söndag 16 november 2014
Comparative studies for scientific purposes are of the essence...
I just couldn't resist...
After opening the two 2010s above I looked through my cellar thinking I had only the Hubacker GG from 2010 but lo and behold, I fished up a Kirchspiel GG as well, both from the same vintage so I thought...why not?
2010 Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Grosses Gewächs
No! I say no... No, as in I no, I don't like this Kirchspiel from colder years as much as I like them from warmer, rounder vintages like 2005, 2007 and 2009. However, if you'll ask the winemaker he will say Yes! Probably preferring wines from the leaner years more, because he likes the astonishingly elegant finesse Kirchspiel can display from these vintages, like 2008, 2010 and 2013. But to me... (hey, I'm the boss of my own tasting notes, mind you!) the very essence of Kirchspiel is - yes - the finesse Klaus-Peter Keller is looking for but also combined with the yummy spicy characters derived from the yellow lime stone rock beneath this beautiful vineyard outside the tiny village of Westhofen. This is lean, offering citrus flavours and chalky, almost like chalk dust. And with considerable acidity coupled with a refreshing mineralic salinity. Very crisp and crystalline, the salty minerality really cleanse your palate with a beautiful vivid tension throughout the tasting experience. A very enjoyable wine in my book but it still feels somewhat lean and tight right now and not up there among the greatest Kirchspiel GGs as I prefer the more opulent vintages. 92 points.
2010 Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewächs
Oh yes... Right from the start, this is a completely different creature. Taste it side by side and you immediately feel that this offers much more stuffing. You stand erect as the wine feels; offering a very aristocratic and firm combination of powerful, dense minerality deep down to the very core of the wine. Truly the essence of a "crushed rock" feeling. Bone dry core of minerality is mixed with waves of peach, lime, nectarine, mint and...well, best described as ultra-fresh, sparkling apple soda. Utterly crisp and powerful on the palate with a beautiful oscillating tension in texture and finish. I think the most impressive character in this lovely wine is the electric feeling of vibrant minerality and laser-like focus towards the finish. Totally transparent and delightfully boyant and elastic yet so damn noble and powerful. Very impressive. I could drink this succulent juice all night long... To me, probably the best vintage of Hubacker GG so far. Bravo! 95+ points.
It's fun (!) to compare notes of different wines from the same producer and vintage, like I have done here with four 2010 GGs from Keller.
But it also struck me it's fun to compare one's own impressions of the same wines over the years, to see if my perception has changed. I was curious if I somewhere had saved any notes from my first impressions of any of these wines, when they were still babies, and yes, I found these comments from three and a half years ago, when they weren't even yet in the bottle:
"I must be the only person in the world (it feels like sometimes) who always favor Kirchspiel Riesling GG above the Hubacker Riesling GG. I love the luscious, spicy Kirchspiel compared to the more aristocratic, firm and stony Hubacker. This time...not. Something has happened with Hubacker GG. The best I have ever tasted from this estate, possibly better than the grand 2009. Can't explain it. It seems to retain its usual aristocratic and very firm appearance yet the high extract has infused the package with something else. More body, more structure, more of everything yet still keeping what Klaus-Peter does best - producing wines with brutal raw power coupled with utterly delicate lighhtness. The Hubacker is almost weightless yet powerful like a bull. Oh...should I really mention the other GGs? As good as ever. I can't really say if they are better or more powerful than the previous vintages. It makes no point squabbling about wines I rate above 95 year in and out. On the Kirschspiel vs Hubacker...it reminds me about WHY this passion is such a fascinating experience, especiellay when we gather with fellow wine lovers, share a bottle and compare notes. We all drink from the same bottle yet our experiences can differ considerably. To me, the Hubacker has always been tight, firm, very mineralic and very aristocratic at those initial early spring tastings. While the Kirschheck posseses, in my opinion, a more luscious texture, sometimes lighter, sometimes even richer than the Hubacker, with a pronounced spiciness, almost red in taste and colour. The more spice I find in this mineralic bowl of wine, the better I tend to rate it. The same goes for lushness. In 2010 I found the Kirschspiel to be excellent, as always, but a little lighter in stuyle and not as spicy I'm used to. The Hubacker however, fired on all cylinders and literally erupted in a mineral shower together with that unmistaken Keller "weightlessness", making the fruit so utterly integrated into the mineralic components and that almost polished acidity. Great terroir, great winemaking, great wines - no matter how you look at it."
2010 Keller Abtserde Riesling Grosses Gewächs
(or AbtsE as he calls it – I don’t know if it’s technically/legally a GG according to the German Wine Law but I call it that anyway)
Too early to give it a final score at least my initial impressions might be worth considering. I tasted this wine together with John Gilman and we both seemed to savour it in silence, initially having not much to add except the sighs. "Ohhh & Ahhhs" were exchanged. What strikes me as so often with this wine is the nervousness, the oscillating energy that sets this vineyard apart from its peers. Like a pin-ball, it bounces around in your mouth while singing that soothing lullaby telling you that everything's gonna be alright. Lovely cornucopia of yellow-green apples/yellow peach and some pear mixed with white flowers, grapefruit and a laser-like limestone minerality focusing like a beam of light while it penetrates the palate. Oh do I LOVE this type of weightless nectar of the Gods! 97-100 points.
So those impressions (above) are now 3½ years old. It was fun to revisit these impressions and compare them to how much I enjoyed the wines today. And looking back in the mirror, it seems as if the impressions were similar already then, that I found the Kirchspiel leaner than I usually prefer and thus didn't favour it as much as more opulent vintages, when the spicy character is more pronounced (to my palate, mind you). In addition, the Hubacker today fared similarly to the initial impression - with the observation that I seem to like this vintage (2010) even better than warmer vintages - in other words, the opposite of the Kirchspiel.
Life should be more like this. Tasting wines side by side, comparing older notes, reflecting, having more wines... Unfortunately, the reality is that more and more people seem to discover the same treasures and making these wines increasingly difficult to find. That's fine by me, as long as these treasures end up on the tables of true passionate wine lovers who buy them to drink and share with good friends - not using them as part of an "investment portfolio". And let's hope that the Asian market will not discover them more than is already the case! :-)