J & J Ratzenberger Bacharachar Riesling Kabinett feinherb 2016
Please Note: This wine is only available for purchase by the case. Selecting a quantity of 1 will charge for 12 bottles.
USE CODE: Feinherb10 at checkout.
Winegrower: Weingut J & J Ratzenberger
Region: Mittelrhein, Germany
Grape: 100% Riesling
German Riesling is magic. Sommeliers go crazy for it, and to quote the late, great Chicago chef Charlie Trotter: “It gives purity and focus to all flavours on the table.” There is no other grape, except perhaps Chenin blanc from the Loire, that offers such a diversity of expressions and in each the common denominator is acidity. From its varying sugar levels, its stunning aromatics, which often defy words, to its exceptionally high natural acidity and sensitivity to terroir, there is simply no other white wine to compare. Jancis Robinson, MW, believes Riesling could be “the finest white grape variety in the world on the basis of the longevity of its wines and their ability to transmit the characteristics of the vineyard.” Riesling’s naturally high acidity offers us wines that challenge our definition of “sweet” and “dry,” how these tastes vary between people, and how wines with pronounced sugar can taste dry or nearly so. Today’s Bacharachar Riesling Kabinett feinherb (off-dry) 2016 is a perfect example of this dichotomy. Crafted by one of the Germany’s top but lesser known winegrowers, it is a racy, vinous marvel that is delicious, vibrant and surprisingly complex. Its touch of residual sugar (around 20 grams per litre vs. 10 to 12 gms for a typical Champagne) just adds to the pleasures it offers and makes it incredibly food friendly. This wine is all about conviviality and the pleasures of the table, something we all crave, and for a wallet friendly $27, even the non-adventurous can afford to give it a try.
The Ratzenberger family vineyards, with their spectacular 50° to 70° steep south facing slopes, of Devon slate and shale, rise above the beautiful, Hansel-and–Gretel fantasy town of Bacharach in the southern-most part of the Mittelrhein (middle Rhine) where it flows in a straight south to north direction. No German wine region portrays the vision of romantic viticulture more powerfully than this. They have owned and managed their estate since 1957, but the vineyards have a recorded wine growing history dating back 400 years. Jochen Ratzenberger manages the estate. A man dedicated to producing stellar Rieslings of uncompromising quality; most never leave Germany and are near impossible to find in Canada. The estate is located in the tiny village of Steeg on the western edge of Bacharach in the Mittelrhein. This region lies due west of Frankfurt and is on the periphery of viticulture; summers can be hot and winters bitterly cold. The vineyards are dominated by blue and black slate and their perfect southern exposure receives the most the sun has to offer. The slate absorbs the warmth of the sun’s rays during the day and radiates it back to the vines at night helping to ripen the grapes to perfection. The estate’s four vineyards: Bacharacher Posten, Bacharacher Wolfshöhle, Bacharacher Kloster Fürstental, and Steeger St. Jost cover just eight hectares.
Vineyard work is entirely by hand. There is a little sand cover over the slate and growth in between the vines is sparse. Yields are low, what little fertilizer that’s applied is organic, and pheromones are used in lieu of insecticides to attract beneficial insects and chase nasty ones away.
The estate’s beautiful, extensive vaulted stone cellars were built in the mid 1800’s and provide a perfect, naturally cool place to age wines. Fermentation occurs spontaneously in old 500 litre wood barrels and the wines are aged in stainless steel. No additives and little or no sulphur are used, and the wines are not cold stabilized.
The Ratzenberger Estate is a member of the Verban Deutscher Pradikatzweinguter (VDP) and represents an uncompromising commitment to excellence. The VDP and its members is a bastion of high quality in today’s globalized world and oppose anything that is artificial and nondescript. They represent the highest achievement in German winemaking.
Today’s Riesling Kabinett feinherb 2016 is an assemblage of estate fruit grown on the hill that towers over the town of Bacharach. It displays a brilliant pale straw core with green reflections on the rim and possesses wonderful weight and concentration. On the nose expect aromas of green apple, peach, lemon peel and pomelo.
This wine is loaded with flavours of tangerine, peach, and ruby red grapefruit held together by bright acidity. The classic mineral and savoury flavours imparted by the steep slopes of the vineyards keep all the fruit in balance while each quaffable glass is enjoyed. This wine should be pulled from the refrigerator fifteen to twenty minutes prior and served at 10˚ in white wine stems. This wine can be paired with all sorts of Asian dishes, as well as lobster, crab, monkfish, salmon and sausage, or try this delicious honey and rye glazed ham – perfect for the upcoming, festive holiday season.