A spectacular single vineyard Riesling that is incredible value for money an offers a very balanced gateway to approach this most elegant and vibrant of grape varieties and styles. Fresh, slightly off-dry, it is full of bright golden fruit flavours, apple blossom and racy acidity that prevents the wine from becoming sickly or in any way overtly sweet. It is delicious now, with its crystal clear mineral texture, just as it was when they served it on the Zeppelin pleasure cruisers in the 1920s.
The first German wine that I fell for. And it is only 10.5% alcohol.
The vineyard is in the town of Mülheim, where Richter are situated, and the Sonnenlay (or "place where sunshine falls on slate") is the largest single vineyard site in the town. It faces south-west in, order to get the most from the meagre sunshine, and is planted on slate, giving wonderful mineral structure to the wines. The label has a nice story too; proud of the quality and commercial success of their wines, the villagers who share ownership of various sections of the site, together commissioned the label from Bauhaus designer Hans Schlößer in the 1930s and it is of course still in use today.
There is a good deal of residual sugar in this off-dry-ish Riesling, but this is wonderfully balanced by the rapier-like acidity that leaves your palate wanting more and more. It's a gorgeous style that may take getting used to, but in the hands of Richter, who are supreme masters in this region, the wines are always perfectly executed and at the top of the tree in quality and value for money.
Max Ferd Richter is one of the most respected names in German winemaking; situated in the historic town of Mülheim on the Mosel river, they have been in constant production since 1680. And they only make wines from Riesling. That's some level of dedication. Add to that, the extremely marginal climate and vineyards planted on slopes that skiers wouldn't dream of attempting, and you have a seriously challenging context for production of some of the world's most admired white wine. They have always been wonderful and though the commercial hey-day was the mid-late 19th Century, the quality has never wavered. Riesling ages so wonderfully well that vertical tastings (that's when you taste back through lots of older vintages of the same wine, not that you're standing up...) have shown wines in amazing condition that are up to a hundred years and more. White wines! Incredible. The secret is the soils, for sure, but would 't be achievable without Rieslings acidity, propensity for residual sugar and the skill of the winemakers.
Style: Vibrant, Off Dry, Mineral, Medium-Light, Fruity, Fresh, Electric, Crisp, Complex, Bright
Best food matches: Squid, Spicy, Seafood, Scallops, Sausages, Salads, Poultry, Pork, Mature Cheeses, Hard Cheeses