Clean Slate Riesling 2008
Complements a wide variety of food from grilled scallops and poached fish to poultry, ham and roast pork. The refreshing balance of acidity and fruit makes Clean Slate particularly well-suited to pair with intensely-flavored Asian dishes such as spicy noodles, sushi, curry, spring rolls and lettuce wraps.
Clean Slate is the product of a partnership between Moselland of Bernkastel-Kues, Germany and The Winebow Group. Moselland is the largest vineyard owner in the Mosel and one of Germany’s top exporters of Riesling. The thin slate stones of vineyards in the Mosel River Valley are a critical factor in crafting Riesling of exquisite balance. The stones are so precious that should any slip into the river, they are carefully retrieved and carried back up the treacherously steep vineyard slopes and returned to their place. The slate’s ability to reflect and retain heat is essential to ripening grapes in this cool climate, and what develops the fresh peach, crisp lime, and subtle mineral flavors of these wines. Clean Slate is made of Riesling grapes sourced from selected vineyards throughout the Mosel region. Known for its steep slopes, the region’s exceptional climate and mineral-rich slate soil create the perfect growing conditions for this grape. The cool climate of Mosel’s northerly location allows grapes to ripen very slowly, while the slopes give the vines ideal sun exposure. Further protection comes with the Mosel River’s tendency to hold heat, keeping vines protected from getting too cold and creating a special microclimate for ideal ripeness levels. The thin, stony topsoil forces the vines to root deep through the rocks for water and nutrients, resulting in wines of excellent minerality and complexity. In the course of harvest, Clean Slate makes daily decisions regarding which grapes to pick, based on ripeness and maturation in the different areas of the region. Winemaker, Peter Meurer, insists on the gentle handling of the grapes, which are then fermented and stored instainless steel tanks under temperature-controlled conditons. All of this is critical to the development of the fresh peach, crisp lime and subtle mineral flavors of Clean Slate’s wines — Peter's exquisite expression of the region’s unique essence of Riesling terroir. Peter Meurer was born and raised in the small village of Burg located in the Mosel valley and comes from a long linage of winegrowers. He started his career at the Dr. Loosen Esate in Bernkastel-Kues, followed by studies of viticulture and enology at the world famous University of Geisenheim. After graduation, he look over his family winery and became a member of the jury at the Chamber of Agriculture. Clean Slate is evidence of Peter's passion of the Mosel region and the Riesling grape.
Following the Mosel River as it slithers and weaves dramatically through the Eifel Mountains in Germany’s far west, the Mosel wine region is considered by many as the source of the world’s finest and longest-lived Rieslings.
Mosel’s unique and unsurpassed combination of geography, geology and climate all combine together to make this true. Many of the Mosel’s best vineyard sites are on the steep south or southwest facing slopes, where vines receive up to ten times more sunlight, a very desirable condition in this cold climate region. Given how many twists and turns the Mosel River makes, it is not had to find a vineyard with this exposure. In fact, the Mosel’s breathtakingly steep slopes of rocky, slate-based soils straddle the riverbanks along its entire length. These rocky slate soils, as well as the river, retain and reflect heat back to the vineyards, a phenomenon that aids in the complete ripening of its grapes.
Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically on the desirable sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type and altitude. The best Mosel Rieslings—dry or sweet—express marked acidity, low alcohol, great purity and intensity with aromas and flavors of wet slate, citrus and stone fruit. With age, the wine’s color will become more golden and pleasing aromas of honey, dried apricot and sometimes petrol develop.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.