Monday, 29 July 2013

Bischel Riesling

This wine was the theme tune to the summer rain that arrived yesterday evening to wash away the dust and the grime after temperatures of around 38C during the earlier part of the weekend. Rarely was there a more fitting accompaniment.

Weingut Bischel, Appenheimer Riesling trocken "Terra Fusca" 2012, Rheinhessen, Germany
Christian and Matthias Runkel run the show at Weingut Bischel. The two brothers belong to a new generation of twenty and thirty-somethings who are knocking on the door of Germany's elite club of winemakers. I had the pleasure of talking briefly with Christian Runkel at the Prowein fair in Düsseldorf last March and was able to taste through a small selection of his wines.

As I attended a state school in the UK, I was lucky to avoid Latin. However, the ancient (i.e. dead!) language is still part of the curriculum at grammar-school ("Gymnasium") level in Germany. As a result, Latin phrases still pop up surprisingly regularly in German popular culture, regardless of context. According to the helpful site, "terra fusca"  is Latin for "brown earth". This is Weingut Bischel's village wine, produced from the estate's oldest Riesling vines in and around Appenheim.

Innocuous greyish straw yellow in appearance, but then the fireworks begin. At first, we verge on greenish fruit territory (pineapple, gooseberry?), but that's probably just my mind playing tricks on me. Instead, herbal notes come to the fore along with a more luscious, exotic touch that suggests mango but is probably more along the lines of peach and apricot. On the second day, an almost candied lime aroma springs from the glass along with fresh herbs.

Medium-bodied on the palate with a knife-edge balance between sweet stone fruit on the one hand and lime and mineral on the other. These minerally notes add complexity. The acidity, meanwhile, is electrifying and lends pinpoint focus. The finish is more than ample.

Like much of Rheinhessen, this wine is on the veritable cusp between southern ripeness and northern coolness. By all accounts, the 2012 vintage offers a teeny weeny bit of that mind-altering 2010 acidity but retains much of the overall ripeness found in 2011 and 2009. Sounds like the perfect year for Rheinhessen.

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