Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl – The Legend Lives Again

Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl

The Legend Lives Again

Wines Tasted September 2018

I had the great pleasure of visiting Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl in September and here are my notes on a series of wines, verticals and also some hitherto never tasted before releases.  Please forgive the nature of some of these notes – as always they are written at haste, while tasting, on my iPad, and many are incomplete sentences.

2016 vB Riesling Brut – first vintage in which they reached 18 months bottle age.  All made from one tirage and a 100k bottle production. Really complex nose and by far the most complex aromatics I have seen on a sparkling Riesling.  The palate is certainly Riesling-shaped but the autolytic notes and initial burst of flavour are classically-shaped.  It has an e15 retail price, which is extraordinary value for money. It is also a vast improvement on previous vintages. 18/20

NV vB Reserve Brut – made from Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc first tirage.  The first releases were 2013 and 2014 vintage combined, sold 3 years later.  The second was everything left over with the next two vintages. The third rolled over into a kind of solera system!  This is classy, creamy and pure. I can sense the Pinot Blanc juiciness, and all three of these sparkling wines are around 5 gm/L. This retail for e17 (again a bargain) and it shows amazing finesse and persistence and a rather floral and haunting finish. 70k bottle production. 18.5/20

2015 vB Rosé Brut – made by saignée method. This is a very cool and very focussed 100% PN and it is a 30k production.  Much more elegant and more delicate than the 2014.  Balanced, sophisticated, discreet. 18/20

2017 Weisserburgunder Trocken – steel and oak. Delicious, completely focussed and crystalline. Brilliant style – impressive and accurate. For an entry-level wine, this is extremely Very sophisticated. 17/20

2015 Chardonnay – all big old oak, for 12 months. White pear style Chardonnay with nice balance and sheen and a slippery finish. 17/20

2017 Sauvignon Blanc – tart, austere, clean and herbal this is a pure, refreshing and edgy wine with masses of bite. 17/20

2017 Bone Dry – very tangy and alive with fruit. Amazing.  I have only just noticed the flavour-skull on the label with the pineapple on top! Superbly suave, modern and racy this should be on every single bar list! 17.5/20

2017 vB von Buhl Riesling – a different weight and flavour trajectory for this wine. All estate fruit and also silkier and with a shade more richness and depth, but still only 1.5gmL residual.  Serious wine. 17.5/20

Two different villages and soil types.

2017 Deidesheim Riesling – rather deep, balanced and also refreshing and a touch of seashell freshness. Herrgottsacker and Maushohle sites.  Imposing and juicy and a touch tropical. 18/20

2017 Forster Riesling – more delicate and rather more silica-like and longer and more lifted, too. Brighter, with sour notes and showing more youth. Stunning. 18+/20

Premier Cru

2016 Forster Musenhang (only pure limestone site) – the most delicate style, cooler and part-shadowed by the forest on the top of the hill. Very pure, linear, salty and tart.  Pretty and reserved with little flesh and more dramatic minerality and sourness. Lovely and raspy and tight. 18+/20

2016 Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker (our God’s acre) – very opulent and relatively forward with apple skin and greengage notes this is a fleshier wine but it also is showing a lot of dramatic acidity and a tense finish. 18.5+/20

2016 Deidesheimer Mäushöhle – Winemaker Mathieu Kauffmann prefers to wait to bottle the wines rather than rush them onto the market so this has only just been released for sale. Explosive minerality and bright, sharp rocks on the palate – variegated sandstone – more muscle and more mid-palate breadth and this rolls into the finish already showing some fruit and weight. Lovely and satisfying with lushness countered by very dry acidity. 18.5+/20

2016 Deidesheimer Leinhöhle (linen hole because it was the hottest south-facing vineyard). Exotic and ripe with pear juice succulence and a very generous mid-palate. Usually goes through malo unlike many of the others which gives it a creamy feel. 18.5/20

2016 Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten – very elegant, polished and silkier and it benefits from a little bit of shade in the evening meaning that it is not quite as overtly expressive as Leinhöhle. Beautiful, composed and really attractive. 18.5/20

Grand Cru

2016 Kieselberg (Deidesheimer) – a change of tack now with a large step up in flavour intensity and depth. There is a huge amount of toned sinew here with the fruit slowly starting to emerge. Savoury and powerful, there is a five or more year run up for this wine. 18++/20

2016 Reiterpfad Hofstück (Ruppertsberger) – with violets and pear and peach skin and some poire william bitterness this is a really long and brutally dry wine on the finish. Masochistically impressive.  18.5++/20

2016 Jesuitengarten (Forster) – silky, stunningly glossy and creamy, really pure and clean and very nearly balanced already, this is a sensual, soft and pure wine. The finish is insanely long and seriously polished. 18.5/20

2016 Freundstück (Forster) – extremely sensual and lush and with dominant fruit this time as opposed to minerality, this is a shockingly attractive wine with almost Alsatian nose. The nose is hypnotic and this is a wondrously complete creation. 19+/20

2016 Kirchenstück (Forster) – this has every element of all of the other wines but in one body.  There is devastating sexiness here with awesome minerality and a tense finish but it is all impeccably assembled. Surprisingly full and immensely long, this is a main course white with incredible ageing potential. 19++/20

Grand Crus

2017 Kieselberg (Deidesheimer) – this is more expressive, very juicy and profound. Lovely depth and glossy fruit with seashell notes and also lingonberry and quince tones which are very attractive. 18.5+/20

2017 Ungeheuer (Forster) – really centred and juicy.  This vineyard has the longest sun hours but also cold nights and this has brought amazing tension and also brightness of acidity. Super-silky, this vintage shows less muscle and power and more guile and tenderness. It is also slightly brighter in terms of fruit tone. 19+/20

This is the first vertical that MD Richard Grosche and winemaker Mathieu Kauffmann have ever undertaken. They always said that they would wait five vintages for a vertical and now that the 2017 was bottled ten days ago they conducted this exercise for the very first time.

