Friday, 25 March 2011

Off the wall

The following wine sold out a good while ago. It is extremely popular owing to the various accolades it has won over recent vintages. In hindsight, I maybe should have bought more than one bottle when we visited Bassermann-Jordan last summer. That is one of the drawbacks of travelling to wine country on Deutsche Bahn with minimal baggage.

Weingut Bassermann-Jordan, "Auf der Mauer" Riesling trocken 2009, Pfalz
The vinothèque at this famous Deidesheim property is very modern, plush and inviting. Nestled in the old part of the village, it is situated next to the Ketschauerhof, an even plusher-looking complex comprising a hotel, restaurant and function rooms. I noticed at the time that they host weddings - though this was never going to be a serious proposition: ours is going to take place in England, in the bride's home village in bucolic, rural Suffolk.

"Auf der Mauer" means simply "On the wall", referring to the location of the plots from which its fruit was sourced, all on relative plateaus overlooking the edge of the village, each at the top of high perimeter walls made of sandstone - hence the name. As you can see from the picture, it's even been registered as a trademark (®). All of these vineyards are cultivated using biodynamic methods and the wine is fermented spontaneously via the grapes' natural yeasts.

This Riesling is quite unlike anything I've tasted since Leiner's Calvus Mons. Then, like now, it was as if someone had stripped the Riesling of its acidity. I do like a bit of zing in my Rieslings, but will often settle for something with more stomach-soothing properties whenever push comes to shove and my better half has a say in the matter. This, on the other hand, feels oddly devoid of any "zing". Nevertheless, I had better start from the beginning.

Almost golden yellow in appearance; the nose shows dried grass and herbal notes plus a hint of mineral. Above all, I get strangely jammy aromas. Specifically, they remind me of the "Weissweingelee" (white wine jam) we spread on our bread rolls for breakfast at a hotel in the Pfalz last summer. This sensation continues emphatically on the palate: wild jammy notes flanked by intense apricot and peach. The mouthfeel is unusually luscious and chewy. And then comes the finish... Well, there isn't one. There is little or no acidity to speak of.

This wine is more off the wall than on it (I think I probably mean that in a good way).

Eventually, over a couple of days, it levels out somewhat. Strangely, it tastes more like a conventional Riesling as wild succulence gives way to something slimmer and more streamlined.

It's very hard to categorise this wine, let alone judge it at this early stage in its development. With only one bottle, I could have either drunk it now or waited a few years and maybe missed it in its vibrant youth. That's always a dilemma.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Simon...
    I purchased 3 bottles of the 2007...and two have gone...the last in July 2010. Both were given a 2nd day...and improved tremendously. I need wines with less acidity than your 'young' was more appreciative.