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The new Porsches! Join the German wine revolution with Honest Grapes
Most of us think of other regions as the heart of our wine collections, so why drink and collect so many German wines? We asked our co-founder Nathan, who has been nuts about German wine since living in the Rheingau in the 1980’s.
Nathan says "It’s simple really. I’m after thrilling wines with exceptional food pairing potential at sensible prices. At every price level from about £15 upwards, you can buy wonderful outperforming wines. You can buy Grand Cru (Grösses Gewächs or ‘GG’) wines from £33 to £65 from top producers, which is about a third of the cost of French Grand Crus. The names of the wines may be strange and terribly long, but it’s worth the struggle!"
"I’ve taken my typical geeky approach to selecting just three primary estates to work with. I’ve tasted many thousands of German wines over the years, and I asked for help from wine critics, journalists and Masters of Wine when creating a shortlist. I tasted all of them against their peers and then held several tasting events for our members to tell us what they thought."
We’ve ended up focusing on three stellar producers. All are highly collectable, producing top notch wines which stand up to Tom’s and my taste and critical scrutiny. German winemakers tend to produce huge ranges, and I select my top picks for our members and can bring in others direct from the estates on request."
Clemens Busch and the King of Grapes
Clemens Busch is already a famous producer of Mosel Rieslings. I’ve tasted countless thousands of wines from this region and there is no one on Earth who can compare to him! Having converted to organic viticulture as early as 1985, he has been producing wines in a biodynamic regime since 2005. He makes a vast range of Rieslings (often 35+ per vintage from different plots), but I’ve tasted them all and can guide members to suit their style and budget preferences. We’re about to release the new 2016 GG’s and have several on our new Sommelier Selection and access to Clemens’ lovely stocks of older vintages. Clemens Busch wines can be distinguished by their laser sharp intensity and opulence – far removed from ones normal perception of Riesling.
For collectors: email us to be alerted when the 2016 GGs are released in a few weeks.
For your weekend drinking: Even his entry level ‘Riesling trocken 2015’ is a wonder and the ‘vom roten Schiefer 2015’ adds a big burst of hedonism at an affordable price.
Rainer Schnaitmann’s Porsche-full of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and RieslingRainer Schnaitmann is the new rock star of Württemberg, the wine region near the automotive capital of Stuttgart. I recently named his Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) and Lemberger GGs 'the Porsches', comparing them with his more established neighbour who makes a plusher oakier style of wine compared with the big fruit, depth and raw racing power that Rainer commands. We offer a small range of his wines, all of which are organic.
For collectors the Spätburgunder and Lemberger GG 2015s have just been released and will be a proud addition to any cellar. The critics are just starting to notice Rainer and I see these as stratospheric wines.
For your weekend drinking: the Steinwiege Riesling is a complete contrast to the Rieslings from Clemens Busch. It’s as tense as a coiled spring, dry as a bone and hugely exciting. The Spätburgunder ‘Junge Reben’ (young vines) is an approachable but flavoursome entry into Rainer’s world of Pinot Noirs. He has just given me a bottle of his Cuvée MC (Merlot Cabernet), which I’ll report on soon!
Weingut am Stein’s heavenly Silvaners
Another up-and-coming star, this time from the wine region of Franken, just outside the city of Würzburg. I was hugely enthused to discover the metamorphosis from humble grape to superstar wine, rich, dry and transparently showing its ‘terroir’. This movement has been led by winemaker Ludwig Knoll of Weingut am Stein. He operates a fully organic and biodynamic winery, but is nevertheless a high tech small producer, with amphorae and concrete eggs galore. His Silvaners from the Würzburger Stein and Stettener Stein are astounding and ludicrously well priced at every quality level.
Top Picks: We have access to the lovely new Stettener Stein Silvaner GG 2016 as well as a few cases of the glorious Silvaner GG 2013. Ludwig says that his wines are best consumed 8 years from vintage – but they are so approachable that I haven’t managed to make them last that long. On tasting the 2013 I felt a lovely softening of the nose and waxiness on the palate.
Published on: September 22, 2017