If you have read the Wine Rambler recently, you will have been introduced to the Knipser family as specialists for red wine - from Syrah to the Cuvée X, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon / Franc and Merlot, the Knipser winery in Rhineland-Palatinate does it all. Among the many other grape varieties grown is Riesling, and today I have the distinct pleasure to write about a late harvest Riesling that is not only a great example of a dry, focussed white wine, but is also, I like to think, seriously good value.
The colour is a very clear, pale gold - not intense but nevertheless very pretty -, with a little fizz (on the first day). Initially, the nose was subtle, with herbs, mineral and promising fruit; after a little time it released more lovely aromas of peach, some green apple and candied fruit. The fruit aromas never got overpowering and the nose is really focussed, even on the fourth day of drinking the wine. In fact, it was so sharp and witty after over 100 hours that I cannot help thinking it has serious potential. The only change that was noticeable was a very, very subtle hint of nail varnish remover, which is not uncommon in Riesling, and is ever so subtle in the Kalkmergel, just adding a little more edge.
Why, would you wonder, did the wine last over 100 hours if the nose is so promising? Well, this is due to no fault of the Knipser, which tastes as good as the bouquet promises. It is just that this was one of seven wines I opened for a tasting with Borough Wines and the Winesleuth, and I am still enjoying the windfall gain here.
But back to business. On the tongue you pretty much get what the bouquet promises: a focussed Riesling, a no-nonsense wine of the best type, that has great fruit, but remains, as the Winesleuth put it, 'strikingly dry'. If drinking a wine would be like being cut by a blade, I would compare the Kalkmergel to a quality katana. Okay, now I get carried away - and you have not even seen the sentence I deleted about the qualities of the blade that, instead of steel, was made of mineral, peach, fizz and ... you get the picture. The finish is quite long, dominate by a dry, mineral acidity that, again, is sharp and a little spicy.
I quite like how the Winesleuth summed it all up: 'not your grandma's Riesling'. And she wrote down 'excellent'. What more can a humble Wine Rambler add?