach Riesling (trocken) 92/A
2012 Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling (trocken) 93/A
2012 Gimmeldinger Bienengarten Riesling (trocken) 93/A
2012 Gimmeldinger Kapellenberg  Riesling (trocken) 93/A
2012 Königsbacher Ölberg Riesling (trocken) 92+/A
2012 (Ruppertsberger) Reiterpfad Riesling gg 92+/A
2012 (Gimmeldinger) Mandelgarten Riesling gg 93/A
2012 (Königsbacher) Idig Riesling gg 93+/A

2011 Spätburgunder 89/B
2009 Spätburgunder  sc 92/A
2009 Königsbacher Ölberg Spätburgunder 90(+)/B+

2012 Weissburgunder 90(+)/A-
2012 Gimmeldingen Weissburgunder 90/A-
2012 Gimmeldingen Bienengarten Weissburgunder 90+/A-
Stefan Christmann began converting the estate to biodynamics in 2002, quite early for Germany, and received the first certification in 2006. As of September 2013, 75% of the estate was certified biodynamic. It seems each year the wines get better – consistent with my observations of other estates that have converted to biodynamics. He described 2012 as having good yields for Riesling, in fact, ideal yields; the Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) yields he characterized as a bit low. The trocken is the first level of Christmann’s Rieslings. It has floral aromas. The mouth is mineral and crisp with some roundness and some Pfalz meatiness, all supported by excellent acidity. 11.8% alcohol. The next level of Christmann’s Rieslings is the village level. The Ruppertsberg is round with some voluptuousness and some spice. The fruit is still undeveloped, but the wine is promising. This comes from Christmann’s warmest site – pure sandstone, no valley, and the longest exposure to the sun. 12.5% stated alcohol. The Gimmeldingen is from soil similar to that of the Ruppertsberg but with a bit more clay. The wine is more mineral, nervy, and steely with a bit of spice, medium weight, and good penetration.  12.0% alcohol. The Königsbach trocken is stony and flowery in the nose. The mouth is deep, penetrating, medium-light and nervy with apple flavors and outstanding acidity. 12.5% alcohol. In Erste Lage, the Deidesheiemer Paradiesgarten shows a bit of honey in the nose, but this is not botrytis. The mouth is medium-weight and smooth with excellent acidity and the wine is long, pure, and shows finesse. 12.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 027 13. The Gimmeldinger Bienengarten is entirely from sandy clay soils – no limestone here. The wine is a little heavier and spicier than the Paradiesgarten with good firmness and smoothness on the palate. It can still use a little time to develop. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 020 13. Christmann’s Gimmeldinger Kapellenberg is round and seemingly weightless in the mouth but intense with silkiness, clarity, excellent length, and some steeliness. This is superb wine. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 021 13. The Konigsbacher Ölberg is more mineral than the previous wine, lighter, piercing, very direct, and salty. Outstanding. 13% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 024 13. Passing to the GGs, the Mandelgarten GG has floral aromas. The mouth is a bit salty, the wine is medium-weight, and it shows melon fruit. The Idig GG has chipped stone aromas. The mouth is medium-weight, compact, firm, austere, deep, and penetrating. The wine still needs time but it should be outstanding, if not great.

Christmann is also one of the Pfalz’s top Spätburgunder producers. The 2011 Spätburgunder has pure red fruits in the nose and mouth with a bit of spice, good acidity, and medium weight. Last digits of A.P. Nr.L: 600 12. 13.0% stated alcohol. The 2009 Spätburgunder “SC” is from vineyards in Gimmeldingen. The wine shows a bit more oak on the nose. The mouth is salty, medium-weight, and pure with dark and red berry fruit. The wine shows good length and excellent balance and finesse. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 620 11. The  2009 Königsbacher Ölberg Spätburgunder shows more toastiness to its oak aromas, and the wine is rounder and toastier in the mouth with re berry fruit. With time, I expect better integration of the oak. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 624 11.

Christmann also has a deft hand with one of the Pfalz’s other specialties, Wieissburgunder. The Weissburgunder is very steely, racy, pure, and mineral with lemon-lime flavors, saltiness, and medium weight. The Gimmeldingen Weissburgunder has salty aromas. The mouth is asalty and shows lemony fruit. The wine is light and pure, and also less steely than the previous wine. The Gimmeldingen Bienengarten Weissburgunder is round, medium-weight, smooth, and shows some creaminess. This wine needs a little more time to show its best.

