Germany 2015 En Primeur - a stellar vintage but be selective!

The top German producers are now releasing their Grand Cru (Grosses Gewachs or ‘GG’) wines, and what a treat they are.
Near ideal growing conditions, with a hot summer followed by a long, cool, sunny October gave the grapes time to mature whilst keeping their freshness.  The GG’s are shaping up to be outstanding, showing early promise and great potential longevity.  The sweeter wines from Spätlese up are dancing wines, benefiting from the long autumn in the vineyard which shrivelled the grapes producing great balanced sweet wines.  My only criticism of the vintage from tasting several hundred of them so far is that boring producers got away with producing very good but still textbook wines.  At Honest Grapes we’re after exciting and rococo wines, so our selection of Clemens Busch’s Rieslings in the Mosel and the dry pure Silvaners from Weingut am Stein in Franken feels more like a meeting of Olympic athletes than Sunday strollers.

Clemens Busch Rieslings GG 2015

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The charming and self-effacing couple of Clemens and his wife Rita have gained a cult following over the past three decades for their laser-sharp, richly textured and terroir defined wines.  Clemens pioneered organic farming in the early 1980’s, and have converted to biodynamic production since 2005 with management by son Florian. They are members of the elite VDP top producers of Germany.

Our first crowdsourced shipment is one its way, and new orders will be added to our next shipment, due before the end of 2016. No need to hurry – these wines aren’t yet ready to drink!

 All are priced as cases of 6 bottles En Primeur, and can be delivered Duty Paid.
 

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Marienburg Riesling £159.60

The majority of Clemens Busch’s vines are found in the 25 Ha vineyard of Pündericher Marienburg, of which 16 Ha nowadays belongs to them. The vineyard lies on the opposite bank of the river from the village of Pünderich and has a south-southeast orientation. Fantastic value at £26.60 a bottle!

"Delightful aromas of green fruit and lime open the sensory batting, the contribution of spontaneous yeasts is contained to a subtle note of fresh vegetal aromas. Freshness is of the essence on the palate as well, with crunchy grapefruit and a tang of kiwi, sprinkled with just one turn of the salt mill. Drink 2016-2023." 18/20
Jancis Robinson Aug-2016
 

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Marienburg Riesling "Rothenpfad" £175.20

This section was mentioned in the historic Mosel wine map as among the best in the region. The red slate that dominates here provides the wines with an herbal-spicy note, balanced with a definite off-dry note. The opulence of the vintage suits this wine perfectly – not for the faint-hearted! "A zesty fragrance of grapefruit and lemon prepares for a truly invigorating Riesling experience. On the palate the citrus fruit takes on a delightfully sweet expression, which is perfectly balanced by animating acidity and rich texture. Accents of fresh kiwi fruit and orange peel serve only to heighten the sensory pleasure and complete a successful combination of generosity and vibrancy. Drink 2016-2025." 18.5/20
Jancis Robinson Aug-2016
 

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Marienburg Riesling "Fahrlay" £210.60

The name Fahrlay is made up of the words “Fahr” for ferry and “Lay” for slate. Blue slate is predominant here. This was the strong and elegant wine in the line-up, showing the richness of the vintage with years of drinking pleasure to come. "The Fahrlay appears the most exotic of Clemens Busch’s Grosse Gewächse in terms of fruit, without sliding into the trap of tropical exuberance. The fruit may be ripe and sweet, but it’s juicy and fresh too, a real mouthful, refined by subtle mineral layers and almost gripping acidity. Pünderich may not sound like the most exciting of locations, but this is where in 2015 generosity met complexity for a riveting Riesling experience. Drink 2016-2025." 19/20
Jancis Robinson Aug-2016
 

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Marienburg Riesling "Falkenlay" £228.00

As the name implies, to this day falcons nest in the stone crevices in this area. On this predominantly grey slate the wines tend toward creaminess and fruitiness. Dense and voluptuous – a collector’s item.

