Tasting at or at least with the winegrower is in itself always an enriching element in the shopping experience, but this does not adequately describe shopping from Andreas Durst in Bockenheim an der Weinstraße. After registering by phone, we stood somewhat lost in front of the house, no bell, no sign, no nothing. A garage winery would describe it quite well. Luckily the winegrower walked around the corner and the tasting could start: At the kitchen table there were three glasses and three bottles of wine waiting for us. Silvaner, Angeldust and the Riesling Großer Durst, all from 2018, all exciting, but all so young that they need some years in the cellar to show their full potential. On to red: Spätburgunder Dorf and the Portugieser. Vines over 100 years old, ungrafted, a real rarity in the Palatinate and certainly in the world. Andreas Durst tells us something about “economically not feasible”, a lot of work, manual labour, of course, right at the top of the reef, for only a few bottles. But the work is worth it. We buy bottles across the range and then, when we leave, we get two freshly opened tasting bottles packed with them. We have never bought wine like this before, we will be back.
Since one of the tasting bottles we were given was the Portugieser 2014, and since it made a lasting impression, the vintage 2015 is in our glasses now. Against our better knowledge of the necessary time in the cellar, purely out of curiosity. Over three days we observe the wine and what happens to it.
Evening 1: The obligatory first sip directly after opening the bottle. Very reserved, maybe some cherry, some wood, but not even the wood really wants to get into the nose, in the mouth however already surprisingly clear, bright, delicate, nothing is fat, nothing is protruding, certainly the wood is a bit rough, but who wants to blame it, it has just been released from the bottle. So we close the bottle again, we’ll continue tomorrow. Later this evening, the wine already indicates what might happen. Herbs, spice, cherry, we’ll see tomorrow.
Evening 2: The wait was worth it, there is more going on in the nose now. Cherry, boiled elderberries, some alcohol, spices. Nothing really imposes itself, you have to search, rather dark aromas, subtle, reserved. You can smell a bit of aperol, cherry-flavoured cough drops without the sweetness, a little plum compote, then again ripe cherries with herbs. One has the feeling that the description does not really do justice to the wine, it is constantly changing, there is always something new in the nose and on the tongue.
Evening 3: What is still left inside the bottle goes directly into the carafe and is allowed to breathe some air. The wine is then even harder to grasp than before, complex, deep, very long, yet very fine and elegant, every sip a little different. I suspect that my aroma memory has not yet stored enough associations here, something vegetable, some tannin, smoke, Christmas baking and, again and again, the discreet, fresh, ripe cherry. Wicked. In a few years certainly even more amazing than it is now, but if you can allow the time to drink it over several days you can already have a lot of fun with it.
- Benedikt Baltes - Buntsandstein Portugieser 2016
- Three Wines from Pfalz
- Christian Tschida - Birdscape 2019