2012 Kallstadter Riesling trocken 90/B+
2012 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Kabinett trocken (90-93)
2012 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Spätlese trocken (91-95)
2012 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Auslese trocken (91-95)

2012 Kallstadter Weissburgunder Kabinett trocken (88-92)
Just another year of excellent wines at this estate sought out by those who have the deepest appreciations of Pfalz wines. Koehler-Ruprecht’s Kallstadter Kabinett trocken is smooth, rich, and oily with good acidity and length. The wine shows a bit austere young but should develp more with time. The Kallstadter Saumagen trocken has mineral aromas. The mouth is round and smooth with plenty of extract. The wine shows length, finesse, concentration, and finesse, as well as stoniness and elegance. The Kallstadter Saumagen Spätlese trocken moves to a different level. The nose is stony, even stonier and more mineral than that of the Kabinett. The mouth is light, pure, elegant, intense, and deep with dontyness that is focused. The acidity is excellent and there is length to this wine. The Kallstadter Saumagen Auslese trocken is less stony in the nose than the Spätlese. The wine is mideum-full and oily with just the slightest amoiunt of sugar showing to my sugar-sensitive palate. The mouth is long, pure, and stony.

The Kallstadter Weissburgunder Kabinett trocken shows peanut and walnut aromas. The mouth is medium-weight with a little sucrosity. This wine is not as racy as Weissburgunders from further south in the Pfalz, but there is elegance here. Importer: LDM Imports, New York.

2012 Riesling halbtrocken 87/B-
2012 Gleisweiler Scheurebe trocken 91/A
2012 Burrweiler Gelber Muskateller trocken 91/A
2012 Riesling-Gewürztraminer Spätlese trocken 91+/A
2012 (Gleisweiler) Hölle Riesling gg 92/A

2012 Riesling Kabinett 89/A-
2012 Gleisweiler Hölle Riesling Spätlese 92/A
2012 Burrweiler Schlossgarten Rieslaner Spätlese 92/A
2012 Flemlinger Herrenbuckel Gewürztraminer Auslese 95/A
This is one of the up-and-coming Pfalz estates from the southern part of the region that until relatively recent times was relegated to making anonymous wines for cafés. 2012 was the first full vintage that Regina Minges worked with her father. I am impressed by her enthusiasm and approach to wine and am sure that as she gradually takes over, there will be no drop-off in quality. She noted that in 2012, there was plenty of air between the grapes, so botrytis was not a problem. She compared the vintage to a combination of 2009 for breadth and power and 2008 and 2010 for acidity. The halbtrocken has grapefruit elements with very good acidity. The wine is medium-light and not complex, but is very good for what it is. 10.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 12 13. The Gleisweiler Scheurebe trocken is from limestone soils and vines that are about 35 years old. The nose shows grapefruit and herbal aromas. The mouth is crystalline and light with pure grapefruit flavors that are very clear and the wine shows good acidity. It is a wine of charm. 12% stated alcohol. The Burrweiler Gelber Muskateller trocken is spicy with some black pepper in the nose. The mouth is crisp, light, and penetrating. It is almost weightless in the mouth, and the spice is not overwhelming, the way it sometimes can be with Muscat. Like the Scheurebe, this is a wine of charm. 11% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 05 13. The Riesling-Gewürztraminer Spätlese trocken is most interesting. 87% of it is Riesling from the Hölle vineyard, and the remaining 13% is Gewürztraminer. The wine is dry and penetrating with more energy than any of the other wines here but without being overly spicy. The fruit is lemony. Last, the Hölle GG has a nose of hayfields in late summer – a characteristic of its colored sandstone soils. The mouth shows good grip with depth and plenty of minerality. The wine is long and crisp with density but also elegance, but it also needs time in the bottle.

The Kabinett is lightly sweet, with apples and some apricots. Regina says that the goal is for the sugar to bring out the fruit, and that is well accomplished here. 9% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 35 13. The Gleisweiler Hölle Spätlese has more weight than the Kabinett but still conveys a feeling of lightness, and it is also in a drier style. The wine is smooth and round with apple and incipient apricot fruit as well as a bit of tropical fruit. This is more elegant and feminine than the Mittel-Haardt Spätlesen around Deidesheim and Forst. The Burrweiler Schlossgarten Rieslaner Spätlese has floral peach blossom aromas. The mouth shows apricot fruit and quite a bit of power. The sweetness shows through, here: Minges considered bottling this wine as an Auslese, and it indeed can be served as a dessert wine. 10% stated alcohol. The Fleminger Herrenbuckel Gewürztraminer Auslese has plenty of cinnamon spice in the nose. The mouth is dense with lots of glycerol and intense cinnamon and all spice flavors that are notably long. The wine is actually dry on the palate and incredibly intense – a single glass is enough, but it is a remarkable wine. Minges has an interesting procedure for its Gewürztraminers: grapes from the shady side, which are pink-colored, are used for Spätlese, while those on the sunny side, which ripen to yellow color, go into the Auslese. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.

2012 Riesling trocken 90/B+
2012 Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker Riesling trocken 92/A
2012 Forster Musenhang Riesling trocken 92+/A
2012 Deidesheimer Leinhöhle Riesling trocken 91(+)/A-
2012 Wachenheim Gerümpel Riesling trocken 91(+)/A-
2012 (Deidesheimer) Kieselberg Riesling gg 94/A
2012 (Forster) Freundstück Riesling gg 92(+)/A
2012 (Forster) Pechstein Riesling gg 94/A
2012 (Forster) Ungeheuer Riesling gg 94/A
2012 (Forster) Jesuitengarten Riesling gg 95/A

2012 Forster Riesling Kabinett 92/A
2012 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Spätlese 93+/A
The great estate is now being operated organically, and the wines could scarcely be more impressive. Overall for the dry wines, the GG’s are broader and calmer, while the Erste Lagen and estate Riesling are crisper.  The entry-level trocken is already a fine achievement. The wine is lively, pure, balanced, intense, and mineral with just the slightest tropical hint to the fruit. The wine shows good balance and freshness. The Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker trocken has a pure stony nose. The mouth is medium-weight with good acidity, minerality, depth, and length. Mosbacher’s Forster Musenhang trocken is rounder with more lemon-lime expression to go with the minerality. The wine feels weightless in the mouth and has outstanding length. The Deidesheimer Leinhöhle trocken is medium-light in the mouth with a touch of butteriness, nice acidty, and linear development with a stonier presentation than the previous two wines. The wine has lovely finesse to its acidity. The Wachenheimer Gerümpel trocken, from a new acquisition by Mosbacher, is flowery and dusty in the nose. The mouth has a beautifully elegant finesse with a touch of floweriness. It is a touch broader in the mouth than the preceding wines. With such an outstanding set of opening wines, the bar has been set high for the GG’s, but Mosbacher comes through with one of the finest sets of GG’s of the vintage. The Kieselberg GG has floral aromas that are pure delight. The mouth is full with power combined with elegance, peach fruit, and subtlety. The Freundstück GG has floral and nectarine aromas. The mouth is broad but elegant with slight creaminess, and nectarine fruit beginning to come out. It gives the impression of lower acidity than the others, for with I mark it down slightly, but others will not necessarily do the same. The Pechstein GG features the yellow peach aromas characteristic of this vineyard. The mouth is focused with the yellow peach flavors expressed in a medium-weight body of good density, intensity, and balance. The wine is just short of creamy in texture. Delicious as it is now, there is a long evolution ahead here. The Ungeheuer GG has peach blossom aromas. The wine is more powerful but not quite as borad as the previous wine, with yellow peach and nectarine fruit, good acidity, and length. Last of the GG’s is the magnificent Jesuitengarten. The nose has great beauty in its complex floral combinations. The mouth has pure peach fruit – it is like biting into a perfect peach. The wine has great length, elegance, weightlessness, all bound together by superb balance.

In the fruity style, the Forster Kabinett is off-dry with peach fruit, minerality, a medium-weight body, and roundness. It is an immensely satisfying wine. 10% stated alcohol. The Forster Ungeheuer Spätlese has peach skin aromas. The mouth is round and not overly sweey with penetrating, mineral nectarine fruit. It is a most elegant wine. Importer: Peter Weygandt, Unionville, PA.