"All of the Grosse Gewächse from the Busch stable appear to have a particular strength of their own and in the case of the Falkenlay it is the sheer substance of flavour that impresses the most. The mouth just waters with the invigorating fruit and zest of lime, lemon and grapefruit, but it is the quinine expression of minerality that stretches the tactile limits of our sensory perception. Cool, compact and complex." 19/20
Jancis Robinson Aug-2016
 

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Marienburg Riesling Spätlese £142.80

The long, cool, dry and sunny Autumn gave the perfect conditions for late picking, and Clemens Busch knows exactly how to get that perfect refreshing sweet wine. At £23.80 a bottle, this is a perfect introduction to Spätlese. "Cask sample. Round and pure and very expressive. Lots of acidity but masses of pure fruit too. Drink 2023 - 2036." 17+/20
Jancis Robinson Apr-2016
 

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Marienburg Riesling Spätlese "Goldkapsel" £184.80

The ‘gold foil’ Spätlese is the ultimate expression of Clemens’ craft in this style. Great purity and poise on this wine, which you’ll be wanting to drink way before its peak.
(drink 2018-2050)
 

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Marienburg Riesling Kabinett £99
"Organic since 1984, biodynamic since 2005. They belong to a Respect group (like-minded growers) which started in Austria. 65- to 70-year old vines - not in Mittel Mosel nor Terrassen Mosel. Always spontaneous fermentation and with very long lees contact - up to 12 months. Ready for bottling but a cask sample. Not as wild on the nose as some earlier vintages. Lots of excitement. Very throbbing. Drink 2018-2030." 17/20
Jancis Robinson Apr-2016
 

Read about other Clemens Busch vintages and parcels here.
 



Weingut am Stein, the new grape on the block - Grand Cru wines @£25

Weingut am Stein - Rieslings and Silvaners from Franconia

This is an exclusive preview of my latest find and our new crowdsourcing project. Showed to great acclaim in my apartment this week, these wonderful Silvaners and Rieslings deserve a place in your cellar. Help us get the first 300 bottles ordered and we’ll pick them up from the winery!

In the heart of the famous Würzburger Stein vineyard lies the estate winery “Weingut am Stein, Ludwig Knoll”. It was founded in 1890, now in the fifth generation of winegrowers, it is run by Sandra and Ludwig Knoll. With organic winemaking and a member of the elite VDP since 2013, they were awarded 'winery of the year – best white wine collection’ by Eichelmann in 2016.

Stefan Schütz web

Hand harvesting, cool fermentation and a long maturing period on the fine yeast results in wines of fine complex fruit and a delicate acidity. The wines show a youthful freshness and vivacity with the ability to age. Vinification is in steel tanks, concrete eggs, amphora and a few wines see small French barriques.

The Grosses Gewachs (GG) wines are from the Stettener Stein, which lies along the river Main approximately 20 km downstream from Würzburg, Stetten has a very long tradition in Viticulture and the Stettener Stein vineyard is one of the oldest in the Franconian wine region.

I’ve been looking for a great Franken producer to add to our offering, and visited am Stein during his visit to the Bayreuth Festival last month. No summer romance here – these are stunning dry and rich wines at prices which demonstrate how top German wines are underrated by us Brits.

All are priced as cases of 6 bottles En Primeur, and can be delivered Duty Paid.
 

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Stettener Stein Silvaner £162

A gently floral note accompanies the notes of ripe and dried apricot and slight flintiness. The texture is full bodied, with firm acidity, some candied fruit and herbal nature on a fine boned core.  This is a wonderful wine, definitely built for several years cellaring (drink 2019-2030).

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Stettener Stein Riesling £162

Lovely filigree of dessert apples, lime, white flowers and a teaspoonful of honey. Rich, dry body with a little orange peel, that slight herbaceousness, lovely acidity and very long finish. (drink 2019-2025)
 

If you order En Primeur you’ll need to tell us details of the bonded warehouse where we should deliver them, or buy them Duty Paid now. The am Stein wines are a new crowdsourcing and we’ll deliver these when we have orders for the first 300 bottles. Don’t worry as these are all too young to drink!

Click the links to learn more about the wines, give us a call, or email us.

Nathan

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