A month in Italy has presented its challenges and although a constant craving for Burgundy persists, the unrelenting heat has my mind fixed on dry riesling. The spectacular 2015 vintage has largely been released, but I've been anxiously waiting for what seems like an eternity for the dry wines of the Nahe's Emrich-Schönleber. Along with Klaus Peter Keller, these are the dry wines from Germany that can bring you to your knees. They are shimmering, laser-focused, and in 2015 the amplitude of texture and concentration is something to truly behold. This is where Germany makes its case for the best dry wines in the world.
The Emrich family began growing Riesling vines on the treacherously steep slopes along the Nahe river in the mid 1700's. It wasn't until the 1960's that the family could focus entirely on viticulture and winemaking, a risky proposition until that time to have your livelihood be at the will of nature so directly. From 1965 to 1985 the estate steadily grew from 2 hectares to 10.
Today, there's a focus on a range of styles, but it's their dry wines that have pulled me in over the years the very most. Their Grosses Gewachs (GG) wines come from undisputed "Grand Cru" sites Halenberg and Frühlingsplätzchen, famed for their inclines of 70%. Frühlingsplätzchen is comprised of red slate, gravel, and a particular red loam, giving a wine with deep texture, spice, and salty crushed rock finish. Halenberg sits on blue slate soils with quartz throughout and delivers the most precise and deeply mineral of the GG's.
The Halgans is a newer wine that's comprised entirely of younger vines in a warm section of the famed Halenberg, and is a great opportunity to taste Grand Cru level wine at half the price of the GG designated bottling. Finally, the Mineral is, and forever will be, arguably the most reliable and complete dry riesling on earth at just $39.
2015 throughout Germany was a warm growing season giving tremendous ripeness. The magic arrived during the fall evenings when temperatures normally cool turned downright cold, preserving a strong presence of acidity that counters the ripeness brilliantly.
I can beat the drum for dry riesling as much as possible, but sadly it's a category that falls way behind in the broad consciousness of US drinkers, with Chablis and Sancerre garnering much more attention. If there's one estate to introduce yourself to the very most regal and profound dry rieslings in the world this would be it.
Quantities are limited with the huge response to this wildly successful and rare vintage.
2015 Emrich-Schönleber Mineral Riesling Trocken (Dry)
$39 per bottle.
2015 Emrich-Schönleber Halgans Riesling Trocken (Dry)
$58 per bottle.
2015 Emrich-Schönleber Frülingsplätzchen Riesling GG (Dry)
$90 per bottle.
2015 Emrich-Schönleber Halenberg Riesling GG (Dry)
$98 per bottle.
2003 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Kabinett #13
$41 per bottle.
2003 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Beerenauslese #24 375ml
$109 per bottle.
2005 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese #13
$49 per bottle.