2012 cuvée noir (trocken) 84/C
2012 Friedelsheimer Pinot Noir St. Laurent (trocken) 86/B
2012 Dürkheimer Pinot Noir (trocken) 86+/B-
The Cuvée Noir is a mixture of Lemberger, Dornfelder, and Merlot. It is an innocuous wine, not showing much character, but not showing anything objectionable, either, to its dark fruit in a medium-weight body with a smooth texture. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 42 13. The Fiedelsheimer Pinot Noir St. Laurent, a combination of Pinot Noir and St. Laurent, is similarly dark, smooth, round, and medium-weight, providing rustic pleasure, but not a lot of precision or complexity. 14.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 45 13. The Dürkheimer Pinot Noir is typical of so many German Pinot Noirs in its initial earthiness. Ideally, you’ll want to give this wine 4-5 years, at least, in the bottle, but if you must open it now, decant it an hour or two before serving to allow the earthiness to blow off, and be sure to serve it, as you should a Pinot Noir from anywhere, cool. The wine is medium-dark in color but transparent. It is medium-light in weight and opens to show raspberry and strawberry fruit that is direct, but not especially complex. Acidity is correct, and I detect no new oak (which doesn’t mean that there isn’t any). It shows that Pflüger is someone to watch for Pinot Noir. 13.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 08 14. Importer: Valckenberg, International, Jenks, OK.

2012 Muskateller trocken 90/A-
2012 Riesling dry 92/A
2012 Birkweiler Riesling 91/A-
2012 Riesling    vom buntsandstein 93/A
2012 Riesling    vom  muschelkalk 94/A
2012 Birkweiler Riesling     vom rotliegenden 94/A
2012 (Siebeldinger) Im Sonnenschein   “ganz horn” Riesling gg 95/A
2012 (Siebeldinger) Im Sonnenschein Riesling gg 95+/A
2012 (Birkweiler) Kastanienbusch Riesling gg 95+/A

2012 Pinot Blanc trocken 92/A
2012 Siebeldinger Weisser Burgunder trocken   vom muschelkalk 93/A
2012 (Birkweiler) Mandelberg Weisser Burgunder  gg 92+/A
2012 Im Sonnenschein Weisser Burgunder   gg 93+/A
Since Hans-Jörg Rebholz is one of the very great producers in Germany, not just in the Pfalz, it comes as no surprise that here one can truly see just how great the 2012 Pfalz vintage was – not just for the GGs, but across the board. Harvesting took place here from end of September to mid-November. We start with a Muskateller trocken from Yellow Muscat grapes. The wine shows spicy aromas, but they are not overwhelming the way they can be with some Muscat wines. The mouth is light, tight, intense, firm, and dry, but not austere. 12.0% stated alcohol.

Turning to Riesling, the dry has apple blossom aromas and a great attack with floral and green apple flavors, intensity, purity, clarity, and crackling acidity. The wine is medium-weight. It is simply a superb entry-level Riesling. The Birkweiler is from the Kastanienbusch vineyard. It has floral notes in the nose. The mouth is lighter than the previous wine with great acidity. The wine feels weightless on the palate. The vom Buntsandstein is from red sandstone soils. The wine has acidity and penetration but not as much attack as the first Riesling above. It is medium-weight with depth, slight celery seed flavors, and it is a complete wine. The vom Muschelkalk is from soils made of limestone from shellfish shell deposits. The wine has floweriness in the nose typical of Riesling on limestone soils. The wine shows the lightness of the Muschelkalk with power and elegance combined, freshness, saltiness, all coming together in an amazingly attractive package. The vom Rotliegenden is sourced from the Kastanienbusch vineyard. The grapes were harvested with a brass/copper color. The nose suggests some new wood, but in fact there is none here. The flavors are strawberries with some small herbs with restraint and balance, excellent acidity and some smoothness. The attack is less obvious than that of the Buntsandstein. The GGs that follow are wines to cellar 10-12 years before drinking, but they continue up the level of fabulous here. The “Ganz Horn” Im Sonnenschein GG is medium-full with lots of density but also some richness. The wine is intense and pure – classic Rebholz. 12.5% stated alcohol. The Im Sonnenschein GG shows plenty of acidic attack and density with power but also restraint, along with green apple fruit. Rebholz’s Kastanienbusch GG has great acidity and is not quite as full as the other two GGs. It has great attack with loads of minerality and even some iron.

