Weingut Seehof, Morstein, Riesling trocken, Alte Reben, 2009
A while ago a friend introduced the Wine Rambler by saying that "Torsten and Julian write about German wines, mostly sweet ones". Looking back over the last month, last few years in fact, it is easy to see that that's not true - this year we haven't featured a single sweet wine and only a couple off-dry ones. As much as that reflects the German trend towards "trocken" (dry) it is also a serious oversight on our parts. So, to make up for it we, er, give you another dry Riesling - because the first half of 2013 has been a really "dry" year for us. Well, unless you think of the weather of course.
There will of course be sweeter times again, but for today let's turn to a German wine region that is not as visible internationally as it deserves, Rheinhessen, and an old vines ("Alte Reben") wine made by a young winemaker from grapes grown in a famous vineyard.
The Morstein has to be one of the great German vineyards. It was first mentioned in the 13th century and while perhaps only a third of the 144 ha are considered a prime location they do consistently turn out excellent Rieslings, probably best know through the work of winemaker Philipp Wittmann. The Fauth family, who own the Seehof winery, do not go back quite to the Middle Ages but have been making wine in the region for five generations. A few years ago, Florian Fauth took over from his parents and has since built up an excellent reputation.
So, how about the old (vines) Riesling made by the young winemaker? (As an aside, he is not that much younger than me, so either some German wine merchants and writers like to hype young talent or I should consider calling myself a young wine writer and hope of my generation...) What I liked most about it is the enticing bouquet: lovely, clearly defined peach aromas are spiced with lemon, cool mineral and herbs in a very harmonious way. The Riesling is similar on the tongue, with juicy fruit, some substance, elegant but lively acidity and a touch of floralness; the juiciness is particularly prominent in the finish that has a long-ish aniseed and mineral end. While the Morstein does not quite have the depth of some of the great growth wines from the area it certainly also does not sacrifice depth to achieve its quaffableness - an accomplished Riesling for both the newbie and the seasoned veteran, and a great companion to a lovely evening.