2017 Pechstein (Forster) – insanely pure and vibrant with serious dramatic acidity but this doesn’t puncture the volume of salty, pear skin and white almond flavours. The fruit is like a coiled spring and it will take years to relax, but this is a staggering tour de force for this property. 19.5++/20

2016 Pechstein (Forster) – with more weight of fruit and more volume of juiciness on the palate, this is a thrilling wine because the stern acid elements wait patiently for the fruit to calm before surging forwards on the palate to warn you that this is a very youthful, insanely decadent and rewarding wine. 19.5+/20

2015 Pechstein (Forster) – is atypical, showing a much darker colour and a crazy nose of wild green herbs and more tropical fruits. This is a very expressive wine and while the acidity is still pronounced the fruit notes are racing along, neck and neck with mint, camphor and a multitude of floral notes. 19+/20

2014 Pechstein (Forster) – Back to reality with this more classically dimensioned Pechstein and it is performing regally with every element of class and distinction. Still youthful, but easy to understand already with its neat lines and immense finish. 18.5+/20

2013 Pechstein (Forster) – showing great evolution and class there are flavour notes here which I have never seen before and I feel it is Pechstein stripped bare. Stunning, elemental and generous with textural perfection which is at once pliable and silky and then challenging and tense. 19.5+/20

A vertical of Suez Rosé

2017 Suez Rosé Spatburgunder – very bright and strangely orange-hued in colour, this is a very young tense wine with a cool feel in the background and tart rosehip notes throughout. There is not much fruit or flower here but more mineral, bark and spice notes. 17.5+/20

2016 Suez Rosé Spatburgunder – a little more full-bodied with cherry and depth and with some nice herbal notes and rosehips again, this is a fascinating wine with a very firm palate and intriguing flavour profile. 17.5/20

2015 Suez Rosé Spatburgunder – with more plushness on the fruit and also a slightly silkier feel throughout, this is a more commercial style and it is seemingly drinking already, not bad balance if a little coarse. 17?/20

2014 Suez Rosé Spatburgunder – more cherry like and more bold and obvious and this is probably the most characterful vintage right now. The acidity has faded a little, too. 17.5/20

2013 Suez Rosé Spatburgunder – rounded and less primary the flavour relies on the depth and power of the acidity which is slowly fading and allowing more of the tertiary fruit notes to be heard. 17/20

2nd time of tasting ever – Blanc de Blancs Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay – all hand-picked, organic, 2013, incredible nose with almost perfect aromatic and attack. The acidity and length here is like nothing I have ever seen. Very active and all barrel-fermented 2/3 Pinot Blanc and 1/3 Chardonnay.  An incredible wine. Now with 4-5 years on the lees it will be left for a further 5 years to mellow. Apple compote notes, gooseberry and shaped like Salon, this is a heavenly wine.  18.5+/20

Notes on my scores –

The absence of a ‘+’ indicates a wine which is in balance and can be drunk
relatively young thanks to its precocity and charm.  One ‘+’ indicates a wine that will benefit from medium-term ageing (in accordance to the style of the wine), while two ‘++’ indicates a wine that should manage to make the long haul, softening and evolving as it goes.  A ‘?’ means that there is an issue with the wine (something is not quite right or confusing) which is explained in the notes.  I would not advise buying a wine with a ‘?’ unless you have checked the wine personally or I have tasted it again and either the issue has been resolved or has been compounded in which case it is a dud anyway.

 MATTHEW JUKES SCORE CONVERSION CHART

As a wine taster and writer, I prefer you to read my words rather than focus on my scores.  This is why I rarely score wines unless I am writing a preview report like this one or similar style of article.  I believe that scores, taken out of context of tasting notes, are largely meaningless.  I try to describe my featured wines fully such that you can imagine the aroma, shape and flavour of each one.  Scores don’t help with this.  You will be aware that there are a few different scoring methods used in the global wine trade.  Some of my wine writing colleagues have been tempted over to the dark side and they use the 100-point rating system.  There are a few, usually older types, who cling onto the venerable five-star rating – admittedly, I use this for the Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification.  As you know, I favour the 20-point score.  It’s how I was taught and it dovetails nicely with the way in which I judge wines, too.  For those of you who are not familiar with the 20-point scoring system then here is a table which translates it into the various other formats.

 

20-point score100-point scoremedal5 star
20100perfect gold5
19.598gold5
1996gold5
18.595gold4
1893high silver4
17.591silver4
1789silver3
16.588high bronze3
1686bronze2
15.585bronze2
1583no medal1
14.581no medal1
1480no medal1