Knipser, Riesling Spätlese trocken, "Kalkmergel", 2009
Exciting and reliable - German car makers charge a premium for the promise of both, lovers almost by definition only deliver one and public services are rumoured to be neither. It is a desirable yet hard to find blend of characteristics, unless you turn to Knipsers' Kalkmergel Riesling.
Every vintage of this wine I have tried reliably delivered, and always in an exciting way.
The winemaking brothers from the Pfalz are renowned for their red wines, Pinot Noir of course but also Cabernet blends and Syrah. I love the Knipser reds but the white wines are equally exciting and come at lower prices. The Kalkmergel late harvest is one of those - a blend of Rieslings from different Knipser vineyards that is named after the soil: Kalkmergel means lime marl in German.
Kalkmergel is made in stainless steel tanks and spends extra time on lees, and the 2009 balances fairly high acidity with an equal amount of residual sugar (both around 7g/l), which makes the wine feel relatively dry but with just the right amount of quaffable sweetness. The Riesling smells cool and refreshing, with lovely yellow fruit - peach and mirabelle - but also a sharper, witty aroma based on grapefruit. On the tongue the acidity feels like fresh ice crystals, not an acid punch but a precise and refreshing stab mellowed by the sweetness and lovely fruit, and spiced with mineral. I have seen quite a few more expensive wines delivering less excitement, and I look forward to the next vintages being as good as this so that I can write more reliable (and hopefully exciting) notes on future Kalkmergel. Knipsers, do you hear me?