There are amazing Pinot Blancs (Weiss Burgunders) that come from the Pfalz, and Rebholz is one of the leaders here, too. All these wines are raised in stainless steel tanks. The entry-level Pinot Blanc trocken is from the limestone Muschelkalk. The wine is racy and pure with a touch of butter, plenty of steeliness, a medium-light body, great penetration and great acidity. Like the Riesling dry, it is far beyond what one could reasonably expect from an entry-level wine. The Siebeldinger Weisser Burgunder trocken “vom Muschelkalk” is racy, electric, and pure with lemony fruit that is penetrating and light in the mouth, all supported by crackling acidity. The Mandelberg Weisser Burgunder GG is from a vineyard that Rebholz has had for a long time, but this is the first time he has made a GG from it. The soils here are the limestone Muschelkalk, the same as in Im Sonnenschein. The Im Sonnenschein Weisser Burgunder GG itself shows some flint in the nose. The mouth shows nervosity, but less so than in the vom Muschelkalk trocken. There is some flint in the mouth, and some breadth. This is a wine that probably needs 5-6 years of cellaring to show its best. Importer: Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.

2012 Grauburgunder trocken 89+/B+
Schaefer’s Grauburgunder trocken is still quite young. The wine is made in a way that does not show the buttery, baroque elements the grape can sometimes take. Instead, we have a medium-weight wine with lemony minerality and good acidic support. It is an excellent wine for food. 11.0% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 13 13. Importer: Valckenberg International, Jenks, OK.

2012 (Deidesheimer) Langenmorgen Riesling gg 92(+)/A
2012 (Deidesheimer) Kalkofen Riesling   gg 92(+)/A
2012 (Forster) Ungeheuer Riesling   gg 93/A
2012 (Forster) Pechstein Riesling   gg 94(+)/A
2012 (Forster) Jesuitengarten Riesling gg 94+/A
2012 (Forster) Kirchenstück Riesling   gg 95/A
These wines were bottled late compared to GG’s from other vintages at von Winning, but otherwise, there was no change in treatment. The Langenmorgen GG is a little woody and herbal in the nose. The mouth is mineral, direct, medium-light, long, and silky. There is just a slight touch of sweetness (7.1 g/l residual sugar, 6.9 g/l acidity). 13.0% alcohol. The Kalkofen GG has mineral and incipient peach aromas. The mouth is medium-weight with lemon, lime, and incipient peach flavors. The wine has nice finesse and good acidity. 12.8% alcohol. The Ungeheuer GG shows some oak in the nose. It has more power and is rounder and more straightforward than the Kalofen. The wine is medium-weight, deep, penetrating, and it has a nice dry finish. 12.9% alcohol. The Pechstein GG is very precise and focused with yellow peach fruit that is typical of the vineyard, and a combination of power and elegance that also characterizes Pechstein. 13.0% stated alcohol. The Jesuitengarten GG is flowery in the nose. The mouth is lighter than that of the Pechstein, clear, pure, long, silky, and flowery. It is a dazzling wine. 13.0% alcohol. But Kirchenstück GG asserts its rightful place as the greatest of the Pfalz through its unmatched elegance and completeness. The wine has flowery aromas and a mouth that is pure, elegant, long, and weightless. 13.0% alcohol. Importer: Michael Skurnik, New York.

Villa WOLF/Ernest LOOSEN
2012 Pinot Noir 85/C
This Pinot Noir certainly isn’t going to compete for the best of the Pfalz, but at $15 suggested retail, it will be a strong competitor for best Pinot Noir from anywhere in its price range. The wine is rather light in color with a bit of bricking already showing. The nose shows pomegranite fruit, and the lightweight mouth features strawberry fruit with sufficient acidity. It is not a wine you’d want to age, but for current drinking in casual settings, it is surprisingly attractive. 12.5% stated alcohol. Last digits of A.P. Nr.: 2414. Importer: Loosen Bros., Salem, OR.