Classic Clare Valley Riesling. A big hit of lime initially surfing on a wave of cut throat acidity but this quickly settles down to a more gentle minerally wine with grapefruit and a sinew of kerosene. This is delicious to drink now but the depth of flavour, zesty acidity and generous length suggest that another 5 years in the cellar would be well rewarded. 89/100
The Rheingau sits on the north bank of the mighty Rhein river where it turns directly west just above the enchanting university town of Mainz. It’s steep south facing slopes produce some of the finest Rieslings to be found anywhere. Characteristically mineral driven these wines have a core of steely acidity that ensures they are long lived and the best will only begin to reveal their complexities after more than a decade in bottle.
My first foray into the Rheingau took me to one of the regions younger, but well respected producers, Weingut Robert Weil. Established in 1879 this estate now has 75 hectares of vines surrounding the village of Keidrich, 99% of which are Riesling. 3 vineyard sites occupy prime position above the town at elevations up to 240m and benefit from perfect exposure to the sun and correspondingly high temperatures as well as good circulation from the winds drawn into the Rhine Valley from the Taunus mountains above the vineyards. These are the Klosterberg, Turmberg and Gräfenberg vineyards with each producing distinctive and wonderful expressions of Riesling.
2010 Kiedrich Klosterberg Riesling Spätlese 8.5% (€34.63)
A fabulous nose of ripe apricots and peach with figs and baked apple. Light, elegant and refined. Apparently there’s 100g/l of residual sugar but it doesn’t feel sweet or heavy and is very well balanced by the acidity. A clean and pure fruit profile, apricot, nectarine, juicy ripe apple and a touch of grilled pineapple.
2010 Kiedrich Turmberg Riesling Trocken 13.0% (€21.42)
Delicious nose of ripe peach and apple, juicy nectarine and flint. The palate is rich and a touch of sugar balances the bracing acidity. Minerality defines this wine, it is linear and pure with lime, peach and smoky flint. Lovely length, remaining balanced throughout.
2010 Kiedrich Turmberg Auslese 2010 8.0% (€34.51)
Opulent nose of peach, apricots and figs with a hint of botrytis coming through in honey notes. This is rich and weighty and the remarkable acidity stands up to the 130g/l residual sugar very well. Whilst refreshing, the acidity is not even remotely angular or dominant, even at this early stage. There’s plenty of complexity with ripe stone fruits, acacia honey, and even a touch of mango. This is very approachable but will only get better over the next decade or 2.
2010 Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken 13.0% (€21.42)
Not quite as opulent as the Turmberg on the nose but it has depth and I suspect there’s a great deal of restraint in this wine at the moment. There’s a touch of sugar so not completely trocken but there is more masculine acidity and minerality dominates. The fruit profile seems less generous and perhaps a tad closed but there is apple and grapefruit evident on the flinty finish. Hide away for 5-10 years.
2010 Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken Erstes Gewächs 13.5% (€34.63)
This comes from the same vineyard but the grapes are left to ripen further to about Auslese quality.
Outstanding nose, refined and elegant, complex, generous and enticing. Green fruit, stone fruit and citrus. The palate is just off dry with razor sharp acidity. It’s far too young of course but shows all the hallmarks of developing into something special with layer after layer of complexity all defined by that characteristically focussed minerality. Flint, slate, granite, choose your stone as it’s all there! Put this away for 10 years and watch this grow into a wine of great stature, poise and elegance.
2010 Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Auslese 2010 8.0% (€34.50 375ml)
The nose is quite closed and less overtly fruity than the Turmberg Auslese, however there is a mineral and slate core to this wine wrapped in honey. It is more concentrated on the palate, higher acidity and 135g/l of sugar. Still integrating but this will no doubt come together beautifully. Plenty of juicy fruits, baked apple and a thread of acacia honey. Searing minerality and an endless finish. This is outstanding wine that needs a decade or 2 to shine.