Koehler-Ruprecht, Weißer Burgunder, Kabinett trocken, 2011
It does not always have to be Mosel. Nor does it always have to be Riesling. Well, there would be worse things in the world than to be limited to Mosel Riesling, but thankfully no demonic power has so far decided to make me choose between German wine growing regions. If that ever were to happen one of the other contenders would have to be the Pfalz. The Palatinate, as some of you may know it, is as large as it is diverse: amongst king Riesling and a range of other white grapes we see more and more exciting reds coming from the region west of Mannheim. Like this Pinot Blanc most of the wines are dry. The Weißburgunder, as the Germans call it, comes from Koehler-Ruprecht, one of the renowned Pfalz estates. And damn is it drinkable!
Before we jump right into the wine a few words about Koehler-Ruprecht. The family has been making wine in the Pfalz since the 18th century. They were amongst the first to sell their wines bottled, instead of selling bulk to merchants. These days the estate is run by Bernd Philippi who has built up an excellent reputation with a decidedly old-school approach to winemaking (no stainless steel for instance). The top wines have a reputation for sometimes being difficult in their youth but eventually turning into stunning mineral elegance. The wine we are looking at today can be drunk young though, and is also much more affordable than first class Rieslings (I paid €7 for a bottle). It is also rather timely, after all I consider Pinot Blanc an excellent companion to fish and asparagus, and with the first real days of spring in London something light is very welcome.
Philippi's Weißburgunder is extremely drinkable but don't take that to mean it is simplistic. There are creamy custard and dough aromas and flavours, bitter nut, citrus and flower spiciness and almost smoky aromas that correspond nicely with a creamy and salty (think shellfish) finish that ends on lime. And not to forget pear aromas. There is some substance here and much freshness too, but overall quaffableness wins as the prime characteristic. I enjoyed it with fried trout and roast squash but my next bottle will have to be tried with asparagus. At the price it is a real bargain. That would be a good way to end this review, but how about finishing with a video about Koehler-Ruprecht: