Tuesday, 5 January 2016


The German social media wine scene recently imploded with talk about "natural wine" and what the term means. A mud-slinging match ensued.

Hansjörg Rebholz's dad and granddad were already making natural wine - or Naturwein - back in the post-war years of the 1940s and 50s. For them, Naturwein basically referred to wine that was neither subject to chaptalisation (the addition of sugar to increase alcoholic strength) nor underwent any other procedures in the cellar that would render it denuded of its natural character. This was a pioneering approach at the time. Naturwein also refers to many other factors, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Humans play a central part, too.

Rebholz, Riesling vom Buntsandstein trocken 2014, Pfalz
Buntsandstein is German for coloured sandstone. This is one of the wines in Rebholz's "Terroir" range. Vivid straw in appearance. Iodine-like notes reminiscent of mineral water, otherwise quite reticent to be begin with. After 24 hours in the fridge with the cork back in, hints of lime, white peach and ginger show through. Still a fairly shy nose overall. Clear and citrusy on the palate - mostly lemon. The acidity cuts through everything, putting the wine on the proverbial knife edge. It manages to pull off the trick of exhibiting electric freshness without any bitterness whatsoever - a rare feat. It feels likes the tête de cuvée - the free-run juice obtained before pressing. Though I might be totally wrong. Whatever it is, the result is purity and digestibility.

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