It was time again and the desire for Riesling has struck. I have already written several times that this happens rather rarely at the moment and we actually drink relatively little Riesling, but when it is that time again, then it must be Riesling. Like now. The bottle of choice today comes from the Rheingau from the winery Peter Jakob Kühn. Now in the tenth generation, Peter Bernhard and Viktoria Kühn are responsible for the winery. The vineyards around Östrich-Winkel, which is located between Wiesbaden and Rüdesheim directly on the Rhine, have long been farmed biodynamically and are planted primarily with Riesling. The grapes for today’s wine were grown in the 2017 vintage in the Mittelheimer Sankt Nikolaus vineyard, a site practically directly on the Rhine with a slight southern exposure, which is designated by the VDP as a Grosse Lage. The vines, which are up to 65 years old, stand here on chalky and sandy loess soil. After hand-harvesting, the grapes are whole cluster pressed and, after spontaneous fermentation, aged for 16 months in very large (Stückfass) and slightly smaller barrels (Halbstückfass).
The wine has lots of minerality and seems very dense right after opening. There’s yellow fruit, minimal ripeness and a tiny bit of alcohol bite. It’s extremely exciting, but not necessarily charming. It resists a bit and doesn’t really want to come out of its shell yet either. However, the structure on the tongue is very strong right from the start. This settles on the tongue and then stays there along with a fair amount of citrus. The nose softens a bit and opens up after the first sip and the boozy stuff is completely gone. And there’s a slight bitter note coming out the very back. This is a wine for considerably more than one evening.
A day later, the Riesling feels a bit more open. There’s minimal creaminess that makes everything much more approachable right away. And where the nose has softened a bit, there is now significantly more draw on the tongue. The acidity seems brighter and has become much juicier, so that it really tightens your cheeks and you actually need another sip right away. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the wine has become a flatterer, but there is a good bit less resistance without losing any of the tension. I’m really glad I opened this bottle. It has exactly what I’m looking for when Rieslinglust strikes, and if you have the muse and time to deal with it, this is an extremely strong wine. If one has no desire and time as well, of course, but then that would not quite do justice to the wine.
Out of interest, I still wanted to know how this would continue and we left a small remainder in the bottle in the fridge for two more days and then tasted it now on day 4 after opening. And the development has continued exactly the same. There’s an unexpected amount of creaminess in the wine now, the bottle maturity comes out a bit more and the acidity feels softer again. This is at the same time the same wine as three days ago and yet a very different wine. There’s more yellow fruit, some limoncello, the stone and the spice and everything is in perfect harmony with each other now. And also in the mouth the acidity seems more mature, the citrus has moved more towards grapefruit, the juiciness still fully there. Really, really good and will probably remain so for quite a while.