Thursday, 11 September 2014


As I translated the tasting note for the following wine in volume 1 of Vinipazzi at the beginning of this year, it would have been tempting to leaf through the book in question and simply copy what I wrote back then. But that would have been cheating. I recently bought a single bottle myself, so I thought it would be interesting to write my own notes and only afterwards see if they tallied in any way with author Thom Held's far more detailed impressions.

Weingut Clemens Busch, Riesling Marienburg 1. Lage* Falkenlay 2009, Mosel, Germany
* Referred to as a GG ("Grosses Gewächs" or grand cru) from 2011 onwards.

The Falkenlay plot within the Marienburg grand cru consists of grey slate. "Lay" (pronounced by English speakers in the same way as "lie") comes from the celtic "ley", meaning crag or cliff.

Golden yellow in appearance. Honey on the nose and distinctly so. The scent is already very mature after five years: quite waxy a note that the author generally refers to in his book as "Silberschleier", or a sort of "silvery veil". At the risk of sounding a little very extremely pretentious, it feels to me like a viscous film covering the rest of the wine's inner components.

Again, honey on the palate. Ripe and powerful with a firm, long (and minerally?) finish. There might not be as much zing as I'm used to, but drinking a wine such as this (that is already showing signs of maturing) is all part of the learning process. And besides, the wine's firm base consisting of what might best be described as "extract" that indefinable "stuffing" or substance that tastes dry helps offset any honeyed tail there may be.

Great stuff, but is this, my rather second-rate, badly structured, amateurish, ad hoc description, consistent with the book? Not really. I'd prefer not write out the whole tasting note ad verbatim, but my translation contains snippets such as "heady on the nose with notes of white peach", "emotional energy", "olfactory odyssey", "dense and immaculately round", and "bright pineapple notes".

My notes also lack the visuals of Vinicolori the author's way of depicting wines through the medium of colours and collages. That, however, is something best experienced by purchasing the book itself a piece of work of which, on the other hand, I'm more than a teeny weeny bit proud.


  1. Sounds like botrytis in the wine? How much alcohol did it have and did you enjoy more than a glas? My problem with Clemens Busch's GGs is that they are so full bodied. Was this one more on the elegant side?

  2. Hello Felix. Yes, there may have been some botrytis - although that's just an educated guess. The wine had 13.5 percent alcohol. My wife and I enjoyed two-thirds of the bottle over dinner. (I finished it off the next evening.) It certainly wasn't a light wine, but personally I don't think it was overdone either. Having said this, based on the wines I was able to taste before translating the book, I think I would probably enjoy Busch's Rieslings even more in high(er)-acidity years such as 2010.