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Philipp Kuhn, Kirschgarten GG, Riesling 2009

Philipp Kuhn, so his website proudly proclaims, is not only a 50%/50% but also a 100% man. Mathematically that may be sound, in a confusing way, but how does it relate to German wine? In a confusing but sound way, I would say. With his percentage rule the Pfalz winemaker stands for an internationally still overlooked, but nationally even more important trend: while half of Philipp's wines are white, the other 50% are red. And all 100% are dry. Well, every other year there may be a few bottles of sweeter stuff, but if we generously round up the 100% is probably still true.

Anyway, this Riesling is dry. A top Riesling from a grand cru vineyard. Is it more a 50/50 affair or a 100% win?

To relieve the enormous tension my last sentence has built up: we have a winner; but also a loser. The loser was my friend Oliver, in whose honour I opened the wine. While my tastebuds were singing with delight Oliver looked at me and commented: "Not bad, but I had much better wines at yours before." Had he really? My brain worked through the wines I had served Oliver over the last five or six years. A dry white wine better than this? No way! Bear with me for a moment before I solve the mystery...

...and let's start with the Kirschgarten's bouquet. Citrus, with three exclamation marks, say may notes. Also a touch of beeswax, lovely stone and/or yellow fruit, mineral, candy and a green touch of herbs and vegetable - the latter makes for a very balanced impression.

Kuhn's top Riesling also drinks very well, it is balanced and round, despite - or rather because of - the well integrated yet lively acidity. I enjoyed the fruit, the lime and citrus and the salty minerality. Most importantly though I loved the finish: It is racy, incredibly intense and very long lasting. The finish adds a whole extra dimension, it brings out the mineral and stuns with super tingly citrus fruit, it burns your gum with highly pleasant sensation. The Riesling is good, but the finish is better and lifts the wine up into delight territory.
And my poor friend Oliver, with his light cold, looked at me with confusion when I praised a finish he found flat and uninspiring. No wonder he was not impressed.

This leaves us with two lessons: 1) if you can still find it, get a bottle or two - for below €20 it is fabulous value. 2) poor Oliver.

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