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Eugen Muller Vom Basalt Pechstein Riesling Kabinett 2015
The specialties of the estate are the racy, aromatic and elegant Riesling wines which prosper in the excellent Forster Grosses Gewächs sites Kirchenstück, Jesuitengarten, Ungeheuer and Pechstein. The basalt found in the soils around Forst acts as a thermal reservoir, radiating warmth slowly during the night and thus reducing the daily variations in temperature. In addition, these well-ventilated soils which warm up quickly allow the development of fruity wines rich in minerals and extracts. In 1828, the King of Bavaria, who ruled the Palatinate at the time, conducted a soil survey of all vineyards: top Forst vineyards achieved the highest point scores between 55 and 65. The Forster Kirchenstück, scored the maximum possible 65 points. At Eugen Müller, vines are a minimum of 15 years for all Pradikät wines, even if ripeness is achieved at a younger age.
The Mullers follow the guidelines of certified environmentally-friendly wine growing. Mechanical soil tillage, environmentally friendly plant protection and selection of the grapes for harvesting during vintage are all maintained with sustainability in mind. Vinification is practiced with slow, cooled fermentations and maturing in stainless steel tanks as well as wooden barrels.
This sunny and relatively dry region served for many years as a German tourist mecca and was associated with low cost, cheerful wines. But since the 1980s, it has gained a reputation as one of Germany’s more innovative regions, which has led to increased international demand.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. 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. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings more redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.