Immich-Batterieberg Escheburg Riesling 2014
Highly elegant Riesling from Immich-Batterieberg's best vineyards in Enkirch, subtle, expressive, very mineral.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
According to archaeological estimates, the foundation of the building dates from the second half of the 9th century. Especially remarkable is the cellar's load-bearing basalt pillar, which was "recycled" from a nearby Roman estate.
In the 12th Century, the estate was ceded as a fief to Prince von Esch (hence today's Escheburg) and was then remodeled and expanded. The right wing of the property, the "Franzenhaus," was not built until the 16th Century and the "Herrenhaus," richly adorned in the Mosel-Frankish style and which today makes up the left wing, did not appear until the early 1900s.
It was the Immich family – among the oldest winemaking families on the Mosel, with a history that spans from 1425 through 1989 – that was especially crucial to the history and the development of the estate. The winery has them to thank for its most famous site, the Batterieberg, which between 1841 and 1845 was formed into one of the Mosel's top sites by way of ceaseless rounds of dynamite. Batterieberg, along with the older top-tier sites Steffensberg, Ellergrub, and Zeppwingert, are all steep slate slopes and all achieved the highest ranking in the Prussian Vineyard Classification of 1868. Today they comprise the heart of the estate.
Just as important to Immich-Batterieberg as the inherent quality of the vineyards is the available grape material. The winery is delighted to have a very large portion of old, ungrafted vines, from which (because of their genetic diversity and their naturally low yields) the highly differentiated, deep, and site-typical Rieslings come into being.
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.
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 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.