Reichsrat von Buhl - Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten 2016

We drink a bottle of 2016 Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten from the Reichsrat von Buhl winery.

When the Riesling gods demand a sacrifice, it’s wise to simply comply. This time, the choice falls on a bottle of Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten from the year of 2016 which I do like very much. Reichsrat von Buhl is certainly one of the well-known names in the German winemaking scene and one of the major estates in Deidesheim in the Palatinate. A part of its fame can be attributed to its long history dating back to 1849, and another part to the renowned vineyard sites of Pechstein, Kirchenstück, and Ungeheuer. And undoubtedly, the name von Buhl made its mark on the sparkling wine map through the efforts of Richard Grosche and especially Matthieu Kauffmann. Both were at the helm when the present wine was crafted, though neither remains with von Buhl today. There has been much turmoil at the winery in recent years, and regarding the current vintages, I can’t say anything at all, as I’ve never tasted them. Thus, I cannot determine how much this bottle, apart from any inherent vintage differences, reflects the current wines. Perhaps this year we’ll manage to visit Deidesheim again to rectify that. Part of my personal truth, however, is that von Winning, Bassermann-Jordan, and von Buhl no longer occupy the same position on my travel planning list as they did several years ago. Not because I believe they’re making inferior wine compared to a few years back, but because my taste has changed. Nevertheless, I would still love to visit Deidesheim again. The Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten is situated more towards the west of the village, near the Haardtrand, and is classified as a Erste Lage by the VDP. The estate’s parcel lies close to the much more renowned Deidesheimer Langenmorgen, with the vines planted on colored sandstone. The vineyards are managed organically, fermentation occurs spontaneously, and aging takes place in large, used oak barrels.

The wine feels cool and spicy in the nose. There are notes of puffed grains and golden-yellow citrus fruit. The years in the bottle are noticeable but wonderfully integrated and actually more subtle than I expected. After all, it’s been 8 years since the wine was bottled, and I’ve had some more expensive wines that haven’t aged nearly as well. However, “aged” doesn’t do justice to its condition, as it doesn’t taste old at all. Whether this wine will continue to improve, I don’t know, and I can’t experiment because we only had one bottle left. But what I do know is that the summit must be near. I’m curious when this will plateau, but for now, 2016 and Riesling are still working wonderfully for me. This bottle has everything I want from a Riesling. There’s fruit, there’s minerality, and there’s herbal spice. It’s juicy and creamy when sipped, gentle yet with a pull. Every sip becomes a bit more harmonious, a bit deeper.

And the fact that this continues the next day should at least suggest that there’s no impending doom for bottles waiting in cellars to be opened. It now seems a bit more mature, with darker fruit, more orange than lemon, as if it’s spent two days in the fruit bowl rather than freshly picked. But I like it just as much as on the first evening. The younger von Buhl bottles we’ve had were always quite purist. If this one was the same, then it’s now showing signs of age-induced mellowness. And that suits the Riesling excellently. It’s almost like comfort wine, even though there’s certainly a fair amount of acidity biting at the tongue. What’s gnawing at me now is the question of what more I could want from a bottle of Riesling. A brief search tells me we paid 18 euros for this bottle. Not cheap, but far from expensive. And on my inner Riesling checklist, this one ticks every box. Sure, the Großes Gewächs above it is likely more complex, more intense, but also at least twice as expensive. And sure, that GG above it would be a much better flex on Instagram. But it’s become rare for the Riesling gods to demand a sacrifice. And I’m not so sure anymore if it has to be a GG for me. Not when the wines below are so beautiful.

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